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Ragnorak

Foreshadowing and Symbolism in Sansa's Snow Castle

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So if I had to put forth a hypothesis based on the bells so far I would say the bell tower/bridge metaphor linking Bran and Sansa is one of helping each other transition to adulthood while retaining innocence.

I agree; this discussion evokes the poet William Blake, and I thought his poem The Echoing Green (from songs of innocence) was appropriate, especially with some of the imagery surrounding Bran and Sansa:

THE ECHOING GREEN

The sun does arise,

And make happy the skies;

The merry bells ring

To welcome the Spring;

The skylark and thrush,

The birds of the bush,

Sing louder around

To the bells' cheerful sound;

While our sports shall be seen

On the echoing green.

Old John, with white hair,

Does laugh away care,

Sitting under the oak,

Among the old folk.

They laugh at our play,

And soon they all say,

'Such, such were the joys

When we all--girls and boys -

In our youth-time were seen

On the echoing green.'

Till the little ones, weary,

No more can be merry:

The sun does descend,

And our sports have an end.

Round the laps of their mothers

Many sisters and brothers,

Like birds in their nest,

Are ready for rest,

And sport no more seen

On the darkening green.

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Wow I am really loving this thread. Thanks so much for the compliments guys. It's high praise seeing who it's coming from :grouphug:

KRBD and Greensleeves I had vaguely remembered reading that idea that Sansa connected with Bran somehow when she blanked out before she started building snow Winterfell but I didn't remember all the details. Thanks for expounding on that and I do think something like this happened. Also Greensleeves I loved the comments about Sansa bringing winter with her down the mountain. I agree with you that the snow Winterfell scene and Sansa's last chapter in Feast have a lot in common.

Hmm, the bells stuff I am not as sure of. I always got an ominous feeling about them in Sansa's chapters since, as mentioned, they mostly seem to be associated with traumatic events. It does seem to signal change too though as it seems that for Sansa whenever she heard bells her status changed in some way. However I wonder if the fact that it is connected to the rookery could be significant. My pet theory about Sansa eventually warging an animal is that it will be birds and from that she will learn something significant that perhaps will lead to LF's eventual downfall. It's tied to her "little bird" nickname and the fact that the children Varys uses in his spy network are his little birds. Sansa can become her own spy network. If so, and she were to learn about some dangerous plot or how LF was really responsible for her father's death for example, she could then sound the alarms via the bells as a warning. Or now that she is down in the Vale she'll have access to a real Weirwood and will make some connection with Bran through that and learn he is alive and finally start to set things in motion to either foil LF's plans, rebuild Winterfell, both or something else completely. There are so many ways her story can go so it's hard to predict.

ETA Brash, love the Blake poem! The romantic poets are my favorite.

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My pet theory about Sansa eventually warging an animal is that it will be birds and from that she will learn something significant that perhaps will lead to LF's eventual downfall. It's tied to her "little bird" nickname and the fact that the children Varys uses in his spy network are his little birds. Sansa can become her own spy network. If so, and she were to learn about some dangerous plot or how LF was really responsible for her father's death for example, she could then sound the alarms via the bells as a warning. Or now that she is down in the Vale she'll have access to a real Weirwood and will make some connection with Bran through that and learn he is alive and finally start to set things in motion to either foil LF's plans, rebuild Winterfell, both or something else completely. There are so many ways her story can go so it's hard to predict.

I like this idea a lot too. In addition to embodying her own spy network, we could see Sansa actively building one in the Vale, and recruiting her own little birds. There's already "Sweetrobin", and potential with Mya Stone (isn't Harry called the young Falcon?). Perhaps everyone who came down the Mountain on that day with Sansa will eventually form part of her new pack or rookery.

ETA Brash, love the Blake poem! The romantic poets are my favorite.

Glad you liked it :) I love them too.

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My pet theory about Sansa eventually warging an animal is that it will be birds and from that she will learn something significant that perhaps will lead to LF's eventual downfall. It's tied to her "little bird" nickname and the fact that the children Varys uses in his spy network are his little birds. Sansa can become her own spy network. If so, and she were to learn about some dangerous plot or how LF was really responsible for her father's death for example, she could then sound the alarms via the bells as a warning. Or now that she is down in the Vale she'll have access to a real Weirwood and will make some connection with Bran through that and learn he is alive and finally start to set things in motion to either foil LF's plans, rebuild Winterfell, both or something else completely. There are so many ways her story can go so it's hard to predict.

I always thought that Sansa's way back to her wolf roots would be through warging birds, since she's a "little bird", I love love love that I found it as a theory on here :)

I like your interpretation of how the bells will be incorporated in this: as her warning. Maybe the motif of bells is there to put the idea into her head of the bells being "a weapon" or "a tool" to her? the bells as a reminder that they are there for her, should she need them.

The merry bells ring

To welcome the Spring;

(Thanks brashcandy, this is excellent... I am not much into English poetry, but really appreciate this connection :) )

as for the poem: it indicates awakening, a new day, a new age perhaps? innocence, love?

these are all so very relevant to Sansa.

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OP, I have been saying this forever!!! Glad you posted it

What I think is that Sansa and Sweet Robin's little scene in the snow is as follows.

Sansa builds meticulously WF out of snow, this is the only time in the books a small model of one of the castles has been made. And it's a very important chapter all around as everyone here has been saying.

