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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XII

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Welcome to Rethinking XII everyone! The discussion continues...

(Rethinking XI)

(Original Reread links)

(Resources 1 & 2) -

Ongoing thread project analysing Sansa's relationships with male characters in the text:

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 Part 3

Tyrion (House Draper)

Littlefinger (Pod the Impaler)

Jaime (kittykatknits)

Lothor (Caro99)

Marillion (Ragnorak) completed

Sweetrobin (KRBD) completed

Dontos (Elba the Intoner) completed

Bran&Rickon (brashcandy) completed

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As I noted to Ragnorak in the last thread, I'm interested in exploring alternative roles for Sansa outside of the standard game player/strategist/Queen that she is normally associated with due to her alliance with Littlefinger and the qualities she displayed in King's Landing. Basically, I want to remove Sansa from the game of thrones, and consider her larger relevance to the song of ice and fire. Personally, I've always found that the poetic, imaginative aspects of Sansa's arc resonate with me more as a reader, and I'm interested in whether or not this isn't where Martin is eventually taking her experiences: to mesh in some kind of harmonic rhythm at the end of the series. I'm sorry if this isn't making sense (just know I'm still all about agency) :) but I suppose the snow castle scene could function as the central symbol of what I'm talking about. Added to that I would consider the relationship with Sandor, her love of songs and music, and her confrontation with erotic power amongst others.

Anyways, if something sparks one of you, feel free to engage, if not, I'll continue to muse on these thoughts by myself :)

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Parts 1 & 2 links are in the post at the top of this page. I do plan on doing a "Sandor's death scene" post, but that will probably be later in the week.

PART 3

SoS Sansa I Game Skill/Sex/SanSan/Misc..[The Hound vs The Imp]

Sansa wishes the Hound was there. Sansa thinks about the BBW and wonders if she made the right decision. She also wonders why she kept his stained cloak. Lastly, she reflects on the real reason Sandor ran.

Game Skill Not so much his lessons, but I get the feeling a large part of the reason she wants him there at this exact moment is that she wants advice. She wonders what Margaery’s invite means. She understands that she has no choice in the matter. Then, she thinks about Sandor. She regrets not having the support he gave before.

Sex The stained cloak, like the song, is always about sex. The sentence right before it includes lying awake at night. It is another connection to her bed. Though the fact that she doesn’t understand why she kept is equally important. She still does not understand fully what happened there. Nor does she understand her growing sexuality.

EDIT: CoK Sansa III: More cloak/sexual symbolism. When Joffery’s ordered sexual assault is ended and the (presumably clean) cloak is given to Sansa, she thinks, “The coarse weave was scratchy against her skin, but no velvet had ever felt so fine.” Sandor’s cloak is shown to be Sansa’s “virtue.” We first see it as intact and embraced by Sansa until BBW. Interesting enough, it was “saved” from Joffery.

SanSan Although Sandor is no longer present in her life; he still has an impact on Sansa. She wishes he was there to serve as her protector/support. She wonders if she should have left with him. And he is the focus of the thought. She is not wishing she could be home or away from King’s Landing. She is thinking about Sandor at that moment. She keeps the cloak, the proof of their intimate moment, as a memento. Lastly, she thinks about the real reason he left. She empathizes with him and his fear of fire.

Misc. [The Hound vs The Imp] With the lovely debates that this board has had, I thought I would include this. Sandor leaves and Tyrion takes over. This has actually been a theme for Sansa. The scene before where Sandor unsuccessfully tries to get Joffery to stop beating her, and Tyrion successfully saved her. Sandor was the first man in her bed. Then, Tyrion comes next. And in this scene, people say The Hound turns craven and runs away drunk, and The Imp takes over.

One way is to take it as the Tyrion/Sansa supporters’ theory of Sandor first to set the way for Tyrion.

But that would be too easy and a superficial reading. Consider the context. Sansa flat out rejects it in this chapter. She knows the truth. And she empathizes with Sandor.

Their beddings had similar feelings. The bedding with Sandor at BBW was violent and wrong on many levels. But there was also a sincere of a genuine connection there. Tyrion and Sansa’s bedding had no connection. It had the threat of violence (even if Tyrion wouldn’t use violence, Sansa had no reason to believe it wasn’t a threat). Sansa is repulsed both physically and emotionally (“pity is the death of desire” or whatever the quote was) by Tyrion.

