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From Pawn to Player? Rereading Sansa III

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From that scene, everything seems to be right, but they do tend to change things, did you watch the Renly featurette? WTF happened to Margaery Tyrell??

Seriously aged up, LOL!

They evidently wanted Natalie Dormer to play Margaery, and since Ms. Dormer is in her late 20's/early 30's, she had to be much older than in the books.

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SOOOOooo....in a different thread I made a comment about Marg being a naughty girl and having 3somes with Renly and Loras...

then I see the featurette! LOL! She is nude and interrupts their foreplay......gotta love it.

I also saw the Joff one and i am SURE hoping Sandor actually gets more SCENES this season! I'm betting the Joff Name Day has him fighting since they took that away from him at the Hand's tourney. Looks like his cloak on Sansa, too! It had better be his!!!!!!!! I want to SEE him interact with Sansa this season SO bad.

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From that scene, everything seems to be right, but they do tend to change things, did you watch the Renly featurette? WTF happened to Margaery Tyrell??

I had to drop the premium channels on my service so I watch all through YouTube, or the HBO site.

Are you meaning how they made Natalie Dormer look?

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I also saw the Joff one and i am SURE hoping Sandor actually gets more SCENES this season! I'm betting the Joff Name Day has him fighting since they took that away from him at the Hand's tourney. Looks like his cloak on Sansa, too! It had better be his!!!!!!!! I want to SEE him interact with Sansa this season SO bad.

Me too. I seriously hope they don't take away from what happens in the book this time. If they do, I'll feel very concerned. Half the reason I look forward to this season is to see Sansa's development as a character and her interactions with Sandor is very much a part of that.

Raksha, I thought that Margaery seems way older (and far more cunning) than in the books too. She is meant to be a teenager, right?

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I had to drop the premium channels on my service so I watch all through YouTube, or the HBO site.

Are you meaning how they made Natalie Dormer look?

No, I love Natalie Dormer as Margaery, but her personality certainly did change and her story did also… All the stuff we see happening in that short video is new to me. It’s like a whole new story! I don’t mind a few changes, but it seems like there’s gonna be a lot of those in the whole Margaery/Renly marriage. I’m open-minded, so I’ll wait for the show to start to complain (for real)…

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So, ill-made as in ill-made by the Gods (to give him the form of a dwarf)? That is possible, too.

It could be either or I suppose but what about Lancelot? I found this on wiki, I think there are some similarities.

T H White 1940 - The Ill-Made Knight is based around the adventures, perils and mistakes of Sir Lancelot. Lancelot, despite being the bravest of the knights, is ugly, and ape-like, so that he calls himself the Chevalier mal fet - "The Ill-Made Knight"

Lancelot in this version does all these good things and still gets treated badly.

Along the way, he meets a woman who begs him to climb a tree and rescue her husband's escaped falcon. After he removes his armor and does so, the husband appears and reveals that he only wanted Lancelot to remove his armor so that he can kill the knight. Despite being at a disadvantage, Lancelot manages to kill the man and tells the wife "Stop crying. Your husband was a fool and you are a bore. I'm not sorry" (though he reflects that he is).

That sounds like something Tyrion would say :D

I wouldn't like to see Sansa stay as Alayne, I don't think it will happen either. I think that Martin has put much effort into her development for her to just fade away into nothingness.

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ASOS – Tyrion III


The small council is meeting to discuss matters of state. The new members on the council are Kevan Lannister, Paxter Redwyne of the Arbor, Mathis Rowan of Goldengrove and Mace Tyrell of Highgarden. There’s also a new High Septon and Grand Maester Pycelle has been reinstated by Tywin Lannister.

Too many strange faces, Tyrion thought, too many new players. The game changed while I lay rotting in my bed, and no one will tell me the rules.

Varys gives some reports on the fighting between Robb’s men and the Lannisters and Kevan informs them that Balon Greyjoy is seeking to make an alliance with the crown. If the Lannisters accept the alliance, they would have to recognize Greyjoy as the King of the Iron Isles and grant him the lands north of the Neck. The talk turns to what should be done concerning another holdout from crown, Lysa Arryn. Paxter and Mace are of the opinion that Lysa will cause no trouble and should be left alone, but Tyrion remembers how he was treated in the Eyrie and advocates for vengeance:

“She did throw me in a cell and put me on trial for my life,” he pointed out, with a certain amount of rancor. “Nor has she returned to King’s Landing to swear fealty to Joff, as she was commanded. My lords, grant me the men, and I will sort out Lysa Arryn.” He could think of nothing he would enjoy more, except perhaps strangling Cersei. Sometimes he still dreamed of the Eyrie’s sky cells, and woke drenched in sweat.

