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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

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I think it's as you said, that Sansa is viewed as largely unreachable by the Northerners, while access to "Arya" is much easier. Ramsay notorious reputation also doesn't help matters, while Tyrion is currently just perceived as a very ugly man and a whoremonger. Also, does anyone besides Stannis - who has his own reasons for trying to dismiss Sansa - refer to her as Lady Lannister? Jon sticks to his guns that she's the rightful heir at least.

Well, maybe no one else calls her Lady Lannister, not sure about that, but just in terms of how she is treated once it happens. No talk of even trying to rescue her, Robb just wants to write her out (most likely). Yes, I'd say that's one of Jon's best qualities, illustrated right off the bat when he refuses to take any of the Direwolves because they belong to the Starks and he is not one. Which is why I always laugh when people talk about Jon stealing Sansa's or Rickon's or Bran's claim. Like he would ever do that, and like any of them would ever view it as stealing...

Ah don't worry! :) I'm honestly interested in hearing alternative viewpoints. I will challenge them, but it's still interesting ;) Would you mind expanding what you meant about "baggage"?

Yes, certainly. I would love to hear your viewpoint as well on this BC. But anyway, what I was trying to say- Part of the reason why I like Sandor so much as a character and why his scenes with Sansa are just crackling with tension: He's just a fundamentally screwed up person. Granted, beneath all that rage and hatred and anger, is actually something pretty similar to what Sansa is- An idealistic honorable person who believes in chivalry maybe? I mean, how can Sandor not be screwed up, his brother is freaking Gregor Clegane.

When I look at their early relationship, I see something of like a symbiotic maturing process going on. They're both helping each other out- Sansa with helping Sandor get back in touch with the little boy who wanted to play with his brother's toy knight, Sandor helping Sansa see the world for the cynical place that it is. But I think the thing about it that really makes it work is that even though Sandor is much older than Sansa, in many ways he's just as naive and vulnerable as she is. Can that kind of relationship really last? I kind of see it like how Barristan was remarking on how Dany was looking for fire and Quentyn was mud. Barry thinks something like all young girls are looking for fire- Is that really Sansa anymore? I'm not sure, I actually think Sansa might be fine with "mud" so to speak- Just a fundamentally nice person with a good heart who will respect and love her. Can Sandor ever be that? Can he ever get past all his issues? Does Sansa want to help him out with that? I'm not sure.

But I guess all of this is just a really typically (me) long-winded way of asking- Do you think Sandor is "good enough" for Sansa? I just feel like she deserves better. Someone who doesn't have all the issues that Sandor had/has, someone who didn't have that terrible past and will be a constant reminder to Sansa of everything she dislikes about the world, about her time in KL, all that stuff.

But I really don't know. I can't claim to have half the knowledge most you guys do about Sansa and her arc :bowdown: , so maybe you see it differently? I realize this is probably a bit of a mess, I'm exhausted right now and not really capable of marshaling my thoughts in a constructive way. I'd love to hear what everyone on here thinks though.

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Well, maybe no one else calls her Lady Lannister, not sure about that, but just in terms of how she is treated once it happens. No talk of even trying to rescue her, Robb just wants to write her out (most likely). Yes, I'd say that's one of Jon's best qualities, illustrated right off the bat when he refuses to take any of the Direwolves because they belong to the Starks and he is not one. Which is why I always laugh when people talk about Jon stealing Sansa's or Rickon's or Bran's claim. Like he would ever do that, and like any of them would ever view it as stealing...

Yes, certainly. I would love to hear your viewpoint as well on this BC. But anyway, what I was trying to say- Part of the reason why I like Sandor so much as a character and why his scenes with Sansa are just crackling with tension: He's just a fundamentally screwed up person. Granted, beneath all that rage and hatred and anger, is actually something pretty similar to what Sansa is- An idealistic honorable person who believes in chivalry maybe? I mean, how can Sandor not be screwed up, his brother is freaking Gregor Clegane.

When I look at their early relationship, I see something of like a symbiotic maturing process going on. They're both helping each other out- Sansa with helping Sandor get back in touch with the little boy who wanted to play with his brother's toy knight, Sandor helping Sansa see the world for the cynical place that it is. But I think the thing about it that really makes it work is that even though Sandor is much older than Sansa, in many ways he's just as naive and vulnerable as she is. Can that kind of relationship really last? I kind of see it like how Barristan was remarking on how Dany was looking for fire and Quentyn was mud. Barry thinks something like all young girls are looking for fire- Is that really Sansa anymore? I'm not sure, I actually think Sansa might be fine with "mud" so to speak- Just a fundamentally nice person with a good heart who will respect and love her. Can Sandor ever be that? Can he ever get past all his issues? Does Sansa want to help him out with that? I'm not sure.

But I guess all of this is just a really typically (me) long-winded way of asking- Do you think Sandor is "good enough" for Sansa? I just feel like she deserves better. Someone who doesn't have all the issues that Sandor had/has, someone who didn't have that terrible past and will be a constant reminder to Sansa of everything she dislikes about the world, about her time in KL, all that stuff.

But I really don't know. I can't claim to have half the knowledge most you guys do about Sansa and her arc :bowdown: , so maybe you see it differently? I realize this is probably a bit of a mess, I'm exhausted right now and not really capable of marshaling my thoughts in a constructive way. I'd love to hear what everyone on here thinks though.

Great post, Tagganaro. :) Sometimes I think about these things myself. When she talked about Willas the main attraction for her seemed that he represented a quiet domestic life, children she could name after the family she lost, puppies and security. A lot of people talk about Edric Dayne as someone she could like. But, you know, you can't choose the one you love. I think she's attracted to Sandor, not because of his dangerous persona but because of his kindness and gentleness toward her, the fact he saved her and helped her in KL. She sees him as a protector, talks about him being strong, loyal and honest. So maybe, after spending some time at the Quiet Isle and calming some of his rage, he could be that person to provide her a quiet life. But who knows. I'll be rooting for her happiness no matter what. She deserves it. :)

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But I guess all of this is just a really typically (me) long-winded way of asking- Do you think Sandor is "good enough" for Sansa? I just feel like she deserves better. Someone who doesn't have all the issues that Sandor had/has, someone who didn't have that terrible past and will be a constant reminder to Sansa of everything she dislikes about the world, about her time in KL, all that stuff.

Thanks for explaining Tag :) I guess I'd have to say that for me the whole issue of "deserving better" doesn't come into play in the relationship. All that matters truly is whether Sansa thinks Sandor is the one for her, and whether she can be happy with him. There are reasons why they have chemistry and a connection, and despite what we might think about Sandor's issues, the fact that Sansa herself invests in romanticising speaks volumes.