Even the incident with cloak early in CoK supports this. With Sandor, it is emotionally distressing to watch what Sansa is going through. For Tyrion, it is less to do with Sansa Stark and more general compassion for an innocent girl about to be raped on his nephew’s orders and correcting Joffery.

SoS Sansa II Sex

We learn about Sansa spending time with Margaety’s cousins. When talking about kissing, she reflects on Sandor.

Sex Sansa is for the first time in a long time hanging out with girls her own age. They are young girls growing into women. And this relates to growing up into sexual maturity. They even organized themselves on the basis that Elinor is the leader due to her being “a maiden flowered.” The part with them ends with Sansa admitting that they are children. She pities and envies them, but her childhood died with her father.

For Sansa’s part, she begins actively fantasizing about Sandor. Now that I have reread it, I think it’s possible Sansa isn’t remembering wrong. She is actively fantasizing about that time.

Sansa wondered what Megga would think about kissing the Hound, as she had. He’d come to her the night of the battle stinking of wine and blood. He kissed me and threatened to kill me, and made me sing him a song.

The first sentence could mean “What would Megga think about kissing The Hound? I have thought about it,” rather than “What would Megga think about kissing The Hound? I have kissed him.” The rest plays out as a fantasy. It’s a memory she using to fantasize about. And who hasn’t had a fantasy that is basically, wish this would have happened? It is even closer to the fantasies of the other girls than Sansa wants to admit. While they picture the knights, she sees Sandor coming in smelling of wine and blood (something that is more realistic). And even the threat makes sense in a fantasy. Sansa has been exposed repeatedly to sexual violence. The BBW scene, Joffery ordered sexual assault, the riot, etc. It’s not surprising that she includes violence into her sexual fantasies. This is not the last time she does so either.

SoS Sansa VI Part 1 Foreshadowing/Misc. [Agency]/SanSan/Symbolism?/Sex

Sansa hears Lysa’s moaning. She reflects on her wedding night. She then takes comfort in the old hound until Marillon shows up. Later, Sansa has an erotic dream.

Foreshadowing Sansa hears Lysa and knows what is going on. She thinks about her wedding night. Her thoughts begin on Tyrion, but shift to Sandor. It gives support for later in this chapter when she dreams. She thinks about the most direct sexual experience with the man she is supposed to have those thoughts about and instead thinks about Sandor although this time it is not sexual when she thinks of Sandor.

Misc. [Agency] This can also be considered a practice of her agency. She directly rebels against the person who she has been told to love [or fuck in this case], and made her own choice. It is similar but different from when she chose Joffery against her father’s wishes. She was a child then who believed in the story. While not physically much older, events have made her grow up and mature. She rejects Tyrion not because of a girlish fantasy, but because she believes him to be another Lannister liar.

Let’s take a second to see what he’s asking. He wants her to ignore reality and live a fantasy. This is the exact opposite of Sandor. She is not only rejecting Tyrion, but his view (well, the one he wanted her to have). She replaces it with Sandor’s view and takes some comfort in it.

SanSan I just want to point out that Sansa really does want to know if Sandor knows about Joffery and what he thinks about it. It shows actual concern for him as a person.

Symbolism Sansa takes comfort in an old hound. It’s symbolism even I get. : D Also, somewhat symbolic is what happens next. When Marillon shows up, the hound tries to protect her. But is hit and slinks away. Sandor also tried to protect Sansa (and did to an extent), but in the end, slinked away after the wildfire and Sansa’s rejection.

Sex Again, as stated in foreshadowing, Sansa first thinks about Tyrion and replaces him with Sandor. We see Sansa, at least subconsciously, acknowledging the sexual significance of the song. This part is connected to the foreshadowing and agency parts, so I don’t have too much more to add here, but there were two things I noticed.

The first is her wish for the old blind hound to be Lady. Well, the most important part of that is certainly her wish to be home and back in Winterfell with her family. But there are various Sandor = Lady bits throughout the books, and considering the dream, I see that part too.

