Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Milady of York

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIX

Recommended Posts

Anyways, yes, old argument is a very old argument :) We don't mind discussing such things sometimes, but really, what's the point?

The point was it's come up as a possible 'weapon' to be used against Sansa. As I've posted already, I don't think LF will want to open this can of worms but I can't deny that LF clearly works by finding out what someone wants or doesn't want and uses it against them, as he advises Sansa.

Just to clarify, it was easy to guess that Cersei was trying to kill Robert before Ned ever approached her, as you say. Cersei goaded Robert to fight in the tourney of the Hand and Ned thought, 'Other men might reconsider words spoken in drunken bravado, but Robert Baratheon would remember and, remembering, would never back down.'

I have to confess though that I used to think that Sansa and Arya were to blame for Lady's death, and Sansa for getting caught, and Ned for telling Cersei until I realised that I could blame Bran for disobeying his mother at the beginning. This is less about who did what and what they should have done than about needing to understand how each character is individually motivated and about intentions.

Yes, you're right, when you look back it is evident that Cersei was trying to get rid of Robert. As for thinking about motivations and intentions, I agree. However, Martin shows us repeatedly how those intentions can lead to disastrous outcomes. In fact, that's what I see ASOIAF being about starting with the very first 'good intention' of Rhaegar's to fulfill a prophecy leading to a civil war and his loss of a kingdom. He clearly was ignorant to the possibility that his actions would lead to that! It is also fair to say that Arya's innocent intention of playing with her friend had disastrous outcomes. In any case, I do understand that there is a desire to focus only on certain things here, so I'll say no more on the matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with what you say about intentions, Ser Pounce. It seems that much of Martin's work is predicated upon the irony of good intentions and expected outcomes. [Does that sentence even make sense? This has been happening a lot lately. ]

Martin obviously does this deliberately. No debate has clear answers in the world of ice and fire. It's all gray and there will, therefore, always be disagreement especially about characters like Sansa where authorial direction is seemingly much less clear than with other POV characters. But without the suspense and controversy the books wouldn't be half so interesting!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually no, it's stated in Sansa's chapter and not by a speaking person so it is unbiased.

So she went to the queen instead, and poured out her heart, and Cersei had listened and thanked her sweetly . . . only then Ser Arys had escorted her to the high room in Maegor's Holdfast and posted guards, and a few hours later, the fighting had begun outside.

No guards before she went to the queen and no fighting. Those aren't my feelings at all, just the text. My feelings are Sansa had no idea how this would play out but no one can deny how they did play out. Well, perhaps some people can deny this.

In any case, I am merely responding to a post about what Sansa has and hasn't done. How one chooses to interpret the author's words is their prerogative. By all means, please continue with the serious analysis. It is very interesting.

Indeed. Sansa poured her heart out. Which would go something like "Please please let me stay, I really love Joffrey and my dad wants to take me away". So Sansa pouring her heart out is a teenager's plea to stay with her Justin Bieber like love. It's not anything like an intent on betraying Ned and giving information that could compromise the Stark cause (since Sansa doesn't know what it is and doesn't know about the incest). Cersei only asks about all the details Sansa knows because Ned has already spilled the beans directly to Cersei. If Ned hadn't already told Cersei Sansa's coming to her with her plea would be far more paramount.

Also, consider the following:

* Ned spills the beans to Cersei and tells Cersei she needs to flee. Cersei threatens Ned right there, which he ignores. Ignoring Cersei's threat means he is putting himself, his daughters and his people at risk. It is pointed out in earlier chapters that Ned doesn't have a lot of Winterfell men with him.

* Littlefinger gives the Goldcloaks to Cersei. Hence without LF to help, Cersei could not have won, not even with every single scrap of Sansa's information.

* Janos Slynt. Bought and paid for by Littlefinger.

* Ned was warned by Renly to take Cersei's children into custody. Ned ignored it.

See a pattern here? Ned acted honourably, but as we can see, when nobody else does, he is going to lose and lose and lose. And by acting honourably towards Cersei, Ned also put not only himself, but his daughters at risk, not to mention all the people he had brought with him, like Jeyne Poole, her dad, etc.

In the context, it is also painfully clear that Sansa's information aided Cersei, but it was not crucial. Littlefinger's help on the other hand was absolutely crucial. He gave Cersei the Gold cloaks and Janos Slynt.

As you can see, this is not "interpretation", these are facts that are right there in the text (mostly in Tyrion's chapters).

Also, as Brashcandy points out, Cersei lies to Tyrion in one of Tyrion's ACOK chapters about how much help Sansa was, and that Sansa clued her in to what was going on, when actually it was Ned who did, and Sansa's pleas was only the icing on the cake after Ned failed to take Cersei's threats seriously and also magnificently failed at understanding how dangerous Littlefinger is. The guards and the fighting are due to Littlefinger, not Sansa.

The only direct consequence we can be sure of that we can lay at Sansa's door is that the Lannisters had an easier time to prevent the Stark people from fleeing, and also that it completely prevented Arya from leaving Kings Landing until Yoren smuggled her out (remember the "fake" guards at the ship Arya and Sansa were supposed to leave on).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only direct consequence we can be sure of that we can lay at Sansa's door is that the Lannisters had an easier time to prevent the Stark people from fleeing, and also that it completely prevented Arya from leaving Kings Landing until Yoren smuggled her out (remember the "fake" guards at the ship Arya and Sansa were supposed to leave on).

It should also be added that if Ned had gone to say goodbye to his daughters before they were meant to leave, or ensured they were safely away before going to Cersei, neither girl would have been in danger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A serenade for Sansa from an early comedy by Shakespeare, viz. The Two Gentleman of Verona. I was tempted to substitute "Sansa" for "Sylvia" in quoting the text, but decided to leave the text as it was, since that is what you will hear in the music on You Tube that I will link to. If you were wondering where the "Musical and Poetical Illustrations of Sansa" disappeared to, I have mostly been off posting in the Favorite Poems Thread in the Miscellaneous/Literature subforum. (Not that all that many of you were wondering I suppose, but there does seem to have been a few regulars who were interested in my posts under this rubric. :)

Here is the lyric (Act IV, scene II):

Who is Silvia? what is she,

That all our swains commend her?

Holy, fair and wise is she;

The heaven such grace did lend her,

That she might admired be.

Is she kind as she is fair?

For beauty lives with kindness.

Love doth to her eyes repair,

To help him of his blindness,

And, being help'd, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia let us sing,

That Silvia is excelling

She excels each mortal thing

Upon the dull earth dwelling:

To her let us garlands bring.

There is not much useful to say about the context of the song in the play, other than that Sylvia is the daughter of the Duke of Milan, the which is I suppose a similar standing to Sansa, tho' not quite. The Duke wants to marry his daughter to Sir Thurio, a wealthy, but dull man of the town. The Duke is eventually persuaded to marry Silvia to Sir Valentine, one of the two gentlemen of Verona, who manages to catch Silvia's affection. The song, however, is sung by men hired by Sir Thurio whilst he still has hopes of marrying Silvia.

As is usual for such things, the sentiment expressed in the serenade is a bit over the top, but the line about beauty and kindness fits Sansa rather well

And now off to You Tube for the links to the music..

A choral version by jazz musician George Shearing:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zwpfCOldD9A

This is the fifth of seven "songs and sonnets" that Shearing did, there are two postings on You Tube of the full set of seven; if anyone is interested I will post a link to one or both of those.

American composer Matthew Harris:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AJEaNnz6vHk

This is also one of a set of choral settings of Shakespeare songs and there are other You Tube entries with more of the set. Again, if there is interest ....

Roger Quilter:

English composer from the first half of the twentieth century, mostly known for his songs, most of which are on 17th century poems, many from Shakespeare's plays.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=23TIcb3n3nA

This is a collection of four such of which "Who is Sylvia" is the second: you will have to listen to "Come Away Death" first. It is also uploaded from a 1959 recording, which means that it does not come from a CD or tape. It is worth it anyway.

Bedtime, more tomorrow (Gerald Finzi, Franz Schubert---the latter will take a while as there are a large number of postings of "An Sylvia" to sort through.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice to see you back, Old-Growth :) As usual, your contributions are thoughtful and soothing. Beauty and kindness are indeed qualities that resonate in Sansa's character, and at each stage in her journey since leaving Winterfell she's been able to have a positive influence or connection with some person or animal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this idea of darkening is perhaps overly simplistic, and needs to be understood carefully within the narrative of each Stark child. Can we expect that Martin will continue to show the Starks having to make hard decisions and choices, some of which might be morally/ethically dubious? Yes, I think so, but some readers just assume that Sansa must be darkened, or have something terrible happen to her because it's how Martin does things and Sansa can't continue to have her hands clean. My point is that whatever decision is made has to fit credibly within the framework of her story, and that so far Sansa is the one Stark who is distinguished by her incredible compassion and empathy towards others. I think this has to matter whenever we discuss whatever may play out going forward.

"Controversy" does not have to mean morally "darkened" either - it could just as easily be something tragic. Look at Quentyn Martell - he was a good lad, dutiful and somewhat brave. This did not save him from being charbroiled by a dragon - he tried to do something risky and despite good intentions, failed. Perhaps Sansa may try something risky, perhaps regarding Sweetrobin, and pay a heavy price for failing.

The point was it's come up as a possible 'weapon' to be used against Sansa. As I've posted already, I don't think LF will want to open this can of worms but I can't deny that LF clearly works by finding out what someone wants or doesn't want and uses it against them, as he advises Sansa.

Mind you, the reverse is also true. Littlefinger must be cautious about taking that route, because of his own role in Eddard Stark's downfall and execution. If he lets slip what he knows about Sansa's action, it partially reveals / reminds her that he was very much on the Lannister side in all that. Only Sansa's relative confusion / ignorance of what was really going on during the coup can make Littlefinger seem benign in it.

Also, what if - once reminded of those days - she starts to wonder what became of her best friend Jeyne Poole, when the last word she heard of Jeyne was that Littlefinger would take her into his care. Worse, imagine if she somehow finds out Jeyne was trained and then passed off to the Boltons as "Arya".

Of course, Littlefinger is a master of using information, so he would not normally let slip anything which is that bad for his interests. Then again, Sansa is a bit of a blind spot for him, and when he's around her he acts cocky and takes big risks to impress her with his cleverness. Already there are the things aunt Lysa said, and embers may be still smouldering in Sansa's mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry to derail this discussion but have the parallels between the Sansa/Hound and Ygritte/Jon been discussed here or elsewhere in the forum? (Search dysfunction again) I recently saw artwork depicting Jon holding a knife to Ygritte's throat and mistakenly assumed it was the Hound with Sansa. In ACOK, the Ygritte-Jon encounter occurs around a hundred pages before the scene in Sansa's room. Does anyone know if these events occur parallel on the timeline (I can't find that either)? The reason I'm asking is because in ASOS Ygritte tells Jon that the night he did that the Thief was in the Moonmaid and that is a propitious time for stealing maidens. The are talking about constellations and I've read somewhere that the Moonmaid is thought to represent either Val or Sansa. We know that Jon and Ygritte become lovers while Sansa begins to fantasize about kissing the Hound and so the image of the dagger at the throat seems to be a symbol of awakening sexuality. There might be other juxtapositions and parallels. Haven't checked those yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry to derail this discussion but have the parallels between the Sansa/Hound and Ygritte/Jon been discussed here or elsewhere in the forum? (Search dysfunction again) I recently saw artwork depicting Jon holding a knife to Ygritte's throat and mistakenly assumed it was the Hound with Sansa. In ACOK, the Ygritte-Jon encounter occurs around a hundred pages before the scene in Sansa's room. Does anyone know if these events occur parallel on the timeline (I can't find that either)? The reason I'm asking is because in ASOS Ygritte tells Jon that the night he did that the Thief was in the Moonmaid and that is a propitious time for stealing maidens. The are talking about constellations and I've read somewhere that the Moonmaid is thought to represent either Val or Sansa. We know that Jon and Ygritte become lovers while Sansa begins to fantasize about kissing the Hound and so the image of the dagger at the throat seems to be a symbol of awakening sexuality. There might be other juxtapositions and parallels. Haven't checked those yet.

See if this link works for the timeline:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aj_uNZmcJaTddG9BVU5tRnJJTE5KcE5JRkFha1ZfNUE#gid=8

It seems like the timeline has the two events about a week apart, but the 'timeline' is really mostly guesswork anyways... especially when comparing two timelines as divergent as Jon and Sansa's.

Another parallel between the two events is that they are both sort-of-almost-kinda marriage ceremonies. Ygritte tells Jon that he stole her that night (the wildling version of marriage) and there have been some good posts in the PtP threads about how the Sansa/Sandor scene has all the elements of a marriage ceremony under the faith (cloak exchange, singing,... there's more there too but I forget).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always wonder that Jon's first love,Ygritte, has red(auburn) hair and blue eyes the same as Sansa's, while Sansa's first love, Sandor, has dark hair and grey eyes like Jon's. I think most people after seeing Sansa, Arya and Ygritte would think Sansa not Arya looks like Ygritte, not the other way around. Seems like Jon tries to avoid thinking of Sansa as much as possible.

IN ASOS it seems that Robb has legitimated Jon as heir to the Starks of Winterfell and the King in North, while disinherits Sansa from the Starks. We know that bastards can be leitimated by King's will. but Robb's will may not be valid enough, because he isn't the king of the Iron Throns but a pretender. What's more, leitimating bastards by king's will have mostly turn out to be risky (Daemon Blackfrye, Ramsay Bolton). The more accepting and effective way for a bastard to inherit a great house is by marring the heiress.

When watching TV series I find out something. Ros, the recurring character in TV series, is underlined that she has red hair in S01E04 by Jon and Theon. So far, Ros's boss and clients includes Petyr, Tyrion,Theon, Pycelle, Joffery and Jon Snow. IN books all the men above has seen another (and the only other) redhead girl Sansa, and all of them, except Jon, have fleshy desire to Sansa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry to derail this discussion but have the parallels between the Sansa/Hound and Ygritte/Jon been discussed here or elsewhere in the forum? (Search dysfunction again) I recently saw artwork depicting Jon holding a knife to Ygritte's throat and mistakenly assumed it was the Hound with Sansa. In ACOK, the Ygritte-Jon encounter occurs around a hundred pages before the scene in Sansa's room. Does anyone know if these events occur parallel on the timeline (I can't find that either)? The reason I'm asking is because in ASOS Ygritte tells Jon that the night he did that the Thief was in the Moonmaid and that is a propitious time for stealing maidens. The are talking about constellations and I've read somewhere that the Moonmaid is thought to represent either Val or Sansa. We know that Jon and Ygritte become lovers while Sansa begins to fantasize about kissing the Hound and so the image of the dagger at the throat seems to be a symbol of awakening sexuality. There might be other juxtapositions and parallels. Haven't checked those yet.

ArabellaVidal, I think there's some interesting potential to that idea. I need to ponder it but I did pull out this quote where Jon is thinking about the constellations right before he goes over the Wall with Ygritte.

The King’s Crown was the Cradle, to hear her tell it; the Stallion was the Horned Lord; the red wanderer that septons preached was sacred to their Smith up here was called the Thief. And when the Thief was in the Moonmaid, that was a propitious time for a man to steal a woman, Ygritte insisted. “Like the night you stole me. The Thief was bright that night.”

South of the Wall the Thief is the Red Wanderer. Sandor has certain associations with red-- fire, blood, and wine in particular. A wanderer sacred to the smith tends to bring Septon Meribald to mind which leads to the Quiet Isle. I suppose the phrase "kissed by fire" might be worth looking at too. Hmm... there's a "traitor" parallel between Jon and Sansa as well but I'm not sure how far that can be taken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting thoughts Arabella. I went back to the chapter where Jon captures Ygritte, and came across another intriguing parallel between him and Sansa, this time having to do with their similar experiences on dangerous mountain passes, and the advice given to them by companions named "Stone". I'll quote the relevant passages below:

Jon VI - ACOK

For a long time they stayed to the trail, following its twists and turns as it snaked along the mountain, upward, ever upward. Sometimes the mountain folded back on itself and they lost sight of the fire, but soon or late it would always reappear. The path Stonesnake chose would never have served for the horses. In places Jon had to put his back to the cold stone and shuffle along like a crab, inch by inch. Even where the track widened it was treacherous; there were cracks big enough to swallow a man's leg, rubble to stumble over, hollow places where the water pooled by day and froze hard by night. One step and then another, Jon told himself. One step and then another, and I will not fall...

Two hours into the climb the wind kicked up so fiercely that it was all he could do to hunch down and cling to the rock, praying that he would not be blown off the mountain. One step down and then another, he resumed when the gale subsided. One step and then another, and I will not fall.

Soon they were high enough so that looking down was best not considered. There was nothing below but yawning blackness, nothing above but moon and stars. "The mountain is your mother," Stonesnake had told him during an easier climb a few days past. "Cling to her, press your face up against her teats, and she won't drop you." Jon had made a joke of it, saying how he'd always wondered who his mother was, but never thought to find her in the Frostfangs. It did not seem nearly so amusing now. One step and then another, he thought, clinging tight.

... he did not think of the foes who were waiting for him, all unknowing, but of his brother at Winterfell. Bran used to love to climb. I wish I had a tenth part of his courage.

Alayne II - AFFC

Their road was a crooked series of stone steps carved into the mountainside, but the mules knew every inch of it. Alayne was glad of that. Here and there the stone was shattered from the strain of countless seasons, with all their thaws and freezes. Patches of snow clung to the rock on either side of the path, blinding white. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and there were falcons circling overhead, riding on the wind.

Up here where the slope was steepest, the steps wound back and forth rather than plunging straight down. Sansa Stark went up the mountain, but Alayne Stone is coming down. It was a strange thought. Coming up, Mya had warned her to keep her eyes on the path ahead, she remembered. "Look up, not down," she said ... but that was not possible on the descent. I could close my eyes. The mule knows the way, he has no need of me. But that seemed more something Sansa would have done, that frightened girl. Alayne was an older woman, and bastard brave...

