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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XV

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Touch (and taste) therefore allows for greater connection between subject and object, undermining the supremacy of the gaze and opening a space for a feminine subjectivity to be articulated. In so doing, a breakdown occurs between the old dichotomies of self/other, male/female, passive/active which the gaze inherently manifests. In turning to an analysis of ‘The Company of Wolves’ and ‘The Tiger’s Bride’, stories which deal with the fear of sexual violence and the victimization of women within patriarchal societies, what we witness is not the subjugation of young women beneath the yoke of beastly authority, but rather their negotiation and exploration of their own erotic desires; a confrontation of the beast within themselves.

Brash, I really enjoyed your analysis! :)

I'm not sure if what I want to mention will totally tie into what we're talking about here (maybe it does but in a different way), but when you mentioned "senses" (the gaze, smell, touch), it brought to mind the beautiful mille-fleur tapestries of "The Lady and the Unicorn".

I remember that unicorns can at times be thought of in a few ways. I digress a little, but here is what is said of the "Unicorn Tapestries" (which are not the tapestries I mention above) :

"The pagan interpretation focuses on the medieval lore of beguiled lovers, whereas Christian writings interpret the unicorn and its death as the Passion of Christ."

Could the same thing be thought of here, with "The Lady and the Unicorn"?

The tapestries are supposed to represent different senses:

"Five of the tapestries are commonly interpreted as depicting the five senses – taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch. The sixth displays the words "À mon seul désir". The tapestry's meaning is obscure, but has been interpreted as representing love or understanding. Each of the six tapestries depicts a noble lady with the unicorn on her left and a lion on her right; some include a monkey in the scene."

Just for reference, I'll list each tapestry description here:

Taste- "The lady is taking sweets from a dish held by a maidservant. Her eyes are on a parakeet on her upheld left hand. The lion and the unicorn are both standing on their hind legs reaching up to pennants that frame the lady on either side. The monkey is at her feet, eating one of the sweetmeats."

Hearing-"The lady plays a portative organ on top of a table covered with a Turkish rug. Her maidservant stands to the opposite side and operates the bellows. The lion and unicorn once again frame the scene holding up the pennants. Just as on all the other tapestries, the unicorn is to the lady's left and the lion to her right - a common denominator to all the tapestries."

Sight-"The lady is seated, holding a mirror up in her right hand. The unicorn kneels on the ground, with his front legs in the lady's lap, from which he gazes at his reflection in the mirror. The lion on the left holds up a pennant."

Smell-"The lady stands, making a wreath of flowers. Her maidservant holds a basket of flowers within her easy reach. Again, the lion and unicorn frame the lady while holding on to the pennants. The monkey has stolen a flower which he is smelling, providing the key to the allegory."

Touch-"The lady stands with one hand touching the unicorn's horn, and the other holding up the pennant. The lion sits to the side and looks on."

In particular, I find the last one the most interesting:

À Mon Seul Désir-. "The lady stands in front of a tent, across the top of which is written "À Mon Seul Désir", an obscure motto, variously interpretable as "my one/sole desire", "according to my desire alone"; "by my will alone", "love desires only beauty of soul", "to calm passion". Her maidservant stands to the right, holding open a chest. The lady is placing the necklace she wears in the other tapestries into the chest. To her left is a low bench with bags of coins on it. The unicorn and the lion stand in their normal spots framing the lady while holding onto the pennants.

This tapestry has elicited a number of interpretations. One interpretation sees the lady putting the necklace into the chest as a renunciation of the passions aroused by the other senses, and as an assertion of her free will. Another sees the tapestry as representing a sixth sense of understanding (derived from the sermons of Jean Gerson of the University of Paris, c. 1420). Various other interpretations see the tapestry as representing love or virginity. It is also debated whether the lady in "À Mon Seul Désir" is picking up or setting aside the necklace."

This is just a quick interpretation (maybe I could look into it more later) but I think some of this could pertain to Sansa--especially the parts of "assertion of her free will" (being able to choose who she loves--not who duty dictates her to love--she seems to be heading in that direction), " love desires only beauty of soul" (tying into the Beauty and the Beast theme), and the "sixth sense of understanding" (I'm thinking of her and Sandor during the Battle of the Blackwater when she sings him the Mother's song, and comforting the ladies in the Sept during the attack, etc.).

