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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player? Rereading Sansa VI

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Exactly! I thought the part about the marriage was critical. Damn, I'd love to see her escape over the Mountains of the Moon! (Gee, can you tell I really want her to get away from LF?!) :ack:

I thought about her Stark roots too when they mentioned the tree (especially considering Bran is probably going to turn into one). Still working on those thoughts about those caves! ;) (But I do have other thoughts/theories about other things on the burner too). :D

HA! How the hell did I miss the Bran connection? :bang: :lol: Hmm, I wonder if he'll manage to make contact with Sansa somehow.

AFFC Sansa I coming soon...

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HA! How the hell did I miss the Bran connection? :bang: :lol: Hmm, I wonder if he'll manage to make contact with Sansa somehow.

It happens! There's just too much to remember in this series! :D

That thought crossed my mind as well! However, remember there are no weirwood trees @ the Eyrie or the Vale. :frown5: :crying: I think the only way he might "see" her is through an animal (bird or something).

AFFC Sansa I coming soon...

Looking forward to it! :thumbsup:

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It could be really funny if Sansa and Sandor would get the Dreadfort, and of course, Sansa would want to clean the whole place and redo the interior decoration… They would take down all the human skin tapestries and the skull lamps from the walls…

And then it would become this really cute and girly place, with flowers and nice colors everywhere…but they would keep the same name: the Dreadfort! :lol:

Sansa would be a one woman Northern Renaissance.

Philip the Good with teats

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Very intriguing QoW. I love the parallel you've drawn between Pan and Petyr and Sansa as the moon goddess Selene (although the other nymphs could apply as well). Hmmm, have you had a look yet at the thread over on the ADWD section called Howl at the Moon? It's centred on the Moonsingers of Braavos that Arya learns about during her time with the FM, but it also considers the larger relevance of the moon in many of the characters' lives and Westerosi religion and culture. Here's some samples from the thread:

Oh my, that is very interesting. Thanks for linking it. I am desperately trying to catch up with the Heresy threads so haven't checked anything else in the ADWD section for a long time. WTB more hours in the day!

The moon symbolism is really much stronger than I had ever thought and seem to have quite a few references in Sansa's chapters too. It's often frustrating to try and find all these references since they're obliquely referred to in chapters by other POVs (like the legendary "LF planned on marrying Sansa after Ned's death" which is hidden in Cersei's Walk of Shame chapter of all things. I thought I'd never find it.). I always took the moon symbolism in Sansa's chapters to denote that she is maturing into a woman with all what that means, but it does seem to hold more connotations.

In general, we see quite a bit of the maiden - mother - crone symbolism, both in Sansa's chapters, but they appear again in Brienne's chapters and elsewhere, too. In fact, the female aspects of the Seven and the Stranger are the ones that seem to appear the most. We do get the male aspects sometimes, but they seem outwieghed a lot by the other four. Oh and lets not forget Cersei's legendary "Before I am done with her she will be begging the Stranger for his kiss".

Great analyses Brash and Rapsie! i wanted to point out one more thing regarding foreshadowing and this is the bird/flying references that also seem to keep popping up with Sansa. Birds are known for singing and Sansa still likes songs and uses them for strength as we saw when she was fleeing Kings Landing with Dontos. Also, the rumors going around about how Sansa disappeared are that she sprouted wings and flew away. If you look at where she "flew off" to, she ends up in the Eyrie, which is symbolic of a bird's nest and where birds would make their home. And of course there is sweetrobin's term for sending people out the moon door (as Sansa almost was) as making them fly. Do all these bird and flying references foreshadow that Sansa will warg a bird or perhaps another flying creature like, say, a dragon? I have to think that all these references mean something like this will happen.

Birds can also symbolise power and freedom in mythology, and we see this in the "she flew off" comment. Overall, the flying and bird references in Sansa's chapters are strong. If she doesn't end up flying a dragon, I really do hope she at least manages to warg a bird, or maybe create a network of her own "little birds". Interestingly, Sansa has basically replaced Lysa, and Lysa "failed" at flying.

The bird - song references definitely should mean something. It's about as common in Sansa's chapters as "Fire" "Blood" and "Dragon" in Dany's.

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Can't believe I forgot to include all the Birds references and her being referred to as A Little Bird all the time!!

