and for all those who say that there should be arya instead of sansa

The Importance of The Unlikable Heroine

I’ve always had this tendency to apologize for everything—even things that aren’t my fault, things that actually hurt me or were wrongs against me.

It’s become automatic, a compulsion I am constantly fighting. Even more disturbingly, I’ve discovered in conversations with my female friends that I’m not alone in feeling this impulse to be pleasant, to apologize needlessly, to resist showing anger.

After all, if you’re a woman and you demonstrate anger, you’re a bitch, a harpy, a shrew. You’re told to smile more because you will look prettier; you’re told to calm down even when whatever anger or otherwise “unseemly” emotion you’re experiencing is perfectly justified.

If you don’t, no one will like you, and certainly no one will love you.

I’m not sure when this apologetic tendency of mine emerged. Maybe it began during childhood; maybe the influence of social gender expectations had already begun to affect me on a subconscious level. But if I had to guess, I would assume it emerged later, when I became aware through advertisements, media, and various unquantifiable social pressures of what a girl should be—how to act, how to dress, what to say, what emotions are okay and what emotions are not.

Essentially, I became aware of what I should do, as a girl, to be liked, and of how desperate I should be to achieve that state.

Being liked would be the pinnacle of my personal achievement. I could accomplish things, sure—make good grades, go to a good school, have a stellar career. But would I be liked during all of this? That was the important thing.

It angers me that I still struggle with this. It angers me that even though I’m an intelligent, accomplished adult woman, I still experience automatic pangs of inadequacy and shame when I perceive myself to have somehow disappointed these unfair expectations. I can’t always seem to get my emotions under control, and yet I must—because sometimes those emotions are angry or unpleasant or, God forbid, unattractive, and therefore will inconvenience someone or make someone uncomfortable.

Maybe that’s why, in my fiction—both the stories I read and the stories I write—I’ve always gravitated toward what some might call “unlikable” heroines.

It’s difficult to define “unlikability”; the term itself is nebulous. If you asked ten different people to define unlikability, you would probably receive ten different answers. In fact, I hesitated to write this piece simply because art is not a thing that should be quantified, or shoved into “likable” and “unlikable” components.

But then there are those pangs of mine, that urge to apologize for not being the right kind of woman. Insidious expectations lurk out there for our girls—both real and fictional—to be demure and pleasant, to wilt instead of rally, to smile and apologize and hide their anger so they don’t upset the social construct—even when such anger would be expected, excused, even applauded, in their male counterparts.

So for my purposes here, I’ll define a “likable heroine” as one who is unobjectionable. She doesn’t provoke us or challenge our expectations. She is flawed, but not offensively. She doesn’t make us question whether or not we should like her, or what it says about us that we do.

Let me be clear: There is nothing wrong with these “likable” heroines. I can think of plenty such literary heroines whom I adore:

Fire in Kristin Cashore’s Fire. Karou in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Jo March in Little Women. Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. The Penderwick sisters in Jeanne Birdsall’s delightful Penderwicks series. Arya (at least, in the early books) in A Song of Ice and Fire. Sarah from A Little Princess. Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time. Matilda in Roald Dahl’s classic book of the same name.

These heroines are easy to love and root for. They have our loyalty on the first page, and that never wavers. We expect to like them, for them to be pleasant, and they are. Even their occasional unpleasantness, as in the case of temperamental Jo March, is endearing.

What, then, about the “unlikable” heroines?

These are the “difficult” characters. They demand our love but they won’t make it easy. The unlikable heroine provokes us. She is murky and muddled. We don’t always understand her. She may not flaunt her flaws but she won’t deny them. She experiences moral dilemmas, and most of the time recognizes when she has done something wrong, but in the meantime she will let herself be angry, and it isn’t endearing, cute, or fleeting. It is mighty and it is terrifying. It puts her at odds with her surroundings, and it isn’t always easy for readers to swallow.

She isn’t always courageous. She may not be conventionally strong; her strength may be difficult to see. She doesn’t always stand up for herself, or for what is right. She is not always nice. She is a hellion, a harpy, a bitch, a shrew, a whiner, a crybaby, a coward. She lies even to herself.

In other words, she fails to walk the fine line we have drawn for our heroines, the narrow parameters in which a heroine must exist to achieve that elusive “likability”:

Nice, but not too nice.

Badass, but not too badass, because that’s threatening.

Strong, but ultimately pliable.

(And, I would add, these parameters seldom exist for heroes, who enjoy the limitless freedoms of full personhood, flaws and all, for which they are seldom deemed “unlikable” but rather lauded.)

Who is this “unlikable” heroine?

She is Amy March from Little Women. She is Briony from Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Katsa from Kristin Cashore’s Graceling. Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse. Sansa from A Song of Ice and Fire. Mary from The Secret Garden. She is Philip Pullman’s Lyra, and C. S. Lewis’s Susan, and Rowling’s first-year Hermione Granger. She is Katniss Everdeen. She is Scarlett O’Hara.

These characters fascinate me. They are arrogant and violent, reckless and selfish. They are liars and they are resentful and they are brash. They are shallow, not always kind. They may be aggressive, or not aggressive enough; the parameters in which a female character can acceptably display strength are broadening, but still dishearteningly narrow. I admire how the above characters embrace such “unbecoming” traits (traits, I must point out, that would not be noteworthy in a man; they would simply be accepted as part of who he is, no questions asked).

These characters learn from their mistakes, and they grow and change, but at the end of the day, they can look at themselves in the mirror and proclaim, “Here I am. This is me. You may not always like me—I may not always like me—but I will not be someone else because you say I should be. I will not lose myself to your expectations. I will not become someone else just to be liked.”

When I wrote my first novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, I knew some readers would have a hard time stomaching the character of Victoria. She is selfish, arrogant, judgmental, rigid, and sometimes cruel. Even at the end of the novel, by which point she has evolved tremendously, she isn’t particularly likable, if we go with the above definition.

I had similar concerns about the heroine of my second novel, The Year of Shadows. Olivia Stellatella is a moody twelve-year-old who isolates herself from her peers at school, from her father, from everything that could hurt her. Her circumstances at the beginning of the novel are inarguably terrible: Her mother abandoned their family several months prior, with no explanation. Her father conducts the city orchestra, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. He neglects his daughter in favor of saving his livelihood. He sells their house and moves them into the symphony hall’s storage rooms, where Olivia sleeps on a cot and lives out of a suitcase. She calls him The Maestro, refusing to call him Dad. She hates him. She blames him for her mother leaving.

Olivia is angry and confused. She is sarcastic, disrespectful, and she tells her father exactly what she thinks of him. She lashes out at everyone, even the people who want to help her. Sometimes her anger blinds her, and she must learn how to recognize that.

I knew Olivia’s anger would be hard for some readers to understand, or that they would understand but still not like her.

This frightened me.

As a new author, the prospect of writing these heroines—these selfish, angry, difficult heroines—was a daunting one. What if no one liked them? What if, by extension, no one liked me?

But I’ve allowed the desire to be liked thwart me too many times. The fact that I nearly let my fear discourage me from telling the stories of these two “unlikable” girls showed me just how important it was to tell their stories.

I know my friends and I aren’t the only women who feel that constant urge to apologize, to demur, to rein in anger and mutate it into something more socially acceptable.

I know there are girls out there who, like me at age twelve—like Olivia, like Victoria—are angry or arrogant or confused, and don’t know how to handle it. They see likable girls everywhere—on the television, in movies, in books—and they accordingly paste on strained smiles and feel ashamed of their unladylike grumpiness and ambition, their unseemly aggression.

I want these girls to read about Victoria and Olivia—and Scarlett, Amy, Lyra, Briony—and realize there is more to being a girl than being liked. There is more to womanhood than smiling and apologizing and hiding those darker emotions.

I want them to sift through the vast sea of likable heroines in their libraries and find more heroines who are not always happy, not always pleasant, not always good. Heroines who make terrible decisions. Heroines who are hungry and ambitious, petty and vengeful, cowardly and callous and selfish and gullible and unabashedly sensual and hateful and cunning. Heroines who don’t always act particularly heroic, and don’t feel the need to, and still accept themselves at the end of the day regardless.

Maybe the more we write about heroines like this, the less susceptible our girl readers will be to the culture of apology that surrounds them.

Maybe they will grow up to be stronger than we are, more confident than we are. Maybe they will grow up in a world brimming with increasingly complex ideas about what it means to be a heroine, a woman, a person.

Maybe they will be “unlikable” and never even think of apologizing for it.

Jon/Sansa fic recs: the canonverse fics

Here at last, for Fandom Fic Rec Days!

Here are my Jon/Sansa bookmarks; my modern AU recommendations; and my historical & other AU recs.

I’ve indicated book or show canon for reference.

A Winter’s Tale by @justadram​ (96k, M, book canon compliant, future fic)
The War of Three Dragons comes to the Vale, bringing Jon Snow and Sansa Stark together once more.

A nice longer fic you can sink your teeth into. (I read so many fics where I’m like … this is so great … but what if it was 50k longer?) I especially like Sansa coming to terms with not going home and the roles other characters play in the story (especially Jaime and Asha). Sadly lacking in other Stark sibs (my perennially unfulfilled desire) but at least there’s hope for reunion in the future. Also: there needs to be more Sam and Sansa being friends in the world. So much more.

All the Way to the Moon by @misshoneywheeler (5k, E, book canon compliant, future fic)
The Dragon Queen had been gracious. Sansa would keep her name and her home. Her children would grow in Winterfell as Starks, just as she once had. Sansa had forced herself to thank the Queen, her steady tone betraying none of the bitterness that curled beneath her tongue. That she should be a brood mare to ensure succession sat uneasy, no matter that it was a life she most likely would have sought for herself, more or less, given time and a husband of her choosing. That was not the bargain, though. Jon Snow was the bargain.

Hot smut, but also some delightful identity issues re: Alayne. One of my faves is Sansa trying to manipulate Jon and Jon just going along with it instead of being tricked. I don’t know why I like that so much, but this is definitely a good example.

And if You Want Me I’m Your Country by thefairfleming (7k, M, book canon compliant, future fic)
“She isn’t anything like I thought she would be,” the maester says at last. “She is not much like I’d thought she’d be either, Sam,” Jon replies.

A really enjoyable example of the “Dany makes them marry” trope. Is this the trope progenitor? IDK, but it seems like an early example.

break me like a promise by honey_wheeler (5k, E, book canon compliant, future fic)
“Seems we are siblings after all,” Jon had said, his voice forcibly light, as if to make the words a jape. Perhaps to soften the news, or diminish the realness of it. Perhaps because he had as much difficulty believing it as she, having known himself a Targaryen near as long as he’d thought himself a Stark bastard. And they had been married such a short time; it was too fast to be real, too sudden to seem anything but a cruel trick.

The incest angst fic of my dreams. You know how a lot of fics do the cousin reveal and they’re like “oh phew, thank the gods, I thought I was banging my brother”? This is the opposite of that. Hot and sad at the same time. Contains A+ sexual crying.

Broken Pieces by @justadram​ (7k, M, book canon compliant, future fic)
Jon is good and kind, but he wants things from Sansa she doesn’t know whether she can give.

Almost more of a Sansa character piece than anything else. I love stories dealing with Sansa’s identity issues and this delivers.

Crossing Flatlands to You by @maybetwice (6k, M, book canon compliant, future fic)
It takes them years to get it right, for the right reasons, at the right time. Five reasons Sansa had to seduce Jon, and the one reason he had to seduce her.