Tyrion’s hopes are dashed, however, when his father states that “Lord Petyr may hold the key to the key to the Eyrie.” Littlefinger agrees, stating crassly:

“Oh I do,” said Littlefinger, “I have it right here between my legs.” There was mischief in his grey-green eyes. “My lords, with your leave, I propose to travel to the Vale and there woo and win Lady Lysa Arryn. Once I am her consort, I shall deliver you the Vale of Arryn without a drop of blood being spilled.”

Some doubts are expressed by Lord Rowan and Cersei, but Littlefinger touts his suitability for the task by reminding them that he is now Lord of Harrenhal, and reassures them that he can control Lysa’s son, Robert Arryn, and make sure that the boy grows up as Joffrey’s most loyal subject. Tyrion realises that all of this has already been discussed before and that it’s a done deal. Still, he objects to the plan by mentioning LF’s job as Master of coin. It is then that Tywin reveals he wants Tyrion to take over that duty. Littlefinger is given permission to head to the Eyrie and plans on leaving the next day.

After this, Tywin advocates that the crown not trouble itself with making an alliance with Balon Greyjoy. Tyrion remembers his father busy writing letters, and wonders what he has in the works that makes him so confident they can ignore the kraken’s request. Discussion of the wedding arrangements follows, with the news that Doran Martell is planning on his way to KL with 300 Dornishmen to attend the wedding. Mace Tyrell is unhappy about this, but soon has reason to be pleased when Tywin awards Highgarden with the lands and castles of Lord Alester Florent, and his son Garlan is given Bridgewater Keep, along with its lands and incomes. Tyrion notes that Garlan is now transformed into a great Lord.

Varys next mentions that there have been reports of three headed dragons in Qarth, but this is quickly dismissed as mere fantasy. When the question of what to do with the gold cloak deserters comes up, Varys recommends that they be sent to the Wall to deal with some of the troubling news coming from that region, but Lord Tywin commands that their knees be broken as a lesson to others thinking of doing the same. Remembering the concerns of Lord Mormont, Tyrion suggests a compromise, but his words are not heeded.

The meeting concludes, and only the Lannisters remain to have a private meeting. Tyrion immediately complains about his appointment as Master of coin and warns his father about trusting Littlefinger. After a brief argument between him and Cersei, Kevan Lannister reveals about LF

Only yesterday he brought us word of a Tyrell plot to spirit Sansa Stark off to Highgarden for a ‘visit,’ and there marry her to Lord Mace’s eldest son, Willas.”

Tyrion is intrigued that it was Littlefinger who brought word, and not Varys, but Cersei is simply shocked, stating:

“Sansa is my hostage. She goes nowhere without my leave.”

Lord Tywin, asserting that he will not have the rose and the direwolf in bed together, reveals his plan to thwart the Tyrells by marrying Cersei off to Willas. Cersei is aghast at the proposal, but Kevan and Tywin maintain that it will be the best thing to stop the rumours about the incest that Stannis has been spreading. Tywin tells her:

Willas is heir to Highgarden, and by all reports a mild and courtly young man, fond of reading books and looking at the stars. He has a passion for breeding animals as well, and owns the finest hounds, hawks, and horses in the Seven Kingdoms.

Tyrion is gleeful about this idea for Cersei and notes the control his father has over Cersei even though she is queen. After Cersei storms from the room, Tywin turns to Tyrion and tells him that a wife is what he needs to get over his habit of whoring. Tyrion, although outwardly dismissive of the idea, thinks to himself:

A wife might be the very thing he needed. If she brought him lands and a keep, it would give him a place in the world apart from Joffrey’s court … and away from Cersei and their father.

