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Nagini's Neville

Could Sansa end up marrying Edric Storm?

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The story is peopled with various types of personalities and characters.  Not everybody can be a heroine or a hero.  Just like not everybody can be brave.  Not everybody can be smart.  Some people will behave honorably and some will behave selfishly.  To me, Sansa's character is not the heroine, brave type.  If anything, she is the average girl, selfish type.  if she does marry, and that is a big if, it will be to someone average.  Success and glory belong to those who take great risks.  Sansa's game has always been to hitch her wagon to a person with power, and that leaves her as the pawn.  Better to find an average, but nice guy, and be content.  

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Posted (edited)

@Prince Rhaego's Soul Yes not everyone can be hero in this series, but Sansa is not one of them. GRRM flat out said that the Starks are the heroes of the story and he never excluded Sansa from the list. So you are wrong about Sansa not being a hero. I understand if you don't like Sansa and you aren't obligated to it, but the least you can do is accept she is an important character who will play a big role to the story. 

Edited by Elegant Woes

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5 hours ago, Elegant Woes said:

I am not the only one who has this view, GRRM said the same thing when he voiced his surprise on people thinking a romance between Sansa and Sandor is possible.  

But GRRM is the one who romanticized it in the first place. He has clearly written their interactions based on Beauty and the Beast, a love story that he is very fond of. And he requested their portrait to be included in a calendar art of asoiaf which is based on Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête.

So I think he was not really serious when he said he was surprised. He knew very well what he was doing when he wrote their interactions the way he did.

Btw, I don't ship Sansa with him (or anyone for that matter), but I'm not surprised that it's so popular among book readers.

 

1 hour ago, Elegant Woes said:

I understand if you don't like Sansa and you aren't obligated to it, but the least you can do is accept she is an important character who will play a big role to the story.  

I mean after 5 books her importance should be apparent. She is obviously destined to bring down LF, one of the most dangerous villains of the story and her family's biggest enemy so I don't understand why she is not considered one of the heroes by some people.

Edited by winter daughter

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@winter daughter George doesn't romanticizes Sandor nor his dynamic with Sansa. He said that he is more dangerous than romantic and he also makes it clear that the age gap between them is not something that should be ignored. 

I read Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête and the dynamic of Beauty and the Beast is radically different from Sansa and Sandor. Beast is polite, kind and most importantly respects the boundaries of Beauty and her consent. Sandor Clegane is none of those things. One of the key aspects of Sansa's dynamic with Sandor is that invades her space all the time. There are multiple scenes where Sandor towers over Sansa's frame, pinches her chin so hard it hurts and grabs her arm and drags her. Sandor Clegane has proven time after time he has no respect for Sansa Stark. I mean one of the most iconic lines that Sansan shippers love shows just how little he cares about her consent:

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"I . . . I know a song about Florian and Jonquil."
"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." 

Frankly I find it disrespectful that Beast is even being compared to Sandor Clegane. Sure aesthetically speaking Sansa and Sandor may look like Beauty and the Beast but that's where the comparison stops. If anything I would say that Sandor and Sansa are the deconstruction of BatB. And Sandor isn't even the only character who is a Beastly figure in Sansa's life. Sansa's dynamic with Tyrion Lannister and Joffrey Baratheon also are a unique version of the tale Beauty and the Beast. 

I would argue that Sansa's marriage with Tyrion is a deconstruction of the message that Beauty and Beast originally conveyed: a way to help young girls cope with their arranged marriages to older and uglier men. The deconstruction of this in ASOIAF is that Sansa, unlike Beauty, doesn't fall in love with Tyrion. 

Sansa pleading for Ned's life to Joffrey is practically the same to what Beauty does when she meets the Beast. The deconstruction of this in ASOIAF is that the father of Beauty (Sansa) didn't steal a rose from Beast's garden, he's being accused of treason, and instead of being spared by the Prince/Beast he gets executed. 

In conclusion BatB tale doesn't solely belong to Sansa/Sandor. Like I said Sansa had multiple beastly figures in her life and none of them are her true Beast. As to who that truly will be well ... We have to wait and see. 

Edited by Elegant Woes

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11 minutes ago, Elegant Woes said:

I read Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête and the dynamic of Beauty and the Beast is radically different from Sansa and Sandor. Beast is polite, kind and most importantly respects the boundaries of Beauty and her consent.

We had this discussion before and I totally get your opinion on Sandor and Sansa even, if I don't 100% agree with everything, but I just can't understand how you can call la Bete kind and that he respects la Belle's boundaries and consent. She go there, because he threatens to kill her father and la Bete tells her father, that he'll only let him go, if you of his daughters comes and dies in his stead. So la Bete threatens her directly with death, blackmails her with the life of her father and she ultimately goes there to die. How can that be respecting her consent and boundaries? Then he keeps her prisoner and doesn't let her go and she has to eat with him every single evening and spend time with him, while he constantly pressures her to become his wife, asking her every evening to marry him. He also has rages, where la Belle gets scared of him and his hands smoking indicates, that he came back from killing. When la Belle tells him she is in love with someone else he gets jealous and so angry he has to go hunting. He is polite alright and tells her constantly she is his queen, but how much truth to this can there be, when she can't decide for herself to leave. La belle is a character, who is constantly self-sacrificing and has overflowing empathy so it's easy for la Bete to wrap her around his little finger. She wants to leave, because her father is sick and she is totally desperate, but la Bete emotionally blackmails her by telling her, when she leaves something horrible will happen to him and he only lets her finally leave, when she herself has fallen ill, because of all the sorrow about her father- it doesn't get more selfish than that. 

