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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XIX


Milady of York

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I haven't gotten to Dog Lover's post yet but I am looking forward to that. I did want to go back to Old Growth's songs for a minute. First of all, thank you Old Growth, those songs were wonderful! I enjoyed them a lot. I really love that choral version by Shearing! It was stunning to listen to. The one by Matthew Harris was fun and playful. I used to sing in a Sweet Adelines chorus, all women's a cappella barbershop style, and that Harris one reminds me of some of the songs we would sing though we never did do a Shakespearean sonnet. Secondly, I was thinking about the second verse of the sonnet -

Is she kind as she is fair?

For beauty lives with kindness.

Love doth to her eyes repair,

To help him of his blindness,

And, being help'd, inhabits there.

I find this reminds me very much of Brienne as well, especially the part about the eyes given that she has "astonishing" eyes according to Jaime. Being that Jaime and Brienne are our other Beauty and the Beast story I think it very much applies to her as well. Likewise what Brashcandy said here about Sansa,

Beauty and kindness are indeed qualities that resonate in Sansa's character, and at each stage in her journey since leaving Winterfell she's been able to have a positive influence or connection with some person or animal.

Brienne has been known to have a positive effect on someone as well. (And now, off to DogLover's essay.)
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Nice, DogLover! When you asked "Will the rage be gentled while the ferocity remains?", amen to that.

Stranger's refusal to be gelded and the gravedigger tossing the dirt at the feet of the knights is a good sign. Sansa's prayer, as well as her preferences, was pretty specific, as you stated. Gentle the rage, but she likes the ferocity.

brashcandy, I liked all your comments earlier. That's where I was going with the sexuality and other references, to show that he has his own way of telling stories (phallic symbols, and also things like Dunk and Sandor both "yank" the woman closer for a kiss).

This is a gritty, sexy fantasy, so expect a wild ride. But like you said, the "authority on the part of the woman" is a big part of things. In all of the cases I referenced, these choices were ones the women ultimately made.

Another thing I just added, Dunk thinks of the song Tom Sevenstrings sings about stealing a sweet kiss as he's digging a grave (and this is the song Arya hears just before hearing Sandor go on and on that her sister the pretty little bird sang him a song).

Thank you, Le Cygne. Also, thank you so much for compiling all of those quotes and sources! I have them bookmarked.

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Thanks Elba and belatedly thanks Brash. Shearing's music is a bit unusual for him in that he was a jazz musician and composer, and the other songs in his Shakespeare settings for chorus have more of a jazz flavor to them. Shall I post a link?

First though there is Schubert's "An Sylvia": I have a couple of performances from You Tube picked out but I wonder whether I should post the translation back into English of the German translation that Schubert set, the which some sing to Schubert's music. Trying to make Shakespeare's words fit Schubert's music results in a bit of awkwardness, alas. Well, we shall see.

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Viewers are supposed to miss Beast and be upset about the transformation. According to Cocteau, "The 'trick' does work, and when the syrupy-sweet, smiling Prince Charming miraculously appears, we immediately long for the old, melancholy monster. Even Belle seems unsure that she likes the transformation."

I love that Cocteau said this. I watched the Disney version just now and they did the same thing, which is pretty cool. Belle seemed disappointed when the beast turned into a handsome prince. I know I was. She had to look into his eyes to make sure it was still him, and only then was she interested, but the story never was the same after that. To hell with syrupy sweet, bring back the melancholy monster. :)

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I'm only echoing what's already been stated, but that's a fantastic analysis, DogLover.

Considering my favorite character is Sansa, I'm glad to have found this series of threads. They make for a very good read. :)

Welcome to the thread Pure as Snow :)

I love that Cocteau said this. I watched the Disney version just now and they did the same thing, which is pretty cool. Belle seemed disappointed when the beast turned into a handsome prince. I know I was. She had to look into his eyes to make sure it was still him, and only then was she interested, but the story never was the same after that. To hell with syrupy sweet, bring back the melancholy monster. :)

Indeed. I think this is why Martin has Sansa wish that Dontos had some of the Hound's ferocity. As much as she wants his rage to be gentled, she's not asking for a full on transformation - as evidenced by her later dreams and thoughts. It's also why the penchant for pairing Sansa with any "nice guy" and assuming she'd be happy is so misplaced.

