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Sansa Stark: Maiden Of Perpetual Punching Bag

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Currently in the clutches of the skeevy Littlefinger. Finally left King's Landing. Good move?  Will she go a whole season without abuse?

"signs point to no"

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Oh, Sansa!  I feel for the girl.  She used to annoy me, mostly in the time after they reached KL and she was still so in love with Prince Joffrey even though he was what led to her direwolf Lady being killed.  I had to keep reminding myself she was young and grew up with Ned Stark as her father. 

 

I imagine Littlefinger's plans for her are designed for his benefit, so yes, Sansa is likely in for more abuse this season.  And is he really  taking her to the Eyrie?  I wonder how much Sansa knows about her crazy Aunt Lysa and Cousin Robin.  That could be one awkward family reunion.

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If Sansa loses her virginity to Littlefinger by rape, I will scream.  That is the one line that I just will not tolerate on this show -- not only because, well, we've had enough rape and threat of rape, but mostly because poor Sansa has had enough!!!!  I would settle for her being locked up in some dungeon if LF at least does not get his clutches on her physically.  

 

But actually I think Sansa really has had enough by this show's (& the author's) standards, and will get free...well, not soon, but maybe by season's end.  I have a feeling that now that she's out of KL, she has more options.  LF may try to keep her prisoner, or marry her, or something, but if she only has him to contend with, maybe she can slip past him, or get just one. more. ally. who could provide some blocking/cover for her to escape.  (Who will that be?  Not totally sure.  Someone we haven't met yet?  Or...someone we have????)

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The only way I could see Sansa escaping and living to tell about it is if Brienne ends up finding her somehow and taking her away.  Sansa isn't a wilderness trekker like Arya, nor is she skilled with a sword or arrows or foraging for food.  She'd be toast on her own.  Hell, so would Arya if she didn't always have some kind of protector like the Hound. 

 

Ooo, maybe that's it.  Maybe we will see Arya at the Eyrie, only it won't go as the Hound plans with Lyssa paying him for his hostage.  Arya's bound to get into trouble because she does wherever she goes, so maybe she and the Hound will end up grabbing Sansa as they run away from the Eyrie.

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The only way I could see Sansa escaping and living to tell about it is if Brienne ends up finding her somehow and taking her away.  Sansa isn't a wilderness trekker like Arya, nor is she skilled with a sword or arrows or foraging for food.  She'd be toast on her own.  Hell, so would Arya if she didn't always have some kind of protector like the Hound. 

 

Ooo, maybe that's it.  Maybe we will see Arya at the Eyrie, only it won't go as the Hound plans with Lyssa paying him for his hostage.  Arya's bound to get into trouble because she does wherever she goes, so maybe she and the Hound will end up grabbing Sansa as they run away from the Eyrie.

 

I wonder if we will even get to see a foursome: Brienne, Hound, Arya, Sansa!!  That would put Brienne's mind to ease that she has fulfilled her oath to Lady Cat (well, if she does get the girls to safety) and the Hound was in the Sansa-defending business long before he stumbled across Arya in the midlands (that's what I call the foresty area that Arya seems to have been in forever now).  Two Stark kids and two pseudo-Direwolves or replacement-Direwolves, if you will!!!  But it makes me happy to think about that possibility so it won't happen.

 

I specc'd before last week's ep that if Sansa could get just one ally she could maybe escape LF.  I do think the show has put Brienne squarely in that role, potentially.  Even if Sansa and Arya don't meet up, I do hope that Brienne does find Sansa somewhere and helps her out.  Girl needs help, badly.  

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Abelard:

"Girl needs help, badly."

Something needs to go right for Sansa - even if it is only a scratch-off ticket for 100 gold dragons or finding a pair of earplugs for when Lyssa and Slimeyfinger are going at it.

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Abelard:

"Girl needs help, badly."

Something needs to go right for Sansa - even if it is only a scratch-off ticket for 100 gold dragons or finding a pair of earplugs for when Lyssa and Slimeyfinger are going at it.

 

Or discovering birth control. With all this guys dying to impregnate the key to the north, I'd want a little say on when babies were made.