He tells his father that he knows it is Sansa he is planning to wed him to, but goes on to insist that she is only a child. Tywin replies:

Your sister swears she’s flowered. If so, she is a woman fit to be wed. You must needs take her maidenhead, so no man can say the marriage was not consummated. After that, if you prefer to wait a year or two before bedding her again, you would be within your rights as a husband.

Kevan weighs in with a reminder that the man who is married to Sansa can claim Winterfell in her name, and then he and Tywin discuss Lancel and other Lannister relatives as possible options for Sansa. We read:

Tyrion let them have their byplay; it was all for his benefit, he knew. Sansa Stark, he mused. Soft-spoken sweet-smelling Sansa, who loved silks, songs, chivalry and tall gallant knights with handsome faces. He felt as though he was back on the bridge of boats, the decks shifting beneath his feet.

Tywin proceeds to tell Tyrion of all the high-born women he had tried to arrange a marriage with for him, but to no avail.

If you will not have the Stark girl, I shall find you another wife. Somewhere in the realm there is doubtless some little lordling who’d gladly part with a daughter to win the friendship of Casterly Rock. Lady Tanda has offered Lollys…”

Tyrion gave a shudder of dismay. “I’d sooner cut it off and feed it to the goats.”

“Then open your eyes. The Stark girl is young, nubile, tractable, of the highest birth, and still a maid. She is not uncomely. Why would you hesitate?

Why indeed? “A quirk of mine. Strange to say, I would rather a wife who wants me in her bed.”

“If you think your whores want you in their bed, you are an even greater fool than I suspected.”

Tyrion asks his father why he hasn’t proposed Balon’s daughter as a marriage option, but Tywin makes known that he is expecting the Greyjoys to outlast their welcome in the North and that Tyrion returning home with Ned Stark’s grandson would ensure him the goodwill of the Northern people. He reiterates that Tyrion will never have Casterly Rock, but that he can have Winterfell.

Tyrion Lannister, Lord Protector of Winterfell. The prospect gave him a queer chill.

At this point Tyrion accepts, but mentions Robb Stark as a possible obstacle in the plan. Tywin informs him that Robb has broken his promise to the Freys and has instead married a Westerling. Tyrion is suspicious that his father doesn’t seem more perturbed about this betrayal by the Westerlings. The chapter ends with Tywin promising:

You will marry Sansa Stark, Tyrion. And soon.”

ASOS – Sansa III


It is the day that Sansa’s new gown is to be ready for her to wear and her serving girls have carefully attended to her preparation, along with Cersei’s bedmaid, who has trimmed her nails and done her hair, and even brought scent for her to wear.

Sansa chose a sharp sweet fragrance with a hint of lemon in it under the smell of flowers. The maid dabbed some on her finger and touched Sansa behind each ear, and under her chin, and then lightly on her nipples.

Cersei arrives with the seamstress and Sansa’s notes that the gown is quite mature:

And it was a woman’s gown, not a little girl’s, there was no doubt about that. The bodice was slashed in front almost to her belly, the deep vee covered over with a panel of ornate Myrish lace in dove-grey. The skirts were long and full, the waist so tight that Sansa had to hold her breath as they laced her into it. They brought her new shoes as well, slippers of soft grey doeskin that hugged her feet like lovers.

Sansa is ecstatic about her appearance and thinks that Willas must love her when he sees her and that she’ll make sure he forgets about Winterfell. The queen recommends the moonstone gems given to Sansa by Joffrey and declares:

“Yes. The gods have been kind to you, Sansa. You are a lovely girl. It seems almost obscene to squander such sweet innocence on that gargoyle."

Sansa is immediately alarmed and wonders if Cersei could have found out about Willas.

No one knew, but her and Margaery and the Queen of Thorns … oh, and Dontos, but he didn’t count.

When she sees the cloak that Cersei has called for however, she knows that something has gone wrong. It is a maiden’s cloak – the one that a girl wears on her wedding day – and Sansa begins to protest. Cersei tells her:

You are a ward of the crown. The king stands in your father’s place, since your brother is an attainted traitor. That means he has every right to dispose of your hand. You are to marry my brother Tyrion.

