Sansa and the Hound (Beauty and the Beast) --
"For in that solemn silence is heard in the whisper of every sleeping thing: Look, look at me, come wake me up, for still here I'll be." ~ Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bete) is a coming of age story, a story of sexual awakening (the Beast awakens the beast within Beauty) and marriage. Beauty and the Beast bring out the best in each other.
Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bete (the inspiration for Sansa and the Hound):
The story the author wrote parallels Cocteau's La Belle et la Bete
Calendar art the author requested, Sansa and the Hound as La Belle et la Bete
A nice review of Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bete by Roger Ebert:
Those familiar with the 1991 cartoon will recognize some of the elements of the story, but certainly not the tone. Cocteau uses haunting images and bold Freudian symbols to suggest that emotions are at a boil in the subconscious of his characters. Consider the extraordinary shot where Belle waits at the dining table in the castle for the Beast's first entrance. He appears behind her and approaches silently. She senses his presence, and begins to react in a way that some viewers have described as fright, although it is clearly orgasmic. Before she has even seen him, she is aroused to her very depths, and a few seconds later, as she tells him she cannot marry--a Beast!--she toys with a knife that is more than a knife.
The Hound says the Beast's lines:
La Belle et la Bete (Beauty and the Beast): One does not call me "my Lord"; one calls me "Beast." I don't like compliments.
Sansa and the Hound: "Spare me your empty little compliments, girl... And I'm no lord..."
Beauty and the Beast symbolism at the tourney:
The tourney in Sansa's story is loaded with Beauty and the Beast symbolism
Beauty is Sansa
The Beast is the Hound
Father is Ned
Fake Father is Littlefinger
The Prince is Joffrey (what Sansa calls him)
The Rose is Loras, the Knight of Flowers
Fake Rose is Tyrion, the Knight of Flowers in the Dark (what he calls himself)
The Beast (the Hound) is the champion at the tourney for Beauty's Father (Ned)
Beauty (Sansa) tells her Father (Ned) she knows the Beast (the Hound) will win
Beauty (Sansa) remembers the Beast (the Hound) was the champion at her Father's tourney
The Beast (the Hound) defeats Baratheon, Lannister, and Tyrell at the tourney
The Rose (Loras) yields to the Beast (the Hound)
The Beast (the Hound) says the Beast's lines (above) after the Prince (Joffrey) tells him to take Beauty (Sansa) to the castle
Fake Father (Littlefinger) bets against the Beast (the Hound) and loses; had he been there, he notes Fake Rose would have bet against the Beast (The Hound) and lost, too
Beauty misses the Beast (the Hound) (she wishes he was there, pretends they kissed, dreams of him in the marriage bed), while the Beast (the Hound) nearly dies of heartbreak remembering Beauty (Sansa) (do you remember where the heart is? that's how you kill a man)
The Rose (Loras) and Fake Rose (Tyrion) always yield to the Beast (the Hound) in Beauty's (Sansa's) thoughts and dreams (the Beast (the Hound) always wins, as he did at the tourney)
For example, Beauty (Sansa) directly compares the Rose (Loras) and the Beast (the Hound), calling Loras a "flower" and Sandor a "dog" when she misses the Beast, then the song of the Beast, The Bear and the Maiden Fair ("I called for a knight, but you're a bear!"), is prominent at the luncheon about who she will marry
For example, Beauty (Sansa) considers kissing the Rose (Loras), but she gives the kiss to the Beast (the Hound)
For example, Beauty (Sansa) dreams of the Fake Rose (Tyrion) in bed with her, but she replaces him with the Beast (the Hound)
This goes on throughout all the books, from first to last
Quotes from the tourney: Sansa said, “I knew the Hound would win.”... “Is the Hound the champion now?” Sansa asked Ned. “No,” he told her. “There will be one final joust, between the Hound and the Knight of Flowers.” But Sansa had the right of it after all. A few moments later Ser Loras Tyrell walked back onto the field in a simple linen doublet and said to Sandor Clegane, “I owe you my life. The day is yours, ser.” “I am no ser,” the Hound replied, but he took the victory, and the champion’s purse, and, for perhaps the first time in his life, the love of the commons. They cheered him as he left the lists to return to his pavilion.
