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Milady of York

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIX

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Congrats on reaching one thousand posts, Doglover :)

The cloak really operates as the strongest symbol we have of the connection between Sansa and Sandor, and the possibility of them reuniting in the future. I'm really interested in seeing if Martin will allude to it again.

I cannot stand the Sansa/Shae dynamic for many reasons, but mostly because it ultimately isn't credible. The producers are also having to force the jealous!Shae scenario and that is also not ringing true.

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I know that this is a Sansa thread but since we have been dealing with issues like Martin's depiction of female desire I think it's relevant to how the showrunners are going to characterize Sansa in future episodes and seasons versus the novel's depiction of the same.

One of the issues I'm very concerned with is how the Arya-in-a-dress story has been dumped. Again it shows a flawed understanding of feminism and feminists. A large part of Arya's development is her envy of Sansa's feminity and her misunderstanding of Catelyn's feelings for herself because she does not embody those feminine ideals. She is much more grown up in the show than in the books and to leave out those scenes at the brothel and/or Stoney Sept undermines the tragedy that her sexual development will be stunted in contrast to someone like Asha who has a far more healthily developed sexual life while it doesn't undermine her warrior-like attitude.

It also makes me concerned for the way the show runners might choose to depict the Dany-Daario development. And we haven't seen yet Danny's reaction to Jorah's kiss which might be addressed next episode. It seems to me that female desire is judged good or bad by the writers in the show according to personal preferences for characters. Danny's rejection of Jorah is going to be judged silly, I feel. This does not bode well for Sansa.

Something else that bothers me is that after the delicate treatment of the Jon-Ygritte sex scene last episode by Bryan Cogman, D&D seem to have spoiled the balance with Ygritte's overtly raunchy dialogue last night. I think it's a very macho depiction of sex and sexuality, I don't know what you guys think, but it jarred me the wrong way.

The show highlights how the modern mind is so bogged in tropes and cliches, and modern ones at that, that the subtexts which support a complex mind and complex plot structures are simply ignored or misunderstood.

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I completely agree with you Arabella.

I'll put this in spoilers just in case even though it's discussing something from last season -

Two other lines from last season that really bothered me were when Arya, who has been chatting with her new BFF Tywin about how you can't forget that Visenya and Rhaenys were an integral part of Aegon's conquest, then goes and says "most girls are stupid." That is not how book Arya feels at all. She always identifies with being a girl and as you said above a big part of her inner conflict is how she deals with it. Also, you mentioned Asha and in the show last season they had Asha calling Theon a c**t! It's as if to show how tough she is they have her saying things that men would say to show how she is just one of the guys. In the books she never uses that term and in fact thinks how ridiculous it is that that one guy from Stannis' camp (can't remember his name) keeps calling her that as an insult when it's the only part of a woman he values. It was very badly done in my mind and like you said presents a very macho depiction of sex and sexuality on the part of the tomboy type females completely oversimplifying their own struggles to live their lives on their own terms and that they can have very "feminine" thoughts and feelings too.

Sorry if this is off topic from the book Sansa discussion but it just really bugs me and I needed to vent.

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I know that this is a Sansa thread but since we have been dealing with issues like Martin's depiction of female desire I think it's relevant to how the showrunners are going to characterize Sansa in future episodes and seasons versus the novel's depiction of the same.

One of the issues I'm very concerned with is how the Arya-in-a-dress story has been dumped. Again it shows a flawed understanding of feminism and feminists. A large part of Arya's development is her envy of Sansa's feminity and her misunderstanding of Catelyn's feelings for herself because she does not embody those feminine ideals. She is much more grown up in the show than in the books and to leave out those scenes at the brothel and/or Stoney Sept undermines the tragedy that her sexual development will be stunted in contrast to someone like Asha who has a far more healthily developed sexual life while it doesn't undermine her warrior-like attitude.

It also makes me concerned for the way the show runners might choose to depict the Dany-Daario development. And we haven't seen yet Danny's reaction to Jorah's kiss which might be addressed next episode. It seems to me that female desire is judged good or bad by the writers in the show according to personal preferences for characters. Danny's rejection of Jorah is going to be judged silly, I feel. This does not bode well for Sansa.

Something else that bothers me is that after the delicate treatment of the Jon-Ygritte sex scene last episode by Bryan Cogman, D&D seem to have spoiled the balance with Ygritte's overtly raunchy dialogue last night. I think it's a very macho depiction of sex and sexuality, I don't know what you guys think, but it jarred me the wrong way.

The show highlights how the modern mind is so bogged in tropes and cliches, and modern ones at that, that the subtexts which support a complex mind and complex plot structures are simply ignored or misunderstood.

regarding the spoiler: I just wanna say I have never read before someone nailing Arya like that to a T :D amazing analysis, esp. the comparison to Asha

and I also know this is a Sansa thread, but I find people emphasize the relationship with Sandor more than the most important relationship in her life, which is actually her sister, Arya. Even though they don't think of each other nearly enough to be called close, I think they have had so much more influence on each other than is obvious. It is probably more clear in Arya, whose shortcomings all stem from her confusion about femininity and sexuality, all which are completely natural to Sansa. There are also little bits and pieces of Arya in Sansa after she's broken off ties with her family. The way she pokes at Joffrey without him ever being certain that she's mocking him... that's a bit of an Arya move, isn't it?

Also, this is definitely coming from personal experience, but when you grow up with a sister who is painfully different from you, you tend to overemphasize and overdefine yourself. The differentiation somehow seems important. Sansa is more "sansa-like" in her behavior, her interests, and her opinions, because she has a sister like Arya.

The way I read the text, it seems obvious to me that the most important relationship in Sansa' s life is the one she has with Arya.

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Great Posts all. As you have been talking about Beauty and the Beast and Cocteau. I thought the link below maybe of some interest.

http://grrm.livejournal.com/321014.html

I haven't see Ep 6 yet, but so far Season 3 has almost ignored Sansa's actual development in favour of made-up scenes. They should have not had Tyrion tell her as the surprise wedding is much more important in showing that her feelings were taken into account by no one and she was still a prisoner. It would also have allowed her to plead with Marg not to Marry Joff, which is very important in showing her bravery and there could have been a scene withShae where she tells her, that she will bring up her children to hate all Lannisters, which would help her not to be hated as it would be clear that it is not St Tyrion of the Whitewashshe has a problem with per say (although she should have), but it is all Lannisters.

Also partof me is hoping that given D&D's little talk with GRRM, that they filmed that scene and then cut it because it spoils a later plot line. Although sadly I suspect it will be because they don't want Tyrion to come across as even vaguely grey. Also I suspect Shae will be made into CRAZY JEALOUS PSYCHO in order for Tyrion killing her to be okay, or he won't kill her, Tywin will.

Edit:Oh God, hellish thought. I hope the not showing the Sansa and Tyrion conversation was not D&D replacing the Unkiss moment with Sandor to some "did a kiss happen moment" with Tyrion and Sansa.

