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Milady of York

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIX

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Time for another little analysis! This one isn't about Sansa exactly, but has to do with someone that can still play a significant role in her life; and it was also done to explore an old question Milady had, and in that respect, it was very enjoyable to research. Worth the bruises along the way.

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On Sandor’s swordsmanship

This one is dedicated to you, G., for your blessed curiosity.

The research for this small piece was done months ago at the request of a friend who was very interested in Sandor Clegane’s swordfighting style, to be precise: in his characteristic way of finishing off an opponent, cleaving him from shoulder to breastbone. Unlike Asha Greyjoy and Brienne of Tarth, Milady is quite incompetent with a weapon made of steel, and she wouldn’t have known one technique from another, but fortunately she had contacts with the right type of men: one military historian and the other a veteran military re-enactor. So, following the example of a certain dragon, she put on her best I am only a girl and I know nothing expression and a big smile, and approached the gentlemen in question, who amiably gave her two long, long lessons on how to stick them with the pointy end; that is, swordfighting techniques and training from the Roman legionaries to the Medieval knights, with demonstrations included. As a result, Milady was able to write this based on the notes taken during those private lectures.

That strike, you have to know its name

The first thing that sparked my interest in researching this was the desire to know if his style had a name, and accordingly, that was the first question posed to both men. Turns out Sandor’s death blow is a swordfighting technique from the German knights, who on an average tended to be taller than the English and French knights, and their arms of choice were the longswords. According to my sources, a real swordfight employing a longsword had generally to be decided and ended with the first blow struck, so you had to block and defend so you weren’t the one struck, and if well done could be decided in less than a minute. But you had to know how to deliver this killing/decisive blow, because if done clumsily it was… messy, and dangerous to yourself. You had to be sure in your attack, for if you missed with your first strike, the opponent took advantage of it and could deliver himself a fatal blow.

There was no long steel-on-steel parrying as we see in films and fantasy in live combat, though a real combat could last longer if/when both combatants were equally skilled and well-trained, yet that occurred mostly in individual duels. Medieval longswords and broadswords were fabricated for cutting and thrusting, and though lighter and more manageable than commonly believed, they required strong arms and a well-honed musculature from the man (that’s why Sandor and almost all the Westerosi knights that favour the longsword and hammer are generally more muscled and broader of chest than lancers and archers), unlike the Renaissance and 17th and 18th century swords called rapiers and derivations with a longer and thinner blade, made for stabbing. A cutting/thrusting sword like the Medieval knights had could also be used to make light or flat-side blows that weren’t lethal, and either left ugly scars or wounds that could fester and kill slowly, but you could survive a sword wound even if you suffered some sort of pain, especially when the opponent had been either clumsy or deliberately wounded you where he knew would knock you out without actually killing you on the spot. With a rapier and a thin sword there was no way to really control the depth of a stabbing attack to only cause a minor shallow stab wound as it happens with the other type of swords. Men couldn’t merely brawl and parry one another indifferently with slashing and clashing blows, as with the Medieval longswords, so each attack was potentially a mortal one and there was little room for error or leniency.

Now, to the killing technique itself: after Milady described Sandor’s technique in detail, quoting from the text, her historian friend first talked about a group of longsword-fighting techniques for quickly killing an adversary known as the Five Master Cuts, demonstrating to her with a plastic stick how each was done. These are [1]:

  1. Zornhau (strike of wrath), which is a diagonal strike straight to the torso/chest from the right.

  2. Krumphau (crooked strike), similar to the cross strike, yet not a straight attack to the head but from the side.

  3. Schielhau (squinting strike), this can be done in two ways: you turn slightly the blade and your body and strike downward in diagonal with a sliding motion like when performing the zornhau, but with the short edge (the back) of the sword targeting either your opponent’s head or his right shoulder. The second variation is to do it like the zwerchhau, but with a diagonal downward strike instead.