There are also parallels with Sandor and Dunk: Dunk is the champion at the Ashford tourney, where he is a true knight; Sandor is the champion at Sansa's father's tourney, where he is a true knight; Dunk remembers the song about stealing a sweet kiss with a blade while digging a grave; Sandor digs a grave with the same wording, and the song is sung just as he reappears in the story (just as Sansa is pretending they kissed); the maid is from Gulltown, the same place Sansa pretends to be from when she's under cover
Beauty and the Beast, Visions and Revisions of an Old Tale by Betsy Hearne:
The Beast assumes a passive role and Beauty an active one. The Beast basically sits around waiting to be rescued by the handsome princess, as soon as she loosens her ties with home and family, especially her father...
The Beast, who is first seen as repulsive, is in the end seen before any transformation, as irresistible. He is an ostensible villain who turns out to be vulnerable and even heroic in beastly form...
The Beast's task is patience; Beauty's is perception. Beauty, first seen as infinitely desirable, finds herself desiring, and this most loyal daughter turns out to be a promise-breaker, acting in a beastly manner toward a true friend. Before her final choice, one is attracted to the Beast and impatient with Beauty...
Beauty must learn to believe not what she sees, but what she feels…
On Cocteau’s version: Beauty’s revelation at the end - "I was the monster, my Beast" - climaxes the many reversals explored in both picture and dialogue...
“Beauty and the Beast” offers the promise that for all our human ugliness and brutality, we can be acceptable, even lovable, to another human being. The continuing relevance of “Beauty and the Beast” as a modern theme stems from this fearful knowledge that we are each beastly, juxtaposed with the hopeful knowledge that we are each beautiful.
GRRM on Sansa "kissing the Hound, as she had":
You will see, in A STORM OF SWORDS and later volumes [there's only been one so far], that Sansa remembers the Hound kissing her the night he came to her bedroom... but if you look at the scene, he never does. That will eventually mean something, but just now it's a subtle touch, something most of the readers may not even pick up on.
While Beauty and the Beast are apart:
Beauty's story ---
"As the boy's lips touched her own she found herself thinking of another kiss. She could still remember how it felt, when his cruel mouth pressed down on her own. He had come to Sansa in the darkness as green fire filled the sky. He took a song and a kiss, and left me nothing but a bloody cloak." ~ Sansa on Sandor, AFFC
Sansa "remembers" kissing Sandor three times
She tells us she's been thinking about Sandor while lying awake at night in bed, and she wishes he was there, and she regrets not going with him, and she puts his bloody cloak (red on white, classic marriage consummation symbolism) with her summer silks
The cloak she clutches to her bare breasts and tells us no velvet felt so fine, the cloak she chooses to get under in a scene filled with sexual symbolism (that's twice Sansa has put Sandor's cloak on herself, a hint there will be a third time)
After dreaming a thousand times of a tall strong man kissing her when she marries him, she keeps the cloak of a tall strong man who she pretends she kissed in a cedar chest, commonly used as a "hope chest" where young women preparing for marriage keep treasures.
She tells us she understands him, in a special way, because she knows his secret, she wonders where he is, she dreams of him in bed with her, asking for a song, a song she says she'll sing for him gladly one day, a song he remembers with his dying breath
When the other girls are pretending to kiss a man, she one ups them in her thoughts, what would the other girls think of her "kissing the Hound, as she had"
This is not the first time she uses Sweetrobin as a kissing stand-in for Sandor (he says let's stay in bed and read stories and kiss)
She has thought of Sandor this way so often, she doesn't even have to name him anymore, and we know who it is
She refers to him as "he" (and she doesn't have to name him in her dream of him in her marriage bed), Sandor is the "he" to Sansa's "she"
"She found herself" - Sandor's kiss helps her find Sansa
"He had come to Sansa" - this is what she wants to happen again
"He left me" - with nothing but his cloak, like a jilted bride; a little while later, when she's asked about the marriage bed, she remembers the Hound, and how he'd kissed her
She says "he left me" and he says he left her, too; they both regret that he left her
"She could still remember how it felt" - she has imagined this so many times, it seems real
Later, she rescues Sweetrobin, like Sandor rescued her
Before, Sandor said, "Look at me," and she closed her eyes.