They passed a wind-carved arch, where long icicles clung to the pale stone, dripping down on them. On the far side the path narrowed and plunged down sharply for a hundred feet or more. Myranda was forced to drop back. Alayne gave the mule his head. The steepness of this part of the descent made her cling tightly to her saddle. The steps here had been worn smooth by the iron-shod hooves of all the mules who'd passed this way, until they resembled a series of shallow stone bowls. Water filled the bottoms of the bowls, glimmering golden in the afternoon sun. It is water now, Alayne thought, but come dark all of it will turn to ice. She realized that she was holding her breath, and let it out. Mya Stone and Lord Robert had almost reached the rock spire where the slope leveled off again. She tried to look at them and only them. I will not fall, she told herself. Mya's mule will see me through. The wind skirled around her, as she bumped and scraped her way down step by step. It seemed to take a lifetime.

Then all at once she was at bottom with Mya and her little lord, huddled beneath a twisted, rocky spire. Ahead stretched a high stone saddle, narrow and icy. Alayne could hear the wind shrieking, and felt it plucking at her coat. She remembered this place from her ascent. It had frightened her then, as it frightened her now...

"Ser Sweetrobin," Lord Robert said, and Alayne knew she dare not wait for Mya Stone to return. She helped the boy dismount, and hand in hand they walked out onto the bare stone saddle, their cloaks snapping and flapping behind them. All around was empty air and sky, the ground falling away sharply to either side. There was ice underfoot, and broken stones just waiting to turn an ankle, and the wind was howling fiercely. It sounds like a ghost wolf, thought Sansa. A ghost wolf, big as mountains....

"You're mistaken, I never fall." Mya's hair had tumbled across her cheek, hiding one eye.

"Almost, I said. I saw you. Weren't you afraid?"

Mya shook her head. "I remember a man throwing me in the air when I was very little. He stands as tall as the sky, and he throws me up so high it feels as though I'm flying. We're both laughing, laughing so much that I can barely catch my breath, and finally I laugh so hard I wet myself, but that only makes him laugh the louder. I was never afraid when he was throwing me. I knew that he would always be there to catch me." She pushed her hair back. "Then one day he wasn't. Men come and go. They lie, or die, or leave you. A mountain is not a man, though, and a stone is a mountain's daughter. I trust my father, and I trust my mules. I won't fall."

*****

Jon is going up a mountain, whilst Sansa descends, but they each show considerable bravery in getting through the ordeal. Jon thinks of Bran's courage in climbing, whereas Sansa draws strength from Jon's memory, and if we recall tze's post on their relationship, she may have been modelling herself on Jon ever since she began posing as a bastard. What's interesting to consider in light of the similarities between these passages, is Sansa's thought on the ghost wolf as big as mountains. Does this lend credence to the theory that it relates to Jon somehow? And Jon as bastard and Sansa as bastard both receive advice/lessons which characterize mountains as parental figures, able to nurture and offer protection. Jon's experience of clinging to the mountain makes this seemingly minor image in Sansa's descent stand out:

Patches of snow clung to the rock on either side of the path, blinding white.

And I don't know what to make of this, but it may have some symbolic relevance:

The steps here had been worn smooth by the iron-shod hooves of all the mules who'd passed this way, until they resembled a series of shallow stone bowls. Water filled the bottoms of the bowls, glimmering golden in the afternoon sun. It is water now, Alayne thought, but come dark all of it will turn to ice.

South of the Wall the Thief is the Red Wanderer. Sandor has certain associations with red-- fire, blood, and wine in particular. A wanderer sacred to the smith tends to bring Septon Meribald to mind which leads to the Quiet Isle. I suppose the phrase "kissed by fire" might be worth looking at too. Hmm... there's a "traitor" parallel between Jon and Sansa as well but I'm not sure how far that can be taken.

Jon has also been burned at this stage in the story, and as he's going up the mountain with Stonesnake his hand begins to stiffen; he then rips open a thumbnail, leaving smears of blood. So Jon's injuries (that are noted right before he encounters Ygritte) are reminiscent of Sandor Clegane, who also places a bloody hand over Sansa's mouth to stop her from screaming when she first enters the room.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Writing ASOIAF

A look at George R.R. Martin's thoughts on writing, and some ways this is reflected in his works, with a special focus on romance and Sansa and the Hound.

Part 1

Theme

"You're writing in the shadow of all the people who have gone before, and in some ways you're having a dialogue with them, and as someone who has read J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robert E. Howard, and all the great fantasists before, in some ways, this was almost my answer to them. A lot of it is about war. A great many of the epic fantasies, from Lord of the Rings onward, are about war, but to my mind, a lot of it doesn't really deal honestly with the consequences of war. What war does to us as a society, what war does to us as individuals, and the struggle for power, in the same way, what are we fighting for.

"And I love fantasy, I grew up reading fantasy but I wanted to put a somewhat different spin on it. The whole trope of absolute good vs. absolute evil, which was wonderful in the hands of J.R.R. Tolkien, I think became kind of cliché and rote in the hands of the many Tolkien imitators who followed.

"I've always preferred writing about grey characters, human characters, whether they are giants or elves or dwarfs, or whatever they are, they are still human. The human heart in conflict with itself, as Faulkner says, that all of us have the capability in us for great good and for great evil, for love and also for hate, and I wanted to write those kinds of complex characters in a fantasy, not just all the good people get together to fight the bad guy."

GRRM, Emmys Panel, 3/2013

"I've always agreed with William Faulkner -- he said that the human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing about. I've always taken that as my guiding principle, and the rest is just set dressing. I mean, you can have a dragon, you can have a science fiction story set on a distant planet with aliens and starships, you can have a western about a gunslinger, or a mystery novel about a private eye, or even literary fiction -- and ultimately you're still writing about the human heart in conflict with itself. So that's the way I try to approach this thing. And while I may work within a genre, I've never liked to be bound by them. I have a lot of fun in frustrating genre expectations, using a bit of this or a bit of that, and doing something that hasn't been done before."

GRRM, The Atlantic, 7/2011

Writing Style

"At this point, for a number of years really, decade and a half or so, I've known the broad strokes, where everything is going, where everything is going to wind up. But the fine details, you still discover in the act of writing. Sometimes, although you know the broad strokes, sometimes you change a broad stroke, where suddenly you are writing and you get a better idea, or a different idea, or something happens in a chapter and it's going to lead to a different place than you thought you were going. So it's partly a preplanned thing, and partly an organic process... The best thing is when an unpredictable twist comes out of somewhere, but you've laid the groundwork for you, and then when the reader goes through on that reread, you go, oh, he was playing fair with me, look, he foreshadowed it here and he put that thing here, and he did that here, and now he pays it off. It's not just something you're pulling out of your butt at the last minute."

GRRM, Texas A&M University, 3/2013

"I've often said that writers are of two types. There is the architect, which is one type, the architect, as with designing an entire building, lays things out ahead of time... everything is there in the blueprint. And then there's the gardener, who digs a hole in the ground and puts a seed and waters it with his blood and he sees what comes up. Now, the gardener knows certain things... he has some idea of the shape, but a lot of it depends on the wind and the weather and how much blood he gives it and so forth. No one is purely an architect, no one is purely a gardener in terms of writers, but many writers tend to one side or the other, and I'm very much more a gardener."

GRRM, George Stephanopolous Tonight, 4/2012

"I love my fans, I'm grateful that they love the stories, but art is not a democracy. So I try not to be influenced by my fans. One of the things that drove me crazy in Hollywood was the attempts in the film and television industry to test everything, you do a pilot and they screen it for a focus group, and question them and make them fill out questionnaires, did you like the hero, did you like him doing this, and then you get back reports, oh, the focus group didn't like the hero, can you make him more likeable. That's commerce, they're trying to produce the most popular product, one that will make money for the corporation, I understand that. But it's not art, and what I'm about is art, you don't get to vote on art... I want to tell my stories and put them out there, and some people are going to like them, and some people are not going to like them... I don't want to be influenced in the act of creation, whether it's by a network executive or by my fans."

GRRM, Amazon, 1/2012

"Sometimes I make the decisions wrongly. My process as a writer is not one of thoroughly outlining ahead of time, which can result in my muse leading me down blind alleys and dead ends. I write a chapter and it seems great in and of itself, but then I realize a month later or half a year later that I don't want to go down that street. So then I have to double back and rewrite and so forth. It's almost a subconscious thing - when it's right, it feels right, and when it doesn't feel right, I keep niggling at it until it does."

GRRM, HBO, 2012

"I was very satisfied with the end of the Lord of the Rings, let us say. Talking about predictability here -- I had a sense, even as a kid, that the ring was going to go in the volcano. They weren't going to let Sauron take over the world. But he surprised me in that Frodo couldn't do it. Bringing in Gollum the way he did was an amazing part of the ending, and then came the scouring of the Shire. And when I was 13 years old, reading this, I didn't understand the scouring of the Shire. They won -- why are there all these other pages? But I reread these books every few years, and every time my appreciation for what Tolkien did there grows. It was this kind of sad elegy on the price of victory. I think the scouring of the Shire is one of the essential parts of Tolkien's narrative now, and gives it depth and resonance, and I hope that I will be able to provide an ending that's similar to all of that."

GRRM, The Atlantic, 7/2011

"I generally know the broad strokes. I like to use the analogy of a journey. When I start a book, I know where I'm going, I know the destination of the journey. Like if I'm going from New York to Los Angeles, I know I'm going to wind up in Los Angeles. And I know the principal routes that I'm going to go. I'm going to go through Chicago, I'm going to go through Denver, I'm going to take this, that, and the other thing. But I certainly don't know what's around every bend. I don't know where I'm going to stop for the night. I don't know what hitchhikers I might pick up. Or what interesting roadside attractions I may stop at along the way. So there is a certain sense of adventure that comes out in the writing. And sometimes you do change the destination. Sometimes you wind up taking a different route or going to someplace totally different entirely. And that doesn't happen very often, but it does happen once in a while."

GRRM, Geeks On, 8/2006

"Some of the characters definitely have minds of their own. You write a chapter and think it is going to be about one thing and a character will do something or say something that takes you off in a different direction. So you follow that where it goes. Sometimes it doesn't work out. Sometimes you write for three days and then say this is not working at all, go back and rip it up, slap the character around and get back on path. Sometimes, though, the detour is the more rewarding path. You have to trust your instincts on it."

GRRM, Consumer Help Web, 5/2006

"I think there's happiness. You know, the completely happy ending where everybody lives happily ever after, I don't know. I think there's always going to be a little element of bittersweet. But that remains to be seen. We haven't gotten to the endings yet."

GRRM, Science Fiction Weekly, 11/2000

Subtlety

"Man, that's something that's for the readers to figure out. If it's a symbol that I've carefully worked in there in a subtle way, it's because I'm trying to be suggestive, to make people think. If you see it and start wondering about it, that's on purpose. But I'm not going to start singing out, 'It's a symbol! It's a symbol!' Each reader has to read it and decide for themselves what the symbols are and what they mean. That's part of what you do in a complex work of art, one that's deliberately structured and is relatively ambiguous, so that each reader can draw their own conclusions."

GRRM, Asshai, 7/2012

"As a novelist, I like subtlety, I like ambiguity, I like leaving things that my readers need to figure out, and some of them will find it, and some of them maybe won't find it...

"Why do we read fiction?... I think we live through fiction... I've been known to say a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, while the man who does not read lives only one.... As a reader I've climbed mountains, I've visited other planets, I've dove to the bottom of the sea, I've sailed the Spanish main and fought pirates, I've loved a thousand beautiful women, I've died, I've had children, I've had all these experiences that I've never had in real life, and yet they're part of me and they've made my life immensely richer. That's what I want to do for my reader, when you're finished with my books, I want you to feel like you've lived those books, not that you've simply read some words on a page... I want it to be as real as if you were living the book, and that's why I put so much detail in...

"Subtlety is a virtue. There are things in there that some of my readers pick up on and that other readers miss until it's pointed out to them... I like to reward the readers who are reading closely and paying attention. I like to write the books to reward rereading. I think the first time you read, you're reading for plot, you're reading for what happens next, is the hero going to live or die, or something like that. But then if you go back and reread the book you may pick up things on the second or the third reading that you might have missed the first time, and you say oh my god, look what he's doing here. Look at the foreshadowing, he said this and I didn't notice it the first time, but it's right there, etc."

GRRM, TIFF Master Class, 3/2012

"What do I do if I'm setting up a mystery that I'm going to solve in book six, and people have already guessed this mystery as of book two and they're discussing -- do I change it? Do I say, oh my god, they've already guessed it, they're four books ahead of me, I better change what I'm planning. I think it's a mistake to do that, because that's what you've planned. All the clues and the foreshadowing and the super structure that you build is in place for that reveal, you can't change it just because someone's got it. So I sort of distance myself from the sites."

GRRM, Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, 9/2011

"Sometimes people will figure out a twist that you're contemplating, so the temptation is to change what would have been the twist. That way lies madness and disaster...

"No matter what, it's exciting as an artist to have a response to your work. Sometimes you put so much work into a book and it's carefully crafted and it's got secondary meanings and subtext and a little foreshadowing and you have no idea when they go, 'Oh, I like your book,' that anybody is getting any of it.

"But when they're responding to that, you can see they're getting it. You're trying to do something and it's not coming across. You invented this character and everybody hates it. Or everybody completely misunderstands the character, so you might not be doing it right, you know?"

GRRM, Chicago Tribune, 4/2010

"I think every writer appreciates attentive reading of his work. We labor over these books for years, after all. Then they come out, and the readers gulp them down in days or even hours. Which is very gratifying, in one sense, but can also be frustrating, if we feel that they are missing all the grace notes and little subtleties and clever allusions and ironies and turns of phrase that we sweated blood over for so long. I try to write books that will stand up to rereading, so that every time you go through you will find more to appreciate... and therefore I'm thrilled when readers tell me that they do reread the books."

GRRM, Barnes and Noble Book Club, 4/2008

Point of View

"I'm a strong believer in telling stories through a limited but very tight third person point of view... I don't like the omniscient viewpoint... It's an outmoded and very clumsy technique.

"My goal as a writer has always been to create very very strong imersive fiction. I do not want my reader to feel as though he's reading a book, held at arm's length, I want to immerse him in the action. When he looks back on that reading experience, a week later, a year later, ten years later, I want him to almost feel like he's lived that events, not as though he's read about them sitting in a comfortable armchair.

"None of us have an omniscient viewpoint. None of us have a multiple viewpoint. We can't go into the head of anyone else. We are all alone in the universe, essentially. We see only what our senses tell us we see. We hear what we can hear and we see what we can see. And it's very limited... So I'm all in favor of a very, tight limited point of view.

"I put you in the head of my character essentially for the duration of the story I make you my character, and you experience the events of the story as he would experience the events of the story. However, in the case something like Ice and Fire, I have a story of epic scale. If I was doing a World War II novel, maintaining my limited point of view idea, I would need a number of points of view that I would intercut. And in that way, you get the equivalent, I think, of an omniscient point of view, you are seeing it from many different angles, but you are always seeing it in the eyes of a particular individual.

"And that's the technique I've adopted for Ice and Fire. These characters who are seeing this huge struggle that's engulfing the entire world, but they are seeing it from different sides, they have different viewpoints."

GRRM, Press Conference, 7/2012

Gray Characters

"In that issue Wonder Man is a villain who pretends to be a hero, and joins the Avengers as a hero in order to betray them from within -- and at the end he can't go through with it and dies as result. And boy, you look at that! I loved this issue. In fact it blew my mind... I loved the fact that they killed him, and I loved the fact that [a] villain pretending to be a hero became a real hero at the end. That kind of reversal, dealing with themes of betrayal and redemption -- and you look at my work, and you see the fingerprints of something like this all over it."

GRRM, Comic Book Movie, 9/2012

"It is certainly a genuine, legitimate topic as the core of fantasy, but I think the battle between Good and Evil is waged within the individual human hearts. We all have good in us and we all have evil in us, and we may do a wonderful good act on Tuesday and a horrible, selfish, bad act on Wednesday, and to me, that's the great human drama of fiction. I believe in gray characters, as I've said before. We all have good and evil in us and there are very few pure paragons and there are very few orcs. A villain is a hero of the other side, as someone said once, and I think there's a great deal of truth to that, and that's the interesting thing."

GRRM, AssignmentX, 6/2011

"The battle between Good and Evil is a theme of much of fantasy. But I think the battle between Good and Evil is fought largely within the individual human heart, by the decisions that we make. It's not like evil dresses up in black clothing and you know, they're really ugly. These are some of the things that Tolkien did; he made them work fabulously, but in the hands of his imitators, they become total clichés. I mean the orc-like creatures who always do dress in black and... they're really ugly and they've got facial deformities or something. You can tell that if somebody's ugly, he must be evil. And then Tolkien's heroes are all very attractive people and all that, of course, again this became cliché in the hands of the Tolkien imitators."

GRRM, Time, 4/2011

"I don't concern myself over whether my characters are 'likeable' or 'sympathetic.' (I had my fill of that in television). My interest is in trying to make them real and human. If I can create a fully-fleshed three-dimensional character, some of my readers will like him/ her, or some won't, and that's fine with me. That's the way real people react to real people in the real world, after all. Look at the range of opinions we get on politicians and movie stars. If EVERYONE likes a certain character, or hates him, that probably means he's made of cardboard. So I will let my readers decide who they like, admire, hate, pity, sympathize with, etc. The fact that characters like Sansa, Catelyn, Jaime, and Theon provoke such a wide range of reactions suggests to me that I have achieved my goal in making them human."

GRRM, Barnes and Noble Book Club, 4/2008

Women

It is the richly imagined female characters in particular that set Martin apart from other fantasy writers, and have won him a legion of female fans; women readers make up slightly more than half of his fanbase, he thinks. "It's one of the things that please me most. I'm lucky that I've got such a big project; it means I can have lots of different types of female characters and so avoid stereotypes, which is what fantasy writers can end up doing...

