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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIV

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I have remember that at Spain when a person wants to marry to another, the man goes to the family to request her hand. I am not sure if it is said the same way at England. But I could believe that yes.

Hi Bgona, yes we say that in English too :). "Ask for her hand in marriage."

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Sorry it took so long but you know how it goes… one day you’re bored to tears with NOTHING to do and before you know it you’re flooded with work.

Anyway here goes:

An analysis of the “beauty and the beast” elements in the epic of Gilgamesh and how it pertains to the character (development) of Sansa

Presented in two parts

Part one – Introduction and Summary

The epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest surviving works of literature. It is an epic, and deeply depressing poem about man’s search (and failure to find) immortality. The history of the figure of Gilgamesh starts with four independent Sumerian poems. The first “Old Babylonian” version of the epic dates from the 18th BCE; although only fragments of this version survive. The later “standard Babylonian” version has been partly recovered such that approximately two thirds of the text is available.

The epic is divided into 12 tablets, with two distinct arcs. The first part of the poem deals primarily with the friendship between King Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The second part of the poem deals with Gilgamesh's quest for immortality, his failure in this quest, and his return.

This analysis will deal mainly with tablets one and two.

[1] King Gilgamesh of Uruk is introduced. He is two parts god and one part man and a ferocious tyrant. He takes the "lords' right" with newlywed brides in his city and exhausts the men of his city with endless games, tests of strength and [implied] forced manual labour. The citizens cry out to the gods for help and they decide to create an equal for Gilgamesh in order to distract him. The wild man Enkidu is thusly created. He is covered with hair and lives with the beasts. Gilgamesh hears of Enkidu and decides to send a harlot to seduce him. Shamhat the temple prostitute* is duly sent to him and Enkidu is introduced to civilisation. He spends six days and seven and nights with her. However, after this time, the wild animals who were Enkidu's companions shun him. Shamhat persuades him to join her and return to Uruk.

[2] Shamhat brings him to a shepherd's camp where he learns a human diet and is made the watchman. Here he learns of the way Gilgamesh has been using the "lord's right" with regards to newlywed brides. He is disgusted and decides to put a stop to it at the next wedding. Enkidu blocks Gilgamesh's path when he attempts to enter the wedding chamber. A fierce battle ensues. Enkidu is victorious, and Gilgamesh acknowledges his superior strength. They become friends and Gilgamesh proposes that they slay the monstrous beast Humbaba in order to win renown. Enkidu and the council of elders warn against this but Gilgamesh goes anyway.

For the purpose of this analysis, we will be focussing on the four main "character types": the sovereign (Gilgamesh); his subjects (men and women of the city); the outsider/companion/Beast (Enkidu) and The Woman/Beauty (Shamhat).

The story-elements can be listed as follows:

1. The sovereign terrorises his subjects and they cry out for help

2. The gods intervene

3. An outsider (Beast) is created. He is fully the Other

4. The sovereign hears about the Beast

5. He decides to "invite" him

6. A woman is sent to the Beast

7. The woman introduces the Beast to civilisation

8. The Beast is separated from the beasts

9. The Beast is taken to the sovereign

10. The Beast learns of the sovereign's conduct and judges him and finds his conduct unfit

11. The sovereign is challenged by the Beast

12. The Beast wins

13. The sovereign and the Beast unites

*Just a note on temple prostitution: Do not confuse the notion with that of a common “whore”. Temple prostitution was a sacred duty and these individuals were treated with the respect and reverence that were accorded any priest. The position was further coveted because these individuals lived in luxury and it was one of the few ways a women could wield power outside of her household.

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Part Two – Analysis

The parallels between Joffrey and Gilgamesh are immediately apparent. They are both tyrants, neither cares for the wellbeing of others and they have an utter disregard for women. The parallels between Enkidu and Sandor are equally obvious: Sandor also started out as a "Beast" (both physically unattractive and beastly behaviour-wise). Both were transformed when they came in contact with The Woman. Both start to "challenge" their ruler (Enkidu challenged Gilgamesh to a duel and Sandor started to "challenge" Joffrey's behaviour towards Sansa).

Apart from these parallels, there are a few more salient points that are less obvious (but no less important):

Many scholars read no further than the obvious implication of the sexual intercourse between Enkidu and Shamhat. However, this has always puzzled me. For starters, no matter how fit you are there is a physical limit to how much sex a human can have in a period of time. So Enkidu and Shamhat would have spent some time not engaged in carnal relations. What did they do during this time? Sit around and feel awkward? Somehow I think not. Secondly, how does sex differentiate us from beasts? In fact, it's one of the things we have in common with them! So how can the simple act of sex "make" Enkidu less beastly and more civilized? Thirdly, after meeting Shamhat, Enkidu is shown to be Gilgamesh's superior in at least two ways: he physically beat him and he is morally superior; i.e. able to judge Gilgamesh's actions towards the newlywed women and recognize that his behaviour is wrong. If Enkidu and Shamhat only had sex, how would he be able to make this moral distinction? Biologically (i.e. from a "beastly" point of view), the "lord's right" makes perfect sense. Impregnating the largest amount of women possible increases the chances of having healthy offspring and that your offspring will survive. Moreover, if Enkidu and Shamhat only had sex, why would he value a woman as anything more than a sexual object? I suppose the argument can be made that Enkidu was actually protecting the husbands rather than the brides; but that seems a bit far-fetched. Why would he care if the husbands got "used goods" (if you would forgive the term). The more likely possibility is that Enkidu was appalled at the way Gilgamesh casually violated these girls. Enkidu recognized the value of women and the sanctity of their bodies. Why? Because of Shamhat. She taught him more than just the "ways of the seven sighs". She taught him about society, respect, family and compassion. Hey that sounds a bit like Sansa...

Moving on: A second perplexing point in the narrative is why Gilgamesh cared so little for other people. It can be inferred that he also had some experience with prostitutes; perhaps even Shamhat herself. After all, it was his idea to send her to Enkidu. So how come he was still misogynistic, rapist pig? I suppose it has something to do with his position and his personality. Like Joffrey, he was "born" a king and felt he had some divine right to do as he wished. Enkidu had humble beginnings (what can be more humble than eating grass with a bunch of herbivores in the field?). Sandor likewise had no delusions of grandeur. They both met The Woman (Sansa/Shamhat) as "equals" in the sense that they are both, man and women, human and worthy of recognition as such. It is true that Sandor was a bit condescending towards Sansa in the beginning. Yet I think her courtesy and the respect she shows, well, everyone soon had him seeing her in another light. This led him to open up to her influence. He started to see her as valuable in and of herself and not just as a pretty walking womb. But this influence she had on him went deeper still. He started to "judge" Joffrey and question his actions - especially his actions towards a mere girl. In the same way, Enkidu was open to Shamhat's influence when they first met. No doubt they equally developed a rapport because of the respect and courtesy she showed him.

In conclusion: I've read on these forums that the only reason Sandor reacted towards Sansa in the way that he did was because she's pretty. I challenge this notion, calling upon the most ancient of texts for comparison. Sandor reacted towards Sansa because of the way that Sansa reacted towards him. The compassion she shows and the way in which she recognises him as human and worthy of respect sets her apart from any other person in his life. He is touched by this in a way that simple physical attraction would not. In contrast, Joffrey was also treated with respect and adoration by Sansa but he remained untouched. He treats her (and everyone else) with contempt and casual cruelty.

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Hey, eveyone, sorry for being out of commission for the last month (health problems and family issues). This report isn't as eloquent or as concise as I wished (in fact, I hacked it down by half, and it only concerns GoT!), but I'm not going to keep you waiting any longer on the first part of this exploration of Joffrey and what he means to Sansa. Sorry for the long (double) post.

Joffrey and Sansa, his influence and her self-deception, part 1

The first thing to keep in mind when thinking about how Joffrey influences Sansa is that their marriage is arranged early on by their fathers. She has no say in the matter at all, nor is she expected to dissent. In fact, Sansa is the obedient daughter who strives to meet everyone’s expectations of her throughout the first portion of GoT.

In the Stark crypt, Robert admits that he’s miffed about not being able to keep his pledge to send Sweetrobin to Tywin for fostering, that he’s not in the best situation with his in-laws. He laughs it off, but his comment that Ned doesn’t go to bed with the Lannisters should have given Ned a good hint, then, of how connections to the Lannisters in general can change a person over time. On every political issue raised by them until his death, Robert capitulates and soothes their pride. On the heels of this conversation, Robert offers Ned the position of Hand and then proposes a marriage alliance between their houses. Despite his initial reluctance, circumstances compel Ned to arrange the marriage, as we see later on. He should understand that the Lannisters insist on being accommodated, and if Sansa will have to get in bed with the Lannisters, she, too, will be expected to surrender to them in various ways to remain in their good graces.

