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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIX


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#1 Milady of York

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:04 PM

(Rethinking Sansa: Thread XVIII)

(Re-reading Sansa: AGOT: Sansa I, Sansa II, Sansa III, Sansa IV, Sansa V, Sansa VI, Sansa's Development in AGOT, Symbolism/Foreshadowing in AGOT-ACOK Sansa I. ACOK: Sansa I, Sansa II, Sansa III, Sansa IV (with excerpts from Tyrion IX), Sansa V, Sansa VI, Sansa VII, Sansa VIII, Symbolism/Foreshadowing in ACOK, Sansa's Development in ACOK. ASOS: Sansa I (with excerpts from Tyrion I), Sansa II, Sansa III (with excerpts from Tyrion III), Tyrion IV, Analysis of Sansa III and Tyrion IV, Sansa IV, Tyrion VIII, Sansa V, Sansa VI, Sansa VII, Symbolism/Foreshadowing in ASOS, Sansa's Development in ASOS. AFFC: Sansa I, Alayne I (Sansa II), Alayne II (Sansa III), Symbolism/Foreshadowing in AFFC, Sansa's Development in AFFC.)

(Resources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 )



Welcome to our nineteenth edition, all readers old and new.

When the From Pawn to Player?: Re-reading Sansa project was created, our purpose was the analysis of Sansa’s personal development from book one to book four, chapter by chapter, which would help bring to the readers’ attention important aspects of the personality and experiences of this young woman that had previously not been examined in depth, thus helping to gain a better comprehension of her continuous evolution and the important issues she’s faced during her long journey. These insightful chapter summaries and analyses can now be easily accessed through the new list of chapter analysis plus book recaps posted here.

But examining a character of this complexity in a series whose own author recommends careful reading and re-reading in order to grasp the enormous scope of themes touched, couldn’t possibly stop at this. Mary Ann Shafter once wrote that what she loved about reading was that “one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive—all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.” And knowledge, it should be added. This was proven true after the successful completion of the re-read, as it impelled the hosts to continue exploring important topics in this character’s arc with the creation of the From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa, in which the analysis of her interactions and relationships with other male and female characters, and the themes of love, sexuality and agency, amongst others, resulted in three long-running projects with multiple essays: Female Influences, Male Influences and Examining Beauty and the Beast, the first two completed and the latter to be completed in this nineteenth installment; as well as a considerable amount of valuable and outstanding posts and shorter projects that have been collected in the Resources links posted at the beginning of each thread.

All of this has enriched our experience as readers, and our appreciation for both the character and the author who wrote such remarkable books as these, and as we hope that’s been true for many more, we encourage interested readers to put their questions forward, and participate in the discussions by offering their opinions, their insights and their perspectives.
May you enjoy reading and posting!

Edited by Milady of York, 05 April 2013 - 07:23 PM.


#2 Milady of York

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:10 PM

Below is the updated outline of the B&B project:


Examining the Beauty and the Beast motif in ASOIAF

A From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa Project


a. Origins, History and Symbolism of Beauty and the Beast:

1. Origins of the tale in ancient Greece and Rome: Milady of York.
1.a On the Symbolism of Psyche’s Tasks: Milady of York
1.b The transformation of Cupid and Psyche into Beauty and the Beast: Milady of York

2. The tale in other early civilisations
2.a An analysis of Beauty and the Beast elements in the Epic of Gilgamesh: fiekie

3.
Medieval retellings of the tale across Europe up to the Renaissance:

3.a Northern Europe: Elba the Intoner

4. Psychological interpretations of the symbolism in Beauty and the Beast: KittensRuleBeetsDrool

5. Modern retellings:

5.a Retellings by Villeneuve: Lady Lea
5.b Retelling by Beaumont: DogLover

b. Beauty and the Beast in Popular Culture:

1. TV series: brashcandy
2. Films:
2. a Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: caro99
2. b La belle et la bête: DogLover
3. Influences in Literature: Elba the Intoner
4. Music: bgona

c. The Beast in ASOIAF:

1. The Two Faces of the Beast:

1.a. The Hound: Milady of York

1. b. The Kingslayer: Danelle

2. Infirmity and Deformity, A Symbolic reading of the beastly figures in ASOIAF: Mahaut


d. Beauty and the Beast and ASOIAF: Milady of York
1. Awakening the Beast: brashcandy
2. Analysis of the father figures in Beauty and the Beast: tze


Edited by Milady of York, 05 April 2013 - 07:24 PM.


#3 Milady of York

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:17 PM

Now that we've started another thread, Milady has one essay to be posted that is part of a small project comprised of three essays exploring courtly love, knighthood and singing motifs in Sansa’s arc, created by herself and Mahaut.

