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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa X

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I think he was half-sincere.

Much of what he said could have been Littlefinger's doing, calculated to save Sansa for LF alone. What Dontos says about her claim ? That sounds like Littlefinger talking. (And if not for Dontos, Sansa might have escaped with the Hound, so it's possible LF noticed something was going on there and interceded using Dontos.)

I don't know that Dontos would have been selling her out for booze money, but perhaps promises of safety elsewhere, and being restored to knighthood, something which Littlefinger could have convinced him he could do.

Dontos was a kind fellow, I thought, and when he was killed it was kind of sad. But I cannot say how much of that was genuine heroism and gratitude how much was Littlefinger's calculated manipulation.

I don't think LF noticed anything about Sandor honestly, and Sansa's unwillingness to escape with him had more to do with him showing up drunk and disorderly. He also leaves directly after she touches his face. Also on the issue of the claim, Dontos is not exactly an idiot. He's been at court most of his life and knows how these arrangements work, so it's not hard to think that he's speaking from his own knowledge here, even if he is ensuring that his payday from LF remains secure.

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Great analysis is great, Elba! I really enjoyed reading this :) And the similarity you highlighted between their experiences in court, linked to familial treason, was really insightful.

Thanks! I enjoyed preparing this. It reminded me of my college days as I was an English Literature major and constantly wrote papers like this. It helps that I like the subject matter too.

Good point. Both men deliver unpleasant truths, but in completely different styles. And interestingly enough, Sansa wishes Dontos had some of the Hound's ferocity. Dontos is also the one who advises her to return to her room on the night of the Blackwater, leading to that fateful encounter with Sandor.

Doh!! I meant to put that on my list of ways that Dontos helps her out that seems genuine.

It's through this that we also see Sansa's power in effecting change within others; Dontos is inspired to be a knight or at least act like a knight once again when he's helping her escape. Her interaction with Dontos also helps to heighten the contrast of what she shares with the Hound.

Yes it does! Nicely put. This again goes to how I thought many of his actions seem genuine, because of her affect on him.

I think he was half-sincere.

Much of what he said could have been Littlefinger's doing, calculated to save Sansa for LF alone. What Dontos says about her claim ? That sounds like Littlefinger talking. (And if not for Dontos, Sansa might have escaped with the Hound, so it's possible LF noticed something was going on there and interceded using Dontos.)

Fair enough. The more I am thinking about it, the more I don't think it's the idea of her claim that came from LF, and also I agree with Brashcandy that I don't think LF has any idea of Sansa's feelings for Sandor because he berates every other man that he knows Sansa has interacted with except for the Sandor. If anything, I think Dontos coming up with the Florian the Fool bit was probably not his idea and all LF's. LF knew about Sansa's love of songs and heroes from that time after Court when he overhears her saying how she didn't understand her father's decision to send Beric after Gregor instead of Loras and then he questions her about it. So, my guess is LF planted this idea in Dontos's head as he knew it would be just the thing Sansa would like.

But, like I pointed out in the original post, he does quite a few things that he did not have to do to get this plan to go forward. Stepping in to protect Sansa from Joff was one of those, as was wearing his house colors on the night of her escape. That does seem genuine.

Aye, it sounds like something LF would do. Suggest it, to get close to the Tyrells, but then also be the one to tip the Lannisters off about it, so Sansa would never actually marry someone more suitable.

Yes, this is exactly what I think happened. But even if Dontos did tell LF about the Tyrell's plan to marry Willas, the actual knowledge that stuns Sansa, that she would be wanted only for her claim, comes from Dontos so it's still significant. She had never thought about that before he tells her.

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Elba, great job. I never really thought about the similarities between Dontos's and Sansa's situations. I had thought before he was mainly Littlefinger's tool. But, after reading your post, I'm not so sure. I'm more on the fence, but it is something I will be thinking about when I get around to doing my reread.

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Great analysis Elba. The Dontos/LF alliance is interesting. While I would never take LF's words at face value, especially considering another important man/person in Sansa's life, here I think they have merit, albeit unintentionally. While Dontos may not have any intention of revealing Sansa's whereabouts, the sad bald-faced truth is that he's a liability, a loose end. He gives Cersei and any bounty hunter another potential lead to Sansa and Littlefinger.

