Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Milady of York

The Will to Change: Rereading Sandor

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone! It's taken me awhile to catch up, but I finally made it. There have been a lot of really good insights, and I've been convinced to start Dying of the Light so thanks for all of the wonderful contributions and well-crafted essays that have made my long commutes so much better.





Exactly! Sandor just expended a good deal of emotional energy keeping Joffrey under wraps all day, and in comes Tyrion to undo all of it in a matter of minutes. Honestly, for as intelligent as Tyrion is supposed to be, he really comes off as an obnoxious smartass who never thinks before he speaks.





I think this chapter provides a really interesting glimpse into the Tyrion/Sandor dynamic, not just in their enmity, but in the different ways their personal insecurities manifest themselves. Tyrion has an inferiority complex that results in an intellectual overcompensation and the near-pathological need to belittle and verbally best those he sees as threats. While there is a mean streak in all of Tywin Lannister's children, Tyrion's insults are not borne out of the assumption of superiority, but rather the need to prove himself with the tools he has available. This is what often gets Tyrion into trouble, and it's rather interesting that Sandor is the one to call him on it, not only in this case but in their initial interaction in AGOT. While Sandor can also be unkind, he seeks validation through positive affirmation. He wants to be known. While Tyrion deliberately keeps others at bay with his barbed tongue and avoidance of deeply truthful interactions with others -- such as his relationship with Shae, in which he prefers his fantasized version of the woman rather than the woman herself -- Sandor demands that Sansa see and understand him as he is, physical and emotional scars and all. While Tyrion is sensitive to mockery because he feels he has everything to prove and relishes attacking those who are not equipped to wittily respond, Sandor seems to absorb insults relatively easily while also being disinterested in proving himself against easy targets. Tyrion wants to be validated through power, which will assuage his need to show himself as worthy and capable despite his dwarfism. In contrast, Sandor seems to have very little interest in power. In fact, I would venture to say he is one of the least ambitious characters in the series. Sandor knows himself to be physically capable, and that seems to be enough for him. Indeed, Sandor's childhood abuse seems to have given him the need to emotionally bond with others, perhaps shown through his easy cooperation with Sansa and light-hearted defense of Tommen and Myrcella in this chapter. Sandor's willingness to warn Tyrion of the dangers of speaking sharply to those in power, particularly the loose cannon that is Joffrey, shows that he keenly intuits the need for discretion when it comes to the king. Tyrion misses this important point because of his own insecurities, but Sandor is more sensitive to the situation and the way in which it should be handled because of his own traumatic experiences and the longing for love that he never received.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone! It's taken me awhile to catch up, but I finally made it. There have been a lot of really good insights, and I've been convinced to start Dying of the Light so thanks for all of the wonderful contributions and well-crafted essays that have made my long commutes so much better.

I think this chapter provides a really interesting glimpse into the Tyrion/Sandor dynamic, not just in their enmity, but in the different ways their personal insecurities manifest themselves. Tyrion has an inferiority complex that results in an intellectual overcompensation and the near-pathological need to belittle and verbally best those he sees as threats. While there is a mean streak in all of Tywin Lannister's children, Tyrion's insults are not borne out of the assumption of superiority, but rather the need to prove himself with the tools he has available. This is what often gets Tyrion into trouble, and it's rather interesting that Sandor is the one to call him on it, not only in this case but in their initial interaction in AGOT. While Sandor can also be unkind, he seeks validation through positive affirmation. He wants to be known. While Tyrion deliberately keeps others at bay with his barbed tongue and avoidance of deeply truthful interactions with others -- such as his relationship with Shae, in which he prefers his fantasized version of the woman rather than the woman herself -- Sandor demands that Sansa see and understand him as he is, physical and emotional scars and all. While Tyrion is sensitive to mockery because he feels he has everything to prove and relishes attacking those who are not equipped to wittily respond, Sandor seems to absorb insults relatively easily while also being disinterested in proving himself against easy targets. Tyrion wants to be validated through power, which will assuage his need to show himself as worthy and capable despite his dwarfism. In contrast, Sandor seems to have very little interest in power. In fact, I would venture to say he is one of the least ambitious characters in the series. Sandor knows himself to be physically capable, and that seems to be enough for him. Indeed, Sandor's childhood abuse seems to have given him the need to emotionally bond with others, perhaps shown through his easy cooperation with Sansa and light-hearted defense of Tommen and Myrcella in this chapter. Sandor's willingness to warn Tyrion of the dangers of speaking sharply to those in power, particularly the loose cannon that is Joffrey, shows that he keenly intuits the need for discretion when it comes to the king. Tyrion misses this important point because of his own insecurities, but Sandor is more sensitive to the situation and the way in which it should be handled because of his own traumatic experiences and the longing for love that he never received.

Welcome, Alaynsa Starne! :) :cheers: We hope to hear more from you.

Great observation about Tyrion's insecurities (and I'd like to add that Lannister prickly pride) that prevent him from developing meaningful relationships, which is especially true when it comes to women. As you pointed out, he hired Shae for the girlfriend treatment. He then does something similar with Sansa when he tells her on their wedding night that in the dark he could be the Knight of Flowers--again creating a fantasy. This stands in stark contrast to Sandor, who very much wants Sansa to look at him and accept him for who he is. He's not interested in fantasies or playing games, whereas Tyrion very much toys with people and plays games, though, he wasn't able to with Sansa since she shut him out.

Sandor certainly isn't avariciously or opportunistically ambitious. It's all about merit with him. And while he can lie and manipulate, he has zero interest in courtly intrigue.

I was just as thrilled to see Sansa's maternal instincts were firmly intact just as much as I was to see her confidence in herself and her sexuality. A satisfying chapter overall.

I also expect something amazing and/or terrible to happen at that tourney. Tourneys and weddings in Westeros are never boring events. :devil:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to our reread, Alaynsa Starne. So happy to have a new reader join us, and with a very insightful first post, too! And I am also pleased that I convinced you to read Dying of the Light with my little writeup. You'll share your thoughts when you're finished, I hope?

Tyrion has an inferiority complex that results in an intellectual overcompensation and the near-pathological need to belittle and verbally best those he sees as threats. While there is a mean streak in all of Tywin Lannister's children, Tyrion's insults are not borne out of the assumption of superiority, but rather the need to prove himself with the tools he has available. This is what often gets Tyrion into trouble, and it's rather interesting that Sandor is the one to call him on it, not only in this case but in their initial interaction in AGOT. While Sandor can also be unkind, he seeks validation through positive affirmation. He wants to be known. While Tyrion deliberately keeps others at bay with his barbed tongue and avoidance of deeply truthful interactions with others -- such as his relationship with Shae, in which he prefers his fantasized version of the woman rather than the woman herself -- Sandor demands that Sansa see and understand him as he is, physical and emotional scars and all. While Tyrion is sensitive to mockery because he feels he has everything to prove and relishes attacking those who are not equipped to wittily respond, Sandor seems to absorb insults relatively easily while also being disinterested in proving himself against easy targets.

That's indeed true. Sandor gets insulted often in the books, but doesn't as a rule lash back or defend himself by means of throwing back more barbs. In this current book, the only times he directly does use insulting language is towards Sansa ("stupid little bird"), in other cases it's rather a way of expressing contempt rather than individually-aimed insults, like the gnats and rats comments and Boros. And curiously hers is the only sort of retort that seems to pierce through him and hit hard enough to elicit a response, a need to defend himself, like when she calls him hateful and awful, and he gets defensive, telling her that it's not him but the world. He'll later use similar language towards Arya, and again there's a cause and a pattern for his calls her names, too, as he isn't in the habit of using language as a weapon to humiliate and bring down his interlocutors.

