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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIII

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:bowdown: :bowdown: Queen of Winter! Wow. So much to think about!

In Roman mythology, Diana (a lunar goddess) is associated with dogs, as is Artemis in Greek mythology. There is a myth of Artemis and Acteon - when Acteon, a renowned hunter, spied on Artemis bathing in a pool, she cast a spell on him where he was turned into a deer and his hunting dogs ripped him to shreds. (Something I'd dearly love to see happen to Ramsay Bolton, btw!)

Hecate is another triple goddess figure associated with dogs; she is depicted sometimes with a dog's head, she is supposed to be accompanied by dogs and heralded by a dog howling, and dogs were sacrificed to her. (Actually Hecate is much more than a triple goddess - she apparently had ancient origins and multiple meanings as a goddess of the underworld, of crossroads, protector of women in childbirth and more.)

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Elba the Intoner: Good catch regarding the lack of gender pronouns in ancient Valyrian. I had forgotten about that.

Queen of Winter, Valkyrja, K3, Ragnorak, ladies. Great posts. Particularly of interest is the connection to Irish myth. I think this might be something that Martin might have actually explored in relation the Vale. The name Eyrie always seemed to me a play on the native name for Ireland, Eire.

But your post has me thinking that there might be more connections to Sansa's story, especially with the geographical proximity of the Three Sisters. My references name them Eriu, Fodla and Banba.

Of the sons of Mil who came to conquer(?) Ireland, only Amairgin (pronounced our-gin and possibly echoing Arryn), a druid-poet, was able to land by invoking the three goddess sisters and calming a 'huge wind' (reminds me of the whipping winds surrounding the Eyrie while Sansa is there; a symbol of her tribulations perhaps?) sent by the Tuatha De Dannan, a divine race ruling Ireland at that time.

[On a side note, the three goddesses are said to have been married to the three kings of Ireland and helped Amairgin in defeating them. This reminded me of Lysa poisoning her husband and allowing Petyr to 'conquer' the Vale in a twisted parallel to the myth.]

Amairgin's bargain was with Eiru, therefore, he named Ireland after her: Eire and declared her sovereignty. He declares his victory over the Tuatha De Dannan and psychoanalysts interpret this as 'the moment when the ego begins to emerge from the undifferentiated world of the collective unconscious, and the self and other are dimly perceived as separate but connected.The process continues throughout life, with the perception of separateness continually moving between clarity and confusion as we struggle with regressive wishes to reunite with the great mother in some replay of a uterine paradise. The arrival of the Sons of Mil symbolizes the emergence of a separate identity, one which demands recognition of the source of being if it is to be achieved at all and not simply drowned.' (Peter O'Connor, Beyond the Mist)

The interpretation seems to me to encompass Sansa's and even little Robert's dilemma at the Eyrie (the first Sansa chapter in AFFC comes to mind when she struggles between her 'self' as Sansa and her 'other' as Alayne) while also presenting a sort of favourable outcome. And Sweetrobin does regressively wish to reunite with his mother by seeing Sansa as a substitute. Sansa's wish to return to the happy days before she left Winterfell can also be seen as such.

The landing and the defeat of the three kings and the Tuatha De Dannan symbolize a second birth, 'the psychological birth of the individual identity' which is connected in this instance with the element of water. I don't know how this part connects with events at the Eyrie and from the top of my head I can only come up with the lakes and the waterfall that Alayne can see from her window in the Maiden's tower which significantly faces east towards the invisible sea and to the threat of thaw from Dany's dragons perhaps? The water is all frozen by the time Sansa accepts Alayne and its also snowing (frozen water again) so this possibly shows that at the moment she is frozen in her identity as her 'other' rather than progressing into the emergence of a new powerful identity, her 'second birth'. The aspect of the bard in Amairgin's personality seemingly connects him with Sansa for me. The declaration of sovereignty to the goddess that is a pre-requiste for the rebirth is puzzling thus far and might be something that needs further study.

As for the Tuatha De Dannan, they 'retreated underground and each of the chiefs was assigned as sidhe or fairy mound of his own. The gods took possession of the hills, the mounds and lakes, and in due course the Tuatha De Dannan became the fairy folk of Ireland. In this way the Irish landscape came to be the dwelling place of the gods.' They seem to be the source for Martin's children of the forest who did in fact go underground and their sacred places, the weirwood trees and groves, 'render the land sacred' to their believers. And these places are notably absent from the Vale, the attempts at planting a weirwood in the so-called godswood having failed. Since I do not believe that Sansa's ultimate purpose is to destroy the old gods, my interpretation is that Sansa will have the least to do with the magical forces in Westeros. Her triumph will have to be achieved through will and intellect, something that Petyr Baelish is a master of.

