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Foreshadowing and Symbolism in Sansa's Snow Castle


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#1 Ragnorak

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 12:38 PM

I have been rereading Sansa's scene where she builds Snow Winterfell in the Eryie garden trying to decipher potential foreshadowing.

The Ghost of Highheart prophesized Sansa's involvement in the Purple Wedding and her slaying a giant in a castle built of snow.

I dreamt of a maid at a feast, with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs. And later I dreamt that maid again, slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow."


The scene where Sansa builds a Winterfell snow castle seems to fit this description; however, ripping up Sweet Robin's doll hardly seems to fit among such significant events as the death of Kings. Ser Gregor (as Robert Strong) and Littlefinger (the giant referring to the Titan of Braavos) are popular suspects. If the prophesy does refer to a future event, given the length and detail Martin gives that scene it seems likely that it contains foreshadowing of this future event. I suspect it does and that the giant is Littlefinger. This seems to be supported by the entire chapter, not just the Snow Castle scene.

The chapters opens with Sansa awakening suddenly from a dream.

She awoke all at once, every nerve atingle. For a moment she did not remember where she was. She had dreamt that she was little, still sharing a bedchamber with her sister Arya.


Arya was actually in the dream and the sudden waking from a dream with all her nerves atingle has potential allusions to Bran who communicates through dreams.

Dawn had not yet come. Sometimes she dreamed of Ser Ilyn Payne and woke with her heart thumping, but this dream had not been like that. Home. It was a dream of home.


Her other dreams are of Ilyn Payne beheading her father, an event caused by Littlefinger, that cause her to awaken afraid. This dream is different. It is of Winterfell and she is not afraid. The full meaning of the dream has not yet dawned on her but she is beginning to piece it together.

From bits and pieces of overheard conversations Sansa knew that Jon Arryn’s bannermen resented Lysa’s marriage and begrudged Petyr his authority as Lord Protector of the Vale. The senior branch of House Royce was close to open revolt over her aunt’s failure to aid Robb in his war, and the Waynwoods, Redforts, Belmores, and Templetons were giving them every support.


The source of her knowledge is important considering Lysa's conversational exposition at the end of the chapter. The actual knowledge is helpful as well since she is basically learning that she potentially has some very strong allies in the Vale should she suddenly become a Stark again.

During her Snow Castle scene Littlefinger reminds her of Marillion and may be a symbolic stand in for him in this chapter.

“I won’t.” He sounded almost like Marillion, the night he’d gotten so drunk at the wedding.


And Marillion. There is always Marillion. When he played for them at supper, the young singer often seemed to be singing directly at her. Her aunt was far from pleased. Lady Lysa doted on Marillion, and had banished two serving girls and even a page for telling lies about him.

Marillion is an ever present manipulative figure that wants to use her. Aside from this obvious parallel of a background figure manipulating events, Marillion has caused three people to be banished-- two girls and a boy. Sansa, Arya and Bran-- the three figures symbolized by the snowballs first used to begin rebuilding Winterfell.

At the end of the chapter it is Marillion, the Littlefinger stand in figure, that escorts her to meet Lysa and the Littlefinger stand in that will convicted of a crime on Sansa's words after Sansa learns the truth of Littlefinger's plotting. The two guards at the door might be symbolic references to the two huge bulwarks she builds in her snow castle. The library tower she builds has a tall steep stair that leads to the top. Sansa certainly gains knowledge at the top of the tower at the chapter's end. So the parts of the chapter surrounding the Snow Castle scene have symbolism to reinforce Sansa piecing together Littlefinger's guilt, references to Bran and Arya, as well as other symbolism that ties into the Winterfell Snow Castle.

I am not going back to sleep, Sansa realized. My head is all a tumult. She pushed her pillow away reluctantly, threw back the blankets, went to her window, and opened the shutters.
Snow was falling on the Eyrie.
Outside the flakes drifted down as soft and silent as memory. Was this what woke me?

Wondering if it was the snow that woke her ties the Snow Castle she builds to her thoughts and dream that open the chapter.

Sansa left the shutters open as she dressed.

This obviously conveys that she is of the North and a Stark, but it is also something we've seen Ned do.

Ned rolled off and climbed from her bed, as he had a thousand times before. He crossed the room, pulled back the heavy tapestries, and threw open the high narrow windows one by one, letting the night air into the chamber.

This is the scene right before Luwin arrives with Lysa's letter with written with Littlefinger's words. Where Cat thinks of Brandon her original betrothed who helped set Littlefinger on his current path. This is where Cat argues with Ned for Sansa's marriage to Joffrey. It takes us back to Littlefinger's first move against the Starks.

She donned silken smallclothes and a linen shift, and over that a warm dress of blue lambswool. Two pairs of hose for her legs, boots that laced up to her knees, heavy leather gloves, and finally a hooded cloak of soft white fox fur.

This strikes me a symbolic but I have no idea what to make of it. Looking for blue, white and/or foxes in Houses beyond the Arryn white and blue: House Florent of Brightwater is a Red fox with blue flowers. Sansa's face is flushed (red) after she's out in the snow and blue flowers could be a Jon reference. House Hawick of Saltpans has white sea birds strewn on a blue field. The Saltpans is both an Arya and Hound reference and birds are a obviously tied to Sansa. Personally, I don't think either of these work but it was all I could find.

