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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

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(Rethinking VII found here)

(Original rereading Sansa links)

Welcome to the new thread everyone :)

As these threads have developed, our focus has shifted towards considering the larger themes in Sansa's story: identity, appearance vs.reality, love/sexuality, power/authority and autonomy/agency. We've seen that the journey from pawn to player doesn't necessarily mean that Sansa needs to assume a Queenship of either the North or the Seven Kingdoms at the end of the series; however, having control over her own life with the ability to fulfill her personal desires is absolutely vital to this development.

The overarching question then that we want to bear in mind for this new thread is just how we might see Sansa gaining access to this greater agency. Is the key to her independence to be found in Alayne Stone, Sansa Stark or dare I say, Sansa Lannister? What precise strategies will Sansa use to afford her power that is outside of Littlefinger's influence?

The last thread centred on a critical analysis of the female role models in Sansa's life and these insights remain relevant to a consideration of how Sansa will negotiate her way to power using the lessons she's learned directly or indirectly from the women she's encountered. Further, we've seen the other prominent female characters - Daenerys, Asha, Arianne - experience similar struggles when it comes to power, duty, and desire. Focusing on these women's experiences and their successes/failures would therefore assist in shedding light on Sansa's story. Kittykatknits also made the great suggestion that women like Mel, Alys Karstark and the Mormonts should be included in the discussion.

Sandor Clegane is important as ever to this discussion of Sansa and agency. Sansa's continued thoughts of him, and her developing feelings for him reveal an independent desire that continues to flourish in secrecy. What he's taught Sansa and her appreciation of his honesty strikes me as illustrating how Sansa can realise and utilise love as an empowering force instead of the destructive impact she's seen it have on the lives of women around her.

To end, I'd just like to make an appeal to those interested in participating in the thread to be mindful of its serious nature and to respect that this isn't a place for Sansa hate speech. If you suspect someone is trolling or looking for attention, please ignore them or send a report to the mods.

Finally, our work here will necessarily involve speculation at times, but these opinions should still reflect an engagement with the text.

xx

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Thread 8 again, I've learned so much here. Keep up the good work please. In the meanwhile, I'll read everything and feel dumber and dumber everyday for not coming up with those thoughts and comments.

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In terms of "clean hands", it may be that Sansa does not use the hairnet, but if she did, it would be suspicious if she ever became Sansa again, due to the manner in which Joff died. Arranging for LF to be caught trying to poison SR however would be clever and where she could use the poison in her hairnet as proof if she planted it on LF or with his possessions.

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Thread 8 again, I've learned so much here. Keep up the good work please. In the meanwhile, I'll read everything and feel dumber and dumber everyday for not coming up with those thoughts and comments.

:) Thanks! And really all insights are welcome, even if you're just expanding on something another poster wrote.

In terms of "clean hands", it may be that Sansa does not use the hairnet, but if she did, it would be suspicious if she ever became Sansa again, due to the manner in which Joff died. Arranging for LF to be caught trying to poison SR however would be clever and where she could use the poison in her hairnet as proof if she planted it on LF or with his possessions.

This would be the final post from the Rethinking VII. Thanks for reposting Rapsie.

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Some recap links for people to help them get started if they're newish to the Sansa rereads or if interested parties want to know where we were in the last thread (apart from brash's linking in the first post):

Influence on Sansa by other women:

Mladen's analysis of Margaery and Olenna and more here

Meself on Catelyn Tully

Caro99 analysis and discussion on Mya Stone

kittykatknits laying it out on Cersei Lannister

brashcandy with some thoughts on Kella

butterbumps! write up on Jeyne Poole

KittensRuleBeetsDrool with analysis on Septa Mordane

A... with interesting stuff on Myranda Royce

Lady Lea's write up on Lysa Tully

Dr Pepper's thoughtful analysis of Lollys Stokeworth. If I am missing more, let me know and I'll add them.

ARYa_Nym with an extensive write up on Arya Stark

Queen Cersei I with interesting thoughts on Shae

Further possibly interesting links for the Lazy ;)

Kittykatknits' excellent quick writeup of the Serpentine Step scene with analysis.

