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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XV

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Ah, thanks for explaining Aurelia! :) I guess I personally don't see Sansa ultimately having such a great appreciation for LF's tactics and methods. I agree that right now she's "fascinated" with seeing this other side to the game which she never quite envisioned, but her fundamental values are antithetical to the ones LF espouses, and based on the last chapter of AFFC a line in the sand may have finally been drawn. As for her opinion of Sandor, I do believe she thinks he's intelligent, but more importantly, also honest and trustworthy. Given Sansa's noted aversion to being exploited for her claim and treated as a pawn, I expect Sandor to keep rising in her estimation based on the nature of their interaction. And Sansa has shown herself to be quite capable of resisting attempts by others to shape her into what they desire - the promise she gives to LF about becoming Alayne in her heart is a lie, for example. What I imagine hope is that Sansa will begin to construct a powerful alternative to how the game is played in Westeros, and this will require her to rely on exactly the kinds of people Sandor most resembles.

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I liked your analysis very much, Elba, thank you for this.

Also, I need to confess here that I did not recognize at first how Raoul fit into the B&B theme or Cupid and Psyche motif and I really struggled with how a character like Raoul fit. It was not until some of the wonderful discussions we've had on this topic on this thread, that a light bulb went off and I facepalmed myself and thought, “Duh! It's so obvious.” In a story that is supposed to be based in a “real” world without magic, the beast and the beautiful lover are not one and the same, but have been split into two separate personas. The Beast character's outward appearance is not going to magically transform into a beautiful specimen at the end of the story the way it happens in B&B, though inner transformation is a different issue. Here the two combined traits of the Beast in the original story have been split into two different characters. Maybe this was always obvious to many of you who know this story, but I am ashamed to admit it took me a little while to see it.

I see this story as a story of moral awakening for the Beast/Erik and of psychological maturation for the Beauty/Christine; and in this regard, it has components of both Cupid and Psyche and the standard Beauty and the Beast. It belongs to the type Transformation in Perception Only–internally, not externally. In this particular story, I see Raoul de Chagny as the “sister” figure, because he’s the one who forces Beauty to face the Beast and then separates the Beauty from her Beast. That he doesn’t do it out of spite, but because Beauty chose him doesn’t invalidate the similitude, because anyone who acts as an interloper is the sister/mother figure, and it has many subversions and inversions in all the B&B variants.

What’s caught my attention is that in so many retellings old and new, singing is an important and recurrent motif. Even in the original Greco-Roman myth, Cupid is a singer and a harpist more skilled than Rhaegar; Laidronette is a poet and a singer as well; Belle loves music and songs, Christine is a singer, and Sansa writes poetry, plays the high harp and the bells and sings. I was thinking about a theory in Psychology which asserts that all of music can be grouped into six types of song depending on the emotions expressed: friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge and love. The presence of these types varies from one retelling to the other, but two are a constant in Cupid and Psyche, Beauty and the Beast, Sandor and Sansa: first, comfort (Cupid sings in his loneliness to console himself, Beauty resorts to songs in her confinement at Beast’s castle, Sansa sings the Mother’s Hymn), followed by love/sex (When Cupid visits Psyche in the night, birds sing outside, a nice metaphor for what’s happening in the chamber, since those birds are his mother’s heralds. There’s The Music of the Night in Phantom of the Opera, and there’s the asking for Florian and Jonquil and the promise of “I will have a song from you” for Sansa). Songs of the comfort type are fundamental to growing up, as they help in the emotional and physical maturation of babies, children and young people; and also singing sooths and comforts in ways that other actions cannot (note that the Mother Hymn had an effect on Sandor that mere words or actions wouldn’t have), because auditory stimulation is radically different from other senses and we react to it even when there is no visual or physical contact. As for the ones in the love category, it’s a curious fact that from a psychological perspective, emotions communicated through singing are perceived as more true and genuine. Vocal music has been linked to sexuality since time immemorial, feminine sexuality to be precise, because instrumental music is unisex, yet singing has always been considered a mainly feminine activity, which is also grounded in biology (women tend to sing more than men, literally and metaphorically). Song as a metaphor for sex is not exclusive to GRRM. The Greeks knew about it, and the Hebrews, too. Just look at this verses from the Song of Songs in the Old Testament where a man is telling his maiden in the midst of amorous play:

Let me hear your voice,

your delicious song.

