Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XVI

Recommended Posts

Interesting painting Woman of War. I may be wrong but I don't think it's Lucretia Borgia. I believe the Lucretia in this painting is the one who was raped by Sextus Tarquinius, the son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (the last king of Rome).

Oh, thank you!

That makes sense of course since the title of the painting only says "the rape of Lucretia". And Lucrezia Borgia would never have committed suicide, so I thought the artist took some liberties here.

But look at the profile, this even resembles Sophie Turner a bit! It's a classically featured beauty with a straight nose, fine mouth and relatively small chin, not the fashionable "angry" model beauty. Here Sophie Turner is very well chosen though she has little of the vulnerability of the woman in that painting, my small issue with the actress, that girl would make a good swordfighter.

And yes, my mistake, i was more into the history of painting technique this morning than into the history of history :blushing:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

snip

Thank you! Those are wonderful.

fiekie,

I think GRRM wants us to hate Sansa in AGOT so that so that Starks do not appear to be impossibly united and perfect. This has already been discussed in the PtP AGOT reread threads (I am pointing this out just so you don't waste time reinventing the wheel).

But he succeded a little too well! And, yes, I think this has a lot to do with readers but also with tropes associated with fantasy. Both fantasy tropes and reader bias should be covered if we want to examine this.

"Sansa acted the way that was expected of her", but in doing so went against the 'hero' Eddard and planted herself in the antagonist field. For people who only read shallowly and don't like to analyze that is enough to condemn her forever.

She is also badly written in AGOT! Her chapters are a chore to read, Arya's are fun.

Also, most readers I know came to AGOT as teenagers and they hated Sansa because she was 'that girl': stupid, shallow, very pretty, getting all the boys. Never mind what was actually in the text, we were too young at 15 to read critically.

"However. Arya's also a fun character to read. She's all badass like. And lets be honest, modern fantasy (and basically all literature ever) has trained us that the only acceptable female heroes are those that are basically Dudes with Boobs."

I think GRRM is actually subverting this, like he does with other fantasy tropes. He played with our expectations in AGOT writing it like it was another fantasy book and then started deconstructing everything.

His heroes fail when they fail at marriage, not war. Marriage unites the North (Tenns and Karstarks, Boltons and Starks), Lannisters have won the war but are falling apart because Tywin was a bad father... Robb would have been better off if he listened to Catelyn, Hoster dies repenting what he did to Lysa...

He has Tyene making a political statement with embroidery! He is trying! :D

But he is not quite successful, and I think we should sometime stop and ponder why exactly that is the case.

(Feminine female heroines are more common in fanfiction where girls who like feminine stuff simply write it in. Like Female link going on a quest to save prince Zeld and bringing embroidery (and it comes to be a plot point), or in Dragon Age f!Cousland doing blackwork embroidery... I bet if somebody wrote Brienne fanfic she would be doing a lot of mending. :D )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are lovely paintings Woman of War. The body language of the second one really speaks volumes - the beautiful girl is pulling away from the beastly looking man as he leans in invading her body space. She's holding the dagger and the look on her face is a combination of disgust and "don't f**k with me!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW for me she is not like the Sansa picture that I have on my head. Anyway she is kind of reddish hair and it is interesting the white outfit that she wears and the red outfit that he wears.

About him: I don´t see Petyr Baelish there. Too fat for him. The kind of bear resembles more to Tyrion. And the red outfit fits with his lannister colors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, just a little more to let out about this, I hope it's not unwelcome.

The "official" take on Sansa in the app is that she is largely not present in her own life, and I want to know why.

When I filled in the missing parts of her section of the app (the parts in bold, and thanks to Elba, too), I went through each chapter and what's in bold is almost word for word what the author wrote. I wanted to make sure that was him talking, not me.

Her response to the marriage, to the bedding, those were GRRM's words, but they were not in the app. According to the app, it was more important that Tyrion and Joffrey had a pissing contest over bedding her, and that Tyrion was grim, resigned, and kindly.

Her responses to Sandor are missing, too, and I am left wondering why he spent so much time on this part of her story if he's not important to Sansa as a character. And yet, I just read an article about the current calendar, where the artist approached GRRM with pictures, and he responded with, please include one of Sandor and Sansa, and not just that, the night of the unkiss.

Included in the app are empty threats from Sandor, like if you tell anyone I poured my heart out to a girl, I'll kill you - and even if you hate Sandor, where in the text did he ever kill someone for something like that? Immediately after opening up to her, and this was probably the first time in his entire life he had told someone about it, he says this. It's clearly hyperbole.

Later, Sansa makes a point of saying he is harsh and yet would never hurt her or let anyone else hurt her, more than once.

And Arya, who took out a lot of her anger at what was going on around her on him, ostensibly because he killed Mycah on orders, reached the same conclusion, he made threats, but he never followed through. When it came time to killing him, defenseless as a baby and begging her to, she left him off her list, then reasoned to herself "I wouldn't have to kill him" - after saving his life, then tending to his wounds after he lost consciousness.