#4 Milady of York

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:18 PM

On singing and emotional bonding



“In the beginning was the voice...

Men sang out their feelings long before they were able to speak their thoughts.”

OTTO JESPERSEN.



Archaeologists say that humanity’s most ancient notated music in existence is not instrumental but a song, and a spiritual one at that, called the Hymn to Creation, originated in the oldest civilisation known to us, the Sumerian, and dated more than eight centuries B.C. And, as if to follow this evolutionary pattern, GRRM chose that the first and the last times we would actually see Sansa Stark singing in the novels, not only get a description of her love of songs, would be precisely a religious song, the Mother’s Hymn. This intriguing coincidence has led me to examine the circumstances in which Sansa is more strongly connected to singing or is actually doing it herself, with the purpose of gaining knowledge about how she uses songs as a vehicle for emotional expression and bonding.

But first, a brief history of the musical education of women is useful for understanding how she came to love songs in the first place. During the Middle Ages music, both instrumental and vocal, was an integral part of everyday life for a highborn woman; she was tutored about music from a very early age, for practical reasons, as it was required as preparation for her future role as lady of her husband’s (or in some cases unmarried brother’s and widowed father’s) castle. As a result of this education, noblewomen came to adopt one of these four roles in relation to music, depending on their own ability or inclination:

A. Audience; they listened to the singers, be it resident or errant, that entertained their households, either because they loved the music or because they had to attend or act as hostesses in frequent banquets and tourneys, where musical entertainment was essential, as well as in family gatherings. It was a necessity for a proper lady to know what the musical landscape could offer, to know about the popular bards and their songs

B. Participant; they would entertain their family or guests by playing an instrument, such as the lute or the harp, and singing, alone or accompanied by another musician.

C. Patroness; especially if the noblewomen’s House or that of their husband were rich and powerful, in which case they would have many singers in their personal retinue, and gather and support various troubadours and musicians financially.

D. Creator; these were the ladies that composed pieces for instruments, wrote songs and poems, which they would then play or sing before a public at court or at home, or pass it on to a professional singer to perform.

Roles A and C were the commonest and most fashionable for female aristocrats; of the two, the role of patroness was the most important, because it was patronage by noblewomen that shaped a culture centered on courtly love and chivalric behaviour, helped the success of the troubadours and the dissemination of musical styles from one country to another, as these ladies had to marry noblemen from other lands, thus often having to take their own network of singers, scribes and courtiers to their husband’s lands, where they would mingle with those of their spouse and enriched the styles and ideas of the new household. Role B was also common in the upper echelon of nobility, although not nearly as much as the former. But role D was quite rare; we know of dozens and dozens of male troubadours from that epoch, yet we only know of twenty one women singers/composers by name only, of which the only ones known today thanks to their work having survived in written form are Hildegard von Bingen and Countess Beatriz de Diá, who wrote mainly sacred songs and poetry respectively.

As for Sansa, she is first presented as participant through some comments by a family member, Arya, who informs us that she could dance and sing, and play the high harp and the bells, which we assume took place mostly in private performances for the Starks and their household; and it could be argued that she possibly had material for the creator category as well, due to her ability for composing poetry, which demands a good mastery of language because in this genre language itself must be the music, so it has a higher level of difficulty in cognitive terms, more so in children, who’re still maturing neurologically and normally master the craft of linguistic composition throughout late adolescence. We don’t have samples of Sansa’s writing to judge her skills, but that she could do poetry at that age attests to two facts: good linguistic skills (which ties in with her not being good with numbers; it’s not frequent to master both skills at the same level) and that she was well educated in literature as well as in music, both marks of cultural refinement for nobles of her rank. Later, she’s in the role of audience, listening to the court singers at King’s Landing in more than one occasion, which leaves us with just one role she doesn’t fulfill. We haven’t seen her as patroness, due to her age and not being in a position to support musicians, but there’s an anecdote of her as a young child advocating before Lord Eddard to make a travelling singer (the type who most sought noble patronage) stay at Winterfell. In sum, it seems that even if her traditional education gave her the tools, it’s by natural inclination that Sansa loves music in general, not only some songs for immature reasons; otherwise she wouldn’t have shown an interest in learning to play an instrument, to write her own poetry, to attend musical performances, or even be able to find a small measure of joy in dancing through her soul-crushing wedding banquet. And above all, she wouldn’t have known how to bond with someone else through music.