With regard to the terrible past, I think that's integral to their bond. If he had never entrusted her with that story, they wouldn't have achieved the intimacy we see in KL. Instead of being repulsed or frightened by what he tells her, she's moved by it. Of course it's not a story of a woman's love healing a man, but her attitude does seem to go a long way in developing the relationship.

Going on the evidence we have so far since she's left KL, it also doesn't seem as though her memories of him remind her of that terrible time. I think that's because despite his harsh words, she trusted that he wouldn't hurt her and came to rely on him for the truth. So he's separate from the other "negative" experiences of that time related to Cersei, Joffrey and her forced marriage. Then of course we have the erotic fantasies of him climbing into her bed asking for a song or kissing her.

All in all, the one thing as Lady Lea noted which scared Sansa about Sandor was his rage, not directed at her, but something that was eating him up inside. If he's able to move past those issues, then the relationship could have potential.

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Sorry, I left for a while....

Why?

I think it makes her less likely to be married off again for her claim, which is what she doesn't want.

Claim or not... as long as Sansa is a captive her only option for marriage is being married off to someone her captors pick out.

Assume for a moment that Sansa never had a claim and that this is widely known and accepted:

Would the Lannisters have let her go? No way. Even without a claim she is a valuable prisoner because of her relatives, her family's history, her extremely noble blood, and the attachment the North has to all things Stark.

Would she have had the wing and a hope option of Wylas Tyrell? Maybe... Maybe not.

Would she still have been forcibly married off by Tywin? Yes, at least I think so. Maybe not to Tyrion, but I firmly believe that she still would have been married off... maybe to a lesser Lannister. In ADWD, Cersei tries to excuse her treatment of Sansa by saying that she would have married her off to some lesser, suitably noble Lannister. The things that make her a valuable prisoner even without a claim also make her a valuable wife.

Would she fare any better with Littlefinger? Haha... no way. I'm convinced that her status is the only thing keeping her from *much* creepier treatment. Anything that chips at her status can only eat away at what little protection she does have there. Her friend Jane's lack of a claim didn't help her at all.

Also, I believe Littlefinger is being earnest about his Harry the Heir plan about as much as I believe pigs will fly.

Her claim makes Sansa more of a pawn, a fact she is very aware of. If she is the heir, she has the responsibility to produce an heir. Families would be very aware of this and will seek to manimuplate, control, influence her for that fact. In addition, when/if Sansa marries in to a powerful family, she would then have a Lord Husband- notice the use of the word "Lord" there. Sansa's claim has turned her in to a piece of meat that can be used and it will stay this way until she is able to lose that claim.

Its worth noting that noble women who are never expected to inherit their father's holdings are *still* treated like pieces of meat. (Catelyn and Lyssa were never expected to inherit the Riverlands) It's not necessarily about the claim... It's about the ability to forge alliances or their inherent social status.

Yes, her claim attracts people who seek to manipulate, control, and influence her... but power always does and her claim is exactly that... power. As Sansa matures and hopefully gets into a better position she will hopefully be able to use this power and be able to deal with the people it attracts.

It reminds me a bit of the whole mo' money, mo' problems cliche. There are sometimes efforts to romanticize a lack of money (or power) thinking it will lead to some ideal 'simple life', but really mo' money is still better than no money.

Jaime is guilty of this when he hopes that Sansa married a blacksmith, but we've seen that the common folk in Westeros don't have better, more stable lives than the nobles. The opposite seems to be true.

Also, Sansa *doesn't* have to bow down to a Lord Husband to get an heir... she can just follow Lady Mormot's example :P

Yes, but right now she's believed to be the "last Stark", so she wouldn't have anyone to pass the claim to. If the other Starks (or one of them) showed up then she'd have more options. But right now, her thinking she's the only one left, if she finds out about the will I think it would crush her, because she would think she can't go back to Winterfell.

I agree. I dread her finding out about the will (if Robb did indeed disinherit her). :crying:

I'm not following you here. If she is regent, that means that she would rule on behalf of the person who actually has the claim. So, if Rickon is found, she would rule as regent until he turns 16. She would not pass her claim on to anyone.

I'm all mixed up on this now too. Recap: I originally argued that Sansa might want her claim to rebuild Winterfell (or other stuff). If she really didn't want the claim then she could pass on it (meaning give it up). Denying her claim just takes away that choice.

Lady Lea then pointed out that there might not be anyone to pass the claim to. She also pointed out that Sansa could rebuild Winterfell as the regent for one of her younger brothers.

In a rush, I then mixed everything up and said something you couldn't understand. Here's a second try:

If there is no one for her to pass the claim to, then it seems logical that she wouldn't be able to rebuild Winterfell for someone else's rule (regent or not). In this case her only option for rebuilding Winterfell would be to have the claim.

If there is someone for her to pass the claim to, then it's better for her to have the option of the pass.

Side note: I don't necessarily think Robb's will has that much impact on who actually inherits. This might be why I tend to view it as just a big emotional sucker punch for Sansa.

Okay, sorry for rambling but it's late.

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A few things I've been wondering lately:

- Given Sandor's dominance in Sansa's life, would it realistic at this point for Martin to introduce another romantic option for her? Do all roads lead to Sandor? Some new perspectives on this would be interesting. (of course he has introduced another option for her already in HtH :) I mean one that we should take seriously)

- Sansa's role as as mother to Sweetrobin. It seems to be a popular opinion that SR represents Sansa's ultimate moral test so to speak. If she saves him, then it essentially means she's saved herself from LF as well. Agree/disagree and is Martin making a larger statement about mothering in the series via this relationship?

I've been traveling and without internet again for a couple of days, and I come back to find you discussing something I had just been thinking about! :) Interesting that you bring up the topic of Motherhood in regards to Sansa, because now that I finally have ASoIaF on my Kindle, I've been able to do some brief re-reads of Sansa chapters even while traveling. I recently re-read Sansa's ACoK chapters and of course motherhood is mentioned a great deal throughout that particular book (which is no surprise to you of course having done many re-reads).

I’m sure all of the below has already been touched up on in the previous re-read threads. I have read the entire Sansa re-read and re-thinking series of threads but after thirteen(?) of them I am already forgetting some specifics. :P

Obviously, many things have changed for Sansa since ACoK. She seems to be disillusioned to the point that she says she no longer wishes to be married, because she feels no one will love her for herself, only for her claim. I don’t know if my observations below have much bearing on her storyline with Sweetrobin, but I couldn’t help but notice some interesting details in the chapters leading up to the Blackwater.

