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brashcandy

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XVIII

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Hi people! I haven't had the opportunity to post much lately due to craziness in real life, but I have been following along as best I can and these last few pages have been wonderful. I was away for a long ski weekend and didn't have great internet access which was very frustrating! I was able to read through the great posts from Milady, Mladen, Caro and QoW on my phone though. What a treat! Now I'm back and will have more opportunity to post and it's great to see the Beauty and the Beast project moving along because I too am ready to post my next essay for the project. It's actually lucky coincidence that Caro's essay focused on Tyrion, Joffrey and Petyr as the beasts, as mine will be looking at these three as well, told through the lens of the novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I'll be posting soon in parts as it's long.

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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST INFLUENCES IN LITERATURE, EXAMPLE 2 -

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME

(originally titled, Notre-Dame de Paris, published in 1831)

by Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

(NOTE: The version of the book I am referencing in this essay is by The Modern Library, New York, 2004 Modern Library Mass Market Edition, a division of Random House, Inc.)

This Wikipedia page offers a good synopsis of the story and characters and the links to the characters are also very good. See here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunchback_of_Notre-Dame

Beauty and the Beast influences -

It's time to look at some other Beasts in literature that have a role in Sansa's story as well. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame offers examples of three other Beasts to consider, Tyrion, Petyr Baelish and Joffrey. Let's take a look.

Hunchback is a tragic story of fate. In the Author's Preface, we learn that Hugo got the idea for writing this book after roaming around Notre-Dame Cathedral and finding this word, “FATE” in Greek capital letters engraved in a corner of a wall of one of the towers of the Cathedral. He was “struck by the ominous and fatal feeling emanating from this writing,” and wondered at the “tortured soul” who left that mark.

There is no happy ending for our beauty, Esmeralda, as she is surrounded by three versions of the Beast. Quasimodo, the Hunchback, who is beastly in form but who has a good soul, Claude Frollo who is depraved of soul, and Captain Phoebus, who is very handsome but does not truly care for Esmeralda as Quasimodo does. In the end it is her rejection of the Beast Quasimodo, whose feelings for her are true, in favor of the handsome but vain Captain Phoebus, who just wants to use her, that is Esmeralda's final undoing, more so than Claude Frollo's actions to destroy her when she (rightfully) rejects him.

The most obvious choice for Beast in terms of appearance is Quasimodo who is a dwarf, like Tyrion. We first see him when he is crowned the Pope of Fools on the day of the Epiphany and the Festival of Fools, January 6, 1482.

He has a “tetrahedron nose”, “horseshoe mouth”, a “little left eye, obscured by a bristly red eyebrow, while the right was completely overwhelmed and buried by an enormous wart”, “irregular teeth”, a “horny lip, over which one of those teeth protruded, like the tusk of an elephant;” and a “hook like chin”. His head is “prodigious”, his legs are shortened and “strangely put together”, but most notably it is the enormous hump between his shoulders that defines him. “He looked like a giant who had been broken in pieces and badly soldered together again.” [Note the giant reference which has also very much been associated with Tyrion.]

Quasimodo was left as a foundling at Notre-Dame when he was four years old and taken in by Claude Frollo, “a man of an austere countenance, with a wide brow and piercing gaze.” Though still a young priest at the time he adopted Quasimodo, he already had an ominous reputation as a sorcerer. Claude Frollo is the Beast in terms of his soul by the time he meets Esmeralda, but he did not start out that way. He was very smart and excelled at all his studies, was destined for the Church and devoted himself to it, and by sixteen was rising fast in the Church hierarchy. He also mastered medicine, liberal arts, and learned the Latin, Greek and Hebrew languages. When his parents died from a plague in 1466 he took in his infant brother Jehan to whom he became devoted when previously he had only been devoted to his studies. It was because of his love for his brother Jehan that he decided to take in the deformed, monstrous, foundling.

He approached the unfortunate little creature, so hated and so threatened. Its distress, its deformity, its destitution, the thought of his young brother, the idea that suddenly flashed across his mind, that if he were to die his poor little Jehan too might be mercilessly thrown on the same spot, assailed his heart all at once; it melted with pity, and he carried the boy away.

So Frollo did have some humanity and compassion in him at one point and because of what he did for the foundling, whom Frollo names Quasimodo after the day he found him and which also means in Latin “half formed”, Quasimodo becomes deeply devoted to him. Until Esmeralda comes into the picture, Quasimodo has only two things in the world that he is devoted to, Frollo and his beloved bells of Notre-Dame where has grown up. His years as bell ringer have made him deaf to human voices though he can still hear the bells ring.

Nevertheless, by the time this story starts in 1482, Frollo had grown more austere and grave. Moreover, he has aged prematurely being almost completely bald with some tufts of hair that were completely gray. “He was a somber and awe-inspiring character, before whom . . . all trembled as he stalked slowly along beneath the lofty arches of the choir, majestic, pensive, with arms folded and head so bowed on his bosom that one could see only his great bald forehead.” He became increasingly disillusioned and upset by his brother Jehan who grew up to be an alcoholic, womanizing waste of life who only comes to Claude for money, and he spends more time studying the “forbidden” subjects, particularly, alchemy and was obsessed with finding the philosopher's stone that was supposedly hidden by Nicolas Flamel. (Off topic – so that's where JK Rowling got the idea of the sorcerers stone from I assume?) Frollo would also hide for many hours in a small and secret room he made for himself in one of the towers of Notre-Dame, the room in which FATE was written, that no one dared enter without his permission.

So it's no wonder that by this time the Archdeacon is “on the outs with all good Christians”, and when he and Quasimodo do venture out of Notre-Dame into the neighborhoods from time to time, they are a very unpopular pair among the people who view Quasimodo as a demon and Frollo is the conjurer. Often as they would go walking by you could hear a group of old women say, “'Here comes one whose soul looks like the others body!'” [i put this comment in here because it is a great example of the two aspects of the Beast that these two characters represent, one whose body is beastly but not his soul, and the other whose soul is beastly though not his body. Also, this brought to mind to me a strong corollary to the Tyrion-Tywin relationship, when Tywin says to Tyrion that the gods have given him Tyrion to teach him humility.]

Claude Frollo by this time has spent his life completely away from women and it seems that he hates them more than ever. In one notable case he denied the King's daughter admission to the cloisters of Notre-Dame and refused to appear before her causing a great scandal. Finally, his horror at the gypsy girls has grown so vehement over time that he got an edict from the Bishop prohibiting Gypsies from dancing in the area of the Parvis. [The similarities to Tywin Lannister are just so obvious that I really believe Frollo must have been some inspiration for Tywin. He and Tywin are described physically as very similar. I could not imagine Frollo smiling any more than I could Tywin. They are both extremely imposing figures. Plus, as I said above, the father-son dynamic between Frollo and Quasimodo is very similar to Tywin and Tyrion.]

