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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIII

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I think Sansa actually inverts quite a bit of the "Beauty and the Beast" story, rather than sticking to the traditional arc. B&TB is a story in which a girl chooses imprisonment with a Beast---a transformed Prince who has shut himself away from the world---in exchange for her father being set free by the Beast; she and the Beast then fall in love, and the Beast is transformed back into a handsome prince. Sansa starts out on that path . . . but while Sansa is definitely imprisoned, her father ultimately isn't set free by the "beast" Joffrey, he's executed. The expected results never materialize: Sansa's imprisonment does not save Ned, Joffrey is never transformed out of his "beast" self, and Sansa falls out of love with, and ultimately escapes from, him---this is the exact opposite of the "Beauty and the Beast" plot arc. The same thing happens with Tyrion: the new male head of Sansa's House, Robb, is again killed, Tyrion never transforms from his physical "beast" state, and Sansa never falls in love with with him either. The Beauty neither loves nor transforms these Beasts.

(..)

And as it pertains to Sandor Clegane, there's an interesting inversion operating with the effect the "beauty" has on the "beast". In B&TB, the Beast isolates himself from human society, and the Beauty causes him to re-enter the social arena, via transforming him, with her love, from an animalistic figure into a handsome prince---into a person both operating in a hierarchical role created and sustained by human society while existing in a form celebrated by that society (a handsome prince). This is actually the exact opposite of what happens to Sandor as a result of Sansa's influence: he goes from operating in a clear-cut role in human society (sworn shield to the prince, later the king) to a more animalistic-associated (in that he's closer to the wilderness) figure divorced from the social hierarchy of his society. Sandor goes from a celebrated (more or less) position at the royal court into isolation at the Quiet Isle---the exact opposite of the Beast's traditional journey.

In a way, this seeming inversion might be more understandable if we understand just what influence Sansa appears to be having on Sandor. Sansa, never forget, is a warg. Wolves, we're told, can never be tamed, and we repeatedly see people try--and ultimately fail--to "tame" and control Sansa. Dogs by their very nature are easily tameable. Sandor Clegane starts out as a dog, obeying all of the orders he's given. He slowly becomes wilder and wilder, more and more difficult to "tame", over the course of his association with Sansa, leading to him eventually abandoning his position and the court entirely---Sansa's influence drives him into the wilderness, away from the "center" of society. This is the opposite of what we'd expect from the "Beauty's" influence on the "Beast", but what's interesting is that here, the Beauty does indeed transform the Beast into a form more like her. In B&TB, the Beast basically becomes a male Beauty. But Sansa, as a warg, is herself a "beast"---just in a more literal sense than "beasts" like Joffrey/Tyrion/Littlefinger. Sandor becomes more "wolflike" via the influence of Sansa, a warg, so in a twisted sense the Sansa/Sandor influence arc does parallel B&TB, simply with the ultimate destination of the two character arcs inverted---the Beauty is actually more of a true beast than the Beast himself, and she influences the Beast to become more of a "beast", to make himself more like her (more of a wolf than a dog).

Rhaella Targaryen was the beauty here, and Aerys was the beast. But again, Aerys's "beastliness" comes from his humanity, not from any association with actual animals. Because "beast" isn't necessarily synonymous with "evil monster".

Throughout ASOIAF we see characters like Rorge referred to as "beasts in human skin", and described by other characters using animalistic imagery, but in reality, such men are acting like humans, not "beasts". They have little intrinsicly in common with the literal "beasts in human skin" (the skinchangers), because when the former act, they're simply showing the worst aspects of their own humanity, they're not copying or embodying the actions of actual animals. Real animals tend not to hang each other in cages just to watch them slowly die, after all. There's a difference between a "beast" like Joffrey, who was of course simply acting like a terrible human being, and a "beast" like the Stark wargs, because in the latter case "beast" is synonymous with "animal" but not with "monster", while those like the former act out a particular amount of viciousness that only humans tend to exercise, and thus are synonymous with "monster" (or rather, the monstrous aspects of humanity) but not necessarily with "animal". As his marriage with Rhaella progressed, Aerys became more "bestial" in the sense that he began demonstrating the absolute worst characteristics of his own human nature, which does parallel what happened with, for example, Sansa and Joffrey (who was of course associated with Aerys on more than one occasion, and whose desire to rape Sansa was ultimately thwarted, while Aerys's rape of Rhaella was ultimately facilitated).

Tze, wonderful post!

I love this! More than an inversion of the traditional plot of Beauty and the Beast, this is an inversion of one of the four types of endings all classified Beauty and the Beast tales have: the Beauty transforms into a Beast to join her mate (Type 2).

This is both an inversion of the "traditional" ending (Type 1) in which the Beast is transformed back into human form by Beauty, and of the traditional Beast himself, for neither Joffrey nor Littlefinger can be classified as Beasts -unless you count their inner beastly self-, and though Tyrion fits in well physically speaking, he doesn't fully fit into the archetype.

When I'm done with the symbolism of Psyche's tasks, we'll see how the Type 4 storyline (the heroine must undergo a series of trials) was subverted in Sansa's case.

Sansa is considered the Beauty at first glance, whereas Sandor is the beast. As the above quotes point out, a beast is not necessarily an evil monster, and a beauty can be considered evil, such as is the case with Cupid. I am not jumping to conclude that Sansa is evil or will become fully evil, but her relation to the Stark line and the direwolves as the house symbol may suggest that the power the Stark children have can also be yielded to perform evil and destruction of what is good - power, like magic, is a sword that cannot be gripped or controlled fully by the one who wields it.

Sansa is very young, and not or only partially aware of the power and capacities she has. First of all, it is clear that she does not know how to control her warg powers and whether she even conciously realizes that she has such a power. Second, and more importantly in her current storyline, her second power is her beauty and the way she carries herself and the effects she has on men - it is a power she begins to develop at the end of Feast.

My idea is that Sansa will focus on developing her powers in relation to her beauty and political savyness under the guidance of Littlefinger - but, in relation to the Beauty and the Beas theme, this will be the wrong path for her as she will be abandoning her true nature in doing so; that of the wolf, or, the beast. She will end up playing with a sense of power she cannot control that will cause harm and destruction in ways she had not intented to.