My write up of similarities between Jaime/Brienne and Sansa/Sandor, the first bit and the second bit.

brashcandy's interesting thoughts on the scene at the top of the Red Keep before the Battle of the Blackwater

Queen Cersei I with an analysis on female pride in Sansa's chapters. Continuation here.

brashcandy on Claiming agency through erotic power and how it applies to Sansa's arc

KittensRuleBeetsDrool on Sansa's clothing and its significance

Valkyrja with a discussion on Sansa's links to motherhood and the Mother

Me with a short write up on similarities between Sansa's and Arya's arcs

Will add more if I can find the old good stuff, but the memory is not as good as it could be. If I messed up the links feel free to send me angry PMs or give me spankings.

EDIT: Updated Aug 02 - 2012

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I'm hanging my head in a bit of shame here, folks. I've only just realised that we didn't include Arya as a single focus for an analysis in the last thread. Pehaps I can entice Arya_Nym to do a write up?

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I'm hanging my head in a bit of shame here, folks. I've only just realised that we didn't include Arya as a single focus for an analysis in the last thread. Pehaps I can entice Arya_Nym to do a write up?

Ohnoes! :spank:

(Was that as good for you as it was for me? :P )

EDIT: Seriously tho, Arya_Nym would be brilliant for an Arya write up if she'd agree to it.

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Too many influences from women. All fail. Influence by one man. Success.... Littlefinger is king.

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Sansa's agency

Unless the final confrontation with the others seriously acts as a catalyst for change in Westeros, then Sansa's agency is very limited in the way it can be exercised. We have seen with Cersei the futility of trying to act like in a perceived male role, something that also plagued Queen Matilda. Sansa could operate in the same way as the QoT or Margaery, but she unlike them has no immediate powerbase as most of her family and support are gone or would not be present in the South (similar to Ned's situation in AGOT).

This leaves her the option of operating in the same manner as LF: to a certain extent she has already experienced this in KL where although she had people's private sympathies, as exemplified by Lady Tanda telling her she had a kind heart and the reactions of Cersei's Council when Cersei talked about Sansa, there were very few willing to help her: Sandor and Ser Dontos. She did not have the oppertunity to foster relationships with anyone so it was impossible for her to build any support network. There may have been an oppertunity with the Tyrells, but at that point they were using her and Sansa was glad of friendly company for a change. Their usage of her has taught her a valuable lesson, which she can utilise in the Vale: namely that Sansa is firstly seen as a claim, but that she is aware of this and can now be more discerning about other people's motivations.

Her use of a false identity is something that gives her more agency in terms of her own life choices than Sansa could have. Keeping this identity would keep her from the large scale politics of Westeros, but it does let her have control of her decisions with regards to LF's property and inheritance. Should she wish to remain Alayne though, she would be required to dispose of LF. She may indeed win the loyalty, or acquire the loyalty of men and women such as Lothur Brune and Mya Stone, who are both valuable assets. Like LF's comment regarding no one having a mocking bird sewn on their chest, but that does not mean that he is without friends, Sansa too may be able to acquire a power base without anyone's knowledge: an example of which we have already seen with Sandor Clegane (although she was unaware at the time of what was happening).

As Sansa Stark however, her claim will always be part of her agency, in either a positive or negative way. Even if her claim to the North is null and void, she would still be a claimant for Riverrun. Although HtH is mentioned, her own dislike of the idea, would suggest that somehow it will not transpire and that she will be an active force in that: we know that HtH can refuse the match and Sansa may indeed find a way to persuade him to do that.

A marriage to Aegon is still a possibility, and one she may take in order to give herself a powerbase. However she would have to return to the snake put that is KL and she herself may choose not to do this. She may become good at playing the game, but that does not mean she wants to play it and her agency here may involve her removing herself to the safety of the sidelines, bowing out of power plays. Part of moving from pawn to player is deciding if she wants to play the game at all. Only by taking charge of her own agency can she remove herself from those players who would use her to their advantage such as LF, Tyrion or the QoT.