So, by the time our Beauty Esmeralda comes along, Frollo's obsession with her is all the more striking. When we first see Esmeralda she is dancing and presents a dazzling vision. Everyone watching her is fixated:

With her smooth bodice of gold, her colorful dress that swelled with the rapidity of her motions, with her bare shoulders, her finely turned legs that her skirt now and then revealed, her black hair, her flaming eyes, she was a supernatural creature.

She is accompanied by her pretty goat Djali whom she has taught to do tricks. If Esmeralda's dancing is wonderful then her singing is even more beautiful. “Her voice, like her dancing and her beauty, was indefinable, something pure, sonorous, aerial, winged, as it were.” When another character, Pierre Gringoire, first hears her sing it brings tears to his eyes, and then she is described as seeming to sing like a bird. [bird reference alert! Plus, she has a beautiful singing voice.]

One other thing that our Beauty Esmeralda has in common with all the beauties is that she has no parents. She was raised by a gypsy woman but she is not her real mother. Esmeralda wears a green pouch around her neck and is told to keep it close as that will lead her to finding her mother one day and Esmeralda does long to find her mother.

The act of compassion that transforms the Beast -

We learned in our Beauty and the Beast stories that there is often one singular act of compassion and kindness towards the Beast that transforms him, and later leads the so called Beast to save the Beauty. In this story, this act of compassion comes when Quasimodo is being punished in the pillory. The night before he is taken to the pillory, Quasimodo and Frollo had attempted to kidnap Esmeralda. He doesn't know Esmeralda and only helps Frollo because of his devotion to him. It is because of his love for Frollo that he helps him in his kidnap attempt. However, the attempt fails as Esmeralda is saved by Captain Phoebus. Frollo escapes but Quasimodo is captured. The next day Quasimodo is taken to the pillory to be punished. (There are a few pages before this in which we see a ridiculously sham “hearing” taking place before Quasimodo is convicted which clearly shows that Quasimodo is really being punished for being hideous and unpopular and also because he is deaf and cannot answer the questions properly, not for his part in the kidnapping attempt, but poor Quasimodo doesn't really understand this because of his deafness. [sham trial condemning the beast for his looks sound familiar?]) At the pillory he is whipped repeatedly and then left bound for an additional hour. Frollo appears in the crowd and Quasimodo is ecstatic thinking that Frollo will save him but instead when Frollo realizes who is in the pillory he turns around and hurries off not wanting to be recognized. Quasimodo is despondent at this. He also is in a lot of pain and is really thirsty and cries out for water. Many people in the crowd including Jehan Frollo start laughing at him and some throw things at him. Suddenly the crowd parts and he sees a strange figure approaching him. He realizes it is the Bohemian girl he had tried to carry off, followed by a little white goat with gilded horns. He thinks she is coming to take revenge on him and add her blow to the rest.

Without uttering a word she approached the victim, who vainly writhed away from her, and, taking a gourd from her belt, she gently lifted it to the parched lips of the exhausted wretch. A big tear flowed out of his dry and bloodshot eye, and it trickled slowly down his deformed face so long contracted by despair. It was perhaps the first tear that he had shed since he arrived at manhood.

Notice the pattern here of the kind act from the Beauty causing the Beast to cry. But in this case, Quasimodo was never a bad person or a beast in his heart. So how has he been transformed? His transformation takes place in the form of a transference of his loyalty. He had only been loyal to one person his whole life, Claude Frollo, but after this, he will become loyal to Esmeralda and place her above everyone else, including Frollo. [Also, this is where we see the major difference between Quasimodo and Tyrion as deformed, dwarf beast to their respective beauties in that Tyrion does not switch his loyalty to Sansa. Throughout their time together, Tyrion is still very much acting to promote the Lannister cause. He does not love Sansa for herself as Quasimodo does with Esmeralda.]

However, what differs from the normal Beauty and the Beast story is that the Beauty has not come to accept this Beast. In the end of the B&B story with the happy ending, the Beauty's act of compassion also signifies that she has come to accept the Beast in her heart as well. But here, that has not happened. She draws her hand away from him in fear when he goes to kiss it after she gives him the water:

When he had finished the hunchback puckered his dark lips, no doubt to kiss the kind hand that had brought such welcome relief; but the girl, perhaps remembering the violent assault of the previous night, quickly drew back her hand with the same start of terror that a child does when he is afraid of being bitten by a beast. The poor fellow then fixed on her a look full of reproach and unutterable woe.

This is what I believe leads to Esmeralda's downfall in the end. For she has become blindly infatuated with Captain Phoebus who had saved her from the kidnapping attempt the night before this. He is the captain of the archers of the King's Order, tall and handsome and he came riding up on his horse out of the darkness when he heard Esmeralda's scream and scooped her up onto his horse. Esmeralda falls in love with him right then and there though she runs off as Phoebus goes to secure Quasimodo. Phoebus eventually starts to pursue her too, but it becomes pretty clear early on that he is only looking for some distraction from his engagement to his pretty but “mean girl” cousin and is really only interested in getting into Esmeralda's pants as it were. In fact, when they finally arrange to meet for a tryst one night the jerk Phoebus can't even pronounce her name right. He tells her it's a really hard name and calls her Similar! What. An. Idiot.

In this respect I think Phoebus qualifies as the kind of beast that Joffrey is for Sansa at first, he is the beast disguised as the handsome lover. Esmeralda asks him if he loves her and Phoebus says he does love her and that he has never loved anyone but her, but it turns out that he has said this phrase often and in similar circumstances so he's used to saying it. He even says that he knows of another girl who is jealous of his attentions towards Esmeralda. Esmeralda does not realize that he is not serious about her and in fact, though it is obvious that he does not want to marry her, she is so blinded by her feelings for him that she says she doesn't care. She pledges her love to him all the same that night and just as they are about to get down with it Claude Frollo bursts in from behind the Captain and in a jealous rage stabs him in the back. Phoebus collapses and Esmeralda also faints in fright but as she does so she thinks she feels a kiss, “like the executioner's hot iron, impressed on her lips.” Frollo runs off and when Esmeralda awakens she is arrested as a witch who has stabbed the Captain.

Then as Phoebus recovers he makes no effort to inquire about Esmeralda or show up at her trial to prove that he is alive because, “He had a vague impression that he should cut a ridiculous figure in it.” So, because he is embarrassed and feels like he was the butt of some strange joke, and also because he is quite superstitious and starts to believe that there was some sorcery involved, he decides to put it out of his mind and hopes that his name is not connected to the affair. He waits two months until he figures that it has blown over and goes back to his beautiful, jealous cousin Fleur-de-Lis and makes up a story that he was ill when she asks him why he hasn't been by to see her. [Well, okay it's not totally a lie because he was ill due to being stabbed during an evening with Esmeralda, but he doesn't want his cousin to know that].