SR comes along as says "oh a Giant's attacking' and smashes down the gate with his 'giant' doll.

So to me this is a clear foreshadow of how WF will be taken back from Ramsay Snow in WoW.

Winterfell is covered in snow and occupied by Ramsay Snow (double snow symbolism). So then a giant breaks down the gates to get the castle back (the giant claiming the castle is foreshadowed when the giants head is placed atop the pole on the high tower) like the castles belongs to me now as a flag would be hoisted.

So the only thing I am not sure of is if the 'Giant' will be Wun-Wun brought down from the Wall by Jon Snow (wun-wun will die in the attempt) BUt the giant definitely has enough strength to rip WF's gates off, plus he really likes Jon, And I think he will even more so since Jon basically just died defending him.

OR, the other option is that the Umber's will take back WF, their sigil being a giant. Seeing as how they are loyal to the Starks and are not far away from WF right now, this is real possibility.

BUT IMHO it is the first option. I mean the relationship between Jon and Wun-Wun has to be good for something right? We have seen his massive crazy strength displayed several times and as of yet is has not been put to any good use. So I think this is how he will help Jon out and repay him for everything Jon has done for him and the Wildlings in general.

I have been very sure of this theory for a while now, but I didn't see this thread until today (Thanx MLaden).

I have been sure of this because WF while in the north is not really completely blanketed in snow until after all the Starks leave from it. Sansa, being a Stark, is building the model of her home which she doesn't even know is covered in snow. So she has a subconscious connection with it. I mean to say they could have hhad another of the Starks build a model of it, like for instance, Arya could have built a sand castle in Braavos, but GRRM specifically chose Sansa and 'snow' to be the vehicle for this prophecy. And WF is totally covered in literal snow and Ramsay Snow's men.

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Why is the giant trying to get the castle back? Robin said he was attacking it, to knock down what she was trying to build. Like he was playing at being a little Ramsay monster. Seems to foreshadow that the kid will continue to be a nuisance who stands in the way of her making any progress.

SuzeStorm: Wun-Wun brought down from the Wall by Jon Snow ... to rip WF's gates off
Okay now it's interesting! More likely than Vale forces making it up there.

Br'andy: In addition to embodying her own spy network, we could see Sansa actively building one in the Vale, and recruiting her own little birds. There's already "Sweetrobin", and potential with Mya Stone (isn't Harry called the young Falcon?). Perhaps everyone who came down the Mountain on that day with Sansa will eventually form part of her new pack or rookery.
Let's begin the wagering! I'm more inclined to go along with this Brash concept of the little bird learning to fly politically, while keeping people as her focus. I'll Fed-Ex to Elba the item of her choice from my town's best European bakery if this warging of birds thing comes to pass. Something birdy is going on for sure, but it sounds like a personality trait more than a magical one. So far, it has referred to the negative connotations of innocence and how it leaves one unprepared for the reality of things. But the character demands that we hope, so I'm going to agree that her "birdness" will translate into a strength somehow by the end, to show us the value of persistence, etc. Maybe the people of Westeros will see Sansa's genuine kindness as the exact sort of thing they want in a leader after being led by so many dipshits in a row, at long last someone who won't screw them over. And if she rings the bells of truth somehow in whistleblower fashion during the final stages of the conflict, this could alert everyone to her better nature and how it's preferable to whatever she just saved the kingdom from having to endure. Could be a turning point like the battle of the bells was.

(Legal disclaimer: this offer of fine pastry in exchange for bird warging has no expiration date and can be redeemed however long into the future Martin takes to finish the series---I'll instruct my children to honor the bet if I am no longer extant when A Dream of Spring is published; dragon warging does not count for the purposes of receiving fine pastry through the mail, as I have suspicions the lord of Harrenhal will inevitably have dragons flying at his face as a way of bringing history full circle, so I'm somewhat more hesitant to rule out any future Sansa/dragon interaction.)

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@ Mother of the Others - OOHH!! Now I am intrigued! What kind of pastries are we talking about? It's a bet, but since we may not get an answer for years to come, I'll have to keep this page bookmarked somewhere safe because I intend to collect if my version of events comes to pass :)

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This might seem a bit out of place with the "snow/winter" theme, but it does involve the symbolism of the Snow Castle.

We have both Littlefinger and the Mountain vying for the "giant" who steps over the walls of Winterfell. Personally, I waffle back and forth as to who it might be, but I definitely see both possibilities.

If I may, I'd like to bring up the following as (after skimming) I don't think I've seen these passages brought up in this particular thread. (If they are mentioned, my apologies).

I thought this passage from an Arya chapter in ASOS very intriguing:

GREGOR/ROBERT STRONG

I find it highly ironic that it's Sweetrobin---Robert Arryn, that attacks Sansa's castle with her doll. This coupled with the : "Over them both loomed a giant in armor made of stone, but when he opened his visor, there was nothing inside but darkness and thick black blood."

"Hot Pie was kneeling too, before the tallest man Arya had ever seen, a monster from one of Old Nan’s stories. She never saw where the giant had come from. Three black dogs raced across his faded yellow surcoat, and his face looked as hard as if it had been cut from stone."

