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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIV

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(Rethinking XIII)

(Original Reread links)

(Resources: 1 2 3)

Welcome to Rethinking 14 everyone! We are continuing our project on the living myth - Beauty and the Beast, as well as hoping to complete the remaining analyses on the male influences in Sansa's life. As usual, our projects do not preclude discussion on other topics related to Sansa, so you should by no means feel restricted in your ability to participate or ask questions if you have a specific interest. The ongoing resource collection also offers valuable reading material for the uninitiated. In keeping with our current theme of examining the tale as old as time - a story where a young girl is sent to live with a strange beast after her father plucks a rose from his garden - I thought it appropriate to include Martin's words on his approach to writing:

“I often said that writers are of two types.There is the architect, which is one type.The architect, as if designing a building, lays out the entire novel at a time. He knows how many rooms there will be or what a roof will be made of or how high it will be, or where the plumbing will run and where the electrical outlets will be in its room. All of that stuff before he drives the first nail. Everything is there in the blueprint.

And then there’s the gardener who digs the hole in the ground, puts in the seed and waters it with his blood and sees what comes up.

The gardener knows certain things. He’s not completely ignorant. He knows whether he planted an oak tree, or corn, or a cauliflower.

He has some idea of the shape but a lot of it depends on the wind and the weather and how much blood he gives it and so forth.

No one is purely an architect or a gardener in terms of writers, but many writers tend to one side or the other. I’m very much more of a gardener.

What will eventually bloom from Martin's unique exploration of this myth is still anyone's guess, but if there's any task fitting for the reader, it's to examine the seeds that were planted, and to water them with the kind of constructive analysis that has been the hallmark of this thread series. I suppose actual tears couldn't hurt either :)

Listed below is the updated list on the male relationships project, as well as the outline for the B&B. I'm also going to begin a 4th resource collection, which will comprise of official analyses on B&B, along with some gems from the last thread. Also of note, we are still developing the Sansa FAQ, which should be completed by the end of thread 15.

Examining the Beauty and the Beast motif in ASOIAF:

A From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa Project

a. Origins, History and Symbolism of Beauty and the Beast:

1. Origins of the tale in ancient Greece and Rome: Milady of York.

2. The tale in other early civilisations: Milady of York

3. Medieval retellings of the tale across Europe up to the Renaissance.

3.a Northern Europe: Valkyrja

4. Psychological interpretations of the symbolism in Beauty and the Beast: KittensRuleBeetsDrool

5. Modern retellings I: bgona

6. Modern retellings II: Lady Lea

b. Beauty and the Beast in Popular Culture:

1. TV series: brashcandy and Valkyrja

2. Films:

2. a Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: caro99

2. b La belle et la bête: Lady Lea

3. Influences in Literature: Elba the Intoner.

4. Music: bgona.

c. Beauty and the Beast and ASOIAF: brash, Milady of York

Male Relationships project:

Ned (Lady Candace) completed

Jon (tze) completed

Robb (mythsandstuff) Part 1

Loras &Willas (Lady Lea) completed

Joffrey (Summerqueen) Part 1- AGOT

Sandor (Lord Bronn Stokeworth) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Tyrion (Lyanna Stark) Part 1

Littlefinger (Pod the Impaler)

(butterbumps!)

Jaime (kittykatknits)

Lothor (Caro99) completed

Marillion (Ragnorak) completed

Sweetrobin (KRBD) completed

Dontos (Elba the Intoner) completed

Bran&Rickon (brashcandy) completed

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OK, here is part 1 of Tyrion Lannister and his influence on Sansa, starting with Sansa's views on him. Later on I'll do how Tyrion views Sansa and then moving on to what effects her marriage to Tyrion had on her.

Tyrion Lannister - part 1

Tyrion Lannister is Tywin Lannisters youngest son. While he is the son of one of the richest and most powerful men in Westeros, he is also a dwarf; a condition that has influenced his life in a profound way.

Sansa's views on Tyrion

As far as we know, Sansa first encountered Tyrion when he visited Winterfell along with the King, Queen and their retinue. We can only assume that they only had very little interaction since it's not mentioned in the novels, and neither of them seem to be more than passing familiar with the other. The first description of Tyrion from Sansa is in ACOK:

In their midst, riding on a tall red horse in a strange high saddle that cradled him back and front, was the queen's dwarf brother Tyrion Lannister, the one they called the Imp. He had let his beard grow to cover his pushed-in face, until it was a bristly tangle of yellow and black hair, coarse as wire. Down his back flowed a shadowskin cloak, black fur striped with white. He held the reins in his left hand and carried his right arm in a white silk sling, but otherwise looked as grotesque as Sansa remembered from when he had visited Winterfell. With his bulging brow and mismatched eyes, he was still the ugliest man she had ever chanced to look upon.

Sansa here describes him as "grotesque" and also with a retinue of clansmen, which probably looked very alien in Kings Landing. Almost like a grotesquerie coming to town?

