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Ragnorak

Foreshadowing and Symbolism in Sansa's Snow Castle

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...Rubbing snow in Arya's hair in response may represent Sansa convincing Arya to resume the crown-like responsibilities of a Stark and abandoning the FM rather than a literal crown...

Hmm...

Outside the flakes drifted down as soft and silent as memory.

Sansa drifted past frosted shrubs and thin dark trees, and wondered if she were still dreaming. Drifting snowflakes brushed her face as light as lover’s kisses, and melted on her cheeks. At the center of the garden, beside the statue of the weeping woman that lay broken and half-buried on the ground, she turned her face up to the sky and closed her eyes. She could feel the snow on her lashes, taste it on her lips. It was the taste of Winterfell. The taste of innocence. The taste of dreams.

If snow is the taste of innocence, Winterfell and dreams then rubbing snow in her hair is about their shared roots and common stark identity. To my mind that would point more in the direction of Sansa reminding Arya of what she was than of shoving her into some fancy pants high falutin' political role! :dunno:

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If snow is the taste of innocence, Winterfell and dreams then rubbing snow in her hair is about their shared roots and common stark identity. To my mind that would point more in the direction of Sansa reminding Arya of what she was than of shoving her into some fancy pants high falutin' political role! :dunno:

I have just started typing the same, and then I have seen your post.Completely agree.

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After reading this thread (what a great analysis) I am gravitating towards Sansa as being central/the mastermind to any Stark revival. She could soon find herself in a position where she brings the remaining Starks together, and perhaps reminds them of who they are, to a certain extent.

Her story arc is pretty fun and very interesting. In the beginning Sansa was

1) Arguably unlikable.

2) The least threatening Stark.

3) Possibly the dullest character.

Now she is certainly none of these and GRRM seems to be setting her up for something big.

I'd like to do a Sansa reread and try connect all the imagery, the analysis was great in helping pinpoint bits and pieces which are surely connected.

Also, the fact that the Giant is described as being 'savage' points more towards Robert Strong (maybe even Ramsay) than LF.

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...Also, the fact that the Giant is described as being 'savage' points more towards Robert Strong (maybe even Ramsay) than LF.

I don't know. So far Ser Robert Strong has been completely unsavage, he doesn't even indulge himself in crude bodily functions ;) Lord Baelish on the other hand is literally savage because he doesn't conform to the norms and values of Westeros society as seen in behaviour like betraying his lord by plotting to murder him and committing adultery with his wife the bonds of loyalty from inferior to superior (and vice versa) are along with family the building blocks of social stability in Westeros. Littlefinger has been upsetting all that - you can't be much more savage even if you stripped off and ran naked inside Baelor's Sept.

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Istripped off and ran naked inside Baelor's Sept.

This is where Lancel's arc is destined to lead to.

I think I made the connection to Ramsay because as far as I know he is the only person in the book as being described as 'savage'? I might be completely wrong there. Also he has the connection to WF.

Also, I would argue that LF is the complete opposite of savage. Unscrupulous, manipulative, scheming yes, but I don't regard him as being savage. I think Robert Strong will literally turn out to be a savage abomination. And he was 'savage' when he was alive.

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Beautiful discussion here. I'm re-reading this chapter and it really highlights how the snow is a positive image in Sansa's identity arc. As for LF's savagery, what more proof does that need than the fact that he started the war that's ripping Westeros to shreds. From the point of view of the Ghost of High Heart and the tragedy she's already witnessed, that is particularly savage.

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Yeah I agree LF is a bit of a douche, but I'd certainly describe him as being more civilised than savage, at least not in usual sense of the word. When I think of someone being savage (wildling, Ramsay, Gregor) I think that they are not entirely in control of themselves or a situation - which is the opposite of LF. I just thought about Wun Wun as I type this, but don't see Sansa could possibly encounter him.

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Really interesting find Ragnorak! :thumbsup:

When you mention this part here:

" Drifting snowflakes brushed her face as light as lover’s kisses, and melted on her cheeks. "

It might be nutty but in the back of my mind I always took it to mean the snowflakes on her face could metaphorically represent one of two things: They really are representing lovers kisses, and the melting of them on her face representing her tears.(Does something happen to that lover to make her weep or is she weeping for another reason?). Or for a slightly different take, they represent her old "childish" dreams (of her wanting to be Queen,etc)--and the melting of the snow on her cheeks, again being tears--lamenting the passing of those old dreams, and her mourning them,

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The image of the snowflakes melting on Sansa's cheeks is repeated in her struggle with Lysa later in the same chapter, as also the snow swirling around her, though that's not in the same words.

Incidentally, there is melted snow, a Petyr, a drunk character as well as a singer in the epilogue which immediately follows this Sansa chapter.

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stripped off and ran naked inside Baelor's Sept.

This is where Lancel's arc is destined to lead to.

