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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XVI

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Hmmm, that's very interesting Rapsie; and especially considering that the Wall might very well be a kind of enchantment after all.

It reminds me of the scene where Oberyn and Tyrion are criticizing Sansa for actually believing in a magical tale (I think one about Baelor). Sansa believes in the mystical and takes such tales at face value. She's looked down upon by other characters for this, but considering what we've seen of their world you have to wonder who's really the chump.

I think we could see a mini-travelogue :) I'm not expecting Sansa to remain in the Vale for much longer (although she might not immediately North), considering LF's plans for Sweetrobin and the threats from men like the Mad Mouse. Of course, LF claims to have plans to retake the North with the Vale army, but that seems like just another ruse to entrap Sansa further.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men.... I sort of like the idea of Sansa coming to Sweetrobin's rescue and helping him become a good lord. It would be awesome if she got to reclaim her home though.

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It reminds me of the scene where Oberyn and Tyrion are criticizing Sansa for actually believing in a magical tale (I think one about Baelor). Sansa believes in the mystical and takes such tales at face value. She's looked down upon by other characters for this, but considering what we've seen of their world you have to wonder who's really the chump.

Indeed. And it's precisely this kind of mindset that is needed now, although we've seen her gradually coming to lose faith in the stories and songs. And yet, it's often when we least expect it that momentous events can take place. Perhaps Sansa's warging will be what restores her appreciation for the mystical, or it might play out in the form of death/resurrection.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men.... I sort of like the idea of Sansa coming to Sweetrobin's rescue and helping him become a good lord. It would be awesome if she got to reclaim her home though.

Yes it would be. My personal prediction is that she'll remain Alayne Stone for the duration of TWOW, and that means no heading North for a while. I do believe that she needs to get out of the Vale though, but who knows what Martin has planned at this point.

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Perhaps every major character (particularly the Starks) have their own fire and ice symbolism. But in the relationship between Sandor and Sansa, they both seem to have a fire association. Sansa is the warm flame that eases the chill in Sandor's heart so to speak. But he in turn acts as a blazing flame that burns away "impurities" of thought for Sansa. Such as lies. But now it seems Sansa is the ice and Sandor, far away from her, is a warm candle burning in the dark. That is if he is indeed the brother on the Quiet Isle.

The title of the series is about duality, finding balance between opposites. A song is taking what could be a random mix of sounds and bringing them together in to a harmony, providing meaning to what would otherwise be a cacophony of noise. It seems that the relationship between the two of them provides a balance as well, a tempering of extremes - Sansa's naivetee and Sandor's cynicism.

And, I won't even consider him dead until I see the body and get independent DNA confirmation. And as Westeros lacks DNA capabilities, I think that tells you my willingness to accept that he's anything but alive and well on the QI, gentling his rage until it's time for her to reassert himself in to the story.

Sansa as Queen of Winter bears weight symbolically. But practically speaking, the north would love to follow a classic warrior with a direwolf. If Rickon is indeed on Skagos, the Manderly family will raise him to lead the north. Although there must be a reason that GRRM made him so young in the story. So Sansa is the most logical choice for leadership. The only problem is distance and renown. How will she reach her ancestral seat and who will get her there? I do not believe we will see another travelogue in the story. It would serve no purpose. Sansa may appear in the north after a time lapse.
Hmmm, that's very interesting Rapsie; and especially considering that the Wall might very well be a kind of enchantment after all. I think we could see a mini-travelogue :) I'm not expecting Sansa to remain in the Vale for much longer (although she might not immediately North), considering LF's plans for Sweetrobin and the threats from men like the Mad Mouse. Of course, LF claims to have plans to retake the North with the Vale army, but that seems like just another ruse to entrap Sansa further.

I'm pretty convinced that Martin has held back certain information about the North, in the same way he made certain that an attempt to warg a dragon has never been made. It's a pet theory of mine that the next Dunk and Egg, she-wolves of WF will give us insight in to how and under what circumstances a woman rules WF. It's my understanding the she-wolves were widows but I think what they tell us will be relevant for both Sansa and Arya.

I also agree with brashcandy here, Sansa's time in the Vale will come to an end. It's a place for her to grow and develop, it's not endgame. The imagery around her character establishes her as a daughter of winter, she belongs in the North.

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Kittykatknits,you talked about the she-wolves and reminded me the Varamyr´s Prologue. When I read it I do not know why I thought he was talking about the Stark girls:

"Wolves were harder. A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf. "Wolves and women wed for life," Haggon often said. "You take one, that's a marriage. The wolf is part of you from that day on, and you're part of him. Both of you will change."

(Varamyr Sixskins, Prologue of "A dance with dragons")

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"white as snow" and "dark as ash"?

Interesting.

