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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XX

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I've been AWOL from the board for a bit, but brashcandy, I loved your analysis of Sansa's attitude to motherhood. My hope for Sansa is that she ends up acting as regent in the North for Rickon, and if this does come to pass, a role as 'mother' and protector will be central to her character arc, a role she's already rehearsing with Sweetrobin.

I agree. Sansa seems to be coming to a fuller conception of self and what she wants in large part through the exploration of maternal instincts and experiences, and I think this is where her authority could be centred in the future.

@ Dyanna

Thanks so much for your lovely comments on the thread, and what we've tried to accomplish up to this point; I'm hopeful that we can be of assistance :)

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It's our pleasure here at the PTP to feature an essay by Miodrag Zarkovic, television critic for the weekly magazine Pecat in his native Serbia, and an avid fan of GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Miodrag made quite an entrance into the fandom last year, when he penned an insightful and incisive piece called An Adaptation Without Honor, which looked at the first two seasons of the Game of Thrones television show. It was there that he revealed an appreciation for Sansa's arc, and her relationship with Sandor Clegane, expressing his dissatisfaction with what he considered their underwhelming and inaccurate depictions on screen. Miodrag continues this focus for the PTP in the following essay, one which he was kind enough to compose for our personal collection. Happy reading!

Very Important: If you wish to comment and share your thoughts, please head toward this thread, which has been specifically made available for discussion of the essay. It goes without saying that the essay contains spoilers for the show.

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The Alarm that Never Sounded: GOT's treatment of the SanSan Romance

By Miodrag Zarkovic (on these boards known as NotYourSir)

When adapting female characters from ASOIAF into the TV show "Game of thrones", David Benioff and Dan Weiss aren't unlike Robert Baratheon: if they can't disrobe it, they're bored with it. Their rendition of Melisandre, for example, isn't an intimidating and imposing practitioner of dark and supernatural powers, but rather a seductress who's able to make people obey her only if she rewards them with sex (Stannis, Gendry) or gold (Brotherhood without Banners). One more example would be their rendition of Margaery Tyrell, who was turned from a teenage girl with a perfect facade and somewhat mysterious foundation, into a promiscuous lady willing to do anything – even have sex with both her brother and her husband simultaneously, as she proposes to the latter in Season 2 – in order to achieve her personal political ambitions that are literally limitless.

With that in mind, Sansa Stark never had a chance to be properly adapted in the show created by D&D. Now, the word 'properly' has a rather wide range of possible meanings, and this essay will attempt to examine at least some of them, but, for now, let's say that the most obvious aspect in which TV Sansa was shorthanded is her screen time. In "A Clash of Kings", the book that was the basis for the Season 2 of GoT, Sansa's POV chapters, along with Tyrion's, are the only ones that depict what's happening in King's Landing, the capital of The Seven Kingdoms and the center of political power in the story. This goes for the first two thirds of "A Storm of Swords" as well, e.g. until the moment Sansa escapes from King's Landing. In short, her chapters couldn't help but be of paramount importance in the narrative sense. In the show, however, Sansa's significance is greatly decreased, and not only because the show doesn't follow the "POV structure" of the novels, but because she's reduced to nothing but a prized captive for the Lannisters.

Yes, TV Sansa is a minor, and she's played by a minor, named Sophie Turner. Her age, due to the laws that forbid the usage of underage children in explicit sex scenes, prevented D&D from using Sansa in a way they adore. And her age couldn't be drastically changed without drastic consequences on her overall arc which is, in ACOK at least, built around her first period. That's why, for example, D&D couldn't cast Natalie Dormer – one of their favorite ASOIAF characters, by the way, because they did alter Margaery to suit the actress, instead of the other way around – in the role of Sansa, because Dormer, while certainly looking younger than she is, could never pass as a minor.

And that would probably be the only thing that makes Sansa off-limits for Natalie Dormer, or some other actress D&D adore, to play her in D&D's adaptation. Everything else would've been doable. Had George R. R. Martin not put her first period in the books, Sansa's age, promiscuity, vocabulary, even wardrobe, would've been changed accordingly to suit D&D's vision of a progressive Westerosi woman, which means the first three would've been amplified, while the fourth one – wardrobe – would definitely be reduced and freed from all the unnecessary parts. She'd probably even hook up with some rogue brute at some point; when she'd find the time for him, that is; after she's done with Joff, Tyrion, Lancel, and god knows who else, she'd certainly figure out cynical killers can occupy her bed just as good as other available men can.

Speaking of cynical killers – enter Sandor Clegane. One more character that, alas, couldn't be played by Natalie Dormer, and therefore not of particular interest to D&D. Sandor in the novels is a truly memorable fellow, who slowly but steadily grows in readers' eyes as the story progresses. At the beginning, he's nothing more than a merciless brute used only for killing people Lannisters want dead. Very soon, however, a reader finds out there might be some traces of soul under that rough surface. More and more we find out about Sandor, more and more intriguing and understandable he gets. Even – more likable.

Now, what makes him likable? The stories Littlefinger tells to Sansa?! Of course not. The stories Sandor himself keeps telling to Sansa are what fleshes him to the extent that was probably impossible to predict at the beginning of the series. Through his conversations with Sansa, we find out every important thing there is to know about him. Later on, when he hangs up with Arya, Sandor is already a fully developed character, whom we aren't discovering any more, but rather following. And he became like that precisely through his exchanges with Sansa.

The show went the other way, and a pretty odd way, at that. D&D decided it was better for Littlefinger to deliver the story of how Sandor's face got burned, and that decision carries some very serious consequences in regards to characterization. For example, Littlefinger appears as someone who does know the secrets of King's Landing, but, at the same time, as someone who doesn't hesitate to share those secrets with persons he doesn't have any control over. Yes, he warns Sansa not to tell anyone about the story; but, he warns her because, and here comes the funny part – Sandor is going to kill her.

Now, why isn't Littlefinger afraid Sandor's going to kill him? After all, isn't that the logical question because it's Littlefinger who offers Sandor's secrets to others? It seems there are only two possible answers: 1) Sandor is not that scary and dangerous as Littlefinger claims, or 2) Sandor is a dangerous fellow, but Littlefinger is the bravest individual alive, because he goes around telling the secrets of people that physically can literally eat him for breakfast; and he isn't shy even, because he doesn't fail to warn Sansa how dangerous is the situation he himself dares so boldly.

