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Arya and Sansa's Musical Nomenclature

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First: All props to FittleLinger for pointing this out in the Small Questions thread. I am just doing as I am wont to do: picking up a bone and gnawing at it.

The inquiry in question was, "How did Sansa and Arya get their names?" It was directed in an in-story direction. Jon and Robb were likely named after Jon Arryn and Robert Baratheon, while Brandon is a family name and Rickon's root sound is also used in the Stark family. But what about the girls?

Fittle's reply suggested that while you can look in-story to find the boys' naming origins, you might have to look from the outside — that is, thematically — to find the girls' names' origins.

You have Arya, which sounds like aria, a solo vocal performance. And you have Sansa, which is a musical instrument also called a "thumb piano."

I think it's significant that an aria is not merely a song: It is a SOLO song. Seems to connect well with Arya, who ends up more or less completely on her own to the point of having to give up her very identity.

Where Sansa is concerned: What do you do with an instrument? You play it. You manipulate it. While Arya is for the time being the more "active" of the two — named for a musical quality that is the result of action, singing — Sansa is named for an instrument that requires a musician's manipulations to give off sound. Sansa spends most of the series thus far as a political pawn in other people's plots. An instrument of intrigue.

Of course, as Fittle also pointed out, it's interesting that both Stark sisters have musically rooted names in a series called "A Song of Ice and Fire." It made me think of Tze's theory that Arya and Sansa might end up fulfilling the roles of Visenya and Rhaenys to Jon's Aegon (not in a marriage sense, but politically and militarily). If Jon himself is "ice and fire," it would be thematically fitting for him to rely on his two musically named cousins. In a way they complement each other: the instrumental music and the sung melody. That the male Stark kids all have names that can be explained in-story, while the girls have names that take on a deeper level of analytical context, makes me wonder if the roles they eventually inhabit will be more thematically significant. The joke is, we can try to attribute importance to the in-story-significant boys' names, when in fact the actual plot-device foreshadowing comes from the seemingly random and out-of-nowhere girls' names.

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I dont have too much to add here, but this is pretty damn cool.

If Arya and Sansa do become the Visenya and Rhaenys to Jon's Aegon, i wonder exactly what their names may point to. If Arya is the solo, does that mean she becomes the Visenya figure? I dont know too much about the Targ sisters and how they worked so its hard to say.

Arya always came off as a bit more people orientated/extroverted while Sansa seemed more introverted. Hmmm.

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There's an SSM on their names:

The names Arya and Sansa are meant to represent the polar opposites of their characters, Arya being a hard sounding name, Sansa a softer more pretty name, etc.

http://www.westeros....cago_IL_May_6_8

I dont have too much to add here, but this is pretty damn cool.

If Arya and Sansa do become the Visenya and Rhaenys to Jon's Aegon, i wonder exactly what their names may point to. If Arya is the solo, does that mean she becomes the Visenya figure? I dont know too much about the Targ sisters and how they worked so its hard to say.

Arya always came off as a bit more people orientated/extroverted while Sansa seemed more introverted. Hmmm.

I've actually thought that while Arya has things in common with both Visenya and Rhaenys she's probably more like Daena than either of the two and of course Nymeria.

But anyways.. Daena did raise Daemon alone according to the wiki.

According to semi-canon sources, during her time of confinement at the Maidenvault, Daena escaped several times and had an affair with her cousin Prince Aegon, despite his marriage to his own sister-wife Naerys. When she became pregnant she refused to name the father and became known as "Daena the Defiant." She named her son Daemon and raised him alone.[1

Of course given Arya's arc I don't think she's ever having children but being alone fits.

Visenya actually seems more nurturing than Rhaenys or at least we have more of an example of her.

Then like Arya and Sansa it was mentioned that the sisters were complete opposites. Visenya being stern and Rhaenys being mischievous which is where I actually saw Arya being more like Rhaenys here. I wonder if Visenya had a no nonsense attitude that carried over to her son Maegor.

But anyways.. like Visenya Arya is passionate and unforgiving. Physically she is not like Visenya.

Both fight with a sword but Arya is an assassin while Visenya was a warrior.