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There is another myth, of the Fenian cycle this time, which I found in O'Connor's psychoanalysis. I was looking up pronunciations at the end of the book and one struck me in particular. I looked through the index and voila: something which connects Sansa, songs, Alayne and the destruction of a fire-breathing creature (unGregor? Ramsay Bolton? Petyr?) with the help of a spear, a weapon that protects and destroys, and one provided to the hero by his father's old friend. The name I found was Aillen, pronounced al-yayn, reminding me of Sansa's persona as Alayne, named after Petyr's mother.

From wikipedia (because I'm feeling too lazy to type out O'Connor's narration): Called "the burner", he is a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann who resides in Mag Mell, the underworld. According to The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn, he would burn Tara to the ground every year at Samhain with his fiery breath after lulling all the inhabitants to sleep with his music. This only ended with the arrival of Fionn mac Cumhaill, who inhaled the poison from his spear to keep himself awake and slew Aillen. The act won him the leadership of the Fianna.

Aillen was also a popular personal name in ancient Ireland and was used by several personages. The fertility goddess

Aine is also sometimes known by this name.

In relation to Sansa's story, the figure most connected to her possible

future storyline seems to be the hero Fionn who undertakes the destruction of the harp-playing Aillen upon the understanding that the High King of Ireland would award him his lost birthright as the High King's fian, sort of a commander of the guards. On the way to Tara ('a sacred site and the seat of kings'), Fionn learnt the art of poetry,'the knowledge that enlightens and illuminates'. Fionn uses the spear (some sort of dagger for Sansa, Petyr's or the one that Sandor pressed into her throat symbolizing her sexual awakening) to press it's point against his own forehead while Aillen is playing the harp in order to stay awake. Then when Aillen is sure of his success, he 'blew out a great burst of fire, but Fionn held up his purple-fringed cloak and deflected the fire'. Fionn then slays Aillen with the spear. He then presents the head on a pole to the King and is given back his place of honour at the King's side.

Fionn's weapons could be an indicator of the weapons that Sansa has acquired from the Hound, the flowering of her sexuality and his cloak of protection both of which she uses to mentally and emotionally fend off Petyr Baelish's 'enchantment'. She does feel grateful to him for having rid her of her murder-inclined aunt and the unwanted sexual attentions of the singer Marillion, but she never truly gives in to him and it is thoughts of her final encounter with Sandor that are partly responsible. There is also the cloak that Tyrion put around her, symbolizing her marriage (purple-fringed because he was the king's uncle or because it's status has been affected by the Purple Wedding?) and which is currently putting a spanner in Petyr's plans for Sansa. The pointed weapon might be a literal weapon that she uses to slay Petyr (whose proddings, promptings and manipulations are directly and indirectly responsible for the destruction of the Starks and Winterfell and for plunging Westeros into a bloody civil war), or a metaphorical one like Petyr's secret dagger which allows his hands to remain clean. Meaning Sansa might manipulate his death using her awakened sexuality on him to urging him to let his guard down so she can finish him off herself or to encourage someone else to do so while she keeps her hands clean.

(The description of the fian and its role seems to mirror the Brotherhood without Banners under the leadership of Beric Dondarrion. Martin seems to have taken an immense amount of inspiration from Irish myth.)

To tell you the truth, most of Fionn's story seems to provide the basis for Jon Snow's story. Look him up on wikipedia and the similarities jump out at you and O'Connor's psychoanalysis is very enlightening. Only some elements seem relevant for Sansa. Interestingly enough, Fionn has two hunting dogs, Bran and Sceolang 'who had once been humans who had been transformed into animals by a curse'. While this is again a pointer to Jon's interactions with Ghost and Summer, the transformation into hounds remimded me of Queen of Winter's inspiring post. (These lengthy explorations into Irish myth are entirely your fault, QoW!) The dogs in this story symbolize loyalty, protection, guidance and 'comfort with one's instinctual nature' depending on what what psychological significance is assigned to an affinity with dogs.

