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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

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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?

Because it is unusual and difficult to notice. Because her resistance looks too much like helplessness on first reading. I think there is also a subconscious idea that because she didn't try to learn to defend herself like Arya, she deserves/should expect to be helpless.

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?

"Feminist" is still a dirty word unless associated with easy-to-grasp concepts like women wanting to take on masculine roles. Acknowledging Sansa-a feminine girl who likes doing girly things- as having a feminist awakening would be difficult since traditionally speaking, "womanly" skills have little value.

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

Female desire is more than just uncomfortable,it's revolutionary. Look at the Sleeping Beauty fable: all agency, all choice rests with the prince. In fact, the movie Thor made some gents uncomfortable because:

In fact, it is Thor’s body that is panned over to show to the audience that Darcy and Jane are very attracted to him. For the first time in a mainstream superhero movie, ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the heterosexual female gaze! This is a huge deal! Of course it was terribly confusing for some straight men, who apparently began to feel, well, a little bit “gay”

Linked article.

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

Unintentionally problematic. He is not being deliberately malicious here, but he is re-enforcing the mean girl trope-where the popular, pretty girl must be thoroughly broken and humiliated before she can be considered "good".

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.

NOOOOO!

If I must needs join LJ as well, I'll never get any work done.

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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.

No offence, but this is a dangerous line of thinking. Sansa "deserves" better, with that we're starting to move into "hero points" territory. It negates what Sansa feels and what she's ok with and moves into the territory where the readers think the object of her desire is not worthy of the heroines love. We have similar scenarios with Brienne and Dany, where people have strong views that they should choose someone more "worthy".

I maintain that as long as the female characters are ok with their own choices, then the objects of their desire are worthy enough. Hero points are optional.

Remains to be seen if GRRM agrees, of course. However, it may be worth to remember as well that we are on the final lap of the race, and a huge amount of new characters, love interests and story lines simply cannot be introduced. If the Sandor/Sansa connection is meant to mean something, then it will. It seems likely since a lot of page time has gone into it, same as I would be extremely surprised if Jaime or Brienne dropped dead before there is some sort of resolution to their story. Too much effort and page time have gone into it for it to just be dropped.

Damn, I need to read this thread faster. Too much catching up to do. :P

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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.

Depends on the direction this is gonna take. This thread is better than the rest of the forum for this discussion but...

Anyway, great post and I really wanted to have this discussion especially in light of the last few days, which have been a low point in this forum tbh.

Like you mentioned, I think the fact that Arya gets a POV before Sansa causes a lot of problems. Arya is jealous of Sansa, that is plain. She's like the outcast that resents the pretty, popular girl, and then justifies it saying that she's "stupid". And, you know, a lot of readers will identify with that. A LOT. You've seen the posts here where people talk about her like she's the Regina George of Westeros (even though, actually, I think she's way more of a Cher Horowitz - especially if she gets Mya and that one guy together!! - and Cher is a sweetheart).

So by the time we get to Sansa's POV, her love of dresses and songs and cute boys will just confirm our previous impressions of her as a shallow spoiled mean girl. Arya is just as naive as her, but in a way that most readers approve.

And yes, I do believe that Martin's portrayal of her in AGOT was unintentionaly prejudiced, but he does try to "humanise" her later, except that by then everyone is so disgusted by her that they don't care about her story anymore. It really bothers me that she was beaten, and then she had to leave her identity behind, and that people interpret it as a "road to redemption" and "a way for her to learn that class and appearances don't matter". I mean, excuse me, but wasn't her best friend a steward's daughter?

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Depends on the direction this is gonna take. This thread is better than the rest of the forum for this discussion but...

Anyway, great post and I really wanted to have this discussion especially in light of the last few days, which have been a low point in this forum tbh.

So it isn't just my blood pressure that's been affected. :P

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So it isn't just my blood pressure that's been affected. :P

No, it is not just you. :) I came pretty close to walking away from this board last night actually.

Also, responses to you and Lady Lea as soon as I get back to a computer.

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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?

The million dollar questions.

I'm tired of people saying "she didn't fight" or worse, "she didn't fight hard enough" (how many times have I heard THAT in court). Sansa fought with whatever weapons she had, to the best of her abilities. She played her strenghts. In the Tyrion marriage, acting cold towards him worked brilliantly.

