Jump to content

Archived

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

Milady of York

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XXI

Recommended Posts

Sexual Awakening in the Female Gothic

Fear of Womanhood

After Joffrey sets her aside for Margaery, Sansa, experiencing brief relief, is actually optimistic at the prospect of marriage with Willas Tyrell, finding comfort in the possibility she can make Willas love her and provide him with children she’ll name after her own siblings. However, the dangerous transition into womanhood becomes quite real for Sansa when Tywin uses her “flowering” as justification to marry Tyrion to someone so young. This nebulous state of sexual development is illustrated when Sansa and Tyrion retreat to their bedchamber after the wedding for the consummation. Tyrion tells her, as much as himself, that she’s still a child, and Sansa states that she’s a woman flowered while attempting to cover her nakedness with her hands, an attempt that reveals she’s not receptive to Tyrion’s gaze. Tyrion then emphasizes she’s still a child, but still recognizes how sexually desirable she is.

There was hunger in his green eye, it seemed to her, and fury in the black. Sansa did not know which scared her more.

"You’re a child," he said.

She covered her breasts with her hands. "I’ve flowered."

"A child," he repeated, "but I want you. Does that frighten you, Sansa?"

"Yes."

"Me as well. I know I’m ugly—"

Sansa, trying to fight back tears, sets her eyes on a naked and aroused man for the first time, which elicits revulsion. Revulsion, not because Sansa is afraid of sex, but because he is not a man she desires, which she has made clear is important to her. Unlike Mary, who’s repressing her sexual desire, Sansa has demonstrated that sex is something she looks forward to experiencing, but so long as one condition is met, which she reveals during Petyr and Lysa’s wedding, when she reflects that she would not have minded a bedding ceremony if it was with a man she loved.

Sexual Awakening

Sansa, while at the Fingers and disguised as Petyr Baelish’s natural daughter, again has to ward off the advances of a male predator. After expressing clear disappointment that the man who intervenes isn’t Sandor Clegane, she dreams of him in her marital bed.

She dreamt of Joffrey dying, but as he clawed at his throat and the blood ran down across his fingers she saw with horror that it was her brother Robb. And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion’s eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only one side. “I’ll have a song from you,” he rasped…

It has been argued that Sansa’s dream is not an erotic dream, but a nightmare. However, within the context of the Female Gothic paradigm, Sansa, in this dream, goes through the stages of sexual exploration and recognizes Sandor as the object of her desire. The dream begins with the initial journey of traveling into the unknown and terrifying: images of Joffrey cloying at his throat—Joffrey, her childhood crush who quickly revealed he was a monster. A dying Joffrey then transforms into a dying Robb, symbolizing Sansa’s break from her childhood. Sansa then envisions Tyrion, who exemplifies the nebulous and frightening transitory stage between latent sexuality and sexual awakening. Tyrion, who actively participated in stripping Sansa of her agency, also represents a profound turning point for Sansa—a point where Sansa asserts herself and expresses her need for mutual desire. And from Tyrion, Sandor emerges—the man in her marital bed; the object of her desire. The man she had just wished was there for her when Marillion tried to rape her. The man she fantasizes kissing. Sansa is on the cusp of a full sexual awakening. After wistfully wishing to be loved for herself and not her claim, Sandor offers just that. This is again reinforced when Myranda asks Sansa if she knows what happens in the marital bed. Sansa, without hint of fear or anxiety, again thinks of the Hound and how he kissed her.

I've also thought that Sansa's dream is certainly part nightmare - just the quality of it, the nature of her fears leaping into it. Not 100% nightmare though, since there is the clear evidence of something sexual.

She's blurred the two men together - both of them with a menacing visage, but actually for both of them she is not entirely thinking negatively of them. (It's actually a bit funny too - who else would imagine would a Hound-sized Tyrion ?)

Tyrion is imagined in the context of what she had always hoped would be a consenting sexual experience (marriage, wedding night), which has gone horribly wrong. Sansa definitely wanted marriage, and by extension, sex - she was not indifferent or revolted by the idea it, but instead always idealized it. Not that she had a clear idea of what it actually meant in practical terms. But she looked forward to making that girl-to-wife transition.

