Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Rapsie

From Pawn to Player? Rereading Sansa II

Recommended Posts

It was the bit about the bed maid holding her down, that made me think that what Pycelle was doing was not okay. Given we see him in bed with a girl later I'm just not sure of him.

It could have been that Cersei wanted to see that she was okay, but given that she has no trouble with Sansa being beaten on a daily basis, it just doesn't seem to fit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sansa makes a haunting journey through a landscape of sorrow, loneliness and fear in this chapter, and faces death, her father's and her own. It is the greatest emotional journey that we have seen her make so far, and she has to do it alone.

Look at the difference in Sansa's two separate considerations of suicide...

The first time, she is still thinking of herself as a heroine of song and story; perhaps as a coping mechanism:

If she flung herself from the window, she would put an end to her suffering, and for the years to come the singers would write songs of her grief. Her body would lie on the stones below, broken and innocent, shaming those who had betrayed her. Sansa went so far as to cross the bedchamber and throw open the shutter ... but then her courage left her, and she ran back to her bed, sobbing.

While she is obviously genuinely upset, this is less a serious consideration of suicide than a very unhappy young girl's melodramatic idea to punish the people whose cruelty made her so sad. Sansa has only begun to walk through the fire, to steal a metaphor...

The second time Sansa considers suicide, she is definitely serious and far beyond thinking of how singers will immortalize her:

The outer parapet came up to her chin, but along the inner edge of the walk was nothing, nothing but a long plunge to the bailey seventy or eighty feet below. All it would take was a shove, she told herself. He was standing right there, right there, smirking at her with those fat wormlips. You could do it, she told herself. You could. Do it right now. It wouldn't even matter if she went over with him. It wouldn't matter at all.

This is Sansa's lowest point and perhaps her most grim moment in the series. She has walked through fire and (to steal a metaphor from another great fantasy series) drank the cup of of bitterness. But rather than despair, Sansa focusses on this opportunity quite coolly and nerves herself to kill the king who has killed her father and abused her, even if it means she will die to do so. Sadly, she does not even care if she lives or dies at this point. She seems quite devoid of fear; having found a strange calm that perhaps occurs after the horrors she has witnessed and endured. For a few moments, we are given a glimpse of a different Sansa, a girl who is much older and grimmer and stronger than the spoiled eleven-year-old child we have seen throughout the book; a girl very recognizable as the sister of Arya and Robb. We have seen the Wolf's Daughter.

Yes, there really is an essential difference between these two considerations of suicide. The first, as you pointed out comes from the psyche of a hurt child, she wants to lash out and hurt others, she wants them to feel the pain she is feeling. But in the second one, she no longer cares about these things. It's no longer suicide really, but death in the pursuit of vengeance. It no longer matters if she lives or die, or what people think, as long as she is able to kill Joffrey. Her experiences in the chapter of being beaten and humiliated are definitely responsible for this new "mature" appreciation of death, and in particular I think the conversation with Ser Meryn Trant. Before, she entertained the childish idea of people being sad over her demise, but it was like telling Meryn he was no true knight. Childish thoughts and words don't always translate in real life, or they can have little impact on others. What we're witnessing is the death of idealism and a painful realistic approach to the world.

Her final thoughts in the chapter also speak to this. On my first reading, I thought "oh, poor Sansa," but now I'm realising that her capitulation here was a sign of strength rather than weakness. The "good girl" who always remembered her courtesies is now an act, a masquerade that she must perform in order to survive her captivity. Her upbringing as a proper lady is now what will ensure that she can "parrot" the words and behaviour that Joff requires. As the Hound tells her, "he wants you to love him.... and fear him."

Another theme in this chapter involves seeing things as they really are. Sansa is seeing Joff for the first time, his lips which she once thought were appealing, now look like fat worms. Her perspective has changed now that she realises the monster he truly is. It's a significant shift in her previous thoughts about Joff as everything she ever wanted, and really underscores the point that part of growing up is learning to see what is really in front of us, not allowing our own desires, fantasies and/or prejudices to blind us to the truth about people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I had miss some chapter and I couldn´t comment on it. But I read all that you wrote and I still saying that you bring out a lot of things!!!!

Anyway right now we are in this chapter. And what a chapter!