So an empty threat is important to include, but not that Sansa not only responded with compassion, she touched him at her initiative (she does this again later, and also backs away from others and into him). Realizing she wasn't afraid, she took control of the situation with one of the top, most feared warriors in Westeros. And she did it often, she was quite open with him (who else, apart from her family?)

And of course, she took control in a very big way the night of the Blackwater Bay battle, yet in the app, the only time she responded was "fear" Sandor would kiss her, and even that wasn't quite right, she feared he was out of control because of the wildfire. And she responded, this time, cupping his cheek and putting on his cloak. And when she looked back on that night she clearly said he was afraid of the wildfire.

But that he was traumatized by the wildfire and her responses are never mentioned, nor that he offered to keep her safe and some other good things he did for her, and why these things are important in her section is so that we understand her responses to him. But I guess her responses are not important, because they weren't included, either.

So those are some examples where her strength of character is not shown, but there are many more as all the bold font shows.

She doesn't even react to news of her own forced marriage to a Lannister. The wedding itself is not even mentioned, nor her act of defiance (refusing to kneel). Nor that she was clearly upset when a Lannister made her take off her clothes (and the earlier time that Joffrey had the Kingsguard rip off her dress was also not mentioned).

Nor her despair over the death of two of her close family members, nor that she misses her family, and realizes her strength comes from Winterfell. Nor that when Littlefinger kissed her, she stood up to him. Nor that Littlefinger told her everyone she knew and loved was dead then pawed all over her.

So if you haven't read the books, reading her section makes you think she's passive and weak. And she doomed her father to death. If you have read the books, you are aware of the "unkiss", the fandom even gave it a name, it's that well known. And since not only was that left out, but her responses to Sandor for the most part and many of the good things he did, as well, she just comes off crazy.

So since this is "official", is that what we are supposed to think, too? These are the important things to know about Sansa. Not the things in bold. Were we not supposed to not read her responses to her own life in the book? Do they not matter? I would like to know.

(Edited for clarity.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, and it raises the question of just what those narrative purposes will entail. For a writer as fairly subtle as Martin, he's been as "obvious" as he can be with Sansa's memories of the kiss, and it's only gotten stronger as time goes on. The first time it appears is when she's with the Tyrell cousins, young innocent girls, who are still imagining their first kisses and talking giddily of handsome knights. The last reference to the kiss is during her conversation with Myranda Royce, someone who is by no means innocent of men and sex. Given Sansa's attempt to push the memory out of her mind when SR kisses her, saying that day was done and so was Sansa, it seems like Martin is setting the kiss up to connect in some way to Sansa's identity and sense of self. If we think of the old fairy tale motif of the kiss awakening the sleeping princess, then it isn't hard to see how that translates to the similar functioning for the unkiss, re-awakening Sansa from her "sleep" as Alayne.

Quite interesting. I think that opening chapter of ASOS where she's contemplating Margaery's invitation, speaks to your point about how the unkiss could have developed, and the "personal emotional perspective" that was involved in its creation. I've always felt that this passage in particular was one of the most revealing (and endearing) glimpses we get of Sansa's feelings toward Sandor:

I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she'd kept it. The Hound had turned craven, she heard it said; at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men. But Sansa understood. She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fire he feared. That night, the wildfire had set the river itself ablaze, and filled the very air with green flame. Even in the castle, Sansa had been afraid. Outside ... she could scarcely imagine it.

Not only does the passage highlight Sansa's empathy and concern for Sandor, but we also have evidence of other things that cannot be explained to her rational mind. She doesn't know why she kept the cloak, but she goes so far as to hide it beneath her summer silks - not exactly a place where you would expect to find a bloodied, dirty garment. There's also her inability to quite imagine what outside must have like for Sandor to experience, but she knows that it must have been terrible based on her own fear on the inside. So a connection has been formed, and it's not one that necessarily has to function according to the laws of logic and exact understanding. Instead of a traumatized Sansa, the passage highlights someone who's been profoundly affected by an encounter, even though she can't quite articulate its effects. I think this has relevance for our appreciation of the genesis of the unkiss.

I would tend to agree with this, especially as I've never been quite satisfied with the idea that she's solely reacting to what she perceived to be his intention. I think it's the totality of her experiences with him, and perhaps even the ones where he's merely giving his characteristic rough advice - although all their scenes in ACOK have an underlying sexual tension. If we look at the chapter when she's at the Fingers, her first thoughts of him are connected to what he told her concerning the liars in KL. She values this, and as such, she values him as a friend, confidante and protector. It's not a stretch to see how this would create a sense of intimacy, of being able to trust someone, along with the other components in their relationship - hence why she thinks that Lothor Brune is him for that brief, bewildering moment. And since we're on the topic of how memory works, it is Marillion's promise to have her singing louder than the Lady Lysa, that works retroactively(?) to divulge the meaning behind Sandor's early statements, and to aid in Sansa's psychosexual maturation. Memory and meaning definitely do not have to correspond to a linear, rational script.

I love the idea of Sansa's memory of Sandor being able to wake her out of her "sleep" as Alayne and back into her identity of Sansa Stark. I think this is possible not only because of the romantic tension that was always between them but because he was the only man in Sansa's life who did not want her for political reasons but for who she was as a person.