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Very interesting QoW! :) That "sixth sense of understanding" reminds me of Rapsie's point that Sansa is the Deanna Troi of Westeros.

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Hi, I am going to unlurk for just a bit to thank everyone for these wonderful essays.

I have read all the threads (still can't believe I caught up!) and I have not seen anyone tackling George Eliot. She has written a character in Middlemarch who I think is called Rosamond that has reminded me of Sansa a lot (I have read the book right after AGoT). I read both of the books years ago and in Serbian, not English so I might be misremembering, but she is and influential writer and it just might be interesting to compare and contrast her with other female authors.

I want to apologize in advance because I can't do it myself. First of all, I am really not able to do an analysis very well at all, least of all between two books in a language that is not my mother tongue.

Secondly, I don't have the time, I have loads of exams fast approaching and will be studying all through winter (and mayhaps will be found frozen come spring with a book clutched in my fingers).

I don't want to jinx this thread so I will not say that it is one of the most polite threads internet has ever seen, but I will say that it has revealed to me whole layers of meaning behind GRRM's writing that would have gone over my head. Either I lack the knowledge and skill to tackle them, or because I don't speak the same symbolic/religious/cultural language as the author.

I did get some of it on my own: the fairytale parallels, some of the myths, but for example, food references have a whole different meaning for me, gestures don't translate, middle ages references that are not shared because my middle ages are tied to Constantinople, not Western Europe, Orthodox Christianity with isihasm, not scolasticism etc.

*goes back to lurking*

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Welcome Mirijam! So happy you decided to unlurk :) I'm not familiar with Middlemarch, but I do remember reading The Mill on the Floss and absolutely loving Eliot. It would be wonderful if someone could tackle these 19th century English novels, but I do appreciate the time and effort it would entail. We really value the diverse backgrounds of those who follow the thread, so please feel free to share anything else that strikes you as relevant.

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That is one definition, but it's hardly the end all and be all of equality, and it gives a faulty image of it. Even Simone de Beauvoir in 1949 expanded upon this to incorporate other facets of human life than being "equal in front of the law" or "equal responsibility". To view equality, gender issues etc. like this gives a very narrow focus, and ignores a lot of facets research has turned up as important.

I'd also say that this is not the place to discuss misinformation about feminism, since there are a lot of good and useful resources online where knowledge about these things can be found. Feminism 101 is one such place, where there are also references for further reading for those interested.

Again, this shows a complete misunderstanding of what feminism is about. It's misinformation, pure and simple. Feminism is not about denying women happiness, it's about agency, about choice, about being informed. But yes, sisterhood is and should be important,. And there is a shorthand saying for that which is pretty useful: I don't need to blow out another woman's candle to make mine burn brighter.

In this case, Sansa wanted to marry Joffrey and be his queen, but I think we can safely say she was not making an informed choice. Hence in doing so she was perpetuating the flawed view of society she got taught by Septa Mordane etc. She was after the proper role in an idealised version of reality that was not true.

Now though, she wants to be loved for herself, and her wishes for a family is about belonging, about safety, about having a home again. The end result, formally, may be the same (married with children) but the reasons and the way there are completely different. Sansa is more able, through her character development and through growing up, to make an independent, informed decision, making it more meaningful. There is a huge difference between marrying because you have been taught this is what life is all about and to marry and have children because it is what you really want to do.

Lastly, it makes me extremely sad when women mock "feminist sisterhood" since women coming together and actually discussing subjects releveant to them is somehow looked down upon as silly, unimportant and worthy of mockery.

Sorry, I've never actually needed "feminism 101," or anything else "101" in dealing with people, especially as I see everyone on an individual basis, unique from one another and not to be categorized into groups, sub-groups, or stereo-typed.

Those theories may sound good academically, but as always when dealing with reality, a vastly different experience.

And I personally have never felt the need to blow out any persons candle for mine to burn brighter.

I say strike a match and light it up.

I actually agree with you on your analysis of Sansa, but it's my observation the subject of "feminism" comes up when Sansa is chastised for precisely the tradtionally "feminine" goals she aspires to.

She's not actually criticized so much for the actionable things she's done that directly impact her like trusting the Lannisters, and then later the Tyrells, and now LF.