Beauty and the beast is a story with so many toxic and abusive elements. I really don't understand how you can call la Bete kind and respecting of la belle's boundaries and consent. He is more polite than Sandor for sure, but that's about it.

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Posted (edited)

@Nagini's Neville I was primarily talking about in comparison to Sandor Clegane that the Beast was better not he himself was a good person. You are right. I should have worded myself better. :)

Edited by Elegant Woes

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Posted (edited)

@Elegant Woes

His version of BatB is more twisted than Cocteau's but the romantic undertones and similarities are there. In the same interview he admits that he has played with the idea so it make sense why so many people have responded to it esp since dangerous and tortured male characters with tragic pasts have always been popular. Whether it's toxic and wrong or not is another story.

Edited by winter daughter

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BatB is a trope in and of itself these days. One that needs to die, especially since it usually is always a female beauty and a male beast. That's highly problematic. The only good version that GRRM has done so far that slightly flips this trope on the head, is gender swap it (which is rare) with Brienne (beast) & Jaime (beauty). But considering the abuse (and yes Sandor did abuse Sansa and I don't care for people denying or romanticizing it) Sansa endured from him, if GRRM simply rewards the beast with getting the beauty, then he failed.

For as much as people want this endgame for Sansa because it fits some of her narrative (the former believer in prince charming, beautiful knights, stories and songs etc. chooses the ugly one, so concerned about one's station in society chooses someone beneath her status etc.), this is only limited to Sandor it seems. Sansa already chose the ugly one over the pretty one when she chose Tyrion over Lancel, so that trope has been done already in her story. And it's already been done in her story with Sandor as well (she already looked past his appearance). The one thing that Sansa needs to do in regards to the Hound is reflect honestly on him and realize the way she romanticized some of his actions (out of self-preservation) that didn't reflect the reality of him or their interactions.

Why wouldn't it be equally possible for Sansa to choose a regular Joe commoner? That would fit her story just as well. The girl who wanted to marry a prince or king, is from a respected House, a true Lady, concerned about one's station in society...ends up with a regular person. Just as tropey as BatB and so far unexplored in her story (while BatB has been done to death already in her story).

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3 minutes ago, Mystical said:

Why wouldn't it be equally possible for Sansa to choose a regular Joe commoner? That would fit her story just as well. The girl who wanted to marry a prince or king, is from a respected House, a true Lady, concerned about one's station in society...ends up with a regular person. Just as tropey as BatB and so far unexplored in her story (while BatB has been done to death already in her story). 

I like this too especially since Sansa has been getting more involved with non nobles as her story developes. I just hope it'll be someone who marry her for love and not her claim.

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Edric Storm is very far away from Sansa right now.  It's easier to pair up with Gendry.  The age is right.  Both boys are bastards and Sansa looks down on those types of people.  Something will have to change to knock her ego down to make her see them as a potential mate.

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5 hours ago, winter daughter said:

I like this too especially since Sansa has been getting more involved with non nobles as her story developes. I just hope it'll be someone who marry her for love and not her claim.

The point is that Sansa wants someone to love her as Sansa, the person. Not Sansa STARK, with the name and the claim and the status. And the class of the potential partner has nothing to do with it since the deciding factor would be LOVE rather than political or economic needs or social standing or alliances.

None of the men in her story, especially the ones she get shipped with, love her for herself. They either think she is stupid, her hobbies are stupid, try to change her or they use and abuse her for her last name and what it comes with.

So if there is a commoner who is like 'I like you just for who you are as a person', then I'd be all for it.

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13 hours ago, Elegant Woes said:

@violentdelights That "He's no true knight" I mentioned was not from ACOK but from her second chapter in AGOT when Sandor is talking about his traumatic past.

But she was talking about Gregor, not Sandor in AGOT. 

13 hours ago, Elegant Woes said:

And there's a clear similarities between that scene and the one Sansa has with Cersei. With the way I see it the the majority of the interactions between Sansa and Sandor can be defined as a battle of ideologies. Idealism vs. Nihilism. Sandor's thesis is basically that nobody can remain good, honorable, and kind when the world is so unbearably shitty to you. Sansa proves him wrong. Especially in the That's no different from Cersei and Sansa and how love vs. fear is the underlying theme in their interactions. It's exactly the same.

Disagree. I feel like you are not affording Sandor any nuance. The reason why the comparison to Cersei is ridiculous is because Sansa does not defeat Cersei's cynicism. This is quite clear in their last interaction where the once fearsome Hound flees from a young girl’s bedroom after brutally accosting her and forcing her to sing for him because said girl showed him comfort (cupping his cheek, singing a song about Mercy). Sansa's show of empathy and comfort shames him because as we see in Sansa I, ASOS: "She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fierce feared. That night, the wildfire had set the river itself ablaze, and filled the very air with green flame. Even in the castle, Sansa had been afraid. Outside ... she could scarcely imagine it." 

Still, this isn’t actually proof that Sansa has defeated Sandor. We get that in the next book when Arya compares Sandor to his abuser, Gregor: 

Clegane offered her a chunk of cheese on the point of his dagger. “You’re a little fool. What good would it do you if you did get away? You’d just get caught by someone worse.”

“I would not,” she insisted. “There is no one worse.