Then there is her marriage to Tyrion. His hold on the Westerlands is tenuous and his reputation as a Kinslayer may not endear him to his own liege Lords. Sansa is the sister of the Young Wolf who actively fought in the Westerlands and wiped out Steffon's army at Oxcross. Unless the massacre at Riverrun happens and the remaining Lannisters and Freys are wiped out then she is going to be facing an uphill battle to recruit any support from the Westerlands nobles. Little in the marriage would heal any rifts as it was their marriage that secured the North for the Lannisters and enabled them to enact the Red Wedding. This incident of betrayal is one which can not be other come with ease: very much like the Glencoe Massacre. It is unlikely that she would be loved in the Westerlands, and there is too much bad blood in the Riverlands for it to heal any wounds either as like the North, any children she and Tyrion may have, would have claims to both seats and no one after the RW will want a grandchild of Tywin Lannister in that position. Sansa herself should be able to foresee that the continuation of this match would cause more trouble. She firmly thinks of Tyrion as a liar and while not wanting him dead, does not want to be his wife. Indeed she may use her religious convictions and the ability to be pious to ensure the High Septon grants an annulment.

Although the HS is fanatical, annulment is permissible given certain circumstances and certainly she could persuade him of the horrors she suffered at the hands of the Lannisters.

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Hi, I am back from reading (nearly all) Sansas threads – and happy to see the 8th is open now (and just discovered that I can continue reading more character analyses from Westerosi women what I certainly will do. So you can imagine I spent serveral time reading your (Kittykat’s) analyses of the scenes at the serpentine steps, (Brashcandy’s) Red Keep etc.. What could I add – nothing – they are absolutely convincing and comprehensible! KittyKats description of the serpentine steps has been like a slowmotion picture for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and supplying new impressions!

Regarding LF’s downfall, I personally would love to see it happen prepared by Sansa and “executed” by UnCat. Additionally, I would like to learn your opinion about the Mad Mouse and his role (and he is called “mad” because of what reason…? Mouse because he is small, that’s clear to me).

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Crackpot on the Mad Mouse:

The EB gets sent to heal SR by Bronze Yohn. Sandor along with other novices in tow. Sandor recognizes Sansa, but doesn't approach her due to the B of BW incident. Mad Mouse works out Alyane is Sansa and tries to abduct her, being thwarted by Sandor. So he reunites Sandor and Sansa. :)

Or more likely:

The Mad Mouse works out Alyane is Sansa and sends a Raven to KL informing Cersei of this. Cersei sends Ser Robert Strong after Sansa.

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Sansa's agency

[...]

Her use of a false identity is something that gives her more agency in terms of her own life choices than Sansa could have. Keeping this identity would keep her from the large scale politics of Westeros, but it does let her have control of her decisions with regards to LF's property and inheritance.

[...]

As Sansa Stark however, her claim will always be part of her agency, in either a positive or negative way. Even if her claim to the North is null and void, she would still be a claimant for Riverrun.

[...]

A marriage to Aegon is still a possibility, and one she may take in order to give herself a powerbase. However she would have to return to the snake put that is KL and she herself may choose not to do this. She may become good at playing the game, but that does not mean she wants to play it and her agency here may involve her removing herself to the safety of the sidelines, bowing out of power plays. Part of moving from pawn to player is deciding if she wants to play the game at all. Only by taking charge of her own agency can she remove herself from those players who would use her to their advantage such as LF, Tyrion or the QoT.

[...]

I like most of your thoughts here. At this point her best chance to retain control over her own life would be to get rid of LF (not necessarily kill him herself, I don't really want to see that) and remain Alayne Stone. Even if she can get an annulment, her claim to Winterfell would leave her vulnerable. Someone mentioned in one of the earlier threads how she would be in a unique position since she would be without a patriarch, but that doesn't mean that all the other "players" would leave her alone - they'd still try to use her as a pawn. While under LF's tutelage she is learning how to avoid becoming a pawn in someone else's game and to be a player in her own right, as Sansa Stark she'd still have to play, whether she likes it or not. And this in itself diminishes her agency. I don't think she'd have a choice whether she wants to play the game or not, she can only choose if she wants to do so as a pawn or a player.