Singing as a vehicle for emotional bonding is the subject to be analysed here because in its most basic, evolutionary dimension, that’s what music is for. In the earliest stages of human evolution, before man could invent instruments or communicate by speaking, women used the voice as a soothing mechanism to calm their children and bond with them, the same way modern mothers do with their babies, so any healthy human being is biologically and emotionally conditioned since his in utero existence for responding to music, and once he develops reasoning, music will engage a person on different levels, of which the emotional comes first and the cognitive second, as proven by research that demonstrated that of the top six reasons for listening to music, three are linked to feelings: interpersonal relationships of all types (friendship and love mostly), mood management and positivity; and of the top six uses of music, four are also connected to emotions: friendship, joy, comfort and love.

Now let’s take a look at three circumstances in which Sansa bonds through music.

Songs and emotional receptivity

From the very first experiment ever on the effects of music on certain behaviours, there has been a strong suspicion that songs also had a significant impact on the responsiveness of women to courtship requests by the opposite genre, which was later confirmed by separate studies by researchers Dan Levitin and Nicolas Guéguen. The latter demonstrated that when a song with lyrics dealing with love is present on the scene, it increased the probability of the woman accepting a request for a date some minutes later. This is because music induces positive affect (emotion), which in turn makes her more receptive to romantic advances. It could also be that the lyrics increase the woman’s sensitivity in an unconscious manner, which leads to the display of behaviour favourable to a connection of a romantic nature with the man. For men, it works better to be reminded of a pleasant episode than listening to a song. They are normally the ones doing the singing, as do the males in any species, and it’s not frequent for a man to want this from a woman, excluding career singers. When they do, the pattern they follow is to use musical means as indirect expression of an emotional need (affection), communicating (conversation) and symbolic representation (it varies, in the present case it’s sexual desire).

And what does all this have to do with a song from a fantasy novel, you ask? Here Milady has some splainin’ to do: from all the men who’ve been involved with Sansa, the dead and the still living, only one has ever requested a song from her, and one that has romance in the lyrics at that.

Not Tyrion “The last thing my wife needs is more songs” Lannister, and not Petyr “Life is not a song, sweetling” Baelish. Which is revealing in two ways: it indicates inability to bond emotionally with her and disinterest in/disregard for her feelings. In both cases, especially Littlefinger, whose body language as he’s saying that line gives him away completely: he’s caressing her cheek in a show of false affection, and we can say that Sansa felt uncomfortable at that, because remembering it she feels uneasy in hindsight. Compared to the scene with Sandor taking her back to her room from the serpentine steps, in which he’s cupping her chin whilst he requests a song, we see no sign of discomfort on her part but a willing offer of singing her favourite ballad, whereas Baelish has made an eleven-year-old Sansa feel ill at ease three times in just the first book: when introducing himself at the Hand’s Tourney and touching her hair, when telling her the quoted line whilst touching her face, and when she was summoned to the council meeting and she registered that the manner he looked at her made her feel naked. Furthermore, his use of songs and singers as tools for deceit and manipulation outside of this specific scene strengthens this interpretation.

Songs communicate a specific emotion subconsciously when a person doesn’t express it directly, because through music a person is able to symbolise something that is not there, and, strangely, a message delivered through music is perceived as an “honest signal,” according to Levitin, as it rings more sincere and truer to the receiver. Besides, emotions evoked by music—any kind of music—are not identical with the emotions aroused by everyday interpersonal activity, they are more powerful in cognitive and emotional terms. In contrast with his nostalgic flashback about his first wife’s favourite song, “Seasons of my love,” the Imp’s inability to pierce through Sansa’s courtesy armour and connect emotionally with her is brought to the surface with his rejection of songs, which are all about feeling, emotion, passion, and are closely associated with the "feminine” aspect of the self, according to Jung, who would’ve proposed that this deliberate rejection (music phobia is a different issue altogether) is a sign of being fearful of feelings that would involuntarily be stirred up by these tunes, ones he could not dissect analytically because that’d require a level of self-awareness that he doesn’t have. On one hand, he deludes himself hoping to be loved by a woman that has no reason for doing this ever, but on the other hand, by denying her the songs he knows she loves, the only means she had at hand to get some enjoyment or solace once she’d been stripped of everything, Tyrion directly negates her emotional satisfaction as he’d previously participated in negating her desires and her will.

