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Le Cygne

Rethinking Romance: Love Stories of ASOIAF, Part 2

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On 12/12/2017 at 1:00 PM, Lady Dacey said:

Just wanna say I read through the whole thread and really enjoyed all the analysis and discussion! I never cared for Sandor/Sansa as a couple, I always saw him just as a figure of her imagination, playing a part on her personal development from girl to young woman, but now you've got me hoping a few more interactions between the two. I wouldn't go as far as hoping for a marriage, but I definetely abandoned the idea I had that their story was over on page already.

Arya and Gendry always stood out for me as a possible romantic couple, I think it's obvious they have strong feelings for each other but don't acknowledge it (Arya) or don't know how to act about it (Gendry). The articles about those two in the thread are a delight to read, but I got the impression they were "speaking to the converts". I'd love to go through a chronological re-read of their chapters to highlight how Martin gives us so many hints of their underlying feelings, even if some readers choose to overlook them. 

That's my take as well with their story.

I'd love to go throught it as well!

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On 12/13/2017 at 6:48 AM, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

I love how you point out the symbolism of the bloody white cloak, the fact that she dons his cloak herself pointing to the importance of autonomy in her story, and the cedar chest mirroring a hope chest. I know I mentioned this already but it struck me in one of his short stories that he includes a cedar hope chest, revealing that he absolutely knows the symbolism in having her place his cloak in one!

Nice points, and a great find of the cedar hope chest mention in GRRM's other story! These were commonly used by young women to prepare for married life. I found some ads here and here. Love stories are about hope, and this one is beautifully so.

Found a nice quote from Diana Gabaldon in Voyager, Marsali reminds me of Sansa. She wants to marry the man she loves, Fergus, who, like Sandor, has only his heart to offer, and he's older, too (Marsali is 15, Fergus is 30), but she knows what she wants:

So she had done it. One fifteen-year-old girl, with nothing but stubbornness as a weapon. “I want him,” she had said. And kept saying it, through her mother’s objections and Jamie’s arguments, through Fergus’s scruples and her own fears, through three thousand miles of homesickness, hardship, ocean storm, and shipwreck.

She raised her face, shining, and found her mirror in Fergus’s eyes. I saw them look at each other, and felt the tears prickle behind my lids. 

“I want him.” 

Edited by Le Cygne

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On 12/10/2017 at 1:07 PM, Nasty LongRider said:

Ohhhhh, nice, didn't see that parallel there.  Really, really like it.

He's got some nice Jane Eyre ones going on, too. Right down to the wording, I'll add that later. :)

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1 hour ago, Le Cygne said:

So she had done it. One fifteen-year-old girl, with nothing but stubbornness as a weapon. “I want him,” she had said. And kept saying it, through her mother’s objections and Jamie’s arguments, through Fergus’s scruples and her own fears, through three thousand miles of homesickness, hardship, ocean storm, and shipwreck.

She raised her face, shining, and found her mirror in Fergus’s eyes. I saw them look at each other, and felt the tears prickle behind my lids. 

“I want him.” 

This is gorgeously written and reminds me why I liked the DG books so much. This is a wonderfully romantic descriptor of how fiercely the heart can burn for someone. I love it! 

Yes the moment I read the about the Hope chest in The Skin Trade it set bells ringing. I'd clocked that the Cedar Chest Sansa places the cloak in could be a Hope chest symbolically already and you will recall I'd been saying so for years. But when I read the skin trade and he had a hope chest specifically and told us as readers what one is and what they were used for I knew I'd been right! Being British I'd not realised how ubiquitous they once were in the states, so wasn't certain that GRRM would be familiar enough with them for the use of a Cedar chest to really be as symbolic as I thought. Now I am 100% certain.  

And when you examine The Skin Trade it too is the beginning of a Beauty & the Beast story. As it was originally the first of an intended series of stories and without giving spoilers I will point out we have a beast (he's a werewolf.) who is into the beauty, but she isn't into him. This is the set up for a beauty & the beast story. As is SanSan.