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So I ended up thinking about Sansa today, thanks to a piece I was listening to on NPR recently.  The piece was talking about the "Princess Culture" that little girls are subjected to growing up and how mothers try to cope with that now.  The emphasis was mostly on how early "girly-girl-sparkles and sexualization" starts in our current society.  One of the examples that was used was that growing up, most women now can remember Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers and how they were your prelude to stuff like lipstick.  How girls used to have a big collection in the tween years, and now by four-years-old likely have them. 

 

Like almost all NPR pieces, I got to where I was going, sat and listened for a few more minutes, but had to get inside for an appointment, leaving me to ponder the difficult balancing act that people face with girls in our current world, because I never got to hear the intended conclusion to the piece.  Whereas realistically, a woman's appearance is the least valuable thing we contribute to our society, it is the one that gets the most emphasis as having import within our world.  

 

So all of that musing led me down a bunch of paths, most of which I'll skip, but it also made me think about what this is story does with Sansa Stark.  Essentially she's a character who lives out the absolute worst-case-scenario for every "girlish" dream that, until recently in most Western history, was what young girls were encouraged to believe was the BEST THING WE COULD HAVE.  It's all pretty purposeful, I think.  

 

Sansa dreams of marrying a prince as little girl, hoping to go to the capital and see the lights on the water.  Every pretty dream she has is turned into a shit-stained reality.  She is betrothed to the Crown Prince, in that world that is like wining the Marital Lottery.  It's the pinnacle of female achievement.  We all saw how that worked out.  Also, as frustrating as it was to watch poor Sansa take so long to sort of catch-up with reality, it made perfect sense.  Not only was she simply desiring every darned thing her entire world told her she should, she had her parents as austere examples of why it was supposed to work.  Sure, there were small things (from a child's perspective) , like Jon Snow's presence in their lives, but mostly?  Play by the rules, get a nice life.  

 

Hell, even Arya being the polar opposite makes sense in a modern structure.  If you have a sister who is, seemingly effortlessly better at everything you're told you're supposed to do or be good at, the human thing is to reject that list of "things you're supposed to be good at" so that you can then carve out your own identity.  Sansa was good at needlework, Arya wasn't naturally, rather than always feel second best to Sansa, Arya sought out what she was good at.  But they're both strong.  Sansa has to be strong to not be a raving lunatic by now.  

 

So the whole "snag the prince and you've won the title for best girl in the Kingdom" is revealed as being a curse to Sansa, but she still doesn't get "It's the entire structure, not just one element that turned out to suck"  .  If she thought it was just Joffrey, she's now been disabused of that notion thoroughly.  She was ready to switch horses and believe in romance with Loras, but again, that makes sense.  She's just a traumatized, lonely girl.  Then she's married off to a man who is part of the family who slaughtered everyone she loves, and by the standards of that Kingdom, it's like being married off to Frey's least attractive daughter in terms of how much you've just lost the marital lottery.  

So Sansa has lost every romantic notion she could have about marriage and what is now left for her to have beaten out of her?  A belief in family being automatically loving and good to her.  I remember one of her last interactions with her father was Ned giving Sansa a doll and Sansa reacting with derision.  Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I can remember being just that freaking charming myself right around 13.  It's an age where you are so convinced that you're grownup and you have nothing but withering disdain for the adults who still see you for the kid you are, with so much to learn.  

 

Now Sansa is in the clutches of her mad aunt, her cousin Robyn who just likes to drop things through the sky dome and sadly ,her best bet at living and surviving is Littlefinger.  Littlefinger who made his living at selling women, for whatever purpose men wanted.  I get that he also sold men and boys, but basically, anyone in a helpless position Littlefinger has exploited and sold for his own benefit.  He's even sold them to be horribly killed.  

 

That's Sansa's best friend, currently.  I was thinking back to NPR and listening to these women trying to get their little girls, very, very young girls just bombarded with messages about what it means to be a woman in our world -- you can do anything...and you'd better be thin, beautiful and perpetually sexy at all time while doing it...and it weirdly made me sort of forgive Martin all the terrible crap he's visited upon Sansa.  Those silly, frilly Princess dreams are demeaning, and fraught with peril.  Now, I do wish the story would ease the fuck up on Sansa, because it's hard to see her so constantly under siege, but I sort of get why the story just constantly crushes Sansa's dreams.  

