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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XI

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Whoa boy have I missed so much. Uh, damn. Fabulous postages as always, and I was tickled pink to see some mythology discussion burgeoning up around here. Count me in for the Persephone parallels for Sansa. So long as she isn't Penelope to Tyrion's Odysseus, then it's all good. Then again, if she were, it fits in some parts:

The origin of her name is believed by some like Robert S. P. Beekes to be Pre-Greek and related to pēnelops (πηνέλοψ) or *pēnelōps (*πηνέλωψ), glossed by Hesychius as "some kind of bird"[3] (today arbitrarily identified with the Eurasian Wigeon, to which Linnaeus gave the binomial Anas penelope), where -elōps (-έλωψ) is a common pre-Greek suffix for predatory animals

Bird, eh? Even better, a predatory bird. As we know, Sansa is turning into a strong young woman, and perhaps in the future she can handle herself completely. Not to say she would be predatory in the usual sense, but rather "strong" like the predator, because she won't let herself become the prey.

Pēnelopē (Πηνελόπη) is usually understood to combine the Greek word pēnē (πήνη), "weft", and ōps (ὤψ), "face", which is considered the most appropriate for a cunning weaver whose motivation is hard to decipher.

Weaver struck me, because of Sansa's skill with embroidery and other such gentle pursuits, but also for the whole definition here. Due to what she is learning from her reality and from LF's tutelage, she may very well become a cunning "weaver" of threads in the game, one who is hard to decipher [for Sansa, primarily because they don't suspect her, or she hides behind her courtesy and other good traits].

Penelope is the daughter of Icarius and Periboea.

Icarius:

He was a Spartan king and a champion runner who would not allow anyone to marry his daughter unless he beat him in a race. Odysseus succeeded and married Penelope.[6] After they got married, Icarius tried to persuade Odysseus to remain in Sparta. He did leave with Penelope, but Icarius followed them, imploring his daughter to stay. Odysseus told her she must choose whether to be with her father or with her husband. Penelope did not answer, but modestly covered her face with a veil. Icarius correctly understood that this was a sign of her will to leave with Odysseus, let them go and erected a statue of Aidos (Modesty) on the spot.

Loose parallels on this count. It reminded me of the conundrum in King's Landing, how Ned was going to leave with the girls, and Sansa was effectively made to choose between leaving with her father, or trying to stay with Joffrey (her future husband). She chose the husband, as Penelope did. 'Covered her face with a veil' seems like hiding, and Sansa did go behind other's backs, secretively, to talk to Cersei about her worries.

Periboea, Penelope's mother, was a Naiad, or a river nymph [Naiads are also generally classified as nymphs of fresh water]. Connection? (Sansa's mother - Catelyn - House Tully - Seat: Riverrun).

Penelope was the wife of Odysseus. When the man sailed off to take part in the Trojan War, she faithfully waited for him to return home for twenty years (wow), turning down many suitors in the meantime - some recordings put the number at 108 suitors.

She has devised tricks to delay her suitors, one of which is to pretend to be weaving a burial shroud for Odysseus's elderly father Laertes and claiming that she will choose a suitor when she has finished. Every night for three years, she undoes part of the shroud, until Melantho, one of twelve unfaithful serving women, discovers her chicanery and reveals it to the suitors.

The Laertes connection could be a reference to Tywin's death, not long after Sansa's marriage as it happens. Melantho, I personally think, is a parallel to Myranda Royce, who is witty and seems well on the way to knowing that Alayne Stone is really Sansa Stark. Furthermore, some information on Melantho...

1. Described as having a "sharp tongue"

2. She is among the favorite maids of Penelope, treated like a daughter by her, having been given trinkets and other small gifts

3. She is one of the female servants that often sleep with the suitors of Penelope

1. I feel as if Myranda has been described pretty much exactly in that vein.

2. A different twist on the patroness role Myranda is cultivating with Alayne at this time by acting friendly toward her, joking, and talking merrily about the pillow tax...3

3. Myranda slept with Marillion the singer, if I am not incorrect. In a manner of speaking, Marillion was one of Sansa's suitors, as he wished to take her, which is ultimately an end result of courtship and marriage in Westeros. He is as odious as Penelope's suitors are described to be.