I think that passage definitely shows how Sansa definitely empathizes with and cares about Sandor. I also think that her hiding his cloak behind her summer silks is interesting. Since summer tends to symbolize innocence, perhaps her hiding his cloak behind her summer silks symbolizes her hiding possible attraction/romantic feelings for Sandor behind her innocence. She knows she cares about and empathizes with him and the unkiss definitely proves that she is at least attracted to him but perhaps she hasn't fully realized the full extent of her feelings for him. Or she has but is "hiding" them. After all, Sandor is not the type of guy you would expect her to end up with-at least on the outside. However, he is -in my opinion-her perfect match because of all the wonderful inner qualities he has. Of course he isn't perfect but no one is. I also think that since Sansa is still young and has never had very intense romantic/sexual feelings before perhaps she doesn't recognize those feelings when she does have them. Or maybe the intensity of them scares her. So she hides them.

I also think that Sansa definitely trusts Sandor. I also think that the scene where Lothor saves her not only shows how much she trusts Sandor to protect her, but how much she is used to Sandor protecting her. He did so much of it in KL that now that he's not around she finds it strange that someone else is protecting her because it was always Sandor who protected her. She misses him as a friend, protector, and possibly even as a romantic interest.

@ fiekie: I watched the show before I read the books but when I did I disliked Sansa the moment I saw her. Not just because she's pretty but because she's.....perfect. Sansa, in real life, would be the type of girl who all the guys would love,etc. In the show, and in the first couple of books, Sansa to me seemed like the snobby, annoying popular girl. While Arya seemed more like the lovable outcast who is not 'perfect' the way Sansa is and has a real personality. Of course, I later realized I was wrong about Sansa. She has a lot of good qualities and rebels against the wrongs in her society just like Arya does. She just does it in a more subtle and less physical way. I think for me the main reason I didn't like Sansa is that in real life I wouldn't like her. At least, I wouldn't like show!Sansa and beginningofthebooks!Sansa. She would be the type of person-at least I thought so in the beginning- who I, in real life, would have nothing in common with. She-if she was real- would never talk to me. Arya, on the other hand, would probably be my best friend. At least that was my original impression of both characters. While I still think Arya and I would get along well, I think Sansa and I would too. Sansa and I are both hopeless romantics and quite idealistic but we both have brains too. (At least, I hope I have a brain :lol:) That's another reason I didn't like Sansa in the beginnning. I thought she seemed....stupid. *puts hands up in surrender and prepares to dodge flying objects :lol:* However, as I went on I began to realize how wrong I was. Sansa's not stupid at all. She's actually very smart.

I am not sure if GRRM intended people to dislike Sansa. I wondered about that when I began watching the show and I still haven't figured it out. Part of me says, no of course not, she's a Stark, we're not supposed to dislike Starks. Another part of me says, yes because if he didn't want the readers to be biased he would make her more obviously awesome like the rest of the Starks. I tend to think that GRRM tries not to have a bias while writing but someone quoted something that mentioned that Sansa is one of his least favorite characters to write. Perhaps that somehow shows through in the writing. But I don't think so. After all, he could have not developed her character the way he did. He could have never given her a POV. He even could have killed her off. But he didn't do any of those things.

And he did something that I never thought would have been possible-he made me like her. No, he made me love her. I'm a pretty stubborn person. If I hate a character, I hate them unless something drastic happens to make me like them. And-I'm ashamed to say this-I hated Sansa. But then as I continued reading, I began to like and then love her. I'm not sure if I quite answered your questions fiekie but I hope I at least answered them a little. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, just a little more to let out about this, I hope it's not unwelcome.

Not unwelcome at all, I think your concerns are valid and reflect where I am at too. Actually, after your initial post in this thread on the subject, I decided to download the app and get all the books with it. I read Sansa's section and then put it away for awhile and then repeated this a couple more times to see if my reaction changed at all.

It didn't. These are summaries so I do not expect to have every detail of a character included so an element or two being left out would not bother me. However, the takeaway that I got was that Sansa is an object to be acted upon, not an object that acts. Her maidenhood is fought over (and that makes me sick to think about) and many of her acts are completely removed from the summary.

Is this a mistake? Or does it reflect the viewpoint of the person(s) who put together the summary and did it receive the sign off from Martin himself? I don't really know but I have suspicions. :) I think (hope) Martin is a better writer than writing a passive object. He's stayed away from it so far but that seems to be the takeaway.

I posted those quotes earlier as they may serve to highlight reader perception of Sansa as a character or to better understand what influenced her summary within the app. Actually, I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about them as my immediate, emotional reaction was anger.

One of the main reasons I read these books is because there are elements that don't follow the typical fantasy line quite so much, i.e. Catelyn and Sansa. I enjoy Dany and Arya, don't get me wrong, but reading about the queen with dragons or the warrior princess is closer to more of the same. It's frustrating, to say the least, that two of the characters that make this series worth my time, are the two that Martin likes the least and that his words can make it seem as if he has deliberately painted them in an unsympathetic manner because of that dislike. Of course, it could just be another example of the chicken or the egg too.

