Archives for posts with tag: Game of Thrones

This isn’t a comment on the portrayal of sexual violence in the media. This isn’t about the tact of A Game of Thrones. This is, however, a defense of the character Sansa Stark.

I’m not sure we’ve given her enough credit after last week’s episode, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. We being, by and large, the Internet: the fans, the commenter’s, the watchers, (or previous watchers), of the show.

Spoilers ahead.

The ending scene was horrific to watch. It left my stomach in a twist, a feeling that didn’t relax until long after the screen had gone silent. I reiterate: that is not a comment about the integrity of the show. My reaction had nothing to do with that. It had everything to do with the horrific scene. It was brutal. No one has argued that it wasn’t.

Now, let’s rewind. There’s the scene where Sansa is in the tub and Myranda is warning her about Ramsay’s past tendencies. We get a brief view of Sansa’s new and improved character with her line, “And how long have you loved him, Myranda? I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home, and you can’t frighten me.” It’s awesome. I cheered a little when I heard it. She’s so far removed from the little girl who confessed her love for Joffrey and dreamed of having his blonde haired children.

Okay, fast forward to the wedding. Sansa is hesitant, very hesitant, throughout the ceremony. She even takes her time saying the North’s equivalent of “I do.” She doesn’t have to say it. I’m not sure what would have happened if she hadn’t. But Ramsay’s face sure showed he would not have been happy had she declined him. He seemed to think she could have. That makes me think he doesn’t have much power over her. Yet.

Nonetheless, Sansa made a decision. She weighed the information she had. She saw a glimpse of Ramsay’s cruelty towards Theon in the dining room. She was warned. She’s seen the shaking, stuttering, mess Theon has become under Ramsay’s ‘care.’ Sansa knew, to an extent how, awful Ramsay really is. And she made a choice. It was a dreadful decision, but a choice nonetheless.

Remember her hesitation. What was going through her head? Her options, of course.

Okay, fast forward further. At the beginning of that dreadful scene when she starts to tug at her sleeve, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one hoping she was going to pull a knife out of there. The new and improved Sansa Stark would become a murderer, a gruesome choice, but the monster Ramsay Bolton would be stopped from enjoying any more hunts ever again. Yes, it would have been lovely. But then… what? Roose Bolton wouldn’t just let her have Winterfell after she’d killed his son. So, she escapes? How? Could we really expect Theon to just be released from his crippling torment now that Ramsay is gone? That’s a bit ridiculous, don’t you think? Could we expect Bolton to let her run off? No, there’d be hounds, there’d be mounted knights, there’d be a very thorough search sent on her heels. And where would Sansa be able to run to? No, she would have to kill Roose too, and quickly. So she sneaks into his guarded bedroom (Winterfell is full of people who hate the Bolton’s remember) and slits his throat too? Come on. Killing the Bolton’s would never be that easy. That’s part of why we like Game of Thrones isn’t it? It’s realistic because it’s complicated.

Sansa hesitated. She weighed her options. Saying no would severely affect her position at Winterfell, as would killing Ramsay. She was alone, with little help around her. The Starks may still have friends at Winterfell, but that’s hardly a safe bet against the Boltons. So, with her choices in mind, did Sansa run from what little positional power she had?

No, Sansa was playing the game.

I’m not suggesting Sansa chose to be raped. I’m offering that she understood the world she lived in enough to know what she might be putting herself through. And she knew the man she was marrying was not a good one. The marriage night she would undoubtedly have to suffer (though the magnitude of that suffering I think may have come as a shock, Theon bearing witness etc.) was part of the consequences she expected. I think she made a calculated decision. She could have hidden a knife up her sleeve, she probably even thought about it. And I have no doubts that she would have used it. Nope, none at all.

Sansa isn’t just the victim anymore. We just need to give her the time and space to prove it.

Now, if I can step back into the broader plot for a moment. Littlefinger left her in a despicable position. And though I’m sure he didn’t not know the circumstances he left Sansa in, (he is Littlefinger after all) I’m not sure he knew how much it would cost her, and by consequence, what it would cost him.

We all know he’s a creep, most of Westeros does too. I’m not entirely sure Sansa knows it, but whether or not she does, this is surely going to be a serious point of contention. He left her with the Boltons, and with very few options. She needs to get away from Littlefinger, and eventually she will. I think this might be the catalyst to that.

Sansa is becoming an independent thinker, an independent player, and I don’t think Littlefinger realizes it. He might, though, when he comes back and her own planning, her own resources, have had time to take root and his no longer fit in with hers. What’s more, she won’t care.

However it happens, it’s going to be a beautiful moment when she’s an autonomous mastermind of her own. And my point is that it’s coming.

