Spoilers below the cut, but first, this from last week:
The impressive young actress Sophie Turner plays Sansa with the thousand-yard stare and flat-affect voice of an abuse victim living from beating to beating. Sansa gets a lot of grief from fans of the show and the books alike – she's stupid, she's insipid, she's prissy, she's gutless. Bullshit. She's doing what she needs to do to survive, as the episode's opening scene demonstrates. She instinctively plays to Joffrey's narcissism and cruelty, convincing him to spare a drunken knight's life while dropping enough "Your Grace"s on him to make him think it was his idea. If she'd been less courteous, like the other Starks would have been, she'd be dead.
It's easy to underestimate certain characters on this show whose arcs are more traditional. Arya is easy to cheer for, right? She's kickass. She doesn't want to sew. She wants to fight! She breaks down stereotypes of highborn ladies! She's everybody's favorite and don't get me wrong: I love that angry, filthy little chicken-rat like she's my own flesh and blood. Ask me who I most identify with, and I'd say Arya in a heartbeat. Sansa and I would not have been friends as children. Sansa would not have deigned to step over me in the street.
But there's a problem with Arya fanclub (and to a lesser extent the Tyrion fanclub, which is a whole other post) where I'm not sure we all understand that being an underdog doesn't make her virtuous. The same way Sansa being pretty and a capital-L lady doesn't make her suck. They're doing the same thing, trying to become who they are while staying safe enough to grow up. They're just doing it differently.
When we start seeing these characters as roles instead of people, instead of actors in an ongoing power struggle, we lose what we're meant to be looking at. There's a reason the show starts with that rotation, with the sun, sweeping over the map: See it all, see how it turns, all at once.