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Lady Gwynhyfvar

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  1. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    The Will to Change: Rereading Sandor II

      Very nice analysis brash!    What struck me most about the Dontos & Beric parallel is that not only does Beric ultimately fail to keep his promise, but that like Dontos he has a hidden agenda. He isn't going to return her to her mother because it is the right thing to do according to his knightly vows ("protect women and children") but for the financial gain it will bring the BwB. In a sense he is no better than Dontos.   Sandor, on the other hand and as Milady notes, unwittingly takes on the vow to protect Arya and reunite her with her family when he kidnaps her. That he has an agenda of his own goes without saying. If one can be forgiven the sin of looking forward briefly, he tells Arya in the next chapter:   "You're worth twice what they stole from me, I'd say. Maybe even more if I sold you back to the Lannisters like you fear, but I won't. Even a dog gets tired of being kicked. 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."    A statement completely in keeping with his previous comment to the BwB:  "I'm the same as you. The only difference is, I don't lie about what I am."    It's this honesty that makes Sandor so appealing to both Sansa and Arya. In the world they've been cast adrift in, it's difficult to know whom to trust, when even those who  offer aid have hidden agendas.    Moving on to Sandor's views of knighthood, that he has utter scorn for the institution goes without saying and is illustrated by comments such as "Making more knights, Dondarrion? ... I ought to kill you all over again for that.” and "Ointments! Gregor got his ointments too." But we shouldn't forget that at one time, in the distant past, young Sandor had yearned to be a knight himself. Perhaps some vestige of that yearning contributes to his anger at seeing Gendry knighted. As Milady said, Gendry hasn't done anything really to deserve knighthood, hasn't trained or shown any particular skill or vocation, or done any deed of valour. In fact, taking Sandor's conviction that "a knight's a sword with a horse" at face value, Gendry can't even meet the basic requirement. Although as Gendry's comments about the crops illustrates, in Sandor's eyes at least, he meets the basic requirement of hypocrisy.   Thoros of Myr paid no heed to the banter. “The Hound has lost more than a few bags of coin,” he mused. “He has lost his master and kennel as well. He cannot go back to the Lannisters, the Young Wolf would never have him, nor would his brother be like to welcome him. That gold was all he had left, it seems to me.” “Bloody hell,” said Watty the Miller. “He’ll come murder us in our sleep for sure, then.” “No.” Lord Beric had sheathed his sword. “Sandor Clegane would kill us all gladly, but not in our sleep. Anguy, on the morrow, take the rear with Beardless Dick. If you see Clegane still sniffing after us, kill his horse.”   In light of the above, I find it interesting that while the leaders of the BwB, Thoros and Beric, seem to possess a slightly different image of Sandor than the others, they take no action to prevent the unfair accusations of their fellows. Almost as though they have resigned themselves that their collective anger needs an outlet and a target, and who better than the brother of one of their principal enemies?   And last, speaking of the brother-- it is through Arya's PoV that we get firsthand accounts of many of Ser Gregor's worst atrocities. Her wish to kill him, and Sandor's refusal of it and clear desire to keep that particular pleasure for himself, will ultimately be one of the keys to bringing Arya a deeper understanding of the man who has now placed himself in the role of her guardian. Of course that's looking forward again, so I'll leave it there, except to note that I agree with Ragnorak's assertion that part of what ultimately leads to Sandor's failure as Arya's guardian is "Sandor's inner conflict between being a protector and being a force of vengeance directed at Gregor." Which comment left me with a distinct sense of what the possibilities are for a Sandor Clegane who has overcome his need of vengeance :)
  2. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    The Will to Change: Rereading Sandor II

    Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments! Much food for thought... here are a few of mine :)     Fantastic Milady! I’m always fascinated by the use of song, which we have seen frequently to be a tool that hints at the subtext. This one, tying the scene back to Sansa and the night of the Blackwater as it does, is a wonderfully subtle touch, and no less than I’d expect from GRRM.         Such a wonderful observation DL! All I can add is that Arya was wishing for herself to possess “a good mean dog… A lion-killing dog.”  If that isn’t the perfect description of a Clegane who’s intent on serving House Stark, I don’t know what is ;)           Regarding the trial, first of all I tend to agree with Doglover on the point that Bloodraven may well be rather interested in Sandor, as hinted by the text and by Sandor’s increasing “northern-ness” we’ve all noted.   Further, I certainly cannot fault much of anything that has been said here or previously about it. But I want to emphasize my own feeling that there is something highly significant from a literary and thematic viewpoint (as opposed to a straight narrative analysis) that this particular trial is presented as featuring a convergence of gods, in light of the fact that Arya, at whose behest it arguably occurs, ends up in a place where many gods consider mercy in its various forms. Here we see Arya’s penchant for revenge, themes of mercy, the BwB’s apparent tradition of trials and Arya’s inability to kill Sandor herself merge into an event from which a man presumed guilty walks away having been declared innocent by many gods. Carrying forward Ragnorak’s comments about GRRM”s use of dramatic irony, in this case I believe it speaks volumes. It seems clear that Sandor has been marked in some way by the “gods” and on a meta level, the author (arguably the Supreme God of the text ;) )  
  3. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    The Will to Change: Rereading Sandor II

