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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa X

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Hello:

Having Sansa as one of my favourites, I had to drop here first. I have been reading these threads for some weeks, and love them. I don't feel there's anything I could add that's not been said already, but one thing I definitely want to do: To congratulate all the participants in this wonderful thread, especially Brashcandy, MaryaStone, Queen Cersei I, Lady of the North, Lyanna Stark, Lady Candace, Summerqueen, Raksha the Demon, Starbird and Fire Eater, whose contributions are so thoughtful and clever (not meant to lessen other unnamed participants' contributions, really). All of you girls have done so much to enlighten me on Sansa's true character, which I always sensed from the start but wasn't able to express or put into words so cleverly as you do. Now I know exactly why I like her, and hope I can contribute at least a tiny bit in the future, once I become a veteran fan and more knowledgeable, for I'm new, too new to do anything for the time being besides reading the past re-reading and re-thinking threads one by one.

Thank you again, girls. Keep going, you are one of the 1 or 2 groups here that have been blessed with intelligent gals whose opinions are a joy to read.

Welcome Milady of York (I love that username), and those kind words are much appreciated :)

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As for Arya - I think Ned dropped the ball here to a great extent, simply because when she grew up, Arya would be expected to fulfill the requirements of Westerosi womanhood, willy-nilly. This is doubly true if she were to marry into the South. She'd be miserable. However, I think Arya would be quite at home in Dorne (aside from the climate differences - no snowballs to throw!). I think if she married a Dornish nobleman or knight he'd be quite cool with Arya and her tomboyish, outspoken ways. For all we know, Ned had a Dornish husband in mind for her and that is what was meant by "Southern."

I agree with a lot of what you said (of course you were building on my points, so I guess that's not a big shock).

I like that you brought this up. There is a lot of Arya/Dornish connection. Her views in early GoT are similar to theirs. Her wolf was named Nymeria. It actually could be quite a bit of foreshadowing. But I'll leave that in case someone ever wants to do an Arya reread.

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Gosh, so much I have missed! La. I am glad Ned and his subtopics could facilitate such wonderful disccusion.

One thing I want to bring up before I try and respond to all the lovely posts is what I've shorthanded as "The Eyrie Effect." KRBD brought up that Jon sheltered his wards like Ned from the Cold Cruel World. I have to wonder though if Jon wasn't also a bit sheltered. Looking at the decisions of some of the people who are associate with the Eyrie (Ned, Jon, Lysa, & Sweetrobin, prominently), as well as the imagery of the Eyrie - Alyssa's Tears; an isolated castle up in the sky, only reachable by treacherous mountain path, it's like the proverbial highest room in the tallest tower. Very cut off, and insular.

Examining those points, I do have to question if the Eyrie itself, its location, its atmosphere, had a bearing on its inhabitants. If it led them to be sheltered/naive of the world, or otherwise debilitated them. A bit crackpot, I know. But now that we have Eyrie Fostering 2.0 with LF and Sansa, it seems to be going better for the pupil. However, the "teacher" is someone who grew up in the world, outside of the Eyrie, and has not been able to be naive and survive. That being said, earlier on (maybe it was in the last thread, IIRC), that it was said that Petyr is beginning to overtake LF. He lets some of his shell down around Sansa, bring her into the fold of his machinations, and making bold advances on her otherwise. I wonder if subconsciously, because of the isolated environment he's gained the "courage" to be so open (for me I'd say he's losing his touch, personally). Eventually I think he is going to slip up, and it might be because he's lost his skill after not feeling like he had to be on the ball all the time like in King's Landing.

