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Milady of York

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIX

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I thought this Sansa/Snow White comparison was pretty cool that i saw on Reddit, Figured i'd drop it here.

http://www.reddit.co...rackpot_theory/

Thanks for providing the link; I believe this was posted on the board before under a separate topic. I'd tend to lean towards the "iron shoes" fate of Cersei being fulfilled by the walk of shame, but I don't see how Sansa and Gendry would team up to bring her down or get married :)

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YAY! Rethinking Sansa XIX!! xD

Milady, you know I am always in awe of your essays, and of course the ones you wrote to open this new thread are no exception. I learned a lot! These two lines particularly had me going :crying: but in a good way!

That angry volatility that scares her and she wants to be toned down after the battle is over if he survives. Looking at the incident this way, it appears more like an intentional expression of her wishes than a plea to some entity above.
For a man who has an interest of an affective nature in a woman, to realise that she fears him and he’s to blame for that can be crushing.

& ok, just wanted to mention one little thing not Sansa related: I was happy to see you mentioned The Once & Future King!

For many years it was my favourite book ever! I'm even supposed to make an essay about it on wednesday. My teacher said that I should go read Ivanhoe since White's work was modern literature, but in the end I convinced him that TO&FK could be used for our medival partial lessons. I wanted to focus it on the first book with Wart growing up and meeting Robin Hood and all, but now your essay has me wondering if it wouldn't be better to write about the whole Lance-Gueneviere-Arthur triangle, or even Lance adventures as a knigt :)

Ok so yeah, sorry for rambling on, just got carried on when I saw you mentioned T.H. White xp

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Milady, great essays as usual! I'm so sorry I haven't been able to contribute to this and the last thread as much, real life has me in its grip lately. But I'm avidly reading.

Interesting catch about Alayne/Elaine. There were several Elaines in Arthurian legend; Elaine the "lily maid" being but one. I'm on my way out the door now but I will post more later.

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The purpose of this essay is to examine the concept of the Beast through the character of Jaime Lannister. I would like to thank the hosts for allowing me to contribute to the Beauty&Beast project. Coincidentally when I completed the essay, HBO released another preview of season three of GOT, emphasizing on a quote from SOS: There is a savage beast in every man, and when you hand that man a sword or spear and send him forth to war, the beast stirs. Jaime Lannister is one of the most compelling characters in the series and one might argue that he combines both aspects of beauty and monstrosity. The essay is divided in three parts. The first section examines the transformation of Jaime into a beast. The second examines parallels between his story arc and the tale of Eros and Psyche and the third focuses on the parallels between Jaime Lannister and Achilles. I would like to thank Millady of York for proofreading and offering useful suggestions.

I hope you will all enjoy

The Beast in ASOIAF:

Jaime Lannister: The Kingslayer

Becoming a monster

That boy had wanted to be Ser Arthur Dayne, but somewhere along the way he had become the Smiling Knight instead.

In ASOIAF, just like in most tales, a true knight is the embodiment of a hero. He defends the weak, protects the innocent, he is just and brave. He is honourable and stands for justice.

In the first book of the series, Jaime Lannister is introduced as a knight of the KG, handsome, son of the wealthiest man in Westeros and he has a bad reputation. He was only 15 when he joined the KG, and by the time he was seventeen he had killed the king he had sworn to protect.

In ASOIAF there is a precedent of a KG knight rumoured to have had an affair with his Queen. Prince Aemon the Dragonknight had an affair with his sister Naerys, although she was married to their brother, Aegon. Aemon was athletic and handsome, a skillful fighter just like Jaime Lannister. Naerys was a beautiful woman just like Cersei, forced to marry a man she did not love for political reasons. Aegon IV was a handsome young man, who later became fat, irresponsible, constantly humiliated his wife with his many mistresses, had many bastards, and whose death caused political instability in the kingdoms; in a way, he is similar to Robert Baratheon.

The big difference between these relationships is the fact that Targaryens were allowed to practice incest, but Lannisters weren’t. Jaime’s first act in the books is to make love to his twin, thus breaking his vows of chastity and offending the gods by committing incest.

His attempt to kill Bran further removes Jaime from the definition of a knight, and reveals the monstrous aspect of his personality.

“To a boy, Winterfell was a grey stone labyrinth of walls and towers and courtyards and tunnels spreading out in all directions. In the older parts of the castle, the halls slanted up and down so that you couldn’t even be sure what floor you were on. The place had grown over the centuries like some monstrous stone tree, Maester Luwin told him once, and its branches were gnarled and thick and twisted, its roots sunk deep into the earth.”

It is quite interesting that Bran’s chapter, in which Jaime pushes him, starts with the description of Winterfell as a labyrinth. The most famous labyrinth was the one built in Crete by Daedalus, a craftsman, in order to imprison the Minotaur. Half man and half bull, the Minotaur was a monster, a beast that killed all those who entered the labyrinth. Bran’s full name is Brandon, a Stark name that alludes to the founder of House Stark, Brandon the Builder, from the Age of Heroes. Brandon built the Wall, Winterfell and Storm’s End. Eddard’s son wanted to climb high, Jaime Lannister wanted to make love to his sister. Bran aspired to become a knight of the Kingsguard, Jaime was disillusioned by knighthood. Bran at the abandoned tower found Jaime, who tried to kill him. Bran was no different to the people who got lost in the labyrinth. Jaime was no different to the Minotaur, who devoured those who dared to enter his realm and threaten his existence.

It is interesting to note that Jaime Lannister has placed himself, through his acts, apart from society. He is superior to his friends, his sworn brothers look down on him because of Aerys, his younger brother adores him, he has an unhealthy relationship with his sister, his father never forgave him for becoming a KG.

"It is the business of the very few to be independent; it is a privilege of the strong. And whoever attempts it, even with the best right, but without being OBLIGED to do so, proves that he is probably not only strong, but also daring beyond measure. He enters into a labyrinth, he multiplies a thousandfold the dangers which life in itself already brings with it; not the least of which is that no one can see how and where he loses his way, becomes isolated, and is torn piecemeal by some minotaur of conscience. Supposing such a one comes to grief, it is so far from the comprehension of men that they neither feel it, nor sympathize with it. And he cannot any longer go back! He cannot even go back again to the sympathy of men!" —
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)

Jaime Lannister is a beast, responsible for the worst acts committed in the books. After all, he is a Lannister. Great Houses in Westeros use animals in their sigils. Lannisters are from the Westerlands, where the great lions once lived. Before he became the Kingslayer, Jaime was referred to as the Young Lion, back when people expected him to be an honourable man. The Lannisters not only refer to themselves as lions but tend to associate with “beasts” as well. There are the Clegane brothers, Gregor who is a monster, both in terms of attitude and physical strength, Sandor, who is simply called the Hound, Amory Lorch, who slaughtered a little girl, Vargo Hoat and the Brave Companions, and Qyburn, the notorious maester.

Jaime lacks the strength of the Clegane brothers, he doesn’t share Amory’s needless cruelty, he is not motivated by greed like Vargo Hoat and he abhors Qyburn’s acts. Yet Jaime has placed himself in a position between gods and monsters. He is a beast.

"Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us." —
William Golding

Jaime was raised by his father, who was a living legend in Westerosi society. Just like his siblings, he looks up to his father, and although he acknowledges the mistakes that Tywin Lannister made, Jaime aspires to become like his father. Another important figure in his early life was Arthur Dayne.

"I learned from Ser Arthur Dayne , the sword of the morning, who could have slain all five of you with his left hand while he was taking a piss with his right."

As a young squire, Jaime had the chance to be near Ser Arthur and learn from him. He also had the opportunity to fight against a formidable enemy, the Smiling Knight. Ever since he became a knight, Jaime’s entire life has been a struggle between the knight and the outlaw.