Also if she becomes the younger Queen, an ability to warg Little Birds would make her the next Varys potentially.

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It is really interesting all that you have explained about Sansa and birds ("little birds" maybe Sansa will get a net of spies as Varys?), the moon and about Pan and Petyr.

The Satyr was a figure with a strong sexual acting (brothels?).

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About become a tree can possible mean that she will return to the old goods (trees with faces?)

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AFFC – SANSA I

Summary

The chapter begins with Sansa noting ironically that there was a time in her childhood when she would have done anything for singers to come to Winterfell and play songs for her, but now she cannot stand to hear Marillion’s constant singing at night.

But that was when she little girl, and foolish. She was a maiden now, three-and-ten and flowered. All her nights were full of song, and by day she prayed for silence.

Due to the sky cells being in the open air, Marillion’s singing can be heard throughout the entire castle:

He sang of the Dance of the Dragons, of fair Jonquil and her fool, of Jenny of Oldstones and the Prince of Dragonflies. He sang of betrayals and murders most foul, of hanged men and bloody vengeance. He sang of grief and sadness.

Sansa is disturbed by the music, and remembers that although Marillion’s voice may sound rich and sweet, he is a wicked man who tried to rape her and played music to drown out her cries when Lysa tried to kill her. She asks Petyr to make him stop, but he claims that he has given the singer his word, and tells Sansa it will soon be over because Lord Nestor Royce is coming to the Eyrie the next day. Sansa is alarmed by the possibility that Lord Nestor will see Marillion and learn the truth, but LF has no such qualms:

“On the contrary, I shall insist on it.” He beckoned her to take the seat beside him. “We have come to an agreement, Marillion and I. Mord can be most persuasive. And if our singer disappoints us and sings a song we do not care to hear, why, you and I need only say he lies. Whom do you imagine Lord Nestor will believe?”

“Us?” Sansa wished she could be more certain.

“Of course. Our lies will profit him.

LF goes on to reassure Sansa that he will not let Lord Nestor harm his “daughter” but Sansa thinks:

I am not your daughter… I am Sansa Stark, Lord Eddard’s and Lady Catelyn’s, the blood of Winterfell. She did not say it, though. If not for Petyr Baelish it would have been Sansa who went spinning through a cold blue sky to a stony death six hundred feet below, instead of Lysa Arryn. He is so bold. Sansa wished she had his courage. She wanted to crawl back into bed and hide beneath the blanket, to sleep and sleep. She had not slept a whole night through since Lysa Arryn’s death.

LF then proceeds to coach Sansa on how she must behave when Lord Nestor visits. He tells her that her fear will not make her look guilty and that she has her mother’s eyes, honest and innocent. He tells her that she needs only to tell Lord Nestor the same tale she told Lord Robert.

Robert is only a sickly boy, she thought, Lord Nestor is a man grown, stern and suspicious. Robert was not strong and had to be protected, even from the truth. “Some lies are love,” Petyr had assured her.

Sansa realizes that LF is serving her lies as well, but thinks:

They were comforting lies, though, and she thought them kindly meant. A lie is not so bad if it is kindly meant. If only she believed them…

She remembers the things her aunt told her before she died and is still troubled by them, although Petyr tries to dismiss them as the ravings of a man woman. She thinks that Petyr must at least love her because he saved her, but:

He saved Alayne, his daughter, a voice within her whispered. But she was Sansa too … and sometimes it seemed to her that the Lord Protector was two people as well. He was Peytr, her protector, warm and funny and gentle … but he was also Littlefinger, the lord she’d known at King’s Landing, smiling shyly and stroking his beard as he whispered in Queen Cersei’s ear. And Littlefinger was no friend of hers. When Joff had her beaten, the Imp defended her, not Littlefinger. When the mob sought to rape her, the Hound carried her to safety, not Littlefinger. When the Lannisters wed her to Tyrion against he will, Ser Garlan the Gallant gave her comfort, not Littlefinger. Littlefinger never lifted so much as his little finger for her.