From this point, I see two things happening. Either Sansa will fully embrace and focus on her beauty and her political skills (a trait which I have postulated to be evil in Sansa's case, as this contradicts her soft-spoken character) and will not only take revenge on those who have harmed her, but will harm those she had not intended to strike as she could not have foreseen the consequences. This, of course, will be a tragic thing and I do not think GRRM will take things so far with Sansa - her empathy and compassion towards Sandor and other around her are too highly emphasized in her storyline.

I see Sansa reversing the harm she will cause (and I am quite sure she will show her power and the negative consequences of it) by showing mercy and gracefulness towards those who may not deserve it. In other words, despite the temptation other powers offer that may stray her away from her true self, the beauty will see what is right to do. Sandor is very important in relation to this, as he is seen by many as the Beast, while he obviously carries some good in himself.

Just my two cents on this very interesting and massively broad topic - I have approached it quite generally but I hope it offers some food for thoughts for you!

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Most of us on this thread though have been speculating that Sandor is indeed alive on the QI and that his story isn't done yet so that's where my thought process is coming from.

Yeah, I've been keeping up with this and the previous threads. It's an awesome theory and sounds super likely at this point - but until there's confirmation, I think there can't really be a right answer.

And Sandor did have character development. The Sandor who Arya abandons under the tree at the end of ASOS is not the same man that he was at the beginning of AGOT. But I don't disagree with you that GRRM may write things in a way that either Sandor or Jaime will cause the death of their siblings and if he does I'm sure it will be done in a realistic manner that fits in with the way the story has been going. I should clarify it's the general idea that they'll just go and do it out of revenge because they are so "badass" that drives me nutty. That's simplistic and cliche to me.

'Badass' is a stupid excuse for ruining a perfectly good story.

Sandor's got tons of development, but I think that SoS Sandor is still only slightly less angry than GoT Sandor. He still hates Gregor, he's got some very violent thoughts toward Sansa (even if he was feverish and probably not being entirely truthful due to attempting to instigate a mercy-kill). He's changed, imho for the better, and there's tons of potential change ahead if he's survived, but... again, no confirmation, so it's really hard to say one way or another.

Personally, I'd like the brothers to settle things so we can see them together, realize how similar and yet how different they are, and see where each way of life has led them. Since both brothers are presumed dead in-universe, their returns would both be a return from death, but the manner in which they've returned is drastically different. Sandor would have started a new life (in a religious context, according to most of the fandom), where as Gregor... zombiehood is not technically life, bu in a way, he's been reborn as well. This clash between two different ways of life and two different forms of rebirth would, imo, be very interesting. The way they handle the time before the battle would also be telling, and if Sandor attempts some sort of peace, we'll know his character development has been as lasting as we thought it was.

I'm actually thinking/hoping it will be Tyrion. My reasoning is simple. Everyone acts like she is utter idiot, but she is smarter than most people give her credit for. Sure, she ran the throne poorly, but she did recognize that the Tyrells were one of the biggest threats to the Lannister throne (that Tywin seemed to underestimate). And Tommen might have an ally in the Faith's army which could easily serve as a wild card as his eventual doom comes. Tyrion being the valquar would just be another instance of her being right.

At this point, it might almost be a subversion to have Tyrion as the valonqar. Everyone's assumed so completely that Cersei's gone completely off of the deep end, and to have her end up being right would lend actual credence to some of the other things she's said, and sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of the readership.

If the valonqar doesn't necessarily have to be HER younger brother, just A younger brother, I actually think that Tommen would be a much more interesting option than Jaime, but as far as plot itself goes, it's likely that it's either Jaime or Tyrion. It could go any number of ways, and all would be interesting. Maybe we'll see a self-fulfilling prophecy where Cersei forces Tyrion's hand by assuming completely that he must be the valonqar.

Yum yum :D

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Yeah, I've been keeping up with this and the previous threads. It's an awesome theory and sounds super likely at this point - but until there's confirmation, I think there can't really be a right answer.

'Badass' is a stupid excuse for ruining a perfectly good story.

Sandor's got tons of development, but I think that SoS Sandor is still only slightly less angry than GoT Sandor. He still hates Gregor, he's got some very violent thoughts toward Sansa (even if he was feverish and probably not being entirely truthful due to attempting to instigate a mercy-kill). He's changed, imho for the better, and there's tons of potential change ahead if he's survived, but... again, no confirmation, so it's really hard to say one way or another.

Personally, I'd like the brothers to settle things so we can see them together, realize how similar and yet how different they are, and see where each way of life has led them. Since both brothers are presumed dead in-universe, their returns would both be a return from death, but the manner in which they've returned is drastically different. Sandor would have started a new life (in a religious context, according to most of the fandom), where as Gregor... zombiehood is not technically life, bu in a way, he's been reborn as well. This clash between two different ways of life and two different forms of rebirth would, imo, be very interesting. The way they handle the time before the battle would also be telling, and if Sandor attempts some sort of peace, we'll know his character development has been as lasting as we thought it was.

At this point, it might almost be a subversion to have Tyrion as the valonqar. Everyone's assumed so completely that Cersei's gone completely off of the deep end, and to have her end up being right would lend actual credence to some of the other things she's said, and sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of the readership.

If the valonqar doesn't necessarily have to be HER younger brother, just A younger brother, I actually think that Tommen would be a much more interesting option than Jaime, but as far as plot itself goes, it's likely that it's either Jaime or Tyrion. It could go any number of ways, and all would be interesting. Maybe we'll see a self-fulfilling prophecy where Cersei forces Tyrion's hand by assuming completely that he must be the valonqar.

Yum yum :D

Or a younger sibling (like Arya) if Valyrian is a gender neutral language...

I like to think that Gregor and Sandor are not at all similar, given that Gregor is to all intents and purposes, a serial killer. Whilst Sandor merely has a bad case of Nuremberg syndrome.

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Or a younger sibling (like Arya) if Valyrian is a gender neutral language...

I like to think that Gregor and Sandor are not at all similar, given that Gregor is to all intents and purposes, a serial killer. Whilst Sandor merely has a bad case of Nuremberg syndrome.