The most interesting thing is the importance of bards-seers in Irish myth and literature (Fionn's son Oisin is MacPherson's Ossian). Since songs form a central part of Sansa's character and plot, I'm hoping there's an existing thread exploring the implications of Martin's Irish literary influences on this forum. And it is after all, A Song of Ice and Fire, chock full of prophecies and songs.

Btw, I once read a novel called the Hounds of Morrigan. Don't remember much of it now though.

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Thanks for the comments KRBD and Arabella. :)

Arabella, those were well stated posts on myths-especially the part about the dagger. Petyr told Sansa it was the "hidden dagger" the one you couldn't see, that was the most dangerous. I had thought the hidden dagger, might be a metaphor for Sansa herself. Sansa being the one thing Petyr would never expect to be part of his downfall--what irony that would be! B)

And yes, the Fianna does seem to fit here. So hold those thoughts! ;) I do have more to come in Part Two (and there might be a Part Three depending on how I break everything up), so bear with me as I work to finish . :stillsick:

In the meantime I look forward to seeing more B&B posts! :thumbsup:

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Queen of Winter, my sincere congratulations on your post!

To my great sorrow, I haven't got the slightest idea about Celtic mythology (Greek and Roman are my only and true loves), but I am immensely thankful to you for your insightful outlining of both the major themes in Cú Chulainn's legend and the parallels with Sansa and our doggie.

Now, biased romanophile and philhellene that I am, I appreciate your mentioning ol' Kerberos, our own brand of Hound. Since I became part of this community of wonderful ladies -and sers, we cannot forget our men- I cannot look at mythology without finding some parallel, some symbolism, something. So, reading the name "Cerberus" in your post brought to my mind some things about this dog from Hell:

- His colours: black and red = Targaryen. One head is black, the other two are red. However, the addition of the three heads is late, the original versions of this dog in Hesiod's Theogony say he had fifty. As always, the version we know of a three-headed dog with a dragon tail and serpents comes from the Romans, who've got also the version that in reality there was only one dog with one head, but he had 2 pups that were so close to him all the time that they gave the impression that there were three of them.

- According to Fulgentius, the first interpreter of the Cupid and Psyche myth, the three heads of Kerberos symbolised infancy, youth and old age: the cycle of life, and had three qualities attached to each: speech, action and thought. Psychoanalytic theory interprets his heads as symbols of repressed desires that torture and torment a person.

- This hound's Achilles' heel was honey = The Bear and the Maiden, anyone? Psyche was able to gain entrance into Hell by distracting him with honey cakes she brought with her to feed the dog, for she was no Heracles to just overpower him by brute force.

- He could be calmed with music: Orpheus soothed him into sleep by playing his lyre when he had to descend into Hades to fetch Eurydike. That also reminds us of the calming effect Sansa's songs had on Sandor.

Ragnorak: would you want me to write about the symbolism of Psyche's tasks? It might help you with interpreting the fleece episode.

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Queen of Winter, my sincere congratulations on your post!

Thank you, MoY! :)

To my great sorrow, I haven't got the slightest idea about Celtic mythology (Greek and Roman are my only and true loves), but I am immensely thankful to you for your insightful outlining of both the major themes in Cú Chulainn's legend and the parallels with Sansa and our doggie.

Now, biased romanophile and philhellene that I am, I appreciate your mentioning ol' Kerberos, our own brand of Hound. Since I became part of this community of wonderful ladies -and sers, we cannot forget our men- I cannot look at mythology without finding some parallel, some symbolism, something.

Yes, me too. :D

So, reading the name "Cerberus" in your post brought to my mind some things about this dog from Hell:

- His colours: black and red = Targaryen. One head is black, the other two are red. However, the addition of the three heads is late, the original versions of this dog in Hesiod's Theogony say he had fifty. As always, the version we know of a three-headed dog with a dragon tail and serpents comes from the Romans, who've got also the version that in reality there was only one dog with one head, but he had 2 pups that were so close to him all the time that they gave the impression that there were three of them.

- According to Fulgentius, the first interpreter of the Cupid and Psyche myth, the three heads of Kerberos symbolised infancy, youth and old age: the cycle of life, and had three qualities attached to each: speech, action and thought. Psychoanalytic theory interprets his heads as symbols of repressed desires that torture and torment a person.

- This hound's Achilles' heel was honey = The Bear and the Maiden, anyone? Psyche was able to gain entrance into Hell by distracting him with honey cakes she brought with her to feed the dog, for she was no Heracles to just overpower him by brute force.