I love to look at you.

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ANALYSIS -

Saved by the Kiss

As with Beauty and the Beast, we have a kiss which transforms the monster, in this case not physically, but emotionally. The kiss is what finally makes Erik break down and let Christine go forever to be with her true love. But what is striking to me in this story is that it's not a kiss from the Beauty which first causes the monster to break down. Rather it is the fact that she allows him to kiss her, even making a move to let him do so more easily, that causes his emotional transformation. Even his own mother never let him kiss her. This is how Erik describes it to the Persian, who he calls daroga:

So, this singular, powerful act of compassion, Beauty allowing the Beast to kiss her is what transforms him, and this transformation is sealed by tears mingling together, falling on his forehead. These tears on the forehead symbolise a baptism and a baptism of course is a ceremony in which you renounce the ways of the devil. Also, we have the manly tears and the reference to him being like a loyal dog to her – need I say more? ;-) Finally, the Beauty and her handsome lover decide to go off in hiding together, to live happily ever after, to the North!

Great work Elba !

I especially enjoyed this part about the kiss and the comparison with baptism, it was very clever. I’d like to add that like Erik, Sandor accepts Sansa’s choice of not “staying” with him (even if there could be a bit of a misunderstanding here) and lets her go. This theme of letting a loved one go is quite frequent in love stories. It is also a very important part of the growing process as it is what parents do with their children (the other way round is also true). So I’m wondering; could there be a didactic dimension for both Sandor and Sansa in this gesture :idea: ?

I've been humming Music of the Night the whole day because of you :lol:

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I've been humming Music of the Night the whole day because of you :lol:

Same here! I unearthed and constantly listened to Crawford, Butler and Karimloo all night!

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Oh Elba that was a really great essay on the Phantom! i thank you for it :D when i was 12 i was a really BIG fan, but yeah, haven't seen the movie in ages. you are making me want to watch it again :)

i liked the start where you gave us a little info about leroux's journlaism activities and well everything really was just very well done!! from the musical research to the bit where you explained how sandor can relate to not only Erik but raoul as well. never really liked raoul either though, and well i can just hope that in the end Sansa and Sandor find joy, whether they are together or not.

Also, there is a version of the phantom with charles dance from 1990 where the main opera the characters are rehearsing for is Faust. i wonder if goethe's story and cyrano de bergerac could also have some similarities to the whole B&B project we have here?

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Didactic? leave her in KL the night of Blackwater? Why?

I guess because unlike other characters (like Joffrey or Cercei), Sandor doesn't impose his choice on her. Sansa has learned that she could say no to him and that he would somehow respect her choice. On the contrary, Joffrey has her beaten for defying him. Just a thought...

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Yes, in another moment maybe, but i don´t remember her in that night saying-"No".

That's the reason why I wrote there could be a misunderstanding here. Sansa doesn't say no but it seems that Sandor interprets her lack of response as a no. After all, he doesn't repeat his offer to take her with him.

On the didactic dimension: once Sandor (and maybe Dontos to some extent) is gone, there is no one in position to "rescue" her. So it could mean that little Sansa has to learn to fight for herself and that she's the one who will rescue herself.

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I guess that he doesn't bore me more than the average background character in Westeros. But he is not a background character. GRRM fleshes him out, creates a Beauty and the Beast theme with Sansa but it seems that it's not enough to capture my attention. At first I hated Sansa (I started appreciating her more from the third book) but her chapters never bored me, except when Sandor appeared. It's just a gut feeling. I guess I have always felt him as flat by comparison to the extremely more interesting characters in King's Landing. And while in reading these threads I have gained a lot of sympathy for Sansa and her journey, I still didn't change my mind about the Hound. He is not a character I want to root for but he is not a character I particularly wanted dead either. Mostly, I don't want to read about him ever again and that's my definiton of boring in ASOIF.