Of course, her actual experience of marriage was suddenly forced on her, and her experience of the "wedding night" sexual initiation never actually took place. It was an awful and awkward situation for both people involved - so much for the full-grown experienced male taking her virginity. In the dream, you can see Tyrion forcefully willing to take her virginity, but actually acting in a way Tyrion would not act to begin with. At the same time, Sansa's imagining the same wedding night with the Hound, but it's important that now he's in the "husband" role, and there is no ambiguity about his lust. Yet, the Hound acting Hound-ish is still not in the husband role she has actually desired to have - there is none of the kindness she would hope for in this wedding night scene, not even that amount even Tyrion had tried to show her.

Is the dream one of regret ? She wants a husband, but the TyrionHound hybrid seems to be a symbol of how that chance at a "growing up" moment has been ruined for her by circumstances. Despite this, I think the dream does not diminish the strange attraction she has for the Hound (and which she now mentally acknowledges he has for her). As well, it does not diminish her acknowledgement that Tyrion - for all his faults and the fact that he was not the object of her desire - did at least try to be kind and protective, as The Husband should be, even though it was a lost cause.

Sansa still has her virginity, but you can see how one the one hand she still clings to it defensively, but on the other, she is feeling that her development into womanhood has stalled. By the time we reach the end of AFFC, she's feeling despair that she will never actually experience it properly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the same time, Sansa's imagining the same wedding night with the Hound, but it's important that now he's in the "husband" role, and there is no ambiguity about his lust. Yet, the Hound acting Hound-ish is still not in the husband role she has actually desired to have - there is none of the kindness she would hope for in this wedding night scene, not even that amount even Tyrion had tried to show her.

I don't see how "kindness" factors in. It's an erotic dream where she's placing the Hound in her bed, and that's the crucial moment Martin wants to capture.

Is the dream one of regret ? She wants a husband, but the TyrionHound hybrid seems to be a symbol of how that chance at a "growing up" moment has been ruined for her by circumstances. Despite this, I think the dream does not diminish the strange attraction she has for the Hound (and which she now mentally acknowledges he has for her). As well, it does not diminish her acknowledgement that Tyrion - for all his faults and the fact that he was not the object of her desire - did at least try to be kind and protective, as The Husband should be, even though it was a lost cause.

Yes, there's acknowledgement and recognition of the desire she feels for Sandor and vice versa, but I don't agree that we're meant to see the male figure as a Tyrion/Hound hybrid. Sandor replaces Tyrion in the dream, and there's an argument to be made that he might have never even been present, since she speaks of the man being "bigger than Tyrion had any right to be" and then any ambiguity is over once he climbs into bed and his face is scarred on one side. It's also important to note that Sansa is looking at Sandor as he climbs into bed, something which did not happen on the actual wedding night. Rather than regret, the dream highlights that Sansa is still invested in being intimate with someone she desires, and still anticipates this happening one day.

Sansa still has her virginity, but you can see how one the one hand she still clings to it defensively, but on the other, she is feeling that her development into womanhood has stalled. By the time we reach the end of AFFC, she's feeling despair that she will never actually experience it properly.

I think you're confusing Sansa's personal sense of her development vs. the fear she feels concerning exploitative marriage contracts which do not consider her wishes or feelings. She speaks of herself as "a woman flowered and wed" in her next chapter, and later on in AFFC confirms to Myranda Royce that she knows what goes on in the marriage bed. What distresses Sansa is not an issue of arrested development, but not having the power to realise her personal desires, and being subject to the schemes of others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jane Eyre Influences in AsoIaF (with a focus on the Gothic elements)



Rereading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte again after a very long time was a real pleasure. There were so many details I had forgotten. There are certainly many similarities with Sansa's story, especially the relationship with Rochester, but what surprised me was how much of Arya's story I saw as well. The Gothic elements that have been discussed recently are also very prominent in this story too as you will see below. I have analyzed this novel part by part, focusing on various themes represented in the story, rather than solely on the Gothic elements, so this is going to be very long. Therefore, I will be posting this in parts.



Jane's story can be broken down into three sections, the first being her childhood at her Aunt's house and at school, the second when she leaves school and arrives at Thornfield Hall, and the last part when she leaves Thornfield and meets St. John. (I used the Signet Classic edition, published in America by the New American Library for this discussion.)