Sansa’s first flowering, (which as we all know happens with Sandor present, hehe) and which also leads to Cersei’s attempt to give her some ‘womanly’ advice, signifies not just her entrance into womanhood but also the potential for motherhood for Sansa (hence why she freaks out and burns the ‘evidence’ in the first place, since she does not want to have to be forced into giving Joffrey heirs). Note that even after this moment (and after Cersei’s rather harsh advice about only loving your children and loving being a poison, etc.), Sansa still seems to consciously think positively about potentially becoming a mother -- this is prior to her dreams about Willas and puppies in Highgarden, and her dreams about having children named after her siblings and father, afterall. What she is already dreading and railing against is being forced to have children with Joffrey, a Lannister, aka being forced into a marriage with him (and consummating it) --- something that is most certainly not her choice.

Even though choice is important to Sansa (though at this point in ACoK she is not necessarily articulating this out loud), some aspects of motherhood (and possible foreshadowing on GRRM’s part?) seem to be almost completely instinctual for Sansa.

The scene in the Sept before the battle when everyone is praying to the Mother stands out. Sansa visits each of the altars and lights a candle (even for the Stranger’s ‘half-human face’), and proceeds to sing the hymn to the Mother with the other people gathered there (all the while recalling how her own mother was the one to teach her hymn.

Sansa visited each of the Seven in turn, light a candle at each altar, and then found herself a place on the benches between a wizened old washer woman and a boy no older than Rickon, dressed in the fine linen tunic of a knight’s son. The old woman’s hand was bony and hard with callus, the boy’s small and soft, but it was good to have someone to hold on to.

It struck me as interesting that here Sansa is placed between an old woman and a little child --- this is the Mother’s position in the traditional “Maiden, Mother, Crone”, not in the Maiden’s position as might be expected. (Foreshadowing?)

Later, within Maegor’s Holdfast, even while Sansa is shocked at Cersei’s talk of the possibility of rape, and blushing at her mention of using what is between her legs as a weapon, it is actually Cersei herself who is described as maiden, in a white dress, with her hair worn long and loose as an unmarried woman:

Cersei’s gown was snowy linen, white as the cloaks of the Kingsguard. Her long dagged sleeves showed a lining of gold stain. Masses of bright yellow hair tumbled to her bare shoulders in thick curls. Around her slender neck hung a rope of diamonds and emeralds. The white made her look strangely innocent, almost maidenly, but there were points of color on her cheeks.

Interestingly, it is an older woman and children who are something of a catalyst for Sansa standing up in Cersei’s places as the mothering comfortor to the people within Maegor’s Holdfast:

”Oh gods,” an old woman wailed. “We’re lost, the battle’s lost, she’s running.” Several children were crying. They can smell the fear. Sansa found herself alone on the dais. Should she stay here, or run after the queen and plead for her life?

She never knew why she got to her feet, but she did. “Don’t be afraid,” she told them loudly.

I know many people take this as an example of foreshadowing for Sansa’s queenly behavior (as a possible future queen), and I agree that it is likely meant as such. I do think though that this moment also can be read as an example of Sansa’s mothering abilities coming to the forefront in a more public sphere.

Significant as well is that by the end of the night she has experienced an intensely private, intimate moment in which she sings the Mother’s hymn to Sandor Clegane. Of course there is the romantic/erotic aspect to their interaction and especially in relation to Sansa’s later memories of it, and I certainly don’t think Sansa is acting as the Mother during the entire scene. But that moment when she sings the hymn (which she had previously sung in the Sept as a prayer for her entire family as well as for Sandor and for his rage to be gentled), and when ‘some instinct’ makes her reach up and touch his face, are probably the only moments of ‘mothering’ that Sandor may have known in a long, long time.

As for Martin making a statement about mothering in the series in regards to Sansa/Alayne’s later relationship to Sweetrobin, I definitely think this is the case. Robert Arryn is a difficult child in many ways because of Lysa’s way of mothering him (or at least, that is what I think GRRM is instinuating here). I find it strange to think that GRRM would show us this boy who had such a ‘problematic’ mothering as a child and then basically put him into a situation where that would….not change at all. Unless of course, this is because he is intending for Sansa to help LF kill him or to allow him to kill him. But once again, I would also find it odd that so much symbolism regarding motherhood has gone into Sansa’s chapters, only to have her become the complete opposite of the Mother figure. Was all the motherhood symbolism in ACoK and elsewhere really just meant for those two climactic moments with the women and children in Maegor's Holdfast and in her bedroom with Sandor Clegane? I find that hard to believe.

It is certainly possible that LF may twist her quite far into morally grey areas (he is already doing so). But, is it only Sansa who is associated with Motherhood? Is Alayne a ‘bad’ mother? I don’t know....

As brashcandy noted, Sansa and Alayne are not nearly as distinct personalities as some would believe. “That day is done and so is Sansa”…..well, GRRM may want us to believe this for now, for whatever reason, but obviously Sansa is still there. As long as through the Alayne persona Sansa is able to explore her own latent abilities to a more amplified degree, then I think 'that which makes Sansa Sansa' will survive the time as Alayne. Sansa has always had great compassion, as well as an ability to generate admiration and loyalty from those around her. But even as Sansa, she has always had harder, colder, stronger, and braver sides to her character. I hope that Sansa’s instinctual mothering and compassionate abilities will continue to shine through, no matter what LF may have her do. Even though she is reluctant to take on Sweetrobin and to become his mother at first due to how difficult he can be, I find it rather poignant that she is nonetheless so good at it. It is yet another reminder of how much she once wanted children of her own, and how she has for now given up hope of at least having children within a marriage. If Sweetrobin is indeed Sansa's only chance at motherhood for now, I sincerely hope that GRRM does not twist it irrevocably down a path so dark that there is no return. I hope that it is significant that motherhood seems to come to Sansa almost by instinct, and that LF won’t be able to stamp out those innate aspects of her character however hard he tries to shape 'Alayne' to his own design.

In general, I hope that if Sansa must be Alayne for now that she can basically 'take over' Alayne for herself. Instead of being Alayne all the time in her heart, she will be Sansa in her heart, and wear Alayne like a Faceless Man mask.

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I have my books now and I've been through the chapter in ASOS where Robb discusses the future of Winterfell. Someone is going to have to quote the passage that disinherits Sansa because I can't find it. The closest I can find is this;

"A king must have an heir. If I should die in my next battle, the kingdom must not die with me. By law Sansa is next in line of succession, so Winterfell and the north would pass to her." His mouth tightened. "To her, and her lord husband. Tyrion Lannister. I cannot allow that. I will not allow that. That dwarf must never have the north."

And then,

"Mother." There was a sharpness in Robb's tone. "You forget. My father had four sons."

She had not forgotten; she had not wanted to look at it, yet there it was. "A Snow is not a Stark."

"Jon's more a Stark than some lordlings from the Vale who have never so much set eyes on Winterfell."

"Jon is a brother of the Night's Watch, sworn to take no wife and hold no lands. Those who take the black serve for life."