In ancient Greece, great heroes were sent to Chiron, a centaur, to be trained by him. A centaur was half man and half horse. It has been suggested that Chiron’s dual nature, a beast and a man, was meant to imply that the main lesson a hero should be taught is the balance between law and force. It is quite important to emphasize the fact that Jaime, from a young age had the opportunity to meet the greatest knight in the kingdoms and the vilest outlaw. Ser Arthur was his ideal of a knight, whereas the Smiling Knight was insane and infamous. The process of how his dream turned into a nightmare is quite interesting.

“It was that white cloak that soiled me, not the other way around.”

Jaime Lannister is confronted with the harsh reality of being a KG and the son of Tywin Lannister. His sister urged him to join the KG, in order for them to be together, but once his father finds out, he leaves for the Rock, taking Cersei with him. The rest of the KG were just knights, Jaime, though, was the son of Tywin. Aerys only wanted to control and humiliate him. Jaime soon learned that his duties included guarding the King while he raped his sister-wife, and standing still while the Starks burned.

Robert’s Rebellion brought Jaime closer to the King, especially after he was left alone with Aerys. Out of fear of Tywin, Aerys refused to let Jaime join the fight against Robert, like the rest of the KG did. Jaime was a witness to Aerys’ decline to insanity and took action once Aerys planned to destroy the city. First Jaime killed Rossart, the Hand and the man who had burned Lord Rickard, and then he killed Aerys, ensuring that he wouldn’t warn the other pyromancers and destroying the King’s plan to burn the city.

Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster...

The question is when Jaime became a monster, when he tolerated the rape of Rhaella and the torture of the Starks or when he killed his King, who had committed those terrible acts? In any case, it was Aerys who defined Jaime’s character.

For some people the day comes

when they have to declare the great Yes

or the great No. It's clear at once who has the Yes

ready within him; and saying it,

he goes from honor to honor, strong in his conviction.

He who refuses does not repent. Asked again,

he'd still say no. Yet that no--the right no--

drags him down all his life. —
Cavafy, the Great Yes.

Jaime refused to obey Aerys, turned against his King, disobeyed his orders and eventually killed him. The act of regicide almost always suggests that the killer means to replace the dead monarch. Yet Jaime’s motives had little to do with power. As a knight, he had sworn to protect the innocent, as a KG he had been forced to obey an insane king. He simply killed a tyrant, who just happened to be his Lord and King. All great knights earn a nickname: Prince Aemon was the Dragonknight, Barristan was the Bold, Prince Duncan was the Prince of Dragonflies, and Jaime Lannister became the Kingslayer. Just like his younger brother, Tyrion, Jaime’s nickname is a reference to his deformity. Unlike Tyrion, though, who was born a monster, Jaime became a monster through his actions. Tywin Lannister’s sons encompass the external and internal aspect of monstrosity. The beastliness that defines Jaime Lannister sets the character apart from the traditional version of the monster. Jaime is tall, handsome, athletic and a fine swordsman, yet despite his exquisite appearance he acts like a beast. There is no balance between body and soul in the case of Jaime and Tyrion. His younger brother is rejected by society due to his physical deformity, whereas Jaime is defined by his psychological deformity. Tyrion was forced to be regarded as a monster, whereas Jaime chose to act like one. In Plato’s Republic, Socrates suggests that evil acts disfigure one’s soul. In that case, Jaime Lannister is a lot like Dorian Gray, the difference being that while the deformity of Dorian’s actions were depicted on an actual portrait, the ugly aspect of Jaime’s actions are evident in the behavior and traits of his son Joffrey.

Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.

The image of a gallant knight in a white cloak and golden armour killing a fiend that uses fire to torture and kill people evokes images of dragon slayers from Christian iconography, most notably St. George. According to Jaime, Aerys thought that he was a dragon in a human form, just like his great uncle Aerion. Killing the dragon did not make Jaime a hero, though.

Killing Aerys was the completion of hi transformation process. The boy became a man, a knight who broke his oath. Ser Arthur was dead and the Smiling Knight became part of Jaime’s identity.

The things I do for love

Jaime Lannister is not ashamed of his love for Cersei, and if it was possible he would reveal the truth to everyone. On the other hand, he is ashamed of the things he does for love. Most notably trying to kill that boy in Winterfell. His incestuous relationship is despicable, but it was his attempt against Bran that placed Jaime amongst the villains in the story. Once again, Jaime broke his oath while trying to protect his sister and her children. Interestingly, Cersei, though herself is responsible for acts of cruelty, such as ordering the murders of Robert’s bastards, was against harming the boy, preferring to scare and intimidate him instead.

“What is done out of Love is beyond Good and Evil” Friedrich Nietzsche

Jaime Lannister is handsome, skilled, and in a way he could have been the subject of songs and love stories, if he hadn’t been responsible for several heinous acts. His character arc and his transformation into a beast could be a reference to the decline of knighthood following Robert’s Rebellion. While Ser Arthur managed to kill the Smiling knight, he failed to tame the beast within Jaime Lannister.

"There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast,' that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”
G.K. Chesterton

Catelyn Stark, grief stricken, forced him to swear that he would return her daughters. Jaime decided to keep that oath only because he knew that everyone expected him not to. Brienne was to escort him to KL and take the girls back to their mother.

Brienne is ugly, uglier than any woman ought to be. She is also stubborn and lacks Cersei’s charm and charisma. She is appalled by Jaime and his revelation that he is his sister’s lover and the father of her children. Brienne is disgusted by the fact that Jaime is an oathbreaker and refuses to refer to him by his proper name. Instead she calls him Kingslayer, insulting him.

Jaime is handsome, possibly one of the most handsome men in the kingdoms. Yet he lacks the inner beauty that Brienne has. Ugly Brienne has all the qualities that make her a beautiful person: she is kind, loyal, honourable, and, most importantly, true to her word.

“The lovers,” Shagwell sighed loudly, “and what a lovely sight they are. ’Twould be cruel to separate the good knight and his lady.” Then he laughed that high shrill laugh of his, and said, “Ah, but which one is the knight and which one is the lady?”

Jaime’s relationship with Brienne is mirrored in the song The Bear and the Maiden Fair. The bear is as ugly as the maiden is fair, but in the end they both dance. Jaime humiliated Brienne by referring to her as wench, refusing to address her by her name, just like she refused to call him Jaime. Initially, Jaime is appalled by Brienne and compares her unfavourably to his beautiful sister. He plans to kill her, but Brienne proves to be a formidable adversary and Jaime had spent too long locked in a cell. They are both caught by the Bloody Mummers, and then something strange occurs: all of a sudden Jaime has sympathy for the big ugly wench, who is about to be raped. He convinces the Mummers that Brienne is worth her weight in sapphires and thus protects her. Nevertheless, he fails to protect himself from the sellswords, and at the orders of Vargo Hoat they cut his sword hand.

Can it be? They took my sword hand. Was that all I was, a sword hand? Gods be good, is it true?

In tragedy, anagnorisis occurs once the hero discovers his true identity and reaches a level of self-awareness unbeknownst to him before. While Jaime was well aware of his actions and the results, only after he was maimed he realised that his existence was limited to his right hand.

I’ve lost the hand I killed the king with. The hand that flung the Stark boy from that tower. The hand I’d slide between my sister’s thighs to make her wet.

The loss of his hand not only has made Jaime more self-aware; for once he also questions the motives behind the actions of his father and sister further in the story.

An important part of the tale of Beauty and the Beast is the castle where they live. Jaime and Brienne are taken to Harrenhal, where they are briefly under the protection of Roose Bolton. Of course, Harrenhal is far from the beautiful castle described in the fairy tale. It is a big, ugly building, meant to impose and scare people. Harrenhal is cursed, just like the Beast was cursed by a fairy. For Jaime, Harrenhal is the completion of a circle: it was there where he was admitted to the KG and his path to destruction began. It is also the place where Roose tosses away his severed hand and Jaime reveals the truth behind Aerys Targaryen.

Later, Brienne described Jaime at Harrenhal as half a god, half a corpse.

Harrenhal is the place where a journey ended and another began.

