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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XX

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redviper9, beautiful essay. Really insightful and wonderfully presented.

Interesting comparisons, redviper.

Redviper9, thanks for your interesting presentation for the Women in Power project, and thank you, too, Daphne23, for your lovely comparative study of Catelyn-Arya-Sansa. I found the section on the "good girl" language excellent and spot on.

Thanks, Mladen, ShadowCat Rivers, and Milady of York! :)

I was wondering about something: wouldn't Clegane also pose a threat to Sansa's "good girl" demeanour like the direwolf he's theorised to replace? Because he was the one person in King's Landing that was able to get Sansa to lower her solid courtesy armour in his presence and not be defensive, whilst maintaining it in place for the rest, to the point that ever polite and ladylike Sansa, taught to never say an unkind word to someone's face, actually gets to tell the Hound that he is "awful" and "hateful," words we'd only see her utter during sibling squabbles.

He does indeed :) Clegane (hehe) is the first one to challenge that polished demeanour on their walk back to her room after the first day of the Hand's tourney. After this he advises her to wear it as a mask to save herself pain from Joffrey. So I think it's important to stress that it's very much his ability to understand and communicate with Sansa that enables him able to get beneath her skin, and vice versa.

Very interesting catch on Sansa's façade of courtesy breaking whenever she's around Sandor. It's interesting to note that despite these breaks in the wall and Sandor's mocking of Sansa being a "trained little bird," a part of him does seem to respect Sansa for being so courteous and proper. We see this in ASoS, Arya XIII, when Sandor makes it a point of extolling Sansa's propriety compared to her sister. Granted, this could have just been Sandor trying to get under Arya's skin, but it could easily be him recognizing the advantages Sansa's courteous armor conveyed to her, even if it did break in his presence and made her an object of scorn to others.

Now, as for Viserys/Jon parallel, I was always surprised by the lack of true brotherly feelings in both pairs. Viserys was crazy, and he lusted for Dany, and she pitied him and later let him die. One can argue it`s a family curse. But when you look at Jon and Sansa, there is also some sort of disconnect between them in that siblings relationship. When he goes to Wall, he says goodby to everyone, but Sansa. He doesn`t think about her often, and I think the only 2 times I can remember is when he talks about her advice regarding girl`s name, and when Stannis brought up her. In her chapters, Jon is always on the edge. She felt pity when she saw Yoren, and she was glad he became LC of NW. There is strong devotion to each other, but I wouldn`t say that relationship is necesserily brotherly. Sometimes things that are omitted in the books, are as equally as important to those we have in them. The lack of this sibling connection is quite interesting, given that Robb abandoned NW for Ned and Arya, that he thinks a lot about his brothers, especially Bran and Robb. Even when he is returned to Castle Black after trying to desert NW, he recalls entire family but Sansa. So, what purpose does this disconnection serve? It`s not clear disconnection, but you also can`t define it as truly close. There is a sentiment, but it stuck somewhere between siblings and friends.

I actually don't think the disconnect between Jon and Sansa is as great as some make it out to be. They do represent two different poles of the Stark siblings, with Jon being the most "northern" (keeps exclusively to the Old Gods, looks the most like a Stark, decides to join the Night's Watch, which still means a lot in the North), and Sansa being the most "southern" (prefers the Seven over the Old Gods, looks the most like a Tully, enjoys songs of knightly valor, wants to move to King's Landing).

Now, just because we don't see Sansa and Jon say goodbye to each other doesn't mean that they didn't; we never see Arya say goodbye to Robb, Bran, and Rickon, nor do we see Ned say goodbye to his sons, but those moments could very well have taken place off-screen. You've noted the times Sansa thinks of Jon in the narrative, but Jon thinks about Sansa quite a bit as well, and always with fondness and love. He describes her as "radiant" during the welcoming feast held in King Robert's honor (AGoT, Jon I). He admits to himself that he misses Sansa when he first arrives in Castle Black (AGoT, Jon III). Jon makes it a point to ask about both his sisters when word reaches Castle Black of Ned's imprisonment (AGoT, Jon VII). He famously refuses to usurp Sansa's birthright by declining Stannis's offer of legitimization (ASoS, Jon XI-XII; ADwD, Jon I, IV). (Something tells me the fighting Baratheon brothers and the Lannister siblings would have no qualms about disinheriting the others to get a lordship). And of course Jon also thinks back to the things Sansa taught him whenever he interacts with women (Gilly, Ygritte, Dalla, Val).

There are also two telling passages, the first when Jon wakes up outside Craster's Keep, the second when Jon receives the Pink Letter.

From ACoK, Jon III:

The pale pink light of dawn sparkled on branch and leaf and stone. Every blade of grass was carved from emerald, every drip of water turned to diamond. Flowers and mushrooms alike were coats of glass. Even the mud puddles had a bright brown sheen. Through the shimmering greenery, the black tents of his brothers were encased in a fine glaze of ice.

So there is magic beyond the Wall after all. He found himself thinking of his sisters, perhaps because he'd dreamed of them last night. Sansa would call this an enchantment, and tears would fill her eyes at the wonder of it all, but Arya would run out laughing and shouting, wanting to touch it all.