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       This is a theory about Game of Thrones that was mainly fueled by the many names that have proven to mean more than just a name. They tend to have some major significance or some prophetic value within the story of ASOIAF. You can read more specifically into of the Stark’s name meanings here: http://thekingskeep.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/whats-in-a-name-stark-edition-2/

        The significance of names and their inherent meanings work equally for the Direwolf names. So here is my argument. The five direwolf names are prophetic for the “ends” (and here I don’t mean deaths) of the respective Stark children. Hear me out:

        Robb’s wolf’s name is Greywind. I haven’t taken this name to be particularly literal as the name itself is rather vague. It could be taken to mean a number of different things. For one, grey is the Stark colour. But what makes it a little more interesting is the wind part. Now excuse my extreme Meta interpretation but wind tends to be fleeting, noticeable when it’s there, but not long lasting. It can blow hard and fast and strong, but regardless it is short-lived. I would like to apply that to Robb’s campaign and life. It was short but strong. Robb’s legacy for the Starks made a significant impression in history, particularly northern history, but it was not long lasting. Hence, the name Greywind represents and perhaps prophesied his fleeting life and campaign, as well as his Stark heritage.

       Jon’s future is a little more interesting as it is the potential prophecy for something that hasn’t happened yet. I’d like to put in my own opinion that there is no way Jon is definitively dead. Perhaps for a short term he will be. Perhaps he never truly died. We’re not going to find out until TWOW. But, Jon’s wolf’s name is Ghost, and taking into consideration this theory here’s what I think it means. I’d like to think that Jon does die, and in speculation maybe Melisandre realizes that he is Azor Ahai (this particularly intrigues me when Martin writes, “I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.” [ADWD] Notice the capitol letter). After this realization she resurrects him with the Red Kiss. As such, he is “reborn.” Regardless I believe that Jon dies but will not be dead forever. Ghost is prophetic in that it foreshadows his death and his eventual time as a ghost (even if brief).

            Next, we have Sansa. Now again, this is slightly catered to another pet theory that my brother and I have that Sansa will eventually marry Sandor Clegane. I could get into that, and maybe I will, but not in this post. Regardless of whether or not Sansa will marry Sandor, the direwolf theory stands separate. Sansa’s wolf’s name was Lady. She attempts to embody the values and qualities that she has been taught are ladylike her entire childhood. Regardless of whether or not it is Clegane, I believe Lady prophesizes that she will marry a Lord in the end and become a lady of some castle, perhaps Winterfell itself, as Littlefinger wants her to have. The fact that Lady died symbolizes the loss of innocence that Sansa undergoes as she realizes that the chivalry that she was promised in childhood songs, and the knights and ladies she had envisioned as a child, were far and few between in the real world. She will have the life that she so desperately dreamed of as a lady, just somewhat different then how she expected it would be, catering now to the reality of chivalry. Which would be a touch of irony that Martin has similarly and consistently used before.

        Arya’s wolf is Nymeria. This wolf name is rather interesting in that it is named after Queen Nymeria who was a warrior queen of the Rhoyne before it’s demise. You can read the history here: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Nymeria. Explanation to follow.

        There’s a quote from ASOS where Arya talks about wanting to fly away, and how desperately she wants wings. That could be a foreshadowing Arya being a dragon rider, but it is not very fleshed out. This is what she says:      

If I had wings I could fly back to Winterfell and see for myself. And if it was true, I’d just fly           away, fly up past the moon and the shining stars, and see all the things in Old Nan’s stories, dragons and sea monsters and the Titan of Braavos, and maybe I wouldn’t ever fly back unless I wanted to,” (ACOK).

The places Arya lists as things she’d like to see are important as potential foreshadowing places she will actually go or things she will actually see. The ones of note in her list are the Titan of Braavos, which she has now seen, sea monsters, which could easily mean a Kraken, the Greyjoy house sigil, which could be any of the Greyjoy’s. Specifically, it could be Victarion, who just so happens to be with Dany, or will be soon anyways. Lastly she lists dragons. Hmm… How interesting.

          If Arya was to meet up with Dany and see her dragons, it’s very possible that Arya might end up bringing Dany’s people, perhaps the too old, the injured, and the women and the children from Dany’s original Khalasar and her since accumulated followers away from the battles and to a place of safety. Dorne seems to be a logical location as the Dornish have been plotting against the Lannisters and in favour of the Targaryens since Robert’s rebellion. This would be almost an exact replication of Queen Nymeria’s storyline. The only detail left would be that Arya could ride a dragon to lead them, and then marry a Dornish Prince. Again the dragon flying aspect of it is less fleshed out, and not pivotal for the theory itself but interesting nonetheless. Especially the way Arya talks about wanting wings in the above quote.