The second time we see Sansa and Tyrion interact is when Joffrey is having her beaten and punished for her brother Robb's "treason". Tyrion comes in and is furious with Joffrey. Sansa refers to him as alternatively "Tyrion Lannister" and "the Imp" in this chapter. She also comments on his looks again as follows:

Sansa found it hard not to stare; his face was so ugly it held a queer fascination for her

During this conversation, it becomes clear that Sansa still considers Tyrion very much a Lannister, even if she also clearly recognises that he, like Dontos and the Hound, is no knight, but helped her all the same. She thanks him for that, although just after she thinks about Robb vs the Lannisters:

Robb will kill you all, she thought exulting.

and

Robb will beat him, Sansa thought. He will beat your uncle and your brother Jaime, he'll beat your father too.

Quite forceful thoughts from a girl both a lot of readers and in novel characters find vapid and tractable, no?

When Tyrion talks to her about ending her betrothal to Joffrey and she tells him the normal "My brother is a traitor, I love Joffrey of all my heart" and then she thinks when Tyrion does not react like Cersei or Joff or any other Lannister she has encountered:

Is it a trick? Will he punish me if I tell the truth?

Despite Tyrion saving her from Joffrey, Sansa is very much aware that Tyrion in his capacity as a Lannister Hand of the King is very much in opposition to her and her family. He may treat her nicer than Cersei and Joff do, but he is still a Lannister and runs the Lannister line. He is not a Stark and doesn't share an allegiance with her.

We also have another comment on his looks:

She stared at the dwarf's brutal bulging brow, the hard black eye and the shrewd green one, the crooked teeth and the wiry beard.

This is the last time we see them converse until their wedding.

On the day of her fateful wedding, Sansa recognises that while Tyrion is probably the best of the Lannister lot, she is also aware that she will be extremely unhappy being married to him. It's not made better by the fact that the marriage plays out somewhere between a farce and a tragedy. Sansa refuses to kneel and comments:

I won't. Why should I spare his feelings, when no one cares about mine?

Quite an astute observation, one may think. Later she thinks that nobody notices her crying her way through the ceremony, but I doubt that.

We also have Sansa again commenting on Tyrion's ugliness when he leans forward to kiss her and proclaim her his lady wife.

He is so ugly, Sansa thought when is face was close to hers. He is even uglier than the Hound.

Then after the wedding we have the famous bedding scene, and Sansa describes Tyrion thus:

She had promised to obey; she opened her eyes. He was sitting by her feet, naked. Where his legs joined, his man's staff poked up stiff and hard from a thicket of coarse yellow hair, but it was the only thing about him that was straight.

and after she tries to follow Septa Mordane's advice:

She stared at the stunted legs, the swollen brutish brow, the green eye and the black one, the raw stump of his nose and crooked pink scar, the coarse tangle of black and gold hair that passed for his beard. Even his manhood was ugly, thick and veined, with a bulbous purple head. This is not right, this is not fair, how have I sinned that the gods would do this to me, how?

During their marriage, we see that their interactions are stiff and awkward. Sansa feels that Tyrion wishes something of her that she cannot give him. She thinks that she does not understand what he wants of her and she continues to armour herself in her courtesy almost all the time.

After Joffrey's wedding feast when she flees and encounters Dontos, she doubts that Tyrion poisoned Joffrey, but thinks that if he did, she will be suspected of being complicit. She is relieved that she does not need to share a bed with Tyrion, but she also seems to feel Tyrion does not deserve to be punished for Joffrey's murder.

Later on while travelling on the boat, she tells Littlefinger she does not believe Tyrion was guilty and that he did nothing. Littlefinger agrees, but then continues to try and tell her that Tyrion's hands are far from clean (as if he has room to speak). Later on, she also thinks that Tyrion spared her the bedding and when Lysa asks her if she is still a maid, she thinks that Tyrion spared her that (consummation) as well.

Analysis:

Looks and looking: Sansa first and foremost sees Tyrion as ugly, and unlike how she views the Hound, she seems to see Tyrion as grotesque ugly, instead of scary ugly. Instead of looking away, she is oddly fascinated by how ugly Tyrion is. She also remarks that he is uglier than the Hound. Comparing Tyrion to the Hound is interesting since both are considered ugly, but Sansa's reactions to them are so different. She's clearly very put off by Tyrion's looks, and the closer she is roped into a relationship with him, the stronger the aversion seems to become, culminating in that she thinks the Gods have punished her on her wedding night where she lists all the hideous flaws of Tyrion.

With the Hound, she seems instead to go from being scared and put off to being able to accept it, and in fact states that the scar is not the worst thing, but the anger in his eyes is. Hence her interactions with the "monsters" in Kings Landing reflect each other, but in reverse, you might say. The closer she gets to Tyrion, the more she is put off by his looks. The closer she gets to Sandor, the more accepting she gets of his looks. (More on the beast vs beast comparison in the as of yet unfinished part 2.)

