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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIV

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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.

The problem I have with seeing parallels to Tyrion here is that although he does get upset with Joff for his statements at the wedding, he's not only essentially powerless to stop Joffrey, but he's also implicated in a forced wedding/bedding himself. Further, Enkidu and Shamhat have time to get to know one another, and develop a relationship; no such situation exists between Sansa and Tyrion, making his "defense" ring a bit hollow.

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.

Thanks for the recommendation :) Here's

link I found.

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.

Yup, and if I recall correctly, Roose mentions the Umbers as well. Theon himself becomes involved in a sick parody of this practice, when Ramsay "invites" him into the bedchamber to prepare Jeyne for intercourse on their wedding night.

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Fiekie: I was not acquainted with the Gilgamesh tale, but I am glad that I was introduced to it with your great comparisons to Sandor/Sansa/Joff triangle!

About this:

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 recognizes 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

Sumerqueen: From that great analysis of Joff where we learned even more from Sansa and of course Joff, i can tell you that i am looking forward to the second part of your installment SO much!!

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.
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.

Loved the “truth in looks” reference cause it made me think of Sandor’s “Look at me” line.

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).

Of course you already touched on this, but for the first time the highlighted words had a new more meaningful undertone for me cause it’s a summary of what Sandor did during his time together with Sansa in King’s Landing. She thought it was a magical place, then realized she was alone in a pit of vipers and when her father and everyone else had left her, the Hound tried to guide her towards reality to some degree.

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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Hi everyone! Just trying to play catch up here after a couple of hectic weeks. Not done with all of this yet but I did want to say how much I enjoyed Fieke's essay on the Epic of Glilgamesh and Summerqueen's analysis of Sansa and Joff. I knew nothing about Gilgamesh but I can see it does have some obvious parallels between the Joffrey, Sansa, Hound triangle.

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.

Great job explaining Sansa's emotional state here. It does seem like she is having a breakdown doesn't it? She's starting to see the cracks in her chivalric view of the world, and her reaction when Ned tells her they are leaving is really Sansa's low point. Isn't that when Arya tries to tell her it won't be so bad as they can go home and they will get to see Robb and Bran and even Old Nan and Hodor, and Sansa screams at her that she ought to marry Hodor because she's just like him, stupid and ugly? Sadly that's the last time Sansa and Arya have any interaction with each other. It is King's Landing even more so than Joff that she does not want to leave, whereas Joff is her ticket to staying in King's Landing. So she struggles to come up with ways to make it all fit in with her view - Joff likes to kill but only animals, yes Jaime, Gregor and some of those others in King's Landing are not so chivalrous but they are not true knights, etc. etc. It's interesting that just as her picture of Joff is corrupted in her mind after her father's death, so is her picture of King's Landing.

ETA Every time I hear about Serwyn of the Mirror Shield I keep thinking about the end of The Man of La Mancha when Don Quixote is fighting the knight with the mirrors who forces him to face his idealized delusions and it kills him. I don't remember much more about it than that but maybe GRRM got his idea of Serwyn the Mirror Shield from this?

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Alright, so we're coming towards the end of another thread. I'm going to start Sansa 15 tomorrow, in anticipation of upcoming presentations. Feel free to use the remaining space to respond to the latest contributions by fiekie and Summerqueen and/or any other observations. Thank you.

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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.

It’s interesting that Joffrey is clad in blue while he’s still the Crown Prince and later in red/crimson when he’s already King. Without getting into other probable explanations, such as his identification with his Lannister side, I find it particularly significant because of how both colours are interpreted in clinical psychology. There’s the Lüscher Colour Test, for example. In this test, each colour represents certain emotions and the selection of a determined colour’s a strong indication of the person’s present mental state, and one has to pay special attention to what colour was the first choice, and then to the second and the third, etc., in order. Choosing the red card first is a source of concern for the clinician in charge, because of its negative connotations. On the other hand, choosing blue is seen as positive because it represents desirable emotions such as calmness, tenderness, contentment, love and affection, whereas red and its shades represent aggression, dominance, excitability and temper. I see there’s a coincidence between the preference for a colour to wear and Joffrey’s attitude towards Sansa: whilst he’s Prince Heir, Joffrey pretends to be a charming youth who adores her and displays all the (fake) emotions this colour is supposed to stand for, and when he’s King he no longer needs to conceal his true nature and behaves more aggressively and sadistically.