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I wholeheartedly agree Arabella and Elba.

Even a seemingly "minor" change with having Sansa betrothed to Loras Tyrell instead of his crippled brother (who totally does not exist now) compromises her development in the show, since she was actually able to come around to the idea of Willas who was far from the ideal knight, and imagine being happy in her marriage. And we've seen how a lot of Sansa's maturity stems from her understanding of the way marriages can deny the legitimacy of female desire and how she refuses to bend to Tyrion's wishes. But with the continued whitewashing of Tyrion's character, along with certain changes to the story line, it results in the negation of a lot of Sansa's agency.

The way I read the text, it seems obvious to me that the most important relationship in Sansa' s life is the one she has with Arya.

Good post, bb. While I wouldn't say it's the most important relationship in Sansa's life, I do agree with it being a foundational one, and that it should ultimately have some resolution in the story. Arya and Sansa have parallel experiences throughout the books, and they both learn to rely on their unique gifts and strengths in order to survive. I think part of growing up was to learn that they can be different from each other, but not in conflict, and I hope someday they're able to apply that lesson to the success of the remaining Stark family.

Great Posts all. As you have been talking about Beauty and the Beast and Cocteau. I thought the link below maybe of some interest.

http://grrm.livejour...com/321014.html

How crazy and cool is that :)

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Thanks brash! Now I can write with complete impunity that

I almost cried when they assassinated Cersei's, Tyrion's, show-Shae's, Beric's and even Tywin's characterization. I had tears in my eyes when my husband found me and he laughed when I told him David and Dan hate Sansa and never want to show us her awesome-ness scenes. What did they gain by making Cersei and Tyrion the nice guys? I also just read Ran's review and even he agrees!

But Sansa has been showing awesome-ness! On a whole, she has been smartened and toughened quite a bit on the show. She doesn't go on and on about songs, knights and fairytales as she does in the books (a huge change that makes her look more mature), she doesn't blab to Cersei and she doesn't blab to either Margaery or Littlefinger when directly asked about her plans. Book Sansa never said "I just can't say anything about it." If we look at the deleted Sansa-Hound-Tyrion scene, she unequivocally says she doesn't sing songs anymore. Book Sansa was not thinking that at this stage of her story.

What's more, while she shows a gain of not being as fussed about Willas being crippled, she is still full of dreams when she mentions puppies and picnics and naming her children after her family. Asking about her family on the show gives a nod to this, reminds us that she is still very naive at this stage of the story and finally reminds us that she is unaware that most of her family are "dead". It's hardly a dumbing down of Sansa. It has been argued that D&D detour wildly and frequently but arrive at the same destination. So far, they have shown this although for the life of me, I have no idea what they're doing with Shae and Sansa. I am equally as puzzled by removing the questionable deeds of Cersei or showing more motivation for Tyrion agreeing to the marriage. I suppose time will tell but it simply is not fair to talk of changes to characters and ignore how much Sansa has been changed as well.

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I'm sorry, but I thought Sansa's asking if she could invite her family (which family members was never specified) was just about the dumbest thing any writer had thought of all season. It doesn't read as naivete, but straight up makes no sense. Even if she was not aware that Bran and Rickon were "dead," she understands that currently the realm is at war, and the wedding wouldn't be taking place under ideal circumstances. And how does imagining peaceful and happy times with her new husband, or wanting to name her children after her brothers suggest that she's still full of dreams?

To your point about Sansa "showing awesome-ness" we once again come back to the issue of this show's problem with subtlety and complexity. Sansa's affiliation with songs just can't be written off as not believing in them anymore, full stop.

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Regarding episode 6, as I watched the episode I kept on remembering everything that we have talked about sansa and how marrying tyrion made her loose her voice/agency and was also a move for tywin to humiliate the starks even more. i was so angry when my family started saying, "oh but don't you like tyrion? he won't be that bad for her." i wanted to tell them whatever i recalled from the threads but yeah, was feeling so bad i sadly couldn't muster the energy and just shrugged saying, "you don't understand." the depth and maturity of what we have discovered about sansa would have been lost to my non-book readers family.

what has already been discussed here also bothered me. i wonder too why did the show had sansa telling tyrion that she trusted shae. he is a lannister and sansa is telling him that she trusts her maid?! in the books was not even allowed a single maid to remain in her service for longer than a 2 weeks or something like that. and also, (sure, sansa crying by the end broke my already saddened heart) and even if she wasn't exactly crying because LF was gone rather than because now her only way out of KL was leaving, i still don't like the way sansa is now depending on LF. when she is at the eyrie sansa-haters are gonna be like, "well, you wanted to go with him and leave Tyrion, remember?"

i really wish george would hurry up with book 6. can't stand more of D&D's adaptation.

and yet i am hoping against hope that sansa will say in the next episode that she wishes she had gone with the hound. in episode 7's summary it says something about her talking about her prospects/beaus...

Edit: Plus George wrote that episode so... it would be nice to have sansa say that cause since sandor is capturing arya in ep 7, and could also very well mention the LB to arya, both of them would be thinking about the other.

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Great Posts all. As you have been talking about Beauty and the Beast and Cocteau. I thought the link below maybe of some interest.

http://grrm.livejour...com/321014.html

I haven't see Ep 6 yet, but so far Season 3 has almost ignored Sansa's actual development in favour of made-up scenes. They should have not had Tyrion tell her as the surprise wedding is much more important in showing that her feelings were taken into account by no one and she was still a prisoner. It would also have allowed her to plead with Marg not to Marry Joff, which is very important in showing her bravery and there could have been a scene withShae where she tells her, that she will bring up her children to hate all Lannisters, which would help her not to be hated as it would be clear that it is not St Tyrion of the Whitewashshe has a problem with per say (although she should have), but it is all Lannisters.

Also partof me is hoping that given D&D's little talk with GRRM, that they filmed that scene and then cut it because it spoils a later plot line. Although sadly I suspect it will be because they don't want Tyrion to come across as even vaguely grey. Also I suspect Shae will be made into CRAZY JEALOUS PSYCHO in order for Tyrion killing her to be okay, or he won't kill her, Tywin will.

Edit:Oh God, hellish thought. I hope the not showing the Sansa and Tyrion conversation was not D&D replacing the Unkiss moment with Sandor to some "did a kiss happen moment" with Tyrion and Sansa.

part in bold: oh god I didn't even think of that, that would be truly horrible; I remember reading the Tyrion chapters after he married Sansa, and how he couldn't get past the idea that Sansa won't sleep with him because he's a "little ugly dwarf"; it seemed uncharacteristic of Tyrion to be so short sighted, he's self proclaimed as very good at reading people, yet he completely misreads Sansa.

I never thought for an instant that Sansa was as bothered by Tyrion being ugly as much as him being a Lannister.

That part of the book felt really unbalanced. I know that Tyrion indulges himself in self-pity, but this was a huge, annoying blind spot, especially since he notes on Sansa's resillience, yet not as it applies to him.

