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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XVIII

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(Rethinking XVII)

(Original Reread links)

(Resources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 )

Welcome to Rethinking 18! Our purpose in these threads is fairly simple: to critically analyze Sansa's character and her development throughout the novels, focusing on careful textual analysis and applying a wide range of knowledge gleaned from a variety of theoretical disciplines. Our founding principle is that Sansa is on a path towards agency and empowerment, and contrary to much of the traditional readings on her character, we believe that she embodies a decidedly feminist position in text, which will ultimately lead to substantial changes in her life - politically and personally.

We regularly embark on different projects, and encourage the contribution of analytical essays or constructive ideas relating to Sansa or another character who has some significance in helping to shed light on her journey. With this is mind, the thread is especially welcoming of new members who are interested in serious discussion. A long running thread series can be discouraging for those who feel as though they can never catch up, but given the nature of rethinking itself, we are open to new opinions and insights which can help to enrich our appreciation of the text. All it takes is saying hello, offering your perspective or asking a question. The resource section is also highly recommended for past project essays, links to critical theories, and standout analyses.

I will be posting the updated outline for the Beauty and Beauty project below, along with adding two resource collections, one of which is for the long running male influences project, which should be completed in this thread incarnation. Thank you and happy posting.

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(For the essays which have already been completed in this project, please see Resources 4 and 5)

Examining the Beauty and the Beast motif in ASOIAF

A From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa Project

a. Origins, History and Symbolism of Beauty and the Beast:

1. Origins of the tale in ancient Greece and Rome: Milady of York.

1.a On the Symbolism of Psyche’s Tasks: Milady of York

1.b The transformation of Cupid and Psyche into Beauty and the Beast: Milady of York

2. The tale in other early civilisations

2.a An analysis of Beauty and the Beast elements in the Epic of Gilgamesh: fiekie

3. Medieval retellings of the tale across Europe up to the Renaissance:

3.a Northern Europe: Valkyrja

4. Psychological interpretations of the symbolism in Beauty and the Beast: KittensRuleBeetsDrool

5. Modern retellings:

5.a Retellings by Villeneuve: Lady Lea

5.b Retelling by Beaumont: Milady of York

b. Beauty and the Beast in Popular Culture:

1. TV series: brashcandy

2. Films:

2. a Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: caro99

2. b La belle et la bête: Milady of York

3. Influences in Literature: Elba the Intoner

4. Music: bgona

c. The Beast in ASOIAF:

1. The Two Faces of the Beast:

1.a. The Hound: Milady of York

1. b. The Kingslayer: Danelle

2. Infirmity and Deformity, A Symbolic reading of the beastly figures in ASOIAF: Mahaut

d. Beauty and the Beast and ASOIAF: Milady of York

1. Awakening the Beast: brashcandy

2. Analysis of the father figures in Beauty and the Beast: tze

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God damnit but GRRM is lucky to have you guys. Knowing that the effort he put in intertextual connections is dissected and appreciated like this must feel awesome.

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Ladies, since I am man of my word, I present you my essays on Sansa through male eyes. It`s series consisted of 5 pieces

1. Male perspective on Sansa

2. Beasts for our beauty, Joffrey and Littlefinger

3. What men see in Sansa, Robb and Tywin analysis

4. Women`s courage, regarding a piece from feministfiction.com

5. San/San, from his eyes.

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My literacy teacher once told me a story. It was about twins, a boy and girl who were reading `War and peace` by Leo Tolstoy. He has read the war chapters, and she did the same, only with court chapters. Together they have read entire book. Unfortunately, none of them could truly understand Tolstoy`s masterpiece. This story serves me as a great introduction for a male perspective on our favorite character.

Men and women are different, and not just anatomically. We are defined as two worlds – Mars and Venus, ice and fire, if you like. And therefore we are able to see the same thing with different eyes. So it`s natural to guess that for the full analysis of Sansa, we also need men`s eyes too.

In the patriarch world such as Westeros, from their earliest days women are prepared for what is considered their most sacred duty - starting a family. Modesty, chastity and obedience are the highest virtues woman can possess. They are judged and valued as mothers, daughters and wives. It`s the world where little girls dream of marrying the Prince. Dreams that are of course nurtured and cherished by the very same society they live in.