  4. Zwerchhau (cross strike), a horizontal circular strike to the body or the head, from right with the long edge (middle) of the sword and from the left with the short edge, as if you wanted to behead your opponent.

  5. Scheitelhau (parting strike), strike to the legs and thighs, as if to fell a tree.

Then he said that, by my description, Sandor’s characteristic move appeared on glance to be either a zornhau, a zwerchhau or a schielhau, because he said his is a two-handed technique from above directed to the shoulder of the opponent, like the ones mentioned. But after comparing both more carefully to the way he killed Beric Dondarrion, I and him concluded that it is a schielhau. The man who performs this cut must wield and grasp his longsword surely, with both hands, betwixt cross and pommel, because this way the strike will be harder than when he wields it by the pommel alone; and he must aim his attack generally to the head or clavicle, so if done correctly, it can cleave a man from the right shoulder to the breastbone, as GRRM described Sandor doing. Later, the re-enactor confirmed this, adding that these cuts are usually surprise attacks to be employed in non-armoured combat, and that at a minimum it can disarm the opponent, or were he armoured the blow on the neck can knock him unconscious.

When asked about the purpose of these cuts, the historian declared that all the Master Cuts are lethal blows, and they were usually attack moves for pre-emptive defence, that could put an end to the fight if the opponent couldn’t or didn’t block or defend adequately, so there was small chance of survival. There are other moves that do give the opportunity to survive, even with a bad wound, but not these if done properly. And considering that GRRM is more knowledgeable about British knighthood and lore than that of other countries, Milady wondered if these cuts were peculiar only of the German school of swordsmanship, and the historian said no, that there are many similarities and few differences amongst the English methods and techniques and theirs.

Before all this research, we had been discussing with the original person interested in this that Sandor might have a preference for this killing technique because he’s so tall and it must be easier for him to strike down a smaller man; but after discussing this with the historian and the re-enactor, Milady is no longer sure this has much to do with his height and brute strength, and she’s more convinced that this has to do with his skills and his penchant for efficiency. As soon as I finished describing it to him, the historian groaned and told me that this technique is, and I quote verbatim, “a bloody difficult strike to master,” and later added that for it to effectively cleave a man in two at first attempt despite being blocked, the swordsman has to be “freaking strong and freaking skilled,” as this requires of the man to combine agility with outstanding upper body strength, and overall martial prowess honed by long training in order to master this combat style.

As for efficiency, Milady explained to the re-enactor her impression that Clegane hates waste, unnecessary things and things not done well, and that he’s not a sadist despite his claims about liking to kill, he can find joy in fighting and killing, demonstrating why he’s one of the best swordsmen in Westeros, but cannot find joy in inflicting pain just because, as nothing in the text suggests he’s prone to torture, or maiming if not in combat. In one word: he sees himself as a professional soldier and killer, taking pride in his ability, and is in possession of a detached efficiency. If you think about it, he’s got this primal instinct for killing swiftly without remorse or waste of time or movements; he kills like a wolf. Wolves always aim at killing their prey in one single strike, rip their throats out and be done with all that mess; playing cat and mouse with the opponent is for felines and vipers. And then asked if having one of these cuts as a personal trademark would be connected to a soldier’s personality and ideas about efficiency, and he said it could be, because all the Master Cuts trained knights for speed and fast kill, as they were designed to be effective with an economy of movement, so wide or useless motions are out of the question, and fastness and deceptiveness (that your adversary doesn’t anticipate your move) are key. No dancing around and no flashy sweeping flourishes. He also suggested that, as most Medieval knights and swordsmen of times past, after he learnt the basics of swordfighting when he was a squire, he would’ve devised his personal approach to the existing combat techniques, found the best and quickest ones for each scenario, which he would have polished and sharpened over the years and now uses almost automatically in fights.

Milady had one doubt in particular sparked by the quote in AGOT Eddard III below:

“It was the butcher’s boy, Mycah, his body covered in dried blood. He had been cut almost in half from shoulder to waist by some terrible blow struck from above.”