Later Sansa sees Lysa.

Sansa saw Lady Lysa gazing down from her balcony, wrapped up in a blue velvet robe trimmed with fox fur,

They are both in blue and fox fur. Sansa is specifically cloaked in fox fur as she is cloaked in her bastard identity be Littlefinger. Earlier Sansa thinks:

Lysa was as lonely as she was.

So she is identifying with Lysa on loneliness caused by Littlefinger. All i can think of is the fox in the hen house. They are both in what could by House Arryn colors and Littlefinger is the the dangerous fox in House Arryn.

Sansa eased open the door, and made her way down the winding stair.
The snow drifted down and down

Sansa descends into the garden just as the snow does. From the beginning before she even goes outside she is one with the snow.

Drifting snowflakes brushed her face as light as lover’s kisses, and melted on her cheeks. At the center of the garden, beside the statue of the weeping woman that lay broken and half-buried on the ground, she turned her face up to the sky and closed her eyes. She could feel the snow on her lashes, taste it on her lips. It was the taste of Winterfell. The taste of innocence. The taste of dreams.

The statue seems important and IIRC it was broken in Tyrion's trial by combat which would add signifcance especially given their marriage. The taste of innocence and dreams continues to tie this back to the chapter opening.

When Sansa opened her eyes again, she was on her knees. She did not remember falling. It seemed to her that the sky was a lighter shade of grey. Dawn, she thought. Another day. Another new day. It was the old days she hungered for. Prayed for. But who could she pray to? The garden had been meant for a godswood once, she knew, but the soil was too thin and stony for a weirwood to take root. A godswood without gods, as empty as me.

She has fallen into prayer just as the snow is falling again emphasizing they are one. She is kneeling in reverence and supplication hungering for the past and nourishing herself with snow. A godswood without gods, as empty as me-- but she fills it. "You’re crusted over with snow ... but your face is flushed"
She has become red and white like a weirwood in the act of building Winterfell.

The snow drifted down and down, all in ghostly silence, and lay thick and unbroken on the ground. All color had fled the world outside. It was a place of whites and blacks and greys. White towers and white snow and white statues, black shadows and black trees, the dark grey sky above. A pure world, Sansa thought. I do not belong here.

Yet she stepped out all the same. Her boots tore ankle-deep holes into the smooth white surface of the snow, yet made no sound. Sansa drifted past frosted shrubs and thin dark trees, and wondered if she were still dreaming.

The ghostly silence is one of the strongest Jon references in the chapter, but far from the only one. Snow is the central image which obviously has connection to Jon Snow. Sansa is currently shrouding her true identity pretending to be a bastard just like Jon, and her recollection of snow in Robb's hair is primarily associated with Jon. Sansa is walking through the snow making no sound which seems to equate her with Ghost. There are also similarities to this passage in Jon's thoughts.

The warmth took some of the ache from his muscles and made him think of Winterfell’s muddy pools, steaming and bubbling in the godswood.Winterfell, he thought. Theon left it burned and broken, but I could restore it. Surely his father would have wanted that, and Robb as well.
You can’t be the Lord of Winterfell, you’re bastard-born, he heard Robb say again. And the stone kings were growling at him with granite tongues.You do not belong here. This is not your place. When Jon closed his eyes he saw the heart tree, with its pale limbs, red leaves, and solemn face. The weirwood was the heart of Winterfell, Lord Eddard always said… but to save the castle Jon would have to tear that heart up by its ancient roots, and feed it to the red woman’s hungry fire god. I have no right, he thought.Winterfell belongs to the old gods.


Given all the Jon references I wonder if this

She pushed two of her snowballs together, added a third, packed more snow in around them

refers to Sansa marrying Jon. Two snowballs together in marriage, adding a third is a child, and packing in snow around them is the continuation of the Stark line. I know that steps on a lot of Jon and Sansa matchmaking wishes, but I'm just trying to make sense of the Jon imagery in the chapter. Other interpretations are welcome.

What do I want with snowballs? She looked at her sad little arsenal. There’s no one to throw them at. She let the one she was making drop from her hand. I could build a snow knight instead, she thought. Or even

Sansa starts off with snowballs-- weapons-- but she has no one to throw them at. This symbolizes that she has not yet identified her true enemy. Later, her last act of building Winterfell is to make the Broken Tower and she throws the snow at Littlefinger.

Sansa stuck her fingers through the top, grabbed a handful of snow, and flung it full in his face. Petyr yelped, as the snow slid down under his collar.

Both the removing snow from the top of the tower and the snow sliding under his collar point toward beheading.

ETA
I struggled a bit here to make sense of the Jon references. Tze has an absolutely wonderful post in the PtP thread about Jon and Sansa that I highly recommend to anyone who finds the connection interesting.

Continued in first post: exceeded maximum quotes /ack.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':ack:' />

Edited by Ragnorak, 11 September 2012 - 07:52 PM.


#2 Ragnorak

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 12:38 PM

Sansa uses three snowballs to start building Winterfell. That snowballs are weapons might matter. That they symbolize Starks and seperate Starks are being merged into one indistinguishable Winterfell seems important as well. Also Sansa actively chooses not to build a snow knight-- she no longer seeks out others to protect her, she will make her own defenses.