Hoping she wises up and starts assessing people more accurately is a reasonable expectation if one expects her to survive, but if she wants a Husband, children, and a Unicorn ranch, those are not valid reasons for criticizng her, and those are the points I was speaking to.

Again, I truly hope the best for her character.

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But yes, sisterhood is and should be important,. And there is a shorthand saying for that which is pretty useful: I don't need to blow out another woman's candle to make mine burn brighter.

Lastly, it makes me extremely sad when women mock "feminist sisterhood" since women coming together and actually discussing subjects releveant to them is somehow looked down upon as silly, unimportant and worthy of mockery.

An admirable sentiment, though not one met by reality. Really,

Hell, even in ASOIAF, we see some girls / women who snuff each others candles out frequently and ferociously. Sansa & Jeyne vs. Arya, Catelyn vs. Lysa, Cersei versus ... anyone. They do not need to? Perhaps in some cases they want to.

Take heart, though. We guys have been doing it to each other since the beginning of time too. Deep down, we're all a brotherhood ... like the Cleganes.

I see her being criticized because people dont' like her romantic choice, not for "being sexual".

I'd tend to agree for both Dany and Sansa. The difference is that Dany is older and more experienced (and sexually active). She has been married, widowed, and had pseudo-children (her dragons). She is desired, and knows it, but also has desires and knows that. So who is threatened ? Nobody I think. Her tendency to give it up to certain flamboyant douchebags men whose merits are hard to fathom just tends to annoy people.

Sansa's choices have been more like crushes, really, and that's to be expected. Right now for her, sexual feelings are associated with personal danger (and not the exciting false kind, but the real horrifying kind), so she may be choosing to be more "icy" than she would have otherwise. Probably was not headed towards being a man-eater, because while she knew she was pretty, I don't think she viewed it as a way to bend people to her will. She was very intent on making love and desire central to her life. She wanted it, but wanted it to be real. Again, being kept as a POW by a family of tyrannical sadists tends to put the kibosh on normal emotional development, but it is not all gone from her.

Arya? Not sexual yet. Not even really having crushes yet. What she'll be like is an open question, but one theory is that (again) thanks to her traumatic experiences, she may have put off being sexual at all. Low priority, compared with feeding yourself, or escaping from a haunted castle full of well-armed war criminals. It also didn't help that Sansa and Jeyne Poole always put her down. She thinks herself ugly, and wears it like armour.

Margaery ? Definitely sexual. (Just not with her husbands, har !) She's wel trained in the traditional female graces, and careful not to appear wanton because of the political/social implications that carries, but she likely has normal desires (and among her cousins, you see this). We don't get a POV from her, so it is hard to say what actually motivates her.

Ygritte ? A lively wildling lass who was determined to break Jon Snow out of his shell, and did. Reaped the rewards, quite happily. Too bad she dies though. Still, wildling women seem to have a way of sometimes getting "stolen" by those they want to steal them - who is stealing who, really ? Even Gilly seems more comfortable going after Sam than him after her. (Again, we have no wildling POV to enlighten us, besides briefly with Varamyr.)

Arianne ? Consciously acts as a seductress; at the very least she definitely takes charge of her own love life. She seems quite able to separate ideas of desire from ideas of marriage. Perhaps as a princess she has more leeway to pick whoever she wants? Perhaps she is just normal by Dorne standards ? It seems the sort of place where women being openly lusty is not considered embarrassing or impure.

Asha ? Takes her men whenever she feels the urge, and enjoys it too. In a society that makes no bones about male-dominated "might makes right", she's pretty much pulled a Vasquez and out-machoed them all. (In a "no means no, ignoring the no means an axe in the face" sort of way.) Yet, she is feminine and does not seem to be out to prove she's actually like a man.

Brienne - Brienne's heart runs much like Sansa's I suspect. She desires, she has her crushes and such. For her though, her experiences amount to no man truly seeing her in that way - except Jaime and (much more dubiously) Hyle Hunt. She seems quite uncomfortable with desire, or maybe just has been conditioned to think her desires will never come true.

Melisandre - Clearly for her being sexual is not only normal, but sacred. She knows how men want her, and by wanting her, want to obey her or fulfill her goals. A bit manipulative, but I imagine she considers it a woman's own sort of innate witchcraft. R'Hillor gave women those gifts, and she is simply more aware of how they are meant for the greater good.