I can see how they can turn this around and make Sansa the "bad guy", the shallow one, who can't appreciate Saintly Tyrion :(

Ugh D&D, I hope they have something good in store for Sansa soon, showcasing her growth!

@brashcandy: Thank you :) The Sansa threads have long been a favorite of mine. I read them more than post though, because I don't think Im such an authority on Sansa as most people here, ( however being a younger sister myself, I tend to read her chapters like a younger sister rooting for her big sis :dunno: ); anyways, through the more "sisterly" lens, I see them not just as having parallel story arcs, but really being 2 sides of a coin; if Arya is associated with death through so many imageries and themes in the story, I think Sansa and the themes that follow her are a metaphor for life.

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@bb, I'm a little sister too, so a lot of what you said did resonate with me :)

I see them not just as having parallel story arcs, but really being 2 sides of a coin; if Arya is associated with death through so many imageries and themes in the story, I think Sansa and the themes that follow her are a metaphor for life.

Yes, I think that's spot on.

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If I may, I would like to take a brief mythological detour from the Beauty and the Beast theme and take a look at Sandor Clegane through the prism of Perceval. I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to Milady of York for her significant contributions, insight, patience, and muse like inspiration as she held the light of the Crone *ahem* very very young Crone <attempts to remove foot from mouth> to illuminate the path through the shadows of Jung.

In Case of Fire, Kiss Lass

Many years ago I was introduced to a wonderful little book, He, Understanding Masculine Psychology by Robert A. Johnson. In it he posits that the story of Perceval and the Fisher King is really a myth about masculine psychology in the modern age. He bases his book on the earliest incarnation of the Grail Myth from a poem by the French author Chrétien de Troyes written in the late twelfth century. As a myth explaining masculine psychology it seems to be applicable to a number of male characters in ASOIAF. Jaime, Theon, Sandor and even Jon seem particularly good candidates and I suspect that a strong case can be made for looking at patriarchy in Westeros as a whole, but for now we're going to focus just on Sandor Clegane.

Summary

Our young Perceval lives a peasant's life in Wales with his mother. One day Perceval spots five knights and is in such awe of these men and their elaborate trappings that he decides he must run off and join them. His poor mother, Heart's Sorrow, is distressed and tells him that his father and two brothers had both been knights and met an early demise. The boy is insistent so she allows him to go and gives him a homespun garment and some parting advice to respect fair damsels and not ask too many questions and our young hero sets off in search of the knights.

Perceval eventually makes his way to Arthur's court and asks to be a knight, but this foolish looking youth in his homespun garment is laughed at by the court. However, there was one damsel at court who had not laughed in six years and the court's prophetic fool had said that she would laugh when the greatest knight appeared and she bursts into joyous laughter at the sight of Perceval. Kay, the court steward, insults her for this and Perceval vows to avenge the slight one day. Arthur agrees to knight Perceval and Perceval asks for the armor of the Red Knight. He is told that he can have it if he can get it and so he sets off in search of the Red Knight.

The Red Knight is a powerful and menacing foe. He had taken a silver chalice from Arthur and thrown wine in the Queen's face and no one was strong enough to stop him. Perceval sees the Red Knight at the door as he's leaving court and challenges him. The knight easily knocks Perceval to the ground but our young hero manages to thrust a lance (one summary said it was a javelin) through the eye slit of the Red Knight's helm killing him. A page at court assists Perceval with putting on the Red Knight's armor as he has never seen anything like it before. The page urges him to get rid of his homespun garment but he refuses. Afterwards Perceval mounts the Red Knight's horse and rides off but he doesn't know how to stop the horse so they ride all day until both are exhausted.

Perceval continues his journey and defeats a numerous knights. Unlike the Red Knight, he spares these knights and extracts an oath from them to return to Arthur's court and swear service to the King. On his journey he meets a man named Gournamond who becomes his godfather. Gournamond instructs Perceval in the ways of knighthood. He learns that he must never seduce or be seduced by a fair maiden. He also must seek out the Grail Castle and when he finds it ask the question "Whom does the grail serve?" After a year under his godfather's tutelage, Perceval remembers his mother and goes to seek her out. He eventually learns that his mother died after he left, but while he's still searching for her he meets Blanche Fleur (White Flower.)

Blanche Fleur's castle is under siege and she beseeches Perceval to rescue her kingdom. Perceval challenges the leaders of the besieging army to duels where he defeats them, spares them, and extracts vows that they will go to Arthur's court and swear allegiance to the King. Afterwards Perceval spends the night with Blanche in an intimate but chaste embrace before continuing his journey.

One evening on his travels Perceval is seeking shelter for the night but is told there is no habitation for thirty miles. He encounters a fisherman, who is in fact the Fisher King, and the man invites him to shelter in his castle for the night. Perceval follows the man's direction and when he enters the castle the drawbridge snaps shut just as he crosses. Inside he finds the Fisher King seated on his throne unable to rise and a great ceremony takes place.

Four hundred knights and ladies are gathered along with four youths around a fireplace with four faces. Three fair maidens each bring out an item-- first the lance that pierced the side of Christ still dripping with blood, then the paten upon which the Last Supper was served, followed by the Grail itself. Everyone at the banquet has everything they desire except the Fisher King who can't partake because of his wound. Perceval is gifted with a sword by the Fisher King's niece, but he fails to ask the healing question if Godfather had told him to ask because he remembers his mother's advice about not asking too many questions. The feast ends and the next morning the castle is deserted.

When Perceval leaves he encounters a sorrowful maiden beset with grief. She is holding her dead lover in her arms who was slain by another knight over something Perceval had done earlier. It is here that we learn Perceval's name for the first time and she rebuke's him for not asking the healing question when she learns he was in the Grail Castle. Next Perceval encounters a weeping damsel who has also suffered from the consequences of Perceval's earlier adventures. She informs him that the sword he received in the Grail Castle will break when he first uses it and that it can only be mended by the one who gave it to him.

Word of Perceval's great deeds have reached King Arthur and he has commanded that this great knight be found. On his travels Perceval witnesses a falcon attack three geese and three drops of blood from one of them fall on the ground staining the snow. These three drops of blood remind him of Blanche Fleur and he becomes transfixed staring at them. Arthur's knights find him in this trance. The first two knights try and lead him away and Perceval attacks them breaking one of their arms. The one he wounds is the steward Kay who mocked the damsel who hadn't laughed in six years back in Arthur's court and Perceval had vowed to avenge that scorn. A third knight asks Perceval gently if he will accompany them and he agrees.

Back at Arthur's court there is a three day feast in Perceval's honor. At the height of this festival celebrating Perceval's great deeds a hideous damsel appears. She recites all of Perceval's failures and blunders and specifically brings up his failure to ask the healing question when he was in the Grail Castle. She reminds the knights that chastity is required to find the Grail Castle and charges Perceval to seek it out once more and make amends for his failure.

