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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XI


brashcandy

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I will make this small amends for derailing the conversation by posting something on-topic (again, sorry).

I agree that if Sansa is ever to be safe, Littlefinger must be removed permanently from the game. Most likely, he must die. When LF set the wheels in motion with Jon Arryn's murder and Lysa's letter to Winterfell, he had never laid eyes on Sansa. When Tyrion married Sansa, LF must have expected the marriage to be consummated, given Tyrion's habits. LF cannot have known for certain that Sansa remained a virgin when he extricated her from King's Landing. Therefore, my opinion is that Sansa did not become integral to LF's political plots, until maybe after it was revealed that her marriage with Tyrion wasn't consummated, as she would be worth less on the marriage market were she no longer a maiden. Accordingly, I consider it likely that LF originally only intended a personal use for Sansa.

Given this, LF engineered a highly complex and risky plot to remove Sansa from the capital, when her political value was in doubt, on the basis of an obsession. Then it is reasonable to assume that were Sansa to escape LF's clutches, LF would do anything to get her back. So, for Sansa to be safe, LF must definitely die.

ETA: I approve of of Queen of Winter's post. Very appropriate, I agree.

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So, a little bit of mental torture is okay, but physical torture is going too far? Got it. I suppose that makes Cersei's walk of shame was all right, because she only experienced mental anguish during and after that episode, and wasn't physically injured.

She was injured, she was forced to walk barefooted and was cut and fell down on several occasions, the threat of being killed by the throngs of watchers was always present, that is why she had armed guards with her.

None of this speaks to the motives of the people who did this to her. IMO Kevan had to allow her to be punished to appease the Tyrells and the Faith but he could have made the High Septon modify it, he did not have to agree to this. On a personal level, he blames Cersei for what happened to Lancel and his other son who was killed. You can see the strain he has not wanting to admit this to himself.

We do not know enough about this High Septon to really say what his motives are. I think it goes a lot deeper than the wantoness of widows. Still peoples motives aren't alway what you think they are nor are people always honest about them even with themselves.

Still I think when people wish for somebody, somebody who they perceive as villian, to meet a gruesome fate is because they want them to feel the same things there victims did. I guess that in doing so you do abandon the moral high gound but its really not about that is it. If someone rapes and murders your sister is it wrong to wish the same thing happens to her attacker while he is serving his prison sentence? And would you really care if it was at that point. Probaly not.

edit for spelling

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But that isn't what was taking place in this thread. By making such a comparison, you were trying to implicitly suggest that somehow taking joy in what happens to LF is the same as being happy for what happens to Cersei. This is what I am disputing. Wanting LF to be punished for his crimes is very different from experiencing glee over arbitrary punishment meted out to a character. I want Cersei to pay for her crimes just as much as anyone else, but what happened to her during the Walk of Shame was not justice.

Well, it would depend on the form that "justice" takes when LF's time is due. I maintain that specifically wishing for him--or anyone else for that matter--to suffer, rather than hope for his plans to fail (with everything that follows from that), is as bad as taking joy in Cersei's walk of shame.

Karmic justice entails someone getting what they deserve often via the same methods they've employed to do harm, or by a person they've particularly affected. This is why it would be nice karma if LF is brought down by Sansa, his pupil in the game. Many people might feel Cersei got what she deserved, but even with those views, we cannot assert that the person is bloodthirsty or being sadistic.

The people who merely thought Cersei got what she deserved aren't sadistic, but those who enjoyed the specifics of her punishment are.

And I do believe that we can consider Lady Stoneheart's justice to be fairer than the High Septon's, at least with respect to LF and Cersei. The HS wanted to teach Cersei a lesson, to bring her low and diminish her power. If Cat were to find out what LF did to her family, she would be directing punishment for real crimes done by this man. That's a world of difference in my book.

We have already seen Lady Stoneheart's "justice," a guilty system that recognizes no innocents (in the case of Brienne and Pod). I don't think it any more just if the wrath of a guilty system happens to be directed against a genuinely guilty person.

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She was injured, she was forced to walk barefooted and was cut and fell down on several occasions, the threat of being killed by the throngs of watchers was always present, that is why she had armed guards with her.

Yeah, she suffered some very minor wounds, but the punishment still did not constitute physical torture.