All of the interaction we see between Joff and Sansa occurs after Robert’s intentions are made clear to Ned. We see our first glimpse of them together through Jon’s eyes at the welcoming feast. Though jealousy inspires much of Jon’s thoughts WRT Joff, and we can only suspect that Joffrey and Sansa have yet to be told of the betrothal in the works, Sansa is clearly honored to be on Joffrey’s arm. At this point, there’s no way to know what Joffrey is. We’ve barely gotten a glimpse of him, but we, like Jon, are outsiders in this view—whatever insight distance affords, it is not available to Sansa, an insider.

Later that night, Ned and Cat discuss the possibility of Ned being Hand and Sansa betrothing Joffrey. Catelyn emphasizes that the offers are an honor, concluding: “Sansa might someday be queen. Her sons could rule from the Wall to the mountains of Dorne. What is so wrong with that?” Ned obviously thinks of Joff as his mother’s son (a Lannister), but Cat emphasizes the prince’s lofty position. After they receive the message from Lysa, everything changes in Ned’s mind. He backpedals: “Sansa must wed Joffrey, that is clear now, we must give them no grounds to suspect our devotion.” In the end, the Starks, too, fear the Lannisters and their influence over the king. This is significant because it sets up the Lannisters as a powerful family to which others generally yield. Sansa is fed to the lions by her own parents. We do not see her parents address Sansa about the betrothal or how they might encourage her to think well of the prince, but it seems likely that she would glean from their behavior that he at least has the parental stamp of approval.

All of this is the context for Sansa’s later interactions with Joffrey. We hear about the first such through Arya’s eyes (I will start putting large excerpts under spoiler tags):

“We were talking about the prince,” Sansa said, her voice soft as a kiss. Arya knew which prince she meant: Jofftey, of course. The tall, handsome one. Sansa got to sit with him at the feast. Arya had to sit with the little fat one. Naturally.

“Joffrey likes your sister,” Jeyne, proud as if she had something to do with it. She was the daughter of Winterfell’s steward and Sansa’s dearest friend. “He told her she was very beautiful.”

“He’s going to marry her,” little Beth said dreamily, hugging herself. “Then Sansa will be queen of all the realm.”

Sansa had the grace to blush. She blushed prettily. She did everything prettily, Arya thought with dull resentment. “Beth, you shouldn’t make up stories,” Sansa corrected the younger girl, gently stroking her hair to take the harshness out of her words. She looked at Arya. “What did you think of Prince Joff, sister? He’s very gallant, don’t you think?”

“Jon says he looks like a girl,” Arya said.

In Arya’s first chapter, it doesn’t appear as though Sansa is as yet aware of the betrothal. We see that she seems highly impressed with Joffrey and thinks he cuts a fine figure, but we also see her appeal directly for Arya’s opinion. Arya doesn’t give it, instead deflecting with Jon’s. It seems clear that Arya, too, does not have any real problem with Joffrey thus far (she seems disgruntled that he escorted Sansa while she got stuck with Tommen), and Jon’s opinion is put down to jealousy, which is very likely partly true.

The important thing to note, though is how interested Sansa is in having her sister’s opinion on the matter, and how emphasis is placed on Joffrey’s supposed feelings for her and the social position that his interest could grant her (neither of these points are emphasized by Sansa, whom we see behave modestly, as a “good girl” ought to do). Sansa indicates a need for approval or support regarding Joffrey as a suitor. This conversation happens before Bran is tossed out the window, and between this tragedy and the party’s setting out from Winterfell, the betrothal ceremony takes place. By the time we rejoin Sansa, she is already on the road and at the Trident. Months have passed.

She had brushed out her long auburn hair until it shone, and picked her nicest blue silks. She had been looking forward to today for more than a week. It was a great honor to ride with the queen, and besides, Prince Joffrey might be there. Her betrothed. Just thinking it made her feel a strange fluttering inside, even though they were not to marry for years and years. Sansa did not really know Joffrey yet, but she was already in love with him. He was all she ever dreamt her prince should be, tall and handsome and strong, with hair like gold. She treasured every chance to spend time with him, few as they were. The only thing that scared her about today was Arya.

— We see her brushing her hair and carefully choosing a blue gown for her meeting with the queen. (The color blue has multiple meanings in medieval European literature: fidelity, remembrance, sadness. It is also a royal color after Tyrian purple goes out of use. When Joff pops up later in the chapter, he wears blue wool, black leather, and his crown of golden curls. She has noted his tendency to wear blue and has seemingly dressed to match him. This gesture indicates her desire to be thought suitable and her wish to be accepted into the family. Sansa’s method of showcasing her appropriateness for him seems founded on ascribing to Joff’s likes and dislikes as though they were her own, especially if his preferences are marked by a visible component that would make an impact on an audience. In contrast, when Sansa goes to collect Arya, Arya is brushing mud from Nymeria's fur and is muddy herself. Sansa worries about Arya because Arya doesn't meet chivalric expectations of behavior becoming to a lady, and she thinks her sister will embarrass her in front of her betrothed’s family, decreasing her own appropriateness as a match for the crown prince. Her impulse toward self-surveillance emphasizes the performative nature of the feminine ideal and becomes something she relies on later when her courtesy armor protects her in King’s Landing.

Here we also get a glimpse into her already-determined feelings for her betrothed. Supposing that Joffrey could instantly fall for her (as she is teased by her companions in Arya’s chapter) may have lead her to expect that she should be able to do the same. So, she determines that she loves Joff already, but we readers can see that her “love” is granted by several factors that have little to do with the “real” Joff at all: a) she’s probably feeling the first flutterings of physical attraction, now that a good-looking boy of rank has come forward (she would have had no one to look at in Winterfell who is suitable to her station except for Theon, who is unsuitable on other grounds), b ) she's supposed to love her future husband by the standards of her society—and she’s a good girl, and c) in an era where people “look to love”, he meets her expectations of what a prince should be (later in the chapter, we note that he is tall, well dressed, and crowned with golden hair—figuratively, his golden crown of hair signifies the literal Baratheon crown—of course, this is ironic on a couple of fronts).

What this all boils down to is Sansa’s emphasis on chivalry as both a code and an ideal. The chivalric code is based on the idea that appearances matter and they do not generally deceive. Honesty and “noble bearing” are two of the most prized concepts of this code and ideal. The maxims “truth in looks” and “pride aspires to beauty” become formalized into a code of honor. Despite the difficulty of living this code and emulating the chivalric ideal, real people in the real world did try very hard to live up to these standards. But like all ideals, the chivalric way of life was something to which members of this class could only aspire, and they often fell short. By extension, we should consider Sansa’s personal investment in appearances not as mere testament to frippery and nonsense or, even worse, vanity, but as a carefully tended ideological practice where young nobles are taught that they rule by right through interior perfections (truth, beauty) that manifest in a physical, exterior way (transparently).

Sansa puts a lot of stock, not in fairy tales, per se, as she is often accused, but in the chivalric code. The chivalric ideals she carefully maintains and affirms are confronted almost immediately by a different courtly attribute, sophistication. The way she handles the teasing of the knights in this chapter aims at, but misses, the sophistication of the court. Her reliance on the prescribed methods of interacting with other people of rank (via the chivalric code) only leaves them aware of her naiveté.

At the queen’s wheelhouse, she finds herself surrounded by knights and other people who find Lady threatening. The Hound tries to diffuse the situation by reassuring people that the Starks allow them around their children (how vicious can they be?), and Cersei, seeing Sansa’s distress (and perhaps noting that her own lackwit son is idly standing by while his guard dog is being more of a man), sends Joffrey to Sansa’s rescue.

Joffrey plays his role here (Sansa doesn’t necessarily bother about his being prompted—perhaps she merely thinks Joffrey unable to see her distress), and she goes on to think of him as her savior. In the same scene, he goes on to rebuke the Hound for frightening Sansa and chastise his uncle for speaking to Sansa in a condescending way.

Sansa works to appease or soothe her betrothed in the latter instance, insisting that she can respond with aplomb to the good-natured teasing. It is really the first glimmer of her peace-keeping / avoid-confrontation tendencies. As the introductions and courtesies proceed, Joffrey explains the cryptic remarks others are making about Ilyn Payne, answering her seriously, rather than making her feel like an idiot for being unfamiliar with the man’s story. Despite that we see Joff behave over-sensitively, he is one of the few people who stands beside Sansa and indicates that her dignity and ease concern him (yes, at the promptings of his mother). No one else seems terribly invested in putting her at ease (where the heck is The Ned?). His actions excite a number of feelings in Sansa:

The way he had rescued her from Ser Ilyn and the Hound, why, it was almost like the songs, like the time Serwyn of the Mirror Shield saved the Princess Daeryssa from the giants, or Prince Aemon the Dragonknight championing Queen Naerys’s honor against evil Ser Morgil’s slanders. The touch of Joffrey’s hand on her sleeve made her heart beat faster.“What would you like to do?”