"To me being a feminist is about treating men and women the same. I regard men and women as all human -- yes there are differences, but many of those differences are created by the culture that we live in, whether it's the medieval culture of Westeros, or 21st century western culture."

GRRM, The Telegraph, 3/2013

"You know, I've always considered women to be people... You know, one of the hardest things as a writer is to write someone who is not yourself. The easiest fictional character to create is one who is exactly like yourself. When you're writing fantasy, obviously, I've never been a prince, I've never been a king, I've never murdered anyone, I've never been a dwarf, I've never been an eleven year old girl, so the question is, how do you write these characters? Well, there is a certain amount of stuff you have to get by doing research. You have to talk to people who have actually had these experiences... But the main thing is empathy, and say, well, how would I feel, because the character is still a person, there's a certain basis of common humanity. And that's true about when writing about women... They're more like me than they are unlike me. There are some special conditions, that they have a different set of genitals than I do, but it's still the same old story, a fight for love and glory, we all want kind of the same things out of life. And that humanity can motivate characters and make them real, and that's what I try to remember at all times."

GRRM, George Stephanopolous Tonight, 4/2012

"I just try to write my female characters as I write my male characters. I do take into account that it's a very patriarchal society, so they are limited to certain roles. And some of them fit comfortably within the roles that Westerosi society has assigned them and some of them do not fit comfortably into those roles, and therefore encounter a certain amount of rejection or tension or ridicule as they try to pursue their own dreams or as they frustrate their own dreams. And all this is great, all this is conflict, it's character tension, it's what story is all about, the human heart in conflict with itself, once again. And one of the things that pleases me to no end is that I have so many women readers and that they do write me all the time and and say they really like my female characters, so I'm very pleased with that."

GRRM, Amazon, 1/2012

Ages

"The biggest thing I'm wresting with is the chronology. When I set out with the young characters it was my intention that the kids grow up during the series. And I thought I'd have a chapter. And the next chapter would be a month later. Then the next would be two months after that. And by the end of the book a year will have passed. But it doesn't make sense that a character will take two months to respond to something that happens. So you wind up writing the whole book and very little time has passed. After the third book I thought I would jump forward five years, then the kids would be older. That was part of the delay. I tried to write it with a gap but it just didn't work, so I wound up scrapping all that...

"One of the reasons I wanted to do this with HBO is that I wanted to keep the sex. We had some real problems because Dany is only 13 in the books, and that's based on medieval history. They didn't have this concept of adolescence or the teenage years. You were a child or you were an adult. And the onset of sexual maturity meant you were an adult. So I reflected that in the books. But then when you go to film it you run into people going crazy about child pornography and there's actual laws about how you can't depict a 13 year old having sex even if you have an 18 year old acting the part -- it's illegal in the United Kingdom. So we ended up with a 22 year old portraying an 18 year old, instead of an 18 year old portraying a 13 year old. If we decided to lose the sex we could have kept the original ages. And once you change the age of one character you have to change the ages of all the characters, and change the date of the war [that dethroned the Mad King]. The fact we made all these changes indicates how important we thought sex was."

GRRM, Entertainment Weekly, 7/2012

"The other big decision we had to make to keep all that material was the ages of the characters. In the books, Dany is 13 years old when all of this begins... Although my books are fantasy, not historical fiction in the strict sense, they occur in an imaginary world and imaginary kingdoms, they're very heavily based on real history. And of course, I've done a ton of research about real medieval history. And basically in the middle ages, they did not have our concept of adolescence, of this sort of these sort of teenage years in between where we're kind of adults, but not adults, and we have different ages, where we're allowed to vote at this age, and we're allowed to go to war and die at a different age, and we're allowed to drink at another age, and have sex at a different age, depending on which state we're in, all of that stuff.

"They had child and adult. And the difference between them was the onset of sexual maturity.

"And we still have in our cultures, remnants of this older structure in our ceremonies, the Jewish bar mitzvah, the Catholic confirmation ceremony, which I went through at 13, reaffirming as an adult the vows made for me by my godparents at baptism. The Catholics once considered 13 adulthood... These things are just remnants now, but they weren't remnants in the middle ages, and they're not in the books. They had a very different way of looking at things. So I was using that based on historical precedent.

"But there was no way that was going to fly in our present environment. If we had cast a 13 year old Dany, there could have been no sexual stuff whatsoever with her. And even if we had cast a 17 year old actress playing a 13 year old, there are some really stringent laws in the UK, you can't do that, even if you have an actress who is past the age of consent playing someone who is under the age of consent, you cannot have a sexual situation... So we have a 22 year old actress playing a 17 year old Dany, instead of a 17 year old actress playing a 13 year old Dany, and we did that deliberately so we could include this material. So I think that speaks to the fact that we did think it was necessary to the story we wanted to tell."

GRRM, Authors @ Google, 7/2011

"Back at the Philadelphia Worldcon (which seems a million years ago), I announced the famous five-year gap: I was going to skip five years forward in the story, to allow some of the younger characters to grow older and the dragons to grow larger, and for various other reasons. I started out writing on that basis in 2001, and it worked very well for some of my myriad characters but not at all for others, because you can't just have nothing happen for five years."

GRRM, Locus Magazine, 11/2005

Marriage

"Marriage was a form of political alliance. It was a way to cement a political alliance, one of the ways to bind two families together, and to hopefully make peace between them or to establish that they would be allies against a third common enemy. So you didn't want your sons or daughters, if you were a lord, marrying for love, that was insane. Your daughters were a valuable commodity, you wanted to give them, if you had a vassal whose loyalty you questioned, maybe you'd marry him to one of your daughters, and thereby bind him more closely to the family."

GRRM, HBO, 3/2013

Marriage Illustration

A wedding/bedding

The girl was fifteen and freshly flowered, her lord husband fifty and freshly widowed. She was pink and he was grey. Her bride's cloak trailed behind her, done in candy green and white and yellow...

Ser Maynard glanced toward the dais, where the bride was feeding cherries to her husband. "His Lordship will not be the first to butter that biscuit. His bride was deflowered by a scullion at the Twins, they say. She would creep down to the kitchens to meet him..."

Then he lay his head down atop his folded arms and closed his eyes just for a moment, to rest them from the smoke... When he opened them again, half the wedding guests were on their feet and shouting, "Bed them! Bed them!" They were making such an uproar than they woke Dunk from a pleasant dream involving Tanselle Too-Tall and the Red Widow. "Bed them! Bed them!" the calls rang out. Dunk sat up and rubbed his eyes.

Ser Franklyn Frey had the bride in his arms and was carrying her down the aisle, with men and boys swarming all around him. The ladies at the high table had surrounded Lord Butterwell. Lady Vyrwel had recovered from her grief and was trying to pull His Lordship from his chair, while one of his daughters unlaced his boots and some Frey woman pulled up his tunic. Butterwell was flailing at them ineffectually, and laughing. He was drunk, Dunk saw, and Ser Franklyn was a deal drunker ... so drunk, he almost dropped the bride. Before Dunk quite realized what was happening, John the Fiddler had dragged him to his feet. "Here!" he cried out. "Let the giant carry her!"

The next thing he knew, he was climbing a tower stair with the bride squirming in his arms. How he kept his feet was beyond him. The girl would not be still, and the men were all around them, making ribald japes...

Dunk had no notion where Lord Butterwell's bedchamber was to be found, but the other men pushed and prodded him until he got there, by which time the bride was red-faced, giggling, and nearly naked, save for the stocking on her left leg, which had somehow survived the climb. Dunk was crimson too, and not from exertion. His arousal would have been obvious if anyone had been looking, but fortunately all eyes were the bride...

There were noises in the stairwell, glad shouts and girlish laughter. The women were bringing Lord Butterwell to his bride...

The Mystery Knight, 2010

Sexuality

"What happens later in the books is Drogo and Dany ride out to to consummate their marriage... You have Dany and Drogo riding out, and they find this little secluded spot, there's a stream. And Drogo doesn't speak any English, so they're talking to each other, and she says is no the only word you know. And they undress, and there's a sex scene which was pretty sexy and fairly romantic."

GRRM, Eastercon, 8/2012

"I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it's madness. Ultimately, in the history of the world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much."

GRRM, The Daily Star, 7/2012

"Life is very full of sex, or should be. As much as I admire Tolkien -- and I do, he was a giant of fantasy and a giant of literature, and I think he wrote a great book that will be read for many years -- you do have to wonder where all those Hobbits came from, since you can't imagine Hobbits having sex, can you? Well, sex is an important part of who we are. It drives us, it motivates us, it makes us do sometimes very noble things and it makes us do sometimes incredibly stupid things. Leave it out, and you've got an incomplete world...

"I think sex is important; it's not in a lot of fantasy. It's an important part of human beings, the way we interact with each other."

GRRM, The Denver Post, 6/2012

"Sexuality, once again, I think it's an important driving force in life. It motivates most of the things we do, and it's one of the root things that defines who we are. And yet you find it strangely missing from fantasy, even from some very good fantasy. I admire J.R.R. Tolkien vastly, I think all modern fantasy derives from Tolkien, and Lord of the Rings is one of the great works of this century. Nonetheless, it does have flaws, and I think its almost complete absence of women, and of anything even approaching sex and/or romantic love -- it reflects its time and its place, but it's certainly not something I wanted to do."

GRRM, Science Fiction Weekly, 11/2000

Sexuality Illustrations

The song came drifting up the river from somewhere beyond the little rise to the east. "Off to Gulltown to see the fair maid, heigh-ho, heigh-ho...

"I'll steal a sweet kiss with the point of my blade, heigh-ho, heigh-ho...

"I'll make her my love and we'll rest in the shade, heigh-ho, heigh-ho." The song swelled louder with every word.

Tom Sevenstrings, A Storm of Swords, 2000

"You promised me a song, little bird. Have you forgotten?... Look at me. Look at me...

"I could keep you safe," he rasped. "They're all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I'd kill them." He yanked her closer, and for a moment she thought he meant to kiss her. He was too strong to fight. She closed her eyes, wanting it to be over, but nothing happened. "Still can't bear to look, can you?" she heard him say. He gave her arm a hard wrench, pulling her around and shoving her down onto the bed. "I'll have that song. Florian and Jonquil, you said." His dagger was out, poised at her throat. "Sing, little bird. Sing for your little life."...

Gentle Mother, font of mercy,

save our sons from war, we pray...

Some instinct made her lift her hand and cup his cheek with her fingers. The room was too dark for her to see him, but she could feel the stickiness of the blood, and a wetness that was not blood. "Little bird," he said once more, his voice raw and harsh as steel on stone. Then he rose from the bed.

Sansa and Sandor, A Clash of Kings, 1998

I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she'd been wise.

Sansa and Sandor, A Storm of Swords, 2000

Megga couldn't sing, but she was mad to be kissed. She and Alla played a kissing game sometimes, she confessed, but it wasn't the same as kissing a man, much less a king. Sansa wondered what Megga would think about kissing the Hound, as she had.

Sansa and Sandor, A Storm of Swords, 2000

And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion's eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only on one side. "I'll have a song from you," he rasped, and Sansa woke and found the old blind dog beside her once again. "I wish that you were Lady," she said.

Sansa and Sandor, A Storm of Swords, 2000

As the boy's lips touched her own she found herself thinking of another kiss. She could still remember how it felt, when his cruel mouth pressed down on her own. He had come to Sansa in the darkness as green fire filled the sky. He took a song and a kiss, and left me nothing but a bloody cloak.

Sansa and Sandor, A Feast for Crows, 2005

"You do know what goes on in a marriage bed, I hope?" She thought of Tyrion, and of the Hound and how he'd kissed her, and gave a nod.

Sansa and Sandor, A Feast for Crows, 2005

Drogo touched her hair lightly, sliding the silver-blond strands between his fingers and murmuring softly in Dothraki. Dany did not understand the words, yet there was warmth in the tone, a tenderness she had never expected from this man.

He put his finger under her chin and lifted her head, so she was looking up into his eyes. Drogo towered over her as he towered over everyone. Taking her lightly under the arms, he lifted her and seated her on a rounded rock beside the stream. Then he sat on the ground facing her, legs crossed beneath him, their faces finally at a height...

Khal Drogo sat with his legs crossed, looking at her, drinking in her body with his eyes.

After a while he began to touch her. Lightly at first, then harder. She could sense the fierce strength in his hands, but he never hurt her...

Dany was flushed and breathless, her heart fluttering in her chest. He cupped her face in his huge hands and she looked into his eyes. "No?" he said, and she knew it was a question...

"Yes," she whispered...

Dany and Drogo, A Game of Thrones, 1996

Khal Drogo followed her out into the moonlight, the bells in his hair tinkling softly. A few yards from her tent was a bed of soft grass, and it was there that Dany drew him down. When he tried to turn her over, she put a hand on his chest. "No," she said. "This night I would look on your face."

Dany and Drogo, A Game of Thrones, 1996

He stood with his hands crossed at the wrists, his palms resting on the pommels of his blades; a curving Dothraki arakh on his left hip, a Myrish stiletto on his right. Their hilts were a matched pair of golden women, naked and wanton.

"Are you skilled in the use of those handsome blades?" Dany asked him.

Dany and Daario, A Storm of Swords, 2000

The girl in her wanted to kiss him so much it hurt. His kisses would be hard and cruel, she told herself, and he would not care if I cried out or commanded him to stop...

The hilts of Daario's arakh and stiletto were wrought in the shape of golden women, naked and wanton. He brushed his thumbs across them in a way that was remarkably obscene and smiled a wicked smile.

Dany felt blood rushing to her face. It was almost as if he were caressing her. Would he think me wanton too if I pulled him into bed?...

"Your clothes are stained with blood," she told Daario. "Take them off."

"Only if you do the same." He kissed her. His hair smelled of blood and smoke and horse, and his mouth was hard and hot on hers. Dany trembled in his arms.

Dany and Daario, A Dance With Dragons, 2011

"They will have heard the talk," he had replied. "Naharis may even have boasted of Your Grace's ... of your great ... regard ... for him. If you will forgive my saying so, modesty is not one of the captain's virtues. He takes great pride in his ... his swordsmanship."

He boasts of bedding me, you mean.

Dany and Daario, A Dance With Dragons, 2011

And when the Thief was in the Moonmaid, that was a propitious time for a man to steal a woman, Ygritte insisted.

"Like the night you stole me. The Thief was bright that night."

"I never meant to steal you," he said. "I never knew you were a girl until my knife was at your throat."

Jon and Ygritte, A Storm of Swords, 2000

"We'll go back to the cave," he said. "You're not going to die, Ygritte. You're not."

"Oh." Ygritte cupped his cheek with her hand. "You know nothing, Jon Snow," she sighed, dying.

Jon and Ygritte, A Storm of Swords, 2000

"What you want is me." He tried to kiss her.

Asha pushed him away. "Touch me again and I'll --"

"What?" He drew his dagger. "Undress yourself, girl."

"Fuck yourself, you beardless boy."

"I'd sooner fuck you."

Asha and Qarl, A Dance With Dragons, 2011

The captains and the kings might not have wanted her, but he did. Asha had known other lovers; some shared her bed for half a year, some for half a night. Qarl pleased her more than all the rest together. He might shave but once a fortnight, but a shaggy beard does not make a man. She liked the feel of his smooth, soft skin beneath her fingers. She liked the way his long, straight hair brushed against his shoulders. She liked the way he kissed...

Asha and Qarl, A Dance With Dragons, 2011

"Come on, come on, my sweetling, the music's still playing. Might I have this dance, my lady?"...

"Give me the sword, Kingslayer."

"Oh, I will."...

High, low, overhand, he rained down steel upon her. Left, right, backslash, swinging so hard that sparks flew when the swords came together, upswing, sideslash, overhand, always attacking, moving into her, step and slide, strike and step, step and strike, hacking, slashing, faster,faster,faster ... until, breathless, he stepped back and let the point of the sword fall to the ground, giving her a moment of respite...

She looks as if they caught us fucking instead of fighting.

Jaime and Brienne, A Storm of Swords, 2000

The bathhouse had been thick with the steam rising off the water, and Jaime had come walking through that mist naked as his name day, looking half a corpse and half a god. He climbed into the tub with me, she remembered, blushing.

Jaime and Brienne, A Feast for Crows, 2005

Drowsing at long last, Dunk dreamed... Her eyes were gray and green and full of mischief. Your gown brings out the color of your eyes, he meant to say to her, but she was not wearing any gown, or any clothes at all. Across her small breasts was a faint spray of freckles, and her nipples were red and hard as little berries... With one hard yank he pulled her down on top of him and kissed her.

Dunk and Rohanne, The Sworn Sword, 2003

"You have large feet", she observed. "Large hands as well. I think you must be large all over."...

Dunk grabbed her braid and pulled her face to his. It was awkward with the crutch and the difference in their heights. He almost fell before he got his lips on hers. He kissed her hard. One of her hands went around his neck, and one around his back. He learned more about kissing in a moment than he had ever known from watching.

But when they finally broke apart, he drew his dagger. "I know what I want to remember you by, m'lady."

Dunk and Rohanne, The Sworn Sword, 2003

"Ser Duncan, you seem to be attracting a lot of attention," Ser Maynard Plumm observed... "Those girls up on the dais cannot seem to take their eyes off you. I'll wager they have never seen a man so big."

The Mystery Knight, 2010

John the Fiddler paid the older man no mind. "I would love to cross swords with you, ser. I've tried men of many lands and races, but never one your size. Was your father large as well?"...

The Fiddler gave Dunk an apologetic smile. "Perchance we'll meet again someday. I hope so. I should love to try my lance on you."

The Mystery Knight, 2010

Romanticism

"A melancholy, romantic, elegiac sort of novel it was, but then I was a melancholy romantic myself in those days."

