a reply to moonbehindclouds’ messages regarding Sansa Stark
expect lots of musings on Sansa below
Sansa has been raised her whole life by her parents, society, her Septa, and everyone around her that she is to marry a lord and be a good lady. Growing up within your society’s prescribed definitions of femininity is not bad within itself, it’s when that is a woman’s only option does there begin to be problems. The same sort of logic is used today to shame housewives.
Also many of these girls are promised off to gross and/or much older men merely due to lands and alliances. So the prospect of Sansa getting to marry so advantageous AND to a boy she finds attractive and her own age is originally a great prospect for her. Also she believes that Joffrey is Robert’s son, which would mean she’d be marrying her father’s best friend’s son. Joffrey on paper is a splendid match for Sansa. Besides the fact that she would be queen. I mean imagine she always imagined her life to be married off to one of her father’s bannerman and be stuck in the North forever. Instead she gets to head off to King’s Landing and be a part of high society. I find this comparable to people today who dream of moving to a city to partake in the excitement and social prospects.
Many of her statements of not caring about Joffrey’s behavior are directed towards Arya. She and her sister do not get along. It’s just something that some siblings do. She thinks Arya to be uncivil and honestly she sort of is. She finds Arya to be an embarrassment that she’s so ‘wild’ which reflects poorly on her and the upbringing they have, especially amongst those of the ‘South’ who believe the Northerners to be quite backwards. I sympathize with her as I feel similarly about my own younger sister who seems to be dying to become a white trash stereotype. So many things she says are less in defense of Joffrey and more to remain contrary with her sister. Also remember that she is only 13 when Game of Thrones begins, barely a teenager.
As for running to the Queen, it’s because she believes her father to be misguided and ruining her dreams of high society. While this can be seen as betrayal that’s not the way Sansa intends it. She just wants to avoid her father running away and causing an incident merely because of a misunderstanding. But Sansa believes that while her father was righteous that he had been mislead. So she’s originally aligned the thinking that the Lannisters have set out that her father is a traitor. She does not originally doubt her father’s guilt she merely doubts that he had malicious intent. Merely that she knows her father to be a loyal man and that someone must have mislead him. She does stand up for her father and continues to proclaim that he has been misguided. She also never believes that Ned will be killed, she believes he’s going to be sent to the North to be part of the Night’s Watch an organization that her father thinks highly of where he’ll be with his brother and son, hardly a fate to truly lament. I mean even Cersei was taken by surprise by Joffrey’s last minute cruelty. Also remember that Sansa is up against MASTER MANIPULATORS here. In fact you should applaud her for ever seeing through the Lannisters’ charade. So many of the people around them just buy it hook line and sinker.
And I do not blame her for not just running away. Like where would she go? Martin makes it very clear that this is a dangerous time and place to be a woman, rape and murder are abound, especially during this time of war. Sansa is utterly defenseless. Women stay with their abusers and in awful situations here in our society where there are usually safety nets like women’s shelters, friends, family, the police. Sansa has none of that. By staying in the situations she is thrust into she assures herself food, shelter, and physical safety… barely. If she had fought or run away she would assuredly had been dead. Arya only survives because of her ability to fight and blend in as a common boy. It’s mentioned quite often that Sansa looks high borne and is very pretty. She could have never done this. Besides the fact that her knowledge of tales, sewing, and singing would not help her in this world. But this does not make her weak she was merely preparing herself for the life that she would inevitably have had. In fact Arya can be seen as the impractical one here and only manages due to her father being indulgent in her preferences, a luxury only afforded to her as a member of a well landed family. Arya also barely survives in her even short stint of living on the streets of King’s Landing and is only saved from this fate of starving alone on the street by Yoren recognizing her and stealing her away. People are also not lining up to save Sansa. She survives physically only because she manages to survive mentally.
I think while applauding characters like Arya for their physical strength and for breaking their bounds of femininity it’s not always the most realistic. I like the fact that she exists as a strong character who survives through her own perseverance. You don’t see enough women in stories who are being strong the way Sansa is. It’s courage that doesn’t meet the traditional ideas of bravery.
Did not expect to be waxing so poetic on Sansa Stark this evening.
Not that I don’t love Arya as well. It’s just that one of the nice things about SoIaF is that you do get to see multiple sides of every story. The lines of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters in this series are blurred. Don’t get me wrong there are some that are just uniformly bad: Gregor Clegane and the Bastard of Bolton for instance. But a lot of one’s perceptions of other characters is based on your own interpretation.
For instance I’m sure there’s many out there that don’t uniformly hate Cersei, I mean she laments being a woman, ended up marrying a man who didn’t love her despite her best wishes and hopes, and always is discounted even when she’s ‘in power’ based on her being a woman. Don’t get me wrong my feelings on Cersei are largely negative based on my own beliefs of right and wrong but I still can’t help being able to see her motivations and sympathize with her a little due to seeing the world through her eyes at times.
I have a lot of thoughts about this series haha.