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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player? Rereading Sansa III

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When I read the BBB scene in Sansa's bedroom for the first time, it left me with an uneasiness, a sour taste, because I had the feeling there was more to it than what Sansa tells us in her POV chapters. The vocabulary they use and the imagery ( the dagger, the blood) is very disquieting. It was a feeling, not a certainly, but I wondered if what happened was exactly what Sansa describes or if something too difficult for her to accept might have happened.

After reading her next chapters and, above all, after what Sandor says to Arya when he's at death's door, I'm convinced nothing else happened, not even the kiss she misremembers.

Of course her interactions with Littlefinger are very ambiguous too, even more so. I also wonder what that slimy slug might be doing to poor Sansa.

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In terms of false memories and the unkiss, surely this is the way Sansa shows regret? Sandor is the straightforward guy - the infamous shoulda fucked her bloody line. And Sansa is the sweet, naive little girl who is subconciously falling in love, and remembers a kiss she never gave and wishes now she had.

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ACOK – Sansa VII

Summary

Directly following from the previous chapter, the fight still rages on the Blackwater, but Ser Lancel has entered the Ballroom and announced to the Queen that they’ve lost the battle. Cersei seems almost disinterested and replies that Lancel should inform her brother. Ser Lancel, who is gravely injured, tells her that Tyrion is probably dead already, and that it was wrong of her to call Joffrey back to the castle since this made the gold cloaks lose faith and begin to desert. Osney Kettleback enters with more news. The fighting is on both sides of the river, no one can be sure who’s fighting whom, and the Hound is no where to be found. Everything is in chaos: Stannis’ men are ramming the King’s gate, Lannister soldiers are killing one another, mobs are at the Iron Gate, and there’s rioting in Flea Bottom. Sansa begins to panic inwardly:

Gods be good, Sansa thought, it is happening, Joffrey’s lost his head and so have I. She looked for Ser Ilyn, but the King’s Justice was not to be seen. I can feel him though. He’s close. I’ll not escape him, he’ll have my head.

Cersei orders Osfryd Kettleback to raise the drawbridge to Maegor’s and bar the doors to prevent anyone from leaving or entering without her leave. Asked about the women who went to pray, she replies that they chose to leave her protection and that the gods might protect them now. Asking for Joffrey, she is informed that is now at the castle gatehouse, commanding the crossbowmen. She insists that he be brought inside but Ser Lancel protests that this will cause the same panic as before. Cersei is adamant, however, and roughly pushes past Lancel, slamming her hand into his wound. As Lancel cries out and nearly faints, Cersei departs in a hurry, and Sansa realises that she has left her all alone at Ser Ilyn’s mercy.

The women in the room begin to despair upon the Queen’s departure, and Sansa wonders if she should try to flee as well and beg Cersei to spare her life. However, despite her fears, she rises to help bring calm to the crisis:

She never knew why she got to her feet but she did. “Don’t be afraid,” she told them loudly. “The queen has raised the drawbridge. This is the safest place in the city. There’s thick walls, the moat, the spikes…”

The women are not appeased by this, and demand to know of the news Cersei received and what is happening on the outside:

Sansa raised her hands for quiet. “Joffrey’s coming back to the castle. He’s not hurt. They’re still fighting, that’s all I know, they’re fighting bravely. The queen will be back soon.” The last was a lie, but she had to soothe them. She noticed the fools standing under the galley. “Moon Boy, make us laugh.”

As nervous laughs follow Moon Boy’s antics, Sansa goes to tend to Ser Lancel. She calls for help for him, noticing that some of the serving men and girls are leaving the hall. Along with two serving men Sansa gets Lancel back on his feet, and orders him to be taken to Maester Frenken for treatment. As she does this she thinks to herself that she should not be helping Lancel, but cannot find it in herself to wish him dead:

I am soft and weak and stupid, just as Joffrey says. I should be killing him, not helping him.

Ser Dontos comes to her on the dais and advises that she return to her room where she’ll be safer. He tells her that he’ll come for her when the battle is over, but Sansa is wary that it may be Ser Ilyn instead. She thinks for one moment of begging Dontos to protect her, but realises it would be futile and she would only be risking his life as well: He has not the courage, or the skill. I would only be killing him as well.

She walks slowly out of the Ballroom even though she feels like running, and gives into the impulse when she reaches the steps to her chamber. On her way up she bumps into a guard fleeing the castle with stolen possessions. When she enters her room it is pitch black. Sansa bars the door and goes to the window to look outside.

When she ripped back the drapes, her breath caught in her throat. The southern sky was aswirl with glowing, shifing colours, the reflections of the great fires that burned below. Baleful green tides moved against the bellies of the clouds, and pools of orange light spread out across the heavens. The reds and yellows of common flame warred against the emeralds and jades of wildfire, each color flaring and then fading, birthing armies of short-lived shadows to die an instant later. Green dawns gave way to orange dusks in half a heartbeat. The air itself smelled burnt, the way a soup kettle sometimes smelled if it was left on the fire too long and all the soup boiled away. Embers drifted through the night air like swarms of fireflies.

Frightened, she backs away from the window and thinks that she’ll go to sleep and tomorrow someone will come to tell her whether she lives or dies. At this point she thinks of Lady and if she’ll meet her again when she is dead. She whimpers the wolf’s name softly, at the moment something stirs behind her and reaches out to grab her wrist. Sansa tries to scream, but another hand closes over her mouth, the fingers “rough and callused, and sticky with blood.” It is the Hound:

“Little bird, I knew you’d come.” The voice was a drunken rasp.

