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***Warning: This post contains spoilers from the HBO series Game of Thrones, and you know how I feel about spoilers – consider yourself warned.***
The Game of Thrones fourth season opener was fantastic. It had the all of the blood and boobs that we’ve come to expect. But it also had something else that I loved: strong girls.
Yes, girls. I’m not talking about Cersei or Shae or Brienne, all of them grown women (though, strong? The first two are up for debate). And not Daenerys either. She’s got dragons. She’s a whole other story.
No, I’m talking about the Stark sisters, Arya and Sansa.
We all think of Arya as strong. From the beginning we saw her as a tomboy who would rather play with swords than sew with her sister. She looked down on anything remotely girly, and so far that has probably kept her alive.
The cathartic feelings that ran through me in the last few minutes of the episode, when Arya gets the ultimate revenge on Polliver, were epic. I knew it was coming – I’ve read the books. But seeing it happen…perfection.
It was as if Arya had finally found herself, had become whole. Had become the warrior she’d always wanted to be, but thought she never could be. If her family hadn’t been torn apart, she’d have been stuck with a life as a wife and mother. Tragedy freed her from a different kind of hell than she’s in now. (I wonder, in her quietest moments, which she would pick if she had the choice: her family alive and whole, or her freedom from female bondage?)
On the other hand we have Sansa. Polite, proper, and some would say timid. But as much as I would love to see Sansa scream hatred at everyone around her, there is not a doubt in my mind that her head would be on a spike next to her father’s within ten minutes . She’s not timid, she’s smart.
She fights the only way she knows how, by being a lady. She knows that only by being perfect, by not offending, will she survive. She can’t lash out like Arya, she wouldn’t know how. She had dreamed her whole life of being a wife, not a warrior. She doesn’t have the tools.
Instead, she hurts with coldness, and with (very few) words.
Tyrion could be a wonderful companion for Sansa if she’d let him in, but she can’t see past his family’s actions. She’s blind to his kindness. And since she can’t hurt the people she really wants to hurt, she hurts poor Tyrion. By shutting him out. By shutting out everything.
And I ask you, who is stronger? Arya, for becoming her destiny, or Sansa, for surviving when by all rights she should have thrown herself out of a window?
When in trouble, both girls turned to their training, to what they wanted most of all, to what came the most naturally.
Arya has it easy – she has Needle.
Sansa only has herself, what’s inside her own head.
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