:rofl:

Saved for awesomeness.

No, I don't have anything helpful to add. :)

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Hmm...

If snow is the taste of innocence, Winterfell and dreams then rubbing snow in her hair is about their shared roots and common stark identity. To my mind that would point more in the direction of Sansa reminding Arya of what she was than of shoving her into some fancy pants high falutin' political role! :dunno:

The snow melting in Robb's hair could just be about his death - outside of the crowning symbolism. So Sansa rubbing snow in Arya's hair, and being hit with it full in the face herself, could signify that they're the ones who will live and rebuild.

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To go back to the memory of the melting snowflakes in Robb's hair, she also remembers Arya unsuccessfully trying to make a snowball, and Sansa leaves Winterfell with the snow swirling all around her. I don't know if you were able to establish upthread what Arya's inability to shape the snowball could mean, but perhaps it signifies the eventual separation between the sisters or the tragedy in the family itself. So we have three images which seem to highlight coming problems for the Starks: the melting snowflakes in Robb's hair, Arya's snowball failure, and then swirling snow for Sansa, which is a little harder to interpret, but perhaps represents confusion, lack of clarity etc - states which define her early experience in KL.

Her lament that there's no one one to throw snowballs at, but then seeing how she could use them to begin building Winterfell might hint at the need for collective Stark power which is vested in their connection to home. It's interesting that Bran never leaves his perch during the snowball fight between Arya and Sansa, but he too is "armed" for the battle, which sees the two sisters hitting each other directly with the snow: Arya hits Sansa full in the face, and Sansa in turn rubs it in Arya's hair. I like your suggestions here concerning the crowning and/or the sisters helping to remind the other of their true identities/priorities.

Looking at snowballs as weapons made of the stuff of Stark power, Arya wasn't truly armed yet. That memory would have been just before Jon gave her Needle and well before she starts to learn to use it with Syrio. or starts training as an assassin. I suspect it may also apply to warging. If this is the right way to look at it then Sansa being able to easily make snowballs out of this heavy and wet snow would be a positive thing. That was a Summer snow for Summer children and they are now Winter's children.

Tyrion's line comes to mind

Winter is coming, warned the Stark words, and truly it had come for them with a vengeance. But it is high summer for House Lannister. So why am I so bloody cold?

Hmm...

If snow is the taste of innocence, Winterfell and dreams then rubbing snow in her hair is about their shared roots and common stark identity. To my mind that would point more in the direction of Sansa reminding Arya of what she was than of shoving her into some fancy pants high falutin' political role! :dunno:

I like this interpretation the most and think it fits best. It also blends well with the bridge concept as the bridge between them helps each reclaim her identity. Trying to read foreshadowing ,and to a lesser degree symbolism, in Martin's work is a bit like his take on prophesy so I'm more comfortable with broad themes like this than predicting crowns. Still it is fun and occasionally tempting to try and read the flames like Melisandre.

After reading this thread (what a great analysis) I am gravitating towards Sansa as being central/the mastermind to any Stark revival. She could soon find herself in a position where she brings the remaining Starks together, and perhaps reminds them of who they are, to a certain extent.

<snip>

Also, the fact that the Giant is described as being 'savage' points more towards Robert Strong (maybe even Ramsay) than LF.

Thanks. There's an excellent Sansa reread that was started by Brashcandy and Rapsie that begins here. It covers Sansa chapter by chapter through the whole series. The Pawn to Player threads are numerous but they have a tremendous amount of superb material. If you look here at the first post by Milady you'll see links to the various reread chapters and a number of resource links below. Each resource link has a list of posts or essays. You'll find everything from Snow White to Greek Mythology and essays on Sansa's relationships with almost every male and female character in the series as well as a great series of essays covering the Beauty and the Beast theme.

The Giant is an oft discussed topic and Robert Strong isn't an unreasonable candidate especially given Bran's vision. I'm in the LF camp mostly because I think he thematically fits more as a Sansa and Stark nemesis in general. LF's father's sigil was the Titan of Braavos which is a stone giant. Here LF steps over the walls of Sansa's Winterfell and Arya thinks that the Titan of Braavos is big enough to step over the walls of Winterfell when she first sees it. LF isn't without signs pointing to him either.

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As far as Sansa personally doing the slaying, I can only see it being Littlefinger.

But part of me wants Sansa (or her forces) to slay an actual giant at a snow-covered Winterfell, when her Eyrie forces clash with the Wildling forces of Jon Snow. Not sure why they'd be fighting but it would make for incredible drama.

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There are some Littlefinger specific exchanges.

This has some clear sexual innuendo to it and seems to show an almost successful seduction of Sansa by Littlefinger. Winterfell had better withstand because I'm not sure I will if Littlefinger makes his way into the gatehouse. The implication is Winterfell, the thing she has built, protects her.