    Sandor III: Capture and Trial   Analysis   The North is hard and cold and has no mercy...   So said Ned Stark “a thousand years ago” to his young wife when she first arrived at her new home in Winterfell. To be sure, he was referring to the mercy of her southron gods, since the Old Gods certainly offer their own grim version of the thing.   Early in Arya V, Arya finds Karstark men in crow cages at Stony Sept. She brings them water when one asks for mercy, after which Anguy kills them with a few well placed arrows. This is probably the first appearance of the theme of mercy in Arya’s arc, a situation in which one can see a glimmer of Stark justice. As has been discussed elsewhere, mercy for Arya tends to be the mercy of the Old Gods, rather than the Mother’s mercy that her older sister tends toward. Arya experienced a moment of cognitive dissonance in Stoney Sept when she realised these were her brother’s men, and her father’s, but quickly delivered to them the fate they would have received from either of those lords-- a guilty verdict and a swift death.   Perhaps most significantly this scene, connecting a drink of water and the gift of mercy as it does, looks ahead to two key moments in Arya’s future arc with Sandor. In Arya XII whilst in the Riverlands with Sandor after the Red Wedding, they will encounter a bowman bearing the sigil of House Piper upon his surcoat. This wretched man, dying slowly, will beg for a drink of wine. After giving him a draught of water from the Hound’s head helm, Sandor will teach Arya how to give the gift of mercy (“That’s where the heart is, girl. That’s how you kill a man.”) This will be significant even later in their story, when Sandor himself is mortally wounded. These are scenes that will be explored here in a future installment, but for these purposes we can mention the significant connection between a drink and the gift of mercy.   There is a tradition in many cultures of allowing the condemned a final drink or a meal. The last meal or “wine of the condemned” may have biblical roots, but is certainly based upon the symbolic nature of the exchange of food. In accepting the food or drink, a bond of trust is formed between the condemned and the executioner, which superstitious peoples thought might prevent the spirits of the condemned from returning to haunt their executioners. Here we may see the last drink as symbolic of a guilty verdict. Arya’s mercy, with its connection to the north and the Old Gods, is notably about judgment rather than forgiveness. Thus, the drink and the mercy follow an age old formula of stern judgment followed by the gift of a swift death. That Sandor himself teaches Arya to deliver the gift not only emphasizes his increasing “northern-ness” but serves as a hinge in Arya’s arc, both looking back towards her roots and forwards towards her future in Braavos.   When Arya says her “prayers” that evening in Stoney Sept, she is haunted by the scene in the square. She says her names, mixing up the order to help her remember the names and their crimes, thinking “Maybe some of them are dead… Maybe they’re in iron cages someplace, and the crows are picking out their eyes.” We can view this as an explicit plea to her gods to deliver the fate of the Karstark soldiers upon some of those on her list, her “hard and cold” judgment on those ten souls, as it were.   The next morning the Huntsman returns with a captive, who sits bound and sullen. One of the dead Karstarks, a “wolf” in the totemic imagery that dominates this chapter, is hauled from a cage to make way for the new captive. “The dogs were at him at once, tearing chunks of flesh off his bones” may presage the question of what dogs do to wolves which will absorb Arya shortly in her arc. As the men threaten their captive, the reader can guess that the captive is Sandor Clegane, enemy number one on Arya’s list: “You’ll rot in them cages… The crows will be picking out your eyes while we’re spending all that good Lannister gold o’ yours! And when them crows are done, we’ll send what’s left o’ you to your bloody brother. Though I doubt he’ll know you”   While the threats mirror her prayers of the night before, her own thoughts reveal that she thinks those prayers have been answered “The gods had heard her prayers after all.” The cold, hard justice of the north seems about to be delivered to Sandor Clegane. But as usual things in Martin’s world are hardly so simple.   May the Gods Judge Him Justly   Arya VI picks up the action in the Brotherhood without Banners’ underground lair. Immediately the motif of fire is very strong, from the “ruddy glare” to “swirling and crackling” flames in a fire pit. When Sandor makes his appearance with the Mad Huntsman we’re told “They had bound his wrists with hempen rope, strung a noose around his neck, and pulled a sack down over his head, but even so there was danger in the man. Arya could feel it across the cave.” His sheer physicality works in opposition with the menace of the flames. The descriptors used, both for the fire (“swirling”) and Sandor, from the firelight on his face to the prominence of the whites of his eyes, are all highly reminiscent of of those used during the Battle of the Blackwater. Sandor’s contempt and rage at its presence, which give way to fear, are also evocative of that night.   While we are quickly  made aware of the BwB’s allegiance to R’hllor, as supported by the overarching motif of fire, the presence of “huge white roots twisting through [the walls] like a thousand slow pale snakes” puts us on notice that the old gods are present. These roots, and Lord Beric’s place in “a hollow in the earth [...] almost lost in the tangle of weirwood”, bring Arya’s gods, the ones to whom she has prayed for Sandor’s death, to the party. This will be important as a trial by combat specifically calls upon the gods to bear witness to the guilt or innocence of the accused.   When Arya accuses Sandor of the death of Mycah, Lord Beric tells him “no one here knows the truth or falsehood of the charge, so it is not for us to judge you. Only the Lord of Light may do that now.”   Arya’s certainty from the previous chapter that the gods have heard her prayers is turned on its head when the gods are called to judgment. Sandor is armed for the battle, but Thoros cautions him ““Does a dog have honor? Lest you think to cut your way free of here, or seize some child for a hostage... Anguy, Dennet, Kyle, feather him at the first sign of treachery.” But there is to be no treachery from Sandor, his resentment and pride almost seem to forbid such a thing. He scorns their fire god, and their prayers, warning Lord Beric that his end is nigh. Beric’s fiery sword provokes his curses, and for next few moments we might almost be back in the inferno of the Blackwater. Fire is everywhere: on the blade, at Sandor’s back, flaring in his face, on his shield, his arm, his sleeve…   It’s really a breathtaking duel, possibly one of the best such described in the books. Sandor’s fury at the injustice of the use of fire, his correspondingly ferocious attacks, is contrasted with the “unkillable” Beric’s more measured approach, which might have won the day had not Sandor’s considerable strength combined with the destructive power of the fire to break Beric’s sword in two. The resulting blow was clearly mortal, and even as the freshly burned Clegane writhed in the dirt, both Thoros and Arya declared him the victor.   