There's also another factor in this difference between both men: status. Tyrion has never had to work for his livelihood, all jobs he's had have been of the "assigned responsibilities" sort, from the Casterly sewers to the Handship, so he's been in a position of command always, not as a subordinate to anyone but his father. Privilege has fostered in him the habit of outspokenness, in that he can say what he wants and not suffer for it because his rank and blood protect him; so it's only after he's either in relation to superiors that don't like him (Joff/Cersei) and when he's lost his position in life (his trial and escape) when he really starts to pay the consequences of a loose tongue that his mixture of privilege, inferiority complex and lack of diplomatic training and ability had nourished for years. Sandor, on the other hand, though a nobleman himself, and entitled to some privileges by blood, has been working since childhood in a position of subordinate, and in such a position he likely had to swallow unsavoury stuff because of his low rank and accept the rudeness of nobles of higher rank, be more tolerant of insults. A position of inferiority in the social ladder can teach a lot in terms of diplomacy and dealing with entitled royals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had houseguests for the past week and little time to use the internet. These are notes I wrote while reading Sansa VI: A Game of Thrones; sorry they're late.



... She was in bed, curled up tight, her curtains drawn, and she could not have said if it was noon or midnight. The first thing she heard was the slam of the door. Then her bed hangings were yanked back, and she threw up a hand against the sudden light and saw them standing over her.

...


"You will attend me in court this afternoon," Joffrey said. "See that you bathe and dress as befits my betrothed." Sandor Clegane stood at his shoulder in a plain brown doublet and green mantle, his burned face hideous in the morning light. Behind them were two knights of the Kingsguard in long white satin cloaks.



-There is a reversal of what we normally see in exchanges between Sansa and Sandor. In this chapter, it is she who begins in darkness and is thrust (does not move herself) into the light. This scene is more about Sansa "seeing the light" about Joffrey and his terrible nature for the first time ("Sansa stared at him, seeing him for the first time. ... She wondered how she could ever have thought him handsome. His lips were as soft and red as the worms you found after a rain, and his eyes were vain and cruel"), but it serves multiple functions with regard to her relationship with Sandor. First, in this scene he's introduced already in the light, his face (and his secrets about his face) clear to her. Second, he helps her by shedding light on what Joffrey expects of her, as perhaps only Sandor has the insight to do. Then, while his face is hideous in the light, later the person Sansa views as ugly is Joffrey (also, she displays a strong repulsion to soft lips that continues to resurface). Finally, there's a definite movement away from Joffrey coupled with disregard for his requirements as a KG in his being unnecessarily gentle with her and staying behind to advise her.



The look he [Meryn Trant] gave her was without expression. He did not so much as glance at the bruise he had left her.


He did not hate her, Sansa realized; neither did he love her. He felt nothing for her at all. She was only a...a thing to him. "No," she said, rising. She wanted to rage, to hurt him as he'd hurt her, to warn him that when she was queen she would have him exiled if he ever dared strike her again...but she remembered what the Hound had told her, so all she said was, "I shall do whatever His Grace commands."



"As I do," he replied.



"Yes...but you are no true knight, Ser Meryn."



Sandor Clegane would have laughed at that, Sansa knew. Other men might have cursed her, warned her to keep silent, even begged her for forgiveness. Ser Meryn Trant did none of these. Ser Meryn Trant simply did not care.



-I really like the comparison here between the two KG members. She recognizes that Meryn Trant does not even consider her a human being and does not care about her; she then immediately thinks of Sandor and his advice, which she knows was meant to help her. She insults Ser Meryn imagining how Sandor would react, and in determining the Ser Meryn "simply does not care," it's almost a confirmation that she thinks Sandor would care about her comments and insults. Sandor ends up being the only person in King's Landing, KG or otherwise, she ever does dare to "rage" against, once Ned dies. Unlike Queen Rhaella and similar to Queen Cersei, Sansa does have some support in the KG.



On the rooftop, Meryn Trant again complies with Joffrey's orders with no apparent hesitation, while Sandor helps her in front of Joffrey and Ser Meryn and then hides her intention to push Joffrey. Apart from Sandor's refusal to say any vows, I don't know how his induction to the KG went, but I wonder if he had to kneel before Joffrey. Regardless, here he chooses to kneel before Sansa, which for me was the biggest indication that by the end of AGoT he'd shifted his allegiance to Sansa.



Sansa stared hard at his [Janos Slynt's] ugly face ... wishing she could hurt him ... But a voice inside her whispered There are no heroes, and she remembered what Lord Petyr had said to her, here in this very hall. "Life is not a song, sweetling," he'd told her. "You may learn that one day to your sorrow." In life, the monsters win, she told herself, and now it was the Hound's voice she heard, a cold rasp, metal on stone. "Save yourself some pain, girl, and give him what he wants."


-She thinks about Joffrey, Janos Slynt and Littlefinger and his advice before deciding that in life, the monsters win. She has no real reason here to group LF among the monsters, except the weird vibes she gets from him. With the monsters is right where he belongs, I think, so hopefully it's foreshadowing that he ends up meeting a sticky end, like Joff and Janos. After this, she thinks of Sandor and his advice, which is much more practical and well-intentioned than Littlefinger's. Since the beginning and throughout this book, Sandor has been grouped with the monsters. Here at the end, he's been removed from this group, at least in one POV.



-This chapter illustrates how quickly Sandor has gotten inside Sansa's head, considering this is the first time we see them interact since the night of the Hand's tournament. In addition to thinking of how he'd laugh at the assertion of "no true knight," she hears his voice in her head on several occasions, giving her sound advice and provoking her to appraise herself.



-It also shows that Sandor still has some influence on Joffrey, which continues into the second book. His petulant shrug when Sandor refuses to participate in mocking Robb Stark shows that he feels frustrated when this doesn't happen. Is it an abrupt end to the camaraderie? Or does Sandor continue to humor Joffrey out of earshot of Sansa?



-Finally, I think this is the first time we see the Hound's face twitch; it happens when he instructs Sansa to follow Joffrey up onto the battlements. Plus, this chapter is the second time he is associated with the sound of something-hard-on-something-else-hard. Here it's metal on stone. In a Ned POV, right before the Gold Cloaks turn on Ned, he hears Sandor unsheathe his longsword with "an ominous rasp of metal on metal." For Ned it's a bad sound, and, admittedly, not Sandor's voice but his sword; for Sansa, that harsh, dangerous sound of the Hound's voice won't be so ominous.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We'll soon be moving on to Sandor II, but before I'd like to share a nice observation that was brought to my attention recently as it pertains the current event we're discussing: here. The gist of it, according to the perceptive reader that noticed it, is that Joffrey reaped what he'd sown on his nameday when he ordered Ser Dontos to be killed by means of drowning him in wine, as he'd be in turn assassinated by means of poisoned wine.



I find the idea a lovely example of the use of literary retributive irony, which Martin is so adept at throughout the books: Sansa had made it up on the run out of pure impulse to save a life, and the Hound backed it up for her sake; it was all a ruse for a good cause. And yet, it does nevertheless symbolically backfire on Joffrey that he wanted Dontos die drowned in wine (which involves suffocation) and himself ended up dying by suffocation caused by the strangler poison in his wine.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the idea of literary irony and GRRM is great at it, but I thought the poison was put in the cake not the wine. It's been a while since I read it now, but doesn't Joffrey only start choking after he bites into the cake?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the idea of literary irony and GRRM is great at it, but I thought the poison was put in the cake not the wine. It's been a while since I read it now, but doesn't Joffrey only start choking after he bites into the cake?

Remember that Olenna took the poisoned stone from Sansa's hairnet, and this is what ended up being put into Joff's chalice after he made Tyrion his cupbearer. Joff cuts the pie with Marg and then returns to his uncle's place where he demands more wine; it's then that Tyrion retrieves the goblet, which had been left on the table unattended, giving the poisoner (my money's on Garlan) ample time to plant it there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I remember all that but I remember seeing a thread about this a while ago and I admit it's been a while since I saw the thread or read the chapter. Essentially, I saw some compelling arguments that the poison was put in the cake because we learned from Cressen's POV that the effects of the strangler start working immediately and Joff didn't start coughing immediately after drinking the wine if I recall correctly. He starts coughing immediately after eating the cake. IDK, I have to go back and read that chapter now. At any rate I do think that there is some poetic justice in the idea of Joff dying by choking, which is essentially a suffocation similar to drowning.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you reread the chapter, Joff begins choking pretty much directly after drinking the wine, it's just that he started stuffing his mouth with Tyrion's cake at that point too, so it might appear as though he was choking on the pie and not from the effects of wine. It's difficult to see how the cake would have been poisoned, as no one could have predicted that Joff would eat that particular slice,


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember that Olenna took the poisoned stone from Sansa's hairnet, and this is what ended up being put into Joff's chalice after he made Tyrion his cupbearer. Joff cuts the pie with Marg and then returns to his uncle's place where he demands more wine; it's then that Tyrion retrieves the goblet, which had been left on the table unattended, giving the poisoner (my money's on Garlan) ample time to plant it there.