Cersei - All desire and little restraint. She has been taking what she wanted since she was a child, in every way, not just sexually. She's a user, and even her longest and most stable relationship (with Jaime) was ultimately insincere. Sansa's sincere belief in love seems to actually annoy her; she thinks of sincerity as a form of weakness.

So really, each of the ladies in the story have something of their own unique take on all things sexual. There is no set pattern of "woman gets sexual, is scorned by fans".

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I have read all the threads (still can't believe I caught up!) and I have not seen anyone tackling George Eliot. She has written a character in Middlemarch who I think is called Rosamond that has reminded me of Sansa a lot (I have read the book right after AGoT).

I'd be interested to hear why, because aside from their outward femininity, Sansa and Rosamond seem to me to be utterly unalike (although Sansa is closer to Rosamond in GoT than in any other book in the series, to be fair). Do you by any chance mean Dorothea? Come to think of it, there are a lot of potential parallels there, so great idea if so!

(I'm a bit of a Middlemarch fan, as you can tell...)

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Sorry, I've never actually needed "feminism 101," or anything else "101" in dealing with people, especially as I see everyone on an individual basis, unique from one another and not to be categorized into groups, sub-groups, or stereo-typed.

Those theories may sound good academically, but as always when dealing with reality, a vastly different experience.

Feminism did not appear as an academic subject originally. Most feminists, myelf included, are feminists because of real life experience. I have no academic background in feminism. I'm an MSc and have taken exactly one course at Uni outside of the science faculty and that was business economy. I work with IT, my interests align mor with men than with women, generally.

So feminism does not have anything to do with academia. It's about real life, and it's about our history as women, about how we gained the right to vote, about how we gained the right to work, about how we gained the right to our own bodies, about how we gained the right to not be beaten and raped by our spouses, about how we gained the right to divorce, about all the things we still don't have, like equal pay, equal amount of housework in the family, equal power in society etc etc etc et ad infinitum.

I actually agree with you on your analysis of Sansa, but it's my observation the subject of "feminism" comes up when Sansa is chastised for precisely the tradtionally "feminine" goals she aspires to.

What feminists have claimed this? You have a lot of feminists in this thread, and I know loads more. None of them has issues with Sansa wanting traditionally feminine goals. The main thrust of the argument is that traditionally feminine women get devalued and female characters get judged harsher due to their gender. Your view of feminism and feminists here has nothing to do with actual feminists, but with the "strawfeminist". Which by the way is dealt with on the Feminism 101 blog. I really strongly recommend it, since your standpoint, even if you don't notice it yourself, is riddled with misunderstandings and misinformation about feminism and feminists.

Further, as women, we ought to read up on what the women who have gone before us have fought for since we today enjoy all the priviliges of their hard earned success. It was never obvious that women would even gain the vote, or be allowed to divorce, or own property. Today people take it for granted, but it was not long ago very few things were obvious, and only some 20 years ago women could get sacked for getting pregnant, or forced to endure horrible sexual harrassment at work without any chance to make it right.

Don't take things for granted. And if you've never experienced sexual harrassment, you probably will at some point, if you are female. There are two options: you either do your best to ignore it, or you fight it. The choice, as ever, is and should be, yours. But don't walk into it blind. Know your history, know to whom you owe thanks. You may not feel you need it, but there is no value in ignorance for the sake of ignorance.

She's not actually criticized so much for the actionable things she's done that directly impact her like trusting the Lannisters, and then later the Tyrells, and now LF.

She's critisised extremely harshly for trusting Cersei, for instance, and not taking Arya's side.

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I'd be interested to hear why, because aside from their outward femininity, Sansa and Rosamond seem to me to be utterly unalike (although Sansa is closer to Rosamond in GoT than in any other book in the series, to be fair). Do you by any chance mean Dorothea? Come to think of it, there are a lot of potential parallels there, so great idea if so!

(I'm a bit of a Middlemarch fan, as you can tell...)

Dorothea and Sansa? Well I suppose there is the initial idealism...

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I'd be interested to hear why, because aside from their outward femininity, Sansa and Rosamond seem to me to be utterly unalike (although Sansa is closer to Rosamond in GoT than in any other book in the series, to be fair). Do you by any chance mean Dorothea? Come to think of it, there are a lot of potential parallels there, so great idea if so!

(I'm a bit of a Middlemarch fan, as you can tell...)