At the begining we see a Sansa that is in a mourmont process near depression. I think that the visit of Pycelle is just to see if she is fine and that she hadn´t injured herself. Even as somebody has point out maybe to know if she is with the "bloody moon thing".

The visit of Joffrey is what makes her react. It´s the first time that we begin to see nice adjetives as gently associated to The Hound, always when he touches her. And also he gives her another advise and the clues to know how to behive with Joffrey. When he says the words: "to love him... and fear him" it seems to me that it is how he had to act with his brother.

I didn´t remember that Ser Merlyn beat her so badly. Now I am surpresed how she managed to still have courtesy with him and not seem terrified. It is true that her we begin to see how Sansa use courtesy as a weapon.

The sentence about not to be a true knight and that Sansa think in The Hound laughing makes me think about some kind of private joke between them both.

After in the court, the way Joffrey imparts justice say alot about him. He is cruel and stubborn. And he still with his cruelty when he makes Sansa go upstairs to see the jumped heads of all her people.

How she reacts with looking and not seeing is fantastic. She didn´t give the scared reaction that he wanted. Again Ser Merlyn beated her hard.

The are really good moments in that part as the sentence of Sansa: "maybe the yours" is so desafiant that I love her just for that. And how she was planning to throw Joffrey and dying in the act. Thanks that The Hound stopped her! She could have die and Joffrey still alive!

However in how The Hound kneels in front of her and how he cleans her blood without hurting her are to action remarkable. The first one I didn´t thought before until you pointed out, and also it is kneel between Joffrey and Sansa. Didn´t know if it´s steel an act of protection for the king or the begining of the protection of her. The second it shows the difference between the other beating her and him giving her careful contact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"wishing she could hurt him [slynt], wishing that some hero would throw him down and cut off his head."

As it happens, "some hero" did , in the end, cut off Janos' head. And well deserved it was, too!

Joff tells her that she is staying in KL and that she has to marry him. She wails that she doesn’t want to marry him and that he chopped her father’s head off.

This is interesting in light of Cersei's internal comment from ADWD, that she had planned to marry Sansa off to some Lannister cousin. According to Ran, this is not a mistake from GRRM (though I'm not sure if he ever asked him about that directly). I wonder if this means Cersei only was planning the "lesser cousin" thing in between her decision to take down the Starks (in about mid-AGOT) and Ned losing his head (literally). Somehow, Cersei insisted, even against Joffrey's wishes at first judging by this chapter, on Sansa still marrying Joffrey after her father had been executed. Why indeed would Joffrey marry the disgraced daughter of a dead traitor? Is this purely because of the younger queen prophecy, with Cersei making sure Joffrey's wife would be obedient to and terrified of him, and completely under Cersei's thumb as well?

The references to Sansa looking to Winterfell make me wonder if she will make it back there. Is Sansa destined to (help) rebuild Winterfell or will she continue to play a role in the south, until (and even beyond) the very end of the books?

As for Pycelle, I think the guy was being lecherous with an easy victim. Cersei never cared one yota about Sansa's wellbeing and allowed her to be beated savagely at times, so she wasn't all that concerned about Jaime's treatment in turn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The references to Sansa looking to Winterfell make me wonder if she will make it back there. Is Sansa destined to (help) rebuild Winterfell or will she continue to play a role in the south, until (and even beyond) the very end of the books?

Sometimes I think she'll never make it back. She is able to draw strength from it, and build it in her memories, but her destiny may take a different path.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes I think she'll never make it back. She is able to draw strength from it, and build it in her memories, but her destiny may take a different path.

I fear this may be right. Sansa's skill-set seems to be focused on the south, by the author, and I'm guessing this is not by accident.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to disagree. With the way she passionately wants to return home, I am certain she will return to Winterfell, and not just to rebuild it, but also rule it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes I think she'll never make it back. She is able to draw strength from it, and build it in her memories, but her destiny may take a different path.