I think we are meant to compare Gregor and Sandor. We looked at bit at how they are presented in the Tyrion reread thread, where Gregor figures as one of Tywin's battle commanders. On the surface, they are quite similar, but it seems what's underneath the plain armour is not the same, when it comes to some crucial details.

A useful comparison may be Joffrey and Tommen here. We know that on the surface, Joffrey and Tommen are fairly alike (both golden haired princes, although Tommen is a bit plumper, but that could very well disappear with age), but as people they are vastly different. Joffrey is a sociopath while Tommen seems like a normal boy. Joffrey shoots animals with a crossbow while Tommen keeps kittens and seems to like animals.

What we know if Gregor is that even the dogs are afraid to enter the keep, which means Gregor is no friend of animals, but from what we see of Sandor, he is. He prefers dogs to people, and he even names his horse in an odd display of sentimentality. We also know that Sandor is pretty good at "managing" Joffrey, probably because he's used to growing up with a sociopath and know how they act and react. Sandor warns Tyrion at some point, but Tyrion dismisses it as Sandor just being an arse to him, while in hindsight, Sandor was completely right. Joffrey will remember that slight.

It also seems that to protect himself, Sandor has turned himself into "the most violent of men" (Sorry for the Bakker reference :P but I felt it was appropriate as Cnaiur is another character who is driven by his hate and his strange and twisted love for Moenghus) and claims that strong arms rule the world, even if he himself contradicts that by his actions on more than one occasion. Gregor, however, never contradicts it. Gregor IS a monster, while Sandor assumes the role of one for the sake of his own protection. Although as we see, it does not work completely. He spends all his time angry at the world and at his brother who wronged him and it certainly doesn't bring him any happiness. While it may work in the short term to armour yourself in rage and hate, in the longterm is just makes you burn out into nothingness. Which is I think what we see with Sandor in ASOS.

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Edit: Just to add that they are two books (at least that I recall) that use also chess as a part of their plot. One is The Eight by Katherine Neville and the other one is La Tabla de Flandes by Arturo Perez-Reverte (that GRRM has already said that he admires him).

At my chess theory I have mentioned two books without linking them or explaining their argument, so I will try to fix it.

The Eight by Katherine Neville, her first novel. It is significant that the main female character is named Catherine. I like the idea that she brought out (how the chess pieces where associated to people, their role) and how she developped it. Others I think that are a little silly subjects (I am still searching that waterproof make-up bag!).

The Flanders Panel (La Tabla de Flandes) by Arturo Perez-Reverte resembles to GRRM in the way that makes readers to search hints, information. He developes a plot based on a chess game picture and a sentence that the restorer found at it.

It won´t happen again (hope so!)

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I've ctrl+f'd this series for the word "beast" before, and I was surprised how specifically the word is used in this series. It's used about the direwolves (and dragons) the most often, as they're obviously literal beasts... but things get interesting when the word is used to describe human characters as well. These characters are the only ones who are called "beasts":

  • Sandor Clegane
  • Gregor Clegane
  • Jaime Lannister
  • Brienne of Tarth
  • Tyrion Lannister
  • Aerys Targaryen
  • Rorge

I just wanted to add to this very interesting post...I was rereading a Bran chapter from ACOK last night, the one where the Ironmen take over Winterfell. Bran realizes that Jojen is right about him being a warg, and he refers to himself as a "beastling."

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Analysis on Lothor Brune and his role so far in Sansa’s life…

*Hello everyone!! I apologize for the delay of this, but here it is at last! Hope you like it

:)

As I did this research I could not help but notice that Lothor has been present during important interactions Sansa has had so far with 2 important men in her life: Sandor Clegane and Littlefinger.

Lothor Brune first appears in the books in the chapter where Sansa is attending the tourney in honor of her father, the hand of the king at the time. Sure, she meets LF in here and has Sandor tell her about his burns, but before these, in the same paragraph where we are told by Sansa that the Hound is entering the lists, we have this:

Jory, Alyn and Harwin rode for Winterfell and the north… In his third match (Jory’s), he rode three passes at a free-rider 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.

It may be that since this day LF saw not only his Cat v.2, but also Brune and considered taking him under his service. As Sansa notices in Feast for Crows,

Though he had risen to knighthood, Ser Lothor's birth had been very low

So no wonder that whenever it was that Petyr Baelish approached him, Lothor accepted the then master of coin’s offer to join his household. Before reaching KL Lothor (according to what he told Sansa one night during the fourth book) went to the Brunes of Brownhollow, an old knightly family from Crackclaw Point, whom he believed to be his kin, yet the Brunes of Brownhollow turned their backs on their lost long cousin.

I went to them when my father died," he confessed, "but they shat on me, and said I was no blood of theirs." He would not speak of what happened after that, except to say that he had learned all he knew of arms the hard way.

In any case, by Sansa’s first chapter in Clash of Kings, Lothor is once again introduced to the reader in a tourney, but one very different from the one held to honor Eddard Stark. This one was due to Joffrey’s nameday where we see Sandor backing up Sansa in her lie to save Ser Dontos Hollard after he was drunk to sit on his horse and “fight” against no other than Lothor Brune, who is said to be by now a freerider in the service of Lord Baelish. Sansa remarks in this chapter about the way both Sandor and Lothor dress:

Lothor:

The freerider, a small man in dented plate without device, duly appeared at the west of the yard

Sandor:

In the back of the royal box, Sandor Clegane stood at guard, his hands resting on his swordbelt. The white cloak of the kingsguard was draped over his shoulders with a jewelweed brooch, the snowy cloth looking somehow unnatural against his brown rough spun tunic and studded leather jerkin.

It isn’t until Sandor has left the city after the Backwater that Lothor Brune pops out again when Joffrey and Tywin Lannister are rewarding loyal men to their House and punishing those who sided against it.

Next came four of lesser birth who had distinguished themselves in the fighting: the freerider Lothor Brune, who’d cut his way through half a hundred Fossoway men-at-arms to capture Ser Jon of the green apple and killing Byan and Ser Edwyd of the Red, thereby winning himself the name Lothor Apple-Eater.

This can be considered for Sansa (who is released of her engagement to Joffrey), Lothor (who earns the title of a knight) and LF, who become the Lord Paramour of the Trident and get Harrenhal for his House seat.