I haven't read Middlemarch in a while, so I am speaking from memory:

AGoT Sansa and Rozamond have had a similar education, I think.

Remember in Arya POV how she says Sansa knows embroidery, history, playing an instrument? Rosamond's methodist aunt (can't remember her name) remarks how Rosamond has learned to embroider but not to sew, or do anything useful. f1

Rosamond knows a lot of facts that never seem to turn into real understanding, Sansa in AGoT (and later) shows that she knows a lot of songs, legends and heraldry without ever showing an understanding of history - Arya clearly doesn't know the difference between the two when she speaks in her POV. A lot of people write Sansa off as stupid not understanding that the poor child really did her homework and got no feedback telling her she is wrong until King's Landing, where it was too late. [baelor the Blessed and snakes *facepalm*]

Playing an instrument: Sansa plays a harp and bells, Rosamond plays the piano. But neither shows any artistic spirit. We learn much later that Sansa doesn't consider her playing all that good! But that is not in AGOT, so at first it comes off as a bunch of 'reported abilities'. We learn that Rosamond can play extremely well but that all her unique interpretations are in fact imitations of her teacher's playing.

Furthermore, they both put more stress on manners and polish over substance. They are both very aware of class differences, both very attractive and know it, they pity and dislike ugly people... Except Sansa in AGoT is eleven (and a noble in Westros) and Rosamond an adult and she never changes.

Then, there is the similarity of behaviour between Sansa and Rosamond where they outwardly obey and respect their father/husband but inwardly think that their brains are addled and go behind their backs. We know what Sansa did, let me remind you about Rosamond: she refused to rent a smaller house because they were out of money, didn't tell her husband about this, they went bancrupt; wrote to her whatever-in-law behind her husband's back to borrow money and only ensured that they will get none; rode a horse while pregnant when her husband (a doctor) told her not to, and had a miscarriage. Yeah, George Eliot really disliked her!

And then Sansa outgrows this, but Rosamond doesn't. Sansa continues to develop beyond AGoT and we discover that she would make a good mother to her children, that she is smart, has courage etc. But in AGoT she is pretty much the same kind of character as Rosamond. And I wonder what is the point of having one Stark girl be this kind of character.

I would like to point out that Rosamond and Sansa exist in a very different societies and that class awareness is normal in Sansa's world; her education is bad, but not exeptionally so for someone so young, while Rosamond's clearly isn't upto preparing her for life (I think part of the point Eliot was making was that Rosamond got an education not fitting with her state in society, she was too poor for it, but I am not sure). The only similarity that i think is of value in our discussion is the purpose of their educations (namely, the ability to please with their graces) which is the same in each one (but in different societies and stations in life) and the way that both Georges show that education Gone Horribly Right..

f1. I think GRRM dropped the ball with the whole embroidery thing. There seems to be no awareness of cloth production in his books. No spinning, carding, weaving, fulking, one instance of a seamstress, only a few instances of embroidery. We are in Sansa's POV numerous times and she never stops to consider how she would embroider anything. I am an avid knitter and crocheter and I tend to pause films to see what patterns are present in the frame! I think this is ONE aspect of his books that he has failed, unfortunately Sansa as a very feminine character suffers from this not-appreciating of woman's work like no other does.

Do any of you think she would have come off better if in the first Arya chapter she had been knitting gloves/socks for baby Rickon, embrodiered something that is later used, embroidered a memento for her Mother for when they are separated?

I think Sansa can be compared to Dorothea, but it would also be interesting to compare the contrast of Arya/Sansa to Dorothea/Rosamond and the way it is done, what the message is etc.

Daphne, are you up to it? I have an exam come Thursday and I shouldn't even be here! lol

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Mirijam, welcome!

I am not familiar with Middlemarch, so I cannot comment on Rosamond specifically, but Mary Wollstonecraft (one of the first modern-era feminists and a true pioneer) noted that women received inferior educations that prepared them very little for the real world or even intelligent conversation, so no wonder many men thought them stupid! And I mean she was an absolute pioneer - and an outlier - in saying that women's innate intelligence was the same as men's and they ought to be educated accordingly.