“You never knew my brother. Gregor once killed a man for snoring. His own man.” […]

Their subsequent conversation entails Sandor attempting to differentiate himself from Gregor by countering the evil he has done (Mycah) with the good he has done (Sansa): 

“Because I hacked your little friend in two? I’ve killed a lot more than him, I promise you. You think that makes me some monster. Well, maybe it does, but I saved your sister’s life too. The day the mob pulled her off her horse, I cut through them and brought her back to the castle, else she would have gotten what Lollys Stokeworth got. And she sang for me. You didn’t know that, did you? Your sister sang me a sweet little song.”

Of course, Sandor is romanticizing the entire context of Sansa’s ‘song.’ Sansa did not sing after the bread riots as he is suggesting, nor was she as willing as he is making her out to be. He is blatantly lying to Arya so she differentiates him from Gregor. If Arya had known the truth of that “sweet little song” she would have maintained her initial stance that Sandor = Gregor. He differentiates himself from Gregor in other ways, too (mainly related to Sansa, though). For example:

“I never beat your sister.” 

However, Sandor knows the truth. It eats him alive and comes out when he is at the precipice of death:

"Don't lie," he growled. "I hate liars. I hate gutless frauds even worse. Go on, do it." When Arya did not move, he said, "I killed your butcher's boy. I cut him near in half, and laughed about it after." He made a queer sound, and it took her a moment to realize he was sobbing. "And the little bird, your pretty sister, I stood there in my white cloak and let them beat her. I took the bloody song, she never gave it. I meant to take her too. I should have. I should have fucked her bloody and ripped her heart out before leaving her for that dwarf." A spasm of pain twisted his face. "Do you mean to make me beg, bitch? Do it! The gift of mercy . . . avenge your little Michael . . ."

He is the "gutless fraud[]". He is informing Arya that he is no different than Gregor, that he was the monster she initially assumed he was, that he brutally murdered a child, that although he “never beat [her] sister” he watched others beat her and that she never gave that “sweet little song,” it was taken from her. 

Cersei and Sandor both attempt to impose their worldview on Sansa, both fail and thus a similarity is born. However, this a series that encourages nuance, so let’s apply it. Cersei continues to uphold her horrible views, Sandor changes by mere recognition of his negligence and apathy with regard to Mycah and Sansa. More to the point, he is forced to reconcile with the role he played in hurting Sansa -- he wasn't some indifferent guard with a fondness for her, nor was he the knightly-figure he has made himself out to be in his conversations with Arya, but he was part of a system that hurt her. This comes about because (1) he's forced to recognise that goodness exist in the world via Sansa; (2) Arya confronts him about the role he played to prevent that goodness from flourishing. 

13 hours ago, Elegant Woes said:

It's interesting you interpret their second interaction that way, because you are conveniently omitting an important of that scene. Sansa wanted to start a polite small talk and Sandor, the jerk he is, automatically goes to mock her kind offer and calls it "empty courtesies." Afterwards he decides to test her whether she can say something nice about his older brother, Gregor, and to which Sansa gives a brilliant answer to. The reason why Sandor is speechless for a moment isn't only because he was reminded of his trauma but also because he was initially impressed how Sansa managed to effortlessly turn the conversation around. That's why he responds: "Some septa trained you well. You're like one of those birds from the Summer Isles, aren't you? A pretty little talking bird, repeating all the pretty little words they taught you to recite."

No, he’s actually not impressed by Sansa’s word skills. Let’s look at what happened prior to Sandor “stop[ing]”:

“You rode gallantly today, Ser Sandor,” she made herself say.
Sandor Clegane snarled at her. “Spare me your empty little compliments, girl … and your ser’s. I am no knight. I spit on them and their vows. My brother is a knight. Did you see him ride today?”
“Yes,” Sansa whispered, trembling. “He was …”
“Gallant?” the Hound finished.
He was mocking her, she realized. “No one could withstand him,” she managed at last, proud of herself. It was no lie.
Sandor Clegane stopped suddenly in the middle of a dark and empty field. 

Sansa is proud of herself for saying that “No one could withstand [Gregor].” In their subsequent interaction, he brings this comment up twice: “No one could with stand him […] That’s truth enough. No one could ever withstand Gregor.” We’re meant to be focusing on this particular line because it’s the genesis of Gregor’s assault, that is to say, Sandor, himself, could not “withstand Gregor.” It introduces Gregor’s assault and directly undermines Sansa’s courtesies. 

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This is where my issue with a possible "romance" between Sandor and Sansa begins. Sandor takes something what Sansa is proud of (and as she should, because having this mastery on words is a skill that many would envy both in her and our world) and mocks it mercilessly. This isn't the only time Sandor does this. He mocks Sansa's love for songs, her courtesies and her belief in the gods a lot and Sansa ends up internalizing that a lot. The worst case of it is when he throws Sansa's trauma into her face and she's clearly triggered by it:

First, I will reiterate that it’s perfectly fine if you’re uncomfortable with a Sandor/Sansa relationship. However, I feel like your discomfort of it is playing into your analysis of a complex relationship. You comment concerning Sandor’s mockery of her faith, for example, is wholly divorced from Sandor’s experience with the Gods. Look at this conversation: 

“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 worlddon’t ever believe any different.