Perceval sets out again and spends many years on this knightly quest and begins to grow despondent and disillusioned. One day he comes across a group of pilgrims who ask why he is out riding on Good Friday, the day Jesus died. They invite him to accompany them to the forest hermit so that he may confess his sins in preparation for Easter. He goes with them and when he meets the hermit he is again chastised for his failures and shortcomings, especially the failure to ask the healing question in the Grail Castle. The hermit then becomes more gentle and compassionate and he gives Perceval directions to find the Grail Castle.

And here the poem by Chrétien de Troyes abruptly ends which happens to coincide with the current ending of Sandor's tale in our other story. We are left to ponder Perceval's ending just as we are left to speculate on Sandor's future. Whom does the Grail serve? Dr. Johnson posits "the Grail serves the Grail King. ... Translated, this means that life serves what a Christian would call God, Jung calls the Self, or and we call by the many terms we have devised to indicate that which is greater than ourselves." He also notes the importance of the fact that this question merely need be asked and not answered for the Fisher King to be healed. With that food for thought we move on to the symbolism.

The Fisher King Wound

According to the myth, the young Fisher King was wandering in the woods and came across an abandoned camp where there was a salmon roasting on a spit. He was hungry and reached for a bit of fish burning his fingers. He gets a brief taste of the fish as put his fingers in his mouth to cool the pain of the burn. This burn is the wound that plagues him and the one that must be healed.

The fish is a symbol of Christ in Christianity and the burn is from touching the divine too soon without the wisdom to handle it. It is the knowledge from the forbidden fruit that casts one out of the Garden of Eden on the long trek to find the way back to Paradise. It is the wound of disillusionment that shatters our youthful idealism and the lifelong quest to reconcile the complex realities of our world and find our way back to the happiness of innocence.

Like the Fisher King, Sandor's physical wound is a burn. Although there has been a good deal of focus on the toy knight as a symbol of youthful idealism such as we see in Sansa and Bran (and it is a very appropriate image,) I believe Sandor's Fisher King Wound is actually his father's failure to protect him afterwards. Often the focus is that Gregor was later knighted, but their father was already a knight sworn to protect the innocent and he couldn't even keep that oath for his own son.

"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.’"

In He, Understanding Masculine Psychology, Dr Johnson writes "In his typology of the personality Dr. Jung observes that every educated person has one superior function of the four functions of feeling, thinking, sensing, and intuiting, which make up the human temperament. Also as a part of our psychology there is an opposing inferior function. While our superior function produces most of the high value of our life, the more developed personality strengths, it also leads us into our Fisher King wound. Our inferior function, that part of us which is least differentiated, will heal us from that wound."

Sandor's Superior Rational Function seems to be Thinking and his Inferior Rational Function is Feeling (because I cheated and asked Milday of York-- who admitted that it is actually a very tough call with our limited information.) Sandor's wound is different from the myth in that it was afflicted on him as opposed to him stumbling across it on his own as an adolescent through his own superior function. Sandor's reaction to his wound seems to have been analyzing the world around him and realizing that he is the one who must learn to protect himself. Additionally, his entire life course seems to be dedicated to protecting others. He leaves the day his father dies and enters the service of House Lannister-- the one House that can clearly protect him from Gregor. He becomes Cersei's dog and later Joffrey's dog adopting the role of protecting the stereotypically weak "women and children." His joining the Kingsguard is an order strictly dedicated to protecting others, he protects Loras when Gregor attacks, protects Sansa, protects Arya, and we see him fight to protect Kings Landing and help erect a palisade to protect a village.

His inferior function of Feeling is supposed to be what leads to his cure. Despite what he knows about the world and is all to willing to cynically dispense, his inferior feeling function seems moved by the lack of protection for Ned and especially Sansa. It is through this emotional connection that we should expect to see him healed and Milday's essay on Songs and Emotional Bonding lays a sound foundation for that.

While the fish is a Christian symbol in the myth it is also the symbol of House Tully in the series. The idea of Sansa replacing the Christ symbol of redemption fits well the Beauty and Beast theme and may have application with Arya as well with her forgiveness by removing him from her list.

The Fisher King, the king of the castle, has been wounded. His wounds are so severe that he cannot live, yet he is incapable of dying. He groans; he cries out; he suffers constantly. The whole land is in desolation, for a land mirrors the condition of its king, inwardly in a mythological dimension, as well as outwardly in the physical world. The cattle do not reproduce; the crops won’t grow; knights are killed; children are orphaned; maidens weep; there is mourning everywhere—all because the Fisher King is wounded.

While this passage in particular makes me think this individual masculine psychological myth can be applied to the whole of patriarchy in Westeros, much of the nature of that suffering can be directly attributed to Gregor just as Sandor's inability to live or die with his wound can be seen as the manifestation of his desire yet reluctance to kill his brother. Applying this myth to Sandor in particular, much of the land mirroring the king centers around the failure to protect the innocent.

The Fool

Perceval the fool represents the inner innocence that one must reconnect with to heal the Fisher King wound. While Sandor's character is cynical and bears no resemblance to a fool, he is tied to Florian the Fool through the internal story of Florian and Jonquil. We see this most clearly in Sansa's chapter where she meets Dontos in the godswood. Here Sansa meets Dontos, who is a literal fool, and comes to believe he intends to protect her and help her escape which she connects the Florian and Jonquil story. Looking closely at the text it is Sandor who truly plays the role of Florian.

Originally I had wondered whether or not Bloodraven played a role in creating the distraction that allows Sansa the opportunity to visit the godswood because of the appearance of Balerion the black tom believed to be warged by him. On closer analysis it seems that was Littlefinger's doing but Sandor seems "sent" by Bloodraven. The distraction was caused by a rumor that there was a feast for Tyrek's wedding. This was likely spread by Littlefinger to provide the opportunity for Sansa to meet his agent Dontos, but Littlefinger cares little for Sansa personally (he did arrange for her to be married to Tyrion) so saw no need to make arrangements for her safe return.

Lady would have liked this place, she thought. There was something wild about a godswood; even here, in the heart of the castle at the heart of the city, you could feel the old gods watching with a thousand unseen eyes.

The thousand eyes is a clear Bloodraven reference.

Sansa had favored her mother’s gods over her father’s... Yet she could not deny that the godswood had a certain power too. Especially by night. Help me, she prayed, send me a friend, a true knight to champion me…

Dontos appears and Sansa is unsure if she can trust him.

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

"I prayed to the gods for a knight to come save me," she said. "I prayed and prayed. Why would they send me a drunken old fool?"

"The singers say there was another fool once who was the greatest knight of all…"

"Florian," Sansa whispered. A shiver went through her.

"My Florian," she whispered. "The gods heard my prayer."

As readers we know that Dontos is not there to help her at all but merely deceive her for gold. However, Sansa does meet another drunken "knight" on her way back-- Sandor who seems to be the real "greatest knight of all" just like our Perceval.

