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Milady of York

The Will to Change: Rereading Sandor

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A Sandor re-read! This has made my....year! Please can I come and play?



I doubt I will be able to contribute much to what is already an informative, interesting and comprehensive discussion but I had a few initial thoughts...



As highlighted in Milady's fantastic post, Sandor's "terrible burned face” is the very first thing the reader is told about him. Straight away the reader is told about the one thing that absolutely defines Sandor in terms of how the world views Sandor (and later we learn it also defines how Sandor himself views the world). Sandor is his burns, Sandor the person is not just demoted to second place behind his burns, Sandor the person is not even mentioned at all.



It is interesting to then compare this to how Arya is introduced to Sandor:






Joffrey said nothing, but a man strange to Arya, a tall knight with black hair and burn scars on his face,pushed forward in front of the prince.


The very first word Arya uses to describe him is strange which is interesting because this also comes to define Sandor and Arya's relationship with the Stranger in later books. I also noticed that Arya mistakenly describes Sandor as a 'knight' and when looking at his first action it is actually rather knightly, he pushes himself in front of Joffrey in an almost protective stance. It is only as Sandor starts talking that is there a small hint that there is a contradiction between Sandor's behaviour, and what he says with regard to knighthood.


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Hello all! I just wanted to echo everyone's sentiments about how amazing this thread is already turning out to be; I was also a huge fan of the PtP threads, which inspired me to finally read the books, and learning of this Sandor re-read inspired me to finally register to the site! I don't know how much I will have to add that won't already be covered (and far more eloquently, heehee), but I may pop in now and again with some questions or comments. All 5 of my ASOIAF copies are actually tagged with tabs that denote every single time the Hound is mentioned in the text, so yeah, this is right up my alley. :cool4:



I guess I'll start off by throwing in my two cents about the Sandor-Tyrion animosity. Part of me can't help but wonder if at least some of it doesn't have to do with that whole mess with Tysha. Sandor is about 2 years older than Tyrion, which would have made him about 15 when the incident went down; already in the Lannisters' service for three years by then, so he almost certainly would have been around for and privy to it, no? I couldn't tell ya why that would have any particular effect on Sandor (unless he himself had a thing for Tysha), so I could be way off, but we can at least deduce that this was one of the reasons Sandor was so horrified at the idea of Sansa being married to Tyrion...



Also, I always found it fascinating that Sandor is the SECOND person that Ned Stark makes note of in the royal retinue; right after Jaime, and before Joffrey. That might seem like a casual or trivial circumstance, but I don't think it's an accident. Right off the bat, Sandor is given a prominence within the grander scheme of the narrative. "This is someone important, pay attention!"



And finally, I think it's sort of bizarre how we are introduced to "the Hound". There is never any context for it. Just, all of a sudden, he's "the Hound". If I weren't already familiar with the story and the characters prior to reading, it would have really confused me, LOL!



Anyway, that's all I have to contribute at the moment. Once again, this is amazing, y'all are rock stars, and I can't wait to keep reading what you come up with! :bowdown:


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I’m in awe, Milady. I would have never thought of all those details you explained so well. I was just reading your essay and nodding steadily.

On the matter of the squire I’d go with D even though it’s much more farfetched.

Thank you, Catherine, It's so like me to rip apart a tiny and obscure detail as the squire . . . Anyway, welcome to the reread, and please consider participating as regularly as you can.

So… thank you all for the past efforts and, especially, for this new opportunity to analyze Sandor, a person who, in my opinion, is one of the most intriguing – and, perhaps, most misunderstood – characters in A Song of Ice and Fire. Milady of York's introductory post and recent summary/analysis of Sandor I has already got me thinking and organizing my thoughts! Milady, you've got a truly elegant writing style.

PS – Writing this first post was so intimidating! Having spent so much time reading the thoughts and opinions of the members of this board, but at the same time being separated by months and, sometimes, years with regard to those opinions, it’s strange to finally address you all. I’m creeping myself out here, so I’ll stop, but… srsly, can i have ur autografs??

Welcome to the reread, Ornitorrinca! Thanks so much for your compliments on the PtP and my writing. We've had myriads of lurkers over the years, and it's always so nice when one of them steps forward and tells us how they appreciated the content. Keeps the enthusiasm alive.

I also felt the passage where Sandor offers to kill Summer holds some potential symbolic relevance:

Just as he is fitted with the Hound's helm is when he makes this dire pronouncement, he becomes the Hound before our very eyes, wearing not only the armour, but assuming the kind of harsh, uncaring persona that goes along with it. Joff's response to this is also ironic, and marks the first hint of Sandor's eventual alignment with the Starks.

Danke schön, my lady. I like your observation here that he is with the helm on when he makes the offer to send Summer to the other side of the fence, one good point that I'd noted. Something I noted as well is that just after this, he's called "Sandor" by the Imp in his mind, thus making Tyrion the first person to think of him by his first name, and he's also the only person (for now) that refers to him by the four common ways to refer to him all characters have in-universe: first he thinks of him as Sandor Clegane, then the Hound, then Clegane and finally Sandor. There's an interesting pattern in naming with regard to Sandor that I'd love to explore later.

I find it interesting that Ned first sees Jaime and Sandor together with descriptions of both. Despite the obvious contrast in their physical appearance, there's some intruiging points of comparison between the two. Both are identified by their monicker early and through the books. Jaime must surely resent his Kingslayer monicker, and I'm sure Sandor's relationship with the Hound will be looked at in this reread. Both have defining moments related to fire, and perhaps they're also paired together in Bran's coma dream, with descriptions that are so similar to Ned's immediate impression here.

Delighted to see you here, Yolk.

