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Milady of York

The Will to Change: Rereading Sandor II

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Glad to see you all back, ladies! I've just now updated the list of chapters for ASOS at the index in preparation for posting the first chapter analysis by mid-week.





Ah yes, the wording is oddly similar, isn't it? I will have to dig them up later to actually compare word for word. If nothing else, it shows that Sansa may have missed the point at the time, but she definitely processed it after a while.





Yes, it's the same wording; see what Sandor told her in the Serpentine chapter:



“Florian and Jonquil? A fool and his cunt. Spare me. But one day I’ll have a song from you, whether you will it or no.



And here's what she hears him say in her dream:



And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion’s eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only on one side. “I’ll have a song from you,” he rasped, and Sansa woke and found the old blind dog beside her once again. “I wish that you were Lady,” she said.



She does leave out the "But someday..." part of his line, which makes sense to omit given that someday is now in that oneiric context, and the willing or no part also becomes redundant as she had been stripping willingly in that dream.


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Hi there, this is my first ever post so I'm hoping I don't end up posting wrong (always a chance with me).



I've only very recently stumbled upon this forum (I must have been living under a rock!) but have been amazed by many of the re-reading threads on here. I've just spent the last few days catching up with Rereading Sandor I and now this thread and wow - completely blown away by the effort, detail and insight everyone contributing goes in to. It's really brilliant.



My own personal take on Sandor's path that has been discussed to date (I will refrain from jumping ahead) is that I've always seen him as someone so utterly disillusioned with his life that he's given in to life's baser qualities built up around this massive pit of anger although to his credit he has still kept true to some of the true values that mean something to him (as with the tale of his grandfather). I always pictured him as being ruthless in carrying out his orders and conducting himself, but that this was always tempered with the clear picture we are given that he is nothing like his monster brother - and that for me has always been the biggest hint that Sandor is not just a mindless killer despite him claiming to be the 'butcher'.



I'm not sure whether his exposure to the ways of the north or the introduction of Sansa is what started his own self evaluation and change (although she does obviously become a huge part of it), for me and I know others have noted it, it was when Joffrey became king and his true nature was revealed. The Gregor similarities must have been sending alarm bells ringing.



From then on I think he sees Sansa as the representation of the world that he thought was lost to him when he was a little boy, and he starts to look back on his actions through her world view (as his attempts to sway her view to his mostly fails) and to find his satisfaction with it all extremely lacking. It is how he treats her and handles her - mostly gently (with some exceptions!) - that show his true nature although this is of course offset by his outbursts of anger - he is not a perfect man.



I'm not sure I quite agree that he has completely fully fledged romantic feelings for her. I think rather he sees her as a symbol of hope and something better that he's been starved of for so long - and it is that which he truly craves. Protecting and serving her could provide him with the honour and satisfaction that working for the Lannisters has never given him (which I don't think he fully realised until her introduction - that there was something better out there). I think Sansa's age here is very worth remembering that whilst she is remarkably mature for her age (how she responds to violence at the tourney, how she comforts the other women during the battle etc.) she is still too young (at 12) to understand the subconscious connotations of Sandor's actions that have and can be read throughout this story. I rather think Sandor is still too damaged to understand them fully himself.



But yeah, I've probably waffled on too long. I look forward to the next instalment.


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I'm not sure I quite agree that he has completely fully fledged romantic feelings for her. I think rather he sees her as a symbol of hope and something better that he's been starved of for so long - and it is that which he truly craves. Protecting and serving her could provide him with the honour and satisfaction that working for the Lannisters has never given him (which I don't think he fully realised until her introduction - that there was something better out there). I think Sansa's age here is very worth remembering that whilst she is remarkably mature for her age (how she responds to violence at the tourney, how she comforts the other women during the battle etc.) she is still too young (at 12) to understand the subconscious connotations of Sandor's actions that have and can be read throughout this story. I rather think Sandor is still too damaged to understand them fully himself.

Welcome to the reread, Faereth! Thanks for chiming in and sharing your thoughts.

I'd argue that Sandor's romantic feelings are by the end of ACOK actually fully fledged, it's Sansa's which take more time to pan out and evolve because of her young age, but Sandor is older and more experienced. We can clearly see he's starting to develop those feelings following the Tourney of Gnats and reveals them by behaviour and verbally from the Serpentine scene onwards. They weren't too sudden either, as he and she have been interacting frequently, probably on a daily basis, which is never shown in her chapters but that can be deduced happens off-page given his position as a Kingsguard, for a whole year, which is more than enough for those feelings to germinate slowly and grow stronger over that period. He's not acting merely out of a desire to protect and serve her because of the satisfaction that'd bring him, as Sansa cannot offer him anything really: she is a prisoner, of a family of traitors, and he works for the enemy House. He has nothing to gain from helping her, and more to lose were his actions known; his motivations are rather a confluence of his own moral compass, his growing disaffection towards the Lannisters and his romantic feelings for her, which work in tandem quite harmoniously and together make for a stronger overall explanation for his entire behaviour than just one isolated factor. There's no real need to favour one over the other, as it happens when some tend to try and explain away his actions as merely a desire to protect, some vague symbol she may represent, or the like.

Without a POV, I don't think we can assert so confidently that he's "too damaged" to either understand what love is or what those romantic feelings entail. What exactly does "too damaged" mean? Sandor has a lifelong trauma due to his burning, but PTSD isn't a condition that annuls everything else: it does affect the way one relates with others but doesn't make feelings of love and bonding and romanticism impossible or inexistent, people seem to confuse the issues over closeness and trust that trauma and PTSD sufferers experience with an impossibility to love or understand love, which is in turn reinforced by some popular literary tropes that play into this misconception. Yet Sandor is fairly well-adjusted for someone in the messy environment he's lived in both at home and with his lieges, and besides the consequences of Gregor's burning nowhere have we gotten any whiff of him having some mental condition or personality disorder that would preclude his harbouring or understanding romantic feelings. Before Sansa, he was contemplating marriage and children as per what his reply to his Kingsguard appointment indicates, which alone should be enough to tell that he effectively does understand and craves for the love of a woman and to have his own children; and he can treat people gently and feel empathy as we saw in some scenes in ACOK, and finally, his whole wandering throughtout ASOS is fuelled also by these feelings he developed during his time in King's Landing, they didn't just sprout in the Riverlands out of nostalgia.

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Hi Milady and thank you for the welcome.



At some point I will learn how to quote but until then...



1. I fully see what you are saying about the romantic feelings that can be interpreted from Sandor. I recognise them in the writing myself but then I always stop and think of Sansa's age and that always makes me wonder - can that then be truly realistic? I think Sandor has definitely grown to care for her, I'm just still not convinced it's completely in that way - yet. I don't see that what she represents to him is something of a vague symbol either. This is a man who when he was a child was enamoured with knights and all they represented, even risking Gregor's wrath to play with a toy - at an extreme cost to himself that he could never have envisaged. Knights (or "true" knights) were hugely important to Sandor and I think that is something that was beaten out of him by the realities of his life until he starts interacting with Sansa. For me it's a huge part in why he is so drawn to her. I concede you are right in that you don't have to pick one reason over the other - and what you state about his actions from the Serpentine steps onwards show a clear shift in his feelings for her I just still can't quite get the full 'romantic' feel. I guess that's one's just down to personal interpretation.