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Le Cygne

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

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

Actually I think Sansa will be taken back to KL a short time before Dany and Tyrion arrive in the Vale in another one of GRRM's grand ironies. She will be put on trial before Cersei, and I think Sansa will take LF's lesson that there is no shame in fear only in showing it, and show no fear towards Cersei in the trial. She will be a far departure from the cowed, little girl Cersei manipulated in AGoT.

Cersei will have Ilyn Payne execute Sansa, and when Payne is just about the swing the blade, the QoT who came down for the trial interjects, confessing that it was her who poisoned Joffrey to save Sansa's life. Cersei will then order Sansa to pulled off the block, and then order her guards to have Olenna placed on the block instead.

I think Sandor will come to KL to rescue her from Cersei when he hears she has been captured. He manages to sneak her out of the RK, possibly with Arya's help since she knows a secret way in through the sewers.

ETA: Further evidence that Sansa will kill LF, the story of Bael the Bard.You can find the name "Bael" in Baelish; Bael took a Stark girl from the Lord of WF and left a rose in her place while Baelish took a Stark girl, Sansa, from the Lannisters, and left a rose, Margaery Tyrell, in her place.

The story ends with Bael's natural son killing him, LF's demise will be at the hands of his "natural daughter", Alayne.

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That was great DogLover. I watched the movie on YouTube just to read your essay and I think you've done a great job covering the issues regarding the movie's influence on Martin and the B&B theme in the novels. And coming on the heels of LC's excellent compilation, it provided a great deal of context for this project.

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DogLover what a great series of posts. I echo the other comments that I hope we'll see more from you here. Also, welcome Pure As Snow.

One of the things I love about these essays and rereads too is that there always seems to be a new concept that pops into my head that I hadn't given much thought to before, even though I know it has been discussed plenty of times. For me, this time after reading DogLover's essay what really jumped out at me was the idea of how Belle's feelings for Beast grow stronger while they are apart. It's the old "absence makes the heart grow fonder" idea. This is exactly what's happening with Sansa now. The more we look into this, the more obvious it becomes that GRRM is really following the basic outline of the Beauty and the Beast story so closely. It's truly amazing since he has buried it in such a way that it's so subtle, which is why I think that while most people understand there is a Beauty and the Beast theme going on here, it's not at all something that people recognize right away as following the tale so faithfully.

I also made it a point to watch the French film a couple of days ago thanks to these essays. It was great! Here are some of my thoughts on it of themes from the film that directly relate to Sansa and Sandor:

- Belle says to the Beast that she cannot lie, when he asks her what she thinks of his appearance.

- The scene when the Beast goes in to her bedroom and then she finds him there follows very closely the sequence of the scene in Sansa's bedroom after the Battle of the Blackwater. In the movie, the Beast goes to Belle's room and is looking around there with a sense like he wants to know her better and and feel closer to her, when she walks in and find him there. She is shocked and scared and asks him what he is doing there, and he comes up with this story that he wants to give her a present (a pearl necklace that just magically appears in his hand as he tells her this), then she tells him to leave and he does so in some anguish at her rejection, and then after he leaves she goes over to the necklace and picks it up. Later she is seen wearing it. This is very similar to when Sansa goes to her bedroom at the end of the Battle of the Blackwater and finds Sandor in her room, she is scared and shocked at first. He makes her an offer to take her away and though she doesn't explicitly reject this offer, he understands that she has done so. He leaves her room in some anguish but before he does so he leaves his bloody kingsguard cloak behind. After he leaves Sansa takes his cloak and wraps it around her.