You conclude that Sandor is mocking Sansa’s faith, but there’s clearly something happening on this page that you’re ignoring. Sandor’s views stem from disillusion. Why should he have faith in any institution – religion, knighthood, family – when all have worked against him, failed to protect him, and actively rewarded Gregor (and the Hound’s) cruelty? If his father can lie about the origin of Sandor’s burns and thus allow Gregor to escape justice, why should he have faith in family or justice? If his brother can be knighted, why should he have faith in knighthood? If his brother could brutally rape and murder Elia along with violently killing her children with no consequences, why should he have faith in knighthood or justice? As per GRRM: 

"Sandor actually admired knights as a child, but was greatly disillusioned when his brute brother was actually knighted, by Rhaegar, no less. Hence his bitterness. He really hates Gregor." 

Sandor’s brand of 'religious skepticism' comes entirely from his own lived experiences. He might've once upheld the Gods, but his "brute brother" has all but ruined any chance of him becoming a godly man (whether or not his "elder brother" is more successful is something we can look forward to). In any case, Sandor isn't the exception. We can see similar themes playing out in Jaime and Stannis’s relationship with the Gods: 

"I stopped believing in gods the day I saw the Windproud break up across the bay. Any gods so monstrous as to drown my mother and father would never have my worship, I vowed. In King's Landing, the High Septon would prattle at me of how all justice and goodness flowed from the Seven, but all I ever saw of either was made by men."

/

"What gods are those, Lady Catelyn? The trees your husband prayed to? How well did they serve him when my sister took his head off?" Jaime gave a chuckle. "If there are gods, why is the world so full of pain and injustice?"

Sandor’s lack of faith concerning religion and knighthood stems entirely from said institution’s failure to check his father, his liege, and his brother (and also himself). He certainly imposes this view on Sansa, not allowing her to come to her own conclusions based on her experiences, but it isn’t him mocking her mercilessly, he genuinely believes he is helping her in some regards. But as the series goes on and Sansa’s goodness perseveres, he is forced to realised that the ideals he abandoned in boyhood still exist in this cruel world, he is forced to reconcile and confront the role he played in making sure they were stifled (I already outlined his journey in ASOS above, so I won’t reiterate it here). 

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Let's call this for what it is: bullying. Sandor Clegane bullies Sansa and there's no other way to describe their interactions. A 28 year old man decides to harshly attack a twelve year old girl because she reminded him too much of who he was before that incident with Gregor. I find absolutely nothing romantic about that.

No one says you have to find something romantic about it. Others do, you don’t, so be it. I really do not see this as bullying. I’ve already demonstrated that Sandor is attempting to prevent Sansa from romanticizing a cruel and unjust world. The methods he uses to do so are extremely questionable, but it is not bullying. Sansa, herself, challenges him i.e. telling him that he will go to hell for all the evil he has done.

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I won't stand for is when someone romanticizes it. I am not the only one who has this view, GRRM said the same thing when he voiced his surprise on people thinking a romance between Sansa and Sandor is possible. 

Well, I don't know what you want us to do when the author admits to "playing with it". Not engage with a relationship that is romantically coded?

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Mystical said:

BatB is a trope in and of itself these days. One that needs to die, especially since it usually is always a female beauty and a male beast. That's highly problematic.

GRRM clearly adores this tale -- he has written a show on it and it is shown through numerous character interactions in his series. As you've said, there's clearly a subversion of the tale with Jaime and Brienne and I find Sandor and Sansa to be a straightforward re-telling. Could you expand on why you find the trope problematic? Because as I suggest below, it's not a tale that rewards the monstrous Beast.

Also, the idea that certain literary tropes are problematic and should die is extremely dangerous and not only acts as an impetus for censorship but, in particular, as history has shown, attempts to ban women from consuming and writing literature that is outside the fold (religious fold in particular). We should always engage with literature. If a particular book or aspect of a book makes you uncomfortable, you should not impose that on others who view it as freeing, relatable, intriguing, etc. We're all adults here (I presume) and we don't need a fictional fantasy series to tell us what is good and what is bad. We can deduce such on our own.

With regards to BaTB, however, I feel like your comment effaces the degree to which the trope has historically been rooted in female authorship and readership. BatB was written by a woman, Villeneuve, and re-written (or copied, truthfully) by another woman, Beaumont. Women have always been interested in these types of monster romances. Time and time again, our interest in it has been regulated or stifled. Although not an outright monster romance, though one that does explore the darker aspects of romance as BatB does, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre had a negative reception because it deviated from the conventional view of romance as something that should either be muted in literature or didactic. It's not going to die out because you find it problematic. If you're uncomfortable with BaTB always focusing on a Male beast and Female beauty, then we can definitely have discussions on why and how the genre should be broadened, on subverting the traditional roles embedded in the narrative, on exploring the lighter or darker aspects of the tale, etc. If something in literature is problematic, you don't just let it 'die' you re-work it. 

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 if GRRM simply rewards the beast with getting the beauty, then he failed.

Disagree. A future Sandor/Sansa relationship isn't rooted in Sandor being rewarded. It entails Sansa making a conscious choice to enter into a union with Sandor, it entails Sansa continuously defending that choice -- to herself, to Sandor, to the North. Also, BaTB is anything but simple. The monstrous beast must overcome the idea that because he looks a beast and society has treated him as such, he is afforded the right to act in a beastly way. The Beast must completely re-orient his worldview and make himself more worthy of the Beauty's love. The story isn't focused on the Beast's physical transformation as much as it is on the Beast's mental transformation. None of this is simple, it is arduous and filled with hardship. 