And she wanted a clear answer for the question of how did he exactly kill Mycah? Did he use the schielhau for this killing? After the corresponding description of his corpse she asked if it was possible to cut a running person nearly in two when mounted on horseback as Lord Eddard seemed to think it was done, and both men replied with another question: what weapon was Sandor Clegane using? Unfortunately, there’s no such specification in the books, so we don’t know. Then the historian said he couldn’t have performed the schielhau on horseback, as it’s a two-handed move with a longsword to be performed in a fight on foot, and on horseback generally axes, spears or maces were used. If using a longsword whilst mounted, then the man handled it one-handed, so his moves would be thrusting/cutting, and he could make a deep cut and inflict different kinds of serious wounds, but not cut someone in two. The re-enactor explained that with a hand axe or battleaxe and if the person isn’t armoured, yes, a rider could cleave him in two, hacking at his shoulder, breaking his clavicle and burying the axe deep into the sternum, or he can behead him or carve off a limb. But if wielding a longsword, which weren’t heavy as people assume, one-handed and whilst mounted, it’s not likely, as the cut is made from the wrist, therefore not as powerful as cutting from the shoulder, as with two hands.

This means that the butcher’s boy was possibly killed in one of these two ways: either he was ridden down with an axe or he has hacked down on foot with a longsword with a powerful slicing blow. Which in turn led to some questions and an interesting if short discussion: was Mycah hiding someplace or was he wandering in the woods when he was found? We aren’t told anything about that, but that he ran after seeing the Lannister men gives an indication that he probably wasn’t keeping quiet completely hidden from view (they didn’t use dogs to trail him), which in absence of textual confirmation is as good a guess as any, when he saw the Hound and his riders and ran in fear, but he was on foot and didn’t go far. Was he told to stop and not run? We don’t know, either, and maybe never will. What is clear, however, is that the order given by Queen Cersei wasn’t “bring him alive” but “kill him.” The re-enactor theorised that, based on the state of his corpse, that was very likely, because a man has to place a lot of impact on the target to get that result, and it’s not done to wound but to kill, as it cuts the body’s biggest arteries and nerves located in the neck-shoulder-chest area. Is it painless? Not quite, no killing blow ever is, but there’s not much physical suffering as the copious haemorrhage kills in a very short time.

[1] For the benefit of readers not familiar with these techniques, here is a graphic illustrating each strike.

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Can he be the same again?

Later on, the discussion delved into Sandor Clegane’s current state as a limping novice at the Quiet Isle, which Milady hadn’t planned on analysing, but ended up doing it as a byproduct of an interesting conversation on leg wounds gotten in combat and what long-term effects these may have on the soldier’s performance whilst we were talking about the case of Alexander the Great. This warrior-king got more wounds that one could possibly count due to his risky habit of leading his men into battle, and in one of his numerous battles in his long campaign to conquer India, he got a severe wound to the leg when fighting the Scythians in what is now Uzbekistan. An arrow got him in the leg and broke a bone. He was 27 years old then, very fit physically, and after some months in recovery (until October more or less, he was wounded in July), which he spent directing his troops from a litter, he was back on his feet, and went on with his fighting as usual, with no noticeable change in his performance until much later, when he would climb up a fortress’ walls, fight on the top alone and jump into the other side before his soldiers could follow him, fight alone again for a while and get a near fatal arrow wound to the chest that possibly punctured a lung, which he survived by a hair’s breadth.

This had Milady doing some mental comparisons, and not exactly only of their names, because the king and Sandor were of approximately the same age when they got their leg wounds, and even if Alexander’s wound was more serious and more prone to resulting in permanent limping, he recovered completely partly due to his youth and physical fitness, which the Hound has too, and partly because he had the best healer a Hellene could have, the physician Philippos of Acarnania, who saved him more than once, and Sandor had the best healer a Westerosi could wish for, the Elder Brother. Also, if we consult the Global Timeline, the elapsed time from his wounding to the next time we see him as the Gravedigger—February to April—is comparable to the time elapsed from Alexander’s wound to the next time we read about him fighting again.