If for no other reason than a change of pace, it’s really good to read fics where they fall in love before marrying, and I really dig this one. Very tight and focused writing. Quite a bit less smut than you’d think from the summary. (Not a criticism; just FYI.)

Fetch the Prince’s Sister by @justadram​ (2k, T, book canon compliant, future fic)
Cries of “fetch the prince’s sister” bring Sansa to Jon’s tent.

Major tearjerker. Prepare yourself. And heed the warning.

Gods, Let Me Try by @justadram​ (3k, E, book canon compliant, future fic)
Jon told Sansa to remain in his tent for her own safety, but she continually frustrates his attempts to protect her.

I am perpetually in need of more angry sex for this ship (there’s so little, y’all. so little). This is still not quite enough, but it does scratch that itch somewhat. Jon and Sansa arguing is everything to me.

Like winter we are cruel by lagardère/@aknightfornawt​ (73k, M, show canon compliant, post-S6)
Winter has come to Winterfell, Jon expects a war north of the Wall, and Littlefinger is brewing one inside the very castle.

Expect lovely evocative writing (seriously, ugh, to a truly unfair degree), LF being a creep, Jon and Sansa having an increasingly strained relationship despite their growing attraction (”Tell Baelish to get you your fucking crown,” be still my heart), political machinations, and a nice bevy of side characters, including Arya and some well-drawn supporting original characters. It also gave me a taste for epistolary fic for this ship, a thirst that goes as yet unquenched.

Moon Cycles by caesia (7k, M, book canon compliant, future fic)
Sansa receives a visitor to the Eyrie who reminds her of her past, but his past is complicated too.

I honestly think this might be my favorite? And I’m not totally sure why? Like, the premise is literally just that post-resurrection Jon is a werewolf. You’d think that might be dumb, or at least cracky if played tongue-in-cheek, but it’s actually really melancholy and bittersweet, especially the second fic.

Snow Kisses by caesia (3k, M, book canon compliant, future fic)
The sky sends icy kisses falling against her cheeks, but Jon’s kiss still burns on her lips.

The little details of everyday life bring this fic to life.

True North by lit_chick08 (6k, M, book canon compliant, future fic)
It is official business that brings Jon Snow to Winterfell.  It is personal business that damns him.

Normally infidelity is a huge turn-off for me, and yeah part of me was a little :| at first, but the things to like about this fic just overwhelmed all that. For some reason I also have a huge “Sansa has a kid (or two) out of wedlock” kink, so that probably helps. A killer ending line, also.

Unmade by @misshoneywheeler (2k, M, book canon compliant, future fic)
Jon has a vague memory of Sansa picking a nosegay of those blue flowers, smelling them deeply before holding them out for him to do the same.

SEX POLLEN, MY FRIENDS. Strangely innocent, sweet sex pollen that is all the more hot for those aspects alongside the dubious consent. Also, frottage.

What Once Was Sweet by @justadram​ (6k, T, book canon compliant, future fic)
Before they wed, things were sweet between Jon and Sansa.

So I’m all about the “stone by stone” “Ned/Cat 2.0″ marriage fics, but a lot of times it’s either focused on the very beginnings of the relationship (the wedding and first night, usually), or on the end where they finally realize their feelings and have super hot sex. No shade intended, I like all flavors of this trope, but sometimes you want more of the actual “stones” themselves in between–the difficulties, the disagreements, the miscommunications, the compromises, etc. This is a story about conflict and I really dig how this is ambiguous and open instead of resolving everything neatly.

Been thinking alot about how fandom really focuses on Sansa and ‘lying’. To me, it is very overstated and overfocused considering Sansa never lies with malicious intent to hurt people. Sure, how she shapes and interprets reality in A Game Of Thrones especially with the Trident Incident is important (where she falsely recalls Mycah hitting Joffrey) is important, but it’s not the be end all of the character. How Sansa grows and changes is also vital. Here, I’ll try to make clear that lying is not one of Sansa’s ‘flaws’, she is human and is not perfect but holding her lies against her doesn’t really work.

I don’t mind discussion about how lying impacts on Sansa, and the role in plays within her story- my problem is when people use that as a reason to be against her character.

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Arya and Dany: Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors

After posting this gifset, there was some debate about the Hogwarts sortings for Arya and Daenerys with some insisting that they were both Slytherin. So I thought I would explain why I see them as fitting into Hufflepuff and Gryffindor rather than the other two houses. This got long, so I’m putting it under the cut.

TL; DR: Even though both characters have Slytherin and Ravenclaw traits, it is, IMO, their Hufflepuff and Gryffindor characteristics that most significantly form their characters, influence their choices, and represent their values.

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The king was shaded beneath a crimson canopy, one leg thrown negligently over the carved wooden arm of his chair. Princess Myrcella and Prince Tommen sat behind him. In the back of the royal box, Sandor Clegane stood at guard, his hands resting on his swordbelt. The white cloak of the Kingsguard was draped over his broad shoulders and fastened with a jeweled brooch, the snowy cloth looking somehow unnatural against his brown roughspun tunic and studded leather jerkin. “Lady Sansa,” the Hound announced curtly when he saw her. His voice was as rough as the sound of a saw on wood. The burn scars on his face and throat made one side of his mouth twitch when he spoke.

ACOK, Sansa I

Wait, wait, wait…  a jeweled brooch and snowy white cloak on a guy that never wears ornamentation except for his Hounds helm!?!  He absolutely disdains pageantry and displays of material wealth as much as knighthood itself.  This is a pretty large departure from his usual self.  He’s likely doing more than just announcing her presence because his mouth is twitching, his signature tell he’s thinking something he isn’t saying.  That just screams “look at me” and "notice me.”  Well, mission accomplished, because she does give him her attention, except she notes those details mostly as being out of character.  Sandor’s acceptance of the white cloak now seems to be more about impressing Sansa, rather just resigning himself to the fact he doesn’t have any wife or lands and thus nothing better to do.              

He was there when Barristan Selmy was “retired” from the KG and let his cloak fall to the floor.  Sansa knelt on that cloak and begged for mercy for her father.  That image connecting her to the exemplary reputation of Barristan, a living legend of a knight must have stuck with him.  Then he is later presented with the opportunity to replace Barristan, which he’s seen as someone Sansa holds in high regard.  He still wants to distance himself though from the other kingsguard by choosing wool instead of silk and satin cloaks and he doesn’t wear the white armor, but there’s still that snappy jeweled brooch!  This is how he wants Sansa to see him and deep down how he wants to see himself. 

Looking back on his bragging of saving Sansa in the riot to Arya, acting like a true knight for her was probably his proudest moment.  It’s why he was kinda salty about her being late to thank him and why he re-wrote history of her singing the song then to culminate the fantasy.   If the story had followed the formula in Sandor’s head, it would have gone like:  save the fair maiden < she’s grateful to her hero < perfect opportunity to win her heart < he’s rewarded with more intimacy with her.  Life is not a song, of course.  Sandor is now set up to have his own struggles with the white cloak just the same as Jaime and Barristan…

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fashi0nmistake  asked:

The writing prompt meme- #50 "I’m starting an idiot jar. Any time you do or say anything idiotic, you have to put at least a dollar in it—more depending on how stupid the thing that you said or did was.” The Starklings. It's such a sibling prompt!

“What? It’s a great idea!”

“Robb, it’s a terrible idea! Mom doesn’t even like hockey,” Sansa protested.

Her older brother looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. “Of course she likes hockey! She has never missed a single game any one of us has played in unless two of us were playing at the same time in different rinks! She’s been to more games than Dad, Sansa!”

Sansa rolled her eyes. “OK. She doesn’t like hockey unless one or more of you idiots are playing. This isn’t just Dad’s anniversary! Stanley Cup playoff tickets are a terrible anniversary gift.”

“You’re just saying that because you’re the only person in this family who never played, Sansa! You probably want to send them to the dumb old ballet!” nine year old Rickon protested.

“No, I don’t,” Sansa said, in a voice alarmingly like their mother’s when her patience was nearly at an end. “I’m perfectly well aware that Dad has no interest in the ballet unless I’m dancing.”

“Well, ballet’s boring,” Rickon pronounced, making a face that had Robb, Jon, and Bran all laughing in spite of Sansa’s glaring at them.

“I hate all of you!” Sansa exclaimed as she dramatically turned causing her hair to swish around her shoulders and flounce out of the room. 

From her perch on the back of the couch by the window, Arya sighed. She’d never admit it to a living soul, but she did envy her sister’s ability to do that kind of stuff with her hair, even if Sansa was acting like a baby.

They were all acting like babies. Stupid babies.

Before she could mention that to them, however, Robb turned on Rickon. “Nice going, kid!” he said sarcastically. “Now she’d bailed on us!”

“You laughed!” Rickon protested, throwing his empty Coke can at Robb’s head.

Robb ducked of course, and the can, which apparently wasn’t entirely empty, hit the wall behind him, splattering Coke on a portrait of their family taken on a vacation to the beach about seven years ago. Their mother loved that picture.

“Nice,” Arya said, swinging her legs over the back of the couch and standing up. “You all are just brilliant. We’ve all been saving money for a damn year, and now that it’s time to actually plan this thing, we’ve talked for an hour, decided nothing, chased off Sansa, and gotten coke all over Mom’s favorite picture.

As Robb and Rickon both started to protest, Arya spoke over them. “Robb, go get Sansa back here. I know she’s bossy, but she listens to you more than the rest of us, and does anybody think we can actually plan this without her?”

She looked around the room at her siblings and cousin. Nobody actually disputed that statement. “Go on, Robb!” she said when he didn’t move. “Grovel if you have to, but get her back here.”

“Rickon’s the one who pissed her off!” Robb protested. 

Arya loved her oldest brother, she truly did. He was a wonderful guy. But sometimes when he felt angry or unjustly accused, he could be the biggest baby of all of them. “Yeah. And he’s NINE. Your twenty. Suck it up, Robb. You all laughed, and it was your dumb suggestion that we send Mom and Dad to the playoffs as our gift which got Sansa riled up in the first place. Besides,” she turned to glare at her youngest brother, and the smirk he’d been directing at Robb disappeared immediately. “Rickon has to go get a rag and clean his damn mess. None of us will be alive to give Mom and Dad anything if Mom sees that picture that like that!”

Rickon, fully aware that he couldn’t escape responsibility for the Coke can incident and with no desire to end up on the receiving end of the wrath of Catelyn Stark (in spite of the fact that Mom tended to let him skate more often than anyone because he was the BABY), scampered toward the kitchen in search of cleaning supplies immediately. 

Robb made a face at her that caused him to look alarmingly like Rickon, but he then agreed to go in search of their sister, muttering under his breath as he went. “And she calls SANSA bossy!”

“Well?” Arya asked as Bran and Jon stared at her in silence. 

“Well what?” Bran asked.

“Well where do you two think we should send them?” she asked in exasperation. These two had contributed very little to the discussion so far, although to be fair, neither had she–except to give them an update on their general budget. 

Even the older kids agreed that fifteen year old Arya was the best of all of them at math, so while Robb had opened the bank account last year because only he and Jon were over eighteen and could do it without their parents’ knowledge, Arya had managed it. The others had given her their contributions and she’d made deposits with Robb’s permission and kept track of the balance. Considering that only Jon, Robb, and Sansa had jobs–and they weren’t exactly full time or well-paying, they’d managed to collect quite a sum over the past year. Arya herself had done some math tutoring to raise money. She’d even babysat a few times, which was torture. Of course, she’d never tell the others that the primary way she’d managed to make her contributions almost as big as those of the older three was by giving Gendry money to bet on various sports events. First of all, she wasn’t supposed to still be seeing him and she didn’t want Dad to murder him, and second of all, Dad would likely murder HER if he found out she was gambling. Even for a good cause.