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For as much as people want this endgame for Sansa because it fits some of her narrative (the former believer in prince charming, beautiful knights, stories and songs etc. chooses the ugly one, so concerned about one's station in society chooses someone beneath her status etc.), this is only limited to Sandor it seems. Sansa already chose the ugly one over the pretty one when she chose Tyrion over Lancel, so that trope has been done already in her story. And it's already been done in her story with Sandor as well (she already looked past his appearance). The one thing that Sansa needs to do in regards to the Hound is reflect honestly on him and realize the way she romanticized some of his actions (out of self-preservation) that didn't reflect the reality of him or their interactions.

I don't think people limit this trope to Sandor. As you note, Sansa and Tyrion have a couple BaTB elements in their story. However, the trajectory of Tyrion's story makes me believe that they will not end up together.

Edited by violentdelights

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, violentdelights said:

Disagree. A future Sandor/Sansa relationship isn't rooted in Sandor being rewarded. It entails Sansa making a conscious choice to enter into a union with Sandor, it entails Sansa continuously defending that choice -- to herself, to Sandor, to the North.

I still don't see any reason why Sansa should even be making a choice re Sandor. I have seen nothing in the books that makes me want to see Sansa even entertain this choice. And that has everything to do with Sandor's abusive behavior towards her.

9 hours ago, violentdelights said:

Disagree. A future Sandor/Sansa relationship isn't rooted in Sandor being rewarded.

Yes he would be rewarded. Sandor is not a POV character so we don't follow his internal journey, his changes or even a redemption arc. And because he is not a POV, it would amount to nothing more than 'oh well he spend a year digging graves so now all his violent, abusive and demeaning tendencies toward Sansa are magically gone'. Sandor's change would amount to nothing more than 'a wizard did it off page'. So because we don't get his story, it will be a reward and I don't want to see abuse be rewarded like this. Especially with a poor girl who has suffered through multiple beasts by now. She should find a guy she has a clean slate with and who has NOT been one of her abusers.

Edited by Mystical

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Mystical said:

I still don't see any reason why Sansa should even be making a choice re Sandor. I have seen nothing in the books that makes me want to see Sansa even entertain this choice. And that has everything to do with Sandor's abusive behavior towards her.

That’s fine. I believe that there has been enough material in the books to suggest she will be making that choice but it is completely ok if you do not. 

5 hours ago, Mystical said:

Yes he would be rewarded. Sandor is not a POV character so we don't follow his internal journey, his changes or even a redemption arc. And because he is not a POV, 

No, he would not be rewarded. We don't need a POV chapter to follow Sandor's internal journey especially when Sansa, Arya, (partial) Ned and Brienne's chapters sufficiently illustrate his journey. Sandor is one of the best examples in the series of an internal journey for a non-POV character. Brienne's presence in Jaime's ASOS chapter is an another excellent example where her ideals completely re-configured in light of Jaime's confession. Nevertheless, Sandor is still the best example as to why GRRM don't need a POV chapter for a redemption arc to be possible. What makes the once loyal and brutal Hound declare that he is "[his] own dog now." Is it simply a matter of deserting his masters? Why does he reject the Lannisters? These are questions you have to ask yourself as a reader so you can actually understand and recognise his arc. 

Preface before I say anything else: Redemption arcs are not formulaic. It is not simply a matter of an evil/bad character acknowledging that they are bad, that they can do better, and accordingly be good. Redemption arcs in ASOIAF, in particular, entail a character acknowledging they are bad/done bad things, struggling to be good and do good, struggling to strive anew because the familiar -- being evil/bad -- is much easier. Jaime is a perfect example of this. Although he saves Brienne and commits himself to no longer harming Tully's or Starks, he is still part of the reason why an illegitimate and unfit King (and regent) reigns, he threatens Edmund's unborn child so a treacherous family rules Riverrun (even if he wasn't going to really hurt the child). Jaime acknowledges his failures, but this still doesn't translate into good and pure actions all around. None of the negates the fact that he is on a redemption arc. However, before there's any debate on Jaime's redemption arc, I should say that redemption arcs do not need to be fulfilled. Jaime can fail and so can Sandor. But, I think that we should acknowledge that these characters are being put on the path of redemption and we can only speculate until the last book whether they will fulfil it or not.

Now, Sandor, in my opinion, has been on a redemption arc since the moment Sansa touched his shoulder, acknowledged his pain, and castigated Gregor with a decisive "he was no true knight." He has certainly stumbled along the way (i.e. Blackwater) but he is still treading the path towards redemption. One of his biggest stumbling blocks, like Jaime, is an acknowledgement of the role he played in facilitating the persistence of corrupt institutions. He readily absolves himself of the Lannister's crimes by virtue of no longer being tied to them ("[I'm] my own dog now") and by not directly involved ("I never beat your sister," "your sister sang me a sweet little song."). Although these aren't positive examples, they are, nevertheless, examples of Sandor's shift from the man who laughed at killing a child to a man who is attempting to make himself better than he actually is. We later have Sandor helping out the villagers and offering his sword -- what happened to the man who said people should “die and get out of the way” if they can’t protect themselves?

Nevertheless, as I outlined in my other comment, it does not matter if Sandor is his "own dog" or that he "never beat" Sansa or that Sansa "sang [him] a sweet little song." (which certainly did not happen), he is perpetually condemned to not make a step further on the road to redemption if he refuses to acknowledge his role in a corrupt system. In Arya IX, we have Sandor finally acknowledging his role in making the world a horrible place: he was the "gutless fraud" and monster Arya initially took him to be; Sansa never gave him a song, he took it; he “stood there in [his] white cloak” – the very symbol of chivalry –  “… and let them beat her.” He acknowledges that he does not deserve to be distinguished from Gregor, from Trant and Boros and the rest, from Joffrey and the Lannisters' crimes – he is a part of them, either through his inability to act or his direct actions. 