Sansa realises the truth of Dontos’ words that people only want her for her claim. Cersei advises that she can cry if she wants to, because if it was her she would be pulling her hair out, but that ultimately Sansa has no say in the matter and that she can choose to come quietly like a lady or be forced to the altar. Sansa tries to run, but is quickly stopped by Cersei’s handmaid. Ser Meryn and Ser Osmund Kettleback are waiting on the outside to escort her down, and when Ser Osmund tells her that wolves are supposed to be brave, she calms herself:

Brave. Sansa took a deep breath. I am a Stark, yes, I can be brave. They were looking at her, the way they had looked at her that day in the yard when Ser Boros Blount had torn her clothes off. It had been the Imp who had saved her that day, the same man who was waiting for her now. He is not so bad as the rest of them, she told herself. “I’ll go.”

Waiting for her is Joffrey and he tells her that he’s her father today and touts his power over her to make her even marry a common pig boy or Ilyn Payne.

Her heart lurched. “Please Your Grace,” she begged. “If you ever loved me even a little bit, don’t make me marry your-”

Tyrion appears at this moment and apologizes for not having been able to tell her of the plans before now. He tells her that she can say whether she would prefer him or his cousin Lancel, the latter being better looking and closer to her age. But Sansa thinks:

I don’t want any Lannister, she wanted to say. I want Willas, I want Highgarden and the puppies and the barge, and sons named Eddard and Bran and Rickon. But then she remembered what Dontos had told her in the godswood. Tyrell or Lannister, it makes no matter, it’s not me they want, only my claim.

She tells Tyrion that she will do her duty as the king commands and they proceed inside the sept. She notices that none of the Tyrells are there. Miserable throughout the entire ceremony, she wonders that no one can see she is crying, but surmises that they probably don’t care. When it comes time for the cloak exchanges, Sansa decides not to bend down in order to make it easier for Tyrion to put the Lannister cloak around her:

No one had thought to bring a stool, however, and Tyrion stood a foot shorter than his bride. As he moved behind her Sansa felt a sharp tug on her skirt. He wants me to kneel, she realized, blushing. She was mortified. It was not supposed to be this way. She had dreamed of her wedding a thousand times, and always she had pictured how her betrothed would stand over her shoulders, and tenderly kiss her cheek as he leaned forward to fasten the clasp.

This memory hardens her resolve and finally Tyrion is made to stand on the back of Dontos to pin the cloak around her, whilst everyone laughs. She notices afterwards that Tyrion is embarrassed and feels ashamed of her behaviour. But when the High Septon pronounces them man and wife, we read:

She had to bite her lip to keep from sobbing.

When they enter the Small Hall for the wedding feast, Sansa spots the Tyrells. Marg gives her a sad look, but Lady Olenna and the cousins don’t even acknowledge her.

My friends, Sansa thought bitterly.

She dreads what will happen during the bedding, something that she once thought was exciting. The dancing begins and Joffrey and Margaery lead the couples on the floor. Sansa is longing to dance despite her unhappiness and when Garlan requests her hand she is grateful. He tells her that his wife is very worried about her, and also of how Willas came to give him his nickname “Garlan the Gallant.” The dance changes partners, and Sansa finds herself with Joffrey. He kisses her, and threatens that he can have her anytime he wants just like Aegon had many whores in the past.

Not surprisingly, Joffrey is the one to suggest the bedding commences, but Tyrion adamantly shuts down such actions by promises to geld his nephew. Tywin agrees that there is no need for a bedding, and Tyrion and Sansa proceed to their room, with Tyrion making rude jests:

“Come, wife, time to smash your portcullis. I want to play come-into-the-castle.”

In the bedroom, Sansa is terrified, but asks Tyrion if he wants her to undress or if he’ll do it himself. Telling her to call him Tyrion, he begins to muse on his first marriage to Tysha. Sansa inquires about the girl:

“Lady Tysha.” His mouth twisted. “Of House Silverfist. Their arms have one gold coin and a hundred silver, upon a bloody sheet. Ours was a very short marriage … as befits a very short man, I suppose.”

He learns that Sansa will be 13 when the moon turns, and is astonished at her young age, but still commits to the bedding. Sansa undresses with fear and trepidation:

Gooseprickles covered her arms and legs. She kept her eyes on the floor, too shy to look at him, but when she was done she glanced up and found him staring. There was hunger in his green eye, it seemed to her, and fury in the black. Sansa did not know which scared her more.

“You’re a child,” he said.