Still, despite the forced wedding, Sansa recognises that like Sandor, Tyrion is no knight, but he was kind to her anyway, in the ways he was able to and within his role as a Lannister. She also takes his side against Littlefinger and Lysa, although she is not very outspoken about it (for obvious reasons).

Tyrion Lannister of House Lannister: Sansa thinks bitterly "They made me a Lannister" and if there is one thing she cannot forgive Tyrion for, it's making her a Lannister. She recognises his kindness in saving her from the beating, and from avoiding the consummation of the marriage, but this one thing she cannot let go of. This is Sansa's pride. Directly after Tyrion stopped the beating, she wishes Robb will kill all Lannisters. Later on, we also see her praying that Robb will win. While Sansa can appreciate the personal small gestures of kindness Tyrion is able to show her, on the larger scale she still very much wishes House Lannister's downfall. And she does not wish to be married to him.

We've discussed in the Tyrion re-read thread that Tyrion's moral compass points to Casterly Rock. A lot of readers seem to think Sansa is stupid and shortsighted for not "joining forces" with Tyrion in Kings Landing, but why would she? Tyrion is more or less his father's prisoner in ASOS, and in ACOK he is in effect her jailor. His goals are not her goals. His goals align with House Lannister and Sansa's do not. He does not poison Joffrey, neither does he move against Cersei or Tywin in ASOS, so based on what should Sansa ally herself? She knows he hates Joffrey, but that is hardly enough. She is still very much aware that he is a Lannister and follows a Lannister agenda. She cannot be certain he would not "sell her out" to the other Lannisters, not completely. Sansa is also very much aware that she was married to Tyrion due to her claim, and that House Lannister now wants to well, lay claim to the claim, so to speak. She knows she is just a pawn to them, just a piece of meat. So while she does not resent Tyrion as a person, she resents everything he stands for and everything he represents.

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The piece of meat idea is literally expressed in A dialogue between Tyrion and Sansa in Sansa I ACOK:

"I am loyal to my beloved Joffrey."

"No doubt. As loyal as a deer surrounded by wolves."

"Lions," she whispered, without thinking...

"I am only a little lion, child, and I vow, I shall not savage you."

...Once she had loved Prince Joffrey with all her heart, and admired and trusted his mother, the queen. They had repaid that love and trust with her father's head. Sansa would never make that mistake again.

Very much Sansa as the deer surrounded by a pride of roaring Lannisters, conscious of being prey for that ravenous clan.

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Very much Sansa as the deer surrounded by a pride of roaring Lannisters, conscious of being prey for that ravenous clan.

Indeed. And how Sansa get's pawned out to whichever Lannister is available for them to marry her to is very reminiscent of "meat market" to me. Tyrion may claim that he is just a little lion and that he will not savage her, but the fact remains, he is still involved in the process of turning Sansa into a piece of meat to be bartered.

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Great Part one, Lyanna :) Sansa does show an intense aversion to Tyrion's looks, and as you noted, it's a particular kind of revulsion that isn't present in her attitude to Sandor's face. I'm looking forward to your beast vs. beast comparison, because in contrasting these two relationships it really helps to highlight the nuances of "beastly" attraction, and to undermine the easy assumptions by many that Sansa is shallow and vain.

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Great Part one, Lyanna :) Sansa does show an intense aversion to Tyrion's looks, and as you noted, it's a particular kind of revulsion that isn't present in her attitude to Sandor's face. I'm looking forward to your beast vs. beast comparison, because in contrasting these two relationships it really helps to highlight the nuances of "beastly" attraction, and to undermine the easy assumptions by many that Sansa is shallow and vain.

Yes, in fact I think it points to the opposite, since her revulsion of Tyrion reaches its absolute maximum when she's forced into marrying him. Before that she's put off but rather fascinated by how ugly he is, but once she is forced to marry him, she's positively revolted. It reflects too that she has no choice in the matter and that Tyrion was forced on her by House Lannister. She is more revolted by him the more "forced" she is by his presence.

This contrasts to the Hound, whom she is initially scared and put off about, but whom she still gradually becomes more trusting of and comes to appreciate, hence the "reverse" movement of how she thinks about him. Sandor goes from being a symbol for Lannister oppression to being a protector and an adviser to her.

So Sansa's level of revulsion/appreciation is tightly linked with how she views the "beasts" and their role in her life. Which means it's not really shallow, but reflects the impact they are having on her (positive vs negative, all things considered).

Ok so I cheated a bit on the analysis that was supposed to come in the end. :P

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Yes, in fact I think it points to the opposite, since her revulsion of Tyrion reaches its absolute maximum when she's forced into marrying him. Before that she's put off but rather fascinated by how ugly he is, but once she is forced to marry him, she's positively revolted. It reflects too that she has no choice in the matter and that Tyrion was forced on her by House Lannister. She is more revolted by him the more "forced" she is by his presence.