She pushed two of her snowballs together, added a third, packed more snow in around them, and patted the whole thing into the shape of a cylinder.

There are two other snowball references. A child memory of a snowball fight with Bran and Arya and the memory of trying to make a snowball the day they left Winterfell.

She scooped up a handful of snow and squeezed it between her fingers. Heavy and wet, the snow packed easily. Sansa began to make snowballs, shaping and smoothing them until they were round and white and perfect.

That was a lighter fall than this, she remembered. Robb had melting flakes in his hair when he hugged me, and the snowball Arya tried to make kept coming apart in her hands.

The heavier and wet snow compared to the lighter snow along with Sansa's ease at making perfect white snowballs compared to Arya's coming apart in her hands definitely seems to mean something. I have no idea what it is. Robb with melting snow in his hair is a strong Jon reference. When Jon sees Robb with the snowflakes in his hair Jon is coming from saying goodbye to Bran and on his way to give Arya Needle. They are all pulled together by this one image.

Here is the other snowball passage:

She remembered a summer’s snow in Winterfell when Arya and Bran had ambushed her as she emerged from the keep one morning. They’d each had a dozen snowballs to hand, and she’d had none. Bran had been perched on the roof of the covered bridge, out of reach, but Sansa had chased Arya through the stables and around the kitchen until both of them were breathless. She might even have caught her, but she’d slipped on some ice. Her sister came back to see if she was hurt. When she said she wasn’t, Arya hit her in the face with another snowball, but Sansa grabbed her leg and pulled her down and was rubbing snow in her hair

They both have snowballs but Sansa had none. They both have wolves, Bran is a greenseer, Arya is training to be a Faceless Man, and Sansa is just emerging from the keep and has yet to arm herself. Bran is perched, a position for a bird, just out of reach. Sansa uses three snowballs to start building Winterfell. I originally thought it was Sansa, Bran and Arya, but with Bran being out of reach and all the Jon imagery and refences I am not entirely sure. The entire Sansa/Arya interaction seems like foreshadowing but I'm not sure what to make of it. Sansa rubbing snow in her hair interesting. It ties into the Robb memory, it is also the action Arya associates most with Jon. First we have Sansa as Ghost and now we have her as Jon.

before very long Sansa knew it was Winterfell. She found twigs and fallen branches beneath the snow and broke off the ends to make the trees for the godswood. For the gravestones in the lichyard she used bits of bark.

The first thing Sansa builds is the godswood (important in and of itself) and this establishes twigs as weirwood/Old God symbols and bark as gravestone symbols. There are dozens of references throughout the book refering to the Heart Tree as Winterfell. This one is from Tyrion:

He remembered their godswood; the tall sentinels armored in their grey-green needles, the great oaks, the hawthorn and ash and soldier pines, and at the center the heart tree standing like some pale giant frozen in time. He could almost smell the place, earthy and brooding, the smell of centuries, and he remembered how dark the wood had been even by day. That wood was Winterfell. It was the north.

The gravestones seem important too. This is the last chapter in SoS and the last chapter in CoK was Bran emerging from the crypts. One book ends with the burning and the next with the rebuilding, if only metaphorically. Bran thinks:

The stone is strong, Bran told himself, the roots of the trees go deep, and under the ground the Kings of Winter sit their thrones. So long as those remained, Winterfell remained. It was not dead, just broken.Like me, he thought. I’m not dead either.

“The glass was locked in frames, no? Twigs are your answer. Peel them and cross them and use bark to tie them together into frames. I’ll show you.”

This connects the Heart Tree and all its meaning to the Kings of Winter in the crypts below. This seems important because Sansa is makingthe glass houses, which she says are "like the hottest day of summer," out of Old Gods and the Kings of Winter in their crypts. There references to Summer and Dawn-- in Stark colors-- throughout the the chapter and this ties them into Winterfell's Heart Tree and its roots reaching down into the Kings of Winter.

Some things were hard to remember, but most came back to her easily, as if she had been there only yesterday. The Library Tower, with the steep stonework stair twisting about its exterior. The gatehouse, two huge bulwarks, the arched gate between them, crenellations all along the top…

The Library Tower symolizes knowledge-- she certainly gains knowledge in the tower at the end of the chapter. The gatehouse is the means to enter Winterfell. I see this representing Sansa's struggle to gain the knowledge to undo Littlefinger vs his trying to get her to be the bastard girl Alayne in her heart. She has two huge bulwarks and an arched gate between them to defend her in this process-- two other Starks? Mya and Myranda? Two Vale Lords? Sandor and somebody else?

Her bridges kept falling down. There was a covered bridge between the armory and the main keep, and another that went from the fourth floor of the bell tower to the second floor of the rookery, but no matter how carefully she shaped them, they would not hold together. The third time one collapsed on her, she cursed aloud and sat back in helpless frustration.
“Pack the snow around a stick, Sansa.”
“A stick?” she asked.
“That will give it strength enough to stand, I’d think,”

I think the numbers mean something but I have absolutely no ideas. The two bridges are between the Keep and the armory-- where the Stark children live and weapons; and the bell tower and the rookery-- where castle alarms are sounded and warnings sent abroad. The former is the covered bridge where Bran was perched so he seems to be protecting and arming his siblings. Other than raising the North I'm not sure what to make of the second. Whatever it represnts, the Old Gods and all they represent are the answer. Maybe the buildings other symbolic significance from Bran's climbing chapter in GoT.