So, in order to understand Sansa at the beginning of ASOIAF, you need to understand the society of Westeros, for Sansa is only a product of closeted, narrow-minded world she lives in. She is the girl who had only one mission in her life and who was to get married and have a bunch of kids. To obey and honor her lord and husband in every way. With the prospect of marrying into a royal family and give birth to the future King of the Seven Kingdoms, Sansa starts her journey as very disciplined, even tame lady, quite fit to be a future Queen. In her naiveté and blindness, she desperately falls in love with Joffrey.

How she couldn`t see who he really is? Really, that`s what the most readers have against her. Come on, you have an 11 year-old girl with a crush for a quite handsome boy who happens to be the Prince. She wasn`t able to think clearly, but there were someone else who should have do so - her parents. In all this talk about Sansa, we somehow have forgotten to blame those who should have been blamed. Those who should have seen the signs, and interpreted them. Those with much more common sense and reason who would and should have known better. Ned`s and Cat`s decision to close their eyes in front of Joffrey`s true nature had its price. And unfortunately, not just them, also Sansa had to pay for it.

As for men in Westeros, Sansa is just a pretty noblewoman. They see decent, polite girl with great sense of manners. Men don`t look beyond pretty face and gentle posture. Cliché, yes, but that`s what typical man would do. Treat her with respect, for one day she would be the Queen, but don`t think of her more than you have to.

But, with a single strike of a sword, everything changes. War erupts, and no one is safe anymore. Especially the girl whose father was killed as traitor, and whose brother is in open rebellion against the throne. As a hostage, her situation doesn`t change much. She is still living a girly fairytale, for she is to marry a prince. To marry a man who killed her father. And furthermore, who has her beaten with every occasion he had.

The most impressive thing about this is that no one actually cares. People in such times are focusing on surviving the war, and not meddling in other people`s affairs. Someone may have pitied her, but they were certainly too frightened to talk about it.

Here we have to talk about Sir Arys Oakheart. Divided between a duty and honor, he suffers the most. Of all white swords, he tries to comfort her by gossiping with her and treating her kindly. But, he is restless. Even far from KL, he is haunted by everything what he has done to her. Remorse, desire for redemption and shame are what he feels every time he remembers Sansa.

Another great example of perfect chivalry is Tyrell men. Ser Loras and Ser Garlan treat her with kindness, because it costs nothing. Garlan even comforts her at her wedding day. It`s the least they could do, for they can`t help her. And there we find how men are utterly helpless when it comes to anything other than fighting.

But if you want to see Sansa through male eyes, it`s her husband who has the best view. Poor Sansa. Comfort would never come to her. Tyrion marries her for his own purposes with so much to gain. She, on the other hand, is losing everything, even her own family. But, Tyrion`s inability to connect with Sansa comes from one thing. The wedding.

Sansa`s refusal to bend her knees reminds me a little bit when girls are talking about small penises. There is no more embarrassing thing for men than that, and when it comes to our pride, we are insecure teenagers. Tyrion could have never forgiven Sansa her insubordination, for she reminded him of his flaws. And that`s not what men expect of their wives. It`s great to see how much that one act hurts him so much. And what`s even more astonishing is the fact that he is so hurt when she declares there is possibility she would never sleep with him.

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So many beasts for just one beauty…

If there is one thing we don`t discuss, it`s Sansa`s beauty. And, there is pretty good reason why – she is beautiful woman. In so many POVs we have, no one denied it. But her beauty had come with curse. With undeniable looks, it seems she has attracted all sorts of monsters.

1. Joffrey

This beautiful lion prince could have it all. But, his damaged soul and abominate behavior have led him to his death. When Robert proposed a marriage between his firstborn son and his best friend`s daughter, he had political reasons. But, no one could deny that Sansa is truly appropriate for Joffrey. The bubble this `lovely` couple had lived burst with Joffrey`s humiliation and despair. This insecure coward probably has loved Sansa, or at least liked her very much, but when his weakness was displayed in incident with Arya, Mycah and Nymeria, Sansa lost a war for his affection. Joffrey was a monster created by a delusional mother and father who had neglected him so much. His idea of love was actually fear. He wasn`t able to love for no one ever truly loved him. He never understood love, and therefore he tortured Sansa to the last breath of his body. Since the day she begged him for mercy, he saw a chance to avenge his humiliation. All the torture, all the sadistic behavior was just a punishment for the day she looked stronger than him.