I read that the app confirmed it was Olenna who poisoned the wine, but I read that here in the forums not the app itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A CLASH OF KINGS: SANDOR II

SUMMARY

Sansa II
Arya II

Catelyn II

Arya VI

Arya VII

SANSA II, Chapter 18

On the way back to her room from the godswood after a clandestine meeting with Ser Dontos, Sansa thinks about the songs of Florian and Jonquil. Running down the serpentine steps, Sansa runs right into Sandor as he steps out from a doorway, causing her to lose her balance.

She was racing headlong down the serpentine steps when a man lurched out of a hidden doorway. Sansa caromed into him and lost her balance. Iron fingers caught her by the wrist before she could fall, and a deep voice rasped at her, “It’s a long roll down the serpentine, little bird. Want to kill us both? His laughter was rough as a saw on stone. “Maybe you do.”

Sansa immediately recognizes the Hound and tries to free herself, informing him that his grasp is hurting her. Still, the Hound doesn’t let go and demands to know why she’s out so late. When she doesn’t answer he shakes her and demands again that she tell him where she was. Sansa tells him she was at the godswood praying for her father and the king. Sandor accuses Sansa of lying but lets go, swaying slightly. He then takes notice of Sansa’s figure:

You look almost a woman…face, teats, and you’re taller too, almost…ah, you’re still a stupid little bird, aren’t you? Singing all the songs they taught you…sing me a song, why don’t you? Go on. Sing to me. Some song about knights and fair maidens. You like knights, don’t you?”

Sansa tells Sandor that she likes true knights and calls him “my lord”, which elicits a mocking response from Sandor and a harsh reminder he’s no lord no more than he’s a knight. Nearly falling from inebriation, he declares that he’s had way too much wine, stating that he’s “drunk as a dog,” but not before making another sexually charged statement to Sansa: “A flagon of sour red, dark as blood, all a man needs. Or a woman.”

As he escorts Sansa back to her room, Sandor lapses into a brooding silence while descending the stairs. When they reach Maegor’s Holdfast, Sansa panics when she sees Ser Boros Blount guarding the bridge. Sandor, sensing Sansa’s fear, lays a hand on her shoulder and tells her, “That one is nothing to fear, girl. Paint stripes on a toad, and he does not become a tiger.” Blount asks where Sandor has been as the king was looking for him earlier. Sandor retorts that he was out getting drunk and it was Blount’s and the other members of the Kingsguard duty to protect the king. Blount then turns his attention to Sansa, asking why she’s out so late. Sansa tells him the same lie she told Sandor and Sandor deflects further questioning by asking about the earlier commotion: “You expect her to sleep with all the noise? What was the trouble?” Blount tells Sandor that Joffrey led a sortie against a group of starving commoners who demanded to be fed upon learning about a feast for Tyrek Lannister’s wedding. Sandor sarcastically remarks that Joffrey is a brave boy.

After the interaction with Blount, Sandor continues to escort Sansa back to her room. Sansa asks Sandor why he allows people to call him a dog when he doesn’t allow anyone to call him a knight. Sandor goes into detail about his family history, explaining how his grandfather used to be the Lannister kennelmaster and it was three of his dogs that saved Lord Tytos from a lioness, earning them a keep and their sigil. He tells Sansa “a hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he’ll look you straight in the face.” Cupping Sansa’s face, he asks for a song again. Sansa tells him she knows a song about Florian and Jonquil, to which Sandor snorts “Florian and Jonquil? A fool and his cunt. Spare me. But one day I’ll have a song from you, whether you will it or no.” Sansa states that she’ll sing for him gladly and Sandor calls her a liar: “Pretty little thing, and such a bad liar. A dog can smell a lie, you know. Look around you, and take a good whiff. They’re all liars here…and every one better than you.”

ARYA II, Chapter 19

Gregor and his men capture Gendry, Arya, Hot Pie, and Lommy. After receiving a blow to the head for fighting back, Arya, in a daze, finds herself kneeling before Gregor: someone she thinks is the tallest man she’s ever seen and out of a tale told by Old Nan. A monster with a face cut from stone. She notices the three black dogs on a yellow faded surcoat and recognizes them from what Sansa told her during the Hand’s Tourney: “’That one belongs to the Hound’s brother,’ Sansa had confided when they passed the black dogs on the yellow field. ‘He’s even bigger than Hodor, you’ll see. They call him the Mountain that Rides.’”

Catelyn II, Chapter 22

During a feast hosted by Lord Caswell for King Renly, Catelyn overhears Ser Tanton drunkenly boast that he’ll slay Sandor Clegane in single combat.

ARYA VI, Chapter 26

During the march to Harrenhal, now held by Tywin Lannister, Gregor tells the prisoners, “You’re traitors and rebels, so than your gods that Lord Tywin’s giving you this chance. It’s more than you’d get from the outlaws. Obey, serve, and live.” And during this march wherein Arya had to silently bear witness to rape, torture, and murder of innocent captives, she begins a to compose a mental list of her enemies, enlisting the Hound for the death of Mycah. “Every night Arya would say their names. “Ser Gregor,” she’d whisper to her stone pillow. “Dunsen, Polliver, Chiswyck, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and the Hound. Ser Armory, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, King Joffrey, Queen Cersei.”

ARYA VII, Chapter 30

The Hound is mentioned in Arya’s death prayer twice: “Weese,” she would whisper, first of all. “Dunsen, Chiswyck, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and the Hound. Ser Gregor, Ser Armory, Ser Illyn, Ser Meryn, King Joffrey, Queen Cersei,” If she let herself forget even one of them, how would she ever find him again to kill him?” She’s then offered the gift of three deaths from Jaqen H’ghar and ponders her options, including Sandor Clegane. But she thinks he and others are too far away to be viable candidates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SANDOR II: ANALYSIS



Liquid courage just might be one of the most prominent themes in this section, as Ser Dontos tells Sansa, who accuses him of being drunk when she clandestinely meets him in the godswood, he only had one cup of wine for courage. Ser Tanton, in Catelyn II, drunkenly claims he’ll slay the Hound in single combat, his foot in a gravy boat while he does underscoring the absurdity of the boast. And, in a confession that took a fair amount of liquid courage, the Hound sways and reels when he awkwardly attempts to tell Sansa he’s attracted to her.



Of utmost significance, for the first time since Sandor Clegane and Sansa Stark directly interacted, which is when Sansa backed into Sandor while they made their way to King’s Landing from Winterfell, we have confirmation that Sandor’s feelings toward Sansa go beyond a man who experienced victimization taking pity upon another victim. It’s in this section that Sandor expresses a romantic interest in Sansa Stark, and the bond between the two continues to strengthen, as Sandor, again, reveals to her a part of his family history, but with a notable difference in subject matter, tone, and intent.



Immediately after Sansa met with a “drunken old fool” who surely had more than just one cup of wine for courage, Sansa literally runs right into the Hound who is apparently quite inebriated himself. Or is he?



She was racing headlong down the serpentine steps when a man lurched out of a hidden doorway. Sansa caromed into him and lost her balance. Iron fingers caught her by the wrist before she could fall, and a deep voice rasped at her, “It’s a long roll down the serpentine, little bird. Want to kill us both?” His laughter was rough as a saw on stone. “Maybe you do.”


Sandor shows pretty quick reflexes for someone supposedly so drunk. Actually, he doesn’t show any signs of excessive inebriation until he makes some very forward and, considering his rank in comparison to Sansa, a high-born lady and the King’s bethrothed, very dangerous and not-so-platonic comments about Sansa’s appearance:



“And what’s Joff’s little bird doing flying down the serpentine in the black of night?” When she did not answer, he shook her. “Where were you?