The serpentine steps twisted ahead, striped by bars of flickering light from the narrow windows above. Sansa was panting by the time she reached the top. She ran down a shadowy colonnade and pressed herself against a wall to catch her breath. When something brushed against her leg, she almost jumped out of her skin, but it was only a cat, a ragged black tom with a chewed-off ear. The creature spit at her and leapt away.

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, and a deep voice rasped at her. ... He let go his grip on her arm, swaying slightly as he stood, stripes of light and darkness falling across his terrible burnt face.

Just as Sansa is thinking about the flaw of Dontos being too old to be Florian but homely enough she runs into Sandor and his burned face. She encounters him at the same spot on the serpentine stairs that she saw the black tom with the same description of striped light and dark bars. Unlike Dontos, Sandor does actually protect her here from Boros Blount as they return to the keep. The chapter ends with another reference to Florian and Jonquil as well as Sandor claiming to be able to sniff out falsehoods which is the same quality Sansa was just wishing for when she missed Lady giving another hint at the old gods answering her prayers even if not as she seems to think.

I never got my song."

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

"Florian and Jonquil? A fool and his cunt. 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."

The Red Knight

The Red Knight symbolizes instinct or as Dr, Johnson puts it

The Red Knight is the shadow side of masculinity, the negative, potentially destructive power. To truly become a man the shadow personality must be struggled with, but it cannot be repressed. The boy must not repress his aggressiveness since he needs the masculine power of his Red Knight shadow to make his way through the mature world.

Red is anger and rage, wine, blood, and fire. Those are in abundance with Sandor and he has not yet fully subdued this opponent. We see him control his Red Knight when he battles Gregor and refuses to strike at his unarmored head. We see him control his instincts when he goes out despite the fires after rescuing Sansa and again repeatedly during the Blackwater before he eventually succumbs-- though that may be more his Fisher King wound than his Red Knight. We see him control his rage with Arya when he often looks enraged but says something milder to her surprise and lose that battle as Arya notes his chopping twenty times the needed firewood before collapsing in exhaustion without ever lighting a fire.

Sandor has certainly subdued his Red Knight and made it serve him, but he has yet to slay the opponent. Perhaps the lesson behind the Red Knight being killed and the other knights being subdued into service is that instinct should only be donned as armor and used as a weapon but it is never appropriate to put it in the service of the psyche or others as with these other facets. The possible interpretation that Sandor truly slays his Red Knight when he fights Beric will come up again later. If so a case could be made that he only subdued his Red Knight and put in in the service of Cersei which offers a different perspective on the death of Mycah and the accusation and trial by combat with Beric.

The Feminine Relationships

To again borrow from Dr. Johnson...

His human mother

This is the actual woman who was his mother, she with all her idiosyncrasies, individual characteristics, and uniqueness.

His mother complex and his mother archetype

This resides entirely inside the man himself. This is his regressive capacity which would like to return to a dependency on his mother and be a child again. This is a man’s wish to fail, his defeatist capacity, his subterranean fascination with death or accident, his demand to be taken care of. This is pure poison in a man’s psychology. If the mother complex is pure poison, the mother archetype is pure gold. It is the feminine half of God, the cornucopia of the universe, mother nature, the bounty which is freely poured out to us without fail. We could not live for one minute without the bounty of the mother archetype. It is always reliable, nourishing, sustaining.

His fair maiden

This is the feminine component in every man’s psychic structure and is the interior companion or inspirer of his life, the fair damsel. It is Blanche Fleur, one’s lady fair, Dulcinea in Don Quixote, Beatrice to Dante in the Comedia Divina. It is she who gives meaning and color to one’s life. Dr. Jung named this quality the anima, she who animates and brings life.

His wife or partner

This is the flesh and blood companion who shares his life journey and is a human companion.

Sophia

This is the Goddess of Wisdom, the feminine half of God, the Shekinah in Jewish mysticism. It comes as a shock to a man to discover that Wisdom is feminine, but all mythologies have portrayed it so."

We are at almost a complete loss for information on Sandor's mother and sister and the fact that only his father comes up during his burning story may indicate that she died when he was very young. In the absence of information on his actual mother, the closest figure we have to a surrogate mother would probably be Cersei. She did essentially feed and cloth him as well as protect him from Gregor as a real parent ought to have done. In addition her being older than him and the authority of her station would make their relationship closer to the vertical of a parent/child dynamic. This would create an inversion of the myth where Perceval does not want to be a knight but his mother seeks that role for him. It would also make the white cloak of the Kingsguard his symbolic homespun garment which is also fitting since he sheds that garment when Sansa sings the Mother hymn.

His fair maiden is clearly Sansa and she is obviously his Blanche Fleur-- "White Flower" is also fitting given her association with snow. Sansa is also the only figure who fits as his partner and this seems to be reciprocated given her thoughts and dreams of him despite their physical separation. I don't see an especially strong connection to Sandor and any Sophia figure, but again Sansa did sing a hymn for him and she became a metaphorical Heart Tree during the Snow Winterfell scene so I would expect to see more symbolism related to this as the story progresses. As an aside, it occurs to me that for those in the "Sansa is the younger and more beautiful" one from Maggy's prophesy camp these are all positive signs. This would also serve as replacing Sandor's negative mother archetype with a positive one.

The Godfather

There is no real Godfather figure for Sandor yet. An argument could be made that Gregor or Tywin is something of a negative role model. Comparing Sandor to a Jon who had Noye, the Halfhand, Aemon, the Old Bear, Tyrion, arguably even Mance, Stannis and Tormund it is clear that any of these are clearly more then Sandor ever had. I suspect that the Elder Brother will qualify as both a Godfather figure and the hermit. Neither Tywin or Gregor had what could be remotely mistaken for a healthy regard for the feminine. This leaves Sandor currently without a clear expression of the Godfather's advice regarding a man's anima--"never to seduce a fair maiden or be seduced by her."

Blanche Fleur

Blanche represents the Anima and Perceval's chaste yet intimate relationship with her represents the healthy ideal for a man's relationship with his inner feminine nature. The Godfather's advice to never seduce or be seduced by a fair maiden refers to this inner relationship. To be seduced by this inner feminine side is to fall prey to a mood.

Feeling is the ability to value: mood is being overtaken or possessed by the inner feminine.

Creativity in a man is directly linked with his inner feminine capacity for growth and creation. Genius in a man is his interior feminine capacity to give birth; it is his masculinity which gives him capacity for putting that creativity into form and structure in the outer world.

Whether it is a bad mood from seducing or a good mood from being seduced by the inner feminine, mood obscures feeling's ability to value things internally and cripples creativity denying a true happiness from within. We see this play out in general with Sandor's drinking and very specifically during his time in the Riverlands with Arya. He falls into depressive bouts when his plans to ransom Arya go awry and swings into happy moods when he devises a new scheme to bring her to the Vale or stay at the village. Given Sandor's severe psychological trauma he has legitimate clinical reasons for depression that better explain his current state, but the dynamic of expecting happiness from external sources is still applicable to his relationship with his Anima.