This contrasts to the Hound, whom she is initially scared and put off about, but whom she still gradually becomes more trusting of and comes to appreciate, hence the "reverse" movement of how she thinks about him. Sandor goes from being a symbol for Lannister oppression to being a protector and an adviser to her.

So Sansa's level of revulsion/appreciation is tightly linked with how she views the "beasts" and their role in her life. Which means it's not really shallow, but reflects the impact they are having on her (positive vs negative, all things considered).

Ok so I cheated a bit on the analysis that was supposed to come in the end. :P

Precisely. It really zeros in on what we discuss relating to the importance of female desire and the power to choose. Sansa's liberty is denied by the Lannisters and the forced marriage only compounds the problem.

If Sansa has any power in that relationship, it's the one linked to her gaze. In nearly every interaction she has with Tyrion, we see his physical qualities highlighted. This ability to "look," when she cannot "do" or act, empowers Sansa, and later authorises her final rejection of him in the marriage bed.

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Arabella made a post in Rethinking XIII before it was closed that I'd like to respond to:

I've been thinking this for some time and the conviction has been growing as I'm reading other people's opinions of Sansa's storyline that just as Sansa's mind expands upon a moment when she thought that Sandor might be about to kiss her into a conviction that the kiss did in fact happen, she might later embellish this memory further. As has been discussed, she might feel herself to be married to Sandor because of the cloak he covers her with and his KG cloak that she chooses to cover herself with. I think, given that her sexual knowledge is growing constantly, she might feel that the consummation of their 'marriage' actually also happened. (She remembers him looming over her in bed just after she thinks of Tyrion doing the same) If she can convince others of this, it would have serious implications on her future storyline. Apologies if this is something that has already been discussed.

It's interesting because Sansa is already consciously aligning Sandor with the marriage bed; when Randa asks her if she knows what goes on there she thinks of Tyrion and of how the Hound had kissed her, the latter being a much more concrete association. So even if she never quite realises the symbolic elements of their interaction, I think the serious implications have already begun to make themselves known as she develops. The dreams she's having where he replaces Tyrion, the interest in matchmaking Mya and Lothor all suggest latent desires that I expect will only grow stronger. Not speaking strictly about romantic feelings here, but also of the need to have some agency in her life, not having to worry about her wishes being denied or only being courted for Winterfell - a fate which LF is once again threatening her with at the end of AFFC. The personal as political has never been more true in this case.

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I like your analysis, Lyanna, very well summed up and comprehensible.

Analysis:

Looks and looking: Sansa first and foremost sees Tyrion as ugly, and unlike how she views the Hound, she seems to see Tyrion as grotesque ugly, instead of scary ugly. Instead of looking away, she is oddly fascinated by how ugly Tyrion is. She also remarks that he is uglier than the Hound. Comparing Tyrion to the Hound is interesting since both are considered ugly, but Sansa's reactions to them are so different. She's clearly very put off by Tyrion's looks, and the closer she is roped into a relationship with him, the stronger the aversion seems to become, culminating in that she thinks the Gods have punished her on her wedding night where she lists all the hideous flaws of Tyrion.

With the Hound, she seems instead to go from being scared and put off to being able to accept it, and in fact states that the scar is not the worst thing, but the anger in his eyes is. Hence her interactions with the "monsters" in Kings Landing reflect each other, but in reverse, you might say. The closer she gets to Tyrion, the more she is put off by his looks. The closer she gets to Sandor, the more accepting she gets of his looks. (More on the beast vs beast comparison in the as of yet unfinished part 2.)

I’ve always been fascinated by this. Whilst Sansa reflects a lot on the looks both men have and reacts differently to each, I noticed she focuses a lot on their eyes: the anger in Sandor’s grey eyes is what puts her off the most, not his scars, but in Tyrion’s case, the way she describes his mismatched eyes (one hard and black and the other cunning and green) makes me think she’s also put off by what she sees in them though she’s oddly fascinated by the rest of his repulsive face. Sandor’s rage is obvious when he stares at her and it scares her, but he insists on her looking at him, showing no desire for delusional games like the ones Tyrion encourages his little wife to play: he knows he’s horribly ugly, and wants to be accepted as he is. No Knight o’ Pansies in the Dark tragicomedy for him, thank you very much, Sansa must see him, and whether she likes it or not afterwards is her decision. It’s also interesting to me that she should use these adjectives –hard and cunning– to describe Tyrion’s eyes, because eyes have always been the symbol of the self from time immemorial; the famous “window into the soul” saying attests to the belief that eyes give away information about a person’s nature, and green colour in the iris was seen by some as a mark of secrecy and perversity in Medieval times (sometimes also witchcraft), much like deformity was the mark of a twisted soul, but it was seen positively by the Greeks, if we heed Aristotle’s opinion on the matter, who said this eye colour was the mark of a good disposition and sharpness of vision –that’s why the eyes of Athena, goddess of wisdom, were green– and black eyes are even in these days associated with hardness and passion, in literature at least. It seems to me she's been able to judge the little man's ambiguous character via his eyes, and, by virtue of that, she knows what his words really are, for our little bird is very observant.

