Monday, April 25, 2016

Character Sketch: Sansa Stark

Sophie Turner as Lady Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones

(Note: I had plans to do Sansa's sketch in April, long before I knew that season 6 was premiering last night!
 Perfect timing though!!)
     One of the most controversial characters in the Game of Thrones series, Sansa Stark's character can be summed up in one word, conflicting. Beautiful, polite, generous and noble, Sansa Stark is a quintessential lady that would have the makings of a loved queen. And that is all Sansa has wanted...or is it what she has been told to want? Is Sansa just an airhead with unrealistic romantic ideals or is she a product of her environment?

     When we first meet Lady Sansa, she is a sweet natured teenager living with her family at their home in Winterfell, set in the great North of Westeros. Sansa is the oldest daughter of Lord Eddard and Lady Catlyn Stark. She has one older brother, Robb, two little brothers, Bran and Rickon and one younger sister (and the bane of her existence), tomboyish Arya. Needless to say, Sansa is the pride and joy of her family and all of Winterfell have high hopes for her to marry Crown Prince Joffrey.  

      Sansa has been raised to be a lady who may end up becoming a queen. That is all she has known and that is what has been encouraged her whole life. So, how can one accuse Sansa of daydreaming about castles and crowns when that is what she has grown up expecting to happen to her? Her mother had no problem shipping her daughter off to marry a boy she had only known for 24 hours. Her father, although he saw the Lannisters as nothing short of satanic, still encouraged the marriage because that's what was done. That was the only reason to have a daughter. Only Arya had the sense to see that this was dangerous for her sister and it's understandable why she wanted no part in becoming a lady.

Sophie Turner as Lady Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones
     Eventually, Sansa's hopes and dreams of marriage and children begin to crumble. Joffrey and his family (with the exception of his uncle, Tyrion) turn out to be cruel, manipulative and inhumane. Sansa watched as they executed her father and then proceeded to keep her as a hostage using her as leverage for the war between the Starks and the rest of Westeros. Sansa is beaten, abused, almost sexually assaulted and humiliated to no end. Her only allies are Tyrion (whom she is made to marry), Shae (her lady in waiting and Tryion's secret mistress) and illusive Petyr Balish, who ends up betraying her in the end. Not much hope for her at all.
     Yet, no matter how many disasters Sansa must face, there is one thing that holds her together and becomes her consistent sanctuary. She is still a Stark of Winterfell. While she may have been taught to be a lady, she was also raised to reason, ascertain, and weigh every option. She was taught to think on her feet and not lay down dead when she's pushed to the ground. While Sansa's childhood may have a protective bubble of family perfection, she was not without the knowledge of the evils of the world. 

     Every person has their breaking point and at the end of Season 5, Sansa has finally hit hers. She is at the absolute worst in her life. Trapped in a abusive marriage with no allies and increasingly no hope, Sansa would rather die trying to escape than live in this nightmare that was once her home. Up till now Sansa's whole life on the show has been a crucible of pain, heartache and fear. Now, from the crucible, a naive, romantic, sweet girl is transformed into a strong-willed, courageous she-wolf that is finally ready to fight for her family, her home and for herself. 

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