- He could be calmed with music: Orpheus soothed him into sleep by playing his lyre when he had to descend into Hades to fetch Eurydike. That also reminds us of the calming effect Sansa's songs had on Sandor.

Ragnorak: would you want me to write about the symbolism of Psyche's tasks? It might help you with interpreting the fleece episode.

I really like the part about the honey! Nice catch! Also liked the reference to music soothing him ("music soothing the savage beast/the savage breast")

Really interesting bits about dogs in your post! Also remember in many cultures here are also Hell Hounds (harbingers of death). I don't have my notes in front of me, but I think some are said to be black and large--giving out three barks before they appear. I seem to remember another myth where it's mentioned a white dog with red ears.

I don't want to get too much ahead of myself (and revealing what's to come), as I'm still working on finishing up this project, but I find it interesting at Sandor's trial, when Arya tries to kill him she yells "Go to Hell". Dondarrion's response is that "he's already there". The Hell reference works on many different levels. *leaving and zipping my lip for now* :leaving:

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Ragnorak: would you want me to write about the symbolism of Psyche's tasks? It might help you with interpreting the fleece episode.

I'm not Ragnorak, but I would be interested in this, Milady :)

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Someone mentioned Ser Bonifer Hasty here, and as good Ser Bonifer is a bit of a pet love of mine, I thought some more on him and what part he plays within the story framework as a whole.

He seems to mainly have meaning within Dany's story line since it was actually Ser Bonifer who wooed her mother, Rhaella. It also seemed that Rhaella at least returned some of those feelings since she bestowed her favour on Ser Bonifer. Barristan mentions it to Dany, but only very briefly.

However, as readers, we can connect the story of Rhaella and Ser Bonifer to the larger framework, because the story repeats itself. In fact, it repeated itself in another form with Rhaella's son, Rhaegar. It also is another version of when two lovers are parted by society's expectations, social standing and politics. It runs as a theme in the background, and takes form in Maester Aemon's words really:

“What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms … or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.”

Duty and honour vs love is what tore Westeros apart with Rhaegar and Lyanna. It played out already with Bonifer and Rhaella, and again in various forms through Cersei, Littlefinger, Lysa, Jaime, Barristan, Jorah, Tyrion, etc.

I would very much wish for Sansa to overcome that barrier, since it's one that can potentially shatter families and lives. That she can decide for herself, and not end up as Rhaella, or Cersei, or Lysa. We have seen alternate solutions in action. One model is Jenny of Oldstones and the Prince of Dragonflies, then we also have the Dornish, with Oberyn and Ellaria Sand. But so far, those have been politically impossible in most of Westeros, for various reasons.

Here's hoping a certain Targaryen can bring as much change to Westeros as her old ancestor Aegon. Because I think it needs it. :)

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I hadn't thought of the parallels with Branwen's story before! One of my favourites, Welsh mythology has a lot to offer... May have to dig out my copy of the Mabanogian! xx

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A thought: in keeping with our main beauty and beast theme for this thread, I've noticed that the women whose arcs are paralleled with Sansa's throughout the series seem to have claimed their "beasts" at the end of ADWD. Not surprisingly, the language of this "possession" is fairly erotic and suggestive. Will we seeing a similar scenario play out if/when Sansa meets her beast?

Dany and Drogon:

Cersei and Robert Strong:

There's an interesting "orgasmic" similarity in Dany's and Cersei's responses.

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A thought: in keeping with our main beauty and beast theme for this thread, I've noticed that the women whose arcs are paralleled with Sansa's throughout the series seem to have claimed their "beasts" at the end of ADWD. Not surprisingly, the language of this "possession" is fairly erotic and suggestive. Will we seeing a similar scenario play out if/when Sansa meets her beast?

Dany and Drogon:

Cersei and Robert Strong:

There's an interesting "orgasmic" similarity in Dany's and Cersei's responses.

Oh yeah that's interesting to point out. The clegane are kinda seperated to the two different women. I see sansa transitioning a huge amount in the next novels. Slowly she was learning about a game being played, and how the players play. Now she has to learn to make her own moves. And transition from the pawn piece to a cunning player. Sansa doesn't want to be in the game, and cersei lives for the game. With cersei the game will be her downfall. But with sansa I think the game will be her glory.