Part I, Jane's childhood -


a. Gateshead Hall



Jane is an orphan living with her Aunt Reed and her three cousins at the Reed home known as Gateshead Hall. The oldest cousin is a boy named John who constantly bullies her. Her Aunt, Sarah Reed, does not love Jane but dotes excessively on her children, especially John, spoiling him rotten and letting him get away with whatever he wants. Her other two cousins, Elizabeth and Georgiana mostly just ignore Jane. The story opens with Jane hiding in a nook by a window on a wintery, dark day looking at a book about birds. John of course finds her and grabs the book from her yelling at her that it is his book and she is a charity case. He then takes the book and hurls it at Jane causing her to fall and hit her head against a door. She cuts it badly and starts to bleed. Jane doesn't just take this meekly though. She screams back at him that he is like a murderer and a Roman emperor and she does think of him as a tyrant or murderer. He rushes at her but she fights back at him and when her Aunt gets them separated she has Jane taken for punishment for attacking John to one of the rooms at Gateshead knows as the red room.



The red room is called that because all of the draperies, carpeting and much of the furniture coverings are red with some mahogany furniture. It is a large and grand room but it is seldom used because it was Mr. Reed's, Jane's Uncle's, bedroom and the room in which he died 9 years ago. Mr. Reed was her mother's brother and he had taken Jane into his home after her parents died and had cared for her. Upon his deathbed he made his wife promise to take care of Jane as she would her own children. Jane does not doubt that her uncle treated her with kindness, and being somewhat superstitious she begins to think that the room is haunted by her Uncle's ghost. She remembers hearing stories of how dead men would come back from the afterlife to punish those who did not heed their wishes. She then works herself into a tizzy over this idea and as the room is now getting dark since it is dusk outside, she sees a light which she thinks is moving and she screams loudly and rushes the door to try and get out. She begs her Aunt to let her out of the room but her Aunt won't let her and shoves her back in and locks the door. Jane then has a fit and passes out.



When Jane wakes up she is visited by the local Apothecary, Mr. Lloyd, who was called to check on her after her fit. He is kind to Jane and they talk about what made her ill and why she is so unhappy. Jane decides from this conversation that she would like to go to school so she can get away from the Reeds and Gateshead Hall. Jane eventually is sent off to Lowood School, a charitable institution for girls with little or no family. Before she leaves though her Aunt tells Mr. Brocklehurst, the owner of the school, that Jane is deceitful and Jane is very hurt and upset about this. She fights off tears as she thinks about how this will affect her at school.





Now, uttered before a stranger, the accusation cut me to the heart: I dimly perceived that she was already obliterating hope from the new phase of existence which she destined me to enter; I felt, though I could not have expressed the feeling, that she was sowing aversion and unkindness along my future path; I saw myself transformed under Mr. Brocklehurst's eye into an artful, obnoxious child, and what could I do to remedy the injury?


After Mr. Brocklehurst leaves, Jane cannot let this go and finally confronts her Aunt in a glorious outburst. She yells that deceit is not her fault and that she hates her and will never call her Aunt again for as long as she lives, she will never visit her, that she will tell everyone how she was treated miserably, and though everyone thinks she is a good and kind woman she is bad and hard hearted and that she is the one who is deceitful.



[i included this because it is an example of the theme of lying that is important to this book. Jane hates the idea of being thought of as a liar and deceitful. This will come up again at Lowood. As for similarities to Sansa, doesn't the name John Reed sound a lot like Joffrey? John has been known to kill birds and set the dogs at the sheep. The relationship between John and his mother is similar to the Cersei and Joffrey relationship. Aunt Reed has lost all control over her son and he is a tyrant and bully. Also, Jane as a child really reminds me so much of Arya. She is a little thing, not considered very pretty, but she is very spirited and passionate and she very much holds in her heart a lot of resentment towards John and her Aunt just as Arya holds hatred against those who have wronged her. Another thing is that at this point in time Jane is 10 years old and John is 14 so the ages are similar to Arya and Joffrey. The red room reminds me of the Lannisters as red of course is one of the two primary colors associated with them. This brings in some Gothic elements too as Jane feels trapped in this room which she is convinced is haunted.]



b. Lowood School



Jane finally goes off to Lowood but if she had hopes of finding a more loving place for herself those are soon dashed. Lowood is an austere place where there is barely enough food for everyone and what food there is often vile and inedible. The girls spend their day basically in lessons or praying. It's also freezing as it is the middle of January when she arrives and their clothes are very thin. Even so the girls are forced to go outside once a day for a break no matter what the weather. However, Jane does eventually make a friend there, a girl a little older than herself named Helen Burns.



