George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones, recently said that he was “a feminist at heart.” You might roll your eyes at that. Sometimes on HBO’s adaptation of Game of Thrones we might lose track of that feminist message. That oversight might be because there are always gratuitous lesbian sex scenes in the background while people discuss the nature of power. But then, George R.R. Martin also inserts female characters who are very smart and dignified and competent, even if they do… sometimes engage in completely gratuitous lesbian sex scenes.
You know who makes the strongest case for feminism and its importance on Game of Thrones? Sansa Stark.
I love Sansa. I love her.
I know, I know, she’s probably not your favorite character. People tend to prefer her sister, Arya, who is plucky and traveling the roads dressed up as a boy. Or Cersei Lannister, King Joffrey’s mother, who, well, seems like a fun drunk and also pretty unyielding. Or Daenerys Targaryen, who is the mother of dragons and played by the insanely lovely Emilia Clarke. And now that Margaery Tyrell is on the scene and has taken Sansa’s place as Joffrey’s fiance (and seems better suited to the position) Sansa appears even less relevant.
So why are we even talking about her?
Even when she seemed to be a major character, she was reviled. Why? Well, mostly because she was the most typically feminine. Over at Feminist Fiction they write:
Sansa Stark must be one of the most hated characters in A Song of Ice and Fire. The vitriol levelled against her is often frightening in its intensity, surpassing that for actually horrific characters like Joffrey and Ramsey Bolton. Her crime? The unforgivable fact that she is a pre-teen girl.
As a massive fan of Sansa, even I must admit that she is difficult to like at first. She’s spoilt and a bit bratty. She fights with her fan-favorite sister and trusts characters who the reader knows are completely untrustworthy. She is hopelessly naive and lost in dreams of pretty princes and dashing knights. She acts, for all intents and purposes, like the eleven year old girl that she is.