Another is the violence. Again, she is rather traumatized. Violence has been intertwined with sex for her for a long time. From Joffery almost ordering her gang rape to Sandor taking his song to Tyrion who – regardless of what he actually would have done – she knew could have her head if she did not give “willingly.” This dream started out as a violent dream of Joffery, no Robb, dying horribly and turned erotic. Though, I think this is a good sign. It is less sex = violence, and more like, “OK. Enough of that. Let’s change the channel.” It kinda flows to it. From Joffery’s death which she witnessed to Robb’s that she didn’t to Tyrion and the marriage bed to Sandor and her song and finally waking and wishing for Lady who has a symbolic connection with Sandor (among many others including her family).

FoC Alayne II (Sansa III) Sex/Misc. [Lord Bronn Is Wrong]

Sansa reflects on Tyrion and Sandor when asked about if she knows what goes on in the marriage bed.

Sex As in SoS, she reflects on Tyrion and replaces him with Sandor when sex comes up.

Misc. [Lord Bronn Is Wrong] OK. It turns out my theory was wrong about Sansa referring to kissing The Hound as a fantasy. But that said, I think the false memory is her way of dealing with the situation and the fantasy. More the fantasy. Sansa has done little to consciously acknowledge her attraction to him. So, rather than fantasizing about him openly, she “remembers” when he kissed her.

As for why she doesn’t openly fantasize about him, there are many reasons. First, it is not proper for a lady to have such thoughts about a man who is not her husband. And regardless of feelings and her own desire to be wanted for herself and not her claim, Sandor is still so low the match is not possible. Lastly, he was a part of the Lannisters’ forces regardless of his choice to desert. He is a criminal (in actuality for desertation which isn’t likely to be thought well of who wins the throne and of all the crimes “The Hound” commits after Sandor shed the persona).

Sansa's time as a bastard actually solves a lot of these things for her. It's been repeatedly pointed out to her that being a a bastard girl, she has more... freedom when it comes to sex. And a bastard really isn't expected to hampered by any of the other social separators. A knight (though Sandor isn't, but he has land and isn't a lord), is higher than a bastard. Since Alayne is Littlefinger's daughter, she is expected to side with the Lannisters in public. And not in the obvious, "side with us or we will kill you." She is treated more as one of them. The criminal may be a reach, even for a bastard, but still not as bad as a high noble lady.

I do not expect Sansa to stay a bastard. But I do expect it to give her a new perspective.

EDIT: I noticed (but forgot to put in), while reality did seem to put Sandor first and then Tyrion, Sansa's own thoughts and desires put Tyrion first, and Sandor takes over.

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Very insightful as usual Lord Bronn :)

Sex The stained cloak, like the song, is always about sex. The sentence right before it includes lying awake at night. It is another connection to her bed. Though the fact that she doesn’t understand why she kept is equally important. She still does not understand fully what happened there. Nor does she understand her growing sexuality.

Random: It just occurred to me that Dany also keeps the white lion pelt given to her by Drogo. I suppose there's a sense of wanting to keep a part of that person with you, which tells us a lot about Sansa's growing feelings for Sandor. The cloak being stained - besides the sexual symbolism - could also signify Sansa's acceptance of Sandor as he is.

.

] Misc. [The Hound vs The Imp] With the lovely debates that this board has had, I thought I would include this. Sandor leaves and Tyrion takes over. This has actually been a theme for Sansa. The scene before where Sandor unsuccessfully tries to get Joffery to stop beating her, and Tyrion successfully saved her. Sandor was the first man in her bed. Then, Tyrion comes next. And in this scene, people say The Hound turns craven and runs away drunk, and The Imp takes over.

One way is to take it as the Tyrion/Sansa supporters’ theory of Sandor first to set the way for Tyrion.

But that would be too easy and a superficial reading. Consider the context. Sansa flat out rejects it in this chapter. She knows the truth. And she empathizes with Sandor.

I commend you Lord Bronn; you're finding more evidence for Tyr/San than the shippers ever did :P Anyways, you're right about the superficial reading. Sansa knows the truth, whilst others don't have the full story.