Helen is often scolded unfairly by one teacher who seems to pick on her all the time and yet she never does anything to lash out or go against her. She takes all the abuse in silence and Jane can't understand it. One time this teacher, Miss Scatcherd, scolds Helen for not cleaning her fingernails. Jane doesn't understand why Helen won't explain to her that they could not wash that morning because the water in their bowls was frozen over. Miss Scatcherd has Helen beaten with a switch. Later Jane asks Helen about this, saying that Miss Scatcherd is cruel and if it were her she would resist her and take the switch from her hand and break it under her nose. Helen says that she would not do so because such action would get her expelled from school and that would hurt her relations who sent her there to get an education. “It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you; and, besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil.”



Jane and Helen have a deep conversation about how to treat those who have done you harm or mistreat you. Jane says how she feels in her heart that she must dislike people who dislike her, and resist those who punish her wrongly. Helen holds to a different doctrine, and follows the words of Christ that you should love your enemies, bless those that would curse you and do good to those that hate you and would use you wrongly. She asks Jane if she wouldn't be happier forgetting her Aunt's mistreatment and the passionate emotions they cause, and says, “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs.”



Another incident occurs at Lowood that relates to the theme of lying. Mr. Brocklehurst pays a visit to the school and when he sees Jane he singles her out before every one, makes her stand on as stool in the middle of the room, and then tells everyone that she must be shunned because she is a liar. She is made to stand on the stool for over half an hour and no one is allowed to talk to her. Jane is mortified but at her most dejected and lowest point she sees a girl pass her by and lift up her eyes to her, then smile at her. It is Helen Burns and Jane feels that her eyes have a special light like that of an angel and it gives her the strength to bear her ordeal.



Later on Helen comes back to talk to her and Jane, once again feeling dejected, asks Helen why she would come to someone who everyone believes is a liar. She feels that everyone at the school must now hate her. Helen assures her that that is not so and even if it was, as long as Jane's own conscience approved of herself then she would not be friendless. Jane replies that thinking well of herself is not enough. “If others don't love me, I would rather die than live. I cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen.” Then the superintendent of the school, Miss Temple, comes to find Jane and sees Helen with her. Jane admires Miss Temple very much as she is kind and smart and tries to take care of the girls as best she can given what meager tools she has from Mr. Brocklehurst. Miss Temple also has a special relationship with Helen and draws Helen into intelligent conversations and takes special care of her for Helen is suffering from a bad cough that keeps getting worse. Miss Temple has Jane and Helen come to her room where she treats them to some extra tea and toast and asks Jane if she is finished crying. Jane says that she will never be finished because she is wrongly accused and now Miss Temple and everyone will think her wicked. Miss Temple allows Jane to speak in her defense and Jane tells her the whole story of her childhood at her Aunt's house and her night in the red room. Miss Temple says she knows of Mr. Lloyd, the Apothecary who attended Jane, and that she will write to him and if his story agrees with Jane's then she will be publicly cleared of the charge of deceit but that Jane is already clear of it in her eyes. A few weeks later Miss Temple has heard back from Mr. Lloyd and he has corroborated Jane's story. She gathers everyone in the school and tells them Jane is free of all charges of deceit against her. Jane feels free after this and resolves to work hard and do her best at school and prove herself and she does indeed excel.



Spring comes and thanks to the meager conditions of the school, a Typhoid epidemic breaks out at Lowood in which many girls die. Helen has become gravely ill too though she is sick from Consumption. Eventually, as Jane is walking in the woods and thinking about how beautiful the world can be, she realizes that Helen is dying and she goes to see her in bed that night. Jane crawls into the bed with Helen and tells her that she could not sleep until she came to see her. Helen responds that Jane has come to bid her goodbye then, just in time. Helen is sure she is going soon to the eternal home of God yet she is not afraid. They talk of God and Helen is steadfast in her faith, that she will go to heaven and she has resigned her immortal self to him. They fall asleep together and when Jane wakes up the next morning Helen has died in her arms.



[The friendship between Jane and Helen is very important to Jane's development. As I indicated above, Jane's personality is a lot like Arya's and Helen very much reminds me Sansa here in that she is religious, has a strong faith in her God, and her demeanor is one of thoughtful consideration rather than hasty actions and she is very forgiving. When Helen dies in Jane's arms, I think this symbolizes how a bit of Helen's nature and beliefs are absorbed by Jane as she does become more tempered after this. Another thing that I find to be an interesting parallel to Sansa's story is that Helen's last name is Burns and from Helen, Jane learns to see things ins a different way and approach life from a more forgiving perspective. This reminds me of how Sansa learned to see a truer reality from the Hound, whose defining characteristic is that his face has been burned badly. Also, this section focuses on the sin of deceit which is the same as lying. Jane hates the idea of being thought of as a liar. As we know, the idea of lying and when it is okay to do so, is a strong theme for both Sansa (as Butterbumps described in her excellent essay) and Arya.]