The problem is that

1) people sometimes think about what THEY would do in this situation, ie, scream, slit someone's throat, kill themselves, and then think Sansa is helpless because she's not doing any of that. This of course disregards the fact that if she fought and screamed at Joffrey he'd probably have done worse than beating her. In my country we have a saying "the cemetery is full of brave people". She's surviving in a hostile environment.

2) it's a fantasy series and Sansa doesn't have magical powers nor is she a warrior woman so they think that she has no other strength, and is "just a regular girl" who's not doing anything special in surving physical and emotional abuse and still retaining her compassion and empathy.

3) people often think about what Arya would have done instead of Sansa. This imo is unfair. I don't think either of them would have survived 5 minutes in each other's place.

So it isn't just my blood pressure that's been affected. :P

Definitely not just you ;) it wasn't quite "Dornish women are all whorish" but it's been... dismaying.

ETA: hey! great article on Thor!

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And yes, I do believe that Martin's portrayal of her in AGOT was unintentionaly prejudiced, but he does try to "humanise" her later, except that by then everyone is so disgusted by her that they don't care about her story anymore. It really bothers me that she was beaten, and then she had to leave her identity behind, and that people interpret it as a "road to redemption" and "a way for her to learn that class and appearances don't matter". I mean, excuse me, but wasn't her best friend a steward's daughter?

Are you sure it is unintentional though? I'm not completely sold on that. I think she was set up a bit as a mean girl sister, (it's rather clear on careful rereads that the only time she is really "mean" is when she and Arya fight, but they both do it). I have a feeling GRRM likes us to have our perceptions and understandings of a character changes, hence Sansa, Jaime, Sandor, Theon and even Dany have these discordant story arcs which aren't completely straight forward, or they're not presented in a straight forward fashion. It's perhaps less what actually happens, and more how it is presented.

Then we have Tyrion, where I think he was really presented in a very positive light until ADWD.

Kittkatknits,

I'm totally fine with keeping the discussion here if you want it to. :)

Winter's Knight,

You now made me order the husband person to get me a copy of "Thor". Hahahaha!!

EDIT: In general, if you see any sexist slurs or stuff like that, report it. No need to write a long description either, just type in "sexist slur" and hit report. I tend to find it very calming for my nerves. :)

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The million dollar questions.

I'm tired of people saying "she didn't fight" or worse, "she didn't fight hard enough" (how many times have I heard THAT in court). Sansa fought with whatever weapons she had, to the best of her abilities. She played her strenghts. In the Tyrion marriage, acting cold towards him worked brilliantly.

The problem is that

1) people sometimes think about what THEY would do in this situation, ie, scream, slit someone's throat, kill themselves, and then think Sansa is helpless because she's not doing any of that. This of course disregards the fact that if she fought and screamed at Joffrey he'd probably have done worse than beating her. In my country we have a saying "the cemetery is full of brave people". She's surviving in a hostile environment.

2) it's a fantasy series and Sansa doesn't have magical powers nor is she a warrior woman so they think that she has no other strength, and is "just a regular girl" who's not doing anything special in surving physical and emotional abuse and still retaining her compassion and empathy.

3) people often think about what Arya would have done instead of Sansa. This imo is unfair. I don't think either of them would have survived 5 minutes in each other's place.

Has anyone here read Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson? Its available online for free and part of it's plot actually involves a mix-up between two royal sisters. The tomboy is sent off to an enemy court instead of the elder,dutiful refined princess. Of course, the enemy court is nowhere near as awful as KL but it's a good book.

Definitely not just you ;) it wasn't quite "Dornish women are all whorish" but it's been... dismaying.

ETA: hey! great article on Thor!

Thor is easily my favourite Avengers flik.

You should read their article on Loki and internalised racism.

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Are you sure it is unintentional though? I'm not completely sold on that. I think she was set up a bit as a mean girl sister, (it's rather clear on careful rereads that the only time she is really "mean" is when she and Arya fight, but they both do it). I have a feeling GRRM likes us to have our perceptions and understandings of a character changes, hence Sansa, Jaime, Sandor, Theon and even Dany have these discordant story arcs which aren't completely straight forward, or they're not presented in a straight forward fashion. It's perhaps less what actually happens, and more how it is presented.

Then we have Tyrion, where I think he was really presented in a very positive light until ADWD.