Whatever conclusion a viewer draws from there, something is going to be radically changed from the source material. Quite possibly, in fact, a lot of things are going to be altered. After the said scene, both Littlefinger and Sandor are drastically different than their book origins. And the characters we ended up with in the show, are not nearly as complex and intriguing as their book counterparts. This is especially true for Sandor, who's nothing if not scary and dangerous. He is supposed to frighten the living hell out of everyone who isn't his older brother. If you take that away from Sandor, you're only left with his tender side.

But, even his tender side was almost entirely removed from the show. This time, not only by Littlefinger, but also by Tyrion: in the throne room, when Joff orders Kingsguards to undress Sansa, Sandor stands there silently. His face expression suggests he isn't pleased with what he sees, but that's it. He doesn't stand up to his king with firm "That's enough" as in the book. It is therefore on Tyrion exclusively to deny Joffrey the pleasure of torturing the girl whose only crime was that she saw him in a moment of unflattering weakness. As in the books, TV Tyrion enters the room with his sellsword and he defends Sansa from Joff, but the important difference is that in the show it looks like Tyrion is the only one both willing to oppose Joffrey and capable of doing it. In the novel, we can sense that Sandor is ready to do the same thing, only, in his case, it comes with a much bigger risk, which is not without importance.

So, in this particular case, Sandor was sacrificed for the sake of TV Tyrion. TV Littlefinger, however, wasn't forgotten in that regard, because, once again, he's fed with lines that originally belong to Sandor. In the finale of the second season, it is Littlefinger who tells Sansa to look around and see how much better than her all those liars are. Just as the last time around, this change serves neither Littlefinger nor Sandor: the former's creepy-mentoring side is exposed much earlier than it would be logical, while the latter is robbed of yet another moment in which he shows how much he cares for Sansa and how protective he is toward her.

Sansa is a case on its own, as far as wrong adaptations are concerned. She's in the league with her mother Catelyn Stark, as two Stark women that were literally butchered in the show. The thing two of them have in common is the nature of their complexity: opposite to other female characters in ASOIAF, like Dany or Arya or Asha or Brienne or Cersei, Cat and Sansa aren't interested in hurting their enemies with their own hands, or, in the case of Dany, with her own dragons (this goes for Cersei, too, even though she's the one ordering the suffering of others, not committing it: her aggression is always personal, as we can sense in the first three novels). And, what's more, Sansa isn't interested in hurting anyone, actually. Cat does have an aggressive side in her; it's female aggression all the way, but aggression it is. Sansa, on the other hand, almost never desires other people to suffer in any way. There's only one noticeable exception: Joffrey. She does think on one or two occasions how nice it would be if Robb put a sword in Joff, and, by extension, she wishes Lannisters are defeated in the war against her family. However, we have to consider the situation she finds herself in at those moments – imprisoned by the Lannisters and at Joff's 'mercy' all the time; small miracle she wishes them ill. I've never been a girl arrested by the grave enemies of my family, but if I was, I'd definitely pray for their most horrible deaths every single night. And, we have to remember that, after Joff's death, she fails to feel happy over it, even though she tries to a little.

Therefore, it maybe isn't a stretch to say Sansa is probably the one character that is most unlike the author himself. Other major characters, especially POV ones, do resemble Martin at least partially. For males, it's obvious: even though GRRM never fought in a war, nor had any military training whatsoever, men are men; even in our day and age, no male is a complete stranger to war; while depicting all those dramatic battles and duels was quite an achievement (which no personal experience would make any easier, truth be told, because in ASOIAF the combat as a phenomenon is illustrated from any number of angles, each among them presented with an abundance of details), ultimately it was in himself where Martin could find a lot of answers about his male characters, whose position in a society is never independent from their combat prowess or lack of it. Female characters, on the other hand, had to be trickier, just like they always are for male authors – let's admit it, they are not that good in creating great females, just like women writers usually don't produce male characters that are a match to their female characters nor to the male heroes created by male authors. In our day and age, these "gender rules" are rarely spoken of, but they continue to exist, due to gender predispositions that are nowhere as strong as in the mind of an individual. There are exceptions, as in good male characters created by women and vice versa, but they are in a clear minority compared to underdeveloped or unrealistic characters whose only "fault" was that they didn't share the sex with an author. And in that regard, ASOIAF could very well be unparalleled: it is perhaps impossible to find any other story that features nearly as many memorable male and female characters both, as ASOIAF does (truth be told, that fact alone should be enough to inspire analysts and scholars to look at ASOIAF at a different, more demanding light, and not as a genre piece).

Martin's girls, however, aren't completely unlike the man who came up with them. Most of them are willingly participating in "men games", e.g. power-plays and/or wars, which makes for a precious connection to a male mindset of the author. They are thinking and behaving as women (or, in the case of Arya, and Dany to an extent, as girls), but all of them are interacting with something that, in all its glory and misery, can roughly be called "a man's world". Some of the most beautifully written chapters in the series are delivered from female POVs – The Red Wedding and Cersei's "Walk of Shame" come to mind right away; but, in a thematic sense, those and other female chapters don't differ too much from male POVs.

Except for Sansa's chapters, which unmistakably belong to something we can roughly call "a woman's world". Chapters of both male and female POVs in ASOIAF are often rich with testosterone, but Sansa’s ones are almost entirely driven by estrogen: look no further than her captivity in King's Landing, that actually is, as already said, focused around her first period – that decision solely should bring a lot of respect for Martin, because he had to know going that road is never easy for a male writer.

And the funniest thing is, it all fits. Sansa's storyline is distinctive in tone, but not odd. It is a legitimate part of the general plot of ASOIAF. In fact, as her story progresses, Sansa becomes more and more important for The Game, even though she showed no clear inclination to participate in it so far, but at the same time, Martin keeps Sansa away from all those "male" aspects he decorated other female characters of his saga.

And on top of everything, we're presented with her love story, a romance with no other than the man who, prior to discovering some delicate feelings for Sansa, could pose for an ideal brute of Westeros. At the beginning of the story, Sandor Clegane could be perceived as the exact opposite of Sansa. As someone who has no business whatsoever in her world, just like she has none in his. But, with some craft wording and master subtlety, Martin succeeds in illustrating the flood of emotions that go both ways in their relationship. Those emotions are never easy, nor appropriate, let alone allowed – even by Sansa and Sandor themselves! – but they're hard to be denied.

