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

Brashcandy, your post instantly made me think of Sandor's comment about Bran and silencing Summer:






“The boy is a long time dying. I wish he would be quicker about it.”


Indeed, it is no laughing matter that Joffrey goes on to arrange Bran's murder and shows how a throw-away 'joke' from Sandor with his dark, glib sense of humor can be tragically misconstrued by Joffrey. It's chilling. Joffrey probably thinks that by emulating the Hound, he will earn the approval of Sandor and the Lannisters, that he will finally be playing with the big beasts but he gets it horrifically wrong. Joffrey fails to grasp that even Sandor has a line, and secretly hiring an assassin to murder a boy in a coma is not in Sandor's code. Sandor is honest about his brutality, he does not hide the awful things he has done.



I think this also highlights Joffrey's lack of political astuteness. He cannot think beyond his own instant gratification to consider the full social ramifications of his actions (and this will become increasingly apparent as we move through the story). The more power Joffrey gains and the less he is kept in check, the wilder his behaviour becomes and it is less about approval seeking but more about his own sadistic fulfillment. I will call it 'cocky twat syndrome' but on a far more chilling level.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just popping in to say how excited I am to see this Sandor reread underway! Thank you, Milady of York, Doglover, and Brashcandy for undertaking such a wonderful project! I really appreciated the opening framing essay that considers the literary techniques at work, especially those of the Third Person Subjective, in establishing this character for later development. For me, this exploration of the subjective nature of experience is the point of the books, and I just love the prospect of triangulating multiple points of view to construct the character of Sandor.

Thank you, Hrafnýr, and be welcome to our reread! If you've found the exploration of subjectivity as fascinating as I have, I do hope you'll like the complementary examination that's coming.

In these scenes at Winterfell, we're definitely seeing the Hound/Joffrey relationship in its "golden" period, where we get a glimpse of how the Hound manages to interest and distract a boy who tends to the more sadistic side of things when it comes to his entertainment.

Speaking of "golden" periods, I've been trying to gauge a plausible sequence of events that would permit to have a decent guess at what Sandor and Joffrey might have done between the arrival to Winterfell until the next appearance in Arya's chapter, a period that according to the Global Timeline spanned 5 days; and between that and his second appearance in Tyrion's chapter, that according to the same timeline is approximately two weeks later. There's little information, so this is mostly speculative.

I'd believe that it was the same moment of the arrival that he'd have met the Stark children, learning their names as well:

Robert’s queen, Cersei Lannister, entered on foot with her younger children. The wheelhouse in which they had ridden, a huge double-decked carriage of oiled oak and gilded metal pulled by forty heavy draft horses, was too wide to pass through the castle gate. Ned knelt in the snow to kiss the queen’s ring, while Robert embraced Catelyn like a long-lost sister. Then the children had been brought forward, introduced, and approved of by both sides.

Since he was there on duty, we can assume he was there a few steps behind Joffrey and would've heard the introductions, possibly that's the moment also when he learnt the elder Stark daughter's name and noticed her, as well as the rest. But since he was merely a retainer, he wasn't introduced himself, which accounts for why Arya didn't know who he was and called him a "strange" man. Later that day, in the welcome banquet, he's not noticed by Jon "I Forget Nothing" Snow when he describes everyone entering the hall, Joffrey and Sansa coming in-between Robb/Myrcella and Jaime, so that'd indicate Sandor was seated amongst the Lannister entourage, if he was off duty.

If he was on duty, then he was likely near the prince. Here's the passage describing the placement of Joffrey at the Great Hall:

It was the fourth hour of the welcoming feast laid for the king. Jon’s brothers and sisters had been seated with the royal children, beneath the raised platform where Lord and Lady Stark hosted the king and queen. In honor of the occasion, his lord father would doubtless permit each child a glass of wine, but no more than that. Down here on the benches, there was no one to stop Jon drinking as much as he had a thirst for.

He'd have been watching that table beneath the high dais of honour with one eye and the other on the feast, ready to spring into action when called, much like at the Hand's Tourney banquet, when he practically materialised out of thin air when Joff called him to escort his betrothed, not being noticed by her anywhere in the vicinity till that call.

As for what he'd have been doing in-between that yard encounter and the Imp's chapter, we have this passage from Bran II that allows for quite a good guess:

The hunt left at dawn. The king wanted wild boar at the feast tonight. Prince Joffrey rode with his father, so Robb had been allowed to join the hunters as well. Uncle Benjen, Jory, Theon Greyjoy, Ser Rodrik, and even the queen’s funny little brother had all ridden out with them. It was the last hunt, after all. On the morrow they left for the south.

The Hound isn't mentioned amongst those in the hunting party, but the Hound goes where Joffrey goes, so that's where he'd be at. Interesting that Robert had this tendency to go hunting right when something terrible happens: here, he goes on a hunt and Bran falls; ahead, he'll go hunting again, and the confrontation between Ned and Cersei reaches a boil. And in both cases, Sandor follows the royals to the woods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this also highlights Joffrey's lack of political astuteness. He cannot think beyond his own instant gratification to consider the full social ramifications of his actions (and this will become increasingly apparent as we move through the story). The more power Joffrey gains and the less he is kept in check, the wilder his behaviour becomes and it is less about approval seeking but more about his own sadistic fulfillment. I will call it 'cocky twat syndrome' but on a far more chilling level.

It also emphasises the profound dysfunction that runs rife in the Lannister/Baratheon family. Remember that according to Jaime, and backed up by what we later learn of the sad state of the Robert/Joffrey relationship, Joff hired the assassin as a way to impress his father - his own twisted belief of what Robert would have wanted. Compare the kind of nephew/uncle interaction of Jon and Benjen to the one we see between Tyrion/Joffrey and the contrast is clear and disturbing. Sandor himself is no stranger to dysfunctional family ties as we will soon learn...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.....

The reader is supposed to perceive Sandor as a 2D Lannister Lachey. At these early stages Sandor is described as being physically close to Joffrey; he rides next to Joffrey when he is introduced, he pushes himself in front of Joffrey the second time we come across him yet GRRM is already gives us a tiny hint at this early stage that the bond between Joffrey and Sandor may not be as robust as initially believed. When Tyrion slaps Joffrey, Sandor does....nothing! Some sworn Shield eh! This will of course parallel a later scene with Sansa when he says "enough"...but I will contain myself for now.

(bolded by me)

That's a good distinction.

Brashcandy, your post instantly made me think of Sandor's comment about Bran and silencing Summer:

Indeed, it is no laughing matter that Joffrey goes on to arrange Bran's murder and shows how a throw-away 'joke' from Sandor with his dark, glib sense of humor can be tragically misconstrued by Joffrey. It's chilling. Joffrey probably thinks that by emulating the Hound, he will earn the approval of Sandor and the Lannisters, that he will finally be playing with the big beasts but he gets it horrifically wrong. Joffrey fails to grasp that even Sandor has a line, and secretly hiring an assassin to murder a boy in a coma is not in Sandor's code. Sandor is honest about his brutality, he does not hide the awful things he has done.

I think this also highlights Joffrey's lack of political astuteness. He cannot think beyond his own instant gratification to consider the full social ramifications of his actions (and this will become increasingly apparent as we move through the story). The more power Joffrey gains and the less he is kept in check, the wilder his behaviour becomes and it is less about approval seeking but more about his own sadistic fulfillment. I will call it 'cocky twat syndrome' but on a far more chilling level.

(again, bolding is mine)

Well he must know there's a line somewhere, since Tyrion muses in ASoS that "Even Joffrey was not so foolish as to command Sandor Clegane to slay a son of Eddard Stark, however; the Hound would have gone to Cersei." Joffrey might have assumed that Sandor would object, thus trying to preserve the prince's morality or he might have suspected that not even the Hound would approve of hiring an assassin to kill Bran.

(Edit)

It's also quite possible that Tyrion misjudged Joffrey's motivations. The reason he used a catspaw instead of his bodyguard is because he wanted to surprise and impress Sandor. More than Robert's approval, he was really trying to get Sandor's approval. This lends credence to Cersei's evaluation of the Joffrey-Sandor relationship. But it's also possible that he didn't tell Sandor because he knew the man would go to Cersei. Had the plan worked, he probably would have bragged to his bodyguard but since it failed, he kept his mouth shut.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(bolded by me)

That's a good distinction.

(again, bolding is mine)

Well he must know there's a line somewhere, since Tyrion muses in ASoS that "Even Joffrey was not so foolish as to command Sandor Clegane to slay a son of Eddard Stark, however; the Hound would have gone to Cersei." Joffrey might have assumed that Sandor would object, thus trying to preserve the prince's morality or he might have suspected that not even the Hound would approve of hiring an assassin to kill Bran.

(Edit)

It's also quite possible that Tyrion misjudged Joffrey's motivations. The reason he used a catspaw instead of his bodyguard is because he wanted to surprise and impress Sandor. More than Robert's approval, he was really trying to get Sandor's approval. This lends credence to Cersei's evaluation of the Joffrey-Sandor relationship. But it's also possible that he didn't tell Sandor because he knew the man would go to Cersei. Had the plan worked, he probably would have bragged to his bodyguard but since it failed, he kept his mouth shut.

Interesting, there is a lot to ponder about the Joffrey/Sandor relationship.

Joffrey also seems to know not to ask Sandor to punish Sansa for him whereas he has no quibbles in asking the other KG members to do this. I wonder if it is because he has an awareness of Sandor's 'code' and genuinely has respect for what he thinks or whether he is worried that Sandor would dob him in to his mother if Joffrey pushes him too far. Unlike the Bran murder attempt, Sandor does have knowledge of Sansa's beatings but Joffrey will only ask him to participate once. Is it because he wants Sandor to 'sit back and enjoy' the experience in a voyeuristic way like he himself is doing because he considers Sandor a like-minded individual and he wants to impress him? Or is he fearful that by asking Sandor to participate he will cross the line? There is also an element of Joffrey reveling in having his badass dog at his command as a status symbol. If Sandor were to say 'no' to Joffrey (and Sandor is not afraid to speak his mind) not only would this show Joffrey up, but there would be no going back in their established relationship, it will be lost. I wonder if there is an element of Joffrey not sure where the line is with Sandor and is cautious not to probe too close to it. It gives us some things to think about moving forward.

Joffrey seems to have two key male role models in his life; his biological *cough* father dosn't care seem to care about him and his surrogate father is only there because he is paid to be. When you then have both Robert and Sandor making comments about putting Bran out of his misery, Joffrey probably sees this as a win-win with both. I almost feel a little more sympathetic towards him.