To such pretensions, her response is either discomfort or unbreakable courtesy, for in both scenarios her own desires aren’t taken into account and her preferences are dismissed. Yet she responds differently to Clegane’s awkward displays of interest in her. He asked her for a song thrice and all were during situations in which his guard was lowered, so artifice and false emotion aren’t present: at the serpentine steps, when he escorts her to her bedchamber and during Blackwater. The more we examine these three circumstances, the more evident it becomes that ‘tis not the song itself, whichever the lyrics may be, that mattered to him but what the song embodied for him: affection he wanted; musical sounds themselves may carry emotional meaning independently of lyrics, but that’s more certain when linked to a significant event/person. The first time, he asks for an unspecified song about knights and ladies, though it can be understood that it’s going to be necessarily a romantic one, because most of this type were, and that it’s going to be Florian and Jonquil because it’s the most popular and most mentioned song in ASOIAF and the Dunk & Egg tales [1], plus the fact that the author overlapped Sandor’s figure with that of Dontos, the fake Florian, moments before he collides with her at the steps. The second time he asks for “his song,” she offers precisely her favourite of the many she knows, and he expressed his frustration at her innocent obliviousness through harsh words and goes on to say he’ll have one eventually, to which she again replies that she’ll sing gladly. These actions, however cringe-worthy due to his inebriation, do demonstrate a genuine if consciously blocked interest in her for herself. And there’s an interesting parallelism between how Sandor and Duncan approach their first love interests, because both show their attraction for the first time to Sansa and Tanselle respectively with Florian and Jonquil in the background; and they are the only two couples whom GRRM has written with this particular backdrop motif in their initial interactions.

And since we’re exploring the theme of medieval knighthood in the small project this essay is a part of, it’s worthwhile to insert here a note on GRRM apparent love for Arthurian legends, as can be inferred from the inclusion of T. H. White’s The Once and Future King in his book recommendations, which has led to the formation of a little theory of mine. That it’s possible that Martin drew inspiration from one of those old knightly tales as basis for the figure of Florian the Fool. I am talking specifically of Sir Percival, whose story and quest for the Holy Grail was first registered and left unfinished by Chrétien de Troyes, and is most famous today in the renditions written by German medieval poet Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, and composer Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal. Little we know of Florian’s story and personal characteristics: that he was lowborn, homely, a fool and a great knight, his requited love for Jonquil, and that there are a giant and a dragon involved in his storyline, and that the songs about him are “sad” according to Sansa and “sweet and sad” according to Duncan. So there’s very little material on which to speculate further, but amongst the facts we do know, there are a few notable coincidences between both knights/fools:
  • We don’t know anything of Florian’s origins beyond his low birth. Likewise, Parsifal is raised up as a lowborn by his widowed mother in a forest, though he’s a noble.
  • Parsifal was a fool first and then became a knight, wearing motley under his armour. He’s the only fool and anointed knight in medieval chivalric literature. Florian is also a fool and a knight, wearing armour made of motley, and is the only one of the legendary heroes in ASOIAF that has both professions.
  • There is a giant in Florian’s tale, which he can assume he engaged in a fight and won. Parsifal also fought giants, amongst other foes, and vanquished them.
  • Florian had a love story with a highborn maid, Jonquil, though we don’t know how their relationship ended and what became of her; and in de Troyes’ version, Parsifal rescued a fair maid, Blanchefleur, who became his first love and lover. But in von Eschenbach’s poem, he had a love story with a different highborn maid, Condwiramurs, who sought his help in escaping a forced marriage; he fought and defeated her betrothed in a duel, then married her and had two sons, one of which is another famous hero, Lohengrin.
And here’s where the parallelisms end, as there is no dragon and the Arthurian hero was no plain-faced man but the opposite, not to mention that his story has a strong redemption motif in all the three versions mentioned, something that is not known if the Westerosi legend has, and has more of the sweet and little of the sad.



[1] The two characters in Martin’s fictional world that mention this song most times are first Sansa and then Duncan the Tall.

Edited by Milady of York, 17 March 2013 - 06:26 PM.


#5 brashcandy

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:19 PM

Edit

Edited by brashcandy, 17 March 2013 - 12:35 PM.


#6 Milady of York

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:20 PM

Song hath charms to soothe a savage Hound

Like romance lyrics, worship music elicits a specific emotional response and fulfills a certain emotional need in people. This music is of a most “active” type, as it requires that people participate in songs and chants, and to focus on what the lyrics say more than on how it sounds. Its immediate effect is therefore concentration, clearing the mind of outside distractions and worries, which prepares for relaxation, that will come as people breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling over long periods of time as they are chanting, and with relaxation comes an increase in the level of endorphins, the uplifting neurotransmitters. The feelings of well-being extend to all people who like to listen to this music, independently of beliefs, but in believers the simplicity of the melodies also provide comfort and encouragement through connecting their personal issues to their religious beliefs, their gods’ promises, making them more hopeful, so they feel less alienated and alone (an effect non-spiritual music can have, too), but only on high dispositional hope, that is, a positive motivational state, elsewise it has no effect.

It’s not unusual that sacred songs should be more alluring to listeners in distressing times, and so on the first occasion the Mother’s Hymn is associated with Sansa, a battle on which her fate depends is about to start. After another of the always unpleasant encounters with Joffrey, she feels “the singing pulling at her” and goes to the sept, where she sings this and other hymns for the living and dead people she knew, minus Joffrey. But she adds a private, mute prayer to the Mother in behalf of the Hound.