The complexity of their multilayered characters, of their respective positions in a society and in an ongoing war, and of their relationship that resists all known clichés, represent some of the strongest evidence that ASOIAF is much more than a genre piece. There's a lot in these novels that escapes genre boundaries, but nothing more evidently than SanSan. Stuff like that is not your usual fantasy element, no matter how flattering fantasy can be as a label (Homer, Shakespeare, Tolkien – to name just a few all-time greats that created unforgettable stories with supernatural aspects in them). Any author who comes up with that kind of love story involving those kind of characters – and with a legion of other characters, and with no less than four different religions, and with themes of honor, redemption, identity, bravery, equality, ancestry, legacy, freedom, revolution... – deserves to be analyzed not as a genre writer.

Now, one can only imagine what kind of enigma Sansa and Sandor were for Benioff and Weiss. And it pretty much remained unsolved, because, when faced with all the complexity of these two characters, Benioff and Weiss decided to remove it almost entirely, along with their relationship that is reduced to occasional and odd mentioning of 'little bird'. TV Sandor was simplified to a one-note brute that goes around TV Westeros and lectures people about the pleasures of killing, a one-note brute he never was in the novels, not even in the beginning of the saga. TV Sansa, on the other hand, was denied her book complexity by shutting down all her layers, one by one. For example, Benioff and Weiss completely removed her decision to go behind her father's back and inform Cersei of his plan. They simply refused to go down that road. They did something similar to Catelyn, whose infamous line to Jon they didn't remove entirely, but did replace it with a much softer one. It is pretty safe to assume that Cat's and Sansa's complexity did bother Benioff and Weiss from the get-go.

What's also removed from the show is Sansa's agency, primarily represented in the novels by her secret meetings with Dontos, a disgraced knight she herself saved from Joffrey. In the show, we got only the saving scene; it was filmed and executed clumsily, but it was there at least. However, until recently, nobody could be sure Sansa did save Dontos, because the man disappeared afterwards (he was briefly seen as joggling balls in "Blackwater" episode, in the scene in Cersei's chambers, but he was unrecognizable for the vast majority of audience). It is reported, though, that Dontos will be returning in Season 4, so yes, Sansa did save his life after all. But, even when he returns, Sansa's attempts at escaping will be two seasons younger than they should've been at that point, and it's hard to see a way D&D can remedy that neglect.

Show-lovers often defend D&D in regards to Sansa, by saying her personality is a difficult and tricky one for portraying on screen, because even in the books she's introverted. Now, maybe she isn't the most extroverted character ever, but she's pretty far from reclusive, as she does communicate with the outside world a lot at the beginning of the series, before she's imprisoned. And even while in captivity, she can't help but communicate with Sandor and Dontos. What's more, around two of them she is her true self, which provides a wide array of possibilities for a good and informative dialogue that, in an adaptation, could compensate for the lack of inner thoughts. With Dontos, she's open not only because she saved him, but also because he explicitly offers his help (and, truth be told, it is he who enabled her to leave King's Landing eventually, so, even though he wasn't exactly honest with her concerning his motivations, her trust wasn't as misplaced as it may seem at first). And with Sandor, she's open for no particular reason – other than those subtle, emotional forces, that both of them can't help but follow and eventually become the closest and most intimate beings to each other.

The way Martin incepted and developed the barely visible, but undeniable romance, between Sansa and Sandor, is nothing short of literary brilliance. With so few words and interactions, he managed so much. The vast majority of readers are aware of restrained attraction they mutually feel, even though they didn't share a single physical aspect of the romantic relationship.

Martin is indeed a master of subtlety, as evidenced by what looks like the endless amount of carefully hidden clues that point to any number of narrative puzzles, realization of which do make an entire story much richer than if taken at face value. And he's never more subtle than with two romances: Rhaegar/Lyanna and Sandor/Sansa. Now, the respective nature of subtlety of those two romances is rather different. With Rhaegar and Lyanna, a reader is – through Robert's retelling – offered a version that is actually the very opposite of what probably happened, and only later a reader can pick up clues here and there, and finally figure out the story of a fatal attraction between the two. But, the clues are presented throughout the text, so much that, even if you don't decipher everything after the first read, at the end of "A Game of Thrones" – the first book of the series – you'll probably sense that Robert's view on events wasn't exactly accurate.

The story of Sansa and Sandor is a very different one. Their relationship is never as much as addressed, even by themselves. Sandor isn't a POV character, and he's not exactly open to people, so his silence on the matter isn't unexpected. But, Martin didn't address their romance even in Sansa's chapters, which are typically packed with inner thoughts of the POV character. It looks like Martin decided to do it the harder way and make their romance somewhat a mystery even for Sansa, which, in hindsight, does seem to be the most logical way: what teenage girl would be fully aware of a romance that "inappropriate", and experienced in those dire circumstances?! As a result of that decision, the readers got a completely fascinating depiction of a romance, that can be described as a train you hear from miles away: at first, you can't even tell is it a train or some similar sound, but slowly, with every second, you're more and more certain that your ears didn't trick you, and very soon the train is so loud that it is the only thing you can hear at all. In the novels, a reader may find something strange at first, when Sandor shares the secret of his burned face with Sansa. Some alarm may be turned on deep inside. And it becomes more apparent each time two of them share a page, with a culmination during the Battle of the Blackwater Bay, when Sandor, after he decides to desert the Lannisters, visits Sansa in her room and offers to take her home to Winterfell.

It might be the only instance in the entire series where Sandor did ask anyone's approval, which does speak volumes about his feelings for Sansa. Considering the manner in which Martin described this romance, Sandor's actions on that day was as good as a confession of his deep attraction to her. Sansa, on the other hand, doesn't have a single moment which could be pointed at as a prime evidence of her undeniable love for The Hound, but this doesn't mean her feelings toward Sandor aren't palpable. It's one more mastery of the writer: through her frequent (and skewed, but in a telling way) memories on the last time she saw Sandor, he was able to show her feelings resonating more and more inside her.

In the show, Martin was denied a chance to do the same thing, even though he wrote the "Blackwater" episode in Season 2. Thanks to the already destroyed storyline, and to god knows how many changes, and to D&D's decision to remove from the final cut some scenes Martin referred to with his scenes, the one between Sansa and Sandor near the end of that episode, served more as a greeting to book-fans who like SanSan in the source material, than as a goodbye between two not unlike souls who shared much, and could have shared a lot more, and maybe are going to if they meet again. In that scene, Rory McCann was visibly better than usual as Sandor, and Sophie Turner was as good as usual, but, just like with anything ASOIAF, the scene doesn't have nearly the same impact and importance if taken out of context.