"So do the knights of the Kingsguard. That did not stop the Lannisters from stripping the white cloaks from Ser Barristan Selmy and Ser Boros Blount when they had no more use for them. If I send the Watch a hundred men in Jon's place, I'll wager they find some way to release him from his vows."

He is set on this. Catelyn knew how stubborn her son could be. "A bastard cannot inherit."

"Not unless he's legitimized by royal decree," said Robb. "There is more precedent for that than for releasing a Sworn Brother from his oath."

So, in short, talk of legitimizing Jon but nothing about disinheriting Sansa. Unless there's a passage I'm missing. I'm not sure if it's an assumption, but there are papers Robb had his men affix their seal to. Another question is whether legitimizing Jon (and a possible disinheriting of Sansa) would even be recognized, dependent entirely on who ends up ruling the North.

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Yeah, it was clearly nothing personal against Sansa; they understand her position as a POW (marry a Lannister or die), but Robb must make a move to negate it. At that point, he thinks Bran and Rickon are dead, and Arya is missing and presumed dead. If they knew for sure Arya was captured, they'd have disinherited her too, precisely to orevent the sort of thing we see later with fake Arya / Jeyne Poole.

A few things I've been wondering lately:

- Given Sandor's dominance in Sansa's life, would it realistic at this point for Martin to introduce another romantic option for her? Do all roads lead to Sandor? Some new perspectives on this would be interesting. (of course he has introduced another option for her already in HtH :) I mean one that we should take seriously)

It's Gendry. Just wait. ;)

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It struck me as interesting that here Sansa is placed between an old woman and a little child --- this is the Mother’s position in the traditional “Maiden, Mother, Crone”, not in the Maiden’s position as might be expected. (Foreshadowing?)

Yes! I noted this too in the reread threads, I think it was indeed meant to be symbolic.

Later, within Maegor’s Holdfast, even while Sansa is shocked at Cersei’s talk of the possibility of rape, and blushing at her mention of using what is between her legs as a weapon, it is actually Cersei herself who is described as maiden, in a white dress, with her hair worn long and loose as an unmarried woman:

This is a great catch!

Interestingly, it is an older woman and children who are something of a catalyst for Sansa standing up in Cersei’s places as the mothering comfortor to the people within Maegor’s Holdfast:

I know many people take this as an example of foreshadowing for Sansa’s queenly behavior (as a possible future queen), and I agree that it is likely meant as such. I do think though that this moment also can be read as an example of Sansa’s mothering abilities coming to the forefront in a more public sphere.

Officially mindblown :)

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Valkyrja great post.

Slightly of topic, yesterday I was reading something over the net, when i come by a movie called

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain

i couldn't help it but noticed the similarity between the name and

Sansa Stark went up the mountain, but Alayne Stone is coming down.

that of course could be just a homage or reference to this movie (i admit that of late I see Asoiaf everywhere :blushing: ), but oddly enough there is a character in the Vale - ser Morgarth whose name can be interpreted like mount Garth (mor in old English is mountain), and this mountain (hill) is in fact the inspiration for the movie. So I wonder if this means something or maybe is just a red herring. And there are a few other stories connected with the name Morgarth as well.

Martin has layered his story so much that sometimes i feel completely lost. No wonder it takes him so much time to wrap and write the books.

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Yes! I noted this too in the reread threads, I think it was indeed meant to be symbolic.

This is a great catch!

Officially mindblown :)

Glad you enjoyed the post, brash! :cheers: I was writing super late last night so I apologize for the slight rambling at the end....

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Glad you enjoyed the post, brash! :cheers: I was writing super late last night so I apologize for the slight rambling at the end....

:) I meant to write something more articulate than mindblown, but I had to sleep myself!

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In general, I hope that if Sansa must be Alayne for now that she can basically 'take over' Alayne for herself. Instead of being Alayne all the time in her heart, she will be Sansa in her heart, and wear Alayne like a Faceless Man mask.

Once again, great post Valkyrja. That point you made on the fact that it's an old woman and the children who begin crying when Cersei leaves and spring Sansa into action was fascinating. These later chapters in ACOK really propel her into a "spotlight" as it were, where we see the depth of empathy in her character. The comparison with Cersei dressed in white is also telling as you noted. Cersei is spewing out "advice" during the meal, but it is Sansa who actually assumes the mature position in how she handles others on the night. It's clear that Cersei isn't capable of mothering anyone outside of her own children, but Sansa and Dany are the ones who take on a greater responsibility for those dependent on them. Dany does this on a much larger scale, but Sansa's contribution is still vitally important. We've noted the parallels between Sansa and Cersei many times, but I've always felt that Daenerys provides the more positive comparisons for a consideration of Sansa's experiences in the novels.

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Elba:

This reminds me yet again of Jane Eyre. We have noted before that there are quite a few similarities between Sansa and Jane. This comment about how Sansa would treat Cersei if she ever had the power over her reminded me of the scene when Jane goes back to see her Aunt Reed as she lay dying. Jane could have been bitter to her Aunt, who treated her terribly, and spit in her face, but instead Jane chooses to forgive her and take care of her in the end. Her Aunt can't even understand why and fully expects scorn and disdain from Jane but Jane does the opposite. I think this would hold true for Sansa with Cersei.

It is similar, isn’t it? I hope that just as Jane managed to get her happy ending Sansa will also be allowed to have hers because there is some happiness in a bittersweet ending. It can’t all be bad... there was some talk of how Sansa may very well fall for another even though Sandor has been the man from her past she dwells upon the most. If Sansa ends up meeting another man whom she knows is the right one i would be happy she got what she has always wanted, and just as Sandor i would be a little sad, but would be able to get over it in the end.. But if Sansa is destined to resemble Jane Eyre more, then I hope HtH or whichever suitor follows assume the roles of that preacher cousin of hers and Sandor resembles Rochester J Oh and this thing you wrote is so dark and yet interesting!:

Perhaps in the sense that if Sansa were to go down the dark path and not saveSweetrobin, then that could be the end of her old hopes as Sansa, one of which was to be a mother. In essence it could be a statement that she wouldn't deserve to be a mother if she loses her morality and compassion.

Brash:

I'm thinking specifically here of the Joffrey's name day tourney where she and Sandor act almost like parents in supporting and cheering the boy on.

I’d never seen it that way before but now i think i appreciate that scene even more!

Tagganaro: I just simply loved your post. I agree with so much of it.

Valkyrja:

But that moment when she sings the hymn (which she had previously sung in the Sept as a prayer for her entire family as well as for Sandor and for his rage to be gentled), and when ‘some instinct’ makes her reach up and touch his face, are probably the only moments of ‘mothering’ that Sandor may have known in a long, long time.