Kittkatknits,

I'm totally fine with keeping the discussion here if you want it to. :)

Winter's Knight,

You now made me order the husband person to get me a copy of "Thor". Hahahaha!!

EDIT: In general, if you see any sexist slurs or stuff like that, report it. No need to write a long description either, just type in "sexist slur" and hit report. I tend to find it very calming for my nerves. :)

I think it was unintentional to the extent that it's probably an internalised prejudice. Just like the way he clearly favours Tyrion and yet it appears that he writes it completely straight.

(did this make sense, Lyanna?? I think I might still be high on flu medicine so...)

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I think it was unintentional to the extent that it's probably an internalised prejudice. Just like the way he clearly favours Tyrion and yet it appears that he writes it completely straight.

(did this make sense, Lyanna?? I think I might still be high on flu medicine so...)

No, it makes total sense that there is internalised prejudice in there, too. I just wonder if all of it was intentional. I tend to think some of it was, but some of it wasn't, if that makes sense. It's not so much what Sansa does, but how it is presented, I feel. Like how Ned blames Cersei and the Hound for killing Lady, and he doesn't tell Arya she should not have struck a prince of the blood.

As a parent, that makes me go WTFBBQ since if my kid thought it was ok to go around doing things that may end up with her at the worse end of capital punishment, I'd give her the what for (not sure Ned is big on time outs tho) about it sooner rather than later, to prevent it happening (again).

Has anyone here read Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson? Its available online for free and part of it's plot actually involves a mix-up between two royal sisters. The tomboy is sent off to an enemy court instead of the elder,dutiful refined princess. Of course, the enemy court is nowhere near as awful as KL but it's a good book.

I'm totally unfairly staying away from Sanderson since he has taken over WOT, which is like my personal punch bag when it comes to gender fail. WOT manages to on the surface be pretty good, and then fail so massively it boggles the mind.

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Just got back in front of my computer. Great questions Kitty. You know I have a lot of feelings on these issues, and it's incredibly frustrating to see Sansa's greater relevance minimized. I'll say a bit more later. For now, I'll read the great responses by everyone :) and definitely no need to delete your post! We're all intimately affected by the kind of hate speech that's been levelled at her character around these parts and these are vital questions to explore.

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Female desire is more than just uncomfortable,it's revolutionary. Look at the Sleeping Beauty fable: all agency, all choice rests with the prince. In fact, the movie Thor made some gents uncomfortable because:

This. It's precisely why in the bedding scene with Tyrion we see such resistance to the fact that yes, Sansa assumes a female gaze and rejects him. I honestly think some men and women cannot fathom that in this moment she takes on the empowered perspective and denies him. This is why we see this constant assertion that it is Tyrion who gives Sansa the authority to reject him, when in actuality, all he did was to state that he would wait for her to want him. We're so accustomed to men having the power, to look, to judge, to decide, that it's almost impossible to appreciate Sansa's agency here.

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This. It's precisely why in the bedding scene with Tyrion we see such resistance to the fact that yes, Sansa assumes a female gaze and rejects him. I honestly think some men and women cannot fathom that in this moment she takes on the empowered perspective and denies him. This is why we see this constant assertion that it is Tyrion who gives Sansa the authority to reject him, when in actuality, all he did was to state that he would wait for her to want him. We're so accustomed to men having the power, to look, to judge, to decide, that it's almost impossible to appreciate Sansa's agency here.

I love that she actually tries to use what Septa Mordane told her ("all men are beautiful") and basically just has a moment of "this is bullshit" and "what have I done to deserve this". Anyway, I think it's very clear that she isn't willing, there's no consent on her part. Realising this is what stops Tyrion from going any further, and I think it was really brave of her to say "never" to his delusion of "maybe when you get to know me better you'll see what a nice guy I am".

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I love that she actually tries to use what Septa Mordane told her ("all men are beautiful") and basically just has a moment of "this is bullshit" and "what have I done to deserve this". Anyway, I think it's very clear that she isn't willing, there's no consent on her part. Realising this is what stops Tyrion from going any further, and I think it was really brave of her to say "never" to his delusion of "maybe when you get to know me better you'll see what a nice guy ™ I am".

Yeah :) It's a real WFT moment: no, actually, all men are not beautiful. Tyrion does recognize her lack of consent, but he still thinks that she'll get over it and come to want him. It's after this that Sansa has her true defiant moment, after she looks at him thoroughly and realises hell to the no, it won't be happening.