So, thoughts? While in a literal sense Odysseus would be Tyrion (Sansa's husband, and also oddly off far away due to circumstances, like O.), in prior threads we have analyzed the symbolism of cloaks. One point that came out of that was that Sandor, giving his cloak to Sansa on more than one occasion, was symbolic of marriage. So symbolically, he could be Odysseus. I am not sure which interpretation I'd go with really, but I do have to say the end to this suitor business was very... err bloody, so take that as you will.

Final, slightly random mentions (short because I am about to duck off to sleep)...

1. Catelyn as Andromache. *** in the present of the story, not Robert's Rebellion era***

2. Robert's Rebellion as The Trojan War.

/peace

PS: I haven't been around since I received happy news in the form that I have been accepted to a training program for my intended career which means I only have two more years to go in college. Thank the gods, because that will be a total of six years. 0-0

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:) Lyanna, thanks for continuing to dig up these great posts, I'm honestly terrible at it. I guess you can update this post as a second resources, and I'll link to it in the OP?

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:) Lyanna, thanks for continuing to dig up these great posts, I'm honestly terrible at it. I guess you can update this post as a second resources, and I'll link to it in the OP?

Yep :) Plus the one I was actually fishing for was your post where you went into some detail about Sandor's words to Sansa at the BotBW, elopement proposal etc. but I can't find it. Was it back in the re-read threads, or later do you think?

I will try and include my crackpot on LF/Tysha/anullment as well when I find it.

Hopefully next time a new thread is made, I can post it quicker. Or just send the whole Master list to you and offload it. :P

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Yep :) Plus the one I was actually fishing for was your post where you went into some detail about Sandor's words to Sansa at the BotBW, elopement proposal etc. but I can't find it. Was it back in the re-read threads, or later do you think?

I will try and include my crackpot on LF/Tysha/anullment as well when I find it.

Hopefully next time a new thread is made, I can post it quicker. Or just send the whole Master list to you and offload it. :P

I've made so many posts on that night, I'm at a lost to think of which one you mean ;) but perhaps it's the actual one I did for the re-read? Sometimes I draw a blank when remembering my old posts. I'd also like to dig up the ones I did on the unkiss...

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Sansa is getting too much importance. Aside from her birth, there is really not much she can do aside from calm Sweetrobin down and pretend she agrees with everything.

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But, hiding or not, she's not winning over any fans in Westeros itself, and that needs to change. Or else when she turns against Petyr.....nobody will come to support her and she'll get crushed. So at some point there's going to have to be a polarity shift. Sansa's going to have to become much more outgoing instead of always having this inward-turned pain thing. Some big event could permanently flip that switch, like if she has to go public and make a go of it. Some kind of hit-the-ground-and-keep-running transformative moment that brings her out of her shell from then on.

Agreed. There's definitely going to have to be a big "moment" if indeed she's meant to have the kind of transformative impact we imagine. So far, LF has put forth his own vision of this moment: unveiling her as Sansa Stark on her wedding day and having the Vale army pledge their swords to her. However, we all know the likelihood of this occurring is next to nil, so what then are the options available to Sansa, ones that make sense from a narrative perspective as well as accord with the character's desires? Whatever happens, LF has now given Sansa information upon which she has to act in some manner. Either she will be focused on saving SR or saving herself from another arranged marriage. She's not without weapons either, as she still presumably has the poisoned hairnet in her possession.

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If you asked me "Who has a commitment to excellence?" I'd answer: the NFL Raiders football franchise, .....and tze. But the Raiders are laughable, whereas tze tends to deliver with great regularity.

On the 'true queen' subject-- Back before Sansa chat became a fulltime occupation, one of my stray random thoughts about the character was that she was a great queen-in-waiting because all of the quiet suffering will have forever humanized her, so there'd never be that danger of her drifting into the uncaring zone occupied by rulers who've lost touch with the commoners. She's a potential Princess Di type favorite of the people. But at present she's not showing anyone that upside, except for us readers. There's no outward signal that would make other characters notice. Obviously, that's because she's in hiding. But, hiding or not, she's not winning over any fans in Westeros itself, and that needs to change. Or else when she turns against Petyr.....nobody will come to support her and she'll get crushed. So at some point there's going to have to be a polarity shift. Sansa's going to have to become much more outgoing instead of always having this inward-turned pain thing. Some big event could permanently flip that switch, like if she has to go public and make a go of it. Some kind of hit-the-ground-and-keep-running transformative moment that brings her out of her shell from then on. Then, then her deep understanding of pain will bond her with the people and she'll be that 'true' queen who tirelessly endeavors to lessen the suffering of her charges. Someone who understands them and feels for them better than 95% of rulers.