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Lyanna, great post! :bowdown:

Lots to think over, but definitely something I want to follow up on is that Tyrion was trying his best to get Sansa to see him as something other than what he really was in order to manipulate her (and to get her to have sex with him), and in a very self-pitying, self-righteous manner. Whereas Sandor never pretended that he was a "true knight," or was anything other than scarred and scary-looking. Tyrion was trying to get Sansa to become a Lannister, give up her claim and turn against her Stark family and roots. Sandor probably wasn't thinking along the exact lines of "I want you to stay a Stark, little bird" but he was trying to get her to see the truth. Tyrion did stand up for Sansa when she was being beaten and did try to protect her after his fashion, but it was Sandor who was trying to act in a non-self-interested way (albeit scarily and menacingly!) and tried to protect Sansa for her own sake.

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Milady & Beets,

Glad you enjoyed it. :)

It's interesting you both mentioned the deception that Tyrion suggests, and the fact that he wants, or wishes, Sansa to somehow be something she is not. I think it's also reflected in that Sansa thinks that he wants something of her, but she doesn't know what is is. And of course she cannot give it to him. I was going to attempt to go into this more when I look at Tyrion's view on Sansa to see what I could dig up, but it's an interesting point in their relationship.

Despite what it looks like on the surface (The Hound is menacing, Tyrion is nice and helpful), while Tyrion is trying to shift reality to enable his vision or dream to come true, Sandor is trying to shift Sansa out of her false dream/vision into reality, as he sees it. Sandor is all about looking at things as they are, exemplified when she demands he looks at him and says "There's a pretty for you", while Tyrion goes the complete opposite way with his "In the dark, I am the Knight of Flowers".

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Lyanna!!! I love it!

It just made me realize different things (ones about colors, I know I am still that crazy about their meanings at ASOIAF).

And those color hints are at your analysis. The first one when Sansa saw Tyrion, he is at a red horse. I keep saying that red means danger. He is a danger.

Also I did forgot Tyrion two eyes colors. We don´t know the cause of this duality. But we know the two colors: black and green (the same colors that Shaggydog). I don´t know yet the meaning of the black color, but green means changes. It is associated also with characters that changes (Petyr has green and grey eyes, the Lannister also have green eyes).

About what Tyrion wants of Sansa: he wants that Sansa pretends that he is someone else (maybe he is doing the same with her, trying to pretend that she is someone else). But Sansa courtesy shield doesn´t let him to do it. But also this trying to be someone else is wrong with the love concept. You love someone for all what he is, not for what he is pretending to be.

I think is also important that Tyrion wants that Sansa loves him, but he doesn´t love her (I know: we have discuss this idea a lot, but I still thinking is important between them).

Ah!! Last thing about Randa: Lyanna you were right. It was her father who wanted to marry her with HtH. Then I got a false impression.

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Absolutely wonderful analysis, Lyanna! These bits you wrote:

“Sansa thinks bitterly "They made me a Lannister" and if there is one thing she cannot forgive Tyrion for, it's making her a Lannister.”

“While Sansa can appreciate the personal small gestures of kindness Tyrion is able to show her, on the larger scale she still very much wishes House Lannister's downfall. And she does not wish to be married to him.”

Really highlight that yes, Sansa cannot bring herself to find beauty in Tyrion, and least of all when “Sansa's liberty is denied by the Lannisters and the forced marriage only compounds the problem.”

It isn’t that Sansa is still a girl who is overwhelmed by physical beauty what makes her so unhappy in her marriage. It’s that Tyrion is a lannister, is making her a Lannister, and any children they were to had would be Lannisters. That house took her liberty and her freedom of speaking what she really thought, and now they are even taking away her voice since Tyrion would be expected to keep his wife under control and have her keep all her opinions to herself, but they are also denying her sexual agency, which even in Westeros, i am sure women found unfair (Cersei).

This last bit can be linked to what Brash just said about, “The importance of female desire and the power to choose.............. If Sansa has any power in that relationship, it's the one linked to her gaze. In nearly every interaction she has with Tyrion, we see his physical qualities highlighted. This ability to "look," when she cannot "do" or act, empowers Sansa, and later authorises her final rejection of him in the marriage bed.”

We are seeing the seeds of Sansa exploring her freedom, sexually and in other matters i think with the way she is starting to change Tyrion- who is her husband- for Sandor. And i also believe this will only grow stronger in time.

Again, like Brash said: “Not speaking strictly about romantic feelings here, but also of the need to have some agency in her life, not having to worry about her wishes being denied or only being courted for Winterfell - a fate which LF is once again threatening her with at the end of AFFC. The personal as political has never been more true in this case.

