DutchArya

Arya, Lemon cakes & the girl she remembers

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Posted (edited)

A man was pushing a load of tarts by on a two-wheeled cart; the smells sang of blueberries and lemons and apricots. Her stomach made a hollow rumbly noise. “Could I have one?” she heard herself say. “A lemon, or … or any kind."

[...]

Arya would have given anything for a cup of milk and a lemon cake, but the brown wasn’t so bad. - AGoT - Arya V

~

She drank it down at once. It was very tart, like biting into a lemon. A thousand years ago, she had known a girl who loved lemon cakes. No, that was not me, that was only Arya - The Ugly Little Girl, ADwD

 

The girl she remembers is Arya?

Edited by DutchArya

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I've seen lots of people assume it was Sansa, as she is the most famous fan of lemon cakes, but I'm pretty sure that the girl is indeed Arya. The use of the past tense fits in well with the association of lemons and innocence - just as she does not count herself as loving lemon cakes anymore, Arya is no longer naïve.

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57 minutes ago, DutchArya said:

A man was pushing a load of tarts by on a two-wheeled cart; the smells sang of blueberries and lemons and apricots. Her stomach made a hollow rumbly noise. “Could I have one?” she heard herself say. “A lemon, or … or any kind."

[...]

Arya would have given anything for a cup of milk and a lemon cake, but the brown wasn’t so bad. - AGoT - Arya V

~

She drank it down at once. It was very tart, like biting into a lemon. A thousand years ago, she had known a girl who loved lemon cakes. No, that was not me, that was only Arya - The Ugly Little Girl, ADwD

 

The girl she remembers is Arya?

Hi Dutch Arya! :)

@Horse of Kent is correct in his assessment, as below.  Basically, there's a symbolic difference drawn between on the one hand pure, unadulterated lemons -- which are unapologetically sour and don't pretend to be anything other than they are; and on the other hand, lemon cakes -- in which the sour is masked by dollopings of sweet, which is a kind of pretense.  Arya represents an example of the former; Sansa of the latter.  Alas, Sansa is not growing out of her taste for lemon cakes; as we see in the new book, her taste for deception, including pre-eminently self-deception, is as extravagant as ever, and the head confectioneer Sweetpetyr is all too eager to cater to her weakness for artificially sweetening reality and being led by her nose:

Spoiler

The Winds of Winter - Alayne I

The feast proved to be everything her father promised.

Sixty-four dishes were served, in honor of the sixty-four competitors who had come so far to contest for silver wings before their lord. From the rivers and the lakes came pike and trout and salmon, from the seas crabs and cod and herring. Ducks there were, and capons, peacocks in their plumage and swans in almond milk. Suckling pigs were served up crackling with apples in their mouths, and three huge aurochs were roasted whole above firepits in the castle yard, since they were too big to get through the kitchen doors. Loaves of hot bread filled the trestle tables in Lord Nestor's hall, and massive wheels of cheese were brought up from the vaults. The butter was fresh-churned, and there were leeks and carrots, roasted onions, beets, turnips, parsnips. And best of all, Lord Nestor's cooks prepared a splendid subtlety, a lemon cake in the shape of the Giant's Lance, twelve feet tall and adorned with an Eyrie made of sugar.

For me, Alayne thought, as they wheeled it out. Sweetrobin loved lemon cakes too, but only after she told him that they were her favorites. The cake had required every lemon in the Vale, but Petyr had promised that he would send to Dorne for more.

Thus we have the strange irony that the girl who is becoming 'no one', and as one of the 'faceless men' has become a successful mummer and practitioner of artifice, is more in touch with the unvarnished reality, more honest in fact, than her sister whose name is set in stone, 'Alayne Stone'.  Figuratively, this is why Arya drinks the unadulterated lemon juice, with a keen bite like a knife, as part of her initiation ritual into the HOBAW; while Sansa gorges on over-the-top desserts, in which the truth is symbolically smothered, the edge softened.