Quite :)

Kittykatknits,you talked about the she-wolves and reminded me the Varamyr´s Prologue. When I read it I do not know why I thought he was talking about the Stark girls:

"Wolves were harder. A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf. "Wolves and women wed for life," Haggon often said. "You take one, that's a marriage. The wolf is part of you from that day on, and you're part of him. Both of you will change."

(Varamyr Sixskins, Prologue of "A dance with dragons")

Well it certainly gives credit to the idea that the connection between the children and their wolves endures despite time, distance and even death.

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I had initially been concerned about Varmyr's Wolves and Women quote as Sansa is married to Tyrion. However when we discussed the B of BW scene, it is amazing how much that scene reads like a Westersoi wedding: the singing, the kiss, the vows (no one will hurt you etc) and Sansa volutentarily putting Sandor's cloak around her shoulders and using it for protection and comfort. The fact the cloak is white and bloody is also symbolic of a consummated marriage.

Certainly the imagery is there between the two of them.

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Indeed. And it's precisely this kind of mindset that is needed now, although we've seen her gradually coming to lose faith in the stories and songs. And yet, it's often when we least expect it that momentous events can take place. Perhaps Sansa's warging will be what restores her appreciation for the mystical, or it might play out in the form of death/resurrection.

But I believe that her lost of faith is kind of desillusion about life. And all the people telling her that songs are lies, and that she doesn´t need more songs, and after finding Marillion that used the songs for his own purposes as Petyr.

Also as a proof of her desillusion about love. As if life and love is connected to her.

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But I believe that her lost of faith is kind of desillusion about life. And all the people telling her that songs are lies, and that she doesn´t need more songs, and after finding Marillion that used the songs for his own purposes as Petyr.

Also as a proof of her desillusion about love. As if life and love is connected to her.

I agree. She's experienced some truly awful things which have worked to confirm LF's message that life is not a song leading to this disillusionment. Of course, at this point, she still doesn't realise just how much of her misery is directly connected to LF's actions and that he wants to sully her compassionate and sympathetic nature in order to fully ensure his entrapment. What her own experiences in Winterfell and even in KL have confirmed however, is that while life might not be a song, and while naivete can often lead to unfortunate mistakes in judgement, life can still offer hope and love and happiness, along with its fair share of redemption. Look at her perspective on Mya and Lothor for instance, or her memories of the last night with Sandor, where she recalls that he took a song and a kiss. Even when she dismisses the latter to the past, Alayne Stone still remains preoccupied with the possibility of a happy match for the former. And I think this is really going to work against LF at the end of the day, because he believes he is the sole architect of Alayne, when in reality that persona is being shaped by the person Sansa is at heart. She's learnt that even in the worst of times, good people can make a difference, and that fear for one's self does not preclude fear for another, and most importantly does not prevent one from seeking to help in some way.

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Whilst musing over the symbolism of Sansa’s wrapping herself in a certain Kingsguard’s snowy cloak, Milady has found out some historical info that might be of interest to the lovely ladies here.

In biblical times, when divorcing a woman or breaking a betrothal, a man had to pronounce some words in public for the people to know and sign a divorce bill––they had divorce in the modern sense, unlike in the Middle Ages––but if he was repudiating her on grounds of adultery or fornication, he could also take a humiliating measure against her: strip her naked. To expose a woman’s nakedness and to have her bosom exposed naked in public was a way of both repudiating her and calling her a wanton. It was the most humiliating punishment possible. Nobody would take such a dishonoured woman under his protection after this. Yet it could happen, as this verse, where God is speaking of taking a destitute, unloved and humiliated Israel as his metaphorical “wife,” shows:

“I saw that you were old enough for love. So I wrapped my cloak around you to cover your nakedness and declared my marriage vows."

(Ezekiel 16:8)

Sansa was beaten and stripped naked in public by Joffrey, which can be taken as official repudiation on his part––as well as a punishment with sexual connotations; the little sadist is indirectly calling her a whore––though the betrothal would be formally broken months later, by the High Septon.

Sansa clutched it against her chest, fists bunched hard in the white wool. The coarse weave was scratchy against her skin, but no velvet had ever felt so fine.

It’s after this humiliation and beating when she wraps herself for the first time in Sandor’s cloak, who would later offer his protection and vow to keep her safe, which is somewhat similar to one of the ancient marriage vows (to take the woman home. The most important of the vows were three: to feed, clothe, and love her).

And what real life example there is of GRRM’s depiction of cloaks in marriage ceremonies? We only have to go back to Ancient Israel to find the origin of the custom of a man placing a cloak around the shoulders of the woman he’s taking as wife. And here’s the beautiful thing: this custom was the woman’s way of asking a man for marriage.