2. What did I mean by "too damaged" - for me it's not so much with the PTSD, but rather in how Sandor views himself and how people have always reacted to the burns on his face. He's convinced himself that Sansa can't look at him or won't look at him - because of his face. He may be very well adjusted in all other aspects of his life but when it comes to his own personal appeal or even in a romantic way - he doubts himself completely or seemingly cannot believe that anyone will be able to see past his scars. For me that reads as a pretty big mental hurdle to overcome. If you and others are correct in the romantic readings then does Sandor truly believe that Sansa could like him back in that way? I would suggest that he does not (my assumption only!). I would say that it's not a lack of understanding of love on his part, but rather that he does not seem to believe that he will ever be on the receiving end of it. Perhaps too big an assumption on my part but again, it's just how I've interpreted him.


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. For me it's a huge part in why he is so drawn to her. I concede you are right in that you don't have to pick one reason over the other - and what you state about his actions from the Serpentine steps onwards show a clear shift in his feelings for her I just still can't quite get the full 'romantic' feel. I guess that's one's just down to personal interpretation.

I'll suggest that you stay around for the ASOS reading, since a lot of this unfurls further in ASOS. For us who've spent a lot of time going through the various character arcs many times before, the textual evidence yet to come is perhaps more difficult to keep separate. Suffice to say, once we get through ASOS, I do believe the picture will be clearer.

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I'll suggest that you stay around for the ASOS reading, since a lot of this unfurls further in ASOS. For us who've spent a lot of time going through the various character arcs many times before, the textual evidence yet to come is perhaps more difficult to keep separate. Suffice to say, once we get through ASOS, I do believe the picture will be clearer.

Thank you Lyanna I believe I shall. Really have been so impressed with what's been discussed already and all the indepth analysis and research that's gone in to it. I guess what's great is that you can have so many different interpretations of even the smallest of passages.

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Thank you Lyanna I believe I shall. Really have been so impressed with what's been discussed already and all the indepth analysis and research that's gone in to it. I guess what's great is that you can have so many different interpretations of even the smallest of passages.

Welcome aboard, Faereth! Please do stick around and share your insights as we continue to delve further into Sandor's arc. I absolutely agree with Lyanna Stark (and, of course, Milady): the textual evidence supports that Sandor does indeed have romantic feelings for Sansa, feelings that Sansa returns.

Looking forward to ASoS!

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A Storm of Swords



SANDOR I:


The Hound is missing



  • Jaime I (Ch. 1)
  • Arya I (Ch. 3)
  • Tyrion I (Ch. 4)
  • Tyrion II (Ch. 12)
  • Arya III (Ch. 17)
  • Jaime III (Ch. 21)


SUMMARY



In contrast with all those analysed up to this point, this chapter arrangement has the characteristic that in none of them does Sandor make an appearance onstage, nor is he present in the background. Instead, we are treated to an assortment of passing mentions and comparisons from one Stark and two Lannisters, the latter allowing us to find out about the initial reactions to his break-up with his masters and his abandonment of King’s Landing after the Battle of Blackwater.



It’s Jaime who inaugurates this string of mentions of the Hound, when his first-ever POV rolls along, showing him on the boat towards King’s Landing with Brienne and his cousin Cleos, and they’re spotted by Edmure’s men sent to recapture their tiny party, and he mentally likens her to Sandor half-mockingly and half-admiringly when she refuses to give up and prepares to fight the Riverrun pursuers:



His cousin groaned. “We can’t hope to defeat eighteen.”


“Did I say we could? The best we can hope for is to die with swords in our hands.” He was perfectly sincere. Jaime Lannister had never been afraid of death.


Brienne broke off rowing. Sweat had stuck strands of her flax-coloured hair to her forehead, and her grimace made her look homelier than ever. “You are under my protection,” she said, her voice so thick with anger that it was almost a growl.


He had to laugh at such fierceness. She’s the Hound with teats, he thought. Or would be, if she had any teats to speak of. “Then protect me, wench. Or free me to protect myself.”



After that, the Hound’s name appears in Arya’s first chapter, in the customary death prayer that’ll be a continued ritual for her throughout ASOS:



Later they passed through a burned village, threading their way carefully between the shells of blackened hovels and past the bones of a dozen dead men hanging from a row of apple trees. When Hot Pie saw them he began to pray, a thin whispered plea for the Mother’s mercy, repeated over and over. Arya looked up at the fleshless dead in their wet rotting clothes and said her own prayer. Ser Gregor, it went, Dunsen, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and the Hound. Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, King Joffrey, Queen Cersei. She ended it with valar morghulis, touched Jaqen’s coin where it nestled under her belt, and then reached up and plucked an apple from among the dead men as she rode beneath them. It was mushy and overripe, but she ate it worms and all.



This prayer she repeats at the end of that day as she goes to sleep on the ground; note the phrasing:



“Dunsen, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and . . . the Tickler . . . the Hound . . .”



Interestingly, this time she mentions the Tickler twice before moving on to the Hound, and whilst the intention is evidently to convey the sleepiness of Arya as she recites her prayer, this repetition and the fact that it is cut short right after mentioning the Hound can work as a passage heralding events in her last chapter, in which she in effect will kill the Tickler—by stabbing him repeatedly, which mirrors this repetition of his name—and take Sandor out of her list. The last two names in her prayer at the opening of her ASOS arc are the same two names she’ll directly eliminate at the end of her ASOS arc in differing manners.



And in the waning paragraphs of her third chapter, in which she and her escape companions are found by the Brotherhood without Banners and Harwin recognises her, there’s the prayer once more, only that here it has no particularity of any significance aside the usual variance in order she engages in:



Nor did she speak of Jaqen H’ghar and the three deaths he’d owed and paid. The iron coin he’d given her Arya kept tucked away beneath her belt, but sometimes at night she would take it out and remember how his face had melted and changed when he ran his hand across it. “Valar morghulis,” she would say under her breath. “Ser Gregor, Dunsen, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and the Hound. Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, Queen Cersei, King Joffrey.”



On the lions’ den, the littlest of them is the one whose reaction we witness on-page first. Recovering from wounds gotten in the fighting and isolated in his room during all that time, no news could come Tyrion’s way until he sets his squire on a quest to fetch Bronn, now sporting a ser before his name, who explains how he earned it and lets him know that his sister and the king no longer have the Hound with them:



“[…] Them of us as survived the fight at the winch towers got ourselves dabbed by the High Septon and dubbed by the Kingsguard. Took half the bloody day, with only three of the White Swords left to do the honours.”


“I knew Ser Mandon died in the battle.” Shoved into the river by Pod, half a heartbeat before the treacherous bastard could drive his sword through my heart. “Who else was lost?”


“The Hound,” said Bronn. “Not dead, only gone. The gold cloaks say he turned craven and you led a sortie in his place.”



Bronn’s account also clarifies where from the rumour that Sandor had run from battle due to cravenness originated: the Gold Cloaks. Next, the Imp goes to visit his father, and there Tywin reacts by making a dismissive remark on the younger of his Clegane vassals in the context of the incoming Dorne delegation sent by their prince, to whom the Imp had promised reparation for the murder of Elia and her children that his father is reluctant to agree with:



“Ser Gregor has his uses, as did his brother. Every lord has need of a beast from time to time . . . a lesson you seem to have learned, judging from Ser Bronn and those clansmen of yours.”