Except to get me out. He did that for me. I thought it was Ser Dontos, my poor drunken Florian, but it was Petyr all the while. Littlefinger was only a mask he had to wear. Only sometimes Sansa found it hard to tell where the man ended and the mask began. Littlefinger and Lord Petyr looked so very much alike. She would have fled them both, perhaps, but there was nowhere for her to go. Winterfell was burned and desolate, Bran and Rickon dead and cold, Robb had been betrayed and murdered at the Twins, along with their lady mother. Tyrion had been put to death for killing Joffrey, and if she ever returned to King’s Landing the queen would have her head as well. The aunt she’d hoped would keep her safe had tried to murder her instead. Her uncle Edmure was a captive of the Freys, while her great-uncle the Blackfish was under siege at Riverrun. I have no place but here, Sansa thought miserably, and no true friend but Petyr.

Later that night she hears Marillion singing again, but this time hardens her heart against pity. She thinks that one has to tell lies sometimes to survive and that this is what she did in King’s Landing to avoid being beaten bloody by the Kingsguard. Lord Nestor arrives the next day and Sansa has to help get Robert ready. We learn that Robert has been accustomed to coming to Sansa’s bed at night which she doesn’t like because he tries to nuzzle her breasts and can wet the bed when he has a shaking fit. She cleans him up as best as she can and takes him down to sit in the High Hall to receive the guests.

The High Hall had been closed since Lady Lysa’s fall since Lady Lysa’s fall, and it gave Sansa a chill to enter it again. The hall was long and grand and beautiful, she supposed, but she did not like it here. It was a pale cold place at the best of times. The slender pillars looked like fingerbones, and the blue veins in the white marble brought to mind the veins in an old crone eyes.

Sansa nervously recites her story to Lord Nestor and the other men he has brought with him. During her testimony a tear rolls down her cheek and she thinks, “that’s good, a tear is good.” Hearing the story again causes Robert to go into another fit and he has to be removed by Lothor Brune and Maester Coleman. The lords believe Sansa’s story, strengthened by their own dislike of Marillion. The singer is brought up from the dungeons and confesses his guilt to the Lords.

Sansa describes him looking almost elegant in constrast to Mord:

Someone had bathed him and dressed him in a pair of sky-blue breeches and a loose fitting white tunic with puff sleeves, belted with a silvery sash that had been a gift from Lady Lysa. White silk gloves covered his hands, while a white silk bandage spared the lords the sight of his eyes… Sansa stared at his hands while he spoke. Fat Maddy claimed that Mord had taken off three of his fingers, both pinkies and a ring finger. His little fingers did appear somewhat stiffer than the others, but with those gloves it was hard to be certain. It might have been no more than a story. How would Maddy know?

After Marillion is taken back to the sky cells, LF meets with Nestor Royce in private. Nestor informs him that he’s going to face more questions from the other Lords, in particular Lyn Corbray, whom Royce describes as a dangerous man. LF states that there is nothing he can do but receive them graciously when the time comes. He then takes out a parchment and proceeds to tell Nestor that Lady Lysa held him in high esteem and had made plans for him to become Keeper of the Gates of the Moon, but died before she could sign the document. LF has signed in her place as Lord Protector. After Nestor leaves, LF begins to explain to Sansa why his strategy worked. Sansa is able to figure out the significance of LF’s actions:

“The signature … you might have had Lord Robert put his hand and seal to it, but instead…”

“… I signed myself, as Lord Protector. Why?”

“So … if you are removed, or … or killed…”

“… Lord Nestor’s claim to the Gates will suddenly be called into question. I promise you, that is not lost on him. It was clever of you to see it. Though no more than I’d expect of mine own daughter.”

“Thank you.” She felt absurdly proud for puzzling it out…

Petyr goes on to caution her that she must always pretend to be his daughter, even when in private, in case a servant overhears something:

Do you want more blood on your pretty little hands, my darling?”

Marillion’s face seemed to float before her, the bandage pale across his eyes. Behind him she could see Ser Dontos, the crossbow bolts still in him. “No,” Sansa said. “Please.”

I am tempted to say this is no game we play, daughter, but of course it is. The game of thrones.”

I never asked to play. The game was too dangerous. One slip and I am dead.

LF tells her that she can trust no one, and that he once told this to Ned but he didn’t listen. He places two fingers on her left breast, telling her that she must be Alayne “all the time,” even in her heart.

“Can you do that? Can you be my daughter in your heart?”