And truthfully, the guy is an unrepentant drunk who would spend every coin he had anyway, not do a good job of hiding or staying incognito, and most likely he would get wasted and reveal something about Sansa anyway. So for my part, I certainly understand why LF killed him.

While I for the most part agree with your analysis regarding his pure intentions, I do think they were not entirely pure. Otherwise, you know, I think Dontos would have made more of an effort to not always be hammered and committed himself more to "acting the fool" rather than actually being one. I guess what I'm saying is if Dontos really genuinely meant that Sansa changed his life and all he wanted to do was help her, he'd make more of an effort to change in my opinion.

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Great analysis Elba. The Dontos/LF alliance is interesting. While I would never take LF's words at face value, especially considering another important man/person in Sansa's life, here I think they have merit, albeit unintentionally. While Dontos may not have any intention of revealing Sansa's whereabouts, the sad bald-faced truth is that he's a liability, a loose end. He gives Cersei and any bounty hunter another potential lead to Sansa and Littlefinger.

Yeah he was a terrible loose end, but if LF had any decency he could have put him on a ship to the Free Cities, or even confined him to the Fingers as a servant; something tells me Dontos and Kella would have hit it off just fine, unless she only likes the young boys ;)

While I for the most part agree with your analysis regarding his pure intentions, I do think they were not entirely pure. Otherwise, you know, I think Dontos would have made more of an effort to not always be hammered and committed himself more to "acting the fool" rather than actually being one. I guess what I'm saying is if Dontos really genuinely meant that Sansa changed his life and all he wanted to do was help her, he'd make more of an effort to change in my opinion.

I see your point, but based on what we see in the text though he does seem to have had his game face on most of the time, and was functional when Sansa needed him to be for the most part; and she is wise enough to know when not to trust him too much, as evidenced when she lets him descend the ladder before she does. Outside of his drunken lecherous behaviour in the godswood, he passes on good advice, tries to protect her from Joff's wrath and told her to go back to her room the night of the BB to get away from Ilyn Payne. He's even the one to bring the "good" news that the city has been saved. Dontos strikes me as one of those characters you really can't expect too much of in the way of character development and changing of bad habits, but he's still capable of showing his gratitude, and being of service.

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Totally relevant I swear! :)

In Nylon Magazine:

http://24.media.tumb...znfkso1_250.jpg

Her quote:

My ideal scenario is that Sansa gets married to a wonderful man, and they have lots of babies, and they have a lovely life, happily ever after. — Sophie Turner in Nylon Magazine (via

jaimelannister)

(just popping in to fangirl over this - I usually don't like the styling in Nylon but Sophie looks STUNNING and I love this quote!)

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(just popping in to fangirl over this - I usually don't like the styling in Nylon but Sophie looks STUNNING and I love this quote!)

for LL:

Hello, missing one! :) I was asking for you earlier. Have you checked out the hijinks of the why sansa fans need her to get married thread?

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for LL:

Hello, missing one! :) I was asking for you earlier. Have you checked out the hijinks of the why sansa fans need her to get married thread?

PM'd you ;)

Elba, just read your post! Loveeee it!

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Someone may have said this before, but taking the chess analogy a bit further...

Pawns might seem like relatively useless pieces on a chessboard, but their lack of value means they are often the ones you have to watch for (and yet no one seems to notice). A pawn can take a rook/castle, help in the checkmate of a king or protect a knight. Of course, pawns are also the only pieces that can bring back a queen. Yay symbolism! :P

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Great analysis Elba. The Dontos/LF alliance is interesting. While I would never take LF's words at face value, especially considering another important man/person in Sansa's life, here I think they have merit, albeit unintentionally. While Dontos may not have any intention of revealing Sansa's whereabouts, the sad bald-faced truth is that he's a liability, a loose end. He gives Cersei and any bounty hunter another potential lead to Sansa and Littlefinger.

And truthfully, the guy is an unrepentant drunk who would spend every coin he had anyway, not do a good job of hiding or staying incognito, and most likely he would get wasted and reveal something about Sansa anyway. So for my part, I certainly understand why LF killed him.

While I for the most part agree with your analysis regarding his pure intentions, I do think they were not entirely pure. Otherwise, you know, I think Dontos would have made more of an effort to not always be hammered and committed himself more to "acting the fool" rather than actually being one. I guess what I'm saying is if Dontos really genuinely meant that Sansa changed his life and all he wanted to do was help her, he'd make more of an effort to change in my opinion.