So, I'm sitting her stewing and trying (with varying degrees of success) to be rational here.

And to get to my long-winded point, I think your frustration is very valid and I'm pretty certain others share your thoughts too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, I think that Sansa is going to be the Susan of ASoIaF. Y'all know Susan from the Narnia series right?

I fear poor Sansa is going to end up as the neglected character, sacrificed so that the author can deliver a suitable moral/lesson/message.

*touches wood*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, thank you!

That makes sense of course since the title of the painting only says "the rape of Lucretia". And Lucrezia Borgia would never have committed suicide, so I thought the artist took some liberties here.

But look at the profile, this even resembles Sophie Turner a bit! It's a classically featured beauty with a straight nose, fine mouth and relatively small chin, not the fashionable "angry" model beauty. Here Sophie Turner is very well chosen though she has little of the vulnerability of the woman in that painting, my small issue with the actress, that girl would make a good swordfighter.

And yes, my mistake, i was more into the history of painting technique this morning than into the history of history :blushing:

You're welcome. But I can see why you were so fascinated by it. I find it fascinating in a horrible way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Arya is super negative about Sansa. She doesn't hate her, but her tone is quite resentful. She feels inferior to Sansa, she feels that everyone appreciates Sansa more than her and she's basically being a jealous sulky little girl.

Anyway. The result is that the reader is forced to view Sansa in a negative light. Through Arya's eyes, she appears to be a miss-goodie-good, stuck up, full-of-herself snob. And that's our first impression of her. Following this is the disastrous affair at the river with Joffrey and Mycah. This chapter influences the reader in several ways. For me, it was a shock. After the first few introductory chapters that portray the Starks as The Perfect Family everything suddenly falls apart.

From here, a big chunk of readers discard Sansa and judge everything about her negatively.

So.... my questions to you, dear PtP readers, are:

- Did Martin set her up to be hated on purpose? Why start off painting such a negative picture of her, then moving to a slightly more sympathetic picture, and weave all these super subtle, deep stuff about her into her narrative. I mean, you really have to focus and put a lot of effort into it to find the "real Sansa". A lot of people have confessed to having thought her an idiot at the start and gradually warming up to her; but the majority seem to just not care enough and are happy hating her

I don't think one can say she wasn't a bit of a teacher's pet and snob at the start - she was. I've said before she was very aware of her position as the "alpha female" of Winterfell (after her mother, of course). The young female highborn cohort was basically centered on her. Being the always-approved-of center of attention does affect a person's personality, not always for the better. Arya was looked down on because she was not inclined to "know her place" and defer to Sansa. Sansa's friend Jeyne Poole acted as Sansa's yes-man in putting Arya down, probably worse than Sansa even would have, because she was trying to curry favour with the alpha.

As well, the Starks were not the "perfect" family - they are an example of a good family, a loving family, but the "perfect" family is a myth. Catelyn treated Jon Snow like he was a stray dog. And Theon was not family at all, but a hostage as much as a house guest. Sansa and Arya had a lot of heated sibling rivalry, more than Robb and Jon (and pseudo-sibling Theon). Not all relationships go well even in close families. (Still, in this respect the Starks are an order of magnitude better than the Baratheons, whose are themselves an order of magnitude better than the Lannisters or Greyjoys.

The things Sansa wanted (true love, a handsome and heroic mate, etc.) are not horrible or wrong things, she just looked for them in the wrong person. With Joffrey, Sansa wasn't malicious, but she was blind. She is not the first girl ever to fall for a boy who everyone else in her family sees as a scumbag (because he is one) and then stick by him despite his horrid behavior. It happens all the time. She constructed a belief/justification that everyone else envied her success with a prince (Arya, Jon, even Robb) or else didn't understand him (Eddard).

But the thing is, she was 11 years old. Hating Sansa for having a lack of foresight or wisdom in the matter is foolish. Even Arya's various mistakes can also be put down to the fact she's too young to know better. Robb? Jon ? Both were courageous and strong but made teenage mistakes. We haven't seen Bran make some overly bad decisions yet, but you read about him and Rickon, and it becomes clear they are still children at heart. (Rickon is the only one left who is being parented at all - by Osha.)

Sansa developed some wisdom and foresight, but it was because she was suddenly thrust into a state of being hated, unprotected, and unable to trust anybody but herself. It has made her stronger and more realistic, but it has also been extremely painful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And to get to my long-winded point, I think your frustration is very valid and I'm pretty certain others share your thoughts too.

Thanks for your kind words! The quote about Ned's death, and the reference in the app, how did Ned not doom himself? He was supposed to be older and wiser. If he hadn't told her until they were leaving, if he'd told her more, if he'd waited to tell Cersei, if he hadn't told Cersei, and so on.

In fact, his death left only one guy looking out for her.

And we know the show left a lot out, but the HBO site says this:

Personal bodyguard to King Joffrey, the Hound carries out his commands. He bears no love for his brother Gregor, known as "The Mountain," but has a soft spot for Sansa Stark and is quick to protect her from Joffrey's cruel whims.

Reading her section of the app I see basically that he wants to kill her, when he's not saving her life. So he's as crazy as she is. But nobody thought he'd hurt her, not her, not even Joffrey, who rarely took his head out of his own ass.