The exact context of their SanSan is yet to be fully revealed in the books, too. Because of the already mentioned subtlety – a quality that seems to intimidate showrunners Benioff and Weiss, who, in their turn, do retaliate with their on-screen war on subtlety (just recall what they turned other romances into; for example, the romance between TV Jon "Not The Brightest Kid In The Block" Snow and TV "I Know Everything And Therefore I Can't Stop Talking" Ygritte) – Sansa's and Sandor's love story is by no means an open book. Their romance has its own share of mystery, one of which may be: what inspired those two persons to feel so strongly for each other? Personally, I always thought their mutual attraction isn't only based on a "beauty and the beast" model. There is that, but in their case it goes deeper. If that was the engine behind his emotions, Sandor had more than enough opportunities to find a beauty for his beast long before Sansa entered his life. With Sansa, I'd say their mutual attraction is rooted in their personalities. For example, if you take away Sandor's aggression, he also isn't interested in hurting others. He's naturally talented for violence, and he lives in a society that respects that kind of talent, and that is why he's violent for a living, but at the end of the day, the suffering of others isn't any kind of reward for him. Possibly, because he isn't interested in other people that much. Though, when he is interested in someone, the interest is as strong as they come.

(We don't know at this point, but it's not a stretch to imagine that his reaction to the news that his hated brother was killed wasn't unlike Sansa's reaction to Joff's death. "Am I glad he's dead? Well, not exactly, even though I wanted him killed.")

Sansa may very well be like that, too. That would be one of the possible explanations of her AGOT actions. Like the rest of the Starks, Sansa is a complex character that has some issues of her own, without which neither she nor the other Starks would be such memorable characters as they obviously are; it is the fact that they are both willing and strong enough to fight those issues, that Starks stand out for. Without going into details (as if I could!), I expect that in the remaining novels Sansa is going to face the reasons that made her go to Cersei that damned night and with the consequences of that action. And whatever comes out of that soul-searching will be inevitably combined with her claim to Winterfell that Littlefinger brought up in AFFC. And that combination is going to elevate Sansa's arc to even bigger and more important levels than so far, even though so far she was the one Stark that was most engaged – unwittingly, but still – in the bloody dynastic war for the Iron Throne.

And she'll have to cross paths with Sandor Clegane, one way or another. Their relationship was so meticulously built up, it simply has to get some sort of a closure. What that closure is going to be is impossible to predict, because we are talking of one George R. R. Martin, a writer who managed to shock us as he pleased more than a few times.

What is also impossible, is to take anything that did or didn't happen in the show as any indication at what the closer may or may not be. There isn't a storyline in GoT that wasn't drastically changed, and weakened in the process, but Sansa's arc, along with her relationship with Sandor, is among the biggest victims of D&D's inability to adapt.

Whether you happen to like what Benioff and Weiss put in the show, or don't, you'd be advised not to recognize any significance in their decisions for further developments in ASOIAF. Just like show-lovers tend to remind everyone else, GoT and ASOIAF are two entirely separate beasts. And book Sansa and book Sandor, along with everything Martin has in his store for them, can be really glad about it.

Very Important: If you wish to comment and share your thoughts, please head toward this thread, which has been specifically made available for discussion of the essay. It goes without saying that the essay contains spoilers for the show.

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It's our pleasure here at the PTP to feature an essay by Miodrag Zarkovic, television critic for the weekly magazine Pecat in his native Serbia, and an avid fan of GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Miodrag made quite an entrance into the fandom last year, when he penned an insightful and incisive piece called An Adaptation Without Honor, which looked at the first two seasons of the Game of Thrones television show. It was there that he revealed an appreciation for Sansa's arc, and her relationship with Sandor Clegane, expressing his dissatisfaction with what he considered their underwhelming and inaccurate depictions on screen. Miodrag continues this focus for the PTP in the following essay, one which he was kind enough to compose for our personal collection. Happy reading!

Very Important: If you wish to comment and share your thoughts, please head toward this thread, which has been specifically made available for discussion of the essay. It goes without saying that the essay contains spoilers for the show.


I will comment Miodrag's essay on the other thread, but I would like to say that this thread is truly enriched, heck even say blessed, by the work of one of Serbia's best TV critics... I have read several Miodrag's articles and I can say that he represents everything that Serbia should aspire... So, congratulations to PTP on recognizing such journalist talent, and to Miodrag on wonderful analysis...

See you in the Book vs. Show thread with my opinions...

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Nothing to add but enormous thanks to Miodrag Zarkovic for a fascinating article. I really enjoyed reading it and would greatly look forward to more comments and insight from you!

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Thanks a lot, to both Mladen and The Ned's Little Girl, on these kind words. Now I'm going over to the thread intended for comments, to respond to Mladen's post there.

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The recent Sansa and Lady thread put an idea into my head that I thought might be at least an entertaining thought. My apologies if this has already been analyzed in this series, but there’s 20 threads and I simply cannot remember seeing one.

There has been much discussion over what the death of Lady means for Sansa. Some think it means Sansa is inevitably going to die, with evidence given that the Starks die without their direwolves. (Robb) Others have posited that it was the death of her innocence and naivete, and her awakening into the harsh reality of Westeros politics. It is also speculated that this could mean she’ll never be able to return to Winterfell again.

For the first notion, the evidence is hardly empirical. One of the Starks with a direwolf died. Robb died with Grey Wind, at that. One out of five is not a good statistical trend, especially when the other example of a dead direwolf is, so far, the Stark still living. Basically, we have one example, and with that one example, it would seem that people want to correlate it when there’s nothing to support the correlation. Therefore, I’m taking this hypothesis off the table.

The other two notions are far more malleable, and could be supported either way. The third is admittedly much more based on speculation, and should also be cautiously applied. The second however, can at least have a solid base of evidence to at least argue effectively as a hypothesis.

This leads to a fourth notion, that I’ve sometimes seen brought up. That Sansa really wasn’t that much of a Stark, or a wolf to begin with. This is the notion that I want to explore and expound upon, and potentially offer a borderline crackpot theory.

In the series, it could be argued very effectively that Sansa is not losing her Stark identity, or that she was always a Stark. In fact, as the story unfolds, we can argue that her Stark identity is growing stronger. This is not necessarily the same for the wolf. I would like to posit that the Stark identity is not necessarily intrinsically tied to wolves, but to Canidae.