Oh, and DON'T judge the Narnia series by those horrible horrible movies that just have no emotional pull whatsoever. The books were wonderful by comparison. My theory for where the movies went wrong is 1) crappy child actors 2) Disney? 3) whereas Lord of the Rings made you feel it & then added in special effects, the Narnia series hasn't managed to pull that off and just ends up being a bunch of visual effects that feels hollow.

I agree with you about Sansa's potential as a true queen, but I disagree that she is without a ready support base. I think the Manderlys and most of the rest of the North would flock to her if she revealed herself as Ned Stark's daughter. The Royces too, and probably many in the Vale, would support her over Littlefinger, if she could trust them. I also think that the people she impacted during the Blackwater battle, when she effectively stepped into the role of queen, would have remembered that and probably spread the story. Even when she was miserable, beaten, and humiliated, Tyrion noted that she was good at making friends and allies. So I don't think quiet strength has to change to roaring in order for her to have enough support to make her a queen, in the North or on the Iron Throne. (Note: I don't especially want her on the Iron Throne - all those swords don't suit her at all.)

On Narnia - I agree wholeheartedly! The books (except possibly for The Last Battle) are fantastic, and much, much better than the movies.

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tze going viral; well deserved :)

I agree with you about Sansa's potential as a true queen, but I disagree that she is without a ready support base. I think the Manderlys and most of the rest of the North would flock to her if she revealed herself as Ned Stark's daughter. The Royces too, and probably many in the Vale, would support her over Littlefinger, if she could trust them. I also think that the people she impacted during the Blackwater battle, when she effectively stepped into the role of queen, would have remembered that and probably spread the story. Even when she was miserable, beaten, and humiliated, Tyrion noted that she was good at making friends and allies. So I don't think quiet strength has to change to roaring in order for her to have enough support to make her a queen, in the North or on the Iron Throne. (Note: I don't especially want her on the Iron Throne - all those swords don't suit her at all.)

Hey COS! (good to see you back) I agree that Sansa's embodiment of quiet strength is central to her characterization and I don't think MOTO was quite suggesting that she has to change that quality, but rather that there's going to have to be some defining moment where Sansa (if indeed Martin wants to her to assume a leadership role) is going to have to "act out" and make known her defiance/authority. As you noted, we've seen her showing these signs before, and people would have taken notice, but she's still in a very precarious situation in the Vale where she's unsure of whom to trust, along with being wanted for regicide. We've seen before that allegiances in the world of Westeros are fleeting things (words are wind), and memories are particularly short. I think Sansa has to find a way to develop her own powerbase, as little and insignificant as it might initially appear, before she can begin reaching out to those larger potential allies of her family.

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tze going viral; well deserved :)

Hey COS! (good to see you back) I agree that Sansa's embodiment of quiet strength is central to her characterization and I don't think MOTO was quite suggesting that she has to change that quality, but rather that there's going to have to be some defining moment where Sansa (if indeed Martin wants to her to assume a leadership role) is going to have to "act out" and make known her defiance/authority. As you noted, we've seen her showing these signs before, and people would have taken notice, but she's still in a very precarious situation in the Vale where she's unsure of whom to trust, along with being wanted for regicide. We've seen before that allegiances in the world of Westeros are fleeting things (words are wind), and memories are particularly short. I think Sansa has to find a way to develop her own powerbase, as little and insignificant as it might initially appear, before she can begin reaching out to those larger potential allies of her family.

:) True, Westeros seems something of a hive of scum and villainy, but the Starks seem to inspire a lot of loyalty. Frey pie, anyone? I think one of the worst things Littlefinger has done to Sansa is to manufacture an environment in which she *thinks* she can't trust anyone. He dropped her in an isolated place with a crazy aunt, a disturbed, spoiled boy with no personal boundaries, a would-be rapist, and a sociopath who wants her to be her mother :ack: . It seems to me that she would have support, if only she realized it, so the trick is not so much to create a powerbase, but to reach out to the one she has. And, of course, to contact her battered but trusty bodyguard to make sure LF can't push her out the Moon Door.