She covered her breasts with her hands. “I’ve flowered.”

“A child,” he repeated, “but I want you. Does that frighten you, Sansa?”


Trying to comfort her, Tyrion tells her that he can be kind to her despite being a Lannister and that with the lights off no worse than any other man; he’s like the Knight of Flowers. Sansa realises just how afraid he is:

He is as frightened as I am, Sansa realized. Perhaps that should have made her feel more kindly towards him, but it did not. All she felt was pity, and pity was death to desire. He was looking at her, waiting for her to say something, but all her words had withered. She could only stand there trembling.

Getting into bed after her, Tyrion touches her breast, but realises that Sansa is shivering and shuddering. At this, he removes his hand and promises not to touch her until she is ready for him. When Sansa tries to see some beauty in him, all she can see is his twisted and ugly body, with even his penis appearing disgusting.

It took all the courage that was in her to look in those mismatched eyes and say, “And if I never want you to, my lord?”

Tyrion replies bitterly:

“… that is why the gods made whores for imps like me.”

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First to speak on the timeline: As Rapsie indicated in a post upthread, the chapters in the story do not necessarily follow a linear progression, and it’s evident that the events of Tyrion III occurred before Sansa II where we see her being fitted for her dress. In this Tyrion chapter, Cersei is shocked by the news that the Tyrells want to steal Sansa away, and would have only started making plans for Sansa’s dress after getting the go-ahead from her father. I posited yesterday that I believed that it was Littlefinger who suggested the Willas/Sansa match to the Tyrells, and I believe this chapter gives a small hint that either this theory is correct, or that it was the Tyrells themselves who told him about the plan. When Kevan mentions it to Cersei and Tyrion, he states:

“Only yesterday he brought us word of a Tyrell plot to spirit Sansa Stark off to Highgarden for a ‘visit,’ and there to marry her to Lord Mace’s eldest son, Willas.”

The key revelation that points to the info coming from the Tyrells or being hatched by LF himself is the knowledge of the ‘visit’ that would be devised as the cover to get Sansa away from the Lannisters. Now, it’s possible that Sansa could have confided all the plans in Dontos, but my feeling is that she only told him that the Tyrells were planning to marry her off to Willas, and not about the particulars of the plot. Here is what Sansa says about it in the previous chapter:

When she told Dontos that she was going to Highgarden to marry Willas Tyrell, she thought he would be relieved and pleased for her. Instead he grabbed her arm and said, “You cannot!” in a voice thick with horror as with wine.

The evidence isn’t ironclad, and none of this means that Dontos didn’t indeed report what Sansa told him. It just means that there’s a strong possibility that either the Tyrells told LF themselves, or LF is the one who first recommended such a plot in the first place.

We also see the dangerous underestimation of Littlefinger from the Lannisters. Tyrion is the only one who remains suspicious of Littlefinger’s motives, but Kevan believes that LF won’t pose a threat because of his humble origins:

“I would sooner have Petyr Baelish ruling the Eyrie than any of Lady Lysa’s other suitors. Yohn Royce, Lyn Corbray, Horton Redfort … these are dangerous men, each in their own way. And proud. Littlefinger may be clever, but he has neither high birth nor skill at arms. The lords of the Vale will never accept such as their liege.”

The innate privilege of the high born prevents them from seeing Littlefinger’s darker machinations, and Tyrion’s musing on the curiosity that it was LF who brought word of the Tyrell plot and not Varys goes unnoticed.

This chapter did a good job of highlighting Tywin’s cunning, his cruelty and his command over his children all at once. The plot to kill Robb Stark is obviously well under way, and Tywin is not perturbed by the Westerlings’ “betrayal” because Sybil is supposedly giving Jeyne copious amounts of moon tea to prevent any pregnancy.

Nothing gets in the way of Tywin winning a war, and his refusal to send the deserters to the NW, but instead to break their knees in order to send a message to others, reveals the absolute coldness behind his decisions. The lives and happiness of his children are not exempt from this calculated approach. He wants Cersei to marry Willas in order to remove the stain of the incest rumours and for Tyrion to marry Sansa in order to prevent the Tyrells from gaining leverage over the Lannisters, and to throw a bone to his son because he refuses to let him have Casterly Rock. However, it would be wrong to view Tyrion’s final capitulation to Tywin’s desires as a reflection of the latter’s complete power and authority. Martin clearly shows in the chapter that the idea of Winterfell and Sansa are appealing to Tyrion, even though it’s the kind of appeal that brings more uncertainty and hesitation than it does joy and anticipation. This explains the “queer chill” that Tyrion gets when thinking of himself as Lord Protector of Winterfell.