“The g-g-godswood, my lord,” she said, not daring to lie. “Praying…praying for my father, and…for the king, praying that he’d not be hurt.”


“Think I’m so drunk that I’d believe that?” He let go his grip on her arm, swaying slightly as he stood, stripes of light and darkness falling across his terrible burnt face


“You look almost a woman…face, teats, and you’re taller too, almost…ah, you’re still a stupid little bird, aren’t you? Singing all the songs they taught you…sing me a song, why don’t you? Go on. Sing to me. Some song about knights and fair maidens. You like knights, don’t you?”



It’s only just before he overtly takes notice of Sansa’s development into a woman that he starts swaying. The signs of drunkenness become more exaggerated after Sansa calls him a lord, wherein he offers an empty threat to beat her, and, catching himself, says he’s as drunk as a dog while reeling.



“And I’m no lord, no more than a knight. Do I need to beat that into you?” Clegane reeled and almost fell. “Gods,” he swore, “too much wine…”


And it’s right then he tells Sansa that all a man needs is a woman:



… “Do you like wine, little bird? True wine? A flagon of sour red, dark as blood, all a man needs. Or a woman.” He laughed, shook his head. “Drunk as a dog, damn me. You come now. Back to your cage, little bird. I’ll take you there. Keep you safe for the king.” The Hound gave her a push, oddly gentle, and followed her down the steps. By the time they reached the bottom, he had lapsed back into a brooding silence, as if he had forgotten she was there.


Just as Sansa uses her armor of courtesy as form of protection, in this case, because she’s frightened since she’s just conspired with Dontos and she knows the Hound doesn’t believe her, Sandor relies on a mocking tone and the excuse of inebriation to mask his vulnerability and insecurities as he attempts to tell Sansa he’s attracted to her. While he’s certainly had enough to drink to give him the courage to talk to Sansa the way he does, he’s not quite as drunk as he’s acting. There’s no indication Sandor is slurring his words, as anyone would if they were drunk enough to lose their balance. Sandor also handles Sansa “gently” after reeling, another sign he’s not nearly as drunk as he initially lets on.



And what of the brooding silence? First, Sansa thinks he slips back into a brooding silence, except there was no brooding during the entire encounter. This implies she was thinking of the day he escorted her to the Red Keep after the Tourney of the Hand feast. Did Sandor forget she was there? Unlikely, considering what he just said to her, but we can only speculate. Two possible explanations are that Sandor, as he was the night of the feast, is frustrated and irritated by Sansa’s naiveté. Or, just like almost all who have experienced the self-doubting vulnerability when putting oneself out there, professing romantic feelings to someone you have no idea returns said feelings, could possibly be mentally flagellating himself over how he behaved and what he said, or left unsaid, especially since Sansa is unavailable and out of his reach.



Further evidence that Sandor isn’t as drunk as earlier pretended is how quickly he intuits Sansa’s fear of Ser Boros Blount and diverts Blount’s attention away from Sansa.



“That one is nothing to fear, girl.” The Hound laid a heavy hand on her shoulder. “Paint stripes on a toad, he does not become a tiger.”


The pattern of Sandor and Sansa providing support, emboldening each other continues, as Sansa now lies with confidence to Boros. Without hesitation, Sandor detracts Boros’ attention away from Sansa by asking about the commotion that Sansa took advantage of earlier to escape to the godswood. Again, not exactly the actions of someone so inebriated that he sways and reels.



After Sandor comes to her defense, Sansa drops her courtesy armor and openly asks Sandor why he prefers to be called a dog instead of a knight. And as Sansa drops her armor, Sandor no longer feigns drunkenness: feeling a comfortable ease with one another, Sandor tells Sansa how his family acquired a keep, a story he relays with a great deal of pride. Placing this into context with past analyses, Sandor reveals his desire to have a wife and lands, but not just any lands; the Clegane lands. And, as his grandfather earned it through a brave and loyal act, this is something Sandor would want to earn through similar deeds. Sandor’s comment about needing a woman while admiring Sansa’s physique is a clear indication that Sansa is the woman he desires, further emphasized by the amount of physical contact. While the relationship between Sandor and Sansa has been characterized by a lot of touching, it’s especially prominent here, with Sandor initiating all of it, from shaking her, grabbing her wrist and holding on, placing his hand on her shoulder, and then cupping her face, forcing her to look at him while asking for a song, the only male currently in Sansa’s life who shows an interest in her love of music.



Sandor’s breaking from the Lannisters becomes even more obvious, demonstrated by his contemptuous comments to Boros, comments that also extend to the king. Even though Sandor is now a member of the Kingsguard, he makes no effort to conceal his disdain for his brothers:



Ser Boros lifted his visor. “Ser, where—“

“Fuck your ser, Boros. You’re the knight, not me. I’m the king’s dog, remember.”


“The king was looking for his dog earlier.”


“The dog was drinking. It was your night to shield him, ser. You and my brothers.”



The king is not exempt from Sandor’s scorn:



”You expect her to sleep with all the noise?” Clegane said. “What was the trouble?”

“Fools at the gate,” Ser Boros admitted. “Some loose tongues spread the tales of the preparations for Tyrek’s wedding feast, and these wretches got it in their heads they should be feasted too. His Grace led a sortie and sent them scurrying.”


“A brave boy,” Clegane said, mouth twitching.



The twitching of Sandor’s mouth infers he’s far from impressed and not at all sincere, especially bearing in mind the very genuine comments he made about Tommen in the last section. And why was Joffrey looking for his dog? Possibly because, just as Joffrey tries to impress Sandor with his shows of masculinity when having others beat Sansa, he wants Sandor present for the same reason when he so bravely attacks unarmed and starving commoners.



The parallel between Sansa wishing Lady was with her in the godswood since she could sniff out a lie, making her feel safe, and Sandor telling her a dog could smell a lie symbolizes Sandor’s loyalty to Sansa. He’s her dog now. And, no doubt, it’s safe to assume Sandor never reported Sansa’s late-night covert activities to Joffrey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yay for another Sandor write up. Great work DogLover.





Gregor and Sandor


Interestingly, the chapter preceding Sansa II is a Tyrion chapter which ends with Tyrion discussing with Varys about sending Myrcella do Dorne. And in this chapter we get:





"Is a secret still a secret if everybody knows it?" In Casterly Rock it was common knowledge that Gregor Clegane had killed Elia and her babe. they said he had raped the princess with her son's blood and brains still on his hands.


"This secret is your lord father's sworn man"


"My father would be the first to tell you that fifty thousand Dornishmen are worth one rabid dog."





So framing this chapter and Sandor's telling Sansa about his family's heritage we have this discussion of his sociopathic murderous brother, further emphasising on a careful read that Sandor and Gregor are different, but I think at a glance, it also tarnishes Sandor since it plants doubts in the reader's mind whether he is not the same as Gregor. Or, at least it first lays out that the Clegane family are insane murderers, only for Sandor to contradict this in the next chapter, making us ask ourselves which truth is the truth?



It's also interesting from the point of view of how the Master influences his/her servants. Tywin is aware of Gregor's monstrosity yet finds it useful. The Ned would most likely not stand for something like that. Even Varys seems to think Gregor is an abomination, which reflects onto Tywin, the ultimate leader of the Lannister faction. Interestingly, Tywin thinks that Barristan the Bold would honour anyone he served and is critical of his dismissal and replacement with Sandor, yet he still keeps Gregor on hand for his "dirty work". Tywin also seems to lump Gregor and Sandor together and views them as similar people.




Sandor as Lady replacement:







The parallel between Sansa wishing Lady was with her in the godswood since she could sniff out a lie, making her feel safe, and Sandor telling her a dog could smell a lie symbolizes Sandor’s loyalty to Sansa. He’s her dog now. And, no doubt, it’s safe to assume Sandor never reported Sansa’s late-night covert activities to Joffrey.






Yes, that is indeed a great catch and I had actually missed how closely they are juxtaposed before. Hah!



The first comment is



Lady would have liked it here




referencing the Godswood, a clear northern reference as well. Then:



Sansa found herself thinking of Lady again. She could smell out falsehood, she could, but she was dead.




