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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XVIII

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- 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!

So very sad but true. Did you ever read "A Thousand Splendid Suns"? It is one of the best books I have ever read. If you haven't read it yet I highly recommend it but be sure to keep a box or two of tissues next to you.

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Mladen, amazing posts and observations, as a man, I can't agree more with you. I mis the like button so much :bowdown: :bowdown:

Excelent way to start the new thread :cheers:

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Excelent work! I agree with almost everything. Two points of discussion:

1. Sandor. The part where he tells her his secret story. People have the need to confess. Sandor seems a very lonely persom with no friends. He choses Sansa, yes, for all the reasons you mention, but also because she is someone weaker than him (or so he thinks) who has no one to expose him to. We see Lady Dustin and Roose Bolton to confess to Theon for this reason. Of course this doesn't negate all the other reasons. It also reveals Sandor's loneliness.

2. Tyrion. I think that concerning Sansa, Tyrion 's negatives overshadow everything else. He never hated her for her rejection. He understands that for her he is a dwarf and a Lannister, it hurts him but he never faults her. Also, his quote to his father "...before or after we tell her how we killed her mother and her brother" demonstrates that he has some kind of empathy for her.

It is alse noticeable that Tyrion, of all people, is the one who buys it when Sansa lies to him. I think this is because he feels both sympathy and guilt for her. I could go on but this would be better fitting in a Tyrion thread.

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Wonderful posts Mladen, just what I have come to expect from this awesome thread - Mikael is right: GRRM is lucky to have readers this attentive.

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.

This part really stuck out for me. I think this lack of solidarity stems from the fact that if we were casting ourselves in a Medieval/epic fantasy story, many female readers would pick a "badass" tomboy character like Ayra or Asha Greyjoy. As modern feminist readers, no one wants to be the powerless princess in the tower that Sansa appears to be - especially in GOT. Personally, the idea of being in Sansa's place (even before her world gets torn apart) terrifies me - the lack of agency alone is an anathema. I think that compared to Arya, Sansa represents the more likely reality for most of women (if we had been born as Medieval noblewomen). Sansa shatters the illusion that we can all be badass warrior chicks and some readers fail to empathise with her or call her weak/useless/boring for that reason.

I hope that all makes sense *bows down like Wayne and Garth in front of Aerosmith*. Basically no one wants to be in Sansa's place or "fail" at busting out of the powerless princess role by opening a can of whoopass on arseholes like Joffrey. Apologies for the ramble, this turned out longer that I would have liked!

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My dear fellows, thank you again. I feel so humbled by all your praise. It`s been a while ago since I have written an essay on English, so the fact you have understood what I wanted to say, my ideas, thoughts and emotions over certain issues is truly amazing

P.S. `I miss LIKE button` will become my favourite sentence

P.P.S. Of course there are couple of more essays coming in following days

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Excelent work! I agree with almost everything. Two points of discussion:

1. Sandor. The part where he tells her his secret story. People have the need to confess. Sandor seems a very lonely persom with no friends. He choses Sansa, yes, for all the reasons you mention, but also because she is someone weaker than him (or so he thinks) who has no one to expose him to. We see Lady Dustin and Roose Bolton to confess to Theon for this reason. Of course this doesn't negate all the other reasons. It also reveals Sandor's loneliness.

2. Tyrion. I think that concerning Sansa, Tyrion 's negatives overshadow everything else. He never hated her for her rejection. He understands that for her he is a dwarf and a Lannister, it hurts him but he never faults her. Also, his quote to his father "...before or after we tell her how we killed her mother and her brother" demonstrates that he has some kind of empathy for her.

It is alse noticeable that Tyrion, of all people, is the one who buys it when Sansa lies to him. I think this is because he feels both sympathy and guilt for her. I could go on but this would be better fitting in a Tyrion thread.