From ADwD, Jon XIII:

Jon flexed the fingers of his sword hand. The Night's Watch takes no part. He closed his fist and opened it again. What you propose is nothing less than treason. He thought of Robb, with snowflakes melting in his hair. Kill the boy and the let the man be born. He thought of Bran, clambering up a tower wall, agile as a monkey. Of Rickon's breathless laughter. Of Sansa, brushing out Lady's coat and singing to herself. You know nothing, Jon Snow. He thought of Arya, her hair as tangled as a bird's nest.

In the first passage, Sansa is the first of his sisters Jon remembers, and he seems to know her well enough to predict her reaction to a scene that he himself finds magical. In the second passage, we see that Sansa is as bound to Jon's memories of Winterfell as his other siblings, and that Jon saw Sansa and Lady together, meaning that the two siblings did share space together during the narrative, but us readers weren't treated to seeing those interactions on-screen.

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I actually don't think the disconnect between Jon and Sansa is as great as some make it out to be. They do represent two different poles of the Stark siblings, with Jon being the most "northern" (keeps exclusively to the Old Gods, looks the most like a Stark, decides to join the Night's Watch, which still means a lot in the North), and Sansa being the most "southern" (prefers the Seven over the Old Gods, looks the most like a Tully, enjoys songs of knightly valor, wants to move to King's Landing).

I use that disconnection for purposes of one theory. For me disconnect isn`t what will separate them, it`s actually what unites them, just on different terms.

Now, just because we don't see Sansa and Jon say goodbye to each other doesn't mean that they didn't; we never see Arya say goodbye to Robb, Bran, and Rickon, nor do we see Ned say goodbye to his sons, but those moments could very well have taken place off-screen. You've noted the times Sansa thinks of Jon in the narrative, but Jon thinks about Sansa quite a bit as well, and always with fondness and love. He describes her as "radiant" during the welcoming feast held in King Robert's honor (AGoT, Jon I). He admits to himself that he misses Sansa when he first arrives in Castle Black (AGoT, Jon III). Jon makes it a point to ask about both his sisters when word reaches Castle Black of Ned's imprisonment (AGoT, Jon VII). He famously refuses to usurp Sansa's birthright by declining Stannis's offer of legitimization (ASoS, Jon XI-XII; ADwD, Jon I, IV). (Something tells me the fighting Baratheon brothers and the Lannister siblings would have no qualms about disinheriting the others to get a lordship). And of course Jon also thinks back to the things Sansa taught him whenever he interacts with women (Gilly, Ygritte, Dalla, Val).

Yes, I believe that it might have happened off-screen, but that`s what`s interesting. As I said sometimes authors ommits some things to make a valuable point. So, not emphasizing brotherly relationship between them in extent it`s used in other relationships, could use as foreshadowing of possible future for the two of them. There are quite the clues suggesting that we might see some other relationship between two of them. I know it`s sacrielege :), but Jon might be clue for Sansa`s longly abandoned dream - to become a Queen. The thing is the more she desires not to be one, the fitter she is to become Queen.

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That’s a good catch Brashcandy. I think that they also use a similar attitude to survive and to get people to underestimate them: Sansa with her courtesy armour and Dany with her famous line "I am but a young girl…"

Thanks Mahaut :) I also liked your earlier point about Jon and Sansa feeding their wolves under the table.

<<snip>>

In the first passage, Sansa is the first of his sisters Jon remembers, and he seems to know her well enough to predict her reaction to a scene that he himself finds magical. In the second passage, we see that Sansa is as bound to Jon's memories of Winterfell as his other siblings, and that Jon saw Sansa and Lady together, meaning that the two siblings did share space together during the narrative, but us readers weren't treated to seeing those interactions on-screen.

Great examples, and I agree. When you look at all the POVs of the Stark children there's not a great deal of thinking about one another going on, but it does happen in particular moments, designed I think to highlight an enduring connection, nostalgic and bittersweet, but nonetheless meaningful. It's there as Sansa thinks of naming her sons after her brothers, or when Arya thinks that she'll kiss Sansa and beg her pardons like a proper lady. I think we're meant to understand that Arya was a lot closer to Jon, and shared a more "special" relationship with him, but it doesn't mean that he and Sansa did not have a brother/sister connection either. I believe it's likely that we'll see Jon and Sansa working together - a while back Ragnorak noted that Sansa's skills centre on mediation and diplomacy, and could very well complement Jon's efforts going forward.

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I use that disconnection for purposes of one theory. For me disconnect isn`t what will separate them, it`s actually what unites them, just on different terms.

Yes, I believe that it might have happened off-screen, but that`s what`s interesting. As I said sometimes authors ommits some things to make a valuable point. So, not emphasizing brotherly relationship between them in extent it`s used in other relationships, could use as foreshadowing of possible future for the two of them. There are quite the clues suggesting that we might see some other relationship between two of them. I know it`s sacrielege :), but Jon might be clue for Sansa`s longly abandoned dream - to become a Queen. The thing is the more she desires not to be one, the fitter she is to become Queen.

I'm not really sure I get what you mean by Jon and Sansa possibly being "united" by a "disconnect"; don't disconnects by their very definition keep things from uniting?