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I have been following this threads mostly as a lurker because I love the analysis but thought that I could not contribute much. However, recently I followed "fevor" discussion where many people doubted that Sansa could be seen as a feminist character because she is too "passive" and "submits happily" to a patriarch system. I disagree with this evaluation but I consider this topic in itself rather interesting because it reminded me on one little aspect of her character I have seen rarely discussed: Her solidarity with other women, especially/and even those who are not in her own political "camp".

Examples: 1. Sansa risks further punishment when she decides to warn Marg that Joff is a monster. 2. She has nothing to gain from calming powerless Lollys but she does so anyway.

To me this is unusual for a Westeros where most nobles seem to define themselves by their families first. Among noble born women there seems to be little awareness of their shared burdens and in times of crisis loyality stays with the family even if they do things that harm other women a great deal. Marg Tyrell for example might like Sansa but she readily uses her as a scapegoat after Joff´s murder in order to further the Tyrell´s plans. Dany can sympathize with MMD but she nevertheless expects the women to be well-meaning towards Drogo even after everything MMD went through by the hands of the Dokhtraki.

Maybe this is wishful thinking but I can see Sansa using her empathy and breaking this pattern a bit

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Because it is unusual and difficult to notice. Because her resistance looks too much like helplessness on first reading. I think there is also a subconscious idea that because she didn't try to learn to defend herself like Arya, she deserves/should expect to be helpless.

"Feminist" is still a dirty word unless associated with easy-to-grasp concepts like women wanting to take on masculine roles. Acknowledging Sansa-a feminine girl who likes doing girly things- as having a feminist awakening would be difficult since traditionally speaking, "womanly" skills have little value.

I don't know why people don't recognize that she is fighting back with weapons, it seemed to me that Tyrion recognized that she was doing so. He tells her to take off her courtesy armor during the wedding night and she does not, refusing him then. In later chapters, more than once, he thinks on her armor of courtesy and his inability to pierce her cold courtesy. He talks about her walls being high as the Wall in the North. I think his thoughts her show quite well that her weapons against him are working.

I think what bothers me about the way I sometimes see the word feminist used here at times is that it seems there is a "right" way to be a woman. I constantly see the expectation that a woman should fight back or resist in a particular way. It's silly to say there is one way to be a man and it is silly to say the same for women. If we push women to adopt the norms of men, we are succumbing to patriarchy. Is it less strengthening to actually try to change the world and push for greater acceptance for a broader acceptance of varying gender norms? That is a much harder thing to achieve yet is a much worthier goal in my opinion.

Linked article.

NOOOOO!

If I must needs join LJ as well, I'll never get any work done.

Thank you for that link!

The LF community is a SanSan fan site but it is a woman-only safe space. So, it welcomes conversation like this one and allows for some great discussion without any of what we saw in that other thread. I can send you a link if you want to join.

Depends on the direction this is gonna take. This thread is better than the rest of the forum for this discussion but...

Anyway, great post and I really wanted to have this discussion especially in light of the last few days, which have been a low point in this forum tbh.

Like you mentioned, I think the fact that Arya gets a POV before Sansa causes a lot of problems. Arya is jealous of Sansa, that is plain. She's like the outcast that resents the pretty, popular girl, and then justifies it saying that she's "stupid". And, you know, a lot of readers will identify with that. A LOT. You've seen the posts here where people talk about her like she's the Regina George of Westeros (even though, actually, I think she's way more of a Cher Horowitz - especially if she gets Mya and that one guy together!! - and Cher is a sweetheart).

So by the time we get to Sansa's POV, her love of dresses and songs and cute boys will just confirm our previous impressions of her as a shallow spoiled mean girl. Arya is just as naive as her, but in a way that most readers approve.

And yes, I do believe that Martin's portrayal of her in AGOT was unintentionaly prejudiced, but he does try to "humanise" her later, except that by then everyone is so disgusted by her that they don't care about her story anymore. It really bothers me that she was beaten, and then she had to leave her identity behind, and that people interpret it as a "road to redemption" and "a way for her to learn that class and appearances don't matter". I mean, excuse me, but wasn't her best friend a steward's daughter?

Depends on the direction this is gonna take. This thread is better than the rest of the forum for this discussion but...

Anyway, great post and I really wanted to have this discussion especially in light of the last few days, which have been a low point in this forum tbh.

