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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XI

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(Rethinking X)

(Original Reread links)

(Resources - you will find the links to the analyses of female influences in Sansa's life, along with other valuable essays)

Resources #2

We're continuing directly from the last thread, where we began the presentations on the male figures with important roles in Sansa's development. The thread projects listed in the OP of that thread are still in development as well. I'm going to provide the updated list below of the male influences, with the links to those analyses that have been completed. We've also been exploring some really fascinating mythological allusions in Sansa's arc, involving the tales of Persephone and Snow White, so please see Rethinking X if you are interested in the genesis of those discussions.

As always, please be mindful that this is a thread dedicated to constructive analysis of Sansa Stark. Trolling (and spamming) is not appreciated. New members are very welcome, but some familiarity with past content is highly recommended.

Ned (Lady Candace) completed

Jon (tze) completed

Robb (mythsandstuff) Part 1

Loras &Willas (Lady Lea) completed

Joffrey (Summerqueen)

Sandor (Lord Bronn Stokeworth) Part 1 Part 2

Tyrion (House Draper)

Littlefinger (Pod the Impaler)

Jaime (kittykatknits)

Lothor (Caro99)

Marillion (Ragnorak) completed

Sweetrobin (KRBD)

Dontos (Elba the Intoner) completed

Bran&Rickon (brashcandy) completed

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Last post in Rethinking X from yours truly:

I like this cause maybe by not accepting the fruit LF offered her, she will in the future reject the plans he has in store for her… & it could also be linked to Sansa Stark being “dead” at the moment thanks to Alayne Stone, a tool LF offered Sansa and which she did accept.

So Alayne will eat the poisoned fruit, and be reawakened as Sansa Stark, a Queen of Winter, with enhanced powers as tze was alluding to upthread... What's interesting is that everything Sansa has "hidden" connects to this Queen of winter/snow white imagery: there's the obvious Stark identity and her Northern affiliation; Sandor's bloodied white cloak which brings to mind imagery of blood on snow; and then there's the unkiss, which didn't take place, but which Sansa has very vivid memories of. (And let me just throw in her dwarf husband Tyrion here and the mythology seems complete) Notably, when she thinks of the unkiss in AFFC she states, "that day was done and so was Sansa." If Sansa reawakens, it stands to reason that these things and the people associated with them will play an important part in that rebirth.

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All of you are gonna think I'm really crazy now because I have more crackpottedness to post about. All this may mean nothing, it may mean something. Who knows? But I enjoyed putting it together. :)

Talking of Snow White, myths and fairy tales had me thinking again about some things that have been mentioned in this thread.

This passage that we all know so well, has been lingering in my thoughts:

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

Now a few pages back Brash said:

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 :)

Brash, I definitely don't think you've been thinking too hard! ;)

I was thinking on the wording of "dark as ash". What does or what could "dark" mean?

It could mean black--as in black ash, which is a tree.

This is what I found on them:

This is a northern tree, the most northern of the ash trees. (A northern tree...very interesting!) The black ash leaves are a darker shade of green on their upper surfaces, as opposed to the paler green color of the undersides. In autumn, they turn a shade of brown, although some cultivars exist that change to yellow. (Yellow is a Clegane color).

The bark is grey, thick and corky even on young trees (Sandor's armor is grey)

And there's this: The Black ash is a member of the olive family and adapts to cold conditions.

Here's a passage from AGOT, from the Tourney of the Hand, I think:

"Sandor Clegane was the first rider to appear. He wore an olive-green cloak over his soot-grey armor. That, and his hound’s-head helm, were his only concession to ornament."

Here is more about the black ash tree:

The Celtic meaning of the ash tree deals with power and magnitude. The ash is an expansive specimen of the Ogham, and the ancient Celts were rightly impressed by its massive size. Not only was its girth tremendous, its height was towering (Sandor is a very tall man)

It's mass, height, and deeply imbedded roots were all metaphors for the spiritually minded Celts (and us too). The ash speaks to us of growth, expansion, and higher perspective. If we think symbolically as the ancient Celts were apt to do, we can liken our own soul-growth with that of the ash. With greater (higher) attainment, the more we need to stay grounded (well rooted). (Could this be a symbol of some soul searching or "spiritual growth/revelation" Sandor may come to experience?)

This concept falls right in line with the mystic message of the ash. Indeed, certain druid accounts indicate the realm between earth and sky were connected or held together by the mighty ash.

Although it is associated with the element of air, the ash is also akin to the fire element for its amazing burning qualities. The wood of the ash burns with intense heat, even when green. This surfaced ideas of resurrection and renewal (could this also hint at a transformation Sandor might undergo while at the QI, or something that might play into Sansa's Persephone mythos?) for the Celts.

