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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa X

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I don't doubt that the story is clear that physical beauty and inner goodness have no corellation - it's a common myth, that Sansa learns to her sorrow. As far as "punishing" though - don't bother having some debate whether GRRM is "punishing" the beautiful or the ugly more in ASOIAF. There is no right answer there. He punishes everybody.

Yeah, I agree he punishes everyone in the narrative. However, the problem comes into play when "beauty" or desiring beauty is constructed as fake or representative of a shallow mindset. I'm not saying this is what GRRM is doing per se, but I do think exploring how beauty is represented within the narrative, particularly with regard to Sansa who is involved in so many "beauty and the beast" pairings is important.

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How much is she defined by it in the narrative; does it help/hinder her and to what extent; is there a tendency of GRRM's to "punish" beautiful women (and men) in the story? What role does "beauty as an ideal" still play in Sansa's life? Is Martin responsible for the overwhelming opinion that Sansa is shallow based on how he constructs the notion of beauty and appreciation for it in the story?

One thing that I find interesting is that everyone dismisses Sansa in the story for thinking she is just a silly shallow girl (Cersei, Joffrey, the Tyrells, Tyrion, etc) when we know that she is playing a part and fooling everyone (she meets with Dontos to arrange an escape, Tyrion never has any clue about what she's thinking, etc). But at the same time so many readers act just like those characters who can't see past her exterior and are also fooled by her outward actions (being polite and keeping quiet) that they don't see what she's really thinking about or how her character developed or even the value of some of the things she does like not keeling.

Sansa is not shallow. She was friends with a steward's daughter even in AGOT, she is the only one who is ever kind to Lollys and Sweetrobin, she sees the Hound for the man he is, and she was totally willing to marry a crippled man and wanted him to love her for who she was. She never "rates" people on looks like Cersei does as well.

Which is a great thing about her, really. A lot of people are really shallow in judging her, and all her marriage plots so far have been about people who wanted her for her claim and/or beauty, and no one (of her suitors) has really seen her for herself yet. And that's all she wants - for someone to love her for herself.

She likes pretty things and has a crush on some pretty boys when she is a child. I don't see how that makes her shallow, tbh. Who doesn't like nice things? Who wants to look at ugly crap all day and wear ugly dresses? When you were 10, did you have a crush on the prettiest girl in your class or on the weird kid who ate glue? It's perfectly natural to want to kiss good-looking boys. And yet, her deeper (if unconscious) feelings are actually about a scarred man, and she desperately wanted the crippled man to love her as well. That's more than I can say for some grown-ass men in this series, like Edmure and Tyrion, who throw hissy fits at even the thought of being with someone ugly.

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A lot of people are really shallow in judging her, and all her marriage plots so far have been about people who wanted her for her claim and/or beauty, and no one (of her suitors) has really seen her for herself yet. And that's all she wants - for someone to love her for herself.

And yet, her deeper (if unconscious) feelings are actually about a scarred man, and she desperately wanted the crippled man to love her as well.

Actually, if you take a look at how her crushes work (with Joffrey, Loras, the Hound, Willas, etc.) they seem to hinge of these fantasies of rescue. Joffrey gallantly taking her away from Ser Ilyn and the Hound on the road south. Loras was the sort of knight who would defeat the monster (Gregor Clegane). The Hound did protect her, for all his menace and roughness*. Ser Dontos, she may not have been very attracted to him, but she did idealize his seemingly-chivalrous behavior.

With Willas, Tyrell, she had wanted Loras and was dismayed to hear Willas was crippled, but still idealized a possible match with him because it meant escape and rescue. (She had never met him, after all.) She may have felt foolish in not right away seeing it was her claim the Tyrells were interested in, but even with that considered, it was still a better option than anything in King's Landing.

(*The Hound is close to being an exception, though. The rescue aspect is there, but the looks and knightly chivalry are not.)

I'll try to touch on this topic more when I do my Littlefinger post.

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Actually, if you take a look at how her crushes work (with Joffrey, Loras, the Hound, Willas, etc.) they seem to hinge of these fantasies of rescue. Joffrey gallantly taking her away from Ser Ilyn and the Hound on the road south. Loras was the sort of knight who would defeat the monster (Gregor Clegane). The Hound did protect her, for all his menace and roughness*. Ser Dontos, she may not have been very attracted to him, but she did idealize his seemingly-chivalrous behavior.

For Joffrey and Loras: is it that she had crushes on them because she thought they could protect her? I think it's the other way around, that she thought they could protect her/had these rescue fantasies about them because she was attracted to them.

Then as time passes and she gets older and is in a really bad situation, she starts to look beyond looks. I agree with you on Willas, but since as you say she's never met him, it's a bit different...

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Actually, if you take a look at how her crushes work (with Joffrey, Loras, the Hound, Willas, etc.) they seem to hinge of these fantasies of rescue. Joffrey gallantly taking her away from Ser Ilyn and the Hound on the road south. Loras was the sort of knight who would defeat the monster (Gregor Clegane). The Hound did protect her, for all his menace and roughness*. Ser Dontos, she may not have been very attracted to him, but she did idealize his seemingly-chivalrous behavior.

With Willas, Tyrell, she had wanted Loras and was dismayed to hear Willas was crippled, but still idealized a possible match with him because it meant escape and rescue. (She had never met him, after all.) She may have felt foolish in not right away seeing it was her claim the Tyrells were interested in, but even with that considered, it was still a better option than anything in King's Landing.

(*The Hound is close to being an exception, though. The rescue aspect is there, but the looks and knightly chivalry are not.)

I don't know if that's an accurate portrayal, Pod. Joff taking her away for Illyn was one time and not something she dwells on. She liked him (originally) because he was handsome, ellegant and chilvarous. Loras looked like the perfect knight but the person who really defeated the monster was the Hound, and she even comments that she was actually rooting for him instead of Loras during the tourney of the Hand. She liked Loras because he looked "innocent". She also had a crush on a pretty boy in Winterfell (the one who became a wight) and she didn't have any need to be rescued there.

With Willas, it's not really a crush, she just thinks that it could work. IMO it's more about "the quiet life", yes she will be free from KL but she also likes the idea of having children and puppies in Highgarden.

Dontos she does idealize for helping her escape. But considering that he did help her escape (it wasn't a fantasy) and she was at no point attracted to him for it, I wouldn't say that "the fantasy of being rescued" is what makes her crush on someone. She is also not attracted to LF at all, and he's the one who orchestrated the whole thing.