Then at the end:



"A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he'll look you straight in the face." He cupped her under the jaw, raising her chin, his fingers pinching painfully. "And that's more than little birds can do, isn't it? I never got my song."




And then after Sansa promises that she will sing gladly:



"Pretty thing and such a bad liar. A dog can smell a lie, you know. Look around you and take a good whiff. They're all liars here... and everyone better than you."




Coupled with other textual hint and King Bob's "Get her a dog, she'll be happier for it" I think these are the strongest arguments for Sandor as Sansa's Lady replacement.



Within the story, I also thinks it ties into the fact that there is pride in serving a honourable master, or at least a master who is more often doing what's right than doing what's wrong. Tywin and the Lannisters aren't honourable masters in AGOT/ACOK and before (especially given the Rains of Castamere). We see from Sandor's story that he thinks highly of his grandfather and his brave action to save Lord Tytos. Yet the killing of Mycah, the sack of Kings Landing, the murder of Elia's children, Joffrey's cruelty and Tywin not caring about Gregor's atrocities are hardly anything that would lend honour or credibility for anyone to be associated with. This also leads us back to the issue of what a "True knight" is.




Fool vs True Knight, Florian & Jonquil



We also get a lot of juxtaposition between True Knights and Fools, with Dontos being a literal previous knight who is now a fool and Dontos then goes on to reference Florian the Fool from the Florian and Jonquil song. Allegedly, Florian was supposed to be "homely" but Sansa thinks that he wasn't as old as Dontos. (If Dontos was indeed a tiny boy during the Duskendale debacle, the timeline lists him as somewhere around 37 - 38 years old, although given his propensity for drink, he probably seemed older. In comparison, Sandor is a decade younger.)



Sansa prays for a True Knight to champion her, someone to bring her home, yet Dontos appears, a former knight who is now a fool. Dontos himself references Ned Stark's death as a defining moment and that he had stood by doing nothing (strangely nearly the same sentiment Sandor will express later to Arya) but that Sansa stepped up and saved him when nobody else would do a thing.



Then we have Sansa running thinking of Florian and BAM straight into Sandor who then covers for her with Boros Blount and "takes over" here from Dontos as a potentially more likely "Florian" figure.



The sequence of events is also interesting since it goes like this:


1. Sansa prays in the Goodswood for a True Knight, someone to champion her, and she can feel the Gods watching with "a thousand unseen eyes" (*waves to Bloodraven*)


2. Dontos appears and Sansa states: "I prayed to the Gods for a knight to save me. I prayed and prayed, why would they send me a drunken fool?"


3. Dontos references Florian and Jonquil


4. Sansa thinks Florian was homely, but not as old


5. She runs down the stairs thinking of Florian, knights and being taken home


6. Runs into Sandor, who also happens to be inebriated


7. Sandor then actually proceeds to "act like a fool" over Sansa, whom he is showing clear romantic interest in


8. The chapter ends with Sansa saying she will sing Florian & Jonquil to Sandor willingly



The parts we know from Florian and Jonquil are as follows:





Jonquil: You are no knight, I know you. You are Florian the Fool.

Florian: I am, my lady, As great a fool as ever lived, and as great a knight as well.

Jonquil: A fool and a knight? I have never heard of such a thing.

Florian: Sweet lady, all men are fools, and all men are knights, where women are concerned.





Then there is also Dontos talking about how during all these years as a knight, he was actually a fool, but as he's been demoted to fool, he can find it in himself to become a knight again. Perhaps a reference on how you need to fall from grace or debase yourself in order to be able to rise up to something else? Or potentially a knight of the cart reference? I am unsure, but it fits within the theme of true knights vs fools and what makes a true knight (and maybe what makes a fool). There is also the juxtaposition with Cat's chapter and the knight in the gravy boat who claims to be able to beat Sandor Clegane in single combat. Who is the fool and who is the knight in that setup?



Sandor speak:


He definitely engages in Sandor speak when he rhetorically asks Sansa if he needs to beat it into her that he is no knight, no ser and no lord. He clearly has zero inclination to give Sansa a beating. I also suspect there is a bit of Sandor speak at the end when he claims to not want to hear the song of Florian and Jonquil because later on he asks for just that song so obviously it wasn't that unpalatable.



Changed perspective and LOTS OF double entendres:


The main chapter where Sandor appears himself is told from Sansa's POV, which means we must try and interpret Sandor's actions and feelings based on how Sansa views things. Here she is pretty clueless about what he really thinks and feels, but as readers we can glean that OMG Badass-warrior nihilistic Sandor is showing some feels (which is why a lot of readers get offended by that type of analysis of the chapters; it's so unmanly and not badass to show softer feelings, yet it is fairly clear here he has them) and what is more, he's blurting a lot of them out in the open. He makes some pretty overt commentary on Sansa's physique, then a reference to how much she likes knights (which in itself is a bit of an oblique reference to sex and romance) and then the commentary about how all a man needs is some wine, or a woman. Oops. Best to keep big mouth shut a while after that.



But of course, that only works for a little while until Sansa asks him about why he's ok with being called dog, and then after that he sort of comes out and offers his services to Sansa with the "a dog will die for you but never lie to you" and then referencing how she doesn't get what he's offering (since Little birds can't do that, can they??) and then ending it all with a very intimate positon, standing very close to her and with the raising of Sansa's chin and again the song reference, where Sansa unknowing says she'll sing to him willingly and again doesn't get the implications of that. If we link that sort of singing to Lysa's type of singing then what Sansa is really saying (unknowingly) is that she'd be a willing romantic partner to him, which he then comments with "hah yeah right", basically. But even if this is extremely far fetched and unrealistic for Sandor to expect, both based on his station and his physical deformities to ever get anywhere with Sansa, it seems the idea has at least lodged itself in his head, whether he wants it or not.



This also makes him the odd one out among the men interested in Sansa going forward, since everyone else is either after Winterfell or Cat 2.0. When Sansa laments that nobody will love her for herself but only want Winterfell, it's actually clear she's wrong. It's Sansa the pretty girl who likes true knights and pretty songs, Sansa the courteous of the pointed questions that Sandor fancies, not Sansa Stark with bonus Winterfell inheritance. Ok, he is not a particularly suitable partner or even mentally in a good place or similar in age or station or anything, and he's not exactly...smooth? and comes with a huge baggage of issues, but he still proves Sansa wrong in her assumption that Winterfell > Sansa the person.




Bonus question:


The Bloodraven reference stands out. If Sansa prayed to the Old Goods for a True Knight or a true friend or whatever, did they indeed have a hand? And if so, which knight, or which fool? Both Sandor and Dontos are candidates, and both offered to take her home, yet Dontos' "home" was actually LF's ship, and although Sandor botched his attempt, his wish to return Sansa (and later Arya) to their family seems more sincere.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice analysis, DL :)





What could it mean? Should she take it to the queen to prove that she was being good? Nervously, she rubbed her stomach. The angry purple bruise Ser Meryn had given her had faded to an ugly yellow, but still hurt. His fist had been mailed when he hit her. It was her own fault. She must learn to hide her feelings better, so as not to anger Joffrey. When she heard that the Imp had sent Lord Slynt to the Wall, she had forgotten herself and said, “I hope the Others get him.” The king had not been pleased.



Coming out of the name-day tourney, when Sansa observed that Joffrey did not ask the Hound to hit her, but "used the other five for that," we see the same situation is in play some time afterwards. The abuse towards Sansa continues, but Sandor has yet to be implicated it in directly, and given his actions at the tournament of gnats, where he demonstrates clear concern and attempts to spare her further beatings, we know he's the only member of the Kingsguard that she can rely on for such assistance. Sansa, however, is yet to consider him as being a candidate for a true knight:



Sansa had prayed so hard. Could this be her answer at last, a true knight sent to save her? Perhaps it was one of the Redwyne twins, or bold Ser Balon Swann . . . or even Beric Dondarrion, the young lord her friend Jeyne Poole had loved, with his red-gold hair and the spray of stars on his black cloak.


.