“I …” I do not know, my lord, she almost said, but that was not what he wanted to hear. Lies and arbor gold, she thought. “I am Alayne, Father. Who else would I be?”

Later in the night, Sweetrobin comes to her bed, and questions if she is his mother now.

“I suppose I am,” she said. If a lie was kindly meant, there was no harm in it.

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Analysis

The beginning of the chapter really evoked that sad sense of the difference between then and now as it relates to Sansa’s experiences. The memory of how innocent she once was, and the loving relationship she had with her father, with Ned promising her that other singers would come again, is perversely contrasted with the reality of her life now: as she is involved in the schemes of Littlefinger and has to contantly hear the plaintive singing of the man LF has framed for the murder of her aunt. Sansa, of course, is still feeling immense guilt over the entire situation, but is really powerless to do anything other than follow what LF tells her. It’s an ironic twist that the songs she would have normally enjoyed are now the songs that haunt and disturb her. I think this loss of pleasure is meant to highlight just what a corrupting influence LF is having on her life, and throughout the chapter we see the extent to which Sansa is confused and conflicted over his plans and what he is requiring of her.

The chapter is clear on the fact that Sansa knows she cannot trust LF, but she believes that there’s no one who can save her from him. The listing out of all the names of her family members and even Tyrion whom she believes has been put to death, reveals that if she felt she had a lifeline, she might have sought to escape the Eyrie or seek help somehow. But we see her thinking miserably that she has no other friend but Petyr. I really sympathised with Sansa’s predicament in this chapter. She wants to be away from LF, but with every other option seemingly closed, there’s nothing she can do but to try to adapt and survive.

The confusion she feels stems from on the one hand knowing that Littlefinger did nothing to help her out in King’s Landing, but then having to consider that he perhaps performed the ultimate gesture by getting her out of the city. Further, the two sides of the man: Littlefinger and Petyr are disturbing to her because as she notes, she doesn’t know where the man stops and the mask begins. Most significantly though, Sansa is experiencing a battle with her own values and morals, which naturally rebel against the thought of telling lies which can harm others – even men like Marillion. LF’s solution to this, telling her that “some lies are love” is a seductive comfort to give to a young girl who is caught between knowing that she is doing something wrong, but believing that she is powerless to do otherwise, and that her very survival depends on it.

LF is firmly in daddy mode in this chapter, but it’s noteworthy that Sansa isn’t falling for the trick. As much as LF is playing a game with her, Sansa too seems to be playing her own game, in the sense of hiding her continued allegiance and connection to her Stark heritage. She is telling LF what he wants to hear, a talent that we know she developed during her captivity in Kings Landing. But of course, whilst in KL most people could see through her pretence of loving Joffrey and being loyal to him, she’s actually managing to be successful in fooling others in the Eyrie, as she gets Lord Nestor and the other men to believe her story about Marillion. She’s even managing to fool LF that she will be Alayne in her heart. So the Sansa in this chapter is definitely more skilled in her pretences, although she’s by no means callous and cold hearted like Littlefinger. She’s affected by Marillion’s songs, and feels quite nervous about having to face Lord Nestor.

Another important point to mention is Sansa’s thought that she didn’t ask to play the game of thrones that Littlefinger seems intent on bringing her into. The thought of Sansa becoming a Queen might be wonderful to readers, but this chapter clearly establishes the natural reluctance she feels to getting involved in the intrigues of game playing. It is something that LF lives for, and his insistence that Sansa be his daughter in her heart indicates that desire to mold her in his image, shaping her thoughts and behaviour. His ability to sublty manipulate Sansa is further shown when he asks her if she wants to have more blood on her hands.

Sansa’s intelligence and her progress in figuring out the real motives behind actions are highlighted when she is able to determine just why it was that LF made sure that Nestor knew he had signed the document himself. She is definitely becoming a stronger student of the game, both in her ability to discern LF’s plots and to conceal her own hidden desires and thoughts.

The scene with Marillion was very curious, and pretty ripe for some good old crackpotting ;) Was it really Marillion who was blindfolded and brought before the guards? And if it was, has he really been blinded and lost his fingers, or is this just another elaborate hoax by Littlefinger? Interestingly, Sansa seems to have some doubt about the veracity of the servants’ claims that Mord did indeed take some of Marillion’s fingers, and she also notes the difference in the singer’s voice from when he sings strongly at night.