Be with you, Sansa thought, but she said, “Whatever you’d like to do, my prince.”

She esteems him, she’s attracted to him, and she exalts him to a place beside the heroes from songs. I think it’s important to take note of her first comparison, Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, particularly, as it seems to have a symbolic meaning. Not only does she refer to the story where this knight saves a princess from giants (an interesting tale in relation to Bran’s vision of Sansa herself slaying a giant—must she, ultimately, become a Serwyn herself later on?), we later come to find out the story behind the Mirror Shield: Serwyn once slew a dragon by approaching it behind his reflective shield and spearing it through the eye. I think the mimic theme (mirror, parrot, mockingbird) is strong in Sansa’s arc. Accordingly, we see here that Joffrey’s looks define him in Sansa’s eyes, that by looking and acting the part, by hiding behind his position and appearance, he reflects Sansa’s idea of chivalric nobility right back at her, defeating her on a symbolic level. She places him in the “always right”, “knows best” category because, in her view, his beauty should be a marker of his interior perfections, and she then let’s herself off the hook of judging the situation. She gives him the honor/duty of “looking after” her. His noble bearing and flattery have the power to undo her, and she finds herself willing to do whatever he wishes. But it is her own princely ideal she is seeing in Joffrey, her own treasured script of nobility she hears from him—the source is not Joffrey himself. As long as he continues to follow the script, she will continue to put her faith in him; her faith in him is her faith in the ideals that are reflected back at her in his performance.

He exerts this power over her immediately by suggesting that they discard their protectors (she is uncertain about tying Lady up) and go out riding alone together (she never liked to ride before—another of his preferences that she adopts).

“Have no fear, lady. I am almost a man grown, and I don’t fight with wood like your brothers. All I need is this.” He drew his sword and showed it to her; a longsword adroitly shrunken to suit a boy of twelve, gleaming blue steel, castle-forged and double-edged, with a leather grip and a lion’s-head pommel in gold. Sansa exclaimed over it admiringly, and Joffrey looked pleased. “I call it Lion’s Tooth,” he said.

Joffrey clearly wants to impress her, distinguishing himself from her brothers and informing Sansa that he’s a badass, basically. The way he speaks, her reactions to him, he evidently has a large degree of vanity that Sansa should take note of here but doesn’t. So, leaving behind their bodyguards (Lady and the Tramp Hound), chaperone-less, they go gallivanting about the countryside.

It was a glorious day, a magical day. The air was warm and heavy with the scent of flowers, and the woods here had a gentle beauty that Sansa had never seen in the north. Prince Joffrey’s mount was a blood bay courser, swift as the wind, and he rode it with reckless abandon, so fast that Sansa was hard-pressed to keep up on her mare. It was a day for adventures. They explored the caves by the riverbank, and tracked a shadowcat to its lair, and when they grew hungry, Joffrey found a holdfast by its smoke and told them to fetch food and wine for their prince and his lady. They dined on trout fresh from the river, and Sansa drank more wine than she had ever drunk before. “My father only lets us have one cup, and only at feasts,” she confessed to her prince.

She leaves the train behind in Joff's company—something she has taken Arya to task for earlier. Despite her disinterest in the land off the beaten path when Arya mentions it, here she sees and enjoys it with Joffrey. We should note that all her time with him is not miserably uncomfortable or a source of instant anxiety. She appreciates the beauty of the Riverlands, something she finds only with him, as her father does not create such opportunities for her to explore them in relative safety. Even when Joff demands refreshment at the nearby holdfast, it all fits with Sansa's received notions of the appropriate distance between high ranking nobles and lesser lords and commonfolk, and it also would be a taste of the privilege she can expect from a step up in status. She exhibits being completely in Joffrey’s sway by allowing him to convince her to take more wine than she knows she ought, just as she allowed him to persuade her to leave behind their protectors.

Here, he entertains her in a very courtly way, as we all know how well Sansa appreciates song, but her dizziness from too much wine leads her to suggest they return to camp. Joff declines, wanting to see where his father defeated Rhaegar instead. This instance interests me because this is Sansa we’re talking about. One word about his voice (it’s all it should be, basically), and she’s ready to go back. For someone who loves songs so much, she seems little invested in Joffrey’s songs. Are we to take this as an indication of just how inebriated she is? Are we to assume his songs aren’t those she likes to hear? Or is it simply an oversight on the author’s part to minimize the gushing? Still, we see her unwilling to depart Joff’s company, even though she knows herself to be losing control a bit. This dependence on the male figure to whom she has been entrusted sets the scene for all that follows. Safe to say, her inability to control Joffrey and her avoidance of confrontation, not to mention her own wine-induced failures of judgment, conspire to set Sansa up as a helpless bystander at the riverbank. His influence on her is shown to be a dangerous one, in that it places her in a dangerous situation—one where she must rely solely on his assistance and honor should anything happen, one where she has no control over him at all as she consistently abdicates her own good judgment in favor of his desires.

When they suddenly hear clacking noises through the trees, Joffrey goes off, ostensibly, to someone’s rescue. That’s when they find Arya mock-fighting with Mycah. At first, Joff just laughs when Arya gets banged up by Mycah, but upon finding out that she is Sansa’s sister, Joff gets off his horse in order to harass the boy. Here, we are forced to notice that Joffrey is still in full “impress the chick” mode, thinking he will teach the boy a lesson. His “instruction” seems based entirely on the idea that a noble lady should not be consorting with a commoner (he had shown nothing but amusement at the pair until he discovers Arya’s identity). Here, again, he holds up the mirror to Sansa, who also disapproves of Arya’s companionship with the butcher’s boy. This reflection of her own disapproval back at her seems to paralyze her. Sansa can see that Mycah is telling the truth about being asked to practice with Arya, but she can’t find fault with Joffrey’s indignation, and she excuses Joffrey’s refusal to listen to their commands/requests as a byproduct of how much wine he’s been drinking.

This scene at the Trident has been hashed over endlessly, so I won’t say much more on the topic, as I feel we’ve been rather thorough in the re-reads, but I will point out that neither Arya nor Sansa have dealt with someone of Joffrey’s character before. Both command/ask him to stop, then Arya resorts to violence while Sansa wrings her hands, close to tears (ineffectual, sidelined like Ned during the Gregor–Loras bout). Neither of the sisters are flatterers or willing to beg for Joff’s forbearance (either tactic might have had some impact on Joffrey, hard to say, though clearly neither of the current methods were well thought out). After Joffrey is brought low by Arya, Sansa runs to his assistance, ostensibly to play the role of the lady nursing the hero back to health, but she gets only loathing from Joff. She's witnessed his humiliation at the hands of her sister, and he can't stand her—for a moment, the mirror is cracked; Joff’s façade has crumbled, he no longer reflects Sansa’s ideals back at her, nor is he pretending to possess the qualities his beauty is supposed to mark. For the first time, the specter of a marriage filled with disdain and rejection rears it’s ugly head. The day ends as she dreaded—Arya ruins things by not behaving properly. Because Arya refuses to play her part in the script, the part of a little lady who does not mix with commoners, Sansa has to witness her prince outside of the script as well. She can’t reconcile the way Joffrey behaves with the script demanded by her chivalric ideal of him, so she floats the blame onto the wine, onto Arya’s rebelliousness, basically making excuses for him and refusing to let go of her fantasy.

Much more important to an examination of Joff’s influence on her is the next scene where they appear together in front of King Robert. We see how the loathing Joffrey showed her when she offered to bring him aid has born fruit. On some level she understands that it is the humiliation that has caused his change of feeling. When asked to corroborate Arya’s version of events, she refuses to admit witnessing his humiliation at all. She understands that admitting Joffrey’s weakness to the entire company would irreparably damage her relationship with him, and let’s have the justice to recognize that this is a relationship that she not only wants to keep but also that she has no power to get out of on her own. We know that she told Ned what really happened. We know that Ned did not try to dissolve the betrothal. We know that Ned didn’t compel her to present the facts after Arya beats her in front of the royals (foreshadowing? She knows now that there is a price to pay for maintaining her silence, but that doesn’t mean that the price paid isn’t a bargain compared to what would happen if she spoke her true thoughts). Perhaps Ned knows how useless pushing Sansa to reveal the truth would be after Arya’s inappropriate response, or perhaps he understands Sansa’s position, hard to say—the show does examine this moment better, in my opinion, where Ned acknowledges that Sansa is between a rock and a hard place while explaining the matter to Arya. In the books, he merely points out that everyone lies, even Arya.