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The two other Beasts also pledge their love -

Esmeralda is put on trial and at first denies having stabbed Phoebus. Of course they eventually start to torture her and so she confesses. She thinks Phoebus is dead or dying anyway so does not want to live without him. The night before she is to be hanged (along with her goat Djali who is also tried and convicted), Frollo visits her in the dungeon where she is being held. He confesses that he loves her. However he also believes that she was sent by a demon from hell to come for his perdition but he can't escape it. Her voice, her dancing have drawn him in and everything he has done was for her. He tells her how he was there when she was being tortured and that he carried a dagger with him and when he heard her shriek he stabbed himself with it. He throws open his cassock to show her and his breast is still bleeding. He begs her for her pity and her love:

”Do you know what agony it is when, during the long nights, your arteries boil, your heart is breaking, your head splitting, and your teeth tear your own flesh! Thoughts of love, jealousy, and despair are pitiless tormentors, and they turn me pitilessly on a red hot spit! Girl, have mercy! Stop for a moment! A bit of ash on that fire! Wipe, I beg you, the sweat pouring off my brow in great drops! Child! Torture me with one hand, but caress me with the other! Have pity, girl! Have pity on me!”

He tries to take her away and says he wants to save her from the gallows but she asks him coldly what has happened to Phoebus and he let's go of her. He tells her Phoebus must be dead and she attacks him “like an enraged tigress”, thrusting him up the steps and screaming for him to be gone and that she will never be his not even in hell itself. So dejected Beast number one leaves her for the gallows.

[With regard to how Frollo lusts after the Beauty causing him to head down a path that ultimately corrupts his soul, Frollo is the kind of Beast that Petyr Baelish represents in Sansa's story. All their actions are based on their lust for the Beauty, their need to possess the Beauty and they will do anything, no matter how base, to get to her. They are ruled by their lust and it leads them to complete moral corruption.]

Esmeralda is taken to the gallows. First she must make penance and once again Frollo approaches her and asks her if she will have him saying he can still save her and once again she asks him what happened to Phoebus. Frollo tells her Phoebus is dead, but as he does so he looks up and sees Phoebus standing on a balcony of a house overlooking the square. The sight of him makes Frollo shudder as he can't stand the idea of any other man having Esmeralda so he says to her that she shall die then and no man shall have her. He walks off and out of the city leaving her to be hanged.

As Esmeralda's hands are being tied she looks up and also spies Phoebus on the balcony and cries out for joy. He is standing next to a beautiful girl who turns and looks at him with anger when Esmeralda spies him and the girl and Phoebus both retreat back into the house. So, Phoebus, who now knows that Esmeralda is alive and is being hanged for the crime of killing him does nothing.

Of course we all know who does help Esmeralda. Quasimodo who had been watching the proceedings in the square in front of Notre-Dame unobserved. As the two Executioner's assistants take hold of Esmeralda to lead her to the gallows, Quasimodo runs up to them, knocks them down with his enormous fists and carries off Esmeralda. It is his most memorable moment of triumph and beauty.

With one bound he was in the church, holding the young girl up above his head and shouting with a terrific voice, “Sanctuary! Sanctuary!” This was all done with the speed of lightening.

“Sanctuary! Sanctuary!” repeated the mob, and the clapping of ten thousand hands caused Quasimodo's only eye to shine with joy and exultation. . .

Quasimodo paused under the great entrance. His large feet seemed as firmly rooted in the pavement of the church as the massive Roman pillars. His great hairy head appeared to be set upon his shoulders like that of a lion, who too has a copious mane and no neck. He held the young girl, trembling all over, suspended from his calloused hands like a piece of white cloth. But he carried her so carefully that it was as if he was fearful of breaking or bruising her. He felt, it seemed, that a thing so delicate, so exquisite, so precious, was not made for such hands as his. At times he looked as though he did not dare touch her even with his breath. Then, all at once, he would clasp her tight in his arms, against his angular bosom, as his treasure, as his all, as the mother of that girl would herself have done. His Cyclops eye bent over her, shed over her a flood of tenderness, of pity, of grief, and was suddenly raised again, flashing lightening. At this sight the women laughed and cried; the crowd stamped with enthusiasm, for at that moment Quasimodo was really beautiful. Yes, he was beautiful - he, that orphan, that foundling, that outcast; . . . .

Need I mention the obvious references that bring Tyrion to mind? He looks like a lion, he is strong despite his size, Tyrion is an orphan in a way (“all dwarfs are bastards in their father's eyes), and the obvious tension between Frollo and Quasimodo when Frollo publicly rejects Quasimodo at the pillory when all Quasimodo wanted to do was serve Frollo's cause.

Three Monsters and a Maiden -

Quasimodo sets up Esmeralda comfortably in a cell and brings her his food and mattress for her to use. Djali somehow also makes it to her room and stays with her. At first Esmeralda cannot look at Quasimodo because he is so hideous but then one morning after she sees him hiding behind a wall so that he can see her but she won't see him she has him come and stand before her. They have a long moment where they look at each other, she finding a new deformity with every new place she looks and he of course thinking how beautiful she is. [This scene obviously represents the all important gaze moment and is very reminiscent of when Sansa forces herself to look at Tyrion on their wedding night to try and find something beautiful about him but can't.]

He tells her he is deaf but he can read her lips and speak to her because he used to be able to hear. He also gives her a whistle and tells her that if she ever needs him she can use the whistle to call him as he will hear that. He brings her food and water and she appreciates his kindness but she still can't quite get used to the poor hideous creature. One time when Quasimodo comes to bring her some water he sees Esmeralda petting Djali and he says that he is too much like a human and he would rather be a beast like the goat. There was also a grotesque head sculpture in one of the walls that Quasimodo would sometimes look at as if it were a brother and one time he says to the head, “'Oh! Why am I not made of stone, like you?'”

One morning Esmeralda looks out at the square and sees Phoebus riding towards the house in which Fleur-de-Lis lives. She cries out for him and Quasimodo sees that she is greatly agitated. He looks at where she is staring and sees Phoebus and how young and handsome he is and how he cuts a dashing figure as captain. He laments that, “'That is how one should look, then! One only has to be handsome on the outside!'”

Quasimodo offers to get Phoebus and bring him back to talk to her just to make Esmeralda happy. He goes to the house where Phoebus went and waits for him all day and into the night. He peers into the house and it looks like they are making preparations for a wedding. There appears to be a party of some kind going on but he cannot hear it. Later on, he sees Phoebus and Fleur-de-Lis come out on the balcony by themselves and they kiss. Quasimodo is sad because he knows he will never share a moment like that with a woman, but also because he knows Esmeralda would suffer if she saw this. Finally, well after midnight, the party breaks up and Phoebus emerges from the house. Quasimodo stops him and says to come with him because there is someone who wishes to speak with him but Phoebus resists as he recognizes Quasimodo from the night he had taken him prisoner. Quasimodo then tells Phoebus that it is the Gypsy girl who wants to see him. But Phoebus had thought that Esmeralda was hanged that day when he saw her near the gallows, as he retreated into the house before Quasimodo had rescued her so he did not see that. He fears that Quasimodo is some demon come from the after life to take him and he refuses to come. Quasimodo lets him go and when he returns to Esmeralda without Phoebus, he tells her that he couldn't find him because he doesn't want to hurt her by telling her that Phoebus wouldn't come. She gets upset with him and says that he should have waited all night, and then tells him to go away.