Ask, and thou shalt receive. And ask Milady did some time later: can Sandor recover completely and be the same warrior he was, as did Alexander? First, we discussed wound infection and then his recovery; here’s a transcription of the conversation with the re-enactor:

Re-enactor (RE)
: How was he wounded? Was it a thrust or a slice to his leg?

Milady of York (MOY)
: The text says “an ugly red gash on his upper thigh,” which to me sounds like it was done with a slicing strike, not a thrusting one.

RE:
Yeah, I think it could be too. How long before he cleaned and bandaged the wound? Did he lose much blood?

MOY:
I’d suppose he did lose much blood, because he mentions they could follow his blood to find them, and next day he was weak; that could be as much from haemorrhage as from malnourishment. He just wrapped a strip of cloth around it to stop the bleeding, and didn’t get the cut cleaned and disinfected immediately but after several hours later. Boiling wine was poured over his wound, and strips of cloth sterilised by boiling them in wine were used as bandages.

RE:
Alcohol and heat kill germs and prevent infection, but they can also burn the tissue and cause abscesses. They used boiling oil and hot irons to cauterise wounds back then, too. You had to keep the wound clean and dry and change the bandages frequently to prevent infection, though. You said he was left to die, you mean the wound was infected?

MOY:
Arya, the girl who was with him, describes that he got up at dawn next day, they rode for hours, and before noon he had to dismount to rest, and slept a little. She describes he had a high fever by then, his skin was burning up.

RE:
Fever is a natural reaction to wounds as defence against infection. What else?

MOY:
There’s no description of how the wound looked like or a description of signs of gangrene. The passage only says this: “Arya sniffed at his bandages the way Maester Luwin had done sometimes when treating her cut or scrape. His face had bled the worst, but it was the wound on his thigh that smelled funny to her.” Does it indicate gangrene?

RE:
Infection is possible, but it strikes me as too early for gangrene. Wait, you mean she didn’t change his bandages then?

MOY:
No… And the bandages weren’t dry and clean by then, I’d say. They had been sterilised in wine, so they were wet. Suppose the cloak she used as bandages was of wool, wet wool drenched in wine plus blood and sweat, because he was sweating from the fever, would smell funny.

He said that that was one possibility, that what “smelled funny” was the combination of liquids (wine, blood and sweat) soaking the bandages, as I’d suggested, because gangrene doesn’t set in so quickly, it’d take at least two days more and it’d begin slowly, so an opportune intervention, via an excision of the necrotised tissue and medication (herbal in their time) will be the solution. He also mentioned that the girl, Arya, is young and mimicking an adult’s actions. The biggest giveaway of the presence of infection is the fever, he said, which can appear even in our times after surgical procedures to heal wounds, and not the smell itself. If the Elder Brother found him the same day or the next, then he had the opportunity to get treatment before the gangrene appeared. When I mentioned the case of Jaime Lannister’s hand, he said his impression was that his healing is much less credible, especially because more time had passed by without disinfecting the wound and it already had clear signs of gangrene.

Then we talked about his physical recovery at the Quiet Isle, and he had a good prognosis for Sandor based on my description of Brienne’s chapter, and his own knowledge about these kinds of cases. Here’s a summary of the relevant conversation:

MOY:
He is described as limping noticeably, but he still does work that requires physical effort, especially digging graves on a hard and gravelly ground. The question is, can he recover fully from that injury and be just as good a swordsman as before, or would the limp be permanent?

RE:
Not exactly. Limping is normal after such an injury, because when a wound is still recent any slight discomfort causes a man to limp, but a limp does not mean it will stay for life, and more so if it’s due to only injured muscle tissue, which can be compensated with muscle building. A limp due to a poorly healed bone fracture, or a wound that affected a nerve are much worse, as both could even cause paralysis. That’s not the case with your hero.

