Hey, I know what you’re thinking. Sansa Stark is a stupid little brat. I know you think she has no place on this list of great Women in Fiction, and that she’s far less awesome than her sister, Arya. I know this because you keep telling me over and over again. I get it in emails, in Facebook messages, and some of you apparently have my home address. Well, I’m here to tell you one simple thing:
Knock it off.
Like many (read all) of the characters in Game of Thrones, Sansa is utterly screwed. After only a brief stint as a naive girl in the Summer of the world, Sansa spends time as a pawn, a scape-goat, a sexualized stand-in for her mother, and as a captive of more insane characters than you would think possible in even Martin’s grimdark series. Things don’t ever really look good for Sansa.
But plenty of the characters on our list have it rough, and if anything we love them all the more for it. No, what bothers people the most about Sansa is that she is so inadequately prepared to handle the doomiverse she occupies. She constantly trusts in people we know she shouldn’t. She falls prey to monster after monster. She can barely do anything more than survive.
But what many people fail to realize is that Sansa is just a child dealing with a world not of her making, and in fact surviving the obstacles put before her by this horrid reality is a wonder in itself. Since she was born, Sansa has been fed stories about how the world works, by her parents and by the court. She was told she’d be a queen, and then had that snatched away from her without explanation. She signed confessions at the behest of people she was instructed to trust beyond all else, and she did so to save her family with the only tools she had at hand. Her own father, by comparison, should have known better and still fell victim to these same schemers (not that anyone ever blames the idiot) – but everyone is ready to jump down Sansa’s throat just because she didn’t have all the miracle saves that her younger sister got?? That’s right I went there. Arya got lucky. Incredibly lucky.
Arya was saved by no less than three miracle characters before finally being badass enough to sort of take care of herself. Sort of. In fact, Arya didn’t really fall into her own until after spending a fair amount of time pretending to be a boy, a career path Sansa was never given the opportunity to pursue.
Much of the Sansa-bashing I hear sounds so much like victim-blaming I just want to magically transport people to a quasi-magical world to see how they like it. You jerks would have somehow gotten all your pets beheaded within three days.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m just angry.