Great write up Mladen. So insightful. On Sansa not having anyone to tell Sandor's story to she at that stage still has her father, Arya, Septa and the Stark retinue in KL. she's not alone. He does threaten her not to tell anyone or he'll kill her at the end. Yes he may be lonely but I agree that you tell your deepest secrets to those you love the most. Sandor tells her to disabuse her on knights as well as for the reasons so beautifully noted in Mladen's post.

On Tyrion, he may know how she feels about being given to a Lannister but he does in the end expect her to do her duty. He offers her measure of security and is good to her but he does resent her not kneeling at the wedding and later in ADWD names her something like my lying bride. Can't offhand recall his words but they indicate resentment. He never understood her and that marriage was a total disaster.

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Official welcome to the thread, Buddug, ShadowCat and franko99 :)

Yes, welcome! The more the merrier!

This part really stuck out for me. I think this lack of solidarity stems from the fact that if we were casting ourselves in a Medieval/epic fantasy story, many female readers would pick a "badass" tomboy character like Ayra or Asha Greyjoy. As modern feminist readers, no one wants to be the powerless princess in the tower that Sansa appears to be - especially in GOT. Personally, the idea of being in Sansa's place (even before her world gets torn apart) terrifies me - the lack of agency alone is an anathema. I think that compared to Arya, Sansa represents the more likely reality for most of women (if we had been born as Medieval noblewomen). Sansa shatters the illusion that we can all be badass warrior chicks and some readers fail to empathise with her or call her weak/useless/boring for that reason.

I hope that all makes sense *bows down like Wayne and Garth in front of Aerosmith*. Basically no one wants to be in Sansa's place or "fail" at busting out of the powerless princess role by opening a can of whoopass on arseholes like Joffrey. Apologies for the ramble, this turned out longer that I would have liked!

I agree with you. I love Arya, Asha Greyjoy, Meera Reed, the Mormont ladies, Brienne, and of course Daenerys...but I am 100% in agreement that "badass" action girls are expected to be the heroines, and girls like Sansa who are gentle and "traditionally" feminine are looked down on as wimpy and powerless. (Whipping Girl by Julia Serano is an excellent book to read on the subject - it's in Brash's links on feminist literature - heck, check out all the links!) Like it or not, Sansa is considered the perfect Westerosi maiden; we first see her through Arya's eyes and Arya is thinking how much better her sister is at everything, except math. In fact Arya wonders if "anything was left over for her" because Sansa was born first and got all the blessings.

Arya, Brienne, and Asha are the ones who do not fit in to Westerosi society. (The Mormonts and Meera Reed are special cases, as I've noted; they belong to sub-cultures where they fit the conventional idea of womanhood according to Bear Island or Crannogmen culture, which are not mainstream Westerosi cultures.) Sansa is the one who is the ideal, the one that other girls would be told to emulate; it is only because society is upended and plunged into war that she all of a sudden becomes the outcast. And that is a terrifying thought. Realistically, I'd be more like Sansa than Arya in her situation. That's scary, because we are taught that it is Good to be Badass and self-reliant.

Naturally this blinds some readers to Sansa's real, quiet strength, power of survival, and her own gifts of character. And it causes people to not cut her any slack for her mistakes when other "good" characters make even greater mistakes or commit dubious moral deeds.

A comment on Sandor confiding in Sansa: I often think that a Sansa in the modern world would make a great teacher or therapist. I think Sandor confides in her not just because of her powerless position - remember, this was before Ned was killed and Sansa taken hostage, so she still was quite secure - but because he sensed her kindness and empathy and felt his secret would be safe with her. (I can actually relate. I've said I know more secrets than Mata Hari, being the kind of person everyone confides in!)

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Great write up Mladen. So insightful. On Sansa not having anyone to tell Sandor's story to she at that stage still has her father, Arya, Septa and the Stark retinue in KL. she's not alone. He does threaten her not to tell anyone or he'll kill her at the end. Yes he may be lonely but I agree that you tell your deepest secrets to those you love the most. Sandor tells her to disabuse her on knights as well as for the reasons so beautifully noted in Mladen's post.