Years pass and Jane excels at her studies and becomes a teacher at Lowood. Eventually Jane decides to leave the school as there is a whole world out there for her to see. She places and ad for a position as a governess and gets a response from a Mrs. Fairfax at Thornfield Hall. Jane accepts the position and leaves Lowood for the next big adventure in her life.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Part II, Jane at Thornfield -


a. Jane gets to know Mr. Rochester



Jane arrives at Thornfield and meets Mrs. Fairfax and soon learns that she is just the housekeeper and manager of the great house. The owner is a man named Mr. Rochester who is not at home at present. He does not come to visit very often and when he does he only stays for short periods of time but Mrs. Fairfax likes to keep it clean and ready for him at all times as she is never sure when he will return. Her pupil is Mr. Rochester's ward, not his daughter, a French girl named Adela Varens.



Jane describes Thornfield as being a gentleman's manor house, a mansion of considerable size though not vast. She finds some parts of Thornfield, such as the oak staircase and long gallery off of which the bedrooms open, to be imposing, looking as if it belonged to a church. “A very chill and vault-like air pervaded the stairs and gallery, suggesting cheerless ideas of space and solitude;” But some rooms, such as the dining room and drawing room, she finds lovely. The drawing room has a window hung with a “Tyrian-dyed curtain” that offers a view she describes as like a fairy place. The room has white carpeting with white flower décor and crimson couches and ottomans, ruby red ornaments on a pale Parian mantle piece, “and between the windows large mirrors repeated the general blending of snow and fire.” [Naturally this description along with the mention of the Tyrian color caught my attention.]



On her first day there, Mrs. Fairfax takes Jane up to the roof to see the view of the lands surrounding Thornfield and Jane finds it a very pleasing view. Descending back down into the attic which was dark, almost like a vault after the bright blue sky she had just been looking at, Jane gets to the long passageway that separates the front and back rooms of the third floor. It is narrow and dim and all the black doors along it are all shut up “like a corridor in some Bluebeard's castle.” [This reminds me of an inversion of the scene when Sansa goes to the rooftoop on the eve of the Battle of the Blackwater because she feels cooped up inside her room and needs some air.] As Jane walks along this corridor she hears a strange laugh which stops her in her tracks. She asks Mrs. Fairfax, who is a little behind her, if she heard that laugh and Mrs. Fairfax says yes. She suggests that it was probably from one of the servants of the house, Grace Poole. Jane thinks it sounds like it came from a ghost but Mrs. Fairfax calls for Grace and Jane is surprised to meet an actual, ordinary, rather harsh looking woman.



The Fall months pass into winter and Jane spends an ordinary existence teaching Adele. But she is restless and wants more out of life. One cold day in January when Adele isn't feeling well Jane decides to go to the local town to post a letter for Mrs. Fairfax. She is looking forward to a good walk outside in the cold. She leaves towards dusk and takes in the natural surroundings as she walks. Jane very much enjoys spending time outdoors and observing nature. As the moon rises she stops to take a break and hears a noise breaking through the calm, serene atmosphere. It is the tromping of a horse. She sits on a stile to wait for the horse to pass as the lane is narrow and while doing so she remembers a story the maid at Gateshead, Bessie, told her “wherein figured a North-of-England spirit, called a 'Gytrash'; which, in the form of horse, mule, or large dog, haunted solitary ways, and sometimes came upon belated travellers, as this horse was now coming upon me.”[emphasis in bold is mine]



Just then a large black and white dog with a huge head does come into view and Jane really thinks it is exactly as the Gytrash is described, but it passes her without looking at her. The spell is broken when the horse and rider come into view. They pass her but then the horse slips on a patch of ice and the horse and rider go down. Jane goes over to the rider to see if he is injured and can be of help. She describes him as being of average height and “considerable breadth of chest”, with a dark face, stern features and heavy brow. She judges his age to be mid thirties.



[i put this in here because it reminds me of Old Nan's scary stories. Also, that the large dog is the first thing to come into view and accompanies Mr. Rochester is one of those details I had forgotten about. The appearance of Mr. Rochester is preceded by a dog!]