A flare of light illuminates the room and Sansa sees him for a second, blood on his face “black as tar” and his eyes “glowing like a dog’s in the sudden glare”.The Hound tells her that if she screams he’ll kill her, and asks if she doesn’t want to know who’s winning the battle.

“Who?” she said, too frightened to defy him.

The Hound laughed. “I only know who’s lost. Me.”

Sansa thinks that he is drunker than she has ever seen him, and realises that he was sleeping in her bed. Wondering what it is that he could want, she asks him about what he’s lost. Sandor tells her that he’s lost everything and lashes out at Tyrion, regretting that he didn’t kill the dwarf years ago. He states that he wants Tyrion burnt, not simply dead, but he won’t be around to see it happen. Sansa asks him where he is going.

Away from here. Away from the fires. Go out the Iron Gate, I suppose. North somewhere, anywhere.”

Sansa tells him that he won’t get out, but he replies that he has the white cloak and his sword, and that anyone man who tries to stop him will be killed. Sansa asks him why he has come there, and the Hound tells her that she promised him a song.

She didn’t know what he meant. She couldn’t sing for him now, here, with the sky aswirl with fire and men dying in their hundreds and thousands.

She tells him that she cannot sing for him, and pleads to be let go because he is scaring her. The Hound is dismissive, replying that everything scares her, and ordering her to look at him. When she does, she takes in his eyes, “wide, white and terrifying” and the burnt corner of his mouth twitching constantly. The smell of him is also pungent, “a stink of sweat and sour wine and stale vomit, and over it all the reek of blood, blood, blood.”

The Hound tells her that he could keep her safe and that no one would ever hurt her again or he’d kill them. With this declaration, he jerks her closer to him, and Sansa thinks that he is going to kiss her:

He was too strong to fight. She closed her eyes, wanting it to be over, but nothing happened.

Sandor becomes angry because she closed her eyes, and immediately threatens her by putting his knife to her throat, twisting in the point and ordering her to sing for her life. Every song that Sansa knows flees her mind, and she almost gives up trying to think, but at the last moment remembers the song that was sung in the sept, and repeats it to the Hound. After a moment, he takes the blade from her throat, not saying a word.

Some instinct made her lift her hand and cup his cheek with her fingers. The room was too dark for her to see him, but she could feel the stickiness of the blood, and a wetness that was not blood. “Little bird,” he said once more, his voice raw and harsh as steel on stone. Then he rose from the bed. Sansa heard cloth ripping, followed by the softer sound of retreating footsteps.

When she crawled out of bed, long moments later, she was alone. She found his cloak on the floor, twisted up tight, the white wool stained by blood and fire. The sky outside was darker by then, with only a few pale ghosts dancing against the stars. A chill wind was blowing, banging the shutters. Sansa was cold. She shook out the torn cloak and huddled beneath it on the floor shivering.

She stays there for a significant length of time, until she hears bells ringing across the city. She throws off the cloak and goes to the window, noting that these aren’t mourning bells like the last time Robert had died. Ser Dontos is the one to bring her news that Stannis has been defeated. Spinning her around gleefully, he tells Sansa that the powers of Highgarden and Casterly Rock saved the day, and that the vanguard was led by none other than Lord Renly in his green armor.

Analysis

OK, so this chapter focuses a lot on Sansa’s maturity and compassion for others. IMO, these attributes are divided between the political and the personal. We get insight into what would make Sansa a better, more admirable leader than Cersei could ever be, and we also see how this strength and consideration affect her personal, private relationships, transforming a moment of crisis, to one of deeply felt connection.

What’s remarkable about Sansa’s courage and dignity in these two central scenes is that her life was in credible peril during both of them. In the last chapter, Cersei had issued her threat that if the battle was lost, Sansa would lose her head to Ser Ilyn. This chapter opens with the dire news that the battle is all but over for the Lannisters. No one seems to have any hope, even the Hound, the most ferocious and strongest of them all has gone missing, and rioting is widespread. Even though Sansa doesn’t see Ser Ilyn she still senses that he is nearby. Btw, could this strong ability to sense danger be a facet of Sansa’s “warghood”?

Sansa had every reason to be panicking and crying. But we see that she keeps her fears to herself, while Cersei, the one issuing the orders and threats, collapses under the pressure of the situation and concern for Joffrey, refusing to hear Lancel’s argument that the boy be allowed to stay at the gate house and be visible to his troops. This chapter struck me as presenting an extremely strong case for Sansa as the younger, more beautiful queen in Cersei’s prophecy. She displays a beauty that goes way beyond skin deep, not only in her ability to calm the rest of the women and children present, but also in the way she tends to Ser Lancel, someone that is fighting against her family, and who previously showed no mercy to her when Joff had her beaten and stripped in the court.

Sansa’s decision to get up and speak to the women is something that happens automatically – she doesn’t quite understand her actions here, and we see this same instinctive response later on with the Hound. In this case, she knows she has to calm the women because their alarm has grown now that Cersei has left. Sansa actually then becomes the younger queen here, fulfilling the role that Cersei has shamelessly (and shamefully) abdicated. She knows exactly what she has to tell the women in order to get them to feel more secure, lying about Cersei’s return and the awful conditions of the battle. Just where has Sansa learnt this skill before? And just how is she is able to prevent her own personal fears from taking over? Reading this chapter, she reminded me a lot of her half-brother, Jon, and how he confronts his challenges at the Wall (seems fitting then that she has to pretend to be a bastard later on).