So far Lothor has been sort of in the backstage of Sansa’s life, yet this will change by the time Storm of Swords occurs and Sansa manages to escape the clutches of the Lannisters. Yet we know that sadly, fleeing from the Lannisters only to end up with LF in a very isolated castle could become a “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” situation. One thing is certain though. We are following Lothor’s rise to a more prominent position in life throughout the books. I wonder if he would be willing to give it up for a quiet life with Mya Stone? That could be yet another role Sansa could follow if the “Nobody will ever love be for myself” theme is still relevant in the next books (we know it probably will be) but it will be interesting to see if Sansa would give a privileged position just like Lothor could very well end up doing. Not necessarily limited to the “I shall give up my claim to Winterfell to be able to marry whom I love” but also to the “I prefer to live a quiet life than be the most prominent player in the game of thrones” theme…

Anyways, back to the third book: Lothor once again appears in Sansa’s life, but now he will be in the spotlight. The first moment Sansa notices him is when he is standing beside LF with a torch on his hand, just after she has climbed into the forecastle of the ship that is to take her away from KL, just as LF says, “Rest easy, the worse is past and done.

Then, in Sansa’s chapter where she spends her time at the Fingers, Lothor is described in a way that reminds of Sandor and of how he didn’t speak much.

The ladder to the forecastle was steep and splintery, so Sansa accepted a hand from Lothor Brune. Ser Lothor, she had to remind herself; the man had been knighted for his valor in the battle of Blackwater. Though no proper knight would wear those patched brown breeches and scuffed boots, nor that cracked and water-stained leather jerkin. A square-faced stocky man with a squashed nose and a mat of nappy grey hair, Brune spoke seldom. He is stronger than he looks, though. She could tell by the ease with which he lifted her, as if she weighed nothing at all

Yet it isn’t until a bit later that Sansa actually thinks Lothor is Sandor- just when Marmillion wants to rape her on the night of Petyr and Lysa’s wedding:

Sansa heard the soft sound of steel on leather. “Singer,” a rough voice said, “best go, if you want to sing again.” the light was dim, but she saw a faint glimmer of a blade... And when the singer doesn’t go away, Lothor says, “I’ll do worse, if you don’t go.”

And quick as that, Marillion was gone. The other remained, looming over Sansa in the darkness.

“Lord Petyr said watch out for you.”

It was Lothor Brune’s voice, she realized. Not the Hound's, no, how could it be? Of course it had to be Lothor

This night as well all have remarked before is quite significant because we see Sansa sexually maturing in a way. She understands what the meaning of “But one day I’ll have a song from you, whether you will it or no,” probably means, and we also see her wondering what may have happened to Sandor just as her aunt’s screams can be heard as she is with LF. The dream where Sansa substitutes Tyrion for Sandor climbing into her bed also happens, but dream Sandor doesn’t show he has some hesitations about whether Sansa would be willing to sing to him or not. It’s implied she will, perhaps in the “I’ll have a song from you,” bit where the one day is erased as well as the will it or no bits.

After this eventful night Sansa starts to think of Ser Lothor as a protector, a little bit like she began to do with Sandor after he saved her from the riots, since she thinks regarding Marmillion, “Sansa was not the first maid to suffer his advances, and the others had not had Lothor Brune to defend her.”

At the end of Storm of Swords Lothor Brune is now the captain of the guards of the Eyrie, while Sansa is starting to become Alayne Stone.

It isn’t until Feast for Crows that we see more of Lothor’s nature. We have seen before how people can warm up to Sansa, so it’s no wonder that during the lonely stay at the Eyrie, she ends up knowing Lothor to the extent of thinking:

Sober, he was a quiet man, but a strong one. And Petyr says he’s loyal. He trusts him as much as he trusts anyone.

We learn in the three chapters Sansa/Alayne has in the fourth book that Sansa at times asks Lothor to lock Robert Arryn’s bedroom so the boy can’t leave the room and go to snuggle in Sansa’s bed; we learn that though Robert may kick him in the face while having one of his shaking fits, Brune will only curse and hold on to the twitching boy; we see that Lothor guards LF in a way similar to the one Sandor Clegane once guarded Joffrey and that if anyone shows their steel to Petyr, Brune will probably have his sword out as well quick enough; we see that Ser Lyn Corbray smiles to Lothor once, making me suspect Petyr probably trusted Lothor enough to let him know Lyn wouldn’t really harm him as he created a fight; and we know that Bronze Yohn- who was in Ned Stark’s tourney at KL and whom Sansa at times fears he will recognize her- was also present probably when Lothor Brune defeated Jory Cassell.

Yet all these details aren’t of much consequence with regards to Sansa’s future arc compared to the way Lothor may be affected by his growing feelings for the bastard girl, Mya Stone.

"Boy out of bed?" Ser Lothor asked.

"They're bathing him. He will be ready within the hour."

"We best hope he is. Mya won't wait past midday." The winch room was unheated, so his breath misted with every word.

"She'll wait," Alayne said. "She has to wait."

"Don't be so certain, m'lady. She's half mule herself, that one. I think she'd leave us all to starve before she'd put those animals at risk." He smiled when he said it. He always smiles when he speaks of Mya Stone. Mya was much younger than Ser Lothor, but when her father had been brokering the marriage between Lord Corbray and his merchant's daughter, he'd told her that young girls were always happiest with older men. "Innocence and experience make for a perfect marriage," he had said.

Alayne wondered what Mya made of Ser Lothor. With his squashed nose, square jaw, and nap of woolly grey hair, Brune could not be called comely, but he was not ugly either. It is a common face but an honest one.

This observations by Sansa are important because they show how far she’s come from the little girl who fell for Prince Joffrey and was taken with his beautiful looks. Throughout Sansa’s experiences she has come to realize that comely man who are quiet and loyal are at times more valuable than guys like Loras Tyrell, Marmillion, Joffrey or all those vain pretty young men. It isn’t because LF told her that girls are much happier with older men that Sansa can appreciate Lothor Brune for example, but because

Brune would be a good match for a bastard girl like Mya Stone, she thought. It might be different if her father had acknowledged her, but he never did. And Maddy says that she's no maid either

Here we can see a practical Sansa who no longer tries to see the world through the verses of a song, but instead plans ahead after considering all the options available for either her or for Mya Stone.