To finish up I am really looking forward to the B&B bit you are going to share with us Lyanna, since this was a great spoiler: “Sansa's level of revulsion/appreciation is tightly linked with how she views the "beasts" and their role in her life. Which means it's not really shallow, but reflects the impact they are having on her (positive vs negative, all things considered).”

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Fantastic post on Tyrion, Lyanna. I really liked how you pointed out Sansa's thoughts about Tyrion on their wedding day. :)

There was also this passage from the wedding chapter, with Tyrion talking to Sansa:

“You did not ask for this marriage, I know. No more than I did. If I had refused you, however, they would have wed you to my cousin Lancel. Perhaps you would prefer that. He is nearer your age, and fairer to look upon. If that is your wish, say so, and I will end this farce.”

I don’t want any Lannister, she wanted to say. I want Willas, I want Highgarden and the puppies and the barge, and sons named Eddard and Bran and Rickon. But then she remembered what Dontos had told her in the godswood. Tyrell or Lannister, it makes no matter, it’s not me they want, only my claim.

I do give Tyrion credit for at least trying to make Sansa feel like she had some say in the matter. Interesting enough, it definitely contrasts Sandor telling her to "live in reality". I wonder if he had been there, what would the Hound have told her? Probably something along the lines of "Just do it, you have no choice".

However no matter what Tyrion says, I don't think he'd would be able to refuse wedding her, much less seeing that she was given to someone else. I think at that point in time he was almost as much of a pawn as she was.

Looking forward to your next installment , as well as the remaining B&B posts from everyone else ! B)

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Lip service, maybe? Because I personally don’t see how such a thing could make her feel she had a choice, when she knew she didn’t, and he did know better than her that was the case. It sounds like asking the unjustly condemned whether they wanted to die by burning or by beheading: whatever their choice, they were still going to die, the only difference was in the amount of pain they would suffer. Tyrion or Lancel, it was still a Lannister. And a Lannister meant someone from the House whose head had just outlined the plan that would get her mother and her brother killed. And to make things worse, this particular Lannister was no innocent member of this family. No, this Lannister had just spoken to the mastermind behind the Red Wedding, and this Lannister, even if he didn’t participate actively, knew that her relatives would die somehow thanks to the Lannisters.

I also think we are minimising a little how the murder of her last living relatives–for her– reinforced her decision to armour herself in her courtesies more than ever and the impact it had on her decision to reject Tyrion, totally and irrevocably. If there was before a possibility of their forced marriage being at least tolerable, then that ruined it for good.

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I agree Milady. Tyrion's offer to Sansa was about making himself feel better, not about realistically giving Sansa a chance to refuse him or alleviate her misery.

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MODERN RETELLINGS - VILLENEUVE PT 1

The story of Beauty and the Beast was originally written by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, in 1740. This story was then abridged and modified in 1757 by Madame Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, and this is the version we know today. The 1949 film, La Belle et la Bête, is based on Beaumont’s story.

Most of us are familiar with Beaumont’s version, or at least the Disney film, but what was the story originally like? What was its message? With these questions in mind, let’s take a look at Villeneuve’s story.

RESOURCES

Here is the original in French: 1st part, 2nd part.

The French audiobook: here

And a good English translation: here

NOTES

I decided to do this as a sort of summary of the story, with my commentary in red. Everything inside the quotation marks are direct quotes (that I translated myself – the English translation made the Beast’s speech much fancier and genteel than it actually was so I just followed the original text). This ended up taking a different direction than I had originally though, because I didn't think there'd be so many Tyrion parallels. Oh well.

I was going to send this to Milady so she would review it first but I didn't want to delay it any longer. I am sorry if, as a result, it looks a little clumsy!

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - BY MME DE VILLENEUVE

Once there was a wealthy merchant, who had six children: six boys and six girls. None of them were settled in life; the men were too young to give it any serious thought, and the women, though they had many admirers, thought they were secure in life so they didn’t have to make a choice too soon.

As it happens, a series of tragedies befell the family, and the merchant’s house burned down and he lost all his fortune. All he had left was a small country house, very far away from the city, in the middle of an almost impenetrable forest.

The daughters were horrified at the prospect of living in such a desolate place, and thought that their many suitors would take the opportunity to propose to them again, but that was not the case. “The season of choice was over for them”. The suitors disappeared, the family’s friends ceased to know them, the city folk even started blaming their misfortunes on them, laughing at their disgrace.

So first in the story there is a really interesting social commentary about marriage. The young men didn’t want to think about settling down (this reminded me of Edmure Tully) and the young women were confident that they didn’t have to marry too soon because their family was rich enough to support them (quite like Emma by Jane Austen). Then, when they became poor, they decided to marry, but their suitors were gone. Almost a warning for well-off girls: nothing is certain in life, marry when you can!