Still I think when people wish for somebody, somebody who they perceive as villian, to meet a gruesome fate is because they want them to feel the same things there victims did. I guess that in doing so you do abandon the moral high gound but its really not about that is it. If someone rapes and murders your sister is it wrong to wish the same thing happens to her attacker while he is serving his prison sentence? And would you really care if it was at that point. Probaly not.

Perhaps I would want a person who hurt someone I love to suffer, but that is precisely why I wouldn't be allowed to pass judgment over such an individual. In no way is the impulse to vengeance good; quite the opposite.

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As far as retribution is concerned, I don't think it's a bad thing to wish that Ramsay Bolton die a gruesome death. We can argue back and forth about LF and Cersei, but Ramsay? He seems too far gone in brutality. He doesn't even have a good enough Freudian backstory; "he's a bastard born of rape" doesn't quite cut it even if in-universe people believe that it does. Anyway back to Sansa:

I will make this small amends for derailing the conversation by posting something on-topic (again, sorry).

I agree that if Sansa is ever to be safe, Littlefinger must be removed permanently from the game. Most likely, he must die. When LF set the wheels in motion with Jon Arryn's murder and Lysa's letter to Winterfell, he had never laid eyes on Sansa. When Tyrion married Sansa, LF must have expected the marriage to be consummated, given Tyrion's habits. LF cannot have known for certain that Sansa remained a virgin when he extricated her from King's Landing. Therefore, my opinion is that Sansa did not become integral to LF's political plots, until maybe after it was revealed that her marriage with Tyrion wasn't consummated, as she would be worth less on the marriage market were she no longer a maiden. Accordingly, I consider it likely that LF originally only intended a personal use for Sansa.

Given this, LF engineered a highly complex and risky plot to remove Sansa from the capital, when her political value was in doubt, on the basis of an obsession. Then it is reasonable to assume that were Sansa to escape LF's clutches, LF would do anything to get her back. So, for Sansa to be safe, LF must definitely die.

Yeeeeeesh. Reading that, it makes LF seem even creepier. Though he was perving on her from the start (commenting on her body being a "sweet prize," asking Cersei for her hand in marriage). I agree with you on LF's original motives; and before I make myself throw up, I'll comment that this is another argument against the idea that LF really truly wants the HtH marriage and to help Sansa reclaim the North out of the goodness and kindness of his heart. LF is going to have to be neutralized (not necessarily killed, but removed from power somehow) because his creepy fixation on Tully women knows no bounds. He's Obsessed Stalker Dude cranked up to eleven.

Another thing I wonder about in foreshadowing: Sansa is stated as loving to read and being good at her lessons, she knows all the heraldry of the various houses by heart it seems, and LF tells her to read devotional books so she can act more like she was raised in a septry. We don't see her doing a lot of reading, though. I wonder if this will ever come in handy? I hope so, as I love what TVTropes call "Badass Bookworms."

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Alright, at this rate this discussion will get us nowhere, so let's get back on topic.

Given this, LF engineered a highly complex and risky plot to remove Sansa from the capital, when her political value was in doubt, on the basis of an obsession. Then it is reasonable to assume that were Sansa to escape LF's clutches, LF would do anything to get her back. So, for Sansa to be safe, LF must definitely die.

We found out the extent of LF's personal interest in Sansa when Cersei revealed in ADWD that he wanted to marry the girl after her father's death. So we know that when it comes to Sansa, the personal has always trumped the political. I'm not sure I would agree that LF only factored in her political relevance on the basis that the marriage wasn't consummated though. After Cersei rejected his offer, he knew that any access to Sansa would have to come via a very roundabout process. LF did not envision staying married to Lysa forever, and would have been counting on taking advantage of Sansa's identity whether she was a virgin or not. As we learn through the Cersei/Margaery fiasco, virgin tests are not reliable for highborn girls who've spent their lives horseback riding, so LF wouldn't be hard pressed to claim that Sansa was still a virgin if it came to that.

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When LF set the wheels in motion with Jon Arryn's murder and Lysa's letter to Winterfell, he had never laid eyes on Sansa. When Tyrion married Sansa, LF must have expected the marriage to be consummated, given Tyrion's habits. LF cannot have known for certain that Sansa remained a virgin when he extricated her from King's Landing. Therefore, my opinion is that Sansa did not become integral to LF's political plots, until maybe after it was revealed that her marriage with Tyrion wasn't consummated, as she would be worth less on the marriage market were she no longer a maiden. Accordingly, I consider it likely that LF originally only intended a personal use for Sansa.

