Lessons from Game Of Thrones -The Sansa Stark Syndrome…

OK, I confess, I’m a big fan of GOT. GRR Martin’s cast of characters presents us with many life lessons  and analogies that can be applied to this world as well as the fantasy world of Westeros.

Is Sansa Stark passive and shallow? 

While watching some clips on YouTube I found myself glancing at the comment thread and noted that people tended to be particularly annoyed by the Sansa Stark character.  Apparently she is too “passive” and was being unfavorably compared to her badass sister Arya.

Now book-wise (I’ve only made it through the first book)  the Sansa character does, at first glance, appear to be more than a bit shallow.  Initially, Sansa seems imbued with stories of handsome brave knights protecting pretty young damsels from harm.  However, as her life is shattered, Sansa soon realizes that knights are not always on the side of the good and that appearances can be deceiving.

Nevertheless, Sansa continues to be a relatively passive character that does not play the game but is rather victimized by it.

People who live in glass houses should not cast stones…

But isn’t that what 90% of the American population would do?  Isn’t that what 90% of us have been doing?   Our government is in a shambles, we have a rising oligarchy and a Supreme Court who would gladly cement that plutocracy by judiciary activism.  We have a country in which income inequality  is going through the roof and the middle class is disappearing…

But I don’t see a great deal of badass activism on the part of the electorate.  In fact, it seems like more people know the details of the latest GOT episode than are aware of who their Congressional representative is and what he or she has been doing in Congress.  On the local level, its even worse.  Just TRY to get the locals out for a non-presidential election.  I dare you.

Playing the game or merely surviving the storm…

The thing I see about Sansa’s character is that that she was thrown into the “game” as a rather shallow and naive young girl.  She never asked or wanted to play this deadly game, but simply found herself in the midst of it.

Thats where most of us are finding ourselves today.  A couple of decades ago we were quietly living out our lives in relative peace and prosperity.  Then the rug got slowly pulled out from under us. Over about a 25 year period the political sands have shifted violently so that we now live in  a landscape where 99% of us  have no voice and no power.

How are most of us responding to this challenge?  The same way Sansa responds to her situation.  Standing like a reed in the storm hoping that by being bending with the wind we will still be standing when the worst of it passes.

Things we can learn from Sansa Stark…

  • We can play or sit on the sidelines.  But if we choose to sit indefinitely, we must realize that we will forever be marginalized.
  • There are times we shouldn’t play.  I think Sansa is on a steep learning curve and perhaps she is wise enough to realize that she is currently lacks the political chops to be in the game.  By analogy, many Americans are swayed easily by soundbites and slick slogans with a simplistic message.  If you are unsophisticated or willfully ignorant, you may find yourself playing the game, but for the side that is working against your interests.  Think Varys and Littlefinger, the Lords of smoke and mirrors.

Finally, we should realize that our annoyance with the Sansa character is possibly a reflection of our own passivity.  Perhaps we should look to ourselves and our own political lassitude which has allowed our country to sink into the abyss of oligarchy.  After all, if we expect so much from our fictional friends, should we not expect even more from ourselves?

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