Harper’s Bazaar recently labelled the feud between Daenerys Targaryen and Sansa Stark as “gendered and regressive”. Another publication, Buzzfeed, criticised Sansa Stark for the “dagger eyes” she had levelled at Daenerys Targaryen. A series based on political intrigue quickly became branded as anti-feminist following the showdown between Sansa and Daenerys despite the two characters significantly incompatible political aims. Their ultimately conflicting political interests which raised legitimate concerns as to the regency of the North and Westeros was a narrative denied in favour of decrying the lack of feminist solidarity between Sansa and Daenerys. The great expectation for Sansa and Daenerys to support each other simply for being women is not only gendered and regressive, but also undermines their ability to be recognised as equals as well as the credibility of their contrasting political aspirations.
It is important to question whether, if both Sansa and Daenerys were male characters, the same conversation would be taking place. In Season 7 of Game of Thrones, Jon Snow refuses to bend the knee to Daenerys Targaryen in their first meeting which took place in Daenerys’s ancestral home, Dragonstone. Jon was neither dubbed sexist nor condemned as “catty”. Just as Jon Snow initially displayed misgivings with respect to accepting Daenerys’s rule, Sansa Stark, likewise, is skeptical of Daenerys. Another key factor that must also be considered is that Sansa Stark’s character arc begins with her naively placing trust in the beautiful and golden Lannister’s, her trust ultimately proving to be misplaced in the penultimate episode of Season One, ‘Baelor’, when her father, Ned Stark, is executed by the Lannister’s. It would be an immense disservice to the character growth of Sansa Stark should she replicate that same blind faith in Daenerys Targaryen.
Sansa Stark reserves the right to carry out an independent appraisal of Daenerys Targaryen separate to Jon Snow. Though Jon Snow is the King in the North, Winterfell ultimately belongs to the Stark’s and the North of which Sansa Stark fought tirelessly to take back. Sansa, also, suspects that Jon’s judgement has been compromised by his relationship with Daenerys packaged with the Dragon Queen’s notorious beauty and the power of her dragons. It becomes all the more important for Sansa to exercise her own agency to form a judgement unaffected by Daenerys’s beauty and any possibilities of developing a romance with Daenerys. The denial of this exercise of agency and independent thinking is rooted in anti-feminist ideology.
However compassionate Jon Snow is, his stinted ability to accurately judge others has often created serious trouble for him which his cousin, Sansa Stark, would have likely considered. This is demonstrably evident in Jon Snow’s short-lived reign as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Subsequent to Jon’s controversial and momentous granting of refuge to the Free Folk south of the Wall, he fails to unify and repair the relationship between the Night’s Watch and the wildlings. Jon Snow heedlessly assumes, despite the objections of the Night’s Watch to cooperate with the Free Folk, that his decisions will be followed purely because he is the Lord Commander. Consequently, Jon is marked as a ‘traitor’ and murdered by members of the Night’s Watch. Jon Snow’s failure to anticipate severe consequences and discern possibly dangerous characters, two areas Sansa Stark has received ample tutelage in from her time in King’s Landing, more than qualifies Sansa’s right to analyse and identify possible threats to not only Northern independence but, also, the security and livelihood of the Northerner’s.
Questions were raised as to the justification of Sansa’s lack of trust in Daenerys Targaryen and doubts as to Sansa’s own trustworthiness herself based on previous events. One such event brought into question was Sansa Stark’s decision to not inform Jon Snow about the Knights of the Vale in Season 6 which had led to a great deal of scrutiny of Sansa’s underlying motives. However, if Sansa had informed Jon Snow about the Knights of the Vale, who’s to say that Jon would not have made the same significant error of attempting to rescue his brother, Rickon Stark? Rickon, as the last living male Stark heir, was unofficially dead the moment Ramsay Bolton captured him as Rickon’s existence was a challenge to his claim as the Lord of Winterfell. Sansa warns Jon: “[Ramsay is] the one who lays traps… he plays with people.” Jon dismisses Sansa’s advice. He subsequently fails in his rescue mission and finds himself alone on the battlefield as Ramsay had planned. This renders any knowledge of the incorporation of the Knights of the Vale into their army futile as Jon was always going to fall for Ramsay’s trap. The only difference, a vital difference, is that the incorporation of the Knights of the Vale in their army at the start of the battle could have potentially resulted in higher casualties. The Knights of the Vale’s last-minute arrival is the sole reason Jon and Sansa won the Battle of the Bastards. In light of this, it is important to note the clear distinction between Jon and Sansa in their abilities to read other character’s well.