One morning after this Esmeralda awakens to find a cage with birds hanging in her window, [bird reference alert!] and another morning she finds two bouquets of flowers in her window. One bouquet is in a crystal vase that is bright and beautiful but cracked, so the water has run out and the flowers have dried up. The other bouquet is in a common stoneware pot but it has all its water and the flowers are fresh. La Esmeralda takes the faded flowers and carries them all day close to her heart. She spends her days after this petting Djali and watching the door of the mansion where Phoebus goes, talking to herself about Phoebus and feeding swallows with bread crumbs.

Meanwhile, the other monster in this story, Frollo, has learned that Esmeralda is alive, saved by Quasimodo, and living in sanctuary at Notre-Dame. His torments begin anew and this time he realizes that he is jealous of Quasimodo. He can't understand it and is disturbed. Jealousy because of the handsome Captain he can understand, but not jealousy for deformed, ugly Quasimodo. He keeps thinking of Esmeralda when she was half naked lying over the Captain's body and her leg when she was tortured and has images that make his blood boil and a thrill run up his spine.

One night he can't contain himself anymore and goes to find Esmeralda. She had been sleeping in her cell, but she sleeps lightly, like a bird [i think this is the third bird reference for Esmeralda] and wakes up when she hears a noise to see Frollo staring at her through the window. A moment later he grabs her with both his arms and she screams for him to get away from her, calling him murderer and monster. He begs her for mercy and starts kissing her shoulders and she struggles with him again saying get away demon, but he is too strong for her. However, she manages to get her hands on the whistle Quasimodo had given her and with all the force she has left she blows the whistle. Within seconds a vigorous arm grabs Frollo and he sees the blade of a knife above his head. Frollo realizes it is Quasimodo who has grabbed him. Quasimodo is about to stab him but hesitates because this is all happening in Esmeralda's cell and he doesn't want any blood on her hands. So he drags Frollo out on to the landing and as he does so the moonlight shines in the priest's face and Quasimodo sees that it is Frollo that he has grabbed. He is shocked and with a start jumps back. Esmeralda sees that now their roles are reversed as Frollo is angrily assailing Quasimodo with gestures and he motions for Quasimodo to retreat. Quasimodo, now the supplicant, cannot bring himself to harm Frollo. He sinks to his knees and begs Frollo to kill him first and then do what he pleases. Esmeralda grabs the knife at this point and threatens the Priest. Frollo hesitates going after her because he knows she would strike without hesitation, and she laughs at him hysterically saying, “'You don't dare approach me now, coward.'” The Priest kicks Quasimodo and knocks him down and then runs off. As Frollo heads back to his room he now understands for sure that he is jealous of Quasimodo and he says to himself that nobody shall have Esmeralda.

[Note how Quasimodo does not want any blood on Esmeralda's hands, which is very much the opposite of LF with Sansa who is not only telling her she has blood on her hands because of what he has done, but is also teaching her how to do hurtful things while keeping her hands clean. LF likes to keep his hands clean, as does Tywin who orders others to do his evil deeds, as opposed to the Stark way of handling even the bad and messy things yourself. Quasimodo is always thinking of Esmeralda's best interest as a true, goodhearted person would.]

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The Escape -

Frollo learns that Parliament has issued a decree that in three days time Justice will remove the protection of sanctuary for Esmeralda and seize her. He wants to “save” Esmeralda from this and give her one more chance to accept him. [it's not clear whether Frollo was behind getting this decree issued or not but I wouldn't be surprised if he was. He's persistent in his attempts to gain Esmeralda's love, very much like how Petyr would not give up in his duel with Brandon despite how futile it was.] He seeks out the help of Pierre Gringoire to come up with a plan to get Esmeralda out of Notre-Dame. He goes to Pierre because he knows that a few months earlier Esmeralda had saved Pierre's life and he owes her. In a strange twist of circumstances, Pierre had been taken captive by the group of gypsies with whom Esmeralda lived, and the King of the Gypsies, Clopin Trouillefou, was going to hang him unless one of the women would agree to marry him. Esmeralda agrees because she doesn't want to him to be killed unfairly, but she never let's him touch her as husband and Pierre doesn't push that issue. He's just happy to be allowed to live. For a couple of months before Esmeralda is imprisoned Pierre performs with her in her Gypsy shows and he becomes very attached to Esmeralda's pet goat Djali during this time. [Pierre is very much like Dontos, not only in his role here to help the LF character get Esmeralda out of her captivity, but in that he owes the Beauty who had saved his life once, and also he's a bit of a foolish character and he likes to write plays, though basically he is harmless.]

Pierre comes up with a plan in which he tells Clopin that Esmeralda is going to be hanged and they have to get her out of Notre-Dame. Clopin rouses the Gypsies who all want to save “their sister” and they all gather one night and arm themselves with whatever makeshift weapons they can find. At midnight they all leave in silence and walk towards Notre-Dame. When they get there, Clopin raises his voice saying that their sister Esmeralda has been falsely condemned for use of magic and if she is not surrendered to them, they will take the girl and plunder the church. However, Quasimodo is deaf and does not hear what Clopin has said. He sees the rabble and believes they are coming to take Esmeralda away to hurt her. He has no idea about the decree to remove the protection of sanctuary. As the first group of Tramps rushes the door, Quasimodo defends the church. He drops down a heavy beam on the crowd at the door crushing some of them. After the initial shock Clopin orders them to “sack!”, and they begin to attack the building in droves. Quasimodo uses building materials from some repair work that was being done in one of the towers to throw down on the crowd, like he had done with the beam, and he succeeds in scattering the crowd and killing many of them.

Meanwhile, amidst the confusion and noise, people of the city are waking up and alarms are going off. Word reaches King Louis XI, who had been visiting in Paris for the last two days, that Notre-Dame is under attack. Since the church is under the King's safeguard, this is considered a personal affront to himself. He orders his friend Tristan L'Hermite, [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_l%27Hermite] who is the Provost of the Marshalls (basically the chief of the military police) to gather his men and go kill the mob attacking the church. He also says to take Captain Phoebus and his archers to help. When Tristan asks the King what to do with the witch, he orders her to be hanged. Soon the King's troops with Captain Phoebus in the lead descend on the mob attacking Notre-Dame, just as the first few Tramps have made their way inside the gallery. Quasimodo throws them down, the first of whom is Jehan Frollo, and kills them, as the King's men cut down the Tramps in the mob including Clopin Trouillefou. When Quasimodo sees their defeat he is exultant falling on his knees and raising his arms to heaven. Then, frantic with joy, he runs up to Esmeralda's cell, to throw himself at the feet of the woman he believes he saved for a second time, but when he gets there, her cell is empty.