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Love, Labours and Lies: Parallels between Jaime Lannister and Eros&Psyche

In the myth of Eros and Psyche, part of Psyche’s labours includes a descent to Hades. Descent to the Underworld is a common trope. Several heroes attempted to enter the kingdom of the dead, for different reasons: Odysseus seeks knowledge that only the dead can provide, Orpheus demands his beloved to be returned to him. Psyche visits the Underworld under the commands of Venus. Eros, son of Venus, is in love with Psyche, a beautiful mortal. Eventually, Eros becomes Psyche’s invisible lover, who visits her at night and forbids her from looking at his face. Urged by her jealous sisters, who insist that her lover ought to be a monster, Psyche gazes at him and it turns out that he is a god, but he abandons her. Once Psyche discovers that he is Eros, she pleads his mother, Venus, to assist her. Instead, the goddess orders the girl to complete a series of impossible labours. Psyche succeeds and eventually reunites with Eros and she becomes immortal.

There are certain parallels between the tale and Jaime’s storyline.

The most obvious is the presence of a beautiful woman, who wants to keep the younger man for herself and forbids him from engaging in a relationship with any woman. Cersei, just like Venus, is breathtakingly beautiful. In certain stories, Ares is presented as Venus’ lover and father of Eros. In Cersei’s life there are some men who to a certain extent bear similarities to the God of War. There is her father, Tywin, her husband Robert, and Jaime himself. Venus cannot tolerate any woman in Eros’ life. Cersei, once she found out that her father and Hoster Tully intended to marry Jaime to Lysa, persuaded Jaime to join the KG so as to be together. It should be noted that in order to convince Jaime to renounce his claim to the Rock and the chance to marry a pretty girl like Lysa, she spent an entire night with him, making love. Just like Venus, Cersei feels threatened by the presence of younger, more beautiful women. Once Cersei is told that Jaime was last seen in the Riverlands in the company of Brienne, she can barely believe that her brother would prefer the company of a woman as ugly as Brienne.

The descent to the Underworld motif is crucial to Jaime’s storyline. One of the impossible tasks that Venus imposes on Psyche is to go to Hades and obtain a jar containing beauty from none other than Persephone. In mythology, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, a goddess associated with nature, who is abducted by Hades for her beauty. Demeter mourns the loss of her child and wanders the earth, seeking Persephone. When she eventually reunites with her daughter, she discovers that Persephone shared a pomegranate with Hades, therefore she is forced to divide her time between the living and the dead. Persephone’s absence turned Demeter mad from despair, thus breaking the balance and causing the crops to wither. Demeter lost her beauty, dressed in black and became a ghost of her former self.

In the books, when Lady Stark visits Jaime at the cell, another descent to the Underworld begins. Jaime informs her on the gruesome details regarding the deaths of her betrothed Brandon and his father, Lord Rickard. It must be noted that Jaime never shares those information with anyone. His meeting with Lady Stark brought the dead back to the spotlight. Later, once Lady Stark witnesses the brutal murder of her son, Robb, she becomes Lady Stoneheart, a shadow of her former self, lacking the beauty of Lady Stark. In Eleusis there is a monument called the Smileless Stone, where according to tradition Demeter sat while looking for her lost child. Shortly after the events of ASOS, winter comes in Westeros. It is quite common in stories to explain harsh weather as a punishment delivered by the gods to those who were unjust.

Psyche had to gather water from the river Cocytus, which is guarded by a serpent, and runs in the underworld. On their way back to KL, Brienne and Jaime cross the Riverlands, that are devastated by war. Cocytus means the river of wailing. Jaime and Brienne see the body of a dead Lannister soldier, ruined houses and the corpses of women, hanging from trees.

Once captured and taken to Harrenhal, Jaime embarks on another journey in the world of the dead. He reveals to Brienne the truth behind Aerys’ death, his intentions to burn the city, he tells her about Rossart, Garigus, Belis, Lord Chelsted. Roose Bolton orders his men to escort Jaime safely back to KL, while Brienne is left for Vargo Hoat. On the way to KL, Jaime has a strange dream. The figures of Prince Rhaegar and his Sworn Brothers appear and confront Jaime for the deaths of Aerys, Elia, Aegon and Rhaenys. Once Jaime wakes from the dream, he returns to Harrenhal and rescues Brienne from a bear.

By the time he arrives at KL, it is too late. His son Joffrey has been murdered; Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister are to blame. Jaime finds Cersei at the sept, standing next to Joffrey’s coffin. His son looked a lot like him and was buried in armor, eerily similar to Jaime’s. The death of Joffrey, along with other events, such as Robert’s death, the oath he was forced to take, the loss of his hand, signify the end of Jaime’s relationship with Cersei. Eros, against the wishes of Venus, fell in love with Psyche. Jaime begins to defy Cersei. Joffrey was part of himself, a part that he was ashamed of. Joffrey was a monster through and through, with few redeeming qualities. He was cruel, insensitive, ruthless and stupid. Jaime was so indifferent to his son that he did not hesitate to make love to his twin, next to the boy’s coffin. Jaime refuses to turn against Tyrion and demands to marry Cersei, but she ignores him. Later, he will refuse Cersei again, several times in fact. One might argue that with Joffrey dead, the part of Jaime that linked him to Cersei had died as well. The descent to the Underworld in the story of Eros and Psyche can be interpreted as a symbolic death.

While Lady Stark bears certain similarities to Demeter, there is a resemblance as well between her daughter Sansa and Persephone. Psyche has to seek the consort of Hades. Jaime sends Brienne on a quest to find the girl and keep her safe, in a final attempt to keep his word. What Brienne finds though is Lady Stoneheart and in order to save the life of an innocent, Brienne is forced to misguide Jaime and lead him to Lady Stoneheart. She lies to him, insisting that she found Sansa, a captive of Sandor Clegane, the Hound. Three dogs are the sigil of House Clegane, a reference to the fact that Lord Tytos Lannister had once been saved by a Clegane. Lem Lemoncloak is currently in possession of Sandor’s helmet, shaped like a snarling dog. Cerberus was a dog with three heads that guarded the entrance to the Underworld. As of his last chapter, Jaime’s journey is about to be completed, since most likely he shall reunite with Lady Stoneheart and his fate shall be determined.

Another possible reference to Persephone might be his own mother Joanna. At Riverrun, former seat of House Tully, the night when winter finally came, Jaime Lannister has a vision of his mother. Jaime barely remembered his mother, who told him that “We all dream of things we cannot have. Tywin dreamed that his son would be a great knight, that his daughter would be a queen. He dreamed they would be so strong and brave and beautiful that no one would ever laugh at them.”

Once Jaime informs his mother that indeed he is a knight and Cersei a queen, Joanna shed a tear and left him.

"Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god."
Aristotle

While Jaime as a young man followed the path of the Smiling Knight, one might argue that his relationship with Cersei, isolated him from the real world. He rejected Lysa and Pia, because he wanted to remain faithful to his sister. Their relationship makes both Cersei and Jaime beasts. His mother crying was not a reference to the later crimes of her children but rather to their persistence to pursue their sexual relationship. Joanna had tried to stop the incest, but her death sealed the fate of her husband and children.

I thought that I was the Warrior and Cersei was the Maid, but all the time she was the Stranger, hiding her true face from my gaze.

Jaime knew his actions were wrong, but he justified himself thinking about Cersei. His love for his sister gave a monstrous aspect in his character. The thought of Cersei was what kept him sane, while the Starks burned the thought of returning back to his sister was what made him endure the Bloody Mummers. He was thinking of Cersei when he attempted to kill Bran and maim Arya. Yet there is nothing worse for a child to be confirmed as bad from its own mother. After Jaime dreams of Joanna, he wakes to discover that winter finally came and he is presented with a letter from his sister, begging him to come to her aid. Jaime refuses her once more, and continues his mission to the riverlands until Brienne finds him and lures him with the promise of Sansa Stark. Jaime might be one of the few men in Sansa’s storyline whose interest for her is not prurient. He doesn’t lust after Sansa, nor is he interested in her claim to Winterfell.