Now, "I could close my eyes. The mule knows the way, he has no need of me. But that seemed more something Sansa would have done, that frightened girl. Alayne was an older woman, and bastard brave."
Before, Sandor was always there to catch her before she could fall. "She could still feel the cruel pinch of fingers on her wrist as she lost her balance and began to fall. When his hand fell away, another hand, stronger, shoved her back into her saddle."
Now, she doesn't fall. "The steepness of this part of the descent made her cling tightly to her saddle. I will not fall."
She looks now, and she stays on the saddle, like Sandor helped her do before; she's a woman now, and she's not afraid to look
Beauty is ready for the Beast, but where is he?
The Beast's Story ---
The Beast proves his love by taking care of Beauty's sister
The song about stealing a sweet kiss with a blade from the maid from Gulltown is sung just as Sandor, who nearly stole a sweet kiss from a maid "from Gulltown", re-enters the story
Sandor remembers Sansa's song, "You ought to sing me a pretty little song, the way your sister did"
Before, he said "I'm no lord" but now, he's ready to bend, in order to reconnect with Sansa: "If this Young Wolf has the wits the gods gave a toad, he'll make me a lordling and beg me to enter his service. He needs me, though he may not know it yet" (the subtext, Sansa needs him)
He hears Sansa was forced to marry someone else, and has to sit, drinks too much too fast, then nearly loses the fight
Now it's Sandor who can't stay in the saddle, it's time to rest: He slumped in the saddle, and sweated, and his ear began to bleed through the bandage. He needed all his strength just to keep from falling off Stranger... “I need to rest,” was all he said. This time when he dismounted he did fall.
"Do you remember where the heart is?... That's how you kill a man" and now the Beast asks again, "You remember where the heart is?" as he nearly dies from heartbreak on the Trident
He made a queer sound, and it took her a moment to realize he was sobbing. “And the little bird, your pretty sister, I stood there in my white cloak and let them beat her. I took the bloody song, she never gave it. I meant to take her too. I should have. I should have fucked her bloody and ripped her heart out before leaving her for that dwarf.”
His heart breaks for Sansa, as he imagines what she has gone through
He mentions his cloak again, he pledged to protect her, but feels he let her down, while at the same time, she's remembering how much he did for her
He wishes she had given him her heart and her desires (her song), while at the same time, she's giving him her kiss and remembers giving him her song
"I left her" just as she says "he left me" - they both regret that he left her
Beauty and the Beast, their story together and in the future ---
The plucked rose symbolism in Beauty and the Beast represents a virgin's sexual awakening; as the rose leads to the Beast, Sansa's thoughts of Loras lead to thoughts of Sandor, who she gives the kiss, for example
As Sansa makes the transition from father to Beast, from daughter to lover, there are many juxtapositions of Sansa's real father, Ned, and Sandor, for example: "Strong hands grasped her by the shoulders, and for a moment Sansa thought it was her father, but when she turned, it was the burned face of Sandor Clegane looking down at her"
Cocteau has Beauty refuse Avenant's offer of marriage in the beginning, but In the end, Beauty accepts the same man (in appearance) that she rejected before
This symbolically reflects Beauty's transition as she overcomes her fears about sex, played out with her exchanges with the Beast, who brings out the beast (sexuality) in her
It’s when Sansa is ready to take that leap from father to Beast, when she faces her fears about sex, that Sandor, in turn, relinquishes the last vestiges of the Hound persona, represented by the abandonment of his helm
At the same time Sandor nearly dies on the Trident, Sansa is ready to look at him
Both Sansa and Sandor are idealists; as children, he played with the knight toy no doubt rescuing a fair maiden and she loved songs of knights and fair maidens; and at times it seems there is no place for them in the world, but they give each other hope
Sansa and Sandor, like Beauty and the Beast, see the good in each other and draw that out, they bring out the best in each other, and are better together
And so Beauty and the Beast find their way back to each other
In Cocteau's version, in the end, Beauty calls the Beast "my Beast" and upon his transformation, Marlene Dietrich said with dismay, "Where is my beautiful Beast?" (the subtext is sexual)
The subtext of fear is excitement; in the end, Cocteau has Beauty say "I like being afraid with you" as they are about to "fly away" together
A song and a kiss:
"Sing me a song, why don't you? Go on. Sing to me. Some song about knights and fair maids. You like knights, don't you?"