The First Grail Castle

Just as Sandor did not stumble into his Fisher King Wound of his own accord but rather had it imposed upon him, so too is he taken into the Grail Castle by someone else. After the Blackwater Sandor is broken. The fires have reopened his wound, the slow building doubts regarding his role of protector in service of the Lannisters so tied to that wound have finally caught up with him. He succumbs to his Red Knight, drinks himself into a stupor, and goes to Sansa's room to demand his happiness from a flesh and blood woman rather than his own Anima.

"I could keep you safe," he rasped. "They’re all afraid of me..."

Here again we see how tied Sandor is to the role of protector even if his actions in this moment fall short.

"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."

Here again we have Sandor being tied to Florian the Fool. His behavior and emotional state are anything but the innocent fool while demanding that song, but Sansa instead sings the hymn Gentle Mother which seems to stir that innocent quality within him.

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.

Unlike the naïve Perceval who followed his mother's advice and did not ask "Whom does the grail serve?" a worldly Sandor, momentarily stripped of his cynicism, sees that he has been following his mother archetype's advice and knows the grail has been wrongly serving her. Instead of embracing the "homespun" he rejects the cloak but flees the castle at the sight of the reflection his inner fool shows him.

Milady has a more in depth take on the Grail Castle as a series of events leading up to this final scene.

Since the Grail Castle symbolises his breakdown, to which he’s taken into by Sansa, I would say that there’s no single “Grail Castle moment” in his arc but rather a series of “Grail Castle moments” of which Blackwater is only the final crack, the biggest, the definite, the proverbial drop that spilt the cup. The first Grail Castle would have been the No True Knight scene, in which Sandor faces his Wound for the first time ever, as it’s very obvious that he’s never talked about this with anyone, and he’s talking about his Wound precisely to the woman that will help him see the way to healing it. Significantly, the next day he protects defenceless Loras from Gregor. The second Grail Castle is the Serpentine Steps scene, in which his Feeling function is at work with the help of a good ol’ Dornish red, he’s surrendered to his Red Knight, but recuperates and then goes on to protect Sansa twice: immediately, from Boros, a little later, from the rioters who’d have harmed or killed her. And the third Grail Castle would be Maegor’s Holdfast, in which the big final crack that will be evident to us only at her bedchamber later is already in place and Sandor only needs a push to crumble down. And only then comes the Blackwater night and it’s the coup de grace, his definite breakdown. Notice that in all four Castles he’s in Protector mode right afterwards, only that in the first 2 Grail Castles, he’s protecting the lambs and in the last 2 Grail Castles he’s protecting the lions. Nice contrast, isn’t it?

Her take also incorporates the number four which is prominent and clearly meaningful in the Grail Castle (there actually seems to be a good deal of numerical significance throughout Perceval though I have mostly left it out as it isn't one of my strong suits.)

The Hideous Damsel

The Hideous Damsel is the carrier of doubt and despair, the destroying, spoiling quality that visits any intelligent man at mid-life. ... This harbinger of darkness accomplishes a profoundly important act of individuation in the court. She parcels out tasks to each of the knights present, each task an individual quest for each knight.

Arya is Sandor's Hideous Damsel as Milday's essay on The Two Faces of the Beast illustrates quite perfectly. This scene differs significantly from the Perceval symbolism because Sandor's Hideous Damsel appears at his trial rather than his celebration. At that trial he is accused of being responsible for the ills of the Fisher King wound that plague the kingdom committed at the hands of the same man who delivered his own wound. It is his actual guilt over the accusation from the Hideous Damsel that makes his trial go forward and he must battle the incarnation of the source of his wound-- though victorious he is wounded by fire yet again.

In our myth parlance when Sandor is first accused of Mycah's death he defends himself with his maternal archetype. Beric may symbolize the Red Knight as Perceval slew him with a dagger to the eye and Beric has one eye here. Sandor also destroys the weapon that embodies his original wound in an act of defending himself which is what he was unable to do when he was first wounded. His reaction to his initial wound was to embrace his superior thinking function and find a way to protect himself in this flawed world. His reaction to this reopened second wound is to embrace his inferior feeling function and admit his failures to protect others.

"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."

As the Hideous Damsel continues to haunt him he admits to more of his failures but clings to the successful acts of protection to differentiate him from the "monster" who inflicted his original wound, but he still refuses to admit to his failure to be chaste with his Fair Damsel.

"Because I hacked your little friend in two? I’ve killed a lot more than him, I promise you. 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."

A Name

Arya also seem to double as the Sorrowful Maiden Perceval encounters when leaving the Grail Castle. She is holding her dead lover who was killed by a knight in a rage over something Perceval had done earlier. This is the point in the story where we learn Perceval's name, but for Sandor this seems to be the point that will eventually lead the shedding of the Hound identity. Arya's later removal of The Hound from her list can be seen as both an act of forgiveness and the death of The Hound both of which lead to an integrated Sandor.

Parsifal had transcended and integrated duality within himself and had attained great humility by knowing the source (within) of his masculine strength and to whom he does serve. Parsifal had integrated duality in the following sense: His "red heart [of passion] had been opened to his feelings and merged with his mind." "He had integrated the black [erotic] with the white [purity] aspects of himself to achieve high fidelity of being", [as Keith Burt put it]. For without integration of duality there remains "split-off-ness" within the man. [As stated by James Wyly] "Only as an individual, undivided, can man continue on his journey, meet the feminine [within and without] as an equal opposite and fulfil his creative destiny."

--psychologist Richard Sanderson

It is only when the Hideous Damsel has extracted her last confession that The Hound can die and integration can begin.

"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.

Sandor admits his equivalent of failing to ask the healing question when he first entered the Grail Castle and his Hideous Damsel finally departs.

It may also fit to view The Hound as a role. In the very beginning when asked for his name Perceval tells the knights he sees that it is "Dear Son." When pressed for his real name or other name he says it is "Good Master." His name starts as the role external to himself that he fulfills for others and The Hound can be viewed in much the same way.

The Hermit

The hermit is the highly introverted part of one’s nature that has been waiting and storing energy in a far off corner waiting for this very moment. Extroversion is the usual dominant of the first half of one’s life and that is correct. But when one’s extroversion has run its race and taken one on that very valuable part of life journey—then one must consult the hermit deep inside for the next step.

The hermit lives in a forest and Sandor is left "to die" under a willow tree. It is also interesting that the hermit is found that day Christ dies and the visit with the hermit is to confess the sins revealed by the Hideous Damsel in preparation for Easter the day of resurrection or rebirth. The Elder Brother seems to our clear Hermit figure. If Sandor also learns something of the lesson to "never to seduce a fair maiden or be seduced by her" the Elder Brother would also have played the role of Godfather-- though it would seem at least some of this process will be left in the hands of our other myth, Beauty and the Beast.