There are some Littlefinger specific exchanges.

Dawn stole into her garden like a thief.

“That will give it strength enough to stand, I’d think,” Petyr said. “May I come into your castle, my lady?”
Sansa was wary. “Don’t break it. Be…”
“…gentle?” He smiled. “Winterfell has withstood flercer enemies than me.

This has some clear sexual innuendo to it and seems to show an almost successful seduction of Sansa by Littlefinger. Winterfell had better withstand because I'm not sure I will if Littlefinger makes his way into the gatehouse. The implication is Winterfell, the thing she has built, protects her.

This has potential marriage foreshadowing with him asking for her hand. Just when sounds weak-- A castle! This represents both her defense against him and his attack on her which results in his beheading.

Sansa. Take off those gloves, give me your hands.”
“I won’t.” He sounded almost like Marillion, the night he’d gotten so drunk at the wedding. Only this time Lothor Brune would not appear to save her; Ser Lothor was Petyr’s man. “You shouldn’t kiss me. I might have been your own daughter…”
“Might have been,” he admitted, with a rueful smile. “But you’re not, are you? You are Eddard Stark’s daughter, and Cat’s. But I think you might be even more beautiful than your mother was, when she was your age.”
“Petyr, please.” Her voice sounded so weak. “Please…”
“A castle!

I can see Littlefinger trying to seduce her and Sansa insisting he help her reclaim Winterfell before she'll give in. It also suggests Sansa will eventually see him for what he is-- Marillion. The idea that she has to defend herself is echoed with the realization she can't rely on Lothor Brune.

Ho ho ho, open your gates or I’ll mash them and smash them.” Swinging the doll by the legs, he knocked the top off one gatehouse tower and then the other.
It was more than Sansa could stand. “Robert,stop that.” Instead he swung the doll again, and a foot of wall exploded. She grabbed for his hand but she caught the doll instead. There was a loud ripping sound as the thin cloth tore. Suddenly she had the doll’s head

The "giant" wants to get through the gates. He knocks off the top of both gatehouse towers. Are these the two huge bulwarks she builds? Are the people these represent beheaded (literally or manipulatively as is LF's style) or does this represent something else? The giant also attacks the walls but does not breach them before he is caught by Sansa and has his head taken off.

A mad rage seized hold of her. She picked up a broken branch and smashed the torn doll’s head down on top of it, then pushed it down atop the shattered gatehouse of her snow castle. The servants looked aghast, but when Littlefinger saw what she’d done he laughed. “If the tales be true, that’s not the first giant to end up with his head on Winterfell’s walls.”

Not sure if the broken branch is an Old God reference. It could also be the broken branch of a House possibly. Either way the giant's head is mounted on Winterfell's walls.

I read this as Sansa in Wionterfell beheading Littlefinger in the style of the First Men. There is something unappealing about Sansa using a sword and even more so killing someone since she is one of the few people in Westeros yet to take a life. I see this happening as Sansa being the Stark in Winterfell. It fits with her wishing for a hero take behead Slynt, since Littlefinger was really behind that. This is also after Sansa realizes what LF has been responible for including Ned's betrayal and beheading and Jeyne's "treatment." When I think of Sansa victorious in Winterfell surrounded by Northern Lords it is easy to see a figure like the Greatjon wanting to swing the sword for her. That feels more wrong-- reverting to a protector after all she's learned. Having a protector could also serve as a full circle moment, but I see Sansa beheading Littlefinger in a scene like that as the ultimate act of rallying the North and a turning point in the whole story. That, and I really want to read Cersei's reaction to that news.

This is an insanely dense chapter. Sansa says:

I thought my song was beginning that day, but it was almost done.

The PtP thread has had some discussion about song as it relates to Sansa and this passage and Marillion being a singer touch fit with that theme as well and I never even touched on it. I'm sure I missed plenty more as well.

This is arguably the most poetic and beautifully written chapter in the entire series and worthy of some specific attention. I am be no means sold on anything in here and would love to hear different or more in depth thoughts on any of it.

#3 NotSoSilentSister

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 01:28 PM

Well, I think you make a good case for Sansa being destined to take down LF. A lot of the more detail-orientied projections are a bit reaching though.

I don't think there's any forshadowing of a Jon/Sansa marriage for instance. Sansa thinks of him quite a bit at the Vale, because her situation now mirrors his - overcoming her snobbery towards Jon is an important part of her character development.

She remembered a summer’s snow in Winterfell when Arya and Bran had ambushed her as she emerged from the keep one morning. They’d each had a dozen snowballs to hand, and she’d had none. Bran had been perched on the roof of the covered bridge, out of reach, but Sansa had chased Arya through the stables and around the kitchen until both of them were breathless. She might even have caught her, but she’d slipped on some ice. Her sister came back to see if she was hurt. When she said she wasn’t, Arya hit her in the face with another snowball, but Sansa grabbed her leg and pulled her down and was rubbing snow in her hair


The purpose of that passage might be to highlight Sansa's, Bran's and Arya's different fighting style.

Arya arms herself and attacks. We can see her doing that now as she acquires super-assassin-skills.

Bran removes himself from the heat of battle and attacks from a safe distance. He is in a position where he has the higher ground and oversees everything. He's doing that now by retreating to the cave of the COTF and tuning in to the weirwood system.