The man questions Jane rather roughly about where she lives but she is not intimidated (though interestingly she thinks she would have been had he been handsome and polite). He asks her to bring his horse over to him and Jane tries but it is large and spirited and won't let Jane near him. So then the man asks her to come back to him and he leans on her while she helps him over to the horse. He mounts it and bids her to post her letter and return as fast she can and with that he rides off with the dog following behind. Jane is glad to have been of help and is even more glad for this little incident because the bit of excitement has broken up the monotony of her daily life. Once Jane returns to Thornfield, she realizes that the man she just encountered was none other than Mr. Rochester himself.



The next night Jane and Adele join Mr. Rochester for tea. She remarks further on his appearance. He has dark hair and grim looking facial features. He has a gruff demeanor and questions Jane on her childhood and schooling. He tells Jane how she has a face of another world and that when he came upon her in the lane he got the idea of fairy tales into his head and wonders whether she had bewitched his horse. As Jane leaves to go to her room for the night she talks with Mrs. Fairfax about Mr. Rochester and Jane learns that Mr. Rochester has painful thoughts about his family. He had an older brother and father who did not treat him fairly when he was of age to marry. Mrs. Fairfax doesn't know the details but she tells Jane that Mr. Rochester believes that his father and brother forced him into a painful position for the sake of keeping their fortune. He broke with them and has been unsettled ever since, never staying very long at Thornfield. [so, Rochester did not get along with his older brother and his father and broods often about wrongs he feels they did to him. He does seem to be very fond of his horse and dog though and is an excellent rider. This sounds an awful lot like a character from AsoIaF that we all know and love. Also, Mr. Rochester's horse, Mesrour, is very spirited and large, like Sandor's horse, Stranger.].



Jane and Mr. Rochester have their next significant conversation a few days later. Jane thinks Mr. Rochester had been drinking a little more than usual at dinner as he seems a little less gloomy than before and a little more self-indulgent. She is able to study his face for some time while he looks at the fire in the fireplace. She says his features are “granite-hewn” and she gets a good look at his “great, dark eyes” and thinks they are very fine. He catches her looking at him and asks her if she thinks he is handsome to which she blurts out, “'No, sir.'” He goes on to ask what faults she finds with him and then he gets quite chatty here saying how he has been knocked about by fortune making him hard and tough though with a chink or two here and there that still gives him hope of being re-transformed from an hard rubber back to flesh. He continues on saying he is “'disposed to be gregarious and communicative to-night.'” He gives this long speech about how he started off wanting to be a good man but due to circumstances that were thrust upon him he knows he is a sinner. He speaks of wanting to reform his ways but that it's of no use because he is cursed, burdened, and therefore he makes excuses that though happiness has been denied to him he has a right to take pleasure out of life no matter the cost. Jane is skeptical of this approach. Towards the end of their conversation, just before Jane heads to bed, Rochester remarks about her reserved nature, especially with him, and tells her that in time she will learn to be natural with him.



'I see at intervals the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close set bars of a cage: a vivid, restless, resolute captive is there; were it but free, it would soar cloud-high.'


[This conversation reminds me a lot of Sansa and Sandor's conversations in the field after the tourney and also on the serpentine steps. Rochester has been drinking a bit and gets real chatty, just like Sandor seems to do when he has drunk too much. Rochester tells Jane how he wanted to be a good man but that life has hardened him. It's a very honest conversation that ends with him referring to Jane as a caged bird. Also, it begins with Jane taking a good long look at his eyes and face.]



More time passes and Rochester often calls upon Jane to talk with her though she usually does most of the listening while he talks. During one of these talks she learns about Adele and why Rochester brought her to Thornfield. Rochester had thought himself in love with Adele's mother, Celine, a French opera dancer, whom he kept by showering with fancy and expensive gifts. One night he saw her with another man and he realized that Celine was just using him for his money and did not care for him and he ended it by her removing her from his “protection.” But six months before that, Celine had given him Adele and swore that he was the father though he doesn't believe it and sees no likeness between himself and Adele. Some years later Celine abandoned her daughter and ran off with some Italian man and even though Rochester is sure he is not Adele's father he could not leave her destitute and alone in Paris so he brought her to Thornfield to be looked after and cared for. (So we see that Rochester has a soft side).