He is no true knight, but he saved me all the same, she told the Mother. Save him if you can, and gentle the rage inside him.


Not long ago, he’d behaved with her in a way she’d considered “awful” on the roof of Maegor’s Holdfast, and in this prayer there are echoes of the impression that conversation had on her: on one hand, she’s cognisant of what he really is, but nevertheless she is grateful for his saving her life; and interestingly she doesn’t dwell on what he did or said to her on the rooftop, but on why he did and said those things: that angry volatility that scares her and she wants to be toned down after the battle is over if he survives. Looking at the incident this way, it appears more like an intentional expression of her wishes than a plea to some entity above.

Once she returns to her bedchamber from her ordeal at the Queen’s Ballroom with Cersei et al., the man himself is there, waiting for her. As reexamining every detail in a scene that has been profusely analysed previously isn’t my goal, here I am going to address only the part where she sings the same hymn again and why exactly did it have that effect on the Hound. First, let’s look at what he said just a moment before the singing occurs:

“I could keep you safe,” he rasped. “They’re all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I’d kill them.”


This line is the key to finding the main reason why he reacted like he did, as we will see later. Now, let’s move to the song itself:

Gentle Mother, font of mercy, save our sons from war, we pray,

stay the swords and stay the arrows, let them know a better day.

Gentle Mother, strength of women, help our daughters through this fray,

soothe the wrath and tame the fury, teach us all a kinder way.


By themselves, the lyrics don’t say much; so we have to go rhyme by rhyme keeping the big picture in mind. Let’s start with the first line:

Gentle Mother, font of mercy, save our sons from war, we pray…


Sounds familiar? It should.

Save him if you can…


Sansa had prayed to the Mother to save Sandor, and he did survive by his own fighting skills, but not without paying a high emotional price considering his trauma by fire. He has lost what moved him until now, so what could he possibly have survived for?

Stay the swords and stay the arrows, let them know a better day.


To know a better day, how? What he may have seen as his last chance for a better day is lost once Sansa made that gesture he interpreted as rejection. He’s now truly nothing left, he cannot stay and she will not go with him. Yet there is another way he’s going to find out at the end of the prayer.

Gentle Mother, strength of women, help our daughters through this fray…


This is the key passage, the moment of shock when he must’ve realised what he was doing. He’s big, strong and is armed, whereas Sansa is but a little girl with no other defences save her voice and a prayer to the Mother.

He is no true knight, but he saved me all the same…


He’d saved her life at the riot, of which he’s so proud and he’d told her that no one would hurt her again, hadn’t he? Yet now he is threatening her with a dagger to her throat and scaring her out of her wits, making her fear for her life.

Soothe the wrath and tame the fury, teach us all a kinder way.


Clegane can now see clearly why it went wrong. The Molotov cocktail that was the combination of battle exhaustion, PSTD, sadness, drunkenness, physical aggressiveness, etc., plus the sense of loss that came from the latest unfolding of events, had been ignited by a moment of rage and had led to this shameful act of his. For a man who has an interest of an affective nature in a woman, to realise that she fears him and he’s to blame for that can be crushing.

… and gentle the rage inside him.


Yet Sansa doesn’t turn him away completely; as if to reinforce with a gesture the message carried across to him by the last line, she cups his cheek with her fingers, the only time she ever does this actively to a man. Thus, she was able to reach to Sandor through song in a way she couldn’t have been able to with speech alone, because:

Due to the melody alone, a song to the Mother can be deeply moving…
To prove my point, listen to the most famous song to Mary, the real world Mother figure in the Catholic faith GRRM was raised in: the Ave Maria by Franz Schubert. Even if you don’t speak German to understand the lyrics, you’ll probably find the melody moving, at least a little. The amount of real people who’ve wept because of this song isn’t small, either.

… but when combined with the meaningful lyrics examined earlier, it took on the additional power of speaking to him both verbally and non-verbally simultaneously…
Speaking of which, as the Faith of the Seven has a strong resemblance to the author’s former religion, Milady has another little theory about the source of inspiration for this hymn. There’s not a real hymn with an exact word by word coincidence, but the verses do have the same themes as those in Catholic hymns to the Virgin Mary, e.g. these from “Mother Dearest, Mother Fairest”: Lady, help in pain and sorrow/Soothe those rack'd on beds of pain/May the golden light of morrow/Bring them health and joy again. Which has some slight resemblance to the soothe the wrath and see a better day lines; and this: Lady, help the absent loved ones./How we miss their presence here./May the hand of Thy protection/Guide and guard them far and near./Mary, help us, help we pray. Which for a good reason always reminds me of the first lines in the one Sansa sang.

thus penetrating his inebriated state and conscious defences, speaking directly to the to the core of his being, stimulating emotions and evoking feelings or recollections there.
So he cried, and then left her. There’s already a more thorough analysis of what became of him after this scene got imprinted so deeply on his mind, so suffice to say that we know from his last words that this action, forcing her to sing at knifepoint, was amongst those he regretted most. In the end, he did get to a place that is the realm of the Mother and the other six gods, where there’s ample possibility for him to learn the kinder way the hymn spoke of.

