Demanding RespectSanaki may be a young girl, but her sharp words and quick wit will have anyone who does not take her seriously dumbfounded in an instant. She tests Ike and Elincia with mind games upon their first meeting and makes them feel frantic just to see their reactions. She apparently has her acting down pat because the members of the senate, as well as Ike and company, had no idea she wasn't being serious. Having a poker face while playing mind games with her after she lost everything that she had may seem cold, but it also demonstrated to her that Sanaki was the one with control over the situation. She does not seem to care if Elincia's feelings were hurt and simply wanted her to know that her future depended entirely on Sanaki's decision to help or ignore her plight. She understands and utilizes her authority and power. In fact, I don't think Sanaki likes to feel as if she isn't in control of any situation. Sanaki also has very low tolerance for those that test her patience due to lack of respect. Talking back, arguing or not heeding her words are among the things that she is not fond of. While she is not boisterous by any means, Sanaki does not want to be treated like a "peasant" unless she is the one who decides to present herself as one. Sanaki even tells Tibarn (a wall of muscle like steel, ha) to never call her "child" again!
I believe that the reason Sanaki acts somewhat cocky and makes display of her authority regarding her public affairs is largely a result of how she feels that she needs to. Because she is so young, I would imagine gaining respect would be challenging. People probably would not take her seriously at first glance because of her stature and age. Sanaki was more than likely very intimidated when she first started dealing with public affairs due to her lack of experience and large responsibility at a young age. Developing her sharp and quick-witted ego might very well have been the adaptive thing for her to do. It seems to be almost automatic in a way, especially when she is dealing with Ike. During their first encounter, Ike thinks she is just a little stowaway girl and treats her as such. Sanaki goes along with it for a short period of time but quickly is unable to tolerate his lack of manners. Ike obviously had no idea she was the apostle and yet her involuntary response was anger that he treated her like a commoner. Of course, I would not doubt that Sanaki was completely pampered as she was growing up. Everyone had to comply with what she asked and people who didn't know her personally automatically gave her the utmost respect. She was the voice of the goddess, after all! It would only be natural for her to come to expect receiving reverence from everyone immediately.
The main reason why I believe Sanaki puts up at least somewhat of a front is because she initially is not confident of herself. She begins feeling like something is wrong as each year that she cannot hear Ashera's voice passes. Even before knowing she was not the apostle she felt unsure of herself. Not to mention, there were obviously rifts between her beliefs and those of the senate. She may have theoretically held the respect of the people because of her status but the senate had a lot of authority as well. She was only a child and they were a group of adults that were well-respected. And with the senate's claims that she wasn't actually the apostle, she seriously worries that she is not worthy of her position and the respect that comes with it. I don't mean to say that it isn't in her nature to be confident as long as she has a solid foundation; I honestly think confidence has been ingrained into her personality. But confidence and a need for reinforcement are two different things. I think demanding respect largely stems from her own insecurities. To me, it seemed like she stopped insisting on respect once she overcame the internal strife she went through after realizing Micaiah was the true apostle. Sanaki walked away with a newfound confidence that came from herself, not her title. She was sure of herself. As a result, I think she ultimately grew to a point where she no longer needed reinforcement in the form of respect from others.
For the PeopleDespite her outward appearance, Sanaki thinks of nothing more than her people. She has a huge heart and is willing to do whatever she needs to for them. Even when she must reclaim her throne, she says she has to stop the senate from ravaging Begnion in order to save her people. Sanaki not only wanted her throne back, she needed it back because to her, the people of Begnion come before everything. If they were in distress, she needed to do something about it. When Micaiah's army tricks the Holy Guard and plans to set them ablaze, Sigrun commands them to become a shield while she brings Sanaki to safety. Sanaki absolutely refuses to leave the others without flight behind or let the Holy Guard be shot down and burned for her sake. If the people couldn't be saved, she wasn't going to be rescued either. A large display of putting her people before herself is shown by the first reaction she has when she realizes that she may truly not be the apostle. Sanaki worries deeply about betraying her people, even if unknowingly. She feels as if they only love and respect her because they believe she is the apostle. Therefore, if she wasn't, her title would be a lie. Instead of thinking of herself, she stresses about betraying the people's trust. Sanaki wants to please them and not lose their support. Being a good and just ruler seems to be very important to her. When talking with Naesala, she wonders if the people of Begnion will speak fondly of her reign as empress. I feel like Sanaki tries her utmost for their comfort and prosperity and would be heartbroken if history said she failed. Not for the fame, but because she truly cares for and values them.