The situation with Sweetrobin is understandably burdensome for Sansa, as she is being asked to mother a sickly and spoilt little boy, who sees her as maternal replacement for his dead mother. Sweetrobin’s nuzzling of her breasts when he comes to sleep can be put down to an innocent desire to regain the sensation he had from his mother’s prolonged breast feeding and coddling, but when LF touches Sansa’s breast it’s pretty obvious that his desires are not of the innocent kind, even though he conceals them under the guise of wanting her to be his daughter in her heart. All this is worrisome concerning Sansa’s future, of course. She is having little to no say in what she wants, and is being compelled to be anyone but Sansa Stark. She is in the peculiar and uncomfortable position of being a pawn and a player, with little choice but to continue the status quo. LF still does not seem to see her as a person, telling her:

“With my wits and Cat’s beauty, the world will be yours, sweetling.”

This may sound like a magnificent promise, but there’s no consideration of what Sansa wants or the person that Sansa is. He’s still seeing her in the likeness of her mother, with himself now firmly in control of directing her destiny.

As I wrote in my recap of her development in ASOS upthread:

Overall, Sansa’s development in ASOS begs the question of whether becoming a player is worth the loss of idealism and optimism that seems to come along with it. By the end of the book we are seeing a much more cynical and world-weary Sansa, one who despite her unwillingness is becoming more ensnared in the machinations of Littlefinger. His constant mind games and revolving identity as father figure, romantic suitor and game teacher is having an adverse effect on her development. She may be learning the game, but LF’s usefulness as a mentor has to be seriously weighed against the danger he represents as a sexual predator and corrupt influence.

This first chapter of AFFC pretty much illustrates the dangers noted above in becoming a player. The challenge for Sansa will be to fight her inclination to see LF as a “true friend” and to not allow herself to be seduced both mentally and physically. The ending of the chapter is cause for concern therefore, because although the alternative of telling Sweetrobin that she is not his mother might have been unpleasant, it’s a slippery slope for Sansa to begin thinking that lies which are kindly meant do no harm.

Thoughts on possible foreshadowing

  • When Sansa is listing out the names of the people who are no longer alive or available to help her, the Hound’s name is strangely absent. Given that we know she still has thoughts about him, and that the last time we saw them together he was promising to kill anyone who hurt her, might Martin be trying to draw attention to him by deliberately leaving his name out? Could he be the one person who turns up to rescue Sansa?
  • She thinks that Tyrion is dead as well; at this point not yet knowing that he has escaped and killed his father. The Blackfish will later escape the siege at Riverrun, and Sansa’s mother is undead. So in addition to Hound, she may have more true friends than she thought.
  • Again in this chapter I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Lothor and Sandor, the kind of silent strength possessed by Brune that we see in the Hound.
  • Nestor’s Royce’s contention that the Gates of the Moon are considered as royal as the Eyrie. Perhaps we’re going to see some royalty there in the form of the dragon queen? :)

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It happens! There's just too much to remember in this series! :D

That thought crossed my mind as well! However, remember there are no weirwood trees @ the Eyrie or the Vale. :frown5: :crying: I think the only way he might "see" her is through an animal (bird or something).

Looking forward to it! :thumbsup:

son of a Beeeeeeee each time I try to reply the server goes on vacation, any who:

Isn't the throne in the Eyrie a Weirwood?

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son of a Beeeeeeee each time I try to reply the server goes on vacation, any who:

Isn't the throne in the Eyrie a Weirwood?

Yes. Though I thought weirwood trees needed the faces carved in them in order to "see".

So I don't know if it would work in the same way. (But didn't someone, someplace mention having strange dreams in a weirwood bed?)

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Brashcandy wrote:

When Sansa is listing out the names of the people who are no longer alive or available to help her, the Hound’s name is strangely absent. Given that we know she still has thoughts about him, and that the last time we saw them together he was promising to kill anyone who hurt her, might Martin be trying to draw attention to him by deliberately leaving his name out? Could he be the one person who turns up to rescue Sansa?

Myself, I think it goes to show that Sansa has not completely given hope to be saved from her situation. She dreams about Sandor, as we know, and it’s possible she secretly wishes to escape the Eyries with him, even if she believes it’s not possible. The way she thought for one moment that Lothor Brune was Sandor when he saved her from Marilion, also goes in that way.