If Cersei represents the destructive qualities of fire – Sansa compares her eyes to wildfire in an earlier chapter – then Sansa symbolizes the healing, restorative quality of ice. Like fire, Cersei’s anger and passion consumes without thought, striking Lancel cruelly on her way out of the ballroom. Sansa on the other hand, remains cool under fire. Her tending to Lancel again illustrates her forgiving and generous heart that we’ve seen through her treatment of persons like Dontos and the Hound. Like Joffrey, lots of readers seem to equate this with being weak and silly, but I think GRRM really wants us to see that it’s something that separates Sansa from the majority of people who would hold grudges against Lancel because of his family, and who would harden their hearts when faced with his suffering. It’s not hard to get an idea of the kind of Queen Sansa would be based on her behaviour in this chapter. The courage, benevolence and compassion she displays matches up with her earlier determination to rule through love and not fear.

And now to the Hound. Their interaction in this scene probably occurred in time frame of 5-7 minutes, but there’s such a concentration of emotions and sensations that it feels longer. As I noted before, this scene is profoundly personal, and showcases the effect Sansa can have on a man who is deeply tortured and bitter about the world and his place in it. But, that effect does not run one-way. I think by the end of the scene, Sansa’s actions (and her later mis-memory) indicate that she too was affected by his presence there.

Sansa’s question for the Hound on just why he is there happens to be the same one that the reader shares. We talk a lot about how Sansa conceals her true feelings, but I do think Martin wanted us to be just as surprised as she was in finding Sandor Clegane in her room, sleeping in her bed. The last known interaction these two have shared is when Sansa was on the rooftop and the Hound caught her when she experienced the first stab of her period. At that time, the fires had just begun to burn across the riverside, but now it’s a raging inferno. Can their relationship also be represented by this metaphor: the slow burn that erupts in violent passion, cooled by Sansa’s divine intervention? (speaking of which, we have Dontos coming later to attest that the battle was won by Renly’s ghost)

We also got another interesting hint of Sandor as Lady’s replacement in Sansa’s life. Her fear concerning what will happen when the night is over causes her to think of Lady again, and at the exact moment she whispers the dog’s name, Sandor’s hand reaches out as though he is answering the call. Later, when she glimpses his face in a flash of light, she notes his eyes, which were glowing like a dog’s. However, if Sandor is a replacement for her wolf, he’s capable of scaring her just as much as he would others.

The scene is reminiscent of the one in AGOT when he escorts her back to her room from the tourney feast. They are together, alone in the dark, and the Hound is scaring her by invading her personal space and telling her a frightening story. In that scene, Sansa reached out to him and patted his shoulder; she had forgotten her fear and was worried about him. In this one, she touches him again, but this time the gesture is more intimate, and the Hound is the one crying.

His offer to take her away and protect her is interesting for a number of reasons. The first is that it finally reveals the anger and anxiety that we could see building in the Hound concerning the injustices Sansa was suffering in KL. He wants to look after this girl, to shield her from anything or anyone that would dare to try to hurt her. And secondly, it’s intriguing because it shows that Sandor may have developed feelings of a certain nature for Sansa. Instead of making a direct promise to take her back to her family, he meanders around the question of where he is going, throwing out “North somewhere” almost as an inducement for her to come with him. When he tells her that she promised him a song, it’s obviously a poor attempt at hiding his true motives for being there, which were to get her to come with him, but the song suddenly becomes a battle of life and death, one that Sansa nearly loses.

There’s always been a lot of controversy surrounding this scene. Was he there to rape her? Would he have raped and killed her had she not remembered the song? Personally, I don’t think he was there to rape her, and I don’t believe he would have, but I do think he posed a genuine risk to her life that night. The scene is certainly suggestive of sexual violence though - the pushing unto the bed, the dagger at the throat, the request for the love song of Florian and Jonquil.

“Still can’t bear to look, can you?” she heard him say. He gave her arm a hard wrench, pulling her around and shoving her down on the bed. “I’ll have that song, Florian and Jonquil, you said.” His dagger was out, poised at her throat. “Sing little bird. Sing for your little life.”

Her throat was dry and tight with fear, and every song she had ever known had fled from her mind. Please don’t kill me, she wanted to scream, please don’t. She could feel him twisting the point, pushing it into her throat, and she almost closed her eyes again, but then she remembered. It was not the song of Florian and Jonquil, but it was a song. Her voice sounded small and thin and tremulous in her ears.

So Sansa sings the song to the Mother, which I think is one example of a song of ice and fire. Sansa is asking for Sandor’s fury, his anger, his fire, to be soothed and alleviated. A song that was taught to her in the North, becomes integral to her life and survival in the South. If we think of Sandor and Sansa and how they are represented by these two elements, Sansa from the North, symbolic of ice, and Sandor having been touched by fire, it’s an evocative suggestion that these two elements don’t have to cancel one another out, or destroy one another, but can instead find a way to connect and resolve the crisis, harmonize in a song that can end conflict and create peace.

Just what makes Sansa touch his face after she sings the song, though? As in the earlier scene with the women in the Queen’s Ballroom, one would have expected that her natural reaction would have been to flee. Just like she cannot explain why she gets up to speak to the women, we see a similar lack of explanation here. Martin characterises it as an instinct, and we have no way of knowing just what drove Sansa to make this gesture. Is it her natural empathy at work, sensing that the Hound is in deep pain and forgetting her fear as she did when he told her what Gregor had done to his face? I think this is certainly a part of it, and her instincts are correct as she feels “a wetness that was not blood.” She’s also touching the burned side of his face here, the part that had been awash in blood when Tyrion had seen him earlier. It’s ironic that before, Sandor had based her acceptance of him on her willingness to look or not look at his face, but in this moment, touch is playing a much more powerful and suggestive role in their relationship.