It struck me as interesting that here Sansa is placed between an old woman and a little child --- this is the Mother’s position in the traditional “Maiden, Mother, Crone”, not in the Maiden’s position as might be expected. (Foreshadowing?)

Even though she is reluctant to take on Sweetrobin and to become his mother at first due to how difficult he can be, I find it rather poignant that she is nonetheless so good at it. It is yet another reminder of how much she once wanted children of her own, and how she has for now given up hope of at least having children within a marriage. If Sweetrobin is indeed Sansa's only chance at motherhood for now, I sincerely hope that GRRM does not twist it irrevocably down a path so dark that there is no return. I hope that it is significant that motherhood seems to come to Sansa almost by instinct, and that LF won’t be able to stamp out those innate aspects of her character however hard he tries to shape 'Alayne' to his own design.

Great post, and these parts were my favorite! Great observations of Sansa being the Mother in the sept and when Cersei abandons her people and then with Sandor. And about how Cersei looked like the Maiden that night, yet Sansa the younger woman there behaved like the wise Mother. Cersei is more frivolous and spoiled than Sansa and at times has some “tantrums” i can’t believe sansa would also experience. Maybe this is because Cersei just “loved” her Maiden years and can’t stand what aging up is doing to her? Whereas i can see a happy middle age Sansa not looking back with contempt to the young person she once was, and actually gaining more grace as she grows older...

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Anyway, this might be controversial on here, I don't know how many of you are San-San shippers lol, but I don't think they'll get back together, at least not romantically. Personally, I just think there's too much baggage there, Sansa deserves better imo. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see them interact again but definitely would not be a fan of a happy ever after between the two of them. I don't think it's possible anyway. The thing is...I don't really see any potential matches out there for Sansa at this point. Maybe she will never get married...She's already so sick of it anyway at this point. I could see her becoming Lady of Riverrun or something like that. Still need to meet Harry the Heir at this point though- no telling what he's really about besides for being a young ladies man. I guess FAegon is the other young available person on the board, but I can't see Sansa going for that nor can I see FAegon not waiting for Dany (or if he doesn't, it will probably be Arrianne). Not really anything out there huh? How about the Karstark heir who is a captive? Do we know anything about him? Alys seemed pretty cool, maybe he takes after his sister and hopefully not his insane father. The surviving Manderley heir? I'd imagine Willas Tyrell is off the table right? She's not gonna want to go back to the Tyrells, plus Willas will still be grieving for Oberyn. Anyone got any possibilities? Or do you think she's just not meant to be married at all?

There are lots of people in this thread who don't ship SanSan and I like hearing their perspectives too. Sandor and Sansa have had a huge influence on each other but there is quite a bit going on in each of their indiidual story arcs that is independent of the other.

You touch on something that I've wondered about. I'm not convinced right now that Sansa's story will end in marriage. There's quite a bit of textual evidence that Sansa is coming to see love/sex as something apart from marriage so this may be a potential possibility for her. I've seen many posts on this board that assume Sansa will enter in to an arranged marriage for political reasons but I think that is quite contrary to her story arc. I'm also pretty concinved that HtH and fAegon are not her future. However, I don't see a virgin queen scenario for her either. I guess this is a storyline we will have to wait on to see what happens.

I kind of see it like how Barristan was remarking on how Dany was looking for fire and Quentyn was mud. Barry thinks something like all young girls are looking for fire- Is that really Sansa anymore? I'm not sure, I actually think Sansa might be fine with "mud" so to speak- Just a fundamentally nice person with a good heart who will respect and love her. Can Sandor ever be that? Can he ever get past all his issues? Does Sansa want to help him out with that? I'm not sure. But I guess all of this is just a really typically (me) long-winded way of asking- Do you think Sandor is "good enough" for Sansa? I just feel like she deserves better. Someone who doesn't have all the issues that Sandor had/has, someone who didn't have that terrible past and will be a constant reminder to Sansa of everything she dislikes about the world, about her time in KL, all that stuff. But I really don't know. I can't claim to have half the knowledge most you guys do about Sansa and her arc :bowdown: , so maybe you see it differently? I realize this is probably a bit of a mess, I'm exhausted right now and not really capable of marshaling my thoughts in a constructive way. I'd love to hear what everyone on here thinks though.

I remember that line from Ser Barristan the Not So Bold (can you tell that I'm not a fan?) but I wonder how much that reflects an opinion based upon his personal experiences. We got in to his head during his POV chapters and I sensed some bitterness from him regarding Ashara which may be influencing him.

I don't know what Sandor will like post-QI other than that his rage will gentled but his ferocity will remain, a feature that Sansa admired in him. I don't know if they will ever even meet again let alone end up together. But, I also agree with brashcandy on this, I'm not a fan of the idea of someone being "good enough" for her. All I care about is if she decides that he can make her happy and if she does then I support it. But, I'd say that about anyone, not just Sanodr.

<amazing post is amazing>

I was going to write up a post to respond to brashcandy's thoughts on motherhood for Sansa but there is no need after reading this. :) You expanded on every thought I had and made it better. This was great to read, I found myself nodding my head at several points. The symolism you pointed out with Cersei, the women, and children was mindblowing. I've never picked up on that before. I do believe that Sansa still wants children someday but I think she'll be like Cersei and want to pick the father of her children.

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...I recently re-read Sansa's ACoK chapters and of course motherhood is mentioned a great deal throughout that particular book (which is no surprise to you of course having done many re-reads)...

Obviously, many things have changed for Sansa since ACoK. She seems to be disillusioned to the point that she says she no longer wishes to be married, because she feels no one will love her for herself, only for her claim. I don’t know if my observations below have much bearing on her storyline with Sweetrobin, but I couldn’t help but notice some interesting details in the chapters leading up to the Blackwater.

Sansa’s first flowering, (which as we all know happens with Sandor present, hehe) and which also leads to Cersei’s attempt to give her some ‘womanly’ advice, signifies not just her entrance into womanhood but also the potential for motherhood for Sansa (hence why she freaks out and burns the ‘evidence’ in the first place, since she does not want to have to be forced into giving Joffrey heirs). Note that even after this moment (and after Cersei’s rather harsh advice about only loving your children and loving being a poison, etc.), Sansa still seems to consciously think positively about potentially becoming a mother -- this is prior to her dreams about Willas and puppies in Highgarden, and her dreams about having children named after her siblings and father, afterall. What she is already dreading and railing against is being forced to have children with Joffrey, a Lannister, aka being forced into a marriage with him (and consummating it) --- something that is most certainly not her choice.

Even though choice is important to Sansa (though at this point in ACoK she is not necessarily articulating this out loud), some aspects of motherhood (and possible foreshadowing on GRRM’s part?) seem to be almost completely instinctual for Sansa.