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:) True, Westeros seems something of a hive of scum and villainy, but the Starks seem to inspire a lot of loyalty. Frey pie, anyone? I think one of the worst things Littlefinger has done to Sansa is to manufacture an environment in which she *thinks* she can't trust anyone. He dropped her in an isolated place with a crazy aunt, a disturbed, spoiled boy with no personal boundaries, a would-be rapist, and a sociopath who wants her to be her mother :ack: . It seems to me that she would have support, if only she realized it, so the trick is not so much to create a powerbase, but to reach out to the one she has. And, of course, to contact her battered but trusty bodyguard to make sure LF can't push her out the Moon Door.

Yup, yup. LF is truly despicable. Perhaps the whole issue of creating vs. reaching out to a powerbase can be resolved by acknowledging that Sansa, due to her natural talent of inspiring others, already has an in-built support system that will necessarily be in opposition to LF. She just has to discover it/utilise it. I'm thinking here of the relationships that she could foster with Mya Stone and Lothor Brune. Let's consider her "allies" or those who've offered her some protection so far in the game:

Sandor

Dontos

Tyrion

the old blind dog

sickly Sweetrobin

crippled Willas

Lothor Brune

Some of these allies have been pure means of escape, like Willas; some have been more interested in exploiting her, a la Tyrion, and some have been genuine, as we see with Sandor. But what they all in common is that they're not traditional heroes or "true knights". Why should we see this pattern changing all of a sudden? If she's going to achieve dominance in the game, I'm thinking it's going to come from sourcing help from unexpected, unconventional sources; she's going to rely on her own "bastards, cripples and broken things" until at least she can be free of LF, and in some position of power and authority.

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I agree with you about Sansa's potential as a true queen, but I disagree that she is without a ready support base. I think the Manderlys and most of the rest of the North would flock to her if she revealed herself as Ned Stark's daughter. The Royces too, and probably many in the Vale, would support her over Littlefinger, if she could trust them. I also think that the people she impacted during the Blackwater battle, when she effectively stepped into the role of queen, would have remembered that and probably spread the story. Even when she was miserable, beaten, and humiliated, Tyrion noted that she was good at making friends and allies. So I don't think quiet strength has to change to roaring in order for her to have enough support to make her a queen, in the North or on the Iron Throne. (Note: I don't especially want her on the Iron Throne - all those swords don't suit her at all.)

On Narnia - I agree wholeheartedly! The books (except possibly for The Last Battle) are fantastic, and much, much better than the movies.

I love the Narnia books, but the Susan thing *still* bothered me even in the books.

I also think that Sansa would make a great queen. Unfortunately, I think that though there are many who are friendly towards her, they probably wouldn't support her rule... especially if Bran, Rickon, or a Robb & Jeyne baby show up. In this way she reminds me of another famous fantasy ruler: Galadriel. I haven't read all of the threads yet so I'm not sure if there's been a comparison between the two yet, but I think she has a lot in common with that other famous white lady:

- They are both described as tall and beautiful.

- They are both weirdly observant.

- Though they are observant they are usually merciful in their judgements.

- By the time of Lord of the Rings, Galadriel is arguably the best 'game player' (This could be a direction Sansa heads towards...)

- At the beginnings of their stories they both want to be queens.

- Their initial hopes are dashed by harsh circumstances.

- They both travel from their homelands in search of this rule.

When Galadriel first leaves Valinor she can be seen as naive (somewhat like Sansa)... dreaming of kingdoms that she could rule over. She never actually achieves the title of 'Queen', despite the fact that she probably would have made a better ruler than some of her relatives. She was always the youngest child of the youngest prince. Despite this her influence lasts longer in Middle Earth than any of her relatives: through Arwen her descendants actually rule over mankind into the fourth age.

I'm not sure if a Galadriel/Sansa comparison has been done more eloquently elsewhere (maybe someone could point me to it?), but I think it's worth considering. (Especially since ASoIaF is compared to LOTR so often anyways.)