Going to meet his mistress surreptitiously with the complicity of the Spider in his second chapter, Tyrion comes into a dogfighting match and decides to use that to distract the guards from becoming suspicious of his comings and goings, making a joke on Sandor’s facial scarring:



Near the kennels a group of men-at-arms were fighting a pair of dogs. Tyrion stopped long enough to see the smaller dog tear half the face off the larger one, and earned a few coarse laughs by observing that the loser now resembled Sandor Clegane. Then, hoping he had disarmed their suspicions, he proceeded to the north wall and down the short flight of steps to the eunuch’s meagre abode. The door opened as he was lifting his hand to knock.



This is followed by his brother making another comparison of the Hound, a favourable one, once Jaime finally gets the much-desired chance to get his hands on a sword and fights with Brienne whilst still chained, and is surprised by her skill and physical resilience, which cause him to praise her strength inwardly and also assess the list of fighters in-story that he sees as stronger:



She is stronger than I am.


The realization chilled him. Robert had been stronger than him, to be sure. The White Bull Gerold Hightower as well, in his heyday, and Ser Arthur Dayne. Amongst the living, Greatjon Umber was stronger, Strongboar of Crakehall most likely, both Cleganes for a certainty. The Mountain’s strength was like nothing human. It did not matter. With speed and skill, Jaime could beat them all. But this was a woman. A huge cow of a woman, to be sure, but even so . . . by rights, she should be the one wearing down.


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ANALYSIS



As the little bird’s reaction to Sandor’s desertion is going to be the subject of a chapter analysis following this one, and the little she-wolf’s prayer is also deserving to have a dedicated analysis by the end of ASOS as its patterns and theme are better examined with the whole picture in place, the focus here will be on the Lannister family and how each of its members take the loss of their hitherto most loyal liegeman.




‘Tis a pity that the Hound had gone: The Lannisters without Sandor




One trait as inseparable from the Hound as loyalty to his masters quite fittingly highlighted in the first chapter of ASOS—a Lannister POV at that—is his fierceness, the personal characteristic that the members of this House that have had him with them for the longest time seem to appreciate best in Sandor Clegane: there’s Joffrey’s amused “my dog has a fierce bark,” there’s Cersei’s lamenting the absence of her former shield’s unknightly scorn, and there’s Jaime’s observation that fierceness is a trait both Tarth and Clegane share. And not far behind, there’s Sansa’s wish for her saviour to have his ferocity echoing these sentiments . . .



Jaime doesn’t know of the desertion so his thoughts have yet to come ahead and a first-hand account of Cersei’s wishing for the Hound to be there has to wait until AFFC, but there’s one family member whose reaction is conspicuously unaccounted for: Joffrey’s. The king has known Sandor practically since his own birth and his is a face as familiar as his own mother’s, and added to this familiarity there’s his attitude of looking up to the Hound as a pseudo-father figure and a masculine role model, therefore his reaction to losing him would’ve been a shock that people round him would’ve registered and possibly suffered the consequences of the kingly temper as well. But curiously, none can be found in this series of initial reactions that range from Sansa missing him to Tywin dismissing him. Lack of a POV nearby could suitably explain this, as the POVs in court at this time are only two, Sansa and Tyrion; the latter had been lying unconscious and out of touch with the outside world for a significant time, during which Joffrey could’ve reacted to the news, and he came nowhere near his nephew in his first ventures out of the sickroom once recovered, so his acting as a vehicle for showing such a reaction can be attributed to lack of a chance. The other POV, however, had more opportunity and rather immediately after, during the Lannister victory parade that was the court session in ACOK Sansa VIII when men were alternately rewarded and punished depending on which side they’d been; and yet, we only get Sansa’s own thoughts that “the Hound had vanished” and nobody else mentions him in her vicinity, making her look as the sole living soul that seems to genuinely care, which is consolidated once we read the Lannisters’s take. Later, and despite no longer being betrothed to Joffrey and seeing him less as a result, she still interacts with him enough for some allusion to Sandor to have slipped out, but again the king never mentions the Hound to her or to those within earshot. As a result, we are in the dark about how exactly Joffrey took the news of losing “his” dog. Was he shocked, enraged, hurt, incredulous, dismissive? Did he throw a temper tantrum? We can only imagine and speculate; Joffrey may appear cold and unaffected by this on the outside, but one would suspect that’s precisely because of not having a witness to relay whatever he may have said or done.



Tyrion is, then, our window into how the House the Hound served for most of his life handled the repercussions, starting with his own. When told by Bronn how he’d been knighted and the tedium of the ceremony overextended for lack of enough Kingsguard to speed it up, his reaction to hearing Sandor’s gone is this:



“The Hound,” said Bronn. “Not dead, only gone. The gold cloaks say he turned craven and you led a sortie in his place.”


Not one of my better notions. Tyrion could feel the scar tissue pull tight when he frowned.



The Imp is, together with Sansa, only one of two people who know the true motivation for Sandor abandoning the battlefield, and yet his reaction isn’t one of understanding or empathy as hers was; instead, he makes it about himself and what the decision that drove the Hound away caused to himself in what’s quite an understatement. He doesn’t assess the ways in which this will impact his ongoing rivalry with his sister nor his future interactions with his nephew; he’s more concerned about his losses that leave him powerless for the time being.



This conversation with Bronn yields a couple of details of note pertaining Sandor. First, Ser Bronn’s account of his knighting…



“Them of us as survived the fight at the winch towers got ourselves dabbed by the High Septon and dubbed by the Kingsguard. Took half the bloody day, with only three of the White Swords left to do the honours.”



… is like a summarised version of the account of the same ceremony given by Sansa in her last ACOK chapter:



More than six hundred new knights were made that day. They had held their vigil in the Great Sept of Baelor all through the night and crossed the city barefoot that morning to prove their humble hearts. Now they came forward dressed in shifts of undyed wool to receive their knighthoods from the Kingsguard. It took a long time, since only three of the Brothers of the White Sword were on hand to dub them. Mandon Moore had perished in the battle, the Hound had vanished, Arys Oakheart was in Dorne with Princess Myrcella, and Jaime Lannister was Robb’s captive, so the Kingsguard had been reduced to Balon Swann, Meryn Trant, and Osmund Kettleblack. Once knighted, each man rose, buckled on his swordbelt, and stood beneath the windows. Some had bloody feet from their walk through the city, but they stood tall and proud all the same, it seemed to Sansa.



This may indicate that at this time Sansa had not as yet heard the rumour about Sandor’s supposed cowardliness in battle, although she evidently did know already that he was gone from the city as well as why; she’ll eventually hear that rumour later and mentally defend him against it. But by the time she finds out, the rumour appears already “adorned” by juicier fabricated details the account Bronn heard—presumably first-hand from the horse’s mouth—didn’t have and that are glaringly added on retelling: “. . . at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men.”



And speaking of said rumour, it’s interesting that the originators were the same Gold Cloaks of whom Bronn says did the following:



“I sent him to bring Ser Jacelyn and he came back and told me he’s dead.”