[Adele's relationship with Jane and Rochester reminds me of Sweetrobin with Sansa and LF. Because Adele reminds Rochester of her mother, he is often rather gruff with Adele and not that nice to her though of course he does take her in and have her cared for and educated. Adele is not as annoying as Sweetrobin, but she is rather frivolous which frustrates Jane at times. Yet, after hearing this story Jane treats Adele just a little more tenderly that evening. She indulges Adele that night because, I guess, she feels sorry for her and because she can also relate to not having a mother I suppose.]



It's clear Jane is growing fond of these interactions with Rochester and is attracted to his frank manner of treatment. These are very honest conversations they have had together. However, she does not forget about his faults, that he is proud, harsh to anything he deems inferior, and often moody, but now she does not mind them. She no longer views him as having faults of morality either and, most telling, she no longer finds him ugly but his face has become the object she “best liked to see”.



The night after hearing the story about Adele's mother, Jane is roused from her bed by a strange, mournful sounding murmur. She then hears a sound like fingers scraping against her door and she is chilled with fear. She asks who is there but no one answers. After some time she tries to fall back asleep but she hears a demonic sounding laugh, then she hears steps moving down the hallway and the door to the third floor open and close. She wonders if it was Grace Poole making those sounds and opens her door to see if Mrs. Fairfax has also been disturbed by the noise. Upon doing so she finds the hallway filled with smoke and she smells something burning. She realizes the smoke is coming from Mr. Rochester's room and she dashes to the room to wake him up. She cannot rouse him easily because of the smoke so she takes his water basin and throws the water on him and on the bed. She also gets the water basin from her room and throws that water on him too. This startles him awake and luckily puts out the fire that was starting to consume the bed. After surveying the damage in the room Jane asks Rochester if she should get Mrs. Fairfax or one of the other servants and he says no to let them rest. Then he has Jane sit down and since she has no shawl on he puts his cloak on her to keep her warm and has her put her feet up off the wet carpet. He wants her to wait there for him while he leaves her for a few minutes to go to the third story. After some time he finally returns and asks Jane about the laugh she said she heard. Jane thinks the laugh came from Grace Poole and he says that she has guessed it. He says he will explain to the others what happened in his room and says Jane should say nothing about it.



Jane is about to leave his room but he does not want her to go yet. He acknowledges that Jane has saved his life and wants her to shake hands. He takes Jane's hand in both his own and says he owes her an immense debt. He finishes with this:



'I knew,' he continued, 'you would do me good in some way, at some time; - I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you: their expression and smile did not – (again he stopped) – did not (he proceeded hastily) strike delight to my very inmost heart so for nothing. People talk of natural sympathies; I have heard of good genii: - there are grains of truth in the wildest fable. My cherished preserver, good night!'


The next morning Jane hears the servants in Mr. Rochester's room and goes there to find out what explanation he gave for how his bed caught fire. She learns that he told them that he was reading in bed and fell asleep with the candle lit and the bed curtains caught fire. Luckily he woke up in time to get the water from his basin and throw it on the fire to put it out. She also sees Grace Poole sitting there sewing new bed curtains and looking as if she had no part in it. Jane can't fathom why Grace is still there and has not been fired and furthermore why she is acting so innocent.



[This scene reminds me very much of much of Sansa and Sandor's interactions. Sandor was obviously very taken with Sansa the moment he first saw her, just as Rochester admits he was with Jane here. There is the obvious parallel of Rochester giving Jane his cloak which Jane accepts, as Sandor has done with Sansa. Also, this is a significant episode in which fire plays a prominent part and even Rochester sleeping in the bed as it begins to burn is reminiscent of Sandor's story when he tells Sansa how his father said that his bed caught fire. The stories are also both cover ups for what really happened. Sansa has started Sandor on a course to changing his life for the better, it was certainly the reason he ended up leaving the Lannister's service, and you could say she has saved him just as Jane has saved Rochester. When Rochester talks of people having natural sympathies for each other, he is referring to himself and Jane but it just as equally applies to Sansa and Sandor.]


