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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player? Rereading Sansa V

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But it would also be unfair to exonerate her. She was not privy to all of Ned's plans regarding Stannis, the gold cloaks, etc... but she knew more than just that her father planned to spirit her and Arya away from King's Landing. She knew when they were to leave, on what ship, how many men would be in their escort, who would have the command, where Arya was that morning, etc... all of which was useful to Cersei in planning and timing her move.

This quote by GRRM is puzzling to me honestly. We know that Sansa goes to Cersei because she's upset that her father wants to send her away from Joffrey, but I never got the impression that she was privy to so many details about the journey. Just why would Ned have confided those details anyways? And about knowing where Arya was, I would figure that Sansa would be the last person who would know this, considering the sisters were not close. Didn't Sansa believe Arya was genuinely taking "dancing" lessons? Besides, I never got the impression that Arya's activities were a closely guarded secret either.

Rapsie:

The last bit of the first quote had me thinking about the “other way” her torments would have ended and if she had contemplated suicide if the escape plan had not come about? Certainly she is now at her lowest in the series. The only evidence of suicide being a possible meaning comes from her initial desire at the end of AGOT to throw herself out the window and her lack of concern if she were to die too if she pushed Joff off the walkway. Anyone else thought about what this might mean?

Yes, I wondered about this too. If the plan didn't work out then what would have been her alternative been at this point to end her torments other than suicide? She had no more allies in the Red Keep she could depend on, and she doesn't know about the plot to murder Joffrey.

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This quote by GRRM is puzzling to me honestly. We know that Sansa goes to Cersei because she's upset that her father wants to send her away from Joffrey, but I never got the impression that she was privy to so many details about the journey. Just why would Ned have confided those details anyways? And about knowing where Arya was, I would figure that Sansa would be the last person who would know this, considering the sisters were not close. Didn't Sansa believe Arya was genuinely taking "dancing" lessons? Besides, I never got the impression that Arya's activities were a closely guarded secret either.

Rapsie:

Yes, I wondered about this too. If the plan didn't work out then what would have been her alternative been at this point to end her torments other than suicide? She had no more allies in the Red Keep she could depend on, and she doesn't know about the plot to murder Joffrey.

Amazing that Ned told Sansa all the details about her journey from KL to White Harbour, but failed to tell her that her fiancee was a bastard born of incest.

Yes I think Sansa was probably headed towards suicide without the escape.

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But we can discuss Tyrion's view on Sansa (does he take her for rather childish? Yes he does) and Sansa's view on Tyrion (is she repulsed by his looks? Yes she is) now.

I'd venture to say that Sansa is not nearly so repulsed by the physical appearance of Tyrion as Tyrion is by the appearance of Lolys Stokeworth and nearly every other homely or "old" (read: over the age of 30 or so) female that he meets. The only difference is that Tyrion's attitude is towards Lolys et. al. is presented as natural, the only possible reaction, and funny, and the females themselves get no personality or empathy, whereas we are encouraged extensively to pity poor Tyrion and his unrequited lust for a barely 13 year old kid. Unlike with Lolys, Selyse, or any of the other women who are presented merely as ciphers who attract endless male disgust, Tyrion is presented as a human and we see and feel how the disgust of those he is attracted to (generally young, gorgeous girls) affects him.

I'd say the primary difference between Tyrion's disgust for every homely woman he encounters and Sansa's disgust for TYrion is that Sansa is actually able to see past her own disgust and the other barriers that stand in her way, and see Tyrion as a human being at times. Tyrion is quite ostensibly not capable of this-- even after Lolys's brutal gang rape, the nasty jokes about her continue. His sexual disgust for the woman is apparently so strong (as evidenced in the scene where he thinks he''s going to see Shae, but instead sees Varys in a wig, whom he mistakes for Lolys, and starts flipping out) he really can't see past it. And despite the fact that she lives in a society that dubs Tyrion not just ugly, but sinful, Sansa is a able to see him as a human being at times.

My point is merely that the categorization of Sansa as "shallow" (something I've heard frequently on these boards) does not really pan out. Or, at least, if she's shallow, Tyrion has no depth whatsoever.

The thing is, I think GRRM means to present Sansa as somewhat shallow in the book. In later books, not as much so, but still slightly. However, I think Tyrion's desire for a gorgeous young girl between the ages of 12 and 18 and his disgusted rejection of every female who does not fit his requirements is presented with great sympathy and pretty much no criticism or cynicism.