"But one day I'll have a song from you, whether you will it or no." "I will sing it for you gladly"
He yanked her closer, and for a moment she thought he meant to kiss her.
"Why did you come here?" "You promised me a song, little bird. Have you forgotten?"
Then she remembered: she prayed to the mother to "save" Sandor, and when he came to her from a ship called Prayer, she sang for the Mother to "save" him
"Little bird," he said once more.
"Off to Gulltown to see the fair maid, heigh-ho, heigh-ho. I'll steal a sweet kiss with the point of my blade, heigh-ho, heigh-ho. I'll make her my love and we'll rest in the shade, heigh-ho, heigh-ho."
"And she sang for me. You didn't know that, did you? Your sister sang me a sweet little song."
"I took the bloody song, she never gave it."
As the boy's lips touched her own she found herself thinking of another kiss. She could still remember how it felt... He took a song and a kiss, and left me nothing but a bloody cloak.
She dreamed of him in the marriage bed as her husband: When he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only on one side. "I'll have a song from you," he rasped.
"You do know what goes on in a marriage bed, I hope?" She thought of... the Hound and how he'd kissed her, and gave a nod.
"She'll be singing to the Stranger, begging for his kiss."
Sandor is the only one who asks Sansa to sing; Littlefinger told her life is not a song and Tyrion said the last thing she needs is more songs
More sexual symbolism:
Sandor is at the center of Sansa's flowering (his "sword" even shows up at the end of her flowering dream, "the little bird's bleeding" from the rescue) and sexual awakening (she dreams of him in the marriage bed, asking for a song)
Blackwater is a symbolic wedding night, reminiscent of Sansa's dream of marriage to a tall, strong man who gives her his cloak of protection and kisses her
Sandor pledges to protect her, declaring his love: "I could keep you safe. They're all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I'd kill them" and gives her his cloak; later, Sansa adds the kiss
Red on white is traditional virgin consummation symbolism, and Sandor's bloody cloak represents the bloody white sheet; Sansa puts on Sandor's cloak herself, unlike the cloaks given to her by other men
Sansa feels Sandor's dagger!dick pushing into her, then a wetness that is not blood, then a tear, and she caresses his face and gets under his bloody cloak (under "him"), and then bells ring in "her" hills and hollows
There are many callbacks to Blackwater; what happens between Sansa and Sandor that night is described in sexual terms, then Sansa and Sandor repeatedly remember what happened between them that night in sexual terms
The author clearly places a sexual emphasis on that night, on what happens between them, as the feelings simmering beneath the surface come to a boil, just as in Cocteau's version of Beauty and the Beast
Sansa adds the kiss to that night, not to a new fantasy; she places importance on what happened between them that night, remembering what she was feeling that night, and imagining what he must have been feeling, too
The sexual symbolism of the Blackwater scene is reminiscent of other uses of symbolism throughout the books, notably the dagger at the throat to "steal" a wildling woman, and a song about stealing a sweet kiss with a blade from a fair maid (from Gulltown)
Dunk and Sandor are often paralleled, and at one point Dunk is digging a grave (worded similarly to when Sandor is digging a grave) thinks of this song; Dunk pulls a dagger on a woman he kisses, too
Another example of dagger symbolism, Jamie pulls a dagger on Claire in Outlander
The sparring chemistry, with the give and take between them; Sansa likes that Sandor is fierce, and he brings out the ferocity in her, and in the midst of one exchange, she wants to pet him: He is a dog, just as he says. A half-wild, mean-tempered dog that bites any hand that tries to pet him, and yet will savage any man who tries to hurt his masters.