In the first episode of Season 8 titled ‘Winterfell’, Daenerys Targaryen delivers Sansa ample reason to distrust her. Sansa Stark raises legitimate logistical concerns, albeit rather curtly. She asks Daenerys how she is supposed to feed this huge army that Daenerys has brought to Winterfell, adding: “What do dragons eat, anyway?” Daenerys issues a veiled threat by smugly and unhelpfully retorting: “Whatever they want.” Though this could be easily dismissed as verbal sparring, it possibly exposes Daenerys to her own shortcomings concerning her administrative capabilities. Daenerys may have been recalling her actions in the Field of Fire 2.0 in Season 7 during which she torches the loot train notwithstanding the pressing concern of feeding her army. Her failure to apply caution and sound logic ensures the loss of much needed stock which may have alleviated the burden placed on Sansa’s existing, but limited, stock that she had diligently collected. Daenerys’s lack of effective planning for the harsh conditions of winter sows a seed of concern as Daenerys had clearly delegated heavy administrative responsibilities to Sansa illustrating her reluctance to shoulder the responsibility of feeding her army herself, and an unwillingness to take accountability of her own actions.
In the same episode, Daenerys is, later, troubled upon discovering that her dragons are “barely eating” having merely consumed 18 goats and 11 sheep. Such an amount would hardly qualify as “barely” any food for the Northerners as it could potentially have fed a considerable number of families. So, what else do dragons eat if they cannot locate livestock? In Season 4, Hazzea, a Meereenese farmer’s four-year-old daughter, is killed by Drogon. Daenerys is grief-stricken for a lengthy spell, going so far as to cage Viserion and Rhaegal in the catacombs. However, by the end of the fifth novel, ‘A Dance with Dragons,’ Daenerys no longer remembers the child’s name. In that same POV, worryingly omitted in the television adaptation, Daenerys’s inner monologue reveals her decision to discard notions of peace and diplomacy in favour of unleashing her inherent ‘Fire and Blood’ nature in her pursuit for the Iron Throne, and, thereby, willfully ignoring the possibility of innocent children becoming collateral damage. Though Sansa is not privy to Daenerys Targaryen’s inner monologue, some readers shared their concerns of a peaceful rule under Daenerys.
Sansa is right to question Daenerys; she understands what ruling entails, whereas Daenerys’s frequent succumbing to her ‘Fire and Blood’ nature palpably demonstrates a shirking of administrative responsibilities central to ruling a kingdom which Daenerys, in the book series, is aware of, but plans to resolve through violence. Unfortunately, it appears that Daenerys, in the HBO series, believes in her full might to feed her army through ‘witty’ quips. That’ll feed ’em.
In the second episode titled ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,’ Daenerys spins the Lena Dunham, ‘girl power’, white feminist spiel on Sansa (that smile said it all). Daenerys presumptuously interprets Sansa’s grievance to be rooted in misogyny failing to comprehend the threat that Daenerys, herself, poses to Northern independence. Daenerys attempts to bond with Sansa by shining a light on their commonalities:
- Both are powerful women who have ruled ‘successfully’
- Both of their ancestral homes were stolen by the Lannister’s
- Both love Jon
Daenerys adopts a patronising tone to placate Sansa’s foreboding that Jon bent the knee for love by terming ‘The Great War’ as “Jon’s war.” This fails to earn Daenerys any brownie points as it indicates that Daenerys doesn’t view Sansa as an equal by reducing her concerns to that of a sentimental premise (though she ran the girl power spiel). Nor does Daenerys recognise, in this scene, that as Westeros’s self-proclaimed Queen, the major threat to the lives of the citizens she wishes to serve is not merely “Jon’s war”, but hers too. So, who is being misogynistic to whom?
Daenerys hadn’t ruled successfully in Meereen. During the time Daenerys spent in captivity with the Dothraki, Tyrion Lannister was left to deal with the political backstabbing in Meereen, and to stabilise the economy by reestablishing trade. Though her abolition crusade is well-intentioned and more than justifiable, she left a number of cities in ruin without an effective system in place leading to various collapses of economic systems, and, in Meereen, this, inevitably, leads to freed slaves returning to their masters. In defence of Daenerys, overthrowing a system to build a new and better one is a gigantic task and enormously difficult to achieve especially for a young woman with a shortage of political nous. When Hizdar points out that “politics is the art of compromise,” Daenerys responds that she is a “Queen, not a politician.” She fails to recognise that the two positions are not mutually exclusive to ruling. Daenerys’s reign in Meereen is hard-hitting evidence of Daenerys’s limited understanding of the role and qualifications required of a queen, and as such, solidifies the harsh reality that audiences, perhaps, should not be too surprised that Sansa Stark is, very rightly, mistrustful of Daenerys’s ruling capabilities, doubts which aren’t formulated on gendered grounds.
Daenerys is supposedly the “Breaker of Chains,” so, shouldn’t the Breaker of Chains be more open to the idea of granting independence to the North? This, in no way, classifies the Northerners’ as slaves, but rather alludes to the concept of freedom. The North has assiduously laboured for independence since Season 2 where Robb Stark was crowned ‘King in the North.’ The Northerners’ values, mannerisms, faith and traditions greatly differ to the rest of the Kingdom’s and this is clearly depicted in the way both Ned Stark and Sansa suffered in King’s Landing. Sansa’s resentment of Daenerys Targaryen is entrenched in the tremendous threat to the independence that the Stark’s strenuously fought to secure.