I agree with you. Sansa loves and misses home for what it was, HOME. With her family and all the people she had ever known and loved. Now most of them are dead and the rest scattered. Sansa (IMO) never loved Winterfell as Ned loved it, or Robb, or even Jon. She loved it as Cat did, as the place where the people she loved lived. In the future, Sansa's home will be wherever her husband and children are. And her dreams were never to remain in Winterfell all her life, where no singers come and there are no tourneys or beautiful spectacles. She is a romantic and to her, the snowbound hall of a remote castle is not romantic. I can still see her as lady of Highgarden or some such place, perhaps even Dorne, sitting with those puppies in her lap and watching the fountains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If she hadn´t made the snow Winterfell, I will agree with you LadyoftheNorth. In addition to the way she always remember Winterfell it makes me feel that she will return to Winterfell and that she will be able to reconstruct it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, part of me is holding out hope for a marriage to Willas for Sansa (with Olenna and Margaery exiled) complete with at least friendship and mutual respect, kids and lots of puppies. But it could be that Sansa will return to the North and put her mark on Winterfell. It would be a mark of her growth that Sansa could look at the burned, broken shell of her home and see past her memories and the present to what Winterfell means and what it could be again; and stays to raise Rickon and rebuild the place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest, it could go either way. There's already some irony in that Sansa has these strong memories of Winterfell and she was the one most anxious to leave. If Martin wants to continue along this vein then yes, she could be the rebuilder, but the ice castle she built could also remain as a bittersweet dream, never to actually be fulfilled.

I do agree with LadyoftheNorth's point in a sense, in that for Sansa, the idea of "home" seems to be most malleable. She longs for "Winterfell" but it's tied to the happiness and safety she felt there. If she can get these things somewhere else - a family, a man who loves her for herself etc, then she might be content. Now that she feels despondent over the marriages that only want her claim to Winterfell, she could decide to never return. But again :) this seems to be at odds with her foreshadowing as Queen. Ah sooo many possibilites. It will definitely be interesting to flesh these thoughts out when we come to AFFC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With regards to Sansa here, she shows the first signs of a small she wolf with her looks and actions towards Joff.

I think the kneeling of Sandor is two folds, first placing himself between Joff and Sansa is his way of protecting her from Joff's actions and her own.

The second I think shows his beginning understanding of her wolfish resolve and grit and showing a first sign of respect to her.

As for Winterfell she will return I believe and help rebuild it, she does long for home but her arc is putting her some where in the south, Eyrie, Riverrun, QOTS or realm ?? if she isn't physically rebuilding Winterfell she should be in position to finance it, I look at Sansa also as the modern version of Good Queen Alyasanne.

As long as Sansa can visit Winterfell I think it would be ok.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok! We've completed the AGOT chapters, and I'll be posting Sansa I of ACOK tomorrow. In the meantime, Rapsie and I thought it would be beneficial to give a brief summary of what we've learnt concerning Sansa's development and the symbols/foreshadowing related to her character arc. I'm going to go ahead and list the points on her development that we see in the first novel:

1. Sansa is introduced to us as an innocent, naive girl, who enjoys most things to do with courtly life - knights, tourneys, dancing, etc. The description of being in love with love fits the early Sansa perfectly, as we see by her infatuation with Prince Joffrey.

2. Her idealistic world is pierced early by the terrible fight at the Trident between Joff and her sister, and by the loss of her direwolf, Lady.

3. One of Sansa's positive character traits is her ability to empathize with others. We see this when she hears of the Hound's story and reaches out to comfort him, forgetting her own fear in the moment. It is a trait that belies her otherwise immature perspective on the real world.

4. This immature view is highlighted when Sansa does not seem to grasp the seriousness of what has happened with the death of Jory, her father's captain of guards, and the consequences that will develop because of this rift between the Lannisters and the Starks.

5. She is very much someone who sees the world how she wants to see it. She isn't willing to let go of the fantasy life that she has built for her and Joffrey.

6. The danger in Sansa's naivete becomes manifest when she goes to Cersei and reveals that her father plans to send her away.

7. Sansa's world begins to collapse and we see how she acts under pressure. Unlike Jeyne, who caves in when frightened, Sansa seems to draw strength from having to comfort her friend, and acts very maturely when called to face the council.

8. Sansa's loyalty to her family comes through clearly towards the end of the book. She is very hesitant to write the letters to her family, and she later goes to plead for her father's life. For someone that is frequently accused of being a traitor, I think these were important things to see.

9. Her faith in Joffrey and true knights is dealt a huge blow by the end of the book. She finally sees Joffrey for what he is, removing the blinders of infatuation and girlish desire. It marks a new mature Sansa - one who is fully experiencing the horrors of the real world - by seeing her father executed, and suffering beatings at the hands of the KG knight, Meryn Trant.