Sansa wondered what Megga would think about kissing the Hound, as she had. He’d come to her the night of the battle stinking of wine and blood. He kissed me and threatened to kill me, and made me sing him a song.

The first sentence could mean “What would Megga think about kissing The Hound? I have thought about it,” rather than “What would Megga think about kissing The Hound? I have kissed him.”

:) This was a really nice tidbit. I've always read it as "What would Megga think about me kissing the Hound" but it is actually ambiguous.

Another is the violence. Again, she is rather traumatized. Violence has been intertwined with sex for her for a long time. From Joffery almost ordering her gang rape to Sandor taking his song to Tyrion who – regardless of what he actually would have done – she knew could have her head if she did not give “willingly.” This dream started out as a violent dream of Joffery, no Robb, dying horribly and turned erotic. Though, I think this is a good sign. It is less sex = violence, and more like, “OK. Enough of that. Let’s change the channel.” It kinda flows to it. From Joffery’s death which she witnessed to Robb’s that she didn’t to Tyrion and the marriage bed to Sandor and her song and finally waking and wishing for Lady who has a symbolic connection with Sandor (among many others including her family).

Good point. It's interesting how quickly she replaces Sandor with Tyrion in that dream, and he becomes the "active" one, climbing into the bed. And he's identified by three distinct features: size, facial scars, and raspy voice.

As for why she doesn’t openly fantasize about him, there are many reasons. First, it is not proper for a lady to have such thoughts about a man who is not her husband. And regardless of feelings and her own desire to be wanted for herself and not her claim, Sandor is still so low the match is not possible. Lastly, he was a part of the Lannisters’ forces regardless of his choice to desert. He is a criminal (in actuality for desertation which isn’t likely to be thought well of who wins the throne and of all the crimes “The Hound” commits after Sandor shed the persona).

Yup, there are still many social barriers preventing Sansa from having a Loras type fantasy about Sandor (oh the irony), but are we seeing them slowly falling away? When SR kisses her she notes that no Tyrell would ever kiss Alayne, and then moves on to remembering Sandor. What's funny is that she claims that day was done and so was Sansa. Isn't there some kind of implicit connection there in her mind between herself as Sansa, and the low born Sandor? I also think that the interest in Mya and Lothor is her attempt of a kind of psychic trial run for her own latent feelings.

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Yup, there are still many social barriers preventing Sansa from having a Loras type fantasy about Sandor (oh the irony), but are we seeing them slowly falling away? When SR kisses her she notes that no Tyrell would ever kiss Alayne, and then moves on to remembering Sandor. What's funny is that she claims that day was done and so was Sansa. Isn't there some kind of implicit connection there in her mind between herself as Sansa, and the low born Sandor? I also think that the interest in Mya and Lothor is her attempt of a kind of psychic trial run for her own latent feelings.

Yes. I can't believe I forgot this. I guess I shouldn't have tried to finish it at closing time at work.

I will edit this in, but:

Sansa's time as a bastard actually solves a lot of these things for her. It's been repeatedly pointed out to her that being a a bastard girl, she has more... freedom when it comes to sex. And a bastard really isn't expected to hampered by any of the other social separators. A knight (though Sandor isn't, but he has land and isn't a lord), is higher than a bastard. Since Alayne is Littlefinger's daughter, she is expected to side with the Lannisters in public. And not in the obvious, "side with us or we will kill you." She is treated more as one of them. The criminal may be a reach, even for a bastard, but still not as bad as a high noble lady.

I do not expect Sansa to stay a bastard. But I do expect it to give her a new perspective.

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And not in the obvious, "side with us or we will kill you." She is treated more as one of them. The criminal may be a reach, even for a bastard, but still not as bad as a high noble lady.

I do not expect Sansa to stay a bastard. But I do expect it to give her a new perspective.

Indeed. And look at her thoughts about Lothor. She knows he's not an angel and that he's done morally questionable things for LF (she saw him kill Dontos), but yet she still sees the positive side to him and considers that he would make Mya a good husband all things considered. There's this ability of Sansa's to synthesize strengths and weaknesses, flaws and frailties, and produce something that has potential.

