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

This is amazing...

I opened this because I saw Rag came back and I was so happy to see him and just imagine my happiness to see you all...

Milady, brash and Doglover, all the happiness on your reread. I was really happy to see that intellectual drought has ended on these boards and happier to see some old faces back.

I don't have much time at the moment, but it was great read. Congrats to Milady on beautiful essay and a lot of great things people brought up. Great job... Keep up.

Thank you for the welcome back!

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 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.

<snip>

Thoroughly enjoyable and a delight to read. More so for me because I have a bit of a legal-geek streak. And you footnoted!

Nothing to add, but in support of your traditions and customs point the US Supreme Court still hears cases based on English Common Law. The most recent one I can recall is Atwater v. Lago Vista regarding warrantless arrests for fine only violations absent a breach of the peace from 2001. Traditions and customs are alive and well.

<snip>

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.

<snip>

If I might add a little to the Jaime point:

“It is a rare and precious gift to be a knight,” she said, “and even more so a knight of the Kingsguard. It is a gift given to few, a gift you scorned and soiled.”

It was that white cloak that soiled me, not the other way around.

Sandor in tracking down and killing Mycah on Cersei's orders is essentially being a knight by his own definition. It is exactly the type of killing knights do and this the exact reason they kill that makes Sandor feel they are hypocritical. This boy was no threat to Joffrey, no enemy worthy of his battle prowess. He was a boy playing at being a knight which is a familiar tale to our man of will.

“A butcher’s boy who wants to be a knight, is it?” Joffrey swung down from his mount, sword in hand.

Cersei was denied Arya, denied Nymeria, got Lady but was denied the pelt-- Sandor is her only real success and was likely rewarded for it as he's seen knighthood given as a reward before and the hypocritical "honorable" service of knights rewarded as well. Killing Mycah comports with Sandor's own definition of being a "Ser."

This incident may not have been the first crack on Sandor's path to leaving Lannister service but it is at least the first application of force on the bond of loyalty-- at least that we're aware of. Perhaps it bothers him very little in this moment, but levers do wonders for the application of force and time can make for a very long lever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:bowdown: Bravo OldGimletEye! An Informative and Insightful read!



My knowledge of legal matters is as bare as Cersei during her Walk of Shame, however whilst I cannot comment on the legality of Sandor’s actions, I do agree that the issue seems to be about Sandor’s moral guilt rather than legal guilt.



I think GRRM is posing an interesting question here. What would I do in Sandor’s situation? The initial answer is obvious, of course I would refuse the order, consequences be damned. I suspect we would all like to think that we would act like the Ned’s of the world, but GRRM is showing us that being honourable is not easy. As already highlighted, even honourable Ned had to bow to the greater power.



The Mycah incident is shocking. It is supposed to be. Sandor is my one of my favorite characters but I don't believe in whitewashing his actions either. Whilst I do not condone his actions, I do understand them and classic psychological literature supports the notion that there are factors conducive to obedience and these may help us understand (but not excuse) Sandor’s actions:



· Authority Figure:



The prestige and proximity of the Authority figure can influence the degree of obedience. The Lannister’s are an established house whom Sandor has been with since he was 12. Growing up, he would have established a Social Contract with the Lannisters with an expected understanding of a particular code of behaviour. Sandor is Joffrey’s Sworn Shield which is a position of prestige and to reach such a position he would have needed to move through the ranks by working within this expected code of behaviour. This would not include questioning the Lannister’s. Cersei is the Queen of Westeros and a figurehead of House Lannister. Sandor would likely perceive Cersei to be legitimate source of Authority, and a direct order from Cersei would add weight to this, particularly as Sandor is described as “(Cersei’s) dog, in truth.” This will contribute to Sandor's surrender of his autonomous state, where he no longer takes responsibility for his own actions and is subject to the agentic state where he acts as an agent for another's will.



· Proximity of the Victim:



It is easier to distance oneself from a harmful act if the perpetrator is separate from the victim. Physically this is not the case for Sandor as he commits the actual act himself however emotionally Sandor has no ties to Mycah, I doubt they ever met. As highlighted by OldGimletEye, the smallfolk are of little consequence to the nobility.



Sandor also has a tendency to use inappropriate humour as a way of detaching himself from emotionally charged situations. With Mycah, his use of the joke is making light of the gravity of the crime, he is distancing himself from the victim and therefore abdicating himself from guilt and also maintaining his badass persona. He is not allowing himself to dwell on the victim and is even almost blaming the victim by saying “he ran, but not very fast.” Sandor has an established philosophy that 'strong arms and sharp steel rule the world' and 'those who can't protect themselves should die and get out of the way of those who can.' This is his way of squaring his actions with himself.



· Personal Responsibility:



Obedience will decrease if the individual considers themselves liable for their actions. As highlighted by OldGimletEye, Sandor does ‘blame the system’ as a defence for his actions. The Hound persona could be a personification of Sandor’s


agentic state; his free-will is surrendered to the will of the Lannister’s, he can therefore absolve himself from feeling guilt for


his actions. We are given the impression that Sandor has been operating under his Hound persona for a long time by this


point which acts a mechanism for Sandor to remain emotionally detached from the Hound’s despicable actions. He is even


described as wearing the Hound helm when the incident takes place, the physical embodiment of his descent from human to


obedient dog.



  • Fear of Punishment:

Although we can only speculate what the consequences for disobeying such an order, we should consider that Westeros is a


broken society and the Lannister’s are unpredictable, particularly where Joffrey and Cersei are concerned. There are


examples we can draw on from later books that could suggest possible consequences for disobeying the Lannisters.



At best? Probably demotion. Sandor has had to work hard to move through the ranks of the Lannisters to become Joffrey’s


Sworn Shield. He will know that his position with the Lannister’s is based only on his ability to efficiently carry out their orders


so he knows he should not question them. When Sandor refuses Joffrey’s order to hit Sansa’s he is effectively replaced by


the Kettleblacks and considered out of favour. I would suspect there could only be a small number of times Sandor would be


able to get away with not following an order before more severe consequences occurred.