It is after this moment that a curious lapse in time occurs when we are given no idea of what exactly Sansa was doing. Sandor rises from the bed, rips off his cloak and she hears the sounds of retreating footsteps. She seems to remain in bed for a period of time, but was she awake, sleeping or in a trance? A number of crackpot theories have suggested that the retreating footsteps were not Sandor’s, and that perhaps he remained in the room, and what happens is not narrated by the author.

What is it that causes Sansa to later believe – quite strongly – that the two of them shared a kiss? Does it stem from the overwhelming experiences of that entire day, Cersei’s threats, the fear of her life from Ser Ilyn and then Sandor, making the unkiss a kind of PTSD type memory? Or is it rather a young girl’s subconscious performing an act of wish fulfilment: creating an event that she secretly longs for after all? GRRM has said that this is a genuine mismemory of Sansa’s, so that should rule out the theory that it happened, and he just didn’t write it. Certainly when Sandor jerked her to him and she felt he was going to kiss her, she consciously realises that nothing happened.

Then we have her wrapping herself in his cloak after she rises from bed. It’s another strange act that seems to belie the earlier terror she felt from him. It’s also an action that GRRM has obviously deliberately included here for a reason. So what is he trying to suggest? It adds to the earlier symbolism of him giving her his cloak to cover herself after she is beaten, except now she is actively choosing to pick his cloak up and use it for warmth and comfort. We later learn that she has kept it as well in her cedar chest beneath her summer silks. The cloak represents marriage and protection in Martin’s world, so is it performing the same signification here? Also, it’s a bloody (white) cloak, which has connotations of a young girl’s bloody marital bedding, taken as proof of her virginity on her wedding night.

Sandor’s decision to leave the cloak can be taken as a sign of his disgust with himself and his actions that night. He rips off the cloak, which for him has always been symbolic of the hypocrisy and deceit of knighthood, and in so doing perhaps performs his own little act of atonement to Sansa, in admission of his ultimate failure and regret. Before, he had asserted that having the white cloak would help him escape the castle, but leaving it behind reveals that he’s going forward as his own man and on his own merit.

The meaning behind Sandor’s actions could also provide us with another reason why Martin has her pick up the cloak. We’ve talked before of how Sansa might operate as a purifying force, offering another chance for these men (Barristan/Sandor) to live up to the ideals that were once embodied in the wearing of a white cloak, or to actually give it true meaning for once. By wrapping herself in Sandor’s bloody cloak, it suggests that there is hope for Sandor to redeem himself, and there may be hope for them too.

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Oh My God that was beautiful! :agree: :crying: :crying: :crying: :crying: :crying:

Let me dwell on what you've said before I reply....

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Lots of quotes ahead, with some of my various responses taking into account the scenes and analysis posted by Brashcandy...

I personally believe that the Sandor kiss is a false memory, because Sandor does not use it to taunt Arya (he does taunt her with the fact that Sansa sang him a song, but never brings up a kiss, which - being the irritating bugger he is - I am sure he would have taken great delight in disgusting Arya with, if it had actually happened. So if Sansa is misremembering that, there is literally no telling what else we have "seen" from her POV that must be viewed through the lenses of a frightened and desperate young girl.

I feel certain that the kiss is a false memory too (and as Brashcandy posted above, GRRM has said that it's a genuine mis-memory). It's also true that Sansa doesn't think of Sandor with fear in the future, at least I presume so since she's dreaming of him as a lover so that at least leads me to believe that nothing truly happened in that scene that made her frightened of him because why would she think of him in the future in such a way otherwise?

This is one of the things that frightens me about her growing relationship with LF. Because WE know he is slime, we desperately want to believe that Sansa sees it too; that something in her intuition is telling her there is something off about this guy. Unfortunately, I think what we are seeing in Sansa's POVs is a growing trust in LF as her savior, protector and surrogate father. That is what the frightened child needs to believe to have any shred of peace of mind, so what she is seeing in him is a protector, not a user or manipulator or even a murderer - even when she KNOWS that he is all of these things.

God, I hope that Sansa hasn't forgotten what LF's truly like! I haven't read as far as you I'm sure, so I'm hoping that Sansa's instinct doesn't desert her entirely when it comes to him (I think she had good instinct with Sandor developing a connection with him and maybe subconsciously even knowing that he wouldn't hurt her supported by the fact that he didn't hurt her ...as well as having a natural instinct to fear when it was warranted ...some of Joffrey's other guards for example, so she hasn't been completely clueless about her own safety in the past).

LF by the way really gives me the creeps around Sansa. I just want her as far away from him as possible.

i had never thought of the posibility that things happened to sansa without her letting us know about it, but it is a very possible option that can happen (or has already happened). i hope not cause unless it helps with the general plot line (like LF and Lysa being involved in killing john arryn) then i don't want to imagine sansa suffered even more horrible things while in KL or with LF in the eyrie later on.

I know, I feel this way too but this is GRRM's writing ....anything is possible and he isn't afraid of letting his characters get hurt.

i get your point here and agree since i've just finished reading AFFC and after paying a lot of attention to every single detail in alayne's chapters i remember that it says something along the lines of, "She sometimes wondered if she hadn't dreamed lady arryn's fall," so since it is very unpleasant for her to recall this, she is chosing to turn it into either a dream of LF's version of events.

OK, it's good to know that. Sansa isn't forgetting her memory or making things up in her mind all the time then, even if she thinks she dreamed of Lysa's death at times. It's more of a case of barely being able to believe that it happened. This also scares me too though... since that event was bad enough. What else is so bad that she doesn't want to remember at all, IF she has been changing some of her memories to banish bad ones?