If he was smarter, or if his mother knew better, he would possibly be alive. Sansa would have been loyal and obedient wife to him, if he could have only loved her. But, just like Tyrion noticed, Joffrey wast a lost cause. And ultimately, he got what he deserved from someone who wasn`t afraid of him.

2. Littlefinger

There is only one word for this relationship, and that would be creepy. Since the day they met, we could actually feel something sinister is going on. Whether it is Sansa`s looks or her mother what drew his attention, it`s still a bit unclear. But with psychological and emotional issues lord Baelish certainly has, you can bet he`s not up to good. Personally, I am most intrigued by their voyage to the Eyrie and conversations that occurred during it. Exposing himself as her savior, he certainly had positioned himself quite close to her heart. Providing her freedom, and some sort of home, he makes her dependable of him. Creating the false identity of Alayne Stone, he did what powerful men usually do. They tend to owe person in interest. And with LF it`s all about trading. With his persistent attempts to make her fully accept Alayne identity, he makes Sansa more and more vulnerable, exposing her to him. Because, as Sansa cleverly noticed, there is Littlefinger and Petyr. Alayne is owned by Littlefinger, she is Petyr`s daughter while Sansa Stark is neither of that.

His machinations for Alayne will be broken by Sansa. What he didn`t create (and what he couldn`t) was her personality. Alayne is maybe a bastard, she wears simple clothes, but her core is the core of Sansa Stark. And in that core Littlefinger will find its demise.

One of the greatest mistake we men make is that by making anyone smaller doesn`t make us greater. Many men of power should learn not to possess than to inspire people. Joffrey and Littlefinger would never be able to do so. Furthermore, when it comes to delicate, tender women like Sansa, men will always play heroes and saviors. For men (especially those in Westeros) will never evolve from those fairytales when they were saving the day, and when woman was waiting her entire life for them.

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Ever since Robert Baratheon proposed uniting Houses Baratheon and Stark through marriage between Joffrey and Sansa, Sansa`s childhood was over. This beautiful highborn girl all of a sudden became the future Queen of Westeros. And that certainly changed the perspective people were watching her.

Girl she was, but ordinary definitely not. Royal betrothal made Sansa possibly the third most important woman at KL court (after Cersei and Myrcella). Everybody addressed her with proper respect, and what is always expected, everyone were polite to her. With her ravishing beauty and dazzling smile, she could disarm anyone. Highborn, gorgeous and betrothed to Prince, Sansa was, what would we say, a triple threat. Her power laid in her future. Unfortunately, that future proves fruitless and so was her newly gain power. Imprisoned, alone, and beaten, Sansa lost everything. Hope, happiness and joy, all was gone. People were watching her differently but she was still part of immediate royal circle, so empty courtship and manners were all displayed.

With Stannis`s lost at BWB, Lannisters and Tyrells made alliance and Sansa was abandoned, at all her happiness, by her `beloved` fiancé. But, her power which lied in her surname, claim and beauty was showing its teeth. She never comprehend the power she has possibly due to Joffrey`s molestations and the deaths of her beloved ones. But, nevertheless, others were very much aware of that.

1. Tywin

Lord Tywin Lannister is as incredibly ruthless enemy as he is smart and intelligent leader. I always loved Jaime`s remark concerning Jayne Westerling`s possible pregnancy that his father wouldn`t forget to predict those things. He maybe haven`t thought of Sansa until LF informed of Tyrell plot and beginning of his RW plans. But, in a second that changed. Even great lord such as Tywin Lannister understood what kind of threat Sansa could become. After resolving possible problem he would have with Willas/Sansa marriage, he continued thinking of even better use for Sansa. With one swift move, he resolved more than one issue he had. His son`s whoring, problems with Tyrells, and certainly the question of control the North. This is by far one of the most impressive solutions of potential problem. And, when it comes to that, Tywin demonstrated not just his brilliance than also undeniable ability to see the whole picture, something that no King before or after him was capable of.

Tywin saw in Sansa opportunity and he used it. We can say that things he saw in Sansa are shallow and questionable but I am sure no one can deny their existence. Even she doesn`t realize where her power lies. But if she is incapable to see herself as heiress of the North, that doesn`t mean others are. Like Varys had said: Power resides where people believe it resides. And whether Sansa wants it or not, people believe she has power, and her power (for Westerosi) lies in all the named above.