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Thread 8 again, I've learned so much here. Keep up the good work please. In the meanwhile, I'll read everything and feel dumber and dumber everyday for not coming up with those thoughts and comments.

These threads are great. We revisit topics at different times but I find that my understanding of different elements of Sansa's storyline just keeps growing. It's amazing how much there are in the Sansa chapters while also sad that so much of it gets missed too. Welcome and feel free to add to the discussion!!

In terms of "clean hands", it may be that Sansa does not use the hairnet, but if she did, it would be suspicious if she ever became Sansa again, due to the manner in which Joff died. Arranging for LF to be caught trying to poison SR however would be clever and where she could use the poison in her hairnet as proof if she planted it on LF or with his possessions.

I think that hairnet will appear again. I can see her using it to fame him or evidence somehow but actually using it herself would be a bad idea.

I'm hanging my head in a bit of shame here, folks. I've only just realised that we didn't include Arya as a single focus for an analysis in the last thread. Pehaps I can entice Arya_Nym to do a write up?

I can't imagine anyone better for this, she knows Arya better than anyone I've seen on these boards.

Crackpot on the Mad Mouse:

The EB gets sent to heal SR by Bronze Yohn. Sandor along with other novices in tow. Sandor recognizes Sansa, but doesn't approach her due to the B of BW incident. Mad Mouse works out Alyane is Sansa and tries to abduct her, being thwarted by Sandor. So he reunites Sandor and Sansa. :)

Or more likely:

The Mad Mouse works out Alyane is Sansa and sends a Raven to KL informing Cersei of this. Cersei sends Ser Robert Strong after Sansa.

My crackpot: The Mad Mouse figures out who Alayne is, sends off a raven to tell Cersei. She sends Ser Robert Strong to get Sansa but goes with him, leaving Tommen alone in KL. Sandor somehow hears rumors about Robert being his brother and goes to kill him, finding Sansa on the way. In the meantime, Jaime and Brienne have continued on their quest to find Sansa and somehow manage to join the fight to kill Robert Strong. They all work together to bring him down. Then, Jaime finds out that Cersei left Tommen alone to go out on this insane quest for revenge and kills her, thus fulfilling the prophecy. Sandor kills the Mad Mouse for trying to hurt Sansa (No one will ever hurt you again or I'll kill them....). So, this ties up Sandor and Sansa reuniting, ends Cersei, and takes care of Bran's vision back in GOT.

At this point, they all agree to go North and take Sansa back to WF. Upon arriving in WF they discover the Boltons and Freys have been wiped out and that Bran and Rickon are not dead. So, Sansa rules as regent to her younger brother while Sandor stays on as master of arms and her loyal sworn shield (among other very necessary duties if you catch my drift). In the meantime, they also learn about a mysterious Dragon Queen who has recently landed in Westeros. Somehow, Dany and Sansa meet up and become great friends. Everybody is pardoned and an annulment is obtained. Sansa and Sandor get married and eventually take over the Dreadfort, renaming it of course. Eventually, Jaime and Brienne go back South to get Tommen and then take him back to Tarth to live a quiet life together. Oh, yeah, LF is brought to justice based upon Sansa's testimony and Ser Sweetrobin grows up surprisingly healthy to rule the Vale.

Dany and Sansa remain close friends for the rest of their lives and work together to make many positive changes for women in Westeros.

I don't know what happens to Tyrion.

So, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it. This is totally plausible, right? ;)

Edit: Rapsie, I'm going to respond to your post too, as soon as I'm able to actually sit down and put thoughts together.

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Indeed she has a choice that is not open to many highborn girls: she can choose whether she wishes to be a Lady, or if she wishes to leave that life behind. However to choose to stay as Alyane would be bittersweet as she could never return to Winterfell. Lady Sansa Stark would for all intents and purposes be dead, seen for the last time running from the Purple Wedding.