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Sansa I

Robert is only a sick little boy, she thought, Lord Nestor is a man grown, stern and suspicious. Robert was not strong and had to be protected, even from the truth. "Some lies are love," Petyr had assured her. She reminded him of that. "When we lied to Lord Robert, that was just to spare him," she said.

"And this lie may spare us. Else you and I must leave the Eyrie by the same door Lysa used." Petyr picked up his quill again. "We shall serve him lies and Arbor gold, and he'll drink them down and ask for more, I promise you."

He is serving me lies as well, Sansa realized. They were comforting lies, though, and she thought them kindly meant. A lie is not so bad if it is kindly meant. If only she believed them . . .

Their diverging relationships with reality are also reflected in symbolic differences associated with their current geographic locations.  While Arya is at sea level (which, according to my green sea/see pun, I hold synonymous with 'seeing' accurately, seeing and being 'on the level' -- this is the 'true seeing' of the 'truth that lies beneath this world'), Sansa still has her head in the clouds and is very much attached to her 'pie in the sky.'

44 minutes ago, Horse of Kent said:

I've seen lots of people assume it was Sansa, as she is the most famous fan of lemon cakes, but I'm pretty sure that the girl is indeed Arya. The use of the past tense fits in well with the association of lemons and innocence - just as she does not count herself as loving lemon cakes anymore, Arya is no longer naïve.

Agreed.

Edited by ravenous reader

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2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Alas, Sansa is not growing out of her taste for lemon cakes; as we see in the new book, her taste for deception, including pre-eminently self-deception, is as extravagant as ever, and the head confectioneer Sweetpetyr is all too eager to cater to her weakness for artificially sweetening reality and being led by her nose:

Great analysis! Sansa hasn't yet achieved Cersei-like self deception, but she's on her way, with her romanticism of an imagined kiss by Sandor Clegane, which in her own mind, she bravely endured -- and enjoyed. (She's always appreciated the Hound most in his absense.) Meanwhile, Arya has been learning to tell truth from falsehood, even without eyes; how to sift accurate from questionable information; to present herself so as to give whatever impression she chooses, knowing that this is what she's doing, to take on disguises by makeup, wigs, dress, and behavior.

The comparison of lemoncakes with the pure lemon as a way of is a pretty cool way of characterizing the two sisters. And by matching Sansa to a mountain-sized lemon edifice of a "cake", it shows disturbingly the direction her character development is going.

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Thank you @Horse of Kent  @ravenous reader and @zandru for the great analysis! :D

Makes you wonder where George will lead these two different  states of being in the next phase of the story. The trajectory can see Arya going in a more challenging and dangerous direction that will reconcile her level of awareness. George needs her to be open to the real truths in the world for a reason. Same with Sansa, will she grow out of the lemon cakes or fall fowl of its deceptions? 

Edited by DutchArya

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3 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Thus we have the strange irony that the girl who is becoming 'no one', and as one of the 'faceless men' has become a successful mummer and practitioner of artifice, is more in touch with the unvarnished reality, more honest in fact, than her sister whose name is set in stone, 'Alayne Stone'.  

Also Arya as the ugly girl is purging something of herself that while on its head allows her to further her identity as no one and give her ease of assuming other identities but it serves to solidify her core in order to keep 'Arya' separate and from drowning in the sea of faces she must don. Compartmentalization.

Sansa on the other hand is merging Alayne Stone with Sansa Stark by allowing Sansa's partiality to lemon cakes to be exhibited by Alayne Stone can be seen as keeping her identity of Sansa alive, but it may have a residual effect of Alayne overtaking Sansa. 

I agree that the juxtaposition of the lemon cakes and the lemon juice is meant how you interpret but the actions of the two girls to be inversion of the lemon cakes. Sansa is seasoning her lie of being Alyane Stone with truths about herself and Arya is outright lying without any truths at least as those truths pertain to Arya. 