LITTLEFINGER:

And this ties into Littlefinger, from an Arya chapter in AFFC (I don't even want to think about what this might say about "feeding on the 'flesh' of highborn girls." UGH :stillsick: :stillsick: :stillsick: ):

"The Titan of Braavos. Old Nan had told them stories of the Titan back in Winterfell. He was a giant as tall as a mountain, and whenever Braavos stood in danger he would wake with fire in his eyes, his rocky limbs grinding and groaning as he waded out into the sea to smash the enemies. “The Braavosi feed him on the juicy pink flesh of little highborn girls,” Nan would end, and Sansa would give a stupid squeak. But Maester Luwin said the Titan was only a statue, and Old Nan’s stories were only stories."

And last, possibly, a very,very dark horse in the race (I think we brought this up in one of our PtP threads?):

TYRION:

“Oh, I think that Lord Tyrion is quite a large man,” Maester Aemon said from the far end of the table. He spoke softly, yet the high officers of the Night’s Watch all fell quiet, the better to hear what the ancient had to say. “I think he is a giant come among us, here at the end of the world.”---Tyrion, AGoT

Shae calls Tyrion "her giant of Lannister".

There is also the passages stating Tyrion being "as tall as a King", which I guess one might interpret as being "a giant", so to speak:

"When he opened the door, the light from within threw his shadow clear across the yard, and for just a moment Tyrion Lannister stood tall as a king."-- AGoT, Jon.

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TYRION:

“Oh, I think that Lord Tyrion is quite a large man,” Maester Aemon said from the far end of the table. He spoke softly, yet the high officers of the Night’s Watch all fell quiet, the better to hear what the ancient had to say. “I think he is a giant come among us, here at the end of the world.”---Tyrion, AGoT

Shae calls Tyrion "her giant of Lannister".

There is also the passages stating Tyrion being "as tall as a King", which I guess one might interpret as being "a giant", so to speak:

"When he opened the door, the light from within threw his shadow clear across the yard, and for just a moment Tyrion Lannister stood tall as a king."-- AGoT, Jon.

For some reason, I seem to remember more giant references during the Tyrion reread.

I know that the tall shadow theme is repeated by Moroqorro:

... And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of all.

Anyways, I don't think he's that much of a dark horse.

There's also another unidentified giant in a vision involving Sansa:

He saw his father pleading with the king, his face etched with grief. He saw Sansa crying herself to sleep at night, and he saw Arya watching in silence and holding her secrets hard in her heart. There were shadows all around them. One shadow was as dark as ash, with the terrible face of a hound. Another was armored like the sun, golden and beautiful. Over them both loomed a giant in armor made of stone, but when he opened his visor, there was nothing inside but darkness and thick black blood.

Edit on Bells:

There's an interesting symmetry between Sansa and the Dothraki/Dany when it comes to bells.

For the Dothraki/Dany death (battle victories) result in bells in their hair; Sansa wears death (poison) in her hair which results in a great ringing of bells. :P

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Of the three giants in my mind it should be LF, Tyrion second if he becomes real dark and tries to force the marriage he's a goner; Robert Strong AKA Greggor has no tie with Sansa unless he goes through Cersei, but she at the moment is tied up with her trial and as far as she knows Sansa is with Tyrion.

I don't think Vary's would let Cersei know where she is, and the mad mouse is working for Vary's I think, it would take about 30 days travel for someone to get back to KL, then another 30 to get to the Eyrie Sansa and LF could be long gone in that time, and even with using crows a reply could be close to a month, so I think the Giant is closer to Sansa and that person is LF.

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Why is the giant trying to get the castle back? Robin said he was attacking it, to knock down what she was trying to build. Like he was playing at being a little Ramsay monster. Seems to foreshadow that the kid will continue to be a nuisance who stands in the way of her making any progress.

Okay now it's interesting! More likely than Vale forces making it up there.

Right? I mean it makes a lot of sense. And seriously at this point Wun-Wun and the Wildlings sort of owe Jon Snow a helping hand to say the least. IMO taking back WF with him is the best way to help him.

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OK, as always, Sansa draws really nice group of great posters.

brashcandy, I adore that poem, It sounds different in Serbian, and due to translation, I didn`t know it`s that song. I also see wonderful connection there, and I am so glad someone actually used it as reference. I am really stunned by it

Hmm, the bells stuff I am not as sure of. I always got an ominous feeling about them in Sansa's chapters since, as mentioned, they mostly seem to be associated with traumatic events. It does seem to signal change too though as it seems that for Sansa whenever she heard bells her status changed in some way. However I wonder if the fact that it is connected to the rookery could be significant. My pet theory about Sansa eventually warging an animal is that it will be birds and from that she will learn something significant that perhaps will lead to LF's eventual downfall. It's tied to her "little bird" nickname and the fact that the children Varys uses in his spy network are his little birds. Sansa can become her own spy network. If so, and she were to learn about some dangerous plot or how LF was really responsible for her father's death for example, she could then sound the alarms via the bells as a warning. Or now that she is down in the Vale she'll have access to a real Weirwood and will make some connection with Bran through that and learn he is alive and finally start to set things in motion to either foil LF's plans, rebuild Winterfell, both or something else completely. There are so many ways her story can go so it's hard to predict.