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I was looking through Sansa's chapter at the Hand's Tourney to see if there were any notable parallels with the Knight of the Laughing Tree based on Lyanna Stark's observation from last thread. Still working it out-- like Lyanna seems to have fallen for Rhaegar because of his singing where that is reversed with Sansa and Sandor. This reversal fits with Lyanna's observation that both Sansa and Rhaegar learn and keep a secret which is another parallel with role reversals.

Lothor Brune jousts there and I wonder if there is any symbolism or foreshadowing in the outcome

Jory’s armor was blue-grey plate without device or ornament, and a thin grey cloak hung from his shoulders like a soiled rag. Yet he acquitted himself well, unhorsing Horas Redwyne in his first joust and one of the Freys in his second. In his third match, he rode three passes at a freerider named Lothor Brune whose armor was as drab as his own. Neither man lost his seat, but Brune’s lance was steadier and his blows better placed, and the king gave him the victory.

Ser Aron Santagar and Lothor Brune tilted thrice without result; Ser Aron fell afterward to Lord Jason Mallister, and Brune to Yohn Royce’s younger son, Robar.

His last match of the day was against the younger Royce. Ser Robar’s ancestral runes proved small protection as Ser Loras split his shield and drove him from his saddle to crash with an awful clangor in the dirt. Robar lay moaning as the victor made his circuit of the field. Finally they called for a litter and carried him off to his tent, dazed and unmoving. Sansa never saw it. Her eyes were only for Ser Loras.

Lothor is the equal of Jory? He falls to Bronze Yohn's son Robar, but Robar falls because he is inadaquately protected by runes of the First Men (Old gods?) Not really sure yet but there is some stuff to play around with in there. I don't see anything that applies to Lord Bronn's analysis (unless we view the jousting as hints about winning future romantic competitions which seems like reaching.)

I'm sure there's something there given that Brune was in that Tournament and now show's up in Sansa's life as a substitute for that Tournament's champion.

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Misc. [The Hound vs The Imp] With the lovely debates that this board has had, I thought I would include this. Sandor leaves and Tyrion takes over. This has actually been a theme for Sansa. The scene before where Sandor unsuccessfully tries to get Joffery to stop beating her, and Tyrion successfully saved her. Sandor was the first man in her bed. Then, Tyrion comes next. And in this scene, people say The Hound turns craven and runs away drunk, and The Imp takes over.

One way is to take it as the Tyrion/Sansa supporters’ theory of Sandor first to set the way for Tyrion.

But that would be too easy and a superficial reading. Consider the context. Sansa flat out rejects it in this chapter. She knows the truth. And she empathizes with Sandor.

Interestingly, one reason why she rejects Tyrion so strongly is because she reacts to what she perceives as his lies. She sees him as just another Lannister liar, exemplified in how she later takes his words about being the Knight of Flowers in the dark and plastering "liar, liar pants on fire" all over it. Sandor was the main instigator in the "they are all liars here and everyone better than you". Due to her experiences and his words, she is better able to reject Tyrion and the reality he is presenting to her. Their marriage was a sham, and him trying to persuade her that he could be good to her and be like the Knight of Flowers rings hollow to her.

Further, we have seen from Tyrion's very first chapter that one of the first things we learn about Tyrion and Sandor is that they don't like eachother and tend to mistrust and mock eachother. This is hardly chance, as that antagonism is sure to play out again, later, probably with relating to Sansa since they both have an interest in her.

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Great post as usual, Lord Bronn! :)

On the subject of Sansa, the Hound and Lady: In her first chapter in GoT, Sansa feeds Lady under the table and rebuffs Septa Mordane when the septa tells her that is not proper. Septa Mordane replies that when it comes to Lady, Sansa is as willful as her sister Arya. I think this not only indicates Sansa's inner strength (silk hiding steel!) which we all know of, but perhaps foreshadows Sansa defending Sandor at some point, rather than the other way around? Not in the way Sandor would defend her (with a sword) but in a ladylike way, with words and courtesy.