It is of course interesting from a literary standpoint that we never see Sansa and Jon interact in "real time." As others have noted in past PtP threads, it would make any future reunion of the two seem fresh (not that Jon and Arya reuniting would be stale, but we have seen them interact before); it also makes their shared belief that they're all that's left of their family that much more poignant (granted, Jon eventually learns of "Arya's" marriage to Ramsay, but still).

I'm not sure I completely agree with you that Jon's arc provides clues that Sansa will become a queen. I do believe that Sansa might be a better ruler because of her experiences, but that doesn't necessarily mean that she wants to or that she will become a queen in her own right before the series is over.

One thing that I did not emphasize in my first post is that Jon is the only character of the four I examined who renounces an open quest for power early in his arc. Viserys wants to take the Dothraki and reconquer Westeros for the Targaryens. Dany takes up her brother's cause once he dies, and then she herself chooses to become queen of Meereen. Up until the moment Ned is executed, Sansa wants to be Joffrey's queen, and in ASoS she is excited about the prospect of one day being the Lady of Highgarden. But Jon, following his talk with Donal Noye and Benjen's telling him that he'll have to earn his way up in the Watch, doesn't seek power.

It's the Old Bear who names Jon his personal steward because he sees potential in him, not because Jon lobbied for it (Jon lobbied for Sam to be passed from training, and then was furious when he was named a steward until Sam explained the benefits to him). Qhorin Halfhand chose Jon for his ranging party because he thought he would be a good fit for the mission. Though Jon accepted the position of Lord Commander, he was not the one who put forward his name for consideration, and he found little joy in his victory. That victory of course also meant that Jon had to refuse Stannis's offer of legitimization and possession of Winterfell, something that even Jon admits he always wanted, but he knew that he could not accept.

Now, if, as others and I have argued, Jon's arc -- on account of his starting point being so reminiscent of where Sansa is when we last see her -- offers the most clues as to what Sansa might do, then I do not see her actively seeking to become someone's queen. For one thing, it would be extremely difficult for her to do that, given that she is disguised as Alayne Stone and still wanted for questioning regarding Joffrey's death. Second, arranging marriages is something that usually falls to male heads of household; Sansa was engaged to Joffrey because Ned agreed to it, and her current father figure (for lack of a better term) already has plans to marry her to someone else. And while it has been suggested that Littlefinger might seek to offer Sansa to Aegon as part of an alliance, I don't see that happening because the released Arianne chapters from TWoW suggest that:

It is highly hinted that the Martells will ally with Aegon in the upcoming Second Dance of the Dragons, and that Aegon's story will unfold mostly in and around King's Landing. Granted, Littlefinger is nothing if not opportunistic, but all signs are pointing to the Vale's fate being intertwined with that of the North, not the south.

Furthermore, the only queen-like position I can see being offered to Sansa would be the regency of the North if and when Rickon returns and the Starks reclaim Winterfell (I am operating under the assumption that there is a Great Northern Conspiracy aimed at removing the Boltons from power and reinstalling the Starks). That of course would not make her a queen in her own right, but someone more akin to Olenna Tyrell or Catelyn Stark: a powerful woman who doesn't necessarily need a formal title to wield influence (yes, I am aware that the regency is a formal title, but a regency implies that said power will one day be transferred to someone else).

Though I do not preclude the possibility of Sansa one day wielding formal power, I do not believe that it will be because she sought it out. Rather, much like Jon, I can see her accepting a responsibility that others have burdened her with, and finding little, if any, joy in it (something that would also make her quite like her father, a man who was always keenly aware of the burdens and responsibilities tied to his position).

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Great examples, and I agree. When you look at all the POVs of the Stark children there's not a great deal of thinking about one another going on, but it does happen in particular moments, designed I think to highlight an enduring connection, nostalgic and bittersweet, but nonetheless meaningful. It's there as Sansa thinks of naming her sons after her brothers, or when Arya thinks that she'll kiss Sansa and beg her pardons like a proper lady. I think we're meant to understand that Arya was a lot closer to Jon, and shared a more "special" relationship with him, but it doesn't mean that he and Sansa did not have a brother/sister connection either. I believe it's likely that we'll see Jon and Sansa working together - a while back Ragnorak noted that Sansa's skills centre on mediation and diplomacy, and could very well complement Jon's efforts going forward.

Could not have said it better myself, brash. And I think Ragnorak's point of Sansa's diplomatic skills becoming useful in the future is an excellent one.

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snip

Disconnecting as siblings may unite them as something else. It`s just a theory Ragnorak once hinted in one of his threads, and I started digging whether there are more clues. Elba had beautiful essay about `East from the Sun, west from the Moon`, and noticing parallels there were 4 winds that blew - Southern, eastern, western, northern, and each of them tried to bring the girl to her true love. In Sansa`s arc, southern wind would be Joffery, western Tyrion, eastern Robert or even Harry, and I think Northern wind might be Jon.

Also, I agree with you, I don`t think Sansa will become Queen because she sought it. I think that at the end, she`ll accept it as her duty, not desire. The very thing that makes Sansa powerful is that she doesn`t want any power. And like Dumbledore once said `those that rejects power usually are the best in wielding it`, which is great parallel for both Sansa and Jon, which you noticed. Aegon isn`t the one that will crown Sansa as a Queen, it`s actually Jon.