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Hello all -- I completed a Sansa reread recently and have been watching this thread develop, hoping to jump in at AFFC. This first Sansa AFFC chapter is one of my favorite chapters in the entire series -- it's incredibly rich, complex, and subtle.

The most important development of the chapter is that Sansa rationalizes telling a lie that will result in a man's death, for her own self-preservation. The chapter opens with Sansa hearing Marillion's songs and trying to shut them out. A few pages in, she hears the songs again and thinks, "I must not pity him… He was vain and cruel, and soon he will be dead… Some lies you have to tell." She keeps thinking about what truly happened and then putting it out of her mind. The chapter closes with Sansa going to bed after telling her lies to Nestor and co., thinking Marillion "will not sing tonight… He would not dare.. She closed her eyes." Martin then cuts to Sweetrobin waking her up and ends the chapter without clarifying whether Marillion was truly silent that night, or whether Sansa has managed to successfully block out his sounds and her own guilt at condemning a man for a crime he did not commit. (Marillion is a horrible person and sexually assaulted her -- but he didn't kill Lysa.)

Then of course there is the lie of her own identity. LF tells her that she must be Alayne "all the time," even in her heart. Sansa is unsure whether she can, but decides to lie to LF to tell him "what he wanted to hear" and says "I am Alayne, Father. Who else would I be?"

Another set of lies Sansa rationalizes is aimed at Robert, and she tells herself she's lying to him out of kindness. "Robert was not strong and had to be protected, even from the truth," she thinks in the beginning, recalling how LF told her "Some lies are love." Midway through the chapter, Sansa tells Robert that LF loved Lysa, and thinks "That was a lie, though kindly meant." In the final scene of the chapter, she tells Sweetrobin she's his mother now and thinks (in the final sentence of the chapter) "If a lie was kindly meant, there was no harm in it."

I would push back on her justification here. Sansa is not lying to Robert because she "loves" him, it's in fact purely because of her self-interest. It is not "kind" to ensure that Robert remains in the clutches of his mother's killer, and to lie to him about the manner of Lysa's death. It is what's best for Sansa and what's necessary for her self-preservation (so she thinks). But she deludes herself into thinking her lies to Robert are out of "love" or for his own good, apparently she feels less guilty if she tells herself this.

Let's track the history of Sansa's ability to lie. This was present in AGOT with the Nymeria incident -- Sansa desperately wanted her storybook life as a queen with her beloved Joffrey, she told a lie in hopes of preserving that fantasy, and she ended up paying a big price for it with the execution of her wolf. Then we have all of her lies to the Lannisters throughout ACOK and ASOS -- 100% morally justifiable lies that don't hurt anybody and were necessary for her own survival in an environment of immediate danger. Her flat-out lies there were not always that convincing to those who hear them, but she did develop a skill at concealment that was effective in hiding her visits to the godswood and facilitating her escape.

But now she's in a different environment, where there's not an axe hanging over her head every moment. And now her lies have the power to hurt people (Marillion, Robert), which is very different from the situation in ACOK/ASOS. Sansa is not a cruel person and she has malice toward nobody -- instinctively, she feels guilt and sympathy when Marillion is locked up for the murder he didn't commit, even though he sexually assaulted her. But this whole chapter is about Sansa becoming able to convincingly lie for her own benefit / self-preservation, and eventually managing to rationalize those lies and avoid feeling guilty about it. All this potentially sets the stage for her to rationalize bigger, even more consequential lies later on.

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Lost Lord, I'm so excited to see you on this thread :) I remember those days arguing about Dany like they were yesterday ;)

You made some really excellent points. The nature of Sansa's lies have definitely changed to the extent that they can now hurt other people. Actually, in rethinking her thoughts on Marillion when he is brought up from the dungeons, an argument could be made that she's beginning not to become quite colder yet, but something more along the lines of noticing details more, not being ruled by the emotional spectacle of Marillion, but being more analytical and questioning the gossip that is circulating amongst the servants. I think this is something we haven't really seen before.

