"I’m trying to illustrate how men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."
One of the things that keeps me coming back to ASOIAF is the way history and narrative intersect, converge, and diverge in everyone’s mind. The characters do this for themselves—they have personal narratives that they make for themselves, and these narratives often conflict with their own histories or with the circumstances in which they find themselves—and they do this for all other characters as well. It’s why Robert believes Rhaegar raped Lyanna. His personal narrative is one of justified revenge for his lady love. What’s even better is the way the books resist traditional narrative conceits in order to play with our sense of narrative and history in the books, and make us confront our need to fit the characters into predetermined roles.
Which, of course, brings me back to Sansa. So many of the people dislike her because they are just like her—they cannot understand characters who do not fit into predetermined roles. Women in fantasy are allowed to be strong only in a few ways—evil seductress, tomboy lady knight, etc.—and it frustrates so many readers that Sansa develops her strength not by rejecting her courtesy or her traditional femininity, but by making those things into armor. And speaking of personal narratives, once Sansa’s has been torn down, has been eradicated completely, her only narrative, if you can call it that, is a will to survive. By the end of AFFC, she’s seeing her world more clearly than almost any one else, even if she’s basically powerless to do anything about it.