 

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18 hours ago, Pain killer Jane said:

Also Arya as the ugly girl is purging something of herself that while on its head allows her to further her identity as no one and give her ease of assuming other identities but it serves to solidify her core in order to keep 'Arya' separate and from drowning in the sea of faces she must don. Compartmentalization.

 

In light of 'purging something of herself,' I predict that when she leaves the HOBAW, she leaves via a 'back door'...;)

Quote

 

Sansa on the other hand is merging Alayne Stone with Sansa Stark by allowing Sansa's partiality to lemon cakes to be exhibited by Alayne Stone can be seen as keeping her identity of Sansa alive, but it may have a residual effect of Alayne overtaking Sansa. 

Far from being reassuring, the 'merging' of identity betrays an absence of boundaries which is worrying.

It's easy for Sansa to hold onto identity-Sansa within deception-Alayne because Sansa has always been at home in the lie. She has not really evolved since the Trident -- she has only exchanged one psychopath (Joff) for another, even more dangerous (Petyr).

Quote

I agree that the juxtaposition of the lemon cakes and the lemon juice is meant how you interpret but the actions of the two girls to be inversion of the lemon cakes. Sansa is seasoning her lie of being Alyane Stone with truths about herself

Yes, primarily the truth that she's partial to 'lemonpie', i.e. that she's a liar.

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Alayne II

"Lord Robert mislikes strangers, you know that, and there will be drinking, noise . . . music. Music frightens him."

"Music soothes him," she corrected, "the high harp especially. It's singing he can't abide, since Marillion killed his mother." Alayne had told the lie so many times that she remembered it that way more oft than not; the other seemed no more than a bad dream that sometimes troubled her sleep. "Lord Nestor will have no singers at the feast, only flutes and fiddles for the dancing." What would she do when the music began to play? It was a vexing question, to which her heart and head gave different answers. Sansa loved to dance, but Alayne . . . "Just give him a cup of the sweetmilk before we go, and another at the feast, and there should be no trouble."

Her heart says she likes dancing; her head says she doesn't.  The answer to this dilemma?  Drink a cup of 'sweetmilk'...and there should be no trouble.

Quote

 

and Arya is outright lying without any truths at least as those truths pertain to Arya. 

Yes, in contrast to Sansa, Arya is lying consciously -- like Littlefinger or Varys.

Edited by ravenous reader

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Is it Arya who loved lemon cakes or Arya who knew a girl who loved lemon cakes?

Quote

She drank it down at once. It was very tart, like biting into a lemon.  A thousand years ago, she had known a girl who loved lemon cakes. No, that was not me, that was only Arya - The Ugly Little Girl, ADwD

She is not the girl who loved lemon cakes. She had known a girl who loved lemon cakes.

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18 hours ago, zandru said:

Arya has been learning to tell truth from falsehood...

Actually Sansa has been learning this too.

She didn't fall for Lyn's act and correctly surmises that he is Littlefinger's ally. and in her sample chapter she makes Lyn show his true colors with two simple questions. she knows LF is not honest or trustworthy and how false his smiles are. she knows he is dangerous and manipulative. just because she is going along with his plans doesn't mean she trusts him.

18 hours ago, zandru said:

And by matching Sansa to a mountain-sized lemon edifice of a "cake", it shows disturbingly the direction her character development is going.

I think It's clear which direction her character development is going. it is heavily hinted in the books and George has talked about it in an interview. she is learning how to play the game and how to achieve her own goals by moving pieces around...she is becoming a player.

 

Edited by winter daughter

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43 minutes ago, maudisdottir said:

Is it Arya who loved lemon cakes or Arya who knew a girl who loved lemon cakes?

Quote

She drank it down at once. It was very tart, like biting into a lemon.  A thousand years ago, she had known a girl who loved lemon cakes. No, that was not me, that was only Arya - The Ugly Little Girl, ADwD

She is not the girl who loved lemon cakes. She had known a girl who loved lemon cakes.