Yeah, I felt like we needed to talk about this but I wasn't sure where/how to bring it up. I don't want this conversation to be taken over by the same arguments elsewhere. There are other issues that we need to explore so I wasn't sure where everyone thought the best place to do this was. I'll leave it here then. :)

Like you mentioned, I think the fact that Arya gets a POV before Sansa causes a lot of problems. Arya is jealous of Sansa, that is plain. She's like the outcast that resents the pretty, popular girl, and then justifies it saying that she's "stupid". And, you know, a lot of readers will identify with that. A LOT. You've seen the posts here where people talk about her like she's the Regina George of Westeros (even though, actually, I think she's way more of a Cher Horowitz - especially if she gets Mya and that one guy together!! - and Cher is a sweetheart).

So by the time we get to Sansa's POV, her love of dresses and songs and cute boys will just confirm our previous impressions of her as a shallow spoiled mean girl. Arya is just as naive as her, but in a way that most readers approve.

And yes, I do believe that Martin's portrayal of her in AGOT was unintentionaly prejudiced, but he does try to "humanise" her later, except that by then everyone is so disgusted by her that they don't care about her story anymore. It really bothers me that she was beaten, and then she had to leave her identity behind, and that people interpret it as a "road to redemption" and "a way for her to learn that class and appearances don't matter". I mean, excuse me, but wasn't her best friend a steward's daughter?

Yes, I really do like Arya but she's also a very modern character in many ways which makes it easier to identify with and understand her. Sansa conforms, especially in GOT, to the gender expectations of her world and Martin never puts that in context with her storyline. I'd say as of Dance, he still has not done so much either. The firs time you read these books. the impact of the POV structure may not be very apparent so it can be easy to take Arya's opinion of her as fact when that really is not the case. If you look at what Sansa actually does versus what Arya says, they are two very different things. The only thing we see them fight is the death of Lady and Mycah.

The million dollar questions.

I'm tired of people saying "she didn't fight" or worse, "she didn't fight hard enough" (how many times have I heard THAT in court). Sansa fought with whatever weapons she had, to the best of her abilities. She played her strenghts. In the Tyrion marriage, acting cold towards him worked brilliantly.

The problem is that

1) people sometimes think about what THEY would do in this situation, ie, scream, slit someone's throat, kill themselves, and then think Sansa is helpless because she's not doing any of that. This of course disregards the fact that if she fought and screamed at Joffrey he'd probably have done worse than beating her. In my country we have a saying "the cemetery is full of brave people". She's surviving in a hostile environment.

2) it's a fantasy series and Sansa doesn't have magical powers nor is she a warrior woman so they think that she has no other strength, and is "just a regular girl" who's not doing anything special in surving physical and emotional abuse and still retaining her compassion and empathy.

3) people often think about what Arya would have done instead of Sansa. This imo is unfair. I don't think either of them would have survived 5 minutes in each other's place.

Yes, I don't think she is given much credit for not just surviving but survign with her core identity and sense of self intact. She never let them beat her. I agree with you when you say that people think about what they would do in that situation. It's a version of the "she should do something" argument and yet when pushed, people are often unable to explain what that something should be. No one likes to be the victim so I see many stating she should act in particular manner, assuming that is what they would also do. I don't think that's a realistic expectation really.

Just got back in front of my computer. Great questions Kitty. You know I have a lot of feelings on these issues, and it's incredibly frustrating to see Sansa's greater relevance minimized. I'll say a bit more later. For now, I'll read the great responses by everyone :) and definitely no need to delete your post! We're all intimately affected by the kind of hate speech that's been levelled at her character around these parts and these are vital questions to explore.

Good. :) I've got a second set of questions ready to go regarding Sansa and reader perception but they mostly pertain to her future story arc so I'm saving those a bit. But, they are closely related to this discussion too.

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Great post Storm Queen. And it looks like this sisterhood will continue in the Vale with Mya Stone. What's revealing here is that whether as a noble lady or a bastard girl, Sansa is able to foster connections with other women and share in their experiences.