In regards to Mya Stone:

Slim and sinewy, Mya looked as tough as the old riding leathers she wore beneath her silvery ringmail shirt. Her hair was black as a raven's wing, so short and shaggy that Alayne suspected that she cut it with a dagger. Mya's eyes were her best feature, big and blue. She could be pretty, if she would dress up like a girl. Alayne found herself wondering whether Ser Lothor liked her best in her iron and leather, or dreamed of her gowned in lace and silk.

It’s nice to see a Sansa here who can still retain some characteristics from the girl we were once introduced to though. The girl who liked to think of marriage is being a match-maker who could very well end up being better at that than Emma Woodhouse for example. I mentioned in my Mya analysis how similar Mya and Sansa had suffered due to their firsts loves: Joffrey turned out to be a cruel psychopath while Mya’s love, Michael Refort broke Mya’s heart after pretending to be a gallant swordsman. And while Mya has not been able to an extent to forget Michael which we can assume in part thanks to her saying, “Men come and go. They lie, or die, or leave you,” we see that Sansa has in her own situation, and she is even open to new possibilities perhaps, since we see her commenting to Myrand Royce that

Ser Lothor is fond of her." Alayne glanced down at the mule girl, twenty steps below. "More than fond."

"Lothor Brune?" Myranda raised an eyebrow. "Does she know?" She did not wait for an answer. "He has no hope, poor man. My father's tried to make a match for Mya, but she'll have none of them. She is half mule, that one."

Despite herself, Alayne found herself warming to the older girl. She had not had a friend to gossip with since poor Jeyne Poole. "Do you think Ser Lothor likes her as she is, in mail and leather?" she asked the older girl, who seemed so worldly-wise. "Or does he dream of her draped in silks and velvets?"

"He's a man. He dreams of her naked."

It’s a nice little detail as well to see that in the chapter were we learn how Lothor Brune feels, Sansa finally says The Hound when thinking of that man who took a song and a kiss and left her with nothing but a bloody cloak. Not even when she had that dream at the Fingers did she mention Sandor by his name.

To conclude I will like to make reference to the “Men come and go. They lie, or die, or leave you,” bit cause here we could almost say that Mya seems a little resentful towards Michael, and Sansa also thinks that Sandor took a song and a kiss and left her nothing but a bloody cloak. I don’t believe though that Sansa will just sit around and refuse or accept LF’s proposal of marrying HtH in the way Mya has been refusing marrying other prospects. And I think that if Sansa can just help Mya open her eyes and see that Lothor fancies her and it would be all right to hope again, then she may be ready to at long last see Sandor Clegane again, settling how matters stand between them

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Or a younger sibling (like Arya) if Valyrian is a gender neutral language...

I like to think that Gregor and Sandor are not at all similar, given that Gregor is to all intents and purposes, a serial killer. Whilst Sandor merely has a bad case of Nuremberg syndrome.

They're different in the important ways, but they remind me a lot of Jekyll and Hyde. Two different kinds of rebirth, two different stances on fighting and lordships and knighthoods... And in the end, they're still brothers. Simply being brothers guarantees no parallels, and people take them as more similar as they are, but I think Sandor is like a better version of Gregor, or Gregor an evil version of Sandor.

To conclude I will like to make reference to the “Men come and go. They lie, or die, or leave you,” bit cause here we could almost say that Mya seems a little resentful towards Michael, and Sansa also thinks that Sandor took a song and a kiss and left her nothing but a bloody cloak. I don’t believe though that Sansa will just sit around and refuse or accept LF’s proposal of marrying HtH in the way Mya has been refusing marrying other prospects. And I think that if Sansa can just help Mya open her eyes and see that Lothor fancies her and it would be all right to hope again, then she may be ready to at long last see Sandor Clegane again, settling how matters stand between them.

WOW.

Just... Fantastic post. Fantastic. :eek:

I'm choosing to reply to the last paragraph because even though all of the wonderfulness above it requires answering as well, this paragraph really stuck in my mind and made me wonder.

Sentences like this are really indicative of the tone of the story and the direction it will take as a whole. Rereading that sentence, I'm getting flashbacks to Cersei's "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die," line. Since her statement, it's shown to be basically true - most of the kings who couldn't win the throne are dead, and Cersei's gotten dangerously close to following their example. It's more than likely that Mya won't be with Michael again, and she doesn't seem inclined to marry Lothor - as sad as it makes me, maybe Sansa's already seen Sandor for the last time.

:crying:

MY EMOTIONS! WHY!

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Analysis on Lothor Brune and his role so far in Sansa’s life…

*Hello everyone!! I apologize for the delay of this, but here it is at last! Hope you like it

:)

As I did this research I could not help but notice that Lothor has been present during important interactions Sansa has had so far with 2 important men in her life: Sandor Clegane and Littlefinger.

Lothor Brune first appears in the books in the chapter where Sansa is attending the tourney in honor of her father, the hand of the king at the time. Sure, she meets LF in here and has Sandor tell her about his burns, but before these, in the same paragraph where we are told by Sansa that the Hound is entering the lists, we have this:

It may be that since this day LF saw not only his Cat v.2, but also Brune and considered taking him under his service. As Sansa notices in Feast for Crows,

So no wonder that whenever it was that Petyr Baelish approached him, Lothor accepted the then master of coin’s offer to join his household. Before reaching KL Lothor (according to what he told Sansa one night during the fourth book) went to the Brunes of Brownhollow, an old knightly family from Crackclaw Point, whom he believed to be his kin, yet the Brunes of Brownhollow turned their backs on their lost long cousin.

In any case, by Sansa’s first chapter in Clash of Kings, Lothor is once again introduced to the reader in a tourney, but one very different from the one held to honor Eddard Stark. This one was due to Joffrey’s nameday where we see Sandor backing up Sansa in her lie to save Ser Dontos Hollard after he was drunk to sit on his horse and “fight” against no other than Lothor Brune, who is said to be by now a freerider in the service of Lord Baelish. Sansa remarks in this chapter about the way both Sandor and Lothor dress:

Lothor:

Sandor:

It isn’t until Sandor has left the city after the Backwater that Lothor Brune pops out again when Joffrey and Tywin Lannister are rewarding loyal men to their House and punishing those who sided against it.