Oh yeah I get that Dontos was a liability. I just wondered about the part where LF says he sold out Sansa for some cash. I think there's some good evidence in the text that it meant more to him than just the money. I just wish there was some way he could have gotten out of it alive but LF has no scruples whatsoever so unfortunately Dontos was a dead man walking as soon as he agreed to the deal.

I see your point, but based on what we see in the text though he does seem to have had his game face on most of the time, and was functional when Sansa needed him to be for the most part; and she is wise enough to know when not to trust him too much, as evidenced when she lets him descend the ladder before she does. Outside of his drunken lecherous behaviour in the godswood, he passes on good advice, tries to protect her from Joff's wrath and told her to go back to her room the night of the BB to get away from Ilyn Payne. He's even the one to bring the "good" news that the city has been saved. Dontos strikes me as one of those characters you really can't expect too much of in the way of character development and changing of bad habits, but he's still capable of showing his gratitude, and being of service.

Yes, exactly. He played his part very well. After all, he is supposed to be a drunken fool. That's why nobody suspects him of anything.

Totally relevant I swear! :)

In Nylon Magazine:

http://24.media.tumb...znfkso1_250.jpg

Her quote:

— Sophie Turner in Nylon Magazine (via

jaimelannister)

Wow, she looks stunning! And that quote is perfect.

PM'd you ;)

Elba, just read your post! Loveeee it!

Thanks!

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Someone may have said this before, but taking the chess analogy a bit further...

Pawns might seem like relatively useless pieces on a chessboard, but their lack of value means they are often the ones you have to watch for (and yet no one seems to notice). A pawn can take a rook/castle, help in the checkmate of a king or protect a knight. Of course, pawns are also the only pieces that can bring back a queen. Yay symbolism! :P

I love this! And welcome to the thread :)

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What do you all think? Was Dontos sincere? Was he a true friend to Sansa? Do you sympathise with him? Or does the fact that he expected money for his help ruin any sense of genuine sincerity he might have had otherwise? I think overall he was a positive presence for Sansa as he gave her much needed advice, and except for not telling her about the money he was expecting, he was otherwise honest with her. He helped Sansa get through a really tough time in her life when she was very depressed and he did get her out of King's Landing. He did his “part”, played his role perfectly and did not deserve to die so cruelly like that at the end of Sansa's escape.

Elba - this was amazing!! Great write up, I enjoyed reading every bit of it.

I think Dontos was sincere with Sansa. His advice on letting everyone think she was stupid served her quite well and I'm quite confident it didn't come from LF. But, I wanted to address your question on whether he was a true friend to Sansa or not. I think he was. If we look who Sansa actually spends any length of time talking to in KL, outside of the Lannisters, it's only Sandor and Dontos. She does have friendships wit the Tyrell girls for a while but it wasn't genuine as their actions show. The Lannisters were her jailors. As you say, her marriage to Tyrion is Sansa's lowest point and we know that she regularly visited the godswood at this time too. I can imagine that having a chance to see and talk to Dontos during this time may have been one of the very few things holding her together. He would have been a friend to her when she needed it most, a lifeline if you want to call it that.

It also struck me that Dontos seemed as idealistic as Sansa in some ways. I think he really did want to play the part of her Florian, as evidenced by his putting on his armor. He wanted to save her I think and may even have seen her in a damsel in distress role.

Aye, it sounds like something LF would do. Suggest it, to get close to the Tyrells, but then also be the one to tip the Lannisters off about it, so Sansa would never actually marry someone more suitable.

This does sound like something that LF would do. There have been many threads on here talking about the planning behind the PW and to what extent the QoT and LF worked together. It's quite clear they knew about Sansa's treatment and her availability as the heir to WF. I wonder what exactly LF may have told them. He ingratiates himself with the Tyrells further, gaining their trust. In the meantime, he also plots to marry her to Tyrion. If this did happen, we've already seen that LF knows how to make someone think something is their idea. It's quite possible he planted the idea of a marriage to Tyrion specifically in Tywin's head. This solves a couple problems for him. First, Sansa would a widow and no longer a maid. To put it in crude terms. she'd be fit for his use. I can also imagine that he thinks Sansa would look quite favorable upon him after being with Tyrion. The other goal this would accomplish for him, is making her a suspect in the murder of Joff. The marriage between Tyrion and Sansa makes both of them look much more guilty together than apart.