The scene in the Sept before the battle when everyone is praying to the Mother stands out. Sansa visits each of the altars and lights a candle (even for the Stranger’s ‘half-human face’), and proceeds to sing the hymn to the Mother with the other people gathered there (all the while recalling how her own mother was the one to teach her hymn.

It struck me as interesting that here Sansa is placed between an old woman and a little child --- this is the Mother’s position in the traditional “Maiden, Mother, Crone”, not in the Maiden’s position as might be expected. (Foreshadowing?)

Later, within Maegor’s Holdfast, even while Sansa is shocked at Cersei’s talk of the possibility of rape, and blushing at her mention of using what is between her legs as a weapon, it is actually Cersei herself who is described as maiden, in a white dress, with her hair worn long and loose as an unmarried woman:

Interestingly, it is an older woman and children who are something of a catalyst for Sansa standing up in Cersei’s places as the mothering comfortor to the people within Maegor’s Holdfast

I know many people take this as an example of foreshadowing for Sansa’s queenly behavior (as a possible future queen), and I agree that it is likely meant as such. I do think though that this moment also can be read as an example of Sansa’s mothering abilities coming to the forefront in a more public sphere.

Significant as well is that by the end of the night she has experienced an intensely private, intimate moment in which she sings the Mother’s hymn to Sandor Clegane. Of course there is the romantic/erotic aspect to their interaction and especially in relation to Sansa’s later memories of it, and I certainly don’t think Sansa is acting as the Mother during the entire scene. But that moment when she sings the hymn (which she had previously sung in the Sept as a prayer for her entire family as well as for Sandor and for his rage to be gentled), and when ‘some instinct’ makes her reach up and touch his face, are probably the only moments of ‘mothering’ that Sandor may have known in a long, long time.

As for Martin making a statement about mothering in the series in regards to Sansa/Alayne’s later relationship to Sweetrobin, I definitely think this is the case. Robert Arryn is a difficult child in many ways because of Lysa’s way of mothering him (or at least, that is what I think GRRM is instinuating here). I find it strange to think that GRRM would show us this boy who had such a ‘problematic’ mothering as a child and then basically put him into a situation where that would….not change at all. Unless of course, this is because he is intending for Sansa to help LF kill him or to allow him to kill him. But once again, I would also find it odd that so much symbolism regarding motherhood has gone into Sansa’s chapters, only to have her become the complete opposite of the Mother figure. Was all the motherhood symbolism in ACoK and elsewhere really just meant for those two climactic moments with the women and children in Maegor's Holdfast and in her bedroom with Sandor Clegane? I find that hard to believe.

It is certainly possible that LF may twist her quite far into morally grey areas (he is already doing so). But, is it only Sansa who is associated with Motherhood? Is Alayne a ‘bad’ mother? I don’t know....

As brashcandy noted, Sansa and Alayne are not nearly as distinct personalities as some would believe. “That day is done and so is Sansa”…..well, GRRM may want us to believe this for now, for whatever reason, but obviously Sansa is still there. As long as through the Alayne persona Sansa is able to explore her own latent abilities to a more amplified degree, then I think 'that which makes Sansa Sansa' will survive the time as Alayne. Sansa has always had great compassion, as well as an ability to generate admiration and loyalty from those around her. But even as Sansa, she has always had harder, colder, stronger, and braver sides to her character. I hope that Sansa’s instinctual mothering and compassionate abilities will continue to shine through, no matter what LF may have her do. Even though she is reluctant to take on Sweetrobin and to become his mother at first due to how difficult he can be, I find it rather poignant that she is nonetheless so good at it. It is yet another reminder of how much she once wanted children of her own, and how she has for now given up hope of at least having children within a marriage. If Sweetrobin is indeed Sansa's only chance at motherhood for now, I sincerely hope that GRRM does not twist it irrevocably down a path so dark that there is no return. I hope that it is significant that motherhood seems to come to Sansa almost by instinct, and that LF won’t be able to stamp out those innate aspects of her character however hard he tries to shape 'Alayne' to his own design.

In general, I hope that if Sansa must be Alayne for now that she can basically 'take over' Alayne for herself. Instead of being Alayne all the time in her heart, she will be Sansa in her heart, and wear Alayne like a Faceless Man mask.

Great post Valkyrija! I go away from the board for a couple of days and come back to all these wonderful posts! :bowdown:

I agree that Cersei is presented as much more a Maiden figure here - and a malevolent Maiden at that. Perhaps Cersei is meant to be the "dark side" of the Maiden, who is officially presented as this chaste and simpering figure? Cersei likes to play the innocent, but in reality is everything but that. I think the fact that her greatest love and sexual attraction is for her brother Jaime is not there just for squick and giggles either - Cersei is so emotionally immature and stunted in a girlhood state that she cannot find romantic love and sexual fulfillment outside her birth family. I doubt she'd have loved Rhaegar any more than she loved Robert after a year or so of knowing him. As for her chlidren, she does love them in a twisted way - but there is also the prophecy in the back of her mind of her children dying before her and then someone younger and more beautiful will cast her down, so her children are her protection. Unlike a real Mother (such as Catelyn) who wants to protect her children at all costs. Maiden Cersei wants her children to protect HER, which completely inverts the normal mother child relationship.

Meanwhile, it seems obvious that Sansa is being set up as a Mother figure. I wonder if her Mother archetype will include helping to rebuild a shattered country - being Mother to more than just her own children? Dany is another Mother figure as well and maybe there is a hint of Mother figures helping to restore Westeros after the war and whatever supernatural baddies come to devastate it (there is a line "Let him be king over ashes" and then the vision of the Red Keep empty and snow falling on the iron throne...).

As quoted in Valkyrija's post, Sansa has a way of inspiring great loyalty in those around her. This she can do as Alayne, without the trappings of the Stark family name, so we know she has the personal charm and leadership abilities just by being herself. She doesn't even need dragons to compel it, which even Dany cannot say! I know that GRRM said he wrote Sansa in to show that not all the Starks are alike and can get along - BUT - of all of them, she has undergone the most character development, so however she started out, she is definitely a full-fledged player in the Game now. She and Jaime have absolutely undergone the most character development from the way they were first presented. I do not think that is an accident. I think we were meant to underestimate Sansa in GoT and then come around to being impressed by her more and more through the later books.

Once again, great post Valkyrja. That point you made on the fact that it's an old woman and the children who begin crying when Cersei leaves and spring Sansa into action was fascinating. These later chapters in ACOK really propel her into a "spotlight" as it were, where we see the depth of empathy in her character. The comparison with Cersei dressed in white is also telling as you noted. Cersei is spewing out "advice" during the meal, but it is Sansa who actually assumes the mature position in how she handles others on the night. It's clear that Cersei isn't capable of mothering anyone outside of her own children, but Sansa and Dany are the ones who take on a greater responsibility for those dependent on them. Dany does this on a much larger scale, but Sansa's contribution is still vitally important. We've noted the parallels between Sansa and Cersei many times, but I've always felt that Daenerys provides the more positive comparisons for a consideration of Sansa's experiences in the novels.