In Season 7, episode 4, titled ‘The Spoils of War,’ Daenerys demands the Tarly’s and the survivors of the Field of Fire 2.0 to “bend the knee or refuse and die.” Their choices are limited to two, fealty or death, and as one choice is death, it’s not really much of a choice, is it? Demanding servitude, as one Twitter user pointed out, is still shackling people to chains, even if the ‘chains’ are invisible. Therefore, it stands that “Mhysa is a master” too. We can infer that Sansa was raised listening to stories of how the Mad King burned her uncle and grandfather alive. That Daenerys began her campaign in Westeros by threatening death by fire to defeated soldiers should they fail to acknowledge her as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Sansa’s mistrust of Daenerys was only a natural consequence.
Daenerys demonstrates her lack of compassion in ‘The Last of the Starks’ where her desire for the Iron Throne overshadows the needs of an exhausted army. Sansa Stark reminds Daenerys that the Dothraki and Unsullied will also suffer should Daenerys refuse to grant the armies sufficient rest. This further solidifies and justifies not only Sansa’s doubts as to the sincerity of Daenerys’s wish to treat her subjects fairly, but Arya Stark’s too.
Coupled with the threat to Northern independence that Sansa had fought and bled for which Daenerys’s ultimate political aspirations, to rule over the Seven Kingdoms, directly conflicts with, Sansa’s immediate mistrust in Daenerys is consolidated as the final season progresses with each new encounter strengthening Sansa’s misgivings concerning the sincerity of Daenerys’s wish to serve the people well added to Sansa’s rising skepticism of Daenerys’s potential to rule effectively. Though it is arguable that Daenerys’s beauty and the potential power it holds over Jon Snow could raise grounds for gendered suspicion of Daenerys, it is quickly dissipated by Daenerys’s increasingly apparent incompetence and lack of sincerity in her wish to serve the realm well.
What are your thoughts on the Daenerys v Sansa conflict? Who are you rooting for and why? What did you think of the conversation between Daenerys and Sansa? Do you think the show’s portrayal of the two is ‘gendered’ and ‘regressive?’ Do stories need to be all about ‘girl power?’ Let me know in the comments!
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I don’t want Sansa or Daenerys to be the sole ruler. Tyrion gets my vote because he’s awesome. Not that it’ll happen. In addition to being a genius, he’s loyal, competent, a masterful planner and negotiator, and a survivor. Plus, he uttered my favorite line of the show so far, “That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things.” I need a t-shirt with that quote printed on it!
It would never have occurred to me to think that Daenerys & Sansa’s relationship is ‘gendered’ or ‘regressive’. It is what it is. Who cares? If you don’t like it, don’t watch it, amirite? (I stole that from you) One of the reasons I don’t follow Twitter or any similar social media outlets is that people are too easily offended and too often say the stupidest shit about things that don’t matter and that their comments won’t change. I don’t have time in my busy life to subject myself to every connected person’s opinions about every little thing.
No, not all stories need to be only about girl power, but I am grateful for the ones that feature strong, competent females.
Even though Sansa’s the only who’s shown capability to rule well? And she’s ruled alone while Jon was away. Men surprise me, even the well-intentioned ones. I’m not even angry, I’m just disappointed. Except Tyrion doesn’t know things, does he? Especially not this season. Sansa did, repeatedly, for the past few seasons, but, of course, some men won’t acknowledge that she’s displayed far better wisdom than Tyrion. Tyrion is the embodiment of mansplaining white men who think they know so much better than women when in reality they should take women far more seriously than they do. He didn’t take Sansa, Daenerys or Cersei seriously… we all know how that’s worked out. He has the emotional intelligence of a potato. Sansa was right that Cersei wouldn’t send help, Tyrion was wrong. Sansa was right that Daenerys is untrustworthy, Tyrion wasn’t. You’ll get your wish. He’s shown nothing but incompetence this season. But you’ll get your wish. He’ll be Hand of the King/Queen. Daenerys will die. He’ll rule as some other King or Queen’s Hand. Shame Sam Tarly doesn’t get more recognition. He’s intelligent, humble, strategic (in the books much more) and is able to read people well. Sam is by far the best male character on the show. I don’t think you need that t-shirt, we already know most men think they are the embodiment of that quote already, especially white men.
I think it would be a disservice to me as a woman and a feminist for feminism to be capitalised on. Fuck ‘strong and capable’ women. We have that with Sansa and even you still don’t think she should be a sole ruler. I want complex women, real women, not a feminist robot. For the most part, I think men just want strong and capable because they just can’t handle a woman’s emotion.