When I read the BBB scene in Sansa's bedroom for the first time, it left me with an uneasiness, a sour taste, because I had the feeling there was more to it than what Sansa tells us in her POV chapters. The vocabulary they use and the imagery ( the dagger, the blood) is very disquieting. It was a feeling, not a certainly, but I wondered if what happened was exactly what Sansa describes or if something too difficult for her to accept might have happened.

After reading her next chapters and, above all, after what Sandor says to Arya when he's at death's door, I'm convinced nothing else happened, not even the kiss she misremembers.

Of course her interactions with Littlefinger are very ambiguous too, even more so. I also wonder what that slimy slug might be doing to poor Sansa.

Shiver. I don't want to think about that for long!

As for being convinced that nothing else happened in the BBB scene and as I may have suggested above, I don't believe anything else did happen with Sandor either. Certainly nothing that turned out to be devastating, even if he scared her momentarily with a dagger to her throat.

:unsure: What I do wonder is if Sansa has replaced a bad memory with someone or something else with a nicer memory of him kissing her instead.

In terms of false memories and the unkiss, surely this is the way Sansa shows regret? Sandor is the straightforward guy - the infamous shoulda fucked her bloody line. And Sansa is the sweet, naive little girl who is subconciously falling in love, and remembers a kiss she never gave and wishes now she had.

This would be the nicest explanation for it in terms of Sansa's own experience. I'm not sure if GRRM would make it as stress-free though.

Great analysis Brashcandy. There's so much interpretation that can be made from some of these chapters, particularly the scene just mentioned. I totally agree that Sansa showed a lot of potential, acting as Cersei should have done in dealing with the women and Lancel and I think anyone would have to agree with that.

I had almost forgotten that she said her direwolf's name in the scene with Sandor too... wow, there really does seem to be a connection between Sansa thinking of Lady and Sandor either immediately being on her conscience or in her presence at the same time. Going to pay more attention to that in future if Lady ever comes up in Sansa's thoughts again!

When he tells her that she promised him a song, it’s obviously a poor attempt at hiding his true motives for being there, which were to get her to come with him, but the song suddenly becomes a battle of life and death, one that Sansa nearly loses.

It's one thing I find really hard to believe when it comes down to it, that Sansa's life truly may have been in danger because of Sandor. He has only ever shown her protection and a wish to protect her when it comes to what really matters (apart from his wishes to give her some sense of the reality of life when her head is stuck in a fairytale). Why would he therefore have genuinely meant to harm her with the dagger in this scene, even in a non-sober state? It's part of what doesn't make sense to me and makes me think something else was going on that we haven't been informed about.

A number of crackpot theories have suggested that the retreating footsteps were not Sandor’s, and that perhaps he remained in the room, and what happens is not narrated by the author.

I haven't read these crackpot theories but maybe I've created something similar with my own thoughts on the matter. I'm definitely not sure that Sansa's POV is reliable at this particular time but perhaps I'm way over-thinking the matter and should accept the written word as it is.

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...

It's one thing I find really hard to believe when it comes down to it, that Sansa's life truly may have been in danger because of Sandor. He has only ever shown her protection and a wish to protect her when it comes to what really matters (apart from his wishes to give her some sense of the reality of life when her head is stuck in a fairytale). Why would he therefore have genuinely meant to harm her with the dagger in this scene, even in a non-sober state? It's part of what doesn't make sense to me and makes me think something else was going on that we haven't been informed about.

If he can't take her with him and he believes the battle is lost, he might have thought that killing her would be kinder than allowing her to be harmed by her enemies before allies could arrive. He remembers his brother's crimes, and he is a Lannister man himself. He may think he's saving her by killing her. But then her ability to accommodate him may have convinced him that, whatever happened, she would survive. IDK. That the only way I can make sense of it, as I definitely felt she was in trouble.

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@Yvonesan, I totally understand your reluctance to think he could have killed her as it's something I struggled with too. I think in this particular instance, Sandor has absolutely lost it. There had been one thing left to fight for (Sansa's love and trust), and she was refusing to look at him, which constituted the ultimate rejection. Remember that the battle has completely wiped him out, and this represents a kind of last stand for him: he can regain some honour in himself by pledging to protect her. But when he feels that she is still disgusted by him, he snaps, and truly something that we would never think him capable of could have happened.

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Sandor has absolutely lost it. There had been one thing left to fight for (Sansa's love and trust), and she was refusing to look at him, which constituted the ultimate rejection. Remember that the battle has completely wiped him out, and this represents a kind of last stand for him: he can regain some honour in himself by pledging to protect her. But when he feels that she is still disgusted by him, he snaps, and truly something that we would never think him capable of could have happened.

But it feels out of character to me. It just doesn't make sense. It's not that I think Sandor isn't capable of killing anyone, or course, but he's not a random killer. As far as we know, he's an efficient killer and delivering death is part of his job. However, hurting Sansa doesn't make sense and this man isn't like Gregor; he fights and he executes when he's ordered to, but why killing Sansa? Because he wants her and can't have her? Because he doesn't want to leave her there at the mercy of whomever wins the battle? Would it be a form of retribution because his feelings are unrequited?

It's very ambiguous, because he wouldn't need a knife to intimidate her or to kill her, being such a strong man himself. I think his use of swords and knives to scare/impress Sansa ( he used a sword to shock her at the roof of Maegor Holdfast) may hold a lot of symbolism. Swords and daggers have a lot of symbolic power. Swords represent violence, but also justice and chivalry. Daggers represent menace but also refer to manhood in all senses, even the most literal one. I think the threat he poses is more to her maidenhead than to her life, though both kinds of threats are probably implied in this scene.

Still, it doesn't make sense to me. I never had the feeling that he killed for no reason or for emotional reasons. He avoided aiming at Gregor's head during their battle at the tourney and we know how much he hates Gregor. Feeling deeply hurt by her repulsion (not looking at his face) and rejection wouldn't make him want to kill her.