Sansa Stark is my last chance for honour.

His sister has failed him, he has failed his brother, his father is dead because of him, and he cannot reveal the truth to his children, because that would endanger their status in society and most importantly their lives.

The tale of Eros and Psyche is often regarded as a parable for the condition of the human soul. Psyche means soul and Eros refers to sexual love. The story refers to the balanced union of body and spirit. Eros is a prerequisite for the soul to become immortal. Psyche also means butterfly. Quite often, Psyche was depicted as a winged woman. In ancient Greece, people believed in Psychostasia, the weighing of the souls, which eventually determines the fate of the people.

Psyche although beautiful cannot marry. Her suitors hesitate to ask for her hand, exactly because she is too beautiful for a mortal man. Brienne cannot marry; her suitors reject her because she is too ugly. Both women are lonely, like virgin widows (lat. virgo vidua). Eventually, Psyche, like a living corpse (lat. Vivum funus) is led to a rock as an offer to a monstrous bridegroom. Brienne, suffering from a terrible moral dilemma, having survived the attack of Biter, guides Jaime to his doom.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

Psyche was redeemed through Eros, Jaime thought that Cersei was the guiding light of his life. Instead, as a beast he is confronted with two different types of beauty. Beautiful Sansa is related to the men who were tortured by Aerys, to the children that Jaime tried to kill. She is also the innocent that the KG knights harmed under the orders of his son. Rescuing Sansa will not undo the harm that Jaime caused to her and her family, but it will take him one step closer to Ser Arthur Dayne. Brienne assumes the role of Jaime’s companion, taking the torch from Cersei and stubbornly guides him.

According to Fulgentius, Psyche symbolised the soul, her two sisters flesh and free will. Aphrodite stands for lust and Eros is desire, who at first tries to seduce her, but then loves her. Hildenbrand suggested a more Platonic approach to the myth. Psyche is the soul, Eros represents heavenly love, Aphrodite is fate who commands base desire and envy, Psyche’s sisters, to cause the fall of Psyche. Psyche goes through several trials until she is reunited with love and earns her proper place. Cersei could represent both concepts of Aphrodite, lust and fate, responsible for her sibling’s negative impulses. Tyrion could represent the aspect of free will.

Jacques Barchilon’s interpretation of the myth draws parallels to the story of Beauty and the Beast. The sisters taunt Psyche, scaring her about the prospect of being married to a monster. Cersei, as already mentioned cannot see beyond Brienne’s ugliness. Sex was often regarded as a beastly act, in English there is the expression the beast with two backs, which refers to intercourse. In Jaime’s storyline the kings he serves, Aerys, Robert, and even to a certain extent Joffrey, display a monstrous attitude during sex.

Jaime also shares characteristics with Eros. Aphrodite is betrayed by her own son, who acts against her wish and disobeys her. Jaime disobeyed his sister. It can be suggested that Cersei stands as a wife, mother figure and lover to Jaime. Eros escapes from the confinement that his mother had imposed on him, just like Jaime severs his bonds with his sister.

The tale of Eros and Psyche and consequently the story of Beauty and the Beast share common elements with the story arc of Jaime Lannister. Psyche undergoes a journey to reclaim her rightful place by her lover; true love transforms the Beast to a handsome prince. It remains to be seen where Jaime’s journey will lead him, to his redemption or to his destruction or even to an entirely different path.

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Homeric Similes and the Force of a Beast

Jaime Lannister had been allowed no razor since the night he was taken in the Whispering Wood, and a shaggy beard covered his face, once so like the queen's. Glinting gold in the lamplight, the whiskers made him look like some great yellow beast, magnificent even in chains. His unwashed hair fell to his shoulders in ropes and tangles, the clothes were rotting on his body, his face was pale and wasted . . . and even so, the power and the beauty of the man were still apparent.
(Clash of Kings, Catelyn)

"No one can fault Lannister on his courage," Glover said. "When he saw that he was lost, he rallied his retainers and fought his way up the valley, hoping to reach Lord Robb and cut him down. And almost did."

"He mislaid his sword in Eddard Karstark's neck, after he took Torrhen's hand off and split Daryn Hornwood's skull open," Robb said. "All the time he was shouting for me. If they hadn't tried to stop him—"
(Game of Thrones, Catelyn)

The son of Peleus from the other side sprang forth to meet him, like some fierce lion that the whole country-side has met to hunt and kill.
(Iliad XX:153-258)

There are no pacts between lions and men
(Iliad 22.260)

In the Iliad, Achilles refuses to co operate with Hector, stating that no matter what they will always be enemies. It is one of several mentions of beasts and lions in particular in the poem. In most epic tales, there is an emphasis on the humanity of animals and on the animality of humans. It is quite reasonable to compare a fierce warrior to a wild beast. On the other hand, the comparisons usually add a deeper meaning.

Achilles is described as lionheart, breaker of men. Jaime Lannister exhibits animal-like ferocity in his attempt to kill Robb Stark and literally breaks any man who stands on his way. Both of them are predators in the battlefield, governed not by reason but by bloodlust and wrath. The closer both characters come to the concept of the wild beast, the further they depart from reason and logic. Excessive violence is partly a refusal to approach a situation through a more sensible way. Might is right. Achilles, ruled by his grief and anger, acts does not think. Likewise Jaime simply does what he knows best, he fights and kills, whether it is Bran, Ned Stark’s men, Robb’s guards, it doesn’t matter. Only after he loses his hand and his ability to kill, he resolves to more reasonable solutions, e.g. the siege of Riverrun.

According to Simone Weil, the true hero of The Iliad “is force. Force employed by man, force that enslaves man, force before which man's flesh shrinks away”. A similar approach might be used in ASOIAF. Weil in particular emphasizes on the force that kills, the force that turns a human being to a lifeless object. Men who are powerful exercise their power on others, depriving them from their right to exist. Pushed, they fall. Fallen, they lie where they are, unless chance gives somebody the idea of raising them up again. Yet the time comes when the powerful men need to pay for the harm they caused and often they find themselves in the place of the victim. In the Iliad, the battlefield is the place where men are turned into vicious beasts. This transformation is crucial and almost irreversible, force possesses the warriors and escape to human form is difficult.

Weil suggests that a miracle can reverse this process. There are small moments that define the characters and allow them to reach a certain level of self-awareness. Sometimes it is a simple thing, like Hector deciding to act and think not according to gods and men but according to his own judgment. More often though, just like in the tale of Beauty and the Beast, this situation is reversed through love. Not simply the love that two lovers share but also the love between friends, brothers, family members, comrades. But since both stories are about war, the love that is most strange is the love between enemies. As Weil suggests “the purest triumph of love, the crowning grace of war, ... the friendship that floods the hearts of mortal enemies.” In the Iliad there is nothing beastly about Achilles when he receives Priam, the father of the man that he had slaughtered earlier. Priam arrived to retrieve the body of his child, yet his interaction with his son’s killer is a rare moment of love, truth and beauty. In that case, the victor and the vanquished share a bond that is stronger than anything else.

Interestingly, Weil refers to Eros, the concept of love which connects earth and heaven, flesh and spirit.

One damp cold morning when he was feeling slightly stronger, a madness took hold of him and he reached for the Dornishman’s sword with his left hand and wrenched it clumsily from its scabbard.
Let them kill me,
he thought,
so long as I die fighting, a blade in hand.
But it was no good. Shagwell came hopping from leg to leg, dancing nimbly aside when Jaime slashed at him. Unbalanced, he staggered forward, hacking wildly at the fool, but Shagwell spun and ducked and darted until all the Mummers were laughing at Jaime’s futile efforts to land a blow. When he tripped over a rock and stumbled to his knees, the fool leapt in and planted a wet kiss atop his head.

Rorge finally flung him aside and kicked the sword from Jaime’s feeble fingers as he tried to bring it up. “That wath amuthing, Kingthlayer,” said Vargo Hoat, “but if you try it again, I thall take your other hand, or perhapth a foot.”