At worse? Sandor is Joffrey’s Sworn Shield, a position of prestige. I doubt the Lannister’s would happily allow their prized dog


to wonder off to seek a new master, it would be an insult to their house and a propaganda victory to somebody else.



As an example of the unreasonableness of the Lannisters, we could also look at the treatment of Ser Dontos, a knight from a


noble house. Joffrey initially orders him to be put to death by drowning as punishment for arriving at a tournament drunk.


Although Joffrey changes his mind, Dontos is still subjected to humiliating treatment. There is also Joffrey's cruel treatment of


the smallfolk at the hands of Joffrey's crossbow.



Sandor is a big, burly man. Perhaps we should also consider the actions of the rest of the KG when they hit Sansa. They


would have known this was wrong and certainly would have known they should not have followed through those orders. Did


Joffrey just so happen to hire a group of like-minded evil, sadistic pricks that enjoyed hitting girls? I doubt it. Was it because


they believed they should obey the king and were fearful of the punishement they may receive if they didn't obey? More likely.


When looking at the big picture, it is a lot more difficult to dismiss these actions as a committed by “bad eggs” when multiple


people are involved. It is reasonable to suggest that Sandor will have had an awareness of the possible consequences of not


following orders.



Although Sandor’s actions are inexcusable, it is important to frame his actions in the context of the broken system he is operating in. Ultimately, would Sandor have killed Mycah on his own free-will without an order? I think no and therefore I think these factors are important in understanding Sandor's actions with regard to the Mycah incident, It is also important to note that Sandor does eventually leave the Lannister regime despite these factors at play and does eventually come to express remorse for his actions.



ETA: Holy moly! I had no idea I could type so much! There are some other great posts which I would like to comment on, but my tired brain needs a rest first me thinks!


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On one hand, I'm absolutely thrilled to find such an in-depth and well-written Sandor re-read, as he's always been one of my favorite characters. On the other hand, now I feel like any re-read I do will never match up to this beautiful one.



Ah well...more time to read other posts!



In all seriousness, this is VERY well done and I'm very excited by it.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for taking the time to write such an interesting essay OGE. Especially one that 'legally challenged' minds like mine can understand. Just a couple of comments.



In OGE's discussion, he talked about the obedience expected of soldiers. I always thought it was interesting that Joff could dismiss his sworn shield from guarding him on a whim. Protecting life and limb of Joff was his sworn duty but the person he was guarding could dismiss him for a time. That just never seemed quite right to me.



Also, what OGE's essay and the other posts have made me think about is this; I always felt that part of what the episode at the Trident showed us was that Ned treated his smallfolk in a different and more respectful manner that the royalty did. But I'm rethinking that.



I understand his deep fears and concern for Arya when she was missing, but until the Hound shows up with Mycha's body we don't hear a peep from Ned showing any concern for his fate. The only other comment from him that I remember is when Arya was blaming herself for Mycha's death and Ned told her it was 'the Hound and the cruel woman he serves' who shared the blame for that.



So was Ned different? To be fair, when Ned came into the room where Robert and Cersei and the girls were, he asked Robert why he hadn't been notified right away and Cersei quickly put him in his place. To ask about what would happen to the smallfolk kid may have just been pushing it too far with Cersei in such a bad humor.



So this incident showed the class divisions in Westeros and how those divisions shook out; with the smallfolk the innocent one in this case, but still with the most to lose.


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.

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

I would just like to second this. I look forward to exploring this more and do hope you'll continue participate, OGE. I always enjoy your posts on the General forum. And thanks to you for your contribution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Old Gimlet Eye, for your well-researched and well-explained essay. The circumstances surrounding Mycah’s death are not nearly as clear as many readers like to think, and you’ve done an outstanding job at setting up the questions that ought to be answered before condemning or condoning the Hound’s actions.



Mad Madam Mim, in addition to other great points, makes a good distinction between any other man and “The Hound” – who rose through the ranks to the very top for, among other things, not questioning orders, and whose very nickname comes partly from his unquestioning loyalty and obedience. Of course he will change this blindly-obey-don't-question-it-it's-not-your-problem attitude later, but we’re not there yet, and neither is Sandor.



With regard to his statement to the BwB about Sansa’s corroboration: when he mentions this, he says: “This one’s own sister told the same tale when she stood before your precious Robert.” Not only did Sansa not say this, but the Hound wasn’t even present for it – he was likely already on his way back with Mycah’s body. So he heard about it after the fact…? Who’d have bothered lying to him about it once Mycah was already did? Or did he just assume she'd agreed with Joffrey, maybe even let himself believe Sansa had corroborated Joffrey’s story? As everyone has pointed out, this event does weigh heavily on his mind, and believing he has confirmation of the event from Sansa could help assuage a guilty conscience.




Milady of York, you made a great comparison between Ned encountering Jaime and Ned encountering Sandor, and their reactions to Ned’s judgment. I like with DogLover’s suggestion that Sandor’s line to Ned is a form of emotional duress. Later, when we get to read Jaime’s memories of the Sack of King’s Landing, we see that he, too, is in a lot of emotional turmoil and Ned’s accusatory stare got under his skin, too.



Also, as Mithras said, callous laughter is as expected from the Hound as sarcasm and vanity are expected from Jaime; both men know it and both deliver, perhaps at the expense of their true emotions. I believe the author wants us to make this connection when re-reading; and since we never get inside Sandor’s head, as we do Jaime’s, the author here is forcing us to ponder Sandor’s emotional state more deeply, and that’s part of why Sandor is wearing the helm.



Ah! And on the subject of his face being masked and not having facial clues, I think his eyes are at least indicative that he certainly is feeling something even as he talks with Ned. “Glittering” is an adjective which, when describing eyes, indicates a very strong emotion (compare with “Ser Mandon’s ‘dead eyes’, which imply a complete lack of feeling). Sandor is experiencing a really strong emotion here; even on my first read-through, the adjective stayed with me as “Jeez, what’s this guy really feeling here?” I never got the impression he was detached. What we don’t, or can’t, know is just what he is feeling – is it that “battle high” that Jaime once told Tyrion about? Is it joy, because he got to butcher the butcher’s boy? Could it be malice towards Ned for judging him for something he feels he had to do (regardless of his personal opinion of whether it was necessary)? What’s clear is that his eyes betray his laughter; maybe we are seeing the process Mad Madam Mim highlighted, of “squaring his actions with himself.”



