Monday, August 27, 2012

In Defense of Sansa Stark

Sorry Sansa, I didn't mean it! 
It wasn't that long ago that I posted a mini-review of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. In that review I referred to the fact that I found Sansa Stark to be the most annoying character everrrr omg! Well, I've finished the third book in the series (and two seasons of the show) and I've had some time to think about what exactly set me off about her character, why so many other people dislike her, and what it means to be a feminine character in a fantasy series.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that Sansa is in her very early teens at the start of this series. She's naive to the ways of court, and what people are really driven to do in their search for power. She still believes in the stories of the handsome gentle knight, and can't see when she's being manipulated. Her younger sister, Arya, fulfills the role of the "female badass". She's strong, brave, and she defies the gender-stereotypes of her time. When I compared Arya to Sansa...well, of course I liked Arya more.

It took me a while, but I finally figured out what it was about Sansa (and potentially other feminine fantasy characters) that I had a problem with. In the first book, Sansa represents everything that I feel that I am. She's not always aware of what's going on around her, and can't see the true nature of people. Arya, on the other hand, is the character that I want to be. She may be stubborn, but she's powerful and is keenly aware of the true nature of the people around her. Mind blown. Of course, I can't say that everyone feels this way. I just know that I've always liked the story of Mulan more than Sleeping Beauty. So, I've got my own stereotypes to deal with.

Now, if I had just waited a couple of books before passing judgement (I should have just listened to Jenny) I would have found that Sansa's character shows a different kind of strength. She's a resilient character (forced to face some truly horrible stuff), and I look forward to seeing her story in the final books of the series.

*Photo of Sansa from


Li @ said...

Great entry! I too did not like Sansa when I started reading the series, especially after what happened that led to Ned's eventual arrest. Reading the later books and re-reading the first book has helped me re-evaluate my feelings towards the character; I always forget that she is a teenager who has no idea what the world can really be like. She's done a lot of growing up since and now that I have a better understand of her character, a) she's becoming quite a favourite of mine and b) I find myself fiercely protective of her.

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