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I'm not Ragnorak, but I would be interested in this, Milady :)

So would I! Very much so. And I have an interpretation from Liz Greene (Jungian psychologist) on the Cupid/Psyche myth, not at hand, but I want to comment with her insights when I can dig the books out.

I hadn't thought of the parallels with Branwen's story before! One of my favourites, Welsh mythology has a lot to offer... May have to dig out my copy of the Mabanogian! xx

In high-school I read some of the Evangeline Walton (?) versions of the Mabinogion and I though the story of Branwen was especially sad; her husband was the King of Ireland and he made Branwen work as a kitchen slave where everyone beat and mistreated her and she was a friendless hostage. (Shades of Sansa's captivity except she is not made to do manual work; but she is beaten and mistreated and has no friends, just like Branwen.) She taught a starling to talk and talk it did - tear jerker moment :( The bird parallel is also familiar, though I think Sansa is the bird who will speak, and she will have taught herself.

Re the declaration of sovereignty - could it be that Sansa forming an alliance with Dany and acknowledging her as Queen of Westeros will liberate her? (No matter what, I so so so want to see Sansa and Dany meeting and being awesome together.)

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Queen of Winter: I would like to append your fantastic summation of Sansa and Sandor in Irish myth with two points.

1. I was reading about Cu Chulainn's riastradh and the author goes on to describe how the king sends out the women to bare their breasts before him. Since there is some sort geis upon him to not look upon naked women, he turns away his face. While he is thus distracted the men of Ulster seize him and dip him in vats of cool water to calm him down.

This cooling in water might be seen as a sort of second birth, as water is the symbol for it. This is interesting in the development of Sandor's personality and what you wrote about Sandor ultimately 'replacing' the Hound in Sansa's life. Particularly because O'Connor's psychonalytical reading of this incident points to Sandor's perception of Sansa as a sexual figure as the catalyst of the change.

"Within Jungian mythology one might see this intervention of naked women as the role of the anima in a man's psyche. The anima, or feminine aspect of a man's psyche, plays a vital role in helping him to contain his rage. A man will often respond to any sense of rejection or separation with rage, but as the relationship with his feminine self develops he becomes increasingly able to contain his rage, along with other feelings. Rage, like Cu Chulainn's riastradh, prevents one from discriminating friend from foe. This is why a man in a rage can so readily murder, or be violent to, someone he at other times is close to. the role of the anima is to enable him to discriminate, name and accept his feelings, which is a little like putting them in a female container such as a vat of water. A very underdeveloped masculine side, manifesting itself in over-identification with such qualities as agression and power rather than persuasion and influence. Men in whom the feminine side is underdeveloped are also more inclined towards action rather than reflection. The latter attribute requires containment of feelings, not hte impulsive acting out of them."

I've put some key points regarding Sandor's development in bold print. Sansa's singing him the Mother's Hymn is a key turning point in calming his rage and acts as the vat of water. We know that by this point in the story Sandor's perception of Sansa has started changing from a little girl to 'almost a woman' and then the baring of her torso on Joffrey's command. His rage is at it's height the night of the Battle of Blackwater Bay and he is the most aggressive he has ever been towards Sansa, putting a knife against her throat. Earlier, he associated aggression with power directly in an interaction with Sansa- 'strong arms rule the world'. How different this scene would have been if he had thought things through before coming to her room, if he had used persuasion rather than 'coercion'? His state of rage during his adventures through Westeros has calmed somewhat but persists due to what discussion on this board has concluded is his perceived rejection by Sansa. The process of reflection has begun and is possibly resulting in the complete calming of his rage at the Quiet Isle. When this process is complete the time will have come for a union, not necessarily physical, with Sansa.

2. With regards to the number of sons of Macha the Red's rival that she seduced and then enslaved, there are references to five sons rather than three.

Can't wait for more!

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Re the declaration of sovereignty - could it be that Sansa forming an alliance with Dany and acknowledging her as Queen of Westeros will liberate her? (No matter what, I so so so want to see Sansa and Dany meeting and being awesome together.)

That's a good suggestion especially with the text describing Sansa looking east. And I agree, Dany and Sansa meeting is also my desire, and I think we may see it.

I would love to find out more about the Bronwen parallels with Sansa.

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Someone mentioned Ser Bonifer Hasty here, and as good Ser Bonifer is a bit of a pet love of mine, I thought some more on him and what part he plays within the story framework as a whole.

Yup, that was me! :D Lyanna, if I could "like" your post 100 times, I would (but I can't even "like" it once. :frown5: ) I absolutely agree with you and your thoughts on Ser Bonifer.