Yes, you read it right. It was the woman who initiated it. It was a female prerogative. She would ask like this woman, Ruth, asked in the Bible:

"Spread your cloak over me […]”

(Ruth 3:9)

By asking a man to put his cloak around her, the woman was expressing her wish for the man to take her as his betrothed. And if the man wanted to signal his acceptance and proceed ahead with this ancient form of betrothal, he had to cover her with his cloak. In later history, it would be the man who would spread his cloak over his bride’s shoulders without taking it off his own shoulders, and then take her to the wedding chamber. The garment would then be thrown out of the window for the guests to see the bloodied item as proof of consummation.

And these cloaks were usually made of pure rough-spun wool, because the law forbade mixing materials with wool. Sometimes they were made of linen or silk, depending on personal preferences.

The old Aramaic-Hebrew word for cloak also means wing, hence idioms like to take somebody under one’s wing are a metaphor for protecting somebody. The interpretation of the cloak as symbol of protection is therefore not new, nor exclusive to ASOIAF. It really meant it in those times––and still does in some parts of the Middle East, for cultures of Semitic origins. It represented the protection of a new family with the man whose cloak she covered herself with, and his faithfulness as well.

Sansa had Sandor’s cloak twice, and his is the only one she reaches for on her own initiative, it’s not imposed on her as the others’ cloaks, which is very significant because in those times it was the man who gave his cloak, but it was the woman who decided to accept his cloak, as consent to the betrothal was required; even though they were arranged, it wasn’t infrequent for the consent of the woman to be asked, because forced marriage was believed to bring no blessings. The second time is even more significant, because the cloak wasn’t tossed at her, she wasn’t without a choice due to being naked and needing it to cover herself. She got up from her bed and picked it up and wrapped herself in it seeking comfort. But there’s more, of course. For a woman to cover herself in a cloak is also a metaphor for intimacy, emotional and sexual, which still persists in our day in some parts where this clothing is still worn; and that she kept it under her summer silks reminds me of another ancient custom involving women and cloaks: in Greece, a woman had to weave a woolen cloak and keep it as a present for her man to be given the morning after their wedding, as a mark of love.

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I'm pretty convinced that Martin has held back certain information about the North, in the same way he made certain that an attempt to warg a dragon has never been made. It's a pet theory of mine that the next Dunk and Egg, she-wolves of WF will give us insight in to how and under what circumstances a woman rules WF. It's my understanding the she-wolves were widows but I think what they tell us will be relevant for both Sansa and Arya.

This makes me wonder if the Stark maiden from the tale of Bael became one of these she-wolves who ruled in her own right. She was the only heir and her child with Bael was Ned's ancestor. Presumably those were the days when the lords of Winterfell were Kings. This raises several questions with regards to female heirs to the throne of winter. Someone in this thread compared Sansa to Elizabeth the first. A BBC documentary I watched recently called the She-Wolves of England noted that female monarchs who seized power or tried to rule in their own right were 'vilified' as she-wolves. By the time of Edward's succession there were four heirs, all female and only then were females accepted as monarchs in their own right. Apparently, the new Dunk and Egg tales will reveal whether female monarchs were more acceptable in the North or whether they may only rule as regents as Cersei does in King's Landing.

Sorry if I'm not making sense. Though I haven't been participating for some time I've been lurking diligently and following this fantastic thread!

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Sansa reminds me somewhat of Elizabeth I in that she is red-haired, and placed in increasingly hostile environments as a girl and young woman after her father's death. Elizabeth, like the young Sansa, enjoyed a merry court life and flirtations; and like Sansa, came into the care of a stepfather who displayed a distinctly non-paternal attitude towards her; and Elizabeth also had to exert tremendous self-control when imprisoned by a cruel queen. As far as She-Wolves of England go; the only two I can think of (I didn't see the program) are Isabelle, wife of Edward II; and Marguerite (Margaret) d'Anjou, wife of Henry VI. And they both deserved the epithet.

Isabelle, who was persecuted and possibly abused by her disinterested and probably homosexual (and unwise) husband Edward II and his favorites, got tired of it and took up with nobleman Roger Mortimer and they became lovers and started a successful rebellion, deposing Edward and installing Isabelle's young son Edward III (13 or 14 at the time, I think) as monarch under Isabelle's regency. Edward II was killed in a gruesome fashion while imprisoned, and as I remember, it's very likely that Isabelle and Mortimer ordered his death. Isabelle was called La Louve de France/The She-Wolf of France, since she was the daughter of King Philip IV of France. Edward III staged a coup when he was still quite young, sent his mother to a convent and had Mortimer executed, and took firm control of the throne. I'm not sure that this was so much a reaction to Isabelle being female but to her being implicated in the murder of her imprisoned and helpless husband while she held power with her lover.

