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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa X

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I'd like to perhaps expand more on some of this later, but I just wanted to say that Loras here is the "safe" choice for Sansa. He's seemingly non-threatening in many ways. Sandor is more "real"--she might not yet understand what those dreams are telling her, but I think she's get it in time.

Also, there is this: how many times have you noticed people becoming infatuated with people who are totally out of their reach (like desiring someone else's significant other), while the guy who's available and been in "the background" all the time gets overlooked. Someone who is unavailable is a "safe" choice too. I dunno, am I making any sense? :laugh:

I agree. The more we look at this, the more it seems that Loras stands out as the "safe" choice for Sansa in the same way Renly was the "safe" choice for Brienne. It's also shown how the emotions Sansa and Brienne have for these men are similar: they get all flustered when they are near and they put them on a bit of a pedestal, to be admired from a distance, sort of. It's all very proper.

Contrasting this are their relationships with Sandor and Jaime respectively, which are complicated, layered and consequently more adult. Whether or not they will actually end up as "consumated" romances is really beside the point in regards to the actual building blocks of their relationships. Neither Sandor nor Jaime are unthreatening or anywhere near ideal. They are both people with very real flaws and somewhat abrasive personalities. However, they also show qualities that Brienne and Sansa recognise as worthy of admiration and regard.

Another facet of characters like Loras, Sandor, Jaime, Barristan and Gregor is that they all shine a light on the institution of knighthood and its ideals. I believe Lummel has commented before on how knighthood as an insttitution in Westeros is failing. The ideals have become corrupt and it does no longer stand for what it supposedly should stand for. Loras and Jaime have all the surface credentials, but do they follow the code? Barristan is the pennultimate knight, but he wonders if he did the right thing in saving and protecting Aerys. Gregor is just a monster and Sandor is actively refusing to become a knight due to how he feels the knighthood ideals are corrupted and false. In many ways he becomes the mouthpiece for why the institution of knighthood is flawed and how it is flawed.

Interestingly, Loras still seems to believe in some of the knighthood ideals, but at the same time, he also seems to use his appeal in a rather un-knightly way to win favours, and you could also argue that he's acting unsporting towards Gregor since he's using a trick to win: he does not rely on his skill at jousting to win.

I also think it is almost independently done. We don't ever see her reflect on his actions during the conversation. The biggest realization that she seems to have is the meaning of a song. During their talk, she takes this quite literally and offers up Florian and Jonquil. The understanding comes later and then we have her dream where he climbs in to her marriage bed. The independent aspect comes from her imagining his kiss and the keeping of his cloak. I am not entirely certain that she still understands much of what he said or his actions yet.

I agree that she probably still doesn't understand the full implications of what he said and did during the Serpentine Step scene. As readers, we have indications that Sandor does desire her, so in that regard her mental projections are correct, even if she does not know it herself. Regardless of his feelings for her, it's still probably the most telling aspect in that she herself creates scenarios in which he shows a clear desire for her.

So in this case, female desire expressed in two different ways with Loras vs Sandor, and perhaps more importanly, Sansa's scenarios seem to be saying "I want you to want me" wrt Sandor. This creates a different level of reciprocity.

EDIT: WTF grammar failage

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Nice posts to see in the morning everyone :) The first time Sansa realises that Sandor might have some kind of desire for her is during the Blackwater scene when he pulls her closer. At this point she's not ready for this kind of engagement with him and she closes her eyes. If we read the unkiss as part fantasy then it's clear that her closing her eyes didn't come from a lack of attraction necessarily, but fear and uncertainty. I'm really looking forward to Lord Bronn's reading of this when he does Part 2 of his write up on Sandor.

The substitution of Sandor in the marriage bed is all kinds of intriguing because of those points Lyanna expanded on, and later we see her having thoughts of him whilst SR kisses her. What has always struck me is that Martin clearly wants us to grasp the symmetry between Sansa's unconscious and conscious fantasies. It's not like she's dreaming about Sandor in the night, but thinking about Loras during the day. For all intents and purposes, Sandor is now the embodiment of her full cognitive desires.