“They’re not really my parents, Arya,” Jon mumbled. “I really think you five should …”

“And THAT has got to be the stupidest thing of all the stupid things said in here so far today!” she exclaimed, rolling her eyes. “You’ve practically lived here your whole life, Jon, and you gave the most money out of anybody! You get a vote!”

“I didn’t put money in to get a vote,” Jon said almost sullenly. “I did it because Uncle Ned and Aunt Cat have given me pretty much everything I have.”

“They love you, Jon,” Bran insisted. “You’re as much their kid as any of us.”

Jon nodded a bit, but he didn’t smile, and under his breath he muttered something like “But they never had to do that” which caused Arya to roll her eyes again.

She adored Jon. It was almost funny because even though he wasn’t technically her brother, his was the face that came first to her mind if anyone asked if she had a favorite sibling. After all, he’d been the one who convinced her mother to not only allow her to play hockey, but to let her play on the boys’ team. But if Robb could drive her crazy sometimes with his belief that things were always supposed to go his way, Jon could make her equally nuts with his insistence on martyrdom at times.

“Seriously, boys, we’ve got enough to give them a really nice vacation somewhere. Not airfare, but Grandpa Hoster said he’d kick that in so we need to come up with something great.”

“What about Disney World?” Bran asked. “They both said that was a great trip when we all went three years ago.”

“Because we were all there,” Jon said. “It was a great family trip, but neither of your parents cared much about most of the rides. I think for just the two of them, maybe someplace else will be better.”

Bran frowned. “But what will they do anywhere without all of us there? I mean … they never go anywhere without us–except for Dad’s work trips. Won’t they get bored?”

Arya met Jon’s eyes and both of them tried mightily not to laugh. Bran was thirteen, old enough and smart enough to understand what went on between men and women, but still young enough to be completely oblivious to the idea of their parents as anything other than just their parents. Heck, she was fifteen and had a not-so-secret much older not-a-boyfriend and still didn’t like to think too closely about what went on in Mom’s and Dad’s bedroom when the door was locked, but she had no doubts they wouldn’t get bored on a kid-free vacation!

“They won’t get bored, Bran,” Jon said. “They do like each other, you know.” He laughed just a bit and reached over to ruffle Bran’s hair. 

Bran blushed then. “I know that!” he sputtered. “I just meant … I just …”

“Don’t worry, Bran,” Arya laughed. “It wasn’t even close to the stupidest suggestion we’ve had.”

“What about you, Bossy?” Robb asked as he came back into the family room, followed by a still pouting Sansa. “What brilliant ideas do you have?”

“I don’t know,” Arya said. “But it should be someplace they would both like. So no hockey. And no ballet.”

“I never said …” Sansa started.

“I know you never said ballet,” Arya interrupted quickly. “I’m just trying to make a point. Nothing that just Dad loves or just Mom loves. It has to be something they love together. What do they both love?”

“Me!” Rickon offered with a grin as he walked back in with glass cleaner and a rag. 

Everyone laughed. “Well, yes, Rickon,” Bran said. “We’ve already established that Mom and Dad love all of us, but this trip is just for the two of them.”

Before Arya and Jon could even cover their smiles at Bran’s about-face on couples trips, Rickon grinned more widely. “I didn’t say us,” he said, sticking a tongue out at Bran. “I said me. They only had all you losers trying to get a kid as awesome as me! That’s why they stopped once they got perfection!”

“You wish!” Bran told him, pulling the little cushion he kept behind his back in his wheelchair out and flinging at at the youngest Stark. Of course, he hit a vase which fell to the floor and broke instead.

“I’m not cleaning that!” Rickon announced.

“Could everyone refrain from doing anything stupid for longer than five minutes?” Arya asked in frustration.

Jon, who’d been standing closest to the vase, bent to start picking up the pieces.

“They both like the country as opposed to big cities,” Sansa said. “I mean, Mom likes the city, but Dad hates it. And even Mom is happier surrounded by green.”

That was actually a useful observation. Sansa really was good at this stuff. Even if she was constantly in other people’s business and wasn’t as perfect as everybody thought. “That’s good, Sans,” Arya said. “What else?”

“Water,” Robb offered. “Mom loves being on the water. And Dad does, too, as long as it’s not too hot. No place tropical.” 

“But warm enough to swim,” Jon put in, having somehow dispatched Rickon to fetch a broom and dustpan without making a fuss or raising a protest from the kid. “Aunt Cat loves to swim, and Uncle Ned loves watching her do it.”

“Eww!” Robb protested. “That’s my mother you’re talking about Jon.”

“Yeah, I know. And it’s obvious your dad thinks she’s the hottest woman around every time he looks at her, and this IS an anniversary trip.”

“Just shut up already, Jon,” Robb said, getting a bit red in the face.

One look at Jon told Arya that wasn’t going to happen. Jon and Robb were almost exactly the same age and had been closer than any real twins their whole lives, but they did love to aggravate each other. With a wicked gleam in his grey eyes, he said, “We definitely need to make sure the hotel room is really nice–in case they never leave it.”

Robb flew at Jon and tackled him. Thankfully, nothing fell to the floor except the two of them, and neither of them was truly angry so they just wrestled for a moment with Jon laughing so hard the whole time that Robb finally couldn’t help laughing as well. “Idiot,” he muttered, as he stood up to let Jon off the floor. “Just shut up about my parents’ sex lives, okay? Five times. That’s all I’ve got to acknowledge, man. Five times.”

Of course, that comment caused Sansa, Arya, and even Bran to dissolve into laughter until Rickon finally asked, “Five times what? And you’re not supposed to talk about sex. Big Walder Frey got sent to the principal’s office for talking about sex to some girl on the playground. She called him a dirty liar and told the teacher!”

That stopped the laughter pretty quickly. 

“Hey, bud,” Robb said, going to put an arm around Rickon. “Whatever that Frey kid says about anything is probably wrong.” Arya was honestly quite impressed at how quickly he’d gone from total dork into mature responsible big brother mode.

Rickon looked up at Robb a moment, as if considering his words. “Yeah. He lies a lot,” he said finally. “Is it true that …”

“Later, Rickon,” Robb interrupted with only the slightest hint of red returning to his cheeks. “Ask me later. Or better yet, ask Dad.”

“Please,” Arya said. “We need to stick to the topic at hand. Mom and Dad will be home soon, and who knows when we’ll get everybody here at once and them gone again. So no more acting like idiots. Are we all good with finding someplace in the country–on a lake maybe?”

“With a great big bed …” Jon mumbled, before bursting into laughter again.

Normally, Arya loved seeing Jon’s playful, teasing side, but as Robb punched him hard in the arm, and Rickon looked as if he were trying very hard to puzzle something out, she’d had enough. “That’s it! I’m starting an idiot jar. Any time you do or say anything idiotic, you have to put at least a dollar in it—more depending on how stupid the thing that you said or did was.”

“Hear, hear!” said Sansa. She turned and pulled a little basket down off one of the shelves. “This will do for now,” she said. “We can get an official jar later. Now, let’s get this trip planned.”

All the boys adopted serious expressions, and everyone who’d been standing found places to sit. Arya looked gratefully at her sister. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d wanted so much to just hug Sansa.

“The mountains,” Robb said. “Dad likes mountains, and it doesn’t get too warm there ever. But as long as it gets sunny and warm at all during the day, Mom will swim. You know her.”

“Yes!” Sansa nearly squealed. “And there are places with warm springs. I bet I could find someplace like that! And they could take long walks and go hiking and watch sunsets and have breakfast in bed and …”

Arya smiled as Sansa waxed poetic about the ideal vacation spot for Mom and Dad. The others actually all looked pretty excited now as she talked about it, and Arya had every confidence that their sister would get on-line and find a real-life place that wasn’t too far from the image in her head now that it seemed they’d agreed on a general idea. 

Maybe she’d keep the idiot jar (or basket), though. With this bunch, she could likely raise enough to do a vacation for the entire family next in no time at all. 

‘’Summer is the time for squabbles. In winter, we must protect one another, keep each other warm, share our strengths. … “When the snows fall and the white winds blow” - When winter comes; “The lone wolf dies but the pack survives

Quick messy sketch of our lovely Stark sisters and some random thoughts.

EDIT: some of the comments I received proved exactly what I was saying. Nice job :D. The bias is strong in some people. Had you even bothered to read any of my other posts you would have seen that I never trashed Arya…on the contrary I had shown my appreciation for the character and accepted her with the bad and the good. Do you think I would spend my time on a character I hate? I am referring to art. Do you think I would create FREE art of a character I dislike and try to portray her as good as I can (I am speaking of a solo Arya piece I previously posted). Someone said Sansa wished Arya died…well Arya wasn’t some angel either, and Sansa kind of bullied Arya (the whole horseface wasn’t very nice) who also seems a bit frustrated that Sansa got the ‘good stuff’ from their mother (hair, cheekbones, eyes etc). Do you have siblings? Kids growing up sometimes argue/fight and say mean things to each other. That doesn’t mean they mean it. How exactly do you see Arya? ‘Badass’ assassin fighter yay goddess of winter bae of doom? Well, she’s more than that just as Sansa is not beauty without brains. The people who jumped and ‘attacked’ (lol you little wolves you) seem to be the kind that worship a character and ignore its faults and instead will point every little fault of other characters. That’s what you proved in the comments. I never said I blame Arya for Lady or Micah. I was using your own logic of blaming Sansa for Ned’s execution. If one is to blame, than why the other is not? Are these situations not similar? Did any of them did what they did  to kill others on purpose? No. None of them did it to kill Ned/Micah/Lady. ‘Buuuut Sansa said/did that’/ ‘omg how dare you say a bad thing about our perfect goddess Arya’ etc. I never said anything bad, just the things that I noticed, and if you don’t like it…well I don’t fucking care. Most of the fandom is extremely biased when it comes to the Stark sisters. If pointing out the obvious means attacking a character then you have some problems. You are free to create your own art, spread the hate towards any characters  you want….because that’s how you feel. At the same time I maintain my opinion and I would like to invite you to read the books again if you think Arya and Sansa are enemies. They’re part of the same team. They learned a lot and they miss each other, Winterfell . Sansa thinks of her future children and one looks like Arya, the memory of the snowball fight scene when they play in the snow etc. It wasn’t all bad between them. Childish fights mean nothing. If I had a dollar each time someone told their sibling or parent ‘I hate you’/ ‘I wish you were dead’…I’d be rich.

Ned said it best. In winter the wolves must stick together. Another thing he noted is that Arya, like Lyanna and Brandon, has a touch of the wild wolf in her. This wilderness, according to Ned, was what put both Lyanna and Brandon into their early graves. 

 I’ve seen so much Sansa hate coming from show-only watchers (most of the time) and betting that Sansa will die this season  because  Arya is heading North and well there is not much to do for Sansa as she basically sucks according to some people. I love both Stark sisters for different reasons and IRL I share similar stuff with Arya which actually makes it easier to identify with her character. I have close to 0% in common with Sansa …and yet I still like her as a character.

 Funny enough Sansa is still blamed for a mistake she did in season 1/ book 1 while if I were to use the same logic Arya is to blame for Micah and Lady’s deaths because her actions led to that in a similar way Sansa spilling the beans to Cersei ultimately killed Ned (though that was NOT the plan, he was supposed to be sent to the Wall, but Jeoffrey did not listen to anyone and just sentenced him to death). 