 

I do wish it wasn't so clearly geared up to kick her in the teeth again about family.  Made clear by the fact that Sansa was interacting with her Aunt as a person she should automatically love and trust -- as her parents brought her up to believe was an absolute within that world -- and talking like a child about eating all "my proper food".   I know she's sort of an annoying character ,but that broke my damned heart.  I don't have a daughter, I have a son, but every parent alive has chased a kid around on the subject of fruits, vegetables and nutrition.  It just reminded me that Sansa went from being a kid, petted spoiled and protected to this...shitstorm of horror.  

 

And it made me realize, I hope to God Brienne finds her, or Tyiron does after he gets out of his jam.  I wondered if the story was eventually going to take Sansa to that point, where she just wants to get back to Tyrion, because even though he is that absolute opposite of what she was always told to want (a beautiful prince), he's actually been reasonably kind to her.  

 

Of course, i don't think that's where the story is taking Sansa.  I think Sansa will entirely stop believing in anyone or anything.  The situation with Lyssa makes me despair for when, or if Sansa ever actually catches up to any of her living siblings, because by the time she does, she'll be thoroughly destroyed too.  As will Arya, who has become someone who doesn't just think being an assassin would protect her, she's become convinced of it.  

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shimp,

I'm pretty sure Sansa is our writers subversion of the PrettyPrincess Trope.

(And Cersei to some degree steps in as the Evil Stepmother to Sansa's "Cinderella"

But I find Cersei's subversion to be a lot more... fun! An evil stepmother who just

tells Sansa the facts as she sees them. Who actually cared about Robert!)

 

"What would a princess do in this world?"

A: "suffer, mostly. Maybe get better."

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I hope to God Brienne finds her, or Tyiron does after he gets out of his jam.  I wondered if the story was eventually going to take Sansa to that point, where she just wants to get back to Tyrion, because even though he is that absolute opposite of what she was always told to want (a beautiful prince), he's actually been reasonably kind to her.

From your lips to A Show's ears...

 

Actually, that would be such an amazing thing to happen in this story for the long game, because the ugly little imp, who was maligned and abused by his own family, ends up being loved, truly, by a beautiful princess...I love that. And yet, we all know that A Show rarely gives us such moments, and when it does, it rips them from underneath us as quickly as it can.

Edited by gingerella
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gingerella

From your lips to A Show's ears...

 

Actually, that would be such an amazing thing to happen in this story for the long game, because the ugly little imp, who was maligned and abused by his own family, ends up being loved, truly, by a beautiful princess...I love that. And yet, we all know that A Show rarely gives us such moments, and when it does, it rips them from underneath us as quickly as it can.

 

Aww man. That sounds too awesome, which means it can never ever ever happen.

 

stillshimpy's assessment is very interesting actually. Sansa is one of my favorite characters because of the reasons you mention. She's the trope that has her world turned upside down, flipped, and punched at every turn. Seriously, what is the best thing that has happened to Sansa in this story? Getting un-engaged to Joffrey is all that comes to my mind. Things could be worse. She could be dead or in prison or raped. Still, what is one good thing that's happened to her?

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Love your write-up of Sansa: Disproving Pretty Princess Culture at Every Turn, shimpy.  That actually makes me feel better about Sansa's more-and-more unfortunate series of life events, b/c if Sansa is the anti-case study of Just Submit to Patriarchy's Unreasonable Demands, then she has to have all of these various dreams taken away one by one: The Dream of the Prince, the Dream of Marriage in general (though she could still end up having a fairly good marriage, with Tyrion or with someone else), The Dream of Loving Family.  If Sansa ends up being a sort of hopeless, empty figure, it would be the filp side of Arya's coin so to speak, Arya being the wrathful, raging violent Fury.  It makes sense that if you end up being disappointed or damaged by patriarchy, you end up deformed, more of an outsider than boy children - Jon Snow, for instance - will end up being.  Jon and Bran will fulfill their highest goals of leading men (Jon), sacrificing oneself to a definite higher purpose (Bran), and saving civilization (both).  They're still both pretty Stark and their journeys so far don't challenge their Starkness.  Arya and Sansa may end up being very very very non-Stark in the end, one Stark deformed into a hopeless ghost, the other Stark deformed into a hate-filled killer.  I still have hope for Sansa.  I frankly don't mind if Arya turns into a monstrous assassin, frankly I will cheer her on. 