GRRM on Dying of the Light, Not A Blog, 8/2012

"George has always been a richly romantic writer. Dry minimalism or the cooly ironic games of postmodernism so beloved by many modern writers and critics are not what you're going to get when you open something by George R. R. Martin. What you're going to get instead is a strongly - plotted story driven by emotional conflict and crafted by someone who's a natural-born storyteller, a story that grabs you on the first page and refuses to let go. You're going to get adventure, action, conflict, romance, and lust, vivid human emotion: obsessive, doomed love, stark, undying hatred, unexpected veins of rich humor... and something that's rare even in science fiction and fantasy these days (let alone the mainstream) -- a love of adventure for adventure's sake, a delighting in the strange and colorful, bizarre plants and animals, exotic scenery, strange lands, strange customs, stranger people, backed by the inexhaustible desire to see what's over the next hill, or waiting on the next world."

Gardner Dozois on GRRM, Dreamsongs, 2003

"I don't think I'm a misanthrope, or gloomy. I think love and friendship are very important parts of what make life worth living. There is room for happiness. But that having been said, there are some basic truths. One of them is that death waits for all of us at the end. Whether it's the Middle Ages or today, sooner or later we are all going to be ashes to ashes, and dust to dust. I think that colours things. Any happy ending where everything is resolved, and everything is jolly, maybe rings false because of what is coming for us.

"Another thing that is maybe not so big a part of Ice and Fire, but certainly a huge part of my early work, is the existential loneliness that we all suffer. While we interact with other human beings, we can never really know them. I think these things, that we feel on some deep instinctual level, make us feel the resonances in fiction."

GRRM, Sydney Morning Herald, 8/2001

"I was always intensely Romantic, even when I was too young to understand what that meant. But Romanticism has its dark side, as any Romantic soon discovers... which is where the melancholy comes in, I suppose. I don't know if this is a matter of artistic influences so much as it is of temperament. But there's always been something in a twilight that moves me, and a sunset speaks to me in a way that no sunrise ever has."

GRRM, Infinity Plus, 12/2000

"We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

"They can keep their heaven. When I die, I'd sooner go to middle Earth."

GRRM, The Faces of Fantasy: Photographs by Pati Perret, 1996

Romanticism Illustrations

Gothic romance - Jane Eyre parallels

A little bird

"The Lowood constraint still clings to you somewhat; controlling your features, muffling your voice, and restricting your limbs; and you fear in the presence of a man and a brother-or father, or master, or what you will -- to smile too gaily, speak too freely, or move too quickly: but, in time, I think you will learn to be natural with me, as I find it impossible to be conventional with you; and then your looks and movements will have more vivacity and variety than they dare offer now. I see at intervals the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close-set bars of a cage: a vivid, restless, resolute captive is there; were it but free, it would soar cloud-high."

Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

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

"You promised me a song, little bird. Have you forgotten?"

Sansa and Sandor, A Game of Thrones, 1996 and A Clash of Kings, 1998

A caress

I caressed, in order to soothe him. I knew of what he was thinking, and wanted to speak for him, but dared not. As he turned aside his face a minute, I saw a tear slide from under the sealed eyelid, and trickle down the manly cheek. My heart swelled.

Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

Some instinct made her lift her hand and cup his cheek with her fingers. The room was too dark for her to see him, but she could feel the stickiness of the blood, and a wetness that was not blood. "Little bird," he said once more, his voice raw and harsh as steel on stone.

Sansa and Sandor, A Clash of Kings, 1998

"I heard a voice"

I saw nothing, but I heard a voice somewhere cry -- "Jane! Jane! Jane!" -- nothing more...

"I asked of God, at once in anguish and humility, if I had not been long enough desolate, afflicted, tormented; and might not soon taste bliss and peace once more. That I merited all I endured, I acknowledged - that I could scarcely endure more, I pleaded; and the alpha and omega of my heart's wishes broke involuntarily from my lips in the words -- 'Jane! Jane! Jane!'"

Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

It was Lothor Brune's voice, she realized. Not the Hound's, no, how could it be? Of course it had to be Lothor...

"You remember where the heart is?" he asked in a hoarse whisper... He made a queer sound, and it took her a moment to realize he was sobbing. "And the little bird, your pretty sister, I stood there in my white cloak and let them beat her. I took the bloody song, she never gave it."

Sansa and Sandor, A Storm of Swords, 2000

His cloak

"Not at all: just be still. You have a shawl on. If you are not warm enough, you may take my cloak yonder; wrap it about you, and sit down in the arm-chair: there, -- I will put it on...

"Rain and wind, indeed! Yes, you are dripping like a mermaid; pull my cloak round you: but I think you are feverish, Jane: both your cheek and hand are burning hot. I ask again, is there anything the matter?"

Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

Sandor Clegane unfastened his cloak and tossed it at her. Sansa clutched it against her chest, fists bunched hard in the white wool. The coarse weave was scratchy against her skin, but no velvet had ever felt so fine...

Sansa heard cloth ripping, followed by the softer sound of retreating footsteps... She found his cloak on the floor, twisted up tight, the white wool stained by blood and fire... She shook out the torn cloak and huddled beneath it on the floor, shivering... How long she stayed there she could not have said...

Sansa and Sandor, A Clash of Kings, 1998

Ferocity

And, reader, do you think I feared him in his blind ferocity? -- if you do, you little know me.

Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

And yet, some part of her wished that Ser Dontos had a little of the Hound's ferocity.

Sansa and Sandor, A Clash of Kings, 1998

"Harsh as he was"

And was Mr. Rochester now ugly in my eyes? No, reader: gratitude, and many associations, all pleasurable and genial, made his face the object I best liked to see; his presence in a room was more cheering than the brightest fire. Yet I had not forgotten his faults; indeed, I could not, for he brought them frequently before me. He was proud, sardonic, harsh to inferiority of every description: in my secret soul I knew that his great kindness to me was balanced by unjust severity to many others. He was moody, too; unaccountably so; I more than once, when sent for to read to him, found him sitting in his library alone, with his head bent on his folded arms; and, when he looked up, a morose, almost a malignant, scowl blackened his features. But I believed that his moodiness, his harshness, and his former faults of morality (I say former, for now he seemed corrected of them) had their source in some cruel cross of fate.

Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

I would be gladder if it were the Hound, Sansa thought. Harsh as he was, she did not believe Sandor Clegane would let any harm come to her...

I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she'd been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she'd kept it. The Hound had turned craven, she heard it said; at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men. But Sansa understood. She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fire he feared. That night, the wildfire had set the river itself ablaze, and filled the very air with green flame. Even in the castle, Sansa had been afraid. Outside... she could scarcely imagine it.

Sansa and Sandor, A Clash of Kings, 1998 and A Storm of Swords, 2000

Age and experience

"Then, in the first place, do you agree with me that I have a right to be a little masterful, abrupt, perhaps exacting, sometimes, on the grounds I stated, namely, that I am old enough to be your father, and that I have battled through a varied experience with many men of many nations, and roamed over half the globe, while you have lived quietly with one set of people in one house?"...

"I don't think, sir, you have a right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience."

Jane and Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

"You look almost a woman... face, teats, and you're taller too, almost... ah, you're still a stupid little bird, aren't you? Singing all the songs they taught you... sing me a song, why don't you? Go on. Sing to me. Some song about knights and fair maids. You like knights, don't you?... Do you like wine, little bird? True wine? A flagon of sour red, dark as blood, all a man needs. Or a woman."

As they were winding their way up the steps, she said, "Why do you let people call you a dog? You won't let anyone call you a knight."

Sansa and Sandor, A Clash of Kings, 1998

"From here she could see everything"

Anybody may blame me who likes, when I add further, that, now and then, when I took a walk by myself in the grounds; when I went down to the gates and looked through them along the road; or when, while Adèle played with her nurse, and Mrs. Fairfax made jellies in the storeroom, I climbed the three staircases, raised the trap-door of the attic, and having reached the leads, looked out afar over sequestered field and hill, and along dim sky-line -- that then I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that limit; which might reach the busy world, towns, regions full of life I had heard of but never seen -- that then I desired more of practical experience than I possessed; more of intercourse with my kind, of acquaintance with variety of character, than was here within my reach...

Jane, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

Sansa could go where she would so long as she did not try to leave the castle, but there was nowhere she wanted to go. She crossed over the dry moat with its cruel iron spikes and made her way up the narrow turnpike stair, but when she reached the door of her bedchamber she could not bear to enter. The very walls of the room made her feel trapped; even with the window opened wide it felt as though there were no air to breathe. Turning back to the stair, Sansa climbed. The smoke blotted out the stars and the thin crescent of moon, so the roof was dark and thick with shadows. Yet from here she could see everything: the Red Keep's tall towers and great cornerforts, the maze of city streets beyond, to south and west the river running black, the bay to the east, the columns of smoke and cinders, and fires, fires everywhere.

Sansa, A Clash of Kings, 1998

A quiet island

"My little friend!" said he, "I wish I were in a quiet island with only you; and trouble, and danger, and hideous recollections removed from me."

Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

"Why do they call it the Quiet Isle?" asked Podrick.

"Those who dwell here are penitents, who seek to atone for their sins through contemplation, prayer, and silence."...

On the upper slopes they saw three boys driving sheep, and higher still they passed a lichyard where a brother bigger than Brienne was struggling to dig a grave.

Sandor, A Feast for Crows, 2005

A dark horse

I put down my muff on the stile, and went up to the tall steed; I endeavoured to catch the bridle, but it was a spirited thing, and would not let me come near its head; I made effort on effort, though in vain: meantime, I was mortally afraid of its trampling fore-feet. The traveller waited and watched for some time, and at last he laughed.

Mr. Rochester's horse, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

Stranger, the Hound called him. Arya had tried to steal him once, when Clegane was taking a piss against a tree, thinking she could ride off before he could catch her. Stranger had almost bitten her face off. He was gentle as an old gelding with his master, but otherwise he had a temper as black as he was. She had never known a horse so quick to bite or kick.

Sandor's horse, A Storm of Swords, 2000

"A melancholy romantic" - early works

Dirk regarded her in silence for a long time. She was very beautiful, he thought, beautiful in the way that Garse Janacek had been beautiful. She was a little like the banshee, he decided, and he grieved a private grief for his Jenny, his Guinevere who never was. "You're right," he said heavily.

She stepped closer to him, wrapped him within the circle of her arms before he could react, and hugged him with all of her strength. His own hands came up slowly; he hugged her back, and they stood together for a good ten minutes, crushed against each other, her smooth cool cheek against his stubble. When she finally broke from him, she looked up, expecting him to kiss her, so he did. He closed his eyes; her lips felt dry and hard.

Dying of the Light, 1977

She shook her head, and the tears flowed on. "You don't understand, see? And there's no way I can make you. You said we know each other as much as any human beings ever can. You're right. But how much can human beings know each other? Aren't all of them cut off, really? Each alone in a big, dark, empty universe? We only trick ourselves when we think that someone else is there. In the end, in the cold lonely end, it's only us, by ourselves, in the blackness. Are you there, Robb? How do I know? Will you die with me, Robb? Will we be together then? Are we together now?"...

And as her mind opened to mine, so did her body. I entered her, and we moved together, bodies one, minds entwined, as close as human beings can join. I felt pleasure washing over me in great glorious waves, my pleasure, her pleasure, both together building on each other, and I rode the crest for an eternity as it approached a far distant shore. And finally as it smashed into that beach, we came together, and for a second - for a tiny, fleeting second - I could not tell which orgasm was mine, and which was hers.

But then it passed. We lay, bodies locked together, on the bed. In the starlight. But it was not a bed. It was the beach, the flat black beach, and there were no stars above. A thought touched me, a vagrant thought that was not mine. Lya's thought. We were on a plain, she was thinking, and I saw that she was right. The waters that had carried us here were gone, receded. There was only a vast flat blackness stretching away in all directions, with dim ominous shapes moving on either horizon. We are here as on a darkling plain, Lya thought. And suddenly I knew what those shapes were, and what poem she had been reading...

A Song for Lya, 1976

... Ah, love, let us be true

To one another! for the world, which seems

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new,

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night.

The poem in A Song for Lya, Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold, 1867

Sansa and the Hound

"Riding with King Robert to Winterfell, Sandor first meets Sansa Stark and becomes infatuated with her...

"During the Battle of the Blackwater, Clegane leads a force attempting to hold the King's Gate, but is unable to fulfill his duties due to his fear of the burning wildfire raging on the river and on the docks. Instead, he finds his way to Sansa Stark's chambers, where he forces her to sing him a song while trying to work up the courage to take her with him out of the city. Her fear of him -- as well as her song -- makes him leave without her...

"Arya considers killing him, and the Hound attempts to force her into it by telling her how he killed Mycah and how he made Sansa sing for him."

A World of Ice and Fire app, 12/2012

Veronica Belmont: I'm a big fan of the Hound myself, actually...

GRRM: I do know there's all these people out there who are, as they call themselves, the SanSan fans, who want to see Sandor and Sansa get together at the end. So that's interesting, too.

Tom Merritt: The TV show has sort of played with that a little and probably stoked those fires, I would think.

GRRM: Oh, sure. And I've played with it in the books.

Tom Merritt: Yeah, yeah.

GRRM: There's something there. But it's still interesting to see how many people have responded to it.

Veronica Belmont: I'm not going to say that that hasn't crossed my mind.

GRRM, Geek and Sundry, 6/2012

"One of the many great things about this job was George and Bantam let me make the first call on what images and characters I wanted to illustrate. So I made a 'wish list', and whittled it down to a final twelve. When I was done, George signed off on most of them, but he offered three or four images of his own that weren't on my list. He offered these for me to consider and I thought they were all terrific. So I nuked a few of mine and replaced them with his because it made for a more balanced set.

"One of George's suggestions was Sansa Stark and the Hound (AKA Sandor Clegane).

"George thought it would be fun to consider the scene where the Hound encounters Sansa in her darkened chamber while the Battle of the Blackwater rages outside. When I think about Sansa and the Hound, I think about Beauty and the Beast."

John Picacio on illustrating the ASOIAF calendar, io9, 6/2012

"I have a horse that changes sex between the first and second book, for example. I do make mistakes, and I regret that because it confuses the issue. There are other so-called 'mistakes' in the book that are not mistakes -- they're very intentional because I'm trying to get at something having to do with the point of view structure and the unreliable narrator. Two different characters may remember an event in two different ways -- well that's not a mistake, that's deliberate. When you have horses changing sex, it blurs the distinction and throws the reader off. So I guess that's a valid mistake."

GRRM (more on the unkiss below), The Atlantic, 7/2011

"Sandor needs to be a big guy, powerful and threatening, someone who looks like he could break you in half. Rory is all of that and more. Mostly, though, it was his readings. We had other good ones, yes, but none to touch his. One of the scenes in the side was Sandor's scene with Sansa, where he tells her how his face came to be scarred. In the space of a few lines, Rory had me terrified (where he roars, "Look at me," and makes her look at his face), made me chuckle (when he says no, the burns weren't dragonflame), and brought a tear to my eye (when he tells his story). After I saw that, I knew he was Sandor... and David, Dan, and Tom all agreed."

GRRM, Not a Blog, 9/2009

Commenter 1: Oh please don't cast an old guy for the Hound, his scenes with Sansa are so romantic and erotic, I couldn't bear if it'd feel creepy all of a sudden. Well, that's me making demands. LOL

GRRM: Old guy? No, but... the Hound is still a whole lot older than Sansa, and was never written as attractive... you know, those hideous burns and all that... he's a lot more dangerous than he is romantic.

Commenter 2: Yeah its a "girl always wants the bad boy" kind of thing although Sansa seems to pull something else out of him. It feels so wrong sometimes but I want to see them together again tee hee.

Commenter 1: Hehe, George, maybe you didn't intend it, but he turned out to be a very erotic character to female readers. Especially since he's mutilated and dangerous. Makes him unpredictable and vulnerable which is the most explosive aphrodisiac for a girl's fantasy. ; ) And I know from discussions on other board other women feel just the same about Sandor. He's an absolute favourite with the ladies!

Commenter 3 (replying to GRRM): LOL, you're such a man. To many of us women, dangerous *is* attractive.

GRRM: But no one has any love for poor old Sam Tarly, kind and smart and decent and devoted...

Commenter 4: They might if they knew him in real life, he's just not the stuff fantasies are made of... Sam is too innocent, you'd feel like a mother to him all the time. But anyway, everyone does love him, just not in a romantic way like The Hound. Who by the way really does have all the criteria, he even has abuse issues from when he was young - hot lol.

Commenter 5: In real life, I know (and love) plenty of Sam Tarlys. My best friend is a Sam Tarly. I like to think it's all right to enjoy the dangerous guys when it comes to fiction. After all, I've seen a heck of a lot of menfolk drool over Asha. ; )

Commenter 6: Sam Tarly is sweet, compassional and gentle, I agree on what others have said: he's a girls best friend without having to doubt he wants more out of the relationship. The Anti-hero has this mysterious thing around him, and yeah we feel attracted to the dangerous guy. I also loved the atmosphere in the scene between him and Sansa.

GRRM, Not a Blog, 8/2009

Question: Will Sandor and Sansa meet again in the future?

GRRM: Why, the Hound is dead, and Sansa may be dead as well. There's only Alayne Stone.

GRRM, Barnes and Noble Book Club, 4/2008

Question: Here's a really particular question (which I realize means it probably won't get asked in a general interview): In A Storm of Swords, there is a chapter early on where Sansa is thinking back to the scene at the end of A Clash of Kings when The Hound came into her room during the battle. She thinks in the chapter about how he kissed her, but in the scene in A Clash of Kings, this actually didn't happen. Was that a typo or something?

GRRM: It's not a typo. It is something! [Laughs] 'Unreliable narrator' is the key phrase there. The second scene is from Sansa's thoughts. And what does that reveal about her psychologically? I try to be subtle about these things.

GRRM, Entertainment Weekly, 11/2007

Commenter 1: I just read the part where Brienne is talking to the Elder Brother of Quiet Isle, and he just confirmed a death of a certain character. Who happened to be one of my favorites, and who I was secretly hoping to end up with Sansa Stark! Okay, yeah, a pipe dream I guess, but I definitely saw parallels between he and Sansa and the Beauty and the Beast story. I hoped for them to cure each other of their separate diseases -- Sansa's shallowness and Sandor's, er, overwhelming rage at life. I know it's a little far-fetched, but tell me: didn't you kind of want it to happen too, just a little?