Ragnorak, do you think Sandor eventually realizes how hypocritically he acted by riding Mycah down, and that he was, as you said, being a knight here? He’s got a lot of self-loathing and such a realization would have made the Mycah incident even more painful to remember.



Joffrey probably didn’t mention what Arya and Mycah had been doing before he and Sansa arrived. So we have another instance of dramatic irony in the re-read. The man who was so terribly punished as a child for playing with a knight is now the one meting out justice to another innocent for almost the same “crime,” and he probably doesn't even know it. Do you think Sandor would have been as quick to administer justice if he knew what game Mycah was playing at? Or would he have acted exactly as he did? Given where we are in the story, I’d opt for the latter, but that the emotion toll would have been even stronger.



​Poor Mycah. The smallfolk always get the short of end of the stick, as Martin shows us time and again.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.

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.

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.

atter.

Yes, thanks guys for expanding on this. One of the things I wanted to get across was that the class system mattered here. Unfortunately, there are two systems of justice in Westeros. One for nobles and one for the small folk.

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:

Certainly, given Sandor's upbringing, his "system blaming" is understandable. On the other hand, I 've always felt that it's always held him back, in the sense that he's saying that he has no ability to control his own life. Having that feeling of no control over one's own life has to be very depressing. By Sandor determining for himself that he does have some ability to decide what he is going to do or not do, Sandor is claiming his life back. By being "his own dog", he's taking control of his own life and becoming a better moral agent and will probably end up happier for it.

:bowdown: Bravo OldGimletEye! An Informative and Insightful read!

My knowledge of legal matters is as bare as Cersei during her Walk of Shame, however whilst I cannot comment on the legality of Sandor’s actions, I do agree that the issue seems to be about Sandor’s moral guilt rather than legal guilt.

I think GRRM is posing an interesting question here. What would I do in Sandor’s situation? The initial answer is obvious, of course I would refuse the order, consequences be damned. I suspect we would all like to think that we would act like the Ned’s of the world, but GRRM is showing us that being honourable is not easy. As already highlighted, even honourable Ned had to bow to the greater power.

The Mycah incident is shocking. It is supposed to be. Sandor is my one of my favorite characters but I don't believe in whitewashing his actions either. Whilst I do not condone his actions, I do understand them and classic psychological literature supports the notion that there are factors conducive to obedience and these may help us understand (but not excuse) Sandor’s actions:

· Authority Figure:

The prestige and proximity of the Authority figure can influence the degree of obedience. The Lannister’s are an established house whom Sandor has been with since he was 12. Growing up, he would have established a Social Contract with the Lannisters with an expected understanding of a particular code of behaviour. Sandor is Joffrey’s Sworn Shield which is a position of prestige and to reach such a position he would have needed to move through the ranks by working within this expected code of behaviour. This would not include questioning the Lannister’s. Cersei is the Queen of Westeros and a figurehead of House Lannister. Sandor would likely perceive Cersei to be legitimate source of Authority, and a direct order from Cersei would add weight to this, particularly as Sandor is described as “(Cersei’s) dog, in truth.” This will contribute to Sandor's surrender of his autonomous state, where he no longer takes responsibility for his own actions and is subject to the agentic state where he acts as an agent for another's will.

· Proximity of the Victim:

It is easier to distance oneself from a harmful act if the perpetrator is separate from the victim. Physically this is not the case for Sandor as he commits the actual act himself however emotionally Sandor has no ties to Mycah, I doubt they ever met. As highlighted by OldGimletEye, the smallfolk are of little consequence to the nobility.

Sandor also has a tendency to use inappropriate humour as a way of detaching himself from emotionally charged situations. With Mycah, his use of the joke is making light of the gravity of the crime, he is distancing himself from the victim and therefore abdicating himself from guilt and also maintaining his badass persona. He is not allowing himself to dwell on the victim and is even almost blaming the victim by saying “he ran, but not very fast.” Sandor has an established philosophy that 'strong arms and sharp steel rule the world' and 'those who can't protect themselves should die and get out of the way of those who can.' This is his way of squaring his actions with himself.

· Personal Responsibility:

Obedience will decrease if the individual considers themselves liable for their actions. As highlighted by OldGimletEye, Sandor does ‘blame the system’ as a defence for his actions. The Hound persona could be a personification of Sandor’s

agentic state; his free-will is surrendered to the will of the Lannister’s, he can therefore absolve himself from feeling guilt for

his actions. We are given the impression that Sandor has been operating under his Hound persona for a long time by this

point which acts a mechanism for Sandor to remain emotionally detached from the Hound’s despicable actions. He is even

described as wearing the Hound helm when the incident takes place, the physical embodiment of his descent from human to

obedient dog.

  • Fear of Punishment:

Although we can only speculate what the consequences for disobeying such an order, we should consider that Westeros is a

broken society and the Lannister’s are unpredictable, particularly where Joffrey and Cersei are concerned. There are

examples we can draw on from later books that could suggest possible consequences for disobeying the Lannisters.

At best? Probably demotion. Sandor has had to work hard to move through the ranks of the Lannisters to become Joffrey’s

Sworn Shield. He will know that his position with the Lannister’s is based only on his ability to efficiently carry out their orders

so he knows he should not question them. When Sandor refuses Joffrey’s order to hit Sansa’s he is effectively replaced by

the Kettleblacks and considered out of favour. I would suspect there could only be a small number of times Sandor would be

able to get away with not following an order before more severe consequences occurred.

At worse? Sandor is Joffrey’s Sworn Shield, a position of prestige. I doubt the Lannister’s would happily allow their prized dog

to wonder off to seek a new master, it would be an insult to their house and a propaganda victory to somebody else.

As an example of the unreasonableness of the Lannisters, we could also look at the treatment of Ser Dontos, a knight from a

noble house. Joffrey initially orders him to be put to death by drowning as punishment for arriving at a tournament drunk.

Although Joffrey changes his mind, Dontos is still subjected to humiliating treatment. There is also Joffrey's cruel treatment of

the smallfolk at the hands of Joffrey's crossbow.