On Tyrion, he may know how she feels about being given to a Lannister but he does in the end expect her to do her duty. He offers her measure of security and is good to her but he does resent her not kneeling at the wedding and later in ADWD names her something like my lying bride. Can't offhand recall his words but they indicate resentment. He never understood her and that marriage was a total disaster.

I quite agree. He gave her a reprieve, it never occured to him when he made the offer that she might never want him. Sansa notices that he reacts as if she struck him on their wedding night which makes it clear he didn't expact that. More, we see his growing frustration over it as well. The reprieve is wearing on him while he is sinking further and further in to self-pity and depression. It was only a matter of time until he came to collect what he felt he was due. <I feel kinda sick writing that...>

Also, after he is arrested, he thinks on how she left and just how little her vows meant. Then in Dance, he includes her in the list of women who played him false. I don't remember him calling her a lying bride but makybe someone else will remember this.

Yes, welcome! The more the merrier!

I agree with you. I love Arya, Asha Greyjoy, Meera Reed, the Mormont ladies, Brienne, and of course Daenerys...but I am 100% in agreement that "badass" action girls are expected to be the heroines, and girls like Sansa who are gentle and "traditionally" feminine are looked down on as wimpy and powerless. (Whipping Girl by Julia Serano is an excellent book to read on the subject - it's in Brash's links on feminist literature - heck, check out all the links!) Like it or not, Sansa is considered the perfect Westerosi maiden; we first see her through Arya's eyes and Arya is thinking how much better her sister is at everything, except math. In fact Arya wonders if "anything was left over for her" because Sansa was born first and got all the blessings.

Arya, Brienne, and Asha are the ones who do not fit in to Westerosi society. (The Mormonts and Meera Reed are special cases, as I've noted; they belong to sub-cultures where they fit the conventional idea of womanhood according to Bear Island or Crannogmen culture, which are not mainstream Westerosi cultures.) Sansa is the one who is the ideal, the one that other girls would be told to emulate; it is only because society is upended and plunged into war that she all of a sudden becomes the outcast. And that is a terrifying thought. Realistically, I'd be more like Sansa than Arya in her situation. That's scary, because we are taught that it is Good to be Badass and self-reliant.

Naturally this blinds some readers to Sansa's real, quiet strength, power of survival, and her own gifts of character. And it causes people to not cut her any slack for her mistakes when other "good" characters make even greater mistakes or commit dubious moral deeds.

A comment on Sandor confiding in Sansa: I often think that a Sansa in the modern world would make a great teacher or therapist. I think Sandor confides in her not just because of her powerless position - remember, this was before Ned was killed and Sansa taken hostage, so she still was quite secure - but because he sensed her kindness and empathy and felt his secret would be safe with her. (I can actually relate. I've said I know more secrets than Mata Hari, being the kind of person everyone confides in!)

I quite agree. Yesterday, Lyanna Stark started a thread over in Gen Chat on feminism that I spent this morning catching up on. There is a post in there that talks about this book (I need to add it to my reading list it seems) and touches on much of what we have talked about in this thread. It's outstanding and relevant here I think.

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/80302-failings-of-feminism-real-or-not/page__st__280#entry4059071

The whole thread is a good read too if anyone wants to look through it.

Mladin - great essay. I've got a couple follow-ups that I'll post in a separate post. It was a very enjoyable read.

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Been a while since I was able to be on the forum, but since I am back, an observation:

A wolf may run, a fish may swim, and a bird may fly away, but a stone stays exactly where it is*.

(*unless it falls.)

Coincidence ?

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Quick crackpot question. I believe this has already been discussed, but I can`t find it. Considering that in both chapters in which Sansa is meeting with Dontos, on her way back she meets Sandor, could it be possible that he knew about her attempt to escape? Thanks...

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Been a while since I was able to be on the forum, but since I am back, an observation:

A wolf may run, a fish may swim, and a bird may fly away, but a stone stays exactly where it is*.

(*unless it falls.)

Coincidence ?