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I did Lyanna. Now I think I should express that idea with a stronger emphasis and say that knighthood is a failed institution in Westeros. It's a struggle to find many who conform to the ideals given in the knighting scene in "The Hedge Knight" (and that only explicitly gives I think about half of the duties expected of a knight). When the two finest knights in the sense of being true to those ideals can never formally be knights then you know you are dealing with a flawed concept.

I think GRRM is harking back to the round table with that idea. You know Lancelot is meant to be the pinnacle of knighthood - and in terms of being able to gallop about on a horse and use a lance or sword obviously he is but at the same time he's in this menage a trois with the Queen. And indeed when it comes to the Grail quest of all the knights at King Arthur's court only three get close to the Grail.

ie the reality of westerosi knighthood is Sandor's man with horse and a sword. They have almost all become the Laughing Knight.

One of the basic themes I feel in ASOIAF is that the world is off kilter - not balanced - and the flawed institutions are as much a symptom of that as the unnatural seasons.

I had the thought in the learning to lead thread that Daenerys is a transformative, carnival type figure. Turning the world upside down, well Westeros is certainly in need of that. (hmm the tune of the

came from the song
- but surely that's too obscure a joke even for GRRM)

I suppose I ought to link that to Sansa. Again coming out of the Daenerys and Jon reread I see her as the person potentially best able to combine head and heart, principles and plotting and perhaps for the long term a significant leader in a future Westeros.

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I did Lyanna. Now I think I should express that idea with a stronger emphasis and say that knighthood is a failed institution in Westeros. It's a struggle to find many who conform to the ideals given in the knighting scene in "The Hedge Knight" (and that only explicitly gives I think about half of the duties expected of a knight). When the two finest knights in the sense of being true to those ideals can never formally be knights then you know you are dealing with a flawed concept.

I think GRRM is harking back to the round table with that idea. You know Lancelot is meant to be the pinnacle of knighthood - and in terms of being able to gallop about on a horse and use a lance or sword obviously he is but at the same time he's in this menage a trois with the Queen. And indeed when it comes to the Grail quest of all the knights at King Arthur's court only three get close to the Grail.

ie the reality of westerosi knighthood is Sandor's man with horse and a sword. They have almost all become the Laughing Knight.

One of the basic themes I feel in ASOIAF is that the world is off kilter - not balanced - and the flawed institutions are as much a symptom of that as the unnatural seasons.

I had the thought in the learning to lead thread that Daenerys is a transformative, carnival type figure. Turning the world upside down, well Westeros is certainly in need of that. (hmm the tune of the

came from the song
- but surely that's too obscure a joke even for GRRM)

I suppose I ought to link that to Sansa. Again coming out of the Daenerys and Jon reread I see her as the person potentially best able to combine head and heart, principles and plotting and perhaps for the long term a significant leader in a future Westeros.

I agree with you on this, Lummel. Yes, and it’s interesting that Lancelot was supposed to be the "pinnacle" of Knighthood, but it was Galahad who achieved the Holy Grail. (I made a post somewhere on the board---, I have no idea where any more!--- about Galahad, Bors and Perceval, drawing parallels to Brienne, Jaime and Sandor, along with the idea of the Dolorus Stroke in relation to Sandor’s leg wound).

EDIT: spelling...yikes!

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I agree with you on this, Lummel. Yes, and it’s interesting that Lancelot was supposed to be the "pinnacle" of Knighthood, but it was Galahad who achieved the Holy Grail. (I made a post somewhere on the board---, I have no idea where any more!--- about Galahad, Bors and Perceval, drawing parallels to Brienne, Jaime and Sandor, along with the idea of the Dolores Stroke in relation to Sandor’s leg wound).

Wow, I'd love to read that post, especially because I have made similar parallels (in my mind), especially wrt to Sandor's injured leg. :)

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One of the basic themes I feel in ASOIAF is that the world is off kilter - not balanced - and the flawed institutions are as much a symptom of that as the unnatural seasons.

Great observation! I love this and completely agree. Another example is the fact that the Night's Watch has also become flawed, a garbage pit of humanity when at first it was a great honor to be a part of it and was made up of truly honorable men.

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The substitution of Sandor in the marriage bed is all kinds of intriguing because of those points Lyanna expanded on, and later we see her having thoughts of him whilst SR kisses her. What has always struck me is that Martin clearly wants us to grasp the symmetry between Sansa's unconscious and conscious fantasies. It's not like she's dreaming about Sandor in the night, but thinking about Loras during the day. For all intents and purposes, Sandor is now the embodiment of her full cognitive desires.