Another thing is that Arya killing is constantly glamorized and  praised, while Sansa doing it makes her a monster. Saw some things being said that she could be pregnant with Ramsay’s child and that she would be a horrible person if she aborted it. There is moon tea, darlings! Sansa could have taken it constantly while being with Ramsay. There is also that wonderful fall that could have killed it…or the freezing cold and river…

Been talking to some friends and all of them said that Arya is the kind of girl they admire and her qualities make her more appealing/ attractive…which is a bit hypocritical considering that 100% of the people I’ve talked to were in relationships or married to ‘traditional women’ and not tomboys.

So lots of people think Sansa should be killed off because she is too weak and because there is place for only one Stark sister in the North XD.

But who is more inclined to hit the bucket? Someone who has learnt to keep their mouth shut and think ahead or someone who acts on impulse? Show only watchers are quick to dismiss everything that is book related, yet rely on ‘Arya’s GRRM’s wife fav character he won’t kill her’. Well…that doesn’t hold any water when the show is concerned ;) (plenty of proof in what the show did with Dorne, Jaimie’s redemption, Sansa’s rape, killing off characters that are still alive, introducing useless romances etc). If the show wants shock they would kill someone who is generally loved, not a character plenty of people deem weak. Last year I told everyone Margaery was going to die and people called me crazy XD. 

I personally think we lost too many Starks so far and those 3 that are left (Arya, Sansa, Bran) and Jon should form their pack and fight off winter. Each of them has their special skill sets. 

I was thinking of people that could actually die soon (SOME POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD):

Missandei- from my point of view she becomes a ‘spare’ the moment she reaches Westeros. Daenerys has the best of the best in her council: Tyrion. She teamed with Asha and Theon, Dorne and  Olenna. She is going to meet up with Jon who has his own advisers. Missandei’s skill set becomes pretty much useless. She is a good translator and knows many languages, but in Westeros Dany doesn’t need a translator and Missandei’s knowledge of Westeros could be very limited(I don’t know for sure how much she knows…she could know nothing as Westeros is so different from the places she lived in).

Meera- according to some spoilers she heads back home after Bran reaches Castle Black. Does this mean her mission is done? Possible. I wouldn’t put it past GOT to kill her off (not after what they did last season with so many characters being killed off). She goes home to her father (you know…that guy named Howland Reed who was with Ned at the Tower of Joy). Bran already knows that stuff that Howland knows. And according to some other spoilers Gilly and Sam will find even more evidence about Jon’s parentage. Do we really need Howland/ Meera? Does it even matter anymore that Jon’s parents are who they are? He as a bastard was named KITN. Spoilers point to a romance with Dany. Last season Dany said that she would have to marry and who in the 7 kingdoms matches her own title? Who is left besides Jon? A marriage with her would make him king consort. If she dies (and I think she will die in the last season/book…but that’s another post), he ends up as king of the 7 kingdoms. No matter what…he is in a place of power. Even if he renounces his KITN title in exchange to Dany’s help against the WW (which doesn’t make sense because if she wants to rule the kingdom she must first clean it u…but this is what the spoilers state).

zoetekohana  asked:

“Just stay with me.” for Jonsa?

a/n: this was supposed to be a short drabble. haha. that didn’t happen. this is all on you, Zoe! i hope you like it :)

very first contribution to the ship and the fandom. also, completely show!verse.

send me a prompt

Jon should have seen this coming. Really. However, with everything that has happened these past few months… Gods be good.

She’d seemed to be alright at Castle Black – well, as alright as one can be after escaping a monster like Ramsay. And oh, how he’d longed to beat him to death, not only for little Rickon but for Sansa – sweet Sansa, who’d done nothing to deserve such a fate.


No, that life had not been his to take, as much as he’d wished it. As much as he’d craved it - Sansa had deserved closure.

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Imagine: Tormund...

Word Count: 1,783

((I hope you all like it! And that Tormund isn’t toooo ooc! I’m afraid I need to get back into practice writing him!))

“I like you!” the words fell, well they were more like blurted, from the ginger haired man’s lips before you knew what was happening.

Your eyes widened and you could do nothing but stare up at him. Was he serious? He seemed pretty serious. And nervous. Really nervous. That might have surprised you more than anything. The fact that the large man, who was so important to your childhood friend Jon Snow and a valuable ally, was very visibly nervous over something as little as telling you of his feelings, made you want to laugh and ask if you were dreaming.

You didn’t laugh though, without a doubt that would not have gone over well. Instead, you blushed and nodded. “Thank you, Tormund, that pleases me greatly.” You reached out and squeezed his hand before turning and heading toward the chambers Jon had given you and Sansa. You knew that you left him standing there, expecting for you to feel the same way, but you weren’t sure how you felt toward him. You hardly knew him, and besides, he was a wildling. You had grown up hearing horrible stories of him and his people. Clearly, the stories weren’t talking about all wildlings, but it was hard to just forget about them.

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I am seriously wondering why D&D went through so much trouble to give Sansa Arya’s storyline and basically make it fanfiction and have it make no sense whatsoever. Seriously I’m wondering why.

It started when Sansa took the place of Jeyne Poole marrying Ramsay (and also being tortured way less). And right here it already doesn’t make sense. Sansa is still married to Tyrion, this marriage can only end if it’s revoked and also if one of them dies leaving the other a widow. Or (again) if it is revoked by the high septon. Which it hasn’t been because they were accused with kingslaying (false accusation though). But because of that they can’t go to the high septon without being arrested. So D&D go ahead with it anyway because Sansa should suffer some more so that when she wants to become queen (again, just like when she was little, only now she wants to rule the North instead of all of Westeros) she is empowered and people are happily rooting for the pretty girl with the even sadder backstory getting what she wanted when she was a whiney brat. But at least now she is doing it to get back at her rapist (who wasn’t even supposed to be her rapist like I said) and everyone that did her wrong, and to regain the Northern roots she never cared to have until the south decided to completely turn on her.

D&D can’t seem to allow any female “winners” without them being pretty and sassy, what is the problem with giving at least one female that isn’t a supermodel, that always know just what snarky thing to say, an interesting story (like in asoiaf). Just like when they replaced boring, not gorgeous looking Jeyne Westerling with fierce, pretty Talica and made Robb look like a douche in the process (but that’s another rant that someone else already perfectly explained). And now replaced Jeyne Poole (fake Arya) with sassy Sansa. So apparantly Northern looking Arya isn’t pretty enough to be interesting.

So then Theon saves Sansa instead of some nobody which actually was supposed to be his redemption. Then Sansa goes to find Jon and finds him on her first try with hardly anything stopping her. On the way she picks up a nice crew (Brienne and Pod) they pledge their loyalty and service, and she finds Jon,  they reunite and she decides to take back Winterfell while reminding Jon that she can do it alone and that she has the Stark name while he doesn’t… uh no? You actually don’t have the Stark name. You’re either a Lannister or a Bolton. And Robb disinherited you as well which will definitely keep you from ever being queen in the North if anybody finds out. In that same will he also declared Jon his heir. And considering you don’t have an army and will have trouble finding one now, you really can’t do it alone.

Also, why lie to Jon (about Littlefinger)? He’s already helping you with his wildling army (how does it feel to be the one with less power?). Keeping him in the dark about this type of stuff is how you make yourself untrustworthy again. Sure you apologized for torturing him all those years (which is basically nothing in comparison, but whatever he accepted), but this isn’t really a great start to working together. I feel like this might come back to bite her in the ass later. Or if they continue with this fanfiction it will just help her in getting everything she wants.

And out of everyone Sansa is the least likely to be getting any support from the North. She looks Southern, she acts Southern, she basically betrayed Ned for as far as they know, she has been disinherited by Robb, she always pissed on Jon and Arya who actually did look and act Northern, and she basically didn’t give a shit about the North until the South rejected her, and now all of a sudden the North decides it is independent and wants it’s own rulers, and tada Sansa’s childhood dream can become a reality for her, and she is a Northern warrior queen with more strength than you’ve ever seen.

On an end note: some things I said about what Sansa’s motivations are or stuff like that are obviously not the entire reason or hardly a reason at all and just sarcastic. But I was ranting so I’m obviously not going to be politically correct about everything. However I still believe that some of the sarcastic reasons I mentioned played some part in her thinking process.

Also there is more stuff but I feel like these are the most fundamental things that D&D messed up just to help Sansa. And I just don’t get why. They made Robb look like douchebag (it actually started with the Jeyne Westerling-Talisa switch-up  but that was not so directly related to Sansa as it was to the parallel with Theon saving Jeyne Poole, but still Robb looking like an idiot for marrying this hot chick he’d seen, Talisa, instead of the Frey girl also had to do with Sansa’s changed storyline), they took Theon’s surprising redemption and turned it into one that you’d expect and could see coming, and they gave Arya this dragged out boring storyline in Braavos. Why? So that they can all serve their Northern queen? Anyway if I list all the things that D&D did to boost Sansa’s personality and her entire storyline I wouldn’t be done tomorrow.

anonymous asked:

How do you think Sansa fits into the Stark family? Do you think either parent favored her, or does she slip in the background due to the number of kids, and the fact that she performs what is expected of her, leaving Ned and Cat to deal with her more spirited siblings? While reading your recent post about Robb and Jon, you used the family system theory. Which family role do you think works for Sansa? I see her as more of a lost child, or hero. Thanks for your time

Do you think Sansa was the outlier in terms of family relationships with both her parents and siblings?It seems like she met her parents’ expectations, and in turn, they left her alone. I can’t find anything in the text suggests that she was favored by either parent. Cat had Robb and Bran, while Ned had Arya and Jon, Using family dynamic theory, do you think Sansa played the role of The lost child, or The hero in the semi-dysfunctional Stark family dynamics?

Posting these together in part so you both know that you definitely have some agreement.

This kind of gets at what I meant in saying that particular model doesn’t quite map onto the feudal setting, because people are born to certain roles, whether those dynamics are applied or not. For many, arguably most, people growing up in aristocratic families, living up to expectations as assiduously as a “golden child” means preparing to disappear rather than challenge the line of succession. (I mean, if you want to argue that this kind of social system is inherently dysfunctional on a human level, I don’t have much in the way of a counterargument, but it’s less taxing to go into specifics with the characters with a quick way of distinguishing between, you know, Ned-grade dysfunctional and Tywin-grade dysfunctional.)

Before everything goes to hell, Sansa comes across as a pretty normal pre-teen. A little spoiled, but IMO less bratty than you’d expect her to be, given her position. I think she, like the rest of the younger kids, hasn’t so much been absorbed into those dynamics as a participant rather than an observer. She’s also not spending most of her time with the boys, so that ambient tension isn’t a constant thing for her in the same way. It’s still not good for her to have learned that it’s acceptable for she and Jeyne Poole to gang up on Arya or that the Lannisters’ status and beauty makes right, but that’s more or less what what she would learn from society anyway. (I’m pretty sure the reason Sansa gets such polarized reactions is that we get to know her as an excruciatingly normal middle-schooler.)

I also don’t think Catelyn actually has one favorite child. I think her favorite is whichever one needs her the most. When the story starts, she’s worried that Ned is forcing Bran to grow up too fast, so what she loves the most about him is at the front of her mind. Later, when she’s on the road with Robb, “he is the only one you can help now” and so she focuses on what is special about him. Day to day, I suspect Sansa is the one who had the closest relationship with Catelyn, because she’s the firstborn girl and the only one who’s actually willing to absorb the lessons about being a lady.  