She doesn't really know she has a crush on the Hound, but the things she admires about him are his honesty and his ferocity, and when he offered to take her away she didn't accept.

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So, I'm rereading Tyrion's ACOK chapters and I came across this interesting tidbit when he is meeting with Littlefinger:

...There was mischief in Littlefinger's eyes. He drew the knife and glanced at it casually, as if he had never seen it before. "Valyrian steel, and a dragonbone hilt. A trifle plain, though. It's yours, if you like it."

"Mine?" Tyrion gave him a long look. "No. I think not. Never mine." He knows the, the insolent wretch. He knows and he knows that I know, and he thinks that I cannot touch him.

If ever truly a man had armoured himself in gold, it was Petyr Baelish, not Jaime Lannister. Jaime's famous armor was but gilded steel, but Littlefinger, ah ... Tyrion had learned a few things about sweet Petyr, to his growing disquiet.

Might make one tend to rethink the common interpretation of Bran's dream, not?

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Might make one tend to rethink the common interpretation of Bran's dream, not?

That is very interesting...

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The question of Sansa's beauty and how it functions within the story has been referenced in one or two threads recently on the board, particularly in relation to her relationship with the three prominent males in her life: Sandor/Tyrion/Littlefinger. I'd like to introduce this topic for exploration on the thread, and it's something that we can bear in mind for the analyses on those male figures. To start with, I've posed some questions below for consideration:

How much is she defined by it in the narrative; does it help/hinder her and to what extent; is there a tendency of GRRM's to "punish" beautiful women (and men) in the story? What role does "beauty as an ideal" still play in Sansa's life? Is Martin responsible for the overwhelming opinion that Sansa is shallow based on how he constructs the notion of beauty and appreciation for it in the story?

Great question!

First of all, I don't get an idea that GRRM has it in for beautiful women per se. The vibe I get from GRRM is that pretty people should not dismiss ugly people as romantic partners. I was going to write "pretty women and ugly men" but then I thought of Jaime and Brienne. Whatever happens in the end, there was definite chemistry between the two. Brienne is physically ugly, but she's a good person who really, sincerely, tries her best to embody knightly ideals.

Whether GRRM is actually responsible for the fandom perception of Sansa as shallow - yes and no. We first hear of Sansa through Arya's eyes, and Arya feels diminished by her sister, so the natural reaction is to side with Arya and dismiss Sansa as shallow. But by and large, the perception of Sansa as shallow comes from fans projecting their own issues (with femininity, with attractive women, with their idea of the conventional fantasy heroine, etc.) onto Sansa. Coming from the Harry Potter fandom, and comparing it with ASOIAF fandom, I think that in fandoms in general, characters become seen not so much as characters but as projections of the fan's dreams, ideals, fantasies, psychological issues, and hangups. I'm getting Jungian here, but I have a psychology background, and this tendency in fandom has always fascinated me. I think of Ron Weasley in HP and the stuff that people projected onto him - much of it having very little to do with the actual character of Ron as he appeared in the books.

As far as Sansa's beauty in her character arc: We've seen how people respond to beauty, believing that What Is Beautiful Is Good. With Sansa being as beautiful as she is, I think she will be able to disarm people if she so chooses. Let them think she's a pretty little bird until they get close and then wham! it's a she-wolf! Heterosexual/bisexual men respond to female beauty, and Sansa will be able to use this to her advantage. This is as long as she is able to get and keep her own power and agency.

Would Sandor have responded to Sansa as he did if she had not been beautiful? I think so, because I think she grew on him (after the first impression) because of her spirit and her kindness. I think her beauty helped, but he is enthralled by her lovely voice as much as anything ("I will have a song from you.") (And now I've got OperaFan!Sandor in my head. :D ). I wonder what he would have thought of her if she couldn't carry a tune in a bushel basket? But on the night of the Blackwater, it was her Mother kindness and compassion which truly touched him.

Littlefinger: Sansa is his Replacement Catelyn. If Sansa happened to be beautiful like Lyanna Stark, I wonder if Littlefinger would have lifted his little finger for her? I think that Littlefinger is so obsessed with having Catelyn in the form of her daughter, and so very full of himself that he is teaching her all his tricks, and so underestimating of her true nature, that he won't realize that the trout he reeled in has turned into a wolf until the wolf is snarling at his throat. It's not so much Sansa's beauty as her resemblance to Catelyn that informs her relationship with LF.

Tyrion - I think he finds her beautiful. He also thinks he's entitled to not just her body but her loyalty and her love. But his being an ugly dwarf is one thing, being a Lannister and the fact that Sansa was forced to marry him is quite another. His ugliness is just icing on that cake. She quickly disillusioned herself of Joffrey once she got to know him.

I'm rambling as usual. I'll respond to more comments later but I wanted to catch this one before it got away (sometimes these threads move soooo fast!).

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The question of Sansa's beauty and how it functions within the story has been referenced in one or two threads recently on the board, particularly in relation to her relationship with the three prominent males in her life: Sandor/Tyrion/Littlefinger. I'd like to introduce this topic for exploration on the thread, and it's something that we can bear in mind for the analyses on those male figures. To start with, I've posed some questions below for consideration:

How much is she defined by it in the narrative; does it help/hinder her and to what extent; is there a tendency of GRRM's to "punish" beautiful women (and men) in the story? What role does "beauty as an ideal" still play in Sansa's life? Is Martin responsible for the overwhelming opinion that Sansa is shallow based on how he constructs the notion of beauty and appreciation for it in the story?

i think she is defined at times in not such a good way because of her looks. if someone doesn't like her her flawless look could have something to do with it, but the way she is perceived by others greatly defines her since it both helps and hurts her: had she looked diffrent maybe tyrion would have dismissed her the way he did lollys or the way others did with lysa, and i've never read LF caring about what happened to cat's daughter: the one that looked like Ned, so.... it's all on how the reader perceives sansa's forced marriage to tryion and the protection it has ultimately given her regarding her maidenhead and others (coughLFcough) probably restraining themselves from taking her? and since a big part of what in the end helped her get out of KL was her beautiful resemblance to Cat, one can debate it is good she is no longer with the lannisters, but out of the frying oan and into the fire... a good thing about her looks and the way they help her out is that sansa looks very innocent and maiden type. Her behaviour helps, but i guess the expression of youth helped her with tricking some guard one time when she was visiting the godswood for "praying"...

i don't think though that beauty (at least physical beauty) is an ideal to Sansa anymore: we see her not minding pretty dresses and having dreams for a scarred man (both physically and emotionally) so i guess she is starting to see the beauty in simple things instead of wanting the flashy jewls and stuff. she isn't like in AGoT or even Storms anymore where Loras or Joff could deceive their true natures just by their handsome looks, so in Winds we might see her exploring this question with handsome Harry...

oh and about bran's dream from the first book and tyrion's remark on jaime's armor not really being made of gold: i think the dream involved the man with the hound's shaped helm, a man with a face made of shadows (gregor i presume) and the golden figure... if jaime isn't dressed in gold, maybe it could be cersei or tyrion the golden figure and instead of fighting against ungregor they are fighting by his side?

