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Rapsie

From Pawn to Player? Rereading Sansa II

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That's an interesting observation about how the money was Littlefinger's suggestion, because in real life, according to my Dad, moles who were part of the CIA or ASIO, but for ideological reasons started spying for the KGB, would offer to work for the KGB for free and the KGB would then offer them money. They do this, apparently, because by paying the mole, the mole looses the purity of his cause (ie instead of spying for the KGB because he sincerely believes in International Communism he is doing it for the money) and if the mole just remained spying for the KGB out of the goodness of his heart, he would be able to stop passing information along if he felt the situation was too dangerous and that there was risk of exposure. Where as if he is paid, the moles handlers can guilt him into passing information along even when the situation is increasingly dangerous and he is in danger of getting caught. Then when the mole is inevitably caught, they can hang him out to dry, because the mole was supposedly in it just for the money.

So Petyr, by paying Dontos, was effectively following that pattern.

This is a plausible theory on the arrangement between Dontos and LF. I do think Dontos would have done it for free given how grateful he must have been to Sansa for saving his life, but LF insisting on a mercenary contract would have guaranteed that when the time came, he could further disillusion Sansa by telling her Dontos had done it all for the money.

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That's an interesting observation about how the money was Littlefinger's suggestion, because in real life, according to my Dad, moles who were part of the CIA or ASIO, but for ideological reasons started spying for the KGB, would offer to work for the KGB for free and the KGB would then offer them money. They do this, apparently, because by paying the mole, the mole looses the purity of his cause (ie instead of spying for the KGB because he sincerely believes in International Communism he is doing it for the money) and if the mole just remained spying for the KGB out of the goodness of his heart, he would be able to stop passing information along if he felt the situation was too dangerous and that there was risk of exposure. Where as if he is paid, the moles handlers can guilt him into passing information along even when the situation is increasingly dangerous and he is in danger of getting caught. Then when the mole is inevitably caught, they can hang him out to dry, because the mole was supposedly in it just for the money.

So Petyr, by paying Dontos, was effectively following that pattern.

Yeah this is an interesting theory. Boy you learn so much on these forums. I have to say that I had thought Dontos was very sincere in his actions. As was pointed out in the last chapter we just read, Dontos did not have to do what he did by stepping in to try and mitigate the situation through hitting Sansa with the melon. Who knows how psycho Joffrey would have reacted to that? Dontos did put his life on the line right there. I don't think it diminishes what Dontos did for Sansa that he took some money for it. Why wouldn't he? He is putting his life at risk by helping her and he'd have to set himself up somewhere after he left with her.

Actually, in the later chapter where Sansa gets out of Kings Landing and on to LF's boat, I am a little embarrassed to admit that I was upset when I learned that Dontos was taking money to help Sansa. I felt crushed just as I am sure Sansa must have felt, thinking that Dontos wasn't really helping her out of gallantry and because he felt he owed Sansa for his life. But looking back on it later though, as I saw what LF was doing with Sansa, I realized that I shouldn't take anything he says to Sansa at face value. Of course LF would turn the whole thing around so as to make Sansa think that only his intentions were pure. How could I have fallen for that!

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Finally. Sorry this was meant to be up on Thursday...and then Friday....

ACOK Tyrion

Summary in part

A quick review of this chapter and it has bearing on Sansa’s arc.

Myrcella is being sent to Dorne. At the docks, Tyrion notices Sansa trying to comfort Tommen. He is crying because Myrcella is leaving. Joff mocks him for being a baby, and Sansa says

Prince Aemon the Dragonknight cried the day Princess Naerys wed his brother Aegon,” Sansa Stark said, “and the twins Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk died with tears on their cheeks after each had given the other a mortal wound”
Joff tells her to shut up or he’ll have Ser Meryn give her a mortal wound. Tyrion wonders why Cersei can’t see what he is.

Tyrion thinks about Petyr Baelish, and if he has succeed with the Tyrells or is dead.

“If Littlefinger is dead, then I’m a giant.”

After Myrcella leaves the group heads back to the palace but the crowds are unhappy. A woman with a dead baby runs in front of them. Sansa talks to Joff and he gives her money. The crowd gets ugly and someone throws shit as Joff. and Joff orders Sandor Clegane off is horse and into the crowd to capture whoever it was. A full scale riot ensues. Joff, Tyrion, Cersei etc get back to the Castle. Tyrion realises the Hound and Sansa are missing and immediately thinks about what will happen to Jaime if she’s hurt. Tyrion proceeds to kick Joff.

Sandor Clegane then rides in with Sansa clinging to him. She has a gash in her head and is in shock.

“They…they were throwing things…rocks and filth, eggs…I tried to tell them, I had no bread to give them. A man tried to pull me from the saddle. The Hound killed him, I think…his arm…” Her eyes widened and she put a hand over her mouth. “He cut off his arm.”

Sandor tells a Maester to take her back to her cage and treat her wound.

ACOK Sansa 4

Stannis’s army is across the river and the fires from the Kingswood can be seen in the RK. The whole Riverfront with it’s homes and warehouses has been set on fire by Tyrion and the RK tastes of Ash. Sansa goes to the Godswood to find Ser Dontos. Ser Dontos asks if she has been crying. She has, but says it is because of the smoke and it looks like half the Kingswood is burning. Ser Dontos says Stannis has set it alight to try and find Shagga and co. Ser Dontos then tells her some of the things he’s heard. He says that people will say things in front of him now he is a fool,that they would never say when he was a knight. He tells her that the Spider pays for secrets with gold and that he suspects Moonboy is one of his spies.

Sansa thinks that Ser Dontos is drunk again, but that he is all she has. She asks if it is true Stannis burnt the Godswood at Storms End and Ser Dontos confirms this and says Stannis will burn down the Great Sept of Baelor if he takes the city. Sansa says thinks how beautiful she had first thought that building was, but then her father had had his head cut off on it’s steps. She tells Ser Dontos that she wants it burnt. Ser Dontos tells her to hush as the Gods will hear her. She says

Why should they? They never hear my prayers.”

Ser Dontos says that they sent her him.

Sansa picked at the bark of a tree. She felt lightheaded, almost feverish. “They sent you, but what good have you done? You promised you would take me home, but I’m still here,”

Ser Dontos says he knows a good man with a ship and they will get out when the time is right. Sansa insists that the time is right now, because with the upcoming battle, they have forgotten about her. Ser Dontos tells her they could get out of the Castle, but the city gates are heavily guarded and Tyrion has closed off the River. Most of Stannis’s Vanguard are across the River and the tents and banners of 5,000 men can be seen across the river. Sansa says that when he arrives Stannis will have ten times the men Joff has. Ser Dontos says it doesn’t matter how many men he has. Without ships he can’t cross the river. Ser Dontos says he knows it is not easy for her and when her friend returns to the city they will have their ship and he tells her to be patient and have faith in him.