Good point! It's thought-provoking how Ned establishes this early a pattern of lumping Sandor and Jaime together, and ascribes to the former the same clout as the latter: he sees them entering his home together and recognises them both together first, he is relieved that they're not in the room during the unfortunate Trident hearing, he wishes them both to be unhorsed and lose at the tourney in his honour, he considers Sandor the most dangerous Lannister man once Jaime is fled from the city after the fight coming from that brothel . . . and so on. He even treats them both to a session of The Ned's Stare when both men commit the killings they're most reviled for, he's their first judge. The salient difference in their introduction is that, even though Ned goes for physical description and no more for both, Jaime already has his bad reputation trailing behind him due to that passage in Dany's POV and the conversation between him and Catelyn in which they mention the Lannisters in a way that predispose to wariness towards them as the possible antagonists in the tale.

A Sandor re-read! This has made my....year! Please can I come and play?

I doubt I will be able to contribute much to what is already an informative, interesting and comprehensive discussion but I had a few initial thoughts...

Welcome, Madam Mim! Do join us in the sandbox, the more to play the merrier. And I hope you find this reread enlightening.

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Wonderful intro and analysis Milday!

I especially liked the mercy take on Sandor's comment to kill Sumer and the way you brought it into relief in contrast to everyone else's reactions to Bran's fate. Obviously Mercy is a theme that will develop further in his time with Arya and has a not so insignificant tie to Sansa as well. The Jaime intro quote you pulled from Dany also has Elia pleading for mercy from what we'll eventually learn is Sandor's brother, Gregor. So even this early on we can find a contrast.

To add to the evidence of the formality of the practice session in Arya, Jon wasn't allowed to participate. Even if he wasn't permitted or afforded the opportunity to fight Joffrey he would've been drilling in the yard with some other opponent. Sandor and Joffrey's retinue were standing around watching. In a real practice they would have been practicing. Tyrion's POV shows us Sandor suiting up to fight in a yard that is filled with the "clangor of steel on steel." This was absent as the Stark and Lannister children drilled one at a time in front of everyone else. This strikes me as a very formal occasion put on by the adults with an informal air of a practice for the benefit of and as an illusion for the children. One of the reasons for such an event is given to us fairly explicitly by Ned a little later:

Ned said. “Ser Rodrik tells me there is bad feeling between Robb and Prince Joffrey. That is not healthy. Bran can bridge that distance. He is a sweet boy, quick to laugh, easy to love. Let him grow up with the young princes, let him become their friend as Robert became mine. Our House will be the safer for it.”

I also felt the passage where Sandor offers to kill Summer holds some potential symbolic relevance:

Clegane cast a long shadow across the hard-packed earth as his squire lowered the black helm over his head. “I could silence the creature, if it please you,” he said through his open visor. His boy placed a longsword in his hand. He tested the weight of it, slicing at the cold morning air. Behind him, the yard rang to the clangor of steel on steel.

There's a little bit of symmetry with helms and shadows between that line and one shortly after:

Clegane cast a long shadow across the hard-packed earth as his squire lowered the black helm over his head. “I could silence the creature, if it please you,” he said through his open visor. His boy placed a longsword in his hand. He tested the weight of it, slicing at the cold morning air. Behind him, the yard rang to the clangor of steel on steel.

A shadow fell across his face. He turned to find Clegane looming overhead like a cliff. His soot-dark armor seemed to blot out the sun. He had lowered the visor on his helm.

From a number of other passages I think Martin's metaphor, clearly spelled out in Varys's Riddle, of a projected shadow as power was in play from the very beginning. Tyrion has his line about his shadow being tall as a king and his memory of dragon skulls and shadows. At a very basic level we get Sandor projecting power. This probably relates to Bran's dream, but that's a future topic. I'd have to mull over the passage to find a meaningful distinction to the visor being up and down based on your helm observation.

Just as he is fitted with the Hound's helm is when he makes this dire pronouncement, he becomes the Hound before our very eyes, wearing not only the armour, but assuming the kind of harsh, uncaring persona that goes along with it. Joff's response to this is also ironic, and marks the first hint of Sandor's eventual alignment with the Starks:

I also like that we seem to get a big clue as to what dog's do to wolves (or don't do) this early. Wolves and dogs also come up in our very first chapter when the direwolf pups are found.

Robb resisted stubbornly. “Ser Rodrik’s red bitch whelped again last week,” he said. “It was a small litter, only two live pups. She’ll have milk enough.”
“She’ll rip them apart when they try to nurse.”

Interesting that it is the knight Ser Rodrik who owns the dog.

And again we have a wolf dog confrontation in Jon:

He knifed the bird whole and let the carcass slide to the floor between his legs. Ghost ripped into it in savage silence. His brothers and sisters had not been permitted to bring their wolves to the banquet, but there were more curs than Jon could count at this end of the hall, and no one had said a word about his pup. He told himself he was fortunate in that too.
His eyes stung. Jon rubbed at them savagely, cursing the smoke. He swallowed another gulp of wine and watched his direwolf devour the chicken.
Dogs moved between the tables, trailing after the serving girls. One of them, a black mongrel bitch with long yellow eyes, caught a scent of the chicken. She stopped and edged under the bench to get a share. Jon watched the confrontation. The bitch growled low in her throat and moved closer. Ghost looked up, silent, and fixed the dog with those hot red eyes. The bitch snapped an angry challenge. She was three times the size of the direwolf pup. Ghost did not move. He stood over his prize and opened his mouth, baring his fangs. The bitch tensed, barked again, then thought better of this fight. She turned and slunk away, with one last defiant snap to save her pride. Ghost went back to his meal.

Taking into account all the references it seems somewhat ambiguous what dogs do to wolves or wolves do to dogs. I suppose one could make a distinction between wolves and wolf pups in who threatens whom or perhaps wolves and direwolves. The one common thread in all of them, including Sandor's comment, is nothing. They all refer to potential violence that never happens. I suspect there's more to be mined from these wolf/dog potential confrontations, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. Perhaps others have ideas?

Welcome Mad Madam Mim and Ornitorrinca! In other rereads Lummel was always a big advocate for what he called "different eyeballs." Everyone has his or her own unique perspective and having many different perspectives help enrich a reread. You don't need to be uncovering the Rosetta Stone to participate. Feel free to join in.