10. She is able to appreciate what it will take to survive these torments by following the Hound's advice to give Joff what he wants. This amounts to being courteous and polite at all times and burying her true feelings of revulsion and anger. Before, Sansa's use of courtesy was all about impressing others, now it's about something more serious: survival.

All in all, AGOT represents a radically transformative experience for Sansa. She has arguably had one of the most shocking character arcs in this book, going from a sheltered girl, utterly in love with her betrothed, to experiencing violence from his command at the end. One would expect that these things would have embittered Sansa, but there's still the sense at the end of AGOT that she's able to recognize the monsters from the men.

Please feel free to add your feelings about her arc in AGOT, and prepare for discussion on ACOK tomorrow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, GOT Sansa is all about the death of the girl (to borrow a page from Jon's book. ACOK is where the woman begins to truly be born. She has learned some things and seen the destruction of almost everything she ever believed in; now it is time for her to start rebuilding on a foundation somewhat closer to reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, GOT Sansa is all about the death of the girl (to borrow a page from Jon's book. ACOK is where the woman begins to truly be born. She has learned some things and seen the destruction of almost everything she ever believed in; now it is time for her to start rebuilding on a foundation somewhat closer to reality.

Yes. There is a clear defined path from innocence to experience. Along the way her naivete is punctuated by increasingly disturbing events until the final realisation of her true predicament dawns. Both the Hound and LF issue cautionary tales and warnings, but Sansa needed to see for herself just what Joff is capable of. She's not in Kansas Winterfell anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or at least AGOT chronicles the death of the child Sansa was...ACOK is where Sansa will continue to grow and adapt and learn what she would not, or could not learn, in Winterfell and on the Kingsroad. She has gone from being the sheltered darling of Winterfell to the high position of future Queen of Westeros through her betrothal to Joffrey and older daughter of the Hand of the King, to isolated pariah left to sing meaningless songs in a gilded cage and be subject to Joffrey's taunts and physical attacks.

Sansa has learned that not only is life not a song, but that she herself is much stronger than she realized; and that she at least can try to survive in a hostile environment. I think both her parents would have been both heartbroken and proud of her behavior in her last chapter of AGOT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
She has gone from being the sheltered darling of Winterfell to the high position of future Queen of Westeros through her betrothal to Joffrey and older daughter of the Hand of the King, to isolated pariah left to sing meaningless songs in a gilded cage and be subject to Joffrey's taunts and physical attacks.

I agree, although I think it is also important to keep in mind going into ACOK that Sansa is still Joff's betrothed, as that fact impacts and proscribes a lot of her behavior and reactions until the moment when she is "officially" freed ...and just when she thinks she is free, the REAL imprisonment begins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Clash of Kings - Sansa I

Summary

It is Joffrey’s name day and a tourney is being held in his honour. A comet is visible in the sky, and Ser Arys claims that it is a banner from the gods in praise of Joffrey. He has come to escort Sansa down to the tourney grounds. She thinks to herself that she is not so sure about the comet being related to Joffrey, and that she’s heard the servants calling it the “Dragon’s Tail.” Although Ser Arys remains a faithful stooge by continuing to insist that it is in honour of Joff, Sansa still appreciates that it is he, and not one of the other KG knights, who has to come to escort her:

If she must have one of the Kingsguard dogging her steps, Sansa preferred that it be him. Ser Boros was short-tempered, Ser Meryn cold, and Ser Mandon’s strange dead eyes made her uneasy, while Ser Preston treated her like a lackwit child. Arys Oakheart was courteous, and would talk to her cordially. Once he even objected when Joffrey commanded him to hit her. He did hit her in the end, but not as hard as Ser Meryn or Ser Boros might have, and at least he had argued. The others obeyed without question… except for the Hound, but Joff never asked the Hound to punish her. He used the other five for that.

These beatings are clearly something of a ritual, as Sansa has to wear a dress with long sleeves to cover the bruises on her arms (both the dress and the bruises are “gifts” from Joff she notes). She is very careful in her preparations for the day, making sure that her face is done and wearing a hairnet of moonstones that Joff also gave to her.