This experience stirred profound emotions in both, and it’s in Sansa in whom the effects are most immediate. She must’ve been trying to process what has just happened for a while, most probably (the “blanking” due to trauma hypothesis is dubious because that’s not how it goes. It looks more like Martin chose not to write her thoughts during this time due to plot requirements, as the UnKiss would originate here and it was intended as a surprise), and then rose, going directly to wrap his discarded and bloodied cloak round herself (again, here Martin chose not to write her thoughts as she was doing this; it would’ve been too revealing too early), which nicely reinforces the notion that there is nothing to support a psychological diagnosis of trauma resulting from this scene. If I needed more textual proof, this so simple and so revealing act tells it all: trauma victims, especially those from rape attempts, do not willingly and deliberately search for objects that induce flashbacks of the traumatic event, much less keep them as cherished mementos. Au contraire, they avoid/are wary of triggers, which is more true in children and young ones, in whom traumatic memories are more easily triggered, to the point that sometimes physical force or calming medication is necessary to restrain some young ones from running away and having nervous fits of crying, kicking and screaming when exposed to a trigger, be it visual or verbal. Some even get ill and must be hospitalised. Yet Sansa chose the cloak, a symbol of marriage in her world, put her in her hope chest no less, and then created the UnKiss.

Perhaps life is not a song, after all, but songs do teach effective ways to deal with people. That’s why children who learn to love singing from an early age tend also to have better social skills, and, more than anything, a good level of empathy, a quality that Sansa does possess and demonstrated in this scene.

Edited by Milady of York, 17 March 2013 - 12:33 PM.


#7 brashcandy

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:36 PM

And Thread XIX is off and running! I'd like to thank Milady of York for starting us off with that lovely introduction and opening essay, and she's the Rethinking threads first ever Guest Host /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> Pleasant posting everyone.

#8 brashcandy

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:43 PM

(moved from XVIII)


Resources 8

Male Relationships project:



Ned (Lady Candace) completed
Jon (tze) completed
Robb (mythsandstuff) Part 1
Loras &Willas (Lady Lea) completed
Joffrey (Summerqueen) Part 1- AGOT
Sandor (Lord Bronn Stokeworth) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Tyrion (Lyanna Stark) Part 1
Littlefinger (Pod the Impaler) completed

Jaime (Milady of York) completed
Lothor (Caro99) completed
Marillion (Ragnorak) completed
Sweetrobin (KRBD) completed
Dontos (Elba the Intoner) completed
Bran&Rickon (brashcandy) completed



#9 Mladen

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 03:03 PM

And here I am /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> . Number 19, well, brash you must be proud of our achievements. I know I am. With last thread and 12 essays (my dear I was in the mood for writing), I will continue with humble contribute to this thread too (I am not done with my projects). To all of us, congratulations for wonderful year of writing and posting. It has been quite an adventure...

Now, Milady, let me congratulate you on such wonderful essay. It was indeed pleasure to read it, as the subject of your essay has interested me for some time.

Sandor wanted more than a song, this we can tell for certain. He wanted to save Sansa, he wanted her well, but he was refused. But the song, and more importantly the particular song about Florian and Jonquil, a love ballad, was never sung. Sansa gave Sandor something else

Sansa didn`t give him love song, but a prayer. She gave him exactly what man like Sandor truly needed. A prayer to soothe his pains, calm him down, help him find himself. Intimate song mother sings to a child, for Sandor was again boy of 7, burnt and scared, and he didn`t need ballad, he needed consolation, tenderness and cure. He needed something to help him move on, something to forget and give him strength. Some will say this is romantic, some will find a deeper meaning to this. The truth, like in all those unexplainable wonders of the world is somewhere between.


As weird as it sound, I had to quote myself. I was always intruiged by Sansa`s choice to sing him this song. And Milady has offered so many brilliant answers. The level of empathy and compassion Sansa demonstrated in this particular scene is so wonderful and poetic. And if Jon is the hero of ASOIAF, then Sansa will be the one singing it...

Edited by Mladen, 17 March 2013 - 03:04 PM.