Sandor is a big, burly man. Perhaps we should also consider the actions of the rest of the KG when they hit Sansa. They

would have known this was wrong and certainly would have known they should not have followed through those orders. Did

Joffrey just so happen to hire a group of like-minded evil, sadistic pricks that enjoyed hitting girls? I doubt it. Was it because

they believed they should obey the king and were fearful of the punishement they may receive if they didn't obey? More likely.

When looking at the big picture, it is a lot more difficult to dismiss these actions as a committed by “bad eggs” when multiple

people are involved. It is reasonable to suggest that Sandor will have had an awareness of the possible consequences of not

following orders.

Although Sandor’s actions are inexcusable, it is important to frame his actions in the context of the broken system he is operating in. Ultimately, would Sandor have killed Mycah on his own free-will without an order? I think no and therefore I think these factors are important in understanding Sandor's actions with regard to the Mycah incident, It is also important to note that Sandor does eventually leave the Lannister regime despite these factors at play and does eventually come to express remorse for his actions.

ETA: Holy moly! I had no idea I could type so much! There are some other great posts which I would like to comment on, but my tired brain needs a rest first me thinks!

Certainly because something is legal doesn't mean it is moral or ethical. I think we can all think of historical examples of things being permitted that were awful. Having said that, we ought not be too shocked when people behave badly because the law permits their bad action. Because often it's a society's laws that tell people that certain things are prohibited and or off limits. Most people don't sit around thinking about moral philosophy. They often learn correct behavior by observing the actions of others. If Sandor had lived in a society where the killing of 13 year olds was absolutely prohibited under any and all circumstances, his actions might have been different. But, he lived in a society which did not give a clear signal as to what was acceptable behavior.

In our own time, we basically ask soldiers to submit their own moral agency to others, but also ask them to assert their own moral agency in certain situations. If soldiers are to break their regular mode of operation and to assert, at times, their own moral agency and break or refuse an order, then the situations in which they must do so, must be fairly clear.

When I've read mentions of "Nuremburg" with regard to Sandor, I often got very frustrated because the people mentioning "Nuremburg" just assumed Sandor would be guilty under post-Nuremburg litigation. But, that just isn't necessarily the case, once you take into account what the law is in Westeros. Nuremburg and it's progeny were about punishing soldiers for breaking laws or at least well established norms of human conduct.

One of the classic investigations into people's obedience to authority figures was the work done by Stanley Milgram. Milgram's work found that ordinary people can be surprisingly obedient to authority figures, even shockingly so. I don't what be caught as saying that people have no moral agency, so that they can never be held accountable for their bad actions, but institutional arrangements do matter.

Osiel's book, which I cited a number of times, talks quite extensively about how just having the "manifest illegality" rule may not be enough in preventing soldiers from engaging in atrocities. If we're to minimize soldier committed atrocities, it's important that we have the right training and procedures in place.

I do think, though, that Sandor will be much happier by taking more control of his moral conduct. Because, I think he was quite miserable by convincing himself he had no control. Certainly watching the abuse Sansa endured was a wake up call for him.

Also, what OGE's essay and the other posts have made me think about is this; I always felt that part of what the episode at the Trident showed us was that Ned treated his smallfolk in a different and more respectful manner that the royalty did. But I'm rethinking that.

I understand his deep fears and concern for Arya when she was missing, but until the Hound shows up with Mycha's body we don't hear a peep from Ned showing any concern for his fate. The only other comment from him that I remember is when Arya was blaming herself for Mycha's death and Ned told her it was 'the Hound and the cruel woman he serves' who shared the blame for that.

So was Ned different? To be fair, when Ned came into the room where Robert and Cersei and the girls were, he asked Robert why he hadn't been notified right away and Cersei quickly put him in his place. To ask about what would happen to the smallfolk kid may have just been pushing it too far with Cersei in such a bad humor.

So this incident showed the class divisions in Westeros and how those divisions shook out; with the smallfolk the innocent one in this case, but still with the most to lose.

I think overall Ned is a good man. He often has the right moral instincts. His views towards the small folk are "progressive" for his own time. But, let's not forget what Ned is. He's a noble and he has been socialized to believe in the system to a large extent. He's not going to have the attitude of somebody living in the 21st Century. Martin has criticized medieval fantasy works where the characters have the attitudes of people living in the 20th Century.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~~~~snip~~~