While Quasimodo was busy defending Notre-Dame against the mob and the battle was going on below, Pierre Gringoire and a hooded man had come to Esmeralda's cell to take her out of there. She is relieved to see Gringoire, but feels unease at the black muffled figure standing silently at his side. She asks Gringoire who that is with him and he tells her not to worry, it is a friend. Gringoire is so happy to see Djali with her. He tells her that they must leave at once because they mean to hang her again. They descend to a back door which the man in black unlocks with a key that he brought with him, and they go out behind Notre-Dame which was deserted though they can hear the noise of the fighting coming from the front. They walk to the water's edge and get into a small skiff that has been set there. The mysterious man who had been holding a lantern sets it down and takes up the oars to row the skiff out into the middle of the Seine. Esmeralda is watching the ”mysterious stranger” with increasing terror and it seems that he looks like a specter.

As they are rowing in the skiff, they hear the crowd of King's men who have arrived to put down the mob screaming death to they Gypsy and the sorceress! Esmeralda is despondent and Pierre becomes increasingly distressed as he realizes that if they are caught, Djali would be condemned with Esmeralda and he thinks that he can't save both of them. So, knowing that his companion was most concerned with the girl not the goat, when the skiff reaches a landing and they climb out, Gringoire runs off with Djali leaving Esmeralda alone with the strange man who has not spoken a word this whole time. The man grabs her wrist and takes her towards the Place de Greve where the gallows are placed. He finally stops, turns to her, and removes his cowl and Esmeralda can see that it is the Priest. With the moonlight shining on him he looks like a Phantom. Frollo tells her, “'Listen to me! Here we are. I want to talk to you. This is the Greve. We go no farther. Fate delivers us up to the hands of each other. Your life is at my disposal; my soul at yours.'” He pulls her towards the gallows and pointing to it tells her she must choose between the two of them. She falls at the foot of the gallows, kisses it and says, “'This horrifies me less than you.'” He sobs and cries and begs her to give him one kind word, not even that she must love him, but just a kind word but she refuses, calling him a murderer and monster. He gives one last violent shriek, and tell her “'Die then!'” and drags her over to the rat hole where a recluse woman lives.

The recluse, or sack woman, hates all gypsies because she believes they stole her beautiful baby daughter fifteen years ago and killed her. Since then she has come to the rat hole and shut herself off from society but whenever Esmeralda would come by she would scream at her and curse her with vehemence. Esmeralda was as afraid of the recluse almost as much as she was afraid of Claude Frollo. Frollo had seen the recluse's hatred towards Esmeralda and on the day that Esmeralda was supposed to have been hanged the first time, before Quasimodo had saved her, the recluse had told him that she wanted to see the gypsy girl hanged. Frollo has the recluse grab Esmeralda. He tells the recluse not to let the gypsy girl escape and that he will go get the sergeants. The recluse will see the gypsy girl hanged at last. Then he leaves to find the Sergeants.

The recluse laughs at Esmeralda telling her she is going to be hanged. Esmeralda tries to break free of her grip but it is supernaturally strong. Esmeralda asks the recluse what she has done to her that she should hate her so much. The recluse tells her how she had a beautiful baby girl, her little Agnes, whom she loved more than life itself but one day the gypsies came to her town and they stole her little girl and ate her. She hates Esmeralda the most because she would have been the same age as her little Agnes, who was a year old when taken, and for fifteen years she has suffered and prayed for her child to come back. The only thing she has left of her is a tiny little pink shoe, one of a pair that she herself had decorated with embroidery for her infant, which was left behind when she was taken. She shows Esmeralda the shoe and Esmeralda shudders. She takes out a pouch with green beads that she has always worn around her neck, and inside the pouch is the matching baby shoe! The recluse realizes that Esmeralda is her daughter and that she hasn't been killed after all, and in a split second her hate turns to love. She takes Esmeralda's hand and kisses it and begins to cry. “The poor mother poured on that adored hand the dark, deep wellspring of tears that was within her, and from which her sorrows had filtered drop by drop for fifteen years.”

She takes a paving stone from her cell and with superhuman strength breaks the iron bars of her window and pulls Esmeralda into her cell. The mother is ecstatic with happiness and says how much she loves her and hugs her and kisses her and tells how they will be so happy together. Of course, at that moment, they hear the clatter of arms and horses making their way from Notre-Dame and Esmeralda throws her arms around her mother saying they mean to hang her asking her to save her. The mother cannot believe that she would find her daughter after fifteen years and then have her taken again so soon from her. God could not be so cruel. After tearing out the gray hair from her head and pacing back and forth she comes up with a plan to save Esmeralda, for she can no longer run away as Tristan and other men at arms are approaching the rat hole. She hides Esmeralda in one dark corner of her cell which cannot be seen from outside. When the men ask the recluse where the witch is that she was told to hold, she says that the girl bit her hand and so she let her go. She tries to sound careless and unaffected as she says she saw the girl run down the street. She manages to convince them that she's a bit crazy and doesn't know what happened to the girl, saying that maybe she went off in the other direction. Finally they decide that she is mad and start to take their leave. As Tristan mounts his horse, the recluse/sack woman/mother, starts to feel relief and says to Esmeralda that she is saved. Then Esmeralda hears the voice of Phoebus saying that he is going to take his leave of Tristan as he is not in the business of hanging witches, that is beneath him, and that he must return to his company who is without a captain. Esmeralda springs up from the corner and before the recluse can stop her dashes to the window crying for Phoebus. Phoebus has already ridden away and doesn't hear her, but Tristan is still there and sees her. Esmeralda has been discovered and Tristan sends men in to get her.

The mother is determined that they will not get her daughter and tries to fend them off fiercely. She even scares some of the men who are quite superstitious. But it's no use. Tristan says it is on orders of the King and he tells the men to proceed to break the wall around the window to make it large enough for them to get in and get the girl. The mother then tries to entreat with Tristan and the other men to have them take pity on her with a very moving speech through sobs [more on this below]. Tristan the Hermit seems moved, but he doesn't change his mind saying, “'The King wills it.'”

When they get in and reach her, Esmeralda faints but her mother who has pressed herself to Esmeralda is now hanging onto her and won't let go. They have to grab the both of them and drag them along to the gallows. The sun has come up now and it is morning. On the top of the tower of Notre-Dame that overlooks the Greve two men can be seen who appear to be watching what is happening. The hangman gets them to the bottom of the gallows and starts to pry the mother apart from her daughter. As he does so, the mother springs up and seizes the hand of the hangman and bites him hard. Some men at arms run up to free his hand and as they do so they throw down the recluse hard on the pavement. She hits her head and dies. The hangman continues to ascend the ladder to the gallows, carrying Esmeralda's limp body over his shoulder.