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I guess I'll start off by throwing in my two cents about the Sandor-Tyrion animosity. Part of me can't help but wonder if at least some of it doesn't have to do with that whole mess with Tysha. Sandor is about 2 years older than Tyrion, which would have made him about 15 when the incident went down; already in the Lannisters' service for three years by then, so he almost certainly would have been around for and privy to it, no? I couldn't tell ya why that would have any particular effect on Sandor (unless he himself had a thing for Tysha), so I could be way off, but we can at least deduce that this was one of the reasons Sandor was so horrified at the idea of Sansa being married to Tyrion...

Welcome to the reread, Houndigger, and thanks for the compliments.

With regard to the Sandor-Tyrion animosity, I would say that the most plausible reason, other than narrative necessity, can be found in the Lannister internal dynamics, particularly the Cersei-Tyrion conflict mentioned already. Sandor is loyal to Cersei, Tyrion hates Cersei and is hated in return, and at one point they must’ve clashed and dragged Sandor into the clash because he’s bound to the queen. This isn’t some sort of all-consuming fiery hate that needs of a backstory with a love triangle thrown in, much less one that has practically no basis in the text.

If Sandor did have something to do with Tysha, be it a matter of love or a matter of blood relations, we’d need textual evidence, and that’s just not there. Consider this:

- The story just doesn’t support it: Tyrion met this girl on the road, she was a crofter’s daughter, he married her, spent a fortnight of bliss, then his father found them and had her raped and then thrown out. Where in all this would there be time for Sandor to meet and fall for Tysha? It doesn’t add up at all.

- Sandor doesn’t have a POV, but Tyrion does, and considering the amount of time he spends thinking of Tysha, how come he’d fail to mention this connection of affection to Sandor? And why would he believe the lie that she’s a whore if he knew she’s a Clegane? If he didn’t know of the blood relation, Jaime would’ve, and he told who she truly was. Would he confess a lie just to add another lie?

- None of the Cleganes were involved in the rape of Tysha, we’d know that from Tyrion, who explicitly mentions it was a barrack of guards who raped her. Gregor not only would be very easy to remember, but also he doesn’t live at Casterly Rock, he has his lands and lives there. And Sandor is a nobleman, heir to House Clegane by virtue of Gregor not having children, and a liegeman directly sworn to the Lannisters, not a common barracks guard. Sandor was about 16 back then, and Jaime/Cersei were about 21/22, and Cersei had been married to Robert at 18, so by that time she already had Joff. The ages and timeline, plus the lack of a mention in Tyrion’s POV, should tell us that Sandor was at court guarding the queen and/or baby prince.

- Even if Tyrion were somehow repressing the memories, take into account that we have the POVs of his siblings, and none of them have mentioned anything.

- Sandor works for Cersei, so he knows what Cersei knows: that he married a whore and then gave her to his guards. Read this passage from ACOK where they’re discussing the alliance between Margaery and Joff:

”My son is too young to care about such things.”

”You think so?” asked Tyrion. ”He’s thirteen, Cersei. The same age at which I married.”

”You shamed us all with that sorry episode. Joffrey is made of finer stuff.”

There, Cersei has the same version others heard that was likely spread on Tywin’s command. He has no reason to know more or be privy to information the rest don’t, much less as he was at the court in King’s Landing, because this happened at Casterly. Littlefinger also seems to have heard the same version and he told Sansa so, indicating that’s the one for the public. The only people who knew the truth were Tysha, Jaime and Tywin.

- With regard to the other pervasive theory that Tysha was a Clegane, which you’ve not mentioned but needs be addressed since we’re on the subject, here's the author on Tysha as a Clegane: he said no. That should also end any crackpot on the Clegane sister being still alive.

As for Sansa: let’s bear in mind that by the time Sansa entered his storyline, he and Tyrion were already in bad terms, so this doesn’t have to do anything with her in the start. The enmity developed over years and reached a boil at Blackwater due to Tyrion’s actions, and for Sandor to learn that she’d been married to the Imp of all people was just the last blow and he explodes in a tirade of harsh words. Would he have thought of what Tysha suffered? Possible, but by this time, the hostility had reached the highest level without the girl’s inclusion, so if it had some pinch of influence on his hate—and that’s highly debatable—it’s already too late to account as a substantial factor: Sandor has already good enough reasons (in his view) to feel as he does without some strange and implausible theory on Tysha. Even his own feelings for Sansa account for more all by themselves.

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Glad to see this reread and looking forward to it all. What I would like to comment on first thing is the poster.






And last, we’d also like to share the lovely official poster for the reread that was illustrated by ASOIAF fan artist Bubug especially for us.


I really like it because it's not just a typical portrait of Sandor Clegane the man, as it also shows a wonderful rendition of the Sandor the little boy. Bubug's little boy Sandor truly captures the innocence of a child lost in his own imagination while playing with his favorite toys. We of course know what the child portrayed does not; that his innocence, his relationships with his family and life as he knows it quickly coming to an end through a violent and vile act. Quite poignant Well done Bubug!


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Coming out of lurker mode just long enough to thank our hosts for this re-read. I have no doubt it will carry on the tradition begun in the PtP threads and grant me many hours of enjoyment and a deeper appreciation for my favorite character in the series. I'm not certain how much I'll be able to offer as far as joining the discussion, but I'll definitely be cheerleading from the sidelines.


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Glad to see this reread and looking forward to it all. What I would like to comment on first thing is the poster.

I really like it because it's not just a typical portrait of Sandor Clegane the man, as it also shows a wonderful rendition of the Sandor the little boy. Bubug's little boy Sandor truly captures the innocence of a child lost in his own imagination while playing with his favorite toys. We of course know what the child portrayed does not; that his innocence, his relationships with his family and life as he knows it quickly coming to an end through a violent and vile act. Quite poignant. Well done Bubug!