Further, we know that Sansa dislikes confrontation, and she has little reason to think well of her sister’d behavior. Mycah is, sad to say, nothing to her, but Joffrey will be Arya’s brother-in-law. I think we have to conclude that from Sansa’s perspective, her sister should have been more loyal to her brother-in-law to be, the future king, than to her commoner friend. There really is no greater testament to Joff’s influence on her than here, at the hearing. He has her loyalty, both as her future king and husband. She will not publicly humiliate him. Not only does she not want him to continue to hate her, there can be no realistic expectation of her anticipating the consequences of sitting this one out. It’s basically, he-said-she-said, right? Well, not exactly. No one can dispute that Joffrey was injured while Arya and Mycah are well enough (at the moment), and fled the scene (as though guilty). The physical evidence is pretty damning. Both girls receive a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime—Arya loses her playmate, Sansa loses her direwolf. Here is another of the many examples Martin gives us that Westeros is not a fair place, that people do not get what they truly deserve (at least not initially). But perhaps more force attends the observation that Arya loses her ally while Sansa loses something important to her very nature and identity.

******

Frustratingly, Martin takes the point of view away from Sansa for another extended period of time, and by the time we catch up with her, she has forgiven Joffrey for his part in the tragedy (he didn’t want Lady dead, he only wanted to save face, besides “he was too beautiful to hate”), and is now blaming only Arya for putting them all in the position they were in and Cersei for demanding Lady be put down. At the feast after the first night of the tourney, Sansa is afraid to be snubbed, but Joffrey has taken up the chivalric script once again. Is it because Joffrey feels that they are even now (Arya humiliated Sansa, too, in front of the court, and she has been deprived of Lady)? Or will he “remember that” the way the Hound warns Tyrion about his physical chastisements? I think he treats her preferentially for very practical reasons: like Sansa, Joffrey also can’t just walk away from the marriage and must keep up appearances, and Cersei probably calls the shots in this regard.

These passages emphasize the chivalric script in various ways and the impression Joffrey’s performance has on Sansa.

The first passage gives us the golden hair=golden crown image once again. The recurring image marks how much Joffrey looks the part of the crown prince. If appearances do not deceive according to the chivalric code, his subjects must see him as appropriate to his station, and therefore entitled to its privileges. Also, the first selection offers a performance of courtly love values. Courtly love happens between a knight and a lady of high rank who embodies perfection. The rose Loras gave Sansa marked her as said object (of course we readers know his actions are a mere political maneuver, not a courtly love ritual). In any case, Joff seems determined to put Loras in his place to Sansa: his champions will defeat him, and in time, he will do his own fighting. He’s talking big again to impress his girl. By the tenants of courtly love, love of one’s object is increased by the jealousy and admiration by other worthy men (universal agreement of the object’s perfections and the struggle to monopolize said object).

Sansa, like Emma Woodhouse, has trouble reading situations. She cannot read the rose-gift as a political maneuver, nor does she question Joffrey’s contemptuous dismissal of Loras. Joffrey does not think Loras is the better knight just because he looks the part. He has confidence in the Hound. Of course, Martin does not give us much of Sansa’s thoughts on Joff’s pronouncement. She doesn’t question Joffrey the way she does Jeyne over such matters as who is the better, truer knight (a mark of her perceived part as his betrothed and an indication of his influence). The important takeaway from this passage is that Joffrey is back inside the chivalric play, making all the gestures, looking the part, deepening their betrothal by reacting to the new courtly love slant, and also getting her drunk with the indirect consent of her septa.

Not only is Ned a very absent father when Sansa has to handle court situations, but her personal security is compromised here by her septa’s complicity in the partying atmosphere. We see that no one else is really available to give Sansa an alternative to Joffrey’s influence in these scenes. She is troublingly alone with him, even amidst a crowd of other feasters and partygoers.

The next two passages bring in the figure of the fool. I had forgotten that fools come into prominence in Sansa’s arc here at the feast. We see that Sansa has already questioned the sly nature of Moon Boy. She understands that he must be rather intelligent, even though he allows others to laugh at him and pretends to be simple. Her noticing the fool here prepares her for the time when she will discover that a fool can be a clever and helpful ally (Dontos, Butterbumps). Also, we see that Joffrey is a sort of translator for Moon Boy’s “deft cruelty.” Not only is her enjoyment of the japes dependent on Joffrey’s assistance, it might have raised a flag in anyone else’s mind that Joffrey “gets” Moon Boy so completely. However, we see insight lag behind her gratitude for Joffrey’s explanations and attentions, as per usual.

In the last of the quoted passages above, we see Joffrey really going above and beyond. He serves her himself, selecting the best foods for her. When she’s at a loss on how to eat an unfamiliar item, he steps in and shows her how to manage the feat. Feeding her himself = sickeningly sweet couple behavior. He even performs in a markedly non-Draco-Malfoy kind of way by uttering no complaints about his mauled arm.

This passage more than any other makes me cry foul when readers bemoan how Sansa really ought to have known what Joffrey was after the death of Lady. At the Trident, he, the crown prince, was humiliated and mauled by her sister and Nymeria. Naturally, he saves face in front of his scary father (or tries to) because he is who he is and has a large degree of manly pride due to his station. Can readers seriously expect him to tell the truth about what happened? “Yeah, I was a dungbar and picked a fight with a commoner who couldn’t fight back and ended up getting beaten up by a little girl.” Seriously, folks, no teenage boy is going to come clean about that. It’s horrible, but not unexpected. But aside from this one instance that revealed so much to us readers, in every other respect, he acts as the perfect prince and future husband—explaining, helping, treating Sansa, all without complaint or impatience.

Joffrey has introduced Sansa to much of the pleasure she’s experienced on the journey and in King’s Landing, and the hateful things that he was involved in are justifiable when other targets are readily available to take the brunt of the blame. It’s self-delusional on Sansa’s part, but understandable. We all do this: we all make excuses for those of whom we have high expectations. Sansa’s investment in the fantasy of being the perfect princess to the perfect prince cannot be understated, either. When I consider the absolute failure of all adults involved in the Mycah incident (Robert, Cersei, the Hound, and Ned) to strive for justice, it does not surprise me that Sansa cannot see the event clearly. All the children suffered in this event, including Joffrey, while the adults either didn’t dare stand for what’s right or roostered each other for pecking order.

But the end of the feast shows the mask abandoned once more, the public face discarded. Joffrey has just witnessed some ugliness between his mother and the king, and his relative indifference to Sansa is revealed. He has the opportunity to escort her back to her quarters, but he shrugs off this duty on the Hound. Joffrey’s only the valiant hero when people are there to observe and applaud his efforts. The idea of being alone with Sansa does not seem to be something he relishes after the events at the Trident. Sansa is puzzled by the coolness and the gradual diminish of courtesy in his behavior. He goes from being hyper-attentive and pleasing to cool courtesy in having Sandor escort her, to complete inattentiveness (not even a farewell) in a matter of paragraphs.

Sansa reflects, “The feast was over, and the beautiful dream had ended with it. The Hound snatched up a torch to light their way.” I find this turn of events interesting on a couple of levels. On one hand, Sansa seems to be on the verge of acknowledging that her vision of Joffrey is a bit rose-colored. The magical evening has dissipated, and presumably, Sansa is starting to wake up to reality. On another hand, the guide to light this dark path is Sandor Clegane. I think this is the first indication that the Hound will be stepping into that vacuum created by absentee adults to offer an alternative sphere of influence. He will be the one who shows her how to make her way in King’s Landing when it really counts. Casting her faith in being Joffrey’s betrothed, on the other hand, will get Sansa nowhere (as we will see).

After Jory is dead and her father’s leg is injured by Jaime, we see Joffrey’s influence on her beginning to change.

Aside from noting that Sansa is still bitter about Lady being killed for the offenses of Nymeria and Arya, we also receive a glimpse of Sansa really trying to reconcile the chivalric script with a pinch of reality. She admits that the “dream” is really a “wish”. She also knows Joffrey well enough to see that he would shoot the magical white hart because he likes killing. She also seems to be starting to recognize how killing (not hunting or merely touching) such a magnificent creature would play to his vanity. We see her more willing than any other character to eschew house prejudice, as well. She refuses to lump all the Lannisters together the way her father and Arya do. She understands that marrying Joffrey will give her a connection to the Lannisters (and actually, she has begun to think of Joff as a Lannister rather than as a Baratheon, taking every opportunity to dwell on how different he is from his embarrassing and frightening father).