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But on the night of the Blackwater, it was her Mother kindness and compassion which truly touched him.

Great post, KRBT! :)

I think Sandor is quite stunned that a pretty girl would ever be kind to him, although I doubt even ugly people have ever treated him as a person before tbh. I think his "attraction" to her or whatever you want to call it is mostly about her being so kind to him. I just wanted to comment on this one sentence you wrote because I'm writing the Loras/Willas thing (there is surprisingly a LOT of material about them!) and I literally just reread that part where Sandor escorts her after dinner during the tourney, and it's when she stops being afraid of him, and when he kneels in front of her in the dark (it sounds like he's crying btw - he's a big crier isn't he?) she puts her hand on his shoulder and feels afraid FOR him. From that point onwards, he is hers.

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1. First of all, I don't get an idea that GRRM has it in for beautiful women per se. The vibe I get from GRRM is that pretty people should not dismiss ugly people as romantic partners. I was going to write "pretty women and ugly men" but then I thought of Jaime and Brienne. Whatever happens in the end, there was definite chemistry between the two. Brienne is physically ugly, but she's a good person who really, sincerely, tries her best to embody knightly ideals.

2. Whether GRRM is actually responsible for the fandom perception of Sansa as shallow - yes and no. We first hear of Sansa through Arya's eyes, and Arya feels diminished by her sister, so the natural reaction is to side with Arya and dismiss Sansa as shallow. But by and large, the perception of Sansa as shallow comes from fans projecting their own issues (with femininity, with attractive women, with their idea of the conventional fantasy heroine, etc.) onto Sansa. Coming from the Harry Potter fandom, and comparing it with ASOIAF fandom, I think that in fandoms in general, characters become seen not so much as characters but as projections of the fan's dreams, ideals, fantasies, psychological issues, and hangups.

3. Tyrion - I think he finds her beautiful. He also thinks he's entitled to not just her body but her loyalty and her love.

1. This sums up what I feel the message is as well. Great words, that they shouldn't be dismissed just for their appearance. Jaime/Brienne :wub:

2. I wonder how perceptions might have been slanted if Sansa had gotten a POV before we see her through Arya's eyes? I think it has a great deal to do with the initial (and strongest) impression for most readers.

3. Potentially unpopular opinion: I don't actually think Tyrion felt entitled to her affection/compassion, I think he just craved it because he was so starved of it himself. Even with Shae he couldn't trust that it was real.

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oh and about bran's dream from the first book and tyrion's remark on jaime's armor not really being made of gold: i think the dream involved the man with the hound's shaped helm, a man with a face made of shadows (gregor i presume) and the golden figure... if jaime isn't dressed in gold, maybe it could be cersei or tyrion the golden figure and instead of fighting against ungregor they are fighting by his side?

Well the intriguing thing is that it may be referring to LF himself, which puts the other two figures in the dream under scrutiny as well. I still think that the giant in stone armor points to Gregor, but I'm not sure the one described as dark as ash with the terrible face of a Hound represents Sandor.

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Well the intriguing thing is that it may be referring to LF himself, which puts the other two figures in the dream under scrutiny as well. I still think that the giant in stone armor points to Gregor, but I'm not sure the one described as dark as ash with the terrible face of a Hound represents Sandor.

I agree about UnGregor, but I think given Tyrion's recent brush with Greyscale and the references to him as a Giant, there may also be something to that too.

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Would Sandor have responded to Sansa as he did if she had not been beautiful? I think so, because I think she grew on him (after the first impression) because of her spirit and her kindness. I think her beauty helped, but he is enthralled by her lovely voice as much as anything ("I will have a song from you.") (And now I've got OperaFan!Sandor in my head. :D ). I wonder what he would have thought of her if she couldn't carry a tune in a bushel basket? But on the night of the Blackwater, it was her Mother kindness and compassion which truly touched him.

This reminds me of when I first started lurking on here and there was this thread that Sandor was the Phantom of the Opera ;-) Sing for me!

Well the intriguing thing is that it may be referring to LF himself, which puts the other two figures in the dream under scrutiny as well. I still think that the giant in stone armor points to Gregor, but I'm not sure the one described as dark as ash with the terrible face of a Hound represents Sandor.

Very interesting, especially considering that the Hound's helm is now in the hands of Lem Lemoncloak in the BwB, and before that Rorge had it. That thing keeps getting passed around and it seems to have a negative effect on it's possessor (well Rorge was always a monster but Saltpans was a new low even for him).

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Well the intriguing thing is that it may be referring to LF himself, which puts the other two figures in the dream under scrutiny as well. I still think that the giant in stone armor points to Gregor, but I'm not sure the one described as dark as ash with the terrible face of a Hound represents Sandor.

you're right, LF could be the man armored in gold, but then is that golden figure fighting against Ungregor or by his side? i hope he doesn't go too crazy when sansa finally leaves him to the point of threatening her life or something, but about the hound: as it was said rorge and lem have worn it now, and if it's last owner is killed then i think that could be the final catalyst for sandor's past to be left behind (for him this may be in the QI) but for the world. everyone could learn that he didn't do saltpans, so his name would finally be cleared!

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I wonder if the "dark as ash" is important? Ash is produced after a fire, so perhaps there's some connection with a character who's been burnt, or survived a fire? Again, this is pointing to Sandor, and I'm definitely thinking too hard :)

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I just wanted to comment on a quote made by Kittykatknits on an earlier Rethinking Sansa thread:

1. I think Martin is playing the long game with Sansa which seems to be missed by some readers. Is he doing this to a greater degree than other characters? Other thoughts on this? Did this decision actually hurt her character? I see many readers who don't seem to see Sansa as much more than an abuse victim until she gets to the Vale. It seems as if her story arc is not apparent to some until she interacts more with LF and begins to learn the game.