The end -

Quasimodo, who had been searching for Esmeralda since he discovered that she was missing, sees Claude Frollo standing on the balustrade of the tower in Notre-Dame that overlooks the Place de Greve. He tries to get Frollo's attention but Frollo is fixated, motionless, staring at what is taking place on the Greve. He looks over to where Frollo is staring and sees the figure of Esmeralda, all in white, with a rope around her neck being carried up the ladder to the gallows. Both watch as the hangman hangs her and Quasimodo can see the rope spin around several times and her body shake with convulsions. At that moment, Quasimodo sees Frollo laugh, “a demon laugh, a laugh such as only one who has ceased to be human is capable of . . . .” Quasimodo recoils from him a few steps, then rushes at him and throws Frollo over the balustrade. Frollo cries, “'Damnation!'” as he goes over. However, Frollo's fall is broken by a gutter that catches him, and as he struggles to gain hold of something to keep him from falling the rest of the way, he tries to cry out to Quasimodo to lend him a hand but when he sees the look on Quasimodo's face he says nothing. Quasimodo has finally broken with Frollo completely as he could have lent a hand to Frollo even at that point to save him, but he doesn't. His sole focus is now on the body of Esmeralda in her white dress hanging from the gallows. Her body is the only thing that now exists for him and as he stares at her he is weeping from his one good eye. Frollo continues to struggle in silence while Quasimodo continues to weep in silence. Then, finally Frollo can hold on no longer, loses his grip and falls to his death. “Quasimodo watched him fall.”

This sad story ends with two marriages. The first is that of Captain Phoebus who marries Fleur-de-Lis and it is strongly implied that it will not be a happy marriage for them. The second is that of Quasimodo. Though he is never seen or heard from again after that day, there is evidence of him at the mass grave at Montfoucon where the bodies of those executed over the years are taken. About two years after the events in the story take place, two skeletons were found “in an unusual posture.” One skeleton was that of a woman that has some faded white cloth attached to it and also a green beaded bag, open and empty, attached to the neck. The second skeleton was a man's and it embraced the first tightly. But the man's skeleton has a crooked spine, a head jammed between the shoulder blades, and one leg shorter than the other. There was no evidence that this man was hanged, so he must have come there and died in that place. When attempts were made to disengage the man's skeleton from the other that it was embracing, it fell to dust.

Analysis -

The scene in which Esmeralda and Pierre cross the river with a dark and mysterious oarsman and Gringoire being much like a Dontos figure reminds me so much of Sansa being taken to Petyr's boat after the purple wedding when she escapes King's Landing, and also is similar to Christine being taken to the Phantom's lair in Phantom of the Opera. These scenes also both evoke an image of Persephone being abducted by Hades, the god of the underworld and death. The Persephone image is obviously a recurring theme in these stories.

Then we have the death like Phantom figure of Frollo give Esmeralda a choice, just as Eric did with Christine in Phantom. We have speculated on this thread that Sansa is on the verge of a moral precipice and that she will have to make a choice, most likely regarding Sweetrobin, as to whether she will accept Petyr's methods or turn away from him. Based on the pattern we have seen in these other stories, this speculation seems to be more like a real probability rather than mere possibility.

It is Esmeralda's refusal to give up on Phoebus that is the ultimate cause of her demise. Frollo's second attempt to have her hanged would have failed as well, because he left her in the hands of the recluse who turned out to be Esmeralda's mother and therefore in the end she tried to help Esmeralda rather than ensure that Esmeralda would die as Frollo believed. The mother/recluse would have been successful in saving her too if it had not been for Esmeralda's shout to Phoebus to try and get his attention. That was the cause of her doom. In Sansa's case, we do have her opening her eyes to the monster that Joffrey truly is, which is a good thing, but her story is not at an end yet, and she is now in the clutches of another monster. Will her eyes be opened to who and what he really is as well? There are hints in the text that she will see the truth and turn against Petyr, but there are a couple of things that could suggest otherwise. I am taking the optimistic view that there are more hints that Sansa will make the right choice in saving Sweetrobin and come to realize what LF really is rather than fall into that moral abyss.

I mentioned earlier that even though Frollo represents the LF monster parallel, with regard to his relationship with Quasimodo, he very much comes across as a Tywin figure. In the end the similarities are striking. Quasimodo at first cannot turn against Frollo, even when he realizes that he was attacking Esmeralda in her cell. It takes a final realization for Quasimodo to turn against his father figure completely and kill him. Quasimodo kills Frollo because of a girl, his first and only love, just as Tyrion finally kills his father over a girl, Tysha, his first and only real love, and Sansa is a sort of Tysha replacement in Tyrion's eyes in some ways. It really seems like much of Sansa's story in King's Landing plays out very similarly with the whole Hunchback story, with the major difference being that the monster figures in ASOIAf do their monstrous acts by proxy rather than first hand. The other big deviation in ASOIAF is that while Quasimodo represents Tyrion, unlike Quasimodo who switches loyalty to Esmeralda and becomes completely devoted to protecting her physically as well as her soul morally, Tyrion did not switch his loyalty from his Lannister family's purposes which were to destroy Sansa's family.

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The mother -

At first I wasn't going to focus too much on the recluse or her speech as it doesn't have much to do with the beast aspects of the story, but I decided to include it because it is such a great study in the mother figure, and she reminds me of Catelyn in many ways. Here is her plea:

”Gentlemen, and Messieurs Sergeants, one word! There is one thing that I must tell you. It is my daughter - my dear little girl, whom I had lost. Listen – it is a strange story. . . You will leave me my child when you know all. I was a poor unfortunate girl. The Bohemians stole my infant. Look, here is her shoe, which I have kept for fifteen years. Her foot was no bigger than that. . . You will take pity on me, won't you, gentlemen? The gypsies stole her from me and hid her away for these fifteen years. I thought she was dead. Only think, my good friends, I thought she was dead. I have lived here these fifteen years, in this den, without fire in winter. It is hard, is it not? The poor dear little shoe! I have prayed so earnestly that God Almighty has heard me. This very morning He has restored my daughter to me. It is a miracle of His doing. She was not dead, you see. You will not take her from me, I am sure. If it were myself I would not say a word – but as for her, a girl of sixteen, give her time to see the sun! What harm has she done to you? None whatever. Nor I either. If you knew that I have none but her, that I am getting old, that she was a blessing bestowed on me by the Holy Virgin herself! . . . I would rather be stabbed in the heart than have a scratch upon her finger! . . . What I tell you explains everything – no? Oh, my lord! If you ever had a mother! You are the captain; leave me my child! Consider that I am praying to you on my knees, as one prays to Jesus Christ. I ask nothing of anyone. . . I am not a beggar, I want nothing but my child! God Almighty, who is the Master of us all, did not give her to me for nothing. The King, you say! The King! How could it please him for you to kill my daughter! And then the King is merciful! It is my daughter! Mine, I tell you! She is not the King's! She is not yours. I will be gone; we will both go. Who would stop two weak women, one of them the mother, the other the daughter, Let us pass, then! . . . You will not take my darling from me - it is impossible. Isn't it? My child! My own dear child!”

I can picture Catelyn saying something very similar to the above speech. It shows her desperation to save her child and how she will do anything in her power to save her, though just like with Catelyn, her efforts are sadly futile. Also, the physical change in the mother when she loses her child reminds me of Catelyn. Catelyn's transformation into Lady Stoneheart is based on her growing feeling of loss for her children culminating with the ultimate horror of seeing her son killed before her eyes. Now she has become a shell of her former self that is only fixated on revenge against everyone whom she believes was involved with taking her children from her. The recluse too started out as a very pretty young girl and as soon as she loses her daughter she physically transforms into a shell of her former self. Her hair turns gray overnight for example and now she looks like an old lady when in fact she is only 36 (isn't that about the same age as Catelyn was?) Also, though she shuts herself up in the rat hole, the recluse's thoughts turn to bitter revenge against the gypsies for taking her child from her. It's a similar sad story.

