|Sansa Stark "Game of Thrones"|
As the first season of “Game of Thrones” reeled me in and the series “A Song of Ice and Fire” committed me to the GRRM asylum of permanent unapologetic Thronealholics, as I’ve blogged in the past: What gives strength to stories? Answer: The characters. Strong characterization will be a winner in my mind. Side tales, beautifully written backdrops, dynamite film effects lay empty without compelling characters the reader/viewer can relate to in some way, by a protagonist, a lovable drunk, a scary bad dude, and well, yes, there’s always the damsel in distress.
I’ll be brutally honest: The only character I disliked almost a much, as Joffrey in Season One “Game of Thrones” was the idiot Sansa Stark. OK, I’m dodging tomatoes, (or worse) but let me explain. As a star-struck dumb teenager, she couldn’t see evil when it stood before her, I get that. When she got her wolf killed because she had no backbone, she was outwitted by a woman miles out of her league in Queen Cersei. I have a huge problem with dog death, but not Sansa. At King’s Landing, she goes back to Joffrey, the stupid girl he calls her because she earned it. I get it that teenagers make mistakes. But at age thirteen or eighty, I’m not going to love someone that killed my dog! Then she runs her big mouth and outs Ned to Cersei, but he did it also, so Sansa isn’t directly responsible for her father’s death. She just made it easier.
As the series continues, we see Sansa get rescued by the Hound, protected by Shae, then marries Tyrion, the smartest and wealthiest guy in Westeros, save his fascist father. By watching the series move along, I don’t bond with Sansa much at all. Like Lady Oleanna said, “No, she isn’t very interesting.”
Alas, Sansa is a little more interesting. In ASOIAF, she is the witness of the goings-on in King’s Landing, so she’s an important POV character. I won’t spoil, but her situation changes and slowly, as much as she resists, she becomes smarter and realizes someone may not always be around to save her. It only took five books for her to learn that after her family was wiped out…twice.
Why am I beating on poor Sansa, hasn’t Joffrey done enough? Answer: Yes. GRRM put a naïve damsel in distress in his epic, which is a relevant character that I think will grow and turn the plot at an important time. Already, she’s changed the politics of Westeros by becoming a Lannister. As a writer of a strong female heroine, weak females grate on me, but that’s OK. Sansa’s OK. Teenagers do make mistakes when they are young. When I think of Sansa, I think of Daenerys eating the horse heart at her age. Could she have done that? To quote Oleanna “Question for the philosophers.”