This will continue to be a feature in their relationship throughout their time together in the Red Keep. Sansa seems to "intellectually" grasp the fundamental difference between the Hound and the other knights that purport to be honourable, especially as her experience makes it all too clear, yet she's slower to translate what it means personally for their dynamic, and the fact that he's offering something very close to what she prays for in the godswood. Sandor, however, is all too aware of the personal shift towards him trying to merely aid Sansa, and now to experiencing romantic feelings for her. If the question of whether or not he would hit Sansa if commanded by Joff was still left unanswered in anyone's mind, this chapter puts it to rest. It's no longer just advice along the lines of giving Joff what he wants; Sandor is now offering reassurance and comfort.


What makes a vow?


As Lyanna outlined above, the contrast between Dontos and Sandor as two Florian figures is highlighted in the chapter, the former choosing to accept the title of the fool knight while the other mocks the song. Likewise, Dontos' very formal vow in godswood to send Sansa home would seem to hold much more weight, indeed it's the the thing that sways her judgement:



He swore. A solemn oath, before the gods. “Then . . . I will put myself in your hands, ser..."


But there's reason to doubt Dontos' sincerity, even though he appears appropriately moved by the task, for when questioned by Sansa earlier on who sent him, he replies:



“No one, sweet lady. I swear it on my honor as a knight.”


The promise that Sandor makes to Sansa sounds very different, and his hands are not placed on a heart tree when he says it, but it's vested in the pride he feels over his grandfather's actions, and what the dogs truly symbolise on his banner. Sandor is not spouting empty words when he tells her:



"...A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he’ll look you straight in the face.”



Besides the emphasis on courage and personal sacrifice that his family story invokes, Sandor makes honesty a prominent feature of his bond to Sansa, something that is lacking in all her dealings with everyone else in the city, and which she will come to appreciate from him more and more as time goes on.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lovely work on the chapters, DogLover!

I want to expand on the Arya mentions a bit, because there's one detail that made me realise there's something Martin has been doing to differentiate both brothers Clegane even further than with the other ways he's employed already. Let's go back to Ned in AGOT for these lines:

In the middle of the field, Ser Gregor Clegane disentangled himself and came boiling to his feet. He wrenched off his helm and slammed it down onto the ground. His face was dark with fury and his hair fell down into his eyes. “My sword,” he shouted to his squire, and the boy ran it out to him. By then his stallion was back on its feet as well.

Then to Tyrion, also in AGOT:

“And your outriders?” Ser Gregor Clegane’s face might have been hewn from rock. The fire in the hearth gave a somber orange cast to his skin and put deep shadows in the hollows of his eyes. “They saw nothing? They gave you no warning?”

And last, let's read what Arya says when she meets him for the first time:

Finally someone grabbed the front of her jerkin, yanked her to her knees. Hot Pie was kneeling too, before the tallest man Arya had ever seen, a monster from one of Old Nan’s stories. She never saw where the giant had come from. Three black dogs raced across his faded yellow surcoat, and his face looked as hard as if it had been cut from stone. Suddenly Arya knew where she had seen those dogs before. The night of the tourney at King’s Landing, all the knights had hung their shields outside their pavilions. “That one belongs to the Hound’s brother,” Sansa had confided when they passed the black dogs on the yellow field. “He’s even bigger than Hodor, you’ll see. They call him the Mountain That Rides.”

Arya let her head droop, only half aware of what was going on around her. Hot Pie was yielding some more. The Mountain said, “You’ll lead us to these others,” and walked off. Next she was stumbling past the dead men on their gibbet, while Hot Pie told their captors he’d bake them pies and tarts if they didn’t hurt him. Four men went with them. One carried a torch, one a longsword; two had spears.

These quotes made me realise that Gregor Clegane's appearance is never described in detail in the books, as in: neither hair nor eye colour is ever given, unlike for his younger brother, whose First Man appearance is stressed on throughout his arc, first with the description of his long face, his black hair and gray eyes that evoke a Northman, then with the similarity to Arya that led people to believe he was her father, Arya being the most First Man-looking of the Stark children together with Jon. Gregor only gets the description of his unnatural height and passing allusions to his face without such detailing. And this lack of information has to be intentional, because else it is peculiar that Martin would omit this with three main POVs, two of which (Ned and Tyrion) have a characteristic penchant for describing people's appearance and clothing at length, and the girl is likewise quite observant; and even though here with Gregor all three do describe him, they purposefully avoid mentioning his colouring. Secondly, because Gregor isn't that minor a character and others with a smaller role to play and with less time on-page have gotten from the author details on eye and hair colour and other physical traits, that sometimes don't really add to the plot.

This leads to the conclusion that the author is creating a subtle difference between the Clegane brothers, in which Sandor's colouring is explicitly stated and linked to the North and Gregor's colouring is left to the readers' imagination, as he could very well share his sibling's colouring or be blond, redheaded, brunet, have blue eyes, green, brown, etc. And combined with the fact that Sandor never wears his House's colours even on a surcoat, though he could if he wished, and Gregor does, even being identified on sight by Arya precisely because he wears his House's colours and sigil on a surcoat, reinforces the deliberateness of this differentiation.

Bonus question:

The Bloodraven reference stands out. If Sansa prayed to the Old Goods for a True Knight or a true friend or whatever, did they indeed have a hand? And if so, which knight, or which fool? Both Sandor and Dontos are candidates, and both offered to take her home, yet Dontos' "home" was actually LF's ship, and although Sandor botched his attempt, his wish to return Sansa (and later Arya) to their family seems more sincere.

Not Dontos, surely. He was contacted by Littlefinger after he was saved by Sansa at the tourney, obviously because the Mockingbird saw the benefit of using him to reach Sansa, whom he needed to lure away and abduct, and as Littlefinger will tell after, the sending him to meet her to the godswood was also his idea, to avoid Varys' little birds. But whilst you can avoid little birds of the human sort, you can't avoid little birds of the animal sort, which are Bloodraven's spies, and it's something the Master Schemers wouldn't be counting on. If Sandor is indeed meant as a Lady replacement, then it stands to reason that he'd be the one more closely associated to the Old Gods imagery. And speaking of Bloodraven, in The Mystery Knight, there's a parallel scene to this one between Duncan the Tall and John the Fiddler, in which Bloodraven was also present, not in the scene itself but in the castle, in disguise as a common hedge knight, and that also strongly underlines the impression of Old Gods imagery that this scene possesses. Sandor has also been associated with Florian more closely, and on an involuntary and unconscious level, unlike Dontos, who sought the association deliberately with the purpose of gaining her trust to sell her out.

The mummer's version of the story in The Hedge Knight has this line:

"You are no knight," she was saying as the puppet's mouth moved up and down. "I know you. You are Florian the Fool."

"I am, my lady," the other puppet answered, kneeling. "As great a fool as ever lived, and as great a knight as well."

"A fool and a knight?" said Jonquil. "I have never heard of such a thing."

"Sweet lady," said Florian, "all men are fools, and all men are knights, where women are concerned."

It was a good show, sad and sweet both, with a sprightly swordfight at the end, and a nicely painted giant. When it was over, the fat woman went among the crowd to collect coins while the girl packed away the puppets.

And it's this that highlights where both fools and knights diverge more sharply: according to the story, Florian fought a giant, which we can assume until given new information, was to rescue a lady as is the standard plot of these chivalric songs. And following that, Sandor the next time he appears on page after the Serpentine he rescues Sansa from the rioters, bringing her safe back to the Red Keep. On the other hand, Dontos is working not to save the maiden from monsters, but is going to deliver Sansa to the hands of a metaphorical "giant": Littlefinger. That's the irony of this association: the mythical Florian has two polar opposites here: one that saves the maiden (and might have a hand in saving her from her "giant" in the future) and doesn't get the recognition for it, whereas the other one that does get the recognition as his simile in her mind will betray her to the monster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bonus question:

The Bloodraven reference stands out. If Sansa prayed to the Old Goods for a True Knight or a true friend or whatever, did they indeed have a hand? And if so, which knight, or which fool? Both Sandor and Dontos are candidates, and both offered to take her home, yet Dontos' "home" was actually LF's ship, and although Sandor botched his attempt, his wish to return Sansa (and later Arya) to their family seems more sincere.