Now, the Canidae family is divided into two essential tribes. Canid, related to wolves, and Vulpini, related to foxes. It may simply be that the current Stark majority are, and have been, Canid. This doesn’t eliminate, though, the existence of a Stark minority who are Vulpini. If we go back far enough, we could even make a case that the former cadet branch could have been an offshoot of the Vulpini minority.

Okay, so I gave you a mini science lesson. Where am I going with this? The theory that Sansa was, in fact, never a Canid, or a wolf. But has always been a fox.

Let’s start with the basics. While Arya is set up to be the antithesis of a noble lady, Sansa was added because GRRM “thought they were getting along too well.” Furthermore, Sansa has always been slightly apart from her brothers, and definitely her sister. Instead of initially finding pride in the North, she dreams of the South. Sansa is the minority of the Stark children, and because she is still so young when we start the story, we are not able to immediately discern how she is the minority.

When the direwolves are found, all of the children are given one. Out of all of them, Sansa’s direwolf acts the least “wolfish”. It is also implied that Lady died before Sansa could tap into her latent warg abilities. Remember Lady’s personality, and that point. I’m coming back to it.

Moving on, let’s look at how all of the Stark children have fared since Ned was murdered.

  • Robb - Dead

  • Bran - North of the Wall with Hodor, Jojen, and Meera. Now also with the CotF.

  • Rickon - With Osha and the Free Folk on the island of Skagos

  • Arya - In Braavos with the FM, currently in training with them

  • Sansa - In the Vale, surrounded by people who either distrust her, view her as unimportant due to her “bastard” status, want to manipulate her, or wanted to kill her.

Three of them, it can be argued, have or had a pack. Robb died with Catelyn and his bannermen. Bran is surrounded by people who are helping him (as far as we know), Rickon is being raised by Osha who is presumably his maternal figure, along with what we can assume are other Free Folk.

Arya is showing traits of being a Lone Wolf. She has nobody, and we are not at all sure the FM can be trusted. What are the traits of a lone wolf? They become stronger, more aggressive, and far more dangerous (read easily unhinged) than pack wolves. Who is being trained as a killer? Who has killed several people and is extremely aggressive? Arya. And even then, Arya has started mini-packs wherever she goes. Nymeria is forming a wolf pack. We could reasonably assume that Arya is going to end up with a pack again, though one in an entirely different form than her birth pack. That is, however, another essay.

Let’s contrast Arya with Sansa. Sansa is also alone, with no true support. But she does not show any of the traits of a Lone Wolf. Instead, she keeps her head down and she endures. She would like a pack, sure, but she can function without one. Because foxes, unlike wolves, aren’t necessarily pack animals, and can survive without one.

This is where I will argue that Lady’s death has significance, because it tied Sansa to being a wolf. In fact, though, Sansa was never a wolf, and it was Lady’s death that started her evolution into being an actualized fox.

Look at the traits commonly attributed to wolves:

  • Pack animals

  • Friendly

  • Loyal

  • Intelligent

  • Communicative

  • Compassionate

  • Generous

It’s not hard to read STAAAAAAAAAAAAAARK wolves all over those traits. I don’t think GRRM could have been any more direct if he beat it over our heads with a sledgehammer. In fact, in mythology, the Scottish goddess Cailleach is the Lady of Winter, and rides a speeding wolf as a steed. Wolf traits and ties are all over the Starks.

Now let’s look at the traits commonly attributed to foxes:

  • Cunning

  • Strategic

  • Adaptable

  • Clever

  • Quick-thinking

  • Wise

Granted, Sansa is still growing, but these traits, as the story goes on, begin to fit her like a glove. Sansa, alone in the lion’s den of KL is eye witness to what it takes to survive. She, more than any other Stark has adapted to her circumstances. She’s shown her quick-thinking in how she manipulated Joffrey into sparing Dontos’ life. She’s shown her cunning by fooling Tyrion in order to plot her escape. Are these skills perfect? No. But she’s displayed them, and let’s not forget, she is learning from Masters of these skills. But instead, where a mockingbird can mimic, Sansa innately IS.

The Lannisters, the Tyrells, Petyr, even Lysa and the Royces. Sansa is learning from every teacher around her, and she’s honing those traits. We see this when she deduces who is in LF’s pocket. When we’re shown her choosing to go along with LF’s plans, because she’s now starting to play the game herself (lies and Arbor Gold.) Sansa adapts, Sansa watches, Sansa waits. Sansa is subtle. Sansa is not a wolf.

Going back to Sansa’s warging abilities and Lady. We’ve seen the other Starks warg, and we all assume that’s what it must be like. I would like to argue that we’ve seen what warging is like for Bran, a greenseer, and for the other Starks as wolves. We’re assuming that Sansa can either not use her warg abilities, or was never able to utilize them. What if, instead, Sansa had tapped into her warging abilities? Instead of us recognizing them, we misread them completely because we were seeing warging through a wolf’s eyes.

We told, quite directly how docile Lady was. How unwolflike she was. Could it be that Sansa’s warging abilities are much more subtle than the wolves’ warging abilities. As a fox, could we argue that she was indeed warging, but warging in a much more (unwittedly) cunning, low-key matter. We’re told that Lady was gentle. Is it possible that her disposition has to do with a much more malleable and gentle ability of warging, that could be so unnoticeable as to slip by completely undetected. And could we not argue that Sansa is even doing this now, as a person, with how she is slowly beginning to manipulate LF as well?

So why all of this talk about wolves and foxes? Simple. Wolves cannot play the game of thrones. I am in no way saying they are not intelligent. Because they are, the Starks would never have done so well for themselves if they weren’t. But they don’t have the make-up to play the game. We see this with Ned, we see this with Robb. Arya completely removed herself from the game, and we can argue that she wants no part of it. Bran is on the way to greenseer, yes. Can he see things, yes. But seeing things and giving advice is a very different matter to actually implementing things. What is the helper/trickster animal? What animal is known specifically for skin changing and sheer, utter adaptability? The fox.

The wolves need a fox. They need Starks who can be cunning, and quick-thinking and adaptable. They need some of their own to be able to play the game of thrones, because we’ve seen directly what happens when they don’t have one. They die. A fox needs the wolves, because they provide protection. From what? Second tier predators. The wolves give the foxes the clout and protection they need to walk among the lions, and then the coyotes and the pike. For the Starks, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. The wolves protect and allow the foxes to implement plans and cunning, and the foxes allow the wolves to stay ahead in the game of thrones.