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Are you suggesting a Jon/Sansa romantic match, Mladen? It's not something that I think is very likely, considering that for all the 'disconnection' you imply, Sansa and Jon think of each other as brother and sister, and it would be pretty unrealistic to have those feelings suddenly morph into something else. As for the parallels with East of the Sun, West of the Moon, I could swear you related its significance to Sandor Clegane. I might be wrong though..

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Are you suggesting a Jon/Sansa romantic match, Mladen? It's not something that I think is very likely, considering that for all the 'disconnection' you imply, Sansa and Jon think of each other as brother and sister, and it would be pretty unrealistic to have those feelings suddenly morph into something else. As for the parallels with East of the Sun, West of the Moon, I could swear you related its significance to Sandor Clegane. I might be wrong though..

For the past couple of months, I have been rereading Sansa`s and Jon`s POV chapters, and there are some small things I noticed, nothing two big, but who knows. The pile grew bigger and bigger, until it made a good theory. I know that small moments when they think of each other is brotherly, but they are so rare, comparing to thoughts Sansa has about her other brothers, or Jon about Arya and Robb. Yes, back then I related it to Sandor, which I still believe is the number 1 for Sansa. Jon is just theory game for me. But, now I use different comparison. If she didn`t found love when southern, western and eastern winds blew, she might when the Northern one does. So, either wind will set her to Sandor (Jon becoming KitN and granting her freedom) or he might be her love interest. As I said, it`s just brainstorming game. And I find it interesting antithesis to cheesy Jon/Dany romance...

And brash, when they get disconnected as brother and sister, there is a much bigger chance they are united as husband and wife. I know, sacriledge...

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Whether it's sacrilege is neither here nor there for me, I just don't see much to support it, and whatever there is that can be "interpreted" as such crumbles when you acknowledge that they've been brought up as brother and sister, and aren't likely to regard each other as romantic interests. A marriage of convenience or "for the realm" also isn't something Sansa would be willing to subject herself to at this stage.

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Whether it's sacrilege is neither here nor there for me, I just don't see much to support it, and whatever there is that can be "interpreted" as such crumbles when you acknowledge that they've been brought up as brother and sister, and aren't likely to regard each other as romantic interests. A marriage of convenience or "for the realm" also isn't something Sansa would be willing to subject herself to at this stage.

The disconnection between them as brother and sister can be interpreted as push in that direction. Also, there are few interesting parallels I noticed and some tiny details, that can be interpreted in that way. As for Sansa not wanting it, I do agree she doesn`t want it at the moment, but we have 2 more books, and I honestly see her as a Queen at the end. Call it a huntch, or some idiotic fan wish, but I have that feeling. I don`t have it for neither Margaery, Dany or Arianne, but I have it for her. And I think her philosophy about the good of the realm is, `if I had bread, I would give it to them`. As I said, it`s just theorizing, and it`s fun to change a view for a moment.

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For the past couple of months, I have been rereading Sansa`s and Jon`s POV chapters, and there are some small things I noticed, nothing two big, but who knows. The pile grew bigger and bigger, until it made a good theory. I know that small moments when they think of each other is brotherly, but they are so rare, comparing to thoughts Sansa has about her other brothers, or Jon about Arya and Robb. Yes, back then I related it to Sandor, which I still believe is the number 1 for Sansa. Jon is just theory game for me. But, now I use different comparison. If she didn`t found love when southern, western and eastern winds blew, she might when the Northern one does. So, either wind will set her to Sandor (Jon becoming KitN and granting her freedom) or he might be her love interest. As I said, it`s just brainstorming game. And I find it interesting antithesis to cheesy Jon/Dany romance...

And brash, when they get disconnected as brother and sister, there is a much bigger chance they are united as husband and wife. I know, sacriledge...

Whether it's sacrilege is neither here nor there for me, I just don't see much to support it, and whatever there is that can be "interpreted" as such crumbles when you acknowledge that they've been brought up as brother and sister, and aren't likely to regard each other as romantic interests. A marriage of convenience or "for the realm" also isn't something Sansa would be willing to subject herself to at this stage.

I'm going to have to agree with brash here, Mladen: it's a stretch to conclude that Jon and Sansa will unite as something other than brother and sister. Maybe a formal political relationship could develop, akin to Robert's brothers serving on his Small Council or the historically close relationship between the Starks of Winterfell and the Night's Watch, but I just don't see a romantic/husband and wife relationship.

For starters, as I noted above, the text pretty clearly demonstrates that any disconnect between Jon and Sansa is strictly physical: they have not shared the same space since Sansa went south and Jon went north. The times they do think of each other -- which I think happens more often than you think it does -- it is clearly as siblings who miss and love each other, and nothing more. Compare that attitude to Theon Greyjoy, another brother figure in Sansa's life, who thinks that Sansa is attractive and laments that her captivity in King's Landing prevents him from marrying her and cementing his hold on the North (ACoK, Theon IV). Or we can use the example of Daenerys and Viserys, who come from a family with a long history of marrying siblings to each other; even though Dany admits that she might have had to marry her brother had her father remained on the Iron Throne, she stops thinking of Viserys as a brother the moment he threatens Rheago (AGoT, Daenerys V). The Lannister siblings probably think about each other more than the Stark ones, but theirs are feelings of anger, hatred, resentment, sadness, and bitterness, not the love and nostalgia we see with the Starks, Jon and Sansa included.