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I've been thinking a lot about question 4. I feel conflicted about how I read Sansa, and I think it has a lot to do with that question. The bedding scene, discussed in the other thread earlier today, is kind of a perfect example:

I could read that scene as Sansa being compliant, and the physicality solely as biological response to fear/nerves. But that reading raises questions for me about how GRRM is writing Sansa re:agency, in that it suggests that it's Tyrion who gives her agency, and makes a scene in Sansa's POV about Tyrion's vulnerability/response to vulnerability/being a good guy. If I read it that way, I tend to get pretty angry about what's being done to Sansa in terms of characterization, and my response as a reader is WTF, George? [peggyolson] That's bullshit! [/peggyolson]

Or, I could set aside my righteous indignation for a moment, give GRRM some credit, consider that there might be something else going on there, and read for subversion. That reading raises questions for me about whether Sansa might be trying out (as when she thinks of the Septa) and rejecting the notion of compliant desire, whether the physicality is fully subconscious, and whether she is exercising passive resistance. In this context, the scene in Sansa's POV is about Sansa's vulnerability and growth, rather than Tyrion's.

I think both readings can be (but are not always) both valid and feminist (it irks me when the first reading is not framed by critique, and it rarely is, but I think when framed around what's being done to the character, it's valid. YMMV.), but when we talk about divergent readings, we don't frame them that way. We focus on our interpretation of that scene, rather than our reasons for interpreting it the way we do: giving or withholding credit from the author.

It feels to me like a kind of elephant in the room, and it may be my own personal elephant, but I'm interested in addressing it. I think it's the reason why I end up arguing in circles with people I might not disagree with so vociferously if they framed their argument around critique/credit. I think it's the reason I get irked with folks who talk about hating characters - because when we don't consider what the author does to the character, it feels like they're hating people.

And I don't have an answer for it. I genuinely cannot decide whether I want to condemn or give credit for characterization. But I think I need to start asking people I disagree with which side of the divide they're on, and if they care at all, for the sake of my own blood pressure.

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Here's my take on it myths: I think GRRM tries to elicit equal sympathy for Sansa and Tyrion in that scene, which is extremely problematic and leads to some uneven moments. I think that GRRM wanted us to see that Tyrion is decent in this instance, he's not going to force himself on a woman who clearly has an aversion to him (at least not yet). Perhaps GRRM did not intentionally imbue the final moments of that scene with a feminist message, but it's present nevertheless. And yet, thinking of Septa Mordane - whose function is related to patriarchal indoctrination and to have Sansa explicitly reject these teachings all but convinces me that GRRM wanted the scene to be read in this way. (and his subsequent exploration of these themes confirms this IMO)

Tyrion gives Sansa a very small measure of power when he tells her that he won't touch her until she's ready, but when we actually look at that statement, he's still assuming that she will want him eventually. Tyrion's magnanimity can only stretch so far. It is really Sansa who makes the definitive break in that expectation when she replies that it might be never. And let's remember what this is based on: zero attraction to Tyrion. Even if she was to accept the confines of her marriage she's not willing to do the same with her sexuality and this is extremely important because access to your wife's body is central to the continuation of male power and privilege. (Hence why Cersei fucks Robert over so effectively when she bears her brother's children) This is why I will always stress that Sansa is the one who empowers herself in this moment, because she's unwilling to bow to the pressure of what society decrees and what her husband desires.

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No, it makes total sense that there is internalised prejudice in there, too. I just wonder if all of it was intentional. I tend to think some of it was, but some of it wasn't, if that makes sense. It's not so much what Sansa does, but how it is presented, I feel. Like how Ned blames Cersei and the Hound for killing Lady, and he doesn't tell Arya she should not have struck a prince of the blood.

As a parent, that makes me go WTFBBQ since if my kid thought it was ok to go around doing things that may end up with her at the worse end of capital punishment, I'd give her the what for (not sure Ned is big on time outs tho) about it sooner rather than later, to prevent it happening (again).

I'm totally unfairly staying away from Sanderson since he has taken over WOT, which is like my personal punch bag when it comes to gender fail. WOT manages to on the surface be pretty good, and then fail so massively it boggles the mind.

I think the death of Lady was written to make Sansa look like she was at fault and is a great example of internalized prejudice. If we look at the entirety of what happens, Arya decides to hit Joff. Yes, he was a jerk but there would be repurcussions. Later, Ned's thoughts reveals that he knows the truth of what happen yet he never intercedes, he never says anything, he never speaks up. Arya attacks Sansa, hitting and screaming at her. Yet, the blame is with Sansa. Later, Ned talks with Arya about the incident and blame Sandor and Cersei. I can see his perspective, I really do. But, at the same time, Ned was expecting Arya to still be spending a long time in KL. Why did he not take a single moment to explain to her the repercussions of her actions or attempt to fix future behavior? He is a parent but Ned essentially condoned her hitting her sister. Yet, the fault for all of this is Sansa in so many reader's minds.