           Therefore, the name Nymeria I believe prophesizes Arya’s future in leading a horde of people to safety. Warrior Queen sounds like it could suit Arya pretty well to me.

            Next we have Bran’s wolf, whose name is Summer. It’s important to remember that Bran names his wolf right as he wakes up from his dream after his fall. Significantly, he sees the north in his dream. As in the north. “North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.” And then at the end of the chapter, “The direwolf was licking Bran’s face. Bran looked up calmly. ‘His name is Summer,’ he said.” Here, directly after Bran see’s what is beyond the north, and when he sees what lies within winter, he names his wolf Summer. This is interesting considering Bran’s current situation, his powers, and the expected influence of those abilities, coupled with this theory that seems to have wrung true so far. Bran is currently in a cave with Bloodraven finally able to begin to understand the extent of his power. As the readers we are entirely unsure of what that extent will be, and specifically what Bran can do. However, we are told numerous times and by a number of characters that Bran is pivotal in the impending battle with the Others as well as the fight against winter itself. Having named his wolf Summer immediately after seeing the north, it could very well symbolize Bran’s role in helping see civilization, or man, through the winter and through the battle until summer comes again. In this way it could mean a victory for man. Which men: Lannisters, Targaryens, Starks etc, is irrelevant. Survival till summer is the goal, and Bran may make it a possibility.

            Rickon is last but not least. We have Shaggydog, a little psychotic at times, and perhaps somewhat undomesticated, but nonetheless faithful to Rickon. However meaningless the name Shaggydog may seem, it actually may be the clinch in this theory. Rickon himself is AWAL at the moment. He departed from Bran at the weirwood in Winterfell. From there Rickon is unheard from thereafter.

              There is large speculation that Rickon is on the island Skagos: known to be the home of unicorns and cannibals. This is believed for two major reasons. The first is that Jon has a dream about seeing Shaggydog eating a goat with one horn. “A wild rain lashed down upon his black brother as he tore at the flesh of an enormous goat, washing the blood from his side where the goat’s long horn had raked him,” (ADWD). The goat with the one horn is thought to be a unicorn. In addition the character Wex says Rickon is at Skagos to Davos, who describes it as, “places in this world where men were known to break their fast on human flesh,” (ADWD). Both of these tales point to the island Skagos with their cannibals and their unicorns.

            As it is, fans have come to believe that Rickon will go, or already is, insane. Jojen himself says, “The black one is full of fear and rage,” (ACOK). Some fans of ASOIAF seem to think that Rickon is going to grow up corrupted, angry, and cannibalistic. Seemingly, that would make the most sense in his current predicament. Except, this is where the name Shaggydog comes into play.

            Seemingly meaningless, Shaggydog appears at first glance to be nothing more than a child’s silly naming for a pet. Even the name begs a sense of dishevel. However when you Google Shaggydog, it comes up as a term instead of a useless name cooked up in some three year olds imagination. It’s a literary term.

             You can read specifics here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaggy_dog_story. But what does this mean? Well, I’d say that Rickon is a shaggy dog story. His story has been long, it has been pretty anticlimactic up to this point, but there’s a large sense of mystery building as to where he is and what his being alive will mean for the north. Suspense really accumulates in Davos’ chapter in ADWD when Manderly asks him to go and smuggle Rickon back to the north.

            My theory of the direwolf names would mean that Rickon will be brought back into the story and from there it will putter into an entirely anticlimactic finale. Whether it will be that he is simply not the expected bloodthirsty cannibalistic crazy person, or that he will instead not end up being the Lord of Winterfell, or even just that he will be insignificant to the rest of the story. I think that the name Shaggydog tells it all. Rickon’s storyline will be rather fruitless.

            As it is, the direwolf names have incredible meaning for the rest of the untold story and the fates of the Stark children. Thoughts? Arguments? New ideas? Alterations? Comment below!

 

            Summary: Robb-Greywind: A short-lived and somewhat ineffective campaign in the name of the Starks. Not literal, lots of room for interpretation.

            Jon-Ghost: He will die, or has already, but will live again and continue on in the story. See above for more detail.

            Sansa-Lady: She will eventually be the lady of some great household just as she always wanted. (Personal favourite would be Lady Clegane).

            Arya-Nymeria: Replicating the story of Warrior Queen Nymeria by leading some of Dany’s people, those to sickly, old, or female to fight in her war at Kings Landing, to the safety of Dorne.

            Bran-Summer: Bran will use his gifts to overcome the Others and help men survive into Summer.

            Rickon-Shaggydog: A shaggy dog story, he will not be crazy, or cannibalistic, or horribly corrupt. He will not be Lord of Winterfell, or do anything exciting. His story will be entirely anticlimactic.

 

TLDR: The direwolf names are prophetic for the fates of the Stark children.