Sansa digs her nails into her hand and feels the fear in her tummy “twisting and pinching” She reflects that she still has nightmares about the riot that leaving her struggling for breath when she wakes. She thinks about the screaming people trying to pull her off her Horse and what they would have done to her if the Hound hadn’t cut his way through to her. The High Septon was torn to pieces and Ser Aron head was caved in with a rock. Then she thinks how ludicrous it was for Ser Dontos to tell her to try not to be afraid, because the whole city was afraid. She notes that people were trying to protect themselves, but the last time the city was sacked by the Lannisters, hundreds died and their was looting and raping, and that was when the city opened it’s gates. This time Tyrion meant to fight and they could expect no mercy.

Ser Dontos notes that if he were still a Knight, he would have to fight and thinks he ought to thank Joff for making him a fool.

“If you thanked him for making you a fool, he’d make you a knight again,” Sansa said sharply.”

Ser Dontos laughs and says she’s clever. Sansa says that Joff and Cersei think she’s stupid. Ser Dontos tells her that’s a good thing because Cersei, Tyrion and Lord Varys all watch each other, but no one watches Lady Lollys because they think she is stupid. Ser Dontos grows weepy and asks for a kiss. Sansa gives him a kiss and tries not to start crying.

It took all her strength not to weep. She had been weeping too much of late. It was unseemly, she knew, but she could not seem to help herself; the tears would come, sometimes over a trifle, and nothing she did could hold them back.

She goes back to Maegor’s and notes the drawbridge is unguarded

the white knights of the Kingsguard had duties more important than dogging her heels.

When she reached her bed chamber, she can’t bear to enter and it feels like an airless cell. She continues to climb out the stairs on to the roof. While looking out over the arming city she feels a sharp stab go through her belly. She thinks she might have fallen but

a shadow moved suddenly and strong fingers grabbed her arm and steadied her.

She grabs a merlon and demands to be let go. Sandor Clegane asks her if she thinks she has wings or if she wants to end up like her crippled brother. Sansa twists in his grasp and says she wasn’t going to fall and that he startled her. He says that he scared her and still does. She takes a deep breath to calm herself and then says she thought she was alone, before glancing away from his face. He notes she still can’t bear to look at him, releases her and then says she was glad to see his face on the day of the riot.

Sansa reflects back to the horror of the riot and

the cruel pinch of fingers on her wrist as she lost her balance and began to fall. She’d though she was going to die then
but the Hound had cut the man’s arm off and pushed her back into her saddle and then proceeded to leap at her attackers. When the mob begins to run away from the Hound, he laughs and his terrible face is for a moment transformed.

Sansa then makes herself look hard at Sandor. She thinks it is only courteous. She thinks the scars and the twitching are not the worst, but that his eyes are more full of anger than anyone’s she’s ever seen. She hesitantly says she should have come to him afterwards to thank him for rescuing her and that he was brave. Sandor rebukes the brave comment and says they had him 30 to 1 and yet no one dared face him.

Sansa reflects that she hates the way he talks and how he is always so harsh and angry. She asks him if it gives him joy to kill people.

He says it gives him joy to kill people. She must then give a disproving look, because Sandor tells her that she can wrinkle up her face all she likes, but she can spare him her false piety. He says she was a High lord’s daughter and that Ned killed men. Sansa says it was his duty but he never liked it. Sandor laughs and says her father was a liar and that killing is the sweetest thing there is.

He draws his long sword and tells her it is truth, and that her father discovered it when he had his head cut off. He goes on about the Stark line and then asks if she remembers the dance her father’s feet made when his head came off.

Sansa hugs herself, suddenly cold and asks him why he is so hateful and that she was thanking him. He says as if I was a knight in one of those stories you like. He then asks her what she thinks a knight is for, expounds on some stereotypes and then says Knights are for killing. He puts his long sword to her neck and tells her, he killed his first man at twelve and how he has lost count of all those he’s killed. He says they can all have their trappings and spits at her feet when he mentions Sers, and says he doesn’t need to fear any man as long as he has his sword, and takes the sword away from her throat.

Sansa thinks except his brother, and then also thinks he is a mean tempered dog that will bite any hand that tries to pet him, and will savage any man who tries to hurt his masters. What she says however is “Not even the men across the river?”

Sandor looks at the King’s wood on fire and says only cowards fight with fire. Sansa tells him Lord Stannis is not a coward, but Sandor says he is not his brother either and Robert would have crossed by now. They talk about what will happen and Sandor seems uncaring that he may die. Sansa asks him if he is afraid of going to hell. Sandor laughs and asks her what gods and what hell. Sansa tells him the gods who made us all. He mocks her and says what god would make Lady Lollys or Tyrion and that the gods made the weak for the strong to play with. Sansa tells him that true knights defend the weak. Sandor tells her there are no true knights and she tells him, he’s awful. He says he is honest but the world is awful and tells her to fly away because he is sick of her peeping at him. She goes to her room.

She was afraid of Sandor Clegane…and yet, some part of her wished that Ser Dontos had a little of the Hound’s ferocity. There are gods, she told herself, and there are true knights too. All the stories can’t be lies.

That night she dreams of the riot.

The mob surged around her, shrieking, a maddened beast with a thousand faces. Everywhere she turned she saw faces twisted into monstrous inhuman masks. She wept and told them she had never done them hurt, yet they dragged her from her horse all the same. “no,” she cried, “no, please, don’t, don’t,” but no one paid her any heed. She shouted for Ser Dontos, for her brothers, for her dead father and her dead wolf, for gallant Ser Loras who had given her a red rose once, but none of them came. She called for the heroes from the songs, for Florian and Ser Ryam Redwyne and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, but no one heard. Women swarmed over her like weasels, pinching her legs and kicking her in the belly, and someone hit her in the face and she felt her teeth shatter. Then she saw the bright glimmer of steel. the knife plunged into her belly and tore and tore and tore, until there was nothing left of her down there but shiny wet ribbons.

She awakes shaking and feeling sick and bleeding and then in horror realises that she is having her first period. Panicking she tries to wash away the blood, but realises the maidservants will see the bloody water and know. She remembers the bed clothes and taking her knife, tries to cut out the blood stained part.

She couldn’t let them see, or they’d marry her to Joffrey and make her lay with him.