Sansa is not armed. She strikes from a position of apparent weakness, taking advantage of her opponent's affection for her.... in this example, Arya of course cares about her sister and comes back to see if she's hurt. To be fair, Sansa does not be pretend to be hurt and only attacks Arya after Arya attacks her second time.... still, Sansa is down, Arya comes back, and this is when Sansa gets her. So maybe cut that "exploiting affection" part; but "striking from a position of apparent weakness" might describe Sansa's strategy very accurately. She's down right now, partly due to her own actions ('stumbling on the ice' = making the mistep of siding with Cersei/trusting the fool in LF's employ; a faux-pas when moving on the thin ice of courtly intrigue), but her opponent just can't keep away from her. He'll come dangerously close and that's when she'll pull him down.

Edited by NotSoSilentSister, 05 August 2012 - 01:30 PM.


#4 brashcandy

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 01:37 PM

Excellent theorising as usual Ragnorak. We had some initial conversations on this in the PtP threads, but you've added in some intriguing details which merit further consideration.

Littlefinger as the savage giant seems like a foregone conclusion. Of course, there's symbolism in the novels which points to Tyrion as well, but LF's overwhelming responsibility for the demise of the Starks and his personal involvement with Sansa, makes him the best candidate for the one she will eventually slay. What's interesting is that Sansa most likely is still in possession of the poisoned hairnet that was used to kill Joffrey. She puts it into the pocket of her cloak when she's escaping the city, and we don't hear about it again, but surely it's a ticking time bomb. Whether it will blow up in LF's face or someone else's remains to be seen.

Considering that the GHH's prophecy correctly identified the death of Joffrey at a "feast," it stands to reason that the "castle of snow" should carry a similar literal meaning. However, when applied to the Starks and Jon Snow, "snow" symbolises a place of strength, determination and moral courage. All of the memories Sansa has of happy family times are filled with snow, so her slaying the giant in a castle of snow could mean that she will deliver justice on behalf of the Starks against LF, being the one to restore some sense of happiness and honour to the remaining family.

Back in a bit with more... /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#5 Gobiel

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 01:37 PM

Well... How many rereads have you done? You basically covered everything in that aSoS Sansa chapter...
While I find some hypothesis are too crackpot (the wisdom thingy (she just builds Winterfell, she has to create that tower.), the fox thingy, as well as the snowballs.) the whole has been interesting to read, and the connections have been... interesting as well (the Jon Snow saying the same thing: "I do not belong here" was quite a thing (that may or may not symbolise a future relation between Sansa and Jon)). The only thing I find is missing is the part where she says that she is stronger in Winterfell (after the she tells LF that he has lied).


#6 Ragnorak

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 01:47 PM

Well, I think you make a good case for Sansa being destined to take down LF. A lot of the more detail-orientied projections are a bit reaching though.

I don't think there's any forshadowing of a Jon/Sansa marriage for instance. Sansa thinks of him quite a bit at the Vale, because her situation now mirrors his - overcoming her snobbery towards Jon is an important part of her character development.
...


The Sansa/Jon marriage was just my best shot at trying to make sense of the Jon imagery. Jon is never mentioned but Sansa being compared with snow and moving with ghostlike silence just screams Jon. Her rubbing Arya's hair sticks out too among other things. If Jon were actually to become Lord of Winterfell (a big unknown) I could see it as her taking his place, but the Sansa as Ghost metaphor would still throw me absent more information.

There have been a number of posts and threads about different sections being foreshadowing. The Ironborn Kingsmoot, the Meereen fighting pits, the various Cyvasse games are a few. It seems anytime Martin dedicates a large amount of ink to a scene he throws in foreshadowing. I'm not convinced that I've read the tea leaves properly, but I am convinced there are tea leaves to be read.

#7 Naathi Prince

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 01:57 PM

A lot of this is really good, some of it might be a bit of a stretch. But Sansa, the one who most wanted to go south to King's Landing, as the Stark in the winterfell at the end? Sansa swinging the sword that kills Petyr Baelish? excellent

#8 brashcandy

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:00 PM

The Sansa/Jon marriage was just my best shot at trying to make sense of the Jon imagery. Jon is never mentioned but Sansa being compared with snow and moving with ghostlike silence just screams Jon. Her rubbing Arya's hair sticks out too among other things. If Jon were actually to become Lord of Winterfell (a big unknown) I could see it as her taking his place, but the Sansa as Ghost metaphor would still throw me absent more information.

There have been a number of posts and threads about different sections being foreshadowing. The Ironborn Kingsmoot, the Meereen fighting pits, the various Cyvasse games are a few. It seems anytime Martin dedicates a large amount of ink to a scene he throws in foreshadowing. I'm not convinced that I've read the tea leaves properly, but I am convinced there are tea leaves to be read.


Just a quick note Rag - I think Sansa's chapters in AFFC merit close attention as well for how they may elucidate what happens in this snow castle scene. For example in the final Sansa chapter of that book, she has to cross a narrow ledge with SR, and during the crossing she hears the wind howling and thinks that it sounds like a "ghost wolf, as big as the mountains." There's a connection there to her Stark heritage, maybe a suggestion that although she's lost her wolf, the protection of Lady still lives on, and maybe even a link to Jon's wolf, Ghost. However, what's clear in her AFFC chapters is that Sansa is learning to draw on her own strengths and is on her way to making new allies.