Furthermore, I think reducing Sansa to waiting for a "northern love" ignores her arc up to this point. The Sansa that believed that knights in shining armor always saved the damsel in distress is as dead as the Jon that aspired to be Daeron the Young Dragon; Sansa has learned at long last that she has to be an active agent in her salvation. And while it is interesting to think about the winds in Sansa's arc and their symbolic value, I think her interpreting the wind as a wolf is indicative of her reconnection to her northern identity (in much the same way that Jon realizing that Ghost's features were very much like a weirwood tree, or Arya "hearing" Ned as she was praying in front of the Harrenhal heart tree reminded them that they were children of Eddard Stark) (ACoK, Arya X; ASoS, Jon XII; AFfC, Alayne II).

One last thing: I think that if Sansa harbors romantic feelings for anyone, it's Sandor Clegane. This does not mean that I foresee a romantic or sexual relationship develop between the two, or even that their paths will cross again (while I'm an adherent of the "Sandor is the gravedigger on the Quiet Isle" theory, I'd be perfectly satisfied if his narrative arc ends there, with him finally at peace with his demons). But it is clear that Sansa thinks of Sandor differently than other men (keeping his white cloak, caressing his face before he leaves, the kiss that wasn't, etc.). And the way Sansa thinks of Sandor is most definitely not the way she thinks of Jon.

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snip

Oh, even I can`t say we have clear proofs they`ll end up together. It`s just theorizing about possible romantic relationships for Sansa, and finding some little details that might indicate that. I agree that Sandor is the one Sansa loves, this is just anpother look on her romantic side. Call it exploring possibilities or covering the basis...

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Furthermore, I think reducing Sansa to waiting for a "northern love" ignores her arc up to this point. The Sansa that believed that knights in shining armor always saved the damsel in distress is as dead as the Jon that aspired to be Daeron the Young Dragon; Sansa has learned at long last that she has to be an active agent in her salvation. And while it is interesting to think about the winds in Sansa's arc and their symbolic value, I think her interpreting the wind as a wolf is indicative of her reconnection to her northern identity (in much the same way that Jon realizing that Ghost's features were very much like a weirwood tree, or Arya "hearing" Ned as she was praying in front of the Harrenhal heart tree reminded them that they were children of Eddard Stark) (ACoK, Arya X; ASoS, Jon XII; AFfC, Alayne II).

I think you just confirmed your PTP membership with that post, Viper :P Seriously on target and relevant to Sansa's development. I love Jon's character, and people are free to imagine any pairings they like in the text, but I think there's an inherent danger in eliding Sansa's agency, and treating her as the ideal prize for "x" male character in the series - even the "good guy" ones. It's in AGOT that Sansa wishes for a hero to cut off Janos Slynt's head, and in ADWD that desire is finally fulfilled by Jon Snow. But as you've highlighted so well, the gulf between those books in terms of character development and transformation is vast for both characters. Sansa is no longer wedded to the dream of a dashing hero who solves all her problems, and I don't think Jon would characterize his execution of Slynt in those terms. Indeed, his actions reinforce the moral code of the Stark family - articulated by Ned - and achieve belated justice for the remaining Stark children. There are intriguing ways for Jon and Sansa to work together in the future, but I'd rule out the romantic angle.

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I think you just confirmed your PTP membership with that post, Viper :P Seriously on target and relevant to Sansa's development. I love Jon's character, and people are free to imagine any pairings they like in the text, but I think there's an inherent danger in eliding Sansa's agency, and treating her as the ideal prize for "x" male character in the series - even the "good guy" ones. It's in AGOT that Sansa wishes for a hero to cut off Janos Slynt's head, and in ADWD that desire is finally fulfilled by Jon Snow. But as you've highlighted so well, the gulf between those books in terms of character development and transformation is vast for both characters. Sansa is no longer wedded to the dream of a dashing hero who solves all her problems, and I don't think Jon would characterize his execution of Slynt in those terms. Indeed, his actions reinforce the moral code of the Stark family - articulated by Ned - and achieve belated justice for the remaining Stark children. There are intriguing ways for Jon and Sansa to work together in the future, but I'd rule out the romantic angle.

You did not just tell me I am looking Sansa as character without agency :)? As I said, the thing is about theorizing, and exploring (I hate the word) inbreeding in wolf pack. As much as I see Sansa as the `ideal prize for any male`, I don`t think her story will be stipulated to that, nor I would I ever try to do that. The thing is, she is as best as you can get, but that doesn`t mean her story is limited for that. I do sincerely believe that GRRM is quite a romantic, and a gentle soul, and that he will give both Jon and Sansa satisfactory end, as siblings, romantic pair, whatever. I feel we should all be grateful to what he`s planning to do with her. For I sense great things, and they don`t have anything to do with either romanticism or her being it-girl in Westeros.