ETA: In the training yard, Sandor brags that he killed his first man at 12 in front of Joffrey. Joffrey is 11 (?) at the beginning of the books so arranging Bran's death would support the notion that Joffrey is trying to emulate and impress the Hound with this act. Joffrey wants Sandor to see him as a man by showing he has killed his first man at a young age too. It tells us a lot about Joffrey's character that he does not make the distinction that Sandor killed his first man at 12, compared with Joffrey hiring someone to kill a boy in a coma.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, there is a lot to ponder about the Joffrey/Sandor relationship.

~~~~~snip~~~~

ETA: In the training yard, Sandor brags that he killed his first man at 12 in front of Joffrey. Joffrey is 11 (?) at the beginning of the books so arranging Bran's death would support the notion that Joffrey is trying to emulate and impress the Hound with this act. Joffrey wants Sandor to see him as a man by showing he has killed his first man at a young age too. It tells us a lot about Joffrey's character that he does not make the distinction that Sandor killed his first man at 12, compared with Joffrey hiring someone to kill a boy in a coma.

Tyrion slapped Joff once one each cheek in front of the Hound. I can't help but think that Joff's hiring of the catspaw may have somewhat been a reaction to this. Tyrion shamed him in front of Hound, his servant, and possible role model. The slaps were humiliating as the was the implied visit to Ned and Cat. Could the attempted murder plot have been a backlash to the humiliation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just popping in to say how excited I am to see this Sandor reread underway! Thank you, Milady of York, Doglover, and Brashcandy for undertaking such a wonderful project! I really appreciated the opening framing essay that considers the literary techniques at work, especially those of the Third Person Subjective, in establishing this character for later development. For me, this exploration of the subjective nature of experience is the point of the books, and I just love the prospect of triangulating multiple points of view to construct the character of Sandor.

Welcome, Hrafntýr! :cheers:

Tyrion slapped Joff once one each cheek in front of the Hound. I can't help but think that Joff's hiring of the catspaw may have somewhat been a reaction to this. Tyrion shamed him in front of Hound, his servant, and possible role model. The slaps were humiliating as the was the implied visit to Ned and Cat. Could the attempted murder plot have been a backlash to the humiliation?

Considering that Bran is the reason for his humiliation, it's quite possible that Joffrey attempts to kill two birds with one stone: murdering the source of his humiliation, as well as impressing his father and the Hound, both who have wished Bran a quick death.

ETA: In the training yard, Sandor brags that he killed his first man at 12 in front of Joffrey. Joffrey is 11 (?) at the beginning of the books so arranging Bran's death would support the notion that Joffrey is trying to emulate and impress the Hound with this act. Joffrey wants Sandor to see him as a man by showing he has killed his first man at a young age too. It tells us a lot about Joffrey's character that he does not make the distinction that Sandor killed his first man at 12, compared with Joffrey hiring someone to kill a boy in a coma.

And we know based on Beric Dondarrion's comment that the Hound would gladly kill them all, but not in their sleep, that instead of impressing Sandor, this cowardly act would only earn his contempt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has the week already come to an end? Well, I suppose that means it’s time to move on to Sandor II, but before we do, I want to express my delight that this reread has gotten off to such a strong start, as well as belatedly welcome everyone to the reread (if I haven’t already) and encourage the lurkers to come out of the shadows. We know you’re there and would love to hear from you.



In the OP, Milady mentioned that we will be inviting guests to post select chapter analyses, and thus will be the case for Sandor II. Early in the planning stages, the daunting task of undertaking the Trident incident initially fell to me. However, considering the extremely controversial nature of the slaying of Mycah, an act that has painted Sandor as an irredeemable character to many in the fandom, we decided Sandor deserves to be represented by someone who possesses a sharp legal mind. With only one person in mind for this endeavor, we announce with much ado and fanfare that OldGimletEye agreed to take the case! OldGimletEye, a big fan of Sandor, has written extensively on the Trident incident, which will be the primary focus of his analysis. Milady of York will be posting a Feature Commentary - an extended analysis into the Mycah incident - later on in the week.



OldGimletEye will be posting on the ‘morrow. We’re looking forward to another round of fruitful discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SANDOR, MYCAH, AND SUPERIOR ORDERS


The soldier, be he friend or foe, is charged with the protection of the weak and unarmed. It is the very essence and reason for his being. If he violates this sacred trust, he profanes his entire culture.


- Douglas MacArthur



INTRODUCTION


The death of Mycah is one of the most shocking and saddest events in Asoiaf. The manner of Mycah's death serves notice to us that Asoiaf is not a "Disney Land Middle Ages".1 Mycah is killed of course by Sandor Clegane, aka "The Hound". It's probably more than fair to say that our initial reaction to Mycah's death is to despise and loathe Sandor. Mycah's death makes Sandor look like nothing more than a mindless and sadistic murderer.



As the story progresses though, we learn that Sandor isn't a simple minded murder. We learn that he is a very complex human being. It's true that Sandor is often obnoxious and rude and that he often says things that sound awful, but a simple minded murder he is not.



The fact remains, though, that Sandor killed Mycah. For very understandable reasons, Sandor's actions with regard to Mycah remain highly controversial. Often when Sandor's character is discussed arguments over Sandor's killing of Mycah break out. One side of the argument will explain Sandor's actions as "just following orders". To which, the other side invariably responds with "Nuremburg".



There are, however, at least two conceptual problems with mentioning "Nuremburg" when it comes to Sandor's killing of Mycah. The first conceptual problem is whether Sandor's actions were even illegal according to Westeros' law. Theoretically, at least, the tribunals at Nuremburg tried war criminals for breaking international and national laws that had been established before the outbreak of World War Two.2 The second conceptual problem with casual mentions of Nuremburg is that those mentions often assume that "the superior orders defense" died at Nuremburg. It did not.



The notion that a soldier is not legally responsible for actions that he committed while following orders is typically known as the "the superior orders defense".3 In many jurisdictions, a limited form of the superior orders defense is still a viable defense for soldiers accused of committing crimes under orders.



Since disputes about Sandor's killing of Mycah so often revolve around the question of "just following orders", I think it might be useful to look at how Sandor's case might be actually be resolved under "modern" doctrines of dealing with soldiers accused of committing crimes while under orders.4



To orient the reader, I will briefly state here the plan of attack. First, I will review the factual circumstances around Mycah's death. It's important to note here that not only are the facts around Mycah's death important, but the "legal facts" about Westeros are important too. The "legal facts" are important because the modern law of war crimes ultimately concerns itself with actual crimes committed by soldiers and not merely questionable or bad ethical acts. After discussing the facts and the "legal facts", I'll proceed to give a brief overview of the various approaches to the superior orders defense. Next, I will apply the approaches to Sandor's case. I'll then wrap up this discussion with some concluding remarks about Sandor and his killing of Mycah.



THE FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES AROUND MYCAH'S DEATH


As we know, Joffrey, along with Sansa, found Arya and Mycah playing near the Trident. Joffrey proceeded to bully Mycah. Arya, attempting to defend Mycah from Joffrey's bullying, hit Joffrey in the back of the head with a stick, causing a laceration to the back of Joffrey's head. Arya and Joffrey then got into an altercation. During this altercation, Nymeria bit Joffrey in the arm. Also, during the altercation, Mycah fled. Joffrey's and Arya's altercation ended when Arya fled from the scene.



Lannister troops were sent to find Arya and Mycah. Stark troops were sent to find Arya, but we do not know exactly whether they were instructed to find Mycah as well. Eventually, Stark soldiers found Arya and attempted to return her to Ned Stark. But, Lannister soldiers were guarding the gate at Raymun Darry's Castle. On orders from Cersei, the Lannister soldiers had Arya taken immediately to the audience chamber of the Darry Castle, where Robert Baratheon was waiting with Cersei and Joffrey. Ned then proceeded to the audience chamber. Upon entering the audience chamber, Ned noticed thick silk bandages on Joffrey's arm. Shortly after his arrival, Arya began to give her version of the events at the Trident. After Arya concluded her testimony, Joffrey began to give his version of events. Joffrey's untruthful version of events was very different from Arya's. Joffrey claimed that he had been attacked, without provocation, by both Arya and Mycah. Joffrey further claimed that Mycah and Arya had attacked him with clubs. After having been attacked by clubs, Joffrey stated that Nymeria had bitten him. At some point, Sansa Stark was brought to the audience chamber in order to give her testimony. Sansa claimed that she didn't remember the events near the Trident.



After Sansa's failure to testify, Robert decreed that he wouldn't punish Arya. Cersei, upset about Robert's refusal to punish Arya, insisted that a dire wolf be punished. Unable to put his foot down, Robert acquiesced to Cersei's demands. The execution of Lady was ordered, although Lady had not bitten Joffrey. Ned decided to carry out Lady's execution himself.



After Lady's execution and death, Ned was met by Sandor. Sandor had with him several Lannister soldiers whom Sandor was in command of. Sandor stated that he and his soldiers had been sent out to find Arya. Sandor also stated that, while his party had not found Arya, it had found Mycah. Sandor then presented Mycah's dead body to Ned, telling Ned that he had killed Mycah. Sandor then made statements about the manner of Mycah's death that were rather callous. Mycah was at or near 13 years old at the time of his death.



As the novels progress, we get a few more important details about the circumstances surrounding Sandor's killing of Mycah. Ned tells Arya that the death of Mycah was the responsibility of Cersei and Sandor. Ned's comment to Arya implied that Cersei had ordered Mycah's death. Later in SOS, Sandor is captured by the Brothers Without Banners (BWB). After his capture by the BWB, Arya accused Sandor of murdering Mycah. Sandor admitted to killing Mycah, but stated that he did so upon being ordered to. Sandor further stated that Mycah had attacked Joffrey and that was the reason for the order being given to him. Sandor also stated that Sansa had confirmed the unprovoked attack upon Joffrey. After hearing Sandor's justification for killing Mycah, Beric Dondarrion, the leader of the BWB, asked Sandor whether he saw Mycah attack Joffrey. Sandor told Beric that he had not and that it wasn't his place to question princes. Beric's reaction to Sandor's statements was not to immediately execute Sandor. Apparently, Beric believed that Sandor had pled a prima facie defense.5 Beric, therefore, ordered that Sandor be given a trial by combat. Sandor won the trial by combat and was granted his freedom by Beric.



Finally, in Chapter 30, Jaime, AFFC, we get some details regarding the events immediately before Mycah's death. Jaime recounts the events to Illyn Payne. Pointing to a window in the Darry Castle, Jaime states:



"That was Raymun Darry's bedchamber. Where King Robert slept, on our return from Winterfell. Ned Stark's daughter had run off after her wolf savaged Joff, you'll recall. My sister wanted the girl to lose a hand. The old penalty, for striking one of the blood royal. Robert told her she was cruel and mad. They fought for half the night . . . well, Cersei fought, and Robert drank. Past midnight, the queen summoned me inside. The king was passed out snoring on the Myrish carpet. I asked my sister if she wanted me to carry him to bed. She told me I should carry her to bed, and shrugged out of her robe. I took her on Raymun Darry's bed after stepping over Robert. If His Grace had woken I would have killed him there and then. He would not have been the first king to die upon my sword . . . but you know that story, don't you?" He slashed at a tree branch, shearing it in half. "As I was fucking her, Cersei cried, ‘I want.' I thought that she meant me, but it was the Stark girl that she wanted, maimed or dead." The things I do for love. "It was only by chance that Stark's own men found the girl before me. If I had come on her first . . ."



LEGAL FACTS ABOUT WESTEROS


Comparisons of Sandor's case with Nuremburg or with post-Nuremburg cases would be difficult without having any notion about what the law is in Westeros. The law of war crimes concerns itself with the breaking of laws and not merely questionable ethical acts committed by soldiers. Accordingly, some discussion about the "legal facts" of Westeros is necessary.



Despite being often a cruel and barbaric place, Westeros does have laws. Some of these laws even regulate moral and ethical conduct. Many or most of these laws, of course, wouldn't be found in any book of legal statues. They would be established by both tradition and custom. It would be a mistake to think that tradition and custom aren't legitimate sources of law. One only need look at those countries that follow the common law legal tradition to know that tradition and custom can establish the law.



With respect to the current discussion, a few legal facts need to be established. They are 1) who is authorized to judge cases and to mete out punishment, 2) what are the penalties that may be given out, and 3) what are the procedural rights and/or trial rights given to those accused of crimes.



A great deal about how the law in Westeros works is found in The Sworn Sword. In The Sworn Sword, Rohanne Weber, the lady of Coldmoat, states that lords or ladies have the right of "pit and gallows". The right to "pit and gallows" simply means the right to imprison and to impose the death penalty for offenses.6 This right of "pit and gallows", however, is limited to the lord's or lady's own lands, as Egg (later known as Aegon V) points out to Rohanne. In short, the lords and ladies have a significant amount of authority to punish crimes that is only limited by territorial jurisdiction.



There seems to be pretty standard penalties for certain crimes, within Westeros. For instance, the crime of rape, usually seems to be punished by gelding or castration of the offender. The crime of theft seems to be punished with the loss of fingers. The penalty for striking one of royal blood is typically the loss of the offending appendage, as established by Baelor Breakspear's comments to Dunk In The Hedge Knight and Jaime's comments in Chapter 30, AFFC .



However, it appears that the lords and ladies in Westeros have a great deal of discretion when deciding upon punishments. At the begging of The Sworn Sword, Dunk and Egg come upon two rotting corpses stuffed in a crow cage. Dunk and Egg have some discussion about what crimes the two dead men could have committed to merit such a harsh punishment. Dunk suggest that their offense could have been poaching, robbery, rape, or murder. Also, in The Sworn Sword, Rohanne Weber implies that she might execute Ser Bennis for his assault upon one of her small folk, if Ser Bennis is not handed over to her peacefully.



In Westeros, it appears that lords and ladies quite often delegate their authority to judge crimes to others. Randyll Tarly administers justice in Maiden Pool, well outside his own ancestral lands, on behalf of King Tommen Baratheon. When Ned Stark leaves for King's Landing, he presumably leaves Catelyn Stark with the authority to administer judicial cases.



Another feature of Westeros is that all persons that have at least the social rank of hedge knight are entitled to a minimal level of trial rights. In The Hedge Knight, Dunk, a lowly hedge knight, is entitled to a trial by combat for his assault upon Aerion Brightflame. In Game of Thrones, it is made clear that Lyssa Arryn cannot deny Tyrion Lannister a trial or a trial by combat. However, it is never made apparent that the small folk of Westeros are entitled to any level of trial rights.



THE SUPERIOR ORDERS DOCTRINE


Trying to apply "modern" doctrines regarding the superiors order defense might seem like a useless intellectual exercise. But there are four reasons to apply it. For one, "just following orders" as full defense for a soldier's illegal acts has not been historically accepted. The ancient Roman military code, evidently, rejected "the just following orders" defense.7 And, apparently, medieval canon law rejected it as well.8 Accordingly, assertions, claiming that limitations upon superior orders are a relatively modern notion, miss the mark. Likewise, assertions, claiming codes of conduct that regulate the actions of soldiers, are a relatively modern invention, also miss the mark. Secondly, there are, within Westeros, standards of appropriate conduct. Stannis gelds his soldiers for raping wildling women. Ned Stark, as Hand, orders that Gregor Clegane be punished for his role in the murder of small folk. Brienne considers the killing of commoner women to be shameful. Robb Stark executes Rickard Karstark for murdering unarmed prisoners of war. Thirdly, trying to do such an analysis might help to flesh out all the relevant facts and circumstances with regard to Sandor's killing of Mycah. Finally, while the modern doctrines regarding soldier behavior are not perfect guides to ethical behavior, they do,arguably, help to sort out the truly atrocious cases from the morally gray ones. There are three approaches to handling the superior orders defense. They will briefly explained here.



Full Defense Approach To The Superior Orders


The first approach is the full defense approach. The full defense approach relieves a soldier from any criminal liability so long as he operated under an order from a superior. As mentioned, this approach has not historically ever been generally accepted, at least in European History. It's heyday as a doctrine was during the late Nineteenth Century and the early Twentieth Century.9 Generally, it died as a doctrine during the Nuremburg trials. It's probably fair to say that the full defense approach would have very few defenders. Accordingly, no further discussion of it will be made here.



Absolute Liability Approach To Superior Orders


The second approach is the absolute liability approach. Under the absolute liability approach, an order is never a defense to an illegal act committed by a soldier. However,typically, the fact that a superior order was given may be considered in mitigation when punishment is being decided. Officially, it was the absolute liability approach that was used by the tribunals at Nuremburg.10 The absolute liability approach is currently used by the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.


Also, it needs to be noted that mistake of fact is still a valid defense under the absolute liability approach.11



Conditional Liability Approach To Superior Orders


The final approach is the conditional liability approach. Conceptually, perhaps, the easiest way to think of the conditional liability approach is that it's a limited mistake of law defense.12 The conditional liability approach is the most prevalent approach to the superior orders defense in western democratic states.13 It's also the the approach used by the Rome Statue of the ICC.14 Under the conditional liability approach, a soldier accused of a crime may plead superior orders as a defense. For the most part, in jurisdictions that use the conditional liability approach, a plea of superior orders will be a valid defense, so long as the soldier did not follow a "manifestly illegal" order.15



The policy rationale behind the conditional liability approach is to balance the reality that obedience and discipline are part and parcel of a soldier's training with the need of preventing soldiers from engaging in the most egregious forms of conduct.16 Military organizations simply can not function without discipline and obedience17. Soldiers are taught from the day they begin their training the importance of promptly obeying orders from their superiors. On the other hand, individual nations, along with the international community as a whole, have a strong interest in preventing atrocities being committed by members of military forces. Accordingly, it is necessary to hold soldiers accountable for certain types of conduct even if the conduct was done under an order.



A manifestly illegal order was described by Judge Halevy, in the Kafr Qasim Case. He described it as:18



The distinguishing mark of a “manifestly unlawful order” should fly like a black flag above the order given. ..Not formal unlawfulness, hidden or half hidden, nor unlawfulness discernible only to the eyes of legal experts.. ..Unlawfulness appearing on the face of the order itself...Unlawfulness piercing the eye and revolting the heart, be the eye not blind nor the heart stony and corrupt, that is the measure of “manifest unlawfulness” required to release a soldier from the duty of obedience.



A manifestly illegal order was also described by the court in Her Majesty The Queen v. Imre Finta. It wrote:19



When is an order from a superior manifestly unlawful? It must be one that offends the conscience of every reasonable, right-thinking person; it must be an order which is obviously and flagrantly wrong. The order cannot be in a grey area or be merely questionable; rather it must patently and obviously be wrong. For example the order of King Herod to kill babies under two years of age would offend and shock the conscience of the most hardened soldier.




WERE SANDOR'S ACTIONS WITH REGARD TO MYCAH ILLEGAL? AND IF THEY WERE, WOULD THEY HAVE BEEN "MANIFESTLY ILLEGAL"?


Sandor's killing of Mycah would only constitute a crime if Sandor had illegally followed Cersei's orders. For Sandor to have illegally followed orders, two minimum initial conditions have to be met. First, the order itself would have to be illegal. Secondly, to extent the order was illegal in some respect, it would have to be shown that Sandor didn't have a mistake of fact defense.



If there was no illegality to Cersei's order or if Sandor had some viable mistake of fact of defense, then Sandor would not be guilty of murdering Mycah, even under the absolute liability approach.



In Sandor's particular case, there are questions of mistakes of fact and, potentially, mistakes of law.20 As mentioned, a mistake of fact defense is permissible even under the absolute liability approach to the superior orders defense whereas mistake of law defenses are generally not. Of course, a mistake of law is permitted under the conditional liability approach to the superior orders defense. With respect to Sandor's killing of Mycah there appears to be two mistake of fact issues and three mistake of law issues.



The two mistake of fact issues are 1) whether Sandor could have plausibly believed that Mycah had in fact committed a crime which merited punishment and 2) whether Sandor could have plausibly believed that Robert had given Cersei the authority to punish Mycah for his alleged crime, or, at least, had acquiesced to Cersei's demand for such punishment. The reason these two issues are mistake of fact issues is because if Sandor could not have plausibly believed that Mycah had committed a crime or that Cersei had the authority to punish said crime, then Cersei's order to Sandor would have not been just illegal, but manifestly illegal.



The three mistake of law, or just plain law, issues are 1)whether the punishment to be delivered to Mycah went beyond that authorized for an assault, not resulting in death, upon a person of royal blood, 2) whether capital punishment could be delivered to one of Mycah's age, and 3) whether any procedural or trial right of Mycah was violated under Westerosi law.



Was It Plausible For Sandor To Have Believed That Mycah Had Committed A Crime?


It's possible that Sandor may have had his doubts about the veracity of Joffrey's story. However, it's important to remember that Sandor was employed as a soldier and not as judge. His situation was much like what Justice Robert H. Jackson described to Harry Truman, when Jackson wrote about possible scenarios where the the superior orders defense would be valid.21 Jackson wrote:22



There is doubtless a sphere in which the defense of obedience to superior orders should prevail. If a conscripted or enlisted soldier is put on a firing squad, he should not be held responsible for the validity of the sentence he carries out. But the case may be greatly altered where one has discretion because of rank or the latitude of his orders.



