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Why Sansa is Important

bennetand9:

I actually find Sansa Stark to be a very interesting character because she shows how dangerous the patriarchy can actually be to women. I believe that Sansa is George RR Martin’s answer to the question of what happens to women who don’t fight against the social structure. 

Game of Thrones is full of women who disregard traditional feminine roles (Brienne, Sansa’s sister Arya and Dany are the most notable) as well as women who seems to fit those roles on the surface, yet disrupt the patriarchal culture behind the scenes (Catelyn Stark, Cersei Lannister, Lysa Arryn etc).

Then there is Sansa, who completely bought into the idea of women as meek, feminine creatures who were supposed to be protected by strong powerful knights. Many GoT fans forget how young Sansa was at the beginning of the book series (twelve). Throughout the first book and first season of the TV show, Sansa comes off as a naive and somewhat bratty girl, which are traits that are not uncommon for pre-pubescent girls.

Sansa’s entire reality is wrapped up in her belief of how the world should be, at the tender age of twelve years she has not the wisdom or worldliness to understand the reality of King’s Landing. Fans often compare Sansa to her sister Arya, who by all accounts is a complete badass. I think that this comparison is unfair to Sansa, throughout the books Arya’s strong personality and willful disposition are extremely clear. Even Catelyn Stark admits that Arya was incapable of taming even when she was a child. 

Sansa on the other hand seems to be a natural people pleaser and much less strong willed than Arya. I believe this comes down to a difference in personality rather than a difference in moral character. Anyone who has worked with children will know that each child is born with their own disposition and often times siblings can have very different personalities. 

Sansa wanted to please, thus she easily fell into the role of the perfect little lady of Wintefell. Arya was Arya and because of who she was, found it difficult to fill this role because of her personality.

Thus, I think it is unfair to judge Sansa because as a child she fell into the role that was expected of her. Most children who want to please those around them will act the way they are told.

This is why Sansa’s character is so important. Sansa is the epitome of a woman who bought into her social role wholeheartedly. As a twelve year old girl, she had not yet encountered enough of the world to question this. 

However, we see the reversal in Sansa after her father’s execution. Sansa’s last chapter in GoT is probably one of the saddest in the series because it is when she realizes that everything she believed in is essentially a lie. This is captured in the famous “there are no heroes” line.

By the time Sansa questioned the social structure, she was already a hostage and a punching bag for Joffrey. That is the tragedy of Sansa, just when she realizes the world is a far different place from what she thought, she is powerless to stop it and is subjected to the harsh realities of a male dominated world.

Sansa is a cautionary tale about why the patriarchy is so dangerous and why young girls must be taught how dangerous it is. Because of this, I’ve always found Sansa’s story lines interesting.

Permalink   •   Tags: #sansa stark #feminism

Loras and Perceptual Bias

renlyslittlerose:

 Finn’s comment about the perception of Loras through Sansa’s eyes is giving me fucking life and I really just want to talk about how fucking spot on he is about that. GRRM has continually said that one should be wary of how we view a character that has no POV, as there is always going to be biases present within the text. Where one character might see someone as bold and arrogant, another might see them as gentle and kind. It’s all about perception, and GRRM was warned us to keep these things in mind while we read. This is the case with Loras, particularly with regards to Sansa and Cersei.

 Sansa projects her fantasies of the fairytale knight upon Loras. She first sees him when he’s playing the role of the ideal knight— wearing glittering, expensive armour, perfectly styled, handing out roses to beautiful girls, and winning his joust before going on to win the tournament. She sees Loras, and she sees what she expected she would see when she came to King’s Landing. She automatically makes Loras into this perfect persona, and continues to see him as such even as events unfold and he proves to be anything but the perfect, chaste, gentle knight she desperately wants him to be. Finn uses the word ‘fangirl’ to describe her vision of him, and I don’t think that is very far off. Knights of Loras’ calibre were like the celebrities of their time, and people back then, as they do now, saw them through a skewed lens. They are a fantasy— they fill a role in the viewer’s mind, and anything that is contrary to that view is either ignored or excused.