This reviewer picked up on this (and he wasn't the only one):

I was glad to see that Sansa didn't relent, but fought back, despite being outnumbered and outmatched. The horror of the near-gang rape scene was keenly felt in her terror and distress and the savage and uncaring masks of her attackers, seeing her as something to be destroyed, to be bloodied and used, to be cast off like garbage. It's the Hound, of course, who comes to her rescue, the "monster" who is far more civilized than his master--or anyone, really--would give him credit for. (In fact, it's the fourth time the Hound has saved her: last season, he chided Joffrey when he made Sansa stare at Ned's rotten head on a spike; he saved her from a beating when he told Joffrey that Sansa wasn't just being superstitious when she made the comment about his name day; he gave her his cloak when Joffrey orders her stripped in the throne room.)

Upon seeing the frenzy of the crowd, the first thought that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has is of Sansa's safety, but he's thinking in far more pragmatic terms, seeing the Stark girl as a bargaining chip, a hostage, a pawn. It's not the Hound's perception. He sees Sansa as a "little bird" whom he saves from the hungers of the crowd, bringing her back to the keep so she can be returned to her "cage." His sense of honor and morality is at odds with both his "freakish" appearance and his own use of brutality. Rather than just save Sansa, he disembowels one of her captors and slays them all gruesomely. He has the bottle to be just as brutal as anyone else, but he has a moral code that sets him apart from the wildness of those around him, particularly flailing, bratty Joffrey.

http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2012/05/where-wild-things-are-old-gods-and-new.html

My point is, the show even got it right, or at least took away the same thing many of us did from the books. They saw that she fights back, even when it seems hopeless, and what is underneath the surface, he really cares about her. Maybe they are going somewhere with the rest of the characters, too.

Darn the app for making me say nice things about the show, but after reading the app, maybe they have the better story, after all, if all that matters about the books is Sansa just gapes while everyone does what they will to her. Because after all, she doomed Ned.

Sorry, venting, but thanks for the opportunity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well: after reading you Le Cygne then I have decide not to write to the app to make it able to Android. If it will make me believe that the show treat both characters nicely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think one can say she wasn't a bit of a teacher's pet and snob at the start - she was. I've said before she was very aware of her position as the "alpha female" of Winterfell (after her mother, of course). The young female highborn cohort was basically centered on her. Being the always-approved-of center of attention does affect a person's personality, not always for the better. Arya was looked down on because she was not inclined to "know her place" and defer to Sansa. Sansa's friend Jeyne Poole acted as Sansa's yes-man in putting Arya down, probably worse than Sansa even would have, because she was trying to curry favour with the alpha.

As well, the Starks were not the "perfect" family - they are an example of a good family, a loving family, but the "perfect" family is a myth. Catelyn treated Jon Snow like he was a stray dog. And Theon was not family at all, but a hostage as much as a house guest. Sansa and Arya had a lot of heated sibling rivalry, more than Robb and Jon (and pseudo-sibling Theon). Not all relationships go well even in close families. (Still, in this respect the Starks are an order of magnitude better than the Baratheons, whose are themselves an order of magnitude better than the Lannisters or Greyjoys.

The things Sansa wanted (true love, a handsome and heroic mate, etc.) are not horrible or wrong things, she just looked for them in the wrong person. With Joffrey, Sansa wasn't malicious, but she was blind. She is not the first girl ever to fall for a boy who everyone else in her family sees as a scumbag (because he is one) and then stick by him despite his horrid behavior. It happens all the time. She constructed a belief/justification that everyone else envied her success with a prince (Arya, Jon, even Robb) or else didn't understand him (Eddard).

But the thing is, she was 11 years old. Hating Sansa for having a lack of foresight or wisdom in the matter is foolish. Even Arya's various mistakes can also be put down to the fact she's too young to know better. Robb? Jon ? Both were courageous and strong but made teenage mistakes. We haven't seen Bran make some overly bad decisions yet, but you read about him and Rickon, and it becomes clear they are still children at heart. (Rickon is the only one left who is being parented at all - by Osha.)

Sansa developed some wisdom and foresight, but it was because she was suddenly thrust into a state of being hated, unprotected, and unable to trust anybody but herself. It has made her stronger and more realistic, but it has also been extremely painful.