Yeah he was a terrible loose end, but if LF had any decency he could have put him on a ship to the Free Cities, or even confined him to the Fingers as a servant; something tells me Dontos and Kella would have hit it off just fine, unless she only likes the young boys ;)

LF having a shred of deceny. LOL, I'm wiping the tears off my face. :)

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Totally relevant I swear! :)

In Nylon Magazine:

http://24.media.tumb...znfkso1_250.jpg

Her quote:

My ideal scenario is that Sansa gets married to a wonderful man, and they have lots of babies, and they have a lovely life, happily ever after. — Sophie Turner in Nylon Magazine (via

jaimelannister)

PM'd you ;)

Elba, just read your post! Loveeee it!

First comment:

fan girl squee. I say that based upon analytical reading and textual analysis of course. :)

Second comment:

LL, do read that thread if you get a chance. It's pretty funny in a not funny way. Lots of people had a chance to explain why they ship her with almost every male character in the series. If I don't laugh, I'll cry.

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I love this! And welcome to the thread :)

Thank you! I'm preparing a whole dictionary of ASoIaF symbols at the moment, along with linkages and interpretations, and Sansa crops up a fair bit (usually in relation to dogs...;) )

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Thank you! I'm preparing a whole dictionary of ASoIaF symbols at the moment, along with linkages and interpretations, and Sansa crops up a fair bit (usually in relation to dogs... ;) )

Oh this sounds interesting. Please share any interesting ones you come across or give us a link to the finished product if possible :)

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Someone may have said this before, but taking the chess analogy a bit further...

Pawns might seem like relatively useless pieces on a chessboard, but their lack of value means they are often the ones you have to watch for (and yet no one seems to notice). A pawn can take a rook/castle, help in the checkmate of a king or protect a knight. Of course, pawns are also the only pieces that can bring back a queen. Yay symbolism! :P

I usually just lurk these threads and don't want to be nitpicky, but as far as I can tell Sansa is never called a pawn, only a piece. Littlefinger references games and pieces, but chess and pawns or any other terms are never mentioned.

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Soooo guess what I finished way before I thought I would: LORAS & WILLAS TYRELL! Gosh I really did try my best here, I hope y'all like it! Sorry if it's a bit of a mess, though. It's 1 am.

/ / / / / / / /

Oh, Loras. This dreamboat is the youngest son of Mace Tyrell, and when we first meet him in AGOT, he is only sixteen, the youngest rider on the field at the Tourney of the Hand, and yet he is already famed for prowess on tourneys – he unhorsed Ser Jaime Lannister once and made a lot of people lose bets. In the Tourney of the Hand alone he unhorsed three knights of the Kingsguard in one morning.

Sansa had never seen anyone so beautiful. His plate was intricately fashioned and enameled as a bouquet of a thousand different flowers, and his snow-white stallion was draped in a blanket of red and white roses. After each victory, Ser Loras would remove his helm and ride slowly round the fence, and finally pluck a single white rose from the blanket and toss it to some fair maiden in the crowd.

Her eyes were only for Ser Loras. When the white horse stopped in front of her, she thought her heart would burst. To the other maidens he had given white roses, but the one he plucked for her was red. “Sweet lady,” he said, “no victory is half so beautiful as you.” Sansa took the flower timidly, struck dumb by his gallantry. His hair was a mass of lazy brown curls, his eyes like liquid gold. She inhaled the sweet fragrance of the rose and sat clutching it long after Ser Loras had ridden off.

Loras is the personification of everything Sansa loved about songs and knights. He is young, beautiful, talented in tourneys, gallant and flawlessly polite. It’s no surprise that she labels him “a true knight”.

Indeed, Loras has always reminded me of a teen idol. Let’s see what Wikipedia (lol sorry for being lazy, guys) has to say about teen idols:

A teen idol is a celebrity who is widely idolized by teenagers; he or she is often young but not necessarily teenaged. Often teen idols are actors or musicians but some sports figures have an appeal to teenagers. Some teen idols began their careers as child actors. The idol's popularity may be limited to teens, or may extend to all age groups. Many teen idols are targeted for adults for nostalgia purposes. It is the essence of the teen idol to appeal to the burgeoning sexuality of the young without in any way threatening it. In previous eras, because teen idols were supposed to have an aura of approachability, they often needed to keep their romantic relationships and marriages a secret for fear of decreased popularity.