Commenter 2: Read the chapter on the Quiet Isle again closely. Pay particular attention to people in the background, and see who gets mentioned more than once.

Not a Blog, 7/2007

Question: You mentioned how closely tied the Stark children are with the direwolves, but how about Sansa now that Lady's dead?

GRRM: She lost hers, so it kind of leaves her a little adrift. Of course Arya has lost hers too, she's separated from Nymeria.

Question: She just started having her transformations also, though.

GRRM: Right.

Question: There's some speculation that you plan to replace Lady with the Hound, possibly?

GRRM: What? Interesting speculation. I won't comment on that. [laughs]

Question: That's one of those points that are just intriguing.

GRRM: That's what the readers will have to figure out for themselves, and argue about. Be a little bit elliptical, sometimes.

GRRM, Interview with the Dragon, 2003

In ASoS, Sansa thinks that the Hound kissed her before leaving her room and King's Landing. In ACoK, no kiss is mentioned in the scene, though Sansa did think that he was about to do so.

Well, not every inconsistency is a mistake, actually. Some are quite intentional. File this one under "unreliable narrator" and feel free to ponder its meaning.

10/2002

GRRM is asked about Sansa misremembering the name of Joffrey's sword.

The Lion's Paw / Lion's Tooth business, on the other hand, is intentional. A small touch of the unreliable narrator. I was trying to establish that the memories of my viewpoint characters are not infallible. Sansa is simply remembering it wrong. A very minor thing (you are the only one to catch it to date), but it was meant to set the stage for a much more important lapse in memory. You will see, in A STORM OF SWORDS and later volumes, that Sansa remembers the Hound kissing her the night he came to her bedroom... but if you look at the scene, he never does. That will eventually mean something, but just now it's a subtle touch, something most of the readers may not even pick up on.

6/2001

Fan: In ACOK, it seems that the relationship between the Hound and Sansa had romantic undertones. Is that true?

GeoRR: Well, read the book and decide for yourself.

Fan: I've read the book and I've debated those particular scenes with a few others. Half say that it's romantic and half say it's platonic. I've taken the romantic stance.

GeoRR: It could be very different things to each of those involved, mind you

Fan: Yes, but it seem like evidence points towards romantic undertones.

6/1999

Fan reports (unverified), Westeros .org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Writing ASOIAF

Part 2

Sansa and the Hound Illustrations

A Selection of Sansa and Sandor quotes

1) Joffrey said nothing, but a man strange to Arya, a tall knight with black hair and burn scars on his face, pushed forward in front of the prince. "This is your prince. Who are you to tell him he may not have an edge on his sword, ser?"

"Master-at-arms of Winterfell, Clegane, and you would do well not to forget it."

"Are you training women here?" the burned man wanted to know. He was muscled like a bull.

"I am training knights," Ser Rodrik said pointedly. "They will have steel when they are ready. When they are of an age."

The burned man looked at Robb. "How old are you, boy?"

"Fourteen," Robb said.

"I killed a man at twelve. You can be sure it was not with a blunt sword."

2) Lady growled. A terror as overwhelming as anything Sansa Stark had ever felt filled her suddenly. She stepped backward and bumped into someone.

Strong hands grasped her by the shoulders, and for a moment Sansa thought it was her father, but when she turned, it was the burned face of Sandor Clegane looking down at her, his mouth twisted in a terrible mockery of a smile. “You are shaking, girl,” he said, his voice rasping. “Do I frighten you so much?”...

"And you, dog, away with you, you're scaring my betrothed."

The Hound, ever faithful, bowed and slid away quietly through the press...

"It was not him, my sweet prince," she tried to explain. "It was the other one."

3) Joffrey laughed. "He's my mother's dog, in truth. She has set him to guard me, and so he does."

"You mean the Hound," she said... "Is it safe to leave him behind?" She found herself thinking of Lady, wishing the direwolf was with her.

4) The king was in no mood for more argument. "Enough, Ned, I will hear no more. A direwolf is a savage beast. Sooner or later it would have turned on your girl the same way the other did on my son. Get her a dog, she'll be happier for it."

5) "What did Gregor do?" Arya asked.

"He burned down a holdfast and murdered a lot of people, women and children too."

Arya screwed up her face in a scowl. "Jaime Lannister murdered Jory and Heward and Wyl, and the Hound murdered Mycah. Somebody should have beheaded them."

"It's not the same," Sansa said. "The Hound is Joffrey's sworn shield. Your butcher's boy attacked the prince."

6) Ned Stark would have loved nothing so well as to see them both lose, but Sansa was watching it all moist-eyed and eager...

This time, when Jaime shifted his seat, Sandor Clegane shifted with him. Both lances exploded, and by the time the splinters had settled, a riderless blood bay was trotting off in search of grass while Ser Jaime Lannister rolled in the dirt, golden and dented.

Sansa said, "I knew the Hound would win."

7) A true lady would not notice his face, she told herself. "You rode gallantly today, Ser Sandor," she made herself say.

Sandor Clegane snarled at her. "Spare me your empty little compliments, girl ... and your ser's. I am no knight. I spit on them and their vows. My brother is a knight...

"Look at me. Look at me!" Sandor Clegane put a huge hand under her chin and forced her face up. He squatted in front of her, and moved the torch close. "There's a pretty for you. Take a good long stare. You know you want to. I've watched you turning away all the way down the kingsroad. Piss on that. Take your look."...

Sansa began to cry. He let go of her then, and snuffed out the torch in the dirt. "No pretty words for that, girl? No little compliment the septa taught you?"

8) "I don't remember what I got, but it was Gregor's gift I wanted. A wooden knight, all painted up... So I took his knight, but there was no joy to it, I tell you. I was scared all the while, and true enough, he found me. There was a brazier in the room. Gregor never said a word, just picked me up under his arm and shoved the side of my face down in the burning coals and held me there while I screamed and screamed...

"My father told everyone my bedding had caught fire... Four years later, they anointed him with the seven oils and he recited his knightly vows and Rhaegar Targaryen tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Arise, Ser Gregor.'"...

The rasping voice trailed off. He squatted silently before her, a hulking black shape shrouded in the night, hidden from her eyes. Sansa could hear his ragged breathing. She was sad for him, she realized. Somehow, the fear had gone away.

The silence went on and on, so long that she began to grow afraid once more, but she was afraid for him now, not for herself. She found his massive shoulder with her hand. "He was no true knight," she whispered to him.

The Hound threw back his head and roared. Sansa stumbled back, away from him, but he caught her arm. "No," he growled at her, "no, little bird, he was no true knight."

9) But as Gregor lifted his sword for the killing blow, a rasping voice warned, "Leave him be," and a steel-clad hand wrenched him away from the boy...

"Is the Hound the champion now?" Sansa asked Ned...

A few moments later Ser Loras Tyrell walked back onto the field in a simple linen doublet and said to Sandor Clegane, "I owe you my life. The day is yours, ser."

"I am no ser," the Hound replied.

10) "The Hound?" Ned asked, frowning...

Littlefinger smiled. "I would have given a hundred silver stags to have been a roach in the rushes when he learned that Lord Beric was off to behead his brother."

"Even a blind man could see the Hound loathed his brother."

"Ah, but Gregor was his to loathe, not yours to kill. Once Dondarrion lops the summit off our Mountain, the Clegane lands and incomes will pass to Sandor, but I wouldn't hold my water waiting for his thanks, not that one."

11) "The king and council have determined that no man in the Seven Kingdoms is more fit to guard and protect His Grace than his sworn shield, Sandor Clegane."

"How do you like that, dog?" King Joffrey asked.

The Hound's scarred face was hard to read. He took a long moment to consider. "Why not? I have no lands nor wife to forsake, and who'd care if I did?" The burned side of his mouth twisted. "But I warn you, I'll say no knight's vows."

12) "Dog, get her out of bed."

Sandor Clegane scooped her up around the waist and lifted her off the featherbed as she struggled feebly. Her blanket fell to the floor. Underneath she had only a thin bedgown to cover her nakedness... He pushed her toward her wardrobe, almost gently...

"Save yourself some pain, girl, and give him what he wants."

"What ... what does he want? Please, tell me."

"He wants you to smile and smell sweet and be his lady love," the Hound rasped.

13) She wanted to rage, to hurt him as he'd hurt her, to warn him that when she was queen she would have him exiled if he ever dared strike her again... but she remembered what the Hound had told her, so all she said was, "I shall do whatever His Grace commands."

"As I do," he replied.

"Yes... but you are no true knight, Ser Meryn." Sandor Clegane would have laughed at that, Sansa knew.

14) In life, the monsters win, she told herself, and now it was the Hound's voice she heard, a cold rasp, metal on stone. "Save yourself some pain, girl, and give him what he wants."

15) The Hound was right, she thought, I am only a little bird, repeating the words they taught me.

16) "I can have Ser Meryn drag you up," he said. "You won't like that. You had better do what I say." Joffrey reached for her, and Sansa cringed away from him, backing into the Hound.

17) "Your brother is a traitor too, you know." He turned Septa Mordane's head back around. "I remember your brother from Winterfell. My dog called him the lord of the wooden sword. Didn't you, dog?"

"Did I?" the Hound replied. "I don't recall."

18) All it would take was a shove, she told herself. He was standing right there, right there, smirking at her with those fat wormlips. You could do it, she told herself. You could. Do it right now. It wouldn't even matter if she went over with him. It wouldn't matter at all.

"Here, girl." Sandor Clegane knelt before her, between her and Joffrey. With a delicacy surprising in such a big man, he dabbed at the blood welling from her broken lip.

A Game of Thrones, 1996

1) The others obeyed without question... except for the Hound, but Joff never asked the Hound to punish her. He used the other five for that.

2) In the back of the royal box, Sandor Clegane stood at guard, his hands resting on his swordbelt. The white cloak of the Kingsguard was draped over his broad shoulders and fastened with a jeweled brooch, the snowy cloth looking somehow unnatural against his brown roughspun tunic and studded leather jerkin. "Lady Sansa," the Hound announced curtly when he saw her.

3) Joffrey scowled. He knew she was lying, she could see it. He would make her bleed for this.

"The girl speaks truly," the Hound rasped. "What a man sows on his name day, he reaps throughout the year."

4) "The longer you keep him waiting, the worse it will go for you," Sandor Clegane warned her.

Sansa tried to hurry, but her fingers fumbled at buttons and knots. The Hound was always rough-tongued, but something in the way he had looked at her filled her with dread...

"Tell me what I've done."

"Not you. Your kingly brother."

"Robb's a traitor." Sansa knew the words by rote...

The Hound snorted. "They trained you well, little bird."

5) "Get her up!"

The Hound pulled her to her feet, not ungently...

Tears welled in her eyes. It will be over soon. She soon lost count of the blows.

"Enough," she heard the Hound rasp...

Boros shoved a meaty hand down the front of Sansa's bodice and gave a hard yank. The silk came tearing away, baring her to the waist. Sansa covered her breasts with her hands...

Sandor Clegane unfastened his cloak and tossed it at her. Sansa clutched it against her chest, fists bunched hard in the white wool. The coarse weave was scratchy against her skin, but no velvet had ever felt so fine.

6) Help me, she prayed, send me a friend, a true knight to champion me...

Sansa found herself thinking of Lady again. She could smell out falsehood, she could...

Home, she thought, home, he is going to take me home, he'll keep me safe, my Florian...

She was racing headlong down the serpentine steps when a man lurched out of a hidden doorway. Sansa caromed into him and lost her balance. Iron fingers caught her by the wrist before she could fall. "It's a long roll down the serpentine, little bird. Want to kill us both?"

7) "You look almost a woman... face, teats, and you're taller too, almost... ah, you're still a stupid little bird, aren't you? Singing all the songs they taught you... sing me a song, why don't you? Go on. Sing to me. Some song about knights and fair maids. You like knights, don't you?...

"Do you like wine, little bird? True wine? A flagon of sour red, dark as blood, all a man needs. Or a woman."

8) The Hound gave her a push, oddly gentle, and followed her down the steps...

When they reached Maegor's Holdfast, she was alarmed to see that it was Ser Boros Blount who now held the bridge... Sansa flinched away from his gaze. Ser Boros was the worst of the Kingsguard, an ugly man with a foul temper, all scowls and jowls.

"That one is nothing to fear, girl." The Hound laid a heavy hand on her shoulder. "Paint stripes on a toad, he does not become a tiger."...

Ser Boros turned to Sansa. "How is it you are not in your chambers at this hour, lady?"...

"You expect her to sleep with all the noise?" Clegane said.

9) As they were winding their way up the steps, she said, "Why do you let people call you a dog? You won't let anyone call you a knight."

"I like dogs better than knights... A hound will die for you, but never lie to you."

10) "I never got my song."

"I... I know a song about Florian and Jonquil."

"Florian and Jonquil?... Spare me. But one day I'll have a song from you, whether you will it or no."

"I will sing it for you gladly."

Sandor Clegane snorted. "Pretty thing, and such a bad liar. A dog can smell a lie, you know. Look around you, and take a good whiff. They're all liars here... and every one better than you."

11) Sandor Clegane cantered briskly through the gates astride Sansa's chestnut courser. The girl was seated behind, both arms tight around the Hound's chest...

Blood was trickling down Sansa's brow from a deep gash on her scalp... "A man tried to pull me from the saddle. The Hound killed him, I think..."

Clegane lifted her to the ground. His white cloak was torn and stained, and blood seeped through a jagged tear in his left sleeve. "The little bird's bleeding. Someone take her back to her cage and see to that cut."

12) Nightmares of the day Princess Myrcella had sailed still troubled her sleep; dark suffocating dreams that woke her in the black of night, struggling for breath. She could hear the people screaming at her, screaming without words, like animals. They had hemmed her in and thrown filth at her and tried to pull her off her horse, and would have done worse if the Hound had not cut his way to her side.

13) A stab went through her, so sharp that Sansa sobbed and clutched at her belly. She might have fallen, but a shadow moved suddenly, and strong fingers grabbed her arm and steadied her.

14) "The little bird still can't bear to look at me, can she?" The Hound released her. "You were glad enough to see my face when the mob had you, though. Remember?"...

She'd thought she was going to die then, but the fingers had twitched, all five at once, and the man had shrieked loud as a horse. When his hand fell away, another hand, stronger, shoved her back into her saddle. The man with the garlicky breath was on the ground, blood pumping out the stump of his arm, but there were others all around, some with clubs in hand. The Hound leapt at them, his sword a blur of steel that trailed a red mist as it swung. When they broke and ran before him he had laughed, his terrible burned face for a moment transformed.

15) The scars are not the worst part, nor even the way his mouth twitches. It's his eyes. She had never seen eyes so full of anger. "I... I should have come to you after," she said haltingly. "To thank you, for... for saving me... you were so brave."

"Brave?" His laugh was half a snarl. "A dog doesn't need courage to chase off rats. They had me thirty to one, and not a man of them dared face me."

16) "Why are you always so hateful? I was thanking you..."

"Just as if I was one of those true knights you love so well, yes."

17) "You're awful."

"I'm honest. It's the world that's awful. Now fly away, little bird, I'm sick of you peeping at me."

Wordless, she fled. She was afraid of Sandor Clegane... and yet, some part of her wished that Ser Dontos had a little of the Hound's ferocity.

18) I would be gladder if it were the Hound, Sansa thought. Harsh as he was, she did not believe Sandor Clegane would let any harm come to her.

19) He is no true knight but he saved me all the same, she told the Mother. Save him if you can, and gentle the rage inside him.

20) Of late Ser Osmund had taken Sandor Clegane's place by Joffrey's side, and Sansa had heard the women at the washing well saying he was as strong as the Hound, only younger and faster. If that was so, she wondered why she had never once heard of these Kettleblacks before Ser Osmund was named to the Kingsguard.

21) Sansa backed away from the window... "Lady," she whimpered softly, wondering if she would meet her wolf again when she was dead....

Then something stirred behind her, and a hand reached out of the dark and grabbed her wrist.

22) "Little bird. I knew you'd come... Don't you want to ask who's winning the battle, little bird?... I only know who's lost. Me."

"What have you lost?"

"All." The burnt half of his face was a mask of dried blood. "Bloody dwarf. Should have killed him. Years ago."

"He's dead, they say."

"Dead? No. Bugger that. I don't want him dead." He cast the empty flagon aside. "I want him burned. If the gods are good, they'll burn him, but I won't be here to see. I'm going."

23) "The little bird repeats whatever she hears. Going, yes."

"Where will you go?"

"Away from here. Away from the fires. Go out the Iron Gate, I suppose. North somewhere, anywhere."

"You won't get out," Sansa said. "The queen's closed up Maegor's, and the city gates are shut as well."

"Not to me. I have the white cloak. And I have this." He patted the pommel of his sword. "The man who tries to stop me is a dead man. Unless he's on fire." He laughed bitterly.

24) "Why did you come here?"

"You promised me a song, little bird. Have you forgotten?"

25) "Look at me. Look at me... I could keep you safe," he rasped. "They're all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I'd kill them." He yanked her closer, and for a moment she thought he meant to kiss her. He was too strong to fight. She closed her eyes, wanting it to be over, but nothing happened. "Still can't bear to look, can you?" she heard him say. He gave her arm a hard wrench, pulling her around and shoving her down onto the bed. "I'll have that song. Florian and Jonquil, you said." His dagger was out, poised at her throat. "Sing, little bird. Sing for your little life."...

Gentle Mother, font of mercy,

save our sons from war, we pray...

Some instinct made her lift her hand and cup his cheek with her fingers. The room was too dark for her to see him, but she could feel the stickiness of the blood, and a wetness that was not blood. "Little bird," he said once more, his voice raw and harsh as steel on stone. Then he rose from the bed. Sansa heard cloth ripping, followed by the softer sound of retreating footsteps.