Joffrey did have extensive injuries to his arm. He also likely had a laceration on the back of his head from being hit by a stick. The bottom line is that Joffrey did have physical injuries to back up his untruthful claims. It's true of course that soldiers may not be willfully blind to facts.23 But, soldiers are not expected to go on extensive fact finding missions in order to determine the the legality of an order.24 Most likely Sandor did have a reasonable basis to believe that Mycah had perpetrated a crime against Joffrey.




Before leaving the issue of whether Sandor had a reasonable basis to believe that Mycah had unlawfully assaulted Mycah, there is one additional factual issue to consider. After being accused of murder by Arya, Sandor claimed that Sansa had corroborated Joffrey's version of events. We as readers, of course, know that is not true. Sansa did no such thing. So from who did Sandor hear this bit of information? And when did he hear it? If Sandor had been told before he went looking for Mycah that Sansa had corroborated Joffrey's story, then that would bolster the argument that Sandor had reasonably believed that Mycah had committed an offense.



Could Sandor Have Plausibly Believed That Cersei Had The Authority To Order Punishment For Mycah?


From The Sworn Sword, we know that lords or ladies are only empowered to order punishments for crimes upon their own lands. Mycah's alleged offense did not happen in the Westerlands, Cersei's ancestral home. Accordingly, whatever powers to judge and punish criminal cases Tywin would have delegated to Cersei did not apply in the Riverlands. If Cersei had any authority to order punishments for an alleged crime,then that authority would have had ro been derived from Robert Baratheon who, as king, was presumably empowered to punish offenses anywhere in Westeros.



If Sandor had known that Cersei had been prohibited by Robert to impose punishment upon Mycah, then Sandor's killing of Mycah would have been illegal. In fact, Sandor's actions wouldn't be merely illegal, but most likely would have been manifestly illegal. On the other hand, if Sandor plausibly, but erroneously, believed that Cersei had such authority, then he would not be guilty of having committed an illegal act.



As a preliminary matter, it must be acknowledged that Cersei Lannister was Sandor's liege lady and direct superior. Because Cersei was Sandor's direct superior, he had little reason to interact with Robert. Anyone that has had military experience knows the importance of the chain of command. Going over a superior's head is not something that it is done lightly as it's usually seen as a serious breach of professional courtesy and protocol. In many respects, feudal societies mirror military organizations very closely because feudal societies are very hierarchical by their very nature. Although, in theory, a vassal may have duties to the liege lord of his liege lord, the actual practice seems to have been, generally, that the vassal would give the bulk of his loyalty to his direct liege lord.25 In Westeros, the "chain of command" seems to be more or less in operation. Lords do not give orders to the common soldiers of their bannermen, but to the bannermen themselves. In short, there is no reason to believe that Robert would have typically given direct orders to Lannister soldiers. His commands to Lannister soldiers would have gone through either Tywin or Cersei.



Although Sandor may not have had much direct interaction with Robert, it's likely that he knew the general nature of Cersei's and Robert's relationship. Sandor had served Cersei for years. Accordingly, he probably would have known that Robert had a rather difficult time standing up to Cersei's demands. At the audience chamber of the Darry Castle, Robert did put his foot down when Cersei demanded that Arya be punished. However, Robert was seemingly unable to stand up to Cersei's demands that Lady be punished. Although Cersei's insistence that Lady be killed was clearly unjust, Robert was willing to acquiesce on that point. In short, Cersei bent Robert to her will with respect to Lady's execution. A good illustration of Robert's manner of handling Cersei's unreasonable demands was recounted by Jaime Lannister in Chapter 30 of AFFC, which was discussed in the fact section of this essay.



From Jaime's recollection, it's fairly evident that Robert had a difficult time expressly refusing Cersei's demand that Arya be physically harmed. Robert's reaction to Cersei's demands was to get drunk. Sandor might not have thought that Robert would demand that Mycah be punished, but it is not unreasonable to believe that Sandor might have thought that Robert had simply acquiesced to Cersei's demands that Mycah be punished.



Arguably, Sandor could have gone to Robert in order to verify the legitimacy of Cersei's order. But, this assertion forgets one important fact. It would have been rather drastic for Sandor to have gone over Cersei's head. By going over her head, Sandor would have most certainly incurred the wrath of Cersei and, perhaps, Tywin too. It would have been seen as an act of disloyalty on Sandor's part. Further, Sandor would have had to risk Cersei's wrath under a great deal of uncertainty as to the result of going to Robert. Given Robert's careless nature and the difficulty Robert had with putting his foot down with Cersei, Sandor couldn't have had any reasonable certainty that going to Robert would have resulted in anything different from what he was ordered. Sandor's own, not inaccurate, assessment of Robert was "If he couldn't fuck it, fight it or drink it, it bored him". While the cases resulting from Nuremburg, and the cases thereafter, highly suggest that soldiers are to risk life and limb rather than follow an illegal order, there is very little case law to suggest that soldiers are to risk life and limb to investigate the legality of an order.



While in the audience chamber of the Darry Castle, nobody broached the issue of Mycah's fate. Not even Ned stark. Why Ned did not, seems to be a bit of a mystery. Whatever the reason, none of the nobles mentioned Mycah's fate. If the highborn nobility didn't give much thought to Mycah's fate, then it's hard to comprehend how it ought to be expected of Sandor to think that Mycah's fate, as ordered by Cersei, was unusual. Sandor might have thought that Mycah's ordered punishment was harsh. But, it's difficult to fathom that his ordered punishment would have raised the proverbial black flag, given the lack of concern for Mycah's fate at the Darry Castle.



Also, before the events at the Darry Castle there was no effort by anyone to recall Lannister troops from the field or to relay to them any order with regard to Mycah. That Lannister troops were scouring the area was well known and was not a secret. Sandor had no cause to believe that being sent into the field was unusual.



Finally, that Sandor had no cause to see the proverbial black flag because of Cersei's order to him, seems to have been reinforced by Beric's reaction, after Sandor gave his reason for killing Mycah. After being accused of the murder of Mycah by Arya, Sandor does not deny killing Mycah. He simply tells Beric that he was ordered to kill Mycah because Mycah had attacked Joffrey. After Sandor gave that justification, which was basically the superior orders defense, Beric did not reject Sandor's defense out of hand. Beric simply asked, "Did you see the boy attack Prince Joffrey?". Beric, evidently, did not see Sandor's asserted defense as being invalid on it's face. Accordingly, Beric granted Sandor a trial by combat rather than merely executing Sandor, after Sandor admitted to killing Mycah.



It seems plausible that Sandor wouldn't have seen anything particularly unusual about Cersei's order, except maybe the severity of the punishment that Cersei wanted imposed upon Mycah.



Did Cersei's Ordered Punishment Go Beyond What Was Authorized?


From the Hedge Knight and from Chapter 30, Jaime, AFFC, we know that the traditional penalty for kicking or punching one of royal blood was the loss of the offending appendage. The issue here is whether the traditional penalty was controlling precedent in Mycah's case. If it was, then Cersei's order would have been illegal.



There are two reasons to doubt that the traditional penalty was controlling precedent. First, the allegations made by Joffrey were that he had been hit with clubs and had been bitten by Nymeria, suffering severe arm wounds. Arguably, the assault upon Joffrey was much more egregious than having been kicked with a foot or hit with a fist. Secondly, from The Sworn Sword, it is suggested that the lords and ladies of Westeros have a great deal of discretion when deciding upon punishments for criminal offenses. Cersei's punishment for Mycah might have been very harsh, but it is difficult to conclude that it was illegal because of prior precedent dealing with assaults upon those of royal blood.



Even if Cersei's chosen punishment were illegal, because prior precedent was controlling, it would be difficult to conclude that it was manifestly illegal to a person similarly situated as Sandor. Sandor was trained as a soldier, not as a Maester, specializing in the law. He could not be expected to pick through the finer points of Westerosi legal precedent in order to determine whether Mycah's sentence, given the allegations, were unlawful. As Baelor Breakspear told Dunk, allegations of striking a prince is a serious affair. It is difficult to conclude that Sandor should have seen a black flag with respect to Cersei's ordered punishment for Mycah.



Was Mycah Too Young To Recieve A Death Sentence Under Westeros' Law?


In Westeros, there appears to be no general prohibition on a 13 year old receiving a death sentence for their criminal conduct. Cersei intended to execute Sansa Stark for her alleged role in Joffrey's death. Cersei's intended punishment for Sansa does not appear to elicit a great deal of outrage among the people aware of the intended punishment. In short, Sansa's age doesn't seem to be a bar against her receiving an execution for her alleged crime.



Also Westeros' general attitude towards minors is certainly different from our own. This is clearly highlighted by the fact that, in Westeros, boys as young as 12 years of age are sent into combat. Sandor himself first saw combat at only 12 years of age. Adam Osgrey died at 12 years of age while in combat. Podrick Payne was around 12 or 13 years of age when he fought at The Battle of The Blackwater.



It is hard to conclude that Mycah's age precluded a sentence of capital punishment. And it is certainly more difficult to conclude that Ceresi's ordered punishment for Mycah was manifestly illegal.



Were Mycah's Trial Or Procedural Rights Violated?


The law in Westeros does not appear to grant any special trial rights to the small folk. Accordingly, it is hard to conclude that Cersei's order was unlawful because it violated Mycah's trial or procedural rights.



The fact that in Westeros nobles are granted some minimal level of trial rights, while the small folk are not, shows the very classicist nature of Westeros.26 It's hard to hold Sandor personally accountable for the classicist nature of Westerosi society.



CONCLUDING REMARKS


Sandor's actions regarding Mycah will always be troubling. However, when debating Sandor's actions, with respect to Mycah, assertions about his degree of culpability, based on rather casual mentions about Nuremburg, are likely to be off the mark. Ultimately, at Nuremburg, and thereafter, soldiers were tried and convicted for breaking the law.27



It's true, of course, that what is legal is not always moral or ethical. But, it is also probably true that most people's value systems are highly influenced by the societies in which they live. Quite often it is by the law that a society most strongly shows its disapproval of certain types of conduct. The law helps to put people on notice as to what types of conduct are wrong or inappropriate. It's much more reasonable to expect individuals to follow moral and ethical norms when those ethical and moral norms are backed by the law, or, at least, widely accepted standards of conduct. On the other hand, when moral or ethical norms are contradicted by the law or widely accepted modes of practice, some degree of ethical confusion by moral agents ought to be expected. Accordingly, Sandor's killing of Mycah needs to be understood within the context of the social institutions and the legal framework that exists in Westeros.28



Although Sandor's killing of Mycah might have not have been illegal or manifestly illegal, it does not necessarily follow that his actions with respect to Mycah are free of all ethical baggage. Modern doctrines regarding the superior orders defense do not guarantee perfect ethical conduct by soldiers operating under orders. Even the absolute liability approach to the superior orders defense does not guarantee perfect moral conduct by soldiers because it does not inquire into whether a soldier made the best moral choice, in a given situation, but only whether the soldiers actions were legal.29 However, both the absolute liability approach and conditional liability approach to the superior orders doctrine do separate out the truly atrocious cases of soldier conduct from the morally gray ones.