As far as Sansa playing a possibly different role than Queen in the North or a direct player in the "Game of Thrones:" She has been set up as a very intelligent, observant young woman who has a vast knowledge of heraldry and the different Houses. I think she would make a very useful advisor and/or chief lady-in-waiting to Dany. Now I love Dany, but I don't know if Westeros will love her or merely fear her if she sweeps in on Drogon and announces that she is Queen of a land she has never seen and only knows from second-hand reports. We've seen that she's a better conqueror than ruler; would she make a hash of things in Westeros as she did in Meereen out of ignorance of the culture combined with good intentions? I doubt she's well-educated either; I surmise she was taught the basics but then she spent most of her childhood wandering from pillar to post, married off at 13 to an illiterate horselord, then trying to keep herself and her dragons alive and unharmed. I don't think she knows jack about Westerosi heraldry or whose banners are whose.

Enter Sansa, whose knowledge on the subject of heraldry, as well as both Northern and Southern customs, is vast. She is one of the characters who knows much about both North and South - she certainly has a better combined knowledge than any of her siblings and probably her erstwhile bannermen as well. She could be a huge help to Dany; remembering Eddard's advice that it is best to win hearts through love rather than fear, she might be able to help Dany be truly beloved of her subjects (not just Scary Lady With Dragons) by helping her to know her kingdom. After all, Dany's slip-ups in Meereen were largely through ignorance of their culture and how to win people to her side. "Rickon, this is Dany. Dragon Queen, this is the King in the North. Try not to kill each other now." ;)

ETA: reading further on in the chapter, she identifies Barristan the Bold, who has now gone to serve Dany and probably would be able to tell her much about Westeros - but that doesn't mean Sansa couldn't be a huge help. She successfully guesses who Renly Baratheon is just by knowing his sigil and the fact that King Robert has two brothers. "A stupid little girl" Sansa is not.

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I'm sure there's something there given that Brune was in that Tournament and now show's up in Sansa's life as a substitute for that Tournament's champion.

It is very interesting. Without delving too much into the details, I see it as a kind of broad contrast highlighting Sansa's development. At the Hand's tourney she is enamoured with Loras Tyrell, to the extent that she has eyes for no one else. She's in that "dreamy" state, convinced that Loras is the epitome of chivalry and valour, and barely takes notice when Robar falls. The attitude we see now in the Vale is remarkably different. Lothor is distinguished by his actual inner qualities which Sansa appreciates would be good for Mya. She no longer sees the armour, but the man underneath.

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Has everyone in this thread noted the call for papers in the general forum? There's so much great stuff in these threads... some of you should publish!

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As regards Sansa's relevance to overarching themes within ASOIAF I found this interesting tidbit I would like to share;

"She threw back the shutters and shivered as the goose-prickles rose along her arms. There were clouds massing in the eastern sky, pierced by shafts of sunlight. They look lke two huge castles afloat in the morning sky. Sansa could see their walls of tumbled stone, their mighty keeps and barbicans. Wispy banners swirled from atop their towers and reached for the fast fading stars. The sun was coming up behind them, and she watched them go from black to grey to a thousand shades of rose and gold and crimson. Soon the wind mushed them together, and there was only one castle where there had been two".

""Come see", she told them. "There's a castle in the sky"

"they came to have a look."It's made of gold". Shae had short dark hair and bold eyes...."A castle all of gold, there's a sight i'd like to see".

"A castle is it?" Brella had to squint. "That tower's tumbling over, looks like. It's all ruins, that is."

Sansa did not want to hear about falling towers and ruined castles."

I'm not sure whether this passage has been examined before, but I have some information that provides an interesting perspective. Seamus o Ghrianna is an Irish language novellist who wrote "Caisleáin Óir" (Golden Castles).

Here is a quote from the blurb: "The story of Séimí Phadráig Dubh and his sweetheart Babaí Mairtín growing up at the turn of the century in the rocky pninsula of ranafast in the Roses of Donegal is one of bitter sadness, as they are deprived by fate and economic necessity of the magic glimpsed as children.

'A Shéimí, goidé an cineál tithe iad sin,' arsa sise, ag amharc ar na néalta, 'atá os cionn luí na gréine?' 'Tá,' arsa Séimí , 'sin caisleáin óir a bhfuil na daoine beaga ina gcónaí iontu...'

(translation:'Shéimí, what type of houses are they,' she said, looking up at the clouds, 'that are over the sunset?' 'Yes,' said Seimí, 'They are the golden castles where the little people live..')