She begins crying and realises they will ask about the hole so decides to burn the sheets. She notes that the mattress is also stained and tries to burn that as well. The room fills with smoke, and she is on her knees still trying to shove the mattress into the fire when the maidservants burst in. It takes three of them to pull her away. However as the maids are sorting out her room and taking the burnt items away, her legs are bloody again and she feels her own body has betrayed her. The maidservants bath her and Sansa now having clamed down realises her actions were silly. The smoke has apparently ruined most of her clothing and she is given a green wool shift to wear and told at least her shoes weren’t burnt. She is then taken to see the Queen.

Cersei is having breakfast when Sansa appears. Cersei asks her if she is hungry, but the sight of food makes Sansa feel ill. Cersei says she doesn’t blame her and asks what she meant to accomplish. Sansa tells her that the blood scared her. Cersei says her mother should have told her about her first flowering and Sansa says she did, but she thought is would be different, and more magic, less mess. Cersei laughs and tells her to wait until she has a child and that a woman’s life is nine parts mess to one part magic and the magic bits turn out to be the messiest of all. Cersei tells her she is a woman and asks her if she knows what that means. Sansa tells her that she is fit to be wedded and bedded by the King. The Queen smiles at her and says that prospect no longer holds the joy for her that it once did. She talks about Joff’s difficult birth and Robert being away hunting. She talks about Jaime staying for her labours and says Joff will show no such devotion to her. She tells her

You could thank your sister for that, if she weren’t dead. He’s never been able to forget that day on the Trident when you saw her shame him, so he shames you in turn. You’re stronger than you seem, though. I expect you’ll survive a bit of humiliation. I did. You may never love the king, but you’ll love his children.

Sansa says she’ll love Joff with all her heart and Cersei tells her she will need new lies as Stannis will not like that one. Sansa says the new high Septon has said Stannis can’t win as Joff is the rightful king. Cersei smirks at this and calls Joff Robert’s trueborn son and heir before telling Sansa that Robert’s bastards always gurgled for him but Joff just cried, and that Robert wanted smiles, so would only go where he got them, from friends, whores etc. She says

Robert wanted to be loved. My brother Tyrion has the same disease. Do you want to be loved Sansa?”

She responds that everyone wants to be loved and Cersei mocks her saying that flowering hasn’t made her smarter and tells her love is a poison. A sweet poison, but one that will kill you anyway.

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Analysis

Okay. Slightly off topic and looking forward to future chapters, but given the three main candidates for being the Savage Giant are currently Ser Gregor/Robert Strong, Little finger and Tyrion, there is one line that stood out in Tyrion’s chapter.

“If Littlefinger is dead, then I’m a giant.”

Now this line even in the context of the text seems ill fitting and I wonder if there is some sort of hint there?

Anyway, Tyrion’s chapter shows Sansa from his POV. Given their future marriage it is interesting to see his impression of her. He sees Sansa trying to comfort Tommen and Joff’s cruelty and doesn’t do anything but thinks why Cersei doesn’t see him for what he is. While Tyrion’s saving of Sansa from the beating was admirable, it is noticeable that Sansa being verbally abused is something of a public and commonplace event. After the riot, in the court yard Tyrion is furious with Joff as he presumes Sandor Clegane is dead and then asks “Where’s the Stark girl?” and then thinks

if Sansa Stark had come to harm, Jaime was as good as dead.”
His main concern is not Sansa’s well being, but the consequences for his brother.

This compares to the next moment when Sandor Clegane appears with Sansa. As we know from the courtyard scene, all the other knights and retainers fled but Sandor stayed back and rescued Sansa. From his own speech, and remarks about Ser Aron and Ser Preston and Lollys, he may have helped them too. Sansa is bleeding and in shock, but it is Sandor not Tyrion who arranges medical help. From this chapter it seems that Sansa is not really on Tyrion’s radar. He doesn’t think about her in any special way.

The effect of the riot on Sansa is very clear from the beginning of her chapter. She has experienced this terrible event and has only Ser Dontos for any sort of comfort. She is clearly suffering from PTSD and her beating from Joff seems to pale in comparison to her experience in the riot. The suffocating dreams and nightmares sound terrible.

She also learns from Ser Dontos about the advantage in being thought stupid and more court intrigue in terms of what is said in front of fools. We also see that Ser Dontos is aware that Sansa is bright and I wonder who he feed that information back too…..yes Littlefinger we know it’s you.

We also see that rather than just sitting around, Sansa is again pushing Dontos for them to escape as soon as possible. The fact she notes the KG aren’t following her around is interesting as it means despite being thought stupid, her movements are very carefully observed. She herself sees the opportunity to flee the castle is at it’s best now. I would actually question if Ser Dontos was right about getting out of the city, as there were no men to spare to go after her if she did escape and I doubt the city guards were as concerned with people leaving the city as entering. She may well have found a way to escape if not for Ser Dontos telling her to be patient and have faith in him. Interestingly Ser Dontos along with Sandor is the only person she speaks freely around and yet even Ser Dontos himself says people should be careful what they say in front of fools. Little does she know this will bite her on the ass with the Tyrion marriage.

Her conversation with Sandor on the roof starts curiously because it wasn’t him startling her that made her fall, but period pain. The fact he grabs her so quickly and also seems to think she may have fallen seems to suggest he may have indeed saved her from sharp descent just like on the serpentine steps. He is not nice to her and she thinks herself that he scares her and yet she talks to him openly and gives as good as she gets and calls him out on everything apart from the fear of his brother. Sandor’s speech about the crowd and only needing steel really brought home the sense that part of his fearful image and violent nature stems from a fear of ever being helpless again, like he was with Gregor. Sansa certainly seems continually annoyed with him because he challenges her beliefs. Although we can see she appreciates some of his ferocity when she wishes that Ser Dontos was a little more like the Hound.

I can’t think of a worse setting in which to get your first period. Poor Sansa. Her terror that she might be bedded to Joff drives her to actions that are desperate and irrational. She herself once she has calmed down realises her actions are ridiculous. What they did though was reinforce Cersei and probably many other people’s belief that she’s an idiot, when in fact she is a terrified girl. Cersei (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) almost comes across as kind in their conversation and from her reminisces of Robert, you do begin to see that she had a shit time of it. It is interesting though that Cersei notes that Sansa is stronger than she seems and can bare the humiliation as she did. Given Robert’s domestic abuse, rape and whoring, you can see how Cersei has got to the point where she can no longer feel sympathy for Sansa. Treatment that should have made her more empathetic has in fact turned her into a tormentor. The bullied becomes a bully as it were.