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I think Sansa may become a Septa.  And I wouldn't be sorry for her, if she were truly nurtured by what she came to know of spirit.  Or, if she's not someone for whom spirit can equal or better a mate and children, she might still marry (for real).  

 

Inwardly, Sansa is not yet beyond the pale.  She seems to have borne her disillusionment and trauma without becoming an outlier: she has survived without becoming what a prospective mate would see or feel was damaged goods. Somehow Sansa is still almost maddeningly mild, youthful, feminine.  Susceptible, in a way that excites the worst in a sadist or lunatic, but also touches cynics and brutes.  It's a very fine line, and easily broken.  Even good men want to hurt her, a little.  Even bad men want to protect her. 

 

The blows Arya has fended off ferociously have freed something in her, energized and intensified a wildness in her. Sansa, though, seems to have absorbed the blows.  They have sunk down within her like a plumbline.  In time, they may mark and reveal her depth. 

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Pallas that was just beautiful.  This line especially:

 

Even good men want to hurt her, a little.  Even bad men want to protect her.

 

The one exception I would make to this is Tyrion!!  I consider Tyrion to be a good man (I know, I know, he's a Lannister, but...well, he's better than most men around, isn't he?), and even when she wasn't his wife, he was mindful that she should not be...well, stripped, flogged, and beaten in the Throne Room before the Court.  Okay I realize that is a low bar but still, Tyrion hopped right over it and slapped Joffrey besides!!  So Tyrion is the one person who, out of courtesy, or just a sense of protecting broken things, has always more or less looked out for Sansa with few ulterior motives.

 

I also love the line about something in Arya being freed.  ITA.  That's why I won't cry when/if Arya turns out to be the stone-coldest killer in the group.  Let her.  I would love for one Stark to sort of say, F**k Justice, what did Justice ever do for me?  Or rather, My Justice Has a Name and It's Die Motherfu**er, Die.  

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So Tyrion is the one person who, out of courtesy, or just a sense of protecting broken things, has always more or less looked out for Sansa with few ulterior motives.

 

Also, Tyrion is the one person, both inside and outside the story, who hasn't completely underestimated Sansa at every turn.   I remember him asking her if she wanted out of the engagement to Joffrey and Sansa, displaying the only trait she has that helps her survive:  Knew what was expected of a lady in that moment and used it to her (perceived) advantage for safety: "I am loyal to my beloved Joffrey."  It shocked the hell out of Tryion, because at that moment, she was holding her clothes together, after Joffrey had her beaten for sport.  

 

It was a savvy enough move that Tyrion said, "You may yet outlive us all, Lady Sansa" to her departing back ,or something of that nature.  In other words, Tyrion noted that Sansa only looks fragile.  As do most people who try to rescue or hurt her.  Telling Joffrey, "How long do I have to look?" with more steel than most grownups could muster.  

 

I think that's sort of the joke of the story.  Yes, Arya is "Let's make with killing, bring me my sword and may you feel my wrath!" and it has kept her alive.  She also managed to fool Twyin Lannister up-close-and-personal, but only to the extent that he knew she wasn't who she claimed to be, so not really.  He just failed to guess that there was any way in the world she could be Arya Stark. 

 

But Sansa plays that game -- a thinking game -- reasonably well considering her family.   Littlefinger was wise to make up a story that he knew overly fanciful Sansa would still buy: "I'm a knight in your debt, good lady, forgive my reduced circumstances and accept this token."  but that's the last time something like that should work.  When Sansa talked to Littlefinger about Dontos she said, in a moment where she seemed to be internally berating herself, "Of course not you'd never trust a drunk."  She knew why she'd been foolish.  

 

So I don't agree that Sansa absorbs the blows, as much as she internalizes them and figures out what to actually do with them, it's just that she plays a kind of Chess Game with what she learns from them.  

 

Pallas, we were talking about this elsewhere, but from that exchange with Lyssa, Sansa knows that her Aunt views her as a rival.  So I think she'll work with that knowledge.  