“Him, and thousands more.” Bronn sat.


“How?” Tyrion demanded, feeling that much sicker.


“During the battle. Your sister sent the Kettleblacks to fetch the king back to the Red Keep, the way I hear it. When the gold cloaks saw him leavin’ half of them decided they’d leave with him. Ironhand put himself in their path and tried to order them back to the walls. They say Bywater was blistering them good and almost had ’em ready to turn when someone put an arrow through his neck. He didn’t seem so fearsome then, so they dragged him off his horse and killed him.”



In other words: the men who spread the rumour that Sandor had run from the battle out of fear are, ironically, men of the unit that did precisely what they accuse Sandor of doing. According to Sansa, Queen Cersei ordered Osney and Osfryd Kettleblack to go for her son to be retrieved back first from the Mud Gate to the castle when she heard Tyrion had gone out on a sortie, and a second time to get him back from the castle walls inside Maegor’s after she heard the battle was lost upon Tyrion and Sandor both disappearing. It would be after Cersei giving the first order that the mutiny of the Gold Cloaks at the Mud Gate took place, because Kettleblack told her that “your men are deserting the walls and killing their own officers” before she gives the second order and shuts the holdfast off to the “mob howling outside, half of them gold cloaks.” Thus, in another example of literary irony from Martin, the Hound gets slandered by men who are themselves guilty of fear-driven desertion and murder of superiors.



His following conversation with Varys is surprisingly full of Kingsguard talk, in which the eunuch gives him information on Boros being Tywin’s from now on his restoration to the royal guards, and subtle clues on Mandon Moore coming originally from the Vale—which might’ve been his way of hinting at Littlefinger—that the Imp fails to properly analyse as he is firmly convinced Cersei is the culprit. None of them mentions Sandor, but there are references that apply obliquely to him. For instance, when Varys tells that Pycelle has been restored as Grand Maester by insistence of the Citadel on grounds of authority to make and unmake one of their own, and it’s mentioned that Maegor and Aegon II had gotten rid of some by axe and by dragon, Tyrion says this:



“Alas, I am quite dragonless. I suppose I could have dipped Pycelle in wildfire and set him ablaze. Would the Citadel have preferred that?”



Previously, I’ve made an argument that some of the harshest lines said by Sandor seem to be repetitions of stuff he has heard the Lannisters say and not stuff that he’d believe himself, because we find the Lannisters saying the same things he does in other chapters; and keeping in mind what he will say in a future chapter should be done to Tyrion upon hearing he had married Sansa (“She ought to dip him in wildfire and cook him. Or tickle him till the moon turns black.”), the quoted passage above seems to be one such line. With one difference: Sandor never says he should have done the dipping in wildfire but Cersei, whilst Tyrion definitely does say he could have himself. The difference in phrasing may or may not allude to the extents of violence they’d be willing to engage in.



The Kingsguard motif closes with the parallel of Tyrion making fun both of the new member who has been taken in as replacement and of the old member that has left. The dogfight he witnesses has interesting symbolism stemming from the smaller dog besting the bigger dog by going directly for its face and tearing half off (a common behaviour in real dogs during a fight, be it man-arranged or casual), a behaviour Sandor explicitly avoids when fighting the “bigger dog,” Gregor, because that’d be unfair advantage. That the big dog is on the losing side in this confrontation could also be hinting at the elder Clegane’s fate in Tyrion’s trial by combat, in which he is nearly defeated and although he wins, his victory is Pyrrhic and costs him dearly. It’s worth noting that in the two pieces of direct foreshadowing we have in the books for Gregor’s demise and fall as head of House Clegane, the head of a dog in some way marred or cut off is always used, and this would be the first instance, the other being the hound painted on his brother’s shield that got its head cut off by a sword blow during the combat with Beric.



Gregor’s head brings in the “vengeance, justice, beasts and blood” theme that Tywin dictates as the approach for House Lannister to deal with the Clegane brothers. Confronted by his son over his importance in winning the Blackwater showdown and asked for a recompense in the form of formal and public acknowledgement as his heir, Lord Lannister has a negative reaction that recognises to Tyrion’s credit only the enormous chain that imprisoned Stannis’ fleet at the bay and the alliance with House Martell, the head of which is expected to come for his seat in the council; but then, he reproaches the Imp for an additional promise he had made:



“You promised him vengeance as well.”


“I promised him justice.”


“Call it what you will. It still comes down to blood.”


“Not an item in short supply, surely? I splashed through lakes of it during the battle.” Tyrion saw no reason not to cut to the heart of the matter. “Or have you grown so fond of Gregor Clegane that you cannot bear to part with him?”


“Ser Gregor has his uses, as did his brother. Every lord has need of a beast from time to time . . . a lesson you seem to have learned, judging from Ser Bronn and those clansmen of yours.”


Tyrion thought of Timett’s burned eye, Shagga with his axe, Chella in her necklace of dried ears. And Bronn. Bronn most of all. “The woods are full of beasts,” he reminded his father. “The alleyways as well.”


“True. Perhaps other dogs would hunt as well. I shall think on it. If there is nothing else . . . ”



Tyrion points out to his father that Gregor should be expendable to the greater benefit of House Lannister and that it’s not worth endangering the alliance with the Martells as there are always other “beasts” out there to step in for this one; but fortunately for Gregor and unfortunately for the rest of the realm, Lord Tywin is rather more willing to continue rewarding and protecting Gregor for atrocities because he’s the “beast” he claims every lord has need of, and this one is so formidably capable of committing all the foul deeds his liege needs him to do in his war with the Stark-Tully coalition in the Riverlands. Tywin brings Sandor into the conversation unasked, stating that he, too, had his uses in the past and earlier in AGOT had disapproved of his choosing for the Kingsguard as he was unfit to be seated at the lordly table. What uses were those? We have no evidence that Tywin “A task for every tool, a tool for every task” Lannister has ever used Sandor in the same capacity and extent as he has Gregor, as a ravaging beast, and given his management philosophy, he seems to be aware of which men he can use for which work, dirty or otherwise; a modus operandi that his daughter didn’t learn and his son obviously did.



So he must be referring to the uses Sandor had with regard to guarding his daughter and grandson. Tywin knew the child he took in his service had potential as a formidable warrior, which he eventually became in a few years, and one would’ve been hard-pressed to find a better protector for Cersei, an asset he needed more than protection for, considering his penchant for policing and keeping a tight grip on his family. That’d have been the prime “use” he saw the teenaged Hound was ideal for and what he appreciated best in him, not so much his loyalty beyond a point and only in relation to how it’d benefit his purposes for his daughter. Because Sandor was incorruptible by any Lannister foe seeking to damage any of them, incorruptible by the court schemers, and more importantly not an easy prey for the manipulations of either his daughter—or his other children for that matter—who tends to go overboard if unbridled. Tywin doesn’t acknowledge this loss really, and his failure to properly appraise and deplore what he’s lost with Sandor’s departure is brought into even sharper relief during this conversation by the trust he is placing in the infamously double-dealing Littlefinger, who’s just brought to court the means to end the lions’ hold on power.