I like the possibility Summerqueen has suggested. There's a battle going on and he knows what may happen to her, and probably thinks a clean death is better than what they can do to her.

I still have many doubts, because he seems to be only intimidating and scaring her, as simple as that, but the amount of violence he's using for that is excessive, in his case. I still have the impression the dagger is there for the symbolic power it has. I may be wrong, but I always felt the dagger was out of place in that scene. For a man like him, using a dagger to threaten a girl seems ludicrous. He could have killed her with his bare hands if he had wanted to, or force her to do anything he wanted.

There's too much blood in that room if you think of it: She's having her moon blood, he's bleeding profusely and he's splattered with blood, he's wearing a bloody white cloak, he's pointing a knife at her throat and nearly breaking the skin, which would have drawn blood. It's as if he was meant to make her bleed one way or another.

The white cloak represents several things too, the KG's vows, to start with. The KG knights are sworn to dedicate their lives to defend the king and so they renounce love, family and future children. His white clock is stained with blood, like the white sheets she burned when she had her first period, and that is the cloak he leaves her when he goes away. Surprisingly enough, when she's alone, she chooses to wrap herself in that white cloak stained with red blood. It's as if she had chosen his cloak of protection when she will refuse another cloak of protection later :Tyrion's , during the wedding. She makes it as difficult as possible for Tyrion to place his cloak on her shoulders.

With Sandor, it's the opposite. His cloak is the wrong one: a KG's cloak, a cloak which belongs to someone who's renounced marriage and family. A KG knight doesn't owe protection to any lady, unless she's his rightful queen ( not even a king's wife would do, because we know the KG didn't protect Aery's queen from his abuse) but Sansa chooses Sandor's cloak and rejects Tyrions, when a husband does owe his wife protection and a KG doesn't. What does this mean? Is it another hint at queen Naerys and his forbidden love for his brother Aemon, the Dragon Knight?

Prince Aemon has been referred to as the noblest knight who ever lived, and his skill with a sword is legendary throughout Westeros. He bore theValyrian steel sword Dark Sister, previously wielded by Aegon the Conqueror's sister-wife Visenya.

Songs speak of his doomed love for his brother's queen, his own sister, Queen Naerys. He supposedly cried when Naerys married their brother.[4]It is rumored that Prince Aemon was the father of King Daeron II Targaryen. He defended the honor of his sister, Queen Naerys, against the slanders of the "evil" Ser Morgil.[5] He also won a tournament, disguised as a mystery knight, known only as the Knight of Tears, so he could name his sister , Naerys, the Queen of Love and Beauty in place of the king's mistress.

http://awoiaf.wester...Aemon_Targaryen

It's interesting to notice that queen Naerys's son Daemon might have been Aemon's son and that the queen was very religious and her marriage was a loveless one. What's more, her brother ( and love) Aemon is said to have cried when she married Aerys. This reminds me of Sandor's reaction when he hears that Sansa has married Tyrion.

I've just made this reference to her future wedding because I think it's related to the white cloak and the fact that this is the cloak she chooses to wrap herself in. Sansa has said several times than one of her favourite songs is queen Naery's song, the song of a woman who had a forbidden love for a KG.

Sansa shouldn't have chosen Sandor's cloak because he's threatened and scared her, and despite this, she does choose his cloak. The whole scene, specially the ending is full of symbolism and ambiguity, as well as violence, emotion and poignancy, I guess that's why it's so powerful and open to different interpretations.

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But it feels out of character to me. It just doesn't make sense. It's not that I think Sandor isn't capable of killing anyone, or course, but he's not a random killer. As far as we know, he's an efficient killer and delivering death is part of his job. However, hurting Sansa doesn't make sense and this man isn't like Gregor; he fights and he executes when he's ordered to, but why killing Sansa? Because he wants her and can't have her? Because he doesn't want to leave her there at the mercy of whomever wins the battle? Would it be a form of retribution because his feelings are unrequited?

Yes, the way I see it is that it's because he isn't a random killer that he's susceptible to these kinds of emotional violent outbursts. Men like Gregor and other beasts are just animals in a sense, they kill with no thought or reason and very little provocation. Remember the story that Sandor tells of how Gregor didn't even want the toy knight? He simply burnt Sandor's face because he could, as a show of power and authority. Sandor isn't like this. Sure, he can kill when ordered to, as in the Mycah incident, but what is between him and Sansa now is deeply personal, and he's just come from a battle where he's been defeated by fire once again. So he's at his most vulnerable state, and that is compounded by him actually suggesting that she run away with him. There's nothing left for him to hide; he's laid his soul bare, and now he wants her to acknowledge it, see it, and she instead closes her eyes. The reader knows that she's afraid of the kiss, but Sandor takes it that she's rejecting him outright, and this crushes him, making him want to crush her.

It's very ambiguous, because he wouldn't need a knife to intimidate her or to kill her, being such a strong man himself. I think his use of swords and knives to scare/impress Sansa ( he used a sword to shock her at the roof of Maegor Holdfast) may hold a lot of symbolism. Swords and daggers have a lot of symbolic power. Swords represent violence, but also justice and chivalry. Daggers represent menace but also refer to manhood in all senses, even the most literal one. I think the threat he poses is more to her maidenhead than to her life, though both kinds of threats are probably implied in this scene.

Yes, I do agree with you on the symbolism of the dagger. As to why he uses it to threaten her, I think a part of it is him relying on the dagger to do what his hands cannot. Most of the times whenever Sandor touches her, Martin describes it as "not ungently" or "gently". I think he uses the dagger because it's the way he can communicate menace, and also maintain that menace that might collapse otherwise. Plus, there's the fact that this man is comfortable with using his sword. It's become another arm for him too, one that he relies on to get the job done.

