It has been eight months since I began George Martin’s A Clash of Kings, the second in A Song of Ice and Fire Series. I finished last night and now face the third in the series. Each book is roughly 1000 pages, and I am typically a three books at a time reader, choices for my moods.
I started at the insisting of my husband who is a binge reader. He finds a series he loves and reads it all and then won’t read again for as long as it takes the next series to come around. We watch Game of Thrones on HBO together, and I decided to take the book plunge because of the enrichment Randy offered after each episode as he explained from the books.
I have fallen in love.
I loved the HBO series and how the characters as portrayed, but the book versions are richer, deeper, and even more heartbreaking as you know what Cersei says is true. “In the game of thrones, you win or you die.”
Which clearly means, no one is safe.
My favorite characters are deplorable humans driven to ridiculous actions because of this game they are each caught up within. Each want to believe they are important pieces on the chess board, but what Martin reminds us of each and every time is that, no matter title, we are merely pieces on the board. We are all pawns, just some of us have finer clothes.
Sansa wants to, so desperately, resist the game, but she too recognized that either she plays to win or her head ends up on a spike next to her father’s. She takes longer to see the game than her siblings because her storyline is so deeply embedded. She truly believed that the universe existed to make her a queen, just because she was Sansa Stark, daughter of Eddard Stark of the North. She believes Kings are good, and all her dreams will become reality with her move to King’s Landing. As her story disintegrates, the dust continues to cloud her story. Much like Princess Fiona, Sansa is caught in “this isn’t how the story goes.” The deconstruction of her story becomes the centralized piece of her character. She takes every word said from Cersei or the hound and starts to weave her own picture together. Although Little Finger thinks he has her on his board, it doesn’t take us long to see her own game focusing.
I suppose I relate with Sansa because she starts with such a naive world view that shatters quickly with the death of her father, the cruelty of her potential king, and the innocence lost with every word the hound breaths at “Sansa the little bird.”
Sansa has to decide if she will continue to be moved around someone else’s game board, or if she will start her own game. It is the same for each of us as we face work or circumstances that “aren’t how the story is supposed to go!” We have a choice; continue to be someone else’s pawn or create our own answer based on the harshest of truths. The Game of Thrones or the game of our own lives, either we win or we die.