All of it came pouring out of Brienne then, like black blood from a wound… the voyage down the Trident, dueling Jaime in the woods, the Bloody Mummers, Jaime crying “Sapphires”, Jaime in the tub at Harrenhal with steam rising from his body, the taste of Vargo Hoat’s blood when she bit down on his ear, the bear pit, Jaime leaping down onto the sand, the long ride to King’s Landing, Sansa Stark, the vow she’d sworn to Jaime, the vow she’d sworn to Lady Catelyn, Oathkeeper, Duskendale, Maidenpool, Nimble Dick and Crackclaw and the Whispers, the men she’d killed… “I have to find her,” she finished. “There are others looking, all wanting to capture her and sell her to the queen. I have to find her first. I promised Jaime. Oathkeeper, he named the sword. I have to try to save her… or die in the attempt. - Brienne VI, AFfC

Sansa, apples, dance festivals, and the Trident

@theexuberanceofexistence replied to your post “In ASOIAF is Sansa a traditional northerner name or more of a…”

Sansa is a type of apple, so her name might’ve been inspired by her hair.

I was answering the question of why Ned and Cat gave Sansa her name, not why GRRM did. :)  Sansa apples exist in our world, not in ASOIAF. See this post for more on the difference.

But nevertheless, the possible connection of Sansa to Sansa apples is surprisingly interesting. I’ve researched the question of why GRRM chose the name Sansa before, since nobody seems to know the meaning of the name (it’s not related to Sancia; and though I’ve seen it supposedly translated as Sanskrit, “praise” or “charm”, I don’t think that’s true), and it was distinctly not a common or even rare name before ASOIAF. (No appearances in literature, none in even the more obscure baby name books.) And what I found was pretty cool, an appearance in a 1920 novel by Robert W. Chambers. But despite all that, I still couldn’t find out what Sansa means.

So what the heck, this comment made me remember I’d wanted to look up more info on Sansa apples.  Apparently they’re a cross between Gala and Akane apples, developed around 1988 by a Japanese/New Zealand team, at Morioka Research Station. Morioka is the capital of Iwate Prefecture, and has a famous festival, Morioka Sansa Odori (盛岡さんさ踊り). 

Sansa is the name of the style of dance performed at the festival, which originates from legend:

A long time ago, in Morioka castle town, an oni (demon) named Rasetsu (羅刹) was terrorizing the local people. Being at a total loss as what to do, they prayed to the deity Mitsuishi (三ツ石) to rid them of the demon.

Mitsuishi-kami heard their prayers, caught the demon and made him pledge to never trouble the people again, by making the demon leave his handprint on the rocks located at Mitsuishi Shrine.

This legend, Oni no tegata, or “Demon’s handprint on the rocks”, explains the origin of the name Iwate (岩手), “rock-hand”.

In addition, the locals rejoicing at the dispelling of the demon danced around the Mitsuishi Stones shouting, “Sansa, Sansa” (さんさ), which is also said to be the beginning of the Sansa Odori dance.

Which is all pretty awesome! (Especially considering “Sansa loved to dance”.) But none of the websites I found about the festival explained what “Sansa” translates to, other than that it’s the name of the dance. I thought, maybe it doesn’t translate, maybe it’s just sounds? (edit: heh, it is a meaningless word used in songs.) But even though I don’t know a lot about Japanese, I figured that couldn’t be right (as I do know that words can have different meanings, and symbols can be pronounced differently). So what the heck, I tossed さんさ into Wiktionary to see what came up:

さんさ ‎(romaji sansa)

     1. 三叉: three-way fork

    Fork? ok, one more time:

    三叉 ‎(hiragana さんさ, romaji sansa)

        1. a three-way fork, such as in a road, river, or tree

      Such as, for example, the Trident. I see what you did there, GRRM.

      (OK, maybe he didn’t do it on purpose. Maybe he just heard about the dance festival or the apple and thought the name had the right “soft, pretty” sound for the character he was developing. Maybe it’s all a coincidence. But I think it’s cool anyway!)

      Jon Snow breaks my heart. This boy thought he was so worthless that the only way his life could ever mean anything was if he gave it up and joined the Nights Watch. All his life he never felt like he fit in with his family because he was always known as a Bastard. His whole life he felt alone even though he was surrounded by people that he loved and who loved him. He fell in love with a girl who was an outsider like him to the people of Westeros. She was killed by someone who was supposed to be like his brother. She died in his arms and he held her and tried to make her last few moments comforting and make her not feel so alone in the world. He was murdered by his brothers on the watch. When he died no one held him, he was alone and they let him bleed out and die alone. He never knew his mother or of her. When he was brought back he wasn’t angry he was just heartbroken. The line “I did what I thought was right and I got murdered for it” broke my heart. He forgave the lords who didn’t side with him in a battle he could’ve lost. He forgave them even though he had every right not to. And just Jon Snow breaks my heart and I love him so much.