Edited by brashcandy, 05 August 2012 - 02:01 PM.


#9 NotSoSilentSister

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:04 PM

There have been a number of posts and threads about different sections being foreshadowing. The Ironborn Kingsmoot, the Meereen fighting pits, the various Cyvasse games are a few. It seems anytime Martin dedicates a large amount of ink to a scene he throws in foreshadowing. I'm not convinced that I've read the tea leaves properly, but I am convinced there are tea leaves to be read.


Oh, absolutely, there's a lot of forshadowing in the series. I just don't think that the case for Jon/Sansa-marriage forshadowing is very strong. Martin likes to draw parallells between all the Stark children - they are all in hostile environments, acquiring skills, wearing masks (Jon as a deserter, Arya in her various disguises, Bran warging into Hodor, Sansa as Alyanne), mentored but also threatened by powers of dubious intent who want to instrumentalize them (LF, Bloodraven, the FM, Melisandre) and in danger of losing connection to their Stark Roots. They are all supposed to serve as foils for each other. Doesn't mean that they all end up marrying each other, hopefully.

I mean: of course Sansa is linked to Jon - they are members of the same pack and all the members of the pack will have to reunite for the pack to survive. Sansa/Jon might get a little bit more emphasis than her links to her other silbling, but that's easily explained by the fact that he's the one she used to exclude from her definition of her pack and recognizing him as a vital member is an important step for her.

Edited by NotSoSilentSister, 05 August 2012 - 02:05 PM.


#10 Nas

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:22 PM

A little bit of overanalysing I would say

#11 Gobiel

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:25 PM

It seems obvious to me that Jon is going to warg into Ghost: might be that the reconnection between Jon and Sansa will be between Sansa and Ghost?
Sansa might change to a point where Ghost as Sansa's direwolf may not seem too impossible /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

Edited by Gobiel, 05 August 2012 - 02:26 PM.


#12 tze

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:27 PM

When Sansa opened her eyes again, she was on her knees. She did not remember falling. It seemed to her that the sky was a lighter shade of grey. Dawn, she thought. Another day. Another new day. It was the old days she hungered for. Prayed for. But who could she pray to? The garden had been meant for a godswood once, she knew, but the soil was too thin and stony for a weirwood to take root. A godswood without gods, as empty as me.


Sansa's losing time here. I don't think it's a coincidence that, immediately after she "blacks out" in the godswood, she starts building an incredibly detailed scale model of Winterfell. The Stark that knew Winterfell's geography best was Bran, certainly not Sansa. What was going on during Sansa's lost time here? Was she, perhaps, communicating with Bran in the godswood? Could that be why Sansa's first instinct upon "waking up" from her trance was to start building a model of Winterfell filled with the type of details we know for a fact Bran knew (but which seem like the sort of things Sansa wasn't really paying attention to when she was living there)?

and over that a warm dress of blue lambswool.


Mance Rayder gave Jon a sheepskin cloak, and with that, Jon literally became "a wolf in sheep's clothing". Sansa wears lambswool, so she too is a wolf in sheep's clothing---but Sansa is a "baby" yet, so she wears the wool of a "baby" sheep.

Sansa wears "a hooded cloak of soft white fox fur", while Lysa wears a "blue velvet robe trimmed with fox fur". Foxes are traditionally associated with scheming. Sansa's entire cloak is made of fox fur, while Lysa's robe is only trimmed in fox fur. We know Lysa has been scheming with Littlefinger, but we also know she's mainly a pawn, not a schemer in her own right, which could be why her robe only has a "trim" of fox fur. Sansa, however, seems to be shaping up as a schemer in her own right, hence her cloak being made entirely of fox fur. Lysa's robe is blue, the shared color of the Tullys and the Arryns (it's unclear what color of fox fur her robe is trimmed in--but the fact that Sansa doesn't mention it could indicate that it's also white.) If it is white fox fur, then Lysa here is wearing the Arryn colors, blue and white, on the same garment. Sansa's cloak is entirely white, a color shared between the Arryns and the Starks--- but Lysa wears those colors together on the same garment while Sansa has white "covering" her "solely"-Arryn blue dress.

For the gravestones in the lichyard she used bits of bark.


Lady, Sansa's direwolf, is buried in the Winterfell lichyard.

It was more than Sansa could stand. “Robert,stop that.” Instead he swung the doll again, and a foot of wall exploded.She grabbed for his hand but she caught the doll instead. There was a loud ripping sound as the thin cloth tore. Suddenly she had the doll’s head.