Elba, I believe that Sansa will combine 2 parts of the story. Now, that she is in the Vale, and Gates of the Moon has Godswood, I assume that Bran will take care of his sister somehow. I also think Nymeria will somehow be involved, and further more, I believe that Bran will help Sansa in making the first step towards warging. Therefore Sansa will be able to unite both mythological and political part of ASOIAF

OP, I have been saying this forever!!! Glad you posted it

What I think is that Sansa and Sweet Robin's little scene in the snow is as follows.

Sansa builds meticulously WF out of snow, this is the only time in the books a small model of one of the castles has been made. And it's a very important chapter all around as everyone here has been saying.

SR comes along as says "oh a Giant's attacking' and smashes down the gate with his 'giant' doll.

So to me this is a clear foreshadow of how WF will be taken back from Ramsay Snow in WoW.

Winterfell is covered in snow and occupied by Ramsay Snow (double snow symbolism). So then a giant breaks down the gates to get the castle back (the giant claiming the castle is foreshadowed when the giants head is placed atop the pole on the high tower) like the castles belongs to me now as a flag would be hoisted.

So the only thing I am not sure of is if the 'Giant' will be Wun-Wun brought down from the Wall by Jon Snow (wun-wun will die in the attempt) BUt the giant definitely has enough strength to rip WF's gates off, plus he really likes Jon, And I think he will even more so since Jon basically just died defending him.

OR, the other option is that the Umber's will take back WF, their sigil being a giant. Seeing as how they are loyal to the Starks and are not far away from WF right now, this is real possibility.

BUT IMHO it is the first option. I mean the relationship between Jon and Wun-Wun has to be good for something right? We have seen his massive crazy strength displayed several times and as of yet is has not been put to any good use. So I think this is how he will help Jon out and repay him for everything Jon has done for him and the Wildlings in general.

I have been very sure of this theory for a while now, but I didn't see this thread until today (Thanx MLaden).

I have been sure of this because WF while in the north is not really completely blanketed in snow until after all the Starks leave from it. Sansa, being a Stark, is building the model of her home which she doesn't even know is covered in snow. So she has a subconscious connection with it. I mean to say they could have hhad another of the Starks build a model of it, like for instance, Arya could have built a sand castle in Braavos, but GRRM specifically chose Sansa and 'snow' to be the vehicle for this prophecy. And WF is totally covered in literal snow and Ramsay Snow's men.

Suzanna, you don`t have to thank me, thanks to Ragnorak and all others we have such amazing thread. I am just small piece in this great puzzle of amazing posts.

Now, since there`s snow in the Eyrie, Sansa would know there`s snow in Winterfell. After all, she was born somewhere in the winter, or at least spring. And even during Long summer, there were snows in Winterfell. As for giant, I see him as destructive force, not reclaiming one. Giant here wants to destroy the Winterfell and is led by Arryn hand, which for me represents LF with Arryn forces behind him. I find difficult to believe that Umbers, yet alone Wun Wun has anything to do with this scene.

Queen of Winter, I have truly missed you. It`s been a long time. Yes, we could see giant as being Tyrion, especially with all those references of him being the Giant, or having giant shadow. And when you add to that that Sansa had reached for Robert`s hand, but grabbed a doll (hand symbolizing engagement), Tyrion would nicely fit.

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This thread of yours is excellent, Ragnorak! It did give me food for thought, and as you requested, here are my thoughts on Sansa and bells:

______________

The first time Sansa’s name is associated with bells is when her sister mentions her ability to play this musical instrument. This instrument has some differences with traditional bells in terms of shape, as can be seen in this article on the different types of the percussion instruments called bells or chimes used in popular music and sometimes in religious music; and sound, which is higher-pitched and merry-sounding, which explains why this instrument is considered to be intimately connected to joyful, gentle and happy emotions, and therefore it’s quite fitting that the only time we see this musical instrument associated with Sansa is when she’s still the naïve little girl sheltered within the walls of her huge northern home.

On the other hand, traditional bells—i.e. castle bells and church/sept bells—were rung generally for four main purposes: to summon people to religious services, funerals and weddings; to alert the population of outside attacks and call the men to arms, to announce that danger was over and people could return to their normal lives, and to tell them what hour it was. The range of symbolical significance of this object is wide and varied, yet as a result of its use for the second and third purposes noted before, it has become a symbol of freedom in Western culture, particularly because they were rung during many popular revolutions and wars to call people to defend their homes or to announce victory.

When we first read bells mentioned in one of Sansa’s chapters, the circumstances in which she finds herself indicate that it’s this notion of bells as symbols of freedom which is going to be the role of this object in her arc in particular. In AGOT Sansa IV we read:

At sunset on the second day, a great bell began to ring. Its voice was deep and sonorous, and the long slow clanging filled Sansa with a sense of dread. The ringing went on and on, and after a while they heard other bells answering from the Great Sept of Baelor on Visenya’s Hill. The sound rumbled across the city like thunder, warning of the storm to come.

“What is it?” Jeyne asked, covering her ears. “Why are they ringing the bells?”

“The king is dead.” Sansa could not say how she knew it, yet she did. The slow, endless clanging filled their room, as mournful as a dirge.

