Greetings to our old and new friends in the ASOIAF fandom. We hope you and your loved ones have remained safe and healthy during the pandemic, and that you’re continuing to implement all public health measures which will ensure we can eventually emerge from these turbulent times to resume our normal, productive livelihoods.

After an extended hiatus, we’re excited to be restarting activities at Pawn to Player, with plans to feature essays from various contributors and updating outstanding sections of the site. Of course, The Winds of Winter is still not published, so we invite discussion on Sansa Stark and related characters with the awareness that such analyses continue to be limited and inherently speculative. We are also returning under the shadow of the Game of Thrones finale, and while PTP has always centred on book analysis, the show’s ending cannot help but inform ideas and theories on what the “endgame” looks like for the main characters. However, we remain committed to treating the two as distinct creative entities, especially in light of Sansa’s controversial depiction on the show.

Pawn to Player has richly benefitted from the knowledge and insight of many contributors over the years and we welcome those interested in helping develop our canon of critical output to consider submitting your work for publication at the blog. All submissions are subject to a review process that you can find more information on here. Despite the weariness that has understandably settled in the fandom over the long wait between books, along with the sense of having said all there is to be said with the material we have — there is always a fresh angle, a new way of appreciating certain elements of characterisation, theme, or symbolism. A review of PTP’s extensive collection of essays, employing different modes of analysis, schools of thought, and comparative research, supports our belief that there is always more to be gleaned from those willing to devote the time and effort to critical thinking. The two pillars that comprise PTP textual examination — to reread and to rethink — remain crucial to helping understand the complex characters that comprise Martin’s world, their motivations, desires, and ambitions.

In focusing on Sansa’s journey throughout the series, we appreciate that in her Martin has created an indomitable heroine, one who relies on the more traditionally feminine arts as her weapons of choice, but whose continued survival is no less impressive for it, even in a world where girls are dragon-riders, assassins, and knights. Her growth comes with painful lessons and missteps, yet she learns to navigate what are arguably two of the most dangerous settings in Westeros: the royal court of Joffrey Baratheon, and his mother Cersei, and later on the snow capped mountains of the Eyrie, under the predatory control of Petyr Baelish. Through it all, we see Sansa’s stubborn refusal to bend to the will of her captors or to allow them to vanquish her secret resistance. From a forced marriage to the assumption of another identity, Sansa maintains a vital connection to her true desires and real identity as a Stark of Winterfell.

We continue to value your input and ideas going forward, so please feel free to share any thoughts you have in the comment section and contribute to the discussion when essays are posted. That way we can all be a little more engaged and prepared as we await TWOW’s arrival, hopefully sometime over this decade.