 

Sansa has a rare, rare gift when it comes to Starks:  She has the gift of discretion and knowing what her expected lines should be.  It was something her family didn't set out to teach her, it's something that all the stories she loved would have taught her.  Sansa knows what the pretend script she is supposed to adhere to is.  

 

It's also not a little bit alarming that the story just turned her into a sort of Rapunzel figure.  Stuck in a tower no man can reach, with freaking Littlefinger likely eager to climb her braid.  Yes, that innuendo was actually intentional :-D

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Thanks, abelard!  Do you think, though, that Tyrion might like to hurt Sansa a little -- even just the pain of first sex?  And maybe a bit more.  Get a rise out of her? Crack her porcelain calm, stain her composure a bit?  Leave his mark on her?  I think he does.  Bronn sure thinks he does, and Shae too, I'll bet, and even if they are projecting I'm not sure they're wrong.  But Tyrion is a good enough man to resist the impulse.

 

It's what Littlefinger was up to in their very first conversation.  Sansa is such a maiden, the impulse to deflower her a bit, one way or another, is almost irresistible: to men and even to women (Cersei but also, Margaery and Olenna).  It's like Sansa is bubble-wrap.  Finger her and see if you can resist.  

 

Yet at the same time, there is that something in Sansa that also calls on Littlefinger's otherwise completely expunged gallantry.  Despite himself, I think part of him does feel her to be the niece he calls her, daughter of his late sister Cat.  It spoke to the Hound, too.  Because Sansa didn't know it was there, because it only flowered in King's Landing where everyone she met -- highborn and low -- wanted to violate it, she didn't trust it.  But after months with Shae and Tyrion, I think Sansa had an inkling and felt its power with Dontos: he took a huge risk for her and I don't believe it was all about the money.  That's why she was emboldened to flee.  When the moment came, she counted on the protectiveness she sensed that she inspired in him. 

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Beautiful post, shimpy.  Just picking out three things I loved most,

 

It was a savvy enough move that Tyrion said, "You may yet outlive us all, Lady Sansa" to her departing back ,or something of that nature.  In other words, Tyrion noted that Sansa only looks fragile.  As do most people who try to rescue or hurt her.  Telling Joffrey, "How long do I have to look?" with more steel than most grownups could muster.

 

And,

 

So I don't agree that Sansa absorbs the blows, as much as she internalizes them and figures out what to actually do with them, it's just that she plays a kind of Chess Game with what she learns from them.

 

And,

 

Sansa has a rare, rare gift when it comes to Starks:  She has the gift of discretion and knowing what her expected lines should be.  It was something her family didn't set out to teach her, it's something that all the stories she loved would have taught her.  Sansa knows what the pretend script she is supposed to adhere to is.

 

I didn't find a way to say what I meant about how Sansa absorbs the blows. Your "internalizes" is pretty much it.  The blows sink into her and seem to leave the surface undisturbed, but change and color her within.  While Arya bruises and scars and flourishes those bruises and scars at a moment's notice.  

 

Discretion, tact, knowing the role by heart.  Sansa's got it, all right.  The stories seeped into her the same way the blows do.  And she has tremendous discipline. That is the Stark in her.  Right now, as you say, her counter-game is most like chess -- choosing the right move from an almost infinite script of strategems -- but as she matures she may also learn to wield her beauty like a judo combatant. 

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For whatever it might be worth, that "want to hurt her a little bit" thing for good men, it's actually a little different than that, I think. It's not just some lure of the unstained Virgin, it's that perception of something actually real that seems to fascinate men and women.  Cersei really wanted to get under Sansa's skin and needle her.  She seemed to hate Sansa for the echo of long past self that Cersei could recognize.  

 

Then she seemed to hate her more, the longer that echo seemed to survive. Cersei's even rather hilariously convinced herself that Sansa actually plotted to have Joffrey killed, because that's what everyone else turns into sooner or later, when all dreams and illusions are crushed.  Cersei's drunken, sodden fury seems to be related to anger that Cersei thinks she failed to spot the moment when Sansa crossed over into the "now you're just as jaded and scarred as the rest of us, have a drink dearie" .  

 

The strange part of the story is that Cersei just couldn't be more wrong on that one. 