Arriving at the tourney, she exchanges greetings with the Hound, Myrcella and Tommen, with the latter excitedly telling her of his plans to ride in the tourney. She is reminded of Bran at Winterfell, and thinks of how she would “do anything to be with him” there. She is extremely gracious and indulgent with Tommen, attesting to her fear for his “foeman,” but Joff wastes no time in belittling his younger brother’s efforts:

“His foeman will be stuffed with straw,” Joff said as he rose. The king was clad in a gilded breastplate with a roaring lion engraved upon its chest, as if he expected war to engulf them at any moment. He was thirteen today and tall for his age, with the green eyes and golden hair of the Lannisters.

He proceeds to compliment Sansa on her decision to wear his “stones” and tells her to sit next to him. Sansa is relieved that he has decided to “play the gallant” that day. He tells her about news from the Free Cities, concerning the Beggar King’s death, and how he will one day challenge Robb in open combat. Sansa says neutrally, “I should like to see that, Your Grace,” but inwardly thinks to herself, “More than you know.” We see this pattern repeated when he takes her hand as the tourney begins. On the inside, she is filled with disgust and loathing for him, but she must be remain outwardly calm to avoid suspicion:

A blare of trumpets sounded. The king settled back in his seat and took Sansa’s hand. Once that would have set her heart to pounding, but that was before he had answered her plea for mercy by presenting her with her father’s head. His touch filled her with revulsion now, but she knew better than to show it. She made herself sit very still.

The tourney has none of the “stars” that were present at the Hand’s tourney, and Joffey grows increasingly irritated. He finally loses his cool when Ser Dontos runs out onto the field, naked from the waist down, and thoroughly drunk. The crowd is howling with laughter, but Sansa sees a look in Joffrey’s eyes which alert her that he is going to be particularly vengeful. When Dontos calls for more wine, Joffrey stands and orders a casket to be fetched from the cellars, which Ser Dontos will be drowned in.

Against her better judgement, Sansa immediately protests, and has to scramble for a reason to give Joff. She comes up with feeble excuse that it’s unlucky to kill a man on your name day, and is fortunate that the Hound backs her up:

Joffrey scowled. He knew she was lying, she could see it. He would make her bleed for this.

“The girl speaks truly,” the Hound rasped. “What a man sows on his name day, he reaps throughout the year.” His voice was flat, as if he did not a care a whit whether the king believed him or no.

Could it be true? Sansa had not known. It was just something she’d said, desperate to avoid punishment.

Joff grudgingly accepts and agrees to kill Dontos the next day, but Sansa again interjects and tells him that he should make Dontos his fool instead. Joffrey thinks it’s a clever idea and tells Sansa that maybe she’s not as stupid as his mother thinks.

After this, Tommen insists that he wants to be allowed to ride in the tourney, and with the insistence of Myrcella, Joffrey relents. When the little boy falls, Joffrey laughs, and again Sansa finds herself having to stand up to Joffrey for his behaviour:

Sansa found herself herself possessed of a queer giddy courage. “You should go with her,” she told the King. “Your brother might be hurt.”

Joffrey shrugged. “What if he is?”

“You should help him up and tell him how well he rode.” Sansa could not seem to stop herself.

“He got knocked off his horse and fell in the dirt,” the king pointed out. “That’s not riding well.”

“Look,” the Hound interrupted. “The boy has courage. He’s going to try again.”

Upon noticing this, Sansa thinks that she would not have minded marrying Tommen if he had only been older than Joffrey.

At this point, Tyrion makes his arrival, entering through the gates with his hoard of Lannister men, sellswords and freeriders, and the Mountain savages. Joffrey is not pleased to see him, but Mrycella and Tommen are delighted. He then goes to greet Sansa and give condolences on her loss but she is unable to think of what to say to him in return, and wonders if he is mocking her. After Joffrey and the Hound leave, Tyrion tries again by asking her if she feels sad because of her grief for her father. Sansa’s reply is her standard rehearsed one:

“My father was a traitor… and my brother and lady mother are traitors as well… I am loyal to my beloved Joffrey.”

“No doubt. As loyal as a deer surrounded by wolves.”

“Lions,” she whispered, without thinking. She glanced about nervously, but there was no one close enough to hear.

At this, Tyrion promises “I shall not savage you,” but Sansa remains wary and guarded. Her final thoughts in the chapter are of how she will not make the same mistake again to trust another Lannister.