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It’s interesting that Joffrey is clad in blue while he’s still the Crown Prince and later in red/crimson when he’s already King. Without getting into other probable explanations, such as his identification with his Lannister side, I find it particularly significant because of how both colours are interpreted in clinical psychology. There’s the Lüscher Colour Test, for example. In this test, each colour represents certain emotions and the selection of a determined colour’s a strong indication of the person’s present mental state, and one has to pay special attention to what colour was the first choice, and then to the second and the third, etc., in order. Choosing the red card first is a source of concern for the clinician in charge, because of its negative connotations. On the other hand, choosing blue is seen as positive because it represents desirable emotions such as calmness, tenderness, contentment, love and affection, whereas red and its shades represent aggression, dominance, excitability and temper. I see there’s a coincidence between the preference for a colour to wear and Joffrey’s attitude towards Sansa: whilst he’s Prince Heir, Joffrey pretends to be a charming youth who adores her and displays all the (fake) emotions this colour is supposed to stand for, and when he’s King he no longer needs to conceal his true nature and behaves more aggressively and sadistically.

Yes, the color change is interesting because it suggests so clearly that Joffrey's reputation as a lawful heir (when he wore the royal blue) has been tainted by his Lannister blood. The truth of his parentage is marked visibly, publicly, in his court garb. It's another way that he has been unmasked. Blue is the color of his façade, the public role he plays as Sansa's princely protector and caring betrothed. Red is the color of his real nature, violent, aggressive, Lannister through and through.

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Summerqueen it has took me a lot to be able to highlight somethings (RL).

I am short of time, but I want to point out somethings that you have explained.

First I want to tell you how much I have enjoyed this Joffrey vision. You have done it real good one (and it is only the start of it!!).

Now the points:

- Going to bed with the Lannister I see it as the things that an unhappy marriages do to both (Robert and Cersei). They are fighting each other. And Robert is losing that war. He is good at open wars but not at a long confrontation.

- Sansa wanted her marriage with Joffrey since the begining.

- Sansa has feel the begining of physical attraction for the young Wayward that end up at the Wall.

- I love the idea of Sansa following the chivalric code.

- Lion´s tooth. Joffrey naming his sword following the Lannister warriors and not the Baratheon warriors is another proof. We must remember that Robert was a really good fighter.

- Joffrey not slowly down at the Trident with Sansa (seing that she was having trouble to keep his path) is another proof of not chivaldry. At equal not returning when Sansa ask for it.

- Foreshadowing: Sansa being beaten and Arya running away and be founded by Lannister ´s men.

- Joffrey at the Hand´s Tourney also wearing blue with golden Lions. But at that tourney Sansa is wearing a green outfit.

- Another foreshadowing from Joffrey´s lip: "My dog will do for him". Indeed Sandor fought his brother and won the tourney helping Loras.

- Sansa is being clever noticing that Moon Boy is not simply and being cruel to others reveals also her good nature. Even if she is not seen more due to the fact that she is eclypsed by Joffrey.

- Sansa is telling to Arya that she will not dare to call her liar when she will be a Queen because that could carry her do death. It can be see as a thrill.

But I really see as Sansa noticing that adults didn´t say what they think to the Queen and the King. Not telling the truth.

- Mycah indeed attacks Joffrey at Joffrey´s orders (IIRC).

- I like a lot the point Joffrey-Robert-Drunkness.

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About colors: I only find relevant at the books due to their meaning at the books.

Many children will choose red as one at their favorite colors without meaning that they are violent.

But at ASOIAF blue is like linked with politics. As if both wanted to get to an agreement. But when Joffrey is king then he dress at red colors meaning that he is a danger.

And the purple is more a color of pain (he suffers a lot at his death and also it is present at the heraldric colors of Ilyan and Podrick Payne).