2. Robb

The notion of Sansa holding some sort of power was strange to Robb until the question of hostage exchange was at the table. But freedom of both his sisters wasn`t enough prize for Jaime Lannister`s freedom. In game of thrones, Sansa lost her father and later the support of her brother. Sansa is unaware of many things her brother had done. But, he isn`t. I believe that Robb was hurt, but that couldn`t solve the war he was in. In no other choice, he left Sansa to Cersei`s and Joffrey`s mercy. She lingered in captivity while he made his own mistakes. This situation had changed with Sansa`s marriage to Tyrion. Robb, with dead brothers, without a son, realized that the heir of North is his sister. And in his eyes, her role became more important. Cutting her off, he did what any patriarchal man would do. Anytime woman did anything out of ordinary in medieval times, her fathers, brothers and family would denounce her. So sad, and yet so true. Even nowadays, men usually tend not to forgive women`s mistakes. Sansa had done nothing wrong, and yet she was punished in a way she didn`t deserve. Where will that lead her is of course a totally different story.

Men see power of Sansa Stark in her title, claim, and surname. Both Robb and Tywin acted typically for the men of their world. Whether of necessity or game playing, they did to Sansa unimaginable things. The greatest irony is that her power isn`t in what they believed, than in her decency, innocence and compassion. In all those things men usually overlook.

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To survive in cruel, vile and harsh world Westeros is, you have to be brave. You have to be ready for anything life throws at you whether it is death of beloved ones, captivity or even ridicule by masses. Man or woman, conditions are same. We all have battles of our own, but we face them differently.

Women in Westeros basically have entire life planned for them. From the day they are born to the day they die, in most of the cases they don`t have a say in what`s happening to them. Don`t think of this as their weakness, it`s more a society dogma. Women, who overstep carefully drawn boundaries, are severely punished. So, how to live a life they want, and yet not to bear a `scarlet letter`?

When we discuss Sansa, it`s always in the context of playing by the book. Even bearing Alayne mask, she does what`s expected of her. Sansa`s behavior from nowadays perspective may be strange, but not so long ago, women had lived the same way as Sansa. Furthermore, the lack of female solidarity for Sansa`s fate is for me, a man, unexplainable. Judging Sansa is judging countless generation of women who had no choice. This kind of intolerance from female readers is inexcusable. My ladies, you fought for the right to choose, you fought for equality, your battle isn`t over, and therefore I believe that every woman should sympathize with another woman.

But no. It`s like a history class about nuns, and their prosecution of beautiful women. The greatest judges of free, independent women are women who live by narrow-minded codes. The chapter showing Cersei, being imprisoned by septas and her walk of penance is for me, after RW, the most horrifying thing I`ve ever read. And trust me, by the end of that chapter I didn`t care what she`s done, I felt pity for her, and hatred for the Faith. Step back, we can remember how Sansa`s beauty was noticed by Cersei, and her behavior before Tyrion and Sansa`s wedding. Her insensitivity and even joy for Sansa`s fate is astonishing. Of course, her walk of penance is just an ironic twist of Sansa`s wedding.

As I said, women had to be brave to survive in Westeros. But, being brave isn`t just about fighting or protesting. Bravery can take many forms, and somehow we have become unaware of them. Arya, Brienne, Sand Snakes are great example of bravery we always notice. Yes, they go against the world, trying to make it place they can live freely and on their terms. Cersei, Margaery and Queen of Thorns have a luxury to be brave. But what with Sansa`s bravery?

Sansa isn`t Arya or Brienne, she isn`t good at fighting, she can`t be a match to any men like these two can. Unlike Cersei and Olenna, Sansa doesn`t have anyone to protect her, to mend her mistakes. She doesn`t have the power of a Great House to guide her. But, her bravery is there, you just have to look more carefully. Every day since her father was executed was a struggle to survive, and she managed to do it. She was standing up every morning not knowing what`s expecting her – beating, humiliation in public or something worse. She had to watch the murderer of her father, and not say anything. She had to be polite, quiet and obedient and watch not to step on Joffrey`s toe. Isn`t that brave? How many of us would survive it? How many of us would crawl into bed and never get up? But three glorious displays of her bravery can`t be denied by anyone.

1. Calming the women during BWB

In time of chaos, those brave ones excel. She took initiative and demonstrated great leadership abilities and without thinking of her own fate or future, took a role to calm and comfort others.