But Arya had been certain the Hound was guilty. However, in addition to meta-analytical discussions of his personal or legal culpability, from a literary point of view it seems clear by the end of this chapter that the gods have deemed him innocent. Arya thinks these gods are stupid, but it must be noted that one by one, all of the guilty parties on her list are meeting retribution, with or without her aid. Sandor is the only one who has faced the (literal) fire of judgment and come out on the other side.   Might Be You Are a Knight...   Upon being presented to Thoros, Sandor is noted to have been “Betrayed by his own kind.” However, given his sentiments on dogs expressed to Sansa in ACoK: “a hound will die for you, but never lie to you” and his evident disregard for his own life expressed in this chapter: “best wipe the shit off your fingers”  it really might not seem such a betrayal to Sandor. His trademark blunt honesty marks his speech with Thoros and the others, culminating in his reply to their litany of accusations: “Is each of us guilty of the crimes of the others? Might be you are knights after all. You lie like knights, maybe you murder like knights.”   When Beric gives him a chance to explain himself he delivers his commentary on knighthood, perhaps one of the most honest assessments of the institution in the series. It echoes both Jaime’s “true knights see worse every time they ride to war wench. And do worse” and Barristan’s “without honor, a knight is no more than a common killer.” Sandor in fact is saying something very similar to what Barristan says-- his ribbons round the sword represent honor and chivalric values. The sword will still “kill you just as dead.” The critical difference being of course that the former believes no honourable knights exist, an outlook shaped by the knighthood of his dastardly brother.   It’s no surprise at this point that Sandor despises the institution of knighthood for its perceived hypocrisy. What might perhaps be surprising is how much accord there is among the PoVs of a man who despises knights, a so-called soiled knight known for his flippancy, and the series’ most renowned and chivalric knight. Martin tells us a story about knights through the varied viewpoints of characters who are members of the institution and those who are outsiders. The moral of the story, taking into account characters like Ser Duncan the Tall and Brienne of Tarth, is that a “ser” does not a knight make. Honor and chivalry and adherence to a moral code do. Certainly Sandor Clegane has proved his honesty (“I don’t lie about what I am”) and an adherence to a certain kind of chivalry, as we saw in the Hand’s Tourney with his refusal to strike a blow at his monstrous brother’s unprotected head while defending the temporarily incapacitated Loras Tyrell and his contempt for Lem’s blade in this chapter (“Here’s a brave man, baring steel on a bound captive.”)   But Arya holds him responsible for killing her friend Mycah. While she didn’t witness the act, or the return of the body, she heard the tale from others– Jeyne Poole told her the Hound “cut him up in so many pieces that they’d given him back to the butcher in a bag”, while Jory told her something closer to the truth: “[he] cut him near in half.” Her own father names it murder: “That murder lies at the Hound’s door, him and the cruel woman he serves.” Arya’s accusation places the idea of a moral code in relation to the defense of children center stage in this chapter.   Sandor’s defense of the act rests upon his statement “I was Joffrey’s sworn shield. The butcher’s boy attacked a prince of the blood.” When questioned about Mycah’s crime by Lord Beric, Sandor replies “I heard it from the royal lips. It’s not my place to question princes.” And while Sandor is a brutal killer, we’ve established that he is honest and possessed of a certain honor. Perhaps we can assume that his version is close to the truth as he perceives it. He goes on to cite Sansa as an exculpatory witness (“This one’s own sister told the same tale when she stood before your precious Robert”) even though he couldn’t have witnessed this scene. What seems likely is that Cersei used Sansa’s alleged testimony to convince the hunters of Mycah’s guilt, after the fact. This could indicate that Sandor expressed some doubt at the time, or simply that Cersei felt the need to justify the killing. Nonetheless, Sandor’s words were enough to ensure him a trial by battle.   He Deserved to Burn in a Fiery Hell?   In the scene that follows the trial we see foreshadowing of the moment when Sandor will face the judgment of the vengeful child herself and find implicit acquittal. The sight of Sandor whimpering over his new burns leads to a flash of pity from Arya (“He’s crying like a little baby”) That lasts only a moment. She seizes a knife and races towards him, hesitating when she gets near. He goads her, seeming to value his life so little that he’d welcome her blade (“It’s cleaner than fire.”) But his arm shocks her, and she retreats to her anger thinking “...he was the Hound. He deserved to burn in a fiery hell.” Her hesitation here is the first of many times she will hesitate when confronted with the opportunity to harm or kill Sandor, culminating with their final moment together on the road to Saltpans. She resorts to a verbal accusation. This “J’accuse” moment draws attention to what she views as a miscarriage of justice.   It’s probably no accident that Arya seeks a confession-- proof of guilt will be important to her later in her arc. Sandor’s admission rings of further goading, and correlates with only one significant difference to his speech to her in their final moments together. Here, he admits not only to killing Mycah but to two other events that relate to Arya, and could be things Sandor feels personal guilt about: “I did.” His whole face twisted. “I rode him down and cut him in half, and laughed. I watched them beat your sister bloody too, watched them cut your father’s head off.”   Although he did not personally perpetrate the latter two acts, he confesses to the three things that violate his sense of honor that in his capacity as a pseudo knight for House Lannister he has been called upon to participate in: killing a child, and witnessing the beating of a child-woman and the killing an unarmed man who has been offered clemency. His failures to prevent these acts seem to weigh upon him, and cement his bitter disillusionment with knighthood and the lions he once served.   Arya’s rage filled response, and Lord Beric’s reply echo Sandor’s own words to Sansa in AGoT: Only a man who’s been burned knows what hell is truly like. AGoT, Sansa II   Forced to confront his fears by the Brotherhood, his rage, pain and guilt are on display. While the BwB might bandage his hurts, his inner wounds are profound and seem beyond healing at this time. Having apparently been absolved by R’hllor and the Old Gods, it will fall to a healer blessed by The Seven to tend to his tormented soul.
  4. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    The Will to Change: Rereading Sandor II