With regard to his statement to the BwB about Sansa’s corroboration: when he mentions this, he says: “This one’s own sister told the same tale when she stood before your precious Robert.” Not only did Sansa not say this, but the Hound wasn’t even present for it – he was likely already on his way back with Mycah’s body. So he heard about it after the fact…? Who’d have bothered lying to him about it once Mycah was already did? Or did he just assume she'd agreed with Joffrey, maybe even let himself believe Sansa had corroborated Joffrey’s story? As everyone has pointed out, this event does weigh heavily on his mind, and believing he has confirmation of the event from Sansa could help assuage a guilty conscience.

~~~snap~~~

Who would lie to the Hound about what Sansa said? Joffery of course. Rumors fly in these books and so the story that Sansa told the same story as Joff making it's way around the court is possible. I don't see where Joff wouldn correct anyone if they heard that she had corroborated his story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~~~~snip~~~~

I think overall Ned is a good man. He often has the right moral instincts. His views towards the small folk are "progressive" for his own time. But, let's not forget what Ned is. He's a noble and he has been socialized to believe in the system to a large extent. He's not going to have the attitude of somebody living in the 21st Century. Martin has criticized medieval fantasy works where the characters have the attitudes of people living in the 20th Century.

Ned is a good man I agree. I'm the one with the rose colored glasses, not him. This incident could be a 'wake up call' to him tho that he is far from WF and the smallfolk are treated very differently. Arya playing with the smallfolk is fine in WF, but that is not the case with the royals and in KL. Plus Robert and Cersei put Ned in a very tough spot, and his own family comes first of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who would lie to the Hound about what Sansa said? Joffery of course. Rumors fly in these books and so the story that Sansa told the same story as Joff making it's way around the court is possible. I don't see where Joff wouldn correct anyone if they heard that she had corroborated his story.

Yes, I see what you mean, but since Sansa didn't oppose Joffrey's version, either, I think Joff would have left it at that and not insisted on "Sansa said so, too!" Not all rumors flying about would carry the same message; some would say she agreed with Joff, other would say she agreed with Arya, etc. Sandor could have heard any or all of them, but I don't think he would ask Joffrey about it or that Joffrey would see the need to lie about it to his bodyguard now that it's all over. With his pride wounded, I don't think Joffrey wanted even to think about Sansa, let alone talk about her. What I can imagine, however, is Sandor hearing various rumors and choosing to believe the one that best suits his conscience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

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.

...

Good Lord, I hadn't considered it.

If it's true that Sansa kept Sandor's cloak with her, does it mean that Mycah's blood is upon herself as well?

Obligatory praise to OldGimletEye for his essay, but tbh I'd just say that if in a feudal society the Queen gives you an order, you better do it... and fast.

Especially since your position/money/life fully depends on the Queen's family like in Sandor's case.

To directly contest the Queen's will, a character needs three things: a "weak" or particularly openminded queen you can openly talk with (something Cersei's not), a particular influence over the Queen (something Sandor lacks) or being in a Disney Land Fantasy Setting (something Asoiaf is not).

Not to dismiss the aforementioned essay of course, since it's exhaustive and well thought.

I don't see any way for anyone, but Jaime or Robert, to contest Cersei's will. And neither of one does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On one hand, I'm absolutely thrilled to find such an in-depth and well-written Sandor re-read, as he's always been one of my favorite characters. On the other hand, now I feel like any re-read I do will never match up to this beautiful one.

Ah well...more time to read other posts!

In all seriousness, this is VERY well done and I'm very excited by it.

Welcome, Lady Meliora! Thank you for the compliments, and please do join us whenever you like.

Fear of Punishment:

Although we can only speculate what the consequences for disobeying such an order, we should consider that Westeros is a broken society and the Lannister’s are unpredictable, particularly where Joffrey and Cersei are concerned. There are examples we can draw on from later books that could suggest possible consequences for disobeying the Lannisters.

At best? Probably demotion. Sandor has had to work hard to move through the ranks of the Lannisters to become Joffrey’s Sworn Shield. He will know that his position with the Lannister’s is based only on his ability to efficiently carry out their orders so he knows he should not question them. When Sandor refuses Joffrey’s order to hit Sansa’s he is effectively replaced by the Kettleblacks and considered out of favour. I would suspect there could only be a small number of times Sandor would be able to get away with not following an order before more severe consequences occurred.

At worse? Sandor is Joffrey’s Sworn Shield, a position of prestige. I doubt the Lannister’s would happily allow their prized dog to wonder off to seek a new master, it would be an insult to their house and a propaganda victory to somebody else.

As an example of the unreasonableness of the Lannisters, we could also look at the treatment of Ser Dontos, a knight from a noble house. Joffrey initially orders him to be put to death by drowning as punishment for arriving at a tournament drunk.

Although Joffrey changes his mind, Dontos is still subjected to humiliating treatment. There is also Joffrey's cruel treatment of the smallfolk at the hands of Joffrey's crossbow.

Sandor is a big, burly man. Perhaps we should also consider the actions of the rest of the KG when they hit Sansa. They would have known this was wrong and certainly would have known they should not have followed through those orders. Did Joffrey just so happen to hire a group of like-minded evil, sadistic pricks that enjoyed hitting girls? I doubt it. Was it because they believed they should obey the king and were fearful of the punishement they may receive if they didn't obey? More likely.

When looking at the big picture, it is a lot more difficult to dismiss these actions as a committed by “bad eggs” when multiple people are involved. It is reasonable to suggest that Sandor will have had an awareness of the possible consequences of not following orders.

You posit some good points, Madam Mim.

I am familiar with the psychological factors that prompt unquestioning obedience, and whilst there’s more complex factors also at play, I’d say those four do sum up the most significant points in a comprehensible manner considering that this is a fictional character. One point I’d like to expand a bit on is Sandor’s supposed fall from grace and being replaced by the Kettleblacks. It’s an understandable conclusion we can get from reading only Sansa’s chapters, especially with that double-entendre gossip on how Kettleblack was “younger and faster” and her inner thoughts on seeing Osmund standing in the place she was used to see as Sandor's.