Undoubtedly, Tywin’s method of breaking down Tyrion’s resistance in this chapter is brutal. He doesn’t intend to cajole and persuade his son into the match, so much as to shame and disgrace him to agree to it. He does this by first castigating him on his penchant for whores, telling him that if he thinks they want him in their beds, he’s mistaken. Then we see him listing all the Houses that he tried to broker a marriage alliance with, even going so far as to consider the girl Robert had deflowered, but still to receive no takers. The mentioning of Lollys is meant more to alarm Tyrion about his options should he not agree than as a serious proposal, and finally there’s the kicker that he’ll never get Casterly Rock, hope as he might.

What we see, however, is that Tyrion was already seduced by the idea of having a wife and a place to get away from his family. Even before he admits that he knows his father is planning to marry him to Sansa, he thinks:

A wife might be the very thing he needed. If she brought him lands and a keep, it would give him a place in the world apart from Joffrey’s court … and away from Cersei and their father.

So there’s a genuine part of Tyrion that wants the freedom the marriage can bring him. Of course, he is mindful that Sansa Stark would not want him anywhere near her bed, this being the Sansa who likes pretty things and pretty boys, but overall, Tyrion’s objections to his father never take on the same force and outrage as Cersei’s responses do:

It came so suddenly that Cersei could only stare for a moment. Then her cheeks reddened as if she had been slapped. “No. Not again. I will not.”

Three children is quite sufficient. I am Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, not a brood mare! The Queen Regent!”

She stood. “I will not sit here and listen to this- ”

“No,” Cersei said from between white lips. “No, no, no.”

Instead, what we have is Tyrion almost appearing to be matching wits with his father – raising objections that he knows Tywin will easily shoot down, assuming that the consideration of Lancel and the twins were for his “benefit,” and then refusing to call Tywin’s bluff on the offer by Lady Tanda, instead responding with the exact revulsion his father was expecting. Tyrion makes the assumption that Cersei will do exactly what his father wants, but even if this is so it’s quite noticeable that only Cersei really fights back against Tywin’s plans.

Added to all this, is the sinister suspicion that Tyrion has of Tywin having some plan to kill Robb Stark. Indeed, Tyrion’s own acceptance of the plan and its success – claiming Winterfell for himself – depends on Robb Stark not having an heir that can contest Tyrion’s claim. When we think back to the promise Tyrion made to Sansa in ACOK, those words now ring hollow. Instead of helping to liberate the girl, he is helping to extend her captivity and intensify her suffering.

Bottom line: Tyrion could have refused Tywin. He could have chosen, no matter the extent of his father’s displeasure, to not be part of a sham marriage to steal a girl’s claim with the very real possibility that it would involve tramping over the graves of her family members, and ignoring the pain that the girl would feel from such a union with the family that murdered hers. Whilst being fully aware that Tywin and Kevan were out to entrap him, Tyrion allows himself to be ensnared by the lure of a pretty wife and an impressive castle. His thoughts on Sansa as “sweet-smelling” and loving songs, chivalry and tall gallant knights are only considered as to how they make him feel, not as a serious objection to why would he make this girl extremely unhappy.


This chapter represents the cruel crushing of a Sansa’s hopes and desires in order to further the selfish agenda of the Lannister family. It was evocative of the fairytale Cinderella, where the young girl gets a beautiful dress in the hopes of going to a ball where she’ll meet her Prince, but in Sansa’s case the dress turns into a poisoned gift, designed to increase the Lannister’s control over her, and to deepen her unhappiness. I was really shocked at the extent of the insensitivity shown to Sansa here. To surprise her with the news that she is to marry Tyrion Lannister on the same very day of the wedding was the height of heartlessness, even for a family that has turned this into a fine art like the Lannisters. One minute Sansa is twirling and excited by how beautiful she looks in her dress, and literally the next minute she is being told that she has to marry Tyrion, a man from the House she despises. It’s a moment of true horror for the girl, not made any easier by Cersei’s callous remarks on what she would do in Sansa’s place. Sansa’s innocent dreams of making Willas love her for herself are replaced by the reality of a ruthless power grab, which embitters the young girl, and confirms her worst fears about her romantic future.