#10 Mahaut

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:12 PM

Wonderful essay as usual Milady /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

What can I say? The essay is well-constructed and the progression is so logical. I really like how you combine different approaches (historical, psychological and literary) to analyze the text.

I especially commend you for the Florian-Percival comparison. I would have never thought of it myself. I also like your analysis of the Mother's hymn, it was very clever as the rest of your essay. I hope to comment more later in the week when all my university work will be done. Now, it's sadly time to go back to contemporary history for me /whip.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':whip:' />

#11 Fire Eater

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 06:52 PM

Can we look at the parallels between the Quest for the Holy Grail and Brienne and later, Jaime's quest to find Sansa, sometime after this?

ETA: Milady, we all love your posts.

Edited by Fire Eater, 17 March 2013 - 06:54 PM.


#12 brashcandy

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 07:16 PM

Can we look at the parallels between the Quest for the Holy Grail and Brienne and later, Jaime's quest to find Sansa, sometime after this?


If there's a comparison there that you think is relevant please go ahead and introduce it to the thread when you're ready /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#13 Fire Eater

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:18 PM

If there's a comparison there that you think is relevant please go ahead and introduce it to the thread when you're ready /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />


Okay, first the alias Sansa is given is Alayne, a variation of Elaine. It could be a reference to Elaine of Corbenic, the Grail Maiden or Grail Bearer, described as "passing young and fair." Wolfram von Eschenbach described the grail as a great precious stone that fell from the sky; Sansa takes the surname Stone descends from the eyrie above the clouds and waycastle Sky.

Jaime has a Lancelot parallel; Lancelot had an affair with the Queen whose sigil was a lion, but Lancelot was also the best swordsman in the land and few would dare point out the affair.

Jaime may be also be Bors, who was tempted by maidens but refuses to break his vow of celibacy, and is faced with a dilemma, he must choose to save either his brother, Lionel, who is being whipped with thorns by demons, or saving a young girl abducted by a rogue knight. He chooses the young girl, and prays for Lionel's safety. Jaime was tempted by Cersei and later Hildy. Jaime may have to choose between aiding Cersei and Sansa, and he chooses Sansa, or rather he already has when he turns down Cersei's request to aid her, but goes along with Brienne to aid Sansa who Brienne says is being held by a rogue, Sandor.

Sandor could have some aspects of Galahad, who was raised at a nunnery and for the most part traveled alone, rescuing maidens and smiting enemies. Galahad is considered to be one of the heroes of the Quest for the Holy Grail. After the BoBW, Sandor travels the riverlands alone and rescues the maidens, Sansa and Arya, and kills his brother's men. He later stays at the monastic QI from where he will emerge on the journey to find Sansa.

Sandor could also be Malory's Pellam, who was wounded in the leg, and has a murderous brother, Garlon. Sandor has a leg wound, and I don't need to explain Gregor.

ETA: I don't know if this belongs here.

Edited by Fire Eater, 17 March 2013 - 08:26 PM.


#14 brashcandy

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:59 PM

ETA: I don't know if this belongs here.


I can't think of where else it would belong /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' /> I'll leave the fleshing out of your points to the experts on this topic, but I think the parallels you highlighted are quite suggestive.

#15 Mladen

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 09:19 PM

Okay, first the alias Sansa is given is Alayne, a variation of Elaine. It could be a reference to Elaine of Corbenic, the Grail Maiden or Grail Bearer, described as "passing young and fair." Wolfram von Eschenbach described the grail as a great precious stone that fell from the sky; Sansa takes the surname Stone descends from the eyrie above the clouds and waycastle Sky.

Jaime has a Lancelot parallel; Lancelot had an affair with the Queen whose sigil was a lion, but Lancelot was also the best swordsman in the land and few would dare point out the affair.

Jaime may be also be Bors, who was tempted by maidens but refuses to break his vow of celibacy, and is faced with a dilemma, he must choose to save either his brother, Lionel, who is being whipped with thorns by demons, or saving a young girl abducted by a rogue knight. He chooses the young girl, and prays for Lionel's safety. Jaime was tempted by Cersei and later Hildy. Jaime may have to choose between aiding Cersei and Sansa, and he chooses Sansa, or rather he already has when he turns down Cersei's request to aid her, but goes along with Brienne to aid Sansa who Brienne says is being held by a rogue, Sandor.

Sandor could have some aspects of Galahad, who was raised at a nunnery and for the most part traveled alone, rescuing maidens and smiting enemies. Galahad is considered to be one of the heroes of the Quest for the Holy Grail. After the BoBW, Sandor travels the riverlands alone and rescues the maidens, Sansa and Arya, and kills his brother's men. He later stays at the monastic QI from where he will emerge on the journey to find Sansa.