Sandor's cloak has marital symbolism and Sansa (who has put his cloak on twice) keeps it in a cedar chest, (a cedar chest called a hope chest is used by young women to keep treasures for when they are married) with her summer silks, a sign of hope that winter will pass, and there will be time for happiness together
Sandor's cloak (and marriage symbolism):
Sandor Clegane was the first rider to appear. He wore an olive-green cloak over his soot-grey armor. That, and his hound's-head helm, were his only concession to ornament.
The Hound’s scarred face was hard to read. He took a long moment to consider. "Why not? I have no lands nor wife to forsake, and who’d care if I did?" The burned side of his mouth twisted. "But I warn you, I’ll say no knight’s vows."
In the back of the royal box, Sandor Clegane stood at guard, his hands resting on his swordbelt. The white cloak of the Kingsguard was draped over his broad shoulders and fastened with a jeweled brooch, the snowy cloth looking somehow unnatural against his brown roughspun tunic and studded leather jerkin. "Lady Sansa," the Hound announced curtly when he saw her.
"Enough," she heard the Hound rasp... Boros shoved a meaty hand down the front of Sansa's bodice and gave a hard yank. The silk came tearing away, baring her to the waist. Sansa covered her breasts with her hands... Sandor Clegane unfastened his cloak and tossed it at her. Sansa clutched it against her chest, fists bunched hard in the white wool. The coarse weave was scratchy against her skin, but no velvet had ever felt so fine.
Clegane lifted her to the ground. His white cloak was torn and stained, and blood seeped through a jagged tear in his left sleeve. "The little bird's bleeding. Someone take her back to her cage and see to that cut."
"I could keep you safe," he rasped. "They're all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I'd kill them." He yanked her closer, and for a moment she thought he meant to kiss her... Some instinct made her lift her hand and cup his cheek with her fingers. The room was too dark for her to see him, but she could feel the stickiness of the blood, and a wetness that was not blood. "Little bird," he said once more, his voice raw and harsh as steel on stone. Then he rose from the bed. Sansa heard cloth ripping, followed by the softer sound of retreating footsteps. When she crawled out of bed, long moments later, she was alone. She found his cloak on the floor, twisted up tight, the white wool stained by blood and fire. The sky outside was darker by then, with only a few pale green ghosts dancing against the stars. A chill wind was blowing, banging the shutters. Sansa was cold. She shook out the torn cloak and huddled beneath it on the floor, shivering.
I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she'd been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she'd kept it. The Hound had turned craven, she heard it said; at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men. But Sansa understood. She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fire he feared. That night, the wildfire had set the river itself ablaze, and filled the very air with green flame. Even in the castle, Sansa had been afraid. Outside . . . she could scarcely imagine it.
She had dreamed of her wedding a thousand times, and always she had pictured how her betrothed would stand behind her tall and strong, sweep the cloak of his protection over her shoulders, and tenderly kiss her cheek as he leaned forward to fasten the clasp.
He made a queer sound, and it took her a moment to realize he was sobbing. "And the little bird, your pretty sister, I stood there in my white cloak and let them beat her."
As the boy's lips touched her own she found herself thinking of another kiss. She could still remember how it felt, when his cruel mouth pressed down on her own. He had come to Sansa in the darkness as green fire filled the sky. He took a song and a kiss, and left me nothing but a bloody cloak.