Tyrion, on the other hand, seems to be somewhat more aware of what House Lannister has lost in Sandor, if only by means of listing all of the assets that he lost himself through switched loyalties: Bronn was taken away by Tywin, Pycelle and Boros are back as Tywin’s loyal men instead of Cersei’s, the Gold Cloaks are also Tywin’s via Marbrand, the Clansmen were kicked out of the city, again by Tywin, Littlefinger has been rewarded by Tywin . . . and so on, and so forth. And Sandor had been the sole Lannister asset whose loyalties could never be bought nor stolen, and everyone knew that. Now, the cubs are completely and utterly neutralised by the lion, and on the loyalty of none of those round them can any Lannister ever count with wholly. What’s worse, in Tyrion’s thoughts whilst he speaks to Tywin of beasts and dogs, we see his resentment at his father over the Handship and that he plans vengeance on Cersei for supposedly sending Ser Mandon on a murder attempt, which reveal how the House is about to be consumed by internecine struggles that will culminate in Ser Gregor fighting for Cersei and against Tyrion, in a metaphorical reversal of the Clegane founding story in which the hound fights for the lioness to kill the lord, as Ragnorak brilliantly posited.



But instead of measuring this properly and remedying it, Tywin embraces Gregor and dismisses the loss of Sandor, apparently confident that he may find any other tool just as useful, if his “perhaps other dogs may hunt as well” line is any clue. Sandor’s task, however, is not easily undertaken by any other “dog” out there, and Tywin’s choosing of the elder Clegane brother will have a role in the downfall of his House if we frame this under the “beasts” value choice favoured by the Lord of Casterly Rock: Sandor was their shield (for the House, for Cersei) and Gregor their sword, but in this specific case Tywin chooses Gregor as a shield against the Dornish intentions to seek justice for past crimes committed; and because of Gregor being a “beast” Oberyn will be able to get the confession that’ll bring about the ruin of the Lannisters eventually. Sandor had been one to help rein in to the best of his abilities some of the excesses of the House, especially where Joffrey was involved, and from that angle, he functioned as the guardian dog that protects the master even from going completely over the cliff, and it’s revealing that in the very moment Tywin reacts so dismissively to his absence, he is writing letters that readers believe have to do with the Red Wedding, arguably the lions’ point of no return in terms of enormities.



In sum, no, the Lannisters don’t really know how to deal with the loss of this liegeman. In the beginning, it was stated that his ferocity was the one virtue they did appreciate in him; it suited them very well. But Sandor’s most valuable and defining virtue was his loyalty, and that’s something House Lannister took for granted, neglected, and consequently lost.


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Excellent analysis, Milady. Those chapters would not have been easy to navigate and come up with such a cohesive reading :) Your analysis of the Lannisters without the Hound was quite compelling, but it's your summary section that I wish to focus on in this initial response:





Jaime liked the sound of that not at all. “Brienne,” he said, granting her the courtesy of the name in the hopes that she might listen, “if Lord Bolton holds Harrenhal, both the Trident and the kingsroad are likely watched.”


He thought he saw a touch of uncertainty in her big blue eyes. “You are under my protection. They’d need to kill me.”


.

[...]



Brienne broke off rowing. Sweat had stuck strands of her flax-colored hair to her forehead, and her grimace made her look homelier than ever. “You are under my protection,” she said, her voice so thick with anger that it was almost a growl.

He had to laugh at such fierceness. She’s the Hound with teats, he thought. Or would be, if she had any teats to speak of. “Then protect me, wench. Or free me to protect myself.”


It's very interesting for the purposes of our analysis into the Hound's role as a protector and a shield, that the first mention of him after he has deserted the battle of Blackwater would come via a comparison with a character who defines herself by this very purpose, and is in the process of carrying out a solemn duty to Catelyn Stark to secure the eventual release of her daughters. That Sandor actually tried to effect his own rescue of Sansa (and later will with Arya) prior to departing the city further deepens the parallel, and the "fierceness" that leads Jaime to make the comparison of the Hound to Brienne was echoed in the emotionally laden vow that Sandor made to Sansa on the night of Blackwater: "They're all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I'd kill them." The chapter also contains a description of Brienne being "as dogged as a hound."


What further resonates in this chapter is the relationship between Jaime and Brienne, as it features the characteristic "beauty and the beast" motif which was also discernible in Sansan's relationship. Their initial sniping and awkwardness recalls the encounter between Sansa and the Hound at the Hand's tourney, which eventually leads to greater understanding and compassion towards each other and such is the way the connection between Brienne and Jaime evolves as well. Rather than the sort of ravaging beast that Tywin imagines when he talks with Tyrion about the Clegane brothers, Sandor is a beast capable of love, redemption, and mercy.


It wasn't on the summary list for review, but Jaime II also contains a quote that is very fitting to what the Hound must have been thinking when he tore off his cloak and leaves it behind in Sansa's room:



“I earned my knighthood. Nothing was given to me. I won a tourney mêlée at thirteen, when I was yet a squire. At fifteen, I rode with Ser Arthur Dayne against the Kingswood Brotherhood, and he knighted me on the battlefield. It was that white cloak that soiled me, not the other way around..."


So, there's really a lot of evocative material to probe in Jaime's journey back to KL and the themes and motifs that shed light on so much of Sandor's development. The point you made in your analysis of how the Lannisters have lost a loyal Hound and what it symbolises for them going forward was spot on. The naked self-interest and ruthlessness - characterised by the nobles and animals alike - is quite evident in these early chapters, and the importance of being gone from such a space for Sandor's growth cannot be overstated.

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Thanks, Brash! This assignment of chapters was complicated, but worth analysing to garner how each character took Sandor's absence.




It's very interesting for the purposes of our analysis into the Hound's role as a protector and a shield, that the first mention of him after he has deserted the battle of Blackwater would come via a comparison with a character who defines herself by this very purpose, and is in the process of carrying out a solemn duty to Catelyn Stark to secure the eventual release of her daughters. That Sandor actually tried to effect his own rescue of Sansa (and later will with Arya) prior to departing the city further deepens the parallel, and the "fierceness" that leads Jaime to make the comparison of the Hound to Brienne was echoed in the emotionally laden vow that Sandor made to Sansa on the night of Blackwater: "They're all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I'd kill them." The chapter also contains a description of Brienne being "as dogged as a hound."



Good point! One very interesting detail in the way Sandor is reintroduced into the storyline once he's departed King's Landing and before he's seen again is that he seems to be thematically linked with Brienne on the very first mentions of his name. In your observation for the ASOS case, you note that it's the protector role she is in with regard to her own "beauty," the same role that Sandor plays which establishes this link, and then there's the fierceness Jaime notes. Given that both Brienne and Sandor promise to kill or die protecting those they've sworn to, it brings to mind what Sansa said, that a loyal dog would savage anyone that tries to hurt its master. And not only are they linked over being loyal and fierce protectors, for in AFFC Sandor's is again reintroduced through likening Brienne to him, giving her his iconic "I am no ser" line (she is the only one besides him who says that), which is fitting given that both are dealing with the "true knights yet not really knights" narrative, something to explore ahead.





It wasn't on the summary list for review, but Jaime II also contains a quote that is very fitting to what the Hound must have been thinking when he tore off his cloak and leaves it behind in Sansa's room:



“I earned my knighthood. Nothing was given to me. I won a tourney mêlée at thirteen, when I was yet a squire. At fifteen, I rode with Ser Arthur Dayne against the Kingswood Brotherhood, and he knighted me on the battlefield. It was that white cloak that soiled me, not the other way around..."