26) When she crawled out of bed, long moments later, she was alone. She found his cloak on the floor, twisted up tight, the white wool stained by blood and fire. The sky outside was darker by then, with only a few pale green ghosts dancing against the stars. A chill wind was blowing, banging the shutters. Sansa was cold. She shook out the torn cloak and huddled beneath it on the floor, shivering.

How long she stayed there she could not have said, but after a time she heard a bell ringing, far off across the city.

A Clash of Kings, 1998

1) Sansa had watched from the castle walls as Margaery Tyrell and her escort made their way up Aegon's High Hill. Joffrey had met his new bride-to-be at the King's Gate to welcome her to the city, and they rode side by side through cheering crowds...

The same smallfolk who would have killed me, if not for the Hound.

2) I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she'd been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she'd kept it. The Hound had turned craven, she heard it said; at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men. But Sansa understood. She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fire he feared. That night, the wildfire had set the river itself ablaze, and filled the very air with green flame. Even in the castle, Sansa had been afraid. Outside... she could scarcely imagine it.

3) When the appointed night arrived, another of the Kingsguard came for her, a man as different from Sandor Clegane as... well, as a flower from a dog.

4) Megga couldn't sing, but she was mad to be kissed. She and Alla played a kissing game sometimes, she confessed, but it wasn't the same as kissing a man, much less a king. Sansa wondered what Megga would think about kissing the Hound, as she had.

5) She had dreamed of her wedding a thousand times, and always she had pictured how her betrothed would stand behind her tall and strong, sweep the cloak of his protection over her shoulders, and tenderly kiss her cheek as he leaned forward to fasten the clasp.

6) The memory of her own wedding night with Tyrion was much with her. In the dark, I am the Knight of Flowers, he had said. I could be good to you. But that was only another Lannister lie. A dog can smell a lie, you know, the Hound had told her once. She could almost hear the rough rasp of his voice. Look around you, and take a good whiff. They're all liars here, and every one better than you. She wondered what had become of Sandor Clegane.

7) She stayed outside for a long time. When at last she sought her own bed, wet and chilled, only the dim glow of a peat fire lit the darkened hall... Sansa found Bryen's old blind dog in her little alcove beneath the steps, and lay down next to him. He woke and licked her face. "You sad old hound," she said, ruffling his fur.

8) "Oh, Alayne, Alayne, my fair maid, give me the gift of your innocence. You will thank the gods you did. I'll have you singing louder than the Lady Lysa."

"Singer," a rough voice said, "best go, if you want to sing again." The light was dim, but she saw a faint glimmer of a blade... It was Lothor Brune's voice, she realized. Not the Hound's, no, how could it be? Of course it had to be Lothor.

9) And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion's eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only on one side. "I'll have a song from you," he rasped, and Sansa woke and found the old blind dog beside her once again. "I wish that you were Lady," she said.

10) It is not me she wants her son to marry, it is my claim. No one will ever marry me for love.

11) Sansa drifted past frosted shrubs and thin dark trees, and wondered if she were still dreaming. Drifting snowflakes brushed her face as light as lover's kisses, and melted on her cheeks. At the center of the garden, beside the statue of the weeping woman that lay broken and half-buried on the ground, she turned her face up to the sky and closed her eyes. She could feel the snow on her lashes, taste it on her lips. It was the taste of Winterfell. The taste of innocence. The taste of dreams.

12) The song came drifting up the river from somewhere beyond the little rise to the east. "Off to Gulltown to see the fair maid, heigh-ho, heigh-ho...

"I'll steal a sweet kiss with the point of my blade, heigh-ho, heigh-ho...

"I'll make her my love and we'll rest in the shade, heigh-ho, heigh-ho." The song swelled louder with every word.

13) "A knight's a sword with a horse. The rest, the vows and the sacred oils and the lady's favors, they're silk ribbons tied round the sword. Maybe the sword's prettier with ribbons hanging off it, but it will kill you just as dead. Well, bugger your ribbons, and shove your swords up your arses. I'm the same as you. The only difference is, I don't lie about what I am."

14) "Seven hells. The little sister. The brat who tossed Joff's pretty sword in the river." He gave a bark of laughter. "Don't you know you're dead?"

15) "I heard it from the royal lips. It's not my place to question princes." Clegane jerked his hands toward Arya. "This one's own sister told the same tale when she stood before your precious Robert."

"Sansa's just a liar," Arya said, furious at her sister all over again.

16) "Please," Sandor Clegane rasped, cradling his arm. "I'm burned. Help me. Someone. Help me." He was crying. "Please."

Arya looked at him in astonishment. He's crying like a little baby, she thought...

"You want me dead that bad? Then do it, wolf girl. Shove it in. It's cleaner than fire." Clegane tried to stand, but as he moved a piece of burned flesh sloughed right off his arm, and his knees went out from under him. Tom caught him by his good arm and held him up.

His arm, Arya thought, and his face. But he was the Hound. He deserved to burn in a fiery hell. The knife felt heavy in her hand. She gripped it tighter. "You killed Mycah," she said once more, daring him to deny it. "Tell them. You did. You did."

"I did." His whole face twisted. "I rode him down and cut him in half, and laughed. I watched them beat your sister bloody too, watched them cut your father's head off."

17) Quiet as a shadow, she told herself as she crept toward him, but that wasn't quiet enough. The Hound hadn't been asleep after all. Or maybe he'd woken. Whichever it was, his eyes opened, his mouth twitched, and he took the rock away from her as if she were a baby. The best she could do was kick him. "I'll give you that one," he said, when he flung the rock into the bushes.

18) "I never beat your sister," the Hound said. "But I'll beat you if you make me. Stop trying to think up ways to kill me. None of it will do you a bit of good."

19) "At least you look at my face. I'll give you that, you little she-wolf."

20) "Didn't you ever have a brother you wanted to kill?" He laughed again. "Or maybe a sister?" He must have seen something in her face then, for he leaned closer. "Sansa. That's it, isn't it? The wolf bitch wants to kill the pretty bird."

21) "Even a dog gets tired of being kicked. If this Young Wolf has the wits the gods gave a toad, he'll make me a lordling and beg me to enter his service. He needs me, though he may not know it yet. Maybe I'll even kill Gregor for him, he'd like that."

22) "You think that makes me some monster. Well, maybe it does, but I saved your sister's life too. The day the mob pulled her off her horse, I cut through them and brought her back to the castle, else she would have gotten what Lollys Stokeworth got. And she sang for me. You didn't know that, did you? Your sister sang me a sweet little song."

23) Arya had prayed a hundred hundred times for the Hound to die, but now... there was a rock in her hand, slimy with mud, and she didn't even remember picking it up. Who do I throw it at?...

They went round once, twice, a third time. The knight cursed her. "You can't run for --"

The axehead caught him square in the back of the head, crashing through his helm and the skull beneath and sending him flying face first from his saddle. Behind him was the Hound, still mounted on Stranger...

"Come with me." Sandor Clegane reached down a hand. "We have to get away from here, and now."...

He rode toward her, crowding her back toward the wayn. "Stay or go, she-wolf. Live or die. Your --"...

Arya spun away from him and darted for the gate... She heard loud splashing and looked back to see Stranger pounding after her, sending up gouts of water with every stride.

24) Some mornings Arya did not want to wake at all. She would huddle beneath her cloak with her eyes squeezed shut and try to will herself back to sleep. If the Hound would only have left her alone, she would have slept all day and all night.

25) "I should have let you run into that bloody castle."

"You should have," she agreed, thinking of her mother.

"You'd be dead if I had. You ought to thank me. You ought to sing me a pretty little song, the way your sister did."

26) They broke their fast in silence, until Sandor said, "This thing about your mother..."

"It doesn't matter," Arya said in a dull voice. "I know she's dead. I saw her in a dream."

The Hound looked at her a long time, then nodded. No more was said of it.

27) "I can give you water, and the gift of mercy."...

"Aye." The man swallowed. "And the mercy. Please."...

The Hound eased his dagger into the man's chest almost tenderly, the weight of his body driving the point through his surcoat, ringmail, and the quilting beneath. As he slid the blade back out and wiped it on the dead man, he looked at Arya. "That's where the heart is, girl. That's how you kill a man."

28) "I thought your sister was the one with a head full of songs," the Hound growled.

29) "Who killed him?"

"The Imp, it's thought. Him and his little wife."

"What wife?"

"I forgot, you've been hiding under a rock. The northern girl. Winterfell's daughter. We heard she killed the king with a spell, and afterward changed into a wolf with big leather wings like a bat, and flew out a tower window. But she left the dwarf behind and Cersei means to have his head."

That's stupid, Arya thought. Sansa only knows songs, not spells, and she'd never marry the Imp.

The Hound sat on the bench closest to the door. His mouth twitched, but only the burned side. "She ought to dip him in wildfire and cook him. Or tickle him till the moon turns black." He raised his wine cup and drained it straightaway.

30) The Hound poured a cup of wine for Arya and another for himself, and drank it down while staring at the hearthfire. "The little bird flew away, did she? Well, bloody good for her. She shit on the Imp's head and flew off."...

"A pretty girl, I hear," said the Tickler. "Honey sweet." He smacked his lips and smiled.

"And courteous," the Hound agreed. "A proper little lady. Not like her bloody sister."

31) "Is there gold hidden in the village?" she shouted as she drove the blade up through his back...

Her hands were red and sticky when Sandor dragged her off him. "Enough," was all he said.

32) Sandor moaned, and she rolled onto her side to look at him. She had left his name out too, she realized. Why had she done that?...

I wouldn't have to kill him. If I just rode off and left him, he'd die all by himself.

33) "You remember where the heart is?" he asked in a hoarse whisper.

As still as stone she stood. "I... I was only..."

"Don’t lie," he growled. "I hate liars. I hate gutless frauds even worse. Go on, do it." When Arya did not move, he said, "I killed your butcher’s boy. I cut him near in half, and laughed about it after." He made a queer sound, and it took her a moment to realize he was sobbing. "And the little bird, your pretty sister, I stood there in my white cloak and let them beat her. I took the bloody song, she never gave it. I meant to take her too. I should have. I should have fucked her bloody and ripped her heart out before leaving her for that dwarf." A spasm of pain twisted his face.

A Storm of Swords, 2000

1) When the mob sought to rape her, the Hound carried her to safety, not Littlefinger.

2) Last of all came the Royces, Lord Nestor and Bronze Yohn. The Lord of Runestone stood as tall as the Hound. Though his hair was grey and his face lined, Lord Yohn still looked as though he could break most younger men like twigs in those huge gnarled hands. His seamed and solemn face brought back all of Sansa's memories of his time at Winterfell.

3) As the boy's lips touched her own she found herself thinking of another kiss. She could still remember how it felt, when his cruel mouth pressed down on her own. He had come to Sansa in the darkness as green fire filled the sky. He took a song and a kiss, and left me nothing but a bloody cloak.

4) "You do know what goes on in a marriage bed, I hope?" She thought of Tyrion, and of the Hound and how he'd kissed her, and gave a nod.

5) Way down at the far end, well away from the other animals, a huge black stallion trumpeted at the sound of their voices and kicked at the door of his stall...

Brother Narbert sighed. "The Seven send us blessings, and the Seven send us trials. Handsome he may be, but Driftwood was surely whelped in hell. When we sought to harness him to a plow he kicked Brother Rawney and broke his shinbone in two places. We had hoped gelding might improve the beast's ill temper, but . . . Brother Gillam, will you show them?"...

Podrick gasped. "The horse bit off your ear?"

Gillam nodded, and covered his head again.

6) "Why do they call it the Quiet Isle?" asked Podrick.

"Those who dwell here are penitents, who seek to atone for their sins through contemplation, prayer, and silence."...

On the upper slopes they saw three boys driving sheep, and higher still they passed a lichyard where a brother bigger than Brienne was struggling to dig a grave. From the way he moved, it was plain to see that he was lame. As he flung a spadeful of the stony soil over one shoulder, some chanced to spatter against their feet. "Be more watchful there," chided Brother Narbert. "Septon Meribald might have gotten a mouthful of dirt." The gravedigger lowered his head. When Dog went to sniff him he dropped his spade and scratched his ear.

A Feast for Crows, 2005

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Writing ASOIAF

Part 3

Beauty and the Beast

"It was a very romantic show... The networks were always on us for more action, because if we had more action, that would get more men to watch... Action is the network word for violence... Vincent was killing people. He was ripping people apart with his claws, is what he was doing in the action scenes when he rescues Catherine, but we were never allowed to show any blood. At one point we thought, you know, there was the classic Beauty and the Beast that Cocteau did, La Belle et la Bête, where the Beast, when he came back from hunting, his hands would smoke. And that was of course a symbolic way, an artistic way, of showing blood. And we kept trying to come up with, what's our thing, we can't use smoke, Cocteau has already used smoke, people will say we are just ripping him off. So we can't do that but we can't show actual blood, either.

"The network didn't even like the fact that he was killing people... We finally got them to allow that he would rip them apart and they would go down and not get up, but we still were not allowed to show any blood. Which means that although in an intellectual sense, you know he's killing people, you never feel it in a visceral sense, and it is necessary to feel it in a visceral sense... And then after he does that, he reads a poem. So the lesson is, if you're going to have a lot of real violent stuff, have your character read a poem afterwards, and it just cancels it out. Of course, you'll never get any men to watch it then, because, oh, my god, he's reading a love poem."

GRRM, TIFF Master Class, 3/2012

"One of the things I hated about the television networks I worked for, primarily CBS with 'Beauty and the Beast,' the premise was that Vincent is a beast and he's repeatedly called on to defend Catharine and he does so violently. He doesn't have a gun or a knife or anything. He is ripping people apart with his claws. We were never allowed to show any of that, it would be 'disturbing.' But the network said we needed more 'action,' code-speak for violence. No blood, not a drop of blood."

GRRM, The Denver Post, 6/2012

"Part of the appeal of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is the timelessness of the underlying love story."

GRRM, Not a Blog, 9/2011

"The one thing I must confess to being frustrated by is the first Tyrion chapter where you set up this expectation that he's going to meet Dany, and I got excited. Then about 600 pages later I'm realizing, 'OK, that's not gonna happen, at least not in this book.'

"Yeah, it's the 'kind of bring 'em together but don't give them the confirmation.' In some ways it's not so different than the sexual tension in TV shows - are Catherine and Vincent [on Beauty and the Beast] finally going to kiss? Same philosophy. This is the kind of stuff I wrestle with. I could have ended the next chapter: Tyrion gets off the boat and there's Dany. But the journey itself has its own interest."

GRRM, Entertainment Weekly, 7/2011

"Beauty and the Beast (1946): No, not the animated film from Disney. (And not the CBS series I worked on back in the '80s either.) The 1946 French version, perhaps better known by its original French title, La belle et la bête. Written and directed by the legendary Jean Cocteau, this classic remains the definitive take on the tale, and helped to inspire Ron Koslow when he created his television version. In an era when depicting actual blood on screen was frowned upon, Cocteau had the Beast's hands smoke whenever he returned from a hunt, a lovely and poetic image that remains powerful today. The Beast's spooky castle, with human arms poking from the walls to grasp torches, lingers in the memory as well. And Jean Marais makes a great Beast. Second only to Ron Perlman as Vincent, I'd say, but then, I'm prejudiced."

GRRM, Top 10 Fantasy Films, The Daily Beast, 4/2011

"Getting to write words for Ron Perlman was one of the best parts of the three years I spent as a writer and producer on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. We had a great team on that show; terrific writers, a top-notch crew, and a superb cast. Ron was twice nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Vincent. If anyone ever makes a film of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, I wanted him to play the Hound."

GRRM, GeorgeRRMartin .com

"Television -- like virtually ALL art -- operates on the assumption of the implied ellipsis. That is to say, we assume that you know or can infer certain that certain things took place, even if they are not shown on the screen or referred to in dialogue...

"The bestiality thing was a concern with certain network execs, and some crazed viewers out there, but it was not the reason for the "no-kissing" rule. Koslow, Witt-Thomas, and CBS were all afraid of going too fast and losing the sexual tension.

"Many of us felt there should have been a real kiss at the end of "A Happy Life," but we lost that fight. Howard and Alex finally got a kiss into "Orphans," of course... but actually, I never felt that was the best place for it. I desperately wanted a kiss for the end of the chess scene in "A Kingdom by the Sea," after Catherine tells Vincent that she wished it had been him instead of Elliott, but Ron wouldn't hear of it.

"You'd be surprised how many scripts had kisses in them early on...

"A television show in active production is a huge on-rushing monster that must be fed. Yes, those of us who worked on B&B did our damndest to make it a good show, and tried to put all sorts of wonderful things into the episodes; literary allusions, foreshadowing, symbolism, you name it. But we also had deadlines, and we were doing a television show, and sometimes things happened for much for, ah, practical reasons...

"If Catherine and Vincent had ever married, it would have been in the final episode of the show after a ten-year run, ala M*A*S*H. Our show was a mythic adventure/romance, not a domestic drama. No doubt there are amy many misadventures and challenges after marriage, but that was not what we were about. BEAST KNOWS BEST is a whole different show...

"Violence... We were determined that if we were going to depict violenece (or "action" as the network likes to call it), we were going to show it as it really is -- nasty, ugly, painful, with _consequences_ to its victims and perpetrators alike. Too much TV violence is bloodless is all senses of the word; not only don't you see any blood, you don't _feel_ anything. The violence is sanitized, cheap, easy; death is reduced to an act break.

"Yes, we fell into that trap too from time to time, but for the most part, we tried to show violence as ugly, gut-wrenching, painful.

"In the first draft of "A Kingdom by the Sea," I wrote in a kiss. I felt the scene demanded it, and it was about time. Alas, Kos insisted it come out. Not unexpected. There were other kisses in other episodes -- some times we writers got carried away too -- but Ron was the boss, and he always yanked them. Part of it was the network; not just the bestiality concern, although that was there, but the fear of dissipating the sexual/ romantic tension and seeing the show go the way of MOONLIGHTING and REMINGTON STEELE after they consummated their relation[ship]. Ron and the network both wanted the relationship to progress V*E*R*Y slowly. Also, I think Ron wanted to save The First Kiss for ( a ) a season ending finale, and ( b ) one of his own episodes...