As for Tyrion's sexual disgust for Lolys being the way he defines her, IMO, its sort of hard to separate the author's attitude from Tyrion's here, since Lolys (and every other ugly woman save Brienne) is presented with disgust, dismissal, or some combination of these feelings. Lolys is mostly presented as either a nonentitiy or a walking punchline. GRRM's comments on Lolys's in the appendixes of AFFC and ADWD (she is, "Small of wit but great with child;" her baby, the product of a gang rape is "he of the hundred fathers,") appear to me to be very much in the same vein as the humor shown in the rest of the book, however, in this case I'm not really laughing much.

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Queen Cersei:

I especially enjoy the fact that Sansa is already more politically savvy in some respects than Tyrion, who is constantly praised by most posters for his brilliance. Comparing him to Sansa, quite a few of Tyrion’s mistakes become all the more glaring. And yeah, contrary to the claims of many, I can totally see how Cersei could legitimately believe that Tyrion could have killed Joffrey, considering his attitude towards him in the past.

You've made a salient point here. From the end of Book I, Sansa (per the Hound's advice) has learnt to conceal her true feelings about Joffrey, and to put on an act - no matter how transparent - to spare herself more cruelty. It hasn't always worked, but for the most part it's allowed her to fly under the radar, and to ultimately escape her captivity with the Lannisters having zero idea where she's gone. LF may have been the one to hatch the plot, but had Sansa not been brave enough and determined enough, she would have accepted her fate as Tyrion's wife and gone down with him for the murder of Joffrey. The worst the Lannisters ever suspect is that she's praying in the Godswood for their demise, not that she's actively planning her escape and participating in the destruction of their House (when she wears the hairnet). And, by all accounts, no one has any clue that the Hound came to her room that night to take her away, or about the relationship she's developed with him.

Let's look at Tyrion by contrast. From the time he arrives at court he goes out of his way to antagonize Cersei and Joffrey. He doesn't know when to close his mouth and makes his absolute contempt for his nephew known to all. The vicious mountain clans earn him the enmity of the smallfolk. He threatens to scourge Tommen in revenge for a prostitute, thereby angering his father as well, not to mention threatening to geld Joffrey at the motley wedding. He refuses to distance himself from Shae, constantly backpedaling on thoughts to send her away and trusting a man like Varys to set up his "dates" with her. In this chapter, he all but confirms to Joffrey that he's aware that he was behind the attack on Bran. How long would it have been before Joffrey decided to send someone to murder Tyrion too?

The picture that emerges from this comparison highlights just how much smarter Sansa eventually was. Tyrion may be witty and cunning, but he behaved like a reckless fool from the moment he got to the Red Keep, overstepping his bounds and trying to accrue too much power at whatever cost. Allowing his father to entrap him in a marriage to Sansa was also spectacularly shortsighted. Sansa, by using discretion, keeping her self control, and making a connection with an unlikely protector, came out the winner.

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This chapter highlights even stronger that while Tyrion and Sansa must not necessarily be enemies, their current situation in Kings Landing makes it impossible for them to reach out or connect. Sansa is unable to trust him because he is a Lannister. She plays her role at the breakfast, but it is obvious how she cannot stand the rest of the Lannister family and especially Joffrey, whom she mocks internally (and lol at her being snide about his intellect, too).

The saddest bit is in the end, when Tyrion is really making an effort to reach out to her, but she is suspicious and won't let him get at her.

Apart from that it's a lot of courtly interaction. We see Garlan the Gallant and more Tyrell/Lannister interaction. I hope Sansa at some point remembers these conversations and figures things out once she gets more into the swing of things with LF, since it seems her time as a hostage in KL has exposed her to a lot of situations which reveal things about the powerful people involved, like Oberyn, Ellaria, Garlan, Olenna, the rest of the Tyrell entourage, etc.

It seems obvious from both the Tyrell and the Dornish that they all think Joffrey is an awful king and basically a ludicrous Lannister puppet gone rogue. We also get some information that both Garlan and Oberyn are fairly well read men and that they don't look down on knowledge, while Tywin focuses more on might and force (as per his wedding gift). Overall, I think if Sansa retains information from her KL time, it will serve her well to understand and manipulate people in the future.

Regarding the castle of gold, if it signifies the Lannisters, I think it means they will be the most powerful family in the land, but after that, they will topple. And as others have pointed out, Shae went down with that particular golden castle. :)

Today I was just thinking in this other theory: the two castle, one Stark (the one that vanished as them seems cause all the children are missing and Sansa is at that moment a Lannister) and other Lannister (the one that fails in ruins: cause that day trully with the death of Joffrey is went all their ruin began).