:agree:

I think the combination of the substitution of Tyrion with Sandor, the Sweetrobin kiss and then the Myranda conversation where Sandor gets inserted in the marriage bed out of left field really is GRRM stopping being subtle and moving into more overt territory with what Sansa feels. The dream sequence is left hanging, to a large degree as we never really get Sansa's whole feelings on the matter, but I think the Sweetrobin kiss where she expresses a level of bitterness about having been left by Sandor and then the Myranda conversation really help with clarification.

Regarding her full cognitive desires though: does she realise it herself? Is it conscious enough that she would be able to actually think to herself "Yes, I am attracted to this guy". It seems that is still something she is not really ready to think about, or perhaps she also thinks it's pointless since she felt he left her behind and now is lost forever so what good would it do to ponder it?

I think GRRM is harking back to the round table with that idea. You know Lancelot is meant to be the pinnacle of knighthood - and in terms of being able to gallop about on a horse and use a lance or sword obviously he is but at the same time he's in this menage a trois with the Queen. And indeed when it comes to the Grail quest of all the knights at King Arthur's court only three get close to the Grail.

Have you notices that this is almost verbatim what Olenna says about Loras? That he is good at knocking men off horses. The implication there is clear: Loras may look the part, but he has not got the wisdom nor the savvy.

ie the reality of westerosi knighthood is Sandor's man with horse and a sword. They have almost all become the Laughing Knight.

Precisely. It makes me wonder what the meaning is of the North being a "knight free" zone. It has its fair share of feuds, treachery and deceit with the Boltons, but is it still closer to a more sane and balanced ideal of what society should be like?

I had the thought in the learning to lead thread that Daenerys is a transformative, carnival type figure. Turning the world upside down, well Westeros is certainly in need of that. (hmm the tune of the
came from the song
- but surely that's too obscure a joke even for GRRM)

I suppose I ought to link that to Sansa. Again coming out of the Daenerys and Jon reread I see her as the person potentially best able to combine head and heart, principles and plotting and perhaps for the long term a significant leader in a future Westeros.

Very interesting points both of them. I think judging by what she has gone through, Sansa would be ready to accept the change that Dany would bring. Perhaps this is why we have seen more women in positions of power: when it comes to accepting and driving through change, they are more ready and willing to join forces with that goal, unlike perhaps the old patriarchal male leadership that used to rule.

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I agree with you on this, Lummel. Yes, and it’s interesting that Lancelot was supposed to be the "pinnacle" of Knighthood, but it was Galahad who achieved the Holy Grail. (I made a post somewhere on the board---, I have no idea where any more!--- about Galahad, Bors and Perceval, drawing parallels to Brienne, Jaime and Sandor, along with the idea of the Dolores Stroke in relation to Sandor’s leg wound).

with the dolores stroke aren't you envoking the Fisher King? That taps into a very rich mythology of it's own with the wound affecting the sexual potency of the king which is reflected in the landscape of his kingdom which become infertile and desolate. I'm not sure if that is something that GRRM is drawing into his story.

The grail quest is for a spirtual dimension to knighthood and like you say many are called but only three choosen. Possibly Brienne and Jaime are on a similar quest for meaning and a wholeness between the ideal and realities of being a knight (or person at arms).

Not sure about Sandor. Perceval was an innocent, Galahad was pure and Bors I think was their decent enough cousin. Sandor doesn't seem to me to fit in that group although no doubt he is deeply wounded. If like the Fisher King he can be cured by a touch of the weapon that wounded him then his salvation doesn't lie with Sansa that I can see :dunno: anyhow he's going to become a happy monk, spreading the love of the seven aspects of god among the smallfolk. It is known.

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Wow, I'd love to read that post, especially because I have made similar parallels (in my mind), especially wrt to Sandor's injured leg. :)

I don't know how to link to another thread, but it was in the "Jaime's dream, Brienne, UnCat and everything else" thread. My post was on page four. For some reason I really thought I delved more into the subject. Hmmmm...I'm thinking I had more stuff written up, but that I never posted it. :dunno: I'll need to check on that later.....