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Hi Soph! I hope you’re doing well today. I apologize for my delayed response, but when I saw your comment but hadn’t yet seen the final episode, I stopped reading before I’d finished the first sentence in case there were spoilers. I finally got to watch the finale last night.
Don’t read so much into my desire for Tyrion to be king. I knew he wouldn’t be, he just happens to be one of my favorite characters. Sam is too and I’m glad that, in the end, he was finally elevated to the position of respect he deserved. I also love Bron. And Brienne. I was angry that they reduced her to tears when Jamie left. I loved Jamie too and am angry that he was unable to cleave from Cersei.
I was bitterly disappointed that Bran became king but not surprised. Clearly, Sansa would’ve made the more competent ruler than just about any other character playing the game. My earlier remark about preferring Tyrion was based on how much I liked the character, not on competence to rule. I never much liked Sansa. The fact that Tyrion nominated Bran and thereby became his Hand made me want to puke. I loved Tyrion because I thought that in the end, the courage of his convictions would win out over his thirst for being the power behind the throne.
You nailed it when you stated that it would be a disservice for feminism to be capitalized on. It would also be anachronistic to project our modern feminism onto a story set in a kingdom modeled on 15th-century Europe. Of course there were occasional female rulers, some good, some bad, but if it was going to come down to a vote, as it did, it’s unrealistic to think that the remaining powers would’ve voted for a female in that setting.
Men do struggle, mightily, to handle a woman’s emotion. Many of us are taught from birth to suppress our own emotions, to the point that we often can’t even identify our own emotions much less adequately cope with them. For those who do eventually get clued in, it still takes a lot of time and much work to reach a point where we can begin to handle a woman’s emotion. And even those of us who reach that point remain flawed, imperfect people who are doomed, occasionally, to fail in our efforts. When we do, all we can do is ask humbly for forgiveness and try to do better in the future.
So humbly I beg you, please forgive me, and I’ll try not to let you down again.
I don’t really feel like Bronn deserved to be there, but he’s a total realist, so I’ll give him that. But I’d be more so worried that he’d enact legislation or rules that are much more self-serving, however, I’m sure the remainder of the council would keep that in check.
I have to completely disagree about how they handled Brienne. Why do women just get to be ‘strong’ while male characters are easily accepted for experiencing the full spectrum of human emotion? Brienne is a human being after all, she loves Jaime and has for a long time. Why should she swallow her pain? If the writers repressed her emotions, it would be a manifestation of ‘man up.’ Girl, cry. It’s okay to cry. Pride is overrated anyway. I do feel that Jaime’s return to Cersei may be different in the books, I think he will return to Cersei to kill her and I think it might be Cersei, in the books, who will set off wildfire in the showdown. But, let’s see… if we ever get to see. Although, I still liked it this way. His relationship to Cersei mirrors drug addiction and I felt it was a sincere portrayal. His arc reminds me of a combination of Charlie and Sawyer’s from Lost. I mean, he even looks like Sawyer, paha.
I love the idea of Bran as King. He can’t have children which means Westeros won’t be treated to cruel sons of kings. The very fact that Bran is without desire, I believe, will make him a good King. I think GRRM would explore it in a manner which would be far more understandable in the books. Bran becoming king paves the way for democratically elected officials in the future. Sam had the right of it, but his ideas were too progressive for their times. Sansa’s entire arc has been getting OUT of the game of thrones because she’s sick of it and going home where games aren’t played. The Northerners are straightforward people after all. Yara, I sincerely doubt, would want to rule the Seven Kingdoms. I don’t believe that the decision for Bran to become king was rooted in gender, he seems the most gender neutral character come to think of it. I felt that the decision was more to dismantle monarchy and the terrible repercussions of it.
But, except Tyrion hasn’t always had the best convictions has he? In Kings Landing, he is comparatively kinder but not when you compare him to Sansa and Varys who are far kinder and judicious than Tyrion. He is an excellent artistic creation (in the books, not the show, the show completely whitewashed him into an unrecognisable character) given that both him and Daenerys are the two most morally grey characters in the books. But amazing convictions? I’ll give him some credit in that he actually feels remorse for murdering Shae (completely unjustifiable), but, let’s not joke, he wants to murder Cersei (understandable) and rape her too (just disgusting), and my memory is hazy regarding this, but if I recall there was some either dubious consent given to the sex workers/abuse in A Dance with Dragons. So, he is neither all that smart (Sansa is) or that kind (Sansa is).
Out of curiosity, why did you ask for strong and competent female characters, but when you’re given a character like Sansa who is both strong and competent, you say you’re not a fan? I think you’re great, so please don’t take offence, but I do have to wonder if it’s all just paying lip service to feminism? Some people just don’t like Sansa, that’s fine, except that whatever reasons people give about why they don’t like Sansa tends to pretty much always be deeply rooted in misogyny and I’ve always said that Sansa Stark is a litmus test for misogyny. Sansa is one of the very few characters who could be considered a feminist icon after all. “The dudebros are cheering until you swap the gender.” Don’t take this to mean that I think you’re horrible, but this is something I feel the need to explore because it’s raising some eyebrows on my part.