It may be fair to say that with respect to Mycah, Sandor did the "bare minimum". If Sandor did not take any "extra steps" to discover the truth about Mycah's it's likely because of Sandor's general disposition of "blaming the system". That Sandor does seem to be a bit predisposed to "blaming the system" for his ethically questionable conduct seems to have been indicated when he told Sansa Stark, on top of the Red Keep, that "I'm honest. It's the world that's awful." Sandor's habit of "blaming the system" is likely to be his biggest moral and ethical weakness.



Certainly Sandor ought to be troubled by his actions with regard to Mycah. If Sandor is troubled by his killing of Mycah, it's important that that he draw some appropriate lessons from his role in Mycah's death. Perhaps the most important lesson that Sandor should learn is that if he is to create no more Mycah's, he can't simply be the good obedient dog anymore, should he ever take up arms again. Fortunately, since leaving his Lannister masters, Sandor describes himself being "his own dog". By "being his own dog", hopefully Sandor will be more proactive in deciding who he will kill and who he will not, even if ordered to do so. Ironically, by being bit of a "bad dog", Sandor may end up being a better moral actor.



Fortunately, Sandor does seem to be troubled by his killing of Mycah. In one conversion with Arya, Sandor tells Arya that the killing of Mycah might make him a "monster" but that he also saved Sansa's life. If Sandor wasn't troubled by the killing of Mycah, there would be little reason for Sandor to explain to Arya his good acts. In another conversation with Arya about Mycah, Sandor angrily tells Arya not to mention Mycah again, as if he doesn't want to be reminded about the incident.



Sandor might be a highly effective warrior and killer, but there is little to suggest that he is the sort of person to kill a thirteen year old boy just because he wanted to do so. In ASOS, during Sandor's time in the Riverlands, we never see him kill unless in self defense, not even when he is angered. Shortly after his trial by combat, Beric makes a rather curious remark about Sandor. Beric states that while Sandor would gladly kill the members of the BWB, for appropriating his gold, Sandor would not do it while they slept. This suggest that Sandor has some self imposed limits upon killing. It's as if Sandor has some notion that fights ought to be fair. In Chapter 30, Jaime, AFFC, we get a bit more insight into Sandor's character. Jaime is told about the atrocities committed at the Saltpans and that Sandor Clegane is responsible for them. Jaime, however, has doubts about whether Sandor is responsible for the atrocious acts committed at the Saltpans. Jaime thinks that Sandor is a hard and brutal man, but the commission of pointless atrocities is not within Sandor's mode of operation. Sandor is not the sort of man to kill for purposes of entertainment.



In sum, Sandor's killing of Mycah was a horrible act, but it doesn't make Sandor a monster. Jaime Lannister was right when he said that the real monster in the Clegane family was Gregor, not Sandor.



FOOTNOTES


1. Interview by John Hodgeman, Public Radio International(PRI), with George R.R. Martin(Sept 21, 2011) (Martin criticizes fantasy works portraying "Disney Land" Middle Ages).



2. Anyone with more than a passing familiarity with Nuremburg Tribunals knows that their legitimacy was questioned. Among other things, the Nuremburg Tribunals were accused of applying retroactive criminal laws. The Nuremburg Tribunals, however, vigorously denied applying ex post facto laws. The tribunals maintained they had judged the Nazi war criminals according to established law. Some sources of said law, according to the Tribunals, were 1) The 1907 Hague Convention, 2) The 1929 Geneva Convention, 3) The 1928 Pact of Paris, and 4) Established Rules and Customs of War.



3. I generally avoid here any discussion about other possible defenses that soldiers may have like duress and necessity for two reasons. For one, neither duress or necessity are directly applicable to Sandor's case. Secondly, I omit any discussion of them for purposes of brevity.



4. I use the term "modern" very loosely in this essay. The issue of the superior orders defense has been around long before Nuremburg and the Twentieth Century. And, certainly, it isn't the case that the superior orders defense has been generally accepted as a full or perfect defense before the onset of the Twentieth Century. When I use the term "modern", I mean mainly how the various the approaches to the superior orders defense are described in the current literature.



5. Prima facie is latin. It generally means "on the face of it".



6. In the real world, the term "pit and gallows" seems to have been used extensively in feudal Scotland.



7. See Mark J. Osiel, Obeying Orders (Transaction Publishers 2009).



8. See Mark J. Oseil, Obeying Orders; Also "just following orders" was rejected in the trial of Peter von Hagenbach, which occurred in 1474. Two hundred years later it would be rejected again by an English court in the case of Captain Axtell.



9. Historically, the full defense approach didn't seem to gain any real momentum until around or after1906 when Professor Oppenheim published his treatise "International Law". In that treatise Oppenheim argued for the full defense approach to superior orders.



10. Technically speaking the Nuremburg Charter completely banned the superior orders defense. But there are some qualifications to this. For one given the gravity of the crimes charged, it would have ridiculous for the defendants to have claimed that the orders given to them were not manifestly illegal. See Obeying Orders, Oseil. Also some of the statements made by the tribunals themselves seem to indicate that the superior orders defense was a valid defense in certain cases. In Re Von Leeb, the court wrote,"within certain limitations,[a soldier] has the right to assume that the orders of his superiors....are in conformity to international law". In Re Von Leeb, 11 Nuremburg Military Tribunals 511 (1948)(The High Command Trial). Also, See Generally Robert H. Jackson's letter to Harry Truman. International Conference on Military Trials: London, 1945, Report to the President by Mr. Justice Jackson, June 6, 1945



11. See Article 32 Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (It is apparent that a mistake of fact defense is conceptually different than a defense based on the superior orders defense); See also Her Majesty The Queen v. Imre Finta, 1 S.C.R. 701 (1994); See also Prosecutor v. Erdemovic, Case No. IT-96-22, Sentencing Judgment (Nov. 29, 1996)



12. Most legal systems are much more unforgiving with mistakes of law, than they are with mistakes of fact. In the Anglo/American system mistakes of law are never a defense, with a couple of exceptions, the main one being where it negates mens rea.



13. See Mark J. Oseil, Obeying Orders



14. Article 33 Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court (ICC).



15.. See Her Majesty The Queen v. Imre Finta, 1 S.C.R. 701 (1994)("The Manifest Illegality Test has received a wide measure of international acceptance");Technically both The United States and Germany do not use the manifest illegality standard. The standard in both countries appears to be whether a soldiers actions were reasonable under the circumstances. Arguably the reasonable under the circumstances standard is a bit more restrictive than the Manifest Illegality standard.



16. Jean-Jacques Fresard, The Roots of Behavior in War: A Survey Of The Literature (2004)("In extreme cases, as Holmes [british Soldier and Military Historian] points out, 'many training systems are deliberately designed to break recruits down to a lowest common denominator before building them up again.'It is a new man who emerges from the mould. This process is especially remarkable in crack units. They are subjected to iron discipline......"); Thomas E. Ricks, Making The Corps (Touchstone 1998)(" 'Now!' " begins Staff Sergeant Biehl. It is the first word they [Marine Recruits] hear on Parris Island, and it is entirely appropriate. For the next eleven weeks, every order they hear will carry a tacit insistence that it be executed immediately.")



17. Williamson Murray; War, Strategy, and Military Effectiveness (Cambrigde University Press 2011) ("Thus discipline was the glue that made the individuals composing an army stay on the field of battle, no matter how terrible the conditions of fear, death, and mutilation might be. Without discipline armies were not armies, but armed mobs incapable of maintaining cohesion, tactical formations, or obedience."); McCall v. McDowell, 1 Abb. 212(1867)(Holding that military subordinate not liable for damages for false arrest so long as the order to the subordinate was legal on it's face)(The court wrote:"The first duty of a soldier is obedience, and without this there can be neither discipline nor efficiency in any army. If every subordinate officer and solder were at liberty to question the legality of the orders of the commander, and obey them or not as they may consider them valid or invalid, the camp would be turned into a debating school, where the precious moment for action would be wasted into wordy conflicts between the advocates of conflicting opinions");



18.See Ofer v. Chief Military Prosecutor, (A) vol 44: 362 ; The same language was quoted in Attorney-Gen of Gov't of Israel v. Eichman, 36 I.L.R. (Supreme Court of Israel 1962). For obvious reasons, Eichman's conduct during World War Two was found to have gone way beyond the standard of manifest illegality.



19. See Her Majesty The Queen v. Imre Finta, 1 S.C.R. 701 (1994).



20. It's typical that these sort of cases will involve both mistakes of fact and mistakes of law.



21. Robert H. Jackson was an associate justice of The United States Supreme Court. Jackson was appointed as the Chief Prosecutor for The United States at the Nuremburg Trials.He helped to draft the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal.



22. See Robert H. Jackson's letter to Harry Truman. International Conference on Military Trials: London, 1945, Report to the President by Mr. Justice Jackson, June 6, 1945; Also, the comments made here by Jackson could be construed as a situation where a soldier operated under a mistake of fact, which would excuse his conduct.



23. See Her Majesty The Queen v. Imre Finta, 1 S.C.R. 701 (1994).



24. See for instance Rule 11 of Canada's Code of Conduct.



25. Theirry Baudet, The Significance of Borders: Why Representative Government and the Rule of Law Require Nation States (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2012) ("Vassallus vassalli mei non est meus vassalus")("A vassal of my vassal is not my vassal.").



26. Interview by James Poinewozik, Part 2, Time Magazine, with George R.R. Martin (April 18, 2011) (Martin stated:"I mean, the class structures in places like this had teeth. They had consequences. And people were brought up from their childhood to know their place and to know the duties of their class and the privileges of their class.")



27. See footnote 2.



28. I personally disdain moral relativism as a starting point in evaluating ethical and moral actions. However, when evaluating the "goodness" or "badness" of an actors actions or the "goodness" or "badness" of the actor himself, it certainly would be highly unrealistic to evaluate those actions without making some account for the social and legal environment the actor operated in.



29. For instance, consider General Colin Powell's statements about not unleashing coalition air power upon retreating Iraqi Soldiers. While unleashing such air power might be legal, it might be ethically problematic as it would, arguably, cause more death that what was absolutely necessary. Or consider a battery commander ordered to fire white phosphorus (known as "willie pete" in military slang) rounds at an enemy position, knowing that for the given mission regular high explosive rounds will just work as well. Willie Pete causes very nasty wounds, arguably much worse than normal munitions do. It's not illegal to fire Willie Pete at enemy combat soldiers. But, it might be highly unethical if there is no particular good operational need to do so.



ETA:


Unfortunately, English is not a compiled language, so some grammatical errors escaped my notice. I have made few a fixes to grammar.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to all the participants for this great thread. And congratulations OldGimletEye for a fantastic essay. You rock, as usual.