    Sandor III: Capture and Trial   Summary   Arya V: Capture   Arya and the BwB arrive in Stoney Sept and Harwin gives her an account of the Battle of the Bells; she learns that Robert credits her father with winning the battle.   The BwB hear that the Huntsman is looking for the Kingslayer. Lem warns he’d better not kill him, in spite of his well known hatred of “lions” for killing his dogs. In the town square they find men hung up in crow cages, wolves-- as Arya thinks “Robb’s men, and my father’s”-- also captives of the Mad Huntsman. There are seven northmen, three living and four dead; Karstark men brought in for justice by the Huntsman after killing eight people and raping a woman. The dead ones have had their eyes eaten out by the erstwhile inhabitants of the cages, while the living ones are dying a slow painful death from exposure and thirst. When one asks for mercy, Arya brings the living ones water, and Anguy finishes them off with arrows. Arya thinks “Valar Morghulis.”   Remembering Syrio Forel’s lesson-- the trick of looking and seeing what’s there-- Arya observes the Peach to be a brothel. In an exchange between Gendry and the young whore Bella, who claims her father was a king, she notes that Bella does have Robert’s hair, but so does Gendry, showing her talent for seeing though she isn’t in a position (as the reader is) to make the final connection. She overhears Tom and Harwin in conversation with Tansy about the events at Riverrun, and her mother’s part in Jaime Lannister’s escape.   After quarreling with Gendry, she retires to bed and her prayers: “Queen Cersei,” she whispered into the pillow. “King Joffrey, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn. Dunsen, Raff, and Polliver. The Tickler, the Hound, and Ser Gregor the Mountain.” She liked to mix up the order of the names sometimes. It helped her remember who they were and what they’d done. Maybe some of them are dead, she thought. Maybe they’re in iron cages someplace, and the crows are picking out their eyes.   She has a wolf dream, in which Nymeria’s pack kills a horse. Feeling good and powerful, she howls… “But when the day came, she woke to the barking of dogs.”   From her window she observes a pack of barking dogs, and a dozen riders “watching the townsmen open the fat man’s cage and tug his arm until his swollen corpse spilled out onto the ground. The dogs were at him at once, tearing chunks of flesh off his bones.” Arya sees a prisoner being readied for the cages, and hears the threats: “Here’s your new castle, you bloody Lannister bastard,”... “You’ll rot in them cages,” ... “The crows will be picking out your eyes while we’re spending all that good Lannister gold o’ yours! And when them crows are done, we’ll send what’s left o’ you to your bloody brother. Though I doubt he’ll know you.”   Tom, Lem and Gendry want to know what’s going on, and if the Huntsman has caught the Kingslayer. The captive’s name is never mentioned, but when he turns his head after being hit with a stone Arya thinks: “Not the Kingslayer... The gods had heard her prayers after all.”   Arya VI: Trial   Arya is brought hooded into the BwB’s hollow hill. Lem calls it “An old place, deep and secret. A refuge where neither wolves nor lions come prowling.” Weirwood roots surround them, a man (who turns out to be Lord Beric) sat in “a hollow in the earth… almost lost in the tangle of weirwood.” Arya sees Thoros of Myr, who is about to speak to her but the Huntsman appears with his captive.   We learn that Tom, Lem and Greenbeard saved the captive from the cages, demanding that the Huntsman take him to Lord Beric for judgment.   The captive is bound and hooded, but Arya can feel the danger in the man. We know it’s someone from her list, and her obvious fear of him is a hint at whom. Any doubt we have is laid to rest when Thoros asks how he was taken: “The dogs caught the scent. He was sleeping off a drunk under a willow tree, if you believe it.” “Betrayed by his own kind.”   Underground as they are, the only light comes from a large fire and we’re immediately made aware of this motif in relation to the Hound: “The shifting flames painted Sandor Clegane’s burned face with orange shadows, so he looked even more terrible than he did in daylight.” He recognises Thoros, who recalls that Sandor used to curse his flaming sword. Sandor comments on how Thoros has changed, and is told: “I am less than I was, but more. A year in the wild will melt the flesh off a man... I am not the false priest you knew. The Lord of Light has woken in my heart. Many powers long asleep are waking, and there are forces moving in the land. I have seen them in my flames.” The Hound is not impressed: “Bugger your flames. And you as well...You keep queer company for a holy man.” Lem Lemoncloak (described as “tall enough to look the Hound in the eye”) cautions him: “Be careful how you bark, dog. We hold your life in our hands.” In reply, the Hound tells him: “Best wipe the shit off your fingers, then.”   Beric comes down from his weirwood throne and relates their tale and mission, leading to classic Sandor dialogue: “...we fight on as best we can, for Robert and the realm.” “Robert?” rasped Sandor Clegane, incredulous. “Ned Stark sent us out,” said pothelmed Jack-Be-Lucky, “but he was sitting the Iron Throne when he gave us our commands, so we were never truly his men, but Robert’s.” “Robert is the king of the worms now. Is that why you’re down in the earth, to keep his court for him?”   Sandor’s invective prompts Lem to draw his sword and gets this response: The Hound stared at the blade with contempt. “Here’s a brave man, baring steel on a bound captive. Untie me, why don’t you? We’ll see how brave you are then.” He glanced at the Mad Huntsman behind him. “How about you? Or did you leave all your courage in your kennels?” “No, but I should have left you in a crow cage.” The Huntsman drew a knife. “I might still.” The Hound laughed in his face.   