I understand where you’re coming from. Personally, I haven’t had that experience in my family, but I think that may be because I come from a Muslim family with practising male relatives. Islam definitely tackles toxic masculinity well, but I agree that culture and patriarchy spurs men to try and attempt to be an alpha male and repress their emotions in the process.
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I didn’t like Sansa because I never recovered from my earliest impressions of her as a vapid, entitled, mean girl who came across as someone who truly believed, from a very young age, that she deserved nothing but the very best of everything simply because she was so darn beautiful.
I have never read the books and have never watched a single episode more than once or with anywhere near the level of focus or thought that you appear to.
I don’t think it’s right that you use a person’s reaction to fictional characters, especially ones that are doubly created (1st as the author intended them to be then as filtered through the intentions of the filmmakers) as a litmus test for misogyny or anything else.
It’s clear that you consider pop culture creations to be much more meaningful and influential than I do, but really, I wouldn’t judge you or anyone else (or even raise an eyebrow) or try to discern your innermost feelings, thoughts, or beliefs about an idea or conception based on your reaction to a fictional character. I care not one bit for what people, real, think or believe; I care about how they act, what they do.
And in that spirit, I’m fixin’ to hop over to your Blog and see if you’ve posted a recent entry in your series of interviews with real people from other cultures. I really like what you’re doing there.
Take care, be well, and keep fighting the good fight, Soph.
In love & friendship,
Right, I’ve taken however long it’s taken to reply to this because I read your comment and the first thought that came to my mind was: “who on earth does this guy think he is?” The caucacity of your entire comment.
Right, let’s dissect your comment one step at a time AOC style because remember when you said you’re not the greatest fan of AOC? But really she talks to white men like they’re wilful children because that’s how they behave, but, of course, hOw DaRe ShE bE mEaN tO wHiTe MeN. Too used to white privilege, huh? Well, not today. Certainly not on my blog.
1. Sansa is vapid = she is an 11-year-old child. You are a 40-year-old man. Cut the child some slack. Ned kept Sansa in the dark about Joffrey and the Lannister’s. It was his duty as a father to protect her. He didn’t keep Arya in the dark. Sansa was sheltered and naive (the correct word an adult should use towards a child be it fictional or real) because that’s how Cat and Ned raised her. Ned did not shelter Arya. Did you know the reality of how the world really works and how people really can be like at age 11? Do most kids know? So, why would you expect Sansa to know?
2. Sansa is entitled = there are zero examples to support this opinion. She is a High Lady. It is medieval custom for a princess/High Lady to marry another prince. If there’s anyone who’s shown entitlement here, it’s you. So, instead of focusing on a character’s non-existent entitlement, dare to focus on your very real one.
3. She believed she was entitled because she was so beautiful = Firstly, I have no idea what show you were watching, so you clearly would have benefited from watching the show more than once as opposed to then having to form ignorant opinions. But let’s talk more about this and how it relates to why you love Tyrion so much. You’re annoyed that she’s beautiful. You’re annoyed that she gets to have so much because she’s beautiful. And like Tyrion, we can assume this anger towards Sansa is because you feel ugly. And, therefore, you yourself feel entitled, but you’re angry that you don’t receive things because of self-perceived unattractiveness. Therefore, you yourself ARE entitled. You’re just not successful at attaining the things you feel entitled to. So, again, focus on your much more clearly pronounced entitlement because right now you’re sounding like an angry incel raging at beautiful, the Stacy’s and the Chad’s, for getting *whatever they want.* Remember when I spoke about the incel movement and how it’s killing women? Yeah, comments like yours fan the flames. I will not tolerate any incel, high or low functioning, on my blog. Secondly, you were in your mid to early-30’s when you first watched Game of Thrones. Sophie Turner was in her early teens. You may want to dial down on calling barely teens beautiful and being angry at their beauty because it’s creepy.
4. Finally, and most importantly: Sansa grew up, but you didn’t. She was 11, and you’re 40. Grow up. I don’t give a crap if it’s a show because pop culture opinions do influence how people think and it’s vapid to think that opinions do not have consequences.
I hope you’re doing well today. I am sorry. With deepest humility and sincerity, I offer my apologies. I did not mean to anger, insult, or offend you.
Clearly, I’ve done a poor job of explaining myself. The simplest terms in which I can express my intent are these: when considering whether or not I like a character (or a person), gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality do not factor into my thinking at all. Think of it this way if it helps. If everything about Sansa were the same but she was a man, I would still dislike the character. If everything about Tyrion were the same but he was a female, I would still like the character.