Edit: Also Cersei casually mentions that Arya is dead. Is this the first confirmation Sansa has had of this? There is no reaction from her if so, but I wonder of she has assumed she's dead, like she assumes Jeyne Poole is.

Cersei then says the line that fills me with dread in terms of foreshadowing:

You may never love the king, but you’ll love his children.
Especially as she then talks about Tyrion wanting to be loved. While I desperately hope that GRRM separates Sansa from Tyrion, even here there is some support to the idea that they may end up in a loveless marriage, with Tyrion as King. I know there is a lot of speculation about Tyrion’s fate and there is that line about his shadow being as talk as a King’s.

In terms of foreshadowing there are also some other interesting lines. When she talks to Ser Dontos she says she wants the Sept to Burn down and Ser Dontos tells her the Gods are listening, but she says they never listen to her prayers. This sort of flashes back to her wish that a hero would cut off Janos Slynt’s head and of course Jon does just that. Arya too has her list of names and as we know, they are all coming to very gruesome ends. Therefore I wonder if before the end of the series we might not see the great Sept on fire.

Similarly this chapter, especially in her talk with Sandor, is just full of references to her flying and not just her nickname of little bird. I do wonder if Sansa will learn to warg birds or if she is going to ride a dragon. There also seems to be a continual idea about her falling and being caught by Sandor Clegane.

One thing about her dream that struck me was that she is calling for help and on one comes to her aid. Her family have done nothing to try and rescue her and she is completely alone. Given the Stark’s treatment of Theon, did they just think Cersei and Joff were being nice to her? Her treatment is why the Tyrells killed Joff. It does highlight how alone she feels. Oddly the one person she doesn’t call out for in the dream is the person who actually saved her.

Her dream, while part terrifying memory, also has the potential for foreshadowing.

The mob surged around her, shrieking, a maddened beast with a thousand faces. Everywhere she turned she saw faces twisted into monstrous inhuman masks.
This scene is really similar to the Theon chapter in ADWD where he is taking Jeyne to be married to Ramsay and the mist twists all the faces of the Bannermen into inhuman masks. And on a side note in the same scene, Theon thinks
What had she been thinking, that he would whistle up a whinged horse and fly her out of here, like some hero in the stories she and Sansa used to love?
. Just another Sansa, flying reference……..

Also the line about

Women swarmed over her like weasels, pinching her legs and kicking her in the belly, and someone hit her in the face and she felt her teeth shatter.

Seemed to foreshadow her treatment at the hands of both Cersei and the Tyrell women.

Then there are more references to Knights and tales.

We have her calling for Ser Ryam Redwyne the famous Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, who was also one of the worst ever Hand’s. And the tale of Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk. She also thinks again of Florian and Ser Aemon the Dragonknight.

Also I apologise or the blatant indulgence of the San/San speculation, but

Prince Aemon the Dragonknight cried the day Princess Naerys wed his brother Aegon,”

Sandor Clegane wept when he found out Sansa had been wed to Tyrion.

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Also I apologise or the blatant indulgence of the San/San speculation, but

Quote

Prince Aemon the Dragonknight cried the day Princess Naerys wed his brother Aegon,”

Sandor Clegane wept when he found out Sansa had been wed to Tyrion.

Oh you can indulge anything you like :P I have something to add on to San/San too later when I give my thoughts, but right now I just want to say this was a brilliant analysis, gave me lots to chew on! Will do more justice later.

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Analysis

Okay. Slightly off topic and looking forward to future chapters, but given the three main candidates for being the Savage Giant are currently Ser Gregor/Robert Strong, Little finger and Tyrion, there is one line that stood out in Tyrion’s chapter.

Now this line even in the context of the text seems ill fitting and I wonder if there is some sort of hint there?

This is such an interesting find. It could go either way: 1. Tyrion is indeed the savage giant that Sansa will slay, adding to the other instances where he's been likened to a giant by others or 2. Littlefinger could be the giant, and Tyrion's comment here a foreshadowing that he'll take over after LF's death by Sansa's hands. Hmmm, perhaps Tyrion is destined to rule not Casterly Rock, but the Vale?

Anyway, Tyrion’s chapter shows Sansa from his POV. Given their future marriage it is interesting to see his impression of her. He sees Sansa trying to comfort Tommen and Joff’s cruelty and doesn’t do anything but thinks why Cersei doesn’t see him for what he is. While Tyrion’s saving of Sansa from the beating was admirable, it is noticeable that Sansa being verbally abused is something of a public and commonplace event. After the riot, in the court yard Tyrion is furious with Joff as he presumes Sandor Clegane is dead and then asks “Where’s the Stark girl?” and then thinks His main concern is not Sansa’s well being, but the consequences for his brother.

Yes, although Sansa isn't being physically abused by Joff here, there's still the reality that she was being abused -verbally or emotionally - everytime she was in Joff's presence. It's disheartening for sure. It's interesting that the first thing Tyrion thinks about after the riot is that Joffrey has just killed Clegane. It really speaks to the Hound's importance as a warrior. And yes, the bulk of Tyrion's alarm for Sansa is because he fears what will happen to Jaime.

This compares to the next moment when Sandor Clegane appears with Sansa. As we know from the courtyard scene, all the other knights and retainers fled but Sandor stayed back and rescued Sansa. From his own speech, and remarks about Ser Aron and Ser Preston and Lollys, he may have helped them too. Sansa is bleeding and in shock, but it is Sandor not Tyrion who arranges medical help. From this chapter it seems that Sansa is not really on Tyrion’s radar. He doesn’t think about her in any special way.

I think once again GRRM is just throwing out another hint that Sandor is Sansa's true knight. I mean the scene could be out of any fairytale: the tall, strong warrior, riding in with the helpless maiden clinging to his back, having just saved her from the riotous crowd :) Of course it isn't so simple, but the image they make coming back is straight up classic.

The effect of the riot on Sansa is very clear from the beginning of her chapter. She has experienced this terrible event and has only Ser Dontos for any sort of comfort. She is clearly suffering from PTSD and her beating from Joff seems to pale in comparison to her experience in the riot. The suffocating dreams and nightmares sound terrible.

Her frustration and unhappiness are really evident in this chapter. I agree with your PTSD diagnosis. She really really wants to be gone from KL, and again this discredits the idea of Sansa as some passive princess enduring her captivity. The girl directly advocated leaving the Red Keep, even in the middle of a war. I think that if the Hound had approached her at this point with a credible plan she would have gone. It shows she's not so much afraid of danger that she would choose to willingly remain with her captors. If there was an opening here she would have seized it.