Although Sandor knows that legally he cannot be held responsible for the murder of Mycah, it is clear that he is distraught from doing it, to say the least. And we will see that killing Mycah will be one of the things he will say to Arya (along with talking about raping and killing Sansa) while trying to enrage her enough to give him the gift of mercy. He clearly will not mean any of these.



I also have a minor contribution to the legal facts about Westeros.



“Aerion would like your head, with or without teeth. He will not have it, I promise you, but I cannot deny him a trial. As my royal father is hundreds of leagues away, my brother and I must sit in judgment of you, along with Lord Ashford, whose domains these are, and Lord Tyrell of Highgarden, his liege lord. The last time a man was found guilty of striking one of royal blood, it was decreed that he should lose the offending hand.”



This bit reveals a lot about the legal practice in Westeros.



1. Whenever an offense takes place against the royalty, the King must sit in judgment, or if he cannot be present, the Hand also qualifies. This might not look so fair from modern point of view (i.e. the King has the authority to judge an offense against his own self or kin) but this is the point of being the King. After all, “justice belongs to the throne” is a known custom. But here, it might be a god idea to jump to Tyrion’s case.



“Justice belongs to the throne. The king is dead, but your father remains Hand. Since it is his own son who stands accused and his grandson who was the victim, he has asked Lord Tyrell and Prince Oberyn to sit in judgment with him.”



So, even if the King or the Hand has the ultimate authority in judgment, when there is a case involving the King or the Hand as one of the sides, customs and precedents require an effort be made to constitute a fair amount of judges regardless of their legal positions (Mace and Oberyn had no legal authority to sit in judgment in Tyrion’s case).



This also shows why leaving the trial of Margaery completely to the hands of the Faith was a terrible mistake the Tyrells will rue.



Therefore, Baelor included Maekar among the judges although he did not have to. Because he knew that Maekar was prickly and bitter about how his sons were total failure while Baelor and his sons were shining. Baelor was convinced that Dunk was innocent and if he declared him innocent without Maekar present in judgment, the bitter and prickly Maekar could have taken offense for no reason.



2. Although Baelor did not have to include Maekar among the judges, it is clear that he had to include both the Lord Ashford (for owning the domains where the offense took place) and his Liege Lord.



This shows that a Lord has great amount of authority in his own lands. Also if a capital offense (like an assault to the royalty) takes place in the domains of a Lord, his liege Lord should also be notified immediately and sit in judgment along with the local Lord because the Liege Lord is responsible from his own Lords against the crown. Whenever the verdicts of a local Lord might have direct ramifications to his Liege Lord, the Liege Lord must be notified and included in judgment. That is why Tytos failed to function as a proper Liege Lord and so the crown involuntarily had to intervene to set things right in Westerlands.



3. Aerion had the right to demand a trial as the offended party. The important thing is that a trial was to be made before Dunk was punished. So, even in the case of a random nobody attacking a prince of royal blood, the offender cannot be punished without trial. If the offender is not in custody and on the run, it is true that a trial can be made in the absence of the offender. After all, Ned condemned Gregor for attacking Riverlands due to overwhelming evidence without Gregor present to defend himself in the court.



In conclusion, although the King has the ultimate authority in the matters of justice, it is clear that there are well established customs and laws that even a King cannot overthrow. Another important thing is that if an offense takes place against the royalty, customs and precedents require that the King should include some relatively objective judges to ascertain a sense of justice. This is why Westeros is not an absolute monarchy. This is why there is absolutely no basis to defend Aerys’ murder of Rickard and Brandon the way he did.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is so good, OldGimletEye! You’ve done a great job covering the issues of lawfulness and morality, as well as dissecting the “following orders” arguments and counterarguments much better than someone unschooled in legal stuff like me ever could, and there’s little to add that’s not been said. A few observations I’d like to make, though, on certain points.





The death of Mycah is one of the most shocking and saddest events in ASOIAF. The manner of Mycah's death serves notice to us that ASOIAF is not a "Disney Land Middle Ages".1 Mycah is killed of course by Sandor Clegane, aka "The Hound". It's probably more than fair to say that our initial reaction to Mycah's death is to despise and loathe Sandor. Mycah's death makes Sandor look like nothing more than a mindless and sadistic murderer.




I like that you’ve brought up GRRM’s complaint on “Disneyland Middle Ages” to our attention, it serves as a framing point quite well as it highlights GRRM’s intent in writing this scene the way it turned out. This complaint’s one I also have about Hist-Fic literature. For years I’ve complained to all and sundry on how the popular Tudor, Regency and Victorian historical novels gloss over the realities of these periods, especially on the inequality and divide amongst classes that existed in the highly classist British society, and when they’re romances it’s even worse. If GRRM feels it is unrealistic for the peasant girl to sass the prince and not suffer any consequences, to me it’s equally unrealistic for the bourgeois girl to sass His Grace of Whatsitsnameshire and for him be charmed and even fall for her spunk, because to talk insolently to a noble was an offence, not just to the royal family members but to nobles in general, and if they were your lords and masters, they could impose a sanction on you at discretion. Martin alluded to this when he had Roose threaten Arya with punishment when she spoke to him out of turn—without being addressed first—at Harrenhal, which on glance might seem like Roose is just being . . . a Bolton, but in reality reflects the power noblemen had over the smallfolk in the actual Middle Ages.



I remember my thoughts after reading the killing of Mycah were alongside wondering what Jaime had done or not, because of Ned’s observation that both he and Sandor were gone but only the latter is shown coming back. This does carry the bias formation effects of the lack of a Lannister POV too, because it won’t be till two books later that we’ll get to read about how things went in the lion camp from Jaime, and by then the negative impression about Sandor is settled in. both men were sent to hunt with similar purposes, but one is successful and receives the hate for it, and the other is unsuccessful, we don’t even know the real nature of his task at that time, and when we finally do, he’s had a whole book and a half to be presented sympathetically and that has its own influence too. To me, Jaime and Sandor during the Darry incident function as foils and parallels both, starting with Cersei’s orders. Jaime as foil comes from comparing his actions as he remembers them in AFFC, quoted in the analysis: he heard her and Robert fighting, and he heard Robert refusing to punish Arya, calling his wife cruel, so Jaime is aware that the king has denied punishment for the girl, but there’s no mention of Mycah at all and my guess would be that Sandor had been sent after the boy already. Yet, even with this knowledge, he accepts to grant Cersei’s wish to have the girl maimed or killed, going behind the authority of the king that he as Kingsguard is subjected to and knowing what the king’s said on the girl. His position is more damningly compromised than Sandor’s, who doesn’t possess this knowledge and goes by the word of his liege and by the severity of the wounds that would look as “proof” enough, because Jaime knows it’s not only unfair but unlawful as Cersei can’t walk over Robert’s refusal not to harm Arya (his reiterated refusal during the hearing when she was found indicates he didn’t change his mind during the fight with her that Jaime overheard), so he doesn’t have the benefit of the manifestly illegal defence under the conditional liability approach as Sandor does: he knows it is unlawful. His “defence,” if it can be called so, is the things I do for love.



The parallel aspect is in Ned’s reaction to Sandor’s comment, the judgemental silent stare that Jaime also experienced when Ned found him sitting on the throne above Aerys’ corpse. Both men react laughing at Lord Eddard’s face and both give an apparently flippant answer: “He ran. But not fast” and “I was only keeping it warm for our friend Robert.” None of them care to explain what happened and let Ned have his way and judge them as monsters for these killings. Yet within the obvious parallel, Martin has managed to insert differences that even if small can be significant: Sandor’s face is covered, the hound’s helm is on and we can’t see his face, only his eyes that glitter. And why do they glitter? How can we have some clues from his face, like the characteristic mouth twitch that he sports every time he’s feeling something? Jaime’s face, on the other hand, is uncovered and if he was with his mocking half-smile on, it’d have been too easy for Ned to jump to conclusions. And Jaime never gave a reason for killing the king, but Sandor did give one for killing Mycah. Finally, in the Darry case, Ned himself is not without blame, because he’d just finished killing Lady, whom he did know was wholly innocent, because the king gave the order; essentially Ned is in the same position as Sandor in killing an innocent, not that an animal and a child are the same, far from it, but for the sake of argument the parallel is written there to draw a comparative analysis.



Another topic is the reason for hitting royals being typified as a punishable offence; in another occasion I explained that it was because in the Middle Ages and later the person of a king was sacred, he was supposed to be God’s anointed representative on Earth, reigning by divine right, no matter how incompetent and cruel and petty he could be. From that comes the royal formula “By the Grace of God, King/Queen of England” when signing documents and is also the origin of the “Royal We,” the way monarchs talked formally of themselves in plural, always We/Us and not I/Me, because it was considered them and God together ruled. Therefore, to hurt a king on purpose, be that by slapping, hitting, pulling his hair or beard, or any other action that resulted in him ending up with a wound, or worse, attempting to kill him, was a sin from the religious standpoint, not just a mere secular crime. That was extended to the heir of the king, as he was to be the next king, and to a degree to the rest of the family. From the legal standpoint, in Medieval England, harming a royal was listed amongst the grave offences against the Crown, and the punishments were of generally three types: public flogging, losing the offending extremities and death. We can assume that a similar reasoning could apply to the Westerosi case, therefore, considering the importance of the High Septon crowning and anointing the king, thus giving him the Seven’s blessing. This law is also the origin of the “whipping boys,” those commoner children employed by the royal family to bear the spankings that would rightly go to the royal princes and princesses for misbehaving. You couldn’t beat a royal child even when it was deserved, so you beat his whipping boy. This custom also exists in Westeros, and is by itself proof that the law of The Hedge Knight isn’t outdated at all but fully actual and enforced in present-time ASOIAF, because Joffrey did have a whipping boy, and Tommen does too; it’s in these passages in AFFC Cersei V and Cersei VIII that mention Pate the whipping boy:



Tommen’s face turned red. “No one told me.”


“No one? Is that what you call your lady wife?” The queen could smell Margaery Tyrell all over this rebellion. “If you lie to me, I will have no choice but to send for Pate and have him beaten till he bleeds.” Pate was Tommen’s whipping boy, as he had been Joffrey’s. “Is that what you want?”


.......................................................................................................................................................................................


“I’m the king. I get to say who has their tongues torn out, not you. I won’t let you hurt Margaery. I won’t. I forbid it.”


Cersei took him by the ear and dragged him squealing to the door, where she found Ser Boros Blount standing guard. “Ser Boros, His Grace has forgotten himself. Kindly escort him to his bedchamber and bring up Pate. This time I want Tommen to whip the boy himself. He is to continue until the boy is bleeding from both cheeks. If His Grace refuses, or says one word of protest, summon Qyburn and tell him to remove Pate’s tongue, so His Grace can learn the cost of insolence.”



