Sansa Stark has had a polarising effect on the new generation of Game of Thrones fans. While all of us were screaming for her to push Joffrey off the walkway, you may have fallen into the faction that passionately defends our damsel in distress, or you may have joined the ranks of the Stupid Sansa army.
Fact: “Stupid Sansa” and “Sansa push Joffrey” comes up in auto-complete on Google.
Or like me, you may be sitting on the fence, waiting. A decade-and-a-half and five books later, still waiting, for the now-heir of the North to come into her own.
For the love of Dragons George, do SOMETHING!
But are we being unfair to our Stark princess? I have always suspected George deliberately placed Sansa in a cast of strong women to illustrate the reality of women’s lives in medieval times (and centuries after that). Women, “the frail sex” were the property of their husbands, raised to marry, breed, sew, sing and dance. And not much else. Sure they actually ran their family estates when their husbands were away, but if they became a widow and their husband didn’t provide a jointure they were at the mercy of charitable relatives, or the crown. In some cases even if they had been provided with a jointure they had to prise it from the hands of greedy relatives who disputed it. The wives (and families) of condemned traitors fared much worse, with all of the land reverting to the crown, they were utterly in the mercy of the monarch who executed the head of their house.
See: Sansa Stark.
This week Jamie Adair’s excellent History Behind The Game of Thrones takes a look at Sansa’s roots in the prototypical medieval princess, how womanhood was a real threat to her and the parallels between her life and the life of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor Queen and mother of the Tudor Dynasty.