Blech. I feel like I haven't been able to explain myself at all, but if this makes sense to any of you, I applaud you. Lol. :leaving:

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1. Now as for much of Sansa's character she is pure Ned. The reason I think this is often missed upon first glance is that she doesn't look like Ned, and Ned seems to favor Arya over her - or maybe not "favor" Arya so much as knows that Arya is insecure, feels overshadowed by her sister, and needs an extra measure of love. Hm - does this compassion for someone who doesn't quite fit in sound like someone we know? :)

2. Ned telling stories by the fire brings me to two more qualities I see him sharing with Sansa: he is a family man who loves his children, and Sansa wants a family and children. I think Ned has a Father archetype just as Sansa has a Mother. They're both born to be parents. Ned had his flaws in raising his children (the biggest one being his not preparing them for the roles they would have to occupy as adults) but he's an awesome dad to have..

1. Excellent catch! I do have to wonder if that's ultimately why he spent so much time and extra care with Arya. Maybe he didn't feel that the other children needed him as much as he was needed by her. Sort of mirroring Maester Cressen's prologue in ACoK where he talks about giving the most love to Stannis because he was the one who had the least, etc.

2. I have to agree with the Father/Mother aspects, wholeheartedly.

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Hello:

Having Sansa as one of my favourites, I had to drop here first. I have been reading these threads for some weeks, and love them. I don't feel there's anything I could add that's not been said already, but one thing I definitely want to do: To congratulate all the participants in this wonderful thread, especially Brashcandy, MaryaStone, Queen Cersei I, Lady of the North, Lyanna Stark, Lady Candace, Summerqueen, Raksha the Demon, Starbird and Fire Eater, whose contributions are so thoughtful and clever (not meant to lessen other unnamed participants' contributions, really). All of you girls have done so much to enlighten me on Sansa's true character, which I always sensed from the start but wasn't able to express or put into words so cleverly as you do. Now I know exactly why I like her, and hope I can contribute at least a tiny bit in the future, once I become a veteran fan and more knowledgeable, for I'm new, too new to do anything for the time being besides reading the past re-reading and re-thinking threads one by one.

Thank you again, girls. Keep going, you are one of the 1 or 2 groups here that have been blessed with intelligent gals whose opinions are a joy to read.

You are very sweet, and I hope you enjoy your time on the boards, Milady of York. Beware of trolls!

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1. You know, I hadn't made the connection between Sansa being fostered at the Eyrie and Ned being fostered there also until this thread...It just goes to show how a re-read and analysis makes me see new things in the books, over and over again.

But yes, that's there. Both Ned and Sansa are being fostered at the Eyrie. Ned looks back on those days with fond nostalgia - his bromance (ha, that is how I see it! Just like Stannis and Davos!) with Robert, how much he loved Jon as a second father. It seemed like the Eyrie was a happy place then.

2. While the two guardians - Petyr Baelish and Jon Arryn - on the surface appear to be aligned with Good and Evil - there is a curious reversal here. Lord Bronn brought this up, and I will reply further in another post (as I said, these are LOOONG posts...) but Jon, whom Ned loved, didn't do a good job of teaching his wards how to function in the real world; whereas Littlefinger, who is not only a creepy molester but murders his wife right in front of Sansa, is doing a pretty good job even in spite of himself at preparing Sansa to be a player in the Game of Thrones.

I think Sansa will succeed where Ned failed paradoxically because she had an amoral mentor where Ned had a moral one (among many, many other reasons). It helps that Sansa is a bright, quick young woman; it also helps that she can cloak her steel in velvet.

3. Which brings me to another difference between Sansa and Ned: Ned was who he appeared to be. Sansa is not who she appears to be, in many ways.

4. Her true loyalties are to the Old Gods, even as she loved the sparkly crystals. She spends so much time in the Godswood, her secret meeting place was in the Godswood, one of the things she didn't like about the Eyrie was that no Godswood (or at least no weirwood tree) could grow in the stony soil, and when she builds her snow Winterfell, she carefully adds the Godswood. These are the gods of her childhood, the gods of her heart - and they are Ned's, not Catelyn's.