In the orange-fling scene, Sansa either outright lies about the events at the Trident to justify how things turned out and keep the blame more firmly on Arya (a willfully malicious move that seems somewhat out of character), or she really dis-/misremembers what happened. I don’t see what reason she would have to lie about it.

Basically, this is just a screaming match between her and her sister ending in a typical “wish you were dead!” statement. It’s important to note how emotional her reaction is, especially after Arya ruins her finery (the dress in which she was betrothed). Here is another instance of Arya “spoiling” the things she values. Symbolically, I think we must conclude that the incident at the Trident has spoiled Sansa’s innocence somewhat (signified by the white betrothal gown). Sansa remembers her betrothal ceremony fondly. It happened before she really knew any of the ugliness of the Lannisters, of Joffrey, even of Arya. Arya’s ruining the dress (with another throw, only an orange this time instead of a rock) goes hand in hand with the ruining of her beautiful dream of Joffrey and being his bride.

Really, it’s not like Arya wouldn’t contradict a lie right a way (this is exactly what she does), so who is Sansa hoping to deceive when she says Mycah attacked Joffrey? I tend to think that this is simply one of those truths she can no longer face, now that her marriage to Joffrey is a foregone conclusion. What I find incredible here is that this isn’t the only thing she’s seemed to forget about the Trident. When she mentions how Arya won’t dare to accuse her of lying once she’s queen, it’s like she doesn’t even remember the details of the court scene and how Arya had no problems at all accusing Joffrey of being a liar. Sansa also sidesteps Arya’s attacking Joffrey. When she thinks about what happened on the Trident, she simply points to Arya as the reason it all happened, not going so far as to dwell on the things Arya did to Joff or Joff’s turning on her.

To me, I make sense of the scene by interpreting her anomalous statements as an actual selective revision of memory. The more she must become invested in being Joffrey’s bride, the more she must excuse and revise his actions. It quite seems like the excusing and justifying have lead to the revision of the events, so much so that she doesn’t even think there’s any reason not to want to marry him, and in fact, she almost exhibits a kind of buyer’s zeal to justify an imprudent purchase by exalting the over-priced item. She can’t admit she was robbed.

Strikingly, Sansa isn’t even thinking of remaining in King’s Landing for Joff at first. When I read this passage again, looking for examples of Joffrey’s influence on Sansa’s development, I immediately thought of the moment where Sansa suddenly recalls in the Vale that she is married to Tyrion and so cannot marry someone else. This oversight powerfully suggests that her true motivations for wanting to be in King’s Landing have more to do with the fun she’s having, the luxury and warmth of the place, than anything like her love for the crown prince, who is really just her means to stay in the city. What she craves most is the spectacle, the experiences, the freedom perhaps, afforded to her in the south. She suddenly remembers her betrothal and then falls back on the old script, mentioning her devotion and love for Joff, and the duty she owes him. He comes to represent everything that is being denied to her in a remove back to Winterfell. That’s when Arya chimes in with an indictment on his character, and Sansa almost becomes unhinged defending him.

She insists that Joff isn’t a bit like Robert. But why is she so vehement? What is it she always harps on? Robert’s drunkenness. When have we seen Joffrey drunk? At the Trident. Now we come to it. I think her insistence that Joffrey isn’t like Robert tends toward an almost hysterical pitch because she is fighting hard to forget the Joffrey who was made wild by wine. She has blocked out the key points of what happened there: her own inebriation and lack of control, her own powerlessness, paralysis and ineffectuality, her sister’s rebellious violence, his cruelty and ugliness. She works hard to lay out some distance between Robert’s drunken unseemliness and the sadism she witnesses in Joffrey. She’s whitewashed him completely. He has become her blank slate almost: he’s everything a prince should be, and he represents to her all the wonderful experiences she’s had in King’s Landing; that is, he represents access to a world she very much wants to be a part of. When she has to deal with Joffrey The Real Boy rather than Joffrey The Fantasy Prince, she becomes slightly unhinged.

In any event, her desire to stay directs her to seek Cersei’s help in staying. She doesn’t commit such an open act as to go bid Joff a farewell, but she does know very well that she is skirting her father’s mandates.

Joffrey (and all he represents to Sansa) becomes the thing denied her while Arya gets everything she wants. Sansa, remember, is the good girl. She does what she’s told, she’s raising the family by marrying royalty. She feels like she belongs at court. Her direwolf was killed instead of Arya’s. Now Arya gets to see her dancing master, and she cannot even tell her betrothed good-bye? Without an explanation, the unfairness of the situation is on betrayal level. Sansa’s really hurt, not to mention desperate to stay in king’s landing. Ned and Arya keep undermining what she’s trying to achieve, a higher position, a more comfortable life, and yes, power and privilege.

Readers like to point fingers here about Sansa’s betrayal of The Ned, but doesn’t it seem clear why she feels such disconnection from her own family? She has things she wants for her life that are being continually assaulted or denied without explanation by her own family members. There might have been a time where she would have been happy to have the betrothal broken and be shipped back home (after Lady died), but she’s doubtlessly gone through a lot of psychological gymnastics by this time in order to make lemonade from her betrothal to Joffrey. Doesn’t she deserve an explanation? As readers, it is easy for us to see that Joffrey does not stand for liberation, for wonderful new experiences, for luxury (in fact, he comes to symbolize restriction, painful experiences, neglect and deprivation). But, I would argue, these are the things he has come to symbolize for Sansa: a perfect life of luxury and delight with her at the top of the social hierarchy, afforded all due courtesy and respect. She cannot permit herself to see Joffrey as a person, only a prince.

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The first time we see Sansa after Ned’s capture is when Cersei leans on her to write to Robb. In this scene, Cersei reveals Sansa’s crime: thwarting Ned’s intentions by seeking out Cersei for help to stay in KL. Joffrey isn’t in the scene, but his influence on Sansa is peppered throughout, and conversely, the idea that she has some influence over him in return finally surfaces into conscious thought.

Cersei begins manipulating Sansa straight away:

“How can I allow you to marry my son?”

“But I love him,” Sansa wailed, confused and frightened. What did they mean to do to her? What had they done to her father? It was not supposed to happen this way. She had to wed Joffrey, they were betrothed, he was promised to her, she had even dreamed about it. It wasn’t fair to take him away from her on account of whatever her father might have done.

“How well I know that, child,” Cersei said, her voice so kind and sweet. “Why else should you have come to me and told me of your father’s plan to send you away from us, if not for love?”

“It was for love,” Sansa said in a rush. “Father wouldn’t even give me leave to say farewell.”

She was the good girl, the obedient girl, but she had felt as wicked as Arya that morning, sneaking away from Septa Mordane, defying her lord father. She had never done anything so willful before, and she would never have done it then if she hadn’t loved Joffrey as much as she did. “He was going to take me back to Winterfell and marry me to some hedge knight, even though it was Joff I wanted. I told him, but he wouldn’t listen.” The king had been her last hope. The king could command Father to let her stay in King’s Landing and marry Prince Joffrey, Sansa knew he could, but the king had always frightened her.

“Please,” she finished, “you have to let me marry Joffrey, I’ll be ever so good a wife to him, you’ll see. I’ll be a queen just like you, I promise.” Queen Cersei looked to the others.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge Martin’s unsympathetic tone while orchestrating the scene. At times, Sansa comes off as rather callous regarding her father’s plight, and she still seems incredibly eager to please, despite not knowing the fate of her family members and loyal retainers. I don’t want to be a Sansa apologist here. There is definitely some degree of humanizing feeling and common sense lacking in this passage. I do feel, though, that it would be a mistake to ignore how scared for her own life a girl in her situation must be, but because Martin rarely grants Sansa self-reflexive narration—or, indeed, much interiority even in her perspective—her fear is actually quite easy to overlook. She focuses on the threatened loss of Joffrey so stubbornly, it becomes apparent that she simply refuses to consider other things that could happen to her and her family. In my most charitable considerations of the scene, I almost think she just can’t face reality, but I’m forced to admit that more seems to be going on here.

— Cersei immediately begins manipulating Sansa by affirming her and Joffrey’s love for her. Finally, Sansa has the wished-for open acknowledgment of Joff’s feelings and, by extension, what should be her influence over him. But as soon as this love is offered, Cersei suspends it. This moment forcibly reminded me of her seeking Arya’s opinion about Joffrey from the beginning of the book. Sansa depends heavily on the approbation of those around her to carry her through a crisis.

Sansa excuses her behavior as “the things I do for love”. It is a convenient fallback crutch, easier than admitting you might have unintentionally sold out your family for power and position.