 

Same thing with The Hound.  How often must he have seen that act? The naive young girl, come to court, wide-eyed, etc.  But for the most part it's like what Olenna described and what she had Margaery do, it's part of a game to use what little power a woman has in that world: the power to render men controllable, even if it is only for a brief time via their infatuation and lust.  

 

The Hound snarling that all men are bad, even her father and I think part of the reason the last thing he did, before bugging out permanently, was to try and get Sansa away from there is that he actually needs to preserve the notion of that, just a little.  That "I'm not actually using sex or appeal as a weapon here."  It's the same thing with Tyrion, sure, she's beautiful and virginal and part of Tyrion would like to have been the actual husband of her dreams, but the more important part was that he couldn't quite bear to take that aspect away permanently, because it was a rare enough gift within that Kingdom: the ability to actually be something genuine and authentic.  

 

All of the Starks had it.  The sucked at subterfuge.  "Let 'em look" Ned stomping around on his "spy" mission.  Sansa has that same forthright WYSIWYG thing going on and I think it fascinated the Hound and Tyrion how long that survived.  It angered the hell out of Cersei that a belief in better things wouldn't just permanently die within Sansa  

 

I think it isn't that good men want to hurt her a little bit, it's more that actually good men and bad men sort of want to stick her in a curio cabinet.  Why didn't Littlefinger do anything to her, after all?  It turns out the man does have sex, even if he isn't ruled by any kind of desire.   She was completely at his mercy.  Even Shae assumed that was what Littlefinger wanted with her.  

 

Remember that horrible, stupid "Oh my God really, this is the best you could do with this, Show?" Sexposition scene where Littlefinger talked about how the Stark boys were just too good to be true, and none more so than square jawed, forthright Ned? 
 

It's that thing that seems to hold men a little bit frozen.  Even Joffrey seemed  to sort of get that on some level.  I think I once said that Cersei looked at Ned like he was some kind of grizzled ,scarred unicorn in that garden scene, when she just couldn't even fucking believe that he was so Dudley Dooright that he warned her in order to save her children.  For whatever it is, or isn't worth, I think that scene alone is why Cersei was truly horrified when Joffrey had Ned killed regardless.  

 

Ned was what was supposed to exist in that world, but never did.  He was the lie made truth and it seemed to be part of the reason that Cersei howled with anguish when he died.  It's hard to see the things you are told exist and must believe in right before you.  It's a sort of hopeful thing and I think that's what goes on with a lot of Starkian stuff.  "Oh you have GOT to be kidding me.  Really?  No? How about now?  Surely you aren't going to still believe all people are good deep down now?  What is it going to take to get you to break the fucking code already?"  and yet at the same time?  They don't want the code broken.  

 

That's what I think bad and good tend to respond to in Sansa.  That "oh my god, you believe in fanciful tales still?  Are you fucking with me?  Good gods, apparently you aren't actually kidding here. The hell?  Wait, don't touch it."  

 

Sansa brings out the Richard Attenborough documentarian in people, I think.  "Stand still and observe."   How could anyone who has been through all that Sansa has truly been through still believe that Dontos was out to help her?  It's that part that I think kept Littlefinger at bay on that voyage.  

 

ETA:  Thanks, Pallas.  I think Sansa is an intriguing figure in the story, but it's also fun to see how much she tends to intrigue the characters within it, because as Olenna said (paraphrase), she's not very interesting, but she's had an interesting childhood.   It's more like "She's not very interesting, at face value, but life has rendered her interesting." 

Edited by stillshimpy
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Cersei wants to break Sansa's innocence because she knows how much clinging to those dreams hurts.

The Hound is drawn to Sansa -- she brings out the protector in him, that hidden part of him that wants justice and succor for the weak.

Tyrion sees the pretense to Sansa, her ability to bend to the role she must play, and sees in it some nascent cunning.

I think he truly respects her, and would not under any circumstances want to despoil her.

(Note: having some fun, Willing, lovemaking? Fair and fine. But not "soiling" her, nor deflowering her).

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Great, great posts above that have made me think of the character very differently.  I love shimpy's line about Sansa doing what she knows how to do, which is act like a lady in the most challenging, dire circumstances, when she looks her very least ladylike (as you said, clutching the cloak around her torn dress, holding her battered stomach).  