Sandor could also be Malory's Pellam, who was wounded in the leg, and has a murderous brother, Garlon. Sandor has a leg wound, and I don't need to explain Gregor.

ETA: I don't know if this belongs here.


I /bowdown.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':bowdown:' /> to this post. Fire Eater, this was outstanding...

choose to save either his brother, Lionel, who is being whipped with thorns by demons

This sounds also like Tyrion who`s tormented by quilt for a crime Queen of Throns commited. But, I agree it`s more like Jaime`s choice between saving Cersei or pursuing Sansa.

And ladies, you have influenced me on so many levels. I have just watched trailer for S3 `No Mercy` and all I can think of is that Sansa`s dress is of wrong color... /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

Edited by Mladen, 18 March 2013 - 09:14 AM.


#16 Elba the Intoner

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:05 AM

Ah another wonderful essay by Milady and what a great way to kickoff this next thread. Also, props to Mahaut for helping with this essay. I loved what you had to say on this topic. In particular the part about how Tyrion and Petyr deny Sansa songs really interested me:

Not Tyrion “The last thing my wife needs is more songs” Lannister, and not Petyr “Life is not a song, sweetling” Baelish. Which is revealing in two ways: it indicates inability to bond emotionally with her and disinterest in/disregard for her feelings.


It reminds me of the scene in the Beauty and the Beast movie where the Beast shows Belle his huge library and tells Belle that every book there is now hers and the great pleasure it gives her. The books for Belle are the same as the songs for Sansa, as it is what makes them happy and it's a way of learning about the history and chivalric stories that they both so adore. Remember the book that Belle keeps borrowing from the bookseller is one about a girl who meets her Prince Charming but she doesn't discover that until later in the book. By allowing Belle her greatest pleasure and encouraging it, the Beast makes his first real positive step towards gaining Belle's affections just as how the unkiss comes directly from the bonding between Sansa and the Hound after she sings him this soothing song, which you noted later and which I think is spot on. It comes from the same basic principle that the Hound is allowing and even encouraging Sansa to sing as opposed to Tyrion and Petyr who want to stifle her singing.

ETA Fire Eater your thoughts on the Jaime parallels with the Arthurian legend sound really great! I'd love to hear more about this though I am not an expert in Arthurian legend to elaborate much myself.

Edited by Elba the Intoner, 18 March 2013 - 09:09 AM.


#17 Mahaut

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:51 AM

Ah another wonderful essay by Milady and what a great way to kickoff this next thread. Also, props to Mahaut for helping with this essay. I loved what you had to say on this topic. In particular the part about how Tyrion and Petyr deny Sansa songs really interested me:


I wish I had Elba /biggrin.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':D' />

I'm afraid I haven't done anything; Milady's own genius did all the great work.

Edited by Mahaut, 18 March 2013 - 09:51 AM.


#18 brashcandy

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 10:28 AM

By allowing Belle her greatest pleasure and encouraging it, the Beast makes his first real positive step towards gaining Belle's affections just as how the unkiss comes directly from the bonding between Sansa and the Hound after she sings him this soothing song, which you noted later and which I think is spot on. It comes from the same basic principle that the Hound is allowing and even encouraging Sansa to sing as opposed to Tyrion and Petyr who want to stifle her singing.


I found it interesting that both LF and Tyrion are also responsible for the deaths of singers. Not that the men they killed were paragons of virtue, particularly Marillion, but it does signify the disconnect between them and Sansa. In her memories of the last night with Sandor, she always references the fact that he took a song or made her sing a song (in addition to the kiss), which tells us that this is something that has come to hold meaning for her despite the fear she felt on the night, evidence which supports Milady's point about emotional bonding. Even the threat posed by Marillion ultimately fosters her own awareness, as his connection of sex to singing leads to the dream of Sandor replacing Tyrion in her marriage bed.

Edited by brashcandy, 18 March 2013 - 10:29 AM.


#19 Mark Antony

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 10:36 AM

I thought this Sansa/Snow White comparison was pretty cool that i saw on Reddit, Figured i'd drop it here.

http://www.reddit.co...rackpot_theory/

#20 greensleeves

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:16 AM

I thought this Sansa/Snow White comparison was pretty cool that i saw on Reddit, Figured i'd drop it here.

http://www.reddit.co...rackpot_theory/


Pretty cool! There has been some Sansa/Snow White comparison on here before:

http://asoiaf.wester...60#entry3553686

Interestingly, the two comparisons come at it from different angles.

Edit: Here's the Jon/Sansa post that started that conversation for clarity. The are a lot of Jon/Snow White parallels too (they've even got the same name!).

Edited by greensleeves, 18 March 2013 - 11:21 AM.