Still, it doesn't make sense to me. I never had the feeling that he killed for no reason or for emotional reasons. He avoided aiming at Gregor's head during their battle at the tourney and we know how much he hates Gregor. Feeling deeply hurt by her repulsion (not looking at his face) and rejection wouldn't make him want to kill her.

As I noted, it's not simply that he willing to kill her because she wouldn't look at his face. We have to consider her action as part of the totality of events that night (and what has gone before). It's been a recurrent issue between them: Sansa looking away, Sandor accusing her of not wanting to look at him. So add something which has always stuck out as a sore topic for him into the pot of his vulnerabilty and humiliation that night, and you have the perfect recipe for an explosion of violence, Sandor style. As for Gregor - Sandor absolutely detests him, but he's had years and years to separate himself from that event, and he's naturally wary of being a kinslayer. With Sansa his wounds are fresh, raw and open.

I like the possibility Summerqueen has suggested. There's a battle going on and he knows what may happen to her, and probably thinks a clean death is better than what they can do to her.

I don't agree with this theory. I think the battle had moved from the outside into Sansa's bedroom, and it was about the two of them now, no one else.

There's too much blood in that room if you think of it: She's having her moon blood, he's bleeding profusely and he's splattered with blood, he's wearing a bloody white cloak, he's pointing a knife at her throat and nearly breaking the skin, which would have drawn blood. It's as if he was meant to make her bleed one way or another.

Blood and fire, fire and blood. I kept thinking of the Targs when I was reading this chapter :) And yes, it's interesting that Sansa is bleeding as well. He gets her bloody right from the get go when he places his bloody palm over her mouth, and it goes from there.

The white cloak represents several things too, the KG's vows, to start with. The KG knights are sworn to dedicate their lives to defend the king and so they renounce love, family and future children. His white clock is stained with blood, like the white sheets she burned when she had her first period, and that is the cloak he leaves her when he goes away. Surprisingly enough, when she's alone, she chooses to wrap herself in that white cloak stained with red blood. It's as if she had chosen his cloak of protection when she will refuse another cloak of protection later :Tyrion's , during the wedding. She makes it as difficult as possible for Tyrion to place his cloak on her shoulders.

Yes, it's as though all the symbolism that went before with him giving her his cloak, and her freaking out and trying to burn her bloody sheets has reached a pinnacle in this scene. It's as though Martin is going, ok, so Sandor's cloak has been ruined by fire and blood, but notice this is what Sansa wraps around her, so before there was shame, terror and confusion attached to these symbolic garments, but now it's about acceptance, comfort, and protection.

With Sandor, it's the opposite. His cloak is the wrong one: a KG's cloak, a cloak which belongs to someone who's renounced marriage and family. A KG knight doesn't owe protection to any lady, unless she's his rightful queen ( not even a king's wife would do, because we know the KG didn't protect Aery's queen from his abuse) but Sansa chooses Sandor's cloak and rejects Tyrions, when a husband does owe his wife protection and a KG doesn't. What does this mean? Is it another hint at queen Naerys and his forbidden love for his brother Aemon, the Dragon Knight?

Sandor throws off the cloak, which we could read as him renouncing those vows to do with holding no lands or not having a wife. The reason why this reading is particularly useful is because Sansa picks up the cloak and wraps it around her, performing an action that seems to be about her choosing him as a future partner. But the action is open to interpretation, of course.

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I have found it curious in this chapter, that nothing is explicitly stated, neither Sandors offer to help Sansa to escape nor Sansa's respond. Everything is between the lines. They themselves read between the lines and so must do the reader. Honestly, I did not first even realise that Sandor asked her to come with him.

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OK, out to lunch here.

Sword, dagger = penis, power. (Yes, I know that you know.)

Such intense sexual symbolism being used between these two characters. The sword at the throat on top of the tower, and Sansa doesn't flinch. The dagger to the throat, smaller, more intimate, more personal, in the room in the middle of battle, fear, smoke, the smell of blood and vomit. A real fear for life and/or sexual integrity this time. And of course, she is now lying down, not standing up, and he's on top of her.

And in the end, what she remembers is a kiss. Should we not be saying to ourselves, WTF? Yes, she remembers his eyes, she remembers the intensity of the moment, but I think the really significant event of the night is the remembered kiss. She then wraps herself in the cloak and then packs away the cloak. All those intense symbolic meanings brashcandy talks about.

If you walked into your bedroom and into your bed and an acquaintance of yours was there drunk with a knife and you had that conversation, do you think you would remember a kiss and pack away the article of clothing he left behind in your hope chest?

This is a fantasy, but fantasy in terms of dragons and witches. Otherwise ASOIAF is an incredibly subtly written study of human relationships. Except when GRRM beats you over the head, of course. LOL!

Maybe my previous post was too simple, but this girl is seriously in love, even if she doesn't know it.

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Sandor throws off the cloak, which we could read as him renouncing those vows to do with holding no lands or not having a wife. The reason why this reading is particularly useful is because Sansa picks up the cloak and wraps it around her, performing an action that seems to be about her choosing him as a future partner. But the action is open to interpretation, of course.

This is exactly what I thought as well but I was waiting for someone else to bring it up. :)

Sandor could have used the white cloak to make his escape from KL easier, but he chose to leave it behind. This may mean that he was ashamed of himself and decided to give up for good on all pretences, even the KG. He thinks that there is no honour in knighthood and is aware that he has no honour either. He doesn't think he's better than knights but only more honest and just as bad as any of them (he's a killing machine, like them).