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Elba, this was wonderful to read. Since Hugo`s `Hunchback of Notre Dame` is one of my favourite novels written in French, I have to say it was a pleasure reading such overwhelming analysis. Your analysis of various types of beasts, and the idea of many other things making someone a monster is beautifully written. You dedicated a lot of time to subtleties between loving, being loved and lust. But, when it concerns love, Victor Hugo has written in `Hunchback` one of my favourite lines (I have read the novel on both Serbian and French, but I had to google for this quote in English)

Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.

I wanted to use this quote when we discussed Sansa/Sandor`s relationship. And your analysis, Elba, gave me the right opportunity to do so. Because, it wonderfully describes what`s happening in both Sandor`s and Sansa`s heart. Just like Esmeralda, at the beginning, Sansa is kind, but unable to love someone who`s not a vision. And then, both of them found beauty in the most unexpected place. Their saviour, their `Prince Charming` came in the most unexpected form. Both of them saved by the riot, feels gratitude, but Sansa is evolving. Unlike Esmeralda, her heart is beggining to feel something uncomprehesive, something that can`t be. Sansa cornered those thoughts in a small box, somewhere very private, she doesn`t think about it, and yet, from time to time, those emotions emerge and make such confusion in Sansa`s heart. And the poetic thing is that Sandor is feeling the same. Feeling love for him is something rather unnatural, so he tries to turn it into lust. The song that haunts him is reminder that he doesn`t lust, he actually loves.

Love is patient, love is kind, love endures all things.

This quote from Bible give us hope that love is possible for Sansa and Sandor. In the world of cruelty, they are kind to each other, in the world of death they endure. And so will their love. It will endure his path to personal peace and her struggle to survive the Game. Will it be happy love story, I don`t know, but what I am certain, their love will endure...

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Brillant work Elba. You had me hooked all the way through :) I'm on my phone now, but will hopefully will be able to reply in detail later on.

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Thank you so much Mladen and Brashcandy! Brash I impatiently await your comments and Mladen I really love what you said here:

but Sansa is evolving. Unlike Esmeralda, her heart is beggining to feel something uncomprehesive, something that can`t be. Sansa cornered those thoughts in a small box, somewhere very private, she doesn`t think about it, and yet, from time to time, those emotions emerge and make such confusion in Sansa`s heart. And the poetic thing is that Sandor is feeling the same. Feeling love for him is something rather unnatural, so he tries to turn it into lust. The song that haunts him is reminder that he doesn`t lust, he actually loves.

I completely agree with you. Sansa is still very young, even younger than Esmeralda, and she still is not quite able to understand what her feelings really mean but I think she is very close. And the fact that she is still evolving gives me hope too because even though Esmeralda is older, it does seem as though her feelings of love do not evolve past a certain point which is what to me causes her ultimate doom. Also, regarding Sandor's feelings, though he is technically older in age, emotionally he has been very stunted and is at quite an adolescent level as well, but we see him evolving and growing in this regard just like Sansa is. The quote about love that you found from the novel is brilliant by the way. I missed that one but it really does sum up the theme of the relationships between all the people in the novel.

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Sansa and Arya are both brave but just show it in different ways yet it really bothers me no end that these days many readers only seem to value the one way that Arya shows and disregard that Sansa shows any bravery because she is not as active. I think of what Sansa does as more of a "passive resistance"

Agreed. I think too many people underestimate Sansa's apparent inaction, not understanding that it can take immense courage to simply keep on going under a stoic outer face, and to not actually 'do' anything, either because you can't do anything at that time, or because you need to stand back while others do the fighting. It's easy to get caught up in the danger, drama and more obvious adventures of people like Arya who are active and learn to fight physical battles, while not appreciating the strength it takes to survive on a day to day basis in the political minefield of Kings Landing. As Mladen said:

But those women who stay silent, those who are on first glimpse obedient and quiet, they also have courage. Perhaps books won`t be written about them, but that doesn`t diminish their bravery. They endure. Just like Sansa endured.

Which is exactly how Brienne describes Lady Catelyn in ACOK, when she tells her that she (Cat) has courage: "Not battle courage perhaps but ... I don't know ... a kind of woman's courage." Sansa is very much like her mother in that regard. One of the joys in Sansa's story is to see how she slowly changes from the sheltered, somewhat shallow girl we first see in Winterfell and finds the courage and skills to develop into a young woman who not only survives, but is working out how to take some control over her own destiny.

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I’m so ashamed right now. I’m a native French speaker; I’m familiar with Notre-Dame de Paris that I reread very recently. But gods, it has never crossed my mind to compare Hugo’s work with ASOIAF.

This is simply brilliant Elba. I really enjoyed your essay; it’s well written and your analysis is first-rate :thumbsup:. I especially like your Tywin/Frollo comparison; it’s very interesting.

Question: Do you know the musical Notre-Dame de Paris? It’s actually the second time that I can’t stop humming a musical’s song after reading one of your essays :lol:.

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Elba, thanks again for such a lucid and engaging analysis. I'll be posting another essay for the B&B project in a couple of days that will also be looking closely at Tyrion, so these essays are all lining up nicely.

I was really moved when reading about Quasimodo, who genuinely cares for Esmeralda, but has to watch her doomed affection for the Captain. The way he handles Esmeralda carefully reminded me of the emphasis Martin's places on Sandor's 'gentle' touches.

As you rightly pointed out, Littlefinger is the Claude Frollo figure in the tale, whose lust for Esmeralda is selfish and cruel. I could definitely see him taking that same view that if he can't Sansa, no one can and trying to bring about her downfall in the end. And just as LF uses Catelyn, we see Claude Frollo using the poor recluse in order to take vengeance on Esmeralda. The story really zeroes in on abusive male figures, some of them directly malicious and others who are weak-willed and self-serving. The one who has the most moral fibre and compassion for others is the societal outcast with no institutional power. Again, there's a parallel there to knights in Westeros, where we see the ones with the power and who are supposed to do good become corrupt and take advantage of others.

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Which is exactly how Brienne describes Lady Catelyn in ACOK, when she tells her that she (Cat) has courage: "Not battle courage perhaps but ... I don't know ... a kind of woman's courage." Sansa is very much like her mother in that regard. One of the joys in Sansa's story is to see how she slowly changes from the sheltered, somewhat shallow girl we first see in Winterfell and finds the courage and skills to develop into a young woman who not only survives, but is working out how to take some control over her own destiny.

I love that line about the woman's courage and I do think Sansa has that as well.

This is simply brilliant Elba. I really enjoyed your essay; it’s well written and your analysis is first-rate :thumbsup:. I especially like your Tywin/Frollo comparison; it’s very interesting.

Question: Do you know the musical Notre-Dame de Paris? It’s actually the second time that I can’t stop humming a musical’s song after reading one of your essays :lol:.