This can be considered for Sansa (who is released of her engagement to Joffrey), Lothor (who earns the title of a knight) and LF, who become the Lord Paramour of the Trident and get Harrenhal for his House seat.

So far Lothor has been sort of in the backstage of Sansa’s life, yet this will change by the time Storm of Swords occurs and Sansa manages to escape the clutches of the Lannisters. Yet we know that sadly, fleeing from the Lannisters only to end up with LF in a very isolated castle could become a “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” situation. One thing is certain though. We are following Lothor’s rise to a more prominent position in life throughout the books. I wonder if he would be willing to give it up for a quiet life with Mya Stone? That could be yet another role Sansa could follow if the “Nobody will ever love be for myself” theme is still relevant in the next books (we know it probably will be) but it will be interesting to see if Sansa would give a privileged position just like Lothor could very well end up doing. Not necessarily limited to the “I shall give up my claim to Winterfell to be able to marry whom I love” but also to the “I prefer to live a quiet life than be the most prominent player in the game of thrones” theme…

Anyways, back to the third book: Lothor once again appears in Sansa’s life, but now he will be in the spotlight. The first moment Sansa notices him is when he is standing beside LF with a torch on his hand, just after she has climbed into the forecastle of the ship that is to take her away from KL, just as LF says, “Rest easy, the worse is past and done.

Then, in Sansa’s chapter where she spends her time at the Fingers, Lothor is described in a way that reminds of Sandor and of how he didn’t speak much.

Yet it isn’t until a bit later that Sansa actually thinks Lothor is Sandor- just when Marmillion wants to rape her on the night of Petyr and Lysa’s wedding:

This night as well all have remarked before is quite significant because we see Sansa sexually maturing in a way. She understands what the meaning of “But one day I’ll have a song from you, whether you will it or no,” probably means, and we also see her wondering what may have happened to Sandor just as her aunt’s screams can be heard as she is with LF. The dream where Sansa substitutes Tyrion for Sandor climbing into her bed also happens, but dream Sandor doesn’t show he has some hesitations about whether Sansa would be willing to sing to him or not. It’s implied she will, perhaps in the “I’ll have a song from you,” bit where the one day is erased as well as the will it or no bits.

After this eventful night Sansa starts to think of Ser Lothor as a protector, a little bit like she began to do with Sandor after he saved her from the riots, since she thinks regarding Marmillion, “Sansa was not the first maid to suffer his advances, and the others had not had Lothor Brune to defend her.”

At the end of Storm of Swords Lothor Brune is now the captain of the guards of the Eyrie, while Sansa is starting to become Alayne Stone.

It isn’t until Feast for Crows that we see more of Lothor’s nature. We have seen before how people can warm up to Sansa, so it’s no wonder that during the lonely stay at the Eyrie, she ends up knowing Lothor to the extent of thinking:

We learn in the three chapters Sansa/Alayne has in the fourth book that Sansa at times asks Lothor to lock Robert Arryn’s bedroom so the boy can’t leave the room and go to snuggle in Sansa’s bed; we learn that though Robert may kick him in the face while having one of his shaking fits, Brune will only curse and hold on to the twitching boy; we see that Lothor guards LF in a way similar to the one Sandor Clegane once guarded Joffrey and that if anyone shows their steel to Petyr, Brune will probably have his sword out as well quick enough; we see that Ser Lyn Corbray smiles to Lothor once, making me suspect Petyr probably trusted Lothor enough to let him know Lyn wouldn’t really harm him as he created a fight; and we know that Bronze Yohn- who was in Ned Stark’s tourney at KL and whom Sansa at times fears he will recognize her- was also present probably when Lothor Brune defeated Jory Cassell.

Yet all these details aren’t of much consequence with regards to Sansa’s future arc compared to the way Lothor may be affected by his growing feelings for the bastard girl, Mya Stone.

This observations by Sansa are important because they show how far she’s come from the little girl who fell for Prince Joffrey and was taken with his beautiful looks. Throughout Sansa’s experiences she has come to realize that comely man who are quiet and loyal are at times more valuable than guys like Loras Tyrell, Marmillion, Joffrey or all those vain pretty young men. It isn’t because LF told her that girls are much happier with older men that Sansa can appreciate Lothor Brune for example, but because

Here we can see a practical Sansa who no longer tries to see the world through the verses of a song, but instead plans ahead after considering all the options available for either her or for Mya Stone.

In regards to Mya Stone:

It’s nice to see a Sansa here who can still retain some characteristics from the girl we were once introduced to though. The girl who liked to think of marriage is being a match-maker who could very well end up being better at that than Emma Woodhouse for example. I mentioned in my Mya analysis how similar Mya and Sansa had suffered due to their firsts loves: Joffrey turned out to be a cruel psychopath while Mya’s love, Michael Refort broke Mya’s heart after pretending to be a gallant swordsman. And while Mya has not been able to an extent to forget Michael which we can assume in part thanks to her saying, “Men come and go. They lie, or die, or leave you,” we see that Sansa has in her own situation, and she is even open to new possibilities perhaps, since we see her commenting to Myrand Royce that

It’s a nice little detail as well to see that in the chapter were we learn how Lothor Brune feels, Sansa finally says The Hound when thinking of that man who took a song and a kiss and left her with nothing but a bloody cloak. Not even when she had that dream at the Fingers did she mention Sandor by his name.

To conclude I will like to make reference to the “Men come and go. They lie, or die, or leave you,” bit cause here we could almost say that Mya seems a little resentful towards Michael, and Sansa also thinks that Sandor took a song and a kiss and left her nothing but a bloody cloak. I don’t believe though that Sansa will just sit around and refuse or accept LF’s proposal of marrying HtH in the way Mya has been refusing marrying other prospects. And I think that if Sansa can just help Mya open her eyes and see that Lothor fancies her and it would be all right to hope again, then she may be ready to at long last see Sandor Clegane again, settling how matters stand between them

This is very interesting. I don't think Lothor Brune would need Sansa/Alayne's help to get Mya Stone (given the Mychel Redfort fiasco), but I think Sansa could offer him lands and security to get him to turn against Petyr. After all if Petyr dies and is executed then the Keep on the Fingers could well revert to the Eyrie, and a grateful Harry Harding or Sweet Robin (if he lives) could be influenced into giving the LF's keep to Lothor Brune and Mya Stone.