MOY:
And the physical exercise he does by digging graves helps with that?

RE:
Digging does not help his leg, but it does the upper body. Very much.

MOY:
What would help the leg?

RE:
Depends on the muscles you want to work. In what part of the leg did you say he was wounded?

MOY:
In his thigh.

RE:
Aha. A wound in that area doesn’t affect you much long-term. The best thing would be to work the quadriceps, or better yet, the gluteus. Those muscles have to work a lot when you do abs, and going up and down stairs and any exercise that involves the legs would help a lot too. Is there is tower to climb there, in the monastery?
[Milady shakes her head]
Then run up and down any hill, and weight lifting, such as carrying cubes or logs, would be phenomenal. And swimming. Swimming above all.

MOY:
Swimming? Excellent! The monastery is located on an island by a river.

RE:
On an island? He should swim in the river, preferably styles such as backstroke, butterfly, front crawl, even doggy paddle
[Milady chuckles]
… or jog along the beach, which offers resistance and works the legs a lot, and running in the sand also exercises them more than a firm ground.

He concluded that this should keep him in optimal shape, which is way more important at the present than practising with a sword, which he can go back to once his leg doesn’t bother him so much. And he asked how long had he been fighting and training regularly before his wound, and when told that he had since he was twelve, he raised an eyebrow and said he’d started early, so if he was consistent in his training over the years, he’d have been a highly skilled swordsman by age fifteen, and this long practise will also work in his favour once/if he goes back to sword training. In sum, if he was a flesh and blood swordsman he would recover completely and be active for as many more years as he wanted to serve; and only due to authorial decision would he get a permanent limp or be “retired” from fighting.

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Re: Sandor's swordsmanship...

This is fairly off-topic for this thread. Someone a couple months ago posted a youtube video demonstrating fighting techniques of sword and shield. It went on 20 minutes or more, and the basic idea of it was that the shield is as much a weapon as the sword, when used the right way. It was quite interesting.

Incidentally, there's also videos on youtube that show wolves hunting larger prey, and it's not always the quick bite to the throat you might expect. Felines do kill with a bite to the neck (when so inclined), and wolves will often wear down a large foe with harassing bites, circling around and ripping at haunches and hamstrings, until it finally is helpless and goes down.

re: Sandor's wound ...

Your friend is right. If the leg did not necrotize and need to be amputated, the prognosis ican be positive. Still, it would take months at minimum to recover.

It is still possible to never fully recover. Even in the modern day with current medical knowledge, athletes who've had wounds that necrotize end up with their careers ended, even if only flesh is excised and no amputation happens. Wait and see what happens in the story.

Compare to Willas Tyrell - what happenned to him sounds worse. Like a spiral fracture to his leg and torn knee ligaments or something. Lucky that they did not amputate the leg.

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Incidentally, there's also videos on youtube that show wolves hunting larger prey, and it's not always the quick bite to the throat you might expect. Felines do kill with a bite to the neck (when so inclined), and wolves will often wear down a large foe with harassing bites, circling around and ripping at haunches and hamstrings, until it finally is helpless and goes down.

It was a figure of speech, not a literal comparison. And your point is...?

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On Sandor’s swordsmanship

This one is dedicated to you, G., for your blessed curiosity.

The research for this small piece was done months ago at the request of a friend who was very interested in Sandor Clegane’s swordfighting style, to be precise: in his characteristic way of finishing off an opponent, cleaving him from shoulder to breastbone. Unlike Asha Greyjoy and Brienne of Tarth, Milady is quite incompetent with a weapon made of steel, and she wouldn’t have known one technique from another, but fortunately she had contacts with the right type of men: one military historian and the other a veteran military re-enactor. So, following the example of a certain dragon, she put on her best I am only a girl and I know nothing expression and a big smile, and approached the gentlemen in question, who amiably gave her two long, long lessons on how to stick them with the pointy end; that is, swordfighting techniques and training from the Roman legionaries to the Medieval knights, with demonstrations included. As a result, Milady was able to write this based on the notes taken during those private lectures.