Indeed, Jaime is quite useful in discussing true knights and the Kingsguard in relation to Sandor because of the abundance of parallels. In this quote, there's one such to highlight, small as it may be: Jaime says he earned his knighthood, meaning his prowess and natural talent took him where he is as a warrior now, and cites winning a mèlee as a green squire aged 13 as his first motive for pride. Considering that highborn males could get their knighthoods in a number of ways having little to nothing to do with effort and talent—cue Harry Hardyng—and how Sandor has repeatedly said that he killed his first man at 12, one year younger than Jaime, likely at live combat and being a green squire too, we could say that Sandor also earned his (non-)knighthood. Much sweat was what it took him to the position he abandoned, and from that angle this also likens him to Brienne, who was given no advantages in training and had to overcome a bigger hurdle in her sex, to earn her knighthood even though it's not acknowledged due to her genre still.

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ANALYSIS

As the little bird’s reaction to Sandor’s desertion is going to be the subject of a chapter analysis following this one, and the little she-wolf’s prayer is also deserving to have a dedicated analysis by the end of ASOS as its patterns and theme are better examined with the whole picture in place, the focus here will be on the Lannister family and how each of its members take the loss of their hitherto most loyal liegeman.

‘Tis a pity that the Hound had gone: The Lannisters without Sandor

<snip>

In sum, no, the Lannisters don’t really know how to deal with the loss of this liegeman. In the beginning, it was stated that his ferocity was the one virtue they did appreciate in him; it suited them very well. But Sandor’s most valuable and defining virtue was his loyalty, and that’s something House Lannister took for granted, neglected, and consequently lost.

An excellent analysis, Milady! I’m impressed that you were able to provide so much food for thought from the various POVs even though Sandor never appears on page.

Joffrey’s reaction to Sandor’s desertion has always been one of those unanswered questions that has never stopped nagging me. Sansa wonders how Sandor would feel about Joffrey’s death (and we’re later privy to his response), yet, Joffrey’s response to Sandor’s desertion is never hinted at, which I find curious, and as you said, conspicuous. While we can only speculate, surely Joffrey would have felt a combination of rage (that Lannister prickly pride) and the deep hurt that accompanies betrayal, especially from someone so close to you. Something or someone must have paid a price, and since it wasn’t Sansa for once, I can’t help but think poor Tommen bore the brunt of Joffrey’s anger and pain (which might be revealed if Tommen provides testimony to what Joffrey actually did do to him). Otherwise, with the Tyrell alliance, Joffrey had no choice but to publicly rein in his behavior.

That being said, overall, the Hound’s desertion is interestingly written, which your analysis brilliantly addresses. On a first read, or even two or three rereads, it’s almost as if none of the Lannisters care that their most loyal man, someone as close to the Lannisters as a one can get without sharing the surname, has deserted them. Yet, upon closer inspection, he is continually mentioned or thought of. I get the sense that Tywin and Tyrion are internally scrambling to fill the void left by Sandor while they attempt to reassure themselves that their key supporters are expendable, as we see when Tywin isn’t willing to give up Gregor so easily. It must resonate at some level, even subconsciously, that Sandor is by far the better and more valuable man, so if Tywin is reluctant to hand over Gregor to appease the Martells, he must internally recognize what a loss Sandor is, despite his dismissive words.

Ha! As far as the Gold Cloaks and how the rumor started that Sandor tucked tail and ran, I never noticed before. Well done, Milday, as it puts the rumors into much needed context!

As much as I love and appreciate the parallels between Sandor and Brienne (brilliant observations, Milady and brash, and I’m 100% on board), I’m especially drawn to the relationship between Sandor and Tyrion. In Tyrion I, Tyrion reflects on weakness: “Tyrion hated weakness, especially his own. It shamed him, and shame made him angry.” This quote screams out to me since the Hound persona is the product of shame and anger, and it’s Tyrion who delivers the final blow to a vulnerable Sandor by shaming him on the battlefield. While Sandor may hate the Lannisters in general, I’m convinced Sandor harbors a special hatred for Tyrion. I also can’t help but think that the relationship between these two is far from over.

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Many thanks, DogLover! Glad that the analysis was enjoyable.





Joffrey’s reaction to Sandor’s desertion has always been one of those unanswered questions that has never stopped nagging me. Sansa wonders how Sandor would feel about Joffrey’s death (and we’re later privy to his response), yet, Joffrey’s response to Sandor’s desertion is never hinted at, which I find curious, and as you said, conspicuous. While we can only speculate, surely Joffrey would have felt a combination of rage (that Lannister prickly pride) and the deep hurt that accompanies betrayal, especially from someone so close to you. Something or someone must have paid a price, and since it wasn’t Sansa for once, I can’t help but think poor Tommen bore the brunt of Joffrey’s anger and pain (which might be revealed if Tommen provides testimony to what Joffrey actually did do to him). Otherwise, with the Tyrell alliance, Joffrey had no choice but to publicly rein in his behavior.





Sounds quite plausible, and I'd imagine something along those lines would be how Joff would take this desertion. Considering what Cersei said once she got her POV, that Sandor was her son's fatherly figure, the blow would've been deeply felt, and besides Joff himself had the idea of giving Sandor the white cloak as a reward (in his eyes), which adds to the sense of betrayal. What also would make this sting worse is that Joffrey was rejected by all those who were supposed to play a fatherly role in his life: Jaime didn't care for him, Robert was negligent, and Sandor abandoned him; and in the attitudes of these three his mother had her share of responsibility, too.



I'm thinking that of all the Lannisters, the one who lost the most with Sandor's departure was Cersei. The Hound had been hers for half her life and had proven loyal and efficient, he'd be always on her side in the conflicts between the Baratheon household and the Lannister household and in conflicts with other Houses and courtiers, and he wasn't impressed by Robert nor easily swayed by his facile charisma, his discretion could be counted on if he knew of the affair with Jaime, as is likely, he would never take her hated brother Tyrion's side nor obey him over her; her son was well guarded and policed, he was obedient, he could keep her soldiers in check and lead them, would give her information and tell things likely nobody else would, and he knew how to deal with her little ones, amongst other things. And more importantly, she didn't need to seduce him and if she ever tried to manipulate him, her wiles likely slipped down Sandor like water on a duck. Just look at the poor substitutes she got herself to fill in the void: three Kettleblacks for the value of a Hound, one for the Kingsguard and guarding Joff, a second for her Lannister household guards and dirty work, and a third for the City Watch. And for all that she'd previously had only Sandor to use in and much more efficiently so without the need to pay him extra gold or flaunt her teats in his face as enticement. She had to "hint" sexual favours to Osmund to keep him on her side, as Varys tells Tyrion in one of the chapters analysed, and she actually had to sleep with Osney as "payment" for favours. Unpoliced and deprived of trustworthy vassals like him, Cersei speeds up on a mighty trainwreck. No wonder, then, that she is the Lannister who mentally regrets the desertion of Sandor the most, if only for purely utilitarian reasons.