Yeah, it's like the "best laid plans" vs. "ordained plans," in Littlefinger coming up against an opponent he can have no means of undermining or even knowing about. While LF plots and schemes, Sansa's relationship with Sandor develops naturally and openly, and this eventually allows for the reciprocation of her feelings towards him; whereas up to their last interaction many books later, LF is still relying on "daddy time" to enable inappropriate contact. All signs point to Sandor being the true knight that Sansa prayed for - someone who has no ulterior motive when it comes to wanting to protect her and exhibits genuine affection. What's funny is that while LF instructs Dontos to meet Sansa in the godswood to avoid Varys, and the eunuch relies on his little birds to inform him of the goings-on in the RK itself, both their intel networks fail to detect the developing relationship between Sansa and the Hound. On the night when she disappears from KL, Varys' spies will tell him she was last seen on the Serpentine steps with Dontos, but we are never given a hint in the novels that any one suspected her and Sandor of even sharing a conversation past formalities, least of all Littlefinger. The Hound could have very easily upset his entire arrangement had he convinced Sansa to flee with him on the night of Blackwater, and LF would have been none the wiser. What looks like supreme game playing often just down to sheer luck, and what can the best strategist do when genuine emotions and feelings resurface?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

These quotes made me realise that Gregor Clegane's appearance is never described in detail in the books, as in: neither hair nor eye colour is ever given, unlike for his younger brother, whose First Man appearance is stressed on throughout his arc, first with the description of his long face, his black hair and gray eyes that evoke a Northman, then with the similarity to Arya that led people to believe he was her father, Arya being the most First Man-looking of the Stark children together with Jon. Gregor only gets the description of his unnatural height and passing allusions to his face without such detailing. And this lack of information has to be intentional, because else it is peculiar that Martin would omit this with three main POVs, two of which (Ned and Tyrion) have a characteristic penchant for describing people's appearance and clothing at length, and the girl is likewise quite observant; and even though here with Gregor all three do describe him, they purposefully avoid mentioning his colouring. Secondly, because Gregor isn't that minor a character and others with a smaller role to play and with less time on-page have gotten from the author details on eye and hair colour and other physical traits, that sometimes don't really add to the plot.

This leads to the conclusion that the author is creating a subtle difference between the Clegane brothers, in which Sandor's colouring is explicitly stated and linked to the North and Gregor's colouring is left to the readers' imagination, as he could very well share his sibling's colouring or be blond, redheaded, brunet, have blue eyes, green, brown, etc. And combined with the fact that Sandor never wears his House's colours even on a surcoat, though he could if he wished, and Gregor does, even being identified on sight by Arya precisely because he wears his House's colours and sigil on a surcoat, reinforces the deliberateness of this differentiation.

Great observations, Milady. One way of looking at it is that this kind of "facelessness" fits in well with the indiscriminate terror and violence that comes with the man. His size and how he can use it is all that people notice or bother to comment on when they interact with him. It also underscores who's the actual monster between him and Sandor, because while the latter bears awful scars on his face compliments of Gregor, scars that identify him as "Joffrey's dog" to people throughout Westeros, there's a humanising aspect to Sandor's appearance that are found in the details that associate him to the North, and in his "beastly" relation to Sansa's "beauty" that inspires love between them. In contrast, Gregor is the faceless giant, appropriately becoming the newly reincarnated headless Robert Strong. The fact that we aren't given any particular details about Gregor's colouring and he has no children to bear his resemblance, could further signify that it is Sandor's looks that matter, his which will be visible in the next generation while the spectre of Gregor is long past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SANDOR II: ANALYSIS

Liquid courage just might be one of the most prominent themes in this section, as Ser Dontos tells Sansa, who accuses him of being drunk when she clandestinely meets him in the godswood, he only had one cup of wine for courage. Ser Tanton, in Catelyn II, drunkenly claims he’ll slay the Hound in single combat, his foot in a gravy boat while he does underscoring the absurdity of the boast. And, in a confession that took a fair amount of liquid courage, the Hound sways and reels when he awkwardly attempts to tell Sansa he’s attracted to her.

<snip>

Very nice write up, DogLover. They must either love you or hate you to give you the serpentine steps chapter.

Prayer

Often in ASOIAF we hear characters express that the gods are rarely good or that they are deaf to prayers. I first became curious about this back in Sam I (SoS.) Sam's fleeing the Fist of the First Men and desperately praying to the mother for mercy. He thinks to himself that the Seven have no power beyond the Wall and prays to the old gods for mercy instead. <insert paragraphs of snow trudging misery> ... but suddenly Small Paul shows up and rather mercifully carries Sam (and curiously asks him for a raven.) So despite all appearances, his prayers were indeed answered. I suspect this happens with far greater frequency than most readers realize. While one aspect of this strikes me as a subtle nod to the power of the old gods, I also think Martin is poking fun at our very human ability to ignore when we get what we wish for. In this case here, as with Sam's in SoS, I think we're looking at old gods influence.

We get a hint that LF might not be as under Varys radar as he thinks:

When the door opened, she hurriedly stuffed the note under her sheet and sat on it. It was her bedmaid, the mousy one with the limp brown hair. “What do you want?” Sansa demanded.

The girl was quick to obey, as ever, but Sansa decided there was something sly about her eyes. Doubtless, she was scurrying off to report to the queen, or maybe Varys. All her maids spied on her, she was certain.

The way is made clear for Sansa by a pseudo smallfolk riot about food started by the rumor of a feast for Tyrek Lannister's wedding. That is the same Tyrek Lannister who disappears in the not-pseudo King Bread food riot later. There's speculation that Varys was behind that later riot and we should speculate about who was behind this little riot too. LF would fit as he has a pattern of whispering Joffrey into violent actions and has a need for Sansa to make it to the godswood. It could be Varys. This wouldn't be the first time he either covered for or helped LF get away with sowing chaos. We have the vague mousy hint and a Varys with a possible food riot rap sheet. There's also Bloodraven. Aside from the thousand unseen eyes we have Sansa bumping into our suspicious black tomcat.

When something brushed against her leg, she almost jumped out of her skin, but it was only a cat, a ragged black tom with a chewed-off ear. The creature spit at her and leapt away.

Note the odd phrasing of almost jumped out of her skin. Martin is a delightfully evil author.

Sandor is clearly the answer to the prayer, not Dontos.

Yet she could not deny that the godswood had a certain power too. Especially by night. Help me, she prayed, send me a friend, a true knight to champion me…

Dontos is clearly no friend, but Sandor is. I would also like to tease you all and emphasize the last portion of that prayer: champion me.

House Clegane

I think House Clegane's back story is important. Lord Tytos was attacked by a lioness which is a rather striking bit of symbolism given his sigil. He was defended from this attack by the future founder of House Clegane and his dogs. Being defended against an attack by one's own sigil seems symbolic of being defended against one's own nature, one's own folly, or one's own family. Fast forward to Tyrion's trial, the heir to the Clegane legacy is fighting for the lioness against the rightful heir to Casterly Rock. Instead of protecting the Lannisters against their own nature, folly and family, Gregor is the champion of the point of no return for the House that Tywin Built. He enables the lioness to destroy the lord.

Compare that with the notion of Sandor as a replacement for Lady. Sandor is protecting Sansa against her own nature and her own folly. Despite Sansa's thoughts of blaming Arya, it was Cersei who got Lady killed. In claiming Sandor, Sansa is essentially stealing Cersei's dog to replace Lady and leaving her with Gregor as a replacement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

House Clegane

I think House Clegane's back story is important. Lord Tytos was attacked by a lioness which is a rather striking bit of symbolism given his sigil. He was defended from this attack by the future founder of House Clegane and his dogs. Being defended against an attack by one's own sigil seems symbolic of being defended against one's own nature, one's own folly, or one's own family. Fast forward to Tyrion's trial, the heir to the Clegane legacy is fighting for the lioness against the rightful heir to Casterly Rock. Instead of protecting the Lannisters against their own nature, folly and family, Gregor is the champion of the point of no return for the House that Tywin Built. He enables the lioness to destroy the lord.