2. Telling the truth about Joffrey to Margaery

Despite great personal risk. With this sentence, every medal for courage is awarded. And Sansa was showing her best side when she told Margaery who Joffrey is. I have to say I am not sure if I would be able to do that.

3. Presenting herself at Joffrey`s wedding

After the death of her mother and brother, Sansa was ultimately alone. She had no one anymore. In that pain, despair and agony, to go out, do the needed courtesy and smile when she is supposed to, is a great achievement. Luckily for her, justice had come at the end of that feast.

Needless to say, men honor different type of courage then Sansa`s. It`s all about fighting and winning. We admire type of women like Arya or Brienne, even more that we are threatened by them. We respect women who want to be one of us. But those women who stay silent, those who are on first glimpse obedient and quiet, they also have courage. Perhaps books won`t be written about them, but that doesn`t diminish their bravery. They endure. Just like Sansa endured.

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As a med student, I had a chance to see variety of sick, wounded people. And the one thing they all have in common is protective mechanism. Some of them make jokes, some of them cry, and some of them are rude. As future doctors they teach us not just to tolerate it then to fully understand it.

To achieve perfection, or rather Excellency is in human nature. We all aspire to be better. But sometimes it`s not easy. Sometimes life is cruel enough to bind us as we are. And no matter what we do, some things will never change.

`Do I frighten you so much? `. This very first line between Sansa and Sandor is the great beginning of a promising story. Sandor, accustomed to provoke disgust and fear, expects nothing else of this highborn lady. Sansa, on the other hand, being raised to believe in stories and fairytales of true knights, can`t find the word to express herself. But they were both wrong about each other. Neither Sansa expressed disgust, nor did he fear her as much as you would expect.

If you want proof, look, or better hear Lady. When Sansa noticed Ser Ilyn Payne, she, I quote `growled` and but when Sandor came she just `rumbled`. Subtle difference, don`t you think? But, devil is in the detail.

Certainly, the first impression wasn`t the best. He hated her for her naiveté and foolishness, she didn`t like him because of his roughness. But with each time they meet again, it seems those first feelings are fading.

The unknown story of how his face was burnt is revealed by himself in utter secrecy, under the payment of death, to Sansa. As a reader, I made a pause to just wonder why he did that. Story no one knows, so why would he choose Sansa to tell her. And then I realized, when there is no logic, there is something else.

Sandor may have told story in order to break illusion of `true knights` Sansa had, but it also gave him some much needed humanity. His scars, his roughness, and ill wit are gone, and Sansa saw him. Unintentionally, he revealed the most deep part of his life, part reserved for those we genuinely love. Exposing himself in this way is a truly, in some weird way, the most romantic thing in ASOIAF.

Men tend to keep their weaknesses secret. We don`t talk about them, we don`t analyze them, we hide them in places no one can find. We let them out once when there is someone to share with. Loras may have given Sansa a rose, symbol of love and beauty, but it is Sandor`s story that truly depicts love and tenderness.

When Joffrey sentenced Ned Stark to death, ser Ilyn cut his head, and Slynt raised it so people could see it. Sandor took no role in mutilating Ned`s body or gloating over it. His absence is here noticed. And when Sansa is beaten for the very first time, he helps her by advice.

`Give him what he wants`. Sandor, who had to give his brother anything he wanted, who understands bullying better than anyone, knows how precarious and dangerous her situation is. He, who hates courtesy and false manners, advises her to do so, just so she could be safe. As Sansa noticed, none of the Kingsguards actually see her. They just follow the order. But not him. He sees her, her pain and sorrow. And since she has no one, he advises what to do. Also, when Joffrey is making remark about her brother on behalf Sandor`s joke of `wooden knight`, he just makes dumb. He says he doesn`t remember. Such a small thing, and yet so valuable in keeping Sansa`s spirit up.

Protecting her from Joffrey is something Sandor does at every chance he had. At Joffrey`s nameday, he supports Sansa in a lie. He does that without raising suspicion, without even obvious care. But he got the result he wanted - Sansa was safe. Joffrey may be unaware of that, but Sansa noticed. She accepts the help, and is truly grateful to him.