Well, hey there, Loras! With his boyish looks, wholesomeness, and “courtly love” routine, he is appealing but sexually non-threatening. He is also great at sports (well, those are sports, right?) and very charismatic, and his carefully created persona charms young ladies everywhere, but doesn’t necessarily reflect who he is – Loras, of course, isn’t really into ladies at all, and is in fact a bit of an arrogant, hot-headed little prick. He keeps his sexuality and romance with Renly a secret, so as to not hurt his popularity – coming out isn’t exactly an option in Westeros either.

Loras, like everyone in KL, is playing a game, and he is damn good at it, like a true Tyrell (Cersei says he’s “Tyrell to the bone”). Just to continue with the popstar comparison – isn’t Sansa’s reaction to him adorably like fangirling? “she thought her heart would burst”, I feel ya, sis.

On the following day, Loras puts on another brilliant and carefully orchestrated show for the crowd, complete with a marvelous outfit and a neat little trick to beat the Mountain with pretty much zero effort:

When the Knight of Flowers made his entrance, a murmur ran through the crowd, and he heard Sansa’s fervent whisper, “Oh, he’s so beautiful.”

Ser Loras Tyrell was slender as a reed, dressed in a suit of fabulous silver armor polished to a blinding sheen and filigreed with twining black vines and tiny blue forget-me-nots. The commons realized in the same instant as Ned that the blue of the flowers came from sapphires; a gasp went up from a thousand throats. Across the boy’s shoulders his cloak hung heavy. It was woven of forget-me-nots, real ones, hundreds of fresh blooms sewn to a heavy woolen cape.

His courser was as slim as her rider, a beautiful grey mare, built for speed. Ser Gregor’s huge stallion trumpeted as he caught her scent. The boy from Highgarden did something with his legs, and his horse pranced sideways, nimble as a dancer. Sansa clutched at his arm. “Father, don’t let Ser Gregor hurt him,” she said. Ned saw she was wearing the rose that Ser Loras had given her yesterday. Jory had told him about that as well.

Isn’t it funny? Sansa had seen Gregor kill a man only the day before, and the Hound had told him his story just the night before as well. Her reaction at seeing Loras and Gregor prepare themselves for the joust isn’t “Loras will win”, or “I hope Loras will finish him”. She is afraid for Loras. She doesn’t think of him as the hero who could slay the monster but as a fragile thing to be protected.

Well, she had a point. His trick made the Mountain super angry (what else is new) and he would have killed Loras if it wasn’t for the Hound. After the Hound fights his brother, Sansa asks if he’s the champion now (Loras forgotten). In the end, he did win. Later she hears Littlefinger talking about how Loras pulled it off, so Sansa knows it was a trick, but we don’t get to see her thoughts on it because it is Ned’s POV.

Only a few pages later, though, and she’s watching Ned send Beric Dondarrion and his men to kill Gregor Clegane, denying Loras’ request. Ned says it was because Loras was looking for vengeance and not justice. Sansa thinks it was because Ned’s leg injury “makes him cross”. Now this passage doesn’t make much sense to me:

Her father’s decision still bewildered her. When the Knight of Flowers had spoken up, she’d been sure she was about to see one of Old Nan’s stories come to life. Ser Gregor was the monster and Ser Loras the true hero who would slay him. He even looked a true hero, so slim and beautiful, with golden roses around his slender waist and his rich brown hair tumbling down into his eyes. And then Father had refused him! It had upset her more than she could tell.

Only days before she had seen the Mountain throw Loras on the ground and try to kill him, and Loras didn’t stand a chance. She KNEW that the only reason he won the joust was because of a trick, and that he couldn’t withstand Gregor. She even felt afraid for him and asked for Ned to protect him. And now… when Ned WAS protecting him, she wanted Loras to be sent to go after Gregor?? Is this GRRM being inconsistent or was Sansa so wrapped up in a fantasy that she forgets everything that she saw with her own eyes during the tourney to favour the fantasy?

Curiously, both Varys and LF think sending Loras would have been a good idea – but for wildly different reasons. LF questions her on why she wanted it and she says it was because of the songs. He goes into pedofinger mode and touches her cheek, creeping her out, and gives her some pretty good advice: “Life is not a song, sweetling. You may learn that one day to your sorrow”.