Given this, LF engineered a highly complex and risky plot to remove Sansa from the capital, when her political value was in doubt, on the basis of an obsession. Then it is reasonable to assume that were Sansa to escape LF's clutches, LF would do anything to get her back. So, for Sansa to be safe, LF must definitely die.

Two things. First, we don't know what Littlefinger's "original" plan was, but I wonder how much it's been mutated since its inception pre-GOT. He didn't know about Sansa at the beginning, but he certainly knew about Catelyn, and we know that his obsession was originally Catelyn-centric. I wouldn't be surprised if his "original" plan, when he had Lysa poison Jon Arryn, involved him trying to eventually marry Catelyn, not Lysa (maybe he intended on having Lysa's culpability in Jon Arryn's murder come to light, and given the paucity of Arryn relatives, he and his "new wife" Catelyn would presumably swoop in and control the Vale through Sweetrobin? Or he could have just had Lysa quietly killed, with the same result.) At that time, Robb was only 14 years old, and Littlefinger couldn't have known all along that Robb would be ruling in his own right, rather than having Catelyn as his regent until he turned 16. He was clearly against Ned from the start, and it would make sense that he always intended Ned to die in some way. If he removed Ned, married Catelyn, and Lysa was implicated in Jon Arryn's death (or was assassinated), then by marrying Catelyn, Littlefinger would presumably have been capable of making himself regent of both the Vale and the North. We know Littlefinger is pretty deluded about Catelyn's feelings for him, and we know he's always been obsessed with her, so I wouldn't be surprised if his original plan was really centered on the idea that he'd have been able to get Catelyn to marry him, and Lysa's importance to his plans was originally quite different. This would mean that the meat of his plan might have remained the same, with several key details (switching Lysa for Catelyn, and switching Sansa for Robb) altered.

Second, the consummation issue of the Tyrion/Sansa marriage only became relevant when Cersei failed to execute Tyrion, and Littlefinger would have had no way of knowing, when he sprung Sansa, that Tyrion death wasn't inevitable. As a widow, it wouldn't have mattered if Sansa was a virgin or not, and Littlefinger still claims that he intends to only marry Sansa to Harry the Heir once Cersei has caught up with and executed Tyrion. Right now, the High Septon can have the marriage set aside, so long as Sansa's virginity remains as proof that the marriage was unconsummated, but that's an issue that readers have brought up---Littlefinger still claims he intends on waiting until Tyrion is safely dead to marry Sansa off.

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Yeeeeeesh. Reading that, it makes LF seem even creepier.

I admit, I chose some of my wording to paint that picture. With LF, it somehow seemed appropriate.

Regarding the studying: we haven't seen that much of Sansa reading books, true. However, the oppressive conditions that she has had to live under ever since Ned's imprisonment and execution hardly seem conducive to study. I do wonder if LF cares about her schooling at all, other than dispensing the occasional piece of game-related advice.

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We found out the extent of LF's personal interest in Sansa when Cersei revealed in ADWD that he wanted to marry the girl after her father's death. So we know that when it comes to Sansa, the personal has always trumped the political. I'm not sure I would agree that LF only factored in her political relevance on the basis that the marriage wasn't consummated though. After Cersei rejected his offer, he knew that any access to Sansa would have to come via a very roundabout process. LF did not envision staying married to Lysa forever, and would have been counting on taking advantage of Sansa's identity whether she was a virgin or not. As we learn through the Cersei/Margaery fiasco, virgin tests are not reliable for highborn girls who've spent their lives horseback riding, so LF wouldn't be hard pressed to claim that Sansa was still a virgin if it came to that.

The difference being that Sansa had flowered and was married to an infamously liscentious man.