Also we see here something that recalls the Stark fall: when Ned was Hand, Sansa commented on how people were always smiling at her and treating her kindly, but when her family was disgraced, everyone ceased to know her, and people even laughed at her in court when she was being beaten and mistreated.

So the family moved to this country house, and they had to live off the land and divide the work between them. Everyone was very unhappy, thinking back on their former life, but the youngest daughter displayed greater perseverance than the others, and decided to forget where she came from and make the best of her new life. This youngest daughter, who was 16 years old, was so pretty that everyone called her “la Belle” (literally, “the Beautiful”, but we have come to know her in English as “the Beauty”). She was very amiable and did her best to cheer the others up, but her sisters were jealous of her, and said that she was only happy because she had no sensibility and was made for coarse activities.

Another thing I want to comment on, that I’ve seen discussed elsewhere, is how we don’t know the youngest daughter’s name. She is only “the Beauty”. Even though she has other qualities (she’s amiable, kind, cheerful, a good musician, etc), she is reduced to her physical appearance, stripped of her identity and individuality.

One day the father learnt that one of the ships he thought he had lost suddenly turned up at port, full of riches. It was summer, and he decided to go back to the city to manage this, and the eldest daughters requested many expensive gifts. The youngest said she only wanted her father home safely, but after much insistence from her family, she made one request: a rose.

It turned out he couldn’t recover anything, so he made his way back, in a harsh winter. Freezing and hungry, he wandered into a palace. It seemed empty, though suspiciously full of statues depicting people in all sorts of clothes and positions. There was a fire and a table with a banquet, so he helped himself. Afterwards he started going from room to room to find the palace’s owner, but, finding everywhere to be empty he decided to sack the place (!). He also thought it would be a good idea to move with his family there. He then found a winter garden with rare flowers and a nice rose-bush, and remembered his promise to bring Beauty a rose. As soon as he picked one, a terrible Beast appeared. “Who gave you permission to gather my roses? Isn’t it enough that I kindly allowed you to remain in my palace? Instead of gratitude, reckless fool, I see you stealing my roses! Your insolence shall not go unpunished”.

The man was very frightened of the Beast, and threw himself on the ground. “My lord, have pity on me. I do not lack for gratitude. Overwhelmed by your kindness, I could not imagine that such a small thing could offend you”.

Terribly angry, the Beast yelled: “Shut up, you damn pompous fool! I have no use for your flattery, or the titles you give me. I am not my Lord, I am The Beast, and you won’t escape the death you deserve!”.

First, I really like the winter garden idea. It reminds me of Winterfell. But the really great thing here is the Beast’s speech. It’s so rough, he even curses the man (“Tais-toi, maudit harangueur!”). And yes, it is italicized in the original. Basically you could change The Beast for The Hound and it would be just like a line out of ASOIAF. Compare: “I’m no lord, no more than I’m a knight.” Sandor Clegane snarled at her. (…) “Spare me your empty little compliments, girl… and your sers.”

Desperate, the man told the Beast of all his misfortunes, explaining in the end that he only wanted the rose for his daughter. Calmer, the Beast said he would spare the man, but only if he gave him one of his daughters. The man wondered how he could keep his word. “Could I be so inhuman as to save my own life at the expense of one of my children’s; under what pretext could I bring her here?”.

To which the Beast replied: “There must be no pretext. I want that whichever daughter you bring here she will come willingly, or I will not have her. See if there’s one among them courageous enough and who loves you enough to expose herself to save your life”. The Beast gave one month for the man to either come back with a daughter, or alone to die. In the end he even let the merchant take the rose to Beauty, and he lent his own horse to the merchant. (This horse seemed to have a special bond with the Beast, for he only obeyed his master’s wishes, he didn’t turn back when the merchant tried, and he knew when it was time to go back to the Beast, after a month passed. Also, the horse was singularly fast).

Well, I think we have here some inconsistency from the Beast. He seems to prize honesty, doesn’t want false courtesies and doesn’t want the man to lie to his daughters, so that whoever comes should do so willingly. But is it consent that he’s looking for from the daughter? After all, he is setting up a coercive environment; someone has to be his prisoner, and if no one offers themselves up “willingly”, he will kill the father.

Also of note: the Beast places a lot of faith in words and honour, something that the Hound definitely does not.

I like that the Beast has his own special horse, like Stranger. The Beast’s horse lets other people ride it, but only really obeys the Beast.

When the merchant told his family what had happened, they were very unhappy. The sisters blamed Beauty for trying to “show off” by asking for a trifle when they asked for expensive gifts, and said it was unfair that they should be punished for something she brought upon them. Beauty replied: “I am to blame for this misfortune: it is up to me alone to repair it. I confess it would be unjust for you to suffer on my account. Alas! The wish itself was quite innocent. How could I imagine that the wish to have a rose in the middle of the summer would be punished by such an ordeal. The mistake is made: whether I am innocent or guilty, it is only fair that I should expiate it. It cannot be blamed on anyone else. I shall expose myself, to save my father from such a fatal engagement. I shall go to the Beast, happy to die in order to save the life of the one who gave me mine”.