Also, as a fellow parent, Ned often makes me go WTFBBQ really.

So, what is it about WOT that bothers you? All the women eager to be sister wives? Or the excessive amount of sniffing and smoothing skirts?

\sarcasm

This. It's precisely why in the bedding scene with Tyrion we see such resistance to the fact that yes, Sansa assumes a female gaze and rejects him. I honestly think some men and women cannot fathom that in this moment she takes on the empowered perspective and denies him. This is why we see this constant assertion that it is Tyrion who gives Sansa the authority to reject him, when in actuality, all he did was to state that he would wait for her to want him. We're so accustomed to men having the power, to look, to judge, to decide, that it's almost impossible to appreciate Sansa's agency here.

I love that she actually tries to use what Septa Mordane told her ("all men are beautiful") and basically just has a moment of "this is bullshit" and "what have I done to deserve this". Anyway, I think it's very clear that she isn't willing, there's no consent on her part. Realising this is what stops Tyrion from going any further, and I think it was really brave of her to say "never" to his delusion of "maybe when you get to know me better you'll see what a nice guy ™ I am".

Yeah :) It's a real WFT moment: no, actually, all men are not beautiful. Tyrion does recognize her lack of consent, but he still thinks that she'll get over it and come to want him. It's after this that Sansa has her true defiant moment, after she looks at him thoroughly and realises hell to the no, it won't be happening.

Sansa does assume a female gaze in this scene, an event that is still rare in popular culture (reference just about every single movie made nowadays). To me, there are several events that show Sansa making a very strong statement. We learned about Septa Mordane back in GOT to the point that it is obvious she is a mouthpiece for patriarchy and the current system. Sansa then thinks on her advice and realizes that it is not true and decides to reject it. There is nothing about Tyrion she finds beautiful. Her comment about the gods punishing her sounds an awful lot like anger to me. Her body language loudly speaks to a lack of consent despite the fact that she feels she is in a situation where she can not deny consent. Tyrion notices and says that he will not attempt to consumate the marriage until she is willing. At this point Sansa, summons her courage and asks him what about if she never wants him. To me, his response is very revealing. Sansa says it looks as if she struck him. In other words, Tyrion did not expect that response. He was expecting relief or thanks, or a request for more time. But he was NOT expecting her to say anything that would imply "never". Then, she follows up her never by shaking her head no. She is confirming that she does not want him. Sansa is doing this to a Lannister after being forced to marry against her will, during a time where her agency is stripped from her. Yet, she still speaks up and rejects him. How is this not a feminist act?

I have been following this threads mostly as a lurker because I love the analysis but thought that I could not contribute much. However, recently I followed "fevor" discussion where many people doubted that Sansa could be seen as a feminist character because she is too "passive" and "submits happily" to a patriarch system. I disagree with this evaluation but I consider this topic in itself rather interesting because it reminded me on one little aspect of her character I have seen rarely discussed: Her solidarity with other women, especially/and even those who are not in her own political "camp".

Examples: 1. Sansa risks further punishment when she decides to warn Marg that Joff is a monster. 2. She has nothing to gain from calming powerless Lollys but she does so anyway.

To me this is unusual for a Westeros where most nobles seem to define themselves by their families first. Among noble born women there seems to be little awareness of their shared burdens and in times of crisis loyality stays with the family even if they do things that harm other women a great deal. Marg Tyrell for example might like Sansa but she readily uses her as a scapegoat after Joff´s murder in order to further the Tyrell´s plans. Dany can sympathize with MMD but she nevertheless expects the women to be well-meaning towards Drogo even after everything MMD went through by the hands of the Dokhtraki.

Maybe this is wishful thinking but I can see Sansa using her empathy and breaking this pattern a bit

This is a great post and thanks for pointing this out! We really don't have many examples of positive female friendship in the series, especially outside of the family. I think that is one of the reasons why I like the relationship between my adored Cat and Brienne. Is it perhaps not a coicidence that we see this behavior from the mother and daughter here? I also like that Cat feels sympathy for Mya back in GOT and then Sansa looks to befriend her later.

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