she was already in custody (because she had tried to run like septa mordane told her and she’d been caught) when her father was executed. after her father was executed, she was held under guard or locked in a tower, constantly threatened with rape, violence, or death. she could be executed for treason at any moment, for the slightest provocation, because her brother was legally committing treason and no one was going to stop them.
if sansa had done anything — literally anything — tried to stage an escape through violence on her own, refused to obey orders, made the wrong comment, simply not been compliant enough, acted even remotely “like a stark” or “like arya” or whatever or just had a breakdown because her father was butchered in front of her along with everyone she’s known since childhood and as a matter of fact all the ideals and ideologies she’s known since childhood as well and understanding all the horrible things that could happen to her at any moment, age the age of eleven — she would have been murdered to death immediately.
furthermore, sansa didn’t “redeem” herself through the one moment her composure slipped and she tried to sacrifice herself (she’d certainly be executed) to murder joffrey and take revenge — there was nothing to redeem in the first place, because she had not made a single decision which was unreasonable or irrational from what she had been raised to believe and had any reason to know. it’s arguable that she made better political decisions at the age of eleven and throughout her imprisonment with the lannisters than, well, any other stark in the rest of the books.
I know i don’t usually hate on fictional characters but EURGH, I just don’t like Sansa Stark!!
She’s so rude, wimpy… basically represents this weak, subordinate woman who does whatever ‘her Prince’ tells her, and stand up for him even though he’s a complete bastard and she knows it. She’s nothing compared to the other women. Dany, Arya, Cersei… every single other female character seems to have much more guts than she does. I much prefer Arya in the Stark family. Even after Ned is killed, and she truly seems to detest Joffrey, she still doesn’t really man up..
Before the Sansa-faithful defend her honour by proclaiming all my above comments false, I would just like to point out that I actually don’t know what happens past the first book, so if you reply, please don’t say anything that might spoil it for me. Having said that, I feel my point is completely valid in Game of Thrones, since that’s all I have encountered of her behaviour.
Anyway, I just have a liking for strong female characters, so she just annoys me right now. I hope she toughens up.. am predicting she must at some point!
She was living in a fantasy world that, in the first book, she’s already woken up from. There is no way she could be the other women, she isn’t Arya and she hasn’t had the experiences to be Dany. By the end of the first book she’s already growing up, becoming braver. She doesn’t let Joffrey intimidate her and even though she calls it madness, it’s very brave of her to tell him that maybe Robb will give her his head.
so you want sansa to “man up”
she can’t man up because the entire position she occupies in society and her ‘new life’ at court is explicitly feminine. i know, it’s just an idiom; no it isn’t. to ‘man up’ would be to take action, to show defiance toward her captors, to take advantage of the greater range of options and solutions and techniques available to men to solve her predicament — to take up a sword and fight. because this is medieval fantasy! that’s what heroines do! they act like heroes!
except when acting like a hero would get you killed, and you have to find a way of expressing your identity and your agency and your ability that doesn’t involve something so simplistic ass hitting something with a stick and hoping things work out.
that is not a position she can occupy. that is not a position she has had the training for or knows how to perform, and it is not a position that would be accepted by anyone else around her anyway — please see arya’s difficulties in interacting with society in any capacity. the fact that she can function, because she must function, within the idea that society has set up for her should not be grounds for condemnation. she reconciled the role she was destined to play regardless of her actions — political marital bargaining chip — and made that as palatable and pleasant as she could. she couldn’t take a stand against joffrey because what would it accomplish, other than alienating the family to whom she was already contractually bound and making things worse. sansa stark has consistently been essentially the only person making sensible decisions for the entire book.
even beyond that, she’s being held captive, forced to occupy an even narrower sphere of passivity — completely docile, completely loyal, subject to the threat of violence at any time and completely disposable. her father had just been executed for treason. her sister was, for all she knew, dead. her family were war criminals.
what do you think would happen if she had “manned up” and done anything but pretend meekness and submission.
she would have been executed.
end of the story.
the fact that she starts to occupy that position, literally stripped of power and rendered completely passive to the world around her, and still maintains her personal integrity and agency makes her one of the strongest characters in the entire series. if you think you have to be able to wield a sword and be feisty and righteously vanquish your enemies on principle to be strong, then you are going to have some major issues with this series.
gendering the starks as masculine is gross and thinking that Acting Like A Stark is a good idea after you’ve seen what its results are in the first book is kind of honestly bizarre.