Ha! As far as the Gold Cloaks and how the rumor started that Sandor tucked tail and ran, I never noticed before. Well done, Milday, as it puts the rumors into much needed context!




Goes to show that there is a pattern in how he got such a terrible reputation in the first place, aside his own doings. Previously, we'd discussed that Gregor's atrocities and bad fame seep into people's negative perception of Sandor, and here we see how overblown gossip and false rumours also play a part in the less than favourable public opinion of him.


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I'm thinking that of all the Lannisters, the one who lost the most with Sandor's departure was Cersei. The Hound had been hers for half her life and had proven loyal and efficient, he'd be always on her side in the conflicts between the Baratheon household and the Lannister household and in conflicts with other Houses and courtiers, and he wasn't impressed by Robert nor easily swayed by his facile charisma, his discretion could be counted on if he knew of the affair with Jaime, as is likely, he would never take her hated brother Tyrion's side nor obey him over her; her son was well guarded and policed, he was obedient, he could keep her soldiers in check and lead them, would give her information and tell things likely nobody else would, and he knew how to deal with her little ones, amongst other things. And more importantly, she didn't need to seduce him and if she ever tried to manipulate him, her wiles likely slipped down Sandor like water on a duck. Just look at the poor substitutes she got herself to fill in the void: three Kettleblacks for the value of a Hound, one for the Kingsguard and guarding Joff, a second for her Lannister household guards and dirty work, and a third for the City Watch. And for all that she'd previously had only Sandor to use in and much more efficiently so without the need to pay him extra gold of flaunt her teats in his face as enticement. She had to "hint" sexual favours to Osmund to keep her on her side, as Varys tells Tyrion in one of the chapters analysed, and she actually had to sleep with Osney as "payment" for favours. Unpoliced and deprived of trustworthy vassals like him, Cersei speeds up on a mighty trainwreck. No wonder, then, that she is the Lannister who mentally regrets the desertion of Sandor the most, if only for purely utilitarian reasons.





Your observation certainly helps to further support the theory that Sansa is the one "younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear" in the prophecy Maggy tells to Cersei. Based on their relationship flying beneath the radar in KL, no one, much less Cersei, would have any reason to think that Sansa would have been a prime influence behind Sandor's disaffection with the Lannisters. It's Sansa's first strike one, and done of the basis of her Stark values of relying on love rather than fear in contradistinction to what Cersei espoused during the Blackwater battle. That philosophy alone makes her "more beautiful" whereas Cersei's focus will increasingly become centred on the manipulative Tyrells. That Cersei's "champion" will eventually become the undead reincarnation of Gregor Clegane puts this loss of Sandor into meaningful perspective.


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I'm thinking that of all the Lannisters, the one who lost the most with Sandor's departure was Cersei. The Hound had been hers for half her life and had proven loyal and efficient, he'd be always on her side in the conflicts between the Baratheon household and the Lannister household and in conflicts with other Houses and courtiers, and he wasn't impressed by Robert nor easily swayed by his facile charisma, his discretion could be counted on if he knew of the affair with Jaime, as is likely, he would never take her hated brother Tyrion's side nor obey him over her; her son was well guarded and policed, he was obedient, he could keep her soldiers in check and lead them, would give her information and tell things likely nobody else would, and he knew how to deal with her little ones, amongst other things. And more importantly, she didn't need to seduce him and if she ever tried to manipulate him, her wiles likely slipped down Sandor like water on a duck. Just look at the poor substitutes she got herself to fill in the void: three Kettleblacks for the value of a Hound, one for the Kingsguard and guarding Joff, a second for her Lannister household guards and dirty work, and a third for the City Watch. And for all that she'd previously had only Sandor to use in and much more efficiently so without the need to pay him extra gold or flaunt her teats in his face as enticement. She had to "hint" sexual favours to Osmund to keep him on her side, as Varys tells Tyrion in one of the chapters analysed, and she actually had to sleep with Osney as "payment" for favours. Unpoliced and deprived of trustworthy vassals like him, Cersei speeds up on a mighty trainwreck. No wonder, then, that she is the Lannister who mentally regrets the desertion of Sandor the most, if only for purely utilitarian reasons.

All excellent observations, Milady. It's an understatement to say the Kettleblacks are poor substitutes for Sandor, especially considering they actually work for Littlefinger, so no loyalty there. The elevation of UnGregor to the Kingsguard and as Cersei's key protector also underscores just how low Cersei has sunk, yet the Lannisters are reaping what they've sowed by losing someone as loyal as Sandor, only to replace him with their most depraved vassal writ large.

I'm not sure if there's a connection here, but I do wonder if the juxtaposition between Tyrion having to be carried up the serpentine stairs by Pod and Sandor's encounter with Sansa, wherein he becomes her true Florian and escorts her back to her room, is intentional. Both men play significant roles in her life, but this passage possibly foreshadows Tyrion's inability to keep Sansa safe, especially from Joffrey:

When Pod and he reached the serpentine steps, however, Tyrion could only gape at them in dismay. I will never climb those by myself, he confessed to himself. Swallowing his dignity, he asked Bronn to carry him, hoping against hope that at this hour there would be no one to see and smile, no one to tell the tale of the dwarf being carried up the steps like a babe in arms.

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

I disagree with that quote reflecting the Hound's thoughts. He says this on his "deathbed":

And the little bird, your pretty sister, I stood there in my white cloak and let them beat her.

To me it sounds like Sandor thinks he is unworthy of the Kingsguard, he also thinks Boros and company are unworthy but the point is that Sandor knows what the cloak should represent. Jaime essentially blames his position for corrupting him versus Sandor believing that he himself is too corrupt for the position. My guess is he thought his only virtue that earned him the job in the first place was loyalty and now that he abandoned his post there's really nothing that justifies him possessing the title.

Granted he always prides himself on being honest but I think the Battle of Blackwater made him realize that he wasn't being honest with himself.

A hound will die for you, but never lie to you.

Killing is the sweetest thing there is.

Knights are for killing.

If there are gods, they made sheep so wolves could eat mutton, and they made the weak for the strong to play with.

There are no true knights, no more than there are gods. If you can't protect yourself, die and get out of the way of those who can. Sharp steel and strong arms rule this world, don't ever believe any different.

I'm honest. It's the world that's awful.

^The things he says tend to reflect the "get them before they get me" type of mentality but we can see that his actions don't reflected that at all. If he actually believed that the world is this horrid place and that violence is the only thing worth living for he definitely wouldn't have went out of his way to protect Sansa.

His perception of the world starts to change when he gets exposed to her. He's used to the hypocrisy that tends to come along with nobility but here is the exception to the rule; Sansa is as close to a lady as it gets. She's young, beautiful, vulnerable, trusting, kind and gentle; everything childhood stories tell you a lady should be. He then realizes that he wants to be more than just a killer for hire.

"Why not? I have no lands nor wife to forsake, and who'd care if I did?" The burned side of his mouth twisted.

^This seems to hint that he does want a wife and kids and he might feel bitter that his brute of a brother gets all of those things. He wants a purpose, a mission to redeem himself. Maybe he though he could get that by joining the kingsguard and when that failed he offered Sansa his protection.

When that didn't work out he's left with nothing, he needs to carve out a brand new identity for himself.

I like dogs better than knights.

Even a dog gets tired of being kicked.