Sandor`s watchful eye was taking care of her even without her realizing it. When she was gone for the first meeting with Dontos, Sandor was the one whe met on her return. Her lies irritate him, because he`s aware if she`s caught in a lie, she`s good as dead. His tone may be harsh, but it carries a warning. Lie better, if you want to live. As a hound, he professes to be, he smells the truth, but a promise of a song is something that he remembers.

If you are to find someone so difficult and yet so good in literacy world, you just have to go to Hogwarts. Like Snape, Hound is in a way repelled by this little girl, but also drawn by the love he feels. He may be harsh, unpleasant and rude, but he loves. He loves deeply.

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And, that`s not all.San/San is incomplete, but second part will soon come. I hope you`ll like reading this, for I really enjoyed writing it. Special thanks goes to brashcandy for all her support. And certainly thanks to all of you who will make time to read it and comment it.

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*applause* Mladen, those essays are terrific! (How I miss "like!")

- I like how you pointed out the paradox of Sansa who on the one hand had very little personal power, had so much of it due to her being the eldest Stark daughter and future Queen of Westeros. Even those who beat her or had contempt for her as a "silly little girl" would have had to be at least outwardly respectful if she did become Queen. And of course there was her claim (that albatross).

- The powerlessness of both men and women due to the roles their society assigned them. Women = wives and mothers, or septas. Men = warriors, or Maesters or septons. Poor Samwell Tarly was a victim of societal expectations as well as an unusually hard-assed father. Tyrion finds out just how much it was his social position that allowed him to lead a decent life, when he runs off to Essos and finds himself as a freak-show performer. All in all, Westeros was a cruel place to those who could not conform.

- I still don't like Cersei, but during her walk of shame, I really pitied her and felt bad for her despite all of what she did. She was specifically humiliated as a woman, not just any "sinner." Religious fanaticism almost always targets women for especially repressive treatment.

I will be back with more later. Keep those essays coming!

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Mladen those were brilliant essays. Thank you, just wish there was a like button!

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Oh my daysss Mladen, i'm in love with your posts! Wonderful, wish i could 'like' them 10 times! X)

I can't believe i didn't make the connection before of Sandor telling Sansa lie when we all know how much he hates líes and dishonesty. Sort of like putting her safety before his views/principles or something...

And that comparison with Snape! :)

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Lovely, lovely reflections on Sansa and the men she's encountered on her journey, Mladen. Definitely spoken with "heart". :)

I echo what KRBD wrote! Excellent points! :thumbsup:

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It`s just amazing that everyone noticed different things...Thanks for compliments...

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Let me join in the chorus of congratulations for your wonderful work Mladen :) This is a great way to kick off the new thread.

Sansa`s refusal to bend her knees reminds me a little bit when girls are talking about small penises. There is no more embarrassing thing for men than that, and when it comes to our pride, we are insecure teenagers. Tyrion could have never forgiven Sansa her insubordination, for she reminded him of his flaws. And that`s not what men expect of their wives. It`s great to see how much that one act hurts him so much. And what`s even more astonishing is the fact that he is so hurt when she declares there is possibility she would never sleep with him.

Great observations, and it really highlights the precarious nature of masculinity and how it is subject to failure and can be undermined. What Sansa is able to do throughout her brief marriage to Tyrion is to prevent him from performing his traditional masculine roles, leaving him to lament that he wants her to bring him her lust, tears and joys. She refuses to sleep with him, keeps her concerns to herself and does not indulge his attempts to play the magnanimous husband. In ACOK Cersei spoke about a similar "failure" with Joffrey, where he abuses Sansa because she was a witness to his humiliation at the trident. If you look at the behaviour with Tywin in his treatment of his father's mistress, and Cersei's walk of shame that was at least in part orchestrated by Kevan, you witness an insidious insecurity on the part of Lannister men, who only feel secure in their power when "threatening" women have been taught a lesson.

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Sansa is the most tragic, pathetic, and pitiful character in this whole epic saga. Will there be redemption for her? Only George knows. It's not really realistic for someone to all of a sudden get an IQ boost of exponential proportions. I think that I will always dislike Sansa. However, it doesn't mean she won't have redemption. She could join the ranks of the Septa and dedicate her life to something useful. The scenario that I would really like to see is for Sansa to grab Petyr Baelish and jump out the Moon Door with him in tow. That's a worthy sacrifice.