Oddly this would tie in with her dream in AGOT where she dreams of sitting beside Joff when he is on the iron Throne and she is dressed in gold and everyone she ever knew came forward to pay her homage. After his death Joff was dressed in Gold armour too and Brienne wondered if the Lannisters had secretly murdered Sansa. Perhaps the symbolism of that initial dream was that for all intents and purposes both Sansa and Joff will be thought of as having died at the PW, their names being permanently associated with each other much like the Two Princes and Richard III.

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Rushed crackpot (since I'll be gone most of the day), Arya kills Littlefinger. Actually killing someone would take away the remainder of Sansa's innocence, which she's managed to keep somewhat intact even after everything that's happened. I can see the hairnet coming into play again, but I just don't want Sansa to kill.

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My crackpot: The Mad Mouse figures out who Alayne is, sends off a raven to tell Cersei. She sends Ser Robert Strong to get Sansa but goes with him, leaving Tommen alone in KL. Sandor somehow hears rumors about Robert being his brother and goes to kill him, finding Sansa on the way. In the meantime, Jaime and Brienne have continued on their quest to find Sansa and somehow manage to join the fight to kill Robert Strong. They all work together to bring him down. Then, Jaime finds out that Cersei left Tommen alone to go out on this insane quest for revenge and kills her, thus fulfilling the prophecy. Sandor kills the Mad Mouse for trying to hurt Sansa (No one will ever hurt you again or I'll kill them....). So, this ties up Sandor and Sansa reuniting, ends Cersei, and takes care of Bran's vision back in GOT.

At this point, they all agree to go North and take Sansa back to WF. Upon arriving in WF they discover the Boltons and Freys have been wiped out and that Bran and Rickon are not dead. So, Sansa rules as regent to her younger brother while Sandor stays on as master of arms and her loyal sworn shield (among other very necessary duties if you catch my drift). In the meantime, they also learn about a mysterious Dragon Queen who has recently landed in Westeros. Somehow, Dany and Sansa meet up and become great friends. Everybody is pardoned and an annulment is obtained. Sansa and Sandor get married and eventually take over the Dreadfort, renaming it of course. Eventually, Jaime and Brienne go back South to get Tommen and then take him back to Tarth to live a quiet life together. Oh, yeah, LF is brought to justice based upon Sansa's testimony and Ser Sweetrobin grows up surprisingly healthy to rule the Vale.

Dany and Sansa remain close friends for the rest of their lives and work together to make many positive changes for women in Westeros.

I don't know what happens to Tyrion.

So, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it. This is totally plausible, right? ;)

Yes, this!!! :thumbsup:

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Hi, I am back from reading (nearly all) Sansas threads – and happy to see the 8th is open now (and just discovered that I can continue reading more character analyses from Westerosi women what I certainly will do. So you can imagine I spent serveral time reading your (Kittykat’s) analyses of the scenes at the serpentine steps, (Brashcandy’s) Red Keep etc.. What could I add – nothing – they are absolutely convincing and comprehensible! KittyKats description of the serpentine steps has been like a slowmotion picture for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and supplying new impressions!

Regarding LF’s downfall, I personally would love to see it happen prepared by Sansa and “executed” by UnCat. Additionally, I would like to learn your opinion about the Mad Mouse and his role (and he is called “mad” because of what reason…? Mouse because he is small, that’s clear to me).

If you have the time, read Littlefinger telling Sansa of the marriage contract with Harry the Heir using the same method and keeping in mind who LF thinks is compatible with Sansa. Is it HtH...or someone else? :) It would be interesting to see your take on it.

Here's my take on, under spoiler tag (no cheating :P )

When does LF slip up and show us what he is really about? It's when he is presenting Sansa with the marriage contract to Harry the Heir. He's taking a two-pronged approach here to declare his intent (makes it sound like a military attack on Sansa's defences! ) . Firstly, the way he talks about Harry. "You will have no problem winning his boyish heart", and clearly indicating to Sansa that he feels Sansa and LF both are above and beyond such silly people. *They* are the clever ones, they are conspiring together, they look down on such simpletons and most importantly, he indicates that he and Sansa belong together. It's them against the world, so to speak.