Note that it says "that was not me, that was Arya". Arya is denying herself to be Arya - or at least, trying to. She is, after all, working to become No One. In this scene, she is actually being prepped to don the face of the ugly girl - she doesn't need to be burdened with recollections of this Westerosi "Arya" character. Although the tart flavor of the potion brings back memories...

When she says it wasn't her, it was "Arya", that doesn't mean she was thinking "Sansa."

 

33 minutes ago, winter daughter said:

I think It's clear which direction her character development is going. it is heavily hinted in the books and George has talked about it in an interview. she is learning how to play the game and how to achieve her own goals by moving pieces around...she is becoming a player.

More like a higher level pawn. What possible motive would Littlefinger have for making her a schemer on his own level? Sounds dangerous. Littlefinger "sticks his neck out for no one." (per Mr. Rick in Casablanca)

That said, we really need to see what happens in subsequent books. The evidence so far allows people to interpret many of the characters in more than one way, subject to their prejudices and wishes. (Kind of like people in real life!) More data will firm up the characterizations. We can say all we want to about the ultimate character development - but until it takes place on the page, it's all thinly-sourced speculation.

 

Edited by zandru
adds

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2 minutes ago, zandru said:

 

 

Edited by zandru
trying to delete.... quoted self instead of editing self!

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55 minutes ago, maudisdottir said:

Is it Arya who loved lemon cakes or Arya who knew a girl who loved lemon cakes?

She is not the girl who loved lemon cakes. She had known a girl who loved lemon cakes.

Both interpretations are valid.  GRRM's prose is reliably ambiguous, so there's lots of room for us all to be 'right'!  ;)

The 'knowledge' implied could be self-knowledge, or alternatively knowledge of another; and there's enough evidence in the text that Arya loved lemon cakes, although not as much a love affair with them as her sister Sansa, so that's ambiguous as well.  I agree with you, she could be thinking of her sister in this moment and trying to suppress the memory.  I don't think Arya is cut out for being 'no one'; she's loyal to her family, the same of which cannot be said for Sansa to date.

45 minutes ago, winter daughter said:

Actually Sansa has been learning these skills too.

She found out about LF and Lyn conspiracy by her self. and in her sample chapter she makes Lyn show his true colors by with two simple questions. she knows LF is not honest or trustworthy and how false his smiles are. she knows he is dangerous and manipulative. just because she is going along with his plans doesn't mean she trusts him or is fooled by his lies.

I think that's part of Sansa's self-deception -- she's deceiving herself about the extent to which she's not deceived.  Figuratively, she's quaffing down the 'sweetsleep', a heady dose of which clouds consciousness (and perhaps 'conscience'..?).  Note that the truth is referred to by Sansa as something alien -- 'the other'; and threatening -- 'a bad...that troubled'; uncomfortable -- 'troubled sleep'; and unreal -- in fact, something to be dismissed, as nothing other than a 'bad dream.'

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Alayne II

Alayne had told the lie so many times that she remembered it that way more oft than not; the other seemed no more than a bad dream that sometimes troubled her sleep. "

Forgive me for not being reassured about her ability to separate fantasy from reality. 

Quote

I think It's clear which direction her character development is going. it is heavily hinted in the books and George has talked about it in an interview. she is learning how to play the game and how to achieve her own goals by moving pieces around...she is becoming a player.

Great.  I'll believe it when I see it.  For now, however, she's merely 'complicit.'

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22 minutes ago, maudisdottir said:

Is it Arya who loved lemon cakes or Arya who knew a girl who loved lemon cakes?

She is not the girl who loved lemon cakes. She had known a girl who loved lemon cakes.

She is in character at that point, explaining why she refers to herself in the third person. Arya then gets a bit wistful, so reminds herself to get back in character.

There is nothing to definitively prove either interpretation, but the girl being Arya fits with the established facts and has a greater symbolic importance than if it referred to Sansa. It also fits with the way GRRM writes POVs in general and especially Arya's in Feast and Dance. We do not see everything, particularly when she is supposed to be in character but thinks or acts as Arya - the best example being the exclusion of her execution of Dareon from the Cat of the Canals chapter.