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Regarding her full cognitive desires though: does she realise it herself? Is it conscious enough that she would be able to actually think to herself "Yes, I am attracted to this guy". It seems that is still something she is not really ready to think about, or perhaps she also thinks it's pointless since she felt he left her behind and now is lost forever so what good would it do to ponder it?

Good question. From my perspective, I don't know if Sansa is ever going to verbalise to readers, yes, I'm attracted to Sandor Clegane, the Hound, but I believe at this point that she is "aware" of those feelings. What's interesting in the final example when Mya Randa asks her if she knows what goes in the marriage bed, is that this is a very deliberate choice to associate him with sex and desire, so I would argue that he's fulfilled that cognitive recognition at the least.

What I would add here is what Lummel noted above about her bridging the heart and the head. Her "head" - the cognitive, is fully aware of Sandor; but the heart is as yet, more wary and unsure than aware of how to vocalise this desire.

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Do you mean this one Queen of Winter?

Now, how you do that is first you find the post you want to quote, then click on the post number on the top right of that post, then copy what is in the location bar in your internet browser, next highlight the text where you want the link to appear, click on the 'link' symbol - a chain with a little plus below it and paste.

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with the dolores stroke aren't you envoking the Fisher King? That taps into a very rich mythology of it's own with the wound affecting the sexual potency of the king which is reflected in the landscape of his kingdom which become infertile and desolate. I'm not sure if that is something that GRRM is drawing into his story.

The grail quest is for a spirtual dimension to knighthood and like you say many are called but only three choosen. Possibly Brienne and Jaime are on a similar quest for meaning and a wholeness between the ideal and realities of being a knight (or person at arms).

Not sure about Sandor. Perceval was an innocent, Galahad was pure and Bors I think was their decent enough cousin. Sandor doesn't seem to me to fit in that group although no doubt he is deeply wounded. If like the Fisher King he can be cured by a touch of the weapon that wounded him then his salvation doesn't lie with Sansa that I can see :dunno: anyhow he's going to become a happy monk, spreading the love of the seven aspects of god among the smallfolk. It is known.

Yep, the Fisher King. I had trouble with that aspect too. I have limited time at the moment, but am going to revisit this later in the day...so stay tuned! :)

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Good question. From my perspective, I don't know if Sansa is ever going to verbalise to readers, yes, I'm attracted to Sandor Clegane, the Hound, but I believe at this point that she is "aware" of those feelings. What's interesting in the final example when Mya asks her if she knows what goes in the marriage bed, is that this is a very deliberate choice to associate him with sex and desire, so I would argue that's he fulfilled that cognitive recognition at the least.

I agree. I remember reading that passage in AFFC for the first time and going !!!!!!!! when I saw it, since it struck me as very overt and on a very conscious level, to boot, compared to what we'd seen before. Especially since I've been submerged in a deluge of naysayers for so long on these boards (we had more of the "but his feelings were really just brotherly" people back then :P )

This is also the first time she mentions him by name in these type of scenarios. In the dream sequence and in the SR kiss scenario he remains nameless. She imagines the UnKiss earlier, but then it doesn't seem to be charged with the same connotations since she hasn't really got to that stage in her own development.

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...Have you notices that this is almost verbatim what Olenna says about Loras? That he is good at knocking men off horses. The implication there is clear: Loras may look the part, but he has not got the wisdom nor the savvy...

no, but it doesn't surprise me. She spoke sense and no doubt that lodged in the nether sections of my brain. But yes, he is a perfect knight, as is Ser Gregor Clegane, if you judge on the externals and the worldly success.

Precisely. It makes me wonder what the meaning is of the North being a "knight free" zone. It has its fair share of feuds, treachery and deceit with the Boltons, but is it still closer to a more sane and balanced ideal of what society should be like?

not sure. for all my northern sympathies I can't pretend that it is ideal. It's not just the Boltons, the Umbers keep to the first night too and they have some questionable personal habits, the Karstarks with the exception of Alys (at least so far) don't seem an admirable bunch.

Very interesting points both of them. I think judging by what she has gone through, Sansa would be ready to accept the change that Dany would bring. Perhaps this is why we have seen more women in positions of power: when it comes to accepting and driving through change, they are more ready and willing to join forces with that goal, unlike perhaps the old patriarchal male leadership that used to rule.

