Sansa Stark Rocks. Fact.

This post contains spoilers for the end of Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings and Storm of Swords. Basically, if you haven’t read Storm of Swords Part 1 yet, you should probably back off now and come back later. I’ll save the juicy bits for you. Promise.

I am Sansa Stark.

Most women are Sansa Stark. She’s not violent, strong or powerful in the least – she’s normal and totally alone, with no dragons, swords or even a pet wolf to protect her. She’s not touched by magic to make her greater than the surrounding characters. She lacks even a family to support her, and those who claim that they’re on her side are using her to their own ends – which she sees, and she knows, but she can’t escape.

Because she’s an average girl. She’s been thrown into a complete mess of a situation at such a young age it’s amazing she’s not gone off the deep end, and she’s as quick and subtle with her mind as Arya shows all the promise of being with a blade. So, she’s not me (I am about as quick and subtle as a crowbar), but she’s the closest character to who I was at her age and I love her dearly – as annoying as she is at first, she is a child who is growing up in the most insane, grim situation and she’s becoming a fascinating character. I don’t just like her where others detest her; I actually, properly adore the child. She’s fantastic.

Just to reiterate: she is a child.

So many people hate her for making the choices of a child, choosing Joffrey over her family on the Kingsroad, but to her mind she’s choosing between her bratty little sister and the prince she’s been brought up and cultivated like a hot-house flower to adore. Society has given her a reason to put knights and royalty on a pedestal, and she’s all about the unrealistic fairytale. How is she, or any of us, supposed to know the ramifications of her actions? Having to stop and think about the consequences is part of growing up. If anyone reads the books and chooses to see her as nothing else but a bland spoiled princess, they’re missing a wonderful, dark, rich plot that is my favourite in the books for the sheer subtlety and genius of it.

Her experience at King’s Landing at the end of Game of Thrones is her first taste of real court politics. Boy, has she learned her lesson by the end of that book, so brilliantly rendered in the tv series with Sansa’s direct and unyielding gaze at her father’s head on the spike – a scene so powerful it gave me goosebumps. The stripping away of the layers and layers of hopes and dreams that made her the bratty girl she was at the beginning of the book is a harrowing experience, and people complaining that Sansa Stark is boring to read really do my head in. Seriously, she’s boring because she’s not stabbing stable boys? Her strength isn’t in any of the masculine traits. She knows that people aren’t great or good as they are in the stories, but she still lets herself hope that there’s a kernel of goodness in people, and she’s steel inside. She’s the deconstruction of the typical princess in fantasy literature, the truest rendering, the princess to Brienne’s warrior woman. She’s going through hell and she’s going to become amazing.

I mean, who never made stupid ass choices as a child? I know I did, and the learning from those mistakes makes you a better person. That’s exactly what’s happening to Sansa. She’s learning, evolving, and totally has it in for the Lannisters. She’s going to be glorious to watch as she grows up and uses what she’s learned – writing her off because she did something wrong is awful, and no one would write off a child for being silly unless they’re truly heartless. Cersei keeps saying that Sansa’s a silly girl or some variant thereof and I get the impression that many readers assume this is fact, not Cersei’s opinion. The girl isn’t stupid. She’s more of a queen than Cersei is, as she proves at the Battle of Blackwater in Clash of Kings when Cersei leaves the hall and Sansa chooses to comfort the women whose husbands and families are out fighting. I have no idea how things will develop (UGH who does with this series) but I’m willing to bet Sansa comes out on top.

Oh, and on another note, Tyrion. I truly hate the dislike for Sansa based on her dealings with Tyrion. She’s 13, alone, her father’s been killed in front of her, her younger sister is missing and presumed dead, her ideal boy is actually a complete shit who has his men beat her for saying the wrong thing, she’s belittled by his mother the queen (who also ordered her innocent pet wolf killed), she’s without a single person to advise her – and they force her, the bright-eyed optimistic girl with her head full of dreams, to marry an ugly dwarf whose family have been the architects of all her woes. She’s 13, and no one aged 13 should be confronted with this situation. Yes, I love Tyrion. Sansa doesn’t have to, because to her mind his family murdered hers, and this is as near legalized rape as you can get (and, what, she should be GRATEFUL he doesn’t force himself on her now?!). It’s horrendous. And she doesn’t get to read his point of view – she can’t just magically know that this guy isn’t an actual monster, the inversion of Joffrey. He’s a Lannister. He’s not on her side. For Sansa, it’s pretty simple.

And if you want a less rambling, more coherent perspective on all this, this video is amazing amazing AMAZING and explains the Battle of Blackwater scene SO WELL:

Just to add: I’m totally fine with people not liking characters because they don’t click with them. Jon Snow annoys the hell out of me; as Sansa is the GRRM equivalent of the princess stereotype, Jon is the GRRM equivalent of the heroic farmer’s boy. I dislike that character type intensely, though the plot is developing him in much more interesting ways so I have less dislike for him than for, say, Rand al’Thor. So many people hold him up as being fantastic where Sansa’s got all the hate. Dislike a character because they don’t click for you, that’s fine; don’t hate a character for stupid reasons though. Otherwise I get sniffy and write epic blog posts, apparently.