Jaime lay on his back afterward, staring at the night sky, trying not to feel the pain that snaked up his right arm every time he moved it. The night was strangely beautiful. The moon was a graceful crescent, and it seemed as though he had never seen so many stars. The King’s Crown was at the zenith, and he could see the Stallion rearing, and there the Swan. The Moonmaid, shy as ever, was half-hidden behind a pine tree.
How can such a night be beautiful?
he asked himself.
Why would the stars want to look down on such as me?

Jaime pushing Bran had an effect. Jaime turned Bran into a thing, and at the same time he was turned to a senseless killer that simply wished the destruction of his enemy. Bran was simply an obstacle that needed to be removed. The Brave Companions turn Jaime into a thing and refuse to treat him like a human being that possesses a soul. They even deny him a proper death and continue to humiliate him. Jaime, at this point, discovers beauty in simple things and at the same time finds a friend in an enemy.

It is quite difficult to define Jaime Lannister. Is he a villain who occasionally commits heroic acts? Is he a hero who gradually became a villain? In AFFC, when he walks through the field where the Freys had camped, he is well aware of the fact that his current allies were once, not long ago, his enemies and he might have slaughtered them as well in his attempt to kill Robb Stark. Jaime is well aware of the fear, terror and disgust he causes to everyone, even after he becomes a cripple.

At the beginning of the books, Jaime is content by his status as a fearsome adversary. All he wants is the love of his twin sister. As the plot gradually progressed, he is no longer satisfied by his twin and he becomes more aware of the monstrous aspect of his personality and he appears willing to return to the path of Ser Arthur.

There is nothing humane about Jaime pushing Bran from the window.

There is nothing monstrous about Jaime lying and staring at the stars.

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Thank you Milady and Danelle. I love these threads. Great to see its 19 already. The insight, analysis and references to other stories, mythology is so enlightening. I love to open the thread daily and learn so much. Thank you all so much

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Sansa Stark is my last chance for honour

Thank you for the contribution Danelle; this was quite an enjoyable read. I wanted to focus on the above quote since it fits with the pattern we've seen of Sansa's effect on "broken" men who are seeking some kind of redemption and/or restoration of their fallen principles. As you highlighted so well in your essay, Jaime's behaviour at the start of the series places him firmly in the beastly camp, alongside men like Sandor Clegane, who also does irreparable harm to an innocent child. Everything we learn after that doesn't necessarily mitigate Jaime's crimes, but we do learn how the man became the beast, disillusioned with knighthood and hanging unto his sister as the only thing of value in the world. His experience with Brienne, who fulfills the role of Beauty, marks the beginning of the transformation and self introspection which was so lacking before. The kind of moral conflict that is associated with the white cloak - being soiled by it - also intimately connects to Sansa's storyline, where we see her coming into contact with two of these cloaks, belonging to Barristan the Bold, and later Sandor's. There's also the abuse she suffered at the hands of KG - men thought to be honorable and decent, but who behave more like common thugs.

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Thanks for this brilliant essay Danelle, I really enjoyed it :).

I like your Bran-Jaime comparison. It’s an interesting twist that Bran can’t become a knight because he can’t use his legs and that the man who is responsible for this loses the hand that makes him an exceptional knight. And I also appreciate your Cercei-Aphrodite comparison.

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Danelle these essays were so wonderful! Thank you. Jaime represents another Beast in the Beauty and the Beast story and I can't help but think how a lot of what you wrote, especially in the the third essay regarding the Force of the Beast applies to the other Beast we know of, Sandor.

Weil suggests that a miracle can reverse this process. There are small moments that define the characters and allow them to reach a certain level of self-awareness. Sometimes it is a simple thing, like Hector deciding to act and think not according to gods and men but according to his own judgment. More often though, just like in the tale of Beauty and the Beast, this situation is reversed through love. Not simply the love that two lovers share but also the love between friends, brothers, family members, comrades. But since both stories are about war, the love that is most strange is the love between enemies. As Weil suggests “the purest triumph of love, the crowning grace of war, ... the friendship that floods the hearts of mortal enemies.”
I have come to think of this concept of the miracle as the act of compassion ("love") that transforms the Beast. The miracle is the transformation and the catalyst is the act of love, particularly from an enemy. With Sandor, I think the catalyst came when Sansa first sang the mother's hymn to him and then out of instinct and not really knowing why, she touches the burned side of his face. Then he spends his time with Arya, another enemy, and this is where he really has to face his beastly act, the killing of a child, and we see how he has come to regret it. This is the same thing that happened with Jaime as you so beautifully pointed out when he is lying looking at the clear starry sky and wondering how a night could be so beautiful for someone like him. This is also where Brienne, his enemy, turns into something different. She becomes his helper, the one who cleanses him and most importantly gives him the strength to continue living when he is ready to give up. This culminates with Jaime and Brienne at the baths in Harenhall. When he faints after the bath, Brienne catches him and he thinks how gentle she is.

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In the Iliad, Achilles refuses to co operate with Hector, stating that no matter what they will always be enemies. It is one of several mentions of beasts and lions in particular in the poem. In most epic tales, there is an emphasis on the humanity of animals and on the animality of humans. It is quite reasonable to compare a fierce warrior to a wild beast. On the other hand, the comparisons usually add a deeper meaning.

Achilles is described as lionheart, breaker of men. Jaime Lannister exhibits animal-like ferocity in his attempt to kill Robb Stark and literally breaks any man who stands on his way. Both of them are predators in the battlefield, governed not by reason but by bloodlust and wrath. The closer both characters come to the concept of the wild beast, the further they depart from reason and logic. Excessive violence is partly a refusal to approach a situation through a more sensible way. Might is right. Achilles, ruled by his grief and anger, acts does not think. Likewise Jaime simply does what he knows best, he fights and kills, whether it is Bran, Ned Stark’s men, Robb’s guards, it doesn’t matter. Only after he loses his hand and his ability to kill, he resolves to more reasonable solutions, e.g. the siege of Riverrun.

According to Simone Weil, the true hero of The Iliad “is force. Force employed by man, force that enslaves man, force before which man's flesh shrinks away”. A similar approach might be used in ASOIAF. Weil in particular emphasizes on the force that kills, the force that turns a human being to a lifeless object. Men who are powerful exercise their power on others, depriving them from their right to exist. Pushed, they fall. Fallen, they lie where they are, unless chance gives somebody the idea of raising them up again. Yet the time comes when the powerful men need to pay for the harm they caused and often they find themselves in the place of the victim. In the Iliad, the battlefield is the place where men are turned into vicious beasts. This transformation is crucial and almost irreversible, force possesses the warriors and escape to human form is difficult.

I really like the Achilles comparison, he andjaime seem to share very much. Both are reknown to the point of extreme arrogance, but it is not empty arrogance, for they are exceptional warriors. They have no fear, perhaps not from true courage, but because they really do not think they can be defeated by anyone. Jaime does not think himself immortal, but almost.

After that, maybe the analogy seems to weaken. Both do experience a loss of this immortality, being brough down hard to the level of mortal men.

Achilles dies, killed not by his fiercest and most able foe, but by someone almost laughably inferior. Yet the gods ordained it - perhaps ultimately because they alone can be immortal. Valar morghulis.

For Jaime the process is not so sudden.

First, Robb Stark defeats and captures him. Robb is a near-child version of Eddard Stark - a man who was a foe even when they were on the same side, and one of the few people that really got into Jaime's head (to the point of resentful anger). Worse, Robb's also a son of Catelyn Stark, who spits upon him backed by the ideals of "family" (compare to Jaime's own family), "duty" (which he violated as oathbreaker, traitor, and kingslayer), and "honour" (a thing he mocks, but secretly fears having none of). Robb is the fierce and fearless boy-hero - the thing Jaime once could have been, before the course of his own life ruined it.