It is an extremely bleak story, and the golden castles of the title refer to the innocent and naive dreams of the childhood sweethearts. The little people referred to are the population of Tír na nÓg, a mythical place where no one grows old or dies, and everyone is beautiful (almost like a song ;) )

The golden castles in the sky represent the futility of living for your dreams, and not accepting the life you are living. Both characters pine away and waste their lives waiting for each other, giving up their own chances at love and happiness. Babaí becomes a dream to Seimí when he is working overseas, and guides him, keeping on the right path. But when he returns decades later, it is an old woman who doesnt recognise him that he meets, who refused a man who loved her and she loved in return in order to wait for a boy who never returned.

These golden castles are symbolic in Ireland, and I was wondering if there are perhaps any other myths you guys have heard of that are similar, or if it is just a coincidence.

Analyzing the Sansa scene above with this in mind is very interesting. (I believe it is the first Sansa POV after her marriage, but I may be wrong)

  • She is facing the window when her maids come in, and calls them to look out and this vision, she is avoiding her life in order to pursue dreams.
  • Shae and Brella have very interesting reactions.Shae is both wistful and contemptuous. As we know, she is extremely ambitious, and constantly trying to see the world of the royal court, which Tyrion forbids. Brella sees the castles in the clouds for what they are, ruinous. She has no ideas "above her station", and no expectations of a romantic life. She is practical, and dismisses the castle, but still sees it. Like a song she may enjoy listening to, but would never take seriously. (Shae seems to be connected to songs too, the friendship with the bard Tyrion is jealous of, and the song he sings right before he kills her.)
  • "she watched them go from black to grey to a thousand shades of rose and gold and crimson. " An interesting development GRRM seems to be making with Sansa is that her idealistic notions of knighthood and chivalry may be wrong, but that she herself is able to inspire knightly behaviour (Sandor, Tyrion and Brienne). The shades she is seeing in the clouds could be indicative of the learning curve she is facing, that while not all knights are knightly, there are still good deeds and selfless acts in the world. She is learning that there are characters of varying shades in the world. Sansa at this point does not want to hear about falling towers and ruined castles (though what she is seeing is Winterfell) but soon she will, and will rebuild the sun castle in the snow.

Just something to think about :) . I believe that Sansa's arc is the one Grrm is using to explore the dreams v reality theme, and the power humanity has over how differing and similar they can be.

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<snip excellent post>

I believe that Sansa's arc is the one Grrm is using to explore the dreams v reality theme, and the power humanity has over how differing and similar they can be.

What an excellent post! I'm glad that this scene struck someone else as emblematic of Sansa's story arc somehow. I briefly touched on this in a recent post on LJ here, exploring Sansa's story in relation to the Blackmore's Night song 'Castles and Dreams', but didn't go nearly as in-depth as your post! :)

I love that you bring up Caisleáin Óir (which happens to be another songI like, by Clannad), the story behind it is very fitting.

I also can't help but be reminded of Cosette from Les Miserables singing 'Castle on a Cloud', in which the castle on clouds are where she goes in her dreams to escape the harsh reality of life. Not saying Sansa is the same as Cosette, just that the connection between castles, clouds, dreams, and escaping reality bring Sansa to mind.

One thing that I touched on in the above-mentioned LJ post is that I found these two

castle scenes of Sansa to demonstrate her ability to see beauty where perhaps others would not, also, her appreciation for the Sublime if you will. I know that the twin cloud castles disappear (as the clouds move), but so does the snow-castle (broken by Sweetrobin, but it too would have melted eventually). These two scenes are incredibly memorable to me, but I have not yet settled on one, precise meaning for either of them. The snow castle/building of Winterfell scene is the one more remembered by readers, but both of these scenes echo the other in some ways. Both castles are fleeting, and do not last physically -- Sansa does not want to hear about broken castles (broken dreams?) in the first scene, but in the snow scene she acknowledges Winterfell as broken while at the same time symbolically rebuilding it. That scene seems to end 'badly' as well, but people have spoken of winter 'entering' Sansa here. If castles and dreams are connected....hmmm...there is something to be said for dreams....sometimes we must pay attention to them and not abandon them simply because they do not (or cannot) come true.