 Such is the same with Loras and Sansa. Loras cheats to win at his tournament, using a mare in heat against the mountain that rides. Still, Sansa sees him as this glorious, blameless knight. Later on, he forgets who she is, and yet she still desperately clings to the rose that he had given her. Even after growing short with her and acting rude, she fantasies about what it would be like to marry him and have sex with him. It is not until much later, when at the Eyrie, she recognizes that Loras is probably not the man she thought he was, and that he was not going to rescue her. There is no such thing as a ‘true’ knight like the ones she had read about in books.

 And I think that is the point of Loras. GRRM loves to write tropes and then completely switch them around. Loras, to Sansa, represents the perfect knight. We see him as a teenage girl would see someone she admires; blameless, sweet, gentle, heterosexual, and chivalrous. But Loras is anything but. He kills two innocent men; he is brash and arrogant at times; he is vain; he is in love with another man; he is short and terse with others, and deeply critical (as is the case with Brienne). He has a narrow focus, seeing only his family and his own ambitions.

 On the flip side we have Loras in the eyes of Cersei. Overly critical and mistrusting of the Tyrells, Cersei views Loras accordingly. He is to be mistrusted because of his sexuality; he is trying to steal her son away; he is arrogant and stupid; he needs to be taught a lesson. He needs to be gotten rid of, essentially. Cersei has nothing flattering to say about Loras, just as Sansa is far too flattering.

 I think the best view we have of Loras comes from Catelyn and Jaime. While Catelyn has her biases, there seems to be no malice behind her negative view of Loras, unlike Cersei. She sees a man enamoured with the idea of glory. A man completely devoted and blinded by his devotion. A man who thinks very little before reacting. A man who thinks more with his heart than with his head. He is a summer child in her eyes— naive and rambunctious, eager to prove himself and make a name for himself beyond his tournament glory. She sees him as a young knight not yet come into his own. We then have Jaime, the only person Loras has ever opened up to. Jaime sees himself in Loras. Both brash, young, arrogant and full of ‘empty chivalry’. While perhaps Jaime projects a little too much of his disenchanted world view upon Loras, it would appear as if he is not far off. Loras speaks of his grief for Renly; he describes the ease at which he killed two men, and then later struggles with the knowledge that they were most likely innocent; he tells Jaime where he buried Renly, and that his loyalties would always lie with a dead man. He also reveals he has a bit of a dirty mind, having enjoyed flipping through Renly’s book of sex.

 The preconceptions, desires, and life experiences of different characters are always important to keep in consideration when reading about another character. Loras is no different. Sansa glorifies him and projects her wishes for a true, beautiful knight upon him, while Cersei demonizes him because he is a Tyrell. Jaime sees himself in Loras, but perhaps projects too much upon the young man, while Catelyn cannot help but hold him up to the high standards at which she views her son.

 We do not know who the real Loras is, and we may never really get to learn who he is behind closed doors. One thing is for certain, however. GRRM does not write tropes, and Loras is no exception.

nobodysuspectsthebutterfly:

Balon Swann was appointed to the Kingsguard after Preston Greenfield was killed in the Riot of King’s Landing. At that point Tyrion, as acting Hand, had already put Joffrey in his place regarding what he was doing to their hostage. And I don’t believe Sansa’s POV mentions any beatings after Tyrion interrupts the one where she was stripped, although Joffrey does continue to threaten her with the Kingsguard.
So no, I don’t think Balon Swann ever hit Sansa. Nor did Osmund Kettleblack (appointed when Boros Blount was temporarily dismissed for cowardice before the Battle of the Blackwater), nor for that matter did Loras Tyrell (appointed when Tywin was Hand and had Joffrey under even better control).
However, of Joffrey’s Kingsguard before Tyrion stepped in, we know that Meryn Trant, Boros Blount, Mandon Moore, Preston Greenfield, and Arys Oakheart did beat Sansa. (Arys’s POV in AFFC notes how he hated it, but had to do it because it was the king’s command; and that he thanked the gods when he was sent to Dorne with Myrcella. I’m not sure exactly what that says about Arys, but it says a hell of a lot about the culture of the Kingsguard.) Anyway, that’s 5 out of 7 — and yes, the two who did not do so were Sandor Clegane and the then-captive Jaime Lannister.
Note Joffrey does command Sandor only once (that last incident) but there’s an interruption before we can see whether he would have refused — but considering he makes a small effort to stop the beating later in that scene (and deeply regrets letting it happen at all), we can make a few guesses. Also note, Jaime’s opinion on the matter (once he got back and took command of the KG) is particularly telling, and IMO obviously related to his own situation with Aerys and Rhaella.
Relevant quotes:

Ser Boros was short-tempered, Ser Meryn cold, and Ser Mandon’s strange dead eyes made her uneasy, while Ser Preston treated her like a lackwit child. Arys Oakheart was courteous, and would talk to her cordially. Once he even objected when Joffrey commanded him to hit her. He did hit her in the end, but not hard as Ser Meryn or Ser Boros might have, and at least he had argued. The others obeyed without question… except for the Hound, but Joff never asked the Hound to punish her. He used the other five for that.— ACOK, Sansa I
“Be quiet, or I’ll have Ser Meryn give you a mortal wound,” Joffrey told his betrothed.— ACOK, Tyrion IX (just prior to the riot)
“Ser Meryn.” Jaime smiled at the sour knight with the rust-red hair and the pouches under his eyes. “I have heard it said that Joffrey made use of you to chastise Sansa Stark.” He turned the White Book around one-handed. “Here, show me where it is in our vows that we swear to beat women and children.”“I did as His Grace commanded me. We are sworn to obey.”“Henceforth you will temper that obedience. My sister is Queen Regent. My father is the King’s Hand. I am Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Obey us. None other.”Ser Meryn got a stubborn look on his face. “Are you telling us not to obey the king?”“The king is eight. Our first duty is to protect him, which includes protecting him from himself. Use that ugly thing you keep inside your helm. If Tommen wants you to saddle his horse, obey him. If he tells you to kill his horse, come to me.”— ASOS, Jaime VIII
It still shamed Ser Arys to remember all the times he’d struck that poor Stark girl at the boy’s command. When Tyrion had chosen him to go with Myrcella to Dorne, he lit a candle to the Warrior in thanks.— AFFC, The Soiled Knight

nobodysuspectsthebutterfly:

Balon Swann was appointed to the Kingsguard after Preston Greenfield was killed in the Riot of King’s Landing. At that point Tyrion, as acting Hand, had already put Joffrey in his place regarding what he was doing to their hostage. And I don’t believe Sansa’s POV mentions any beatings after Tyrion interrupts the one where she was stripped, although Joffrey does continue to threaten her with the Kingsguard.

So no, I don’t think Balon Swann ever hit Sansa. Nor did Osmund Kettleblack (appointed when Boros Blount was temporarily dismissed for cowardice before the Battle of the Blackwater), nor for that matter did Loras Tyrell (appointed when Tywin was Hand and had Joffrey under even better control).

However, of Joffrey’s Kingsguard before Tyrion stepped in, we know that Meryn Trant, Boros Blount, Mandon Moore, Preston Greenfield, and Arys Oakheart did beat Sansa. (Arys’s POV in AFFC notes how he hated it, but had to do it because it was the king’s command; and that he thanked the gods when he was sent to Dorne with Myrcella. I’m not sure exactly what that says about Arys, but it says a hell of a lot about the culture of the Kingsguard.) Anyway, that’s 5 out of 7 — and yes, the two who did not do so were Sandor Clegane and the then-captive Jaime Lannister.

Note Joffrey does command Sandor only once (that last incident) but there’s an interruption before we can see whether he would have refused — but considering he makes a small effort to stop the beating later in that scene (and deeply regrets letting it happen at all), we can make a few guesses. Also note, Jaime’s opinion on the matter (once he got back and took command of the KG) is particularly telling, and IMO obviously related to his own situation with Aerys and Rhaella.