Second, he meets Brienne, a person who is more of a true knight than he is. She sticks to her code of honour with true strength of character. She (a woman !) guards his life against all self-interest, though given half a chance he'd gladly take hers. She was built for mockery, ugly not beautiful. Yet he sees in her both his own failings and also his twin's.

Third, and probably the hardest thing to pull him from the great heights was his hand being cut off. He goes from predator to prey in the blink of an eye. Before, he could excuse anything and everything because he was so sure that any problem he had he could simply use a sword to solve. Now, for the first time ever, he knows he can be killed - rather easily. He cannot mock the gods now, for he is not even mighty enough to mock the more dangerous mortals.

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Hi everyone,

Here is my last essay on beastly symbolism. I hope you like it. As usual, thanks to my wonderful beta, Milady of York, for her rectifications and her suggestions.

Beastly Figures: The Wolf

The wolf symbolism

Like the dog, the wolf has many symbolical meanings that are often ambivalent. It is thus an image of savagery, aggression, debauchery or avarice. But, on the other hand, it is also revered as a mythical ancestor or as a divinity of fertility.

In legends, the wolf is more often than not negatively connoted, as it usually is a bad omen. For example, in Norse mythology, the wolf Fenrir foreshadows the end of the world by his howls. In tales, it is also the symbol of sexual desire, of dangerous seduction and temptation, as it is the case in the Little Red Riding Hood tale.

It is also a negative metaphor from a religious standpoint; in the Bible, the wolf is also a negative figure, because it stands for the dark forces that threaten the believer, who is symbolized by the lamb. In the Christian faith, among the seven deadly sins, lust and greed are also symbolized by the wolf. In Islam, the wolf has negative connotations, too, since the wolf and the she-wolf (an allegory of sexual desire) try and prevent the pilgrims to get to Mecca. For these reasons, the wolf was seen as a threatening and demonic figure, especially during the peak of religious fervour in the Middle Ages.

In medieval European imagery, witches and sorcerers transform themselves into wolves to go to Sabbath. The belief in werewolves is an old one, since it dates back to Antiquity, as mentioned in the works of Roman poet Virgil. Except that for Virgil, as for many Romans, the symbol was positive. Romans did not see wolves as negative per se, it’d be like insulting their mothers. But they did know the metaphor for sexual desire, in which case it could be used as an insult for wanton women, as lupa, she-wolf, was Latin slang for prostitute, and even now, in languages evolved from theirs, such as Spanish or French, they have the word lupanar, whorehouse, derived directly from Latin. The werewolves often symbolize the domination of the senses over the reason and the loss of control. They are also often associated with instincts, cruelty and an untamed nature.

But the wolf also shares some symbolical meanings with the dog. For instance, the wolf is often associated with the underworld too. In Greek mythology, the Mormolyce, a wolf figure (from the Greek mormo = demoness and lykos = wolf), was the wet nurse of the Acheron, the spirit of one of the underworld’s river; and disobedient children were threatened to be given to the Mormolyce if they did not behave. Hades, the king of the underworld, wore a cloak made of wolf skin. Februus, the Etruscan god of death, is depicted with wolf ears too. Like the dog, the wolf also has a psychopomp function in Algonquian and Romanian culture as the following Romanian song indicates.

Again will appear

The wolf in front of you

Take him as your brother

Because the wolf knows

The forests’ order

He will lead you

By the flat road

Toward the son of King

Toward Heaven.[1]

But the similarities do not end here. Like the dog, the wolf is also revered as a mythical ancestor in Turkey, Mongolia and China. The Chinese even associate it to the North. The wolf is also a symbol of fertility. In Anatolia, barren women pray the wolf to grant them a child. In Kamchatka, every year, people build a straw wolf so that it can “marry” the village’s girls and give them healthy children.

Still on the topic of mythical ancestry and fertility, the tale of the twins Romulus and Remus is maybe more familiar to us. Their story begins when their grandfather Numitor, the king of Alba Longa, is dethroned by his brother Amulius. Amulius forces Numitor’s daughter, Rhea Silvia, to become part of the Vestals, whose members are sworn to celibacy for thirty years. Amulius thus ensured that his brother’s line would produce no heir. However, Rhea Silvia conceived twins by the god of war, Mars. Learning this, Amulius imprisoned Rhea Silvia and ordered a servant to kill the twins. But the servant couldn’t carry his order and he left the babies to die by the river Tiber. The twins were then discovered and suckled by a she-wolf that thus saved their life. Once they reached manhood and discovered their real identity, they killed Amulius and restored Numitor to his throne. After these events, Romulus founded the city of Rome, and chose the she-wolf suckling the twins as the iconic representation of his city. Consequently, in Roman culture, the she-wolf is a protective and motherly figure. Note that the symbols of Rome are the she-wolf and the eagle, a bird. And it’s a she-wolf, never ever a male wolf. The wolf embodied them as people, as citizens, their culture; and the eagle was the embodiment of their political and military power, their legions[2].

House Stark, the wolves

In ASOIAF, the members of House Stark are frequently associated with wolves, since this animal is the sigil of their family. For example, Robb Stark is known as the Young Wolf, and his sister Arya is sometimes called “she-wolf”, “wolf girl” or “wolf-bitch”, whereas their father is referred to as the “quiet wolf” in the tale of the Knight of the Laughing Tree. In this tale, Lyanna, Brandon and Benjen Stark are respectively addressed as the “she-wolf”, the “wild wolf” and the “pup.”

There are some similarities between the wolf symbolism and some Starks. For example, all the Stark children are wargs, an ability that first manifests itself via the special connection they all share with their direwolves. In a way, this is quite similar to the werewolves, since when they first experience it, Bran and Arya believe they are wolves. In Bran’s case, the allusion to magic and witchcraft is reinforced by his association with greensight and the children of the forest. Arya, on the other hand, could be associated with the psychopomp function, as she is training to become a member of the Faceless Men, a guild of assassins. Note that it is Sandor Clegane who teaches Arya to properly kill a man and that his symbolic representation, the dog, has a psychopomp function too. Also, both Bran and Arya seem to have a special connection with the underworld: Bran in the crypt of Winterfell and in the cave of the children of the forest, and Arya in the cave at the Hollow Hill. She also has a symbolical connection with the underworld via her killings.

Brandon and Lyanna Stark are other Starks that fit an aspect of the wolf symbolism. Because of their “wolf blood” (a metaphor for hot-headedness and impulsivity), they are both known to have met an early end. These two plus Robb, Arya and Rickon could symbolize the domination of the senses over reason, the loss of control and the untamed nature often associated with werewolves. In addition, the Starks are a very ancient family that dates back to the days of the First Men, the first culture of humans in Westeros. An important number of Starks has retained the “look” of the First Men with their dark hair and grey eyes. Also the North, the land of the Starks, is a region where the influenced of the First Men’s culture is still acutely felt. For these reasons, the Starks, like the wolf and the dog, are strongly associated with mythical ancestors.

At the beginning of the story, the Stark boys discover a dead direwolf with her litter still alive. The pups are saved and nurtured by the Stark children in an interesting twist of the tale of Romulus and Remus. Funnily enough, it is Sandor Clegane who reestablishes the order of the original tale when he mockingly states that the Starks use their direwolves as wet nurses in Sansa’s first chapter:

“A wolf,” a man said, and someone else said, “Seven hells, that’s a direwolf,” and the first man said, “What’s it doing in camp?” and the Hound’s rasping voice replied, “The Starks use them for wet nurses.”

It is meant as a joke, but could there be more behind that line? Could there be a sort of Romulus and Remus tale at the origin of House Stark? But the comparison with the Roman she-wolf does not end here. This thread has often emphasized the mother symbolism in Sansa’s storyline. This symbolism is even stronger in AFFC since she acts as a substitute mother for Robert Arryn. She even recreates the image of the Roman she-wolf when Sweetrobin tries to nuzzle her breasts.

Since Lady Lysa’s death he had taken to wandering the Eyrie in quest of other beds. The one he liked best was Sansa’s… which was why she had asked Ser Lothor Brune to lock his door last night. She would not have minded if he only slept, but he was always trying to nuzzle at her breasts, and when he had his shaking spells he often wet the bed.