GRRM & DG give nods to and borrow from one another quite a bit if you look closely at both bodies of work. I know they are friends. So I feel this is likely deliberate. Little nods to each other and what not. Jamie's mother and father eloped and hid out until she was visibly pregnant. This was indeed quite common historically. Rhaegar & Lyanna were likely doing the same thing initially until Aerys fucked it all up by burning Brandon& Rickard. DG has a baby inherit land and property despite very obviously not being the daughter of the man it belonged to simply because legally she is his heir as her mother was married to him. Asha is probably pregnant and is officially married to Erik Ironmaker and Theon can not produce his own heir. So it is likely her child will inherit the iron islands despite being rather obviously not her husbands kid. ie: a bastard should not inherit but as they will "officially" be legitimate due to her marriage they can. If we look at the Iron Islands history too in TWOIAF there is a similar situation with an uncle having his nephew ( I think) inherit the driftwood crown as he has not had any children of his own.

And of course DG named the plantation of Aunt Jocasta Riverrun. 

Just some little thoughts and observations. No real point other than that I like those little easter egg type things.

Edited by The Weirwoods Eyes

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4 hours ago, Le Cygne said:

Nice points, and a great find of the cedar hope chest mention in GRRM's other story! These were commonly used by young women to prepare for married life. I found some ads here and here. Love stories are about hope, and this one is beautifully so.

The cedar hope chest tradition is really a nice one.  My grandfather had a cedar chest made for my mother when she was in high school.  Of course, my sibs and I knew her long after she was married and by then she had filled the chest with many little remembrances of her children.  Sadly, the tradition just didn't carry on with her daughters.  

What's put in a hope chest is completely up to the woman who owns it; she gets to decide what is important enough to warrant safe keeping in that special, hopeful space.  So Sansa placing the bloody cloak in the chest does have meaning not just for her story, but Sandor's as well. 

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7 hours ago, The Weirwoods Eyes said:

And of course DG named the plantation of Aunt Jocasta Riverrun. 

Just some little thoughts and observations. No real point other than that I like those little easter egg type things.

Oh, that's a good one! There's also a name Geillis as a "seer of the future" uses, Melisande! And lots more, like Jamie saying to Claire, like Sandor says to Sansa, whether you will it or no, which is about strong feelings on an instinctual level, something deep and true. I like that DG says Marsali's strength is her own inner feelings, and knowing what she wants. That's something no one can ever take from her, not even a cruel world, that strength that comes from within.

Edited by Le Cygne

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4 hours ago, Nasty LongRider said:

What's put in a hope chest is completely up to the woman who owns it; she gets to decide what is important enough to warrant safe keeping in that special, hopeful space.  So Sansa placing the bloody cloak in the chest does have meaning not just for her story, but Sandor's as well. 

Ah, that's beautifully said, and very true. She gets to decide, and that's what makes it so special.

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I really appreciate this thread.  So far there have only been a few happy couples.  A lot of romances so far seem to be doomed.  It would be nice in future books to have happy successful romances that would last.  There aren't many so far.  

Many of the romances on this thread have reached their conclusion and many won't until the end of the series.

As a reader I can't wait to read the conclusion to sansa-sandor, arya-gendry and brienne-jamie.  I believe that there is more story to tell with these couples.  

I think in a lot of the writing, the author uses previous established romances.  We see similarities with beauty and the beast.  I also see elements of jane eyre and jane austen.  Those are the ones I can think of.  There are probably more.

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I enjoyed all the essays in this thread.  Sansa-Sandor is beauty and the beast whIle Brienne-Jamie is reverse beauty and the beast (in looks, not personality)

I do disagree about Arya-Gendry being a romance.  I just think both of them are too young.  What I see is the potential for romance when they are both older.  I think they are perfect for each other and that there is no one else for them.  All their interactions seem like actions of children.  I don't think they have a brother sister relationship and their bond is deeper than friendship.