Again, I see Sansa developing into a figure who will be Mother to more than just her own children. And I agree with the comparison of Sansa to Dany even though they haven't met. I hope they do meet and as a positive force for good.

There are lots of people in this thread who don't ship SanSan and I like hearing their perspectives too. Sandor and Sansa have had a huge influence on each other but there is quite a bit going on in each of their indiidual story arcs that is independent of the other.

You touch on something that I've wondered about. I'm not convinced right now that Sansa's story will end in marriage. There's quite a bit of textual evidence that Sansa is coming to see love/sex as something apart from marriage so this may be a potential possibility for her. I've seen many posts on this board that assume Sansa will enter in to an arranged marriage for political reasons but I think that is quite contrary to her story arc. I'm also pretty concinved that HtH and fAegon are not her future. However, I don't see a virgin queen scenario for her either. I guess this is a storyline we will have to wait on to see what happens.

... But, I also agree with brashcandy on this, I'm not a fan of the idea of someone being "good enough" for her. All I care about is if she decides that he can make her happy and if she does then I support it. But, I'd say that about anyone, not just Sanodr.

I do believe that Sansa still wants children someday but I think she'll be like Cersei and want to pick the father of her children.

Perhaps "paramour" will be an option for Sansa! :) She did meet Ellaria Sand, saw how happy she and Oberyn Martell were together and how she had a respected place at the Dornish court. Ellaria and all the "Sand Snake" girls are very close with Prince Doran and Princess Arianne, their "legitimate" family, as well. Sansa could take a paramour, why not? I agree 100% that I do not want to see her a virgin and childless. She really needs children and a family of her own - all the little boys named for her family that she dreams of. And yes, I'm a SanSan shipper but in the end I want to see her with whoever makes her happy and whoever she can have a family with!

Will Sweetrobin be a mothering test for her? Perhaps. She already seems to be taking over that role - and with a much more no-nonsense line than Lysa took. If she can get SR out of Littlefinger's clutches and send him off to Bronze Yohn Royce, who wants to foster him, or even to Mya Stone's charge, I think SR won't be as "sickly." Even without all the poisons and potions, the boy is badly brought up. If he had good food, sunshine, fresh air, other boys to play with, and a guardian who didn't put up with spoiled children - we might see a different boy. And if SR gets healthy and keeps his claim on the Vale, it is going to frustrate LF's ideas about marrying Sansa off for her claim.

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KRBD:

Meanwhile, it seems obvious that Sansa is being set up as a Mother figure. I wonder if her Mother archetype will include helping to rebuild a shattered country - being Mother to more than just her own children? Dany is another Mother figure as well and maybe there is a hint of Mother figures helping to restore Westeros after the war and whatever supernatural baddies come to devastate it (there is a line "Let him be king over ashes" and then the vision of the Red Keep empty and snow falling on the iron throne...).

Perhaps this is how her Vale storyline will ultimately play out: using their ample food stores and the army to help with relief efforts in post war Westeros? We talked about her escaping the Vale, but it may be best if she finds some way to oust LF instead.

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KRBD:

Perhaps this is how her Vale storyline will ultimately play out: using their ample food stores and the army to help with relief efforts in post war Westeros? We talked about her escaping the Vale, but it may be best if she finds some way to oust LF instead.

And I just remembered - LF has lots of money. Probably more than anyone in Westeros at this point! He has mentioned buying up Anya Waynwood's debts in order to get her into HIS debt (and marry Sansa to HtH). If LF dies and Sansa could get her hands on that money somehow it might make a difference in rebuilding the realm.

I'm still working on that essay which details what Sansa knows in relation to LF's role in starting the war in Westeros (thanks to Lysa's loose lips). I am going to add that she now also knows LF's financial schemes and for some reason I think this is important. I do not see Sansa poisoning people or blackmailing them, but I think one of her lessons here is knowing people and their weaknesses is as important to play the Game as a strong sword hand. After all, LF is more like Sansa than he is like, say, Stannis Baratheon. LF is physically short and slight and has not a lot of physical strength. He relies on his knowledge of people's strengths and weaknesses, and his practical skills in making money and giving people what they want. People see him as cheery, obliging "Littlefinger" and underestimate him, just as they underestimate the "stupid little girl" or "little bird" (and note that Petyr's sigil is the mockingbird! Petyr and Sansa are connected by their bird symbolism.)

These are skills that Sansa, being intelligent and perceptive, is ideally placed to learn; Arya doesn't have the kind of people skills that Sansa has to learn them, any more than Sansa has Arya's fighting ability and ruthlessness.

Most importantly, Sansa is LF's greatest weakness at this point - I think she is learning that and is going to use that to her advantage (and his disadvantage).

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Great posts by eveyone the last day or so!! I don't have too much to add but there are a few things I wanted to reply to quickly.

Tagannaro I really liked your post. It is so refreshing to hear the downside to the Sandor/Sansa relationship in a reasonable and well thought out manner, rather than the usual dismissive comments like she's too young and he's too old for her, or Sandor's just an evil, child killer without considering any character development on either Sandor or Sansa's part. But I find myself agreeing with Brashcandy's and Kittykatknits' responses. I don't know if things will work out with a happy ending for them, probably not :-(. But, Sansa appreciates him for his honesty towards her and the way he protected her. In the end, though, it's about what she chooses and I do think that if she were to choose Sandor, he could make her happy once his rage has been tamed. Though honestly, in the end I would settle for Sandor just realizing that Sansa has feelings for him. When the Elder Brother told Brienne on the QI that the Hound was never loved by anyone and never knew love, that had to be one of the saddest lines I have ever read especially because we all know it's not true.

Valkyrja -To borrow a line from Kate Bush, wow wow wow! Loved your post on Sansa and motherhood. I had vaguely noticed some references to Sansa taking on a Mother role, but you really laid it out there so clearly. Basically, all of Sansa's chapters in Clash and most of them in Feast have a mothering element to them, from the first one of Joff's name day tournament which Brash pointed out has Sansa (and the Hound) taking on a role of mother and father to Tommen, the chapter leading up to the Battle of the Blackwater in the Sept, and of course the Battle itself, all the way through to Sansa's relationship with Sweetrobin. Now thinking about it, even the Tyrion chapter with the riot, you can see it there too as Sansa is the one who saw that the people were starving and poor and she tried to encourage Joffrey to give them some money. Then there's also the line about her saying how she would have given them bread if she had any. Brash pointed out the similarities with Dany and that Dany understands the need to take care of her people, and this makes it clear that Sansa recognizes that as well.