I have to tell you, I am very impressed by your undertaking such hard knocks in the service of Sandor scholarship :) I've never thought much about Sandor's killing technique, but this was an excellent read, especially as it helped to give colour to Martin's portrayal of this efficient and deadly warrior. And even though GRRM could choose to have his injury be permanently debilitating, it warms the heart to know there's no medical necessity that would compel such a decision. And then there's Stranger the horse who refuses to be gelded, so all signs might indeed point to Sandor returning without the baggage of the Hound identity and the personal demons, but having lost very little of his physical strength and virility.

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Milady, just when I think no stone has been left unturned when it comes to analysing the many aspects of Sandor by his large fan base, you present a very nice new angle about his possible swordfighting skills. Always consdered him "efficient", as many others have commented previously, but gave little thought about the specific swordfighting techniques he may have favoured. Who knew there were so many?

Love the research that's gone into this - it's added more shape to this character who is a particular favourite of mine.

Thank you Milady - I've enjoyed reading this piece, as I have many of your posts.

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Thank you for some very enjoyable essays Danelle, Mahaut & Milady!! They were fantastic :thumbsup: And I am so happy now to learn Sandor's limp may not hinder (if he gets out of the QI and returns to fighting) his skills as much as I'd thought! (:

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I have to tell you, I am very impressed by your undertaking such hard knocks in the service of Sandor scholarship :)

Thank you Milady - I've enjoyed reading this piece, as I have many of your posts.

Thank you, Brashcandy, and you as well, Holdfast and Caro. It was a pleasure to do that research and share the knowledge with fellow fans, especially because both men were very open and accessible, and it's not every day that one has the opportunity and pleasure to talk to a historian and a re-enactor with contacts all over Europe and decades of experience just to find out some things about a favourite character. It was very instructive.

Still, it would take months at minimum to recover.

It is still possible to never fully recover.

There is no fixed time for recovery but estimates. It can take some months or it can take some weeks, it depends on treatment, severity of the lesion, age and physical fitness of the man. Sandor has these factors in his favour on all counts: good treatment, severe yet not crippling wound, youth and physical fitness. As for recovery, I would tend to favour the informed opinion of someone with first-hand knowledge of cases like this instead of a broad generalisation, as in this case there's no medical reason whatsoever not to recover completely, especially once the dangerous stage is over and the man is back on his feet. In other cases with other complications, it might apply.

Even in the modern day with current medical knowledge, athletes who've had wounds that necrotize end up with their careers ended, even if only flesh is excised and no amputation happens. Wait and see what happens in the story.

I would argue that this is mixing different scenarios and again speaking in very general terms. The re-enactor, who does know about leg wounds by swords because he was researching it some time before I spoke to him and even showed me pictures of him practising how to inflict leg wounds in combat, wasn't speaking in general terms when he gave his prognosis, he was speaking specifically of Sandor's type of wound, and spoke based on the characteristics of his wound and on what is known of sword wounds, not sports injuries, which are very different and not comparable.

Compare to Willas Tyrell - what happenned to him sounds worse. Like a spiral fracture to his leg and torn knee ligaments or something. Lucky that they did not amputate the leg.

Willas' is a worst-case scenario, a fracture, and they don't consider amputation if there's no gangrene, they immoblise the leg and treat it. There's a passage above in which the re-enactor said that a fracture is worse and more probable to end up in permanent limp, but that happens with a poorly healed fracture only, possibly due to malpractice as well, which in Willas' case is very probable, as we read that his grandmother Olenna also blames the maester who tended to his wounds as well as Oberyn. Alexander the Great had a bad leg fracture, but amongst other positive factors his physician was excellent. Sandor has no fracture and the fact that he can walk even if limping indicates that no nerve was affected.