Welcome, LongRider! I'm sure Bubug will love your compliments when she reads them.

When we devised the concept for this poster, we wanted something that represented Sandor's evolution in the books and not just a portrait-style depiction or a single iconic scene. In broad strokes, his arc up to date could be summed up as: Lannister man—Kingsguard—Gravedigger, so we thought of a way to show that in the illustration, and thus the concept was born, showing the boy Sandor playing with the toy knight, with the brazier that would end innocence looming behind, and for the centrepiece we decided to condense his sworn shield-royal guard phase into one seminal scene: the Blackwater, in which he's fighting with the white cloak on and leading the Lannister army, his last fight as their dog. And to add the finishing touch, the grave that the Elder Brother erected, of piled stones with the accursed hound's head helm he left on top to symbolise the life he left behind, and the grave is on a field of yellow grass as a nod to Grandfather Clegane's story he was so proud of, and also because the Hound also "died" in autumn.

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Coming out of lurker mode just long enough to thank our hosts for this re-read. I have no doubt it will carry on the tradition begun in the PtP threads and grant me many hours of enjoyment and a deeper appreciation for my favorite character in the series. I'm not certain how much I'll be able to offer as far as joining the discussion, but I'll definitely be cheerleading from the sidelines.

Thanks a lot, wonder :) We appreciate the support, and it's nice to know you'll be following along. I want to reiterate Ragnorak's point about the "different eyeballs" and every voice being a vital part of the reread process. The PTP was built on collaborative effort, and that remains ever necessary now in The Will to Change.

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ANALYSIS

The main topic of the first chapter was covered extensively in a separate write-up on introduction bias contending that lumping Sandor with Jaime (and the Lannisters at large) is a deliberate authorial choice so he’d be amongst three characters set up as unsympathetic to be debunked one after the other in different fashions, a change that’d come more quickly and sooner than the rest for the Hound. The following covers other themes in the next chapters also listed.

Thank you for the effort and work put forth. The Sansa PtP threads were the ones which convinced me the delurk, join the board, and offer a humble comment or three.

On a re-read, the first lines Sandor speaks, the challenge in the practice yard, it stuck me as establishing his past, current, and future theme, his attitude towards knighthood and honor in general. 'Words are Wind' is the saying in-world, and Sandor at once challenges the words of knights, dismissing them, and places forth his own experience and worth before those present. Equally interesting, Ser Rodrik, nor any knight there, offer a challenge to Sandor about his insult on knighthood. One, it is a practice session, and two, the Hound is one of the most dangerous warriors is the 7 kingdoms. His skill in arms is known, despite his lack of Ser in his name, he has some cautious respect. Rodrik attempted to place Sandor beneath himself in the yard hierarchy, and failed.

The first slap is interesting, as Sandor is the only mentioned witness, aside from the disappearing squires From the beginning, he seems to humor Joffrey, and I sense this is both common and easy banter between them. More on that in a moment. Once Tyrion confronts Joffrey, educated by slap, not once did Sandor step forward to defend his charge. He sat back and watched. This suggests a keen awareness of the Lannister family dynamic, which Sandor has served for over a decade.

“The prince will remember that, little lord,” the Hound warned him. The helm turned his laugh into a hollow rumble.

He, perversely, seems to enjoy watching the sniping and conflict. Also, by Tyrion's comment on his insolence, Sandor has a degree of latitude within House Lannister to express himself regularly, a personal trait known and tolerated.

Sandor is noted by Tyrion as Joffrey's bodyguard, and we know, was selected by Cersie for that position. Bodyguard, yes, and by the yard scene, an advocate for his Prince, at least in learning real world fighting. So, more than just a warrior and guard, a companion, likely less than a surrogate father, and in Joff's reaction, I believe an elder brother to the boy. Granted the liege-vassal feudal dynamic is fully present, yet I cannot shake the sense the boy Joffrey views Sandor as more than just a bodyguard.

Once more, Milady of York, thank you for starting the Sandor ReRead, as he's one of my favorite non-POV characters in the series.

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You never cease to amaze, Milady! An excellent summary and analysis!



A wonderful analysis of Sandor’s behavior in the practice yard and with Joffrey and Tyrion: while Sandor is rough tongued, has a sarcastic sense of humor, and can certainly rub people the wrong way, he’s not a jerk just for the sake of behaving like a jerk, and he certainly doesn’t invite the provocation of the petulant Joffrey. Nor is he Joffrey’s lackey sidekick (as you noted), which is the first impression. Despite being called “dog” which sounds dismissive and disrespectful, Joffrey very much looks up to Sandor, who can quite adeptly manipulate Joffrey to keep him from becoming completely unhinged (as we see during Joffrey’s name day tournament, both with regard to the Dontos affair and Tommen’s valiant effort). In addition to not wanting to incur Queen Cersei’s ire by standing aside while Joffrey received a well-deserved smacking, this may also further explain why Sandor warned Tyrion, a superior: Not only does Sandor have to answer to Cersei, but he has to spend his days managing Joffrey. Returning to character bias, it initially appears that Sandor is the one goading Joffrey, when it’s actually Tyrion, set up as the sympathetic character, who is the provocateur, creating more problems for an already sleep deprived Hound.





There it is: Sandor said he could dispatch the wolfling only after the prince grumbled about a sleepless night. And knowing he’s never far from Joffrey, his own sleeping quarters must be close to the Guest House, if not therein, and he’d have also been treated to a never-ending loud howling marathon that kept him up all night like it did Joff. Ahead in the same chapter, Tyrion—who’s also been awake all night but happily reading—remarks to himself that the Hound’s fuse is shorter that morning, which makes much more sense if he had the pup to thank for the tired bad mood of the day. What wouldn’t make sense is to take this seriously as a genuine proposal to bump off the wolf, though, when Joffrey himself didn’t think it was serious and laughed as he always does at his bodyguard’s brand of wit. Moreover, Sandor knows that the direwolves are their hosts’ pets and sigil, their wet-nurses as he’d call them, and he’d be aware of how great a folly it would be to ignite a potentially unpleasant incident under Stark’s own roof by killing a dear pet belonging to the hostess’s favourite child only because it is noisy; so sleep-deprived irreverence and annoyance are more conceivable reasons for speaking as he did.