But what about Loras? Why does HE want to go? He, more than anyone else, knows why he won the joust, and why he wasn’t killed by Gregor at the spot. It’s obvious that the Mountain would kill him during a battle. Does he want revenge so badly? Does he think the Mountain wouldn’t slay a Tyrell? Does he really believe his own pretense of being a knight straight from a song? Or is he just being cocky, like a young Jaime Lannister, thinking he is invincible?

/ / / / / /

Ser Loras is also one of the players who has a nickname – The Knight of Flowers. But I was going through Sansa’s chapters and these names seem interchangeable, she doesn’t seem to favour one or the other in any special circumstances.

/ / / / / /

When Sansa has her moonblood for the first time and she’s having a nightmare about the riot, this is what she thinks:

She shouted for Ser Dontos, for her brothers, for her dead father and her dead wolf, for gallant Ser Loras who had given her a red rose once, but none of them came. She called for the heroes from the songs, for Florian and Ser Ryam Redwyne and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, but no one heard. Women swarmed over her like weasels, pinching her legs and kicking her in the belly, and someone hit her in the face and she felt her teeth shatter. Then she saw the bright glimmer of steel. The knife plunged into her belly and tore and tore and tore, until there was nothing left of her down there but shiny wet ribbons.

In her dream she calls for her family, but her brothers are gone and her father is dead. She calls for the disgraced knight Ser Dontos. And for Loras and the knights from the songs. In the riot, we know that her rescuer is the least knightly person in the kingdom – Sandor – but she doesn’t call out for him in this dream and he doesn’t appear. So could this be about her understanding that knights won’t save her, won’t protect her? Could she be internalizing the lesson about knights here? If we take a look at the language used, she says there was nothing left of her belly “but shiny wet ribbons”. That’s a pretty specific way to put it, and it brings to mind the Hound’s lesson about how knights are only swords with ribbons.

Loras is mentioned along with the other people she knows, Dontos and her family. But, thematically, I think he is a lot more like the second group, she doesn’t see him like a real person but as a knight from a song.

/ / / / / / /

The next time Sansa sees Loras, it’s during the little show the Tyrells, the Lannisters and herself put on to undo her betrothal to Joff and hitch him to Margaery. Loras asks for a place in the KG, Mace asks for a place in the Council, and Garlan asks for Margaery to be the new bride.

Sansa thinks naming Loras for the Kingsguard isn’t such a great idea, that Joffrey would be cruel to Margaery as he was to her, and sooner or later there would be a second Kingslayer. She was more right than she knew, and this is an exceptional insight from her.

Margaery invites Sansa for tea when she arrives at the Red Keep, and sends Loras to fetch Sansa. Keeping up with her tradition to compare every man she meets to Sandor she says they were as different “as a flower from a dog”. And then she gets all adorable like a fangirl again:

When the appointed night arrived, another of the Kingsguard came for her, a man as different from Sandor Clegane as ... well, as flower from a dog. The sight of Ser Loras Tyrell standing on her threshold made Sansa’s heart beat a little faster. This was the first time she had been so close to him since he had returned to King’s Landing, leading the vanguard of his father’s host. For a moment she did not know what to say. “Ser Loras,” she finally managed, “you ... you look so lovely.”

He gave her a puzzled smile. “My lady is too kind. And beautiful besides. My sister awaits you eagerly.”

“I have so looked forward to our supper.”

“As has Margaery, and my lady grandmother as well.” He took her arm and led her toward the steps.

“Your grandmother?” Sansa was finding it hard to walk and talk and think all at the same time, with Ser Loras touching her arm. She could feel the warmth of his hand through the silk.

“Lady Olenna. She is to sup with you as well.”

“Oh,” said Sansa. I am talking to him, and he’s touching me, he’s holding my arm and touching me. “The Queen of Thorns, she’s called. Isn’t that right?”

“It is.” Ser Loras laughed. He has the warmest laugh, she thought as he went on, “You’d best not use that name in her presence, though, or you’re like to get pricked.”

Sansa reddened. Any fool would have realized that no woman would be happy about being called “the Queen of Thorns.” Maybe I truly am as stupid as Cersei Lannister says. Desperately she tried to think of something clever and charming to say to him, but her wits had deserted her. She almost told him how beautiful he was, until she remembered that she’d already done that.