Regarding AOC, I don’t recall saying I’m not her greatest fan, and as you pointed out yourself in our exchange on another post, I’m too lazy to scroll back up in search of my exact words to try more accurately to dispute you. I was ecstatic when AOC and other non-white, non-male, & non-christian people were elected to Congress because I believe diversity is one of our greatest strengths. If I said I’m not her greatest fan, I didn’t mean that I don’t like her or some of her ideas. What I meant was that I’m not 100% in agreement with all of her political ideology and policy ideas. I like a lot of what she has to say, but some of it goes a little too far left for me. I lean left, but at heart I’m a moderate.
As for my age, I’ll be 49 in a few months, and while I admit I still have a lot to learn and a many long-entrenched white American male privileged attitudes to overcome, I’m about as grown up as I’m going to get. How about you try showing a little respect for your elders instead of telling us off in an impetuous rage when our opinions differ from yours? That’s no way to keep lines of communication open and encourage meaningful dialogue.
Take care, be well, and happy blogging. I look forward to hearing from you.
Wow, the sheer white entitlement in both your comments, even though others, women and people of colour included, pointed out to me that both your FIRST responses were extremely rude and disrespectful. I will reply to your comments when I can, but for now, what I’m seeing is a white man so unaware of his own faults that he cannot be reasoned with. You know what, I won’t. You don’t deserve a reply, you don’t deserve room in my thoughts or my blog. Good day.
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I see how it is, Sophia. I wish you good health and good luck!
Now, it’s clear that I touched a nerve by saying how you perceive Sansa is a litmus test for misogyny and you clearly seem furious that I pointed out Tyrion wanted to rape his sister and how dare Denny, superior intellectual white man, be wrong, huh? Right, now let’s address your misogyny and your subconscious racism:
1. Pop culture critique has been a space that is often dominated by white men. I am a blogger of colour. So, I’m sure if you’re really about giving space to people of colour, you can sit your ass down about people of colour critiquing pop culture instead of demanding marginalised groups to stick to discussing only issues that you, a white man, deem as important. And, yes, it is about race because there is no way a woman of colour would have the nerve to tell another woman of colour what she should and should not write about. Good grief. This is what you sounded like: “i don’t think it’s important, I think it’s silly, I think you should write this because I, White man, know what’s good and what’s not, I know what you, silly woman of colour, should write about.” I don’t know how you had the nerve to even return to my blog and continue casually commenting with such confidence.
2. If you’re really about empowering people of colour, why can’t you do a quick google search to find out what latinx means instead of asking me? How entitled to take up space that is not reserved for you, and make it about teaching you instead. I’m sure you can take a 5 second break from the performative wokeness olympics to find out what latinx means.
3. Do you know what’s great about George R. R. Martin? He doesn’t treat women like they’re charity cases and female characters as human beings. Whereas, you, on the other hand, do treat female authors and female bloggers of colour like they’re charity cases. “Hey, everyone, I read a book by a female author! Can you believe it, I read a book by a woman! And OMG it was so good! And it was a woman who wrote it! It was a WOMAN! Yes, guys, a woman, can yer believe it??!! I’m going to go and tell everybody so everyone can see what a nice white man I am!” “You’re onto something with this!” (*scoffs* you’re right, I was just waiting for your validation) That’s not treating women like they’re equals. That is infantilising women. This is not how you talk to men either, I’ve seen it. Instead you say things like: “good and convincing arguments.” You don’t act at all shocked, whereas, with me it’s “there you go, little girl! Keep going! Yayyyyy, gold star for you!” A white man on twitter read my article and do you know what he said? “Good and convincing arguments.” He spoke to me like an equal. No mansplaining. No pat on the backs and gold stars. Now, you cannot deny or erase how I feel because I’ve asked women of colour and they themselves agree that it’s hella patronising. You don’t see women as equals and it shows.
4. I asked “was the Vietnam war necessary” not “is war hell?” “War is hell” is not a goddamn epiphany, you weren’t enlightening anyone and stating the obvious is an attempt to discredit the intelligence of women and derail the conversation as to whether war is necessary. But it seems you didn’t have the intellectual capacity to debate the point so you resorted to stating the obvious to reclaim your superior white intellect and soothe that little white fragility. And what was the point of reading the second entry to my CoC series if you’re going to reduce the argument to “war is hell, what you gonna do?” You do realise the interviewee was a child at the time? Or is a corpse only important when it’s white? That’s why Americans have a lot of respect for their men in uniform, isn’t it? Because they fight your wars for you. Wars are fought anywhere but America now, so you and your children aren’t targeted civilians. You can wave off war as something that just happens because it doesn’t really happen to you, does it? Your life and your children’s lives aren’t affected, are they? White lives are safe, so why bother fighting against calls for war, right? If you’re so confident, I’m sure you can comment on the CoC Middle East entry and say “war is hell, that’s how life goes.” Let’s see how she reacts. But of course, it’s not white lives, it’s not your life, it’s not your children’s lives, so of course, why fight calls for war?