The first time she hears bells tolling, Sansa is confined in her bedchamber after her father’s arrest, and is instinctively filled with worry; with good reason, for this sound announces Robert Baratheon’s death and the beginning of her own captivity. As few things are straight in this series, the freedom motif has been twisted and these bells usher her into life as a hostage and a pawn of the Lannisters, and a toy in Joffrey’s hands, something she doesn’t know yet. The second time she would’ve heard the bells tolling would’ve been when the citizens of King’s Landing were summoned to witness the confession of Lord Eddard, but in this occasion we don’t see it from her point of view, although we do have her sister’s description in AGOT Arya V:

Far across the city, bells began to ring.

Arya glanced up, listening, wondering what the ringing meant this time.

“What’s this now?” a fat man called from the pot-shop.

“The bells again, gods ha’mercy,” wailed an old woman.

A red-haired whore in a wisp of painted silk pushed open a second-story window. “Is it the boy king that’s died now?” she shouted down, leaning out over the street. “Ah, that’s a boy for you, they never last long.”

“Stupid slut,” the fat man shouted up. “The king’s not dead, that’s only summoning bells. One tower tolling. When the king dies, they ring every bell in the city.”

“Here, quit your biting, or I’ll ring your bells,” the woman in the window said to the man behind her, pushing him off with an elbow. “So who is it died, if not the king?”

[…]

Everyone was moving in the same direction, all in a hurry to see what the ringing was all about. The bells seemed louder now, clanging, calling. Arya joined the stream of people.

Unbeknownst to the Stark girls, once more these bells announce an ominous future for them both: the beheading of their father, which seals their loss not only of freedom but of home, too. Arya will go on to wander throughout the Riverlands, going from the hands of one captor to another in her constant desire for getting home and never reaching it; and Sansa will stay a captive in the Red Keep, trying to escape with the help of Dontos and go back home.

In Sansa’s case, bells must’ve been a constant reminder of the false hope of freedom for her father and herself she’d harboured thanks to Joffrey’s and Cersei’s promises, and of her own captivity, because we know through Tyrion’s chapters in the second book that the bells of the fortress and the Great Sept rang with regularity to mark the passing of the hours in a manner not so dissimilar to the way the Norvoshi bells did. This reminder appears again in ACOK Sansa VII when she hears the bells ringing at the end of the Battle of Blackwater:

The first faint hint of dawn was visible in the east, and the Red Keep’s own bells were ringing now, joining in the swelling river of sound that flowed from the seven crystal towers of the Great Sept of Baelor. They had rung the bells when King Robert died, she remembered, but this was different, no slow dolorous death knell but a joyful thunder. She could hear men shouting in the streets as well, and something that could only be cheers.

She stayed behind after the Hound has left, and the joyful sound of the bells celebrating the Lannisters’ victory contrasts with the fact that this means that she’s still a captive at their mercy.

In this occasion, however, there is a subtler secondary motif in the ringing of bells, because they mark Sansa’s sexual awakening: she is having her first moonblood as specified in her earlier response to Cersei’s questions at the Ballroom, and it’s the night she created the UnKiss after her encounter with Sandor and spending an unspecified amount of time curled under the discarded Kingsguard cloak, suggesting that being able to choose her mate is key to possessing autonomy. The comment by the prostitute in Arya’s chapter is the first mention of “ringing bells” as a sexual metaphor, which will be brought up again twice by unsuspecting Arya in ASOS, in relation to Gendry and a girl at the Peach. “Ring one’s bell” as metaphor for sexual initiation isn’t an arbitrary interpretation, nor is it GRRM’s invention: this was already known during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Enlightenment as can be read in works of literature from these epochs in which the reader can find expressions like “ring a double peal to your balls” to denote sexual pleasure, medical texts describing the male seed as containing “little bells” (i.e. sperm), and popular phrases like “ring a bell” and “break a bell” used as euphemisms for loss of virginity. More “recently,” we find this same sexual metaphor in the ‘60s song Ring my Bell by Anita Ward.

It’s precisely when Sansa’s kingly captor dies by poison that bells are mentioned more times in a chapter of hers, seven times to be precise, and she hears them throughout her escape, narrated in ASOS Sansa V:

The bells were ringing, slow and mournful. Ringing, ringing, ringing. They had rung for King Robert the same way. Joffrey was dead, he was dead, he was dead, dead, dead. Why was she crying, when she wanted to dance? Were they tears of joy?

Fittingly, the first thing she remembers is that distant day she heard those same bells because that was the day her wings were clipped, and she hears them ringing throughout her escape the day she is going to fly from her cage and off to home…

The bells were tolling, and the wind was making a noise like he had made as he tried to suck a breath of air. “You poisoned him. You did. You took a stone from my hair...”

He was so drunk that sometimes Sansa had to lend him her arm to keep him from falling. The bells were ringing out across the city, more and more of them joining in. She kept her head down and stayed in the shadows, close behind Dontos.

The bells would not stop ringing. Before she was halfway down her arms were trembling and she knew that she was going to fall. One more step, she told herself, one more step.

... or so she thinks. Once out of the Red Keep, the bells accompany Sansa in the boat, reinforcing her impression that she is going to be free once she reaches the ship that is awaiting her:

Behind them the bells were still tolling the boy king’s death. They had the dark river all to themselves.

The shore fell away, the fog grew thicker, the sound of the bells began to fade. Finally even the lights were gone, lost somewhere behind them. They were out in Blackwater Bay, and the world shrank to dark water, blowing mist, and their silent companion stooped over the oars. “How far must we go?” she asked.