Well there isn’t much to look into here but I will say that I sympathise with her sentiments of trying to look cool in front of a boy you like and sounding a little stupid, and thinking “omg he’s touching meee!”.

In the same conversation, she talks about seeing him ride at the Hand’s Tourney and realises that he doesn’t remember giving her the rose, or even seeing her there. It’s a bit of a shock to her, she had thought the rose meant something.

At the Hand’s tourney, don’t you remember? You rode a white courser, and your armor was a hundred different kinds of flowers. You gave me a rose. A red rose. You threw white roses to the other girls that day.” It made her flush to speak of it. “You said no victory was half as beautiful as me.”

Ser Loras gave her a modest smile. “I spoke only a simple truth, that any man with eyes could see.”

He doesn’t remember, Sansa realized, startled. He is only being kind to me, he doesn’t remember me or the rose or any of it. She had been so certain that it meant something, that it meant everything. A red rose, not a white. “It was after you unhorsed Ser Robar Royce,” she said, desperately.

He took his hand from her arm. “I slew Robar at Storm’s End, my lady.” It was not a boast; he sounded sad.

Him, and another of King Renly’s Rainbow Guard as well, yes. Sansa had heard the women talking of it round the well, but for a moment she’d forgotten. “That was when Lord Renly was killed, wasn’t it? How terrible for your poor sister.”

“For Margaery?” His voice was tight. “To be sure. She was at Bitterbridge, though. She did not see.”

“Even so, when she heard...”

Ser Loras brushed the hilt of his sword lightly with his hand. Its grip was white leather, its pommel a rose in alabaster. “Renly is dead. Robar as well. What use to speak of them?”

The sharpness in his tone took her aback. “I ... my lord, I ... I did not mean to give offense, ser.”

“Nor could you, Lady Sansa,” Ser Loras replied, but all the warmth had gone from his voice. Nor did he take her arm again.

Sansa realises here that she was just another girl in the Tourney, that it wasn’t special or like a song like she had thought at the time. He is only being nice. That’s a pretty big blow to her worldview.

Here we also see that Loras himself has gotten a little taste of reality now. He was only a knight of summer, untried in battle when we last saw him, but now Renly is dead, and he has killed men. He mourns for Renly, but Sansa doesn’t understand it.

During the meeting with the Tyrell ladies, Olenna talks about Loras as “young, and very good at knocking men off horses with a stick”, but “not wise”. She doesn’t seem to value gallantry or prowess in tourneys or pursuit of titles too much. Olenna and Margaery sweeten her up with lemoncakes and play her like a fiddle to get the truth about Joffrey out of her, and then start talking about a wedding to Margaery’s brother.

Sansa thinks to herself that Highgarden sounds like “the beautiful magical court she had hoped to find at King’s Landing”. This is so very Sansa. When she is still full of the notion of knights and hears about Gregor’s deeds, she starts to divide knights into “true” and “false”. Then after she has seen enough false knights she thinks “surely there must be true knights SOMEWHERE”. And after she has suffered in King’s Landing, she thinks there must be a beautiful magical court SOMEWHERE. As nice as Highgarden sounds, though, it probably isn’t magical. As we know there’s friction with the Florents, and Olenna even admits that there are plenty of spies in the court. The Tyrells themselves aren’t above throwing her under the bus during their little plot to poison Joffrey.

Sansa is eager to go, and when she hears about marrying a Tyrell brother, she immediately thinks of Loras.

Wed to Ser Loras, oh ... Sansa’s breath caught in her throat. She remembered Ser Loras in his sparkling sapphire armor, tossing her a rose. Ser Loras in white silk, so pure, innocent, beautiful. The dimples at the comer of his mouth when he smiled. The sweetness of his laugh, the warmth of his hand. She could only imagine what it would be like to pull up his tunic and caress the smooth skin underneath, to stand on her toes and kiss him, to run her fingers through those thick brown curls and drown in his deep brown eyes. A flush crept up her neck.

“Would you like that, Sansa?” asked Margaery. “I’ve never had a sister, only brothers. Oh, please say yes, please say that you will consent to marry my brother.”

The words came tumbling out of her. “Yes. I will. I would like that more than anything. To wed Ser Loras, to love him...”

Ha! Isn’t it delicious? Our little Sansa is growing up! She sees him as a pure, innocent, virginal creature, and then thinks about corrupting him and gets pretttty sexual with the imagery. It’s the first time she consciously has ~sexual thoughts~ I think. Interestingly, it’s HER doing the “ravishing”.