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Two things. First, we don't know what Littlefinger's "original" plan was, but I wonder how much it's been mutated since its inception pre-GOT. He didn't know about Sansa at the beginning, but he certainly knew about Catelyn, and we know that his obsession was originally Catelyn-centric. I wouldn't be surprised if his "original" plan, when he had Lysa poison Jon Arryn, involved him trying to eventually marry Catelyn, not Lysa (maybe he intended on having Lysa's culpability in Jon Arryn's murder come to light, and given the paucity of Arryn relatives, he and his "new wife" Catelyn would presumably swoop in and control the Vale through Sweetrobin? Or he could have just had Lysa quietly killed, with the same result.) At that time, Robb was only 14 years old, and Littlefinger couldn't have known all along that Robb would be ruling in his own right, rather than having Catelyn as his regent until he turned 16. He was clearly against Ned from the start, and it would make sense that he always intended Ned to die in some way. If he removed Ned, married Catelyn, and Lysa was implicated in Jon Arryn's death (or was assassinated), then by marrying Catelyn, Littlefinger would presumably have been capable of making himself regent of both the Vale and the North. We know Littlefinger is pretty deluded about Catelyn's feelings for him, and we know he's always been obsessed with her, so I wouldn't be surprised if his original plan was really centered on the idea that he'd have been able to get Catelyn to marry him, and Lysa's importance to his plans was originally quite different. This would mean that the meat of his plan might have remained the same, with several key details (switching Lysa for Catelyn, and switching Sansa for Robb) altered.

Second, the consummation issue of the Tyrion/Sansa marriage only became relevant when Cersei failed to execute Tyrion, and Littlefinger would have had no way of knowing, when he sprung Sansa, that Tyrion death wasn't inevitable. As a widow, it wouldn't have mattered if Sansa was a virgin or not, and Littlefinger still claims that he intends to only marry Sansa to Harry the Heir once Cersei has caught up with and executed Tyrion. Right now, the High Septon can have the marriage set aside, so long as Sansa's virginity remains as proof that the marriage was unconsummated, but that's an issue that readers have brought up---Littlefinger still claims he intends on waiting until Tyrion is safely dead to marry Sansa off.

Heres the thing, Littlefingers marriage to Lysa was only made possible by his elevation to Lord of Harrenhal. At one point he offered to marry Sansa but Cersei declined him because he was too lowborn.

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The difference being that Sansa had flowered and was married to an infamously liscentious man.

Even so, there's still the possibility of raising doubt. And as tze notes above, the plan was to see Tyrion dead, leaving Sansa a widow. If we consider the very real likelihood that LF is bullshitting with the HtH plan, it's even clearer that whatever political plans he has in mind for Sansa involve the two of them.

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Even so, there's still the possibility of raising doubt. And as tze notes above, the plan was to see Tyrion dead, leaving Sansa a widow. If we consider the very real likelihood that LF is bullshitting with the HtH plan, it's even clearer that whatever political plans he has in mind for Sansa involve the two of them.

On the other hand, LF's plans regarding HtH might not have materialised until after he killed Lysa, which I don't believe he intended to do until much later.

Regarding the political value of widows, yeah, maybe you've got me there. However, I do wonder, is it only my imagination that says that highborn Westerosi non-virgin widows have diminished marriage prospects (and therefore are worth less as political collateral)? In ASoS, Lysa wouldn't want Tyrion Lannister's spoiled leavings for her son, but is that an indication that 1) Lysa thinks a non-virgin bride is too poor for her son, 2) it's only being that dwarf's leavings that disqualify Sansa from the honour of marrying Sweetrobin, 3) the Westerosi nobility as a whole consider non-virgin widows spoiled goods, or that 4) Westeros specifically regards non-virgin widows to dwarves as unworthy.

What do you think?

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Its seems like if Margery had admited to having slept with Renly that would have made the marriage to Joff less desirable. All though the offer was made without any consideration given to this fact but the Tyrells did make a point of saying that it had not been after the deal had been made.

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On the other hand, LF's plans regarding HtH might not have materialised until after he killed Lysa, which I don't believe he intended to do until much later.

Regarding the political value of widows, yeah, maybe you've got me there. However, I do wonder, is it only my imagination that says that highborn Westerosi non-virgin widows have diminished marriage prospects (and therefore are worth less as political collateral)? In ASoS, Lysa wouldn't want Tyrion Lannister's spoiled leavings for her son, but is that an indication that 1) Lysa thinks a non-virgin bride is too poor for her son, 2) it's only being that dwarf's leavings that disqualify Sansa from the honour of marrying Sweetrobin, 3) the Westerosi nobility as a whole consider non-virgin widows spoiled goods, or that 4) Westeros specifically regards non-virgin widows to dwarves as unworthy.