However, she does not accept this nurturing role, as she prevents Sweetrobin from coming to her by locking him in his bedroom. Is it a complete rejection or is the time not right yet? That remains to be seen. But at the end of the same chapter, she seems to accept, albeit reluctantly, the mother and the nurturing roles:

Sometime during the night she woke, as little Robert climbed up into her bed. I forgot to tell Lothor to lock him in again, she realized. There was nothing to be done for it, so she put her arm around him. “Sweetrobin? You can stay, but try not to squirm around. Just close your eyes and sleep, little one.”

“I will.” He cuddled close and laid his head between her breasts. “Alayne? Are you my mother now?”

I suppose I am,” she said. If a lie was kindly meant, there was no harm in it.

Is it a lie? Yes, because Sansa will never replace Lysa, his real mother. However, her actions and her words are definitely protective and motherly (bolded parts) in this quote and are also reminiscent of the Roman she-wolf. So, will Sansa be the protective and motherly figure of our story? As would GRRM say, keep reading…

In short, the wolf has many different symbolic meanings that can be associated with various Stark characters. In Sansa’s case, the protective and motherly Roman she-wolf seems an appropriate connection.

Voilà, the end :)

[1] My translation, from Trésor de la poésie universelle, R. Caillois et J.-C- Lambert, Paris, 1958.

[2] From Milady of York

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First, congratulations to both Danelle and Mahaut for wonderful essays. It was indeed pleasure reading them. I haven`t been able to pay attention to thread so much due to my obligations, but now I am so glad to see so many wonderful posts.

Mahaut, I LOVE your essay on wolves. In my country, wolves have this historycal significance. The Ottomans, who ruled the Balkans for over 500 years were lions (as one of the sigils of Osmanli dinasty, also the word for lion in Turkish(arslan) means hero), and South Slovenes, out of mockery, were called pack of wolves by them. Also, I have personal connection to wolves, since my last name is derived from Serbian word for wolf(vuk) (the literal meaning of my full name would be young wolf, since Mladen is the young one in Serbian).

I also must applaude to you, Mahaut, for your notice of a line that I have disregarded so many times, and that`s Sandor`s remark about wetnurse. When we combine this remark, with all the Mother motifs in Sansa`s arc, it`s pretty clear to me that Robert Arryn had found another mother in Sansa. Furthermore, since she-wolves are protective of youngsters, this can be foreshadowing Sansa`s attempt to save Robert from LF.

Also, the current Sansa`s location is at the Gates of the Moon. There`s a great connection between wolves and moon. Whether we talk about werewolves, or wolf howling, or even the myth about Romulus and Remus(she-wolf who nursed them was called Luna - a latin word for Moon), it`s quite clear that wolves are the creatures of the night. Can all this be a forshadowing for some newly acquianted strength Sansa may get? Are the Gates of the Moon, place for Sansa to be? Never forget, there is also Godswood. What kind of transformation Sansa will have at the Gates of Moon is still a bit blurry, but one things is certain, she will transform into something wilder and stronger.

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Thank you all for your comments. I apologise for not replying sooner.

Thank you for the contribution Danelle; this was quite an enjoyable read. I wanted to focus on the above quote since it fits with the pattern we've seen of Sansa's effect on "broken" men who are seeking some kind of redemption and/or restoration of their fallen principles. As you highlighted so well in your essay, Jaime's behaviour at the start of the series places him firmly in the beastly camp, alongside men like Sandor Clegane, who also does irreparable harm to an innocent child. Everything we learn after that doesn't necessarily mitigate Jaime's crimes, but we do learn how the man became the beast, disillusioned with knighthood and hanging unto his sister as the only thing of value in the world. His experience with Brienne, who fulfills the role of Beauty, marks the beginning of the transformation and self introspection which was so lacking before. The kind of moral conflict that is associated with the white cloak - being soiled by it - also intimately connects to Sansa's storyline, where we see her coming into contact with two of these cloaks, belonging to Barristan the Bold, and later Sandor's. There's also the abuse she suffered at the hands of KG - men thought to be honorable and decent, but who behave more like common thugs.

In a way, Jaime is indirectly responsible for the behaviour of the KG. He admits to himself that he allowed men cruel and sly, like Boros and Meryn to join the KG. Since the Kingslayer can remain in the KG and receive a pardon, then anyone can be admitted. As for Sansa and Brienne, they represent values that he thought that Cersei stood for. Sansa Stark is an innocent, as a knight he is obliged to protect her, as a Lannister he has to destroy her. Yet, he acknowledges the fact that he doesn't want to live the life of a dishonourable man, that he still dreams of becoming like Ser Arthur. In my opinion, Sansa stands as a symbol of lost innocence to Jaime. As for Brienne, it is more complicated. Cersei, who apparently looked a lot like his mother Joanna, is the only woman that Jaime has been with. Hiw relationship with his sister, entrapped in the oedipus complex, and only after he met Brienne he gradually discovered that women can be attractive even when they are not slim, with green eyes and long, curly hair.

@Elba,

Thanks!There are definately a lot of smilarities between Jaime and Sandor, their relationshi to Joffrey, the effect of their actions to the Stark kids. Coincidentally, in Ned's chapter after the incident in the Trident, when Arya is found and brought to Cersei and Robert, Ned is relieved that neither Jaime, nor Sandor are present. Later in the story, Sandor protects the girls and Jaime vows to keep them safe. It is curious that both Sandor and Jaime, initially are content with their status as beasts. It is through the Stark girls, most notably Sansa, that they explore the potential of not resolving to beastly actions. Excellent points about Sansa and Arya and Sandor. I don't think that either of them, considered the possibility of being loved for who they really are. Their nicknames deprive them of their actual identity. If I recall correcty, in most of the versions of the tale of Beauty and the Beast, the Beast is never given an actual name.

@Pod,

Thanks for your comment!

For me, the moment when I started exploring the possibility of parallels between Achilles and Jaime, was immediately after he was caught by Robb. Achilles, just like Jaime, started from being the Best and gradually turned to the Beast. Nestor, describes Achilles as great and terrible, just like Catelyn thinks that Jaime has conflicting qualities. Both of them are guilty of committing hybris, both of them are governed by rage and basically, both of them are soldiers. As you noted, their paths are not identical, but Achilles, just like Jaime, had reached a poit of complete and utter surrender to the beastly aspect of his pesonality, and needed someone older and wiser to remind him of his humanity. I regard both characters as examples of how war transforms men. Unlike Sandor, who was brutally injuredand disfigured by his own brother, Jaime was transformed during Robert's Rebellion.

@Mahaut,

That's a wonderful essay!Thanks for sharing it!

I love the idea of Arya as psychopomp, I think that it describes very well her current position at Braavos.

It is very interesting to compare the tale of Remus and Romulus to the Starks. I always thought that the she wolf of Rome, was a foundation myth, meant to represent the ferocity of the Republic and later the Empire. The connection of House Stark to the wolves, makes me think of the idea of the pack and how much the family members care for each other. Sometimes I wonder about Rickon, unlike his siblings, he barely appears in the first books and most of the things that we know abou him are based on his relationship to his direwolf. He acts almost like a feral child and his bond with his direwolf, sometimes makes me think of Mowgli who was raised by wolves.

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Great work Mahaut! I like the connection between Sansa and the nurturing she-wolf of Roman mythology, and of course she ties in with the bird symbolism as well. Myranda Royce alludes directly to Sansa's potential motherhood when she comments on her breasts as they're descending the Mountain:

"You are prettier than me, but my breasts are larger. The maesters say large breasts produce no more milk than small ones, but I do not believe it. Have you ever known a wet nurse with small teats? Yours are ample for a girl your age, but as they are bastard breasts, I shan't concern myself with them."