Visenya like Nymeria was rumored to practice magic. Possibly because they were both successful. Arya herself will learn/is learning actual magic.

Visenya carried the sword Dark Sister. Arya was called Dark Heart and through Balerion has a link to Jon's bio sister Rhaenys and would possibly be the darker one of the two.

Here's info Florina:

Visenya: eldest sibling..stern, serious, unforgiving...

Rhaenys: youngest sibling, playful, curious, loved music, dancing, and poetry

Daemon Velaryon led fleet for Gulltown with Visenya. Arryn fleet defeated Targaryen fleet. Visenya burned Arryn ships.

Aegon went to Oldtown, Visenya went to the Vale, and Rhaenys to Dorne.

Visenya landed in the Eyrie’s inner courtyard. When the Vale’s regent queen rushed out there, she found Visenya with her son the boy king on her knee. “Mother can I go flying with the lady?”

Visenya and the Vale Queen exchanged courtesies and the regent bent the knee.

The Dornish princess Mariya Martell was 80 years old, had ruled for 60 years, was fat, blind, and almost bald. Called by Argilac the Arrogant “The Yellow Toad of Dorne.” She would not yield to Rhaenys. “Dorne has no king, tell your brother that.”

“This is Dorne. You are not wanted here. Return at your peril.”

Aegon's eldest sister was a warrior more comfortable in ringmail than in silk. She wielded a Valyrian steel sword called Dark Sister. She was described as having a harsh beauty and was reputed to have dabbled in sorcery. His younger sister Rhaenys was all that Visenya was not. Playful and curious, interested in music and poetry. However, she loved to ride her dragon Meraxes and spent twice as much time riding than her siblings. She surrounded herself with comely young men and there were whispers that she entertained men while Aegon was with Visenya. Yet Aegon spent ten nights with Rhaenys for every one with Visenya.

Rhaenys, youngest, was everything her sister wasn’t (soft, classically beautiful) - but spent more time w/ dragons and wanted to cross Sunset Sea before she died.

They share his silver-gold hair, but theirs is worn long. Visenya often braided her hair or bound it up in rings, while Rhaenys wore hers loose and flowing. Both are warriors and dragonriders in their own rights, but their personalities are much different. Visenya is both stern and sensual, more voluptuous than her sister, more passionate, but with a dark and unforgiving side. Rhaenys, the younest of the three, is slender and graceful, playful, with a mischievous aspect to her personality than Visenya lacks. Rhaenys is the flirt, Visenya the seductress.

...

I might also add that Visenya is the most likely of the two to garb herself as a warrior, and when so garbed, she would wield the Valyrian longsword Dark Sister, whose slender blade is designed for a woman's hand

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/More_Targaryen_Descriptions/

Rhaenys' interests sounds a bit like Naerys although she was not puritan like her. Coincidentally Naerys is linked to Daena through Aegon IV sleeping with both of them.

ETA: Although in text it's Dany who has been called the Aegon figure. Of course it's by Tyrion who has not met her but Aegon was a conqueror and Jon had dreams of being like Daeron I not Aegon but after being stabbed he may amend that.

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Arya ---> Jon Arrryn. The end. Have no clue for Sansa.

Damn, what I was about to say.

I think Sansa might take part of it's name from Minisa Whent, Catelyn's mother. the (the sa sound at the end, similar to Ly-sa Arryn too)

Alysane/Alysanne is a popular name. In the North there is Alysane Mormont. Alysanne Targaryen was the Queen that visited the North and the Night's Watch. The San part might come from there.

Could Ned's Mother have been called something with a San too? Like Alysane?

I wonder why there was no Lyanna, perhaps it was too tough for Ned.

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There's a Sarya Whent who was Walder's 5th wife and died childless. I doubt Arya was named after her though.

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There's a Sarya Whent who was Walder's 5th wife and died childless. I doubt Arya was named after her though.

Marya is Davos' wife's name, for what it's worth.

Well... -line, -ia, -enne are very common endings of female names, but that doesn't mean they are related.

Very articulate of someone to pick up on that, very pensive indeed. :thumbsup:

Who do you mean?

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Well... -line, -ia, -enne are very common endings of female names, but that doesn't mean they are related.