But when we look at Tyrion’s chapters, we can see that it’s far from a correct impression and that Sandor neither lost favour nor was replaced. When writing on Sandor as a leader, a topic we’ll discuss in-depth during the Blackwater chapters so I’ll try not to get so far ahead, I noted that with Jaime gone, the best army commander the Lannisters had was the Hound, a conclusion Tyrion had explicitly stated as well. He told Cersei that he needed the Hound to lead their men, as he was the best they had, and after him only Balon Swann, for the rest weren’t worth spit for command, and he suggested Osmund guard Joffrey. Kettleblack was named to the Kingsguard together with Swann just days before the battle, filling in the empty places left by Oakheart gone to Dorne and the dead Greenfield, so no replacing Sandor at all. And in Tyrion’s head we can read just how derisive he is about Kettleblack, who he’s aware is selling Cersei’s secrets despite her confidence in him. So, Sandor was assigned elsewhere to be in charge of an army, but remained as much in Lannister favour as ever, because of his skills, as he’d have been wasted just standing there by Joff, who had nothing to do but look pretty in his armour and flung antler men with catapults, a task more apt for Osmund, whose worth Tyrion found dubious apart from pleasing his sister; Kettleblack can go about deluding himself on being the replacement of the famed Hound, but the reality is different.

Yes, I see what you mean, but since Sansa didn't oppose Joffrey's version, either, I think Joff would have left it at that and not insisted on "Sansa said so, too!" Not all rumors flying about would carry the same message; some would say she agreed with Joff, other would say she agreed with Arya, etc. Sandor could have heard any or all of them, but I don't think he would ask Joffrey about it or that Joffrey would see the need to lie about it to his bodyguard now that it's all over. With his pride wounded, I don't think Joffrey wanted even to think about Sansa, let alone talk about her. What I can imagine, however, is Sandor hearing various rumors and choosing to believe the one that best suits his conscience.

That's assuming it was Joffrey, though. We have Cersei, who's also as likely to have told Sandor that. The whole Lannister household would've followed the "she supported him" interpretation for peer solidarity, loyalty and sense of belonging in opposition to the rival Stark household, and Sandor being one of them, that's the version he'd hear round him either from the Queen, the prince or the men who were in the hall that wore the crimson cloak. I am not sure he'd have heard the "she didn't support him" version, which is likelier to have been the Northerner household's interpretation. Let's not forget also that he didn't have a chance to know Sansa's version contradicted Joffrey, if it had been told, because the only one that knew was Ned and he didn't tell Robert before things blew out of proportions as he should have, and besides him possibly Jory knows the truth as he was his right-hand man and found Arya. And after the incident, the Hand's people rushed ahead to the city to stay as far from the king and queen's retinue as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good Lord, I hadn't considered it.

If it's true that Sansa kept Sandor's cloak with her, does it mean that Mycah's blood is upon herself as well?

To say it that way would imply that Sansa shared some of the responsibility for Mycah's death, which we know isn't supported in the text :) Remember that we're speaking here of the bloody cloak as a motif in Sandor's arc, and while the actual cloak might change, its symbolic import remains constant in signifying certain themes. I would argue those themes are primarily redemption and change, so Sandor's actions and experiences involving Mycah and Sansa are definitely instrumental in that regard. Also, welcome to the thread!

Sandor in tracking down and killing Mycah on Cersei's orders is essentially being a knight by his own definition. It is exactly the type of killing knights do and this the exact reason they kill that makes Sandor feel they are hypocritical. This boy was no threat to Joffrey, no enemy worthy of his battle prowess. He was a boy playing at being a knight which is a familiar tale to our man of will.

This is a keen observation, Rag, and put in this light, it's as if Sandor is repeating the circumstances of his own trauma, something which isn't meant to merely bring his moral standing into consideration, but to reinforce just how he is caught within a very destructive cycle of violence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good Lord, I hadn't considered it.

If it's true that Sansa kept Sandor's cloak with her, does it mean that Mycah's blood is upon herself as well?

Obligatory praise to OldGimletEye for his essay, but tbh I'd just say that if in a feudal society the Queen gives you an order, you better do it... and fast.

Especially since your position/money/life fully depends on the Queen's family like in Sandor's case.

To directly contest the Queen's will, a character needs three things: a "weak" or particularly openminded queen you can openly talk with (something Cersei's not), a particular influence over the Queen (something Sandor lacks) or being in a Disney Land Fantasy Setting (something Asoiaf is not).

Not to dismiss the aforementioned essay of course, since it's exhaustive and well thought.

I don't see any way for anyone, but Jaime or Robert, to contest Cersei's will. And neither of one does.

Even in our modern era, soldiers may face the choice of committing an illegal murder or being executed themselves if they do not carry out the illegal murder. The defense of duress is used in such situations. In those jurisdictions that follow the common law tradition, duress is generally not a defense to murder, although such a situation would factor into sentencing.

With regard to the law of criminal acts committed by soldiers, the authority seems to be split. Finta suggest that it would allow a duress defense to proceed, whereas in Prosecutor v. Erdemovic, the defense seems to be disallowed.

In Sandor's case a defense of duress might not succeed because "immediacy" is usually a requirement in a defense of duress. The Lannisters might have had Sandor executed for disobedience, but it's not clear that they would have had him immediately executed (as in, right on the spot) for refusing to kill Mycah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  1. WOW! It is lovely to see the return of names that have been missing too long. I am in awe of the many insightful posts here.

I apologize for missing the first week’s post. Last week, a number of you pointed out that Sandor serves as a surrogate father to Joffrey. I would offer a different take: Sandor seems to be playing the ‘protective, big brother’ that he never had in Gregor. When Sandor pretends he can’t see Tyrion, it seems like a shtick that is familiar to all three of them and one that has amused Joffrey previously. It illustrates to me that Joffrey is just crossing the cusp from boy prince to be protected to entitled crown prince to be obeyed. Sandor’s goofing around with short jokes is not going to suffice as entertainment much longer. This interaction telegraphs some of the difficult decisions ahead for Sandor in serving the petulant boy royal and his mother.

Regarding Sandor, (in GOT, Sansa) Joffrey tells Sansa, “He’s my mother’s dog, in truth. She has set him to guard me and so he does.” I would not be surprised if Sandor received orders from either Cersei or Joffrey to bring back the butcher’s boy dead. We know how rabidly Cersei reacts (particularly as recounted in Jaime’s POV later.) And Joffrey would not want Micah alive because he would tell a different story than Joff did as well as having been a witness to Joffrey’s embarrassment over the incident.

With regard to Ned’s feelings of dread upon seeing the bundle with Micah’s body: Ned’s feelings regarding the killing of children are well established in these books. He thinks of the direwolf pups as pets; he has not paid much attention to them, not even their names. But children…egad. I suspect Ned’s feelings of dread at having to find the words to tell Arya increased tenfold upon seeing Micah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

Ragnorak, do you think Sandor eventually realizes how hypocritically he acted by riding Mycah down, and that he was, as you said, being a knight here? He’s got a lot of self-loathing and such a realization would have made the Mycah incident even more painful to remember.