Sansa’s thoughts about how the king may enable her to remain in KL directly correlate to the sway Sansa imagines Cersei bringing to bear on her husband. Too intimidated to go to Robert herself, she tries to enlist Cersei’s intervention without a single doubt that the queen will succeed. This is the sort of influence she hopes to exact on Joff some day.

So, here, we see her make a bid for what she wants (luxury, good weather, status, and entertainment) at the expense of her father’s approval. This move really was agonizing for her, and her guilt over it is probably why she reclaims the idea of being head over heels for Joff at this moment in order to excuse her (in my mind, minor) rebellion. For a moment, when Cersei claims to love her, she hopes things will turn out alright. If they love her, then they wouldn’t hurt her. If they love her, then they will show her father mercy. It really is the best she can hope for in the situation, that her own personal value to Cersei and Joffrey will keep her and her father safe. At this point, she doesn’t seem keenly aware of her own political value.

We see her dive completely into this line of thinking when we she comes before Joffrey to ask for mercy.

This scene marks a new pattern for Joffrey where he seems overtly concerned about the public impression he makes only when he is actually dealing with nobles and is on the throne.

The throne room scene marks the first time Sansa tries overtly to use the power of Joffrey’s love for her for gain, but the idea of such influence has been in the background almost from the beginning. Here, we see that Sansa still has faith that giving people what they want will result in some sort of return on investment, in this case, her father’s life. All her thoughts in this sequence illustrate her confidence (or bravado) that Joffrey is under her sway.

Joff’s interest in appearing to be everything she expects might have something to do with a pretty girl begging him for mercy on her knees, of course (perhaps she and Arya should have tried this tactic on the Trident), and he seemingly wants to be her prince from the stories, worthy of her hero-worship. But the sad reality is that Sansa overestimates her influence over Joffrey, as all of his performances have been aimed more at pleasing his parents than being her perfect prince. Eventually, his status as king solves any insecurities he may have that he doesn’t measure up to some idealized standard. How little it matters what others think when one has all the power!

In this scene, Sansa’s vows “to be good” indicate her childish way of seeing the world. When threatened, she quickly promises to be obedient in hopes that she will be treated kindly. She entreats Joffrey as she would an authority figure. She used to make this promise to parental figures, but his power is such that she makes that promise now to him. Already she is trying to negotiate saying the pleasing but insincere thing in order to gain some purchase in a harsh climate. Just as quickly, she provokes Joffrey, though. She tells Joffrey that she doesn’t want to marry him and that she hates him. She’s actually doing the opposite of “being good,” and Joffrey rebukes her straight away.

After Ned is executed, Joffrey can no longer disguise his inner self. We actually see it pollute his appearance in Sansa’s mind until her impression is like Jon’s first impression of him. This is reinforced later, in the throne room scene, as well, where she refers to Joff’s ugly face and wonders where have all Papa’s heroes gone, basically. The images associated with her re-vision of Joff are firmly Lannister: his hair is gold, lips are red, and he wears the Lannister colors and lion emblem. Though she’s certainly associated him with the Lannister’s in the past, this association seems to be horrific to her now. And even though he quickly demonstrates that her perfect prince from the songs was all an illusion, such doesn’t mean that Sansa has leave to acknowledge this reality, or a right to quit playing his loving princess. The Hound follows up on this lesson, and we see Sansa immediately adopt his advice:

The tone set from the wheelhouse scene onward has completely changed by this portion of the book. For the first time, Sansa realizes the importance of stifling her true feelings, not out of courtesy or fear of rejection but out of self-interest. The performance of her role becomes newly significant, the success of which will determine her very survival. Sansa takes a care for her dress here, not to please Joffrey but to appease him. She tries to work on any connection he may have felt. This would be a fine method of handling a more sentimental person, but Joffrey only remembers the slights he’s been dealt. We also see Sansa striving for remoteness and trying to put the butterflies to rest. The fluttery feeling she’s mentioned feeling when thinking about Joff before is now something to be treated as a condition and suppressed if possible. The idea that her own body could revolt and betray her is a source of acknowledgment, at least through her actions, if not conscious reflection. We see she distrusts her servants as well as the physical manifestation of her feelings. Her world has resolved into an “us or Lannisters” view. She thinks on Winterfell as a source of strength in contrast to the way she now sees the Lannisters and King’s Landing.

When she meets with Joffrey after court, she acquiesces to his demands without complaint, though she did show some cheek to Ser Merwyn before remembering her new precarious position:

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SQ-

Why is the assumption that compromising with the Lannisters means sacrificing your identity? There seems to be no assumption the other way around, and there the genders are flipped. I don't see a concession to political reality as necessitating a reorientation of loyalty or identity. If it was not true for Cersei, why should it be self-evidently true for Sansa?

Edit: or, as another forinstance within your own framework, Cat's more Southron reaction to the offer in the face of Ned's Northern reserve. She did not reinvent herself, she merely transplanted herself. I don't see why Sansa is presumed to be less able to negotiate the tricky waters of political marriage than most of her contemporaries, why for her it necessitates rather extreme divorce from previously established morality and connection.

The idea that she was spoiled and self-centered requires a lot less work to fit into the rest of the story, imo.

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Good analysis to think about Fieki!

It gives the old idea: the civilization is beastlier than the beasts.

Some beasts take couple for life. Humans can be with one or not. Some wild animals show more respects toward the other gender than humans.

And wild animals also respect more their societies than humans.

Enkidu respects Shamhat not only for what she taught him, but for his wild background, and what he learnt from animals. She introduces him human cilivilization and for that he was not able to return with animals. This pre-Mowgli man went to civilization to be with others as him (that it is what makes me believe, it can be right or not, just personal interpretation).

Gilgamesh acts that way because he doesn´t see people as truly people, for him are corpses. He doesn´t see their souls. (Again personal interpretation).

Edit: because it has came hubbie and talk to me, making me forget my thoughts for a minutes.

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SQ-

Why is the assumption that compromising with the Lannisters means sacrificing your identity? There seems to be no assumption the other way around, and there the genders are flipped. I don't see a concession to political reality as necessitating a reorientation of loyalty or identity. If it was not true for Cersei, why should it be self-evidently true for Sansa?

Edit: or, as another forinstance within your own framework, Cat's more Southron reaction to the offer in the face of Ned's Northern reserve. She did not reinvent herself, she merely transplanted herself. I don't see why Sansa is presumed to be less able to negotiate the tricky waters of political marriage than most of her contemporaries, why for her it necessitates rather extreme divorce from previously established morality and connection.

Can you put your questions in more context? I'm not quite sure to what you refer. It's been a while since I pared down these notes and even longer since I wrote them up in the first place. :) I'm not as familiar with them as I was a month ago.

EDIT:

I think you may simply be referring to the opening paragraphs? If so, I'm not sure we really understood one another.

There is no assumption that treating with the Lannisters entails a sacrifice of identity particular only to those who marry Lannisters. Robert and Cersei have both changed each other. Heck, they are married to each other—they are family, and loyalty to family is foundational to Westerosi social order. Allegiances and changing social roles affect how identifications are formed. The specific way that Robert has changed due to Lannister influence becomes increasingly clear to Ned over time, and I'd argue that he hasn't changed for the better. Presumably, at one time, Robert shared Ned's negative view of power-grabbing Lannisters. Superficially, Robert conveys that he has absolute power, but it is usually posturing: the Lannisters have him by the balls, erm, pursestrings. They practically own him, and he seems at least somewhat aware of it, as he constantly caters to Cersei's demands and responds to her criticisms in ways Ned never thought to see (allowing himself to be manipulated or, alternately, delivering violence out of frustration when she tries to have her way). The unreasonable concessions he makes to assuage Cersei's pride at the Trident, for example, serve to show Ned a Robert he can hardly credit. Likewise, the assassination attempt on Dany is a Lannister answer to the Targ problem. Ned recalls Robert was grateful that he hadn't been required to decide what to do with the Targ children after the Sack. This Robert makes the same decision the Lannisters made for him at that time without much difficulty. He also gives Wardenship of Jon Arryn's lands to Tywin Lannister—not Arryn's heirs. This move is flabbergasting to Ned. You tell me, has Robert drifted away from his "previously established morality and connection"? He used to show some reticence for making these calls, but he's become a different person in LannisterLanding. It is only on his deathbed that he regrets sending the assassins.