So much of what's torn the Kingdom(s) apart is because of love. Lost or unrequited. It's one of so many themes running through ASOIAF.

We're seeing many of those old stories (like Jenny of Oldstones and the Prince Of Dragonflies), being repeated once more in the "current" ASOIAF world. And come what may, but I think we'll see some of those stories and tropes stood upon their heads, and shaken up a bit, by the end of the series.

1. I was reading about Cu Chulainn's riastradh and the author goes on to describe how the king sends out the women to bare their breasts before him. Since there is some sort geis upon him to not look upon naked women, he turns away his face. While he is thus distracted the men of Ulster seize him and dip him in vats of cool water to calm him down.

This cooling in water might be seen as a sort of second birth, as water is the symbol for it. This is interesting in the development of Sandor's personality and what you wrote about Sandor ultimately 'replacing' the Hound in Sansa's life. Particularly because O'Connor's psychonalytical reading of this incident points to Sandor's perception of Sansa as a sexual figure as the catalyst of the change.

Very interesting about the water--I like how you brought up the male/female duality in relation to Cu Chulainn's and his rage, as well as Sansa and her "Mother" aspect.

I know water symbolizes many things but you could also say it's being viewed as being almost "baptismal" (being "reborn"). I wanted to mention that when Sandor was dying , Arya left him close to the Trident--and the Quiet Isle sits at the mouth of the Trident. The Elder Brother also states that he "bathed Sandor's forehead with river water". It makes me think of being "baptized" as well.

"He begged me for the gift of mercy, but I am sworn not to kill again. Instead, I bathed his fevered brow with river water, and gave him wine to drink and a poultice for his wound, but my efforts were too little and too late. The Hound died there, in my arms."

The Hound "passed away" and Sandor was "reborn".

So, if Sansa has evolved from the Maiden to the Mother aspect, will Sandor change as well? Regarding the Faith of the Seven, when we first see Sandor of course we see him as the Warrior, who "represents strength in battle, he is prayed to for courage and victory. He carries a sword."

After his stint on the QI, will he also have aspects of the Father who, "represents judgment, He is depicted as a bearded man who carries scales and is prayed to for justice"? I think it just might happen. There is the bit from AGOT which I quoted in my myth post above, from when Sansa comes upon Ser Ilyn with Lady--she was frightened and backed into someone--someone who placed strong hands on her shoulders--she initially thought it was her Father, but then realized it was Sandor when she turned around.

Maybe when he gets off the QI, he's going to mete out some justice! ;)

EDIT: formatting

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I'm not Ragnorak, but I would be interested in this, Milady

So would I! Very much so. And I have an interpretation from Liz Greene (Jungian psychologist) on the Cupid/Psyche myth, not at hand, but I want to comment with her insights when I can dig the books out.

Good. I shall write it, then, I’ll try to cover ancient, religious, cultural and psychological interpretations if I can; but no footnoted paper this time or else I won't finish any of the projects I have my nose buried in at the moment.

I’ve been musing a bit more over the Dog Rose and roses in general, and I remembered that this plant is said to be able to die and be born again because it doesn’t reproduce via pollination but seeds; this is one of the reasons the Catholic Church appropriated it from Venus and turned it into a symbol of rebirth and resurrection, amongst others. Also, we have mentioned earlier that it symbolises love and maidenhood, and mentioned that Apuleius seems to have used it as symbol for maidenhead. He was not the only one, Shakespeare uses the word rose as an euphemism for “maidenhead,” too; you can see for yourself in all his comedies and some dramas – As You Like It, to name one. Kitty’s theory looks more plausible now.

I will be posting in a moment the mini-project that was an unexpected and humorous by-product of my research for B&B.