Sansa is becoming the fox the Starks will need to rise up after everything is over. And this may indeed mean she can never truly go home to the North, because she’ll have to stay South in order to best play her role. We don’t know yet if Sansa will go home, or become someone very influential in KL, the Vale, the Riverlands… even the Reach and there to stay. But we know she’s set up to have a role in this capacity, in some form.

So yes, Lady died. I argue that Lady had to die. Because Lady tied Sansa to the wrong type of Stark. Lady had to die so Sansa could become an actualized fox, and be the one Stark who can actually play the game. Sansa never was a wolf, but that doesn’t mean she was never a Stark. Sansa is, I argue again, a Stark through and through. Just a different kind of Stark than we’ve realized.

Also, she’s totally got the hair for it.

(I realize this is assuming a lot of symbolism, but if we can analyze GRRM’s food choices, then why not this?)

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Welcome to the thread BanzaiZ and thank you for the thoughtful post.

Bran was very similar to Sansa in his dreams of life in the South and idealization of knighthood, so I'd argue that this is not something which exclusively separates her from the rest of her siblings. Of course, her desires are more noticeable to readers because she actually journeys to KL and experiences the doomed infatuation with Joffrey. But I think that all of the Stark children had pride in their northern roots regardless of natural inclinations and preferences.

With respect to what Lady's death symbolizes, I've theorized before that it's tied to Sansa's development away from the societal constructs of "ladyhood" and everything associated with that, and towards a "beastly" self that is centred on her own transformative experiences. Basically, "Lady" the wolf had to die in order for Sansa to recuperate the "wolf" within herself. It's more than Sansa simply losing her innocence or naivete, and focused on her actually constructing an awareness of oppression and importantly, how she can fight back against this.

I think all the evidence points to Martin still wanting Sansa to be associated with this wolf identity, along with her avatar of the little bird. Those are honestly the only two animal symbols I would connect her to at this moment, but another member might have more productive thoughts on your reference to the fox.

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GRRM does play with animal symbolism in his books, there is no doubt in it, but with all due respect, I don't see how foxes and Sansa are connected. I would recommend you to read my interpretation of wolf symbolism in ASOIAF(apologies to the hosts for redirecting to another thread). Sansa is a Stark, and she is a wolf, no doubt of that. So, allow me to disect some of your presented ideas

1. Sansa is a Stark... She is called she-wolf, Tyrion admits she has a good deal of Stark blood in her after debacle of her wedding, there is entire snow castle scene that clearly is about her being of Winterfell. Her behavioral patterns are quite common with the wolf, but infused with Mother's motif, we have that Sansa is some sort of Capitoline she-wolf of Westeros... A nurturing wolf that takes good care of everyone, but strong, and vigilent...

2. I am sorry, but no matter what scientific data you presented us, thing is Sansa's arc has nothing with foxes. Animal symbolism os quite clear when it comes to Sansa - caged wolf and caged bird, and of course a dog. Thing is, I don't understand the expansion on foxes when wolves and dogs are basically much stronger and that you have strong dog imagery in her chapters. Furthermore, I believe that Martin used Sansa's domestication as a way for somegreat feminist paroles that are connected with she-wolf motif. I have written an essay about it recently and am still editing it, but I would like to say that Sansa's domestication served as entrapment of her personality.

3. When it comes to lone wolf, you got it wrong. Basically, they are all lone wolves, surrounded by friends, enemies and dangerous people. The principle I like when it comes to wolves in 5 remaining Starks is "what is dead may never die, only rises stronger and harded". House Stark is dead, but its members certainly aren't. And the wolf in them lives. Three of them are wargs, Rickon is wild pup, and Sansa caring she-wolf. And not just that, their alienation is so severe that they were in indeed in pursuit of new pack - Jon with NW, Bran with Reeds, Sansa with Vale people, Arya with Braavosians... But, those packs are substitutes for the real deal - their siblings. We saw how much Jon cares for Arya, Sansa's prayers show us that her family is always in her heart and mind, Arya's dreams are like anchor of her wolf identity, and Bran starts to serve as guardian angel to all of them (or at least theoretically).

4. Lady's domestication shouldn't be seen as Sansa being a fox but rather being a dog, and Lady's death as tender pup is also a pointer to a certain individual that Sansa met in her first POV - Sandor. Domesticated wolf and wild dog are basically almost same on gradation level, so Sansa's one protector died so the other would take place and truly protects her from what Lady, as direwolf couldn't.

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Picking up on an earlier post about Sansa's maternal feelings.

It is interesting that in other threads it is assumed that Sansa will somehow either allow or participate in killing SR, Robert Arryn by LF. Given the Arryn and Stark recent histories, it's clear it will be just the opposite.

Yet, only here have I seen any discussion of Sansa behaving maternally and protectively towards SR.

I think LF made an un characteristic Mis-step by admitting to Sansa that he plans, at some point, to allow to SR to die ( end of Sansa's in AFFC).

I think this will activate Sansa in ways we haven't seen before, due to those protective, maternal feelings.

I even suspect Sansa might find it necessary to flee from LF with SR. She doesn't want to be betrothed again and LF is becoming increasingly aggressive towards her. She wouldn't have to go far to find people willing to hide SR and herself, wouldn't even necessarily have to leave the Vale to find another protector.

Ultimately, With her circumstances changed and being far from Cersei's grasp and with possible new allies, Randa, among others, she will take advantage of Cersei's travails to flip the tables on LF. Using the knowledge he's confided to her-- his plans and the murders he's committed as revealed by Lysa--to protect herself. Getting the upper hand and possibly emancipating herself from LF's control and the added possibility of her finally revealing herself as Sansa Stark to the Lords and Lady's of the Vale.

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Welcome to the PtP, BanzaiZ and TheReal_Rebel, those were some interesting thoughts.

It's about time we carry on with our project on analysing parallels and contrasts between a certain mockingbird and a certain hound, so here comes the third part of the series of essays by myself and Brashcandy.

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A Closer Look at Littlefinger and the Hound III: Promotions

The Hound and the Mockingbird climb up the ladder

Of both men, Sandor Clegane is the first to be promoted when he’s chosen to be a member of the Kingsguard, the first non-knight in the history of Westeros to wear the white cloak, discounting Duncan the Tall, about whom we don’t possess enough information yet. In the scene where he achieves a higher status, narrated in AGOT Sansa V, the reasons for his promotion are the “life and safety of King Joffrey,” an explanation that the Council and the Lannisters give for dismissing Ser Barristan Selmy on grounds of being too old to protect the new sovereign, because Joffrey wants “men who are young and strong” in the institution, and because they want Jaime as the new Lord Commander.