His comments about screwing and drinking while someone else does the work of ruling the realm are probably 100% true, 80% inferiority complex. Robert has let himself become fat and lazy for a reason. He has ceased to inspire his vassals as he did in the past. On some level, he is aware that more and more of the real power in the 7K is being syphoned off by Lannisters and their lackeys, but instead of taking control or admitting he's out of his depth, he tells himself that this is how he wants it. When Jon Arryn dies, he knows no one has his back. His only other option is to install a Lannister in the office of the Hand, and he's dangerously aware that he's already surrounded himself with Lannister-loyal people. That's why he seeks Ned out.

As for why Sansa might find it more difficult to negotiate her marriage, I honestly have to ask, are you joking? At the time of their betrothals, Sansa's at least 5 years younger than Cat, who grew up without a mother. Of course Cat was more independent, less sheltered, and more mature. But more importantly, Ned is not Joffrey. Ned also had little family for Cat to have to win over, and what little he did have didn't seem to see Cat as a creature from a rival camp. It's not difficult to see why Sansa would have a tougher time than Cat. Joff is over-sensitive, over-proud, vain; a sadist, a fake, a fool. Ned required Cat's submission over exactly one thing: the moratorium on Jon's mother. He doesn't appear to get off on trying to break Cat's spirit. I wouldn't go so far as to say that, through the vehicle of any possible political marriage, Sansa necessarily has to divorce herself from her moral compass or her family (admittedly, your repeated allusions to "necessity" puzzle me, as the answer to such a remark is often that characters are what they are and events are such), but the sorts of (positive and negative) reinforcements given Sansa (her investments and losses), combined with her own aspirations for her future, push her to rebel against her patriarch before knowing all of the facts. Later, in what you describe as a divorce but what I describe as a subterfuge, her very survival hinges on her ability to publicly distance herself from her previous connections and her former ideals.

I hope I've understood your questions well enough to give a cogent answer. :blushing:

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Sorry it took so long but you know how it goes… one day you’re bored to tears with NOTHING to do and before you know it you’re flooded with work.

I want to thank you for accepting my invitation to write for our Beauty and the Beast project, flekie. It's a very significant collaboration from your part, well researched and presented, and you are contributing to our understanding of how Sansa influenced Sandor's character as well, because so far we were focusing mainly in his impact on her. I will be commenting on salient points later.

Thank you again, and I welcome you as a B&B official collaborator!

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Thank you fiekie, it was an interesting post and I enjoyed reading it. I think you highlighted the connection with Sandor and Sansa very well :bowdown: . I don't know why but your essay brought me a few months back when I had to write a paper about sacred marriage in the Sumerian world... I'm still trying to figure it out :idea:.

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Thanks for the two excellent essays fiekie and Summerqueen. It was fortuitous that you ended up posting at the same time given the focus on Joffrey in both these pieces :) I'll be back later with my thoughts.

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Fiekie:

It’s interesting to note that, even though the majority of scholars point to the Cupid and Psyche myth as the original, there are some who defend a different hypothesis and declare instead that this one, The Epic of Gilgamesh, is the first Beauty and the Beast tale in the history of humankind, not because it’s the direct ancestor of the Beaumont version we know, as the Greco-Roman one certainly is, but because it’s the oldest legend in existence that contains a B&B motif, and they’re correct in this regard, which makes the tale even more ancient than previously thought and adds deeper meaning to its storyline, which tends to suffer from the reductio ad absurdum fallacy on the part of readers.

You say:

In conclusion: I've read on these forums that the only reason Sandor reacted towards Sansa in the way that he did was because she's pretty. I challenge this notion, calling upon the most ancient of texts for comparison. Sandor reacted towards Sansa because of the way that Sansa reacted towards him. The compassion she shows and the way in which she recognises him as human and worthy of respect sets her apart from any other person in his life. He is touched by this in a way that simple physical attraction would not. In contrast, Joffrey was also treated with respect and adoration by Sansa but he remained untouched. He treats her (and everyone else) with contempt and casual cruelty.

I completely and fervently agree with you here. Like you, I challenged that notion before when posting my essays and thoughts on Cupid and Psyche, and stressed that the reason he fell in love with Psyche wasn’t her beauty but her compassionate and sweet personality. The B&B tale is about mutually influenced personal growth for the two people involved, and always was, and you do well in pointing this out with another clear example from remote Antiquity as this one.

We certainly can see Joffrey as the Gilgamesh of the beginning of this tale, even the physical description in the text is similar to what we know of the fake Baratheon prince: tall, handsome and terrifying… and a little piece of golden filth. The difference between their personalities is that Gilgamesh was brave, because one of the gods bestowed the gift of courage when he was born, and Joffrey was a coward, though he’s once described as “brave as a lion” by Sansa and again as “a brave boy” by Sandor, but the first is lying to protect herself and the second’s sarcasm was lost on Ser Boros. We see Gilgamesh isn’t happy with just being a petty tyrant and the biggest womaniser, but must inflict pain in virginal maidens as well (the “lord’s right” mentioned in the tablet sounds like the Medieval droit de seigneur), and whilst we do not see Joffrey raping anyone in the books, nobody can say he wasn’t capable of such a horrendous deed, as exemplified by the fact that he ordered Sansa to be beaten and stripped naked, and we can imagine he would have gone further had Tyrion not appeared at that moment. Besides, he did threaten to rape her; see what he told her at her forced wedding to Tyrion:

“My uncle will bring you to my bed whenever I command it.”

Regarding Enkidu, the first parallel that strikes me is that he’s created as a warrior, because if anything defines Sandor on sight is his martial prowess, and then that he’s described as a great fellow, strong and fearsome to look at, but is revealed as gentle when he meets the Woman, because he holds her to his breast tenderly, and I do agree that she did more than just teach him the ways of carnal love, as Gilgamesh thought when he sent her to him on the hopes that “her woman's power overpower this man,” implying that she'd weaken him. We could argue there’s a parallel here too, for it’s probable that Joffrey wanted to hurt and scare Sansa the time he ordered him to drag her out of bed when she was depressed after Ned’s beheading, and the other time he sent the Hound to fetch her to answer for the Starks’ victory, but on these occasions the result wasn’t what Gilgamesh and Joff expected: Shamhat’s love, gentle treatment and the talks they had –it’s implied in the text that they had talks, as I read it– robbed him of his wild, beastly side, transforming him by bringing to the surface his qualities and mentoring him about civilised manners and behaviour, and showing him what empathy and compassion could do for himself in particular and people in general. Likewise, Sandor didn’t behave brutally with her as expected, but lifted her gently from her bed and even gave her counsel about how to deal with Joffrey, and the second time is the time when he couldn’t see her beaten anymore and told Joffrey: “enough.” We definitely can see in examples like these how she was the major influence on awakening his hitherto dormant conscience -and Arya, too, would help later- with her behaviour toward him; treating him as a man and not as an animalistic tool for murder and damage like Joffrey and the rest of his clan; she made him care for her in return, for until then we do not see him having any worries about whatever the Lannisters did or ordered him to do.

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Again, Summerqueen, this was a really masterful analysis of the inner workings of Sansa's relationship with Joffrey in AGOT.

After Ned is executed, Joffrey can no longer disguise his inner self. We actually see it pollute his appearance in Sansa’s mind until her impression is like Jon’s first impression of him.

This I think is particularly important; it's like a closing of the circle, given that it was through Jon's perspective that we got our first image of Joffrey. Even when Sansa posed the question to Arya in AGOT, her sister responds by citing Jon's opinion.

The tone set from the wheelhouse scene onward has completely changed by this portion of the book. For the first time, Sansa realizes the importance of stifling her true feelings, not out of courtesy or fear of rejection but out of self-interest. The performance of her role becomes newly significant, the success of which will determine her very survival. Sansa takes a care for her dress here, not to please Joffrey but to appease him. She tries to work on any connection he may have felt. This would be a fine method of handling a more sentimental person, but Joffrey only remembers the slights he’s been dealt. We also see Sansa striving for remoteness and trying to put the butterflies to rest. The fluttery feeling she’s mentioned feeling when thinking about Joff before is now something to be treated as a condition and suppressed if possible. We see she distrusts her servants as well as the physical manifestation of her feelings. The idea that her own body could revolt and betray her is a source of acknowledgment, at least through her actions, if not conscious reflection. Her world has resolved into an “us or Lannisters” view. She thinks on Winterfell as a source of strength in contrast to the way she now sees the Lannisters and King’s Landing.

Salient points. The previous carefree association with dressing is now lost. She not only has to armor herself in courtesy, but literally drape herself in clothing that will appease Joff as you note. Later on, when the beatings begin, she will use the clothing to hide the bruises and continue with her masquerade.