What do you think?

I personally think that Lysa is the kind of batshit protective mother who thinks that no woman is good enough for her precious son. Poor SR is famously overprotected (breastfed at 6 years old...) to the point where Jon Arryn wanted to send him off to be fostered with Stannis Baratheon. I think Lysa is being Lysa, and getting in a dig at Sansa while she's at it. Sansa is Catelyn's daughter and Lysa was always jealous of her.

With remarriage in general - it's hard for me to say. I wonder if it mattered more among the very high echelons of the nobility? In the Middle Ages in general, most younger widows and widowers remarried, often on orders of their king. As long as a woman could have children she was desirable. It wasn't until the Victorian era that life-long mourning became the fashion. Now ASOIAF is a fantasy world that does diverge from the real Middle Ages in many ways, so perhaps a woman was expected to mourn for life. I wonder if the whole value on Margaery's virginity was so that Cersei could find an excuse to trump up charges of adultery if she needed/wanted to? That is, if Margaery and Renly's marriage had been consummated, Cersei would have a harder time bringing charges of adultery on the grounds of Margaery not being a virgin; she'd just have to rely on hearsay and testimony obtained by torture and that would be a lot harder to make stick.

I recall a discussion between Taena Merryweather and Cersei in AFFC with Taena saying (paraphrased) she'd been at the bedding and Renly had gotten it up for Marg when he was tossed into bed. Earlier it's mentioned that as Renly's widow, Margaery could have worn the Baratheon colors as a bridal cloak.

IIRC there is also a discussion in ACOK about Donella Hornwood and how she's past childbearing age so her marriage market value is low even though she's heir to her husband's lands; and we all know what happened to her at Ramsay Bolton's hands. (I doubt, btw, that it was common practice to starve unwanted wives to death; in peacetime, a husband would have her relatives - in this case, the Manderlys - looking over his shoulder. I wonder if the war is the reason why Ramsay was allowed to hunt women and torture smallfolk at will; I'm guessing that in peacetime Ned or even King Robert would have heard complaints and made Roose rein him in.)

I wonder if the whole "was the marriage consummated and if so did it lower the bride's value?" idea derives from the fact that it's wartime and thus necessary to make, break and re-make alliances and it's easier to do that by proving virginity as proof of non-consummation.

Plus there is the fact that Tyrion is a dwarf, and dwarves are looked down upon and it's only Tyrion's Lannister family name and riches that let him live a normal life, as he finds out when he's a hunted fugitive in Essos. Seeing that dwarves are used as entertainment, I surmise that having been married to a dwarf does lower Sansa's status by association.

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On the other hand, LF's plans regarding HtH might not have materialised until after he killed Lysa, which I don't believe he intended to do until much later.

Regarding the political value of widows, yeah, maybe you've got me there. However, I do wonder, is it only my imagination that says that highborn Westerosi non-virgin widows have diminished marriage prospects (and therefore are worth less as political collateral)? In ASoS, Lysa wouldn't want Tyrion Lannister's spoiled leavings for her son, but is that an indication that 1) Lysa thinks a non-virgin bride is too poor for her son, 2) it's only being that dwarf's leavings that disqualify Sansa from the honour of marrying Sweetrobin, 3) the Westerosi nobility as a whole consider non-virgin widows spoiled goods, or that 4) Westeros specifically regards non-virgin widows to dwarves as unworthy.

What do you think?

It's an interesting question. Jarl's point with Margaery is valid, the Tyrells did seem keen to present Margaery as a virgin, but I don't know if there's a lot of stigma attached to widows really. Perhaps this has more to do with the unique situation in the Joff/Renly dynamic. Joffrey was pretty pissed that his uncle had rebelled against him, and would be even more upset at taking the woman Renly had already deflowered. We see the Tyrells rejecting Cersei for Willas because she's too used, but I figure this was more about being snarky to the Lannisters and safeguarding Willas' interests. I definitely think there's stigma attached to being Tyrion's widow though, and there's a reason so many houses rejected Tywin's offer.

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Tyrion isn't just a dwarf, he's a particularly unlikeable dwarf known to be very fond of whores. Lysa despised him ("that vile dwarf"). So for her it's not just a question of being a dwarf's leavings (by itself pretty bad), but Tyrion's leavings.