All of this culminates in his AFFC storyline. We meet a Gravedigger who looks to be in the process of recovering from wounds both spiritual and physical, digging graves for victims of war rather than putting people in their graves. More importantly, we meet a man of faith, the Elder Brother, an anti-Gregor, who mirrors Sandor in many ways: 

“There was a girl I wished to marry, the younger daughter of a petty lord, but I was my father’s thirdborn son and had neither land nor wealth to offer her … only a sword, a horse, a shield. All in all, I was a sad man. When I was not fighting, I was drunk. My life was writ in red, in blood and wine.”

The Elder Brother “died in the Battle of the Trident” and woke up in the Quiet Isle, spending the next ten years finding a new purpose in life. This purpose, we learn, is “healing” – the ability to cure people that even Maesters cannot. We’re also shown that he has a knack for getting people to open up. Brienne, world-weary and distrustful, is able to bring down her walls and confess her struggles, regrets, dreams, and failures to him. From his humanising elegy on the Hound, we can safely assume Sandor did the same: 

“I know a little of this man, Sandor Clegane. He was Prince Joffrey’s sworn shield for many a year, and even here we would hear tell of his deeds, both good and ill. If even half of what we heard was true, this was a bitter, tormented soul, a sinner who mocked both gods and men. He served, but found no pride in service. He fought, but took no joy in victory. He drank, to drown his pain in a sea of wine. He did not love, nor was he loved himself. It was hate that drove him. Though he committed many sins, he never sought forgiveness. Where other men dream of love, or wealth, or glory, this man Sandor Clegane dreamed of slaying his own brother, a sin so terrible it makes me shudder just to speak of it. Yet that was the bread that nourished him, the fuel that kept his fires burning. Ignoble as it was, the hope of seeing his brother’s blood upon his blade was all this sad and angry creature lived for…and even that was taken from him, when Prince Oberyn of Dorne stabbed Ser Gregor with a poisoned spear.”

In short, the internal journey Sandor undergoes from AGoT to AFFC is quite clear. We've seen this "bitter, tormented soul" attempt to impose (and fail) his own bitterness and worldview on Sansa, we've seen this man who "committed many sins" attempt to counter those sins by doing good (helping Sansa, Arya, the villagers, the dying man), we've seen this man all do plenty of "ills" (Blackwater, Mycah), we've seen this man who "never sought forgiveness" attempt to make himself into someone better (distinguishing himself from Gregor, KG, Lannisters to Arya), only to finally confess to his crimes, finally acknowledge the role he played in harming Sansa through his direct actions or inactions. In AFFC, he's in what I would describe as Westeros' first rehabilitation centre where he meets a kindred soul whose previous life "was write in red, in blood and wine" who could help him. The Hound, as the Elder Brother declares, is dead. But, as GRRM writes, Sandor Clegane remains. Sandor is currently digging graves as penance, but he has yet to make up for those he has harmed. Whether or not he makes up his ills towards Sansa and Arya and those he harmed under the Lannister/Baratheon banner is something we must speculate on. The internal journey, however, exist. 

Quote

it would amount to nothing more than 'oh well he spend a year digging graves so now all his violent, abusive and demeaning tendencies toward Sansa are magically gone'. Sandor's change would amount to nothing more than 'a wizard did it off page'. 

It actually would not. As I outlined above, Sandor's change is discernible throughout the series. Secondly, I will point out this particular quote: 

The Seven send us blessings, and the Seven send us trials. Handsome he may be, but Driftwood was surely whelped in hell. When we sought to harness him to a plow he kicked Brother Rawney and broke his shinbone in two places. We had hoped gelding might improve the beast’s ill temper, but

The Brothers at the Quiet Isle fail to geld (castrate, tame) Stranger. This could be analogous to the Quiet Isle effect on Sandor. That is to say, Sandor's 'tendencies' are not going to magically disappear. As I note, a redemption arc deals with the characters making a recourse to their familiar habits. Sandor is not an exception to this. More importantly, Sandor is victim of child abuse and has accordingly dealt with the trauma in a deeply unhealthy manner. He has bottled this up for almost two decades, but the entire facade appears susceptible to change via Sansa (AGOT, ACOK), Arya (ASOS), and the Elder Brother (AFFC-). We don't know how much the Quiet Isle will change Sandor -- surely not that much given the failed gelding -- but you have to acknowledge that Sandor came to Isles a changed man. 

 

Edited by violentdelights

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3 minutes ago, violentdelights said:

That’s fine. I believe that there has been enough material in the books to suggest she will be making that choice but it is completely ok if you do not. 

No, he would not be rewarded. We don't need a POV chapter to follow Sandor's internal journey especially when Sansa, Arya, (partial) Ned and Brienne's chapters sufficiently illustrate his journey. Sandor is one of the best examples in the series of an internal journey for a non-POV character. Brienne's presence in Jaime's ASOS chapter is an another excellent example where her ideals completely re-configured in light of Jaime's confession. Nevertheless, Sandor is still the best example as to why GRRM don't need a POV chapter for a redemption arc to be possible. What makes the once loyal and brutal Hound declare that he is "[his] own dog now." Is it simply a matter of deserting his masters? Why does he reject the Lannisters? These are questions you have to ask yourself as a reader so you can actually understand and recognise his arc. 