Sansa is the young alpha female of Winterfell, if she were a modern child, she would be the center of a clique in junior high school, or at least in a year or two (can't remember from my own youth whether girls start forming such groups at 11 or a little older). This isn't necessarily bad, in fact, in my opinion, it is normal. Sansa is unfailingly kind to the lower-status girls in her small group - Jeyne Poole and little Beth Cassel; but not to Arya. Arya and Sansa have been rendered almost polar opposites, with each of them resenting the other, to some extent by their own temperaments but also by their parents and Septa Mordane (the latter being their primary teacher). Catelyn favors Sansa and is molding her in her own image, or at least the image of how the young Catelyn would have been with less responsibility and not the oldest child with no mother - to be a gentle southern lady skilled in housewifely arts. Catelyn loves Arya but feels like she has less in common with her; and that she must eventually force Arya into more ladylike behavior. Ned favors Arya because she reminds him of Lyanna; and encourages (or at least doesn't go out of his way to discourage) her tomboyish behavior and desire to learn to fight. Ned also loves Sansa, but does not understand her very well. Septa Mordane praises Sansa while making Arya feel useless at sewing/embroidery. The result is that when Robert comes to Winterfell and begins (unwittingly) the process of the Starks' downfall, Sansa is an over-sheltered little girl with a starry-eyed fondness for knightly legends (which is in no way unusual for an 11-year-old girl from a wealthy family, but one would think that the eldest daughter of a family like the Starks, with their closeness to their smallfolk and bannermen and the physical realities of the North, might have been been a little more mature and less dreamy). Arya is, frankly, a rude brat, who protests the duty of walking into dinner with the King's younger son because he's 'fat' and later attacks the king's older son with her sword (which is high treason) and then attacks her own sister out of anger (however justified, it was not the proper response, one would expect a child of even the merchant class, much less the nobility, to refrain from pummeling one's older sister).

What saves me from being too annoyed at the nine-year-old Arya's actions, or Sansa's panicked lack of judgment in faking amnesia when testifying about Nymeria and Arya and Joffrey, or even Sansa's flouting Ned's authority to beg the Queen to make him allow her to stay with Joffrey, is that these girls are not mature; they are children. Their characters are still evolving; they lack complete knowledge of right and wrong by virtue of their extreme youth. As far as I'm concerned, they are still children as of the end of ADWD; which is why I forgive Arya for murdering a man in cold blood as well as killing Dareon (which she didn't have to do) or Sansa for entertaining the possibility that dangerous drugs must used on her sickly little cousin basically because her father-figure says so (as well as because of the necessity of getting him down the mountain without delay).

Some of the hate for Sansa comes from her being snobbish and putting herself above Jon at the beginning of GOT (though she's nowhere near as snobbish as Cersei Lannister, Jon does remember her being kind to him); some comes from her not being a tomboyish little warrior-princess type like Arya and from the mutual Sansa/Arya antagonism. Some of the hate for Sansa comes from her also not getting herself out of King's Landing and being more aggressive in her own protection - though since she was surrounded by guards or attended by Littlefinger since the day that the Stark retainers were all killed, and now has to hide for her own safety, and has nowhere to go in Westeros. And a huge chunk of the anti-Sansa feelings comes from the idea that she betrayed her father to their enemy - which isn't really true, since Sansa had no idea at the time that Cersei was her enemy (to Sansa, Cersei was her future mother-in-law, the queen, and a mother-substitute) much less that the Starks and Lannisters were at odds and that she would compromise the safety of her father and the Stark retainers by going to the queen.

Sansa's emotional and intellectual growth spurt following her father's death has been tremendous, but at a terrible price. Just because she has not known hunger or lacked for shelter as Arya sometimes has does not mean she has not suffered and continues to suffer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GRRM's trolling us. Sansa is secretly (hush) his favorite character. :cool4:

An aside: Gosh, I can't even remember, but when the male comparisons were being done, did someone do a Sansa / Davos comparison? They do rather remind me of each other. And they're my favorite female/male character, which might have something to do with it.

In regards to her portrayal... I find myself half the time disappointed half the time approving of what the show has done with Sansa's character. The more important moments, imo, they get right, but the rest of the time... no. Sophie is perfect, but something in the direction makes her even more unlikeable than she was in the first novel. And I loved her in the first novel, unlike a lot of people, even when she was kind of a brat! I think one can chalk it up to the natural losses when a story is moved from text to screen. We don't have that inner narration to know a character's motivations or feelings or thoughts; we have to guess on what's deliberately shown by dialogue or action or expression.

As to the comment from GRRM about creating Sansa later, I'm not sure I'm entirely offended by that, considering the man's writing habits. He does say that he sits down to write, and things happen. Sansa surely has a purpose if a) she occurred to him as a character B) she has lasted this long, and despite her situation, looks more or less liable to keep sticking around. I'd take it with a grain of salt.

In the novels themselves, and, I'm certainly making assumptions, but:

AGOT - The goal was to introduce Sansa. Unfortunately we don't get her viewpoint first, we get her through Arya, who has a small bias due to sibling clashing. Sansa is set up to be the fair maiden archetype, the golden girl, apple of her mother's eye, consummate lady, etc. Sansa as well as her entire family are quickly thrust into a new situation with the arrival of the King and his retinue; the rather comfortable life they led before is shaken up (for better, for some, or for worse). Interestingly, the children (apart for Rickon who doesn't have much of a place yet) and parents are immediately confronted with situations that are oddly reminiscent of their later struggles.

Ned is sought to be Hand of the King, a position he does not look forward to by the side of a king (old friend) who even outwardly Ned can see has changed. He has to start making major decisions about tkaing the job, the children's welfare, etc. He sees the merest hint of Cersei's motivations in instances like how she was upset abour Robert wanting to view Lyanna's resting place. Later he comes to a power struggle with the queen, and many of his tribulations are in fact due to the friend who isn't the same person, and the position he is forced to occupy.