 

Maybe I should put this in the Stark thread, but it's the Sansa discussion that has me thinking this: the Stark children are telling us the story of Becoming Yourself, I think.  Robb's problem was that he was born to be that man who ruled the North, and sadly, he became it at a time, and in a political configuration (conflagration), that demanded that he lead a rebellion to do it.  "His life fit him better than his clothes," said Theon (one of my fave lines in the whole series).  Robb became himself, but because of when that happened, it cost him his life.  Jon was born to be a leader, too, but on the outside, and a leader of Outsiders, and he is getting there fast, again circumstances also demanding that Jon step up whether or not he has the title of Lord Commander (I quite like that the leadership of NW doesn't even consider him a Ranger, when Jon will probably lead the whole freaking defense of the Wall).  Sansa was born to be a lady, and she's using that in situations that require such deft parrying and playing-of-scripts and politeness in the face of rudeness and hostility that would cause soldiers to wither.  Bran was obvs born to be a magical creature or a wielder of magic (or both) and he's doing his best to become whatever that is (nobody knows!  except Jojen maybe).  Arya was born to be a warrior, she was a solid archer at 10 years old, and she could never have done that without this war (but neither would she have had to).  Rickon...his story remains to be seen but frankly I think it is just to bear witness to these terrifying events, and then grow up and Rule the North, as Robb was born to do.  

 

I don't think that this is about the Stark kids' "destiny" or even that they are a special family (though clearly they are).  But it is a more generalizable lesson for all of us: it's about staying true to yourself even when you can't stay true to your principles (even when you have to rebel, to lie, to deceive, to play a part).  It's about recognizing your real talents and gifts beyond all life circumstances, seeing that your gifts can be developed and strengthened in any life circumstances.  Of course, sometimes the world decides that your gifts are too dangerous to be allowed to thrive (Robb), but sometimes what seemed like a curse can be an amazing asset (Sansa's intuitive sense of ladylike-ness).   

Edited by abelard
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What a terrific post, abelard.  Sansa would probably feel honored though a bit perplexed, to have been the occasion of such a great depiction of all the Starks. They are each true blue to their core, and they have one. They each have a core, and they are true blue to it.  

 

I think you're right, shimpy, that part of Sansa's (literal) charm over people is that they don't want to break the spell.  They want to watch the unicorn graze.  They want to believe that the storybook was real.  So Margaery goes only so far in sharing sex chat with her, then when Sansa inquires, "Did you mother tell you this?" gazes at her with wonder, takes a beat, then trillingly agrees.  Tyrion takes in her story about sheep shift, also takes a beat, then pretends to consider it as a weapon against his enemies.  Olenna likewise, also Shae.  Then too, your point about Cersei's hating Sansa for what Cersei thinks was her own mistake in missing the moment where Sansa inevitably became her (only more daring).  

 

But I think there is a perversity in most of us that also, wants to mar the unsullied.  Just because, and also, because innocence maintained in adversity is a reproof to our own worse natures, our own falling from away from our better selves and aspirations. There is also a mean-spirited impulse to punish naivete in others, especially if we lost our own abruptly or painfully.  The impulse can be as small a thing as an older sibling's spilling the beans about Santa, as common (if deplorable) as all kinds of bawdy initiations into adult behaviors, such as sex or drinking, or as cruel as...lots of stuff.  

 

Sansa doesn't always embody the gravitas that with its unbending grace, can humble and comfort the onlookers.  Sometimes she just seems like a girl who believes in unicorns, and not a unicorn herself.  That's when she is vulnerable to anyone's worst nature.

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Complete topic change....

 

We've speculated before that the names of the Stark children are named after people in Ned's life. Cat presumably as well.

 

Robb -> Robert Baratheon

Sansa ->  ???

Arya -> Jon Arryn

Bran -> Brandon Stark

Rickon -> ??? Ned's Father maybe?

 

Where did Sansa's random name come from? It doesn't sound especially Starkian either.

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Rickon....wasn't there a Rickard Stark mentioned at some point?  That is the full extent of my incredibly vague memory, but wasn't the Papa Stark (the completely burnt one)?  

 

In all my "Duh!" problem solving glory, it finally occurred to me, "Hey, I could check the character guide Nymeria made for us!"  

 

Indeed, Rickard Stark was the Papa Stark.  