What I see is the foundations of a great marriage partneship.  They first established respect for each other and then trust between them.  They can have disagreements and not let it affect how they feel for each other.  At different times they let the other person lead.  They have light moments between them and generally like being around each other.  They don't like anybody else intruding on their partnership (like Bella or Eric Dayne).  They think the other person is attractive.  They think about what their future is like with each other and want to be near each other. They also care about each other's safety and do what they can for their friend to be safe.  They also care about each others opinion.  They also try to make each other feel better.

I do think Gendry saw that he was losing his friend who he cares for and has a deep bond with.  He is sullen and upset because he sees that he has no place in her world.  That the outside  world wouldn't let him keep his friend because of class.  Arya considers him as part of her pack and feels that it is a betrayal when he joins the Brotherhood  (contrast that with Jon who leaves for the wall.  She would miss him and loves him, but I don't think she feels as upset that he left her.  Jon's reasons are similar to Gendry's for joining)

I have a soft spot for angry, upset Gendry.  His feelings seem believable and real.

I do think they will be together after they reunite.  I see it heading in that direction. I like their relationship. It's so rare in fiction and real life.  It's a great partnership. I think GRMM spent a lot of time and energy crafting their relationship and setting it up for future payoff. Their relationship is innocent and pure and we don't see that often.  

 

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Glad you liked it!

For the purposes of this thread, the term "romance" is used in terms of the overall story. With romance as a genre, the story often begins when the characters are younger, to show character development that leads to the eventual romantic conclusion. The seeds are planted, then grow, it's all part of the "romance" as a story.

Adding this video I found, just to show an example from another story, starting the story when they are young to set up the connection, like with George and Mary in It's A Wonderful Life:

 

Edited by Le Cygne

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I don't know if this means anything, but both Sandor and gendry are tall, strong guys that people don't mess with.  Lommy didn't want to mess with the bull and everyone doesn't want to be on Sandor's bad side (unless you're the Mountain)

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On 12/16/2017 at 5:46 AM, Le Cygne said:

He's got some nice Jane Eyre ones going on, too. Right down to the wording, I'll add that later. :)

I added those! Kept finding more.

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On ‎1‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 5:25 AM, Le Cygne said:

Adding this video I found, just to show an example from another story, starting the story when they are young to set up the connection, like with George and Mary in It's A Wonderful Life:

 

The vid is charming illustrates your point nicely.

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A good quote from Jamaica Inn, by Daphne du Maurier, about that push and pull that is typical of the romances in this series.

"Falling in love was a pretty name for it, that was all. Jem Merlyn was a man, and she was a woman, and whether it was his hands or his skin or his smile she did not know, but something inside her responded to him, and the very thought of him was an irritant and a stimulant at the same time. It nagged at her and would not let her be."

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Posted (edited)
On 12/16/2017 at 2:05 PM, Le Cygne said:

like Sandor says to Sansa, whether you will it or no, which is about strong feelings on an instinctual level, something deep and true. I like that DG says Marsali's strength is her own inner feelings, and knowing what she wants. That's something no one can ever take from her, not even a cruel world, that strength that comes from within.

 I like what you’re saying here. I’ve often thought about “whether you will it or no”. I like the strong feelings idea. This was an early moment between them that seems to foreshadow what happened the night of Blackwater. It also begs the question, what about when she wills it?  Because the story is progressing, in Sandor’s absence, with Sansa coming to realize that it is the Hound that she is willing to be with. She becomes accustomed to the idea of kissing him since she thinks about it often. She dreams about him, she wonders what happened to him; she obviously cares about him. She prayed for him. She wondered if she should have gone with him. It seems that the story is set up for her to recount these things to him when she sees him again. 