Her conversation with Sandor on the roof starts curiously because it wasn’t him startling her that made her fall, but period pain. The fact he grabs her so quickly and also seems to think she may have fallen seems to suggest he may have indeed saved her from sharp descent just like on the serpentine steps.

Sandor being there so quickly to catch her indicates that he was probably constantly looking our for her, but would have remained part of the shadows had he not felt she was in danger. And do you notice how it's always very dark when they have their meetings? The significance of this will be interesting to explore when we do the final wrap up on ACOK.

He is not nice to her and she thinks herself that he scares her and yet she talks to him openly and gives as good as she gets and calls him out on everything apart from the fear of his brother.

We're definitely seeing a bolder Sansa here, but I think it's a quality that is unique with the Hound. Later on when she's married to Tyrion she never engages in these types of conversations, and it speaks to the development of her relationship with the Hound, and the general lack of fear that she feels around him. Does she even have a reaction when he puts that sword to her neck? I mean obviously it must have been scary, but her next thought is he's a bad tempered dog, biting any hand that tries to pet him.

I can’t think of a worse setting in which to get your first period. Poor Sansa. Her terror that she might be bedded to Joff drives her to actions that are desperate and irrational. She herself once she has calmed down realises her actions are ridiculous.

I felt George wrote this scene really well. Her terror and fear over the bloody sheet is symbolic of the anxiety that growing up causes her to feel. She's now reached an important threshold and what it might mean: bedding Joff is absolutely unimaginable to her. She wants to hide the evidence of her maturity, but she cannot with the fire and smoke giving her away. What's intriguing is that later on in ACOK she encounters another bloody cloak (Sandor's ) which she wraps around her. Is this GRRM's foreshadowing that she's unknowingly chosen the man who will take her virginity? Especially since he's the one to catch her before she falls when she gets the first stab in her stomach.

What they did though was reinforce Cersei and probably many other people’s belief that she’s an idiot, when in fact she is a terrified girl. Cersei (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) almost comes across as kind in their conversation and from her reminisces of Robert, you do begin to see that she had a shit time of it. It is interesting though that Cersei notes that Sansa is stronger than she seems and can bare the humiliation as she did. Given Robert’s domestic abuse, rape and whoring, you can see how Cersei has got to the point where she can no longer feel sympathy for Sansa. Treatment that should have made her more empathetic has in fact turned her into a tormentor. The bullied becomes a bully as it were.

We got lots of insight into Cersei's relationship with Robert (and Jaime) here, and this scene is instructive for those who believe that Cersei and Sansa have parallel arcs in the series. Cersei is presented as thoroughly disenchanted. She speaks as the older wiser woman, but as you noted, there is no sympathy and very little empathy. I can't imagine that this conversation made Sansa feel any better, especially the part where she talks of Sansa not loving the king, but his children. I think Cersei's portrayal is meant to act as a cautionary lesson for Sansa: for heaven's sake don't become like this woman!

Edit: Also Cersei casually mentions that Arya is dead. Is this the first confirmation Sansa has had of this? There is no reaction from her if so, but I wonder of she has assumed she's dead, like she assumes Jeyne Poole is.

This may be the first confirmation, although it doesn't appear to register. Sansa has been sure up to this point that Arya is safe in Winterfell, so perhaps she pays it no mind.

Cersei then says the line that fills me with dread in terms of foreshadowing: Especially as she then talks about Tyrion wanting to be loved. While I desperately hope that GRRM separates Sansa from Tyrion, even here there is some support to the idea that they may end up in a loveless marriage, with Tyrion as King. I know there is a lot of speculation about Tyrion’s fate and there is that line about his shadow being as talk as a King’s.

Yes, that foreshadowing was ominous, but I still don't see GRRM making Sansa and Tyrion stay together (fingers crossed). I think perhaps if Sansa were to adopt Cersei's ideas about life and love then she could find herself in a loveless marriage. But I'm hoping that Sansa rejects these opinions and tries to carve her own magic however far-fetched. But maybe I'm just as naive as Sansa! What do others think about this though: was Cersei right?

In terms of foreshadowing there are also some other interesting lines. When she talks to Ser Dontos she says she wants the Sept to Burn down and Ser Dontos tells her the Gods are listening, but she says they never listen to her prayers. This sort of flashes back to her wish that a hero would cut off Janos Slynt’s head and of course Jon does just that. Arya too has her list of names and as we know, they are all coming to very gruesome ends. Therefore I wonder if before the end of the series we might not see the great Sept on fire.

Agreed, I could see the Great Sept burning merrily if Cersei gets her way. Also, is this another break between Sansa and the Seven?

Similarly this chapter, especially in her talk with Sandor, is just full of references to her flying and not just her nickname of little bird. I do wonder if Sansa will learn to warg birds or if she is going to ride a dragon. There also seems to be a continual idea about her falling and being caught by Sandor Clegane.

Yup, Sansa will be a dragon rider :) It is known. And yeah, Sandor as her protector is really heavily implied in this chapter, although we get to see a lot of his harshness and cruelty here.

One thing about her dream that struck me was that she is calling for help and on one comes to her aid. Her family have done nothing to try and rescue her and she is completely alone. Given the Stark’s treatment of Theon, did they just think Cersei and Joff were being nice to her? Her treatment is why the Tyrells killed Joff. It does highlight how alone she feels. Oddly the one person she doesn’t call out for in the dream is the person who actually saved her.

I know! She never calls out for the Hound. But perhaps it's just because he doesn't fit her traditional image of what a true hero should be, and Martin wants to emphasise that very thing about him by this glaring omission.

Also the line about

Seemed to foreshadow her treatment at the hands of both Cersei and the Tyrell women.

Indeed! Everyone wants a piece of her for their own purposes. Her flowering has ensured that she's become very marketable.

Also I apologise or the blatant indulgence of the San/San speculation, but

Sandor Clegane wept when he found out Sansa had been wed to Tyrion.

This is something isn't it. :)

Ok, so I'll just make my quick San/San point here which will only really become relevant later on, but the effects of PTSD are clear in this chapter - she has bad dreams, cries all the time, relives the event etc. This is why I don't agree with the idea that she's suffering from this when she creates the memory of the unkiss. Anyways, that's for later discussion!