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I wonder if the ruined tower in the clouds foreshadows the destruction of the Tower of the Hand and the eventual destruction of the Red Keep itself?

The analogue of the Twins going from Starks to Lannisters works well. Oddly rather than a major alliance with the Tyrells, the Lannisters have a major alliance with the Freys: Genna, Lancel (soon to be his younger brother) and Daven are married to or set to be married to Freys.

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Amazing that Ned told Sansa all the details about her journey from KL to White Harbour, but failed to tell her that her fiancee was a bastard born of incest. Yes I think Sansa was probably headed towards suicide without the escape.

Yeah... Ned and his priorites :wacko:

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First I must say that Queen Cersei I and Brashcandy have done a real good point about Tyrion and Sansa. Really good one!

The way Tyrion treats and talks about Lollys demostrate that he doesn´t have the "pity" that he asks for himself. Lollys is also a brocken thing, and he doesn´t have mercy of her.

---------

Rapsie maybe the final failure of the Lannister came thru the end of The Freys.

Anyway yesterday I read the discription of the Twins and doesn´t seem near at the one of the castles clouds.

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But I still keeping the end of the Twins. Simply cause it is my desire (with The Hound there of course!!).

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My point is merely that the categorization of Sansa as "shallow" (something I've heard frequently on these boards) does not really pan out. Or, at least, if she's shallow, Tyrion has no depth whatsoever.

The thing is, I think GRRM means to present Sansa as somewhat shallow in the book. In later books, not as much so, but still slightly. However, I think Tyrion's desire for a gorgeous young girl between the ages of 12 and 18 and his disgusted rejection of every female who does not fit his requirements is presented with great sympathy and pretty much no criticism or cynicism.

:agree: When Sansa is described as shallow it literally boggles my mind. For the record, desiring a handsome, gallant husband is not shallow. Not being able to see the value of someone who doesn't fit that definition would be shallow, however, and this is precisely the difference between Tyrion and Sansa. As you noted, Tyrion does not want a woman who is not pretty and/or sexy. This is why I tend to be wary of the assumption that he rejects Lollys because she's lackwitted. Whilst it might be true that her mental underdevelopment would be a turn off for anyone, Tyrion's inability to appreciate a woman outside of her physical appearance is what is really at work here. In comparison, Sansa forms relationships with Sandor and Dontos - the fool and the dog of the Red Keep, when no other person values them outside of how well they play their respective roles. Her interaction with these men humanizes them. We see Dontos as not being a simple drunken idiot, but someone who genuinely wants to repay his debt to Sansa and help her through her suffering. Her impact on the Hound is even more significant. She inspires him to confide in her, and transforms him from a cynical misanthrope into someone who seeks to protect rather than destroy and desires to make an emotional connection with her. All of this, and we haven't even mentioned the fact that she was willing to marry the crippled Willas Tyrell, along with running the risk that he could have been as unattractive as Mace.

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I'd venture to say that Sansa is not nearly so repulsed by the physical appearance of Tyrion as Tyrion is by the appearance of Lolys Stokeworth and nearly every other homely or "old" (read: over the age of 30 or so) female that he meets. The only difference is that Tyrion's attitude is towards Lolys et. al. is presented as natural, the only possible reaction, and funny, and the females themselves get no personality or empathy, whereas we are encouraged extensively to pity poor Tyrion and his unrequited lust for a barely 13 year old kid. Unlike with Lolys, Selyse, or any of the other women who are presented merely as ciphers who attract endless male disgust, Tyrion is presented as a human and we see and feel how the disgust of those he is attracted to (generally young, gorgeous girls) affects him.

No, we also have Brienne who is a definite response to this and where we get to see what it's like to be inside the "ugly woman's" skin.

I actually also disagree with you that Tyrion's views of non pretty women is seen as funny or good. To me it always stuck out as one of his main weaknesses.

Sansa does appreciate good looks still, which I think is completely natural and not something to be ashamed of. However, she is also capable a lot of the time to see beyond the looks to what is underneath. Tyrion's failing when it comes to women is that he so desperately wants to be loved by a woman since he never got a mother's love, and as a grown up, he transfers this wish to sexual/romantic love. Which he also seeks desperately and isn't getting. I never got the impression this was presented as something funny, or something positive, but far more as a weakness and a longing in Tyrion. Which then in turn makes him to stupid stuff, like trust Shae and bring her in as Sansa's maid, as we've seen in this chapter.