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ETA Every time I hear about Serwyn of the Mirror Shield I keep thinking about the end of The Man of La Mancha when Don Quixote is fighting the knight with the mirrors who forces him to face his idealized delusions and it kills him. I don't remember much more about it than that but maybe GRRM got his idea of Serwyn the Mirror Shield from this?

It can come also from the Gorgone, Medusa.

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Fiekie and Summerqueen, great posts. I'm sorry I haven't been around as much to comment (and I'm very glad to see East Coasters popping their heads in - hope all is going OK after the storm).

Just one quick comment on Sansa wearing blue: Blue is the color associated with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In most medieval and Renaissance paintings of Mary, she is wearing blue robes. The color that painters used to get that shade of blue - ultramarine - was rare and expensive, as well. Sansa's wearing blue links her to an archetypal Mother figure. (Also, more mundanely, women who have intensely blue eyes tend to have a LOT of blue shirts and dresses. Blue is probably one of Sansa's more flattering colors. It's interesting to think about how unflattering the Lannister crimson must be to Sansa with her red hair.)

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Blue is also associated with cold and could also be an indication of Sansa's origin, the North. Blue is also the color of royalty in France since the 12th century because it was rare and expensive as KittensRuleBeetsDrool pointed out. Interestingly enough before the 12th century, they used the crimson (like crimson Lannister?).

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Great insights into the colour blue :) I know Rapsie is very interested in exploring colour symbolism with Sansa so perhaps it's something we can have a more comprehensive analysis on going forward.

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<snip>

- Joffrey not slowly down at the Trident with Sansa (seing that she was having trouble to keep his path) is another proof of not chivaldry. At equal not returning when Sansa ask for it.

<snip>

Yes, if he slowed down, it would suggest more that he enjoys her company as well as his ride (it may very well be that he's being competitive here, but I think Sansa is probably just not an adept rider). More significantly, it would indicate that he sees her difficulty (I doubt he really notices), and he adapts out of kindness/charity/consideration. He's rather inconsiderate here, as you point out, not very chivalric.

However, I also think this has something to do with the symbolic nature of their betrothal. She has to chase him and follow him socially as well as literally, as he is of a higher social rank than she. It is her job to attend him, and not the other way around. Any young woman aiming to marry a prince would be put in the role of pursuer (socially), trying to gain his attention and convincing him that she is better than the rest. She pursues because he's "a catch" for a girl of her social position. We see that social reality become a bit literal here.

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Fiekie and Summerqueen, great posts. I'm sorry I haven't been around as much to comment (and I'm very glad to see East Coasters popping their heads in - hope all is going OK after the storm).

Just one quick comment on Sansa wearing blue: Blue is the color associated with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In most medieval and Renaissance paintings of Mary, she is wearing blue robes. The color that painters used to get that shade of blue - ultramarine - was rare and expensive, as well. Sansa's wearing blue links her to an archetypal Mother figure. (Also, more mundanely, women who have intensely blue eyes tend to have a LOT of blue shirts and dresses. Blue is probably one of Sansa's more flattering colors. It's interesting to think about how unflattering the Lannister crimson must be to Sansa with her red hair.)

I love what you say about blue being associated with Mary. It definitely is. And Sansa is definitely a very motherly figure. And I have blue eyes and I definitely own a lot of blue clothes. It's my favorite color,actually.

Yes, if he slowed down, it would suggest more that he enjoys her company as well as his ride (it may very well be that he's being competitive here, but I think Sansa is probably just not an adept rider). More significantly, it would indicate that he sees her difficulty (I doubt he really notices), and he adapts out of kindness/charity/consideration. He's rather inconsiderate here, as you point out, not very chivalric.

However, I also think this has something to do with the symbolic nature of their betrothal. She has to chase him and follow him socially as well as literally, as he is of a higher social rank than she. It is her job to attend him, and not the other way around. Any young woman aiming to marry a prince would be put in the role of pursuer (socially), trying to gain his attention and convincing him that she is better than the rest. She pursues because he's "a catch" for a girl of her social position. We see that social reality become a bit literal here.

I love what you say about Sansa having to chase after Joffrey.

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