"The end-of-second-season trilogy was intended to lead into a beginning-of- third-season trilogy that we've referred to as the "Land of the Dead" storyline... Catherine supposedly screams in the final moment of the second season because she finds Vincent dead in the cave. In the third season, Vincent would have been interred in the catacombs, a grieving Catherine would have tried to get on with her life, and we would have followed Vincent through a bizarre, haunted streets of a city of darkness, where he would have faced many of the men he had killed. Thematically, this was meant to be the resolution of the Trilogy and its themes.

"We wanted to use actors from previous episodes, playing characters that Vincent had killed... but he would also meet friends there. We hoped to bring back James Avery as Winslow. Ultimately, he would come face to face with the King of the Dead, who would of course be Paracelsus... again, resolving the Trilogy. And meanwhile his bond with Catherine would reach him even beyond the boundaries of life, and ultimately pull him back to the world of the living. He would wake up and burst free of his crypt, alive again, and we would never know if he had really been dead or not, if the adventure in the Land of the Dead had been true or just a very vivid dream...

"Then... well... then came what you call Black Thursday, and Linda, and you know the rest. We never got to do it...

"I think that B&B's exploration of the nature and morality of violence begins much earlier than some of you are acknowledging, although I will agree that it was not until late second season and third that these themes were explored in depth. The seeds were always there, however.

"Look at the pilot, at the look on Catherine's face as she watches Vincent rip the bad guys to pieces, and at the look on Vincent's face when he sees her watching him. They are, respectively, looks of horror and shame. Now tell me another action show where the hero was ashamed to kill bad guys. We were never HUNTER, not even from the first.

"Look at the second show: TERRIBLE SAVIOR. That's one of my own, and I know damn well that the heart of it is an examination of morality of violence. In many ways, Jason Walker is a precursor to the Dark Vincent of later episodes. He too is killing bad guys, but it is scarcely presented as a unquestioned good. The extent to which it is good or bad, the extent to which Jace is like or unlike Vincent... these are precisely what that episode is about."

GRRM, Beauty and the Beast Discussion Group (Archive: mybatbpage .com), 1993-1994

Beauty and the Beast Illustrations

Beauty and the Beast, the fairytale

"My name is not My Lord," replied the monster, "but Beast; I don't love compliments, not I. I like people to speak as they think; and so do not imagine, I am to be moved by any of your flattering speeches."

The Beast to Beauty, Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, La Belle et la Bête, 1758

"Spare me your empty little compliments, girl... and your ser's. I am no knight."

"True knights," he mocked. "And I'm no lord, no more than I'm a knight."

The Hound to Sansa, A Game of Thrones, 1996 and A Clash of Kings, 1998

Beauty and the Beast, the show

VINCENT

I could feel your fear, Catherine.

Even now.

(turns away from her)

I frighten you.

Cathy shrugs off the blanket, stands, goes to him.

CATHY

You taught me always to face my fears, Vincent... tell me...

VINCENT

What shall I tell you?

That I am not this... shadow, this man-monster you hunt? Must you hear those words before you can trust? Hear them, then. It is not me.

(gently)

I would never hurt you, Catherine.

Vincent slowly raises a hand to touch her cheek. Cathy tries, but the fear is still in her, and she cannot help a small, involuntary FLINCH away from his claws. Vincent pulls back, devastated, moves away from her.

CATHY

(anguished)

Vincent, no... please, I didn't mean...

VINCENT

... to pull away. I know, Catherine. I know your heart.

(gently, but pained)

But sometimes the words we cannot speak are the truest words of all ... however much they hurt...

Vincent and Cathy, Beauty and the Beast, Terrible Savior, 1x02, script by George R.R. Martin, 1987

"You mean I scared you. And still do."...

She glanced away.

"The little bird still can't bear to look at me, can she?" The Hound released her. "You were glad enough to see my face when the mob had you, though. Remember?"...

She'd thought she was going to die then... The Hound leapt at them, his sword a blur of steel that trailed a red mist as it swung. When they broke and ran before him he had laughed, his terrible burned face for a moment transformed.

Sandor and Sansa, A Clash of Kings, 1998

"I'll keep you safe... No, little bird. I won't hurt you."

Sandor and Sansa, Game of Thrones, Blackwater, 2x09, script by George R.R. Martin, 2012

Game of Thrones (Scriptwriting)

"I'm very happy with Blackwater, it's one of the best things I've ever done for television. I did part of it but David and Dan did a lot of writing in that episode as well, and of course our director, we had Neil Marshal on it, and he was fantastic and did a great job with the battle. Nonetheless, you would always like to have more, more budget, more time..."

GRRM, New Jersey Monthly, 3/2013

"David and Dan will say, We're thinking of eliminating this character, and I tell them, Well, you can eliminate that character, but in Book Six, he has this big thing that he does, so you're going to have to deal with that later. And then maybe they change their mind. Or not. [laughs] There's still two gigantic books to go, and there are many things David and Dan don't know about the eventual fates of some of these characters. I have the main beats of the books in my mind. But there's a lot that I discover in the process of writing. The devil is in the details, as they say. And there are a lot of devils in these books."

GRRM, GQ, 12/2012

"Prose and film have different techniques and weapons that they use. In a book, I have internal monologue and can give you access to a character's thoughts. He can tell a lie, but you're in his head, so you know he's lying. While you're watching on the screen, you're just hearing what he's saying -- the actor has to sell it with his eyes and the set of his mouth. And great actors can do that. Each of these mediums has its own strengths and weaknesses, and when you're moving from one to the other, it's always a challenge."

GRRM, HBO, 2012

"The participants were divided into two groups of 9 females and 8 males, all screened beforehand to be real fans of the series. The main interview was conducted separately for the two groups, which were not shown any footage or concept art, but rather discussed their opinions of the series as a whole, the characters, their likes and dislikes. Specifically concerning the adaptation were questions about the necessary elements to retain...

"The women's group talked about the Sansa-Sandor relationship a bit. We all found it interesting but none of us were into the whole San-San pairing thing, though we mentioned that we found it a bit odd how that was one of the biggest ships out there. We did all feel it was an important relationship that we hoped would be shown in all its complexities on screen."

Report on HBO Focus Group, Winteriscoming .net, 8/2010

"It would need to be HBO or something like that. They're doing wonderful things right now with shows like Deadwood and Rome. But certainly my series is very adult. It's not a kids' fantasy by any means. It's gritty, the violence is real, there's sex, the characters are all morally ambiguous. This is stuff that traditional networks don't necessarily like. They want likable characters, good guys and bad guys, simplified storylines. And although things have certainly loosened since the days when I was working in TV, there's still Standards & Practices, censorship over how much sex and violence you can actually have. So if we did do it, it'd have to be on HBO or some equivalent network."

GRRM, Science Fiction Weekly, 11/2005

"American television doesn't really suit it. They won't commit -- everything depends on ratings. Maybe they'd develop it and put out two episodes, and then it's cancelled because the ratings weren't high enough. Or maybe they put out half a dozen episodes and they do their 'focus groups' or 'Q-testing' and they say 'Well, the actor who's playing Jaime Lannister is not well-liked by the audience. Let's write him out of the story!'. That's... mad. You can't work that way."

GRRM, Dragonsworn, 12/2003

Sansa Stark, Ward of the Court

As beautiful as her mother, Sansa grew up dreaming of a courtly world of knights and princes. Unfortunately, her northern naivete hasn't helped her in King's Landing, where she was routinely abused by her former fiance, King Joffrey Baratheon. Her vulnerability has also attracted the interests of the Hound and Littlefinger. Sansa's direwolf, Lady, was destroyed at Queen Cersei's request.

"Sansa will do her duty." - Cersei Baratheon

Sandor Clegane, "The Hound", Ex-Kingsguard

As personal bodyguard to King Joffrey, the Hound carried out his commands. He bears no love for his brother Gregor, known as "The Mountain," but has a soft spot for Sansa Stark, a frequent object of Joffrey's cruel whims. The Hound abandoned his post and left King's Landing when he saw the Blackwater burn.

"You'll be glad of the hateful things I do someday." - The Hound

Viewer's Guide, HBO, 3/2013

"He's as good as dead in Kings Landing. When he rejects his position, rejects the king, and the army, and the city he's trying to protect, he's got to get out of there, he's on a one way ticket. This is a chance for Sansa. Sansa can come, she could be protected, the Hound believes he can protect her. He sees it not going great for Sansa at all. Especially without... he's leaving for sure. And the gods be with her without the presence of the Hound keeping an eye on her."

Rory McCann, Blackwater Interactive Feature, HBO, 5/2012

Game of Thrones (Scriptwriting) Illustrations

The Pointy End, 1x08, script by George R.R. Martin, 2011, commentary

SANDOR (looking SANSA over appreciatively): Who do you think sent me?

GRRM: That beautiful scene between the Hound, Sandor Clegane, and Sansa.

Blackwater, 2x09, script by George R.R. Martin, 2012, commentary

(Sandor on screen.)

Peter Dinklage: I like that relationship between the Hound and Sansa.

Lena Headey: Yeah...

(Sandor reacting to the wildfire.)

GRRM: Of course here we see the Hound's ultimate nightmare here... This shot is of course the reason they don't have the actors wear their helmets, because if the Hound was wearing his helmet you couldn't get all of that fear...

(Sansa singing.)

GRRM: Sansa saves the day... and does what Cersei should be doing, which is providing moral support to the women, and encouraging them, and trying to calm their fears...

SANSA (to SANDOR): What are you doing here?

Lena Headey (to SANSA): He loves you!...

SANDOR (to SANSA): I could take you with me. Take you to Winterfell. I'll keep you safe.

GRRM: There was a line in the script that was cut unfortunately where Sansa says to him well, how are you going to get out of the city, there are guards at all the gates. And he draws his sword and says, I'm going to get out with this and no man is going to stop me, and then he sort of hesitates and says, unless he's on fire. I was sorry to lose that line, I really liked that little moment which emphasized the whole fire thing here...

Neil Marshall (director): We re-shot this scene because the first version we did also had a song in it... He made Sansa sing, but it was the song that she had just finished singing, so coming off the back of the scene it would have...

Peter Dinklage (singing the song from the Disney movie): Really? Beauty and the Beast ...

SANSA (to SANDOR): You won't hurt me (?)

Neil Marshall (answering for SANDOR): Naaa...

GRRM: In the books he demands a song of her and she sings that hymn about the Mother again.

Blackwater, 2x09, script by George R.R. Martin, 2012, reviews

"Also, I think that fact that The Hound is clearly in love with her, in a Beauty/Beast sort of way, helps endear her to us." IGN

"Sansa and the Hound! Sansa and the Hound! I have to admit that the scene where Sansa finds Sandor in her room after he leaves the battle is one of my favorites in all of the books. (I'm a 12-year-old Beauty and the Beast fan at heart.) I only wish we could've seen more of them together throughout the season." Chicago Tribune

"While he may not look the part, he is quite the knight in shining armor... Why, oh, why wouldn't Sansa go with The Hound at this point? Their shared scenes have always been a pleasure to watch, but none more so than their final one last night. (Though he never asked his little bird for a song, did he?)" Tor

"She looks at him and is no longer afraid. He's the Beast, and she's Belle, and gosh, he's just gruff because he's scared! Tale as old as time... song as old as rhyme. 'You won't hurt me,' she realizes. 'No, little bird, I won't hurt you.' But he will leave, and does." Hey, Don't Judge Me

"But while Bronn distracts himself with a presumably hired lady love, Sandor keeps a rather affectionate candle burning for Sansa. Perhaps making a reference to flame isn't exactly appropriate, considering that Sandor was scared enough of the fire to desert his post. But that does bring up another subtle contrast between himself and fire-starter Bronn, doesn't it?" TV Overmind

"But as fire raged outside King's Landing the Hound finally had enough, handing in his tersely memorable notice and pausing only to offer sanctuary to Sansa on his way. Sadly his little bird rejected his offer - but their surprisingly tender scene provided a brief respite amid the death and destruction." The Guardian

"I never thought it would be possible, but the Hound made me tear up a bit. His conversation with Sansa was so heartfelt. Their relationship has been building up to this, but it was still surprising. Will Sansa get out with him in time? I'm guessing that she will be too late once again." CliqueClack

"The Hound is obviously soft for Sansa - I think she represents a pureness and innocence he can never possess, and of course there is her beauty, such a beauty that it reminds the Hound of his inner and outer ugliness, and so she becomes a kind of symbol of all things clean that he feels motivated to protect, and yet Sansa refuses him." (Not So) Daily

"And Sansa, well...she's clearly getting much better at manipulating Joffrey, and her scenes with Cersei, and most notably the scene with the Hound (Rory McCann) were some of the best we've seen with the character." What Culture

"Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann) surprised us in this episode. His 'eff it all' attitude, drinking and his offer to take Sansa (Sophie Turner) away were at the top of the list. He's clearly had enough of his employer and doesn't care who knows it. We must say, we probably would have fled with him if we were Sansa." E Online

"But his affection for Sansa is obvious... Agree or disagree with Martin, you have to admit he makes his point very well, and scenes like the Hound advancing on Sansa to tell her that all men she knows-or will know-are killers and that the world is made by killers are at once beautiful, mesmerizing, and horrifying." AV Club

"The attention Martin paid to Sandor and Sansa's subtext-ridden relationship was nice." TV Equals

"But he arrived, Stannis... was defeated and we're left to wonder if Tyrion is alive; where Sansa is off to with Hound; and how the King's Guard will react to its highness as a coward." TV Fanatic

"Having abandoned the battle, he offers to take Sansa with him, returning her to Winterfell, an offer she momentarily rejects but seems to relent to in the end. OR DOES SHE?!" Screencrush

"He offers to take her back to Winterfell and to protect her, but she refuses, still saying how much she loves Joffrey. That's when the Hound gets real with her, looks her straight in the eyes and explains that he's not playing games, he's being 100 percent honest. He will keep her safe and she doesn't need to keep lying and pretending to love Joffrey. And it seems to work." Buddy TV

"War forces us to consider our allegiances, and in that battle the Hound realizes that his King is not worth protecting with the flames nipping at his heels. That he feels differently about Sansa says something about the character, something the show has been subtly laying the groundwork for all season." Cultural Learnings

"The Hound doesn't say much, but the show has done a good, subtle job of letting us know what Sandor Clegane thinks of Joffrey's treatment of the 'little bird.'" Huffington Post

"Tyrion [is] thinking in far more pragmatic terms, seeing the Stark girl as a bargaining chip, a hostage, a pawn. It's not the Hound's perception. He sees Sansa as a 'little bird' whom he saves..." Televisionary

"He gives her a longing gaze that does nothing towards dispelling the theory that he's madly in love with her." GameZone

The books are "canon"

"The one thing I miss is the third category, the scenes in the books that never make it to the screen. Scenes that were cut, because some of those were good scenes. Good dialogue, good bits of business, and important in some cases, and I miss them, knowing the books as well as I do, and I watch the show, and I'm like, Oh, this scene is going come! Oh, they cut that scene.

"Ned's dream, after his leg is injured, the Tower of Joy scene. That was an important scene, an atmospheric scene, which would've translated really well. It would've had to be done in a very stylized manner, but I miss that. You know, in the first book, the scene where Arya and Sansa are discussing Rheagar's rubies and the Trident, and Arya wants to go riding with her friend Mycah, and Sansa wants them to go visit the Queen's wheelhouse and eat lemon cakes, and they have an argument about it... I was looking forward to seeing that scene on screen, but then, you know, they cut it. I mean, it isn't really necessary, it's a character scene, and mostly that's what has been cut, not the stuff that advances the plot, but the little character parts."

GRRM, New Jersey Monthly, 3/2013

"There are a few characters that are different. David and Dan have made some different decisions at some points and so forth... Television Littlefinger is different than book Littlefinger, in very, very significant ways... In any case, I have been living with these characters since 1991 and I have a very firm notion in my mind of who they are, and the television characters have only been around for a few years, so it's not going to displace the characters I've been living with for 20 years of my life."

GRRM, Texas A&M University, 3/2013

"The fact that there are all of these spin-off products, the TV series, the comic book, the games, and all that. You know, all of that's fun and that's exciting, I'm still enough of a geek to appreciate all of this stuff. But at the same time, for me, these are secondary.

"For me, the books come first. That's the canon, so to speak... And if there's [anything else] that people enjoy, that's great... But it can never replace the books.

"My hope is that all of this leads to a certain amount of synchronicity. So whether you get into it by playing the game or by watching the TV show or by reading the comic books, it will actually lead you to pick up the books, and read the books, which are the primary thing."

GRRM, Sidequesting, 2/2012

"The novels are novels, the TV series is the TV series. They're two different beasts... ultimately that's their baby and the books are my baby... I don't have any veto power. I signed a pretty standard contract where I gave them the rights to adapt this into a television series, and I got certain titles, and the agreement I'd write one script a year, and a large dump truck full of money. And they can have the aliens come down next season, they can turn the whole cast into vampires, and I'm powerless to stop them. But I don't think they will do that... If you are J.K. Rowling, you can go into a situation where every studio in Hollywood wants you and you can set very stringent terms where you get to approve everything. But if you' re not J.K. Rowling, and virtually nobody is J.K. Rowling except J.K. Rowling, then you can't do that."

GRRM, Authors @ Google, 7/2011

"I think when you hand your baby off to someone, whether you're a parent taking your kid to school or a writer handing his literary work to someone else to adapt, you have to be prepared that it's not going to be the same as if you did it yourself," he said. "There are going to be differences. They are going to teach your kids things that you might not have ever taught them."

GRRM, The Daily Beast, 4/2011

"This is still my world. The books are separate, the books are canon."

GRRM, Gamers Haven Podcast, 4/2010

Knights

"Chivalry is unendingly fascinating to me because if you've actually studied the tenants of chivalry, it is one of the most fascinating tenants of warrior codes ever conceived. The ideal knight was indeed supposed to be, in an almost Tolkien sense, a warrior for the good. He was supposed to defend the weak and the helpless, and there was a religious component, too, knights had to stand vigils and all of that.