Beauty, in the summer, asked for a rose. It was an innocent wish, as roses in the summer are quite common, how could she imagine that her father would go around stealing roses from Beasts? She got her rose, but was forced to go stay with a Beast in his magnificent palace, shut off from the world and the rest of her family. Is she guilty? Is she the bringer of destruction to her own family? Her sisters think so.

Sansa, in the summer, asked also for a simple thing: to stay in King’s Landing. It was an innocent wish, no one had bothered to inform her of any conspiracies or anything, how could she imagine that her father was actually about to expose the King as a bastard? She also got her wish, but was forced to stay amongst many Beasts (Joffrey, Tyrion, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, Littlefinger, the Hound, etc), shut off from the world, as she had no friends, and the rest of her family. Cersei blames the whole thing on her, accusing Sansa of betraying her father, and so do many readers, who think it is right that Sansa is punished in KL. Actually, we know that Sansa never “spilled her father’s plans” because she didn’t know her father’s plans. Her only wish was to stay in KL.

Whether she is guilty or not, Sansa is forced to pay for her's and for her father’s mistakes, but Sansa is given no choice in the matter. Moreover, Beauty gets to go instead of her father, while Sansa’s pleas for her father’s life are fruitless.

The Beast prepared a lavish reception for the Beauty, with fireworks, decorations and a feast. Though “she could not behold him without a shudder” she was very courteous and respectful to him, but called him “Beast” and not “my lord” or “sir”. The Beast asked if she had come willingly and if she would be contented with seeing her father go without following him, to which Beauty replied she had no other intention. He asked what Beauty thought would become of her. She said “Whatever you wish. My life is at your disposal, and I submit blindly to whatever you shall order of me”. “Your docility pleases me”, said the Beast.

Hmmm, I’m sorry, but this is quite creepy. She didn’t really come willingly did she? That is a lot like Tyrion’s “proposal” to Sansa, when she had already been told by Cersei that she would marry him one way or another. So what if Beauty said she was forced? Her father would die. So what if Sansa said she wouldn’t marry Tyrion? Either the king would force her, or she’d marry another Lannister. Choices!

Actually, on the way to the Beast’s palace, Beauty thinks to herself that it wouldn’t matter if the Beast was as terrible as her father told her, or a handsome man. “As I reckon on a speedy death, and believe it to be unavoidable, what does it matter that he who should destroy me be agreeable or hideous?”. I think this is very much the attitude Sansa had when she resigned herself to the fate of being forced to marry a Lannister. What did it matter if it was a handsome one or a hideous one? Whoever it was, he would destroy her identity as a Stark, he would make her a Lannister, which, to be honest, she probably thought worse than death.

Beauty’s reply, that she would submit blindly to him, is actually like Sansa’s reply to Tyrion. “I am a ward of the throne and my duty is to marry as the king commands.”

Sansa is, of course, using her courtesy armour (which happens to be super-effective on Tyrion; he hates it). I suppose Beauty is, too, but it “pleases” the Beast.

At night, she dreamt of a young man as beautiful as Cupid, telling her that she should judge him by his company and not his appearance, and that he loved her and she would make him happy by being happy herself. He asked her not to abandon him, but to deliver him from his torment. Beauty thought this young man was someone who the Beast had imprisoned in the palace.

Nice nod to the Cupid myth here.

The next night, Beauty and the Beast had dinner together. They conversed for a while, and suddenly the Beast asked if the Beauty would like to sleep with him (!). She was frightened, screamed and said a vehement “no”. The Beast then said, calmly, “Oh well, if that is your wish, then I shall leave you. Good night, Beauty”.

Beauty took to exploring the palace, and found an aviary full of pretty birds and parrots that would talk to her. She said: “Lovely prisoners, I find you charming. I am vexed that you should be so far from my apartment, as I should often like the pleasure of hearing you sing”. The parrots all knew different phrases and disputed her attentions, and Beauty even thought one of them was “gallant”.

Beauty is very much like those pretty birds, she is a pretty prisoner who sings and knows how to recite her courtesies to the Beast when she is with him.

Sansa, as we know, is given the nickname of “little bird” by the Hound for exactly the reasons above. I think it’s a nice touch that Sandor even calls her “a pretty little talking-bird” like the ones from the Summer Islands (which we can assume are parrots).

“Some septa trained you well. You’re like one of those birds from the Summer Isles, aren’t you? A pretty little talking-bird, repeating all the pretty little words they taught you to recite.”

[to be continued...]

[ETA: correction! I got the number of children wrong. It is six boys and six girls, not three of each. Sorry! And thanks to Milady for pointing it out]

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