Sansa rocks. She will grow to rock harder. End of.

*

Some more Sansa links I highly recommend:

In Defence of Sansa Stark

She longed for a prince in the cold keep and behold, Prince Joffrey shows up on her doorstep. She had to think it was meant to be. He was handsome and charming, and she was blinded by her dream world. She’s young – just 11 in the books – and the news that she would be leaving the dark north for the capital city of Westeros would be enough to dazzle any child. Add the betrothal to the prince arranged by her father and King Robert, and the situation is hopeless. Every silly, improbable fantasy of Sansa’s actually happens. Who wouldn’t allow themselves to be swept away in a similar situation?

Sansa Stark is a strong character (no, really)

If Sansa is overly concerned with fairy-tale ideals, her beauty, and her gods, it’s not because she’s a stupid little girl — it’s because that’s literally all she has left to depend on, small hope as it is. She’s clinging to her innocence because that’s the only thing she hasn’t lost.

Sansa Stark

But there are more ways than one to show strength in Westeros. This woman shows her own strength of character and incredible growth over the series without ever learning how to wield a sword. It’s time to talk about how much I love Sansa Stark.

F*ckYesSansaStark

Images from tumblr.

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4 thoughts on “Sansa Stark Rocks. Fact.

  1. kim

    I think we who rage at sansa sometimes need to take a step back. Even at her most stupendously stupid, _she means well_.

    I do kinda get where people hate on her about Tyrion, because she seems overly judgemental about his appearance. Isn’t everyone else judgemental about Brienne’s?

    Reply
    1. ewasr Post author

      It’s a fair comment, and I agree – she is totally overly judgemental, to the point that I did a lot of wincing when I was re-reading the books. But she’s 13 I think at that point, and she’s had all these dreams of marrying someone like Ser Loras, a brave, beautiful, elegant knight, and has been brought up to be a lady, only to be forced into marriage to a dwarf. I’d be appalled if she were okay with any of that, let alone Tyrion’s physical appearance. Sure, he behaves really wonderfully to her – but so did Cersei and Joffrey once, and look what happened there. She has no reason to like any Lannisters. Sansa has a ton of maturing and evolving to go through because yeah, she’s still a child with that instinctive negative reaction to something that is downright scary, and nowadays she’d have been brought up to be more accepting (I’d hope), but I don’t think anyone should dislike her on the basis that she didn’t want to have sex with him (which is a comment I’ve seen around). She’s allowed to not want that, and she’s allowed to be scared and repulsed by the prospect of a pretty traumatic experience lots of girls her age had to go through. GRRM is systematically going through and ruining every aspect of the fairytale that Sansa thought her life would turn out to be and making her into a stronger character for it, and I find that tempering of her personality fascinating.

      I love that you mention Brienne too – she’s my other favourite character (Sansa, Tyrion and Brienne, oddly). She’s amazing – an example of how judgemental everyone is in Westeros, I think, especially about the women. I just want to give her a really big hug!

      Reply
  2. Sara Flower

    I absolutely love Sansa Stark! She is my favoruite character. Your writings about her are perfect.

    As a side note, what kind of person would hate her for judging Tyrion’s appearance? People nowadays choose partners based on attraction. And she is 13 while he is clearly a much older man. Poor child. The worst part about that whole arrangement is that she is a victim. And why would a man over 30 WANT to marry a young girl? Um, ew.

    Back to Sansa. I want to be more like those brave swordmaidens,but in reality I am the most like Sansa. I can even relate to the pain of losing a beloved pet in such a gruesome, premature way.

    She really does represent most women. She is very smart and brave, but in a much more subtle way. Unlike most characters in GOT, she genuinely cares for people. I can see her being a great queen one day…and maybe (hopefully) she will even learn to use a sword.

    Go Sansa!

    Reply
  3. curvyfiddle

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    I love that Sansa isn’t the stereotypical tomboy heroine. I love that GRRM has given us a girl who as young girls do, believes the dreams and fairy tales and who is obedient and compliant, and seems to have the fairy tale come true .

    And then it all turns ugly.

    And she not only survives – she smartens up, learns that people politics is everywhere and that she can be beaten up by it, or learn how to play it herself. All these horrible experiences, and she has few, but crucial choices to make – and though she doesn’t always make good ones – she learns from each one.

    I suspect she may never wield a sword. But she may yet come into her own power. I suspect that power will be rooted in her beauty, her sexuality and her intelligence. I think when Cersei told her that tears aren’t a woman’s only weapon, her best one is between her legs…..that Sansa heard….didn’t know what to do with that information – but she will later.

    So far Sansa has been thrown about with all that’s happened, and has floated not drowned, but she’s been taken along where other people and events have led her. I think we are all waiting to see if she chooses to swim….where to, and why?

    I think, given she thinks she has little or no family left, she will make a decision what it is she wants for herself. That maybe she decides that even if there are no true knights – she wishes to be a true Queen or Lady. And then it will be interesting to see what it is she has learned from court politics and the machinations of power.

    Reply

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