For me something along those lines would make sense in terms of completing the circle, or perhaps we can invoke Queen of Winter's Dolorus Stroke here and see something of a healing of westeros and a correction of it's imbalances somehow as an appropriate conclusion to the series.

ETA corrected Winter's Queen to Queen of Winter. Sorry for the mistake.

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Do you mean this one Queen of Winter?

Now, how you do that is first you find the post you want to quote, then click on the post number on the top right of that post, then copy what is in the location bar in your internet browser, next highlight the text where you want the link to appear, click on the 'link' symbol - a chain with a little plus below it and paste.

Yes, that was the one Lummel :thumbsup: And thank you for the instructions on how to link to another thread! :)

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I don't know how to link to another thread, but it was in the "Jaime's dream, Brienne, UnCat and everything else" thread. My post was on page four. For some reason I really thought I delved more into the subject. Hmmmm...I'm thinking I had more stuff written up, but that I never posted it. :dunno: I'll need to check on that later.....

No worries, thanks for looking it up again for me. I may have even read that thread, but its just been so long I completely forgot. :P

Lummel ~ I definitely wasn't saying that Sandor is an exact Fisher King parallel. But I have mentioned before that I thought it was interesting he was wounded in the leg, which is often seen as symbolic of losing one's masculine power. At one point I even wondered if poor Sandor might be.....uh...impotent now (which I suppose would make it easier for him to remain a monk, heh, but still.. :() However, because Stranger/Driftwood was still alive and kickin' (literally) and refusing to be gelded, I thought that might rather be more symbolic of Sandor himself. He might even be unable to fully recover enough to fight on foot, but could still potentially fight from horseback. (Which, incidentally, is what distinguishes a knight from a common foot soldier, technically at least. :P) If Sandor is to re-enter the story in a fighting capacity, that might be way. Anyhoo, even if not literally, at least symbolically Sandor's masculine/warrior power is at least somewhat diminished, for now, and I've mentioned before that this reminds me greatly of Jane Eyre with how Rochester was wounded in a way that at first seems to emasculate him (though Jane notes that he is just as brooding and moody as always, lol). I know that Sandor may not reenter the story, but it seems at least that his rage may end up being 'gentled', but he'll still retain his lovely cantakerous self. ;)

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This was said a while back but as I just came home from work, I feel like I needed to say it anyway.

I agree. The more we look at this, the more it seems that Loras stands out as the "safe" choice for Sansa in the same way Renly was the "safe" choice for Brienne. It's also shown how the emotions Sansa and Brienne have for these men are similar: they get all flustered when they are near and they put them on a bit of a pedestal, to be admired from a distance, sort of. It's all very proper.

I actually agree with what you say. I just had a thought about Loras not being the "safe" choice. If a "safe" choice is defined as enabling someone to fantasize and maybe even admire someone from the distance without ever being in a position to actually get into a closer relationship, then, at least when Sansa first meats Loras, he is not a "safe" choice. Sansa believes he noticed her and that she sticks out of the crowd, a little like Lyanna Stark. Both Sansa and Loras are the children of high lords so technically a relationship between them both is not that unlikely (granted, Sansa was betrothed to Joffrey). Sandor on the other hand is not a very likely partner for her. She fears him but then somewhat sees his "other" side. I think the scene after the turney is a key scene here. She goes from being afraid of him to being afraid for him. Yet, he's much older than her, physically not very appealing to her and sort of has that "bad boy" feeling. Hence, he is a "safe" choice to fantasize about because it is almost certain (at least in the beginning) that he is not a potential candidate for a romantic relationship.

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No worries, thanks for looking it up again for me. I may have even read that thread, but its just been so long I completely forgot. :P

Lummel ~ I definitely wasn't saying that Sandor is an exact Fisher King parallel. But I have mentioned before that I thought it was interesting he was wounded in the leg, which is often seen as symbolic of losing one's masculine power. At one point I even wondered if poor Sandor might be.....uh...impotent now (which I suppose would make it easier for him to remain a monk, heh, but still.. :() However, because Stranger/Driftwood was still alive and kickin' (literally) and refusing to be gelded, I thought that might rather be more symbolic of Sandor himself. He might even be unable to fully recover enough to fight on foot, but could still potentially fight from horseback. (Which, incidentally, is what distinguishes a knight from a common foot soldier, technically at least. :P) If Sandor is to re-enter the story in a fighting capacity, that might be way. Anyhoo, even if not literally, at least symbolically Sandor's masculine/warrior power is at least somewhat diminished, for now, and I've mentioned before that this reminds me greatly of Jane Eyre with how Rochester was wounded in a way that at first seems to emasculate him (though Jane notes that he is just as brooding and moody as always, lol). I know that Sandor may not reenter the story, but it seems at least that his rage may end up being 'gentled', but he'll still retain his lovely cantakerous self. ;)