5. Sansa looks like her mother, but in character she is more her father's daughter.

1. I didn't remember it either, and was suprised to read it in the text. I mean we know Jon Arryn fostered Ned & Robert but I guess I didn't connect the dots, really. ASOIAF is such a huge world that things like that often slip right on by after we haven't read them for a while. Re-reads will be our saving grace! :lol:

(Bromance for them maybe, but a very ambigous bromance/romance is what I see for Stannis & Davos ;)... recently found an old post I wrote about their friendship and it gave me all sorts of ~feels :frown5: )

2. Couldn't agree more. Even though LF is repgunant for his deeds, it brings to mind "variety is the spice of life," and other such sayings that boil down to: seeing other perspectives is the only way to learn properly.

3. It's perfect for the Game of Thrones, and I really like how you summed it up in that succint way. Despite both wearing different faces, on the whole Ned is Ned, but Sansa is a whole host of things, and almost always underestimated by people, except people are supposed to be extremely sharp: Tyrion and Littlefinger. I wonder, since we mentioned those people, if Varys has ever spared a thought on her?

4. Definitely. Over the five books there has been a slowly building shift for Sansa, and I doubt if we'd ever see her seriously worship the Seven again. I think she knows in her heart where her beliefs lie now. Is there a godswood at the Gates of the Moon?

5. Which is exactly why she's LF's (and a lot of people's) Worst.Nightmare. ;) She's got a lot of good in her one self, and that is why she will survive.

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Update on current project:

Ned (Lady Candace) - completed

Jon (tze)

Robb (mythsandstuff)

Loras &Willas (Lady Lea)

Joffrey (Summerqueen)

Sandor (Lord Bronn Stokeworth)

Tyrion (House Draper)

Littlefinger (Pod the Impaler)

Jaime (kittykatknits)

Lothor (Caro99)

Marillion (Ragnorak)

Sweetrobin (KRBD)

Dontos (Elba the Intoner)

Bran&Rickon (brashcandy)

We have 2 pairs of brothers left open: Loras and Willas, Bran and Rickon. Any interested takers?

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Sweet, can't wait to read all these analyses! I'm glad there's going to be one for so many characters.

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Yes I can't wait to read them too and am feeling a bit awed to have to do one of my own in such esteemed company. I don't have much time to respond these days, but I did want to say great job with Ned Lady Candace! There was definitely a lot more to the bond between Ned and Sansa than would seem at first read. I really liked the points you made about him representing the Father and Sansa as the mother, especially the part about how Ned could not stand the thought of children being harmed or killed. That is what led to his ultimate downfall and it is why I will always love him as a character even if he was not so perfect in other ways. People claim that Ned is stupid but I don't see him that way, just not comfortable dealing ith the vipers pit of the South and not willing to give way on his moral compass.

That's why I have hope that Sansa also will not give up on her moral compass. Because of her compassion for not wanting to see children harmed and being a mother figure, just like Ned, I have hope that she will protect Sweetrobin in the end.

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I echo Elba! Great discussion with Ned! I've really enjoyed reading all of it from my phone. I'm even more convinced that she will save Ser Sweetrobin now.

I'm on a short vacation so I'll be back in a couple more days with my Jaime update.

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Wow, great post @ Lady Candace. Very interesting to read about Sansa's "transformation" so to speak from Tully to Stark. I definitely have come to view her as the most "Ned-ly" of Ned's children. She displays great compassion (which is definitely a cornerstone of the Ned's rule) but also has now come to take on a certain level of grief/cynicism (i.e. Winter is Coming) attitude. I definitely see the Wolf being born in Sansa.

I think it says a lot about Northern culture and the Old Gods that they continue to win out in Northron men and children and women even. It's a culture that was formed on a shared set of values, trials, and tribulations based on harsh weather, harsh enemies (wildlings and Others) and great distances apart that can lead to isolation/self-sufficiency. It's interesting to see that Sansa has already gone through all that on a personal level, as much of the Stark children have, but Sansa herself has been lacking in terms of allies (lack of wolf or Jhaqhen Hqar and the Kindly Old Man come to mind). So she's sort of been forced to go it alone, and I really think it has forced her to grow up in ways that the other Stark children haven't, which is where we really see the Ned's influence begin to manifest.