This is the most obvious meaning, in my view, and as you've said, by deserting and leaving his white clock behind, he signals the end of his servitude to the Lannisters. He's done with being the Lannisters' dog and decides to be his own man, even when he has nowhere to go. For a man who's been serving others since he was twelve, becoming his own man at 27 must have been shocking, even frightening and alienating. Or perhaps it was the shock he needed to find himself when he was lost, because it was being a Lannister dog that was alienating, and leaving them, his salvation and reencounter with the man in him (not the dog), his reecounter with Sandor and not the Hound.

For Sandor the man, there is no purpose. He doesn't belong anywhere or to anybody. He has no home, lands or family. Sandor Clegane loved no one and he had no one to love him back. The Lannisters had given him a purpose for most of his life and his sole aim in life, his only wish had been killing Gregor. Now, he has nothing, he has no master and nowhere to go, he's like a stray dog and stray dogs usually attach themselves to the first person who offers them kindness; that person is Sansa Stark and he goes to her. In the middle of the disaster he remembers Sansa and goes to her, to offer her the only things he has: his fierceness and his protection.

I think he didn't go to her room with the intention to rape her, but because he, just like Lady, recognised her as his mistress, not in the sense of lover but as his owner, the one he must protect but also his lady. He had been Cersei's dog, now he belongs to Sansa.

But Sansa refuses to look at him, she closes her eyes and he understands that as rejection. She doesn't leave with him and Sandor is on his own, as if wandering in circles and never going too far from KL and Sansa. He's a bit like Nymeria, wandering around the place where she lost Arya.

Both Sandor and Lady have been established since Lady's death as Sansa's own, and I guess this will play a role in their future. The connection beteween Sansa and Lady was much stronger than a girl and her pet's connection. The Starks are joined to their direwolves in a very significant way. We'll have to wait and see what this replacement (Lady/Sandor) will mean for Sansa.

The other meaning that I see in the act of leaving the white cloak has already been pointed out by Brashcandy: he renounces the KG's vows, and giving up his chances to have a future with a wife and children is a significant part of those vows. He rejects everything the cloak means and his rejection of a future family is included. We shouldn't forget that he never pronounced any knight's vows, so his commitment to the KG mightn't be valid. As Brash says, Sansa choosing his cloak may mean she has chosen, either his protection or even the man himself.

Sansa is the only Stark kid who has survived her direwolf, this must have some consequences in her life. She's a warg, but her warging abilities may be of a different nature than her siblings'. Perhaps the incredible capacity for empathy that she has (she seems to feel other people's pain and needs in an exceptional way) may be related to her warging power.

The strange identification direwolf/dog (Lady/Sandor) that was established so early in the books must hold a meaning and lead to something. I'm convinced it will play and important role in the future.

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Another sign of Sansa's maturity: she realised that asking Dontos to save her would have been useless, and that she would be putting his life in danger too. To be able to rationalise like this when you're facing the certainty of your own death, and refuse to endanger someone else's was very telling.

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@MaryaStone

Now I have to go back and re-read everything on Aemon and his sister.

But I warn you MaryaStone ("insert picture of snarling direwolf") don't you dare throw up a crack pot theory that Sandor is a Stark bastard! :D

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@MaryaStone

Now I have to go back and re-read everything on Aemon and his sister.

But I warn you MaryStone ("insert picture of snarling direwolf") don't you dare throw up a crack pot theory that Sandor is a Stark bastard! :D

Hell! I had never thought of that ... Now that you mention it ...

No, no seriously. I won't say anything like that, but remember that Sandor has black hair and grey eyes, like Ned, like the first men and many northerners. He doesn't want to take the knight's oils or to say the vows but he has honour despite this refusal.

Now have a look at this quote from Maestrer Luwin (he said this to Bran):

To be a knight, you must stant vigil in a sept, and be anointed with the seven oils to consecrate your vows. In the north, only a few of the great houses worship the Seven. The rest honour the old gods, and name no knights… but those lords and their sons and sworn swords are no less fierce or loyal or honorable. A man’s worth is not marked by a ser before his name.

Maester Luwin

This quote talks about northerners but could be applied very well to a certain black-haired, grey eyed non-knight. Is this a mere coincidence? ;)

Loyal, fierce, honourable ...

A man’s worth is not marked by a ser before his name.

Does Martin put this words on Maester Luwin's lips for no particular reason? :cool4:

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Any theories on just what Sansa was doing after Sandor left the room? If she fell asleep and dreamed then it could explain the unkiss memory later on.

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I´m openmouth!!!! Just putting my jaws on their place! jajajajajaja.

That quote of Maester Luwin it is just a sign that Sandor can be accept by the North! I´m not saying that it will happen (not at all). Just that I believe that he will feel happier there.

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No Brashcandy. I just read that part intensively and she was awake just been there. Like in a trance or similar.

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Fragile Bird!! Of course she is love, if not try to find another reason to understand why she graps herself in a smelly bloody cloark been at her own room with all her dresses and blankets! And she keeps comparing everyman to Sandor.

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That quote from Maester Luwin is another indicator, IMHO, that Sandor would be an acceptable husband for Sansa. She's not in the position of her uncle Brandon, who would have been Lord of Winterfell and therefore Lady Dunstin was too low in status to marry. Especially since we know both Bran and Rickon are alive.

And I see Bgona has gotten there before me. :cheers:

Edit: And you know, even if Sansa became the heir of Winterfell, I think Sandor would still be accepted especially since I think Sandor is destined to do some fabulous act of valor that will draw the respect of all the lords of the north. And elsewhere.

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