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Apologizing for this being so long beforehand :)

Poor Sansa. We’ve seen her being physically abused, but in this chapter we see her sort of mental state, and it’s not much better than the former… she says herself that she spends tons of time crying. She appeared to have lessened this a bit until the riot, so I really disliked the people of King’s Landing here… I also got the feeling that Tyrion didn’t really think much on Sansa, of course, how could he know that they would end up marrying? At this point he wants to get her seen safely back to her family (makes me think if Sansa believed he was really meaning to ransom her for Jaime when ser Cleos is at court and Tyrion sits the throne. He does note that Sansa look pale I think, but neither his heart nor his mind are willing to go down that road… And it’s so bad to now have her nights (with the nightmares) torturing her, when she already has enough on her plate with Joffrey. And yes, she called for everyone but for the one person who would have helped her, so maybe this is just George wanting to be a little mean with us san/san fans by further denying us any actual written words were he clarifies this relationship? And it’s so unfair that sansa is the one who had a horrible time of the riot attack (even after) when it was really joff, cersei, maybe even Tyrion and others fault, but certainly not her- and yet she had to pay. I wonder if she had nightmare of having the KG beating her as well after her last chapter of AGOT.

Well, though I don’t want her to be tyrion’s queen and hate him but love his children, I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen. I sort of imagined an alteration for cersei’s words here and came up with Queen Sansa married to the Imp she does not like very much, but loving her children since they are another’s. this I know sounds too cersei/Robert, but hopefully it isn’t any sort of foreshadowing. I have no problem with Tyrion being a king but with sansa being his queen, well… If Ungregor isn’t the giant in bran’s dream then Tyrion can be it. I prefer this, but then again, I can’t see Jaime killing his little brother. Cersei yes, but Tyrion no.

Sansa is very bitter in this chapter. We can see it when she tells Dontos that the gods may very well have sent him, but he’s been no use so far. That is quite shocking in contrast with the girl she was a year ago. She resents the gods and later, she manages to find some “strength” in her to give Sandor, as raspie said, “as good as she gets”. The latter is a good thing but the thought of a bitter Sansa does not make me very happy. So she speaks a little rudely to the only 2 people she can be herself with and perhaps all her accumulating anger just slashed out in these occasions. I think sandor liked that sansa was finally not fidgeting nervously & meekly around him as she once was and actually talking back with good arguments, but he must have also been a little put out to have her call him horrible and such. As many have mentioned before, he probably wanted some recognition from her for saving here and in the end since she didn’t do it, he brought up the subject in anger, and we all know how this ended.

About sansa flying, though I want to I can’t really see her as being a dragon rider or stuff like that, so she can warg a bird or this just means the Little Bird topic reinforced by theon and others without the knowledge of a san/san relationship and possible future?

I totally adore sandor saving sansa. Everything about it subtley speaks volumes, though it is surprising that no one managed to ever think anything odd was happening between these two people. Is this for the best or worst?

& about the sandor saving her again from a future fall- yes yes, I’d like to see that, but LF already did this with lysa so… and sandor weeping when he learned she was married and the parallel to the KG aegon (I think he was called) it just adorable!

I also find it funny that sansa does not seem to mind sandor pointing his sword to her neck when later on he does this again with the dagger (agree situations were different, but still…) she is terrified he would kill her. i also think that in this chapter we see a sober up sandor who actually turns out to be pretty mean to her.

I am still not sure if sandor followed her up to the rooftop or was just spending some time near where he thought his little bird was. It’s nice if fate is having sandor saving sansa without him having followed her previously. He may have been dozing off like when he is in her bed and suddenly woke up to save her from the fall. Either raspie or brashcandy mentioned that after sansa’s flowering we see her getting sexually threatened tons of times. She was before by the mob and joff through the KG, but after she has her moonblood the first man to sort of give her a sexual moment or something is sandor, so another possible foreshadowing of him taking her maidenhead one day. Also, she decided in the first place to go to the rooftop after she feels her rooms are some sort of suffocating cage, and though she may have thought of this before, we don’t actually see her reaction to this written down till after the Hound mentions to take her back to her cage… I think that without realizing it she does pay a lot of attention to what sandor says.

Sansa doesn’t seem to quite make up her mind regarding knights. Previously she thought that there really were no true knights just as sandor said, but here we have her once more arguing that they do exist… and I don’t think she thought arya made it to Winterfell cause if she had she would have “perished” along with bran and rickon.

And now about her first menstruation… it couldn’t have come in a “better” moment, really. And I always get sad that she ruined her own gowns. she once had all the dresses she would’ve wanted and loved to dress up, but now these special treats have disappeared for her along with so much else. She only dresses up now so joff thinks she is pretty and avoids getting beaten, and the dresses she now has are covered with soot and quickly getting too small for her. I wonder is GRRM didn’t make sansa a tall girl so she wouldn’t look that out of sorts standing by sandor?

And then the breakfast with cersei. I can’t believe how carelss the queen is sometimes regarding jaime, even after the letter of incest from stannis. The way she recalls jaime here would be obvious for many other characters, but sansa does not think it that imprtant. I wonder what she & sandor thought of joff being a product of incest? And cersei is obviously not thinking of sansa as the rival queen from her prophecy at this point or she wouldn’t be advising her to use what’s between her elgs and stuff. Maybe sansa will use this to cause cersei even more pain later on..?

Seriously, sorry for this being SO LONG, but this is the lost thing. Cersei tells sansa that love is poison and that it can kill you. Will this be a foreshadowing of sansa having to die for love? Or of Sandor dying for his little bird?

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Excellent analyses, Rapsie!

Outstanding chapters; GRRM wrote them very well. We can see both Sansa's strengths - her compassion and kindness toward Tommen, the strength that is keeping her from crumbling, her far-from-passive plans to get out of the Lannisters' clutches as soon as possible; her recognition of Ser Dontos' weaknesses and value. Now, more terrible things happening to her. First the riot where she is nearly raped or killed or both; saved by the Hound in a lovely maneuver almost out of a romantic ballad except for Sansa's horror about the Hound cutting off one of her assailants' arm. Then she's feeling sick and almost falls, except - guess who - her true knight saves her and it's not Ser Dontos; it's Sandor again.

For someone who expresses such gritty contempt for the sheltered 'little bird', Sandor seems to be making a career out of helping, advising, and saving Sansa. I wonder whether one reason he so vehemently spars verbally with her and seems to try to rub his anger in her face is because she is getting under his skin and he doesn't want her to know it; or to think that he keeps turning up when she needs him because...I don't know...he might like her or at least feel sorry for and protective of her.

Fascinating correlation of Tyrion-as-a-giant/Sansa the Giant-slayer per the prophecy.