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Great post, Caro99! That made me remember that Ser Lothor was yet another man (besides Sandor and LF) who wound up spilling his guts to Sansa about either past traumas (Lothor and Sandor) or his nefarious means of achieving his ends (LF). Cersei also let loose in a bitter way about marriage when informing Sansa about what she saw as the facts of life for a high-born woman. Sansa has a way of getting people to open up to her and confide things in her that they wouldn't in other people.

Sadly, the one man who probably should have confided more of his thoughts and plans - Ned - did not. Nor did Catelyn, about the menstrual cycle - which one would assume a mother would tell her daughter. The real-life Middle Ages was not the Victorian era where women were expected to be ignorant about sex and body matters. Medieval and Renaissance noblewomen were expected to be chaste before marriage and faithful afterwards, but they were expected to know about sex and menstruation; for one thing, it was considered essential for a woman to have orgasms in order to conceive and also to stay healthy; a woman frightened of sex and men would hardly be able to give her husband children.

Back to topic - the analysis of Ser Lothor was a great demonstration of Sansa's character growth throughout the series, from idealizing pretty knights to seeing the worth of knights who may not be so pretty or flashy but have solid good qualities.

ETA to Voodooqueen: I would love to see Lothor and Mya take over LF's sheep farm. I bet they could manage it better and turn it into a profitable enterprise (after all, England grew hugely wealthy through wool!). LF clearly neglects the family estate such as it is, and has nothing but contempt for it. The Fingers will never be Casterly Rock, but LF's holdings could definitely be in better shape than they are now. Mya and Lothor would have the practical skills needed to do so.

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Lovely, lovely post Caro! Brava! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

To conclude I will like to make reference to the “Men come and go. They lie, or die, or leave you,” bit cause here we could almost say that Mya seems a little resentful towards Michael, and Sansa also thinks that Sandor took a song and a kiss and left her nothing but a bloody cloak. I don’t believe though that Sansa will just sit around and refuse or accept LF’s proposal of marrying HtH in the way Mya has been refusing marrying other prospects. And I think that if Sansa can just help Mya open her eyes and see that Lothor fancies her and it would be all right to hope again, then she may be ready to at long last see Sandor Clegane again, settling how matters stand between them.

I want to touch on Mya's thoughts of “Men come and go. They lie, or die, or leave you,”.

I think it's an interesting sort of parallel to Sansa's situation when the Hound told her: "A dog will die for you, but never lie to you".

Well, the Hound has already "died" for/because of her, and he already left her (as Caro stated, after Blackwater.) But he never lied to her....

EDIT: grammar....

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Or a younger sibling (like Arya) if Valyrian is a gender neutral language...

I like to think that Gregor and Sandor are not at all similar, given that Gregor is to all intents and purposes, a serial killer. Whilst Sandor merely has a bad case of Nuremberg syndrome.

I really think that Sansa's character arc is that she will ride a dragon (two sisters and a brother do this is in past history) - the golden one, and that Cersei captures saintly Sandor (who will now move into the chess piece "father" as in priestly father instead of warrior), and Cersei will pit Sandor against RS. Sansa will come down and burn/melt headless (karmic) RS in front of Sandor. This turns the damsel in distress saved by a knight RIGHT on its head, and also is exactly what Sansa should do - save the man who protected her all this time. Not to speak of this moving her into the MOTHER chess piece. arya moves up to MAIDEN. the Smith is either Gendry or Sam (remember, a Maester FORGES his chains. Cat is the crone. the Stranger is death, and i think Jaqen will remain that piece/icon if arya moves up to maiden, which requires her to come back from being a faceless man. and i have a theory on how that will happen which makes sense.

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I really think that Sansa's character arc is that she will ride a dragon (two sisters and a brother do this is in past history) - the golden one, and that Cersei captures saintly Sandor (who will now move into the chess piece "father" as in priestly father instead of warrior), and Cersei will pit Sandor against RS. Sansa will come down and burn/melt headless (karmic) RS in front of Sandor. This turns the damsel in distress saved by a knight RIGHT on its head, and also is exactly what Sansa should do - save the man who protected her all this time. Not to speak of this moving her into the MOTHER chess piece. arya moves up to MAIDEN. the Smith is either Gendry or Sam (remember, a Maester FORGES his chains. Cat is the crone. the Stranger is death, and i think Jaqen will remain that piece/icon if arya moves up to maiden, which requires her to come back from being a faceless man. and i have a theory on how that will happen which makes sense.

What would happen that meant Sansa riding the golden dragon, while Cersei still retains enough power to pit RS against Sandor?

I fully support karma coming back to bite Gregor in the butt, but I don't know if it'll be dragonfire.

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...Both Sansa and Ser Bonifer are shown eating pears, but Ser Bonifer's pear is juiceless, whereas Sansa's is filled with juice. Is this a hint that, while Ser Bonifer went out of his way to avoid "staining" himself (by embracing the Faith), Sansa in fact will "stain" herself (by rejecting the Faith)?...

This is tangental so I beg pardon in advance...

The pear and pear eating is a sexual symbol (I won't link to the film clip that I did in a previous thread because it appalled Kittykatknits so much, you'll have to take it on trust that it graphically illustrated this notion1).

Ser Boniface has sublimated his love of an actual maiden into the rather safer archetype of all young women in westeros: The Maiden. So we see him at a remove from sexuality and unlike Sansa not sinking his teeth into the soft yielding flesh and not delighting in the sweet fragrant juices. Not only does the cutlery2 enable him to keep a safe distance but the actual pear here is described as dry. As the fruit is so is the man. His sexual nature is dried up.

The other contrast is between Sansa's self indulgent pear eating and Petyr Baelish. He tells us "I love the juice but I loathe the sticky fingers" (ASOS) which perhaps doesn't surprise us considering the consequences for him when he freely expressed his sexuality as a lad way back in Riverrun.

Quite what this means for Sansa, given the polite and well bred company here, I will not speculate.