Tom o’ Sevens tells him they are “The brotherhood without banners… The knights of the hollow hill” and gets a reply that is emblematic of Sandor’s feelings about knights: “Knights?” Clegane made the word a sneer. “Dondarrion’s a knight, but the rest of you are the sorriest lot of outlaws and broken men I’ve ever seen. I shit better men than you.” “Any knight can make a knight,” said the scarecrow that was Beric Dondarrion, “and every man you see before you has felt a sword upon his shoulder. We are the forgotten fellowship.” “Send me on my way and I’ll forget you too,” Clegane rasped. “But if you mean to murder me, then bloody well get on with it. You took my sword, my horse, and my gold, so take my life and be done with it... but spare me this pious bleating.” “You will die soon enough, dog,” promised Thoros, “but it shan’t be murder, only justice.”   The promise of trial and justice is followed up by an accounting of some of the crimes of Lannister forces in the Riverlands. At first Sandor protests “Lay your dead children at some other door.” Which leads to this exchange between Thoros and Sandor: “Do you deny that House Clegane was built upon dead children? I saw them lay Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaenys before the Iron Throne. By rights your arms should bear two bloody infants in place of those ugly dogs.” The Hound’s mouth twitched. “Do you take me for my brother? Is being born Clegane a crime?” “Murder is a crime.” “Who did I murder?”   Then follows a laundry list of dead soldiers and smallfolk, all killed by Lannister soldiers. Sandor protests: “Enough.” The Hound’s face was tight with anger. “You’re making noise. These names mean nothing. Who were they?” “People,” said Lord Beric. “People great and small, young and old. Good people and bad people, who died on the points of Lannister spears or saw their bellies opened by Lannister swords.” “It wasn’t my sword in their bellies. Any man who says it was is a bloody liar.” “You serve the Lannisters of Casterly Rock,” said Thoros. “Once. Me and thousands more. Is each of us guilty of the crimes of the others?” Clegane spat. “Might be you are knights after all. You lie like knights, maybe you murder like knights.”   Beric asks him to explain: “A knight’s a sword with a horse. The rest, the vows and the sacred oils and the lady’s favors,they’re silk ribbons tied round the sword. Maybe the sword’s prettier with ribbons hanging off it, but it will kill you just as dead. Well, bugger your ribbons, and shove your swords up your arses. I’m the same as you. The only difference is, I don’t lie about what I am. So, kill me, but don’t call me a murderer while you stand there telling each other that your shit don’t stink. You hear me?”   But then Arya accuses him of killing Mycah. Sandor’s reply is his defense of the act: “I was Joffrey’s sworn shield. The butcher’s boy attacked a prince of the blood.”   Sandor is sentenced to a trial, in which the Lord of Light will be the judge. He will face Lord Beric, who according to tales cannot be killed, which after a moment’s despair  (“...he’ll go free. The Hound was deadly with a sword, everyone knew that”) gives Arya hope. Upon seeing Beric’s scars from the mortal wounds that have failed to kill him, Arya hopes the Hound is scared, she wants him to feel fear before he dies.   After the men prepare for battle, and we get our first glimpse of Beric’s squire Ned Dayne, Thoros leads the group in prayer to R’hllor- “Light your flame among us, R’hllor,” said the red priest. “Show us the truth or falseness of this man. Strike him down if he is guilty, and give strength to his sword if he is true. Lord of Light, give us wisdom.”   To the response of the group “For the night is dark and full of terrors” the Hound has a comeback- ““This cave is dark too,” said the Hound, “but I’m the terror here.”   And then Beric’s sword sword took fire: “Burn in seven hells,” the Hound cursed. “You, and Thoros too.” He threw a glance at the red priest. “When I’m done with him you’ll be next, Myr.”   The fight commences, ringed by fire. Beric’s flaming sword clearly enrages and terrifies Sandor, he is nearly forced into the fire, and then his shield is set afire after taking a hit from the sword, his sleeve catches and then his “whole left arm was ablaze” But as Beric goes for a killing blow on the now burning Hound, Sandor delivers one last desperate blow, the burning sword breaks and Sandor “kills” Beric.   As Beric falls and the burned Hound lies whimpering on the ground: “Arya could only think of Mycah and all the stupid prayers she’d prayed for the Hound to die. If there were gods, why didn’t Lord Beric win? She knew the Hound was guilty.”   Arya is astonished to see Sandor crying and in pain, glimpsing a brief moment of human suffering that she hasn’t previously credited him with. She’s confused by the outcome and when Harwin tells her: “R’hllor has judged him innocent” Arya snatches a knife and tries to reach the Hound with it.   Seeing his burns shocks her, and his words to her seem almost like goading: “You want me dead that bad? Then do it, wolf girl. Shove it in. It’s cleaner than fire.” Rather than attack him, she accuses him again, demanding he confess his guilt. He confesses: “I did.” His whole face twisted. “I rode him down and cut him in half, and laughed. I watched them beat your sister bloody too, watched them cut your father’s head off.”   Arya’s rage knows no bounds: “You just go to hell!” she screams at him. But a figure appears from the shadows and tells her: “He has.” 
  5. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    The Will to Change: Rereading Sandor II