Edited by stillshimpy

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You're right, DWP, Sansa doesn't fit with the other names.  And actually, Arya is a bit different too.  It's possible that Ned chose the boys' names and Catlyn chose the girls' names. Maybe Sansa is a family name in Catlyn's family.  The only names in her family I can think of are Catlyn, Lysa and Edmure, so that's not very helpful.

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I was rewatching episode 7 last night, and I noticed Sansa's hairstyle in her snow castle scene.  It struck me how much it looked like the style from the feast scene at Winterfell.  And I think her hair's evolution throughout the series tells the tale of where her heart is.  It starts in the simple style of the north to the complex "sausage" style found in King's Landing while she is under Joffrey's spell or control, and then to Margaery's style from High Garden when she is betrothed to Loras and befriended by Margaery.  And now a return to the simple pinned back style of the North in a scene where she longs for her home.  A clever touch, seeing her come full circle that way.

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Someone in the S04E08 thread mentioned that Sansa had done herself up to look like her mother.  Do you all think she's playing "the game," or do you think she's legit falling for Littlefinger?  I was actually surprised by how convincing of a liar she was when speaking to the Vale lords; she played it so deftly that I let out an audible "daaayummm".  However, she's still what, 15? 16?  Littlefinger's been at this for a long time, and has had his creepy obsession with Stark/Tully women for a long time.  I hope this plays out in her favor, but knowing this frikkin' show.....

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I hope this plays out in her (Sansa's) favor, but knowing this frikkin' show.....

I actually feel much better about Sansa and her immediate prospects now than at any time since "Baelor". She has been surrounded by master manipulators who are ruthless about getting what they want ever since then. The lessons have begun to take hold. Sansa making eye-contact with LF after she lied for him was a very fist-pumping moment for me: Sansa now has made an ally of one of the most conniving, intelligent, and ruthless men in Westeros. She knows what he wants, and I think we will now see Sansa play LF like a Strad. The "crow" dress (possible interpretation: 'I ain't the one who is going to be "flying" out any Moon Doors!') and black hair was just the start. LF still has some cards up his sleeve (her status as an accused murderess, etc), but I feel pretty good about where Sansa is and where she is going. So she will probably "fly" away the next episode.

 

I think there is still a real possibility that Sansa and Arya will not meet. The only ones who know who Sansa really is are Littlefinger and Robyn (and the 3 members of the Lysa Suicide Inquest, who seemed to be on the way out the front door), and I am not sure Robyn really understands what that means. If LF wants to throw Arya in a sky-cell at the Eyrie, I am not sure that Sansa would ever know. Might be another ace up LF's sleeve.

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Actually, that would be such an amazing thing to happen in this story for the long game, because the ugly little imp, who was maligned and abused by his own family, ends up being loved, truly, by a beautiful princess...I love that. And yet, we all know that A Show rarely gives us such moments, and when it does, it rips them from underneath us as quickly as it can.

 

 

I just took on this show a few weeks ago and it's a bit overwhelming.  I've read recaps from the first two seasons, and watched many of season three and four episodes.  Am I crazy for liking the idea of Tyrion and Sansa?  I know she's young, but it's an acceptable age in this world.  The height disparity lessens the age difference some how as well.  She's got an older man like Littlefinger already sniffing after her.  Tyrion is younger than him, and not a sociopath, so he has that going for him.

 

He's always been kind to her, and she seems to be respectable in how she speaks to him.  He protected her from Joffrey, and he sweetly held her hand during Joffrey's wedding when the dwarf mocked Ned's decapitation.  He protected her from the wedding night ritual, and chose not to consummate their marriage - but why didn't he put a couple of drops of blood on the sheets?  He definitely seemed mesmerized when Sansa began taking off her clothes.  I found it interesting that he said he would not share her bed until she wanted him too, versus saying until she's ready.  By giving her that bit of control - something she lost in season one - he empowered her.

 

I get the impression that Tyrion has never been with a woman who wasn't a paid whore, and he's possibly intimidated by that.  He needs some love after Shae's betrayal, and Sansa's affection could be healing.  Not that it will happen.  I'm new, but already know that evil is rewarded, goodness is destroyed, hope is dangerous, and happiness is deadly.

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