Antonia Fraser, in The Weaker Vessel (a nonfiction book about women in 17th Century England) wrote about the kind of education aristocratic women received - and it was one very like Sansa's. Girls were taught basic reading and writing, as well as French (everyone of refinement was expected to know French), and embroidery, music, decoupage and water-color painting of feminine subjects like flowers. In other words, just like Sansa Stark (and no doubt most of her contemporaries) they were taught to be pretty, decorative and ladylike, not useful or even intelligent.

So I can well accept that Sansa was taught the ladylike arts. Whether her musical ability was up to snuff didn't matter, I'm sure, as she was not a professional - as long as she could play decently well and carry a tune, she could sing and play for her family for their entertainment (remember, no TV, no movies, no paperbacks, no iPads). Professional musicians get to be as good as they are because they practice every day for hours. Sansa isn't doing that, so she's not going to have the level of skill that a paid harpist would have, but she no doubt was good enough to impress her family and any suitors.

Likewise with embroidery - Sansa wouldn't be expected to sew her own clothes. Sure, she would be doing some embroidery around the hems of her skirts and sewing pretty gemstones onto her cloth-of-silver sashes, but seamstress work? Not for someone of her station. She might knit a pair of mittens for Rickon but that's about it.

History and other intellectual subjects - it appears that her septa (most likely) didn't bother much with those. Septa Mordane was responsible for educating Sansa and apparently she just said "okay, fine" when Sansa expressed an interest in love songs and romances. She was taught heraldry because that was expected of a noblewoman - to know which house had which coat of arms; "Come Into My Castle" was a common game used to teach that knowledge.

Was Cersei's education much different? How about Lyanna Stark's? I'm trying to think of noblewomen who got a more rounded education and can think of two: Catelyn Stark, because she was heiress to Riverrun for much of her childhood, and Margaery Tyrell, partly because her family was so ambitious for her and probably also because her grandmother was a powerful woman and she had a great influence on Margaery's training. There are also the Sand Snakes, but I'm always pointing out how different things are in Dorne :) so it's hard to generalize women's education from there to the rest of Westeros.

However - as I see it, true intellectuals who were not maesters, like Tyrion Lannister and Rodrik "The Reader" Harlaw, were quite rare even among men. I think Randyll Tarly was exceptionally hard-hearted, but his attitude toward Sam bears examining: Noblemen were expected to be warriors first, intellectuals second if at all, unless they were maesters. Non-maester intellectuals were either eccentrics (Rodrik Harlaw) or physically handicapped (Tyrion Lannister), or bad-ass warriors who just happened to be learned (Oberyn Martell) - for the most part.

It's true that Sansa was not educated for the life she turned out to lead. But that wasn't the life she was supposed to lead. She had to be more self-sufficient, more street-smart, and more wary than she was brought up to be. And she's learned a lot. But absolutely no-one foresaw that she might need a more rounded education than what she received. Plus, she's eleven in GoT and only thirteen in AFFC, which means middle school age, which means even a modern Sansa might be expected to be preoccupied with clothes, boys, and music rather than physics or high school honors courses. :)

I want to add that Arya's education didn't prepare her for her future station in life either. She would have been expected to know all the ladylike graces that indulgent Ned apparently said she didn't have to learn if she didn't want to. Plus, she mentions that Sansa was better at everything but math, so she didn't get exceptional scholarly training either. If Ned expected to marry both of them to southern lords (and in Bran's POV he says Ned did) then Arya's lack of conventional feminine graces would have been a huge liability to her.

Jane Austen's novels revolve around the need for aristocratic girls with not much money (the Bennets, the Dashwoods) to marry well. Not only were there all kinds of legal barriers to female employment, there were tremendous class barriers as well. Well-born girls just did not work except at a very few jobs. The Bronte sisters were governesses; Mary Shelley (Mary Wollstonecraft's daughter) wrote novels. Governess, paid companion to an elderly woman, or writer were about the only respectable ways to earn a living for upper-class women.

Back to Sansa: what Mirijam says about the author telling, not showing, Sansa's musical and embroidery skills is true. We see from Arya's POV in her first AGOT chapter that Sansa also reads books and writes poetry. We don't see her writing emo poetry to pass the time while she's a hostage, so more "informed abilities." I honestly see this as a case of "writer not knowing much about embroidery, music and poetry" than "Sansa isn't good at these things." GRRM has said that Arya and Tyrion are two of his favorite POV's. Arya is a tomboy, Tyrion an intellectual. Now if it were me writing these kinds of books and characters I'd feel much more comfortable with writing a "Sansa" than an "Arya" and would love to detail all about Sansa's embroidery activities because that is the kind of person I am. That's just the way it is with authors. They tend to be better at writing some things more than others.