Sansa’s dreaminess in those early chapters doesn’t come across as escapism, if that makes sense. She’s confident that things are going to work out for her. (Which is exactly how kids should get to be!) When things do go wrong that day by the Trident, she’s blindsided. When Ned’s execution bursts her bubble in the worst possible way, we see that her understanding of her family is separate from those fantasies.

Specifically, Sansa never once doubts Robb. No matter what she’s put through, however many times she has to pretend to renounce him:

“Your northerners won a crushing victory. We received word only this morning.“

Robbwill kill you all, she thought, exulting. “It’s … terrible, my lord. My brother is a vile traitor.” (ACOK, Sansa III)

I pray for Robb’s victory and Joffrey’s death … and for home. For Winterfell. “I pray for an end to the fighting.”

“We’ll have that soon enough. There will be another battle, between your brother Robb and my lord father, and that will settle the issue.”

Robb will beat him, Sansa thought. He beat your uncle and your brother Jaime, he’ll beat your father too. (ACOK, Sansa III)

[T]he lords of the Trident were sworn to Riverrun and House Tully, and to the King in the North; they would never accept Littlefinger as their liege. Unless they are made to. Unless my brother and my uncle and my grandfather are all cast down and killed. The thought made Sansa anxious, but she told herself she was being silly. Robb has beaten them every time. He’ll beat Lord Baelish too, if he must. (ACOK, Sansa VIII)

Like Robb’s apparent comfort with his warging, Sansa’s unflagging Stark-ness fits into what the readers understand about the whole family, but it’s not actually a given. It’s not that bizarre for Theon’s loyalties to be torn between his own family and the family which regularly dragged him out to watch executions while holding him hostage (which is totally not psychological torture because reasons), or for Renly to rebel against Stannis with the Tyrells despite having been nearly driven to cannibalism or starved to death by Mace Tyrell at the ripe old age of six. Or, more to the point, it’s not at all unusual that Sansa blames her father and Arya for Lady’s death, instead of Cersei and Joffrey. So it says something that when it’s her own life on the line:

Gods be good, don’t let it be the Kingslayer. If Robb had harmed Jaime Lannister, it would mean her life. She thought of Ser Ilyn, and how those terrible pale eyes staring pitilessly out of that gaunt pockmarked face. (ACOK, Sansa III)

She understands the consequences for herself if Jaime’s been hurt, but she’s not angry at Robb when the possibility occurs to her. It’s not something she’s been worrying about, and it doesn’t come to mind again. That security underpinning Sansa’s faith in her brother comes from somewhere. Unlike Arya, she never doubts that her family wants her back. I mean, look at what she remembers:

She remembered a summer’s snow in Winterfell when Arya and Bran had ambushed her as she emerged from the keep one morning. They’d each had a dozen snowballs to hand, and she’d had none. Bran had been perched on the roof of the covered bridge, out of reach, but Sansa had chased Aryathrough the stables and around the kitchen until both of them were breathless. She might even have caught her, but she’d slipped on some ice. Her sister came back to see if she was hurt. When she said she wasn’t, Aryahit her in the face with another snowball, but Sansa grabbed her leg and pulled her down and was rubbing snow in her hair when Jory came along and pulled them apart, laughing. (ASOS, Sansa VII)

Her environment’s affecting her, because how could it not, but I don’t think Sansa has quite been pulled into the type of pattern where she’d be cast in one of the roles fitting into that particular construct.

A lot of people in the fandom seem to believe that Arya is going to die before the series end. This thought usually based on two statements that people see as foreshadowings.

The longer you hide, the sterner the penance. You’ll be sewing all through winter. When the spring thaw comes, they will find your body with a needle still locked tight between your frozen fingers. (Arya I, AGOT)

Let me tell you something about wolves, child. When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. (Arya II, AGOT)

The first one is a warning from Jon to Arya. The second one is Ned’s advice to Arya. Like I said, people see these words as a foreshadowings, while these are actually sideshadowings. 

What is sideshadowing?

A character or narrator posits a series of possible events which never have any consequences in the story.

What is sideshadowing used for?

Sideshadowing draws attention to the possibility that other paths could have been taken. Sideshadowing suggests to a reader that one must grasp what elsemight have happened in order to fully understand an event. The technique suggests to readers that time is not a line but a shifting set of possibilities. Sideshadowing suggests that nothing can be wrapped up neatly, if at all.

In other words, sideshadowing is used to give a contrasting illumination to the ‘real’ event.

While foreshadowing makes the present and future seem inevitable, sideshadowing emphasises the contingency of the present. Sideshadowing is sort of an argument against inevitability, if you will. Where foreshadowing and linear “ideal” stories close off narratives step-by-step, sideshadowing opens up a narrative moment-by-moment, offering the reader the idea of more than a single possible outcome.

So, we know what is sideshadowing now. Let’s have a look at the words that people see as foreshadowings.

The longer you hide, the sterner the penance. You’ll be sewing all through winter. When the spring thaw comes, they will find your body with a needle still locked tight between your frozen fingers. 

When people point out these words, they usually skip the first part. But  what makes this a sideshadowing is actually the first part of the statement. Because first part offers us (and Arya) an option. And this statement related to the main theme of Arya’s storyline. Home. Jon offers Arya an option and  states the consequences of her choices. 

“Go back to your room, home, where you belong. If you don’t do it, then there will be terrible things.” 

Arya is trying to go home since book one despite all obstacles that stop her. During her journey, she takes many names to hide her true identity. But under that names she was always Arya Stark, she knew she was Arya Stark, so she was not truly hiding. This statement’s actual influence begins with Arya’s FM storyline where she has to get rid of Arya Stark and become no one. 

Though her duties left her little time for needlework, she practiced when she could, dueling with her shadow by the light of a blue candle. One night the waif happened to be passing and saw Arya at her swordplay. The girl did not say a word, but the next day, the kindly man walked Arya back to her cell. “You need to rid yourself of all this,” he said of her treasures.Arya felt stricken.

 "They’re mine.“ 

"And who are you?”

“No one.”

He picked up her silver fork. “This belongs to Arya of House Stark. All these things belong to her. There is no place for them here. There is no place for her. Hers is too proud a name, and we have no room for pride. We are servants here.”

“I serve,” she said, wounded. She liked the silver fork.

“You play at being a servant, but in your heart you are a lord’s daughter. You have taken other names, but you wore them as lightly as you might wear a gown. Under them was always Arya.”

“What we offer cannot be bought with gold. The cost is all of you. Men take many paths through this vale of tears and pain. Ours is the hardest. Few are made to walk it. It takes uncommon strength of body and spirit, and a heart both hard and strong.”

“You should. Stay, and the Many-Faced God will take your ears, your nose, your tongue. He will take your sad grey eyes that have seen so much. He will take your hands, your feet, your arms and legs, your private parts. He will take your hopes and dreams, your loves and hates. Those who enter His service must give up all that makes them who they are. Can you do that?” He cupped her chin and gazed deep into her eyes, so deep it made her shiver. “No,” he said, “I do not think you can.”

Faceless Men demand full loyalty from their servants. There is no trick, no lie, no game to play. You have to give up all of your names, your dreams, your future, your family; you have to give up your old life and yourself. Arya could not cheat them like she always did during her journey, these people are experted in detecting lies. At this point, we have to remember that Arya believes there is no place for her to go, she believes there is no safety for her and FM gives her safety, food and a place to stay. As long as she is with FM, no one can dare to touch or harm her, she has food which is she has been longing for a long time and a bed instead of hard stone. 

So if Arya wants to stay with them, she has to get rid of Arya Stark. And Arya decides to get rid of herself and her stuffs which are belongs to Arya Stark according to Kindly Man. 

At the water’s edge she stopped, the silver fork in hand. It was real silver, solid through and through. It’s not my fork. It was Salty that he gave it to. She tossed it underhand, heard the soft plop as it sank below the water.

Her floppy hat went next, then the gloves. They were Salty’s too. She emptied her pouch into her palm; five silver stags, nine copper stars, some pennies and halfpennies and groats. She scattered them across the water. Next her boots. They made the loudest splashes. Her dagger followed, the one she’d gotten off the archer who had begged the Hound for mercy. Her swordbelt went into the canal. Her cloak, tunic, breeches, smallclothes, all of it. All but Needle.

This is a rebirth scene while actually it has to be the death of Arya Stark. She throws all of her belongings into the water. But actually none of them was belongs to Arya Stark, those were belongs to Arry, Salty, Nan, Weasel and all the other names she took. The only thing that belongs to Arya in all of her stuffs was Needle. The sword that was given to Arya Stark from her favorite brother, that she always finds comfort and courage whenever she touches it. 

She stood on the end of the dock, pale and goosefleshed and shivering in the fog. In her hand, Needle seemed to whisper to her. Stick them with the pointy end, it said, and, don’t tell Sansa! Mikken’s mark was on the blade. It’s just a sword. If she needed a sword, there were a hundred under the temple. Needlewas too small to be a proper sword, it was hardly more than a toy. She’d been a stupid little girl when Jon had it made for her. “It’s just a sword,” she said, aloud this time …… but it wasn’t.

Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell’s grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan’s stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow’s smile. He used to mess my hair and call me “little sister,” she remembered, and suddenly there were tears in her eyes.

Polliver had stolen the sword from her when the Mountain’s men took her captive, but when she and the Hound walked into the inn at the crossroads, there it was. The gods wanted me to have it. Not the Seven, nor Him of Many Faces, but her father’s gods, the old gods of the north. The Many-Faced God can have the rest, she thought, but he can’t have this.

She padded up the steps as naked as her name day, clutching Needle. Halfway up, one of the stones rocked beneath her feet. Arya knelt and dug around its edges with her fingers. It would not move at first, but she persisted, picking at the crumbling mortar with her nails. Finally, the stone shifted. She grunted and got both hands in and pulled. A crack opened before her.

“You’ll be safe here,” she told Needle. “No one will know where you are but me.” She pushed the sword and sheath behind the step, then shoved the stone back into place, so it looked like all the other stones. As she climbed back to the temple, she counted steps, so she would know where to find the sword again. One day she might have need of it. “One day,” she whispered to herself. 

She could not give up from Needle, the only thing belongs to her. While she was standing there with needle in her hands as naked as her name day, Arya Stark was born again. She throws all names she took into the water, which represents death, but Needle. Needle represents Winterfell, her old life, her family, all the other things what makes her Arya; but most importantly Needle represents Arya Stark’s herself. This was referred in the books  a few times.

She giggled at him. “It’s so skinny.”

So are you,” Jon told her.

“Boy, girl,” Syrio Forel said. “You are a sword, that is all.”

Arya hides Needle beneath the stone. While she was hiding it, she thought   “The Many-Faced God can have the rest,  but he can’t have this.” Which means, “The Many-Faced God can have all the other names I took, but he can’t have Arya Stark.” She hid Arya Stark a safe place where no one, even FM, can find but herself.  So in a way she is hiding now. Which brings me to this: “ The longer you hide, the sterner the penance. ” 

If she becomes a truly Faceless Men and keeps hiding, she is going to die. But if she stops hiding and goes back to her home, she will be safe. And since Arya Stark was born again, we all know she is not going to be a Faceless Men. 

As for the second statement:

Let me tell you something about wolves, child. When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.

Ned gives this advice to Arya to teach her importance of the family, the pack. Again, this statement is related to home like the first one.