-You're Joffrey's dog.

-My own dog now.

^He still thinks that he is above the hypocrisy of knighthood (him/dogs > knights) and should hold himself to a higher standard. We know that he is fond of his Grandfather's story and the origins of house Clegane. I think him wanting to deliver Arya to Robb was an attempt at repeating his ancestor's feat. He wanted to get his own lands and titles and to create his own house.

If this Young Wolf has the wits the gods gave a toad, he’ll make me a lordling and beg me to enter his service. He needs me, though he may not know it yet. Maybe I’ll even kill Gregor for him, he’d like that.

I have no lands nor wife to forsake, and who'd care if I did?" The burned side of his mouth twisted.

He still has this ever present hatred for Gregor but perhaps this time he's drawing a parallel between himself as his gramps, Robb as Tytos and Gregor as the lioness that almost killed his lord. After all Ned's decree to arrest Gregor was one of the crucial moments that lead to war.

But I think most of all Sandor wants to feel wanted/needed and maybe even missed. His spiritual journey in the QI might give him the feeling of being wanted and some degree of peace. To me, his restless horse represents the ever present need to redeem himself and have a family and lands so I think and hope that he will leave that QI to pursue that path for himself.

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To me it sounds like Sandor thinks he is unworthy of the Kingsguard, he also thinks Boros and company are unworthy but the point is that Sandor knows what the cloak should represent. Jaime essentially blames his position for corrupting him versus Sandor believing that he himself is too corrupt for the position. My guess is he thought his only virtue that earned him the job in the first place was loyalty and now that he abandoned his post there's really nothing that justifies him possessing the title.

That quote is Sandor beating himself up for not helping Sansa more, for not protecting her more, because he thinks whatever he did was too little, too late and never enough. He blames himself for "doing nothing" as a Kingsguard, same as Jaime blames himself for doing nothing for Rhaella and doing nothing when Aerys killed the Starks, same as Ser Barry thinks he was too dutiful over being ethical. These men were acting like they did because of the inner conflict it brought them to try and reconcile knightly vows with doing right, and they chose knightly vows (i.e. the Kingsguard vows), which overrode doing the right thing, and that's why Jaime thinks the white cloak "soiled" him because he was told to shut up and be a good little knight whilst the queen he was supposed to protect was being raped and innocents were burnt. Do you see a difference between this and Sandor? He also feels "soiled" by the white cloak, because in his capacity as Kingsguard, he was bound to obey Joffrey, and he was an accomplice in the beatings of Sansa, for which he blames himself despite being the only Kingsguard to lift a finger for her sake, which neither Jaime nor Barristan did for their queens. His words whilst dying can hardly be taken as indication of him deenimg himself "unworthy" of the Kingsguard, more so since it's precisely because Sandor and the other two mentioned knew what the Kingsguard was supposed to be, and tried to emulate its ethos to the best of their abilities but were curtailed by corrupt and mad kings.

And it does the character a disservice to say he was appointed to the Kingsguard solely for loyalty. Sandor is a top-tier warrior, and even Joffrey, not the brightest of the Lannisters, knows that, and Sandor himself knows that too. At that time, the Kingsguard was a bunch of inutiles, but there were still two people who were appointed taking their martial skills into account: the Hound and Balon Swann, who got to lead the Lannister armies during Blackwater precisely because of that reason. Besides, considering that loyalty was the most crucial requisite when the Kingsguard was created by Queen Visenya, having that quality as your introduction card can hardly be a minor detail: in fact, it's the best card, more so seeing what the current Kingsguard are.

His perception of the world starts to change when he gets exposed to her. He's used to the hypocrisy that tends to come along with nobility but here is the exception to the rule; Sansa is as close to a lady as it gets. She's young, beautiful, vulnerable, trusting, kind and gentle; everything childhood stories tell you a lady should be. He then realizes that he wants to be more than just a killer for hire.

How many more times do we have to clarify this ever-present misconception? This is calling Sandor a sellsword, basically, a man selling his services to anyone who pays. And that couldn't be farther from reality, as Sandor is a sworn sword to House Lannister, an acknowledged vassal of the Lord of the Westerlands, and a liegeman to Queen Cersei by virtue of being her sworn shield, and that means he's nothing but a minor nobleman serving his overlord according to the feudal law that demands he serve by blood and by birthright. Sandor knows full well he's not a killer for hire, if he were, he'd have left the Lannisters the minute they looked at him funny, as swords for hire can and do break work contracts.

^This seems to hint that he does want a wife and kids and he might feel bitter that his brute of a brother gets all of those things. He wants a purpose, a mission to redeem himself. Maybe he though he could get that by joining the kingsguard and when that failed he offered Sansa his protection.

We really don't have any indication whatsoever that Sandor was looking for a mission to redeem himself, much less that he thought he needed redeeming, and no indication whatsoever that he could've joined the Kingsguard for that reason. At the time he was appointed, his relationship with Sansa was just starting and he was very much a full-fledged Lannister man still, and if anything, that indicates he joined because that's what his liege wanted of him. And it's going to be hard to support textually that he offered Sansa his protection because he failed in his mission to redeem himself through the white cloak. He did that for a conjunction of reasons that have to do with knighthood, needing to serve a better liege, his own code and his own romantic feelings for her, all combined and not isolated.

^He still thinks that he is above the hypocrisy of knighthood (him/dogs > knights) and should hold himself to a higher standard. We know that he is fond of his Grandfather's story and the origins of house Clegane. I think him wanting to deliver Arya to Robb was an attempt at repeating his ancestor's feat. He wanted to get his own lands and titles and to create his own house.

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He still has this ever present hatred for Gregor but perhaps this time he's drawing a parallel between himself as his gramps, Robb as Tytos and Gregor as the lioness that almost killed his lord. After all Ned's decree to arrest Gregor was one of the crucial moments that lead to war.

But I think most of all Sandor wants to feel wanted/needed and maybe even missed. His spiritual journey in the QI might give him the feeling of being wanted and some degree of peace. To me, his restless horse represents the ever present need to redeem himself and have a family and lands so I think and hope that he will leave that QI to pursue that path for himself.

I am sure Brashcandy will address the points you're contesting, so here I'd like to point out something, which also goes for all that have been commenting lately: this is a reread, not a casual thread for commenting on any topic anyone thinks should be addressed this very moment.

Not sure if inexperience with the structure of organised rereads is the cause, but we would very much appreciate it if posters stopped to read carefully and take into account what chapter is being discussed every time. You've jumped ahead to future chapters and even to AFFC, and some others have come to post off-topic issues that have nothing to do with the reread, and this disrupts the orderly flow of this reread, whose entire purpose is to analyse every chapter's topics chronologically. Please, bear that in mind whenever you post.

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Not sure if inexperience with the structure of organised rereads is the cause, but we would very much appreciate it if posters stopped to read carefully and take into account what chapter is being discussed every time. You've jumped ahead to future chapters and even to AFFC, and some others have come to post off-topic issues that have nothing to do with the reread, and this disrupts the orderly flow of this reread, whose entire purpose is to analyse every chapter's topics chronologically. Please, bear that in mind whenever you post.

Ooops, sorry. I was just trying to argue my point. Didn't mean to mess up the reread thread. :)

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