Well, so much for my waiting for later to post some thoughts on this subject! :lol:

Regarding the Fisher King.....I had been thinking of something similar to what you're saying. Right now Sandor is out of commission. His physical condition isn't so great (and neither is his mental state). More than likely he's unable to physically fight in batte. I guess in a way, you could say that it does make him "impotent". He's a swordsman-- he doesn't know how to do anything else.

Once Sandor's physical wound heals he'll be able to fight once more (we hope). We can also hope that while onthe QI, he'll temper his rage, which might also be viewed as a "healing". I think once Sandor becomes "whole" again...well...that's where the Fisher King's message of rebirth comes in to play.

I don't think he'll be exactly the same man that first arrived on the QI. I hope he'll be a better one! :thumbsup:

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This was said a while back but as I just came home from work, I feel like I needed to say it anyway.

I actually agree with what you say. I just had a thought about Loras not being the "safe" choice. If a "safe" choice is defined as enabling someone to fantasize and maybe even admire someone from the distance without ever being in a position to actually get into a closer relationship, then, at least when Sansa first meats Loras, he is not a "safe" choice. Sansa believes he noticed her and that she sticks out of the crowd, a little like Lyanna Stark. Both Sansa and Loras are the children of high lords so technically a relationship between them both is not that unlikely (granted, Sansa was betrothed to Joffrey). Sandor on the other hand is not a very likely partner for her. She fears him but then somewhat sees his "other" side. I think the scene after the turney is a key scene here. She goes from being afraid of him to being afraid for him. Yet, he's much older than her, physically not very appealing to her and sort of has that "bad boy" feeling. Hence, he is a "safe" choice to fantasize about because it is almost certain (at least in the beginning) that he is not a potential candidate for a romantic relationship.

Hmm.....I view this safe vs. unsafe thing a bit differently. Loras is 'safe' because even though perhaps technically he is more likely a suitor for Sansa than Sandor is, he is physically unthreatening towards her. He is 'beautiful' and elegant, like a flower....not very threatening. He touches her only to offer an arm to escort her, and is totally uninterested in Sansa 'that way'. He is someone who she can fantasize about without feeling physically threatened.

Sandor on the other hand is literally a looming presence over her from the first minute they meet (when he puts a hand on her shoulder on the Kingsroad). After that, there is a lot of random touching going on between them while they are in KL. At that time, while they were both in KL together, Sandor was *not* someone who would be safe to fantasize about, because of that very physical element of their relationship that was already present. Its like, too much to fantasize about something that actually-could-maybe-kinda-sorta-totally-happen if you are not ready for it yet. (This is all entirely subconscious of course...)

I hope that makes some sort of sense.....

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Well, so much for my waiting for later to post some thoughts on this subject! :lol:

Regarding the Fisher King.....I had been thinking of something similar to what you're saying. Right now Sandor is out of commission. His physical condition isn't so great (and neither is his mental state). More than likely he's unable to physically fight in batte. I guess in a way, you could say that it does make him "impotent". He's a swordsman-- he doesn't know how to do anything else.

Once Sandor's physical wound heals he'll be able to fight once more (we hope). We can also hope that while onthe QI, he'll temper his rage, which might also be viewed as a "healing". I think once Sandor becomes "whole" again...well...that's where the Fisher King's message of rebirth comes in to play.

I don't think he'll be exactly the same man that first arrived on the QI. I hope he'll be a better one! :thumbsup:

Ahh, sorry, Queen of Winter, I didn't mean to steal your thunder. Please do continue to expand upon this topic, I'm enjoying your thoughts! I too hope that he comes back from the Quiet Isle, different... no longer the Hound, but maybe more 'Sandor' than he's ever been? :)

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