Catelyn faces the prospect of her family scattering across the land, and taking a larger share in Robb's guidance. She also faces the first strain of tragedy involving her children when Bran is injured. Later on she will seemingly lose child after child, she takes even grater stake in Robb's new rule when he goes to war, and as we know, even today she is still looking for her children, who only the Gods know where they are.

Bran's fall thrusts him into a series of mechanactions that lead him to developing his "third eye" and trudging a mystical path. Robb takes leadership of WF in his father's abscence, beginnign his arc of ruling at a young age. Jon in instances like the welcome feast for Robert is further forced to notice social distinctions which factor into both his personality and his later arc - dealings with the Wildlings, etc. Benjen's prescence also starts him on the path to the NW.

Arya on the trip down the Kingsroad is faced with trials centering around her personality, how she does not "fit" (foreshadowing later identity crises which leads to the FM), and being a female and wanting to fight.

And then, there is Sansa. Her immediate situation is the betrothal with Joffrey and, navigating the social/game stratosphere. She interacts with many a person, this ending well for her, which highlights her acumen, which we know only grows and grows over the course of the books. Joffrey represents two conundrums of Sansa's series arc: harsh realities ("all that glitters is not gold") and romantic love ("does it exist? If it does, then what is it?"). Finally, we see her early on already weathering the position of being the "victim" or having to ensure her survival [but this time in less dire straits] with incidents like the questioning that led to Lady's demise. It's just the first of many battles Sansa has to fight, and it's one she does not win.

Moving on later in the book, Sansa fluctuates and subconsciously begins examining her reality. She continues to side with Joffrey out of "duty" she continues trying to please others around her. In the mists of that though, she is starting to see the down side of court life and the people around her, and slowly it contributes to her later, heightened awareness. She meets someone I have to say, app or not, is a pivotal character in her arc in Sandor.

Late in the book, a bold stroke to ruin her conceptions comes in the form of her father's murder. We last see Sansa in emotional and mental limbo, as well as knowing she is in a place that will not be easy for her to maintain. At this point I feel the conscientious reader can see things starting to change about her, and I think that about here is where GRRM starts changing his tactic of dealing with her a little.

ACOK - On the surface, Sansa is "maiden in the tower." It's in this book that we start to see hints of who fully-developed Sansa will become start to rise to the top. She's young, but learning what it takes to make it in the niche she has been placed into. There are many great instances of this, but, the one problem for most readers is PACE. It's very gradual. For a reader like me, that is more rewarding, for others it is dissonant. By the end of the book, she has lost contact with Sandor, a mentor for these new instincts. But she is infinitely more aware; she even has insight into fascinating characters like Cersei, who have unwittingly opened themselves up for her study in times like waiting out the Battle of Blackwater.

ASOS - More gradual development. I have the impression GRRM's intent by keeping her where she was for so long was not only for the window into the royal court but to give her the experience she needed to be at the "right" stage of development before jetting off to the Vale. If she had been "rescued" earlier, I'm not sure she would have been so successful, or such a match for LF when they share close proximity. When they meet after ASOS, she knows more than he realizes, and that is her saving grace.

AFFC - Around this point is when all Stark children begin to fall into positions where they have some sort of tutelage. Sansa's of course, is via the LF/Petyr dual man. He is amoral, but provides very, very useful lessons. LF, too, is the type to use the "armor" and "weapons" that suit him individually best, and his actions in that vein further cement Sansa's pursual of what is her strength.

The point of this book I feel is to delve deeply into another way of playing the Game of Thrones; by utilizing knowledge and communicatory skills rather than gold, or alliances, mystic forces, heritage, or military strength. It is also introducing us to a theme that becomes more and more common - the older backer developing his golden boy/girl to use as his chess piece. We see it in varying degrees with "Aegon" and Jon Conn / Illyrio / Varys, Arianne and Doran, Rickon and Manderly... LF is tutoring Sansa, but through her "window" we also see other smaller things that are going on, like his political maneuverings considering the Vale, and Sansa's planned reveal; the dragon banners, etc.

Another highlight of AFFC is the transformation of her gradually becoming more of an "active" character than in previous tomes. She's done the classroom, she's edging toward practicuum now. TWoW I highly anticipate will further explore that, what with the purported "new storyline" or even just the way it was left off.

GRRM, however he truly feels about Sansa, seems to given her a lot of quiet importance. I'm not worried about whether she has a place or a purpose going forward. In fact the more I read the more I feel characters we were made to not sympathize with or not be interested in are in fact the cornerstones to the endgame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Chicago, IL; May 6-8)

At the koffeklatche, George said the two favorite characters were Tyrion and Arya. The least favorites were Sansa and Catelyn. (This annoyed me to no end, as Sansa is my personal favorite.)

] Amazon.co.uk Interview

[Note: The precise date, beyond July 2000, is unknown.]

(3) Arya was one of the first characters created. Sansa came about as a total opposite b/c too many of the Stark family members were getting along and familes aren't like that. Thus, Sansa was created; he ended by saying they have deep issues to work out.