Parental roles, Sandor and Sansa looking after Arya and Sweetrobin respectively, Arya is asked if Sandor is her father, Sweetrobin asks is Sansa his mother: Sandor and Arya: Sandor Clegane lifted her onto Stranger's back as if she weighed no more than a doll. Sansa and Sweetrobin: I could carry him myself, Alayne thought. He is no heavier than a doll.
Sansa compares Sandor positively to other men:
Meryn (beats her) - later, she remembers what Sandor said
Joffrey (torments her) - later, she remembers what Sandor said
Slynt (remembers what he did) - later, she remembers what Sandor said (hears his voice)
Kingsguard (beats her) - later, she notes that Sandor never beat her; later, she remembers what Sandor said
Rapists (attack her) - later, she remembers Sandor rescued her (repeatedly)
Ilyn (after Cersei scares her about rape) - she wishes Sandor was there to protect her instead (Harsh as he was, she did not believe Sandor Clegane would let any harm come to her.)
Tyrion (orders her to strip, gropes her breast) - she refuses to kneel for his cloak, but she puts on Sandor's cloak herself, and keeps it, and thinks of it often; when she is forced to kiss him, she thinks of Sandor instead; later, she remembers what Sandor said (hears his voice), then dreams of Sandor in the marriage bed with her instead
Marillion (gropes her breast, too) - she imagines Sandor is there to rescue her instead (once again, hears his voice)
Littlefinger (forces kisses, also touches her breast, and tells her older men make the best husbands) - later, she pretends to kiss Sandor instead, and she places Sandor in the marriage bed because of how he'd kissed her instead
Loras (forgets her) - the rose leads to the beast, she remembers Sandor was the champion at her father's tourney instead; when she fantasizes about a kiss, she thinks Loras never kissed her, but Sandor did, so she gives Sandor the kiss instead
This is part of a pattern, where Sansa sets Sandor apart from other men
The little bird and the hound:
Sandor calls Sansa little bird (a pet name, like Jamie calling Claire Sassenach in Outlander), more than 2 dozen times; he often asks her to sing and says she can fly
Sansa usually calls Sandor the Hound (the Beast); she often thinks of hounds (and dogs), she sleeps with a hound when she dreams of him in bed with her asking for a song
Sandor (the Hound, the Beast) often appears when Sansa thinks of Lady, her lost wolf; the two are connected in this way throughout the story
The Hound and Lady "compete" to protect Sansa: Strong hands grasped her by the shoulders, and for a moment Sansa thought it was her father, but when she turned, it was the burned face of Sandor Clegane looking down at her... Lady moved between them, rumbling a warning.
He does the between move to protect Sansa later: Sandor Clegane knelt before her, between her and Joffrey. With a delicacy surprising in such a big man, he dabbed at the blood welling from her broken lip.
She thinks about the Hound protecting her, then Lady: Joffrey laughed. "He's my mother's dog, in truth. She has set him to guard me, and so he does." "You mean the Hound," she said... "Is it safe to leave him behind?" She found herself thinking of Lady, wishing the direwolf was with her.'
Robert to Ned, just before Lady dies: "A direwolf is a savage beast. Sooner or later it would have turned on your girl the same way the other did on my son. Get her a dog, she'll be happier for it."
And when Sansa thinks about Lady: Sansa found herself thinking of Lady again. She could smell out falsehood, she could...
She runs right into Sandor and he says: "A dog can smell a lie, you know."
Again, she thinks Lady and there Sandor is: Sansa backed away from the window... "Lady," she whimpered softly, wondering if she would meet her wolf again when she was dead.... Then something stirred behind her, and a hand reached out of the dark and grabbed her wrist.
She sleeps with the hound she made friends with and she dreams of the Hound and then wishes the hound was Lady: And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion's eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only on one side. "I'll have a song from you," he rasped, and Sansa woke and found the old blind dog beside her once again. "I wish that you were Lady," she said.
This is part of the Beauty and the Beast story, the Beast awakens the beast within Beauty