Sansa's future development should center around her bringing that cynicism to the table in a good balance with her compassion, to find good and loyal allies that can help her "return to Winterfell", or at least find her place in the world.

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from the set of questions back on page 1, regarding how much culpability Sansa had in Eddard's death.

4. None

4. Some

Read honestly. Sabotage from within contributed to Ned's death by confirming his enemy status to the queen in an actionable way she really couldn't ignore or mistake. That was illustrated plainly as being a negative for Ned, not a neutral or positive development of no consequence. Which is probably a big part of why Sansa had to be "rethought" in the first place, so that she could be thought well of. So in the rethinking we've overshot and made her blameless. Lady Blameless, the first of her name, the first of her kind in fact since no other character in the entire world is blameless. (Which has something to do with how this topic exists as a cloistered alternate reality). I'm not here to demonize her all the way to the other end of the spectrum, as that's not right either. (That was probably the problem that led to all of this rethinking in the first place). It's not that bad. The reason Judas has a special circle in hell reserved for him has to do with his intent and his full knowlege of what would result from his tattling. Our girl didn't have that level of premeditation. Though neither was she innocent. So my intent here is to nudge her back out of the realm of angelic grace into which you've lovingly placed her and return her to the middleground that's inhabited by humans. Call it naive culpability or whatever the approved term is in Sansa lingo, but acknowlegde it. She was involved in Joeff's success by going to bat for him and not for her father at a critical time when Starks needed to play for team Stark. She didn't see that this was the case because she wasn't a fully grown game of thrones player and so lacked awareness of the bigger picture, and she was drunk on the myopic love that motivated her then---this quality is hailed by poets as living to the fullest, or living an authentic inner life, etc., so there's something to be cherished there. But isn't there a great selfishness that guides such teen rebellions as well? Don't fools rush in? So take the real character and like her, not some St. Sansa on a pedistal you've canonized without the books' consent. Making peace with the actual Sansa is even more rewarding! Her actions aren't to be excused just by looking over the text real hard until you can conclude Ned was a goner no matter what. That's not the standard used by the courts to determine guilt or innocence! When you see that culpability, and how Sansa has to live with it, this makes her character all the more tragic & sturdy & poignant, all the more awesome for bearing that burden so stoically, and it'll make her that much more driven to seek out some grand payback before all is said and done!

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<snip>

In Ned's death, no, not really. He was a goner as soon as he told Cersei he knew about Jaime. Cersei, LF and Janoe Slynt saw to it he was arrested and Joff, Ser Ilyne and possibly LF saw to it he was executed.

What Sansa messed up was her and Arya's escape from KL and also those who went with them. There was an interview with GRRM about this and he said the info Sansa gave was about when they were leaving that day.

Edit: expanded, and have to find that interview!

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Making peace with the actual Sansa is even more rewarding! Her actions aren't to be excused just by looking over the text real hard until you can conclude Ned was a goner no matter what. That's not the standard used by the courts to determine guilt or innocence! When you see that culpability, and how Sansa has to live with it, this makes her character all the more tragic & sturdy & poignant, all the more awesome for bearing that burden so stoically, and it'll make her that much more driven to seek out some grand payback before all is said and done!

I'll just echo what Rapsie said above. The specific question was what culpability she had in Ned's death, and the facts in the books point to her having none. Did she perhaps prevent her escape to Winterfell, yes, you could argue that, but Ned is the one who sealed his fate with Cersei, along with LF and Joff. And this has nothing to do with making Sansa out to be a saint. There's always been full admission of her flaws within the book, especially her mistakes in trusting Cersei and Joff. The burden that Sansa has to live with is made pretty clear in her opening chapter of ACOK:

Once she had loved Prince Joffrey with all her heart, and admired and trusted his mother, the queen. They had repaid that love and trust with her father's head. Sansa would never make that mistake again.