Once Selmy retires, it’s Littlefinger who brings up the need to have a replacement for him, which leads to selecting the Hound:

“Your Grace,” Littlefinger reminded the king. “If we might resume, the seven are now six. We find ourselves in need of a new sword for your Kingsguard.”

Joffrey smiled. “Tell them, Mother.”

“The king and council have determined that no man in the Seven Kingdoms is more fit to guard and protect His Grace than his sworn shield, Sandor Clegane.”

“How do you like that, dog?” King Joffrey asked.

The Hound’s scarred face was hard to read. He took a long moment to consider. “Why not? I have no lands nor wife to forsake, and who’d care if I did?” The burned side of his mouth twisted. “But I warn you, I’ll say no knight’s vows.”

“The Sworn Brothers of the Kingsguard have always been knights,” Ser Boros said firmly.

“Until now,” the Hound said in his deep rasp, and Ser Boros fell silent.

Petyr Baelish’s promotion comes later, alongside a line of men that are rewarded for their role in the conflagration at the Blackwater. There it was Kevan Lannister the one to announce what he’d get for bringing the Tyrells to the lions’ side:

“It is the wish of the King’s Grace that his loyal councilor Petyr Baelish be rewarded for faithful service to crown and realm. Be it known that Lord Baelish is granted the castle of Harrenhal with all its attendant lands and incomes, there to make his seat and rule henceforth as Lord Paramount of the Trident. Petyr Baelish and his sons and grandsons shall hold and enjoy these honors until the end of time, and all the lords of the Trident shall do him homage as their rightful liege. The King’s Hand and the small council consent.”

On his knees, Littlefinger raised his eyes to King Joffrey. “I thank you humbly, Your Grace. I suppose this means I’ll need to see about getting some sons and grandsons.”

On first glance, the salient points in those scenes are: that both men are being promoted by Lannisters for services to the Lannisters after a fight with another major House, that in both promotions one Kingsguard is gone and another Kingsguard arrives, that they address marriage and family in their acceptance speech, and Sansa’s dissimilar thoughts on these events.

But these parallels hide divergences that are revealed once one scratches the thin veil of similarity that covers them. Starting with the reasons for the promotion, both men earned it thanks to their respective martial and political skills put to use for the benefit of House Lannister, but whilst Clegane is a loyal bannerman of said House and is given the responsibility to guard the king’s life, Baelish chose to side with them in their confrontation with the former Hand, and even if he owes keeping his position in the Council and his new one to them, he has no loyalty to spare and the gift he’s brought to the Lannisters and that has earned him his titles is a poisoned one, literally and figuratively. Interestingly, both men’s first actions involving Sansa immediately after their promotions violate the duty of loyalty to the Crown and are therefore classified as high treason: the Hound counsels her on how to behave so as to avoid beatings and then stops her from killing Joffrey and herself, keeping silent afterwards instead of revealing that to the king and Council, as was his duty as Kingsguard, or to Cersei, as was his duty as Lannister vassal; and in the same chapter where he’s promoted in ACOK, Petyr Baelish sends Dontos with the amethyst hair net to be used to poison Joffrey and frame her for murder. Thus, in the end, not only their loyalty but also their disloyalty have different motives and outcomes.

Then we have the Kingsguard membership: during Clegane’s appointment, Ser Barristan is dismissed and he tries at least to keep a measure of dignity by refusing the consolation boon they’re offering him and strips himself of helm, cloak and armour, saying that he prefers to die a knight, and Littlefinger mocks him, provoking a collective laughter in which Clegane also engages, that contrasts with Sansa’s sympathy for the humiliated elderly Lord Commander. The Hound is the one to symbolically pick up the discarded white cloak when he agrees to fill in the slot Selmy has left, the same cloak that Sansa knelt on to plead for her father, which would herald that he’d do precisely the same thing a year later, also throwing down his own white cloak to be picked up by Sansa, unbeknownst to him as it was to Selmy. Thus the first Kingsguard to be retired unwillingly and the first Kingsguard to leave voluntarily follow a similar pattern at the end of their career as White Swords.

As for Baelish's elevation to the rank of Lord Paramount, at the same time a new member of the Kingsguard was also named as replacement for the Hound: Loras Tyrell, and we know from later books that this was an idea suggested by Littlefinger, the same one to have pointed out that there was a vacancy when Selmy left, but he is hardly anything to do with Sandor Clegane’s promotion, because the responsibility for Selmy’s dismissal is to be laid at Varys’ feet and the white cloak around the Hound’s shoulders at Joffrey’s, if we are to believe what Queen Cersei reveals in ACOK Tyrion I.

The third topic that stands out is both men’s first words when their new positions are announced:

The Hound:

“Why not? I have no lands nor wife to forsake, and who’d care if I did?”


“I suppose this means I’ll need to see about getting some sons and grandsons.”

Both allude to the same wishes, but Sandor is giving up any hope of having a home, a wife and trueborn children, so this takes him a “long moment to consider,” which could reveal that up to that point he might’ve been still harbouring such a desire. It’s also interesting to note that his words are a commentary on Ser Barristan’s, because they come right after the old knight recounts the things he’s had to forsake to join the Kingsguard, namely his status as heir to the Selmy lands and the girl who was his betrothed, and got a cold derisive reaction for his troubles. Indeed, no one cared about what Selmy had to sacrifice to be a royal guard, and no one would care for what Sandor might have to desist from pursuing.

Littlefinger, however, sees his new status as the ideal moment to begin looking for a wife and children, which accounts for his smiles and smugness as he’s raised to Lord Paramount of the Trident and Lord of Harrenhal, because no matter how empty that title might be and how cursed the castle, it’s one that will enable him to marry Lysa Tully, therefore effectively acquiring a wife and a stepson, and later a “daughter,” Sansa herself, for whom he has some twisted plans in store.

Lastly, we have Sansa’s reactions during both promotions. When witnessing the Hound’s ascent, Sansa was taking mental note of the names of the people rewarded and punished for their deeds after the clash with the Starks and the Baratheons respectively, and she reacted adversely to Janos Slynt’s new title, announced by Pycelle:

“It is also the wish of His Grace that his loyal servant, Janos Slynt, Commander of the City Watch of King’s Landing, be at once raised to the rank of lord and granted the ancient seat of Harrenhal with all its attendant lands and incomes, and that his sons and grandsons shall hold these honors after him until the end of time. It is moreover his command that Lord Slynt be seated immediately upon his small council, to assist in the governance of the realm. So the king has decreed. The small council consents.”