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I am no Ser: The Inspiration Behind the Line

A Beauty and the Beast Mini-Project

Case for the prosecution:

The night Sandor Clegane escorted Sansa to her bedchamber for the first time was also the night he told her the story of his burns, after mocking her for her romantic notions about knights and for calling him a ser. Since she first read that scene, Milady has been fostering this particular hypothesis of hers: that the famous I Am No Ser line was in truth inspired by the tale as old as time we’re currently dissecting. Impelled by curiosity, generous amounts of a certain beverage made from grapes and a healthy dose of eccentricity, she thought it was time to get her tiny hands dirty and do a little digging for evidence. The results of her investigations were fruitful, she’s happy to inform the court, as is expected of an impenitent reader of old school crime fiction, and are to be presented before Judge Brashcandy, who asked yours truly to make public what material proof of Sandor’s awesomeness she had to back up this claim and also add more elements to confirm that he is the Beast to Sansa’s Beauty. Toss aside His Grace Prince Golden Piece of Filth™ and all other contenders for the position! Our man wears scars, our man is big and scary, our man has an animal nickname, our man is complex, our man is loath to be called ser. And the responsibility of this lies with Martin, of course; in no way was this done unintentionally by an author that, like we all know, is a Lannister buried a respectable quantity of symbolism in the narrative of Sandor and Sansa’s interactions, apart from a lot of textual allusions to other landmarks in popular culture, and he’s not shied away from taking a passage from Beauty and the Beast for the Hound. But how will it be proved, you ask? Elemental, Watson! I– I mean Your Ladyship. To confirm it, we can resort to examining those works with Beauty and the Beast motifs that have crossed his path, ergo making him fully cognisant of their storylines.

So, sers/my ladies, here is the evidence the Devi– the Hound’s advocate has collected, in chronological order:

Exhibit A: Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve’s fairy tale Beauty and the Beast (1740)[1]:

MERCHANT:

“Pardon me, noble sir. I'm truly grateful to you for your hospitality, which was so magnificent that I couldn't imagine that you would be offended by my taking such a little thing as a rose."

BEAST:

"You're very ready with excuses and flattery," he cried; "but that won't save you from the death you deserve."

Exhibit B: Jeanne-Marie de Beaumont’s fairy tale Beauty and the Beast (1756)[2]:

Original French

MARCHAND:

Monseigneur, pardonnez-moi ; je ne croyais pas vous offenser en cueillant une rose pour une de mes filles, qui m’en avait demandé.”

BÊTE:

Je ne m’appelle point monseigneur,” répondit le monstre, “mais la Bête. Je n’aime pas les compliments, moi ; je veux qu’on dise ce que l’on pense ; ainsi ne croyez pas me toucher par vos flatteries.”

First English translation

MERCHANT:

BEAST:

"My name is not my lord," replied the monster, "but Beast; I don't love compliments, not I. I like people to speak as they think; and so do not imagine I am to be moved by any of your flattering speeches.”

Modern English translation

MERCHANT:

My lord, he said, forgive me, I did not mean to offend you when I gathered a rose. It was for one of my daughters […]”

BEAST:

My name isn’t my lord,” replied the monster, “but Beast. And I don’t like flattery. I like people who say what they think. So, don’t imagine I can be persuaded by your compliments.”

Exhibit C: Charles Lamb’s poem Beauty and the Beast (1811)[3]:

MERCHANT:

"My Lord, I swear upon my knees,

I did not mean to harm your trees,

But a lov'd daughter, fair as spring,

Intreated me a rose to bring.”

BEAST:

"I am no Lord," Beast angry said.

And so no flattery!”

Exhibit D: Jean Cocteau’s film La belle et la bête (1946):

BELLE’S FATHER:

Sir, I didn’t know. I mean no harm. My daughter asked me to bring her a rose.”

BÊTE:

Don’t address me as sir, I’m called Bête. I don’t like compliments.”

Exhibit E: A certain American’s novel A Game of Thrones (1996)[4]:

SANSA:

“You rode gallantry today, Ser Sandor.”

SANDOR:

Spare me your empty little compliments, girl... and your sers. I am no knight.”

Closing arguments:

MILADY:

:D

JUDGE BRASH & THE JURY:

0.o

MILADY:

Martin may or may not have read the original of this fairy tale by Villeneuve, but there’s absolutely no doubt that he’s familiar with the contents of Beaumont’s fairy tale, for all contemporary renditions in both sides of the pond, visual or written, arose from this one, and this is the standard version all modern retellings are based upon.

It’s definitely reasonable to entertain the possibility that Martin read or heard a reciting of Lamb’s poem; there was a lot of poetry in the Beauty and the Beast show he wrote for, and eleven out of at least twenty five poets whose verses are recited in the serials were Lamb’s contemporaries: Arnold, Blake, Byron, Carroll, Coleridge, Moore, Poe, Whitman, Shelley, Wordsworth and Tennyson[5]. For this reason, it’s not out of the ordinary to find them together in one-volume or multi-volume anthologies.

