Game of Thrones: “Viper and the Mountain” – Sansa’s Testimony
A few weeks ago, we took a look at a Game of Thrones episode, touching on how the scene used implication and insinuation to paint a more vivid picture than an explicit conversation could have conveyed. Today, we’ll take a look at a different Game of Thrones scene, in which Sansa shows unusual character development by lying to cover for her aunt’s murderer during Petyr Baelish’s trial.
Prior to this point, Sansa has been a captive, passive, frightened character. Amidst badasses and independent women, Sansa has served as an unlikeable, simpering girl who’s too frightened to become a woman. While her characterization is consistent, and while Sansa’s had her reasons to be passive, particularly after seeing much of her immediate family killed for stepping out of line, Sansa’s character trajectory has not given any indication that she’s developed the sort of cunning necessary to lie on the witness stand, as she does on this scene.
Ironically, in this scene, Sansa’s prior passivity is her greatest strength here. She plays at being traumatized by her aunt’s “suicide,” a wide-eyed bystander in a series of unfortunate but innocent mistakes on the part of Petyr. A known plotter like Petyr can’t be taken at his word, but sweet, young Sansa can be believed, a fact that Sansa exploits to her advantage as she corroborates Petyr’s story, then demonstrates her own power over him.
Her final look up at him, while clichéd and somewhat choreographed, still serves as a power-move on Sansa’s part, an acknowledgement that while she helped Petyr, it is ultimately she who holds the power in this circumstance, and she’s aware of that fact and willing to exploit it.
Like the last post covering Game of Thrones, this scene doesn’t happen in the books, and is a whole-cloth invention of the show. However, as the show doesn’t have the benefit of giving viewers a first-hand look at each character’s thought process, scenes like this, that demonstrate character change, are necessary. After nearly three full seasons of being used as a pawn at King’s Landing, it’s time for Sansa to take initiate, as she does at her first opportunity.
Angela Jorgensen originally hails from Iowa. She currently resides in Los Angeles and aspires to write for hour-long television dramas. She’s currently producing a documentary called The Longest Straw [www.thelongeststraw.wordpress.com].