Preface before I say anything else: Redemption arcs are not formulaic. It is not simply a matter of an evil/bad character acknowledging that they are bad, that they can do better, and accordingly be good. Redemption arcs in ASOIAF, in particular, entail a character acknowledging they are bad/done bad things, struggling to be good and do good, struggling to strive anew because the familiar -- being evil/bad -- is much easier. Jaime is a perfect example of this. Although he saves Brienne and commits himself to no longer harming Tully's or Starks, he is still part of the reason why an illegitimate and unfit King (and regent) reigns, he threatens Edmund's unborn child so a treacherous family rules Riverrun (even if he wasn't going to really hurt the child). Jaime acknowledges his failures, but this still doesn't translate into good and pure actions all around. None of the negates the fact that he is on a redemption arc. However, before there's any debate on Jaime's redemption arc, I should say that redemption arcs do not need to be fulfilled. Jaime can fail and so can Sandor. But, I think that we should acknowledge that these characters are being put on the path of redemption and we can only speculate until the last book whether they will fulfil it or not.

Now, Sandor, in my opinion, has been on a redemption arc since the moment Sansa touched his shoulder, acknowledged his pain, and castigated Gregor with a decisive "he was no true knight." He has certainly stumbled along the way (i.e. Blackwater) but he is still treading the path towards redemption. One of his biggest stumbling blocks, like Jaime, is an acknowledgement of the role he played in facilitating the persistence of corrupt institutions. He readily absolves himself of the Lannister's crimes by virtue of no longer being tied to them ("[I'm] my own dog now") and by not directly involved ("I never beat your sister," "your sister sang me a sweet little song."). Although these aren't positive examples, they are, nevertheless, examples of Sandor's shift from the man who laughed at killing a child to a man who is attempting to make himself better than he actually is. We later have Sandor helping out the villagers and offering his sword -- what happened to the man who said people should “die and get out of the way” if they can’t protect themselves?

Nevertheless, as I outlined in my other comment, it does not matter if Sandor is his "own dog" or that he "never beat" Sansa or that Sansa "sang [him] a sweet little song." (which certainly did not happen), he is perpetually condemned to not make a step further on the road to redemption if he refuses to acknowledge his role in a corrupt system. In Arya IX, we have Sandor finally acknowledging his role in making the world a horrible place: he was the "gutless fraud" and monster Arya initially took him to be; Sansa never gave him a song, he took it; he “stood there in [his] white cloak” – the very symbol of chivalry –  “… and let them beat her.” He acknowledges that he does not deserve to be distinguished from Gregor, from Trant and Boros and the rest, from Joffrey and the Lannisters' crimes – he is a part of them, either through his inability to act or his direct actions. 

All of this culminates in his AFFC storyline. We meet a Gravedigger who looks to be in the process of recovering from wounds both spiritual and physical, digging graves for victims of war rather than putting people in their graves. More importantly, we meet a man of faith, the Elder Brother, an anti-Gregor, who mirrors Sandor in many ways: 

“There was a girl I wished to marry, the younger daughter of a petty lord, but I was my father’s thirdborn son and had neither land nor wealth to offer her … only a sword, a horse, a shield. All in all, I was a sad man. When I was not fighting, I was drunk. My life was writ in red, in blood and wine.”

The Elder Brother “died in the Battle of the Trident” and woke up in the Quiet Isles, spending the next ten years finding a new purpose in life. This purpose, we learn, is “healing” – the ability to cure people that even Maesters cannot. We’re also shown that he has a knack for getting people to open up. Brienne, world-weary and distrustful, is able to bring down her walls and confess her struggles, regrets, dreams, and failures to him. From his humanising elegy on the Hound, we can safely assume Sandor did the same: 

“I know a little of this man, Sandor Clegane. He was Prince Joffrey’s sworn shield for many a year, and even here we would hear tell of his deeds, both good and ill. If even half of what we heard was true, this was a bitter, tormented soul, a sinner who mocked both gods and men. He served, but found no pride in service. He fought, but took no joy in victory. He drank, to drown his pain in a sea of wine. He did not love, nor was he loved himself. It was hate that drove him. Though he committed many sins, he never sought forgiveness. Where other men dream of love, or wealth, or glory, this man Sandor Clegane dreamed of slaying his own brother, a sin so terrible it makes me shudder just to speak of it. Yet that was the bread that nourished him, the fuel that kept his fires burning. Ignoble as it was, the hope of seeing his brother’s blood upon his blade was all this sad and angry creature lived for…and even that was taken from him, when Prince Oberyn of Dorne stabbed Ser Gregor with a poisoned spear.”

In short, the internal journey Sandor undergoes from AGoT to AFFC is quite clear. We've seen this "bitter, tormented soul" attempt to impose (and fail) his own bitterness and worldview on Sansa, we've seen this man who "committed many sins" attempt to counter those sins by doing good (helping Sansa, Arya, the villagers, the dying man), we've seen this man all do plenty of "ills" (Blackwater, Mycah), we've seen this man who "never sought forgiveness" attempt to make himself into someone better (distinguishing himself from Gregor, KG, Lannisters to Arya), only to finally confess to his crimes, finally acknowledge the role he played in harming Sansa through his direct actions or inactions. In AFFC, he's in what I would describe as Westeros' first rehabilitation centre where he meets a kindred soul whose previous life "was write in red, in blood and wine" who could help him. The Hound, as the Elder Brother declares, is dead. But, as GRRM writes, Sandor Clegane remains. Sandor is currently digging graves as penance, but he has yet to make up for those he has harmed. Whether or not he makes up his ills towards Sansa and Arya and those he harmed under the Lannister/Baratheon banner is something we must speculate on. The internal journey, however, exist. 