A meticulous and thorough breakdown, Milady. I never took Sandor’s Summer quip seriously, especially with Joffrey’s accompanying laughter and considering that this comment is followed immediately after Tyrion falls victim to Sandor’s sarcasm (he’s on a roll this particular morning), which also amuses Joffrey. I do confess that I never considered that the Hound’s bad mood was a result of sleepless nights due to Summer’s howling.





Also, I always found it fascinating that Sandor is the SECOND person that Ned Stark makes note of in the royal retinue; right after Jaime, and before Joffrey. That might seem like a casual or trivial circumstance, but I don't think it's an accident. Right off the bat, Sandor is given a prominence within the grander scheme of the narrative. "This is someone important, pay attention!"






This really stood out to me, as well, especially since this will not be the only time Jaime and Sandor are “lumped” together in the series (as Milday noted upthread). By pairing these two together for multifaceted reasons (introduced to set up the Lannister-Stark tension and sharing similar redemptive arcs), that this also highlights Sandor’s elevated position within the Lannister family. In addition to being on par with Jaime as a formidable warrior, he’s probably the most intimate with the Lannisters who isn’t a Lannister himself. This is what gives Sandor the latitude to ridicule Tyrion when, as we’ll see later, others are rebuked for their insolence to the Imp by Cersei herself. And not only does Sandor feel safe from reprimand, Tyrion, of all people, takes it all in stride (as much as Tyrion can). So, rather than a mere hired thug to do the Lannister’s ugly bidding, Sandor is as close to the Lannister family as one can possibly be without sharing the Lannister surname and has every reason to be as loyal as he is, making his break all the more significant. Another minor point to highlight this is that Tyrion asks Sandor where his own brother his, to which Sandor quickly informs him that he's breaking fast with the queen. He knows where they are, what they are doing, and is very much a part of the family dynamic.






Thank you, Catherine, It's so like me to rip apart a tiny and obscure detail as the squire . . . Anyway, welcome to the reread, and please consider participating as regularly as you can.





Quite. I’m very impressed with your ability to expound on such a small detail. :lol:


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Thanks the warm welcome.



In these first few chapters that introduce us to the man/dog, the author's choice of words struck me as worth highlighting, perhaps to revisit them once we arrive at Bran III. For instance, we have already noted the joint mention of Jaime and Sandor and the descriptors of each - "golden" the former, "terrible" the latter. In fact, all three POVs mention his facial scars: Arya almost in passing, Ned with the previously mentioned "terrible" adjective and Tyrion as "hideously burned". Also in Tyrion I, we are introduced to the object most associated with Sandor. The snarling hound's-head helm. Alliterative. We see him lowering his visor. He's dressed in his characteristic gray armor. His shadow plays an important part in his Interactions with Tyrion. The chosen verb here - loom. We will see this verb again later, possibly used in conjunction with his brother.



Now onto the subject of shadows, which has been mentioned a few times already. He's clearly associated with shadows; his shadow comes into play twice in Tyrion I and throughout ACoK and even into ASoS we will see the man emerge from the shadows. This seems fitting, given, as Maroucia said, his gray armor and gloomy moods, and also when we consider what a morally gray character he is, and how he seems to be tentatively leaving some of the darkness of his life as the story progresses.


Something in Ned I caught my eye, though, and it's been bothering me ever since. Again, it deals with specific word choice by the author. When Ned leads Robert down into the crypts of Winterfell, he raises a torch. "Shadows moved and lurched." Now, when a shadow moves, which character comes to mind? And apart from the Quiet Isle chapter of AFfC, how often do we see the word "lurch"? (I'd look it up but my e-books aren't in English).


What exactly can this line have to do with Sandor? I... Don't actually know; maybe someone else would like to make a suggestion! Or maybe it's rampant speculation!


Finally, this got me to thinking about Sandor's relationship with fire. It is something that has affected his past and present (and, if the prophetic line about Sandor and the Lord of Light comes to pass, may indeed affect his future). He's closely matched with shadows, which come from light. Maybe later I can look more at this, even including some insight from Melisandre (whose name sounds a bit like the object our analysis).


Also, I have some points to mention regarding Tyrion, Arya, Joffrey and "Sandor Clegane: a case of mistaken knighthood". But, yeah, later. This is quite enough for now!


Really thought-provoking posts so far; thanks everybody!

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Houndigger and tamarrim, I'm glad you've also decided to take the leap!

Wrt Mad Madam Mim's post, it is indeed ironic that Arya should choose the word "strange" in describing the Hound for the first time. Anyone re-reading can be reminded of the strangeness of their relationship and also the fact that in a short time, one who is unknown to her should become a constant presence in her life (first in her nightly prayers and later during their travels). In addition to the Stranger, who follows Arya and Sandor throughout their arcs, I think Stranger the trusty (depending on who's evaluating him) steed also deserves a mention here.

In response to Ragnorak: I'd never considered the dog-wolf confrontations that take place in these first chapters. It's interesting to note. Aside from the possibility that the mother would attack the dire wolf pups, which never comes to pass, the wolves seem to come out on top, even now. Perhaps Sandor himself said that line to Arya as a tongue-in-cheek way of simply frightening the kid. After all, does he really believe dogs do anything to wolves in the wild? Probably not. So for him, the answer to the question is "nothing" but for us, maybe the answer is "something positive - the dog helps the wolves". He's done so with both girls and expressed a desire to work under the Young Wolf's orders, after all.