Joffrey probably didn’t mention what Arya and Mycah had been doing before he and Sansa arrived. So we have another instance of dramatic irony in the re-read. The man who was so terribly punished as a child for playing with a knight is now the one meting out justice to another innocent for almost the same “crime,” and he probably doesn't even know it. Do you think Sandor would have been as quick to administer justice if he knew what game Mycah was playing at? Or would he have acted exactly as he did? Given where we are in the story, I’d opt for the latter, but that the emotion toll would have been even stronger.

​Poor Mycah. The smallfolk always get the short of end of the stick, as Martin shows us time and again.

I don't think Sandor would be consciously bothered by this at the moment so much as subconsciously bothered. I think he would consciously dump any emotional uneasiness into his "awful world" bucket or blame the system as OldGimletEye has put it, at least in the immediate aftermath. One aspect that I think would bother him, again subconsciously at first, is that this may be the only time we see Sandor in the metaphorical sword role instead of the shield. He was Cersei's sworn shield, her protector, and then Joffrey's. He saved Sansa during the riot. At the Blackwater he was a defender of the city not an attacker. He talks aggressively at his trial in the BwB cave but again he's on the defensive and protecting himself and not the aggressor. He takes Beric's offer to sally in words first before he is forced to switch to swords. Even with Gregor's men when he knows the inevitable outcome, he waits for them to be the aggressors. He warns the innkeeper of his impending fate to protect him. Here is, to the best of my recollection, the only instance of Sandor as an aggressor-- the sword and not the shield. I think this would serve to disturb him far more than the parallels to his personal origin. That seems more of a literary thing for our benefit to illustrate things like the cycle of violence that Brash mentions. I think it is Arya who will fully draw this to his conscious mind later but we're not there yet.

I don't think it is impossible for Sandor to eventually piece together what actually happened over a few days if that were somehow to become a meaningful plot point.. Cersei would complain about it, Joffrey's version would inevitably continue to evolve to make himself a bigger victim, Joffrey's newfound anger at Sansa would be noticed and noted, and Renly would likely still be laughing about and tale telling about Joffrey losing his sword to a nine year old girl for some time. So it isn't impossible for him to piece this together over time, but I don't see that mattering so much to the story or an analysis of him. Joffrey's change in attitude toward Sansa after this incident is the only item on that list I think we need to keep in mind going forward.

This incident is what sparks Joffrey's cruelty and antagonistic behavior towards Sansa so perhaps that is the meaningful issue to focus on. Again I'm reminded of a Jaime connection where he seems to feel that standing by Rhaella's door and listening to her screams is what soiled his white cloak, shattered his idealistic belief in knighthood. This is the opening of the Sansa's Rhaella parallel where Sandor is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Jaime. So the literary parallel to his creation story and this lone act as the aggressor can be viewed as the as mirror or polar opposite to Jaime's Rhaella recollection. Rhaella's torment was the breaking of Jaime's innocence where this could be viewed as Sandor's rock bottom where he begins to return to innocence. Tze has an essay linked on the PtP resource page on Sansa and Rhaella as Martin's inversion of the Beauty and the Beast tale that does an excellent job of illustrating the Sansa/Rhaella comparison. (It is also a wonderful read.) So using Jaime as a foil, I think we get Mycah's death as the turning point in Sandor's life or the incentive moment for his impending inner journey that we're exploring in this reread. Character introductions are over and the conflict has begun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With regard to his statement to the BwB about Sansa’s corroboration: when he mentions this, he says: “This one’s own sister told the same tale when she stood before your precious Robert.” Not only did Sansa not say this, but the Hound wasn’t even present for it – he was likely already on his way back with Mycah’s body. So he heard about it after the fact…? Who’d have bothered lying to him about it once Mycah was already did? Or did he just assume she'd agreed with Joffrey, maybe even let himself believe Sansa had corroborated Joffrey’s story? As everyone has pointed out, this event does weigh heavily on his mind, and believing he has confirmation of the event from Sansa could help assuage a guilty conscience.

I suspect Sandor has heard it through the Lannister grapevine, most likely Joffey or possibly Cersei. It is telling that Sandor places particular weight to Sansa's reported version of events, like he has anointed Sansa the purvayer of all that is true. Sansa does appear to be the moral beacon that Sandor eventually comes to re-calibrate his own ideas of morality towards. We can see the origin of this in their interactions; he will try to push Sansa into seeing his world view because he wants her to understand and accept his world view and gets frustrated when she dosn't. Sandor will usually lash out at this point but will eventually end up agreeing with Sansa anyway. "No, Little Bird. He was no true knight." This will eventually lead on to more grand gestures of Sandor re-aligning his morality.

Indeed, the Mycah incident is weighing heavily on Sandor's mind and he is trying to assuage his guilt by using ye olde "Sansa said it so it must be true" defense. In examining Sandor's comment to the BwB, I believe it could be Sandor trying to understand and evaluate his actions by consulting his Sansometer-of-moral-conduct™.Unfortunately Sansa never did say it, which is why he may be getting squiffy readings, but he eventually manages to work it out on his own.

I think we should also acknowledge that Sandor is not competently devoid of morality at the start of the books. His moral compass may be squiffy, but he does have one and this is remarked by several characters such as Jaime and Beric. It just needs a good polish.

Certainly, given Sandor's upbringing, his "system blaming" is understandable. On the other hand, I 've always felt that it's always held him back, in the sense that he's saying that he has no ability to control his own life. Having that feeling of no control over one's own life has to be very depressing. By Sandor determining for himself that he does have some ability to decide what he is going to do or not do, Sandor is claiming his life back. By being "his own dog", he's taking control of his own life and becoming a better moral agent and will probably end up happier for it.

-snip-

I do think, though, that Sandor will be much happier by taking more control of his moral conduct. Because, I think he was quite miserable by convincing himself he had no control. Certainly watching the abuse Sansa endured was a wake up call for him.

The Hound persona evolved from Sandor's feelings of helplessness when he was burnt, his feelings of injustice at the broken system and his feelings of weakness that could not protect himself (and possibly his family) from Gregor. His philosophy of 'strong arms and strong steel rule this world' is Sandor trying to seize control of his life and this has served him well for a time; he managed to get away from Gregor, he managed to move through the Lannister ranks to a position of prestige and he has a revered reputation as a warrior. The flaw in his philosophy is that strong arms and sharp steel don't rule the world, the socially powerful do. It is Vary's riddle in action. The world view Sandor has built up as a defense against the trauma of his childhood is faulty; he does not have control and he is now a part of the broken system he hated (knighted or not). No wonder the poor bugger is miserable,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Avlonnic, on 24 Feb 2015 - 5:52 PM, said:




  1. WOW! It is lovely to see the return of names that have been missing too long. I am in awe of the many insightful posts here.
  2. I apologize for missing the first week’s post. Last week, a number of you pointed out that Sandor serves as a surrogate father to Joffrey. I would offer a different take: Sandor seems to be playing the ‘protective, big brother’ that he never had in Gregor. When Sandor pretends he can’t see Tyrion, it seems like a shtick that is familiar to all three of them and one that has amused Joffrey previously. It illustrates to me that Joffrey is just crossing the cusp from boy prince to be protected to entitled crown prince to be obeyed. Sandor’s goofing around with short jokes is not going to suffice as entertainment much longer. This interaction telegraphs some of the difficult decisions ahead for Sandor in serving the petulant boy royal and his mother.



Welcome to the thread, Avlonnic :) You've made a great point in the bolded section, and I have to wonder about the effect of the betrothal in hastening Joffrey over this threshold, one that he wastes no time in showing off in Sansa's first chapter:



“Leave her alone,” Joffrey said. He stood over her, beautiful in blue wool and black leather, his golden curls shining in the sun like a crown. He gave her his hand, drew her to her feet. “What is it, sweet lady? Why are you afraid? No one will hurt you. Put away your swords, all of you. The wolf is her little pet, that’s all.” He looked at Sandor Clegane. “And you, dog, away with you, you’re scaring my betrothed.”



The green knight laughed again. “Barristan the Old, you mean. Don’t flatter him too sweetly, child, he thinks overmuch of himself already.” He smiled at her. “Now, wolf girl, if you can put a name to me as well, then I must concede that you are truly our Hand’s daughter.”


Joffrey stiffened beside her. “Have a care how you address my betrothed.”



He then completes the false impression of himself as brave and able to safeguard Sansa by suggesting that they leave their protectors behind - her wolf and his dog.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two days just to catch up. Guys and gals, you've written a lot of stuff and good stuff at that. I lack the time to properly participate in a Re-Read but will keep an eye on this thread.



Anyway, about the Mycah incident:


When Ned describes the Hound's eyes glittering behind his visor, that's a weird description. Yes, it conveys a message of message. But why? It's the visor. Eyes can't glitter. Moisture does. Tears do. In most instances of eyes glittering, it's to convey the image of somebody on the edge of tears.


Only the cruelty of the Hound, his cruel joke, and the closed visor turn it into something menacing. But the closed visor hides any expression on his face as much as making the glitter appear threatening.


Does Sandor overcompensate with his joke, but is actually close to weeping?






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.




That's a difficult question. Because Gared spent several months running, well beyond the scope of a momentary lapse, and had enough sense to circumvent all three gates, which is damn difficult on his own. Don't know whether an insanity defense would work in this case. Probably just factoring into the punishment, not into the sentence itself.




I'll try to write something about the Hound's iconic helmet as soon as I find time. It's going to be mostly speculation based on it's description and the description of other helmets used in the series. A huge part will be about the (assumed) physical limitations of his helmet.



Couple short points to remember for the future, which could have already applied to the recent chapters and shouldn't be overlooked.



The Hound (and in that particular instance that name is important) wears most likely a hounskull (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hounskull), with the dog-like features pronounced.


The name is already interesting, consisting of the hound - and the skull. It refers to a dead (or undead) dog.


Furthermore, the original german name is Hundsgugel (or Hundsgugl). The Hund is again the hound or dog, while the Gugel was a type of hood. Something to hide your face with. Which ties into Robin Hood, an assumed name where Robin of Locksley hides his true identity, according to the best-known stories. And the Gugel is indeed what the Merry Men wear in most depictions.


So, based on it's name, the helmet could refer to a dead or undead dog, which may show up in the Feast chapters again. Or a way for Sandor to hide under the mask of the Hound.



The name isn't the only hint. The hounskull is a very weird helmet, closing the gap between the great helm and finally develops into the great bascinet before being replaced by sallets or armets. The most noticeable feature beyond it's dog-snout are the eyeslits. Very small and actually quite far from the eyes. It's probably the helmet which limits the vision the most. Only somebody straight ahead could be seen.


Not to the side. Actually, many hounskulls were fixed to the shoulders and didn't allow to turn the head, instead the wearer had to turn his entire body. Does the Hound ever turn his head in the books? A question for the Re-Read.


Upwards is alright. But not downwards. That's literally impossible. The Hound can't even bend forward to watch somebody smaller. That ties into the joke about Tyrion not being noticeable. With the visor closed, the Hound got no chance at all. Absolute zero. But not only Tyrion is too small, that applies to Sansa and Arya as well, them being children, female children at that. The Hound can't notice the girls, they are literally beneath his notice. Hound as the guy wearing the helmet.



Some other noticeable helmets is Gregor Clegane's great helm with that stone fist. It's an older style of helmet. Without a visor. And it's actually bolted to the breastplate. Sandor may be able to raise his visor or take of his helmet, but Gregor isn't.


Also Oberyn's helmet. It's strongly implied to be a hounskull with the visor removed, the hounskull one of very few helmets to allow that. How will that play out? Two men consumed by vengeance directed against the Mountain wearing the same helmet, one with a visor, the other without.


A question for the future.



Just one thought for the future: The Mountain and the Hound are the only two characters to have their helmets described regularly. They are identified by their helmets, way more than by any other characteristic.


Well, Gendry does as well, but he never wears it and looses it soon after. And even he is nicknamed for his helmet while he had it.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joffrey probably didn’t mention what Arya and Mycah had been doing before he and Sansa arrived. So we have another instance of dramatic irony in the re-read. The man who was so terribly punished as a child for playing with a knight is now the one meting out justice to another innocent for almost the same “crime,” and he probably doesn't even know it. Do you think Sandor would have been as quick to administer justice if he knew what game Mycah was playing at? Or would he have acted exactly as he did? Given where we are in the story, I’d opt for the latter, but that the emotion toll would have been even stronger.

Thanks for pointing this out. I completely missed the whole messed up irony of the situation.

Indeed, the Mycah incident is weighing heavily on Sandor's mind and he is trying to assuage his guilt by using ye olde "Sansa said it so it must be true" defense. In examining Sandor's comment to the BwB, I believe it could be Sandor trying to understand and evaluate his actions by consulting his Sansometer-of-moral-conduct™.Unfortunately Sansa never did say it, which is why he may be getting squiffy readings, but he eventually manages to work it out on his own.

I laughed at this. I never thought about this. But, yeah, maybe Sandor did think, " Sansa said it, so it must be true."

Share this post


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

×