Compare that with the notion of Sandor as a replacement for Lady. Sandor is protecting Sansa against her own nature and her own folly. Despite Sansa's thoughts of blaming Arya, it was Cersei who got Lady killed. In claiming Sandor, Sansa is essentially stealing Cersei's dog to replace Lady and leaving her with Gregor as a replacement.

Excellent observation, Ragnorak. I love your parallel between the original Clegane saving a Lannister from a lioness and the current head of the House fighting for a lioness against another member of the House. To that, I'd add that there is another creation/destruction pattern too for the family of the three black dogs: whilst the first man's actions against the lioness created House Clegane with him as the founding knight, the actions of the last man on behalf of the lioness destroyed House Clegane with him as the last knight.

The parallels between Sandor and his grandfather are striking on the whole, especially with regard to the final stages of his life, in which one detail stands out as following the very pattern we're discussing: the three hounds in the story died on a field of yellow grass one autumn year, and that sacrifice determined the rise of the House, and the Hound also "died" one autumn year under a tree with fallen dry leaves. Would that hint at a resurgence? His grandfather lost a leg but continued living, with a higher position and a better life, and Sandor got injured in the leg but got to live on at the monastery, where he can find some healing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

It's also interesting from the point of view of how the Master influences his/her servants. Tywin is aware of Gregor's monstrosity yet finds it useful. The Ned would most likely not stand for something like that. Even Varys seems to think Gregor is an abomination, which reflects onto Tywin, the ultimate leader of the Lannister faction. Interestingly, Tywin thinks that Barristan the Bold would honour anyone he served and is critical of his dismissal and replacement with Sandor, yet he still keeps Gregor on hand for his "dirty work". Tywin also seems to lump Gregor and Sandor together and views them as similar people.

<snip>

Within the story, I also thinks it ties into the fact that there is pride in serving a honourable master, or at least a master who is more often doing what's right than doing what's wrong. Tywin and the Lannisters aren't honourable masters in AGOT/ACOK and before (especially given the Rains of Castamere). We see from Sandor's story that he thinks highly of his grandfather and his brave action to save Lord Tytos. Yet the killing of Mycah, the sack of Kings Landing, the murder of Elia's children, Joffrey's cruelty and Tywin not caring about Gregor's atrocities are hardly anything that would lend honour or credibility for anyone to be associated with. This also leads us back to the issue of what a "True knight" is.

Absolutely, Lyanna!! Of course, Ned would never order or condone such savagery, as we see when he sentences Gregor to death. This says quite a bit about Tywin and how he uses people. If he had any respect for honor, he would never order the atrocities committed by Gregor, or tolerate the crimes Gregor commits on his own volition. The honor Barristan brings to the Lannisters, as far as Tywin is concerned, is just window dressing. The concept of honor has no true meaning to him.

While Ned’s opinion of Sandor was low, Sandor was confidant Robb would accept him into his service, telling Arya if he had “his father’s sense of honor” he’d be a fool not to. Does Sandor realize how he’s perceived due to his association to both his brother and the Lannisters? He certainly was enraged when the BwB put him on trial for his brother’s crimes, understandably so since he spent his entire life distancing himself from his brother. But, apparently, the Lannister connection and the surname shared by both is too damning (and then tack on the Saltpans atrocities--the man can't get a break).

While Tywin does lump Gregor and Sandor together is some ways (dogs to do his bidding and know their place) I do think he realizes there’s a notable difference. Both are exceptional warriors, but Tywin uses them very differently, making use of Gregor’s viciousness while charging Sandor with guarding his daughter and grandson.

<snip>

This will continue to be a feature in their relationship throughout their time together in the Red Keep. Sansa seems to "intellectually" grasp the fundamental difference between the Hound and the other knights that purport to be honourable, especially as her experience makes it all too clear, yet she's slower to translate what it means personally for their dynamic, and the fact that he's offering something very close to what she prays for in the godswood. Sandor, however, is all too aware of the personal shift towards him trying to merely aid Sansa, and now to experiencing romantic feelings for her. If the question of whether or not he would hit Sansa if commanded by Joff was still left unanswered in anyone's mind, this chapter puts it to rest. It's no longer just advice along the lines of giving Joff what he wants; Sandor is now offering reassurance and comfort.

<snip>

Sansa really does take a long time to process exactly what Sandor offers due to his physical appearance, blunt and rough way of speaking (in contrast to the superficial words of Loras and even Joff when he’s on his best behavior), and lack of a “ser” in his title. While she’s a quick study when it comes to Sandor’s advice and has been critical of the “sers” who are no “true knights”, she still wishes for a “true knight” to champion her, not quite grasping that the “homely” Sandor offers her just that. This juxtaposes Sandor’s own cynical attitude toward the institution of knighthood, refusing to acknowledge that true knights can exist. Yet, regardless of the oaths, it’s he who lives up to the ideals the most.

<snip>

I want to expand on the Arya mentions a bit, because there's one detail that made me realise there's something Martin has been doing to differentiate both brothers Clegane even further than with the other ways he's employed already. Let's go back to Ned in AGOT for these lines:

<snip>

This leads to the conclusion that the author is creating a subtle difference between the Clegane brothers, in which Sandor's colouring is explicitly stated and linked to the North and Gregor's colouring is left to the readers' imagination, as he could very well share his sibling's colouring or be blond, redheaded, brunet, have blue eyes, green, brown, etc. And combined with the fact that Sandor never wears his House's colours even on a surcoat, though he could if he wished, and Gregor does, even being identified on sight by Arya precisely because he wears his House's colours and sigil on a surcoat, reinforces the deliberateness of this differentiation.

Great observations, Milady. One way of looking at it is that this kind of "facelessness" fits in well with the indiscriminate terror and violence that comes with the man. His size and how he can use it is all that people notice or bother to comment on when they interact with him. It also underscores who's the actual monster between him and Sandor, because while the latter bears awful scars on his face compliments of Gregor, scars that identify him as "Joffrey's dog" to people throughout Westeros, there's a humanising aspect to Sandor's appearance that are found in the details that associate him to the North, and in his "beastly" relation to Sansa's "beauty" that inspires love between them. In contrast, Gregor is the faceless giant, appropriately becoming the newly reincarnated headless Robert Strong. The fact that we aren't given any particular details about Gregor's colouring and he has no children to bear his resemblance, could further signify that it is Sandor's looks that matter, his which will be visible in the next generation while the spectre of Gregor is long past.

Excellent points, Milday and brash. When I was examining the difference between Gregor and Sandor for the AGoT Sandor IV analysis, I tried comparing their appearances, but didn’t come up with anything substantial due to the lack of description for Gregor. He’s repeatedly described as having a face that looks as if it was carved from stone. This might infer that someone’s facial features are chiseled, but that implies strikingly good looks, which surely would have been noted by any of the three POVs. While I was struck by how non-descript he is, I never picked up on the intentional technique to differentiate the two. What description there is of Gregor leaves the reader feeling cold, as if he’s already dead—soulless—highlighting Gregor’s monstrosity and foreshadowing his reincarnation into a genuine monster.

Very nice write up, DogLover. They must either love you or hate you to give you the serpentine steps chapter.

<snip>

At first I thought it was a gift, then soon realized I had been cursed. :lol:

Great observations, all around, Ragnorak. I tended to assume LF was behind the protesters since a diversion was required for Sansa, but Varys as a possibility certainly deserves consideration.

I also love the prayer angle. I’ll have to go back and reread the relevant passages again, but it strikes a cord, especially since Sansa, whose faith was strong early in the series, begins to question the gods, even referring to them as cruel, despite answering her prayers in ways unexpected. In contrast, Sandor mocks the gods, denying their existence, but it’s he who ends up in a monastery of all places, as well as offered a second chance by R’hllor. Lots to explore here!

Compare that with the notion of Sandor as a replacement for Lady. Sandor is protecting Sansa against her own nature and her own folly. Despite Sansa's thoughts of blaming Arya, it was Cersei who got Lady killed. In claiming Sandor, Sansa is essentially stealing Cersei's dog to replace Lady and leaving her with Gregor as a replacement.

A poor replacement: a literal monster to take the place of a loyal dog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×