The very existence of whipping boys underscores the unexpired nature of the prohibition, and the only person that can hit another royal with impunity is the king himself, and no one else, and that’s why Robert said he’d discipline Joffrey. Another proof that it’s not an outdated law in-universe is that the hitting of Joffrey on Tyrion’s part was used against him at his trial even though Tyrion was his uncle and Hand of the King. The only other one who has a whipping boy is Sweetrobin, but in his case it’s for Lysa’s overprotectiveness.



A third point of interest of me is the duties of Sandor towards Cersei, what type of feudal bondage they have. It’s been argued that Sandor could’ve gone to serve a better, more moral family if he so wished, as he wasn’t under any legal obligations. But I don’t believe that’s completely accurate, not when it pertains to choosing his overlords because he’s not a commoner, he’s not a sellsword nor a mere employee/servant, and he’s not a hedge knight that can go from castle to castle. He is a nobleman that serves House Lannister because of the feudal obligations of lesser nobles towards their overlords. On this specific point of feudal obligations, let’s see the circumstances in which he entered their service and became their liegeman:



• Supposing he left home round the time of Robert’s Rebellion, then he was a child with few resources and little options in finding a place to live, be protected from his brother and earn his upkeep. The Clegane lands are east of Lannisport, so the nearest place that’d come to his mind would be Casterly Rock as opposed to any place he doesn’t know and where likely he has nobody to help him. At Casterly, he not only can: a. plead protection and help from his liege lord under feudal law, which Tywin can’t deny him nor would he because of how badly it’d reflect on his image to refuse a vassal that way, b. there are likely people there that knew his grandfather or his father when he squired there, which could give some help to the boy too.



• The Lannisters as Lords Paramount of the Westerlands are the only House that can offer Sandor any sort of solid protection against Gregor, because since the Clegane lands and titles come from them, can be reverted if they wish. Not that they would, given how useful a tool Gregor is to Tywin, but there’s that as leverage. If Sandor becomes useful to them, then he’s protected due to that usefulness as well.



• Not only can Sandor plead for protection under feudal rules, but he is actually also under obligation to serve House Lannister because he’s the heir of House Clegane. A common argument for him to go find other overlords is that as a second son he is free to do so, and the usual quote that’s cited is Robar Royce’s words to Catelyn in ACOK when she expresses surprise at seeing him serving Renly when the Royces are sworn to the Arryns, and Royce says that only the head of the House and his heir are under obligation to serve their overlord but that spare sons are free to go elsewhere. Yet, what’s frequently forgotten is that whilst that is true for Robar since Lord Bronze Yohn is the head and Andar is his heir, it’s not the same case for Sandor, because at the time he went to serve the Lannisters his father had died and Gregor was now head of the House, making Sandor the heir. So, under feudal law, he wasn’t free to choose his overlords because of the condition of heir that he maintained throughout his life till he became Kingsguard, because Gregor has no children. It might be the case too, that he was given a place of prominence amongst the Lannisters due to his rank. So, it’s in that condition of heir that he swore fealty to Tywin, and when he was passed on to serve Cersei, he was conditioned to serve her for the same bonds of fealty, as it’s certain that he did make an oath of fealty, since there’s no indication that he’s against vows in general but specifically only against knightly vows, which are religious in essence as contrasted to liege-liegeman ones that are of a secular nature.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An excellent defense, as well as an illuminating lesson in law, OldGimletEye!



I only have a bit of time to respond at the moment, but I did want to mention a few things while fresh in my mind.



As you mentioned in your introduction, Arya and Mycah fled the scene, which would only reinforce the perception that they were guilty. Mycah most likely fled solely because he was terrified, but Arya fled both because she was scared and knew she did something terribly wrong that would warrant harsh punishment. She had plenty of time to reflect on her actions while in hiding, and choose to remain hidden, rather than going to her father.



With regard to the nobility’s attitude toward the smallfolk, in addition to not expressing any concern for Mycah during the search, Ned’s response to discovering it was actually Mycah, not Nymeria slung over Sandor’s horse, can be interpreted as if he’s almost relieved it wasn’t Nymeria: “Bending, Ned pulled back the cloak, dreading the words he would have to find for Arya, but it was not Nymeria after all.” Ned isn't exactly expressing horror here.



Just some quick musings on Westeros law and bias: From the very first chapter in A Game of Thrones, Ned decapitates a terrified deserter, Gared, which portrays Ned as a man with a very black and white approach to justice and the law. While he felt he was firmly in the right, for the readers, this execution falls into a grey zone and the execution of Gared evokes our sympathies, since we understand the reason for the desertion. Even Jon can see Gared “was dead of fear." In contrast, readers are supportive of Ned’s quick sentence upon Gregor, since he’s such a savage brute, yet Ned doesn’t even consider placing Gregor on trial even though he’s an anointed knight.



Sandor was Joffrey's sworn shield and on duty when Joffrey sustained his injuries. It would make sense that a furious Cersei demand he carry out the punishment, leaving him with the little choice in the matter.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

The parallel aspect is in Ned’s reaction to Sandor’s comment, the judgemental silent stare that Jaime also experienced when Ned found him sitting on the throne above Aerys’ corpse. Both men react laughing at Lord Eddard’s face and both give an apparently flippant answer: “He ran. But not fast” and “I was only keeping it warm for our friend Robert.” None of them care to explain what happened and let Ned have his way and judge them as monsters for these killings. Yet within the obvious parallel, Martin has managed to insert differences that even if small can be significant: Sandor’s face is covered, the hound’s helm is on and we can’t see his face, only his eyes that glitter. And why do they glitter? How can we have some clues from his face, like the characteristic mouth twitch that he sports every time he’s feeling something? Jaime’s face, on the other hand, is uncovered and if he was with his mocking half-smile on, it’d have been too easy for Ned to jump to conclusions. And Jaime never gave a reason for killing the king, but Sandor did give one for killing Mycah. Finally, in the Darry case, Ned himself is not without blame, because he’d just finished killing Lady, whom he did know was wholly innocent, because the king gave the order; essentially Ned is in the same position as Sandor in killing an innocent, not that an animal and a child are the same, far from it, but for the sake of argument the parallel is written there to draw a comparative analysis.

<snip>

A third point of interest of me is the duties of Sandor towards Cersei, what type of feudal bondage they have. It’s been argued that Sandor could’ve gone to serve a better, more moral family if he so wished, as he wasn’t under any legal obligations. But I don’t believe that’s completely accurate, not when it pertains to choosing his overlords because he’s not a commoner, he’s not a sellsword nor a mere employee/servant, and he’s not a hedge knight that can go from castle to castle. He is a nobleman that serves House Lannister because of the feudal obligations of lesser nobles towards their overlords. On this specific point of feudal obligations, let’s see the circumstances in which he entered their service and became their liegeman:

• Supposing he left home round the time of Robert’s Rebellion, then he was a child with few resources and little options in finding a place to live, be protected from his brother and earn his upkeep. The Clegane lands are east of Lannisport, so the nearest place that’d come to his mind would be Casterly Rock as opposed to any place he doesn’t know and where likely he has nobody to help him. At Casterly, he not only can: a. plead protection and help from his liege lord under feudal law, which Tywin can’t deny him nor would he because of how badly it’d reflect on his image to refuse a vassal that way, b. there are likely people there that knew his grandfather or his father when he squired there, which could give some help to the boy too.

• The Lannisters as Lords Paramount of the Westerlands are the only House that can offer Sandor any sort of solid protection against Gregor, because since the Clegane lands and titles come from them, can be reverted if they wish. Not that they would, given how useful a tool Gregor is to Tywin, but there’s that as leverage. If Sandor becomes useful to them, then he’s protected due to that usefulness as well.

• Not only can Sandor plead for protection under feudal rules, but he is actually also under obligation to serve House Lannister because he’s the heir of House Clegane. A common argument for him to go find other overlords is that as a second son he is free to do so, and the usual quote that’s cited is Robar Royce’s words to Catelyn in ACOK when she expresses surprise at seeing him serving Renly when the Royces are sworn to the Arryns, and Royce says that only the head of the House and his heir are under obligation to serve their overlord but that spare sons are free to go elsewhere. Yet, what’s frequently forgotten is that whilst that is true for Robar since Lord Bronze Yohn is the head and Andar is his heir, it’s not the same case for Sandor, because at the time he went to serve the Lannisters his father had died and Gregor was now head of the House, making Sandor the heir. So, under feudal law, he wasn’t free to choose his overlords because of the condition of heir that he maintained throughout his life till he became Kingsguard, because Gregor has no children. It might be the case too, that he was given a place of prominence amongst the Lannisters due to his rank. So, it’s in that condition of heir that he swore fealty to Tywin, and when he was passed on to serve Cersei, he was conditioned to serve her for the same bonds of fealty, as it’s certain that he did make an oath of fealty, since there’s no indication that he’s against vows in general but specifically only against knightly vows, which are religious in essence as contrasted to liege-liegeman ones that are of a secular nature.

Excellent points, Milady. I always found it curious that Sandor's face was hidden behind his helm. Why would he be wearing it at this time? He's not riding into combat, but returning to Darry's keep with his men. Only after hearing about his own history with violence, it isn't hard to deduce that he was deeply disturbed at having to ride down someone so young and defenseless. And we know his mouth twitches when under emotional duress. I also have always interpreted his comments to Ned as a form of emotional defense since he's rankled by Ned's judgment.

Excellent observation of the parallels between Ned's execution of the innocent Lady and the slaying of Mycah. And, no, the killing of a pet is by no means on par with the killing of a child, but still invites a comparative analysis, as you stated.

It's unfair to judge and criticize Sandor for serving House Lannister when any Lord would expect the same degree of loyalty from their own bannermen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jaime as foil comes from comparing his actions as he remembers them in AFFC, quoted in the analysis: he heard her and Robert fighting, and he heard Robert refusing to punish Arya, calling his wife cruel, so Jaime is aware that the king has denied punishment for the girl, but theres no mention of Mycah at all and my guess would be that Sandor had been sent after the boy already.

Speaking of realism and classist society, I think it's more probable that Robert simply did not care for the boy. Probably nobody did (apart from Arya) because he was but smallfolk and not even their smallfolk, so there probably wasn't any discussion at all about his fate. He had to be punished. Maybe if he hadn't run he coud have just lost an arm, or something like that. I think the conflict was only over how to deal with the highborn girl.