 

Is this a further example showing Arya liking lemon cakes in AGOT?

Quote

 

"There's going to be lemon cakes and tea," Sansa went on, all adult and reasonable. Lady brushed against her leg. Sansa scratched her ears the way she liked, and Lady sat beside her on her haunches, watching Arya chase Nymeria. "Why would you want to ride a smelly old horse and get all sore and sweaty when you could recline on feather pillows and eat cakes with the queen?"

"I don't like the queen," Arya said casually. Sansa sucked in her breath, shocked that even Arya would say such a thing, but her sister prattled on, heedless. "She won't even let me bring Nymeria." She thrust the brush under her belt and stalked her wolf. Nymeria watched her approach warily.

...

"Gods be true, Arya, sometimes you act like such a child," Sansa said. "I'll go by myself then. It will be ever so much nicer that way. Lady and I will eat all the lemon cakes and just have the best time without you." (Sansa I, AGOT)

 

I know Sansa at this point is the kind of person to assume that everyone must like the things she does (shown by her mentioning that they will get to spend time with Cersei in selling the trip to Arya), but maybe she knows that it is something that her sister would actually enjoy. Arya never refutes that part of her initial statement with the response only relating to the queen. Whereas the Cersei argument is dropped, Sansa also repeats the lemon cake one in the second plea, which Arya again never denies.

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I think that she refers to Sansa, and by extension, to the time when she had a home and a happy, loving family, and biskering with her sister was the worst that happened to her back then.

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13 minutes ago, Horse of Kent said:

Is this a further example showing Arya liking lemon cakes in AGOT?

I know Sansa at this point is the kind of person to assume that everyone must like the things she does (shown by her mentioning that they will get to spend time with Cersei in selling the trip to Arya), but maybe she knows that it is something that her sister would actually enjoy. Arya never refutes that part of her initial statement with the response only relating to the queen. Whereas the Cersei argument is dropped, Sansa also repeats the lemon cake one in the second plea, which Arya again never denies.

Yes, I also noticed that.  GRRM is showing us that the younger sister has more integrity of character than her older sister -- foreshadowing of what is about to go down at the Trident and its aftermath.  Despite Sansa attempting to tempt Arya to abandon her integrity, and turn a blind eye to her misgivings concerning the queen (whom Arya truly sees for the sour 'lemon' she is, not deceived by the sugary false exterior); Arya unlike her sister cannot be bribed with 'lemon cakes.'  If Arya did not particularly care for 'lemon cakes,' there would be no moral lesson here -- and contrary to all the assertions that GRRM is a 'grey' author, he is actually big on moral lessons, of which this is a major example.

Edited by ravenous reader

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A man was pushing a load of tarts by on a two-wheeled cart; the smells sang of blueberries and lemons and apricots. Her stomach made a hollow rumbly noise. “Could I have one?” she heard herself say. “A lemon, or … or any kind."

[...]

Arya would have given anything for a cup of milk and a lemon cake, but the brown wasn’t so bad. - AGoT - Arya V

~

She drank it down at once. It was very tart, like biting into a lemon. A thousand years ago, she had known a girl who loved lemon cakes. No, that was not me, that was only Arya - The Ugly Little Girl, ADwD

Lemons represent bitter reality, I agree with that much. But sweetness, more exactly, is the sweetness of life - think Renly's peach. No wonder Arya longed for it when her life turned so bitter. And sweetness is not bad in itself; it's just often used to make a lie go down easily.

At the risk of over-analysing, it's interesting Arya wants the yellow food instead of blueberries (a cold colour) and apricots (a hot colour). She says she'll take any kind, but what she gets is brown food - not at all sweet and full of dodgy ingredients - that's her immediate future.