This has potential marriage foreshadowing with him asking for her hand. Just when sounds weak-- A castle! This represents both her defense against him and his attack on her which results in his beheading.

I can see Littlefinger trying to seduce her and Sansa insisting he help her reclaim Winterfell before she'll give in. It also suggests Sansa will eventually see him for what he is-- Marillion. The idea that she has to defend herself is echoed with the realization she can't rely on Lothor Brune.

The "giant" wants to get through the gates. He knocks off the top of both gatehouse towers. Are these the two huge bulwarks she builds? Are the people these represent beheaded (literally or manipulatively as is LF's style) or does this represent something else? The giant also attacks the walls but does not breach them before he is caught by Sansa and has his head taken off.

Brilliant analysis! So glad it got bumped so that I found it.

I have little to add, except in the areas I clipped above. First, I've always felt that there was some background sexual element to "Come Into My Castle" in the same way that children IRL who play house are modeling adult behavior, including their perception of the sexual aspects of it. Come Into My Castle is most likely a similar game played by noble children to work out all aspects of becoming an adult in their world. So LF asking Sansa if he can come into her castle has clear sexual innuendoes, which you noted. (As for the gatehouse, or means of entry to the castle, we have the obvious precedent of "Gatehouse Ami" the promiscuous Frey daughter who will raise her portcullis for anyone ;))

This next part may have come up elsewhere (I admit I only skimmed the rest of the thread after reading the OP) but it seemed clear to me at first read that the giant trying to get through the gatehouse represented Littlefinger's menacing sexual designs upon Sansa. What I'm not sure about is if there is any significance to the "giant" in play being wielded by Sweet Robin.

Finally, Sansa need not literally behead the giant (Littlefinger) as the Freudian meaning behind beheading is castration, which of course also may not be literal but may possibly be symbolic of his ultimate loss of power :stunned:

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After reading this thread (what a great analysis) I am gravitating towards Sansa as being central/the mastermind to any Stark revival. She could soon find herself in a position where she brings the remaining Starks together, and perhaps reminds them of who they are, to a certain extent.

Her story arc is pretty fun and very interesting. In the beginning Sansa was

1) Arguably unlikable.

2) The least threatening Stark.

3) Possibly the dullest character.

Now she is certainly none of these and GRRM seems to be setting her up for something big.

I'd like to do a Sansa reread and try connect all the imagery, the analysis was great in helping pinpoint bits and pieces which are surely connected.

Also, the fact that the Giant is described as being 'savage' points more towards Robert Strong (maybe even Ramsay) than LF.

I think for Sansa to have to slay a giant Savage or otherwise, there needs to be a personal connection, and only two people come to mind, LF ( my pick) and Tyrion who is getting blacker as he goes along, except he was decent towards her and he did aid and or shield her before and after their forced wedding so of the two Baleish.

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Wow, what a great thread! I don't know how I missed this when it first started. The snow castle scene and Sansa descending the Eyrie taking Sweetrobin over that treacherous land saddle while hearing the wind and thinking it sounds like a wolf are two of my top 3 favorite Sansa scenes (the third being when she finds Sandor in her room at the end of the BBW). There is a lot of connection between these two scenes - Sansa gaining strength from her home, Winterfell, and from being a wolf, and her connections to Jon in both are just so strong. I never realized how much of a sense we get of Jon in the snow Winterfell scene until reading this. Great job!

Also, I am in the LF is the savage giant that Sansa will slay camp. LF's appearance on the outside may seem civilized but his soul is corrupt and is what caused the savagery of war.

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OK, I remembered a point I wanted to say about this topic but I am having trouble formulating it coherently so I hope this does not seem too scattershod. I wanted to bring up the parallels between Alyssa Arryn and Sansa. I think it's very intentional on GRRM's part that Sansa falls to her knees in a trance right next to the broken statue of Alyssa Arryn. Alyssa Arryn was a woman who lost her entire family yet never cried for them while she lived. Throughout the story we have seen how Sansa also does not cry and keeps her emotions very close to the vest as a means of self protection. This has become known as her courtesy armor. We got a glimpse of it when Hugh (of the Vale - coincidence?) was killed in front of her at the Hand's Tourney at the hands of Gregor, the Mountain, Clegane no less who is one of the candidates for the savage giant. Furthermore, the Mountain killed Ser Hugh during a joust with his lance. As someone pointed out above, the name of the mountain where the Eyrie sits and where Alyssa's Tears fall from is the Giant's Lance. Some interesting connections there I would say. When Hugh died in front of her, Sansa did not show any emotion or tears as opposed to her friend Jeyne Poole who had to be led away in hysterics. However, since Hugh was a stranger to Sansa with no personal connection to her, it's not that remarkable that she wouldn't appear as if she feels anything towards his death even if it was pretty gruesome.