Secondly, you have his body language while he gives her the marriage contract. He pulls her down in his lap and she's close enough to feel the smell of cloves on his breath, then after he has presented it to her, he thinks it's worth some more non-fatherly kisses.

Littlefinger may be giving Sansa a paper with another man's name on it, but what he's really doing here is asserting himself as belonging together with her, and as a more worthy suitor.

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Indeed she has a choice that is not open to many highborn girls: she can choose whether she wishes to be a Lady, or if she wishes to leave that life behind. However to choose to stay as Alyane would be bittersweet as she could never return to Winterfell. Lady Sansa Stark would for all intents and purposes be dead, seen for the last time running from the Purple Wedding.

Oddly this would tie in with her dream in AGOT where she dreams of sitting beside Joff when he is on the iron Throne and she is dressed in gold and everyone she ever knew came forward to pay her homage. After his death Joff was dressed in Gold armour too and Brienne wondered if the Lannisters had secretly murdered Sansa. Perhaps the symbolism of that initial dream was that for all intents and purposes both Sansa and Joff will be thought of as having died at the PW, their names being permanently associated with each other much like the Two Princes and Richard III.

Yes, Sansa and Arya's journeys are similar in this regard, that they must consider the erasure of the identity linking them to each other and their brothers in their attempts to gain a greater agency. We see that Arya's attempt is somewhat uninformed, and Sansa's is also pinched by the way she has had to put herself so directly in LF's power. Both girls are still being told what and who "to do" in various ways. Until Sansa can shake off Petyr, it seems unlikely that any of the bastard-girl-related possibilities for greater freedom and agency will actually pan out.

We did have some discussion in the previous threads about the similarities in the sisters' journeys, didn't we?

Basically, I wanted to make a post so this thread will appear in my new content page when I check the forums. XD Sorry for not contributing that much!

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Yes, Sansa and Arya's journeys are similar in this regard, that they must consider the erasure of the identity linking them to each other and their brothers in their attempts to gain a greater agency. We see that Arya's attempt is somewhat uninformed, and Sansa's is also pinched by the way she has had to put herself so directly in LF's power. Both girls are still being told what and who "to do" in various ways. Until Sansa can shake off Petyr, it seems unlikely that any of the bastard-girl-related possibilities for greater freedom and agency will actually pan out.

We did have some discussion in the previous threads about the similarities in the sisters' journeys, didn't we?

Yes we did; it was also noted a while back how Arya notices the Titan of Braavos when she's coming into the port and feels quite unsettled by it. Perhaps foreshadowing that she'll be involved in LF's demise in the future?

I agree with you on the point about the bastard identities. Until Sansa can find a way to be free of LF this identity will only take her so far. We're seeing two contradictory agendas: LF is using Alayne Stone to further entrap and exploit Sansa - pervy kisses et al, whilst Sansa is using Alayne to explore her strengths and abilities without the constant fear of abuse or reprisals. It could be said then that both are fighting for control of "Sansa" via Alayne, and we have to wait to see who will conquer.

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An angle to consider is that The Mad Mouse is sent out by Varys, and Varys has no real interest in doing the Lannisters' bidding now when Aegon is near. I also don't think Varys has any interest in bringing Sansa to Cersei: quite the opposite.

The Mad Mouse is also a hedge knight, and what he is after is money. LF will have no problem matching Varys coin for coin and then some, if it comes to buying allegiances.

If Jon Conn approaches the Vale and LF to make a deal, and LF realises Varys is behind the Aegon/Jon Conn concoction, he may be happy to work with Varys against the Lannister/Tyrell alliance. Especially if it means he gets to keep Harrenhal and his Lord Protector of the Vale. LF is above all an opportunist, so it will be interesting to see if he can leverage the Vale's resources into getting what he wants from f!Aegon/Jon Conn/Varys. Perhaps LF will finally get the annulment he is after and be "free" to marry Sansa....dun dun dun.

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