Lady Hornwood was disputed by plenty of powerful Northern bannermen, including the Manderlys, and she was older, wasn't she?

On the other hand, Ami Frey wasn't a very appealing widow (everyone knew about her sexcapades, plus her family wasn't very wealthy or powerful). Cersei had the whole incest rumour on her shoulders. And Joffrey couldn't accept his own uncle's widow if she wasn't a virgin, it would look really bad if he got a traitor's "leavings" (god I hate that word).

I think Myranda's prospects are ok - she seems to think she was good enough for Harry and is for LF (now one of the Great Lords), doesn't she?

So I think the widow thing is more on a case-by-case basis. Given a choice between a widow and a maid of similar power/wealth, I'd say the choice for most Westerosi men would be easy, but being a widow isn't really a deal-breaker except in some especific cases imo.

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Its seems like if Margery had admited to having slept with Renly that would have made the marriage to Joff less desirable. All though the offer was made without any consideration given to this fact but the Tyrells did make a point of saying that it had not been after the deal had been made.

There was a pretty important issue with Margaery, however: time. When Jaime was talking to Sybelle about Jeyne, he said that Jeyne would have to wait a designated period of time in order to remarry, because if she remarried immediately and happened to get pregnant immediately, people would always wonder whether the baby belonged to her new husband or if it was actually Robb's heir. I'm not sure what the time differential was between Renly's death and Margaery's marriage to Joffrey (the former happened about halfway into ACOK, the latter about halfway into ASOS), but even if too much time had logically passed by the time of the actual wedding, the marriage deal itself would have been agreed upon between Mace Tyrell and Tywin Lannister much sooner after Renly's death. Unlike Tommen, Joffrey was old enough to plausibly father an heir (13, the same age at which Tyrion lost his virginity to Tysha). If the Tyrells had presented Margaery as a non-virgin, then Tywin would logically have required them to hold off on the actual wedding until Margaery's exact pregnancy status could be ascertained beyond the shadow of a doubt, because if she got pregnant quickly, rumors might have started that her child was Renly's, not Joffrey's. The Tyrells wouldn't want to be forced to accept just a betrothal, because Mace wanted his daughter to be queen, and betrothals can be set aside much easier than actual marriages. (Remember how Cersei threw a fit when the Tyrells insisted on Margaery marrying Tommen immediately after Joffrey's death, rather than being content with a betrothal and holding the wedding later?) By presenting Margaery as a virgin, the Tyrells ensure the wedding takes place ASAP and no other House has time to swoop in and steal the Queenship by presenting the Lannisters with a better offer.

Unlike with Margaery, the timing issue is moot with Sansa, because by the time she was actually married off to Harry the Heir, far too much time would have passed since her flight from King's Landing for anyone to ever think she was capable of being pregnant with Tyrion's child.

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They say the only thing that ends a political career is being caught in bed with a dead woman or a live boy.

Sure, many could view Sansa as persona non grata due to being left by Joffrey and of course married by Tyrion the "imp," but all of that is easily forgiveable when a marriage to her would bring you half the realm (her right to both Winterfell and possibly Riverrun if her uncles die without heirs). Blackfish is too old now to have children and Edmure is being held by Lannister with a Frey wife.

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There was a pretty important issue with Margaery, however: time. When Jaime was talking to Sybelle about Jeyne, he said that Jeyne would have to wait a designated period of time in order to remarry, because if she remarried immediately and happened to get pregnant immediately, people would always wonder whether the baby belonged to her new husband or if it was actually Robb's heir. I'm not sure what the time differential was between Renly's death and Margaery's marriage to Joffrey (the former happened about halfway into ACOK, the latter about halfway into ASOS), but even if too much time had logically passed by the time of the actual wedding, the marriage deal itself would have been agreed upon between Mace Tyrell and Tywin Lannister much sooner after Renly's death. Unlike Tommen, Joffrey was old enough to plausibly father an heir (13, the same age at which Tyrion lost his virginity to Tysha). If the Tyrells had presented Margaery as a non-virgin, then Tywin would logically have required them to hold off on the actual wedding until Margaery's exact pregnancy status could be ascertained beyond the shadow of a doubt, because if she got pregnant quickly, rumors might have started that her child was Renly's, not Joffrey's. The Tyrells wouldn't want to be forced to accept just a betrothal, because Mace wanted his daughter to be queen, and betrothals can be set aside much easier than actual marriages. (Remember how Cersei threw a fit when the Tyrells insisted on Margaery marrying Tommen immediately after Joffrey's death, rather than being content with a betrothal and holding the wedding later?) By presenting Margaery as a virgin, the Tyrells ensure the wedding takes place ASAP and no other House has time to swoop in and steal the Queenship by presenting the Lannisters with a better offer.