The irony of course is that Sansa is only posing as a bastard and as a result has... "trueborn" breasts I would suppose :) So whilst Randa might consider herself to be superior in this respect, Sansa's role as a mother - whether real or symbolic - should be of some import in the future.

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Also, the current Sansa`s location is at the Gates of the Moon. There`s a great connection between wolves and moon. Whether we talk about werewolves, or wolf howling, or even the myth about Romulus and Remus(she-wolf who nursed them was called Luna - a latin word for Moon), it`s quite clear that wolves are the creatures of the night. Can all this be a forshadowing for some newly acquianted strength Sansa may get? Are the Gates of the Moon, place for Sansa to be? Never forget, there is also Godswood. What kind of transformation Sansa will have at the Gates of Moon is still a bit blurry, but one things is certain, she will transform into something wilder and stronger.

I’m glad you liked the essay. Also, I wasn’t aware of the connection between Serbia and the wolves, so thanks for that.

Just a quick thing; the she-wolf was actually called Lupa (from lupa; lupae, fem., which means either prostitute or she-wolf) and not Luna. I read somewhere that there’s another version of this tale in which it’s a shepherd called Faustulus who first discovers the twins. Faustulus then brings the twins to his wife, Larentia, who is also a prostitute which leads the other shepherds to call her lupa (she-wolf). So the Latin authors could have played a symbolic game and transformed the prostitute into a she-wolf.

That's a wonderful essay!Thanks for sharing it!

I love the idea of Arya as psychopomp, I think that it describes very well her current position at Braavos.

It is very interesting to compare the tale of Remus and Romulus to the Starks. I always thought that the she wolf of Rome, was a foundation myth, meant to represent the ferocity of the Republic and later the Empire. The connection of House Stark to the wolves, makes me think of the idea of the pack and how much the family members care for each other. Sometimes I wonder about Rickon, unlike his siblings, he barely appears in the first books and most of the things that we know abou him are based on his relationship to his direwolf. He acts almost like a feral child and his bond with his direwolf, sometimes makes me think of Mowgli who was raised by wolves.

Oh this Rickon-Mowgli association is very clever, I hadn’t thought of it. I like it :)

The irony of course is that Sansa is only posing as a bastard and as a result has... "trueborn" breasts I would suppose :) So whilst Randa might consider herself to be superior in this respect, Sansa's role as a mother - whether real or symbolic - should be of some import in the future.

I should have added that quote to the essay as it is another Sansa-mother motif. I feel like a total weirdo writing this, but it seems that Sansa’s breasts are mentioned quite frequently in the later books (well since ACOK actually). It could be a clue about her new woman’s and possibly mother’s status :dunno:

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I’m glad you liked the essay. Also, I wasn’t aware of the connection between Serbia and the wolves, so thanks for that.

Just a quick thing; the she-wolf was actually called Lupa (from lupa; lupae, fem., which means either prostitute or she-wolf) and not Luna. I read somewhere that there’s another version of this tale in which it’s a shepherd called Faustulus who first discovers the twins. Faustulus then brings the twins to his wife, Larentia, who is also a prostitute which leads the other shepherds to call her lupa (she-wolf). So the Latin authors could have played a symbolic game and transformed the prostitute into a she-wolf.

First, you would be surprised how many parallels there are between Balkan history and ASOIAF. Perhaps unintenionally, but GRRM has given us so many wonderful motives you can find in Southern Slavic history. For instance, one of common names in Serbia, Montenegro etc is Vuk (srbian word for wolf). If I would have time one day, I`d like to do an essay about these parallels.

As for my lapsus linguae, I do apologize. I have really thought her name was Luna, and not Lupa. And I also thank you, Mahaut, for correcting me like a true friend :) . But that doesn`t diminsh the relation between wolves and the moon. I am rereading Alayne chapters from FFC and when I am done, I`ll start writing about Sansa as she-wolf. It will be a bit more excessive than you would expect from me, but I hope you`ll like it. I am also deep in analyzing Arya, so that keeps me occupied a bit. But, when I get back, it`ll be with great new essay about she-wolves.

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Myranda Royce alludes directly to Sansa's potential motherhood when she comments on her breasts as they're descending the Mountain ...

The irony of course is that Sansa is only posing as a bastard and as a result has... "trueborn" breasts I would suppose :) So whilst Randa might consider herself to be superior in this respect, Sansa's role as a mother - whether real or symbolic - should be of some import in the future.

I think it also should be said that Myranda Royce is teasing Sansa. (After all, a full grown woman is certain to know that a 13 year old is noyt going to be full-breasted just yet.)

Myranda's older and sexually experienced, so she probably gets a bit of fun by embarassing this younger girl Alayne. It's probably a bit of a bonding / recruitment strategy too - the younger lowborn girl will be fascinated by her boldness and sophistication and look up to her, and thus be groomed / mentored by her. In return, the girl reciprocates with loyalty and perhaps information (on Alayne's father Littlefinger, I suspect), become her agent.

Of course, Myranda does not know this is Sansa Stark*. Someone highborn would typically have a very different attitude, requiring Myranda to seem more loyal and less bossy.

(*Although she may already suspect something.)

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In short, the wolf has many different symbolic meanings that can be associated with various Stark characters. In Sansa’s case, the protective and motherly Roman she-wolf seems an appropriate connection.

It may be the case.

Sansa's template for motherhood is of course her own mother - a Tully. She exemplified the southron noble lady Sansa wanted to be. I think as eldest sister, Sansa probably grew up helping her mother out in raising Arya, Bran, and Rickon, or at least witnessing it. She clearly wanted to be a mother with children - at least early on.

Of course, Sansa's temprament is different and on top of that everything about her development got cut off by the start of the war and her experience as a hostage. (I don't think Sansa ever looked to Cersei as a mentor in womanhood, except as a cautionary tale - Cersei deceives herself into think Sansa valued her captor's "advice".)

Sansa's an unusual case for one other reason - no grandmother figure. It does not seem she ever knew her Tully and Stark grandmothers. (In fact, we do not know who Rickard Stark's wife even was, much less when / how she died.)

The most grandmotherly people in her life were Old Nan and Septa Mordane. Neither of them were exactly the Queen of Thorns.

This is why I sort of laugh at Sansa's re-assesment of motherhood in light of what's happened to her.

Cersei is an awful mother - probably the first truly awful female / mother she's had experience with. Sansa's flowering should have been a deeply personal mother-daughter moment, and instead hers was a grim strategic development and her "mentor" figure in it (Cersei) basically said, "well, get ready to be raped - oh well, sucks to be you". That and putting in her own cynical views on the whole subject.

Then she meets Margaery (the young bride), and the Queen of Thorns (the sweet old granny) - both are relatively kind to her, but she can also see how ruthless they are underneath. Then her next experience comes at the hands of Lysa Tully Arryn, who is far from a loving sweet aunt, and as a mother, paranoid and self-deluding. Her little boy has obvious mental problems which his mother either causes or makes worse.

So now Sansa's probably having to scrap many of the ideas she had about womanhood, marriage, motherhood - the whole thing.

All this might be pushing Sansa towards her wolf side - instead of the pampered civilized notions of southron motherhood, she's probably thinking she's all alone, like all those village women in the North who manage somehow to raise all these strong boys and girls, without servants, or maesters, or really anything to support them except their own kin (if they're even around / alive at all). In short, living like she-wolves - a harder and wilder version of motherhood, but more honest.

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All this might be pushing Sansa towards her wolf side - instead of the pampered civilized notions of southron motherhood, she's probably thinking she's all alone, like all those village women in the North who manage somehow to raise all these strong boys and girls, without servants, or maesters, or really anything to support them except their own kin (if they're even around / alive at all). In short, living like she-wolves - a harder and wilder version of motherhood, but more honest.

Well said Pod, and we've seen this emerging "wildish" side in other areas like religion, with her appreciation of the godswood as a place of refuge, and as I've argued before, with her growing attraction to Sandor Clegane. Her marriage to (and subsequent rejection of) Tyrion could also be considered as leading her towards a more non-traditional view of love and romance.

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