Thanks for explaining. :) I used to hate Sansa as well. When I first watched the show I hated her and also when I first read the books. But as the books went on I started to love her and now here I am. :)

Ah, thanks for explaining Aurelia! :) I guess I personally don't see Sansa ultimately having such a great appreciation for LF's tactics and methods. I agree that right now she's "fascinated" with seeing this other side to the game which she never quite envisioned, but her fundamental values are antithetical to the ones LF espouses, and based on the last chapter of AFFC a line in the sand may have finally been drawn. As for her opinion of Sandor, I do believe she thinks he's intelligent, but more importantly, also honest and trustworthy. Given Sansa's noted aversion to being exploited for her claim and treated as a pawn, I expect Sandor to keep rising in her estimation based on the nature of their interaction. And Sansa has shown herself to be quite capable of resisting attempts by others to shape her into what they desire - the promise she gives to LF about becoming Alayne in her heart is a lie, for example. What I imagine hope is that Sansa will begin to construct a powerful alternative to how the game is played in Westeros, and this will require her to rely on exactly the kinds of people Sandor most resembles.

:agree: I think that Sansa will never become like LF. Although I think she will appreciate how much intelligence can play a part in the game of thrones, it doesn't mean that that will be all she cares about. I personally think that would be ooc for Sansa. I also think that her time with LF wouldn't change her opinion of Sandor because his good traits like his honesty are still the same. And I'm sure that Sansa still likes those things. :)

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Ah, thanks for explaining Aurelia! :) I guess I personally don't see Sansa ultimately having such a great appreciation for LF's tactics and methods. I agree that right now she's "fascinated" with seeing this other side to the game which she never quite envisioned, but her fundamental values are antithetical to the ones LF espouses, and based on the last chapter of AFFC a line in the sand may have finally been drawn. As for her opinion of Sandor, I do believe she thinks he's intelligent, but more importantly, also honest and trustworthy. Given Sansa's noted aversion to being exploited for her claim and treated as a pawn, I expect Sandor to keep rising in her estimation based on the nature of their interaction. And Sansa has shown herself to be quite capable of resisting attempts by others to shape her into what they desire - the promise she gives to LF about becoming Alayne in her heart is a lie, for example. What I imagine hope is that Sansa will begin to construct a powerful alternative to how the game is played in Westeros, and this will require her to rely on exactly the kinds of people Sandor most resembles.

I think Sansa has also re-evaluated what constitutes courage.

Sansa at the beginning was very impressed by what one could call "tourney courage".

Later I think she came to understand this was different from actual "battle courage". Someone like The Hound has it, even someone like Tyrion (who is pretty much guaranteed to be a casualty every time he goes out there).

But Littlefinger has his own sort of courage, as she learns. It's not the in-your-face kind, but he is very bold and risk-taking, in his own way. This doesn't mean he's heedless of danger, but if you take the meeting with the Lords Declarant as an example, aside from Alayne and Lady Smallwood he probably had the least fighting ability of anyone there, and yet in the end he faced them down like a boss, and won the day. He had help there and it was a controlled environment, but just the same his sheer confidence in his own abilities probably inspires Sansa in some way.

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I agree with you ..Daene ..queen.I think that in that Chapter is the key of the future of Sansa. In a symbolic and subtle way she has taken a way, difficult, hidden, that "the rest of the world" not sees. The rest of the world can´t bring her back.

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I think Sansa has also re-evaluated what constitutes courage.

Sansa at the beginning was very impressed by what one could call "tourney courage".

Later I think she came to understand this was different from actual "battle courage". Someone like The Hound has it, even someone like Tyrion (who is pretty much guaranteed to be a casualty every time he goes out there).