Relevant quotes:

Ser Boros was short-tempered, Ser Meryn cold, and Ser Mandon’s strange dead eyes made her uneasy, while Ser Preston treated her like a lackwit child. Arys Oakheart was courteous, and would talk to her cordially. Once he even objected when Joffrey commanded him to hit her. He did hit her in the end, but not hard as Ser Meryn or Ser Boros might have, and at least he had argued. The others obeyed without question… except for the Hound, but Joff never asked the Hound to punish her. He used the other five for that.
— ACOK, Sansa I

“Be quiet, or I’ll have Ser Meryn give you a mortal wound,” Joffrey told his betrothed.
— ACOK, Tyrion IX (just prior to the riot)

“Ser Meryn.” Jaime smiled at the sour knight with the rust-red hair and the pouches under his eyes. “I have heard it said that Joffrey made use of you to chastise Sansa Stark.” He turned the White Book around one-handed. “Here, show me where it is in our vows that we swear to beat women and children.”
“I did as His Grace commanded me. We are sworn to obey.”
“Henceforth you will temper that obedience. My sister is Queen Regent. My father is the King’s Hand. I am Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Obey us. None other.”
Ser Meryn got a stubborn look on his face. “Are you telling us not to obey the king?”
“The king is eight. Our first duty is to protect him, which includes protecting him from himself. Use that ugly thing you keep inside your helm. If Tommen wants you to saddle his horse, obey him. If he tells you to kill his horse, come to me.”
— ASOS, Jaime VIII

It still shamed Ser Arys to remember all the times he’d struck that poor Stark girl at the boy’s command. When Tyrion had chosen him to go with Myrcella to Dorne, he lit a candle to the Warrior in thanks.
— AFFC, The Soiled Knight

Why I’m Worried that Season 5 Will be Terrible:

how-much-farther-to-go:

It’s honestly not the issue of running out of book material that concerns me. D&D have two books, a good chunk of The Winds of Winter manuscript and knowledge of the series finale to go on until then. It’s narrative cohesion that I’m worried about. Let me explain:

image

While the books have so many POV’s, three narratives in particular are its heart and soul: Bran, Arya and Sansa. Their narratives have many parallels, but their perspectives are fundamentally different: One is northern/magical, another is “on the ground” and another is mostly political. They are identity narratives.

image

Three others, Jon, Dany and Tyrion serve as the hero stories. They are much more external. Their character archs of are essentially about heroes coming into their own. And dragons.

The POV’s of the numerous secondary characters support these six core narratives and revolve around them.  Sam becomes a true brother of the Night’s Watch (just like Jon) in the same way that Theon fights regain his identity as a “Greyjoy” just as Arya and Sansa are fighting to remember that they are “Stark”.

D&D have ripped that narrative structure to shreds.

They straight up don’t care about Arya and Bran. Arya’s observance of injustice and her personality as a whole really, Bran’s spirituality and historical awareness, and Tyrion’s less savory character traits: these things probably bored them to death while reading the books. I can just hear D&D’s complaints now:

“Yeah we get, it sucks you can’t walk, but you got a magic wolf who kicks ass so who cares?”

“Just go and start assassin training already.”

"Can we have get back to Tyrion being witty already?

“It was cooler when Jon was just a badass ranger.”

Tyrion and Jon are obviously their favorites, and it’s plain to see why. They’re white, they’re male, they make wise-cracks and they’re the underdog heroes. One of them even kicks ass with a sword. But Tyrion’s story has been watered down to keep him as an uncomplicated “good guy.”

And so where does that leave us? Jaime and Cercei and have huge roles in AFFC, but one has been reduced to a bland good guy and D&D hate the other intensely, no matter how interesting her story is. Will D&D even care about the Greyjoys, or Asha? Where is Brienne going if there’s no Lady Stoneheart? The drama around Myrcella, honestly, always felt like a sideshow. Mayhaps the drama of the Sand Snakes can draw carry the weight.

The narratives in AFFC and ADWD were incredibly frayed and scattered. The strength of the core characters, the Stark children most of all, is what keeps the story powerful and meaningful, and will probably be center stage in TWOW. With a brilliant mind like GRRM straining under the task, I have little faith that D&D have what it takes.

