In Which I Argue Against Another Revenge Fantasy

About that wall of text in the previous post? I don’t know, either. Sometimes WordPress decides to fuck up my paragraph formatting, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Anyway. I want to talk about something else regarding certain stuff happening with certain characters in next year’s season of Game of Thrones. Let’s call this a direct follow-up to last post. Ready?

There’s another scenario that I’ve seen tossed around certain fora, which I will now argue against. I will call it the “Sansa Stoneheart” theory, in which Sansa basically takes on the role of Undead Catelyn Stark and commands Brienne to bring her Jaime’s head. Or maybe just bring her Jaime alive and healthy, the idea being that Sansa would give him a “trial” for his “crimes” against the Starks. (And, yeah, I can see how she’d be angry at him for chucking Bran out the window, but when Lady Stoneheart wanted his head in A Feast for Crows, she wasn’t thinking of Bran.) And I am not feeling this theory. Not feeling it at all.

Oddly enough, I’m open to the idea of some Stoneheart-ish ideas making it into the show in other ways. I can picture Uncle Brynden taking on a Stoneheart-ish role, in which he cares more about slaughtering as many Lannisters and Freys as possible than actually doing anything good. He may even ask Brienne to contribute to the Tully cause by bringing him Jaime’s head! (She won’t do that.) That’s a possibility. But Sansa won’t take on that role. Why not, you ask?

As I said before: Sansa is a survivor first and foremost. Revenge is not conducive to survival. As I’ve said in an earlier post: Game of Thrones does not reward characters for seeking revenge. Nope. Revenge is bullshit, is the message we get from the show, again and again.

Sansa’s arc bends toward her becoming more powerful and important, which means she needs to focus more on getting her shit together and less on punishing those who did shitty things to her family at some point in the past. In the interests of getting shit together, she needs all the help she can get. With that in mind, it is in her interest to accept Brienne’s oath of service, and once that relationship is established, what might she do with her new sworn sword?

We have a girl who needs to get into a position of some degree of control, who needs to employ her allies productively, who has limited resources at her disposal, and who keeps things like “keep myself in one piece” and “reunite with my siblings” at the top of her list. She also has trust issues with good reason, and Brienne is coming to her service already with an imperfect track record. (There was that business with the candle, and Stannis…) While I am absolutely sure that Brienne will be her own harshest critic regarding that incident, and she’ll be ready to give 200% to make things right by her new lady, the other side of the relationship is that Sansa is wise enough not to give Brienne a job that’ll set her up to self-sabotage. What might Sansa the Survivor and Loving Sister think is the most productive use of her tall armored lady’s time and strength?

If they talk together about their dealings with the Lannisters for a few minutes, it will become extremely obvious that Brienne adores Jaime and would gladly marry him if not for those pesky Kingsguard vows. From Sansa’s point of view, what would be the more likely outcome if her sworn sword came across Jaime: tie him up and drag him up north, or ride off to the Westerlands with him? What sort of task would Brienne more likely give her best effort, and thus stay a loyal servant to our surviving Stark: A) “Prove your loyalty to me by bringing me the man who gave you that fancy sword, so I can treat him like a criminal” or B) “Prove your loyalty to me by bringing me my sister so we can be a family again”? I think “bring me my sister” is more thematically appropriate for Sansa’s arc. It’s more the type of thinking the show tends to reward.

Granted, I still don’t have any positive evidence in support of the “bring me my sister” assignment except that it answers some questions, but it DOES add up much better than “Bring me your beloved knight’s head, if you are no traitor.”

And I’m sure of one thing: if Sansa tells Brienne to bring her the head of Jaime Lannister, Brienne will not comply. She may go far enough south to make it look like she’s following the order. She may even tell herself for a while that Sansa is more important to her than Jaime. But actually, Sansa will not be more important to her if she asks Brienne to do THAT.

3 thoughts on “In Which I Argue Against Another Revenge Fantasy

  1. As well, why would Sansa target Jaime in the first place? Priority #1 should be to get out of Bolton territory, get to safety.

    Yeah, I don’t really feel Sansa demanding Brienne bring back Jaime’s head.

    • I think the scenario they’re picturing is that they get some ways south, they meet some new allies who’ll protect Sansa well enough to let Brienne go somewhere else and do other things, and that’s when Sansa gives her the new task.

      But seriously, even once her living situation is squared away, Sansa has better fish to fry than attacking the dowager queen’s twin brother. The Lannisters are hardly a concern for her at this point.

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