    Very nice analyses brash & Milady!   Catching up here after some time away and I just wanted to chime in in agreement with Ragnorak's comments on Sandor as a fairy godfather dispensing his gifts. I like the observation that Sandor's departure heralds the fall of House Lannister. His is the first significant defection, and the fact that his intentions seem to have been to offer his services to House Stark may yet foreshadow the coming course of events. Cersei's rejection of Sandor's gifts is significant in showing the role she will play in the destruction of her House.   Sansa has clearly internalized Sandor's gifts in the form of lessons and memories which gradually replace the romantic stories of her youth. In addition, she has retained his only tangible gift, a stained white cloak, in a chest along with her best clothing, as Milady noted. While much has been said about this particular gift, from its symbolic meaning as a shield to its fate as a relic, what always struck me most about it is the significance of the act of saving it in the first place. The romance of that act, and the obvious value placed upon it by Sansa, speak volumes about the meaning she attaches to Sandor's role in her life.   As for Arya, the concept of "gift" is highly significant in her arc, and as we will see, Sandor plays a rather large role in fostering the development of that concept, not to mention functioning as her sole protector in the Riverlands for a time, much as he did recently for her sister in King's Landing.   And having said as much, I'd like to say that I'm very honored to have been invited to share an analysis of Sandor III, covering two chapters from ASoS in which Sandor is introduced into Arya's arc in rather dramatic fashion. In my opinion, these two chapters are among the best of ASoS to analyze, not only for Sandor, but for studying Arya and other subjects as well. I've spent a lot of time with them for this and other purposes, and found that their significance to Sandor's arc is almost unparalleled. So I ask forbearance for what became a lengthy summary and analysis, and hope that I've done some small measure of justice to the complexity of the tale told therein. Now, with thanks to our gracious hosts for inviting me here, I will shortly be posting the chapter summaries, followed by an analysis.
  6. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    The Will to Change: Rereading Sandor II