WRT Sansa being represented in an unfairly negative light by GRRM in AGOT—I think this is a contentious issue. Of course, we all love Sansa here, so the easiest thing to believe (given the strength of her character) is that GRRM has always been portraying her with the sympathy and respect she deserves. Surely, since Sansa is a compelling and sympathetic character, it is the issue of individual posters, rather than problems with the text itself, that results in prejudices against her? Surely, claims that she is “bratty, shallow, a traitor to her family, and above all, “entitled,” are the product of insensitive, less empathetic readers, rather than anything about Sansa’s treatment itself?

Unfortunately, though I think Sansa has (from the beginning) been a compelling and sympathetic character, I’m going to have to disagree that the text always treats her fairly, or does not, at times, seem to have an “agenda” in its treatment of her. Because overall, it looks as though GRRM does portray Sansa as “entitled”—she is portrayed negatively, overall, for feeling entitled to a handsome prince and a happy life—to the few things that her patriarchal society allows girls to be entitled to. It seems as though Sansa desires the few privileges/ rights her society can give her, and is willing to place this above the will of her patriarch.

That GRRM’s portrayal of Sansa in AGOT is mostly accidental/ the result of a biased POV structure is one sensible explanation for the somewhat negative, intentionally off-putting portrait we get of Sansa in AGOT. However, unfortunately, it’s one that I personally cannot fully buy. First, there is the issue that most of the things that we learn about Sansa that seem designed to create profound annoyance with her in the readers eyes originate from her own POV chapters. For instance:

“She was almost in tears. All she wanted was for things to be nice and pretty, the way they were in the songs. Why couldn’t Arya be sweet and delicate and kind, like Princess Myrcella?”

“Sansa could never understand how two sisters, born only two years apart, could be so different. It would have been easier if Arya had been a bastard, like their half brother Jon. She even looked like Jon, with the long face and brown hair of the starks, and nothing of their lady mother in her face or her coloring. And Jon’s mother had been common, or so people whispered.”

“Sansa sighed as she stitched. “Poor Jon she said. He’ get’s jealous because he’s a bastard.”

“He’s our brother,” Arya said, much too loudly. Her voice cut through the afternoon quiet of the tower room. Septa Mordane raised her eyes.

What are you talking about, children?”

“Our half brother,” Sansa corrected, soft and precise. She smiled for the septa. “Arya and I were remarking on how pleased we are to have the princess with us today.”

Septa Mordane nodded. “Indeed. A great honor for us all.” Princess Myrcella smiled uncertainly at the compliment. “Arya, why aren’t you at work?” The septa asked. …. Let me see your stitches.

Arya wanted to scream. It was just like Sansa to go and attract the septa’s attention.”

“He missed the girls too, even Sansa, who never called him anything but “my half brother” since she was old enough to understand what “bastard” meant.”

“Sometimes it’s just fun to ride along with the wagons and talk to people.”

Sansa knew all about the sorts of people Arya liked to talk to: squires and grooms and serving girls, old men and naked children, rough spoke freeriders of certain birth. Mycah was the worst; a butcher’s boy, thirteen and wild, he slept in the meat wagon and smelled of the slaughtering black. Just the sight of him was enough to make Sansa feel sick, but Ayra seemed to prefer his company to hers.”

I know I’ve quote the following lines a few times before, and I apologize for doing so yet again. Yet when I look at this, a few things strike me—first, how these fairly negative things come from Sansa herself. And secondly—and far more significantly—how they seem phrased in the most offensive way possible as though to create annoyance on the reader’s part with Sansa. Rather than taking every single pain imaginable to make these small faults look excusable/ understandable under the circumstances (as he does with Tyrion, in the case of far, far greater faults) or placing them in context as the understandable reactions to a class and birth conscious society that Sansa lives in, or even representing them as minor facets of a complex and highly sympathetic personality, it is as though GRRM portrays these ideas as unsympathetic as possible, blatantly satirizing Sansa in a way designed to make the far more enlightened reader (carrying his/ her own 21rst century, unquestioned norms about birth/ class values) feel visceral disapproval of her opinions. She’s not being drawn as some demonic caricature, true, yet GRRM is clearly emphasizing some minor faults that he glosses over in other (all male) characters.

Overall, though, despite the fact that the text seems to take measures to make Sansa somewhat unsympathetic to readers with her snobberies and birth prejudices, there is nothing she gets more criticism for in the narrative itself than placing her desire for happiness with Joffrey over the will of her father/ patriarch. The good girls in the novel—including the “liberated” feminists—Asha, Brienne, Arya, the Sandsnakes—simply do not do this—their father’s word is law, they obey like good daughters.

However, it seems as though Sansa is criticized by what posters have dubbed “feelings of entitlement.” And indeed, Sansa does feel entitled—to the few rights/ privileges that her intensely patriarchal society traditionally grants women. In Westeros society, the rights of highborn women (though GRRM portrays women like Cersei as spoilt bitches of privilege) are pretty much limited to a. having their own trueborn children inherit, rather than their husbands illegitimate children. B. marrying highborn lords. Sansa feels entitled to the second of these rights—she feels entitled to marry and handsome prince, have his children, and live happily ever after.

Damningly, though, she is willing to place these desires—these female “rights”, if you will—above the will of her family patriarch. Sansa’s decision to claim she doesn’t remember about the direwolf, and later, to “betray” her father to be happy in the future with Joffrey, are portrayed in a way as to make the viewer disgusted or, in the least, intensely annoyed with her actions; to see them as a “betrayal”, even if they are a betrayal born of ignorance and naivety. (I’d be happy to utilize some quotes/ scenes that led me to this conclusion that this is the reaction GRRM seems intentionally trying to elicit, here. Because while I and—I’m guessing—many other people here probably weren’t furious with Sansa for making a child’s choice while not knowing the potential consequences, from the text itself I can only conclude that a reaction of anger/ frustration/ fury is what GRRM is trying to elicit for Sansa’s actions here.)