5. So, how was I wrong about your internalised misogyny exactly? I was right to use your view of Sansa Stark as a litmus test for misogyny.
I will speak to you when you apologise. I will not tolerate disrespect towards me on my blog. I will not tolerate misogyny or white fragility on my blog. Good day to you.
I apologized on our other commentary exchange, but in case you’re reading this one first, here it is again: “I am sorry. With deepest humility and sincerity, I offer my apologies. I did not mean to anger, insult, or offend you.”
I don’t why you think I’m furious about anything you’ve posted on your blog or any comments you’ve made. I’m not furious, I’m not even the tiniest bit angry or perturbed. You’re entitled to your opinions no matter how much they differ from mine. I thought we were engaging in a free & open (and respectful) exchange of ideas, and I didn’t communicate in a manner that is disrespectful of your beliefs, opinions, and ideas. If I came across that way, I am sorry.
You asked why I didn’t bother to do a Google search for terms I don’t know. For a couple of reasons. 1) Google/Wikipedia/the Internet are not the be-all and end-all of knowledge or accurate definitions. 2) You are the one using the term, and in a post, no less, that you claim is here to expose bloggers to the opinions, viewpoints, and experiences of POC and persons of other gender, etc. So I want to know what you mean by the terms you use; I don’t want to rely on what others mean by it. Since you hope that people who are unfamiliar with such topics will read your blog and thereby learn from it, maybe you should consider being a bit more explicit with your definitions instead of assuming readers either already know what you mean or have the time & will to navigate elsewhere at the moment. But it’s your blog, I’m not trying to tell you how to run it, just offering a humble suggestion as others have done for me, often to my benefit, from time to time.
I answered some of your questions here in my response on the other post, so I’m not going to repeat myself here more than I already have by reiterating my apology.
And I won’t ask you for an apology for how badly you’ve misunderstood my positions, completely misread my tone, and so spitefully mischaracterized my attitudes and beliefs. It’s your blog, and you have every right to speak as you see fit. Even more, I can forgive your response because I suspect that, as a POC and on oft-marginalized minority in your home country, you have probably been so often exposed to misogyny and religious & gender discrimination & persecution that you too easily see it where it doesn’t exist.
Take care, be well, and happy blogging,
It’s always interesting to read your articles especially on Thrones as you make excellent points but I think we just see the show so differently that its nice to look at it from another perspective. For better or worse its pretty much the entertainment that is front of my mind right now and I’m trying to tell myself no, no, you can’t do all the posts about it! But there’s so much to talk about 🙂
Despite my dislike of how she’s been adapted and well honestly played Sansa does make good points. So where does the misogyny angle come in? The press covering the show? A large portion of the audience? I’m trying to think of a relevant situation involving the male characters on the show where they would have been called catty or gendered or the scrutiny applied. Jon and the Night’s Watch maybe? But that was a very different situation. I don’t think we were supposed to agree with the Night’s Watch there or even think they had good points. I’m almost as fascinated by the coverage of the show as anything else. A lot to think about and boy there could be a lot more to add to this conversation soon!
It’s the final season of the biggest television show there ever was, of course there must be discourse!
I love how Sansa was basically becoming Scarlett O’Hara in the books. Either way, I think the “little bird was always a Phoenix” will prevail, the Starks are GRRM’s heroes after all. Same, I’m trying to think of a male to male equivalent, however, I think we both know that on any other show if such a situation were to occur between two prominent male leaders that ‘gendered,’ ‘regressive’ and ‘catty’ would never be applied. Is it really feminism if we demand women to get along? Feminism is supposed to recognise that women are human and human beings have their own individual concerns, if anything, the reaction was anti-feminism. We didn’t call Alliser Thorne ‘catty’ when he defied Jon. On the whole, the audiences reaction has always been something that’s fascinating for me, it’s like we got free and fun psychology lessons!
You brought up a lot of interesting points. I am a little reluctant to even choose between either of them to rule the throne, I slightly hope Jon will be the King, however it’s also a statement the show will make if the final ruler is a man – or woman. EIther way people will be angry anyways. I absolutely agree about Sansa’s CV in the North. Daenerys seems to be a bit out of character in the last episode, and I can see why so many people dislike her now, but we’ll see.
Sansa doesn’t factor into the fight for the throne, there is no fight for the throne here on Sansa’s part (she was done with the South seasons ago). The two different ways these two women see the world and their approach to leadership and ruling, this is fascinating and in this regard, Sansa easily wins. Jon refused to take the throne, he refused to take Daenerys seriously… look how that turned out. He’s fundamentally an apolitical person, therefore, I don’t think he would make a good ruler. I’m glad he’s at the Watch now though, he’s going to have a lot of fun with Tormund.