Another scene that is very sexualized and symbolic is when Belle strokes Beasts hair just after she lets him drink water from her hand and he comments that she is doing so. This reminded me of when Sansa touches Sandor's face in the bedroom as well, a compassionate act which follows directly after she has calmed him by singing the mother's song to him.

Finally, at one point Beast tells Belle that her look burns him like fire. The same could be said for Sandor and Sansa as well.

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Fire-eater:

There is a serious problem with your account right at the beginning, having to do with how Sansa gets taken to KL in the first place. If you ponder that, I think you will find that it is not so easy to fill in that gap in a plausible way.....

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Elba, I love your analysis of the scene where Belle finds the beast in her room! It makes a lot of sense. It's good to know that people here have far more sense than D&D! Since I can't activate the spoiler button, I will just say that I had a very strong reaction to last night's episode!

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Thanks brash! Now I can write with complete impunity that

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

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I am peeved and upset as well Arabella. Viewers could have benefitted from understanding just how much this marriage was forced upon Sansa, and the fact that Tyrion was actively interested in gaining Winterfell and a pretty wife. Instead, we have to settle for continued whitewashing of Tyrion's character, and a situation where it's highly unlikely that we will see Sansa's defiance at the wedding. Why are the showrunners afraid of a little subtlety and complexity?

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Ran used the word 'cliche' to describe his disappointment at what the episode offered. It seems to me that most writers for this show are somehow terrified of the complexities of female characterization particularly with Sansa, Cersei, Catelyn and even Arya. They have simplified the characters for a modern audience. They also seem to lack confidence in audience reception of their favourite character Tyrion. Just because they think he's the cat's pajamas they hesitate to darken him in any way. Tyrion is in fact one of my favourite characters to read in ASOS. They should really trust Peter Dinklage with the complex source material.

Also, if you see their commentary on the scene which will always remain in my mind Catelyn's 'character assassination' in that episode's Inside GoT you will see what little grasp they have of context and characterization of the more feminine characters. They actually seem to blame the war on Catelyn and when you hear that and remember how the 'trial' scene which results in Lady's death was written for the show, it seems that they've decided that the stupid feminine females are to blame for all the misery in Westeros.

I also found it un-credible that the Shae that has been developed in the show would just be quietly miserable at Tyrion's reveal and not help Sansa in some way. Ygritte has to be totally badass and cannot possibly be afraid of the Wall and cannot cry after that grueling climb because some terrifying feminist somewhere might have issues with such depth of character. These two really should not write and they might as well kill off LF as well if he's so open about his intentions. Very disappointing episode!

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I just want to say how much I agree with you Arabella and Brash about last night's episode!

I actually turned off the TV when I saw that Tyrion had told Sansa before hand about the marriage and then saw her crying as LF's ship sailed off during his cliche "I am the villain and this is my motivation" speech a la a James Bond villain reveal. So, I missed that last scene when Jon and Ygritte reach the top of the wall. I saw it this morning and yeah, you're right, totally cliche and corny quite frankly. And Sansa asking Shae if she thinks the Tyrells would let her family come to the wedding?! WTF! They have taken away all possibility of character growth for Sansa and have sent her back to how she was at the beginning of AGOT, and I agree that they have this need to portray the female girly characters as silly or not capable of making strong decisions no matter how controversial. Cersei again comes to mind here as they have confirmed that Cersei was not behind the order for Mandon Moore to kill Tyrion and giving that decision explicitly to Joffrey, when that is never confirmed in the books. And how they make the tomboy, "kickass" type females cliche too as if they have no feminine thoughts whatsoever and don't cry bothers me no end. I absolutely hated Brienne's line to Jaime last episode that he sounds like a bloody woman! That is not something book Brienne, who tells Catelyn that she has a "woman's courage", would say! They are totally portraying the female characters with a modern sterotype lens and just don't get them at all.

