i really liked your meta about sansa/littlefinger but i found out you ship sansan :/ don't you think that what he's doing to her is at least a little bit abusive? sexually and emotionally? their relationship is SO disturbing and creepy, he's a grown ass man clearly sexually & romantically attracted to an 11/12 year old girl, WHY would you ship it???? i don't understand.
First, thank you for liking my meta. Here’s the thing… I wrote that meta based on textual analysis and in response to how the book community discusses Sansa’s complicated and conflicting feelings toward LF. Many people mistakenly believe this is Sansa becoming his protege. I did not write it with the intention of telling some shippers why they are “wrong.”
As far as shipping goes, I’m a very ship and let ship person. This is even when, and especially when, it’s a ship I find weird or distasteful. I stay in my little sandbox and I don’t pay attention to (let alone try to police) what other people want to ship. I’m too old to be barking up that tree. I’d rather spend time writing metas or my own fanfic. Now if I actually am going to argue with anyone on the internet, it’s going to be about the actual ASOIAF text with evidence to back up my position. Even then I’m highly unlikely to seek out such a debate but on a rare occasion some land on my doorstep. So…
As to your questions, let me start with the age issue first. Let me be clear in real life such a relationship would be criminal and immoral, as it should be. But this is a fictional world where there are vastly different ideas of what is age appropriate. Remember, the proper way to raise your seven-year-old boy is to take him to a beheading and make him watch everything without flinching (and that’s from our beloved Ned). I have yet to meet anyone who cried child abuse over this or stopped reading at that point. So I don’t put too much emphasis on chronological age in questions of morality in the series.
What I do look at is Sansa’s level of maturity and understanding of relationships and sex. I do care about her agency. I don’t ship Sansan (or ship her with anyone) in the early books because she’s still mentally a child and an abused prisoner of war. I want her to come to her own decisions about what she wants at her own pace, on her own terms. The good news is GRRM does too. He rightly separated them at the night of the Blackwater to evolve independently, but parallel to one another. Alayne II in AFFC is my favorite chapter of this transition to womanhood and maturity, contemplations on sex and love from a young woman’s perspective.
I would highly recommend this non-shipper essay on Sansa’s Sexual Maturation by sweetsunray that deals with the unkiss and Sansa figuring out what she wants. (pssst! It’s Sandor). A large part of her struggle is coming to accept the fact that what she does want is not the ideal as she always believed it would be. The books are full of people just wanting who they want and it has nothing to do with the ideal standards.
Do I think Sandor is abusive to Sansa? Like Joffrey and Littlefinger are abusive toward her? No. Definitely not. I think he was at times impatient and frustrated with her superficiality, naivete, and immaturity. He’s too uncompromising and overly harsh at times with the truth as he sees it. Yet, Sansa is not afraid to challenge him when he’s being awful. She is totally afraid of saying the wrong thing in front of Joffrey or Littlefinger.
The only reason Sandor cares at all about her is that she cared first. She responded to his secret, his vulnerability with compassion. For once in his life, someone took his side after the system rewarded his brother and failed him. It’s not at this point anything romantic or sexual for either of them. He responds to her compassion by being protective and supportive through her abuse. She reawakens in him a desire to be better. He’s a jaded idealist, not a nihilist. He does seek out her attention because he does crave a connection with someone, even if he can’t people around her. He doesn’t want the intimacy to end because of his loud and clumsy mishandling. He’s also frustrated with himself that he even wants a connection in the first place because he hates/fears the vulnerability that comes with it. He’s a ball of conflicting emotions about her that he has no experience in how to sort out. It’s very important that Sandor is written as someone who is as inexperienced in relationships as Sansa. It levels the playing field between them.
It’s not until Sansa has obviously started developing into a woman that he even notices her in that way (because the whole castle has). He’s very drunk and he blurts out the inappropriate comment about her body. It’s a very bungled attempt at flirting coming from someone who is also very emotionally stunted. BUT… after talking with her he realizes that mentally she is still very innocent. He knows it’s wrong, so he backtracks out of there as fast as he can, falling into an awkward silence. That is the very worst of anything sexual that actually happens between them and he backs off. Even the night of the Blackwater he is very drunk and his behavior is scary and wildly inappropriate, but it never crossed the line into permanent damage. He never actually did anything sexual to her. He also could have forced her to go with him, but he did not. She made her choice, it hurt, but in the end, he respected her decision to not go with him. Do I think maybe he wanted to kiss her? Yeah, probably. But he didn’t. He is not Gregor. He is not a rapist. He cares about her autonomy. He cares about her consent even if he kind lost his mind (from trauma) for a minute there which he really, really regretted.
This all says problematic to me, not creepy. There are issues to overcome. Good! Bring it on! That makes a story. Littlefinger is creepy. He totally does not care about her consent, boundaries, or discomfort to say the very least. Men of all different ages have groped her, forced kisses on her, stripped her, beat her, and have attempted to rape her.
If you don’t ship Sansan that’s totally fine by me. If it doesn’t speak to you, that’s cool. Ship and let ship. I will say Sansa x whoever shippers are probably going to be very disappointed come TWOW. All the mountains of text evidence point to future Sansan. I got a huuuuuge meta coming out soon that deals with all that complete with tons of evidence to back up my analysis. Bottom line, I ship future Sansan because GRRM ships it and Sansa ships it. Whatever makes that baby girl happy I want her to have. The good news is when the author reunites them it will be when they are both really ready and have dealt with the respective issues that made an earlier relationship a terrible idea.