For instance: Ned tells Sasna: For instance: "When you're older, I'll make you a match with someone who's worthy of you. Someone who's brave and gentle and strong." Sansa, instead of trusting in Ned the patriarch to take care of her and chose the right husband for her as father’s do in Westeros, foolishly thinks that she knows better, and disastrously thwarts he father’s will. In doing so—and in thinking she knows better than her patriarch, and usurping the traditionally held right of a Westeros patriarch in choosing his daughters husband—Sansa leads to the destruction of her family, the murder of her father, and the ruination of her own life. In taking her destiny into her own hands, she has ruined her own life—apparently, daddy really did know best, and Sansa’s disobeying him led to unmitigated tragedy and disaster. (One is reminded, here, of Arianne’s disastrous “betrayal” of her own father—her rebellion that started out with her feeling she’d been oppressed and sidelined due to her sex, taking steps to claim her rights, only to find that—whoops!—daddy planned to give her her inheritance and was the man with the (far wiser and better) plan all along. And that her foolish, childish rebellion was stupid, and only led to the maiming of Myrcella, a huge incident, and the murder of her lover. She, like Sansa, would have been far, far wiser to listen to her naturally wiser daddy all along.

One could say this is merely an example of parents rising up against their children; of age vs. experience. Yet many things give me pause. For instance, compare Sansa’s falling for the wrong boy and putting her happiness with him above the demands of her patriarch with Tyrion’s exact same actions. In AGOT, Sansa’s feelings towards Joffrey (and her dreams of future love, happiness, and family, the few things that a highborn girl in her position is, indeed, according to custom, entitled to) is treated with palpable condescension. Or, at least, this is the feeling I got from the following:

“Sansa noticed how Joffrey confronted the smallfolk, demanding food and drink for them, on behalf of the crowned prince. Once, when a woman had no food to spare, he got angry, and demanded to be given the last they had. He is so handsome, she thought with a sigh.

“Sansa could not remain angry with Joffrey. He was too beautiful.”

“Sansa knew Joffrey would be going hunting with the king. He enjoyed hunting, especially the killing part. She hoped that he would bring her back the white hart. That would be so romantic, just like a song.”

There are many similarly themed quotes WRT Sasna’s feelings for Joff littered throughout AGOT. Meanwhile, Tyrion’s feelings for Shae (every bit as shallow as Sansa’s for Joff, perhaps even more so) are portrayed as deep, true, and loving. (GRRM himself has said in interviews on two separate occasions that Tyrion as “in love with” Shae.)

Furthermore, compare Sansa’s much demonized choice to chose her own happiness and rights over her father’s will. Sansa’s is portrayed as a betrayal; a naïve, foolish, but still harmful and damning choice at best. Meanwhile Tyrions’ choice to marry a girl against his father’s wishes is portrayed as sweet, touching, and romantic, even though it goes against every single responsibility of his as a highborn son, and could have spelt ruin (or at least deep scandal) for his house. With Tyrion, he is portrayed as sympathetic, romantic, rebellious; his disobeyed father figure is the one who is demonized. In short—Sansa choses her own desires over the will of her father, and is portrayed as a thoughtless, selfish, wicked, entitled betrayer, that destroys her house and makes Sansa worthy of scorn and contempt and censure; Tyrion does the exact same thing and is portrayed as a deep, sympathetic, glamorously rebellious lover.

There is also the fact that Sansa stands pretty much alone in rebelling against the patriarchy (unconsciously placing her own desires over her patriarchs will.) All of the “liberated” women whom Sansa is often portrayed as insufficiently “feminist” next to are no threat at all towards the patriarchy.

Overall, it does seem as though Sansa is portrayed as entitled. She is portrayed as entitled for wanting a handsome, highborn prince and future happiness.

And it seems as though this feelings of entitlement are gradually beaten out of Sansa over the course of the series. Even after Sansa is beaten and harassed and humiliated by the boy she once considered her prince charming (there is a somewhat disturbing sense of “shows your right!” going on here—of course, GRRM clearly disapproves of the abuse, however, there is something strange about the way Sansa is beaten and abused by the man she once considered her prince charming, and “betrayed” her father for—it seems too much of a coincidence, as though Sansa is being taught the gravity of betraying the patriarchy), yet she still retains some of her (IMO) normal and righteous sense of entitlement. (I’m simply using this term for lack of a better word; I don’t mean it in the traditional sense, but am using it to refer to Sansa’s knowledge of her self worth and refusal to accept/ feel grateful for second rate.) Sansa’s willfulness, stubborn belief that she deserves certain things in life—a wellborn handsome husband she’s attracted to, family happiness, etc.—remains with her throughout her trials in kings landing. (Though the romanticism behind it is greatly dimmed.) When she gets on the boat with LF after Joffrey’s murder, she still believes that she’s worthy of the things she felt she was worthy of before—though by now she knows well life is not all songs, beauty, and handsome princes.

We see has become somewhat insecure. Yet we see she still knows her self worth during her interactions with Lysa. When Lysa first suggests a match with Sweetrobin, Sansa, though her usual compassion shines through, as is reluctant to marry him as she was with Tyrion. She knows that she DESERVES better.

These feelings increase as she gets to know sweetrobin better. Sansa’s feelings come to a head where LF creepily perves on her and Sweetrobin ruins her castle. She reacts with fury, then reflects:

My Lord Husband, Sansa thought, as she contemplated the ruins of Winterfell. She wondered if Lord Robert would shake all through their wedding. At least Joffrey was sound of body. A mad rage seized hold of her. She picked up a broken branch and smashed the torn doll’s head down on top of it, then pushed it down atop the shattered gatehouse of her snow castle.

(Is this symbolic on GRRM’s part? Last time, Sansa was too “willful” and “childish” when choosing a husband and didn’t know that her father knew what was best for her. Now she is similarly willful, and “ruins” the sculpture of Winterfell—representing her old life, and House Stark.”)

I will tell my aunt that I don’t want to marry Robert. Not even the High Septon himself could declare a woman married if she refused to say the vows. She wasn’t a beggar, no matter what her aunt said. She was thirteen, a woman flowered and wed, the heir to Winterfell. Sansa felt sorry for her little cousin sometimes, but she could not imagine ever wanting to be his wife. I would sooner be married to Tyrion again…..

I will tell her. I will!...

I am a Stark of Winterfell, …

Here (IMO) we still see a significant part of the Sansa we met in AGOT—she is a Stark of Winterfell, she does not have to marry Sweet Robin, she is entitled to better.

We all know what happens next. Lysa threatens her, LF murders her. Sansa witnesses this, and is told it is all her fault.