Daenerys is not out of character. In the books we see more clearly how she’s left the cities in ruin without a stable economy to fall back on, she burned people without trial without even knowing if they’re guilty or not. *shudders* not out of character at all. D&D should have shown the negative consequences of her actions, but do we really need directors to tell us what is right and wrong? Do we not have the ability to decide ourselves? Are we babies that need to be spoon-fed?
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I agree with a lot here. I found it astounding that Daenarys’ thirst to rule is so strong that she would not grant the Northerners their sovereignty in exchange for greater support and still ruling the remaining kingdoms.
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They are completely different to the south as well! It’s basically the difference between Scotland and England. But Daenerys didn’t take the trouble to learn more about these differences. Typical. She didn’t try to learn the culture in Essos either.
You always point out so many interesting points I had never considered!! Cannot wait to read your thoughts after last night..
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And I actually don’t want either of them to rule — I’m more team Sansa after the episode last night, but overall I would like to see Tyrion on the throne. Or Jon- but I don’t think Jon is really a contender since he doesn’t want it– although I’m wondering if his desire for justice will spark a new desire to reign in him. Guess we’ll see!
Why would you not want Sansa to rule? Not the Iron Throne, she’s never wanted it, but the North, yes. She’s the only character from our current lot who’s shown repeatedly the ability to rule. Anyway, Daenerys is dead. She got her just desserts. And Sansa is alive and well and Queen in the North. I’m so glad Tyrion isn’t the ruler. He has been incompetent for a while and unjustifiably arrogant (considering he’s gotten a lot of things wrong), but, hey, at least Tyrion admitted he was wrong in the finale. Shame Sansa has been doing what Tyrion is praised for, but well, misogyny is misogyny, so some fans (surprisingly women too) do not applaud her for what Tyrion is praised for and lacks. But, hey, it’s interesting to learn more about how far we’ve come in terms of progression.
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Such valid points!!! Very well said- you’re right about Tyrion- I guess just in the last couple seasons he has shown that he has a heart which is contrasted to many of the characters… but yes, I was so happy Sansa got the North in the end- was quite surprised by Bran though. Did not see that coming!
Apparently there were 3 holy s*** moments (Shireen & Hodor) and Bran becoming king is the 3rd one! I know a lot of people hate it, but I love Bran as a king. Hope you enjoyed the final season! 🙂💛
Girl, your points are on point. I don’t even watch the show and I’m interested in what you have to say about it haha
You don’t even know but you know points were made, paha 😂 thanks! 🙏
I know this is an old post, but I completely agree with you. Actually, I have friends and people that I admire that think Dany/Sansa situation was anti-feminist and I roll my eyes every time one of them say that the show “pitched women against each other” because it didn’t. And it’s obviously that they’re not really concerned about feminism, they’re just bitter because they believed Dany was the hero of the story and the ending proved them wrong. It’s hypocritical because when the conflict is between Dany and Cersei no one gets mad because the show is “pitching women against each other”. But it makes sense because Cersei is a villain and Sansa is a hero and Dany stans want her to be a hero too, so of course it’s acceptable for her to be against Cersei, but if she’s against Sansa that’s because of bad writing and Dany’s out of character.
I love king Bran, too. People got mad because D&D never cared about his character so they didn’t bothered to make him appealing to the audience, but I believe GRRM will do a better job developing him as the future king. After Bran loses the movement of his legs, he is depressed and thinks himself useless, but I think his whole arc is about proving him wrong.
I wish I had found your blog sooner.
“Pitting women against each other” is more so a trademark of white feminism, in my opinion, it’s absolves the need to look at the finer details e.g. political aims which is what the glaringly obvious predicament was here. I don’t think Dany will be as villainous in the books, it’ll be a lot more subtle and she’ll come across much more sympathetic. That’s true about what you said about Cersei, weirdly enough, Cersei would have been a better comparator to Dany because much of their trajectory is very similar to each other which is what Sansa realised having dealt with Cersei herself. I would put forward that, like Daenerys, Cersei’s actions are motivated by her desire to protect her children. Likewise, Daenerys has three children of her own (well, had), the three dragons and breaking the wheel is simply restoring the Targaryen dynasty built on the backs of dragons. They’re much more similar to each other than Sansa is to Daenerys.
I think much of the criticism is understandable because, at one point, I believe the 4th or 5th season, Bran wasn’t even included. I loved Bran’s chapters in the books and it’s clear that, ultimately, he would be the best candidate for the throne. What does bother me are some of the ableist comments that Bran “doesn’t do anything” and I think that’s directed towards Bran having said nothing regarding Daenerys burning down King’s Landing, and, as we saw, the imagery of Drogon flying above King’s Landing in ‘The Bells’ featured in the series of dreams Bran had earlier on which was very foreboding in itself. I do wish depression within the series was explored more, that’s a good point. I recall seeing an article which explored Daenerys possibly suffering from borderline personality disorder which made a lot of sense.
Thank you! 🙂