Analysis

This chapter could be called “Learning to survive in the Lion’s Den” and as is to be expected, it’s not easy. We’re meeting Sansa not long after the events in AGOT, and her torment is continuing as evidenced by the bruises of her arm and her careful preparations in order to please, or at least not displease Joffrey. Things that would have once brought her pleasure – dressing up and looking pretty – are now about preventing her pain. I wouldn’t say that Sansa has grown accustomed to the mistreatment, but she’s certainly deduced the varying personalities of her abusers, and is more aware than anyone (besides the Hound perhaps) of what sets Joffrey off.

As such, we see that she at least credits Ser Arys with being a lot kinder to her than the others. She also notes that Joffrey doesn’t ask the Hound to beat her. Another person might have lumped all the KG together as one abysmal bunch, but Sansa at least is capable of recognizing who it is that she must fear the most – a key survival tool.

This chapter really marks the beginning of what I think is the hallmark of Sansa’s chapters from here on: the things that she cannot say, and the intimacies that seem like they’re just between her and the reader. There’s a lot she would like to say to Joffrey, but she’s quite careful to keep her smiles pleasant and her words either neutral or in praise of him. It’s evident however, that there’s only so much she can do at times to spare herself a beating. Joffrey might be too dumb to recognize double meanings, but he’s also too erratic to predict how his moods will swing. This requires constant vigilance on Sansa’s part, and it must be both physically and mentally exhausting. Her dislike and disdain for him are, however, firmly entrenched as absolutes.

Sansa’s continued sympathy and empathy for others, even those she should understandably despise, are shown via her thoughts and actions concerning three characters in this chapter: Tommen, Ser Dontos and Janos Slynt’s son. With Morros Slynt, she at first wishes that Ser Balon kills him in their tourney joust, but when it looks like he might have been seriously injured, she is appalled, wondering “if the gods had heard her vengeful prayer.”

Her natural ease with children and kindness is brought out with Tommen. She knows just how to flatter him, and genuinely wishes him luck in his contest. It was really sweet to read about her raising her voice to add to the cheers of Lady Tanda and Lord Gyles, and really highlights an essential goodness to Sansa’s nature, and ability to put the cares and concerns of others before her own. Cheering for Tommen wasn’t something she had to do to make Joff happy, in fact, it could have produced the opposite effect, but it was a natural expression that she cannot stifle even with Joffrey brooding in bad natured silence beside her.

It is in her support of Ser Dontos, however, that she risks the most. It really seems to have been an instinctual response to Joffrey’s barbarity:

Sansa heard herself gasp. “No you can’t.”

Joffrey turned his head. “What did you say?”

Sansa could not believe she had spoken. Was she mad? To tell him no in front of half the court? She hadn’t meant to say anything, only … Ser Dontos was drunk and silly and useless, but he meant no harm.

She can’t believe she has spoken, and there’s a real desperation in the excuse she comes up with, but it’s still a pretty good one given how fast she has to think. Again, we see that willingness, even when facing terrible consequences, to put her own safety aside and advocate for someone else’s, even someone as unworthy as Ser Dontos. And of course, she has the Hound to thank for saving her from Joffrey’s wrath at her opposition. Sandor might be standing behind Joffrey, but he’s at the forefront of this entire chapter, serving as critical support of Sansa in two instances, and to undermine Joff’s attempts to bully his siblings.

What is Sandor’s motivation here? And it’s even more noticeable given his recent “interventions” in the last AGOT chapter, when he stopped her from pushing Joff over the edge and counselled her to give him what he wants (love and fear).

Anyways, what’s even more remarkable about the Dontos episode is that Sansa manages to actually spare his life. Her suggestion to Joffrey about making Dontos his clown is just the right thing to appeal to Joff’s arrogance, and perfectly fitting given Dontos’ drunk excesses. For someone that had hitherto believed Joffrey to be the ideal Prince, Sansa has learnt quickly how to both spot the monster’s mad episodes, and to influence his decisions somewhat. She may have been late to the game, but she’s learning to play.