Sansa in comparison is grieving her family, but her family was also a good influence, a positive force and thinking about her parents and siblings give her comfort, while Tyrion hasn't got this. Tyrion is far more damaged goods than Sansa and in many, many ways he has far less mental fortitude, having always relied on high birth and wealth to get by, or if that failed, his wit and sharp tongue. Tyrion is going through his shite as of ADWD, and hopefully it will end up with him smartening up, feeling less sorry for himself and drinking less. Tyrion as of ASOS isn't ready to change though, and I'm not sure why people read this as something positive or funny.

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I wonder if the ruined tower in the clouds foreshadows the destruction of the Tower of the Hand and the eventual destruction of the Red Keep itself?

Yes, I think it was Wouter who mentioned this point upthread as well. I think the symbolism can be applied in many ways, both to the literal destruction of a castle, and to the alliance that the Lannisters have made with the Freys and the Tyrells. They were enjoying their moment in the sun, but it was a brief zenith.

@Lyanna Stark - I agree with you that Tyrion is looking to make an emotional connection with a woman, based on very real issues to do with his history and self-esteem, but of course a big reality of the situation is that he keeps looking to wholly inappropriate persons for this love and affection, and is quite hypocritical in wanting someone to look past his deficiencies, but struggling to do the same himself. Tyrion has to learn that sex does not lead to emotional intimacy and love, expecially not when you're paying for it. As for whether Lollys is held up to authorial mockery, I have to agree with Queen Cersei. What other reason could be behind the kind of info that is written about her in the appendix? It seriously trivialises a traumatic and devastating event.

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From Queen Cersei's post on page 3 -

"contrary to the claims of many, I can totally see how Cersei could legitimately believe that Tyrion could have killed Joffrey, considering his attitude towards him in the past.

Which, just maybe, makes Tyrion’s stated desire to murder and rape his sister just the slightest bit unjust :rolleyes:

Actually, taking a good hard look at Tyrion’s political skills and especially the issues that have been brought up here, I seriously question whether he would really be such a great help when he travels east to serve as an advisor to Dany, as he is generally expected to do. Will he really be just what Dany needs to rule well, as so many claim? Does Dany really need to be taught about forgiveness and the folly of revenge….from the guy who wants to murder and rape his sister? Should she be taught the value of keeping personal feelings and pettiness out of administrative decisions by the guy who loathed numerous people in Kings Landing for laughing at his (rather hilariously ridiculous) sexual nicknames when they were revealed in court? Should she learn about fairness from the guy behind the antler incident, from the guy who had Symon Sylvertongue murdered and cannibalized? And can she really be forced to face “the hard truths” from a guy who refuses to face a single one about his love life himself? IMO, at this point, impossible though it would be, Sansa would be a better advisor to Dany than the great Tyrion."

Queen Cersei you bring up some good points here and I appreciate your take on Cersei's point of view - how it could legitimately look to her like Tyrion was the one who killed Joffrey. I had not really thought about that. But I do have to disagree respectfully with the sentence I highlighted in bold above. That argument only works for me if Tyrion had been the one to come up with his sexual nickname and forced Shae to say it every time they were together, but in fact it was just the opposite. Shae came up with that all by herself and said it all as part of her act with him. Tyrion never once told her to say it.

I just read Tyrion's trial scenes last night in prep for the next few chapters and I really find Shae's testimony there to be brutally cruel. She could have accomplished what was necessary without mentioning the Giant of Lannister nickname. To me it came off as the verbal equivalent of when the Bolton man (I don't think it was Roose himself) at the Red Wedding stabbed Robb in the heart and then twisted for good measure. It was cruelly unnecessary overkill and it is completely legitimate that he would feel humiliated and betrayed by that.

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@Elba (and everyone else)

Tyrion VIII (the wedding chapter) will actually be the last chapter of his that will be featured in the re-read. Of course, if there is something that one finds relevant to a discussion of Sansa based on those trial chapters, you can discuss it here, but otherwise, Sansa's story heads elsewhere, and we shall have to do the same. :)

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When you pluck quotes out and they stand on their own, it really brings out certain thoughts. Shae would like to see a castle made of gold indeed. First with Tyrion, then with Tywin. But the castle came tumbling down, and she fell under the stones didn't she?

I also get the feeling that Shae around Sansa would have ended quite badly had Sansa not escaped. Shae would have done something nasty or insolent to Sansa, IMHO, and the stuff would have hit the fan.