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Mladen these essays were excellent! Such keen insights and it is wonderful to have the male perspective on it. I especially liked the following -

So many beasts for just one beauty…

One of the greatest mistake we men make is that by making anyone smaller doesn`t make us greater. Many men of power should learn not to possess than to inspire people. Joffrey and Littlefinger would never be able to do so. Furthermore, when it comes to delicate, tender women like Sansa, men will always play heroes and saviors. For men (especially those in Westeros) will never evolve from those fairytales when they were saving the day, and when woman was waiting her entire life for them.

I know we did discuss that Bran was rather idealistic and romantic in that he wanted to be a kingsguard knight, but I never thought about this too much that many men deep down want to play the hero and chivalrous knight to the damsel in distress so that he can earn the fair maid's love. Sansa gets a lot of flak for enjoying these stories and it would seem that only silly girls would like this stuff, but this really brings to light that men buy into this too.

As I said, women had to be brave to survive in Westeros. But, being brave isn`t just about fighting or protesting. Bravery can take many forms, and somehow we have become unaware of them. Arya, Brienne, Sand Snakes are great example of bravery we always notice. Yes, they go against the world, trying to make it place they can live freely and on their terms. Cersei, Margaery and Queen of Thorns have a luxury to be brave. But what with Sansa`s bravery?

Sansa isn`t Arya or Brienne, she isn`t good at fighting, she can`t be a match to any men like these two can. Unlike Cersei and Olenna, Sansa doesn`t have anyone to protect her, to mend her mistakes. She doesn`t have the power of a Great House to guide her. But, her bravery is there, you just have to look more carefully. Every day since her father was executed was a struggle to survive, and she managed to do it. She was standing up every morning not knowing what`s expecting her – beating, humiliation in public or something worse. She had to watch the murderer of her father, and not say anything. She had to be polite, quiet and obedient and watch not to step on Joffrey`s toe. Isn`t that brave? How many of us would survive it? How many of us would crawl into bed and never get up? But three glorious displays of her bravery can`t be denied by anyone.

1. Calming the women during BWB

In time of chaos, those brave ones excel. She took initiative and demonstrated great leadership abilities and without thinking of her own fate or future, took a role to calm and comfort others.

2. Telling the truth about Joffrey to Margaery

Despite great personal risk. With this sentence, every medal for courage is awarded. And Sansa was showing her best side when she told Margaery who Joffrey is. I have to say I am not sure if I would be able to do that.

3. Presenting herself at Joffrey`s wedding

After the death of her mother and brother, Sansa was ultimately alone. She had no one anymore. In that pain, despair and agony, to go out, do the needed courtesy and smile when she is supposed to, is a great achievement. Luckily for her, justice had come at the end of that feast.

Needless to say, men honor different type of courage then Sansa`s. It`s all about fighting and winning. We admire type of women like Arya or Brienne, even more that we are threatened by them. We respect women who want to be one of us. But those women who stay silent, those who are on first glimpse obedient and quiet, they also have courage. Perhaps books won`t be written about them, but that doesn`t diminish their bravery. They endure. Just like Sansa endured.

Thank you for this. I completely agree. There are many ways one can be brave. All that is required is that they do something good or to help others despite being afraid, as Ned tells Bran in the first chapter in AGOT when Bran asks him if a man can be brave if he is afraid and Ned says that is the only time a man can be brave. Sansa and Arya are both brave but just show it in different ways yet it really bothers me no end that these days many readers only seem to value the one way that Arya shows and disregard that Sansa shows any bravery because she is not as active. I think of what Sansa does as more of a "passive resistance" like Ella of Frell in Ella Enchanted. Even though she is forced by this gift/curse to obey, she has her little ways of acting out against it. Sansa trying to goad Joff to fight in the front lines is a great example of this.

Sandor may have told story in order to break illusion of `true knights` Sansa had, but it also gave him some much needed humanity. His scars, his roughness, and ill wit are gone, and Sansa saw him. Unintentionally, he revealed the most deep part of his life, part reserved for those we genuinely love. Exposing himself in this way is a truly, in some weird way, the most romantic thing in ASOIAF.

Men tend to keep their weaknesses secret. We don`t talk about them, we don`t analyze them, we hide them in places no one can find. We let them out once when there is someone to share with. Loras may have given Sansa a rose, symbol of love and beauty, but it is Sandor`s story that truly depicts love and tenderness.

This whole section is beautifully written.

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