From this point on there is a significant change in Sansa. Whereas before she considered her high birth different from Jon’s, now she believes (and thinks at one point) “I’m a bastard too.” Rather than thinking she is a Stark of Winterfell, she also thinks of herself as no more highborn than those around her. Most of all, she no longer instinctively feels she is entitled to certain things. LF tells her she will marry Harry the Heir, and she does not blow up or even reflect that she is better than this.

Sansa’s horrible situation is clear, yet I can’t help but noticing that it is as though Sansa has been broken of the harmless (even, in the case of her willfulness, admirable) traits that she was so satirized and criticized for by the author in the beginning. The Sansa who so wickedly believed she should be able to have the prince of her dreams and fairy tale life because she was lovely and highborn, and who was willing to go against the orders of her rightful patriarch to go after these things, now is stuck having to passively accept the will of a perverted fake patriarch. And is being portrayed far, far more positively at this point than she was previously.

GRRM may make Sasna’s journey look like the search for agency. People say that this is the deconstruction of the princess trope, of a girl learning to forgo her passivity and think (and act) for herself. Yet it is not her passivity that Sansa is ever demonized for, as I’ve noted. And she starts her arc by doing something supremely active, putting her desire for love with Joffrey over the unexplained demands of her father—thus, threateningly showing that she is not willing to unquestioningly retain right order like “strong, active” women like Brienne and Arya (who always accept that daddy’s word is law) do.

The “weak, passive” Sansa is satirized most not for her passivity, but for her lack of it. She is most condemned in the text itself for a clearly, supremely proactive action. Furthermore, she is satirized by her self-confidence, self worth, and “entitlement”—that is, once again, feeling she deserves a good husband, one of the few “rights” her society grants highborn girls. And while it is constantly argued that, since Arya is made to feel bad about herself since she can’t fight, the only issue GRRM has with Sansa is her unquestioning acceptance of the status quo for women. And yet, when women like Cersei argue that they’ve been given to men like objects, raped, beaten, and basically seen as brood mares, GRRM portrays them as weak, self deluded, embittered, crazy, whining morons.

This suggests that GRRM appears to have no issue with women not “rebelling against their society”; in fact, that when that rebellion pertains to any other issue save the right of women to fight physically, he is actively against it and portrays it as entitled/ hysterical. The fact is that Sansa is being castigated for expecting one of the one or two rights that she, a highborn female, can expect to get from her patriarchal society.

by joining with Cersei, Sansa shows that it is not only by wickedness or selfishness that some depraved women (like Lysa and Cersei) go against the rightful patriarchy. A girl may simply be (supposedly) benign, but mislead by wicked vanity and an insistence on the one or two rights that her society gives her. By selfishly insisting upon these privileges, a female may destroy her family and accidentally go against all patriarchal correct order.

In short—Sansa starts out happy, confident and feeling entitled to certain things, and is demonized for this.

She then spends next of rest book getting punished. She then is sold in marriage. She learns she was foolish, that the boy she wickedly placed over her patriarch was evil all along, and she is made an outsider, looked down upon and treated with contempt by nearly all. (Something in utter opposition with Sansa’s “insider status” that we see in AGOT.)

She still retained some of her willfulness, but ultimately she was taught the folly of this as well. She is now in the hands of a fake perverse patriarch, Littlefinger (since she destroyed the “real” one), forced to obey him, which she does with no longer feeling indignant and entitled. (Because she has to, and that’s why girls should obey their original patriarch, or look what happens!)

Of course, she is soon going to start working behind the scenes; accepting the will of the fake patriarch but then working behind the scenes to make things good for herself. Much in the style of the “good” conventionally feminine females, like Olenna or Margary Tyrell, both of whom basically allow their (stupid) patriarch call the shots, but then work behind the scenes to make things work for them. By the end, I see Sansa doing this, defeating LF the (fake) patriarch, and her storyline being hailed as an advocation of feminism.

However, I can’t help but note that in the midst of her journey, Sansa has, in fact, been punished for willfulness and assertiveness; and had these beaten out of her. Females working behind the scenes whist men call the shots as women like Olenna and Margary do is approved of by the author; it is far less threatening than the active going against the patriarchy to get what one wants that Sansa displays in the beginning of the narrative. In the end, I find Sansa a fascinating character, and admire all she’s been through. Yet I cannot escape the nagging notion that from the beginning, she’s been treated unfairly; and that she’s been put through a series of punishments designed to “teach” her to be female in a way that the author finds morally acceptable or perhaps, I should say, personally unthreatening.

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Sandor and Sansa’s relationship has been analyzed many times. With that said, I’m probably not breaking new ground here. But analysis of Sansa and how she has been influenced cannot leave Sandor out. So, here it goes. Also, this is Part 1 of 3. Part 2 will be CoK. Part 3 will be SoS and FoC.

To follow the evolution of Sandor’s influence on Sansa, I decided I would go through each scene where they are together or she thinks of him. I did skip the occasional scene like when Sandor joined the Kingsguard because it really had no effect on Sansa (but if someone disagrees, by all means tell me). I broke these up into themes. I will summarize all scenes that relate to Sansa and Sandor (from Sansa’s perspective, Sandor dying in the Riverlands is how she affected him and possibly Sandor and Arya’s relationship). I will focus on these themes. Of course, feel free to bring up anything I missed. I will only quote if I feel the wording deserves special attention.

Sandor vs The Hound

I saw Lady Candace’s point about Sansa considering Littlefinger and Petyr Baleish two different people. I wondered if it could apply to the Hound and then realized since the Hound persona has been passed twice, it’s definitely worth looking into.

It actually does work. He is Sandor when he is trying to help her. He is The Hound when he is threatening even if he doesn’t mean it. It makes for a boring read if I point out each and every instance, so I’ll only point out the important ones.

Beyond Sansa’s mental organization, this theme will include contradictions. Sandor wants the Little Bird to have her stories. The Hound hates the Little Bird and her stories. Sandor protects her. The Hound threatens her. Admittedly, this could possibly be a different theme, but the Sandor/Hound contrast just works so well.

Stories

Sansa and Sandor both believed in stories when they were young. Sandor is disillusioned when we meet him. Sansa becomes disillusioned as the story moves on. However, stories stay an important part of their characters.

This is not only about direct references to stories, but when their actions mirror stories.

SanSan

This is about their relationship. Not necessarily romantic. I believe it is (will be) romantic, but I am using this category for their general relationship.