Thank you so much! It is so gratifying to get such positive responses from so many of you :-) The more I got into the essay the more it struck me how much of it parallels with Sansa's story during her time in King's Landing. All the pieces just naturally fell into place.

I must admit that I do not know anything about a musical version of Notre-Dame de Paris. Do you have links to it? I'd love to hear it. The only musical version of the story I know is the Disney version from 1996 with songs written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Even though Disney really changed the story and made Phoebus a good guy and gave Quasimodo a happy ending, the movie does make the story accessible to young kids and I have to say, I adore Stephen Schwartz and his songs are great. I particularly love this one,

, sung by the character of Clopin. And I'm glad that my posts have made you hum songs to yourself! That has made my day. :)

Elba, thanks again for such a lucid and engaging analysis. I'll be posting another essay for the B&B project in a couple of days that will also be looking closely at Tyrion, so these essays are all lining up nicely.

I was really moved when reading about Quasimodo, who genuinely cares for Esmeralda, but has to watch her doomed affection for the Captain. The way he handles Esmeralda carefully reminded me of the emphasis Martin's places on Sandor's 'gentle' touches.

As you rightly pointed out, Littlefinger is the Claude Frollo figure in the tale, whose lust for Esmeralda is selfish and cruel. I could definitely see him taking that same view that if he can't Sansa, no one can and trying to bring about her downfall in the end. And just as LF uses Catelyn, we see Claude Frollo using the poor recluse in order to take vengeance on Esmeralda. The story really zeroes in on abusive male figures, some of them directly malicious and others who are weak-willed and self-serving. The one who has the most moral fibre and compassion for others is the societal outcast with no institutional power. Again, there's a parallel there to knights in Westeros, where we see the ones with the power and who are supposed to do good become corrupt and take advantage of others.

I'm looking forward to your essay! Yes, the "gentle" way Quasi handles Esmeralda definitely brought to mind Sandor here as well as the fact that his loyalty has switched to the Beauty, just as Sandor's loyalty has switched to Sansa. Good catch on the knights storyline as well. Captain Phoebus is definitely the epitome of what a knight in shining armor should look like but the way he drops Esmeralda like a hot potato when she is no longer convenient to him shows that he is far from that ideal in his heart.

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And a little confirmation of the interpretation many of us had of the book scenes. The commentary for the author's adaptation of the final book scene before Sandor leaves in ACOK is very similar to what all the reviews said:

Lena Headey to Sansa when she asks why Sandor is there: "He loves you", Peter Dinklage singing "Beauty and the Beast", and the director to Sansa when she says "You won't hurt me": "Naaah" as in, of course not.

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Ahhh Elba!! That was such a beautiful and well thought essay. I loved it!! I have loved the book since I was like fourteen. I wanted to tell you that you actually made me re-think my opinion of the characters too due to your comparisons to the ASOIAF characters.

For years I actually considered Frollo to be my favorite character in the books. The first time I read his proposition to esmerda in her cell I told everyone it was the greatest love declaration I had ever read. With time I stll liked Frollo above all the other of Esmeralda's suitors but oh my days girl, now that you have compared him to LF with valid examples and a good defense to back up your opinion, i am speechless. Can't believe what I was thinking!! He is like Petyr and tywin indeed and I bow down to you for make me realize that! (;

Ha sorry for my ramblings xp loved loved your posts!!!

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Thanks Caro! Don't beat yourself up over your initial thoughts on Frollo. His words are quite the declaration of love I do agree. And you were very young when you first read it. ;-) I do think that if Frollo had not been so consumed with his lust for Esmeralda that it would have been a true love scenario which could have been quite touching. As I pointed out in my essay, Frollo does not start off as a monster and he did care for his little brother Jehan as well as take in the foundling Quasimodo. It's just that somewhere along the way he becomes twisted into something else so his feelings for Esmeralda are not pure at that point. He wants her for himself, not for what's best for her, which is why he can't stand the idea of her being with any other man, and that's the difference if that makes any sense.

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I can definitely appreciate Caro's feelings. I think in most Beauty and the Beast pairings there's a tendency to sympathise with the Beast and 'expect' that the Beauty will see into his good heart (if he possesses one) and return his love. Beauty is almost just there to fulfill a bygone conclusion. Perhaps this is why so many readers feel miffed at Sansa's inability to love Tyrion. As much as we understand that Captain Phoebus was a vain man undeserving of Esmeralda's love, it doesn't automatically mean that she was shallow or couldn't see Quasimodo's good qualities. Sometimes we fall in love with the wrong people and sometimes Beauty just doesn't love the Beast, at least not in the way the Beast might desire.

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Elba!! I love all the parallelism that you got!!

It came to my mind the idea of the triangle Tyrion-Shae-Tywin associated with Quasimodo-Esmeralda-Frollo also, not only as Sansa as Esmeralda. It is like GRRM has divided Esmeralda into different characters (Sansa, Tysha and Shae).

Also reading how it is discribed the "mysterious stranger" makes me think about Ser Ilyn Payne.

About Quasimodo deafness: it is as if GRRM wrote his characters as deaf at other feelings. As an example: Tyrion is deaf to Sansa true feelings.

And the idea of the mother unified to Catelyn has been great. I was reading you and thinking of course!! And remembering that Esmeralda was wearing the green thing at her neck. I was like tapping at the table: come on, came on, show it! jajaja.

You know that I love Victor Hugo. He is a French Romantic writer and I can´t forget that GRRM somewhere said that he had wrote love as the Romantic writers. That it doesn´t mean that they will end with a happy or unhappy end, instead all their characters will have strong feelings.

It is a pity that I am not able to do the mine about Les Mis, because there is also a lot of ASOIAF feelings at the most strange places. And I think it is interesting to take a look to all his bibliography (where it is included Torquemada that is an inquisitor and GRRM is kind of leading the Faith of the Seven to an Inquisition period).

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Really interesting essay Elba. I think it's clear that a lot of the motifs of beauty and the beast are recurring in different incarnations in ASOIAF. Quasimodo definitely shares some traits with Tyrion and the Tyrion/Tywin angle with Quasimodo/Claude Frollo really stood out to me. It also contains the "patricide" scene at the end, too, with Esmeralda taking Tysha's role.

And a little confirmation of the interpretation many of us had of the book scenes. The commentary for the author's adaptation of the final book scene before Sandor leaves in ACOK is very similar to what all the reviews said:

Lena Headey to Sansa when she asks why Sandor is there: "He loves you", Peter Dinklage singing "Beauty and the Beast", and the director to Sansa when she says "You won't hurt me": "Naaah" as in, of course not.

Ah yes, I read it and it made me snicker, especially since someone was bellyaching earlier in the thread about "raging fangirls" or something. I guess now "ability to read subtext" = "raging fangirl/boy"? ;)

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Very nice write up, Elba! Quite enjoyable to read. The "if I can't have her no man will" made the movie Ladyhawke pop into my mind, but that twist on the B&B tale doesn't seem to have strong parallels to Sansa outside the animals though it is closer to The Hunchback of Notre-Dame itself.

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