I'd guess not. Is that in the books somewhere? Don't think I've heard that before.

ETA:

Quick crackpot question. I believe this has already been discussed, but I can`t find it. Considering that in both chapters in which Sansa is meeting with Dontos, on her way back she meets Sandor, could it be possible that he knew about her attempt to escape? Thanks...

I don't think so. Although that first time, he knew something was up. Actually, my guess is that the way they meet and her thoughts when they run in to each other are foreshadowing that he'll eventually help her get home some day.

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I quite agree. He gave her a reprieve, it never occured to him when he made the offer that she might never want him. Sansa notices that he reacts as if she struck him on their wedding night which makes it clear he didn't expact that. More, we see his growing frustration over it as well. The reprieve is wearing on him while he is sinking further and further in to self-pity and depression. It was only a matter of time until he came to collect what he felt he was due. <I feel kinda sick writing that...>

Also, after he is arrested, he thinks on how she left and just how little her vows meant. Then in Dance, he includes her in the list of women who played him false. I don't remember him calling her a lying bride but makybe someone else will remember this.

Oh, this again.

No, I don't think Tyrion was ever willing to "collect", as you put it. (For the 100th time) If he was inclined to, he'd have had no qualms about being a good little Lannister monster and done his "duty" whether she was willing or not. Instead he wanted her to be at least accepting of it first, and he did not go ahead for precisely that reason. He was going against his (callous, sadistic, openly murderous) family by not doing so, at his own peril.

(Tyrion is always trying in vain to both recreate and unmake the Tysha situation; "recreate" in that she was the only person who ever actually desired him, but also "unmake" that situation because of guilt for his role in that horror, though obviously it's something he cannot undo no matter how hard he tries.)

I think Tyrion feels a bit sore having been accused of poisoning Joffrey (which I think he believes Sansa did), but I don't think he resents her. He may even be a bit happy she had the guile to finally get Joffrey (for someone had to and nobody had more cause than her), even at his expense. He knows she never loved or desired him - that is something which was always 100% clear - so if he thinks she lied to him, it would not be about that.

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I'd guess not. Is that in the books somewhere? Don't think I've heard that before.

No, I just observed that it's the icons or Stark and Tully, and her own personal "Little Bird" nickname, constrasting with her being Alayne. Since so many seem to wonder about her degree of "agency" (minus being a warrior at all), it seems to me related to the chances of her fleeing her current situation on her own.

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Great essays Mladen. :) (and kudos for the Snape reference!!)

This part really stuck out for me. I think this lack of solidarity stems from the fact that if we were casting ourselves in a Medieval/epic fantasy story, many female readers would pick a "badass" tomboy character like Ayra or Asha Greyjoy. As modern feminist readers, no one wants to be the powerless princess in the tower that Sansa appears to be - especially in GOT. Personally, the idea of being in Sansa's place (even before her world gets torn apart) terrifies me - the lack of agency alone is an anathema. I think that compared to Arya, Sansa represents the more likely reality for most of women (if we had been born as Medieval noblewomen). Sansa shatters the illusion that we can all be badass warrior chicks and some readers fail to empathise with her or call her weak/useless/boring for that reason.

I think Lummel once made the point that a lot of people find it off putting to read about suffering and lack of agency, hence why many have a hard time appreciating Sansa's arc. Sympathising with that sort of situation means you have to put part of yourself in that situation, and it is not a pleasant one to imagine oneself in. It's more palatable to imagine oneself being a badass warrior chick or some such.

This appreciation of "baddass chicks" (but not too badass) was touched upon by Sciborg as well in the Gender in genre thread (think second incarnation).

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There is a reason why people generally dislike Sansa. Female readers are reminiscing their past, and men are afraid of powerless future (which is, btw so stupid). That would be a good theme for next essay.

@Lyanna, thanks. And Snape reference is something I am glad to have thought.

As for Tyrion, he desired Sansa, but he had enough morals not to force himself on her. I just wanted to point out that he was genuinlly hurt by her refusal to bend the knee. He remembered it so many times. And men never forgive public humiliation, remember that ladies...