Endnotes

1

, but warning - this is not suitable for vegetarians, vegans etc and the pears only appear in the last minute

2 Never trust a man who eats with a knife and fork.

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Lummel,

That is the most significant and upsetting pear eating scene I have ever seen. And I won't ask how you found it either. :lol:

But to continue down the line of thought with the pear as symbol for sexuality and Ser Bonifer eating a dried up pear and how he has rejected sex and taking a wife for the life of a holy man, can we then perhaps draw the conclusion that Sansa eating a ripe pear symbolises that she has not rejected that notion. In AFFC she is despairing about ever being able to enter a marriage of her own choosing, but we also see her wishing that someone will some day love her for herself. So in that regard, she has not given up on either the spiritual or physical aspect of love (unlike Ser Bonifer).

I will do my Tyrion write up. Was about to start it yesterday but I was severely uninspired and gave up. :crying:

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Ser Bonifer has no shortage of spiritual love, but that's all he has. The physical has been sublimated into the spiritual. The heavenly for the earthly maiden.

I would tentatively and with due consideration for the manners and temperament of this thread agree with what you say about Sansa's sexual nature. She didn't seek a ripe pear, but she doesn't reject it, fear it or seem inconvenienced by it.

But Lyanna, I don't know what to be more sorrowful over, that a grown woman like yourself is so easily upset or that you found our Tyrioning so uninspiring :crying: !

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It’s a nice little detail as well to see that in the chapter were we learn how Lothor Brune feels, Sansa finally says The Hound when thinking of that man who took a song and a kiss and left her with nothing but a bloody cloak. Not even when she had that dream at the Fingers did she mention Sandor by his name.

Another significant detail is that Sansa seems to be the only one, or one of the few, who has clearly noted how Lothor feels about Mya. Myranda clearly had no idea, and LF seems oblivious as well. Is this Sansa being observant and clever, or is she the only one paying attention? It seems gossip is rife enough, since Maddy has told Sansa Mya is no longer a maid, and they'd certainly be commenting on it if they knew and understood Lothor fancied Mya.

But Lyanna, I don't know what to be more sorrowful over, that a grown woman like yourself is so easily upset or that you found our Tyrioning so uninspiring :crying: !

Not uninspiring, I just have a hard time choosing the approach. :(

EDIT: Regarding the ripe pear, notice how Littlefinger complains about being inconvenienced by it, unlike Sansa? I like your take on it, actually.

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Beets, Wow thank you!! Yes no onder Cersei’s words to Ned about the game are so popular: they sum up the lives those people live so well! That’s why it would be cool to have Sansa walk away from it unharmed even if she was the best player in the game.. And about Sandor never seeing her again L but yes, it is indeed more than possible, so…

Voodooqueen126, yes it would be a good ending for Lothor to have the lands of the Fingers after LF dies. Any reward Sansa gives him later on could show how a man lower than a hedge knight- by staying loyal to those he served- could climb up in the social ladder

KRBD, really happy you liked the analysis!! And yes, I also noticed that everyone warms up to Sansa! She ought to start charging for the therapy sessions :P But yes, Cersei, Sandor, LF, opened up to her, and also Ser Dontos and the Tyrell cousins when they told her who they wished to marry and such. It’ll be interesting what happens with Mya Stone and Myranda Royce and how much they tell Sansa. And I could not agree more about the bits with Cat & Ned. Ned never told Sansa they had come to a dangerous place or tried to make her see in some manner that he really thought it was for the best that they left KL. I really liked btw how you said this:

demonstration of Sansa's character growth throughout the series, from idealizing pretty knights to seeing the worth of knights who may not be so pretty or flashy but have solid good qualities.

& about your comment to voodooquen: yes, Lothor & Mya would be able to take care of the Fingers better than LF, and of its peoples too. We see LF being a little disdainful to the servants because he doesn’t even send them the things he promised them he would, and since I think Petyr will underestimate Mya and Lothor as would-be-possible-allies for Sansa, Lothor and Mya could sympathize better with the people who live at the Fingers.

QoW, thank you very much kind lady! And oh yes!! I hadn’t realized that bit but its sooooo true! And I have a hunch that Sansa would remember that if the moment presented itself where she had the chance to put her trust in Sandor in the next book :D

Edit:

Lyanna, I cannot wait for your analysis! I already know it will be awesome!! And as to your question, yes i think it is significant that Sansa is the only one who notices that Lothor has some feelings for Mya. Even Myranda Royce who is someone you shouldn't let your guard down with seems really surprised that a man like Lothor could fancy a girl like Mya, but Sansa isn't so surprised because she has seen something of the sort happening before.. I do believe it may very well be important in the 6th book that LF underestimates not only Alayne but Lothor the way he has done with people of really low station before (like his Fingers household)

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...EDIT: Regarding the ripe pear, notice how Littlefinger complains about being inconvenienced by it, unlike Sansa? I like your take on it, actually.

Littlefinger actually eats a pomegranate rather than a pear and he offers half to Sansa which is where we link to Persephone. This is the point when Sansa dies and Alayne is born. Petyr pointedly removed the seeds with the point of his knife. But still I think generally fruit and fruit eating is a sensual, sexual motif. Since I fear I'm at risk of upsetting you further I won't elucidate ;)

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Littlefinger actually eats a pomegranate rather than a pear and he offers half to Sansa which is where we link to Persephone. This is the point when Sansa dies and Alayne is born. Petyr pointedly removed the seeds with the point of his knife. But still I think generally fruit and fruit eating is a sensual, sexual motif. Since I fear I'm at risk of upsetting you further I won't elucidate ;)

Ah yes, I do remember that, and it's a good point.

Further, I wonder if the good Ser Bonifer and his actions wrt Rhaella and replacing her with the Maiden doesn't also tie into the courtly love idea. Ser Bonifer seems to feel he has failed in his knightly "quest" (if we're looking at the courtly love manual posted earlier in this thread) and as an act of repentance and defeat, he vows to only serve the Maiden and take no wife. All because he couldn't have Rhaella of course, but I also get a feeling it's because he failed her.

And the poor old sod ends up with a dry pear.

Regarding upsetting me further, as long as it includes no illicit pear eating, I'm sure it will be fine. :P

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