Who do you mean?

I meant the original post and the observations made by those involved.

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Very interesting. I had been thinking about Aria - Arya - somebody was joking about people naming babies after ASOIF and I was thinking its surprising Aria hasn't become a girl's name already - then I had a more silly/profound thought (take your pick) - in opera Aria is specifically a solo (very Arya) female (ditto) voice which has an orchestral accompaniment - and she's the only POV that is there throughout the books - struggling along with her own song with everything else that's going on being the orchestra.

1.
A solo vocal piece with instrumental accompaniment, as in an opera.

2.
An air; a melody.

About Sansa - that's so creepy being a thumb instrument - like she will always be under someone's thumb. Yuk! The only thing I thoughts about Sansa is that it sounds like French Sans 'without' (and the ending could be French Ca (her/his I think) so she is the one without her wolf, without her family......

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Where Sansa is concerned: What do you do with an instrument? You play it. You manipulate it. While Arya is for the time being the more "active" of the two — named for a musical quality that is the result of action, singing — Sansa is named for an instrument that requires a musician's manipulations to give off sound. Sansa spends most of the series thus far as a political pawn in other people's plots. An instrument of intrigue.

About Sansa - that's so creepy being a thumb instrument - like she will always be under someone's thumb. Yuk! The only thing I thoughts about Sansa is that it sounds like French Sans 'without' (and the ending could be French Ca (her/his I think) so she is the one without her wolf, without her family......

First, AM, great thread!

Also, I think Sansa's name and the link to a musical instrument can be read a couple different ways. Sure, she's been a political pawn and under someone else's thumb. But, a musical instrument can also symbolize that Sansa is someone who works through and with other people. Sansa wins allies, even when she doesn't always know it, and works through them. In this way, her name can represent where she will end up just as much as where she is now.

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Good theory! :cool4: I always thought that Arya was named that way because the Arryn, but I didn't think about Sansa's name.

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I always thought it was a play on Nymeria... the "Eria" and "Arya" sound the same. :dunno:

I like this analysis about instruments though.

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Count on Apple Martini to pick up a bone and gnaw at it at it's best :)

I had always looked at it the same way - Arya is solo, and Sansa is an instrument. I want to add that if we have to put the song (of Ice and Fire) - the girl with the Auburn hair, who should be fire at first glance, is much more "icy" - not outspoken, calmer (on the outside) and we know ice preserves - well, it's working for now. Arya, OTOH, who has the Stark features and should be "ice", is much more fiery - playful, adventurous, has killed people, been through hell of a lot, changed so many identities (we know fire doesn't keep one form as it burns). And if Jon is ice and fire, this fits well.

I am a musician (kind of) and maybe that's why it was obvious to me, and haven't really nipticked at it that deep, so I am glad Apple Martini started this thread. It is interesting indeed that the boys are given in-story names, while the girls are more meta. And I don't believe the girls' names are a coincidence, and yes, maybe some reasonable thoughts can be made of this.

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Arya ---> Jon Arryn. The end. Have no clue for Sansa.

I have no doubt in my mind that the musical thing is deliberate, but everyone is free to look at his own connections.

But I have one question - it's normal to name someone after your friends' first name, but after his family name? Which also happens to be the name of the region (the Vale of Arryn). It's like naming Sansa Barathea or Stormsendia?

You name after one person you have affections for, not after his whole family.

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I actually think I wrote something about this in a Sansa v Arya thread a while back.

Technically speaking, though, "aria" means "music" (according to OED) so it's a bit more inclusive than the operatic solo, though I do think that the solo connotation is there in Arya's arc. I liked the "music" definition a lot because I thought Arya might be the hinge that brought Jon-Arya-Sansa together in some capacity as a united front.

To clarify, "music" is about harmony, balance, putting together melody and rhythm (structuring noise). A "song" is an instance of "music," and is highly associated with vocals or utterances (so there's a vocal aspect to Jon's being the Song of Ice and Fire-- which makes sense, he'd be the figurehead). That Sansa is the "instrument" suggests that she might offer the means by which they fight this battle, which also makes sense since she's the one learning how to play the game.

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