I also notice that Sansa has to keep a lot of feeling inside without expressing it; and that has to be exhausting. She thinks she should not cry openly; and she's someone who definitely has good reason to cry. She doesn't dare cry for her father and sister and others of Winterfell; she doesn't get to say how frightened she is of Joffrey (the closest she came was with Tyrion, accidentally saying she felt cornered by 'lions' when he characterized her as a deer savaged by wolves). When she spoke up for Dontos, she felt as if she must be mad. And later, she has a huge temper tantrum when SweetRobin smashes her snow version of Winterfell with his doll. So far, her control has been exceptional for a 12-year-old; but I'm not surprised that more raw emotions are leaking out in her dreams and in her setting fire to her clothes and mattress.

Not for the first time, we see how isolated Sansa Stark is. Most girls get to talk to their mothers when they start menstruating; Sansa has to settle for a woman-to-woman chat with one of her jailers, the mother of the monster who killed Sansa's father and beats and humiliates her on a regular basis. She can't trust her maids; she has no girl-friends; getting her period is not exactly something Sansa would discuss with the Hound or Ser Dontos. (I could just envision Sandor's face if she actually started telling him about it; that conversation would actually be funny as well as sad. How fast do you think he would run? Or do you think he might start thinking of her as beddable?)

I actually thought Cersei came close to feeling true empathy with Sansa; their conversation was, I think, the most honest interaction those two characters had. Cersei is again stepping in and filling the role of Sansa's absent mother (as she did, I think, in Sansa's eyes, in AGOT, one reason why Sansa went running to her to ask her to make her father let her stay with Joffrey). However, Cersei's telling Sansa that Sansa couldn't love Joffrey but would love his children is extremely hypocritical from a woman who made sure that she wouldn't bear her hated husband's children, to the point of deliberately aborting one of them.

Cersei's memories of Robert's rapport with his bastard children in their infancy is interesting. When did she see Robert cuddling his infant bastards? I would think that Robert wouldn't exactly bring them up to King's Landing to show them off to his wife? Did she go spy on Robert with the infant Edric Dayne? Also interesting is the contrast Cersei makes between Robert's rapport with the bastard babies, who smiled and gurgled at him, and Robert's distinct lack of rapport with baby Joffrey (which she speaks of or thinks of at some point) - I wonder what was going on there. Could that have been the beginning of Robert's disinterest in his legal heir, the fact that the baby didn't coo and smile at him? (shows that Robert expects people to adore him, even babies, without making much effort) Could baby Joffrey have picked up on his mother's dislike and fear of Robert while in Cersei's arms and cringed away from Robert?

It was also rather hypocritical of Cersei to tell Sansa that love is poison. I didn't notice her giving up on love during her marriage; she had Jaime on the side and almost whenever Robert was away or passed out from drinking. Cersei managed to have her cake and eat it too; and now she thinks she's giving Sansa woman-to-woman advice about being content with loving the children that the abusive husband (in Sansa's case, husband-to-be) will give her.

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Caro, I enjoy all your posts, so the longer the better :) Ok, you raised some really great points, and I'll start with the last - the love being a sweet poison... I was wondering if this might not have been foreshadowing of Joff's death, ironically heralded by his own mother. After all, Sansa once loved Joffrey, but he was responsible for turning that love to poison and then it ends up killing him. Not a plot by Sansa directly, but certainly due to what she tells the Tyrells about his cruelty and sadism.

Next - Sandor could as you said have been spending some time on the rooftop or he may have been following her. Either way, he's quick to reach out and protect her when he thinks she's in danger. I wonder if he got a little angry because of how she reacted when he grabbed her hand? His feelings might have been hurt a bit and this may be why he brings up the riots directly afterward.

We discussed this before on the Sandor threads but it's relevant here: Sansa's real experience of what it's like to be "rescued" is quite harrowing and sobering. Before, she had a romantic concept of these events, Serwyn of the mirror shield and Aemon the Dragonknight, but the riot is the first time when she realises that these things aren't filled with the kind of glamorous danger that is depicted in the songs. It's real life and death. It's another harsh intro to the real world and she understandably suffers a great deal of stress in the aftermath.

I wonder if the Hound expected her to freak out when he put the sword to her throat> I have this image in my mind of Sansa staring him down and then him having to relent and put the sword back up. A really great battle of wills here. Two contrasting view points and at the end of it, neither submits.

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For someone who expresses such gritty contempt for the sheltered 'little bird', Sandor seems to be making a career out of helping, advising, and saving Sansa. I wonder whether one reason he so vehemently spars verbally with her and seems to try to rub his anger in her face is because she is getting under his skin and he doesn't want her to know it; or to think that he keeps turning up when she needs him because...I don't know...he might like her or at least feel sorry for and protective of her.

If this wasn't ASOIAF, and was instead some tawdry novel or hollywood coming of age romance, then this is the moment when Sandor would have probably grabbed Sansa and kissed her to prove his manliness and she would have struggled at first, but ultimately relented in passionate admission of her desire :) However! This is ASOIAF and Sansa is 12 and Sandor is well... Sandor. So he tells her he's tired of her peeping at him and she flees. I do think you're right about the getting under the skin anxiety that he is beginning to feel.

It was also rather hypocritical of Cersei to tell Sansa that love is poison. I didn't notice her giving up on love during her marriage; she had Jaime on the side and almost whenever Robert was away or passed out from drinking. Cersei managed to have her cake and eat it too; and now she thinks she's giving Sansa woman-to-woman advice about being content with loving the children that the abusive husband (in Sansa's case, husband-to-be) will give her.

Yes, I agree! Way to go trying to embitter a young girl who's having a terrible time of it because of your son, whose behaviour you excuse as "difficult". Anyways, I do think Cersei was really exaggerating the awfulness of a woman's life here, and whilst she may be correct in theory - life's magic moments can be messy - it doesn't mean that they aren't enjoyable or meaningful. I think another challenge for Sansa is learning how to filter the good and the bad of what so many people are telling her, what's real and what's just a product of someone's warped world view.

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Poor Sansa - PMS on top of PTSD! That has to suck!!

So did anyone get that the Hound's argument here actually prove the point that he is a knight? First he talks about how he loves to kill, he's a butcher and lives for the kill. Then he goes off on his usual tirade about how he despises knights and spits on them, but then in the end he says knights are for killing (which is what he said he was for in the beginning).

Also, I think Caro said she wondered what Sansa thinks of Joffrey bein a prduct of Cersei's incest but I got the impression that she still does not know about this. That's why when she makes the comment about Joffrey being the true heir to the throne in her breakfast with Cersei, Cersei kind of hesitates and gives a weird sort of smile (don't have the chapter right in front of me). I don't think she has ever found out about this.

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Yup, Sansa will be a dragon rider :) It is known. And yeah, Sandor as her protector is really heavily implied in this chapter, although we get to see a lot of his harshness and cruelty here.

...