ETA: Somewhat ironic/amusing that this topic made me think about actual songs of all things. :)

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That was a very nice alternative interpretation for the dream castle scene, lilenadheas :) Perhaps it connects to the rebuilding of Winterfell, where she's no longer dreaming, but invested in the reality of her home and what it means to her.

EDIT: what Valkyrja said :P

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What an excellent post! I'm glad that this scene struck someone else as emblematic of Sansa's story arc somehow. I briefly touched on this in a recent post on LJ here, exploring Sansa's story in relation to the Blackmore's Night song 'Castles and Dreams', but didn't go nearly as in-depth as your post! :)

I love that you bring up Caisleáin Óir (which happens to be another songI like, by Clannad), the story behind it is very fitting.

I also can't help but be reminded of Cosette from Les Miserables singing 'Castle on a Cloud', in which the castle on clouds are where she goes in her dreams to escape the harsh reality of life. Not saying Sansa is the same as Cosette, just that the connection between castles, clouds, dreams, and escaping reality bring Sansa to mind.

One thing that I touched on in the above-mentioned LJ post is that I found these two

castle scenes of Sansa to demonstrate her ability to see beauty where perhaps others would not, also, her appreciation for the Sublime if you will. I know that the twin cloud castles disappear (as the clouds move), but so does the snow-castle (broken by Sweetrobin, but it too would have melted eventually). These two scenes are incredibly memorable to me, but I have not yet settled on one, precise meaning for either of them. The snow castle/building of Winterfell scene is the one more remembered by readers, but both of these scenes echo the other in some ways. Both castles are fleeting, and do not last physically -- Sansa does not want to hear about broken castles (broken dreams?) in the first scene, but in the snow scene she acknowledges Winterfell as broken while at the same time symbolically rebuilding it. That scene seems to end 'badly' as well, but people have spoken of winter 'entering' Sansa here. If castles and dreams are connected....hmmm...there is something to be said for dreams....sometimes we must pay attention to them and not abandon them simply because they do not (or cannot) come true.

ETA: Somewhat ironic/amusing that this topic made me think about actual songs of all things. :)

squeeee! I love Clannad!

Checked out the LJ post, very, very interesting stuff there. Great minds think alike, eh?

The connection with Sansa and the sublime is something I've never had time to explore but really would like to! Her connection with the sublime seems to manifest in her internalizing and speechlessness in certain situations.. What some call "timidity" is actually Sansa becoming overwhelmed, such as at joff choking. She becomes so overwhelmed by horror that she cannot speak, and runs instead. The winterfell castle scene in particular is notable in it's lack of dialogue. she and Littlefinger speak a little, but it is actions, rather than words that are important in this scene. This is a fascinating paradox, because much of Sansa's power comes from speech, she is very persuasive with her words, and wins people to her cause using them. All things sublime seem to relate back to Sansa in some way ha.

EDIT: ^This made sense when I was writing it, but I don't know ho well it translates, sorry :blushing:

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"She threw back the shutters and shivered as the goose-prickles rose along her arms. There were clouds massing in the eastern sky, pierced by shafts of sunlight. They look lke two huge castles afloat in the morning sky. Sansa could see their walls of tumbled stone, their mighty keeps and barbicans. Wispy banners swirled from atop their towers and reached for the fast fading stars. The sun was coming up behind them, and she watched them go from black to grey to a thousand shades of rose and gold and crimson. Soon the wind mushed them together, and there was only one castle where there had been two".

""Come see", she told them. "There's a castle in the sky"

"they came to have a look."It's made of gold". Shae had short dark hair and bold eyes...."A castle all of gold, there's a sight i'd like to see".

"A castle is it?" Brella had to squint. "That tower's tumbling over, looks like. It's all ruins, that is."

Sansa did not want to hear about falling towers and ruined castles."

Getting a little ice and fire imagery here? Or is it just me? :)

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I know there were two castles, but Sansa's bit with the ruined castles in the clouds could represent the ruin of House Lannister ("rose and gold and crimson"), which was set into motion by the murder of Joffrey happening not too long after this sequence.

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