It actually would not. As I outlined above, Sandor's change is discernible throughout the series. Secondly, I will point out this particular quote: 

The Seven send us blessings, and the Seven send us trials. Handsome he may be, but Driftwood was surely whelped in hell. When we sought to harness him to a plow he kicked Brother Rawney and broke his shinbone in two places. We had hoped gelding might improve the beast’s ill temper, but

The Brothers at the Quiet Isles fail to geld (castrate, tame) Stranger. This could be analogous to the Quiet Isle's effect on Sandor. That is to say, Sandor's 'tendencies' are not going to magically disappear. As I note, a redemption arc deals with the characters making a recourse to their familiar habits. Sandor is not an exception to this. More importantly, Sandor is victim of child abuse and has accordingly dealt with the trauma in a deeply unhealthy manner. He has bottled this up for almost two decades, but the entire facade appears susceptible to change via Sansa (AGOT, ACOK), Arya (ASOS), and the Elder Brother (AFFC-). We don't know how much the Quiet Isles will change Sandor -- surely not that much given the failed gelding -- but you have to acknowledge that Sandor came to Isles a changed man. 

 

Sandor’s way too old for Sansa. In the series, marriages where the bride and groom are more than 10 years apart tend to go poorly.

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I have another reason why Sansa and Sandor (or any other older guy) wouldn't work. Sansa herself is disturbed by age gaps. She thought that Beric Dondarrion, who is 5 years younger than Sandor, was too old and he was 22. She's clearly wants someone around her age. 

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9 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

Sandor’s way too old for Sansa. In the series, marriages where the bride and groom are more than 10 years apart tend to go poorly.

When you say "go poorly" do you mean it ends tragically or they both end up hating one another? I'm assuming you mean the latter, but there are plenty of marriages in the series with an age gap of less than 10 years that do not end well either i.e. 'Jon/Ygritte', Elia/Rhaegar. 

Outside of Ned and Cat, we really don't know the ages of the happily married couples in the series. Garlan and Leonette Fossoway seem happy, but we don't know her age. Mance and Dalla seemed quite happy, but again, we don't know their ages. Davos and Marya (though he did cheat on her) but we don't know her age. 

(also counterpoint: Walda seems quite content with Roose as does Edmure with Roslin).

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11 minutes ago, violentdelights said:

When you say "go poorly" do you mean it ends tragically or they both end up hating one another? I'm assuming you mean the latter, but there are plenty of marriages in the series with an age gap of less than 10 years that do not end well either i.e. 'Jon/Ygritte', Elia/Rhaegar. 

Outside of Ned and Cat, we really don't know the ages of the happily married couples in the series. Garlan and Leonette Fossoway seem happy, but we don't know her age. Mance and Dalla seemed quite happy, but again, we don't know their ages. Davos and Marya (though he did cheat on her) but we don't know her age. 

(also counterpoint: Walda seems quite content with Roose as does Edmure with Roslin).

Well, the biggest example for a marriage where one was considerably older than the other is the marriage between Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully. One of the reasons why that marriage wasn’t happy was because he was several decades her senior. They couldn’t connect on an emotional level and she eventually murdered him.

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8 minutes ago, Elegant Woes said:

I have another reason why Sansa and Sandor (or any other older guy) wouldn't work. Sansa herself is disturbed by age gaps. She thought that Beric Dondarrion, who is 5 years younger than Sandor, was too old and he was 22. She's clearly wants someone around her age. 

Yes, she was. In the first book... She's maturing, which means, her taste is changing among other things. This is shown in numerous ways but one that always stuck out to me was that when she is talking about what she wants in her prince (Joffrey) it is "should be, tall and handsome and strong, with hair like gold." (Sansa I, AGOT). However, in ASOS, she says she pictured her betrothed as just merely "tall and strong" (Sansa III, ASOS). Omitting the handsome and the golden hair. 

She brushes of the age gap between Mya and Lothor: 

He always smiles when he speaks of Mya Stone. Mya was much younger than Ser Lothor, but when her father had been brokering the marriage between Lord Corbray and his merchant's daughter, he'd told her that young girls were always happiest with older men. "Innocence and experience make for a perfect marriage," he had said.

And later admits it is a good match based entirely on Lothor's character:

Alayne wondered what Mya made of Ser Lothor. With his squashed nose, square jaw, and nap of woolly grey hair, Brune could not be called comely, but he was not ugly either. It is a common face but an honest one. Though he had risen to knighthood, Ser Lothor's birth had been very low. One night he had told her that he was kin to the Brunes of Brownhollow, an old knightly family from Crackclaw Point. "I went to them when my father died," he confessed, "but they shat on me, and said I was no blood of theirs." He would not speak of what happened after that, except to say that he had learned all he knew of arms the hard way. Sober, he was a quiet man, but a strong one. And Petyr says he's loyal. He trusts him as much as he trusts anyone. Brune would be a good match for a bastard girl like Mya Stone, she thought. It might be different if her father had acknowledged her, but he never did. And Maddy says that she's no maid either.

 

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