Peace & EqualityAs a result of her big heart, Sanaki holds a deep desire for peace. She is obviously deeply troubled by the concept of war and does not wish to take part in fighting unless absolutely necessary. Sanaki tries desperately to send messages to Daein for negotiation. When she receives no response, she says that she will not give up and will keep sending them until they do. Much to her distaste, her army clashes with Daein's and they must press through. Sanaki orders her forces not to pursue the fleeing Daein soldiers, however. Even after Micaiah tries to use underhanded tactics against the Holy Guard while they were caught off guard, Sanaki still chooses for both sides to stand down after Tibarn's intervention. To me, Sanaki seemed extremely distressed and almost on the verge of tears when she pleaded for both sides to retreat because she had seen enough useless bloodshed already. She maintains the mentality of peace over fighting throughout the entire war. The value that she places on peace is also displayed in her epilogue, as it states that she made treaties all across Tellius and united the continents.
Sanaki is also with the minority of people who support equality amongst the different races. She has Ike and the mercenaries take on various jobs in order to expose the senate's involvement in laguz slavery even though it was supposedly abolished by her grandmother. The treaties of peace that she wishes to make also include the laguz countries. She willingly agrees to free any remaining laguz slaves as well as give Serenes Forest back to the herons when making an alliance with King Caineghis of Gallia. Sanaki promises on their alliance that she will absolutely obtain peace. She believes in and strives to be a just ruler. When she finds out the truth about the assassination of her grandmother and the massacre of Serenes Forest, she seeks to apologize on behalf of her ancestors. Even though Sanaki had nothing to do with the tragedy, she still takes responsibility in order to help the wounds from the past heal. She realizes that things will never head in the direction of peace and equality if nothing is done. Sanaki puts aside her pride, confidence and even usual desire for respect as she falls to her knees in front of Reyson and Leanne. Her absolute sincerity is what makes Leanne forgive her and plead to her brother that he does the same. Wanting to start a positive relationship between Begnion and the heron clan, which would generalize to the other laguz tribes, was much more important than her own pride and status. After the Serenes Forest events, she becomes more aware of the many problems that remain with beorc and laguz relations and she honestly states,
"This has taught me a valuable lesson... Our land needs the laguz. I also believe that beorc and laguz need each other to survive. The previous apostle, my grandmother, was desirous of such a world, as were my own parents. Princess Elincia, your father, King Ramon of Crimea, was a true pioneer in the area of beorc-laguz relations. In the very near future, I will give the imperial senate a few...suggestions on achieving a fully integrated society. I doubt the road will be easily traveled, but I can no longer turn a blind eye to these issues."Though Sanaki truly desires to make the world and equal place, she is not so idealist as to not see the obstacles in the road ahead. She realizes that it will be extremely difficult to overcome the hatred and fear between the races that existed for so long. It doesn't matter how hard it will be, though. She has her whole life ahead of her and she plans on making a difference. She tells Elincia that when she rebuilds Crimea, they "will join forces and change the world." Sanaki believes that someday, she will be able to achieve her goal. Bringing peace and equality to the lands is one in the same with doing everything with her people in mind. The laguz that live in Begnion are just as important as the beorc. Sanaki's thoughts and emotions extend to everyone no matter what race.
Why may Sanaki believe in peaceful relations so strongly in a world where most despise the opposite race? I assume there are two possible causes besides for thinking Sanaki is just one of those characters who wants to do everything and believes everyone is inherently good. She mentions that her parents and her grandmother believed the same way. Sephiran, her most trusted advisor, also believed in equality for the laguz. Sanaki was surrounded by people who promoted equal relations between the races. It's only natural for her to develop the same sort of feelings as a result. Another possible reason would tie in with Sanaki's desire to be a good empress for her people. Her grandmother was beloved and cherished before she was assassinated. Sanaki also seems to admire Elincia's late father. If she believed that the people thought they were good rulers and she followed in their footsteps, she would be as well. I don't mean to say this in a way that she is trying to be selfish or wants fame. But she is a child with little experience compared to the rulers around her. Looking to others that she admires would be a good way for her to mold herself into the kind of ruler she wishes to be. Throw that into the mix with her being a naturally kind person to begin with and suddenly you have the girl who desires peace and equality more than anything else. Her feelings are sincere and passionate. Sanaki is definitely set on pursuing her goals because she seriously believes in the cause and truly values the concepts behind it.