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Oh, even I can`t say we have clear proofs they`ll end up together. It`s just theorizing about possible romantic relationships for Sansa, and finding some little details that might indicate that. I agree that Sandor is the one Sansa loves, this is just anpother look on her romantic side. Call it exploring possibilities or covering the basis...

You aren't the only one who's considered the possibility of Jon/Sansa in a romantic light. I've thought about it too. Maybe I've read tze's post on Jon and Sansa or Ragnorak's snow castle post a few too many times, but it's interesting to consider. It also provides a satisfactory interpretation for TV!Sansa's dragonfly theme.

Even though Sansa trusts Sandor and is beginning to show signs of sexual attraction towards him, she's not exactly in love with the guy. Besides, in ASOIAF it seems pretty normal for characters to have more than one romantic interest. I don't think acknowledging Sansa's feelings towards Sandor excludes considering the possibility of other romantic entanglements for her.

Whether it's sacrilege is neither here nor there for me, I just don't see much to support it, and whatever there is that can be "interpreted" as such crumbles when you acknowledge that they've been brought up as brother and sister, and aren't likely to regard each other as romantic interests. A marriage of convenience or "for the realm" also isn't something Sansa would be willing to subject herself to at this stage.

Sansa wants Winterfell. A marriage to Jon might represent getting that without being tied to someone who is just using her for her claim.

Anyways, it might not be at all probable, but I don't think you can just eliminate it out of hand.

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Ultimately though, Jon's arc might offer the most clues, because Sansa's situation at the end ofAFfC is eerily similar to Jon's situation at the beginning of AGoT: the noble bastard at the whim of the limits their birth has placed on them...

Sorry to be so far behind the times, but I just wanted to chip in regarding this point, which is tantalizing in its implications regarding the respective relationships between our two pairs of siblings. How interesting that Sansa could be seen as having taken a long journey to get to a place similar to the one Jon started in - especially when one considers the distance (perhaps even coolness) between her and and her bastard brother at the start of the series. I can't recall precisely when, but I believe Jon does, at some point, recall that there had been a certain formality and condescension in his communication with Sansa, from the moment she was old enough to understand what his bastardy meant. The impression that I drew from this, as well as from the general lack of important character moments between Jon and Sansa (as opposed to Arya or Robb, or even Bran), was that Jon and Sansa's relationship was, generally, rather detached - which means, among other things, that Jon was probably not involved enough to have contributed to the over-romanticized, naive frame of mind that, arguably, presented Sansa with a liability once she was pulled into the politics of King's Landing.

Compared with the relationship between Daenerys and Viserys, the resultant dichotomoy yields some fascinating, and perhaps even subversive, implications. For the sake of argument, set aside what you know of Viserys and Daenerys, and consider their journey in light of the stripped-down, factual account I shall now present: a brother and sister are, at very young ages, deprived of their family and their livelihood. After a brief time spent in the care of a foster father-figure, the two are forced to set out on their own. The boy, elder of the two, leads his sister from city to city, safe haven to safe haven, taking care to keep her, and her memory of their family and birthright (which is, strictly speaking, nonexistent) alive, eventually managing to secure for her a politically-lucrative (if otherwise disagreeable) marriage. When considered only in light of these facts (which is to say, while temporarily disregarding the abusive truths we know about Viserys), we seem to have the recipe for a much closer, and even more loving, sibling-relationship than that of Jon and Sansa.

And that is where the subversion comes in. Because even if we continue to disregard the worst excesses of Viserys, it is still unclear whether a relationship like his and Daenerys's is necessarily going to be better than one like Jon and Sansa's. The Targaryens were, in fact, closer than Snow and Stark; so close that Viserys could be said to have been Dany's entire world, between the Red Door and the Riders. And that closeness was claustrophobic. Viserys enjoyed a stranglehold on Daenerys' developing personality, and the psychological relics of those years continue to be evident, even during ADwD. Throughout the series, we have seen Daenerys espouse ideas she learned, more-or-less, at Viserys's knee, the value of which range from outright-negative to merely dubious. Be it the "Usurper's Dog's" or his "knives," the putative immunity to all disease of her family, or the merits of their unorthodox marriage practices, living with Viserys has filled Dany's head with a lot of nonsense. The fool's abusive tendencies serve only to render the damage he has done to her more obvious.

So, who was the better brother? The one who kept his distance, or the one who could be argued to have given his all for his sister - but clearly expected all, in return? Can the bonds of family ever truly be separated from the expectation of control? Is the person who allows a loved one to grow where they will more admirable than the one who tends (and prunes) their family like a garden?

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You aren't the only one who's considered the possibility of Jon/Sansa in a romantic light. I've thought about it too.

Considering that Sansa is the most popular female character for pairings in the text, I think many people have considered many romantic possibilities for her.

Maybe I've read tze's post on Jon and Sansa or Ragnorak's snow castle post a few too many times, but it's interesting to consider. It also provides a satisfactory interpretation for TV!Sansa's dragonfly theme.

Suggestive, but ultimately dismissed by both tze and Ragnorak. As for the dragonfly theme, you'd have to elaborate on that.