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Thanks to Milady for pointing me this way after my long absence of mostly one liners via phone posting. It is fabulous to come back to this. :)



With regards to Sandor's introduction and the theme of the beast and the beastly in ASOIAF, it is perhaps worth noting that he is not just lumped in with the rest of the Lannisters, he is one in a line of three other "beasts". Jaime, Sandor, Joffrey and Tyrion are all characters who, at various stages in the story, take on various forms of the beast, the beastly and in some cases also the monstrous. All of them also get to star in some way in a "beauty and the beast" setting, whether opposite Sansa (Sandor, Joffrey, Tyrion) or in other settings. In the cases of Jaime and Joffrey, they have all this pretty surface, but still come across to us as hardly better than monsters, at least initially in Jamie's case.




Big props to Bubug for amazing art, as always.


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Thank you, Catherine, It's so like me to rip apart a tiny and obscure detail as the squire . . . Anyway, welcome to the reread, and please consider participating as regularly as you can.

Thank YOU and everyone else in this thread too. As interesting as the topic is, having you all makes it all the more enjoyable. I’m more a listener than a talker, but I’ll try to participate as much as I can. I see there are a lot of new members that missed the opportunity to participate in the PtP, myself included, and are now stepping forward. I’m ecstatic to read more from all of you.

And Bubug, that illustration is just terrific! From the warmth in the first scene to… do you always have to draw Sandor so handsome? :P

Taking into account all the references it seems somewhat ambiguous what dogs do to wolves or wolves do to dogs. I suppose one could make a distinction between wolves and wolf pups in who threatens whom or perhaps wolves and direwolves. The one common thread in all of them, including Sandor's comment, is nothing. They all refer to potential violence that never happens. I suspect there's more to be mined from these wolf/dog potential confrontations, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. Perhaps others have ideas?

In the wild it may happen that dogs and a wolf create a bond, particularly if the wolf has no pack. Other than that I believe that given a confrontation, most often territorial, the wolf or wolves kill the dog(s). There are some dog breeds that may be able to beat a wolf but it is quite rare for one lonely hound. It has to be bigger, trained and still, it would lack the teeth and thick skin of the wolf.

They can interbreed successfully, producing fertile and healthy offspring too; after all gray wolves and dogs are the same species. But if we are talking about direwolves then I have no idea.

I think Mladen hosted a thread on wolves a while ago; maybe all I’ve said has been talked about there.

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In response to Ragnorak: I'd never considered the dog-wolf confrontations that take place in these first chapters. It's interesting to note. Aside from the possibility that the mother would attack the dire wolf pups, which never comes to pass, the wolves seem to come out on top, even now. Perhaps Sandor himself said that line to Arya as a tongue-in-cheek way of simply frightening the kid. After all, does he really believe dogs do anything to wolves in the wild? Probably not. So for him, the answer to the question is "nothing" but for us, maybe the answer is "something positive - the dog helps the wolves". He's done so with both girls and expressed a desire to work under the Young Wolf's orders, after all.

If we go all the way to the prologue in ADWD, Varamyr notes that slipping into the skin of a dog is easy as they were so closely bonded to humans; but while one could befriend or even break a wolf, taming them was impossible. Applying this to Sandor's introduction at Winterfell, we see him as fully loyal to the Lannisters and his duties as Joff's sworn shield. Tyrion tells him in their exchange:

“The prince will remember that, little lord,” the Hound warned him. The helm turned his laugh into a hollow rumble.

“I pray he does,” Tyrion Lannister replied. “If he forgets, be a good dog and remind him.” He glanced around the courtyard. “Do you know where I might find my brother?”

One consequence of wolves and dogs interacting is that the latter becomes less tractable, less willing to simply serve and obey.

Thanks to Milady for pointing me this way after my long absence of mostly one liners via phone posting. It is fabulous to come back to this. :)

With regards to Sandor's introduction and the theme of the beast and the beastly in ASOIAF, it is perhaps worth noting that he is not just lumped in with the rest of the Lannisters, he is one in a line of three other "beasts". Jaime, Sandor, Joffrey and Tyrion are all characters who, at various stages in the story, take on various forms of the beast, the beastly and in some cases also the monstrous. All of them also get to star in some way in a "beauty and the beast" setting, whether opposite Sansa (Sandor, Joffrey, Tyrion) or in other settings. In the cases of Jaime and Joffrey, they have all this pretty surface, but still come across to us as hardly better than monsters, at least initially in Jamie's case.

Big props to Bubug for amazing art, as always.

Well, Lyanna Stark has arrived! I think the party can truly get started :grouphug: Nice observation on the beastly retinue that is highlighted for readers.

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This looks like it's going to be interesting! Nice work.



A few quick points -



Sandor is famous for his scars, not for his battle exploits. IIRC, we never hear any battle stories about him. We don't even know if he fought in Robert's Rebellion, do we? He presumably fought in Balon Greyjoy's Rebellion, but again we hear nothing about it. He doesn't seem to tell war stories about himself. Interesting, considering his opinions about battle.



"I killed a man at twelve." No circumstances are mentioned. In battle? In a brawl? Probably not in the practice yard.



On the first read, Ser Rodrik seems intentionally rude when he calls Sandor "Clegane". We haven't yet been introduced to Sandor's favorite line, "Don't call me Ser." On reread, Rodrik is referring to Clegane exactly as Clegane would prefer to be. Rodrik seems to be aware of that. An interesting technique by GRRM.