In classic romances, the two characters spend a chunk of time apart. In the beginning they are unsuitable or dislike each other. The non-POV is the character who is massaging the perpective (or plot) of the POV character. This change is at the heart of the story. The growth that happens, for better or worse, leads to the eventual dénouement showing how and why the POV character needed this growth. And that, in romances, leads to the reconciliation of the two characters and their love recognized by them. Without this massaging in the beginning, and the time apart, the characters, ironically, would not have grown ‘close’. 

Edited by Karmarni

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1 hour ago, Le Cygne said:

A good quote from Jamaica Inn, by Daphne du Maurier, about that push and pull that is typical of the romances in this series.

an irritant and a stimulant at the same time. It nagged at her and would not let her be."

I love this! And this novel. Cannot count how many times I have been stimulated and irritated in love. At the same time. 

It’s these moments that keep it all interesting. 

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I consider this a bit of foreshadowing.  People thought it was fine that fake Arya (Poor Jeyne Poole) is married to a bastard in the books.  Maybe real Arya will be married to her bastard Gendry.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/21/2018 at 1:29 PM, Karmarni said:

 I like what you’re saying here. I’ve often thought about “whether you will it or no”. I like the strong feelings idea. This was an early moment between them that seems to foreshadow what happened the night of Blackwater. It also begs the question, what about when she wills it?  Because the story is progressing, in Sandor’s absence, with Sansa coming to realize that it is the Hound that she is willing to be with. She becomes accustomed to the idea of kissing him since she thinks about it often. She dreams about him, she wonders what happened to him; she obviously cares about him. She prayed for him. She wondered if she should have gone with him. It seems that the story is set up for her to recount these things to him when she sees him again. 

In classic romances, the two characters spend a chunk of time apart. In the beginning they are unsuitable or dislike each other. The non-POV is the character who is massaging the perpective (or plot) of the POV character. This change is at the heart of the story. The growth that happens, for better or worse, leads to the eventual dénouement showing how and why the POV character needed this growth. And that, in romances, leads to the reconciliation of the two characters and their love recognized by them. Without this massaging in the beginning, and the time apart, the characters, ironically, would not have grown ‘close’. 

Very interesting. Agree, there's the usual pattern with Sansa and Sandor. A book I'm reading called A Natural History of the Romance Novel by Pamela Regis discusses this:

Eight narrative events take a heroine in a romance novel from encumbered to free. In one or more scenes, romance novels always depict the following:

  • the initial state of society in which heroine and hero must court,
  • the meeting between heroine and hero,
  • the barrier to the union of heroine and hero,
  • the attraction between the heroine and hero,
  • the declaration of love between heroine and hero,
  • the point of ritual death,
  • the recognition by heroine and hero of the means to overcome the barrier,
  • and the betrothal.

These elements are essential.

One chapter looks into Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (I put some quotes showing similarities with Sansa's story and Jane Eyre as an Extra for Sansa and Sandor):

In the final courtship, however, when Jane leaves Marsh End to travel first to Thornfield and then to Ferndean to find Rochester, it is she who courts Rochester. The final courtship cements Jane's freedom... In the course of the novel, she becomes self-possessed. She controls her emotions. She gains and then acts from a base of financial independence. She governs her movements - where she will live and how. She is, in short, free, and Bronte finds the romance novel form a natural medium for this theme of freedom...

It is Jane who conducts the final courtship of the novel... All remaining barriers are in Rochester's mind and are utterly within Jane's power to sweep away. Rochester believes that there is another man, St. John Rivers; he believes that the injuries that he suffered in trying unsuccessfully to save Bertha will keep Jane from wanting him; and he believes that he is too old for her. The heroine frees the hero from these barriers to their marriage... In freeing Rochester from the barrier, Jane frees herself from it as well... The heroine's own agency provides the final freedom for both her and the hero.

"Reader, I married him" (not "Reader, he married me"), thus rings as a double assertion of freedom: a free woman securing an additional freedom - from the barrier to the marriage she has proposed. The form reinforces the theme.

(I formatted the list of story elements in bullets)

Edited by Le Cygne

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