Even though Sansa trusts Sandor and is beginning to show signs of sexual attraction towards him, she's not exactly in love with the guy. Besides, in ASOIAF it seems pretty normal for characters to have more than one romantic interest. I don't think acknowledging Sansa's feelings towards Sandor excludes considering the possibility of other romantic entanglements for her.

Whether or not Sansa is in love with Sandor is up for debate. It's not one I find particularly worth having at this stage, though. The point is that it's not just about her personal feelings or the extent of them, but that she's beginning to understand the restrictions of marriage and her claim, and experiencing a sexual awakening that emphasizes the legitimacy of her desires. This is extremely important to appreciating the choices Sansa may make in the future. And I'd be happy to consider other romantic options for her, if someone would put forth credible evidence that takes into account what it is Sansa wants - something that Martin has been very careful to show is very important to her happiness and sense of fulfilment.

Sansa wants Winterfell. A marriage to Jon might represent getting that without being tied to someone who is just using her for her claim.

Sansa wants to go home. She does not "want" Winterfell as a possession or as part of a claim, and she's shown a willingness in the past to forego "home" if it means she can have personal autonomy and a chance to escape those who are only interested in exploiting her. Above all, she wants to be loved for herself. I can't see why she would accept a loveless marriage with any man, simply to be back in Winterfell.

Anyways, it might not be at all probable, but I don't think you can just eliminate it out of hand.

If it appeared that way, I apologize. The Jon/Sansa match is something I've considered in the past, and it certainly holds more charm than her remaining with Tyrion, but I don't find the evidence that is often cited in support of the match to be compelling or convincing, and as Viper said above, I believe it ignores a great deal of Sansa's development and the dynamics between the Starks. If people are invested in the match and believe there is substantive evidence for it, then I can only say we'd have to agree to disagree.

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I have to agree with Redviper and Brashcandy. Although there are many similarities between the two storylines, I don’t think there is enough evidence to support a future romantic relationship.

I’m not sure a marriage to Jon would give her Winterfell either. The North lords know that Rickon is still alive. Well, at least Wyman Manderly knows it. So I don’t really see him sending Davos to retrieve Rickon and then simply giving Winterfell away to a bastard/nephew when at least one direct heir is known to be still living. Also, didn’t Jon officially give up Winterfell at the end of ASOS? Finally, I also agree with Brashcandy about Sansa wanting to go home rather than possessing Winterfell.

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Sansa probably see Jon only as her half-brother, but I'm afraid Jon sees Sansa more than his half-sister!

Mladen says " there is also some sort of disconnect between them in that siblings relationship" ,but it's not the same for Sansa and Jon. Sansa thinks of Jon less than her trueborn brothers, but she can think of him with reminders. On the other hand, not only Jon less thinks of Sansa than Arya, Robb or Bran, he can’t think of her even with reminders, and sometimes the reminders are so strong next to put a lively Sansa in front of him!

1. Forgive me, Father. Robb, Arya, Bran … forgive me, I cannot help you. He has the truth of it. This is my place.(AGOT JON IX)

In JON VII and JON VIII, Jon Snow talks with Mormont about his sisters, Arya and Sansa. But when he is returned to Castle Black after trying to desert NW, he recalls entire family but Sansa. He must know Sansa is now held as a hostage in KL. What’s more, he doesn’t know Sansa running to Cersei and he has no reason to hate her.

2. One was asleep, curled up tight and buried beneath a great mound of skins. Jon could see nothing of him but his hair, bright red in the firelight.(ACOK JON VI)

What Jon first notices is Ygritte’s hair, so redhead is her noticeable feature. Ygritte has red ,curly hair and blue eyes. I think everyone else would think Ygritte looks like Sansa, if they have seen her. However, Jon stubbornly think Ygritte remind him of Arya, because “Underneath all that she could be as skinny as Arya.”. When thinking about Ygritte’s likeness to his sister, Jon doesn’t consider what he first notice and everyone else would see, but what he has to imagine and probably no one else would think the same. Isn’t it weird?

3. A light has gone out somewhere. “Ygritte?” he whispered. “Forgive me. Please.” But it was only a direwolf, grey and ghastly, spotted with blood, his golden eyes shining sadly through the dark . . .(ASOS JON VIII)

Unarguably , in his dream the wolf-ghost Jon see is Lady, who was the only direwolf dead and in Winterfell’s crypts at that time. Each direwolf for each Stark’s children, and in ADWD Jon XIII, Jon himself connect Sansa to her Lady specially. He knows Lady was buried there but he thinks it’s Summer. Why? He should know he wouldn’t see Summer in Winterfell after it just saved him in Queenscrown.

4. “By right Winterfell should go to my sister Sansa.”

“Lady Lannister, you mean? Are you so eager to see the Imp perched on your father’s seat? I promise you, that will not happen whilst I live, Lord Snow.”

Jon knew better than to press the point. “Sire, some claim that you mean to grant lands and castles to Rattleshirt and the Magnar of Thenn.”(ADWD JON I)

Jon dryly said “By right Winterfell should go to my sister Sansa.” and no more defend for her even Stannis refers Sansa as “Lady Lannister” disdainfully. Even Arya, who always argue with Sansa, would think that “That’s stupid, Sansa only knows songs, not spells, and she’d never marry the Imp. (ASOS Arya VIII)”

What’s worse, he knows Sansa was married to Tyrion and he never think about it. Where is she? How is she? What happened to her? And Lannisters may claim Winterfell through her? He does not care at all! Even through Sansa may treat him unfairly in the past, Tyrion is his friend. He shall think about it at least once!