Sandor, we see later, is affected by this killing, but he dosen't seem in this chapter. He seems detached. Or maybe not, he sort of overkilled. Why did he have to cut Mycah in half? Why did he laugh afterwards?

I wonder if, after keep telling himself for a lifetime, he really believed those bollocks about the weak being there only for the strong to play with. Even if he believed it to be true, he clearly didn't liked it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to drop in and say thank you to Milady, Brash,and DogLover for inviting me to be a guest writer on this thread. And, also, for their hard work in putting this whole re-read project together.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just some quick musings on Westeros law and bias: From the very first chapter in A Game of Thrones, Ned decapitates a terrified deserter, Gared, which portrays Ned as a man with a very black and white approach to justice and the law. While he felt he was firmly in the right, for the readers, this execution falls into a grey zone and the execution of Gared evokes our sympathies, since we understand the reason for the desertion. Even Jon can see Gared “was dead of fear." In contrast, readers are supportive of Ned’s quick sentence upon Gregor, since he’s such a savage brute, yet Ned doesn’t even consider placing Gregor on trial even though he’s an anointed knight.

I have to say that although what happened to poor Gared was unfortunate, him bypassing his officers and not informing what happened to his party was a serious crime that took its toll dearly on the NW starting with Benjen. Gared was a respected ranger who spent nearly all his life at the Wall. If a man like him could go so mad, there were people at the Wall like Qhorin or Benjen or Dywen who could make sense out of it and be warned.

Sandor, we see later, is affected by this killing, but he dosen't seem in this chapter. He seems detached. Or maybe not, he sort of overkilled. Why did he have to cut Mycah in half? Why did he laugh afterwards?

I think it is mainly because he wanted to show that he was not a pussy. We have Shitmouth who is actually a nice person but speaks with the foulest mouth we have seen. That is because he does not want to appear as a pussy among the likes of the Mountain’s Men. Later we see that how Sandor lost his courage at Blackwater was heard by everyone and from that moment on, many people stopped fearing him, saying that he lost the belly for fighting. It is interesting that Jaime, who didnot see the breaking of the Hound, still fears him.

So, laughing after killing Mycah was something the Hound was expected to do and Sandor did it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sandor, we see later, is affected by this killing, but he dosen't seem in this chapter. He seems detached. Or maybe not, he sort of overkilled. Why did he have to cut Mycah in half? Why did he laugh afterwards?

I wonder if, after keep telling himself for a lifetime, he really believed those bollocks about the weak being there only for the strong to play with. Even if he believed it to be true, he clearly didn't liked it.

I wouldn't go as far as to categorically affirm that he doesn't seem affected here, bearing in mind the lack of a POV and the way the chapter ends, a point I'll address ahead. Nor would I affirm he seems detached either, because it's Ned speaking here, who's in a certain mindset already after the unpleasant trial, and unlike with Jaime, we'll never get into Sandor's head to know what he was feeling or thinking, and due to the author's construction of the chapter, the passage in which the men exchange words over the boy in special, we are also deprived of body language clues, except for perhaps the glittering eyes that by themselves are ambiguous for lack of supporting facial clues.

On the cutting the boy in half, that doesn't seem intentional as much as a product of two things: one, Sandor's extreme strength, because even if he's not as inhumanly strong as his brother, he's still very, very strong and this strength is noticeable even when he's being gentle (Sansa describes when his grip is strong as iron and when it softens), so a cut from him would carry a lot more force on impact. Second, and this is something I asked a historical re-enactor friend of mine long ago when investigating swordfighting techniques and he lectured me a bit on the force of impact from a sword blow standing versus from a sword blow on horseback as well as blows with axes, and when I described Sandor's killing, he mused that it looked like a strike from a horseman and not someone on foot, which does fit with Ned's "you rode him down." He told me also that when a cavalryman/knight delivers a blow with his sword or sabre, the strength of the horse also plays a role and adds to the force of the impact and thus is more damaging than the same blow done on foot. See it this way: Mycah, who Sandor believes is fleeing from punishment to his deed, is running on foot and Sandor goes after him on horse, and the combination of a very strong man and a strong horse (it was a destrier he was on) results in a blow that even if delivered with moderate force, would cut deeply. That's something to consider whenever discussing the boy's wounds, because in saying it's "overkill" the implication is that the Hound killed him with all possible sadism, not to mention that "cut him in half" is also a figure of speech that alludes to severe wounds but not necessarily to literal cutting in half as in two separate portions. Look at what happened to Beric, to whom we do know for sure Sandor did deliver a blow with all his strength and intentionally so as he was fighting for his life, and yet the wound was just from collarbone down, and not literally parted Beric open in two. Or Brandon Stark's similar blow to Littlefinger that cut him in half figuratively, from collarbone to navel. This kind of cut comes generally from a specific up/downwards sword move that aims to cut from the neck down and the depth of the resulting wound depends on the man's strength as well as protection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to say that although what happened to poor Gared was unfortunate, him bypassing his officers and not informing what happened to his party was a serious crime that took its toll dearly on the NW starting with Benjen. Gared was a respected ranger who spent nearly all his life at the Wall. If a man like him could go so mad, there were people at the Wall like Qhorin or Benjen or Dywen who could make sense out of it and be warned.

Are you saying that Gared, who went mad, should have had the wits to warn the NW? Gared was a man hardened by his many years in service to the Night's Watch, yet this experience was so terrifying that he didn't know what else to do other than flee. I'm no mental health expert (that's Milady's area of expertise), but Gared did desert as a result of severe emotional trauma and I think there are some interesting parallels to the Hound and his own battle with PTSD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I accidentally quoted myself rather than edit my post. My computer is behaving very badly today. :blushing:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An exceptional analysis, OGE, and one that was sorely missing from a lot of the debates concerning Sandor's role in this terrible affair. That it was terrible is not in doubt given that when all is said and done, two innocents have been killed, and another wolf has been driven off to fend for itself in the wild. I appreciated your thorough elucidation of the Superior Orders Defense, and the different approaches whereby a soldier's culpability can be measured and adjudicated. The fact that there must be balance between needing to secure military discipline and also ensure that the rule of law is not violated is a pertinent one, and should be kept in mind, especially when applied to a medieval context of feudal obligations.



It's interesting, as Milady of York pointed out, to consider how Jaime Lannister acts as a foil to Sandor Clegane in these matters. Before the events at Darry, we see Jaime's unlawful (the guest right tradition) and grossly immoral actions pertaining to Bran's defenestration during the Winterfell visit. Sandor's glib comments about doing harm to Summer are not meant to be taken seriously, but they do further establish him as firmly in the Lannister camp. Now it is Sandor's turn to bear the moral scrutiny of Ned Stark and the readers who are shocked by Mycah's unfair death. That Martin meant for there to be no simplistic judgements on any character stemming from this affair is highlighted through not only the sheer perversion of justice that is spearheaded by Cersei, but in how easily characters exceed or escape their designated roles, complicating our ready assumptions and sympathies. Robert, who was supposed to act as lawful judge, takes the easy way out and acquiesces to his wife's demand for a wolf to be killed; Ned Stark goes from concerned father to executioner of Lady and back to judge when Sandor comes back his hunt; and Sansa Stark, who was meant to only bear witness, becomes another victim in the debacle when she loses her wolf. That Sansa had previously mistaken the touch of Sandor Clegane for that of her father's, perhaps adds some provocative weight to Milady's point about the deliberate comparative analysis that Martin invites between the two men vis a vis the orders that they carry out.








CONCLUDING REMARKS



<snip>



It may be fair to say that with respect to Mycah, Sandor did the "bare minimum". If Sandor did not take any "extra steps" to discover the truth about Mycah's it's likely because of Sandor's general disposition of "blaming the system". That Sandor does seem to be a bit predisposed to "blaming the system" for his ethically questionable conduct seems to have been indicated when he told Sansa Stark, on top of the Red Keep, that "I'm honest. It's the world that's awful." Sandor's habit of "blaming the system" is likely to be his biggest moral and ethical weakness.



Certainly Sandor ought to be troubled by his actions with regard to Mycah. If Sandor is troubled by his killing of Mycah, it's important that that he draw some appropriate lessons from his role in Mycah's death. Perhaps the most important lesson that Sandor should learn is that if he is to create no more Mycah's, he can't simply be the good obedient dog anymore, should he ever take up arms again. Fortunately, since leaving his Lannister masters, Sandor describes himself being "his own dog". By "being his own dog", hopefully Sandor will be more proactive in deciding who he will kill and who he will not, even if ordered to do so. Ironically, by being bit of a "bad dog", Sandor may end up being a better moral actor.



Fortunately, Sandor does seem to be troubled by his killing of Mycah. In one conversion with Arya, Sandor tells Arya that the killing of Mycah might make him a "monster" but that he also saved Sansa's life. If Sandor wasn't troubled by the killing of Mycah, there would be little reason for Sandor to explain to Arya his good acts. In another conversation with Arya about Mycah, Sandor angrily tells Arya not to mention Mycah again, as if he doesn't want to be reminded about the incident.



<snip>





I really liked your concluding remarks as well, and agree that Sandor's "blaming the system" did predispose him to take a more callous and morally questionable stance on things. Of course, Sandor's views on the system come out of a history of painful personal experience, which we shall be exploring very soon. We will later see that Sandor's laughter often cannot be simply taken as him being cheerful, but rather expresses a level of discomfort that is going on beneath the surface. Getting beneath the surface of the Hound essentially describes Martin's approach to Sandor's arc, and that could be one reason why he's outfitted in his helm here, as it once again draws our attention to the need to see beneath appearances. The description Ned gives as Sandor comes back from the hunt also contains an important mention that we should take note of:



There was something slung over the back of his destrier, a heavy shape wrapped in a bloody cloak. “No sign of your daughter, Hand,” the Hound rasped down, “but the day was not wholly wasted. We got her little pet.” He reached back and shoved the burden off, and it fell with a thump in front of Ned.


There we have the first appearance of a bloody cloak in Sandor's narrative, a motif that will take on important symbolic resonance with regard to his development in the series.






I just wanted to drop in and say thank you to Milady, Brash,and DogLover for inviting me to be a guest writer on this thread. And, also, for their hard work in putting this whole re-read project together.





You're very welcome :grouphug: and we do hope you'll participate further in the discussion as it continues.


Share this post


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

×