Well, of course they were talking about Willas, the mystery man. Sansa is verrrry disappointed, her dreams are snatched away, but she remains polite and asks: who is Willas? What sort of man he is? Is he a knight?

Margaery dissimulates but Olenna tells her he is older than her (how old, though? If Loras is 17 by this time, and Garlan is older, Willas should be around 21? 22?) and a cripple. Margaery says he has a bad leg but a good heart, and he used to read her stories when she was little, and draw pictures of the stars, he has the best birds in the kingdom. Later we also know that Willas is the one who gave that nice nickname to Garlan, that he is not bitter about his condition as he is friendly with Oberyn and even exchanges letters with him, and that he is quite intelligent and savvy as he predicts the Ironborn’s moves.

I don’t know about you but I am really curious about him. Even Littlefinger can’t find a bad thing to say about him other than “boring”, and I would take that boring over LF’s plots any day. Of course I want Sansa to marry someone she actually loves, but do you think this would have been a total disaster? I don’t suppose Willas is nearly as bitter and self-pitying as Tyrion; he is the heir to Highgarden after all and all his family loves him, and he isn’t angry with either his father or Oberyn. Sansa could have been safe from Joffrey and Littlefinger at the very least, and the Tyrells did ask her for permission for the wedding after all, which is more than Tyrion, LF and Lysa did.

Sansa tells Ser Dontos of her arrangement with the Tyrells, but he tells her they are only Lannisters with flowers, and that they want her for her claim. She hadn’t considered that. After all, Robb was still very much alive, and married besides. She said Willas would keep her safe, and thought he would have no need for Winterfell anyway, if he had Highgarden. She wanted the conforts and pleasures Highgarden would offer, but was actually quite realistic about Willas. She thought to herself, he is crippled, twice my age, and maybe ugly as well, but she wanted him to love her for herself all the same, and perhaps he would if she gave him children, and she would name them after the family she had lost. That’s pretty grown up thinking for a girl that is constantly bashed as shallow.

When she is being forced to marry Tyrion, she desperately thinks of Willas and Highgarden, but then considers that it wouldn’t matter in the end who she married if everyone just wanted her for her claim. This is very sad, and speaks of her disillusionment with the institution of marriage – later in the books she thinks no one would ever marry her for love and that she doesn’t want to be married again.

Sansa dances with Garlan the Gallant at her reception, and he tells her about Willas giving her the nickname. He is nice. He knows what’s up with her wedding to the Imp, so of course all the Tyrells should too, but the rest of them all treat her coldly after the wedding, as if she had betrayed them, except for Margaery who looks at her with pity but also doesn’t talk to her.

Tyrion of course is ever so nice to her during the whole wedding, that lovely quote “Come, wife, time to smash your portcullis. I want to play come-into-the-castle” uttered in front of everyone coming to mind, though to be fair he did stop the bedding (which was literally the least he could do). In the bedroom, he tries to make him look more pleasant to her by comparing himself to Loras, who he knew she had affections for, something which I find so thoroughly offensive I will decline further comment. Funny enough, later, Sansa (as Alayne) thinks that if she closes her eyes she could pretend Sweetrobin is Loras, a callback to that scene, except that Loras would never look at a bastard girl like herself.

Olenna talks to Sansa during the Red Wedding but of course she is getting the poison from Sansa’s hairnet. Does Olenna mean what she says about taking Sansa to Highgarden? Does she truly want to go on with the original plan after Tyrion is taken out of the picture, or is it hogwash and she stopped caring now that Sansa is only the dwarf’s leavings and thus not good enough for Willas?

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Thank you! I'm preparing a whole dictionary of ASoIaF symbols at the moment, along with linkages and interpretations, and Sansa crops up a fair bit (usually in relation to dogs... ;) )

Where were you when I was writing Sandor Part 1?

Robert tells Ned to get Sansa a dog after delivering his sentence on Lady. After, Ned does the deed and gives Jory his orders, Sandor is the first person he runs into.

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I usually just lurk these threads and don't want to be nitpicky, but as far as I can tell Sansa is never called a pawn, only a piece. Littlefinger references games and pieces, but chess and pawns or any other terms are never mentioned.

A piece is a pawn essentially, and I think we can all agree that Sansa was a Lannister pawn.

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