When Tyrion arrives, we see her struck by just how ugly he is. I think that’s important to note given the role Tyrion later plays in her life. Compare her two differing reactions to seeing Tyrion and Sandor in this chapter:

Sandor Clegane stood at guard, his hands resting on his swordbelt. The white cloak of the Kingsguard was draped over his broad shoulders and fastened with a jewelled brooch, the snowy cloth looking somehow unnatural against his brown roughspun tunic and studded leather jerkin… His voice was as rough as the sound of a saw on wood. The burn scars on his face and throat made one side of his mouth twitch when he spoke.

In their midst, riding on a tall red horse in a strange high saddle that cradled him back and front, was the queen’s dwarf brother Tyrion Lannister, the one they called the Imp. He had let his beard grow to cover his push-in face, until it was a bristly tangle of yellow and black hair, course as wire. Down his back flowed a shadowskin cloak, black fur striped with white. He held the reins in his left hand and carried his right arm in a white silk sling, but otherwise looked as grotesque as Sansa remembered from when he had visited Winterfell. With his bulging brow and mismatched eyes, he was still the ugliest man she had ever chanced to look upon.

Now I’m not trying to set up a debate on who’s uglier between the Hound and Tyrion ;) but it’s notable which one Sansa finds thoroughly unappealing, and whilst both men make for gruesome sights, she seems much more put out by Tyrion’s appearance.

I can appreciate Tyrion’s efforts to say something nice to Sansa, but it’s not surprising that Sansa doesn’t really know what to say to him. What can you really say to a man who’s offering commiserations on the fate of your family, when his family is the one responsible for it? I think this chapter really highlights the essential roadblocks to any “happiness” that could have been found in a Tyrion/Sansa marriage. Not only does she find him disgusting on a purely physical level, she also is smart to realise that no Lannister, no matter how well meaning or kind, can be trusted. She’s been burned twice by Joffrey and Cersei, and isn’t about to stick her hand out again:

He speaks more gently than Joffrey, she thought, but the queen spoke to me gently too. He’s a Lannister, her brother and Joff’s uncle, and no friend. Once she had loved Prince Joffrey with all her heart, and admired and trusted his mother, the queen. They had repaid that love and trust with her father’s head. Sansa would never make that mistake again.

Sansa may still be a prisoner, but she's not a fool any longer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh! And some minor notes from the chapter:

- Even though Sansa is isolated, she's still pretty much in the know with events on the outside. Notably the servants calling the comet "the dragon's tail".

- Ser Arys confirms what we learn about him later on in Dorne - well meaning, but can't make much of a difference.

- Mrycella and Tommen's love for Tyrion was nice to see. It's a shame how he later has to think about using them to get back at Cersei.

Also, I don't know if this means anything, but when Tyrion tells Sansa he won't "savage" her, I couldn't help but remembering the prophecy of the GOHH, who talks about the girl slaying the "savage giant".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We see Sansa at her best and saddest here. Her successful attempt to save the life of Ser Dontos, an action that she does quite unselfishly and at some risk, does her great credit. Sansa has been called 'stupid' by other characters and readers alike; but I would not have had the thinking-on-her-feet-under-stress smarts to have come up with the unlucky-to-kill-him-on-your-nameday lie. (and I loved it when Sandor backed her up) Sansa is also kind to Tommen and urging Joffrey to be kind to the child, even though Tommen is in no position to help her; it's just the way she is.

I found it extremely sad that Sansa now categorizes the knights of the Kingsguard by how severely they mistreat her, how eager or reluctant they are to follow Joffrey's orders to beat her. This is a girl who comes from a warm, loving and powerful family, who not long ago was a spoiled and superficial child, and she's coping with regular beatings from seasoned fighters, learning to cover up the bruises and pick the clothes that might placate Joffrey's temper.

Sansa's interaction with Tyrion was a very well written and poignant scene. This is still the Tyrion I loved from AGOT; the one who has a weakness for bastards and broken things; and his heart goes out to Sansa; he is probably the only Lannister or even person at the court to say that he is sorry for her father's death. Unfortunately, Sansa just cannot bring herself to trust him or any Lannister; and I can hardly blame her; it's a sensible attitude; though it must be exhausting, as well as isolating, to have no friend or confidant. She thinks his words of kindness might be a loyalty test, some kind of trick - logical, given how Cersei manipulated Sansa in AGOT. I can hardly blame Sansa for thinking that Tyrion is ugly and not thinking of Sandor as ugly; as far as I know, no one in Westeros thinks the Imp is attractive.

Share this post


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

×