She calls him Robert, not Sweetrobin. Is this a hint pointing toward Robert Strong? (Is he the savage giant Sansa will slay?) Or is it a reference to Robert Baratheon, whose arrival at Winterfell accidentally "broke" Winterfell and caused its downfall? There's an argument to be made that both Robert Baratheon and Robert Strong are represented here as enemies, intentional or not, of what Winterfell represents. The fact that this doll (and what is Robert Strong, but a "doll" being played with by Qyburn?) starts attacking "Winterfell", and Sansa steps in to defend the castle and ends up with the giant's head---well, I seriously doubt Sansa will end up physically defending the castle from an attack by Robert Strong. I tend to think this could be more metaphorical: perhaps she'll destroy Robert Strong to prevent what he represents (Lannister power) from attacking the North? If Robert Strong ends up as Cersei's primary protector/enforcer, then his destruction could facilitate Cersei's destruction. For that matter, the entire idea of Robert Baratheon, a king controlling the North, conflicts with the "old ways" of the North (Winterfell, not the southern Iron Throne, reigning supreme over the North). Sansa destroying Robert's doll could represent her destroying the Iron Throne's "empty" power over Winterfell---that she will play a role in preventing the Iron Throne from claiming dominion over the North. Given the way people keep trying to use Sansa as a marriage pawn, could this indicate that someone (Aegon?) will try to use Sansa's claim to gain dominion over the North, and Sansa will turn the tables on him?

She picked up a broken branch and smashed the torn doll’s head down on top of it, then pushed it down atop the shattered gatehouse of her snow castle. The servants looked aghast, but when Littlefinger saw what she’d done he laughed. “If the tales be true, that’s not the first giant to end up with his head on Winterfell’s walls.”


As Sansa says earlier in this passage, "It was the old days she hungered for." The "old days" of Winterfell were times of giants and skinchangers, when the Starks ruled as Kings in the North and the Old Gods held full sway. Throughout this passage, we see Sansa use parts of a tree---branches, twigs, bark---to build her Winterfell. Without the assistance of parts of trees, the castle won't stay up. Will trees be literally incorporated in the future rebuilding of Winterfell, or is this simply a hint that the Old Gods are going to be instrumental in the reconstitution of Winterfell and House Stark? I wouldn't be surprised at either, or both. The "old days" of Winterfell are coming again.

She pushed two of her snowballs together, added a third, packed more snow in around them


I think "snow" represents Stark power. Direwolves run in huge packs. Unlike other Houses, the Starks seem likely to "integrate" their various powers together (rather than fighting each other). Sansa makes snowballs, then pushes them all together, and packs more snow in around everything---the snow comes together to construct Winterfell. I don't think this is necessarily a reference to individual Starks literally marrying each other, but rather, to the power of the Starks (snow) coming together and merging into a larger, more powerful whole.

She remembered a summer’s snow in Winterfell when Arya and Bran had ambushed her as she emerged from the keep one morning. They’d each had a dozen snowballs to hand, and she’d had none. Bran had been perched on the roof of the covered bridge, out of reach, but Sansa had chased Arya through the stables and around the kitchen until both of them were breathless. She might even have caught her, but she’d slipped on some ice. Her sister came back to see if she was hurt. When she said she wasn’t, Arya hit her in the face with another snowball, but Sansa grabbed her leg and pulled her down and was rubbing snow in her hair


Bran is out of Sansa's reach. Sansa chases after Arya (who, like Bran, is armed with snowballs, while Sansa has none). She can't catch Arya because she falls on the ice; Arya comes back for her, throws snow in her face . . . then Sansa grabs onto Arya's leg, pulls her down to the ground, and rubs snow in her hair. Sansa, at the end, is finally armed with snow. If "snow" symbolizes Stark power, then perhaps Arya will help Sansa find/gain her Stark (Old Gods-centric) power? We know injuries help skinchangers learn to use their power, and by chasing after Arya, Sansa falls on the ice. Arya comes to Sansa to see if she's injured. When she sees that Sansa hasn't been injured, she throws a snowball in Sansa's face---another attempt at harming her. But that leads to Sansa grabbing onto Arya's leg and pulling her down to where Sansa has fallen, and thus Sansa finally finds her own source of "snow" as a weapon of power. I think Sansa is finally going to recover her Old Gods-centric powers, and Arya will end up as the catalyst.


she hears the wind howling and thinks that it sounds like a "ghost wolf, as big as the mountains." There's a connection there to her Stark heritage, maybe a suggestion that although she's lost her wolf, the protection of Lady still lives on, and maybe even a link to Jon's wolf, Ghost.


I'm going to enter into crackpot territory here. Sansa explicitly includes the lichyard in her Winterfell model, and the lichyard is where Lady is buried. She takes control of the "giant" doll associated with Robert---Robert Strong is a walking corpse. The image of Sansa finally finding "snow" when she's fallen onto the ground evokes death imagery---Sansa "falling to the ground" = death. Is Sansa's destiny to not be a skinchanger in the same sense as Bran, but instead, to control the dead? Like the Others apparently do?

#13 Lyanna Stark

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:28 PM

She has fallen into prayer just as the snow is falling again emphasizing they are one. She is kneeling in reverence and supplication hungering for the past and nourishing herself with snow. A godswood without gods, as empty as me-- but she fills it. "You’re crusted over with snow ... but your face is flushed"
She has become red and white like a weirwood in the act of building Winterfell.


The "Another new day" thought is interesting since it mirrors Melisandre's thoughts on the Wall that the darkness gives way to light (and she gives thanks to the Lord of Light for it).

But I always felt it was symbolising Sansa almost being reborn. Note also in that scene the half buried woman in the snow*** who is crying, yet Sansa takes in winter and is almost as if she was reborn there. She is more aligned with the north, as it were.


*** the statue is actually Alyssa Arryn who didn't cry any tears when her family died and who gave the name to the water fall that keeps on falling but never reaches the bottom of the Vale.