Yet the sad reality is that this is again false hope, for the bells don’t announce freedom for her but that she’s leaving one cage for another, sailing from the lions’ clutches to Littlefinger’s. She again doesn’t know this yet, but does sense it, for at one moment she wonders if she’s escaped the Lannisters to fall into worse. Later, her new gaoler will impose an immaterial cage in the form of the Alayne Stone persona, and try and mould her to be a replacement for her mother, Catelyn Stark, who had died hearing bells:

His little bells were ringing, ringing, ringing, and the drum went boom doom boom.

For the second time, bells announce the loss of a parent for Sansa without her knowing it, and once more, this death is foreshadowed in the presence of her sister Arya, who couldn’t possibly imagine that either as she didn’t when it was their father’s turn. It had been predicted in ASOS Arya VIII by the Ghost of High Heart:

“I dreamt such a clangor I thought my head might burst, drums and horns and pipes and screams, but the saddest sound was the little bells. I dreamt of a maid at a feast with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs. And later I dreamt that maid again, slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow.”

It could be argued, then, that the unifying theme in the appearance of bells in Sansa’s arc is the loss of freedom (with the subsequent loss of home and family) first and foremost, and secondarily sexual awakening. To find a link for uniting this with the rookery theme for Bran, we have to look at a line in ASOS Bran IV describing the bell tower and the rookery at the Nightfort, where he and Hodor and the Reeds are staying on their way to meeting the three-eyed crow:

They spent half the day poking through the castle. Some of the towers had fallen down and others looked unsafe, but they climbed the bell tower (the bells were gone) and the rookery (the birds were gone).

Although these are not Winterfell’s bell tower and rookery, the imagery is suggestive, and it can be speculated that the empty bell tower represents Sansa’s imprisonment (no bells = no freedom) and the empty rookery represents Bran’s yet to be uncovered and sharpened magical powers (no birds in the rookery = he couldn’t “fly” yet as Bloodraven promised). Following this line of thought, there’s the possibility that it could be Bran the one to help in the awakening of Sansa’s warging abilities that could in turn help her to win back her freedom and gain autonomy, especially because now that he is able to warg birds as he couldn’t before (the rookery is no longer empty, metaphorically speaking), he wishes his siblings, including Sansa, could “learn to fly” as he did:

I’d tell him I could fly, but he wouldn’t believe, so I’d have to show him. I bet that he could learn to fly too, him and Arya and Sansa, even baby Rickon and Jon Snow.

How this collaboration between the siblings could happen, or if it will, remains to be seen, but now that Brandon is in the position to see things and communicate through the immense weirwood network, it’s quite plausible that he could be the first to contact his sister now that Sansa is at the Gates of the Moon, where there is a godswood. It could’ve happened already, if we take into account the theory that Sansa could’ve been somehow in touch with Bran previous to building the snow castle; and Sansa’s thought that the wind sounded like a ghost wolf when she’s descending from the Eyrie is reminiscent of Bran’s description, both as himself and in the skin of Summer, of the bitter northern wind’s sound as “howls” thrice during ADWD, pointing to the possibility that there’s a connection to Bran instead of Jon, which makes more sense considering that it was Bran who spoke in her defence citing the loss of her direwolf, that he was present in Winterfell when Lady’s bones arrived to be buried in the lichyard, and that, in the words of Bloodraven, “in time [bran] would see beyond the trees themselves,” which can only mean that, like the three-eyed crow himself, Bran would be able to communicate through dreams, even whisper through the wind as suggested he actually can in his last ADWD chapter and the Theon sample chapter.

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TYRION:

“Oh, I think that Lord Tyrion is quite a large man,” Maester Aemon said from the far end of the table. He spoke softly, yet the high officers of the Night’s Watch all fell quiet, the better to hear what the ancient had to say. “I think he is a giant come among us, here at the end of the world.”---Tyrion, AGoT

Shae calls Tyrion "her giant of Lannister".

There is also the passages stating Tyrion being "as tall as a King", which I guess one might interpret as being "a giant", so to speak:

"When he opened the door, the light from within threw his shadow clear across the yard, and for just a moment Tyrion Lannister stood tall as a king."-- AGoT, Jon.

Just to add to that in ACOK Tyrion thinks

If Littlefinger is dead, then I'm a giant.

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Nicely written, Milady

She stayed behind after the Hound has left, and the joyful sound of the bells celebrating the Lannisters’ victory contrasts with the fact that this means that she’s still a captive at their mercy.

In this occasion, however, there is a subtler secondary motif in the ringing of bells, because they mark Sansa’s sexual awakening: she is having her first moonblood as specified in her earlier response to Cersei’s questions at the Ballroom, and it’s the night she created the UnKiss after her encounter with Sandor and spending an unspecified amount of time curled under the discarded Kingsguard cloak, suggesting that being able to choose her mate is key to possessing autonomy. The comment by the prostitute in Arya’s chapter is the first mention of “ringing bells” as a sexual metaphor, which will be brought up again twice by unsuspecting Arya in ASOS, in relation to Gendry and a girl at the Peach. “Ring one’s bell” as metaphor for sexual initiation isn’t an arbitrary interpretation, nor is it GRRM’s invention: this was already known during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Enlightenment as can be read in works of literature from these epochs in which the reader can find expressions like “ring a double peal to your balls” to denote sexual pleasure, medical texts describing the male seed as containing “little bells” (i.e. sperm), and popular phrases like “ring a bell” and “break a bell” used as euphemisms for loss of virginity. More “recently,” we find this same sexual metaphor in the ‘60s song Ring my Bell by Anita Ward.

