agree. You are of course right. It's the inner conflicts we are invited to watch. But what is redemption? Redemption has to do with actively recognizing that you have failed and then actively trying to put weight on the "good" side of the balance in the hope that your bad deeds will be outweighed.
But the hope out getting things undone is futile, in severe cases this will never happen. Sandor cannot wake up Mycah, no matter what he may do in the future, Tyrion cannot unrape Tysha and say a few excuses if they ever meet, Jaime cannot make Bran walk again.They will have to cope or not to cope with their guilt, it has become a part of their personality.
People can NEVER undo their major failures and crimes. In minor cases, yes, cou can go to your neighbour and say your excuses for having watered his barbecue, ok.
But the truly serious bad things won't go away by doing good deeds. But protagonists, as RL people, can go on and try to make conscious decisions in every choice of life that is presented to them, always deciding for the right thing instead of the bad deed, or for this what we as readers perceive as right. But nothing of that, in no character, will undo what has happened.
And then there is the absurd that comes into play: even Cersei (secretly I am hoping for something like that because she is such an interesting character, but that would be cheesy i know) still can do a truly important good deed by coincidence or by conscious decision. Would she be be "redeemed" in our eyes by that? Or does there have to be an "arc" behind this? And what about the well intended like Daenerys who started as little girl devoid of any evil and now is seen as personification of a cruel dictator by many (not by me)? What is her moral "arc"? Or the good guys and girls who marry the wrong girl or by accident might drop their pearl into the wrong glass of wine, how would that influence their moral future? Martin's books are not only about conscious decisions and longterm developments that have been hinted at the whole story over but as well about life messing up our plans, the one wrong step.
So, I do not believe in "redemption arcs" that are given to protagonists. Indeed it is the well meaning longterm intentions that are so often shown to fail. There are though the decisions to make at a daily basis, the confrontation of a ruler's or politician's own decisions with reality they cause, again and again or the decision not to obey an order. Martin certainly gives story arcs to his protagonists but no prefabricated moral arcs, they are not meant to aim "towards the good" or "towards the bad" but they have the freedom always to rethink themselves, with every decision, we can file no one as turning good or bad and forget about it, we are invited to be constantly aware. And this means that even the bad guys and girls are given the freedom to turn their story until the last moment. If we as readers wish to add up bad or good for a character - this is our decision but it will not influence the character's fate.
Is there any practical relevance in the differences between my arguing and yours, Childofsummer?
I do not think that every further decision of a character is to be seen as part of an arc towards good or bad. I believe every single act has to be evaluated in itself and in retrospect, when all the books are written or when the character is dead, we can try a character evaluation. Not wanting to be a sinner anymore and repenting for your sins, in the eyes of readers or whatever god, does not help very much if you continue to sin. Martin does not give general absolution to his characters by "redemption arcs" but tests them on a daily basis.
Though there may be the same practical solution: stop being ugly to other people, please.