Sex

As many have pointed out, the Hound is part of Sansa’s growing sexuality. Sex is not necessarily part of a relationship. Sure, they go hand and hand, but sex is an important part in its own right and can stand on its own. Personally, I feel it should be considered both as a part of SanSan and a separate theme of its own.

I also want to point out I am a man in his mid-to-late twenties. Talking about a preteen/teenage girl’s sexuality is a bit weird for me. I tried to do it because I said I would write about Sandor’s influence on Sansa and because I may have a daughter someday (and how can I talk about sex with her when I can’t talk about a fictional character?), but it’s still a bit weird for me. So, while I will not consciously skip stuff, I may still miss stuff or be briefer than I should be.

Game Skill

As pointed out in previous discussion of the Ned/Sansa review, Sansa has had multiple teachers. Beginner level was her parents and Septa Mordane who taught her the basics. Advanced is Littlefinger who is teaching her to manipulate other people. Sandor is the Intermediate level that taught her to survive the cutthroat world of King’s Landing.

Misc.

These are other themes that popped up, but aren’t necessarily tied to Sandor and Sansa. It also includes foreshadowing and symbolism. I’m not the best at catching it, so I’m grouping it in with the others.

GoT Sansa I Themes: Sandor vs The Hound/Stories/Foreshadowing

This is their first real interaction. Sansa bumps into someone who grasps her by the shoulders, Sansa thinks he is her dad, and she is safe. It turns out to be Sandor. But The Hound once he laughs at her. He continues to make fun of her until Joffery steps and protects her.

Sandor vs The Hound It should be noted that at the very beginning Sansa is separating Sandor from The Hound. When she looks up to see whose protective hands are over her, she sees Sandor. But when he laughs, he becomes The Hound.

Stories Sansa’s dream of stories comes true with the dashing Prince Joffery protecting her from The Hound. Of course, we know this is the reverse of what is true. But this point, Sansa is still living in her stories.

What happened to Bran was a tragedy, but it does not go against the stories. The first cracks will appear soon when Lady, an innocent, is killed. But for now, this event confirms it. The scarred warriors are cruel and/or creepy, and the handsome prince is her protector and savior.

Foreshadowing Sandor protects Lady. He’s a dick about it, but his joke is helps stop the situation from going into full kill mode. Basically, foreshadowing how Sandor will try to help protect Sansa later (including still being a dick about it).

GoT Sansa II Sandor vs The Hound/SanSan/Game Skill/Stories/Sex

Joffery offers to take Sansa back and orders Sandor to do it. The Hound mocks her for thinking Joffery would take her himself. He terrifies her, but she is unable to wake up Septa Mordane. Sansa goes to her default “courtesy is a lady’s armor” mode. The Hound sees it as bullshit and takes offense at being called a ser. Sansa tries to compliment his brother which makes him stop. He directly insults her and comes up with the little bird line. Sansa defends herself and is forced to see Sandor for physically and his traumas. Sansa responds in a way which causes The Hound to mellow out. He continues to escort her as a proper escort until he gets to her bed chamber where he threatens her to keep his secret.

Sandor vs The Hound When Sandor stops he is referred to as Sandor, and I do think that is important. The words right before it, “It was no lie.” It was true, and it put a crack in The Hound’s armor. Sansa’s natural perceptiveness shines through here. While she is not a warrior herself, she was paying attention to the actual tournament (which Sandor may not have expected considering her generic “gallant” comment to him) and saw how powerful he was. Sandor rejects her perception by immediately calling her a little repeating bird. The next important difference between Sandor and The Hound is when Sandor forces Sansa to look at the real him. She is forced to see Sandor’s face and his past. The last important bit is when she tells him his brother is no true knight. The Hound laughs. I don’t think he meant to be frightening or anything. It simply scared her the way he did. So, the Sandor vs The Hound terminology is not GRRM telling us anything. The difference comes from Sansa’s own perception.

SanSan I think the part where Sansa defends herself is important. She tells an angry, drunk, child killer that he’s scaring her and want to go. Most people would be too scared to say anything. I think this is where (the possibility of) SanSan begins. They are both able to get through each other’s armor: Sandor’s anger and Sansa’s courtesy. If that is subtle, Sandor physically forces Sansa to look at him honestly. He further lets his guard down. Sansa’s fear changes to sadness. While it could draw pity, she is able empathize with Sandor.

The silence went on and on, so long that she began to grow afraid once more, but she was afraid for him now, not for herself. She found his massive shoulder with her hand. “He was no true knight,” she whispered to him.

The Hound threw back his head and roared. Sansa stumbled back, away from him, but he caught her arm. “No,” he growled at her, “no, little bird, he was no true knight.”

His sudden reaction startles her, but it does change the relationship. Little bird went from an angry mockery to a not-quite-yet-friendly nickname. The fact that she was able to keep her belief of story knights, stay in proper lady form, and deal with The Hound was what kept the nickname around.

Little bird became a nickname just as Littlefinger or The Spider became names of the game players. It is important because of the way it came about. Littlefinger is haunted by the fact he is such a minor lordling and that fuels his ambition. Varys is a master manipulator who has his webs all over. And Sansa earned hers through empathy and the courtesy her mother taught her. Tyrion later sees this when he comments on what a good queen she would be. It may also change in some fashion in the Vale, but that is not the scope of this writing.

Game Skill Sansa uses a lady’s armor to soothe The Hound. This one of the first times it becomes more than a saying for her. As mentioned above, this is not a good scenario she is in. Sandor is a drunk, violent man who she is alone with. Yet, her first exercise in courtesy proves to be a success and is something she uses often to protect herself in King’s Landing. Again, little bird becomes a sort of badge of honor. This is one of the first times she uses courtly/political type behavior in a dangerous situation. She wins! Beyond changing the tone of the “little bird,” the name has a lot of foreshadowing. It is connected to politics and foreshadows her future as Littlefinger’s (the mockbird) student.

Stories The area where Sandor tells Sansa about his brother is Sandor clearly trying to tell Sansa that the stories are bullshit. This is likely one of the first times someone has been so direct with a lesson like that.

He uses his brother as an example and contrasts his behavior with the story-like quality his knighthood had (given by a prince). Sansa rejects this and simply claims Gregor was no true knight. So, Sansa listens to him, but at this stage isn’t ready to accept that stories aren’t real. Rather she simply states that Gregor is not a “true knight.” This completely misses Sandor’s point, but at least shows some acknowledgement that not all knights are “true knights.”

