This is the second of a tripartite series of articles that attempts to draw analogies between Sansa’s play in the Game of Thrones and that of an employee working the corporate environment. The first part of the article can be read here: First Article
Book Three of the Game of Thrones is excruciatingly detailed in the way that it sets the context for the future. It offers the first glimpse of what Daenerys Stormborn will be like as Queen, of what Samwell Tarly is capable of in spite of his fears and insecurities, of how strong a character Davos Seaworth is and of Robb Stark’s follies of love.
Like it happens, most things at work aren’t about you; it’s about vacillating loyalties, competence and commitment, a higher pay grade and finding the next rung of the ladder.
“If Robb Stark falls, Sansa will be the key to the North” – is the message that’s out there. Sansa is promised to a Tyrell and wedded to a Lannister. Even in the midst of this drama, Sansa plays her part to perfection; she says “Courtesy is a lady’s armour”. In the background of this, Sansa is coming to terms with her being heir to Winterfell; it’s something that she has never known before and neither does she understand what it means. She hides all those misgivings under the armour of courtesy.
There’s something to learn from that.
It takes courage to be courteous to those that wrong you. But it takes skill to express yourself courageously without compromising on courtesy. That’s the next rung for Sansa.
(Remember – Samwell Tarly hits back at Janos Slynt when Jon is names Lord Commander- “Her name is Gilly, m’lord and I found you hiding with her and her babe in the attic in a puddle of your own making when the Others were upon us.“ That’s assertion without sacrificing courtesy.)
It’s easier to simply say what you are thinking with no fear of the consequences; but that doesn’t make you a player, it makes you a pawn. Sansa is inadvertently moulding herself into a player- the struggle right now is just to stay on the board.
As she tells Lady Mormont sometime in the future- I did what I had to do in order to survive.
One thing that Sansa seems to have mastered is – if you don’t change what you are doing, nothing will change. Her willingness to trust Margaery Tyrell, Olena Tyrell, Tyrion Lannister, Ser Dontos, Peter Baelish, Aunt Lysa leads her further in the Game of Thrones. Sansa learns by doing that she needs to keep investing herself in people and in situations if she’s to have any chance of beating her current situation.
Think of it- every situation with Sansa starts out as a circumstance, but it’s her resilience that makes it the best of each situation.
Book Four sees her come face to face with the truth. Aunt Lysa in her final drunken stupor reveals that it was Peter who egged her to poison her husband and then write to her sister Catelyn Stark accusing the Lannisters of this crime. The Game of Thrones started because of one foolish woman’s love for the most dangerous man in Westeros- Peter Baelish.
This information that finds its way to Sansa stays with her till she truly decides to use it- at Baelish’s execution.
In this journey of continuing to do something or the other, Sansa becomes privy to all sorts of information. Some of it is her learning, some are to be used as weapons later but most of them shape her character.
This journey is always going to be difficult, but it is largely in our hands what we choose to do with it.