Edit: Also, they both have a dwarf pining over them at some point. :)

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I'm going to touch on the Snow White/Fairy tale aspect of this once more, if I may. :)

Previously, Brash and Tze talked about Sansa possibly being poisoned, maybe by a pomegranate/apple (thus perhaps falling into a coma), hence the relation to the phrase in the story--"begging for the Stranger's Kiss".

Quoting Brash: Well, Cersei does "predict" that Sansa will be begging for the Stranger's kiss

Quoting Tze: There is a way for Sansa to be "literally" attacked by a pomegranate: if she (intentionally or not) eats a pomegranate that has been poisoned. <snip> In the story of Snow White, the Wicked Queen poisons Snow White with an apple, Snow White is placed in a glass coffin, and she is awoken with a kiss. Myranda (who claims she looks "like an apple" when she blushes) might play the role of the Wicked Queen here, poisoning Sansa at the feast to prevent her from ever marrying Harry the Heir. Sansa might "die" (or at the very least, fall into a coma) as the result of poisoning. (And notice Cersei's AFFC proclamation that Sansa "will be singing to the Stranger, begging for his kiss". Snow White is, of course, eventually resurrected by a kiss.) But weaving the Persephone myth in to this could foreshadow Sansa being poisoned by a literal pomegranate (not an apple), and could indicate that any physical injuries caused by such a pomegranate could lead to Sansa's Old Gods-based powers thriving, as has been speculated elsewhere will happen to Jon.

We speculated that she might be brought from the Vale to the Quiet Isle, to be treated by the Elder Brother, who has been known to heal the most difficult of wounds, and has great healing powers.

What I'm getting at is this: We all know that in the "modern" versions of Snow White, she is awakened (resurrected) with a kiss from the Prince. So, how will Sansa be "woken" if she falls into a coma (evoking Snow White) or "dies"?

I feel that some of the religions/gods in ASOIAF are intertwined/similar in some ways, so talking about the gods and latent powers has made me remember this bit from ASOS. This is all speculation, so I don't know how much relevance it might have, but I just wanted to put it out there.

Thoros on resurrecting Beric Dondarrion:

"So when his poor torn chest stopped moving, I gave him the good god’s own kiss to send him on his way. I filled my mouth with fire and breathed the flames inside him, down his throat to lungs and heart and soul. The last kiss it is called, and many a time I saw the old priests bestow it on the Lord’s servants as they died. I had given it a time or two myself, as all priests must. But never before had I felt a dead man shudder as the fire filled him, nor seen his eyes come open. It was not me who raised him, my lady. It was the Lord. R’hllor is not done with him yet. Life is warmth, and warmth is fire, and fire is God’s and God’s alone.”

I was intrigued by the idea of the "Stranger's Kiss" in relation to the "Last Kiss" (it's like CPR I guess! :laugh: ), --where one is the "Kiss of Death", the other might be considered the "Kiss of Life". Could the Last Kiss be likened to the kiss that Snow White receives from the Prince?

Now assuming Sansa is brought to the QI---I don't know if the Brothers of the Faith have any rituals similar to the Last Kiss--the followers of The Drowned God on the Iron Islands do (The Drowned Men), so maybe it's possible?

Who might give her the Kiss of Life? If we go by the Snow White trope, we assume it will be Sandor. (Though I don't know how it might come about). I do remember Thoros stating that The Lord of Light was not yet done with The Hound (though I don't know if he's making a distinction between the Hound and Sandor here, I tend to think no.), but I'm not sure if that his quote ties into the Snow White theory or not.

“Brothers, a trial by battle is a holy thing. You heard me ask R’hllor to take a hand, and you saw his fiery finger snap Lord Beric’s sword, just as he was about to make an end of it. The Lord of Light is not yet done with Joffrey’s Hound, it would seem.”

If something like this does come about, Sansa will indeed receive a "kiss" from Sandor.....and another thought......could it also tie into "The Unkiss" somehow?

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Interesting thoughts QOW; I'm inclined to think that if Sansa was to sink into a coma, that her reawakening would not come via an actual kiss (but that's just me being ornery ;)). The kiss that Thoros bestows is one connected with the Red God, whilst Sansa would be reawakening as the Winter Queen. However, we know that this is a song of ice and fire, so perhaps these two elements will converge in Sansa's rebirth?