A random aside, part of me wonders if it wasn’t Rhaegar Targaryen who made Gregor a knight, would that have made difference. Although to the reader, Rhaegar is commonly presented positively, to Sansa, he was the guy kidnapped and raped her aunt. Is it a wonder he knighted someone like the Mountain? I wonder if it was someone she would have respected would that help make her see that the “true knight” is a rare breed if it exists at all.

Lastly, the fact that Joffery pawned her off on Sandor is a shift in the “story.” Joffery goes from protecting her to seemingly indifferent. The Hound goes from a terrifying threat to a terrifying protector (one that is loyal to her prince’s house, not a personal protector).

Sex (sorta) It is not a direct theme, but the fact that The Hound waits to threaten her in her bedchamber seems to be foreshadowing the BBW scene.

GoT Eddard VI SanSan/Stories

It is the final part of the tournament. Sansa roots for Sandor. He beats Jamie and then saves Loras’s life.

SanSan Not romantic, but Sansa cheering is an indication of her view of him after the events of the night before.

Stories The tourney is a bit like a story. Sansa is convinced. She knew Sandor would win. Add to that, the fight ends with a battle between brothers with the noble knight defending the innocent against the evil monster. Their fighting matters too. Of course, we don’t know if Sansa saw it, but Ned noticed that Gregor was trying to kill Sandor while Sandor was not trying to kill Gregor. But she’s observant enough that it is highly likely she did.

And of course, it ends with the grateful “victim” rewarding the hero for his deeds.

Of course, the real situation is not quite a story. Sandor is not a noble knight (though protecting Loras was noble). Loras was far from innocent. Gregor is a monster though. This is the first time that Sandor is “in a story.” For now, Sansa is an observer who is watching. Later, she will actively participate in the stories.

Ultimately, this is important, because this is the first parody story that plays out for Sansa.

GoT Sansa VII Part 1 Sandor vs The Hound/Game Skill/SanSan/Sex/Stories

Joffery wants Sansa dressed and ready for him. Sansa tries to protest. Joffery has Sandor lift her out of bed. Sansa wants to know why her father was killed when she did all she was asked. Joffery responds that he promised mercy, not Ned’s life. Sansa sees him “for the first time.” She tells him she hates him. He has Meryn strike her. Sansa gives in. Joffery and the Kingsguard leave. Sandor stays to give advice before leaving.

Sandor vs The Hound Throughout this scene, Sandor is Sandor. He is the only one who shows any sort of kindness even if it is not much. He only becomes The Hound when he tells Sansa what Joffery wants.

Game Skill In short, Sandor tells her how to survive.

SanSan Sandor is “almost gentle” when he pushes her to the dresser. This is contrasted by Meyrn hitting her so hard in the head her ear is bleeding. Even when he is rough with her when he picks her up, he is still Sandor. I think this is a clear indication she sees him separate from the others. Hell, he is even wearing different clothing than the other Kingsguard. Now, he is still a Lannister man, and she isn’t expecting him to whisk her away like in the stories. But she does recognize Sandor is different from the others.

Sex Well, here’s the quote:

Sandor Clegane scooped her up around the waist and lifted her off the featherbed as she struggled feebly. Her blanket fell to the floor. Underneath she had only a thin bedgown to cover her nakedness. “Do as you’re bid, child,” Clegane said. “Dress.” He pushed her toward her wardrobe, almost gently.

So, he picks her out of bed and reveals her almost nakedness. That sounds rather sexual, and is a nice foreshadowing for sexual dream for him later. Also, he seems to spend a lot of time in Sansa’s bedroom certainly helps with the Sandor-sex connection. So… yeah.

Stories It is another shift in the original story of her prince. Now, she knows Joffery to be the villain. Sandor becomes the soldier sympathetic to the enemy.

GoT Sansa VII Part 1.5 Game Skill/Stories/Misc. [stark Powr]

Meryn comes back for her. Sansa talks back to him, but follows. Later at court, she thinks of Sandor’s words.

Game Skill This is an obvious part. She follows Sandor’s advice and doesn’t get beaten.

Stories She still believes in the stories. But she recognizes that utter monsters are not the only “not true knight”s. Meryn is not like Gregor, he simply follows orders no matter how terrible they are.

While at court, when she wishes she could hurt Slynt or a hero would do it for her, she remembers Petyr and The Hound’s words that life is not a story.

Misc. [stark Power] I’m not sure how much Sandor had in this, but she rebel somewhat against Meryn by calling him “no true knight” to his face. She probably did recognize he would not hit her. He simply did not care. But it was a moment of defiance, if a small one.

GoT Sansa VII Part 2 SanSan

The Hound and Meryn join Joffery. Joffery then takes Sansa to see her father’s head and mocks and threatens her. Sansa tells Joffery that Robb might give her his head and he has Meryn beat her. Sansa considers killing him but is stopped by The Hound.

SanSan This is largely a build up for the final bit and to show how things have changed. Joffery reaches for her, and not for the first time, she goes to the protective hands of The Hound. While it’s a stretch to say he is a protector of her, he is a limited zone of safety. And he sorta is here. She recognizes that he sends her back because not resisting is the best thing she can do here. Also, an interesting bit is The Hound rebels and refuses remember mocking Robb. Whether he did forget, didn’t want to hurt Sansa more, or didn’t want to look bad to her, it represents a shift from his loyalty Joffery to *Sansa.

Finally, Sansa is prepared to kill Joffery. She doesn’t care about dying herself. Sandor likely saw it and got in between the two. He then surprises her with his gentleness. It is guaranteed he was concerned about saving her life. To what degree it meant compared to saving Joffery (ie did he care more about her than Joffery) is up for debate. Of course, I lean to more Sansa than Joffery (though I see him protecting him regardless at this point). Sansa recognizes he saved her life and thanks him.

An important bit, is Sandor brought her back from the **brink. He helped keep her the Little Bird instead of Joffery’s suicidal assassin. Also, the fact that he used Sansa’s technique of compassion and courtesy instead of the brutal honesty he usually prefers is important.

*I hesitate to say it’s total or even mostly shifted here, but it certainly represents things are changing.

**I’m sure that some might say that one time was hardly the brink, but most crimes of passions and suicides are single moments. But only a moment is needed to change everything.

EDIT: If discussion dies down (or doesn't start) and someone else is ready, don't wait for me. I'm not moving particularly fast.

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