I haven't seen anything to suggest she's lost her taste for lemoncakes, and why would she? An assassin needs to make her deceptions sweet just as much as a player does. The sisters have more in common than they themselves think, and that's why, in the second quote, we can't tell them apart.

As for Sansa, if she didn't have a taste for truth, she would be eating honey cakes with no lemon - but it's lemons all the way.

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41 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

the queen (whom Arya truly sees for the sour 'lemon' she is, not deceived by the sugary false exterior)

Arya was certainly a better judge of character. Remember, this was even before Cersei condemned Micah and the direwolves to death. She also took the measure of Joffrey, back in the practice yard at Winterfell. The unfortunate incident on the Trident and its aftermath confirmed Arya's assessment of Joffrey and Cersei for the reader, and for Arya. Meanwhile, Sansa, who was also a witness and partipant, learned absolutely nothing, preferring to cling to her illusions and lust to become "Queen" (aka the King's consort). Arya ruined it, was her assessment. Her little sister snatched away the honey, leaving just the lemon.

Note also how Arya on the run keeps track of her captors, knowing them by name and character, in spite of them being lowborn brigands and murderers (certainly beneath a Lady of House Winterfell). They are the sour reality. I\And it's the best way to get an extra piece of bread and avoid a beating, she notes. While Sansa, in captivity, never even knows the names of any of her (obviously lowborn) servants. Sansa's fine with the upper classes, interestingly - but other than knowing their names and houses, doesn't seem to get them as people. Her fine manners and sweetened words are ultimately just the squawking of a trained parrot, as the Hound observes.

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Is this a Arya versus Sansa thread? I like both of them!

They both keep track of people around them - Sansa doesn't get close to her maids because she knows they spy on her.

Both sisters are charming - when they want to be.

Both of them were hopelessly naive early on - they liked lemoncakes, but neither was much interested in anything outside their own favourite bubble. Arya likes to snub royalty and play swords with a butcher's boy. Sansa wants to play at queens. Neither of them had a clue.

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26 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

I haven't seen anything to suggest she's lost her taste for lemoncakes, and why would she? An assassin needs to make her deceptions sweet just as much as a player does. The sisters have more in common than they themselves think, and that's why, in the second quote, we can't tell them apart.

As for Sansa, if she didn't have a taste for truth, she would be eating honey cakes with no lemon - but it's lemons all the way.

Good points all.  The difference between the two sisters in relation to the 'moral lesson' I mentioned above is that Arya understands that 'you can't have your cake and eat it' -- whereas that is something Sansa is yet to learn.

 

7 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

Is this a Arya versus Sansa thread? I like both of them!

Chill out; I also like both of them.  I'm just a renowned-Dany-hater-it-is-known-confirmed!  :devil:

Nevertheless, I stand by my point that Sansa's 'agency' in relation to her psychopathic handler Baelish is generally overstated.

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2 hours ago, zandru said:

The evidence so far allows people to interpret many of the characters in more than one way, subject to their prejudices and wishes. (Kind of like people in real life!) More data will firm up the characterizations. We can say all we want to about the ultimate character development - but until it takes place on the page, it's all thinly-sourced speculation.

I agree. but Sansa becoming a player is not just my wish. I repeated what the writer has said in an interview.

2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

I think that's part of Sansa's self-deception -- she's deceiving herself about the extent to which she's not deceived.  Figuratively, she's quaffing down the 'sweetsleep', a heady dose of which clouds consciousness (and perhaps 'conscience'..?).  Note that the truth is referred to by Sansa as something alien -- 'the other'; and threatening -- 'a bad...that troubled'; uncomfortable -- 'troubled sleep'; and unreal -- in fact, something to be dismissed, as nothing other than a 'bad dream.'

My English is not good, so it's difficult for me to understand what you are saying here. you think she is delusional? or she trusts him?

2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Great.  I'll believe it when I see it.  For now, however, she's merely 'complicit.'

Ok. but as I said before, George has already made it clear what he has in mind for her.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0iNPkx8vnE

 

Edited by winter daughter

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