That's why what you wrote here makes so much sense:

"I find it strange to think that GRRM would show us this boy who had such a ‘problematic’ mothering as a child and then basically put him into a situation where that would….not change at all. Unless of course, this is because he is intending for Sansa to help LF kill him or to allow him to kill him. But once again, I would also find it odd that so much symbolism regarding motherhood has gone into Sansa’s chapters, only to have her become the complete opposite of the Mother figure. Was all the motherhood symbolism in ACoK and elsewhere really just meant for those two climactic moments with the women and children in Maegor's Holdfast and in her bedroom with Sandor Clegane? I find that hard to believe."

Yes, it is hard to believe that all this symbolism is not going to lead to anything else.

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If Sansa can deliver food and men to the north during winter they're not going to refuse it, and she's Neds daughter she can demand trial and if her maiden head is intact and she gets to tell HER story she's welcomed with open arms, she has to get free first, and it's one of my bitter sweet scenarios that she may stay a lannister ( oh that would suck)

A couple of thins here.

1. Sansa will be able to deliver food how? I assume from the Vale. After the forced wedding to Harry? Which she cannot engage in due to already being married to Tyrion. And should it against all odds somehow be possible, do we really, really believe Sansa would just STFU and take it sitting down, again? That also means Sweetrobin's life will be forfeit btw. Not happening.

2. Maidenhead debate: It's unlikely the Faith can actually tell, unless maidenheads in Westeros are vastly different from RL ones.

3. "Bittersweet" does not equal "depressing". Sansa staying a Lannister would be terrible, since she would never get a family and children like she wants, and I don't think she'll ever accept Tyrion.

Barry thinks something like all young girls are looking for fire- Is that really Sansa anymore? I'm not sure, I actually think Sansa might be fine with "mud" so to speak- Just a fundamentally nice person with a good heart who will respect and love her. Can Sandor ever be that? Can he ever get past all his issues? Does Sansa want to help him out with that? I'm not sure.

I'm not sure fire vs mud is applicable for Sansa since in that case Sandor would be mud in many ways. He's not a handsome, sparkly gallant knight. That for Sansa is Ser Loras. Sure, Sandor is fierce, athletic etc. but handsome he is not. He will never be a Gerris Drinkwater sort of guy. Nor has he really got Daario's swagger.

Sorry for not participating more. We're having a heatwave here btw, so I am spending all my days away from computers. :P

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There have been some discussions in a different thread over the course of this past week that has gotten me thinking so I want to put a couple questions in front of everyone to get some additional feedback. I ended up engaging with a friend on FB on Sansa. She's a huge ASOIAF fan and has been following the series as long as I have. A couple quotes:

I think GRRM has struggled with writing Sansa from the beginning - she's never been as fully fleshed out as the other characters, even with the hundreds of pages of POV she's had. I'm sure part of it is his difficulty in identifying with a 13 year old romantic, but I think she may also be more difficult to write as her motivations aren't quite as clear cut and "exciting" as everyone else's. That being said, I keep hoping that he'll surprise us and have her save Westeros in the end. :-)

My responses:

I think GRRM did a very poor job with her character in GOT, especially in comparison to Arya. The two sisters are having parallel story arcs and are both naive in the first book. Martin is very successful by giving context to Arya when it comes to her sense of justice and lack of appreciation for class strictures. Sansa is also naive but is willing to confirm to expectations of her as a Lady and wife. But, we really don't get context for her focus on class differences, even though she is right, or her focus on the future expected of her. The result is that the way she comes off varies from naive to stupid to shallow. He starts to fix that in later book but he was overly successful with how he created Sansa and the character suffers for it. Our first glimpse of Sansa comes through Arya's POV as well, and it's a great example of how the 3rd person limited style influences what we see and drives home the words are wind theme. Arya obviously feels insecure and feels shortcoming when compared to her sister. But, she mistakenly projects that on to Sansa which can lead to an incorrect first impression. The cruelty is really coming from Septa Mordane.

If you look at every female character in the series, struggles over marriage is a prevailing theme. Martin uses it as a very obvious way to show women's struggle for agency within the patriarchy of ASOIAF. It's in Dany, Asha, Sansa, Cersei, Arianne, Arya, Brienne, and more. I believe Sansa serves as Martin's focal point to explore the idea of woman and their struggle for agency. It manifests in different ways such as her growing political skill but also through the growth of erotic agency that began to appear within Storm too. I think she will be responsible for LF's downfall but past that, all my theories are crack pot at this stage.

Her final response:

Oh, definitely, I agree with you on everything. I just want to add that I really think that Sansa's main motivation being intrinsic (wanting everything go back to "the way it was") has dragged down GRRM when it comes to her POV. Everyone else has been able to act on their motivations, but there hasn't been much for Sansa to actually DO (I'm still mad at The Hound for keeping her from pushing Joff off the ramparts). I agree on the theory of her causing LF's downfall, which should spice it up a bit. I think she'll eventually end up at Winterfell and go Stark on us, but it does feel like it's been dragged way out!

This exchange, combined with what I saw in another thread, makes me wonder if there are a couple of perceptions with how Sansa is perceived by the broader reading audience. There seems to be a refusal to recognize any type of defiance that is not physical in nature, a belief that passive resistance is a less valid form of defiance. There also seems to be a common belief that Sansa does not represent any sort of feminist message. Or, in an even broader take that there is no feminist message put in by GRRM and any effort to look for one is merely a reader reading in to a text. I also see a consistent denial that Sansa is experiencing a sexual awakening and, along with that, a denial of her choices. Finally, there seems to be a common trend that Sansa's actions in GOT influence reader perceptions from that point in the series forward. It is to the point where many feel she needs redemption, or worse, that she can not be redeemed. Is this on purpose or are we just seeing Martin struggle to write a storyline for a 13 year old girl?

So, a few questions for everyone:

1. Why do we think that Sansa's method of resistance is so often minimized? Is it because she is featured in a fantasy series?

2. What is it in Sansa's arc that prevents readers from seeing a feminist message? Why do so many persist in believing that all the messages about women do not somehow apply to her?

3. Why does the idea of a sexual awakening for Sansa make so many readers uncomfortable?

4. Thoughts on Martin's depiction of Sansa, whether positive or negative?

I'm really looking for responses from those who agree with the positions I earlier stated as I think it can help us drive further exploration and understanding. The point is not to argue against these opinions, there is another active thread for that.

Also, brashcandy, Lyanna Stark, Lady Lea, Elba, Caro99, Rapsie, and everyone...do you think this would be a better discussion over in a certain LJ community? If so I'm going to delete this post and take it over there.

edit: spelling

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