What’s ironic about this is that Sansa had already come to terms with accepting a husband that did not fit her image of the ideal suitor. Her unwillingness to marry Tyrion does not mean that she is shallow or that she cannot recognize Tyrion’s essential kindness. We see her recognition of this when she notes that Tyrion was the one who protected her when she was beaten by Ser Boros, and that he’s not as bad as the others in KL. The reason why Sansa cannot accept Tyrion has everything to do with lack of free will, lack of any physical attraction, and most importantly, the fact that he is a Lannister, of the House that she has planned to bring her children up to hate. When it comes to the divide between Sansa and Tyrion, both the personal and the political collide in spectacular fashion to illustrate the reasons why this union was doomed from the start.

This is the second time that Sansa was alone in a bedroom with a man, scared and somewhat helpless about what was going to happen next. With the Hound we saw her getting over her terror and reaching out to him in a moment of compassion and empathy that brought them closer together and left her with lingering doubts/feelings. Her bedroom scene with Tyrion, however, is remarkably different in terms of the outcome. This time, even though Sansa can empathise with his feelings – “he is as frightened as I am” – there is absolutely no compulsion or instinct that she feels to comfort this man. What she feels isn’t compassion or concern, but pity, and Martin refers to it as the death of desire. The best way to describe it would be like feeling sorry for someone, but having absolutely no interest in alleviating their pain. If this scene is meant to parallel the earlier one with the Hound, Martin is sending a clear message about which relationship still has the potential to go somewhere.

Physical attraction, no matter how much we may tout the importance of seeing what is inside someone, is still vital to making a successful relationship. It doesn’t matter if the person isn’t objectively beautiful, but if there is something about them that draws you closer, if there’s chemistry between the two of you that defies what you would have normally gone for, then it can work. We see these elements completely missing in what Sansa feels for Tyrion. He can appreciate her naked body, but she finds his to be overwhelmingly hideous:

Look at him, Sansa told herself, look at your husband, at all of him, Septa Mordane said all men are beautiful, find his beauty, try. She stared at his stunted legs, the swollen brutish brow, the green eye and the black one, the raw stump of his nose and crooked pink scar, the coarse tangle of black and gold hair that passed for his beard. Even his manhood was ugly, thick and veined, with a bulbous purple head. This is not right, this is not fair, how have I sinned that the gods would do this to me, how?

This is probably not Sansa’s first time seeing a man’s naked body, but it is definitely the first time for her seeing a naked body that is enflamed with desire for her. Should Tyrion have taken off his clothes? No. Should Tyrion have made Sansa take off her clothes? No. Should Tyrion have asked her if she was frightened when he said that he desires her despite her being a child? No. I’m not without sympathy for Tyrion in this scene, but his discomfort could have been avoided by refusing to participate in the marriage and definitely by refusing to go ahead with a bedding. Fondling Sansa’s breast and then deciding to stop when he sensed her terror was definitely taking it too far. When he gets angry because Sansa has put up her courtesy armor, I have to wonder what he expected. She’s a young girl who’s just been forced into marrying you so that you can lay claim to her family’s home and lands, and you expect her to be open and honest with you? At that moment, courtesy was probably all that was keeping Sansa from breaking down completely.

It is remarkable indeed that Sansa managed to get through the entire day without collapsing. Her ability to recollect herself when Ser Osmund reminds her that she’s a wolf really highlighted how her inner strength and courage have grown. She may not be able to warg, but she’s not lacking in the other ‘wolfish’ attributes of her family’s banner. At this moment, her dignity and nobility of character are what she has to rely on even when grown women like Cersei admit that they would be hysterical and panicking. Even though her resolve slips at times throughout the day, she never lets her grief get out of control and consume her.