The Falcon, the Three Geese and the Three Drops of Blood

This is a scene that I had initially assumed was an obvious fit for the bloody cloak and when that scene seemed to fit better with the Grail Castle I almost forgot to include this. Mahaut has a postcomparing this to the bloody cloak, the red and white of the blood and snow to the colors of the Old Gods. There's some good discussion surrounding the bird symbolism that follows. Having looked at the myth as a whole I think it is possible that this scene's parallel has simply not come up yet, or is actually the fight with the Tickler, Polliver, and the squire at the Inn of the Crossroads.

In her Two Faces of the Beast essay Milady details how when Sandor stares transfixed into the fire he is actually thinking about Sansa and he drinks wine as a possible blood symbol substitute when he breaks his gaze. Perceval's gaze is also broken by a fight with three men one of whom is Kay whom Perceval has a grudge with that pre-dates his obtaining the Red Knight's armor. In Sandor's case this fits well with confronting his brother's men. Snow is a symbol of purity and blood on the snow seems like a clear loss of virginity image. Fire also has a purifying aspect and can symbolize passion and love. It is also the source of Sandor's wound and represents the loss of his innocence which makes it a blurred and complicated bit of imagery to sort out relative to the Perceval scene. Arya also has a connection with these men and immediately before meeting Gregor she saw the three black swans contrasted against the three black dogs of House Clegane's banner. This may be connected to the three geese and we are learning that Sansa, who can be associated with a falcon, has just flown away. The meaning of the threes and the geese (which currently only seem to bring me back to the Wart's lessons in The Once and Future King) in particular elude me. Hopefully I have identified enough aspects to make for some fertile discussion which is after all one of our main purposes her.

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I'm sorry, but I thought Sansa's asking if she could invite her family (which family members was never specified) was just about the dumbest thing any writer had thought of all season. It doesn't read as naivete, but straight up makes no sense. Even if she was not aware that Bran and Rickon were "dead," she understands that currently the realm is at war, and the wedding wouldn't be taking place under ideal circumstances.

I don't know that it's really so different from Book Sansa:

"Would you like that, Sansa?" asked Margaery. "I've never had a sister, only brothers. Oh, please say yes, please say that you will consent to marry my brother."

The words came tumbling out of her. "Yes. I will. I would like that more than anything. To wed Ser Loras, to love him . . . "

"Loras?" Lady Olenna sounded annoyed. "Don't be foolish, child. Kingsguard never wed. Didn't they teach you anything in Winterfell?

The show really hasn't been unkind to Sansa as it has with other characters.

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Ragnorak - fantastic analysis. To see Sandor's journey through this lens - as a psychological quest towards wholeness - provides an enhanced understanding of what most of us have perceived so far concerning the conflicted and discordant nature of the man.

Concerning the origins of Sandor's fisher king wounds, I thought this quote was also significant to the point you noted about his father's abdication of duty:

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.

The religious reference here connects to the idea of "touching the divine" too soon, and paying a heavy price for it. For Sandor, that resulted in a moving away from "gods" and any notion of higher powers.

The Red Knight is a powerful and menacing foe. He had taken a silver chalice from Arthur and thrown wine in the Queen's face and no one was strong enough to stop him. Perceval sees the Red Knight at the door as he's leaving court and challenges him. The knight easily knocks Perceval to the ground but our young hero manages to thrust a lance (one summary said it was a javelin) through the eye slit of the Red Knight's helm killing him. A page at court assists Perceval with putting on the Red Knight's armor as he has never seen anything like it before. The page urges him to get rid of his homespun garment but he refuses. Afterwards Perceval mounts the Red Knight's horse and rides off but he doesn't know how to stop the horse so they ride all day until both are exhausted.

Perhaps another way to look at this is that Gregor is the personification of Sandor's Red Knight?

Sandor has always existed in Gregor's shadow, forced to differentiate himself from his more brutal kin, and caught between a desire to kill him and a persistent ambivalence in actually doing the deed. He's had to learn how to be just as "ferocious" as Gregor in order to survive, but also draws a line between his actions and his brother's depravity. Sandor's killing of Mycah might be seen as his own Red Knight moment, the one sin that he cannot escape, and which ironically forces him to face the justice that he might have eluded for the crimes of his brother.

I was also pondering the effect Ned may have had on Sandor - I know that's farfetched in terms of hard evidence - and whether or not he could be viewed as a kind of unrealised godfather figure.

Anyways, I loved all the points you made about his relationship with Sansa and Arya, their respective roles in the grail quest myth, and the impact they have on his development. If Sandor's experience is about the eventual reconciliation with his anima, then the unique interaction we see with both these girls is critical to his ultimate well being.

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DogLover, ArabellaVidal, brashcandy, Elba, Rapsie, Caro99 - I'm in complete agreement with all of your assessments, it's interesting that so many of us have the same concerns when it comes to the representation of female characters.

The cloak really operates as the strongest symbol we have of the connection between Sansa and Sandor, and the possibility of them reuniting in the future. I'm really interested in seeing if Martin will allude to it again.

It is remarkable how often he mentions it. She notices him wearing it, when he gives it to her, when he saves her, when he gives it to her again, when she remembers she's keeping it, when she remembers he left it with her. In the middle of all of this she thinks:

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.

Also it's remarkable how often she thinks about him. Like right after the above.

Just to try to quantify this a bit... She thinks of him during her wedding (when she's kissing someone else), when she thinks of her wedding night, when she dreams of her wedding night, and when someone mentions the marriage bed. She thinks of him when someone mentions kissing and again when she's kissing someone else. She thinks of him rescuing her (at least five times I counted), and protecting her a lot more than that. She also thinks of him, the things he said, and that she wishes he was there, when she's lonely or scared. And he always seems to pop up, one way or another, when she thinks of Lady.

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Ragnorak - fantastic analysis. To see Sandor's journey through this lens - as a psychological quest towards wholeness - provides an enhanced understanding of what most of us have perceived so far concerning the conflicted and discordant nature of the man.

Concerning the origins of Sandor's fisher king wounds, I thought this quote was also significant to the point you noted about his father's abdication of duty:

<snip>

I was also pondering the effect Ned may have had on Sandor - I know that's farfetched in terms of hard evidence - and whether or not he could be viewed as a kind of unrealised godfather figure.

Anyways, I loved all the points you made about his relationship with Sansa and Arya, their respective roles in the grail quest myth, and the impact they have on his development. If Sandor's experience is about the eventual reconciliation with his anima, then the unique interaction we see with both these girls is critical to his ultimate well being.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was quite an interesting project to undertake though I have always loved Jung applied to literature. Lummel was kind enough to point me to a BBC radio round table discussion of the Fisher King myth for those with a further interest in the topic.

I was surprised at a number of points as to just how well certain aspects lined up and sometimes I can't help but marvel at the remarkable job Martin does with the depth of his non-POV characters and Sandor is probably foremost in that category.