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Hi all. I am just popping in to say that I really enjoyed the latest essays by Mahaut and Milady! Thanks for your work and research in doing them. Mahaut, regarding the wolves analysis, I have always found wolves to be very fascinating creatures. And Milady, it's so awesome that we can be exposed to such varied resources from so many different sources such as a reenactor and historian. I honestly never gave that much thought to Sandor's signature fighting style and "death stroke". It really is amazing that GRRM seems to have created a very realistic description of a fighting style. He obviously did his research and you have made it accessible to us. That's dedication. And like Caro, I too am happy to hear that realistically Sandor's injury is likely to heal completely.

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To add to the Holy Grail parallel for Sansa. Brienne draws some inspiration from Percival, who in some versions is considered the hero of the Grail Quest. Percival was know for asking too many questions in the story, and he was raised by his single mother until at 15 he found a group of knights, and is struck by their bearing. Wanting to be a knight himself, he leaves home to travel to the king's court. Brienne is inquiring plenty of people of having seen Sansa, and Gendry tells her "You ask too many questions." Brienne leaves her single father and home to travel to King Renly's court and wants to be a knight.

One thing I might add is Lancelot, Jaime's influence, had an illegitimate son with Elaine, Galahad. Galahad was given his father's name, and Merlin prophesied that Galahad would surpass his father in valor. Galahad becomes a knight at the court of King Arthur, Jon's influence, where King Arthur proclaims him the greatest knight ever after accomplishing a few feats. Jaime may father an illegitimate son with Brienne, who she may name after his father. Jaime Jr. will grow up to possibly be a member of Jon's KG, and be remembered as one of the best members of the KG to have ever served.

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Can he be the same again?

MOY:
He is described as limping noticeably, but he still does work that requires physical effort, especially digging graves on a hard and gravelly ground. The question is, can he recover fully from that injury and be just as good a swordsman as before, or would the limp be permanent?

RE:
Not exactly. Limping is normal after such an injury, because when a wound is still recent any slight discomfort causes a man to limp, but a limp does not mean it will stay for life, and more so if it’s due to only injured muscle tissue, which can be compensated with muscle building. A limp due to a poorly healed bone fracture, or a wound that affected a nerve are much worse, as both could even cause paralysis. That’s not the case with your hero.

MOY:
And the physical exercise he does by digging graves helps with that?

RE:
Digging does not help his leg, but it does the upper body. Very much.

MOY:
What would help the leg?

RE:
Depends on the muscles you want to work. In what part of the leg did you say he was wounded?

MOY:
In his thigh.

RE:
Aha. A wound in that area doesn’t affect you much long-term. The best thing would be to work the quadriceps, or better yet, the gluteus. Those muscles have to work a lot when you do abs, and going up and down stairs and any exercise that involves the legs would help a lot too. Is there is tower to climb there, in the monastery?
[Milady shakes her head]
Then run up and down any hill, and weight lifting, such as carrying cubes or logs, would be phenomenal. And swimming. Swimming above all.

MOY:
Swimming? Excellent! The monastery is located on an island by a river.

RE:
On an island? He should swim in the river, preferably styles such as backstroke, butterfly, front crawl, even doggy paddle
[Milady chuckles]
… or jog along the beach, which offers resistance and works the legs a lot, and running in the sand also exercises them more than a firm ground.

Finally, my area of expertise... Although digging isn`t something recommendable for exercising quadriceps and gluteus, it has its use. If the theory about Sandor being the Gravedigger is true, then we have to assume he is digging some graves. And digging graves, is also job for the legs. The shovel has to be positioned in right angle to the ground. So to dig you have to use your legs. One that will be the support to upper body, and the other that will push the shovel into the ground. That push demands a great amount of strength, and digging graves isn`t easy job. My estimation would be that Sandor is in the last stage of recovery. And if he can dig graves, even with limping, there is more than solid chance he`ll return as he were.