After her father’s death, Arya starts desperately seeking for a pack. She did this with Yoren and Night’s Watch members at first; but then they were killed by Amory Lorch and his men. She did this with Gendry and Hot Pie, but they abandoned her. Whenever Arya tried to create a pack, she failed. Because the pack  she created was not her real pack.

When he was done with that one, he moved to the next, and devoured the choicest bits of that man too. Ravens watched him from the trees, squatting dark-eyed and silent on the branches as snow drifted down around them. The other wolves made do with his leavings; the old male fed first, then the female, then the tail. They were his now. They were pack.

No, the boy whispered, we have another pack. Lady’s dead and maybe Grey Wind too, but somewhere there’s still Shaggydog and Nymeria and Ghost. Remember Ghost?

When Bran took over the leadership of Varamyr’s pack, he said to Summer that they have another pack, the real pack that includes their family. He said that, because Varamyr’s pack was not his actually, the only pack that matters was their family.

So Arya has to go back to her real pack. Only then, she can get rid of being the lone wolf and be safe with her family. 

It’s interesting that both of advices, that were given to Arya by the two most important people in her life, suggest her one thing: “Go back to your home.” 

Home was always the main theme of her story. Home was where she was trying to reach since AGOT. And I am sure she is going to reach her home eventually which means she is not going to die.


Word Count:

Warning: I tried -ONCE AGAIN - to write fuff. Read at your own risk…Also, I tried to write when my muse has officially moved out of my brain…

((To @box-of-sarcasm , I hope I tagged the right blog!, if you completely hate this please feel free to message me so and I’ll try to rewrite it when my muse decides to be creative again!))

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A Dog’s Tears: Why Sandor Crying Matters to his Character

Before I continue, I will not begrudge anyone reading this for disliking Sandor or being lukewarm to him. To me, I can definitely understand the antipathy towards him, if not be a supporter of it. 

I love Sandor Clegane’s character so much. I love a great deal of characters from ASoIaF, from Aeron to Cersei to Stannis to Brienne to Sansa, but, of course, they all have their unique charm and this loyal dog is no exception. This guy is such an important part of the ‘what makes a true knight’ dialogue, the ‘idealism vs cynicism’ dialogue and tone in ASoIaF that it’s really hard not to get invested in him, especially if you’re a Sansa fan.

I could talk about how he’s a non-knight who still tries to embody the virtues of knighthood (like loyalty and service) even though he disparages the office itself or about he’s a disappointed idealist who armors himself in cynicism to protect himself or how he doesn’t have the typical body frame of the ‘bullied little brother’ character (being big and strong) or how he’s a burn survivor and it’s not ‘cute’ or romanticized one bit, it’s still painful for him.

No, I’m going to talk about how he cries. At least four times in the series so far. Because it’s surprisingly crucial to his character and how we see him.

I’ll confess: I didn’t like him for the first half of A Game of Thrones and I’m thinking that was Martin’s intention. He’s by the side of Joffrey, who we decisively don’t like one bit, he’s telling off Tyrion for slapping Joffrey (though, yeah, Tyrion wasn’t being smart here) and he’s killed a child we know is innocent of attacking Joffrey.

That child-killing asshole! That’s it, you’ve crossed a line, San-

[The Hound’s eyes seemed to glitter through the steel of that hideous dog’s-head helm.]


”[…] The old man made marvelous toys. I don’t remember what I got, but it was Gregor’s gift I wanted. A wooden knight, all painted up, every joint pegged separate and fixed with strings, so you could make him fight.[…]”

Eh? I-what-bwu… sh-shit.

It hit me then that Sandor was just another Mycah. Someone who wanted to be a knight, only to get hit hard by reality. When his eyes glitter, it’s not him taking some weird shine to murder, it’s him tearing up at killing another idealistic boy who wanted to be a knight and being complicit in upholding a terrible system that hurt him and supported his tormentor. 

Sure, he might have thought, and had good reason, to think Mycah did attack Joffrey, but that’s not the point. It still wouldn’t make the killing of a child itself any easier. It’d just legalize it in Westeros’ eyes, which does nothing for his soul. Crying here reveals his complicated feelings towards his part in the system and rereading it helps us see the beginning of him as more than a Lannister sworn shield.

Then the Battle of Blackwater happens. This is a rather important battle for quite a few characters’ future character development (Sansa, Tyrion, Davos, Stannis), but with Sandor…

When he goes to Sansa, he’s not in a great mental state. He fights for the Lannisters, gets scared of the fire, probably seeing his trauma relived again (” Only a man who’s been burned knows what hell is truly like.”) and has been emasculated by Tyrion. 

It’s not sexy, it’s not charming, the way his despair and trauma shows itself, shoving a knife at Sansa’s throat and demanding a song from her. I’m absolutely sure he meant well, but… yeah, I’d call bullshit on anyone who’d say Sansa should have taken her chances to escape with him. This is not a stable dog.

And yet… while having a knife at Sansa’s throat, he hears her sing about wanting his wrath soothed (God, I love Sansa so much). He feels her fingers cup his cheek.

And it breaks him. 

And he cries.

It just shows more what a complex person he is, the person he is beyond his sword. Throughout all the horrors the Battle of the Blackwater shows to him, it’s the fact that, despite all the bark, despite all the blunt criticism he gives her, despite how much he makes threats to her, Sansa still has it in her heart to care for him, to treat him far better than he feel he deserves, that makes him cry. 

Because that’s what matters most to Sandor, not the emasculation or wanting to be seen as a warrior. It’s the fact that he feels he doesn’t deserve her kindness, given what he’s just done. Sansa’s kindness is a precious thing and he feels he’s unworthy of it. It’s a storm of confusion, self-loathing and mixed-up emotions that revels in the complexity that ASoIaF just dives into.

Then he cries at the trial by combat and wow, it’s a doozy. One of the brilliant duel scenes of A Storm of Swords and it’s a stunning trial for Sandor and his fear of fire. He had to fight amid his trauma with Beric’s blazing sword and then he burns.

[“Please,” Sandor Clegane rasped, cradling his arm. “I’m burned. Help me. Someone. Help me.” He was crying. “Please." 

Arya looked at him in astonishment. He’s crying like a little baby, she thought.]

Oh, Sandor…

This makes his trauma so visceral. He breaks down. No, Arya, not a little baby, he’s turning back into that little boy that’s actually reliving his burning from Gregor. The sensation of fire eating through his flesh. He was never allowed to process his burning, his childhood trauma, in a healthy way, thanks to his father silencing the event and his tormentor being rewarded with the institution Sandor revered for being a thug. 

Here, it’s laid out in stark detail, the effect of never being able to grow up from that: the sight of a grown man crying like a little boy. It’s all rooted in deep trauma and a loss of idealism his brother tried to burn out of him. It’s not laugh-worthy. It’s not emasculating. No one makes fun of him. Trauma matters. Pain matters. Sandor can never forget it. It’s sad and it shows us, through Arya’s eyes, the true extent of what Gregor did to him and the scars in Sandor’s psyche.

Finally, his crying and “confession.”

Many have talked about this scene in far greater depth than I can ever reach, so I’ll just say this: this crying puts everything he’s done in King’s Landing under a different light. Along with the words, it exposes his self-loathing, his trauma, his focusing in how he failed the virtues of knighthood by letting them beat Sansa and his desire for mercy from the pain. It bears his troubled soul to Arya and, through merit of third-person limited POV, us.

And there is genuine pathos. When he cries, we cry.

Without those tears, it’s easier to reduce Sandor’s character to a stoic, gruff pragmatic “badass” who teaches the foolish damsel in distress how the real world works or a child-killing psycho who thinks killing is the best feeling (seriously, this is such a wrong interpretation of Sandor). 

And that’s the thing. Lesser fantasies would go for the ‘men don’t cry’ garbage (fed via patriarchy system) with the kind of character people see Sandor as: a stoic cynical bodyguard who shouldn’t cry because he’s “badass”.

In ASoIaF? Sandor cries, and has damn good reason to. We see his backstory and see his complicated feelings towards Sansa, so we understand his tears and know why. It reveals what he feels and cares for. Crying is not a bad thing. Not at all. It serves as good emotional catharsis. It fleshes his character so much, shining a light on the man, the tortured soul, he is.

Sandor is not a stoic. The problem is, he has lots of feelings and emotions underneath his armor of cynicism, and that’s what Martin does with showing us Sandor’s tears: he doesn’t discount Sandor’s humanity beneath the armor, instead illuminating it in great detail.

And Sandor is what helps make ASoIaF a story of humanity instead of nihilism or deconstruction. Even big, strong men like Sandor can be vulnerable and it’s beautiful, the way the narrative doesn’t judge him for it. Sandor’s a man who wants to fight for a right cause, do some good with his life, uphold the virtues of knighthood while condemning the office and protect someone worthy of his service.

I hope he finds it with Sansa. He has done bad like killing Mycah, but he’s still alive. He can still make up for it and do good with his life. The Hound is dead and Sandor Clegane can pick a new path to live. If Sandor is the knight Sansa deserves, Sansa is the lady Sandor deserves.

munchkinloverss  asked:

Why do you think that, asides from Jeyne Poole, Sanda didn't have any ladies-in-waiting from prestigious Northern families coming with her to Kings Landing? Wouldn't it be logical to get the Manderly girls, Lady Alys and one or two of the Mormont girls to go with her? When you look at Margaery's entourage, it just seems really weird how Sansa, who was supposed to become the next queen, didn't have any companions, aside from Jeyne Poole, Septa Mordane and Arya.

It is really weird. Many people have commented on this – @joannalannister has an excellent meta on ladies-in-waiting, and an extensive tag, and @thetopofthecity’s essay on Septa Mordane is amazing. And while you can talk about the North being more austere, or more “genuine” than the south, often only real conclusion people generally come to is that it’s a fault in GRRM’s early worldbuilding, and a sign of his problem with dealing with female friendships.

I think part of the trouble is that Catelyn herself should have had a court of ladies at Winterfell, and yet… there’s nobody. Maybe it’s that GRRM wanted her to travel lightly, and thus didn’t create any women for her just to have to say goodbye to, but it’s still very strange, especially for a southern woman, even in the courts of the North. Maybe once there was Rodrik Cassel’s wife, and Vayon Poole’s wife (as Beth and Jeyne were in Sansa and Arya’s entourage), but they died? But still, those ladies, though from lower-level houses (not smallfolk), would only have been wives of household appointees, and you’d think other Northern houses would have been dying to have their daughters and younger sons’ wives at Winterfell. (Especially the social-climbing Karstarks and Manderlys.)

It also could be that Sansa was still very young. She was only 11 when Ned became Hand, and thus didn’t have the time to build up the network of friends and relatives that Margaery has at age 16. Also Beth Cassel was younger than Arya, and she and her father stayed at Winterfell – if Vayon Poole hadn’t come as Ned’s steward, then likely Jeyne wouldn’t have come to King’s Landing either.

Also, Margaery and Myrcella have relatives to provide ladies; both the Tyrells and Lannisters are “damnably large and fertile” houses, but the Starks have… well, nobody. No first cousins or aunts, no second cousins, no relatives at all until those obscure cousins in the Vale. There also aren’t as many ladies in the North as in the south – and while I mentioned wives and daughters above, many of them seem to be serving as the chatelaine for their castles, running the household (like Alys Karstark, whose mother is never mentioned and therefore certainly dead), and thus can’t leave just to hang out where they aren’t needed. (Social butterflying is anathema to the personalities of the Mormont girls, for that matter.) That’s where the austerity and practicality of the North applies, really, certainly as a contrast to the soft and political-jockeying south.