I'm glad you pointed out Ned as a possible Godfather figure because I liked that idea but just couldn't find the evidence for it (just one line or hint at Winterfell and I might have run with it.) The Ned is not a knight and all about protecting children including the blowout he had with Robert over Gregor's killing of children and his Jon choice to value the child over reputation which speaks directly to Sandor's wound and the type of father he must wish he had. I think Sandor is also the only non-Northman we see have an emotional reaction to the injustice of Ned's death with his confession that he stood by and did nothing. So far Sandor and Brienne are the only two south of the Neck to have a "Ned's girl" type reaction and curiously they are tied to the two big Beauty and the Beast themes and both Stark girls.

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snip

Thanks for this great post Ragnorak. It was a real pleasure to read ^_^ .

Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart (also by Chrétien de Troyes) seems to share some similarities with Perceval too. In this poem, Lancelot must rescue Guinevere (a projection of the anima) who is kept prisoner by Meleagant, the shadow side of his personality. On his way, Lancelot must face many tests. One of them is to rescue a maiden who is threatened to be raped by six shadowy figures. This image stands for Meleagant and Guinevere. But as Meleagant stands for Lancelot, it is himself that he sees. This is actually a simulated rape set up by the maiden (who is in fact a fairy) to rouse both Lancelot’s chivalry and sexual desire as the shadowy figures take the place he wanted for himself. In the end, Lancelot doesn’t succumb to his lust but kills the would-be rapers. Having thus conquered his lust, he can lie down chastely with his temptress like Perceval and Tristan.

I’m wondering if we could associate this whole process with Sandor’s rescue of Sansa during the riot and their encounter during the Blackwater’s battle. That day, Sandor probably saved her from rape, thus symbolically killing his “negative” desire which enabled him to chastely lie down with her the night of the battle. Just a thought…

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Well that was long Ragnorak!

I would have thought that you would have looked more at Sandor as a Fisher King type rather than as Perceival, he is a difficult figure because of his naive innocence - not something that one could accuse Sandor of!

Something that does come through on rereads is GRRM's playfulness with regard to stories, exploring them from different POVs, highlighting different aspects. That Fisher King Motive seems to appear in a few of the male POVs. I hadn't heard the burnt fingers version before, I was familiar only with the polite spear through the thigh, or the more pointed wound in the groin version. Sandor's burn certainly has a similar effect on his sexual potency, it marks him as an undesirable partner.

The tie in with Sansa is something that has come up, I'm sure, in these threads before and that is her role as catalyst, inspiring change in others. It is very marked in Sandor who has two significant female interventions and two significant male interventions, but is arguable also there with Lord Baelish and Tyrion too. The Maiden causes them to re-evaluate themselves and what they want. Sadly so far none of this has been to Sansa's benefit, although I suspect I'm note alone in imagining that Sansa will have a catalytic effect on Vale politics.

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I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was quite an interesting project to undertake though I have always loved Jung applied to literature.

Indeed :) I'm currently reading Women who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, which looks the myths and tales connected to the archetype of the wild woman, and suggests strategies for healing the psyche through a reconnection with this wildish spirit. I think it applies very well to a lot of the female narratives in ASOIAF.

I'm glad you pointed out Ned as a possible Godfather figure because I liked that idea but just couldn't find the evidence for it (just one line or hint at Winterfell and I might have run with it.) The Ned is not a knight and all about protecting children including the blowout he had with Robert over Gregor's killing of children and his Jon choice to value the child over reputation which speaks directly to Sandor's wound and the type of father he must wish he had. I think Sandor is also the only non-Northman we see have an emotional reaction to the injustice of Ned's death with his confession that he stood by and did nothing. So far Sandor and Brienne are the only two south of the Neck to have a "Ned's girl" type reaction and curiously they are tied to the two big Beauty and the Beast themes and both Stark girls.

Yes, it's very interesting. Ned is the one who confronts him after he kills Mycah, and throughout the novels we see Sandor battling with the concept of honour as embodied in the Ned, a man who is completely different from the likes of Tywin Lannister and Gregor. We see this struggle illustrated in the conversation he has with Sansa at the top of Maegor's Holdfast:

"Wrinkle up your face all you like, but spare me this false piety. You were a high lord's get. Don't tell me Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell never killed a man."

"That was his duty. He never liked it."

"Is that what he told you?" Clegane laughed again. "Your father lied. Killing is the sweetest thing there is. He drew his longsword. "Here's your truth. Lord of Winterfell, Hand of the King, Warden of the North, the mighty Eddard Stark, of a line of eight thousand years old ... but Ilyn Payne's blade went through his neck all the same, didn't it? Do you remember the dance he did when his head came off his shoulders?"

At this stage, it's easier to suggest that he and Sansa's father share the same lust for killing and to mock the man's death, than to face up to his insecurities, and the implicit challenge that a man like Ned represented. But if we think back to the first meeting between Sansa and Sandor, when he places his hands on her shoulders and she thinks for a second that it is her father, the potential has always been there for Sandor to ultimately emulate/learn from Ned, and to act as a protector for his family.

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@Mahaut - I have never read Lancelot but I like your description and the way you applied it to Sandor.

Well that was long Ragnorak!

I would have thought that you would have looked more at Sandor as a Fisher King type rather than as Perceival, he is a difficult figure because of his naive innocence - not something that one could accuse Sandor of!

Something that does come through on rereads is GRRM's playfulness with regard to stories, exploring them from different POVs, highlighting different aspects. That Fisher King Motive seems to appear in a few of the male POVs. I hadn't heard the burnt fingers version before, I was familiar only with the polite spear through the thigh, or the more pointed wound in the groin version. Sandor's burn certainly has a similar effect on his sexual potency, it marks him as an undesirable partner.

The tie in with Sansa is something that has come up, I'm sure, in these threads before and that is her role as catalyst, inspiring change in others. It is very marked in Sandor who has two significant female interventions and two significant male interventions, but is arguable also there with Lord Baelish and Tyrion too. The Maiden causes them to re-evaluate themselves and what they want. Sadly so far none of this has been to Sansa's benefit, although I suspect I'm note alone in imagining that Sansa will have a catalytic effect on Vale politics.

The Fisher King is a redemption tale and Perceval is the one who journeys to redemption. There are clear ties to the Fisher King in Sandor especially given Gregor's direct responsibility for the suffering in the land, his raping compared to the thigh/groin wound in Sandor, and Sandor's caught between living and dying with his wanting to kill Gregor. Every time I pondered that aspect in detail I would run into unGregor and wanton speculation since the resolution is so uncertain.

The burn ties into his initial wound and the fish as a Tully symbol connects nicely to Sansa as a redemption figure. The lance to the thigh matches the wound he gets fighting the Tickler and points to the Elder Brother as a redemption figure and connects nicely with Septon Meribald's "Broken Man" speech. Since Sandor had his wound imposed instead of self inflicted the stabbing is in some ways better-- though apparently Perceval derives from "pierce the vale" so there's a self inflicted aspect there too.

@Brash - Hmm.. - with what you lay out there I suppose one could take the guilt he mentions and backtrack to make a case for Ned's influence. I'd still like at least one direct hint from earlier in the text. Since Sandor isn't a POV these things are much harder to pull out.

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