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What dogs do and don’t do to wolves

From that overheard conversation between Sandor and Joffrey in Winterfell, the first noteworthy line is the former’s remark that Bran is taking too long to die. This passage contains what’s probably the earliest allusion to the gift of mercy that will continue throughout the Hound’s arc. He can’t know how this accident came to be nor would have cause to suspect that the twins are the guilty party for he had gone hunting with the hosts, the king and the prince when that happened; he’d only know the same version everyone else in Winterfell must: that Bran was on his customary climbing of the castle towers and fell, breaking his spine, and is now undergoing a slow agony that can only end in death because it’s quite far-fetched to hope that such a small boy would survive that fall. His comment that he’d wish Bran would die comes out filtered through his own view of suffering, that it’s better to end it cleanly than to leave someone to endure till the pain runs its course towards death, a view that diverges from Robert’s and Jaime’s very similar comments in that Sandor doesn’t suggest killing the boy but wishes that his agony should be short and the end swift, which we could deduce is influenced by his own experience enduring indescribable pain when he was burnt (“only a man who’s been burned knows what Hell is truly like”), that would later shape his attitude towards both giving and asking for the gift of mercy. Robert and Jaime, who’ve not experienced that sort of agony, emphasise on the challenging life as a cripple that’d await the boy were he to survive, but Sandor’s words are more in the same vein as Tyrion’s defence of the grotesques, because Sandor himself is one; it’s about sparing someone the torment of an excruciatingly prolonged yet inevitable demise, and not about renouncing life as a cripple. His words to Arya in the third book on that dying soldier and on his own “deathbed” reinforce this impression.

Then Joffrey follows with a complaint about the noisy direwolf, prompting the offer by the Hound to whack the pup into silence, that causes his prince’s mirth:

“Send a dog to kill a dog!” he exclaimed. “Winterfell is so infested with wolves, the Starks would never miss one.”

What are we to make of it, besides that Joffrey is funnily not discriminating between dogs and wolves and is a mathematical illiterate? Perhaps the answer to what could’ve possibly driven Clegane to wish ill upon poor fluffy Summer is in scrutinising the line just before the offer:

“It’s the wolf that makes the noise. I could scarce sleep last night.”

There it is: Sandor said he could dispatch the wolfling only after the prince grumbled about a sleepless night. And knowing he’s never far from Joffrey, his own sleeping quarters must be close to the Guest House, if not therein, and he’d have also been treated to a never-ending loud howling marathon that kept him up all night like it did Joff. Ahead in the same chapter, Tyrion—who’s also been awake all night but happily reading—remarks to himself that the Hound’s fuse is shorter that morning, which makes much more sense if he had the pup to thank for the tired bad mood of the day. What wouldn’t make sense is to take this seriously as a genuine proposal to bump off the wolf, though, when Joffrey himself didn’t think it was serious and laughed as he always does at his bodyguard’s brand of wit. Moreover, Sandor knows that the direwolves are their hosts’ pets and sigil, their wet-nurses as he’d call them, and he’d be aware of how great a folly it would be to ignite a potentially unpleasant incident under Stark’s own roof by killing a dear pet belonging to the hostess’s favourite child only because it is noisy; so sleep-deprived irreverence and annoyance are more conceivable reasons for speaking as he did.

Milady I love your analysis of the early introduction of the theme of mercy in Sandor's arc. The theme will continue to be woven throughout his, Sansa's and Arya's arcs as they intertwine throughout the first three books and I look forward to further exploration. Pertinently here, Sandor shows an early potential for empathy for the boy who is suffering, a boy just the same age he was when he suffered his own disfigurement. That he disguises it with his trademark roughness only serves to emphasize the pathos that exists in this man of apparent contradictions. As for what wolves and dogs do to one another...

I also like that we seem to get a big clue as to what dog's do to wolves (or don't do) this early. Wolves and dogs also come up in our very first chapter when the direwolf pups are found.

Interesting that it is the knight Ser Rodrik who owns the dog.

And again we have a wolf dog confrontation in Jon:

Taking into account all the references it seems somewhat ambiguous what dogs do to wolves or wolves do to dogs. I suppose one could make a distinction between wolves and wolf pups in who threatens whom or perhaps wolves and direwolves. The one common thread in all of them, including Sandor's comment, is nothing. They all refer to potential violence that never happens. I suspect there's more to be mined from these wolf/dog potential confrontations, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. Perhaps others have ideas?

...I like the unrealized threat of violence angle, pointing to a posturing that occurs between two creatures that turn out to have much in common. Also, as CatherineLaw pointed out, in the wild wolves and dogs may form a bond. We need look no further than ASoS to see that applied upon the page. Arya will think frequently of her pack, or fret about her lack of one. It's probably no accident then that the themes of mercy and the interplay of dogs and wolves will intersect and come to a head in that book. Again, looking forward very much to exploring that!

We move next to analysing the first chapter, but before I’ve got some words for Yolk and Gwyn from our artist friend, Bubug, who after listening to their Sandor: A Knight’s Honour podcast, told me to convey her appreciation and thanks to you two. She’s listened and re-listened to it, and thinks you both did a great job.

Our sincere thanks and admiration go out to Bubug, whose artwork for this project is simply stunning and gets better each time it is examined :)

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Thanks to Milady for pointing me this way after my long absence of mostly one liners via phone posting. It is fabulous to come back to this. :)

You came at last, Lyanna! Glad that you did, do stick round.

He, perversely, seems to enjoy watching the sniping and conflict. Also, by Tyrion's comment on his insolence, Sandor has a degree of latitude within House Lannister to express himself regularly, a personal trait known and tolerated.

Sandor is noted by Tyrion as Joffrey's bodyguard, and we know, was selected by Cersie for that position. Bodyguard, yes, and by the yard scene, an advocate for his Prince, at least in learning real world fighting. So, more than just a warrior and guard, a companion, likely less than a surrogate father, and in Joff's reaction, I believe an elder brother to the boy. Granted the liege-vassal feudal dynamic is fully present, yet I cannot shake the sense the boy Joffrey views Sandor as more than just a bodyguard.