The parapet scene opens up a number of fruitful avenues of thought, though only a few have anything to do with Joffrey (her dynamic with Sandor is just as interesting as the one with Joff here). When she concludes, “The Hound was right . . . I am only a little bird, repeating the words they taught me,“ she actually frames her new tactic for court survival. Before, she believed the words she parroted. Now she has to use the codes and courtesies in a more self-aware way. Perhaps she isn’t such a good liar and her yes-manning is fairly obvious, but this doesn’t mean that even an obvious lie won’t still conceal true thoughts. Sansa is poised to step into the role of Serwyn Mirror Shield, reflecting back only what they want to see while hiding her true intent.

I like your comparison of her to Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, and the whole focus on the importance of mimicry gives us a means of thinking more critically about the use and effects of her courtesy armor. There's not enough appreciation that while Sansa isn't outside the castle, surrounded by scenes of war and suffering, she is nevertheless fighting her own battle on the inside - her body as the battleground - and she has to not only adopt strategies which will ensure her survival, but also be prepared to alter those to suit, allowing her space for resistance against her oppressors.

The ways in which Sansa comes to term with the real Joffrey will be the subject of Part 2, coming a bit later. Feel free to mention the other books in discussion, though. Most of what I have to say about them will be contrast and elaboration on the ideas here. I’m not sure when I can get those notes up—soon, I hope.

Looking forward to it :)

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Thank you fiekie, it was an interesting post and I enjoyed reading it. I think you highlighted the connection with Sandor and Sansa very well :bowdown: . I don't know why but your essay brought me a few months back when I had to write a paper about sacred marriage in the Sumerian world... I'm still trying to figure it out :idea:.

Thanks for the compliment :)

The sacred marriage (hieros gamos) was a spring/fertility ritual performed during the Akitu (new year). It was habitually performed by the king (or some other random dude) and the head priestess, who embodied (symbolised) the union between Dummuzi/Inanna (Sumerian) and later Tammuz/Ishtar (Akkadian).

For interest, Inanna/Ishar is most famous in our modern eyes because of the myth concerning her descent to the underworld. It's a truly weird story, ending with Inanna/Ishtar getting angry at her husband who didn't mourn her when she was in the underworld, whereafter she has demons take him to the underworld. The fertitly rites connected to the goddess has to do with her descent (symbolising winter/ cessation of sexual activities) followed by her triumphant return (spring/ renewal of sexual activities)* OR when Dummuzi comes back from the underworld for half the year to be with Inanna/Ishtar.

Ishtar features quite prominently in the epic of Gilgamesh; perhaps that's what you were thinking of? I always thought Cercei has a lot of Ishtar in her, especially the way in which Ishtar behaves in the epic of Gilgamesh. Can't say theres much correspondance between Sansa and Ishtar though...

Anyway thanks Brashcandy and Milady of York for your praise :)

* There's a comparable Greco-Roman myth about Persephone(/Proserpina) who has to spend half the year with Hades(/Pluto) and is mourned by her mother Demeter(/Ceres), which results in winter. When Persephone returns, her mother is overjoyed and spring happens.

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Summerqueen really good your analysis (I haven´t finish it but I just want you to know what I like a lot what I have read until now). I want to comment many things when I finish all.

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Can you put your questions in more context?

He's basically saying the following:

The idea that she was spoiled and self-centered requires a lot less work to fit into the rest of the story, imo.

In the past, James A. has noted that he finds Sansa unforgivable because "she betrayed her father for a dreamy prince" and that "apparently, her own selfish desires were more important than the morality she'd been raised with her whole life."

He's also said (in response to the statement that Sansa did not know the consequences of her actions, "Sansa may have also gone throught her house slitting her familiies throats while singing the rains of Castemere, and she may not have known what she was doing."

Basically, it seems James A. believes that Sansa is "spoiled and self centered" for choosing her own way over the unspecified, unexplained demands of her father.

Honestly, I'm not sure why anyone who'd show so much contempt for Sansa would bother going on the Sansa thread, but except to subtly put her down (as "spoiled and self centered"?) Then again, much on these boards remains somewhat mysterious to me.

Anyway, I enjoyed your subtle analysis of the Sansa/ Joffrey scenario.

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Pertinent music for our mythic connections: the symphonic poem <i>Psyche et Eros</i> by Cesar Frank. The work dates to the late 19th century and is in the romantic style. I have not heard it in many years (meaning about forty), but I recall a pleasant listen. There are both excerpts and the whole thing (about 50 minutes) on You Tube. I am not good at collecting URL's from my cell phone---those who are good at You Tube should not have trouble finding the excerpts and full performance.

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Part Two – Analysis

The parallels between Joffrey and Gilgamesh are immediately apparent. They are both tyrants, neither cares for the wellbeing of others and they have an utter disregard for women. The parallels between Enkidu and Sandor are equally obvious: Sandor also started out as a "Beast" (both physically unattractive and beastly behaviour-wise). Both were transformed when they came in contact with The Woman. Both start to "challenge" their ruler (Enkidu challenged Gilgamesh to a duel and Sandor started to "challenge" Joffrey's behaviour towards Sansa).

Apart from these parallels, there are a few more salient points that are less obvious (but no less important):

Many scholars read no further than the obvious implication of the sexual intercourse between Enkidu and Shamhat. However, this has always puzzled me. For starters, no matter how fit you are there is a physical limit to how much sex a human can have in a period of time. So Enkidu and Shamhat would have spent some time not engaged in carnal relations. What did they do during this time? Sit around and feel awkward? Somehow I think not. Secondly, how does sex differentiate us from beasts? In fact, it's one of the things we have in common with them! So how can the simple act of sex "make" Enkidu less beastly and more civilized? Thirdly, after meeting Shamhat, Enkidu is shown to be Gilgamesh's superior in at least two ways: he physically beat him and he is morally superior; i.e. able to judge Gilgamesh's actions towards the newlywed women and recognize that his behaviour is wrong. If Enkidu and Shamhat only had sex, how would he be able to make this moral distinction? Biologically (i.e. from a "beastly" point of view), the "lord's right" makes perfect sense. Impregnating the largest amount of women possible increases the chances of having healthy offspring and that your offspring will survive. Moreover, if Enkidu and Shamhat only had sex, why would he value a woman as anything more than a sexual object? I suppose the argument can be made that Enkidu was actually protecting the husbands rather than the brides; but that seems a bit far-fetched. Why would he care if the husbands got "used goods" (if you would forgive the term). The more likely possibility is that Enkidu was appalled at the way Gilgamesh casually violated these girls. Enkidu recognized the value of women and the sanctity of their bodies. Why? Because of Shamhat. She taught him more than just the "ways of the seven sighs". She taught him about society, respect, family and compassion. Hey that sounds a bit like Sansa...

Moving on: A second perplexing point in the narrative is why Gilgamesh cared so little for other people. It can be inferred that he also had some experience with prostitutes; perhaps even Shamhat herself. After all, it was his idea to send her to Enkidu. So how come he was still misogynistic, rapist pig? I suppose it has something to do with his position and his personality. Like Joffrey, he was "born" a king and felt he had some divine right to do as he wished. Enkidu had humble beginnings (what can be more humble than eating grass with a bunch of herbivores in the field?). Sandor likewise had no delusions of grandeur. They both met The Woman (Sansa/Shamhat) as "equals" in the sense that they are both, man and women, human and worthy of recognition as such. It is true that Sandor was a bit condescending towards Sansa in the beginning. Yet I think her courtesy and the respect she shows, well, everyone soon had him seeing her in another light. This led him to open up to her influence. He started to see her as valuable in and of herself and not just as a pretty walking womb. But this influence she had on him went deeper still. He started to "judge" Joffrey and question his actions - especially his actions towards a mere girl. In the same way, Enkidu was open to Shamhat's influence when they first met. No doubt they equally developed a rapport because of the respect and courtesy she showed him.

In conclusion: I've read on these forums that the only reason Sandor reacted towards Sansa in the way that he did was because she's pretty. I challenge this notion, calling upon the most ancient of texts for comparison. Sandor reacted towards Sansa because of the way that Sansa reacted towards him. The compassion she shows and the way in which she recognises him as human and worthy of respect sets her apart from any other person in his life. He is touched by this in a way that simple physical attraction would not. In contrast, Joffrey was also treated with respect and adoration by Sansa but he remained untouched. He treats her (and everyone else) with contempt and casual cruelty.

With re: to Enkidu's response to Gilgamesh's demand for first night rights, let's recall that Tyrion actually threatens to geld Joffrey if he dares to carry out the bedding ceremony (when Tyrion marries Sansa). It is also Tyrion's suggestion that Joff spend some time with whores (in ACoK) to take his mind off Sansa.

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On the droit de seigneur: note that although Good Queen Alysanne banned it, Roose Bolton still claims it. See his remarks to Theon about Ramsey's conception and birth in ADwD.

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