#14 Tagganaro

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:31 PM

Brilliant as per usual Ragnorak. You know I'm an unabashed lover of this scene. It's just fantastic and powerful and beautiful. One of the highlights of the books and Sansa's arc in particular.

Something I'm thinking about- Maybe the Sansa/Jon imagery is more representative of their alliance in the future. There's been a little bit of a conflict being built up between the Stark children, with Jon + Robb's will, Sansa and LF's plans, Rickon + Manderley, etc. I like how this ties into Ned's advice about the lone wolf dying but the pack surviving. People like LF might think to play the Stark children against each other but I doubt it will work. They will work together.

LF might seek to turn Sansa against Jon/Rickon, but it won't work? I don't know, just throwing something out there. Maybe the three snowballs represent 3 of the true-born Starks (since I'm guessing either Bran or Arya won't really be involved as much considering where they are and what they're doing), and the snow that she packs in around the snowballs is Jon? I like how this further ties into LF trying to divide & conquer. He doesn't want Sansa to be a Stark so much as he wants Alayne to be a Snow. His final mistake will be not realizing that Sansa is a Stark, part of a pack of Wolves who won't betray each other, since LF only sees people as their weaknesses and the product of their desires.

Also, since I'm contractually obligated to mention "Max" Rayder (hat tip BB /cool4.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':cool4:' /> ), could he be involved as well? I like Sansa and her connection to singers and songs, and LF seems to have a similar connection. Sansa uses/likes songs because they represent the good that's capable of happening in the world. LF uses/likes songs because he knows they can be manipulative. What prominent singer is heavily involved in WF and with Jon right now?

#15 Sevumar

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:34 PM

It's reasonable to assume that some of what is happening here is foreshadowing. Many fans have long believed that the "snow castle" scene is not the true fulfillment of the Ghost of High Heart's vision. However, I don't think that each detail in this sequence needs to be imbued with such symbolic meaning. There are probably a few choice comparisons and descriptions that you can pick out and use to try to make predictions, but most of this just goes way too far. You can invent symbolism for just about anything when you get down to this level.

#16 Ragnorak

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:07 PM

@Tze
Thank you. That entire post is just brilliant, but especially the lambswool part. I wracked my brain over that knowing something was there and you nailed it.

@Lyanna Stark
Totally forgot the statue was Alyssa Arryn-- was too focused on the description.

@Tagganaro
Way to bring in The Mance! Mance does need to steal himself a Stark girl if he's ever going to live at his Bael fantasy. I really do think there's merit to the Mance singer connection especially after reading the singer posts in PtP.

@brashcandy
I completely forgot about "ghost wolf, as big as the mountains." Jon Snow being LC comes up on the way down too. They were even on their way to Snow when she hears it. I'm convinced there's a better Sansa/Jon interpretation, I just don't know her arc well enough to put it together.

#17 KittensRuleBeetsDrool

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:15 PM

I LOVE this analysis! I agree that there wouldn't be so much loving detail painted into this chapter if it was not significant in some way in the long run. I also think that the giant Sansa will slay - metaphorically or literally - is going to be Littlefinger. The "darkness and thick, black blood" probably refers to his inner nature - he is a dark, twisted sociopath who has indirectly been responsible for most of the bloodshed in Westeros, and hides it beneath his "mockingbird" persona.

More later when I have time to write up a nice long response...

#18 Sevumar

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:17 PM

I do think it's curious that with all this discussion of giant symbolism, nobody has mentioned the name of the mountain where the Eyre is perched, the Giant's Lance, and perhaps the possibility that we're looking at the physical destruction of this "impregnable" castle.

#19 brashcandy

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:34 PM

I'm going to enter into crackpot territory here. Sansa explicitly includes the lichyard in her Winterfell model, and the lichyard is where Lady is buried. She takes control of the "giant" doll associated with Robert---Robert Strong is a walking corpse. The image of Sansa finally finding "snow" when she's fallen onto the ground evokes death imagery---Sansa "falling to the ground" = death. Is Sansa's destiny to not be a skinchanger in the same sense as Bran, but instead, to control the dead? Like the Others apparently do?


Very nice post, tze. She does have a habit of saving people from death in the novels - Dontos quite literally, and metaphorically in Sandor's case. I'm also curious as to how her love of songs plays into this. She's associated very early on with figures like Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, and Aemon the Dragonknight. Sansa seems to be able to "control" others in the sense of challenging them to be better persons, giving them some sense of hope, dignity etc. Whilst the Others are associated with a nefarious purpose, her influence contributes to a kind of positive reanimation, where the bad parts are killed off, and the good remains.

#20 Gobiel

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:42 PM

Very nice post, tze. She does have a habit of saving people from death in the novels - Dontos quite literally, and metaphorically in Sandor's case. I'm also curious as to how her love of songs plays into this. She's associated very early on with figures like Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, and Aemon the Dragonknight. Sansa seems to be able to "control" others in the sense of challenging them to be better persons, giving them some sense of hope, dignity etc. Whilst the Others are associated with a nefarious purpose, her influence contributes to a kind of positive reanimation, where the bad parts are killed off, and the good remains.


IMO, she doesn't quite control others, or even gives them dignity... Dontos was a pawn, and Sandor was, as the priest said to Brienne, an already perturbed person who had some good in him (he hated already the knights for what they did, etc... before Sansa even showed up)