I would just want to add something, if you please. For me there is a more than just sexual awakening in this scene. There is something far more subtle than just sexual motif connected with bells. As Milady previously stated, bells are also related to the weddings. When we add to that the relligious song Sansa has sung to Sandor, `Mother`s hymn`, which as I recall Milady compared to Ave Maria, and the cloak Sandor left Sansa which she kept wrapped around her, we could easily symbolically watch at this scene as some form of wedding. We have bells, relligious song, unkiss, and cloak as symbol of fidelity and marriage status in Westeros. So, this is not just the night Sansa became woman, or the night Lannisters won over Stannis. This is the night that fortified the link between Sansa and Sandor uniting them as one. After this scene, given all symbolism that surrounds it, we can draw conclusion that Sansa`s and Sandor`s fates are intertwined, and that what happened that night gives us poetic proof that their story hasn`t finished.

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Queen of Winter, I have truly missed you. It`s been a long time. Yes, we could see giant as being Tyrion, especially with all those references of him being the Giant, or having giant shadow. And when you add to that that Sansa had reached for Robert`s hand, but grabbed a doll (hand symbolizing engagement), Tyrion would nicely fit.

Aww thanks, Mladen! Admittedly, I've not been around much lately--and mostly reading, not posting. I do like the point you make about Sansa grabbing Robert's hand.....Hmmmmm.....! You always give us something new to think about! :)

Speaking of...... I've been thinking about bells....and this is what I came across. Again, as I always say, it might mean something, it might mean nothing. They just might be little coincidences that I found interesting. I just submit it for your perusal.

Bear with me...some crazy stuff ahead... :wacko:

Bells, kinda reminds me of the word B'aal.

"Baal-zephon is a Hebrew name which means 'lord of the north', and refers both to a god the Hellenes knew as Zeus Kasios (Zeus), the god of Mount Aqraa on the Syrian shore who was associated with thunderbolts, the sea and a protector of maritime trade....."

"The mountain Zaphon is the location where the gods assembled.", and is :" a prominent peak in the northern part of the Canaanite world, its name was used, for example in Psalm 48, Genesis 13:14 and Deuteronomy 3:27, as a synonym for the direction north. Tzaphon is in fact the basic word for "north" in Hebrew."

Though it is stated: "The "Lord of the north", confusingly, could be attested far to the South."

In relation to ASOIAF who would be this Lord of the North? And does he lie in the South? Does this reference Petyr--styling himself as a "Lord of the North"...who wants Sansa for himself? Or perhaps Tyrion, who is married to Sansa? Remember we assume he doesn't know she was disinherited by Robb. He might think he has a claim to the North.)

And: "Christian hermits were drawn to the mountain; ........founding a monastery near the treeline on its eastern slopes, and Simeon Stylites the Younger stood for forty years on a pillar near its northern flanks until his death in 592." (Symeon Star-Eyes, anyone? :rolleyes: )

More:

"Bel":,"signifying "lord" or "master", is a title rather than a genuine name, applied to various gods in Babylonian religion. The feminine form is Belit 'Lady, Mistress'.

"

"Similarly Belit without some disambiguation mostly refers to Marduk's spouse Sarpanit."

"In Babylonian mythology, Sarpanit is a mother goddess and the consort of the chief god, Marduk...... She was worshipped via the rising moon, and was often depicted as being pregnant."

We've already had a few discussions about Sansa in relation to the Mother in the PtP threads, as well as drawing parallels to the moon.

And yes, bells are mentioned in the Bible :

Third reading — Exodus 28:31–43:

"Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth" (Sansa is wearing a blue dress in the Snow Castle chapter...)

There are also fruit references again, one not unfamiliar to us:

" 33 Make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. 34 The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe."

There is also an story in the Bible, called "Bel & the Dragon". (Though for some it's an apocryphal story, others view it as cannon). I thought this part of the story interesting:

"The narrative of Bel (14:1-22) ridicules the worship of idols. In it, the king asks Daniel, "Thinkest thou not that Bel is a living god? seest thou not how much he eateth and drinketh every day?" to which Daniel answers that the idol is made of clay covered by bronze and thus, cannot eat or drink..."

This makes me think of Bronze Yohn Royce. We don't know if he's an ally to Sansa or not. Could this be a synonym for meaning perhaps he is like the idol mentioned in the quote above---covered in bronze, with clay underneath---meaning he's "malleable" (like soft clay?)? That he might offer her means of escape? Or could it mean he has "feet of clay", and winds up being a "yes" man to Petyr?

And in the Alexander Cycle of Romances: " it was Alexander the Great who overcame the dragon by feeding it poison and tar....."

Rapsie: Thank you for pointing that out to me! That's a great quote! :thumbsup:

EDIT: added information (forgot the 1st time around!).

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For me there is a more than just sexual awakening in this scene. There is something far more subtle than just sexual motif connected with bells.