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Politically it might not matter. For a will to have force it has to be honoured. There is no obligation to honour the will of the King in the North who is now a dead traitor, and there are still the small difficulties of Jon being either Lord Commander of the Night's Watch or dead (or both, why be narrow minded about this?) which might disqualify him from being king of a kingdom that has no practical existence at the end of ADWD.

Emotionally and perhaps politically for Sansa I suspect that it could be huge. Her own brother knew that she was alive but placed a bastard half brother ahead of her and any future heirs of her body. And he did this as far as we know unconditionally - how do you react to that? It has got to be a blow, particularly (and I type in the light of Tze's lovely post about the connections between Jon and Sansa) when she has been consciously or unconsciously modelling herself on Jon. Politically it might make life awkward for her if later she tries to assert herself as senior stark to be guardian or advisor to little Rickon. Robb didn't know that Rickon was alive, but he knew that Sansa was alive but rejected her as a political heir. That rejection could turn out to be something that Sansa may well have to work against. It could be something that less scrupulous lords use to keep her out of the picture and to maintain their own influence over little Rickon. Those are my guesses.

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Practically, I think the wording of the will won't matter much to the North by now as it's in such a shambles. Here, I see Sansa's ace in the hole as the Vale's abundant food supplies. If people are starving and she can feed them, she's going to be Queen Bread. :) That is what people care about. (Not Stannis - but we can't all be Stannis. :D )

Emotionally, if Sansa finds out, I think it will be a crushing blow, however. She was married off to Tyrion against her will, and now her brother, who didn't or couldn't rescue her, basically disowned her? And if she finds out that it was partially on her mother's advice - that is going to cut deep. I think this will be the main issue - not the bare contents of the will, which don't mean a lot without law or force or popular acclaim to back it up, but believing that her family wrote her off through no fault of her own. That is going to suck.

Again practically, Jon is dead(ish), and probably has a bigger destiny awaiting him than King in the North. Tyrion has disappeared from Westeros. The marriage was not consummated and could be annulled (also on the grounds that Tyrion was married before; if Littlefinger could whistle up a fake Arya, a fake Tysha would be a piece of cake).

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I think the will has the potential to screw up Littlefinger's life far more than Sansa's. Sansa just wants to go home. Put Jon in control of the North, and Sansa would be welcomed home with open arms. Littlefinger's whole scheme, on the other hand, revolves around there being nobody with a greater claim to Winterfell than Sansa (because if there is, then the North won't automatically rise for Sansa, and the Vale might not either). If/when Rickon and/or Bran show up, Littlefinger could easily decry them as imposters (same thing with the real Arya, and Arya is younger than Sansa regardless)---but Jon's a whole other ballgame. His identity is (ironically) not in doubt, he's unambiguously older than Sansa, and he has a proven leadership track record. I doubt Littlefinger took into account the possibility of the Northmen's beloved King in the North explicitly disinheriting Sansa and naming a very attractive candidate heir instead when he made his plans.

Emotionally and perhaps politically for Sansa I suspect that it could be huge. Her own brother knew that she was alive but placed a bastard half brother ahead of her and any future heirs of her body. And he did this as far as we know unconditionally - how do you react to that? It has got to be a blow,

I think it would be a huge relief to her, actually. Sansa's never shown any desire to be Lady of Winterfell or Queen in the North. She repeatedly bemoans the "fact" that, as the last Stark, nobody will ever love her for herself, only for her claim:

"But he does not know you," Dontos insisted, "and he will not love you. Jonquil, Jonquil, open your sweet eyes, these Tyrells care nothing for you. It's your claim they mean to wed."

"My claim?" She was lost for a moment.

"Sweetling," he told her, "you are heir to Winterfell." He grabbed her again, pleading that she must not do this thing, and Sansa wrenched free and left him swaying beneath the heart tree. She had not visited the godswood since.

But she had not forgotten his words, either. The heir to Winterfell, she would think as she lay abed at night. It's your claim they mean to wed. Sansa had grown up with three brothers. She never thought to have a claim, but with Bran and Rickon dead ... It doesn't matter, there's still Robb, he's a man grown now, and soon he'll wed and have a son. Anyway, Willas Tyrell will have Highgarden, what would he want with Winterfell?