The ash was commonly used for protective rituals because it was believed that helpful energies were contained within its great body. Specifically, the ash was thought to be the guardian of children, and was often used as a healing agent for childhood illnesses. (Could this also have a significance, which might tie into Tze's last post in which he speculated that Sansa might fall ill, somehow being poisoned by a pomegranate? Could she be taken to the QI for treatment like Lady Lea stated in one of her recent posts?)

Its association with children may come from creation myths within Celtic lore. In some accounts the ash was considered the cradle of life, so too was it considered a gentle giant and a protector of youth. (He may not have been "gentle" at the time but look how Sandor protected/watched out for Sansa and Arya, when he didn't have to).

Just some food for thought........

EDIT: Spelling...*sigh*

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Just some food for thought........

and very tasty food it is as well :) You truly have a talent for bringing all these mythological strands together and having them make sense for the character's development. I'm going to be rereading this for a while.

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Y'all, Part II of Robb/Sansa might take another week. It's been hectic here, and I have school work on top of well, school (work). Sorry. It'll be up by next Saturday, I promise.

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Just to add a note: there are some interesting implications for Sansa vis a vis Jon, resurrection-wise, in Arya's memory of the first time she ever saw the Winterfell crypts, when Robb took Arya, Bran, and Sansa down into them:

Robb took them all the way down to the end, past Grandfather and Brandon and Lyanna, to show them their own tombs. Sansa kept looking at the stubby little candle, anxious that it might go out. Old Nan had told her there were spiders down here, and rats as big as dogs. Robb smiled when she said that. "There are worse things than spiders and rats," he whispered. "This is where the dead walk." That was when they heard the sound, low and deep and shivery. Baby Bran had clutched at Arya's hand.

When the spirit stepped out of the open tomb, pale white and moaning for blood, Sansa ran shrieking for the stairs, and Bran wrapped himself around Robb's leg, sobbing. Arya stood her ground and gave the spirit a punch. It was only Jon, covered with flour. "You stupid," she told him, "you scared the baby," but Jon and Robb just laughed and laughed, and pretty soon Bran and Arya were laughing too.

Sansa descends into the crypts right along with Robb/Bran/Arya. The four of them have only one candle between them, and Sansa is the one most concerned about losing that light. This scene has certain things in common with Jaime's dream on the weirwood stump (and I've written elsewhere of the parallels between Jaime's dream and Jon's dream of descending into the Winterfell crypts); in Jaime's dream, he descended into the bowels of Casterly Rock, where he saw his sister Cersei holding a candle, and when she took away her candle (and his own light---his sword---went out), he was then attacked by his dead "brothers". Here, Sansa fears her light going out, but there is nothing waiting in the darkness to harm her----her "dead brother" is Jon, who means her no harm (unlike the Kingsguard brothers in Jaime's dream, who did mean Jaime harm).

Sansa descends into the Winterfell crypts and sees her own tomb (as Robb was taking all of the other children to see their own future tombs). There, she encounters Jon "exiting his tomb", and she then ascends from the crypts. It is Jon's "resurrection" from his tomb---him becoming "the living dead"---that precipitates Sansa's exit from the crypts, and "exiting the crypts" of course connotes resurrection.

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Hi guys, I don't have anything to contribute, still reading the other Sansa rethinking threads. Just wanted to say that you are doing a great job. Sansa is one of my top 3 favourite characters in the books, and this thread managed to show me new sides of her I would never have noticed. Keep it up :bowdown:

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All of you are gonna think I'm really crazy now because I have more crackpottedness to post about. All this may mean nothing, it may mean something. Who knows? But I enjoyed putting it together. :)

Talking of Snow White, myths and fairy tales had me thinking again about some things that have been mentioned in this thread.

This passage that we all know so well, has been lingering in my thoughts:

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

<snip for space>

QoW, I always thought that Bran meant the tree, because "ash" as in the remains of a fire is greyish and not dark at all.

Great exploration QoW.

I'm wondering, can't we read this description both way? I'm tree ignorant so the idea that this may be referring to a black ash tree would not have occurred to me in a million years. But, ash is a product of fire so I've always associated it with the Hound. Fire imagery is with him from GoT when he tells Sansa the story of his burns, the fires during the riot, the smoke and soot on his cloak, the burning he watches on the rooftop, the wildifre, his wish to burn Tyrion, and his fight with Beric,

I love your exploration of the ash tree.

Although it is associated with the element of air, the ash is also akin to the fire element for its amazing burning qualities. The wood of the ash burns with intense heat, even when green. This surfaced ideas of resurrection and renewal (could this also hint at a transformation Sandor might undergo while at the QI, or something that might play into Sansa's Persephone mythos?) for the Celts.