TL;DR, I’m very worried that season five will suck.

how-much-farther-to-go:

While Bran and Sansa are my absolute fav’s, I’m the sort of person who thinks that people should really be talking more about how ALL the Starks’ siblings stories (Bran, Arya and Sansa, those that have POVs) are deeply linked, with many, many parallels to each other. Collectively, they’re my favorite meta topic.

What’s interesting is that very few of the parallels work for all three of the siblings at once. For example, while all three take on new mentors after their father’s death, only the sisters’ mentors have evil intent (Bloodraven is a scary dude, but he’s still fightin’ for the good guys). All three identify with animals but differently: Bran and Arya think of themselves as wolves, while both Bran and Sansa both long to be like birds and fly, at one point or another.

Taken altogether, however, these parallels bridge the far divide between the crumbling civilization of the South, and primordial wildness of the North; between animal and man; between deep magic and the ordinary, between ice and fire.

(Note: This work is basically a huge compiliation of all the meta written by others: namely: Donewithwoodenteeth, ladysmallwood, joannalannister and nobodysuspectsthebutterfly. If you want to check out meta on these themes in more detail, you check out their pages. The only thing I’ve done is compile it all together to make my own meta-meta [ha!] conclusion).

pippinforthewin asked: why do you think that the POV chapter names for Sansa and Arya changed to Alayne and Cat while Tyrion's POV chapters in ADWD remained 'Tyrion' even though he made his name Hugor Hill after leaving Westoros?

I’ve read and reread ASOIAF many times, but I never noticed this distinction. Thank you for asking this. Though the answer came to me easily, and I don’t think it’s a particularly complicated one.

I believe there are two ways that GRRM uses a different name or a nickname as the titles of characters’ POVs.

Read More

Frog-faced Lord Slynt sat at the end of the council table wearing a black velvet doublet and a shiny cloth-of-gold cape, nodding with approval every time the king pronounced a sentence. Sansa stared hard at his ugly face, remembering how he had thrown down her father for Ser Ilyn to behead, wishing she could hurt him, wishing that some hero would throw him down and cut off his head. But a voice inside her whispered, There are no heroes

A Game of Thrones, Sansa VI



“I will not hang him,” said Jon. “Bring him here.”
“Oh, Seven save us,” he heard Bowen Marsh cry out.
The smile that Lord Janos Slynt smiled then had all the sweetness of rancid butter. Until Jon said, “Edd, fetch me a block,” and unsheathed Longclaw.

A Dance With Dragons, Jon II

the point I feel GRRM might’ve been putting in there is that Jon is a hero from the songs, not just specifically Sansa’s hero. (And note I’ve since learned it’s not foreshadowing as such, rather sort of ex-post-facto foreshadowing.) 

(via nobodysuspectsthebutterfly)

Permalink   •   Tags: #jon snow #sansa stark

miss-m-calling:

I see Sansa in "The Mountain and the Viper" looking like this:

image

and all I can think of is this:

image

Nicolaes Maes, Young Woman Sewing (ca. 1655)

and this:

image

Johannes Vermeer, The Lacemaker (ca. 1669-1670)

Sewing women, absorbed in their (stereotypically proper, womanly) task, painted in bright colors and clear light, looking like light sources themselves.

And then I remember this:

image

Judith Leyster, The Proposition (1631)

Again:

image

We’re seeing Sansa from Littlefinger’s POV. In the Leyster painting (the artist is a woman, natch), a man is trying to entice a woman away from (stereotypically proper, womanly) virtue, onto the path of easy profits and loose morals.

Even if Sansa is making her Black Swan/Raven/Mockingbird/Katniss/Maleficent/Vamp Willow Costume, this is still Littlefinger watching from the shadows. Littlefinger the whoremonger, murderer, and double-dealer, who viewed Sansa’s mother and aunt as essentially belonging to him, and has already sprung an unexpected and unwanted kiss on Sansa, to claim her as his too.

It’s a beautiful image, just not very reassuring. So much light to hide such darkness.