The one big standout where Sansa gets really emotional and then goes into a deep mourning and depression with thoughts of suicide is after the tragic and shocking beheading of her father Ned right in front of her eyes. For days, Sansa seems to be so overcome with her emotions that she can't function. But I think this reaction was very realistic and not out of character because, for heavens sake, it was her beloved father and he was killed in front of her on the orders of the very guy whom she was convinced was her gallant knight and protector. It is such an earthshaking, ground breaking, seismic shift in Sansa's world view that of course her emotional reaction will reflect this huge shift. But what happens when Joff takes her to the wall walk to see her father's head on the spike? She confronts it and steels herself again so as not to let Joff hurt her. That is Sansa's inner wolf taking over there and I think it's the sign that after that she is turning more and more to the things that strengthen her wolf nature.

Then the only other time we hear that Sansa cried, but we don't see it, is when Tyrion tells her about the deaths of her mother and brother Robb. Tyrion says how she wouldn't cry in front of him and it was difficult to tell from her reaction that she had heard him. It was only after she was behind closed doors by herself that Tyrion heard her crying. By this time she manages to compose herself long enough to get by herself before she starts crying. She would not let herself cry about her other family members' deaths in front of him. In another interesting connection, the statue of Alyssa has been overturned during the trial by battle on behalf of Tyrion and Sansa is now married to Tyrion. This could reflect how Sansa's marriage to Tyrion was also a blow to the Starks, since it was meant as a way for the Lannisters to gain control of Winterfell and the North, and it may have knocked her down for a while but it did not break her spirit.

Another parallel between Sansa and Alyssa is that Alyssa Arryn will supposedly know no rest until her tears, represented by the waterfall Alyssa's Tears, touch the Vale of Arryn. Ragnorak highlighted how this chapter begins with Sansa waking up abruptly and not being able to get back to sleep. She cannot rest now just as Alyssa Arryn cannot, and feels the need to go outside into the snow. Also, Alyssa's Tears flow down the western side of the Giant's Lance. If the Giant's Lance symbolizes Gregor, then it's worth noting that Gregor is a Westerman in service to the Lannisters who are the Wardens of the West and the family that is most responsible for the deaths of Sansa's family members. Alyssa Arryn lived six thousand years before this story takes place. I wonder if the number six will be relevant to Sansa, for example maybe it will be six years before Sansa is able to rebuild Winterfell or take down LF or something like that. Maybe once all that is said and done after six years, Sansa will finally be able to let it all out and sob about her losses.

Another thing I wanted to comment on briefly is the idea of the connection between Sansa and Bran. I was glancing through AGOT looking for the next Jon chapter to read for the Jon reread, and I came across this from Bran V. It is chapter when he rides his new horse, that he named Dancer (Sansa is the Stark who loves dancing) with the new saddle (that Tyrion designed for him).

A light snow was falling. Bran could feel the flakes on his face, melting as they touched his skin like the gentlest of rains.
This is the same imagery as is described with Sansa here.

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Quote

Dawn stole into her garden like a thief.

“That will give it strength enough to stand, I’d think,” Petyr said. “May I come into your castle, my lady?”

Sansa was wary. “Don’t break it. Be…”

“…gentle?” He smiled. “Winterfell has withstood flercer enemies than me.

This has some clear sexual innuendo to it and seems to show an almost successful seduction of Sansa by Littlefinger. Winterfell had better withstand because I'm not sure I will if Littlefinger makes his way into the gatehouse. The implication is Winterfell, the thing she has built, protects her.

This has potential marriage foreshadowing with him asking for her hand. Just when sounds weak-- A castle! This represents both her defense against him and his attack on her which results in his beheading.

And before that Sansa experienced this on her wedding with Tyrion:

''He hopped down from the dais and grabbed Sansa roughly. “Come, wife, time to smash your portcullis. I want to play come-into-the-castle.”

----

And I must share this for the lulz:

http://browse.deviantart.com/art/Sansa-s-Dating-Woes-part-one-91000891

http://alciha.deviantart.com/art/Sansa-s-Dating-Woes-part-two-91001036

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Great post, Elba! Just one thing I want to add on to, you mentioned the connection between Sansa and Bran, and brought up the similarity in the melting-snowflake images in their chapters. The idea was floated on the P2P threads that Sansa is forging a psychic connection (Weirwood-net?) with Bran here and she built her snow Winterfell with his help. Bran was the one who knew all the castle buildings and structures because he was always climbing around on them. Sansa seemed to know more than she "should" when building her snow Winterfell, knowledge that presumed an aerial view of the castle. Sansa was not the type of kid to climb or explore as far as we know, but Bran was, and Sansa may have been tapping into his knowledge of the actual Winterfell structure. (And here is a good reason for Bran's love of climbing and exploration to exist besides getting him shoved off a tower by Jaime.)

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