But still. It is a gap, a lacuna in the worldbuilding. And Doylist reasons of GRRM’s women problems or narrative necessity can really never satisfy the Watsonian need for understanding why Ned and Cat acted the way they did. When it comes down to it, all I can think is that Ned and Cat expected Sansa to gather court ladies to her, ladies already in the south, or thought there would be time enough for northern ladies to come to her as the wedding approached. (Perhaps eventually Catelyn would come to King’s Landing as well, once Robb was old enough to rule at Winterfell by himself.) But that was a failure to understand how important a coalition of Northern women would be to the future queen – not just like Margaery, but like Mariah Martell’s Dornish ladies and courtiers, whose influence was notable enough to make others envious – and it left Sansa most open to influence by the glamorous Queen Cersei instead. And like Ned’s failure to grasp institutional power, that was one of the factors that led to his doom.

*(note that because of Dunk’s actions, the tourney didn’t end properly… hmm.)

                                                   - Baratheon - 
                                                  (Lyonel & Joffrey)

She dreams of golden lions.  Arya says it should be stags, but he’s not like that fat drunk king, he’s gracious and beautiful and so it’s lions.  The lion of Baratheon sounds better than the stag.  Stags are prey, after all.  How many times has her father hunted venison, and how many times has she dined upon it.  

The wolf dines upon the stag.

That sounds fine and fair, and Sansa clutches her pillow to he and kisses it, pretending it’s Joffrey for just a moment.  He is so beautiful, and she’s to be his queen one day, and she’ll be as good and gracious as Queen Cersei, she knows she will.

She doesn’t know about Ice.  She doesn’t know about her screams.  She doesn’t know that it will end in blood and death and destruction, and that her lion is not her lion at all. All she knows right now is what she dreams.

                                                         - Tyrell - 
                                                               (Leo & Willas)

What did it matter about his leg, she reminds herself when she wakes in the morning, the secret a talisman in her heart.  What matters is he’ll want me.  He’ll want me.  That’s more than Joffrey ever wanted.  

It makes it easier to smile as she walks through the hallways.  It makes it easier to listen to the queen, or to Joffrey.  Only a little while longer, she thinks.  I’m to be wed, and to a good man.  

Someone who’s worthy.  She had not thought of those words, but there they are tickling her mind, calling to her as if from some dark cave.  Her father had promised her someone who was worthy when he’d broken her betrothal to Joffrey.

Margaery said he was worthy, and Margaery was the sister she had wanted, the sister she should have had, and the sister she was going to have when she was wed to Willas.  Surely Margaery wouldn’t lie to her, for sisters don’t lie to other sisters.  

She doesn’t know about the dress, doesn’t suspect.  She does not know that they know, and that Margaery isn’t her sister now, and never shall be.  She does not know that Willas may be gallant, but he’s never to be hers.  All she knows is hope and that’s enough to let her walk the halls of a bloodred keep.

                                                      - Lannister - 
                                                     (Tybolt & Tyrion)

They have made her a Lannister, and slain her mother and brother.  She was the last Stark, and now she is a Lannister.  They have won the war and there is no hope for Winterfell and joy ever again.  

Her lord…husband is kind.  Or rather, he is not unkind.  Sansa has learned that an absense of unkindness doesn’t mean that a Lannister is truly kind.  But he smiles at her, and seeks to make her smile, and perhaps one day she can come to admire him.

Admire, but never love.  She cannot love a Lannister, not after Robb, and father, and mother.  Her heart aches, and she tries not to think of what her parents or brothers would say to her.

Her father had promised her someone who was worthy, and she’d been given a Lannister.  At least he did his best to shield her from Joffrey, but every time she sees the golden lion on crimson she almost remembers blood on white steps before her vision went dark.

She weeps at night.  Weeps for she’d dreamed of songs and love and marriage and babies like what her mother had had, and all she’d gotten was Lannister Crimson.

She does not know about the plot.  She does not know about the poison.  She does not know that she’ll be whisked away in only a few weeks time.  All she knows right now is despair and misery.

                                                       - Hardyng - 
                                                         (Humphrey & Harrold)

She does her best not to dream of Harry.  She has learned what comes of dreaming of betrotheds.  She shall wait until she knows him, and knows that they are wed.  Then she shall let herself dream.

Her father plans, and promises.  He smiles as he drinks his arbor gold, and gives her significant glances over certain words.  His eyes speak louder than his words, Alayne has learned that well.  He does mean it, doesn’t he?  

She wants to have faith in her father, but faith is in poor supply these days.  Instead, she does her best to trust him.  Trust, because she sees his wits, sees the way he spins reality from words, and Alayne marvels at just how he does it and wonders if maybe she might do it too.  One day.  With practice.

She doesn’t kiss her pillow at night and pretend it’s Harry.  She doesn’t mourn brothers and parents Alayne never had.  She doesn’t dream of puppies.  She doesn’t even let herself imagine his face.  He could be as beautiful as Joffrey or as ugly as the Hound and it wouldn’t matter, not truly.  When she closes her eyes and imagins a great castle of strong grey stone, and Harry’s knights at her side as she rides north to throw the Boltons from her father’s seat.

She does not know about the High Septon, doesn’t know about his righteousness, doesn’t know that he’ll require more than just words to undo her marriage.  She doesn’t know about Saffron, and Myranda, or Ser Shadrich.  All she knows is that maybe, just maybe, she’ll be going home.

                                                    - Targaryen - 
                                                            (Valarr & Aegon)

“You’ll wed him,” he, looking harried.

“I’m already wed,” she reminds him.  The High Septon had not undone her marriage to Lord Tyrion.  She’d been glad of that in the end, so as not to have been saddled with Horrible Harrold, even if it meant that Winterfell…

“I should like to go home,” she says quietly.  “My brother sits in my father’s seat.  I am grateful for your protection, but I am a Stark and should be returned to Winterfell.”  She does her best to keep her bitterness from her voice.  Jon Stark in the end.  Robb legitimized him, because Robb didn’t want her to have the castle.  

“You’ll wed Aegon,” Littlefinger says.  “It doesn’t matter what the High Septon says now, or any of them.  The Faith has been shattered, thanks to our good mad queen.  And Aegon will give you all you want and more.”

All I want? He was getting vague.  Sansa saw that now.  Vague for his plans were all falling apart, for he’d not planned for two dragons–only one.  “All you want,” Sansa says quietly.  “I want to go to Winterfell.  You could send me with twenty men and I could be there in a month.  No need for marriage, no need for Aegon.  Only a need for you.”

“Alayne,” he begins, but Sansa shakes her head.

“Can you give me what I want?” she asks him evenly, and his green eyes are sharp as they look at her.

“You will wed Aegon.  The matter is decided.”

She doesn’t know about the knight.  There’s no way she can.

                                      - She might have prayed then,
                         if she had known a prayer all the way through,
                                            but there was no time.

This time for true, is all Sansa can think.  There is word that Aegon’s camp is only a day’s ride away, and on the morrow, Sansa’s to be his bride.  She somehow doubts that he will be like her first husband, and heed her wishes not to be bedded.  Perhaps she’ll want to bed him.  She’d once dreamed of being a queen, and now she’s to have it.  Except that like as not her head will end up on a spike just like her father’s.

As if she’d not dreaded it for years.  As if she’d not expected it.

The snow floats around her as she rides.  No wheelhouse can make it through the snows, but Sansa doesn’t mind the cold.  It reminds her that all this is real, even if she feels numb, and dreamy.  She dismounts in the darkness even as Lord Littlefinger’s men set up camp, and she looks around the clearing they’ve settled on.  It’s sheltered by trees, and it’s on the side of a hill.  Somewhere, she remembers someone saying that hills were safer to set up camp on than valleys.  

She walks around, feeling Lord Littlefinger’s eyes upon her.  He is wroth with her, she knows.  Once that would have frightened her, but she can’t be frightened now.  She’s in a cold dream, but instead of green firelight there’s moonglow and snow.  

“Lady Sansa.”  She looks about, wondering if it’s the wind, or the rustle of empty branches.  But it’s a voice, truly a voice and she spots a hooded figure, taller than anyone she’s seen in years.  The figure raises one finger to his lips, and then removes the hood.

Her face is scarred, and Sansa has never seen her before.  Perhaps because she is a woman, Sansa trusts her more and she goes to stand by the tree at the edge of the clearing, leaning against it and looking in.

“Who are you?” she asks without moving her lips.

“I am Brienne of Tarth, my lady, I served your mother Lady Catelyn.  I vowed to her I would find you and return you to her.”

“You cannot do that now,” Sansa says.  Her voice flutters, and her stomach is twisted in knots.  

“No, I cannot,” Lady Brienne says, and Sansa hears rather than sees the pain the words cause her.  “But I can bring you home to Winterfell.  Your brothers are there.  And your sister soon enough.”

“Arya?” Sansa asks sharply.  Her little sister is dead, and then was wed to Ramsay Bolton, and then wasn’t Arya at all, but Jeyne Poole.  It was that that changed him from Father to Littlefinger.

“Yes my lady.  At the head of a pack of wolves.  She had a little sword called Needle.”  But Sansa had never known of a sword called Needle.  It didn’t sound like something Arya would name a sword.  Unless it was a secret of some sort.  Why would Brienne think she knew the sword unless it mattered somehow?  

“A pack of wolves?” Sansa asks instead.

“Headed by her own direwolf,” Brienne says quickly.  “My lady, I speak the truth.  I would not lie to you, though I know that others will say the same.  I…you know my squire, Podrick Payne.”

“Pod?” Sansa says, startled and too loudly.  Littlefinger’s eyes flicker at her and she feigns a cough.

“Aye, my lady.  He entered my service to help me find you.  He has no designs on reward, just your safety.” 

This could be a lie–the cruelest of lies, but Sansa cannot know.  If Lady Brienne were a knight–a true knight…except true knights don’t exist, and Lady Brienne’s a lady, not a knight.  But Sansa wants to believe it, she does.  She wants to believe her mother sent someone for her, that her brothers and sister await her in Winterfell that she can go home at long last.  She thinks of Littlefinger, thinks of Aegon and the marriage bed she does not want.

“I will keep you safe.” She hears the words and this timethis timeSansa goes.

Sansa Stark and Why Feminine Women Have a Tougher Time Than Tomboys

After finally joining the GOT Club and nerding out with my friends, I realized I was the only one who really liked Sansa Stark and her storyline. Why? Well, no one really seemed to have an answer for that. “She’s just annoying and selfish,” they’d say. “Okay, well how is she more selfish than the other characters?” “She just is,” they’d respond.  So, I annoyed them with one more question: “Okay, well why is she annoying?” “She just cries and does nothing. Arya actually takes action.”

Sophie Turner, the actress who plays Sansa, was interviewed by TV Guide and said the following:

“This is what frustrates me… [p]eople don’t like Sansa because she is feminine. It annoys me that people only like the feminine characters when they act like male characters. And they always go on about feminism. Like, you’re rooting for the people who look like boys, who act like boys, who fight like boys. Root for the girls who wear dresses and are intellectually very strong.”

Genitals aside, whether it’s GOT or real life, if you look or act more stereotypically feminine, you will have a harder time in life than if you looked or acted more stereotypically masculine, and here’s why:

The average feminine woman dresses in a way that is physically attractive, which makes it seem like she cares more about her physical appearance than her intelligence, even if she is super smart.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have seen this happen or heard about it happening. Most people I know who have mentioned Sansa, accuse her of being a just pretty face and doing stupid things…totally forgetting she’s only like 15, when Arya, was running around dancing with a sword trying to hurt people twice her age. Both are actually pretty dumb, but of course, Sansa gets called stupid and Arya gets called bold. 