194 notes   •   VIA: thehoundking   •   SOURCE: sarah1281
Anger flashed across Father’s face. “Enough, Sansa. More of that and you will change my mind. I am weary unto death of this endless war you two are fighting. You are sisters. I expect you to behave like sisters, is that understood?”

It sort of seems to me like they ARE acting like sisters. Clearly Ned is out of practice having siblings and at any rate Lyanna was the only girl.  (via sarah1281)

this is a really good point… I mean, I never once saw any interactions between Arya and Sansa that seemed over the top, or outright hatred.. They were SISTERS. They were also REALLY YOUNG GIRLS.

It drives me crazy when people go on and on about how they hated each other.. they didn’t hate each other at all. They were just very young siblings, and they acted just like siblings have acted since the dawn of time.

(via thehoundking)

nobodysuspectsthebutterfly:

oh. my god.

So I saw a post on donewithwoodenteeth's blog where she was discussing Sansa's name and the fact that nobody really knows where GRRM got it from. It's been thought it might derive from Sancha, Sancia (though note there is definitely no connection to Sancia of Aragon), or others, but the actual name itself doesn’t seem to have existed before AGOT was published in 1996. And I mentioned I always thought Sansa might derive from Susanna, but it’s possible that GRRM found the name in a really obscure baby name book or history, and noted that I once found “Clegane” in an Irish geneaology book.

And then I thought, hey, I found the possible source of “Clegane” through researching on Google Books — what might I turn up if I searched for “Sansa”? Had to subtract anything that might give me results for ASOIAF or GoT or that Sandisk MP3 player, and then had to subtract South Africa and kalimba, and so on… no, you don’t care about the search process, do you, you want to know what I found. Well, it’s big.

From Robert W. Chambers's 1920 novel The Slayer of Souls:

"I—I was talking with Sa-n’sa," she faltered.
"With whom?"
"With Sa-n’sa… We called her Sansa."
"Who the dickens is Sansa?"
"We were three comrades at the Temple," she said timidly, "—Yulun, Sansa, and myself. We loved each other. We always went to the Lake of the Ghosts together—for protection—"
"Go on!"
"Sansa was a girl of the Aroulads, born at Buldak —as was Temujin. The night she was born three moon-rainbows made circles around her Yailak. The Baroulass horsemen saw this and prayed loudly in their saddles. Then they galloped to Yian and came crawling on their bellies to Sanang Noiane with the news of the miracle. And Sanang came with a thousand riders in leather armour. And, ‘What is this child’s name?’ he shouted, riding into the Yailak with his black banners flapping around him like devil’s wings." 
"A poor Manggoud came out of the tent of skins, carrying the new born infant and touched his head to Sanang’s stirrup. ‘This babe is called Tchagane,’ he said, trembling all over. ‘No!’ cries Sanang, ‘she is called Sansa. Give her to me and may Erlik seize you!’
And he took the baby on his saddle in front of him and struck his spurs deep; and so came Sansa to Yian under a roaring rustle of black silk banners…. It is so written in the Book of Iron… Allahou Ekber.”

Yeah, that is a little incoherent, sorry. It goes on, apparently Sansa is a fairly important supporting character in this book, a story about an escaped priestess and a conspiracy of elder gods worshippers / socialists / anarchists… uh, anyway. Follow that link above if you want to read more. (I tried and failed, but I did at least get the impression that the Sansa in this book is more like Missandei or Quaithe or Dany than Sansa Stark.)

But you know why this is so interesting? Because not only is this the earliest reference I can find of the name Sansa in fiction, I’m pretty damn sure GRRM has read this book. See, Robert W. Chambers was the author of The King In Yellow (recently famous because of True Detective, I believe), and a major influence on H.P. Lovecraft and his circle. And GRRM is a huge fan of Lovecraft (source 1, 2, and note Dagon Greyjoy and the Drowned God are some of the very deliberate references to HPL in ASOIAF), and even references The King in Yellow through the city of Carcosa, east of Asshai.

So, there we go then, the resolution of the mystery. Afraid this still won’t help with those name meanings graphics, though.