But Littlefinger has his own sort of courage, as she learns. It's not the in-your-face kind, but he is very bold and risk-taking, in his own way. This doesn't mean he's heedless of danger, but if you take the meeting with the Lords Declarant as an example, aside from Alayne and Lady Smallwood he probably had the least fighting ability of anyone there, and yet in the end he faced them down like a boss, and won the day. He had help there and it was a controlled environment, but just the same his sheer confidence in his own abilities probably inspires Sansa in some way.

Good points. I think that her appreciation of Sandor's "battle courage" is also quite complex. She knows that he can be ferocious in battle, but she also recognizes that he's not simply a fighting machine and that he too suffers from doubts and fears, related to his brother and his fear of fire. We see this recognition on two occasions: the conversation on the roof of Maegor's and later when he visits her room on the night of the Blackwater battle. It allows them to have a closer, more meaningful relationship, as is evidenced when Sansa notes that although people are saying the Hound turned craven on the night of the battle, she knows the truth of what he really feared.

It's clear that she's impressed by the "courage" LF displays when dealing with the Lords Declarant, but I wonder if she will find it truly inspirational in the long run, especially as it becomes clearer that he's prepared to be completely ruthless in playing the game, with the plan to kill SR. So far, she's beginning to develop her own brand of fearlessness - "bastard brave" - and that's aligned with figures like Mya Stone and Jon Snow.

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I am really getting late to this thread! I am still reading the first of LF analysis. But before I read the 5 pages with your all ideas, I jumped to the Elba Phantom essay.

I like it a lot.

I have some ideas. Later I will post it.

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I've been lurking for a while, I thoroughly enjoy everything you guys have done. At first it's not that I didn't like Sansa, I just related to her too much. The naivete she had in the first book reminded me of all the stupid mistakes I've made. But you guys have helped me come to appreciate her.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this is relevant, but I originally think Little Finger was planning to take Sansa out of kings landing earlier. The chapter she recieves the note about coming to the godswood come right after Tyrion plays him about the myrcella marriage to robin arryn. I think originally he didn't have plans for her to be involved with Joffs murder. But then he finds out the jokes on him.

P.S. the b&b project is amazing. I'm totally going to pick up some of these stories.

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Welcome to the thread starkalways! :) I agree that LF's plans for Sansa probably went through a few revisions. After all, we only found out in ADWD that he offered to marry her after Ned's death, and after this he seems to have turned his attention to securing a high enough position to marry Lysa Arryn and take it from there...

And like you, working on this project, along with reading the other contributions, has really inspired me to read more in the B&B pantheon.

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Resources 5

Milady of York (B&B project contribution): From Apuleius to Villeneuve: The transformation of Cupid and Psyche into Beauty and the Beast.

Elba the Intoner (B&B project contribution): The Phantom of the Opera

brashcandy (B&B project contribution): Awakening the Beast: Female Sexuality and Empowerment in Sansa's Arc.

Milady of York (B&B project contribution): The Two Faces of the Beast - Part I

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Interesting! butter: (And the joker is a card of a game too!)

Maybe, Suggests a Gravedigger :cool4:?....A Joker card, of course.... ( ;..

The fool at tarot is a card of change, not only death. It is the change of the previous. As GRRM has said Westeros world after will be change.

----------

About the red-wine-blood question that you wrote at Spanish (I believe that it is a mistake to write it at Spanish, just remembering a thing when I used to speak better English I got asked at Spanish by my sister and I answered her, she repeated the question and I answered her again, finally she made me understand that I was answering at English and I didn´t notice it :blushing: ).

Your question was about the serpentine and the meaning of the red color mixed with the red of the wine thick as blood (also about red color), isn´t? It came to my mind the wine of the weddings and the blood of the first night. It is as if a marriage proposal it has been set. Anyway you not at christianism: here is the blood of my son, drink it (the wine). ;)

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Elba here are some ideas that came to my mind while reading it. I really love your Phantom research!!!

