Ragnorak Posted March 1, 2015 Share Posted March 1, 2015 Excellent piece of work, Milady, and a useful bit of analysis for Martin's use of the POV structure in looking at any character in a reread. I'm curious about how Martin undermines his own negative portrayal especially since he does it so often and the Hound is the first one we see. Jaime and Theon are the major ones but the Wildlings are kin slaying blood drinking slavers who mate with the supernatural enemy we see before we even meet the Starks. Lysa is Cat's sister who first warned us of the danger. Cat goes to her in time of need and the expected help turns into unexpected... instability... which later turns into her guilt over Jon Arryn's death. Dany's Slavers Bay plotline is another example. We're constantly having our presumed judgments of reality shifted and the Hound is the first real character Martin does this with. Such a well-written and insightful piece, Milady! The grouping of Theon, Jaime and Sandor really does help to highlight how the author has used these heinous acts against children to varying purpose and effect, and in particular with the latter two, it's important that these are the actions which effectively introduce them to the readers and shape our early biases. This is certainly true, and I would also argue that the Hound's redemptive arc with Arya would not have been so impactful or resonated so strongly with readers had it not started with another POV, that of Sansa's. Indeed, it's the portrait of Sandor that we get through Sansa's eyes that challenges us to rethink and reassess him as character worthy of our understanding and sympathy. If Arya takes the role of Mycah's POV champion, then Sansa could be seen as fulfilling a similar kind of duty with regard to Sandor, albeit one that is much more subtle and complex due to the nature of their relationship. To bring it back to Martin's use of literary techniques, this is why Sandor's brief interaction with Sansa in her first POV can be seen as significant for its foreshadowing potential, as she mistakes his touch for her father's, and he helps to diffuse the tense situation by telling the men gathered that the direwolf acts a "wetnurse" for the Starks. The suggestion of the Hound's importance to Sansa is then further teased in Robert's statement to Ned about getting her a dog. It's also important to note that Arya is not the only one who loses in the incident; Sansa also suffers a very poignant loss in her direwolf, and the fact that Sandor quickly comes to be established as having a protective role in her life provides readers with an invaluable counterpoint in his portrayal. If Mycah was to condemn him, Lady helps to redeem him. I think your surrogate POV assessment is dead on and also the primary method Martin uses to turn the readers' views on Sandor upside down. I'd like to look a little closer at that and also the guilt by association dynamic. The observations made in Sandor I show Martin avoiding a direct negative portrayal of the Hound. Any negative impression is largely through his association with the Lannisters. On a first read we lack the prerequisite information to read between the lines so most of that aspect of his introduction is going to be lost to a first time reader. One of the more important parts of Sansa mistaking Sandor for her father is the context. Ilyn Payne is the real frightening one. The hint to a first time reader is that Sandor looks frightening but this other Lannister associate, Ilyn Payne, is frightening. The Lannister association that has been the source of any reader condemnation so far is being put in context. His protective gesture toward Sansa is also contrasted with Joffrey needing to be told by Cersei to that very thing and, as you mentioned, the pro-direwolf statement that aligns with the overall Stark vs. Lannister unfolding tension. None of this would serve to undermine the impact of Mycah's death, but there are seeds being planted before that incident. The Hands Tourney is the next big event where he protects Loras from Gregor. This act tends to stand on its own, but it also has a context. We get Sandor's back story the night before, but we also get Ned's reflections on Gregor right before the incident. So Sandor's Lannister service, the source of the reader's condemnation, is being put in perspective. Ned's thoughts on Sandor's father and sister dying reinforce the story Sandor just told to Sansa. When Ned blames "the Hound and that cruel woman he serves" the Gregor tale puts that service in perspective and the same man making the statement helped establish that perspective. A short while later we get Gregor attacking innocents in the Riverlands and Ned ordering his death. Littlefinger references the Hound's likely angry reaction at being deprived of killing Gregor himself. This again plays into why Sandor is in Lannister service and puts him on the opposite side of Lannister malevolence. This contrasting Gregor perspective will continue to play out in Arya. Sandor's trial is about cruelties committed in Lannister service. At this point Mycah's death as an act of Lannister service has gained a great deal of perspective primarily through Gregor but also Lorch and Tywin's general philosophy of prosecuting this war. We also have the cruelty on behalf of the Mad Huntsman displayed in his crow cages that calls into question the moral purity of his accusers before we even get to the trial. That the Huntsman uses dogs to enable him to exact these cruelties also speaks to the context of Sandor's service. Sandor's time with Arya actually serves to demonstrate their alignment as a result of Gregor's actions culminating with the two fighting together to kill Gregor's men who are likely on Sandor's prayer list as well. Arya, the Gregor victim we've seen, bleeds over into Sandor the Gregor victim we haven't. Arya also fixates on both Mycah's death and Sandor's failure to rescue her mother at the Twins. The unrealistic expectation of the latter reflects back on the former and is further emphasized by Arya's own inability to recall Mycah's face herself. This culminates in Arya saying Sandor doesn't deserve the Gift of Mercy which can seem like a condemnation based on Sandor's lessons on this Gift, but also plays into First Men justice and sees Arya remove him from her prayer list. So I see a good deal of use of the overall Stark vs. Lannister conflict used to undermine Sandor's guilt with an extensive use of Gregor on many levels to pull off the redemption. I'm sure there are probably numerous other techniques I've missed as well as many details of the Gregor plot device. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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