All above, I think why Jon seldom think of Sansa because he subconsciously avoid to do so. here we can know Jon actually won’t allow himself to pay attention to particular things. For example, before ASOS Jon doesn’t pay much attention to female beauty because in Jon's mind, all women equate with "a bastard child with a sad life". After he is offered Winterfell by and becoming LC, Jon began to admire female beauty explicitly and “allow himself to daydream the dream that he never allowed himself to think about. What his life would be like if he had children of his own and his own home and wife". So, the memory about Sansa may make he feel so bad, so sad that he can’t ever think of her.

Why he can’t think of her, because she treated him badly? No, I can’t imagine Sansa do something worse than call Jon “half-brother”, and Jon would remember it if she did so. IN fact, Jon could remember Catelyn with reminder even she treated him unfairly and indifferently. But he just can’t think of Sansa!

Jon never thinks Sansa negatively. The facts are just the opposite.

1. Sandor has dark hair and grey eyes, like Jon; and Ygritte has red, curly hair and blue eyes, like Sansa.Maybe Jon has an interest in curly redhead girls? Maybe not. He fell for Ygritte because of her character. Jon describes golden-hair Cersei and Val as “beautiful” and “comely”, so he may have a thing for blondes?However, in AGOT after describing Cersei as “as beautiful as men said”, the Sansa in his eyes was described as “radiant”!

In AsoIaF only three women are described as “radiant”: Dany, Cersei and Sansa by men. At the same time at least ten women are described as “beautiful” or “comely”, and far more with “lovely” and “pretty”. GRRM also like to describe beauty with image about light, such as “though however bright a torch might burn it could never match the rising sun.(ADWD Epilogue), and ” When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.(ASOS Tyrion II)”&#12290;

However, no matter how beautiful Sansa is (she’s undoubtedly very beautiful, of course), she is just a little girl, not even flowering, how could she be so “radiant” beside Cersei, the most beautiful woman in Westeror in her prime? Not like Lannisters, Starks never think of themselves so superior, especially in appearance!

2. As we can see, Jon think himself want girls as “warrior princess”, like Ygritte or Val. But in what context he says such a line?

A warrior princess, he decided, not some willowy creature who sits up in a tower, brushing her hair and waiting for some knight to rescue her. (ADWD Jon VI)

Jon can desire as many warrior princesses as he like, but why he emphasizes that he doesn’t want “some willowy creature, waiting for some knight to rescue her”? When someone’s SWT scores are so, so poor, would he think “I want to a communiversity, not some famous university like MIT and Harvard ?” Not like he is expected to marry “a princess waiting to be rescued by knight”; he is a bastard and he know those highborn young ladies would never want to be rescued by him.

3. Jon is attracted to Ygritte, and he thinks her “At a lord’s court the girl would never have been considered anything but common, he knew.(ASOS JON II)”

“Common looks” is a concept about comparison. Who makes Ygritte’s looks common compared to? And Ygritte doesn’t often brush hair, and “Jon was tempted to ask her if she only brushed it at the changing of the seasons.(ASOS JON II)”. Arya, Jon’s “little sister” who he think have something in common with Ygritte, doesn’t like to brush hair too, and Jon just love to mess up Arya’s hair, Why he think Ygritte should brush hair more?

All above all, I think why GRRM doesn’t describe directly the interaction between Sansa and Jon is because he hasn’t want us to know their relationship clearly so far. And the sentiment between Jon and Sansa stuck somewhere between siblings and something else, but it clearly not completely within siblings.

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So, who was the better brother? The one who kept his distance, or the one who could be argued to have given his all for his sister - but clearly expected all, in return? Can the bonds of family ever truly be separated from the expectation of control? Is the person who allows a loved one to grow where they will more admirable than the one who tends (and prunes) their family like a garden?

Great post. By her final chapter in AFFC, Sansa's and Jon's identities are linked as bastards - she directly empathizes now as Alayne Stone, and both are involved in a process of "killing the boy" and "killing the girl". As Sansa descends the mountain she thinks:

I could close my eyes. The mule knows the way, he had no need of me. But that seemed something Sansa would have done, that frightened girl. Alayne was an older woman, and bastard brave.

Unlike the touching reunion that Sansa could envision with Jon, Dany in her final chapter in ADWD is haunted by hallucinations of Viserys (the psychological relics you noted), where he blames her for his death:

... You were the betrayer. You turned against me, against your own blood. They cheated me. Your horsey husband and his stinking savages. They were cheats and liars. They promised me a golden crown and gave me this. He touched the molten gold that was creeping down his face, and smoke rose from his finger.

It's clear which relationship was a lot healthier at the end of everything, and whatever the physical/emotional distance between the two does not prevent Jon from insisting that Winterfell belongs to his sister, or Sansa from imagining how "sweet" it would be to see him again. It will be very interesting to see how these long-reaching bonds with their brothers play out for Sansa and Dany in the next two books.

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