"And yet the reality of course is that knights were killing machines. They were brutal slayers encased in armor riding gigantic horses. And they killed enormous numbers of people. You read these battles, in some of the medieval chronicles, and the knight kill 20 or 30 people.... But you have to remember, here's a knight who trained in combat for every day of most of his adult life and even most of his childhood, and he's encased in chain mail and plate, with a helm on his head, and he's armed with a sword, and he's fighting peasants who have sticks...

"So you have this extremely idealistic code and this extremely ugly and brutal reality. And out of that juxtaposition to my mind is what is drama. Drama... comes out of conflict and sometimes conflict between characters and sometimes internal conflicts, too, between your code and your reality, between the idealism and the reality. And maybe that's what has always interested me about knights."

GRRM, Texas A&M University, 3/2013

"There are other touches of realism; my characters who fight in repeated battles in these books tend to get scars. They lose noses and ears and become disfigured, and that's a consequence of those battles. That's where the icon of the Scarred Warrior comes from. Every time you go into a fight you risk emerging a little less pretty than when you went in."

GRRM, Empire Online, 4/2012

"The Cleganes were kennel masters, who kept the dogs for the Lannisters... They gave them lands, which Gregor controls, as the elder brother. Sandor has nothing. But Sandor is a household knight, he has joined the Lannisters, and he's a very very formidable warrior, so they have made him the sworn shield of Prince Joffrey. Sandor is not a knight. I mean, he has all the skills of a knight. He can joust, he can fight with a sword, he's very formidable, but he's never said the vows or stood a vigil. This is largely because of his hatred for his brother, because Gregor is a knight. And there's all this concept of chivalry, the knights defending the weak, protecting the innocent, all of this stuff that a knight is supposed to do, and yet Gregor is a knight, this brute, this savage, this man subject to these black rages, who kills and maims without thought. And Sandor, coming up, says this knighthood is all hypocrisy, it's all a farce, I'm not going to say any vows, they mean nothing. Look at this, my brother is a knight, and look at the kind of man he is, so I want no part of that."

GRRM, HBO, 2011

"The medieval setting has been the traditional background for epic Fantasy, even before Tolkien, and there are good reasons for that tradition. The sword has a romance to it that pistols and cannon lack, a powerful symbolic value that touches us on some primal level. Also, the contrasts so apparent in the Middle Ages are very striking -- the ideal of chivalry existed cheek by jowl with the awful brutality of war, great castles loomed over miserable hovels, serfs and princes rode the same roads, and the colorful pageantry of tournaments rose out of a brown and grey world of dung, dirt, and plague. The dramatic possibilities are so rich."

GRRM, Infinity Plus, 12/2000

"We've always had a class of 'protectors.' The church divided us into knights and those the knights were suppose to protect, with the church praying for both. The worker, the prayer and the fighter. Of course, the way it often worked out is the people the peasants often needed the most protection from were their own protectors. I think there is a powerful story in that. The ideals of knighthood embody some of the finest ideals the human race has ever come up with. The reality was somewhat less than that, and often horribly so. Of course, that is true in the Seven Kingdoms as well."

GRRM, SF Site, 11/2000

Knights Illustrations

The knight's vows

The Laughing Storm gave an impatient shake of the head. "Go to him, Ser Duncan. I'll give squire Raymun his knighthood." He slid his sword out of his sheath and shouldered Dunk aside. "Raymun of House Fossoway," he began solemnly, touching the blade to the squire's right shoulder, "in the name of the Warrior I charge you to be brave." The sword moved from his right shoulder to his left. "In the name of the Father I charge you to be just." Back to the right. "In the name of the Mother I charge you to defend the young and innocent." The left. "In the name of the Maid I charge you to protect all women."

The Hedge Knight, 1998

Florian and Jonquil

This morning the puppeteers were doing the tale of Florian and Jonquil. The fat Dornishwoman was working Florian in his armor made of motley, while the tall girl held Jonquil's strings. "You are no knight," she was saying as the puppet's mouth moved up and down. "I know you. You are Florian the Fool."

"I am, my lady," the other puppet answered, kneeling. "As great a fool as ever lived, and as great a knight as well."

"A fool and a knight?" said Jonquil. "I have never heard of such a thing."

"Sweet lady," said Florian, "all men are fools, and all men are knights, where women are concerned."

It was a good show, sad and sweet both, with a sprightly swordfight at the end, and a nicely painted giant.

The Hedge Knight, 1998

A true knight

The viewing stand had already begun to fill, the lords and ladies clutching their cloaks tight about them against the morning chill. Smallfolk were drifting toward the field as well, and hundreds of them already stood along the fence. So many come to see me die, thought Dunk bitterly, but he wronged them. A few steps farther on, a woman called out, "Good fortune to you." An old man stepped up to take his hand and said, "May the gods give you strength, ser." Then a begging brother in a tattered brown robe said a blessing on his sword, and a maid kissed his cheek. They are for me. "Why?" he asked Pate. "What am I to them?"

"A knight who remembered his vows," the smith said...

Heartsick, Dunk wheeled Thunder and raced back and forth before the tiers of pale cold men. Despair made him shout. "ARE THERE NO TRUE KNIGHTS AMONG YOU?"

Only silence answered.

Across the field, Prince Aerion laughed. "The dragon is not mocked," he called out.

Then came a voice. "I will take Ser Duncan's side."...

The accusers were thrown into confusion, Dunk could see. Prince Maekar spurred his mount forward. "Brother, have you taken leave of your senses?" He pointed a mailed finger at Dunk. "This man attacked my son."

"This man protected the weak, as every true knight must," replied Prince Baelor.

The Hedge Knight, 1998

No true knight

A true lady would not notice his face, she told herself. "You rode gallantly today, Ser Sandor," she made herself say.

Sandor Clegane snarled at her. "Spare me your empty little compliments, girl ... and your ser's. I am no knight. I spit on them and their vows. My brother is a knight...

"Look at me. Look at me!" Sandor Clegane put a huge hand under her chin and forced her face up. He squatted in front of her, and moved the torch close. "There's a pretty for you. Take a good long stare. You know you want to. I've watched you turning away all the way down the kingsroad. Piss on that. Take your look."...

Sansa began to cry. He let go of her then, and snuffed out the torch in the dirt. "No pretty words for that, girl? No little compliment the septa taught you?" When there was no answer, he continued...

"I was younger than you, six, maybe seven. A woodcarver set up shop in the village under my father's keep, and to buy favor he sent us gifts. The old man made marvelous toys. I don't remember what I got, but it was Gregor's gift I wanted.wanted. A wooden knight, all painted up, every joint pegged separate and fixed with strings, so you could make him fight. Gregor is five years older than me, the toy was nothing to him, he was already a squire, near six foot tall and muscled like an ox. So I took his knight, but there was no joy to it, I tell you. I was scared all the while, and true enough, he found me. There was a brazier in the room. Gregor never said a word, just picked me up under his arm and shoved the side of my face down in the burning coals and held me there while I screamed and screamed. You saw how strong he is. Even then, it took three grown men to drag him off me. The septons preach about the seven hells. What do they know? Only a man who's been burned knows what hell is truly like.

"My father told everyone my bedding had caught fire, and our maester gave me ointments. Ointments! Gregor got his ointments too. Four years later, they anointed him with the seven oils and he recited his knightly vows and Rhaegar Targaryen tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Arise, Ser Gregor.'"

The rasping voice trailed off. He squatted silently before her, a hulking black shape shrouded in the night, hidden from her eyes. Sansa could hear his ragged breathing. She was sad for him, she realized. Somehow, the fear had gone away.

The silence went on and on, so long that she began to grow afraid once more, but she was afraid for him now, not for herself. She found his massive shoulder with her hand. "He was no true knight," she whispered to him.

The Hound threw back his head and roared. Sansa stumbled back, away from him, but he caught her arm. "No," he growled at her, "no, little bird, he was no true knight."

Sandor telling Sansa his story, A Game of Thrones, 1996

Revisions

"That's a technique I learned in Hollywood, where my scripts were always too long. 'This is too long,' the studio would say. 'Trim it by eight pages.' But I hated to lose any good stuff -- scenes, dialogue exchanges, bits of action -- so instead I would go through the script trimming and tightening line by line and word by word, cutting out the fat and leaving the muscle. I found the process so valuable that I've done the same with all my books since leaving LA. It's the last stage of the process. Finish the book, then go through it, cutting, cutting, cutting. It produces a tighter, stronger text, I feel. In the case of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, my sweat -- most of it performed after we announced the book's publication date but before I delivered the final chapters -- brought the page count down almost eighty pages all by itself."

GRRM, Not A Blog, 5/2011

Revisions Illustrations

Sansa preview chapter in A Clash of Kings (U.S. paperback edition)

I wish the Hound were still here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers and offered to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she'd been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she'd kept it. The Hound had turned craven, she heard it said; at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men. But Sansa understood. She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fire he feared. That night, the wildfire had set the river itself ablaze, and filled the very air with green flame. Even in the safety of the castle, Sansa had been afraid. Outside . . . she could scarcely imagine it.

Sansa published chapter in A Storm of Swords

I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she'd been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she'd kept it. The Hound had turned craven, she heard it said; at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men. But Sansa understood. She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fire he feared. That night, the wildfire had set the river itself ablaze, and filled the very air with green flame. Even in the castle, Sansa had been afraid. Outside . . . she could scarcely imagine it.

Sansa preview chapter in A Clash of Kings (U.S. paperback edition)

They pulled me from my horse and would have killed me, if not for the Hound, Sansa remembered, resentful.

Sansa published chapter in A Storm of Swords

The same smallfolk who pulled me from my horse and would have killed me, if not for the Hound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Le Cygne, you did a wonderful job sourcing all this material, and to have it now in one place and easily accessible is really ideal. There's a lot of insight that can be gleaned based on GRRM's personal thoughts and his writing experiences and preferences outside of ASOIAF, so I hope everyone will find value in what you've outlined here, not just relating to Sansa discussion, but for the novels as a whole.

I'll be reading it slowly, and commenting later :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greensleeves- Thank you for the link. I have now bookmarked it. Good point on the 'marriage' aspects of the two events. Interestingly, Ygritte says later that she tried to convey the significance of her capture by telling Jon the tale of Bael the Bard who 'stole' Winterfell's daughter. Fire Eater has already connected part of Sansa's storyline with that song. Another parallel that I thought of wrt the two scenes is that Jon lets Ygritte go possibly because she reminds him of his sister Arya and he can't kill her and Sandor does the same when Sansa sings him the Mother's song.

Moon on the willow- Melisandre is another female character with red hair in Jon's story.

Ragnorak- Nice catch on the Red Wanderer/Thief. I mostly just concentrated on the constellations that Jon considered his 'old friends'. I'm already looking forward to your analysis.

Brashcandy- Wonderful linking of the mountain as father and mother in Sansa and Jon chapters respectively. The Hound's and Jon's burn injuries had occurred to me but I forgot to include them in my post. Your post made some other links clearer:

>'The wind skirled around [sansa]' Jon is climbing up the Skirling Pass in the Frostfangs. Also, the wiki notes that another path into the Fangs is the Giant's Stair. We know that the Eyrie and the Gates of the Moon are on the Giant's Lance.

> Jon ACOK, 'One step and then another, and I will not fall.'

Sansa ASOS climbing down a cliff from the Red Keep, 'One more step, and one more step.' 'I did it, I didn't fall...'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Le Cygne

A wonderful collection of quotes and the juxtaposition of some of them really does make you wonder.

Also that little one about Florien fighting a Giant makes me suspect Sandor may either kill LF or if Cersei sends Gregor after Sansa, Sandor will fight him to save her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brash:

The Jon/Ygritte-Sandor/Sansa parallels are indeed intriguing, but hope that in the latter someone doesn’t have to die L

You said you didn’t know what to make of this line, so here is my wild rambling at what I hazard it could mean:

Patches of snow clung to the rock on either side of the path, blinding white.

So Snow is Jon of course and the rock represents Alayne and how it wants to consume Sansa, but the snow just won’t let go, so Sansa recalls Jon and her past and draws strength from the howling of wolves because it is blinding white and will only increase in time to the point where she has to chose or where Sansa bursts free of the Alayne Stone prison LF built for Sansa.

Le Cygne:

Oh how I have to thank you for putting together all those quotes!! Sending you a virtual hug for them because in these sad weeks where i see the show focusing on their weird Sansa-LF and Sansa-Tyrion relationships I had forgotten i think that what the show does is one thing, but George has spent years with these characters(decades since the B&B shows must have been a great source of inspiration for Sansa-Sandor) and just because the adaptation has taken a sort of different approach to their relationship it doesn’t meant that the readers won’t get the pay-off one day of all the subtle beautiful care George as a gardener writter has done with Sandor and Sansa.

And when Martin says this:

"Man, that's something that's for the readers to figure out. If it's a symbol that I've carefully worked in there in a subtle way, it's because I'm trying to be suggestive, to make people think. If you see it and start wondering about it, that's on purpose. But I'm not going to start singing out, 'It's a symbol! It's a symbol!' Each reader has to read it and decide for themselves what the symbols are and what they mean.

This is exactly what we’ve been doing in these threads :D

Also, i found that romantic exchange between Dunk & Rohanne beautiful! And it was nice to see Jane Eyre thrown here as well. As i think i’ve said/agreed with ebfore in one of the previous threads, Rochester is the byronic hero that sandor could be said to resemble the most. And i enjoyed being reminded that that just as jane got to hear towards the end edward calling for her, sansa mistakes sandor’s voice for others who wish to protect her, and may have woken up on the morning of the snow castle because sandor was in great pain when arya leaves him (or so one theory says). Deep meaningful bond indeed! And i didn’t know so many reviewers had mentioned the Sansa-Sandor scene after Blackwater last year. Loved reading those!

Moreta12: In ACOK, it seems that the relationship between the Hound and Sansa had romantic undertones. Is that true?

GeoRR: Well, read the book and decide for yourself.

Moreta12: I've read the book and I've debated those particular scenes with a few others. Half say that it's romantic and half say it's platonic. I've taken the romantic stance.

GeoRR: It could be very different things to each of those involved, mind you

Moreta12:Yes, but it seem like evidence points towards romantic undertones.

So, it’s platonic for Sandor and romantic for Sansa?

And now about the B&B show (which i really must get around to watching soon!)

It was lovely but sad to read the whole “where-should-we-have-vincent-&-catherine-kiss” story. Sad that george was sometimes ignored about where he wanted to have kissing happening, but it gave me a good “at ease” feeling so he that George did care about where that important event should happen. Maybe some sansa-sandor fans (and maybe even sansa herself) have at some point wished that sandor and sansa had kissed during blackwater, but george preferred to go down the the whole unreliable reader road for a reason, so i hope that he doesn’t crush our hopes for trusting that he did the right thing there!

But it’s great to think that if the B&B show gave george a desire to create his own B&B characters, he wrote that with sansa-sandor. Cause come on, these are just similarities that are too obvious to ignore:

“I would never hurt you, Catherine.” -Vincent

And then in the show Sandor doesn’t even have to say this. Sansa realizes it herself, and in the books George repeats it again. It means something for him i want to believe :D

& this:

Vincent slowly raises a hand to touch her cheek. Cathy tries, but the fear is still in her, and she cannot help a small, involuntary FLINCH away from his claws. Vincent pulls back, devastated, moves away from her.

So this is like Sansa-Sandor in Blackwater, but in a diffrent sequence, since Sandor thinks Sansa sort of flinches from his touch/offer when she closes her eyes, and this is before Sansa cups Sandor’s cheek. Sandor does pull back, devastated, but not because he feels rejected.

And to finish off, it would be so nice of Sansa told Sandor this at one point, cause even in the show when Sandor is talking about killers before he leaves her, respecting her choice, they could add this:

“You taught me always to face my fears, Vincent.” - Catherine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brash:

The Jon/Ygritte-Sandor/Sansa parallels are indeed intriguing, but hope that in the latter someone doesn’t have to die L

You said you didn’t know what to make of this line, so here is my wild rambling at what I hazard it could mean:

So Snow is Jon of course and the rock represents Alayne and how it wants to consume Sansa, but the snow just won’t let go, so Sansa recalls Jon and her past and draws strength from the howling of wolves because it is blinding white and will only increase in time to the point where she has to chose or where Sansa bursts free of the Alayne Stone prison LF built for Sansa.

There are a number of instances in that chapter where you have snow/ice and stone interacting.

There're stones shattered (from repeated freezes)... with snow clinging:

Here and there the stone was shattered from the strain of countless seasons, with all their thaws and freezes. Patches of snow clung to the rock on either side of the path, blinding white.

Stone that's been carved at, with ice clinging to it:

They passed beneath a wind-carved arch, where long icicles clung to the pale stone, dripping down on them.

Stone hollowed out, about to be covered in ice:

The steps here had been worn smooth by the iron-shod hooves of all the mules who’d passed this way, until they resembled a series of shallow stone bowls. Water filled the bottoms of the bowls, glimmering golden in the afternoon sun. It is water now, Alayne thought, but come dark, all of it will turn to ice.

Ice as her footing, stones broken:

There was ice underfoot, and broken stones just waiting to turn an ankle, and the wind was howling fiercely.

And finally a stone of a different sort being abandoned and covered in snow:

The snow began to fall as they were leaving Stone, the largest and lowest of the three waycastles that defended the approaches to the Eyrie. Dusk was settling by then. Lady Myranda suggested that perhaps they might turn back, spend the night at Stone, and resume their descent when the sun came up, but Mya would not hear of it. “The snow might be five feet deep by then, and the steps treacherous even for my mules,” she said. “We will do better to press on. We’ll take it slow.”

For me the common theme is snow being triumphant over stone. I've always interpreted this as Sansa's Stark identity winning out over her Stone identity.

Brash, good catch on the parallels between Jon's ascent and Sansa's descents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×