Margaret of Anjou was a beautiful young French noblewoman who came to England to marry young King Henry VI. Unfortunately, Henry seems to have inherited his paternal grandfather's mental instability, and he went catatonic, or otherwise non compus mentis, for long periods of time. Margaret managed to become pregnant and give him a son, though given the timing of Henry's fits, suspicions were raised as to the boy's paternity. Margaret carried on, I think she had a lover or two; and was not terribly well liked. The Wars of the Roses started, with Lancasters (Henry VI represented mostly by his queen, plus Henry's Tudor half-brothers and Beaufort cousins and other allies) versus Yorks (Richard, Duke of York and his attractive and powerful family). As I remember, there were atrocities committed on both sides. Cersei Lannister is, in my opinion, an amalgam of Margaret of Anjou and Elizabeth Woodville (the ambitious, semi-impoverished widow of a Lancastrian knight who caught the roving eye of Edward IV and held out for marriage, and then helped her brothers to power after she was queen). Both were strong-willed, beautiful blond women whose sons were killed.

I don't recall Lady Jane Grey, or Elizabeth I, being called she-wolves. Maybe Matilda of England, daughter of Henry I who named her his heir after his son's death? She fought long and hard for the throne of England against her cousin Stephen; and lost in the end, but her son Henry won it in the end and was the first Plantagenet king (Henry II).

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snip

What a great post Milady!

Have you ever heard of Saint Martin of Tours? He cut his cloak in half to clothe a beggar. The cloak is also a mean of personal identification. So in Saint Martin's case, giving a cloak symbolises the gift of the self and selflessness.

I also read somewhere that torn or ragged cloaks were associated with separation between friends or lovers. I can't remember where I read that so I don't know what it's worth. But I think it's fitting for Sandor's and Sansa's situation.

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I agree. She's experienced some truly awful things which have worked to confirm LF's message that life is not a song leading to this disillusionment. Of course, at this point, she still doesn't realise just how much of her misery is directly connected to LF's actions and that he wants to sully her compassionate and sympathetic nature in order to fully ensure his entrapment. What her own experiences in Winterfell and even in KL have confirmed however, is that while life might not be a song, and while naivete can often lead to unfortunate mistakes in judgement, life can still offer hope and love and happiness, along with its fair share of redemption. Look at her perspective on Mya and Lothor for instance, or her memories of the last night with Sandor, where she recalls that he took a song and a kiss. Even when she dismisses the latter to the past, Alayne Stone still remains preoccupied with the possibility of a happy match for the former. And I think this is really going to work against LF at the end of the day, because he believes he is the sole architect of Alayne, when in reality that persona is being shaped by the person Sansa is at heart. She's learnt that even in the worst of times, good people can make a difference, and that fear for one's self does not preclude fear for another, and most importantly does not prevent one from seeking to help in some way.

Actually, I think Littlefinger is the architect of "Alayne". He made the persona for Sansa to inhabit in "safety", but also constrain herself within. Sansa is disillusioned, but hopeful. In a way, Alayne is neither. (Alayne has no illusions to start with, and no real hope of being more than LF's daughter / accomplice, much less having love in the manner Sansa would envision.)

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*wonderful insight*

Not to much to add here, Milady, just wanted to say thanks for sharing this bit of biblical symbolism. It's incredibly heartening that we keep unearthing additional sources of knowledge to enrich our readings.

Actually, I think Littlefinger is the architect of "Alayne". He made the persona for Sansa to inhabit in "safety", but also constrain herself within. Sansa is disillusioned, but hopeful. In a way, Alayne is neither. (Alayne has no illusions to start with, and no real hope of being more than LF's daughter / accomplice, much less having love in the manner Sansa would envision.)

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree Pod :) I think LF definitely wants to believe he's the architect, but even his request to Sansa to be Alayne in her heart is met with lies and arbor gold. On the descent down the Mountain we see her poignant ties not to her "father", but to the bastard Jon Snow. Alayne is also a lot more preoccupied with the potential match between Mya and Lothor than she is with any information concerning the likes of Harry the Heir. I guess what I'm saying is that Alayne is just a cover for Sansa - duh, I know - but not in the way LF imagines or wants. Even when the identity was first proposed to her back at the Fingers, she comes to see the benefit of it if it means she remains free and safe. And remember what Mya tells her: a stone is a mountain's daughter, and a mountain is not a man.

ETA: And Alayne is pretty hopeful actually; it's "Sansa" who talks of that day being done, and feels a little bitter over Sandor's actions. Alayne is looking forward to the feast and more companionship at the Gates of the Moon. Alayne may have started out as an identity for Sansa to be constrained within, but it's turning into one where Sansa can express herself and gain confidence and inspiration. This isn't going to bode well for Littlefinger.

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Yes... perhaps, she will do it warging in this way?:... :)...---}

Click here... :lol:

Oh! I don't like the idea of warging humans so easily. Hodor didn't like it. That kind of invasion and lost of free will I wouldn't like to be done by someone so empathetic as Sansa.

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And Alayne is still thinking about the unkiss even it was something that belongs to Sansa and not to Alayne.

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