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Fire-eater:

There is a serious problem with your account right at the beginning, having to do with how Sansa gets taken to KL in the first place. If you ponder that, I think you will find that it is not so easy to fill in that gap in a plausible way.....

She could try to run away from her marriage to Harry the Heir only to have the Mad Mouse come up behind her, and capture her. Or the Mad Mouse could send word to KL of Sansa's location and a group of Lannister men are sent with a King's decree to seize Sansa and bring her back to KL.

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Thank you everyone for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed the essay.

To hell with syrupy sweet, bring back the melancholy monster. :)

Indeed. I think this is why Martin has Sansa wish that Dontos had some of the Hound's ferocity. As much as she wants his rage to be gentled, she's not asking for a full on transformation - as evidenced by her later dreams and thoughts. It's also why the penchant for pairing Sansa with any "nice guy" and assuming she'd be happy is so misplaced.

:agree: (Le Cygne, I haven't seen the Disney version in ages. I'm going to try to watch it this week.)

DogLover what a great series of posts. I echo the other comments that I hope we'll see more from you here. Also, welcome Pure As Snow.

One of the things I love about these essays and rereads too is that there always seems to be a new concept that pops into my head that I hadn't given much thought to before, even though I know it has been discussed plenty of times. For me, this time after reading DogLover's essay what really jumped out at me was the idea of how Belle's feelings for Beast grow stronger while they are apart. It's the old "absence makes the heart grow fonder" idea. This is exactly what's happening with Sansa now. The more we look into this, the more obvious it becomes that GRRM is really following the basic outline of the Beauty and the Beast story so closely. It's truly amazing since he has buried it in such a way that it's so subtle, which is why I think that while most people understand there is a Beauty and the Beast theme going on here, it's not at all something that people recognize right away as following the tale so faithfully.

I also made it a point to watch the French film a couple of days ago thanks to these essays. It was great! Here are some of my thoughts on it of themes from the film that directly relate to Sansa and Sandor:

- Belle says to the Beast that she cannot lie, when he asks her what she thinks of his appearance.

- The scene when the Beast goes in to her bedroom and then she finds him there follows very closely the sequence of the scene in Sansa's bedroom after the Battle of the Blackwater. In the movie, the Beast goes to Belle's room and is looking around there with a sense like he wants to know her better and and feel closer to her, when she walks in and find him there. She is shocked and scared and asks him what he is doing there, and he comes up with this story that he wants to give her a present (a pearl necklace that just magically appears in his hand as he tells her this), then she tells him to leave and he does so in some anguish at her rejection, and then after he leaves she goes over to the necklace and picks it up. Later she is seen wearing it. This is very similar to when Sansa goes to her bedroom at the end of the Battle of the Blackwater and finds Sandor in her room, she is scared and shocked at first. He makes her an offer to take her away and though she doesn't explicitly reject this offer, he understands that she has done so. He leaves her room in some anguish but before he does so he leaves his bloody kingsguard cloak behind. After he leaves Sansa takes his cloak and wraps it around her.

Another scene that is very sexualized and symbolic is when Belle strokes Beasts hair just after she lets him drink water from her hand and he comments that she is doing so. This reminded me of when Sansa touches Sandor's face in the bedroom as well, a compassionate act which follows directly after she has calmed him by singing the mother's song to him.

Finally, at one point Beast tells Belle that her look burns him like fire. The same could be said for Sandor and Sansa as well.

I absolutely loved the scene when Beast laps water from Belle's cupped hands and also thought of Sansa cupping Sandor's cheek. I considered including it in the essay, but felt I was trying to cram too much in (the contrasts and comparisons can be a book in and of itself--the stories are so layered and complex). Also, I love that the necklace was for Belle and Belle only, just as Sandor's cloak is only for Sansa.

I KNEW they would continue to whitewash Tyrion and I had low expectations for how the betrothal/wedding would be depicted, but I was still deeply disappointed. I hate the Sansa/Shae dynamic, as well. Worst episode of the entire season imo.

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