I know! She never calls out for the Hound. But perhaps it's just because he doesn't fit her traditional image of what a true hero should be, and Martin wants to emphasise that very thing about him by this glaring omission.

I haven't been over here in a while, and I'm regretting that, because the analysis is great! Please don't make Sansa a dragon rider who terrifies and burns people (targets)! I want her to keep her idealism and innocence, and not become like the people who hurt her. She's my symbol of hope, resilience, adaptability, and...spring... in the books. Maybe she and Sandor will ride off on a dragon to a faraway (Lannister-free) land, like they escaped from the mob. *crackpot alert*

IMO, she doesn't call for Sandor because she doesn't have to. He has always been there to save her without having to be asked, and often before she knows she needs saving. Hence why he MUST show up to get her away from LF!!!

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I do think that Sansa will lose her innocence; she's gradually losing it now, between the wedding night with nekkid Tyrion, Ser Dontos' brutal death, Littlefinger seducing her and Aunt Lysa trying to kill her, etc. I hope that she will manage to keep some of her idealism and compassion/empathy; without those three qualities, she is no longer Sansa.

I doubt that Sandor will show up to free Sansa from LF. I think Sansa will leave LF/the Vale; either to save SweetRobin or save herself; or as Ser Shadrich's captive to be taken back to Cersei to answer for Joffrey's death. (Shadrich, who wants to find Sansa and haul her back for a reward, is now working for Littlefinger, if I'm not mistaken; eventually he's going to figure out who "Alayne" really is) But it's very possible that Sansa will meet up with Sandor while she's on the run, or he'll save her from Cersei/Cersei's agents....

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It's interesting now to think back to the scene in AGOT when Arya had stained her dress with the blood orange and we noted the obvious parallels in her reactions in that scene and this one and that the blood orange was symbolic of the painful coming of age for Sansa. Her experience of becoming a "woman" is terrifying, as Raksha pointed out, with no maternal figure there to counsel except of course Cersei Lannister. It's like GRRM is constantly parodying the idea of help around this girl: we have the drunk Dontos who doesn't quite grasp the depths of her frustration, and is a bit of a harmless perv around her, begging for a kiss, but is the one she has to rely on to get her out of KL. Then her moment of maturity is felt in a "stab" and who's there to catch her? Sandor Clegane of all people. He's the one who saved her innocence from the mob, and now he's pulling duty here, preventing her fall, but also there to witness that symbolic moment of crossing from the threshold of girl to maiden. And finally Cersei, who's probably just about the worst person you could imagine in theory having to counsel any young girl, much less Sansa, but who actually manages to impart some hard warnings from personal experience.

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I do think that Sansa will lose her innocence; she's gradually losing it now, between the wedding night with nekkid Tyrion, Ser Dontos' brutal death, Littlefinger seducing her and Aunt Lysa trying to kill her, etc. I hope that she will manage to keep some of her idealism and compassion/empathy; without those three qualities, she is no longer Sansa.

I think sansa will realise that she is the total opposite of LF. Where he corrupts, she redeems (Lysa/Sandor)

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Thanks for the summery and the great analysis!

Also, thank you, Raksha, for this excellent post, I just wanted to add something that hit me while reading your thoughts:

Cersei's memories of Robert's rapport with his bastard children in their infancy is interesting. When did she see Robert cuddling his infant bastards? I would think that Robert wouldn't exactly bring them up to King's Landing to show them off to his wife? Did she go spy on Robert with the infant Edric Dayne? Also interesting is the contrast Cersei makes between Robert's rapport with the bastard babies, who smiled and gurgled at him, and Robert's distinct lack of rapport with baby Joffrey (which she speaks of or thinks of at some point) - I wonder what was going on there. Could that have been the beginning of Robert's disinterest in his legal heir, the fact that the baby didn't coo and smile at him? (shows that Robert expects people to adore him, even babies, without making much effort) Could baby Joffrey have picked up on his mother's dislike and fear of Robert while in Cersei's arms and cringed away from Robert?

I think it's not only Cersei's dislike that makes little Joff react to Robert that way; it is what causes the baby to cry and feel unwell at the moment of being taken by Robert. BUT I also think that the fact that Robert lost interest the moment the baby did not behave as it should have in his eyes shows us that he never wanted to fight for the love of someone he knew was his (and who has no choice), something we also see in his behaviour toward Cersei (why didn't he at least tried to be nice to her at the beginning of their marriage?) and Ned while in KL (do as I tell you and don't bother me with that disturbs you).

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IDK. I can't really find fault exactly, except to agree in some respects with Morte. I was afraid of my dad as a baby until he shaved off his beard.

If Joff was similar and Robert had shaved his beard, would Joff have liked him better? Maybe. But Robert would never think of trying to accommodate Cersei's son when all his other children by other women are happy enough with his beard? It could be read that way. But I think it more likely that GRRM meant to imply that they never "clicked" as blood relatives (because they aren't).

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Thanks for the summery and the great analysis!

Also, thank you, Raksha, for this excellent post, I just wanted to add something that hit me while reading your thoughts:

I think it's not only Cersei's dislike that makes little Joff react to Robert that way; it is what causes the baby to cry and feel unwell at the moment of being taken by Robert. BUT I also think that the fact that Robert lost interest the moment the baby did not behave as it should have in his eyes shows us that he never wanted to fight for the love of someone he knew was his (and who has no choice), something we also see in his behaviour toward Cersei (why didn't he at least tried to be nice to her at the beginning of their marriage?) and Ned while in KL (do as I tell you and don't bother me with that disturbs you).

This is a great point Morte, and perhaps reveals why he is unable to let go of Lyanna's memory. It is probably the one and only time Robert fought for anyone (that he assumed was his) in his life, but his victory was hollow because Lyanna was dead, and so he clings to this memory of the one who got away, and neglects his wife and children. Robert never realised that there are other ways to fight for something/someone besides swinging your warhammer.

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IDK. I can't really find fault exactly, except to agree in some respects with Morte. I was afraid of my dad as a baby until he shaved off his beard.

If Joff was similar and Robert had shaved his beard, would Joff have liked him better? Maybe. But Robert would never think of trying to accommodate Cersei's son when all his other children by other women are happy enough with his beard? It could be read that way. But I think it more likely that GRRM meant to imply that they never "clicked" as blood relatives (because they aren't).

I'm just curious, how old are you? and how is it you could remember as far back as a babe?

I mean most babies attention span is like 1 milli second.

My earliest remembrance in family matters is like about 4 or 5 and thats because either I did something stupid which got me in trouble or something really special like my dad renting a horse for me for a week as a birthday surprise.

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