But strictly medically speaking, I wouldn`t be so sure about his full recovery. There is of course, literacy freedom when these things are in question, but as a doctor I wouldn`t be so certain his wounds haven`t infected and created some problems due to inproper medical care. But, as I said, if he`s able to dig graves, there`s no doubt he`ll come back in all his glory.

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Resources 11

Le Cygne: GRRM on Writing and Romance (PTP SSM)

Milady of York: On Singing and Emotional Bonding

On Sandor's Swordmanship

An Analysis on Sansa's Preference in Men

Ragnorak: In Case of Fire, Kiss Lass

Danelle: B&B project contribution: The Beast in ASOIAF: Jaime Lannister

Bubug: B&B project contribution: Official Project Illustration

Elba the Intoner: B&B project contribution: East of the Sun and West of the Moon

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I would argue that this is mixing different scenarios and again speaking in very general terms. The re-enactor, who does know about leg wounds by swords because he was researching it some time before I spoke to him and even showed me pictures of him practising how to inflict leg wounds in combat, wasn't speaking in general terms when he gave his prognosis, he was speaking specifically of Sandor's type of wound, and spoke based on the characteristics of his wound and on what is known of sword wounds, not sports injuries, which are very different and not comparable.

The wound I spoke of as a specific example was a skate (blade) cut to a hockey player's leg.

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Well Season 3 of the show is underway, and there's been a lot of speculation recently given the fact that the showrunners are privy to the broad outline (not sure about specifics) of how this will all end, that we might see the show spoiling the books in certain cases. On the Pawn to player thread, we're focused on the book series, so I would caution that any in-depth discussion of Sansa's arc on the show should still be conducted in the appropriate tv forum. However, if there's any relevant hint or clue relating to her future plot in the books, it can be noted here as long as it's placed in spoiler tags.

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It's gratifying to know that all we need is a montage of Sandor swimming, jogging and doing squat thrusts before The Hound comes back. But I can't shake the feeling that he won't leave QI. I think he may well have hung up his spurs, his part in the Song of Ice and Fire played out.

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It's gratifying to know that all we need is a montage of Sandor swimming, jogging and doing squat thrusts before The Hound comes back. But I can't shake the feeling that he won't leave QI. I think he may well have hung up his spurs, his part in the Song of Ice and Fire played out.

The vision of Sandor doing a Couch to 5K training program is just too funny!

Great essays from Mahaut and Milady. Milady, you do such a great job on such a variety of topics, I am in awe of your wide-ranging research! You have forged many links on your Maester's chain, I am sure!

It's been quiet around here, not least on my part - I just don't have the time I had earlier to devote to board chat. But I'm still lurking and reading and having fun.

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Ladies and sers,

A little while ago, Milady asked the brilliant and very talented graphic designer and illustrator Bubug to participate in our Beauty and the Beast project, and she amiably accepted. As art is her field, she thought it best to let her pens speak for her and so she created a beautiful poster for our project. Yes, that's so, ladies of the Pawn to Player thread, we now have our very own fan art!

For this project, she drew a new Sansa, different from the ones she's shown in her other and equally superb depictions of her, and in Milady's opinion, more beautiful even. She is very pleased with her contribution, as is Milady, who cannot thank her enough for this and hopes you like it too.

Here is the illustration, in which you will see some familiar faces as well.

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If you look closely, there is a reason that Sansa has been spending so much time in the Eyrie. For being one of 8 major castles, it gets a lot of POVs. Martin is purposely building up the image of the Eyrie being a stalwart and foreboding castle. LF tells Sansa she is a pawn in the game. She begins to become a player in the GOT at the Eyrie because she is going to transform from pawn to rook. The Eyrie symbolizes the rook. That means that Sansa won't be queen. She won't be the biggest player, but she'll be very capable and dangerous on the straight aways. Look out Westeros, Sansa is about to make it to the other side of the board.

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