This really stood out to me, as well, especially since this will not be the only time Jaime and Sandor are “lumped” together in the series (as Milday noted upthread). By pairing these two together for multifaceted reasons (introduced to set up the Lannister-Stark tension and sharing similar redemptive arcs), that this also highlights Sandor’s elevated position within the Lannister family. In addition to being on par with Jaime as a formidable warrior, he’s probably the most intimate with the Lannisters who isn’t a Lannister himself. This is what gives Sandor the latitude to ridicule Tyrion when, as we’ll see later, others are rebuked for their insolence to the Imp by Cersei herself. And not only does Sandor feel safe from reprimand, Tyrion, of all people, takes it all in stride (as much as Tyrion can). So, rather than a mere hired thug to do the Lannister’s ugly bidding, Sandor is as close to the Lannister family as one can possibly be without sharing the Lannister surname and has every reason to be as loyal as he is, making his break all the more significant. Another minor point to highlight this is that Tyrion asks Sandor where his own brother his, to which Sandor quickly informs him that he's breaking fast with the queen. He knows where they are, what they are doing, and is very much a part of the family dynamic.

Welcome to the reread, Tannim, thanks for your kind words, and I hope you'll enjoy participating. Thank you as well, DogLover!

You two posit a very good question on which there's so much to explore later. Since Sandor left his home at a young age to serve them, and is now in his late twenties, we could say that he was practically raised up by the Lannisters, he became a man in their household, and they are the only stable resemblance of home and family he's had for most of his life, however huge an oxymoron "Lannister" and "stable" might be; and that familiarity with them does indeed give him much more freedom to behave and talk to them as he does. Familiarity and that he's a nobleman from their own land.

Sandor is famous for his scars, not for his battle exploits. IIRC, we never hear any battle stories about him. We don't even know if he fought in Robert's Rebellion, do we? He presumably fought in Balon Greyjoy's Rebellion, but again we hear nothing about it. He doesn't seem to tell war stories about himself. Interesting, considering his opinions about battle.

"I killed a man at twelve." No circumstances are mentioned. In battle? In a brawl? Probably not in the practice yard.

On the first read, Ser Rodrik seems intentionally rude when he calls Sandor "Clegane". We haven't yet been introduced to Sandor's favorite line, "Don't call me Ser." On reread, Rodrik is referring to Clegane exactly as Clegane would prefer to be. Rodrik seems to be aware of that. An interesting technique by GRRM.

Welcome to the reread, Ibbison! Thanks for joining and for your words.

I would say that the lack of war stories by Sandor has more to do with his lack of a POV than anything else, and he's not had a chance to tell them to a POV either because there's not been any narrative neccesity as yet. The only POVs that would be able to tell battle stories about him because they were there too would be Ned, Jaime and perhaps Barristan, and although these three don't tell tales, do all of them assess Sandor as a fighter which indicates they do have cause, have observed him, know about unseen-to-the-reader events. Looking closely at all mentions of him across all books, we'll notice that a lot of characters bring forward his battle prowess, from Littlefinger to Ned to Jaime, so I'd think it's not exactly accurate to say he's known for his scars and not his warrior skills. He's by far not the only man that has some scars or disfigurement, there are others, and in a world that's come out of a war and heads towards another, seeing men crippled and disfigured would be a norm and he'd not call attention upon himself because of that.

As for in which battles he fought, he was very young during Robert's Rebellion, but he did fight there as a squire, something GRRM has confirmed in a SSM and that we'll surely discuss ahead. It's therefore a given that his first kill was then, in battle. As he was part of Tywin's host at the time, there's a possibility that Ned met him then, though it's a small one. That he fought in the Greyjoy Rebellion is a given, because by then he was already in court for a while and all able men from the Baratheon entourage went to war with the king, joining the Lannister and Stark contingents to assault the Iron Islands. Ned recalls ahead in this same book that Gregor was there; Jaime was there too, fighting as a Kingsguard, so we can safely assume Sandor was there too and is likelier that Ned did notice him then than in the previous war.

On Rodrik calling him "Clegane," my take isn't that he was being disrespectful. It's interesting to me that so many readers seem to believe that calling a character by their surname is either condescending or disrespectful on their part, because, coming from a historical studies background, it was usual to read someone calling another person by their surname or their territorial title in a medieval context, more common and socially acceptable than calling people by their first. Perhaps it has to do with how it's done today, that we tend to call people more by their first name than their family one. Certainly, this is one more reason why I'd have to explore the naming pattern in Sandor's arc.

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On Rodrik calling him "Clegane," my take isn't that he was being disrespectful. It's interesting to me that so many readers seem to believe that calling a character by their surname is either condescending or disrespectful on their part, because, coming from a historical studies background, it was usual to read someone calling another person by their surname or their territorial title in a medieval context, more common and socially acceptable than calling people by their first. Perhaps it has to do with how it's done today, that we tend to call people more by their first name than their family one. Certainly, this is one more reason why I'd have to explore the naming pattern in Sandor's arc.

He makes it quite difficult for people to directly address him, doesn't he? Milady mentioned that Tyrion thinks of the Hound as "Sandor" during their first exchange in AGoT. He's one of very few characters to do so (Thoros, Polliver and Arya in her inner dialogue are the only ones who come to mind).

I think it is interesting that Rodrik knew enough to keep the "sers" out while talking to Sandor. He probably knows that Sandor is not a knight, but I doubt he is aware of the reasons why the man refused this "honor". He sort of hints at it when he pointedly states that he's training knights. I took this as "I'm training knights. Yeah, those noble warriors who aren't interested in cutting each other to ribbons in the training yard, not that you'd know anything of that." He might be trying for diplomacy, but he's skating on thin ice here.

Upon first meeting Sandor, the fierce warrior and highly-esteemed personal bodyguard of the crown prince, it would be easy to assume that he is a knight. Arya immediately falls into that line of thinking. Later, other characters do the same. He’s always ready with the same retort: how many times has he said that line – “I’m no ser”? Given the loathing he has towards the title and those who hold it, he must suffer considerably every time he is mistakenly referred to as such. Just as his face is used as ground for assumptions about his character, his position (and his big, strong appearance) is likewise used to infer that he must be knight. Must be infuriating. In an alternate universe, Arya could have commiserated with him. After all, she’s been mistaken for a boy how many times now? She’s even been taken for this “strange man's son.

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