Unlike with Margaery, the timing issue is moot with Sansa, because by the time she was actually married off to Harry the Heir, far too much time would have passed since her flight from King's Landing for anyone to ever think she was capable of being pregnant with Tyrion's child.

I'm convinced.

This weakens one link in my argument, that Sansa's political value might not be that great to LF at the time of her rescure from King's Landing. I still believe that LF was primarily motivated by personal rather than political reasons when he spirited Sansa away from the capital, but I'm not quite as certain as before. The plan regarding Sansa did not contribute to LF's other scheme, to secure himself the rights to Harrenhal and thus be eligible to marry Lysa, but it might have upset it. Also, LF set into motion his plan to possess Sansa before she was thought to be heir to Winterfell, not as seemingly valuable as she would become later. (I doubt that LF knows that Bran and Rickon are alive.)

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I think there are a couple different things going on here. This goes back to the conversation that Lummel and I had yesterday regarding Sansa. Martin has said more than once that he has written this series to require a re-read, he wants us to look deeper and reexamine initial impressions. Superficial readings are what lead to comments such as Sansa needed to redeem herself, a statement that I find absurd. There are those who are dismissing Sansa as a character, I completely agree, but that's not due to Martin's failure at writing. It's because some readers are doing a superficial job at reading the text.

I'd also disagree that people in this thread are the only ones willing to look into that prophecy and the snow castle scene further, threads on the topic tend to come up fairly regularly. Ragnorak put together an amazing OP breaking down that chapter to look for foreshadowing and what it could mean for Sansa's future storyline. Also, believing that the ghost of HH was about the snow castle does not necessarily negate the importance of that scene in general. My point is that Martin wanted to highlight and draw the reader's attention to Sansa's chapter and used the ghost as a way to do so.

First, thank you so much for your kind words.

I don't think the importance of the Snow Castle scene can be overstated. It is the last chapter of the book and a scene that lingered for years much like the cliffhangers in DwD do now. Also the last chapter in Clash is Bran emerging from the crypts to the destruction of Winterfell and here in the last chapter of the next book we see Sansa rebuilding it. This is not a trivial juxtaposition.

As a general commentary on the notion of Sansa's "downward trajectory" I would again point to Snow Winterfell. It is a beautifully written, poetic, even religious scene. She's lost her wolf, lost her father and even watched his beheading, lost her home, and had been tempted with more poisoned false hopes than any other character amidst a sea of enemies and false friends. She thinks

A godswood without gods, as empty as me.

but look at what she does. She rebuilds her home, makes snowballs to recapture and remember her innocent youth, and then transforms them into her adult responsibility and source of strength-- she rebuilds her home even though she has previously despaired of returning to it. She confronts her captor, resigns herself to confront her aunt, refuse her marriage and reclaim her life. Sansa has some dire and depressing thoughts throughout the series. If you look at her actions relative to those thoughts the picture is very different. IIRC she resolved not to speak or provoke Joffrey but then still defended Dontos. She's defending some drunken stranger on general principle risking the ire of the psycho who has her beaten and dragged her to the roof to gloat as he made her look at her dead father's head. There are words and there are actions-- the words are wind and the actions matter.

A pure world, Sansa thought. I do not belong here.

I thought my song was beginning that day, but it was almost done.

The whole point of the scene is the exact opposite. Sansa very much belongs there and her song has just begun. Regardless of whether this is the actual fulfillment of the prophesy or not it very obviously recalls that prophesy-- a prophesy filled with the deaths of kings in a book called the Clash of Kings. Sansa's story is filled with incredible subtlety but this is as in your face as a scene can get.

I happen to think it is the happiest and most hopeful scene in the entire series. But I thought Ordinary People had a happy ending too so who am I to judge...

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