I would disagree with you a bit on the notion that it's not "kind" for Sweetrobin to remain ignorant about his mother's death, and also to play devil's advocate a bit, to remain in the clutches of LF. Obviously I'm pushing into clear cut textual evidence that LF means the boy harm, but I do think that at least in the first instance with Lysa, letting SW know the true nature of his mother's death would only serve to upset the boy even further, and in the case of letting him remain with LF, there's not much that Sansa can do at the moment. Just like LF tells her that it would Marillion's word against theirs, it would Sansa's word against LF's, and let's remind ourselves who's wanted for kingslaying back in King's Landing. I do agree with you that it's mostly about self-preservation, but I do think Sansa genuinely is coming to care for the child somewhat, especially as he's viewing her as mother replacement. Yes, she finds it annoying and bothersome, but at the end of the chapter telling him that lie was somewhat necessary. The problem as you noted is that this can set the stage for other, more dangerous rationalizations.

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Sansa's thoughts about singers and songs go hand in hand with how she sees herself. She sees her old self as a silly little girl and very different from the person she is in the here and now. Even though the readers have seen it for some time, this is, I think, the first time where Sansa really puts into words that she knows she is a completely different person in AFFC to the person who left Winterfell. It gets further enhanced later on with "Sansa Stark went up the mountain, but Alayne Stone came down".

In Winterfell she loved singers and songs in a childish way, but now they seems to have taken on a different meaning for Sansa, or even several different meanings.And they're definitely not always good ones.

Brashcandy wrote:

When Sansa is listing out the names of the people who are no longer alive or available to help her, the Hound’s name is strangely absent. Given that we know she still has thoughts about him, and that the last time we saw them together he was promising to kill anyone who hurt her, might Martin be trying to draw attention to him by deliberately leaving his name out? Could he be the one person who turns up to rescue Sansa?

Myself, I think it goes to show that Sansa has not completely given hope to be saved from her situation. She dreams about Sandor, as we know, and it’s possible she secretly wishes to escape the Eyries with him, even if she believes it’s not possible. The way she thought for one moment that Lothor Brune was Sandor when he saved her from Marilion, also goes in that way.

Maybe, or perhaps she thinks he is out of reach, or has gone somewhere really far away? She wonders in ASOS what has become of him, and maybe she thinks he's gone as far away as he can from the Lannisters? To somewhere like Dorne or across the Narrow Sea.

It could also be that she doesn't name him because she harbours a secret hope that he will arrive and repeat the offer he made at the Battle of the Blackwater, but in that case it does not seem like a conscious wish. I also wonder if AFFC Sansa doesn't partly recognise that while Sandor promised to keep her safe, what are the odds that he will actually manage? He doesn't really have any real power or political clout, unlike someone like Littlefinger. That said, I agree that she was disappointed that it was Lothor Brune and not Sandor, so she does think about him in that capacity still.

Interestingly she lumps Tyrion in with her family, although I suppose at least she knows Tyrion somewhat, while she has never met her uncle Edmure or the Blackfish. If Sansa has learnt something from Lysa, it is to not trust anyone because of blood ties. I wonder if she does put Tyrion here because she's re-evaluated his actions in her abscence or if she sees a sort of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"? It seems like a long stretch that she sees him as family, despite technically being his wife.

But now she's in a different environment, where there's not an axe hanging over her head every moment. And now her lies have the power to hurt people (Marillion, Robert), which is very different from the situation in ACOK/ASOS. Sansa is not a cruel person and she has malice toward nobody -- instinctively, she feels guilt and sympathy when Marillion is locked up for the murder he didn't commit, even though he sexually assaulted her. But this whole chapter is about Sansa becoming able to convincingly lie for her own benefit / self-preservation, and eventually managing to rationalize those lies and avoid feeling guilty about it. All this potentially sets the stage for her to rationalize bigger, even more consequential lies later on.

Good post!

This bit with being able to convincingly lie for her own benefit and self-preservation is a nice contrast to when the Hound tells her in ACOK "They're all liars here and every one of them better than you". In a way, Sansa has graduated to another level of deception by this stage, and she's able to as you say rationalise it differently too.

It's interesting to note however that despite it all, she's not fully sold on Littlefinger's approach and harbours doubts about both that, and him as a person.