The Beast a/k/a the Opera ghost or Phantom, and known to Christine as Erik, is described in detail as being very thin with a skeleton frame, deep set eyes with fixed pupils that look like two big black holes as in a skull, yellow skin stretched tightly over his bones, a missing nose and three or four long dark hairs. (Phantom of the Opera, Kobo e-book, Chapt. 1, p.5) So basically, he looks like a walking skeleton.

The missing nose brought to my mind all the different character without nose (Roger) or with half nose (Tyrion). And again, even they are many Sansa/Sandor similarities, I could see also Tyrion at some points.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you but personally I don't find this description of Raoul all that appealing, though maybe this was the standard for handsome in the 1880s. Also, I need to confess here that I did not recognize at first how Raoul fit into the B&B theme or Cupid and Psyche motif and I really struggled with how a character like Raoul fit. It was not until some of the wonderful discussions we've had on this topic on this thread, that a light bulb went off and I facepalmed myself and thought, “Duh! It's so obvious.” In a story that is supposed to be based in a “real” world without magic, the beast and the beautiful lover are not one and the same, but have been split into two separate personas. The Beast character's outward appearance is not going to magically transform into a beautiful specimen at the end of the story the way it happens in B&B, though inner transformation is a different issue. Here the two combined traits of the Beast in the original story have been split into two different characters. Maybe this was always obvious to many of you who know this story, but I am ashamed to admit it took me a little while to see it.

Jajajaja Neither I!!! Anyway as you have say it: should be the standard beauty of the moment because also the Phantom is slim (with a terrific face, but slim).

About spliting the Beast into the Phantom and Raoul: I believe that GRRM has split also the idea between Tyrion-Sandor/The Hound.

Since this essay is going to be really long, I thought I'd split it up in to three sections, discussing the three major events of the story. The events at Christine's father's grave at Perros, the night when the Phantom first takes Christine to his lair, and the final showdown between Christine, the Phantom and Raoul.

Perros at Spanish means Dogs, but here I believe it is just a coincidence. Perros as a French village. I believe it is more significant that it is at the north as you have point out.

ANALYSIS -

I included this scene because it shows how enraptured Christine becomes by her Angel of Music and believes him to be heaven sent by her father. She goes into a trance like state when she hears him. It exemplifies how drawn she is to this creature, who at this point she has not seen yet. She has only heard his voice. So, at this point she really believes she is being visited by a heavenly being that was meant just for her and to whom she gave her soul when she so triumphantly that night.

The idea that the father tried to transmit was that the Angel of the Music was the inspiration and how gifted people are possessed by it. Anyway I see it as comprehensal to a child mind to make it a person, an Angel. Only that Christine and the Phantom turned that child tale into flesh. It is a beautiful imaginery.

Sunset and Midnight/Angel vs Devil:

There is a lot of sunset imagery surrounding Raoul and Christine. When they were children they would sit on the hill at twilight and listen to Christine's father tell them stories, and the Inn that Raoul and Christine stay at in Perros is called the Setting Sun. On the other hand, the imagery associated with the Phantom and Christine is midnight and death. He looks like death walking though she has not seen him yet. When she goes to hear him play the violin in a thrall, it is in a churchyard by a her father's grave at midnight. Also, her father is dead but Christine has come to associate the voice with her father, as she believes he is the Angel who her father promised to send her. Remember that Raoul heard her tell the voice how she sang only for him, that she gave him her soul and now she is dead. Of course, when Raoul comes face to face with him, he thinks he has confronted Satan. Then of course there is that description of the red roses bursting through the snow in the graveyard by the church, giving the appearance of life amongst death. This whole scene takes place in winter which symbolically represents death, but even in death there is life. This is reaffirmed by the image of the Phantom as a living corpse.

All the Twilight and Midnight brought to me the idea of the twilight as the begining (of their love and the story), the midnight as the main story, the dark hours, the danger, the emotions. I don´t know if it ends up with a dawn but it seems that should as a kind of hope at the future.

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