There's a problem with that interpretation: the bells started ringing much later, when Sandor had been gone for hours already, and it was all the bells, not just the ones from the Sept, which are the ones that summon people to religious ceremonies of any kind. Plus, Sansa herself was married in a sept, and in the description of the rites there is no mention of bells being rung. So, no, I don't believe we can link bells to marriage, symbolical or not, in this scene in particular.

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Aww thanks, Mladen! Admittedly, I've not been around much lately--and mostly reading, not posting. I do like the point you make about Sansa grabbing Robert's hand.....Hmmmmm.....! You always give us something new to think about! :)

I give you something to think about? My dear, Queen of Winter, I am still cracking my head over your piece on rubies and Hindu mythology on P2P thread. We`ll need to talk soon about common interest in mythology, my dear friend. I have some ideas that I`d like to share with you

"Baal-zephon is a Hebrew name which means 'lord of the north', and refers both to a god the Hellenes knew as Zeus Kasios (Zeus), the god of Mount Aqraa on the Syrian shore who was associated with thunderbolts, the sea and a protector of maritime trade....."

"The mountain Zaphon is the location where the gods assembled.", and is :" a prominent peak in the northern part of the Canaanite world, its name was used, for example in Psalm 48, Genesis 13:14 and Deuteronomy 3:27, as a synonym for the direction north. Tzaphon is in fact the basic word for "north" in Hebrew."

Though it is stated: "The "Lord of the north", confusingly, could be attested far to the South."

In relation to ASOIAF who would be this Lord of the North? And does he lie in the South? Does this reference Petyr--styling himself as a "Lord of the North"...who wants Sansa for himself? Or perhaps Tyrion, who is married to Sansa? Remember we assume he doesn't know she was disinherited by Robb. He might think he has a claim to the North.)

North and South, seas, thunders? I wouldn`t associate that with LF or Tyrion. I would think about Jon before any of them. Born in the South, future ruler of the North, born in ToJ on shores. I`d like it better this way.

There's a problem with that interpretation: the bells started ringing much later, when Sandor had been gone for hours already, and it was all the bells, not just the ones from the Sept, which are the ones that summon people to religious ceremonies of any kind. Plus, Sansa herself was married in a sept, and in the description of the rites there is no mention of bells being rung. So, no, I don't believe we can link bells to marriage, symbolical or not, in this scene in particular.

Well, if I am not wrong, in Western christianity, the bells are ringing after the ceremony, right? Sansa was married in the sept, much later, so in this `wedding`, she would be a true maid. Correct, there are no bells ringing after the ceremony, and yet weddings in ASOIAF have been followed by some form of bells, Dany`s wedding to Drogo with Dothraki bells, RW with Jinglebell, PW with bells to announce Joffrey`s death. I know this isn`t argument, but if we count Blackwater episode, written by GRRM, who wrote that bells announce siege, weddings and King`s death, we have very clear picture about this scene. Further more, if we follow both Sansa`s and Sandor`s journeys since that moment, it`s clear that something in that room did happen, whether we talk metaphorically or literally. Even the wedding with Tyrion was presented as complete charade, possibly giving message that marriage with Tyrion was non-existant from the very second septon pronounced them husband and wife. Sandor`s life drastically changed after that night, and many of us stated that whatever happened there, it changed him for better. For me, symbolism here is relatively obvious, but alas I also can be mistaken.

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Milady that was perfect, exactly what I was looking for, and a delight to read.

It also works well for the connection being a bridge rather than purely symbolic of Sansa. Arya represents family for Jon but Jon also serves as her anchor for family. She feels that Cat or Robb won't want her back or be willing to pay for her but she always feels wanted and loved by Jon. "Arya's" wedding is what makes Jon finally willing to set aside his vows and use his armory in the cause of his family. Freedom is an issue that confronts Bran too as he sees himself imprisoned by his injury and I can see how this could be a bond and an inspirational strength between them the way family is for Jon and Arya.

Bells representing freedom/imprisonment would also fit with Connington's recollections of the Battle of the Bells as he is a bit of a prisoner to the memory, Tyrion's slave bells definitely fit the theme, and Dany who is most frequently associated with the Dothraki victory bells is in a war to free the slaves. So I think there's a solid and consistent metaphorical basis for your interpretation that holds up throughout the series. I even think there's reason to see the sexual awakening surrounding the bells and the bloody cloak as under the umbrella of freedom and imprisonment with Sansa's concerns about being trapped in a marriage for her claim.

You've opened a whole new avenue of exploration into the relationship between Bran and Sansa, but for the first time since examining the Snow Winterfell scene I'm happy with the interpretation and understanding of the bridge symbolism so I'll leave those thoughts for another time. Thank you and very well done!

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There's a problem with that interpretation: the bells started ringing much later, when Sandor had been gone for hours already, and it was all the bells, not just the ones from the Sept, which are the ones that summon people to religious ceremonies of any kind. Plus, Sansa herself was married in a sept, and in the description of the rites there is no mention of bells being rung. So, no, I don't believe we can link bells to marriage, symbolical or not, in this scene in particular.

Bells being rung after the ceremony, when the Bride and groom have left the Church are common and it would tie in with the wedding imagery of the scene. It provides a familiar connotation of the wedding ceremony to the reader.

Also as Mladen pointed out, bells have rung after almost every wedding in the book, even if not for the purpose of the wedding, the motif of a wedding being connected by bells runs throughout the story.

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