I agree. Shae comes off in this chapter as if she was actually jealous of Sansa, no doubt partially because she is a highranking noble girl but also and even especially because she is married to Tyrion (in spite of Sansa very much not wanting to be married to Tyrion).

Something does stand out in this chapter in this regard, Shae's answer when Sansa asked where Tyrion was (paraphrasing): "Might be the King's Hand has asked for him. Might be the King's Hand has need of his council".

To me, it sounds like Shae is proud of Tyrion here, and wants the glamour and the money (golden castle, as Fragile bird mentioned) that comes with being Tyrion's wife.

Hence, this chapter is one of the main reasons I disagree with those who feel that Shae was misused by Tyrion and would have left if only she had another option. IMO Shae wanted more of Tyrion (to be raised like Ellaria was raised by Oberyn, or even more), not less, the exact opposite of Sansa.

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OOPS! Sorry! I just jumped right in to respond to that one point by Queen Cersei because of how strongly I felt about it that I did not stop to think about how that's not really on topic.

So, to get back on point, I really liked Sansa's interaction with Pod but maybe that's because I absolutely adore Pod. Dear, sweet Pod - I would adopt him in a minute! I don't believe that they will end up together in a romantic way at all and I don't ship Sansa with Pod, but does anyone else think that Pod has a huge crush on Sansa?

I really liked everyone's take on the symbolism of the cloud castles. All of them seem like good interpretations to me.

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I agree. Shae comes off in this chapter as if she was actually jealous of Sansa, no doubt partially because she is a highranking noble girl but also and even especially because she is married to Tyrion (in spite of Sansa very much not wanting to be married to Tyrion).

Do not confuse the HBO series with the books. Shae is a whore because she ran away from home when her father abused her, not a high born lady.

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Hence, this chapter is one of the main reasons I disagree with those who feel that Shae was misused by Tyrion and would have left if only she had another option. IMO Shae wanted more of Tyrion (to be raised like Ellaria was raised by Oberyn, or even more), not less, the exact opposite of Sansa.

I'm not a fan of Shae by any means, but I'm struggling to understand your correlation here. How does the fact that Shae wanted more from Tyrion disprove that she was misused by him? I think that Shae wanted the life led by Ellaria certainly, but she would have grasped at that from anyone. Tyrion was indeed her best bet for getting it, but I still believe she would have left if she felt there was a good option elsewhere.

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Actually, taking a good hard look at Tyrion’s political skills and especially the issues that have been brought up here, I seriously question whether he would really be such a great help when he travels east to serve as an advisor to Dany, as he is generally expected to do. Will he really be just what Dany needs to rule well, as so many claim?

Tyrion is likely to help Dany to control her dragons (or 1 or 2 of them, at least). That alone is very worthwhile. Furthermore, Tyrion has extensive and recent knowledge of almost all the major players in Westeros - very much including "Aegon", Connington, Varys and Illyrio. He will likely be the one that figures out why Varys and Illyrio are supporting Aegon, and if it is a Blackfyre thing going on. Tyrion is well aware of Littlefingers' machinations, and can warn Dany about her. He can also set Dany straight about Robert's rebellion in general and the Starks in particular, something her present advisors have been reluctant to do (Barristan tried but let himself be swept aside by Dany twice so far). Tyrion's big mouth might be useful here. Tyrion is also very well read, not only in dragonlore but in all kinds of things. He has seen the Wall, spoken with Aemon and Mormont (might be of interest to Dany and Jorah, don't you think?) and he knows Jon Snow quite well.

As for Cersei, she deserves what is coming to her. Even just by the killings of Robert's bastards (whenever she could reach them), her treatment of Sansa and the amount of random murders she caused with her attempts to get Tyrion.

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I'm not a fan of Shae by any means, but I'm struggling to understand your correlation here. How does the fact that Shae wanted more from Tyrion disprove that she was misused by him? I think that Shae wanted the life led by Ellaria certainly, but she would have grasped at that from anyone. Tyrion was indeed her best bet for getting it, but I still believe she would have left if she felt there was a good option elsewhere.

Jeyne is misused by Ramsay - and as a result, she wants to get as far as possible from him (as Theon realised). It stands to reason that Shae, if really bothered by Tyrion's treatment, would also want to get away from him, not talk overly proudly of how Tywin Lannister needed advice from the Great Tyrion (which is the way her statements to Sansa came over to me).

Of course Shae would have left Tyrion if the knight of flowers came to her and proposed she would become his mistress or paramour or even wife. But with the situation as it was, she seemed to want to get even deeper involved with Tyrion. If there was misuse, it wasn't only from his side.

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