Which are exactly the same words employed by Ser Kevan with regard to Littlefinger, “official bureaucratic speak” as it goes, but that “raised goose prickles up and down Sansa’s arms” at the sight of his new sigil: a bloody spear on a black field, a reminder that it was a title earned by spilling the blood of Eddard Stark. For that, she later would pray that some hero would cut Slynt’s head off. Her reaction to Littlefinger’s new title was no more positive: first she questions why he’d get a reward in the first place, because unlike the others that have gotten titles and gold or armour for their performance in battle, the man had apparently not done anything worthy of a reward; and then because she realised that it would mean more Stark and Tully blood would be spilt:

Lord Paramount of the Trident,
Sansa thought,
and Lord of Harrenhal as well.
She did not understand why that should make him so happy; the honors were as empty as the title granted to Hallyne the Pyromancer. Harrenhal was cursed, everyone knew that, and the Lannisters did not even hold it at present. Besides, the lords of the Trident were sworn to Riverrun and House Tully, and to the King in the North; they would never accept Littlefinger as their liege.
Unless they are made to. Unless my brother and my uncle and my grandfather are all cast down and killed.
The thought made Sansa anxious, but she told herself she was being silly.
Robb has beaten them every time. He’ll beat Lord Baelish too, if he must.

Yet Slynt had no time to enjoy the title for long, much less was he able to pass it on to his “sons and grandsons,” courtesy of a Lannister who sent him to the Wall where he’d get his head chopped off, courtesy of Jon Snow. Littlefinger was behind Slynt’s title of Lord of Harrenhal, the same one he’s now gotten for himself, and this time Sansa isn’t wishing him well either: she hopes her brother Robb will beat Baelish. Unfortunately, the King in the North was prematurely murdered. But Sansa still has three brothers: she has Jon, who would be now her trueborn-by-decree elder brother and Robb’s successor depending on what is in his will and how it plays out; she has Brandon with his warging and skinchanging, she has Rickon who would rally the North; any of which could theoretically “beat” him metaphorically by interfering with his schemes even if indirectly.

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“The Sworn Brothers of the Kingsguard have always been knights,” Ser Boros said firmly.

“Until now,” the Hound said in his deep rasp, and Ser Boros fell silent.

As usual, compliments to beautifully written piece, Milady. You, ladies, do great job with this project.

I always looked at this scene as GRRM speaking about Kingsguard through Sandor's mouth. It seems that after Barristan's dismissal, there are no knights in Kingsguard, and the fact Sandor is enlisting in "elite" society without having a title is nothing new in debauchery of the old and noble order. It especially becomes more poignant when in next Sansa's chapter, she declared that Meryn is no true knight. Basically, Kingsguard is at her lowest point ever, having great past in names such as Arthur Dayne, Barristan Selmy, and so on... Interestingly, none of the Kingsguards three of the five Kings had has no "true" knight. So, this scene isn't just about Sandor's appointment as much as it is about strong deconstruction of something that is supposed to be honorable vocation.

Littlefinger, however, sees his new status as the ideal moment to begin looking for a wife and children, which accounts for his smiles and smugness as he’s raised to Lord Paramount of the Trident and Lord of Harrenhal, because no matter how empty that title might be and how cursed the castle, it’s one that will enable him to marry Lysa Tully, therefore effectively acquiring a wife and a stepson, and later a “daughter,” Sansa herself, for whom he has some twisted plans in store.

I was thinking in the same direction when I reread the "acquiring sons and grandsons" line. My train of thoughts went in some crackpot thinking about Sansa inheriting Harrenhall through her status as Baelish's daughter thus breaking the curse, since she is no Baelish... I also find the sinister foreshadowing in the word "sons", since he has one stepson, and I am afraid to think where he could "acquire" the others...

Again, ladies, nice work... It was a pleasure to read your work...

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I have also spent a lot of time thinking about Sansa's background, why she is different... I wrote a piece, a crackpot theory, a couple months ago on another site about Sansa... I will try to summarize it here and then add what finally just clicked with the addition of the great thinkers here.

First, I will start with my opinion... Sansa is not a Stark.

Sansa was born after Ned returned home with his bastard. My original work guessed that possibly Cat had been so mad about her husband cheating that she might have taken someone to bed in anger. (This opinion has just changed with reading the previous posts, but I include it to show my thought process).

I am now updating my thinking that someone has glamourd himself into Cat's bed, posing as Ned. It may possibly be that Cat and Ned died not knowing that Sansa was not theirs... but the product of a cruel and calculated Littlefinger. Sansa, as we know...is a "pretty little bird" and knows how to "sing" .

I know, but keep reading.

Now this removes her natural needs for a direwolf, because she is not a Stark. Lady is killed because of the abscence of Arya's wolf... when I read that chapter, I remember a couple things that struck me as odd. Ned, sad as it was to kill Lady, didnt really put up too much fuss, he just required he did it himself. Perhaps Ned had a clue that Sansa really didnt need the wolf like his other children. Someone else in that room mentions that she would be just as happy with a dog... I think that was just a bit of foreshadow humor from Martin that she indeed gets one, the Hound! His fondness for her, his protection of her when she is attacked... Sandor took the place of her direwolf.

Sansa often refers to Jon Snow as "the bastard", so it would be kinda bittersweet if she really was one as well. Sandor is the only one that sees her for who she is ... and even though he probably does not know about Littlefinger's role in this, he makes the bird analogy many times.

I know.

So Littlefinger is now manipulating his daughter to bring him the best possible climb on the ladder that he can achieve. Someone had a quote somewhere about a kinda star wars ending to the book. Well there you go." Sansa, I am your father." after protecting her for so long and teaching her to manipulate their way to the top would indeed be bittersweet.

I will stop there, because we are book lovers here. The television show adds a few more things to this theory, and I will post those if anyone wants a bit more to this. Every moment of screen time means something, and I think the writers are pushing us to look at some clues that have to do with this possible crackpot but probable theory.

Remember, this is just my original opinion. Please be kind, agree or disagree...but if you can add to why it might be a strong theory...thank you ;)

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1. Sansa was born three years after Ned brought bastard

2. Cat didn't see Baelish since he was thrown after his duel with Brandon (her POV in AGOT)

3. Sansa got direwolf, as symbol of House Stark

Many have walked that path, my friend, but alas, everything is against it. Sansa is Ned's daughter, no doubt in that...

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