This passage really seems to tie in to my original thoughts on him. The bit even when green made me think of wildfire.

I think I see your exploration and the idea of ash as the product of fire as reinforcing each other, further pointing to Sandor as the shadow here.

Although, maybe I just want him to be the shadow? :)

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Lady Lea and I were planning the Jaime and Cersei rereads.

Ah thanks! I had Loras asking me about starting a Cersei reread-can you give me a date Kitty?

Kitty and I. You interested?

Si!

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and very tasty food it is as well :) You truly have a talent for bringing all these mythological strands together and having them make sense for the character's development. I'm going to be rereading this for a while.

Aww, Brash! :blush: :blush: :blush: I'm glad I could give you something to think about! :)

I'm wondering, can't we read this description both way? I'm tree ignorant so the idea that this may be referring to a black ash tree would not have occurred to me in a million years. But, ash is a product of fire so I've always associated it with the Hound. Fire imagery is with him from GoT when he tells Sansa the story of his burns, the fires during the riot, the smoke and soot on his cloak, the burning he watches on the rooftop, the wildifre, his wish to burn Tyrion, and his fight with Beric...

Oh, absolutely! :) That's what I was driving at overall. I think that a lot of this stuff can be thought of in various ways and that things do have "double meanings". There's a lot of duality going on.

I've always associated the ash part with the Hound, due to the fire as well. The ash tree thing popped into my head when I tried to look at the phrase in an abstract way.

This passage really seems to tie in to my original thoughts on him. The bit even when green made me think of wildfire.

Oooh, really nice catch Kittykatknits! :thumbsup:

I think I see your exploration and the idea of ash as the product of fire as reinforcing each other, further pointing to Sandor as the shadow here. Although, maybe I just want him to be the shadow?

I feel they definitely reinforce each other. And I do think (and hope!) he's that shadow! ;)

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Ah thanks! I had Loras asking me about starting a Cersei reread-can you give me a date Kitty?

Si!

Is Loras a poster on here? I don't know the actual start date yet. The current plan is to do Jaime first and then Cersei. I can PM you if you want to know the logic behind that, we went back and forth on this quite a bit. Don't want to clutter up this thread and I'm lazy. :)

But, we plan to do start them later this year. There are Dany, Stannis, and Tyrion re-reads already being planned and it would be a bit much to add to that on this board. I want to finish my re-read first and Lady Lea is working on her dissertation (when she isn't on here).

I knew you would want to participate in the Cersei re-read, she's a character very much in need of it I think.

Aww, Brash! :blush: :blush: :blush: I'm glad I could give you something to think about! :)

Oh, absolutely! :) That's what I was driving at overall. I think that a lot of this stuff can be thought of in various ways and that things do have "double meanings". There's a lot of duality going on.

I've always associated the ash part with the Hound, due to the fire as well. The ash tree thing popped into my head when I tried to look at the phrase in an abstract way.

Oooh, really nice catch Kittykatknits! :thumbsup:

I feel they definitely reinforce each other. And I do think (and hope!) he's that shadow! ;)

I like your digging in to symbolism. I'm thinking about Martin's recent interview where he confirmed that he does use symbolism and foreshadowing in his books quite a bit but said it is our job to figure that out. I combine that with his other comments on how he has written this series to require re-reads and I strongly believe that the type of analysis in this thread is just what Martin was getting at. It doesn't mean we are right all the time or correctly interpreting all of it, but the degree of analysis we are doing speaks to the complexity of the work, I think.

I do see quite a bit of double meaning here too, and it gets to the duality that you are referring too. I think that also reflects the man here too. the persona of the Hound along with Sandor the person. Half of his face is burned, the other half is not. He is very much a man of duality I think, it is even physically reflected in his face.

My theory is that this dream of Bran's has not yet taken place. It will be in the Riverlands, not in the Vale. If we are correct that these are Jaime and Sandor, I see the story arcs coming together by getting Sansa out of the Vale rather than bringing more characters in to the Vale. At least I hope so.

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Sansa descends into the Winterfell crypts and sees her own tomb (as Robb was taking all of the other children to see their own future tombs). There, she encounters Jon "exiting his tomb", and she then ascends from the crypts. It is Jon's "resurrection" from his tomb---him becoming "the living dead"---that precipitates Sansa's exit from the crypts, and "exiting the crypts" of course connotes resurrection.

Very interesting, and it extends the parallel between Jon's and Sansa's resurrection/rebirth arcs that we've been discussing. The Stark children in this memory are performing their expected roles: Arya is bold and unafraid, Sansa is timid and easily frightened; yet since then she's learnt not to be so easily spooked I would argue, and as you noted, she had no reason to be afraid of this particular spirit.