    Great recap brash! Particularly the summation of the powerful implications of Sandor's will to change as illustrated in ACoK and his progression towards embodying some of the ideals of the true knight, themes that will continue to be prevalent moving into ASoS. Just wanted to say that while my personal schedule hasn't left me much time to participate in the past weeks, I've been following along and offer kudos to all of you for the wonderful analyses and discussion. Looking forward to future installments!
  7. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    A Compendium of Theories v.2

    I certainly hope so! I agree that it is somewhat strange that v.1 is not linked, nor is the founder of the project (Full Faced Braavosi) given any credit, in the OP. Anyway, for posterity... here is the link to the original
  8. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    A King in Hiding: Adding It All Up Part 2

    I propose that the hero is Aegon and Dany is the mummer's dragon (now in place of her recently deceased brother Viserys) who has been propped up to the extent that she received aid from Varys and Illyrio for the express purpose of giving their "hero" something to fight. We all know Varys is a "mummer" and that his motivations as far as Daenerys is concerned are somewhat suspect. He and Illyrio have obviously invested many years in raising Aegon and plotting on his behalf. They have been less involved with Viserys and Daenerys, certainly always aware of their whereabouts but not necessarily taking care of them. We know, for example, that after Ser Willem's death they wandered the Free Cities and had the sell of their mother's crown and jewels. Hardly the existence of children who had expectations of retaking their birthright with the help of loyal friends. In this sense, Dany is truly a dragon who is the puppet of the mummers. Their "hero" (fAegon) is the centerpiece of their folly and not necessarily anything more than a character created for their own purposes. In support of this I draw your attention to the scene in The Hedge Knight Is it possible this story foreshadows a scenario where Dany is threatened by fAegon (the "older brother" a la Aerion Brightflame), only to be saved by the agent of Jon Snow who, in so doing, reveals Jon's true identity?
  9. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    How would you rate episode 308?

    Gave it a 9 Sam the Slayer, Daario, the leeches and Davos is free to hustle Gendry away. Love Sandor- Arya scene! Didn't even mind Sansa kneeling, since it clearly had to be done to keep the show storyline consistent. And Tyrion threatening Joff the Ass gets a big hurrah. Eta- Second the thank god a break from Theon.
  10. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    How would you rate episode 308?

    In my head I picture him as a Johnny Depp- Jack Sparrow type. Wish they had gone with some blue hair dye at least, but I think he did quite well. Watching with a show only person, the bag of heads was pretty fantastic!
  11. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    [Book Spoilers] EP307 Discussion

    :o That was actually one thing I thought of while watching. Don't really believe it, but... I actually think there are a number of ways the will could happen. They just need to pick up the pace next week.
  12. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    [Book Spoilers] EP307 Discussion

    Forgot about that plan, probably because its so opposite from the books. I guess I just miss Maege, the Greatjon et al. I still don't feel like we have the dramatic tension present to make a will suddenly seem important. Hoping next week changes things though. And I'm starting to buy into the Talisa the spy theory. Is she going to feign morning sickness or something to escape the RW?
  13. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    [Book Spoilers] EP307 Discussion

    He hasn't had any war council scenes with his main lieutenants that I can recall. Just him and his immediate family and those statues. :P Obviously the Wedding is important, and the Frey troops. The point is, the will would have no importance to the storyline unless there were some imminent danger (like a battle) introduced to the viewer, as it was in the books.
  14. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    [Book Spoilers] EP307 Discussion

    Also- Shae's chain. That made me laugh. Not because I'm bloodthirsty, but because after the whitewashing of Tyrion this season (which did continue in this episode) I had decided Shae would escape. Now I have hope that the whitewashing is a front meant to elevate the shock when it happens.
  15. Lady Gwynhyfvar

    [Book Spoilers] EP307 Discussion

    Re: Robb's will... He was planning a battle immediately after the Wedding, which was the impetus for the will in the book. Unless I missed something, I'm not getting a big plan in the works vibe, which disturbs me more than the actual will tbh. It's kind of felt like Robb & co have spent a lot of time traveling to family functions this season- a funeral at Riverrun, now a wedding at the Twins, not much action or planning going on. Also trying to remember if they heard about the Bran & Rickon "bodies" in episode 2 or was that the one where Robb bizarrely implied there was still hope they might be found?
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