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Oh, this again.

No, I don't think Tyrion was ever willing to "collect", as you put it. (For the 100th time) If he was inclined to, he'd have had no qualms about being a good little Lannister monster and done his "duty" whether she was willing or not. Instead he wanted her to be at least accepting of it first, and he did not go ahead for precisely that reason. He was going against his (callous, sadistic, openly murderous) family by not doing so, at his own peril.

Yes, he wanted her to be accepting of it, but he was becoming increasingly frustrated with the boundaries she had set up. We can't say definitively what he would have done either way, but I do think it's clear that the situation was rapidly reaching a breaking point. And I have to come down on the side that argues that he at least feels some resentment towards Sansa. I think it's only natural that he would, both for the state of their marriage (which we never see him showing remorse for his part in the sham), and the perception that Sansa left him holding the bag for Joffrey's murder. During his time in jail, he thinks

One flesh, one heart, one soul... She wasted no time proving how much those vows meant to her, did she? What did you expect dwarf?

Now in ADWD, he spends most of time thinking about Tysha, but there is that very cryptic thought about him missing his wife, the wife he hardly knew. As many have surmised, I don't think the Sansa/Tyrion "relationship" is quite over yet, and a lot of that could develop from Tyrion's latent resentment and unresolved feelings, even if those happen to concern another woman.

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Tyrion's decision not to rape Sansa is also very much tied to his opposition to Tywin, it seems. Had Joff not been murdered then Tyrion and Tywin may have reached a Lannister centric accord eventually and then, who knows? Tyrion does not want another Tysha, so rejects Tywin's wish to consummate.

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It seems there have been a lot of threads discussing Sansa/Tyrion lately (or is it just me jumbling everything together?). :wacko:

Regarding Sansa and Tyrion's marriage, the thing I wonder about is this: Sansa doesn't stand to inherit anything, not since Robb disinherited her. (And I don't recall who knows about his Will).

What do you think will happen once Tyrion hears he had nothing to gain at all (at least "power" wise) from staying married to Sansa?

Do you think he'll hang on for the sake of Lannister Pride or do you think they'll mutually dissolve the marriage?

Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling he's not going to let her go all that easily, but....what do I know...? :frown5:

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It seems there have been a lot of threads discussing Sansa/Tyrion lately (or is it just me jumbling everything together?). :wacko:

Regarding Sansa and Tyrion's marriage, the thing I wonder about is this: Sansa doesn't stand to inherit anything, not since Robb disinherited her. (And I don't recall who knows about his Will).

What do you think will happen once Tyrion hears he had nothing to gain at all (at least "power" wise) from staying married to Sansa?

Do you think he'll hang on for the sake of Lannister Pride or do you think they'll mutually dissolve the marriage?

Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling he's not going to let her go all that easily, but....what do I know...? :frown5:

His ADWD line about his wife he hardly knew is strange, as he felt awful the whole time they were together. Perhaps he will still strive towards the thing he can't have.

As some crackpots, we have Tyrion's comment to Bronn about the horror of having a wife who is pregnant with another man's wife. If Sansa is abandoned by the North, has an affair with Sandor before his untimely death (:( even writing that makes me sad), but has a child with him, then there is the chance that Tyrion may offer to resume their marriage and it's the only option she has. I think Ragnorak had a theory about Sansa having an illegitimate daughter with Sandor, but ending up with Tyrion. :(

Alternatively we have Arya's comment in AGOT to Ned when he tells Arya she'll marry a King that that's Sansa not her. Perhaps she'll take Sansa's face (copy not actual) and Alyane and Sandor will go off to the Fingers and "Sansa" will end up with Tyrion as a way to escape the FM in secret. Oh and then of course kill Tyrion as I wouldn't wish him on Arya or any woman.

Edit: as ridiculous as these sound, I actually can't see a way for GRRM to drag Sansa and Tyrion together that will actually work given everything that has happened so far.

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