Sansa was the least sympathetic of the Starks in the first book; she has become more sympathetic, partly because she comes to accept responsibility for her part in her father's death. Jon Snow is the truest character--I like his sense of realism and the way he copes with his bastardy.

Kitty thanks for posting these, and like you I'm disappointed. I think it's been pretty well established that based on what Martin wrote, Sansa did not have a hand in her father's death; unless we're going to suddenly forget Ned's own revelations to Cersei, LF's betrayal, and the fact that Sansa was not privy to the sensitive information which ultimately doomed him. So there's a disconnect between what Martin wrote and what Martin seemingly wanted to communicate. He was obviously successful in the latter nevertheless, since readers overwhelmingly believe that Sansa either directly caused or contributed to her father's death. I am also puzzled by his statement that Sansa has become more sympathetic since she came to accept responsibility for this. I have seen Sansa expressing regret for trusting the Lannisters, but again, based on the text, going to Cersei at the most prevented Sansa and Arya from escaping the city. Ned's death was what finally opened Sansa's eyes to Joffrey's true nature, and in the disillusionment that follows she realises how wrong she was to ever trust him (and Cersei), but she never believes that her actions were a part of the reason her father was killed. The text explicitly states that Ned was supposed to be sent to the Wall with Yoren, and the prevailing theory is that LF was the one who counselled Joff not to spare his life. So yeah, something's not adding up.

As for the "deep issues" between her and Arya, I was a big believer in that when I first joined the forum, but I'm less sure about it now, especially since starting the Arya re-read. Yes, there was sibling rivalry and resentment, along with the unfortunate parting between them, but I don't see it as the kind of ingrained animosity that would hamper a reunion between the two. The time apart and the changes they've each undergone appear more likely to create problems than the childhood issues that existed between them, and that goes for all the remaining Starks.

All in all, this just highlights why it's necessary to question an author's choices, and to realize that a writer does not exist in a vacuum, but is a product of time and place and all the biases, prejudices and preferences that inform who we are. I think Martin managed to go on and do a fine job with Sansa's characterization, and I'd argue that like Catelyn, she's one of those characters who has the potential to surprise both the reader and the writer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True; Sansa has not put the dots together about her role in the deaths of the Stark retainers. I'm not sure that I would have, in her place. She has no way of knowing that Ned tipped his hand to Cersei before Sansa sneaked out of her room and begged Cersei to keep her in King's Landing. It might also be too terrifying a prospect for Sansa to recognize emotionally, even the possibility that her actions helped kill Septa Mordane and all the other Stark retainers who accompanied Ned and his daughters to King's Landing.

I wonder how closely GRRM is keeping track of the characters he doesn't care as much about. Didn't he say (in 2008 I think?) that Sansa didn't remember the name of Joffrey's sword correctly, when actually it was Arya who misremembered?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder how closely GRRM is keeping track of the characters he doesn't care as much about. Didn't he say (in 2008 I think?) that Sansa didn't remember the name of Joffrey's sword correctly, when actually it was Arya who misremembered?

Yeah I wonder about that too... We know Sansa was introduced as a kind of conflict creator, to give a more "realistic" feel to the Stark family dynamics, but I feel as though Martin went overboard in his attempt to make her unsympathetic within this structure, leading to the discrepancy in portrayals when she's on her own and interacting with others like Sandor. So, it's not hard to fathom that he might not have as good a handle on her as some of the other characters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True; Sansa has not put the dots together about her role in the deaths of the Stark retainers. I'm not sure that I would have, in her place. She has no way of knowing that Ned tipped his hand to Cersei before Sansa sneaked out of her room and begged Cersei to keep her in King's Landing. It might also be too terrifying a prospect for Sansa to recognize emotionally, even the possibility that her actions helped kill Septa Mordane and all the other Stark retainers who accompanied Ned and his daughters to King's Landing.

I wonder how closely GRRM is keeping track of the characters he doesn't care as much about. Didn't he say (in 2008 I think?) that Sansa didn't remember the name of Joffrey's sword correctly, when actually it was Arya who misremembered?

I've read through Sansa's chapters before, trying to forget what else is happening in the story. For the most part, she's in an information vacuum the entire time she's in KL. Almost all of what she knows about the arrest of her father is what Cersei told her, Oakheart would tell her some court gossip but gossip isn't quite the same thing either. Tyrion told her a little about the war effort. But, that's it. She's being kept isolated the entire time. Sansa has very little information of what is happening in the war, with her family, her father, any of it. She got told about her siblings and the RW but again, only in a limited fashion.

Yes, jons nissa I think it was, pointed out that Martin got the sword information mixed up. He also did the same thing with Renly's eye color. Also, I do remember that Martin has said he keeps much of the story and details in his head but he's consulted with Ran before when he needs help remembering details and I know that he finally hired a couple assistants. Hmm, if we want to link this back to Sansa, could we not say that memory is not infallible? :)

Also, LC, brash, and Raksha, great points. I'm out of likes but I really enjoyed reading what you had to say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well: after reading you Le Cygne then I have decide not to write to the app to make it able to Android. If it will make me believe that the show treat both characters nicely.

Pretty radical, huh. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×