And another thing we can be sure of is that he has the French film amongst the fantasy films he loves, as stated by himself[6]. Considering that this film is faithful to the book by Beaumont, creative liberties notwithstanding, this strengthens our thesis that he does know the French version well.

Then it’s clear that he subverted the above quotes to create Sandor’s. As such, we can confidently assert that he was inspired by this tale for the line in question and that our favourite canine plays the role of The Beast with regards to our northern Beauty. [Doubters sniggering in the background] Milady heard that! A suitable reply would be that there are more examples of possible inspirations for some precious-sounding lines that came out of Sandor’s mouth. Let’s consider this particular example:

How did this same second son describe the coat of arms of House Clegane, ladies and sers?

“The three dogs on our banner are the three that died, in the yellow of autumn grass.”[7]

Now, let me ask you this: does it sound like a demonstration of poetic artistry to you? If so, you probably have heard it before if you are a B&B follower, or read it if you are an incurable rhyme lover or happen to have a friend with bard tendencies. As a scriptwriter for Beauty and the Beast, Martin belongs in the first group. One of the poets quoted there was Walt Whitman, who has a poem[8] with a verse that resembles the aforementioned line:

“The same, late in autumn—the hues of red, yellow, drab, purple, and light and dark green,

The rich coverlid of the grass.”

And also consider this verse by Ezra Pound, which isn´t in the television storyline:

“[…] the grass goes yellow with autumn.”[9]

And this one by John Freeman[10], which isn’t either:

“[…] yellow leaves

Above the renewed green of wet August grass--

First Autumn yellow that on first Autumn eves.”

And finally this verse by Chinese poet Li Po:

“Trees fall, the grass goes yellow with autumn.''

Solicitor Milady of York hereby beseechs you to bear in mind that the logical conclusion ought not be different from declaring Mr. Martin guilty as charged, and she rests her case.

Notes: *

[1] Gabrielle Suzanne de Barbot de Villeneuve’s Beauty and the Beast, illustrated by W. Crane, Planet Books, 2011, pp. 7.

[2] Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s tale can be found in Four and Twenty Fairy Tales, translated by J.R. Planché, Routledge and Co., 1858, pp. 233. For further study, I recommend Maria Tatar’s The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, W.W. Norton & Co., 2002. The Beaumont version is in pp. 58-78, and notes added by authors and Ms. Tatar are wonderful.

[3] Beauty and the Beast, Charles Lamb, Forgotten Books, pp. 50.

[4] A Game of Thrones, pp. 587, e-book edition, Bantam Books, 2003.

[5] These American and British poets lived about 1772 to 1892, the period of the Romantic movement.

[6] GRRM’s Top 10 fantasy films: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/04/11/george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones-writers-top-10-fantasy-films.html

[7] Clash of Kings, pp. 515 in the e-book edition, Bantam Books, 2003.

[8] Leaves of Grass, written in 1900.

[9] This line is taken from the poem Lament of the frontier guard, and is an adaptation of a similar verse by Li Po, which can be read in The Oxford Book of Verse in English Translation, edited by Charles Tomlinson, Oxford University Press, 1980.

[10] Called Lime tree.

*Dedicated to Ragnorak and Lyanna, who seem to like them.

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OH SWEET HAPPINESS.

It's almost verbatim. Change the 'i' in 'sir' to an e, and it IS verbatim.

You, Milady, are a genius. I bow before your superior intellect and smother your feet with kisses.

In a totally not-creepy kind of way.

You are most definitely absolutely right - but this scares me. GRRM seldom has things happen exactly as he presents them, and ASoIaF is basically one big subversion. Look at Arya. She's the classic Daisy-from-Super-Mario-Bros-style Tomboy Princess at the beginning of the series, and after the events of the books, she's taken to killing without remorse, and has a legitimate hit list. I hear talk of Bran, the quiet-connection-with-nature kid, becoming a tree or something. Rickon and SR, who would have been mascot-esque Cute Little Child characters, both have issues - SR's really weak and kinda creepy, and Rickon is savage. Sansa was the stereotypical Pretty Princess, and Sandor's shown to be the Beast. Both of their stereotypes have been subverted somewhat at this point, but I don't think that's enough for Martin. I think I've said before in this thread that LF's storyline is what would happen to the Underdog Hero if he lived in a crueler world. So if LF's plot can get so twisted, what's in store for Sansa and Sandor?

I made myself sad. :(

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