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Is Loras a poster on here? I don't know the actual start date yet. The current plan is to do Jaime first and then Cersei. I can PM you if you want to know the logic behind that, we went back and forth on this quite a bit. Don't want to clutter up this thread and I'm lazy. :)

Check out Loras on the Learning to Lead thread. He's doing some excellent work on Cersei/Dany parallels.

And yes, let's all make a concerted effort to keep the discussion on thread projects to PM. :)

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I like your digging in to symbolism. I'm thinking about Martin's recent interview where he confirmed that he does use symbolism and foreshadowing in his books quite a bit but said it is our job to figure that out.

Well, I do enjoy "picking at things" so see if I can find some odd tidbits of information. :lol:

Did he say that? (I tend to not read interviews!) I for one, am glad he doesn't spell things out for us in plain speech. I like having a bit of a mystery to solve. :)

I combine that with his other comments on how he has written this series to require re-reads and I strongly believe that the type of analysis in this thread is just what Martin was getting at. It doesn't mean we are right all the time or correctly interpreting all of it, but the degree of analysis we are doing speaks to the complexity of the work, I think.

I agree! Each time I do a reread, I tend to pick up on things I previously missed. ASOIAF is such a rich tapestry of a story with so many elements woven into it. No wonder it takes GRRM so long to write the books! :P

I do see quite a bit of double meaning here too, and it gets to the duality that you are referring too. I think that also reflects the man here too. the persona of the Hound along with Sandor the person. Half of his face is burned, the other half is not. He is very much a man of duality I think, it is even physically reflected in his face.

Yes, exactly! It's funny you mentioned it, because I was thinking about that right after I posted. It points to Sandors dual nature of Sandor vs. The Hound, the man he was on the "outside" vs. the man he truly wanted to be, and the person he was vs. the person he will become.

My theory is that this dream of Bran's has not yet taken place. It will be in the Riverlands, not in the Vale. If we are correct that these are Jaime and Sandor, I see the story arcs coming together by getting Sansa out of the Vale rather than bringing more characters in to the Vale. At least I hope so.

I don't think it's happened yet either and I too, think that things will go down in the Riverlands, not in the Vale. In order for things to move forward, she'll need to leave the Vale somehow.

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I want to finish my re-read first and Lady Lea is working on her dissertation (when she isn't on here).

lol busted! (hides)

It's coming along though!!

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Well, I do enjoy "picking at things" so see if I can find some odd tidbits of information. :lol:

Did he say that? (I tend to not read interviews!) I for one, am glad he doesn't spell things out for us in plain speech. I like having a bit of a mystery to solve. :)

I agree! Each time I do a reread, I tend to pick up on things I previously missed. ASOIAF is such a rich tapestry of a story with so many elements woven into it. No wonder it takes GRRM so long to write the books! :P

Yes, exactly! It's funny you mentioned it, because I was thinking about that right after I posted. It points to Sandors dual nature of Sandor vs. The Hound, the man he was on the "outside" vs. the man he truly wanted to be, and the person he was vs. the person he will become.

I don't think it's happened yet either and I too, think that things will go down in the Riverlands, not in the Vale. In order for things to move forward, she'll need to leave the Vale somehow.

Martin was asked questions by fans from another board when he was in Spain last month. Our own Lady Lea helped with the translation. The questions asked where some of the best I've seen, not the usual who is your favorite character? type of questions. One of those brought up was about the use of foreshadowing

Regarding the dead direwolf and her pups: was this a sign from the gods, or from the three eyed crow? Some also see some symbolism in the way the direwolf died, with a stag's antler in her throat presaging a Stark-Baratheon conflict.

Man, that's something that's for the readers to figure out. If it's a symbol that I've carefully worked in there in a subtle way, it's because I'm trying to be suggestive, to make people think. If you see it and start wondering about it, that's on purpose. But I'm not going to start singing out, "It's a symbol! It's a symbol!" Each reader has to read it and decide for themselves what the symbols are and what they mean. That's part of what you do in a complex work of art, one that's deliberately structured and is relatively ambiguous, so that each reader can drawn their own conclusions.

This is a link back to the full interview: http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Month/2012/07/

I found his response to be a validation for much of the discussion in this thread. This interview came out at a good time as there were discussions elsewhere in this board on how to read and evaluate the text, with some making the argument that we should only go on the literal content of the page. In other words, if it is not explicitly written, it doesn't count. I know that you, and many other regular posters in this thread, disagree with that approach. So, his statement was a nice confirmation of our approach.

Also the link below is my kinda crackpot theory on Sansa's future role and how it will be in the Riverlands and not in the Vale. It's partly why I think the prophecy that started this conversation will take place there. You might enjoy reading this.

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/71681-from-pawn-to-player-rethinking-sansa-ix/#entry3470149

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