The refusal to kneel in order for Tyrion to clasp the Lannister cloak on her shoulders has important symbolic implications for Sansa’s arc. So far, she has received two cloaks, both from Sandor Clegane, and in the second incident we see her choosing voluntarily to wrap herself in his discarded cloak. One act seems to imply acceptance, whilst the other signifies flat out rejection. She didn’t refuse to kneel out of malice or in an effort to humiliate Tyrion (we see how badly she feels afterwards), but rather makes a stubborn decision not to submit herself further to Lannister authority and not to yield in the face of the destruction of all her hopes and dreams. This small act might not have prevented the marriage from being performed, but it did show Sansa’s unwillingness to accept Tyrion as a husband, and negates the meaning of this particular cloak exchange.

The Tyrells’ desertion of Sansa when she would have needed their support and kindness most was very telling. I felt the most anger and disappointment at Lady Olenna, who definitely has the age and experience to discern what was behind the shot-gun wedding. Margaery can only manage a sad look, and the cousins ignore her completely. It was a harsh lesson for Sansa to learn concerning the nature of friendship. The Tyrells were willing to entertain and be nice to her when they felt they were gaining something in the bargain, but as soon as their plot dissolved, so did their “affection.” The effort shown by Garlan in trying to cheer her up being the notable exception to the women’s behaviour. It is through Garlan that we learn a bit more about Willas and it does seem as though his kindness and goodwill have not been exaggerated. It’s not hard to imagine therefore that Sansa could have found happiness with him as a husband.

Final thoughts

  • I’ve always found it a little strange to fathom that Sansa was in a mood for dancing on this day, and I’d like to hear what others think about it.
  • Sansa’s observing Cersei working her charm on the other Lords and thinking that she hates her – again seems to be establishing the personal enmity and rivalry between the two women that makes Sansa’s eligibility for the Younger Queen in the prophecy seem more likely and fitting.
  • I was very annoyed by Tyrion’s lack of consideration for Sansa’s feelings when he makes his crude jokes after Joff suggests the bedding.
  • Sansa managing to let Tyrion know that she might never want him – It took a lot of nerve to say it and I was proud she made her feelings known from that first night.

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So just because she stood up to the Arryn kid, she's going to become a player? You want to compare Sansa bloody Stark with Littlefinger and Varys? Just no.....

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Excellent work brashcandy!

I think the Tyrion/Sansa bedding scene is one of the psychologically most freaky scenes in the novels. Sansa is completely stripped of everything, both literally and metaphorically. She is still a child, alone, naked and without any power to do anything about it and in essence awaiting only being brutalised by someone belonging to the clan who killed her father. Of course, we know Tyrion is not a monster, and on some level Sansa knows he is not all bad, but the way that scene is portrayed is chilling. That Sansa manages to actually tell Tyrion she will never have him is an amazing show of mental fortitude.

Added to all this, is the sinister suspicion that Tyrion has of Tywin having some plan to kill Robb Stark. Indeed, Tyrion’s own acceptance of the plan and its success – claiming Winterfell for himself – depends on Robb Stark not having an heir that can contest Tyrion’s claim. When we think back to the promise Tyrion made to Sansa in ACOK, those words now ring hollow. Instead of helping to liberate the girl, he is helping to extend her captivity and intensify her suffering.

I don't think Tyrion really sees Sansa as a person yet. He feels pity for her, but he doesn't have any real feelings of empathy for her. When he tells Joffrey to stop beating her, he is more angry at Joffrey than he is empathising with Sansa (while Sandor Clegane comes off as the opposite: he assumes men are monsters, and his focus in these events is on Sansa, not on Joffrey.) That's not to say Tyrion is a bad person, just that his main focus is elsewhere. He still does more for Sansa than anyone in KL.

That said, poor Tyrion. At this stage he seems to just submit to his father and hope to get away, although at the same time, we still see Tyrion "I want to be loved" Lannister still. I think Sansa's words will stand though: she will never bed Tyrion since I doubt he will force himself on her and she has clearly stated she does not want him.

Re: Tywin/LF

I think this is a very good point. Tywin (and Kevan) underestimates LF since he lacks "hard power", i.e. men, castles, lands, horses etc. I also think they see him as a "Varys light", but the main difference between Varys and LF seems to be that Varys likes being the spider in the web but has no ambitions for outwardly power himself, while LF is clearly after a position of power not just behind the scenes, but where everyone can acknowledge what a great man he is.

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