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Interesting thoughts QOW; I'm inclined to think that if Sansa was to sink into a coma, that her reawakening would not come via an actual kiss (but that's just me being ornery ;)). The kiss that Thoros bestows is one connected with the Red God, whilst Sansa would be reawakening as the Winter Queen. However, we know that this is a song of ice and fire, so perhaps these two elements will converge in Sansa's rebirth?

Yes, I'm not sure myself. :mellow:

Though, I did forget something in my last post. I'm not sure it was brought up here (so forgive me if it has been).

Brash you triggered this thought in my head when you brought up Sansa's hairnet again.

I know it's been said that Sansa needs to leave the Vale in order for her story to progress, but we weren't exactly sure how that would happen. We're not sure if she leaves or if someone helps her leave. Or if some event brings people to her.

What if instead of something happening to Sansa, something happens to Petyr.....causing his men to send for help. It might not involve the hairnet, but maybe some other kind of poison?

I know we've talked about how Sansa might turn the tables on LF, and outplay him.

There was a prophecy spoken by the Ghost of High Heart :

"In the hall of kings, the goat sits alone and fevered as the great dog descends on him.”

I took the "Hall of Kings" to mean "The High Hall of the Arryns", the "goat" to be Petyr (for the small pointed beard he has, then there's the satyr connection) and the great dog could be Sandor (or perhaps The Mountain/Robert Strong). Perhaps it ties into Bran's dream about the shadow looming over Sansa and Arya........

Edit: spelling

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"In the hall of kings, the goat sits alone and fevered as the great dog descends on him.”

I took the "Hall of Kings" to mean "The High Hall of the Arryns", the "goat" to be Petyr (for the small pointed beard he has, then there's the satyr connection) and the great dog could be Sandor (or perhaps The Mountain/Robert Strong). Perhaps it ties into Bran's dream about the shadow looming over Sansa and Arya........

Edit: spelling

oooh, that's interesting :) Do you have the page reference? I've always felt that your comparison of Petyr to satyrs was quite strong.

Also, this passage in AFFC when Sansa is preparing to leave the Eyrie is intriguing to me:

The Eyrie was built of fine white stone, and winter's mantle made it whiter still. So beautiful, Alayne thought, so impregnable. She could not love this place, no matter how hard he tried. Even before the guards and serving men had made their descent, the castle had seemed as empty as a tomb... Even the gods were silent. The Eyrie boasted a sept, but no septon; a godswood but no heart tree. No prayers are answered here, she often thought, though some days she felt so lonely she had to try. Only the wind answered her, sighing endlessly around the slim white towers and rattling the Moon Door every time it gusted. It will be even worse in winter, she knew. In winter this will be a cold white prison.

What's notable here is the depiction of the Eyrie as a tomb where no prayers are answered. Sansa thinks that she only hears the endless winds blowing. However, on her journey down the mountain we see that the wind takes on an actual character - that of a ghost wolf as big as the mountains. So, unbeknownst to Sansa, these prayers might have been answered after all.

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oooh, that's interesting :) Do you have the page reference? I've always felt that your comparison of Petyr to satyrs was quite strong.

I took the quote off Kindle but in my trade size paper back (the larger paperbacks), it's in an Ayra chapter on page 491. The Chapter starts out: "When Arya saw the shape of the great hill...". This chapter is where the Ghost of High Heart wants Tom O'Sevens to sing her "Her Jenny's song".

Also, this passage in AFFC when Sansa is preparing to leave the Eyrie is intriguing to me:

What's notable here is the depiction of the Eyrie as a tomb where no prayers are answered. Sansa thinks that she only hears the endless winds blowing. However, on her journey down the mountain we see that the wind takes on an actual character - that of a ghost wolf as big as the mountains. So, unbeknownst to Sansa, these prayers might have been answered after all.

I think I remember you bringing this up before. Hmmmmmm.......

EDIT: The chapter is in ASOS...sorry Brash! :blush:

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EDIT: The chapter is in ASOS...sorry Brash! :blush:

Thanks I found it! :) Yes, it's really interesting, and Arya even thinks she could mean the Hound. Is that a clue that it really isn't the Hound? LOL. Anyways, it'd be good to hear how others interpret it.

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I think I remember you bringing this up before. Hmmmmmm.......

Yes, and I wanted to add, the connection there between whiteness and death. Could this be linked to what we're talking about with whole Persephone myth and the underworld?

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