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Interestingly she lumps Tyrion in with her family, although I suppose at least she knows Tyrion somewhat, while she has never met her uncle Edmure or the Blackfish. If Sansa has learnt something from Lysa, it is to not trust anyone because of blood ties. I wonder if she does put Tyrion here because she's re-evaluated his actions in her abscence or if she sees a sort of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"? It seems like a long stretch that she sees him as family, despite technically being his wife.

I read that phrase as her saying "Tyrion is dead and if she returns to KL the Queen will have her was as well." She seemed to be listing places she could go and knew she would be killed by the Queen in KL like Tyrion was. Also althought she thinks of her family, Tyrion is still lumped in the same sentence as his sister. Although it could be that she saw him as a possible refuge point as it is in the middle of a list of people she is connected to.

Either way she really doesn't seem to cut up about his death.

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Maybe, or perhaps she thinks he is out of reach, or has gone somewhere really far away? She wonders in ASOS what has become of him, and maybe she thinks he's gone as far away as he can from the Lannisters? To somewhere like Dorne or across the Narrow Sea.

It could also be that she doesn't name him because she harbours a secret hope that he will arrive and repeat the offer he made at the Battle of the Blackwater, but in that case it does not seem like a conscious wish. I also wonder if AFFC Sansa doesn't partly recognise that while Sandor promised to keep her safe, what are the odds that he will actually manage? He doesn't really have any real power or political clout, unlike someone like Littlefinger. That said, I agree that she was disappointed that it was Lothor Brune and not Sandor, so she does think about him in that capacity still.

I wonder if a reason could be because she beginning to have a different appreciation of Sandor, not so much as her protector anymore, but as a potential romantic interest/lover? In this chapter she does remember him saving her from the mob, but later on those her thoughts of him are in a decidedly more intimate fashion... I don't know... I just can't imagine that Martin would not write him in there unless it was deliberate. Her calling LF her only true friend doesn't make sense when we consider that in her penultimate chapter of ASOS she was remembering what Sandor told her about liars and thinking of him fondly. So I really believe we're meant to notice and wonder why the Hound's name isn't listed.

Good post!

This bit with being able to convincingly lie for her own benefit and self-preservation is a nice contrast to when the Hound tells her in ACOK "They're all liars here and every one of them better than you". In a way, Sansa has graduated to another level of deception by this stage, and she's able to as you say rationalise it differently too.

It's interesting to note however that despite it all, she's not fully sold on Littlefinger's approach and harbours doubts about both that, and him as a person.

Yeah, what really came through in this chapter was the deep conflict that Sansa feels about having to lie to protect herself at the expense of others. Is this the final break in being a pawn? When you begin to treat others as pawns yourself? We see a more distanced appreciation of the game in this chapter: the tear that she thinks of as being good to fool the other lords when she's telling them what happened to Lysa, not taking what the servants said for the complete truth but analysing the evidence herself, and later on when she tells LF, "who else would I be" in response his wanting her to be Alayne. The worry for me is whether Sansa is mature enough to be able to separate the game from real life, and to keep Alayne and Sansa Stark separate. Her thoughts on the two identies of LF and Petyr apply here, with not knowing where the man stops and the mask begins. Will she be able to know when the mask begins for her if she's involved in the game for too long?

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There is a recurrent thematic in AFFC/ADWD of people having to hide or change their identity (I put these two books together since they’re really the same book, as both are taking place in the same time period).

  1. Sansa- Alayne
  2. Sandor- the grave digger
  3. Arya- Cat of the canal
  4. Catelyn- Mrs Stoneheart
  5. Theon- Reek
  6. Gregor clegane- Robert Strong
  7. Tyrion- Yolo

Brienne also has to hide her name to some extend while she travels trying to find Sansa. If I remember correctly, when she asks an artisan to repaint her amour, she don’t want her family sigils to be represented on it since she don’t want to be recognised.

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Good catch Maroucia.

I wonder if a reason could be because she beginning to have a different appreciation of Sandor, not so much as her protector anymore, but as a potential romantic interest/lover?

Yes, I think her leaving him out has to do with that, and something else, which I am not going to bring up yet as it has to do with later Sansa chapters. :)

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Good catch Maroucia.

Yes, I think her leaving him out has to do with that, and something else, which I am not going to bring up yet as it has to do with later Sansa chapters. :)

You piqued my curiosity with that… :huh:

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