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I'll just echo what Rapsie said above. The specific question was what culpability she had in Ned's death, and the facts in the books point to her having none. Did she perhaps prevent her escape to Winterfell, yes, you could argue that, but Ned is the one who sealed his fate with Cersei, along with LF and Joff. And this has nothing to do with making Sansa out to be a saint. There's always been full admission of her flaws within the book, especially her mistakes in trusting Cersei and Joff. The culpability that Sansa has to live with is made pretty clear in her opening chapter of ACOK:

And her reflections on what went wrong are very much part of her maturing process.

The reason I don't think Sansa is culpable in Ned's death is because of her age. She's eleven, okay, twelve depending on when exactly her birthday/name-day is. She's a child. Children lack the maturity, wisdom and executive ability to make fully informed decisions. That is why adults protect them and make decisions for them.

Sansa was a disobedient child. She had no idea that Cersei and Joffrey meant her and her family harm. She lacked adult judgment. If she were older, say 16 or so (adult by Westerosi standards) then yes, I'd hold her somewhat culpable, BUT the lion's share (ha!) of the blame still goes to Cersei, Joffrey, and LF. Ned and Catelyn did keep Sansa sheltered and naive, but there's no way they could give her adult wisdom and judgment short of a magic aging-up potion.

Ned had the best intentions in the world - Father-like intentions - to keep Myrcella and Tommen (if not Joffrey) from harm. Myrcella and Tommen are sweetie pies; even if one argues that Joffrey was a Caligula and deserved what he got, Myrcella and Tommen are good kids who haven't done anything wrong. Ned thought they didn't deserve a bad fate as products of incest and adultery. And poor naive Ned thought that Cersei would do the right thing and take the kids and go. Of course she didn't. If she did, the story would have ended with GoT. :)

Sansa DID have to live with the guilt, and the fact that she DID accept culpability meant character growth for her. And I would argue that it will make her a better ruler when she does come to whatever power position she's destined for. I think it will strengthen her desire to do the right thing, or at least the utilitarian thing of what will cause the least amount of suffering to the fewest number of people.

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I just want to say that I'm enjoying reading these threads (I'm about half way through them atm) and thanks to everybody who has posted on them. Hopefully I'll catch up soon, but no promises.

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I just want to say that I'm enjoying reading these threads (I'm about half way through them atm) and thanks to everybody who has posted on them. Hopefully I'll catch up soon, but no promises.

Glad you are enjoying them! :)

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The question of Sansa's beauty and how it functions within the story has been referenced in one or two threads recently on the board, particularly in relation to her relationship with the three prominent males in her life: Sandor/Tyrion/Littlefinger. I'd like to introduce this topic for exploration on the thread, and it's something that we can bear in mind for the analyses on those male figures. To start with, I've posed some questions below for consideration:

How much is she defined by it in the narrative; does it help/hinder her and to what extent; is there a tendency of GRRM's to "punish" beautiful women (and men) in the story? What role does "beauty as an ideal" still play in Sansa's life? Is Martin responsible for the overwhelming opinion that Sansa is shallow based on how he constructs the notion of beauty and appreciation for it in the story?

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... is there a tendency of GRRM's to "punish" beautiful women (and men) in the story?... Is Martin responsible for the overwhelming opinion that Sansa is shallow based on how he constructs the notion of beauty and appreciation for it in the story?

I don't doubt that the story is clear that physical beauty and inner goodness have no corellation - it's a common myth, that Sansa learns to her sorrow. As far as "punishing" though - don't bother having some debate whether GRRM is "punishing" the beautiful or the ugly more in ASOIAF. There is no right answer there. He punishes everybody.

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