Tyrell or Lannister, it makes no matter, it's not me they want, only my claim.

At least I am safe here. Joffrey is dead, he cannot hurt me anymore, and I am only a bastard girl now Alayne Stone has no husband and no claim.

It is not me she wants her son to marry, it is my claim. No one will ever marry me for love.

Sansa was never exactly thrilled about having a claim to Winterfell, because for her it meant that nobody would ever love her for herself, only as a means of gaining Winterfell. Insert Jon ahead of her in the succession---thus extinguishing Sansa's claim---and how does Sansa react? Suddenly nobody can use her for her claim anymore. People who love her will henceforth have to do so only for herself, not for the real estate she can get for them. She seems savvy enough to understand that the point of the will wasn't to punish or condemn her, it was to prevent the hated Lannisters from gaining Winterfell. And Sansa really, really wants to go home. If Jon controls the North . . . well, Sansa gets to go home. Win-win.

And hey, Joffrey murdering Ned was the impetus for Sansa turning on the Lannisters. There would be an interesting thematic symmetry to having the prospect of Littlefinger going after Jon being what causes Sansa to turn on Littlefinger.

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f1. I think GRRM dropped the ball with the whole embroidery thing. There seems to be no awareness of cloth production in his books. No spinning, carding, weaving, fulking, one instance of a seamstress, only a few instances of embroidery. We are in Sansa's POV numerous times and she never stops to consider how she would embroider anything. I am an avid knitter and crocheter and I tend to pause films to see what patterns are present in the frame! I think this is ONE aspect of his books that he has failed, unfortunately Sansa as a very feminine character suffers from this not-appreciating of woman's work like no other does.

Do any of you think she would have come off better if in the first Arya chapter she had been knitting gloves/socks for baby Rickon, embrodiered something that is later used, embroidered a memento for her Mother for when they are separated?

As an avid knitter and sewer who has also dabbled a bit in spinning, I have to say this gives me lots of feels. I can't comment on the comparison as I'm not familiar with the original work but I appreciated this. I also pause films to look at patterns and have read quite a bit on the history of needlecrafts.

Likewise with embroidery - Sansa wouldn't be expected to sew her own clothes. Sure, she would be doing some embroidery around the hems of her skirts and sewing pretty gemstones onto her cloth-of-silver sashes, but seamstress work? Not for someone of her station. She might knit a pair of mittens for Rickon but that's about it.

I am almost positive that Martin has commented on some of this before although I can't remember any of the specifics. Someone asked him a question about this and other tasks required to run a castle and he said a Lady like Sansa would not be involved in the daily tasks. But, don't hold me to this.

To go back to what Mirijam was saying though, there is some historical precedent for this. Many women of both the noble and royal classes did make clothing for family members. As you say, the majority would have been done by a seamstress or someone in a similar role. But, it was not unusual for women to make some of their husbands clothes or for a new baby.

One of the most famous examples of this practice is probably Isabella of Spain. She made almost all of her husband's Ferdinand's shirts and did his mending as well.

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As an avid knitter and sewer who has also dabbled a bit in spinning, I have to say this gives me lots of feels. I can't comment on the comparison as I'm not familiar with the original work but I appreciated this. I also pause films to look at patterns and have read quite a bit on the history of needlecrafts.

I am almost positive that Martin has commented on some of this before although I can't remember any of the specifics. Someone asked him a question about this and other tasks required to run a castle and he said a Lady like Sansa would not be involved in the daily tasks. But, don't hold me to this.

To go back to what Mirijam was saying though, there is some historical precedent for this. Many women of both the noble and royal classes did make clothing for family members. As you say, the majority would have been done by a seamstress or someone in a similar role. But, it was not unusual for women to make some of their husbands clothes or for a new baby.

One of the most famous examples of this practice is probably Isabella of Spain. She made almost all of her husband's Ferdinand's shirts and did his mending as well.

I agree with Mirijam's thoughts on Sansa and needlework as well. I find it interesting that GRRM said Sansa wouldn't be involved with tasks required to run a castle--depending on the size of a holding, I thought women were supposed to take on the role of a Chatelaine (?).

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