Scrubs actually portrayed this issue of inequality best when Elliot was shamed for doing a great job at work and looking pretty while she did it. She was getting so much hate because people didn’t know what to do with her. Usually the really attractive women are the ones who don’t have much to do, which is why they are so attractive….so people think. In reality though, women actually can have it all; they can be just as smart as they are pretty. Wow, who knew?

Most feminine women, unlike most Tomboys, don’t act out physically - because it’s “unlady-like,” and are therefore assumed to be less proactive even if they are really just being less reactive.

I feel like the second a woman raises her voice, acts out, or really just does what most men do, she is punished for it - unless she is perceived to be a Tomboy. Now, all women seem to struggle with this issue of inequality, but women who act more stereotypically masculine, like Arya, usually aren’t punished as much. I mean Arya and Sansa area a perfect example of this.

Getting back to the conversation I had with my friends, one of whom accused Arya of taking more action than Sophie, who just seemed to sit there and cry.  Oaky, I do agree with this person - somewhat. Yes, Sansa cried more times than she spoke throughout most seasons, but like hello people…..she actually knew about all of the horrible things that happened to her family after the beheading well before Arya did, had two husbands, one of which raped her…how the hell could she not be crying that much?  Plus, she has taken action a significant amount of times: when she tried to help ease her father’s sentence (which was kind of dumb and naïve tbh, but again, she was young); when she almost pushed Joffrey off the building, (again, dumb and naïve but she just saw her father’s head on a spike…); when she convinced Joffrey not to murder a man by making him drink to death and to have him as his fool instead; when she told off Theon for turning on her family; when she snapped back at Ramses for taking over her home; when she called out Ramses girlfriend for being jealous and not as great as her; when she trusted Little Finger instead of Brine…and the list goes on. Again, most of those things were dumb and naïve and came back to bite her in the ass pretty hard later, but if you think about, Sansa took as much action as Arya, it was just more vocal than it was physical and she was wearing a dress and jewelry while doing it 

Stereotypically feminine women, are expected to have a softer voice, which most people perceive to be weak or a sign that a woman doesn’t have the courage to stand up for herself.

If you want to be perceived as feminine in this world, you usually are encouraged to speak softly and “only when necessary,” otherwise you’re deemed as rude or disrespectful. But, when a guy does it, he’s being confident and “how a man should be.” This is also true for tomboys like Arya. When she threw food at Sansa during dinner, she got laughs. When she tried to hurt Joffrey, she wasn’t punished nearly as much as Sansa was. Now, yes, that’s also because Arya wasn’t around Joffrey as much, but even when she was, Joffrey took his anger out on Sansa even when Sansa tried to be nice to him and agreed that her father was wrong. So, what did he do? He had her Dad beheaded in front of her. Now, this is just a show, and they probably weren’t showing shots of Joffrey taking his anger out on Arya because his dynamic with Sansa is more interesting to viewers (perhaps because the majority of them are sexist, but oh well…), however, this is still an excellent example of how pretty feminine women are an easier target for men to destroy than more stereotypically masculine-like women.

Most stereotypically feminine women who want to be married and have kids are often assumed to lack ambition or “real goals.”

Sansa couldn’t fit this description more. She wants to get married to a prince, have his babies and be merry, which Arya reacts to, saying “Seven hells.” Now, Arya was speaking her personal opinion, but people, even in today’s world,  think this way. Most individuals often see others as having more purpose when they are physically doing something, like hitting someone with a sword. As most women know, being a mother, being a house wive, is a shit-ton of work - and it’s rarely ever acknowledged. 

Women who act stereotypically feminine are assumed to not be feminists

The definition of a feminist has been skewed in recent years, twisted mostly by men to now mean a woman who hates men, doesn’t shave, and intentionally looks ugly because “it is her right.” Now many women are enraged by this, however I have witnessed many of those same women look at a super feminine, girly-girl, and say “that girl is why men treat us they way the do.” Um, what? Unfortunately, and ironically, stereotypically feminine women are more likely to be blamed for being the reason men disrespect women than tomboys are - even if the stereotypically feminine woman isn’t flirting with anyone.  This goes back to the argument that if a women looks like she’s “asking for it,” then she deserves it. As much as women fight against the patriarchy, a signifiant amount of the narrow-minded/ horrifically disgusting views men have brainwashed into society still lurk deep within our subconscious, and feminine women are usually the target. 

Now, as I mentioned before, all women have a tougher time than men, but feminine women have it the hardest because they aren’t adopting traits commonly associated with males, and when they do they, like tomboys, are less likely to have a man want to sleep with them than if they were feminine. Obviously, tom boys have their own struggles, too, but the point is, we live in a man’s world regardless and women like Sansa Stark need to be given more credit - by men and women. 

Snow’s Bastard Pt. 3

Anon asked: Pt. 3 of Jon Snow’s bastard? Maybe Jon finds out about his son? Or continuing with the reader and robb’s growng relationship?

((I chose to do  kind of a mix. In this one shot you see Robb and the reader’s relationship, how it’s evolved, but you also get to see Jon meet Torrhen.))


(Word Count: 2,051)

“Jon is coming today.” You already knew this, but still you couldn’t stop yourself from tensing the moment the words fell from your husband’s mouth. Looking up from where you were dressing your daughter, Catelyn, your eyes met the Tully blue of Robb’s and you prayed to the old and the new gods that your face didn’t show how anxious you were. “I received word that our faithful Lord Commander is about two hours away. He was just spotted at the Last Hearth.” You watched Robb’s nimble fingers set the piece of parchment down on the table before he went back to buttoning up his tunic. “Are you nervous?”

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Barristan, Sandor and knights

Barristan has spent his life trying to be a true knight and is mentioned in the same breath as Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, Ryam Redwyne and other old, legendary knights. Sandor has spent his life denying that true knights exist(ed) at all and maintains that their ideals are dead as they are. Their actions, choices, lives and views on knighthood are fairly similar though. Both have and adhere to their own code of conduct and won’t break that code (at least not lightly). Both have very strong opinions regarding knights and knighthood. 

Wanted to be a knight when they were children
Barristan entered the Blackhaven tourney as a mystery knight when he was 10 yrs old.
Sandor risked his brother’s rage to play with his toy knight (and probably learnt all songs about knights and fair ladies by heart).

Were Kingsguard to a cruel king
Barristan Aerys II Targaryen
Sandor Joffrey I Baratheon

Protect children and those who cannot protect themselves
Barristan asked Aerys to spare Dontos Hollard as a boon to him after Duskendale and protested Robert’s decision to kill the pregnant 14 yr old Daenerys Targaryen. Also can’t forgive Tywin for the deaths of Rhaegar’s and Elia’s children.
Sandor took care of Arya in the Riverlands. Deflected Joffrey’s anger from Tommen and Myrcella on the name day-tourney. Lied to spare Sansa when she spoke up for Dontos. 

Act as teacher to children
Barristan trains Dany’s orphans in becoming knights.
Sandor advised Sansa how to survive Joff and King’s Landing and taught Arya about anatomy (how to kill efficiently) and survival in the wild.    

Left the Kingsguard
Barristan was dismissed from the Kingsguard.
Sandor defied orders and abandoned his post during the Blackwater.

Are ashamed of their actions as a Kingsguard
Barristan saving Aerys during the Defiance of Duskendale and wonders how much of the blood spilt by Aerys was also on his hands. Probably had to stand by and watch a lot of awful events judging by his thoughts in ADWD (“The keeping of those vows had grown hard in the last years of Aerys’ reign”).
Sandor regrets and is ashamed of not stopping his Kingsguard brothers beating Sansa and of killing Mycah.  

Regret their former loyalties
Barristan joined Robert’s KG when the Targaryen dynasty seemed over and done with after the Trident.
Sandor planned to join the Starks, probably in part inspired by his contempt for the Lannister-Baratheons on the IT. 

Acted in opposition to the ruling king
Barristan joined Dany in Essos and tries to convince her to return to t7K and take the IT from the Lannisters.
Sandor set out to join Robb Stark and wanted to become a lord bannerman to the Starks instead of the Lannisters.

Have been thrown out of their usual surroundings
Barristan is in a strange land with no one to obey with Dany gone, and he’s currently the only sworn and anointed knight in Meereen.  
Sandor digs graves amongst a sworn brotherhood who preach non-violence.

Have strong opinions about knights and honour
Barristan “Without honour, a knight is nothing more than a common killer.” The Kingbreaker, ADWD
Sandor “Knights have no bloody honour.” Arya, p. 655 ASOS

Barristan says straight out that it is chivalry that makes the knight a knight, if a knight doesn’t have honour then he’s nothing more than a common killer. To Barristan, even the anointed knight still is subject to the knightly codes and has to abide by them if they want to be real and true knights. A knighthood is not (or shouldn’t be) a get out of gaol-free card.  

To Sandor a knighthood is pretty much that, a get out of gaol free-card, it means being able to behave pretty badly behind the shield of being an anointed knight and therefore at least be somewhat acceptable in the eyes of your equals (exceptions exist of course). He sees the knights’ vows as less than meaningless, and knighthood as an empty and false institution that just lends a sheen of respectability even to monsters.

Barristan’s and Sandor’s views on knights and honour are opposites but rooted in the same belief, that knights should behave with, and have, honour; but Barristan sees the ideal that all anointed knights should strive to live up to, and Sandor sees knighthood as condoned hypocrisy, you solemnly swear to uphold certain values and can then casually do the absolute opposite without any regard for those vows. Martin has written these two characters, who at first seem to be each other’s opposites, quite similar wrt many of their actions and choices and their beliefs about knights and honour. There are of course many differences also, but these themey similarities are IMO much too many to be just coincidence.

Up to this point in the story Barristan has been regarded in universe as a perfect knight and the Hound has been regarded as… not a monster like his brother, but not really a good man (and not even a knight). They both knew of their own reputations and probably took some pride in them (definitely in Barristan’s case). But in ADWD Barristan has by his own admission become one of those KG-knights he thought of as the worst, “those who played the game of thrones”, whereas Sandor, whom everyone knows deserted at tBofB and is believed responsible for Saltpans, seems to have done lots of soul searching and healing on the QI and could now be poised to leave the isle and return to fight again, though this time choosing a worthier lord or lady, and a cause he could believe in. So Barristan is no longer such a perfect knight, at least not in his own eyes, and Sandor could be ready to accept that the world isn’t a grim dark place where cold steel and strong arms rule and that he is a much better man than he thought.

To Fade

cruyffsbeckenbauer said:
I have another one :) Rickon was never handed to Ramsay. Jon and Sansa know R+L= J. Sansa and Jon never go back to Winterfell. They go somewhere else. Somewhere warm. They realize it is easier to tell others they are married then say they are siblings. For two people who have never been close they are surprisingly a great married couple. (smut if possible)


I’m sorry it’s taking me forever to write up prompts. I’m trying to catch up, I promise. I thought I might actually finish one, just to hold off for the break I’m taking. Thank you all for your patience! This turned out a bit sadder than I initially planned. 


“Where will you go?”

The question slithered in mind the moment they sat before the fire. A quickened fear rampaging in her chest, a temperament of despair. To be left alone once again would be a death sentence. The sweet taste might have sated her, but now she knew warmth as never before, she was unwilling to let go of it’s peace.

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