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The above ends the part of the story which establishes the relationship between Jane and Rochester, creating genuine feelings on both their parts based (mostly) on honest conversations with each other. After this, Jane doesn't see Rochester for a bit and thinking about seeing him she gets noticeably flushed. At first she thinks that there has been a real connection between herself and Rochester and believes he has felt it too because of their last exchange together. But then she begins to doubt herself because she learns that Mr. Rochester has left Thornfield to visit with some people living a few miles away including a woman named Blanche Ingram that Mrs. Fairfax describes as beautiful. When Rochester returns to Thornfield he brings a group of people with him including Blanche and her mother. Jane is ordered to attend the party after dinner and has no choice but to go. Jane feels awkward about going but hides in a corner of the drawing room where she can observe the party without being too much in the way. Jane thinks Blanche is beautiful but has a certain haughtiness to her and Blanche's mother, Lady Ingram, is very pompous. Blanche comments on Adele and it's obvious that she does not want her around as she asks Rochester why he doesn't send her to school. They then get in a discussion about governesses right in front of Jane and in her hearing in which Blanche and her mother declare that governesses are horrible nuisances and they scorn the whole lot. Despite this, Jane has numerous chances to observe Rochester and Blanche together over the next few days and she sees Rochester giving Blanche a lot of attention even though she does not think Blanche is worthy of him. It becomes obvious during this time to her and to everyone else in the gathering, including Blanche, that Rochester is courting Blanche and intends to marry her.

A newcomer named Richard Mason arrives at Thornfield during this time and it is clear that Rochester is disturbed by this man's appearance. Jane overhears some of the other women in the group describe Mr. Mason as being handsome and attractive but Jane finds something odd about him. Though he is described as what would be handsome, Jane thinks there is something displeasing about him as there is no vitality; “his eye was large and well cut, but the life looking out of it was a tame, vacant life – at least so I thought.” [i put this in here because it reminds me of when Sansa was sizing up Lynn Corbray and noticed that though he is handsome, there is something off putting about him and he does not smile with his eyes.] Jane also compares Mason with Rochester and finds the contrast between them very great, “as between a sleek gander and a fierce falcon: between a meek sheep and the rough-coated keen-eyed dog, it's guardian.” [sansa also compares every man she meets with the Hound and in the case of LF, they are exact opposites.]

That night as everyone is asleep, a loud, bone chilling scream pierces the quiet. Jane also hears some commotion going on on the third floor above her room and someone cry out for help. Everyone comes out of their room in a panic wondering what has happened and soon Mr. Rochester is seen coming down the gallery from the third floor. He calms everyone telling them that one of his servants who is very excitable by nature had a bad nightmare and thought she saw an apparition and had a fit. After everyone goes back to their rooms, Mr. Rochester asks Jane to come quietly with him to the third floor. He takes her into a room in which there is a door that has been hidden by a hanging tapestry that has now been pushed to the side. Mr. Rochester goes into the secret room and Jane thinks she hears Grace Poole's strange laugh. A moment later Rochester comes out and locks the door to that room and has Jane come over to the bed where she sees Mr. Mason lying. His linen on one side and one arm is soaked with blood. Rochester has Jane tend to Mason and stay with him for an hour or two while he goes off to get a surgeon. He orders Jane not to speak to Mason at all while tending to him and he threatens Mason with his life if he speaks to Jane. Jane of course does exactly as she is told. Rochester returns a couple of hours later with the surgeon and the surgeon looks at the wound and notes that it looks like a human bite mark. Finally, they get Mr. Mason bandaged up and removed from the house at dawn just before everyone else awakens.

Soon after this Jane gets word from Bessie, the maid from Gateshead Hall where she lived as a child, that her Aunt is sick and has asked to see Jane. Jane gets more detail that her cousin John Reed had grown wild and taken up with unsavory characters and was constantly cheated out of his money. His mother bailed him out a couple of times but was not able to do so anymore as their fortune had been substantially reduced because of John's extravagance, and, after losing all, he committed suicide. The news so disturbed his mother, who had not been well, that she had a stroke and is likely to die herself soon but in her moments of clarity has asked for Jane. Jane feels that she cannot refuse her Aunt and makes plans at once to go.

When she sees her Aunt lying in bed the first time Jane takes her hand and calls her dear Aunt. She remembers how she had once vowed never to call her Aunt again but thought it was no sin to break that vow now. However, her Aunt has not changed, even near death, and pulls her hand away proving to Jane that she still does not like her. Jane is hurt by this but is determined not to let it bother her and to take care of her Aunt as best she can. After some days of incoherency, Jane finally learns why her Aunt asked for her. Aunt Reed has Jane bring a letter from her dresser that was written to her from a Mr. John Eyre of Madeira. He is Jane's uncle, her father's brother, who has come into wealth and means and has been looking for Jane to adopt her and bequeath to her all he has upon his death. The letter was written three years ago and then Aunt Reed admits that she wrote back to Jane's uncle and told him that Jane had died of fever at Lowood school. She also explains how her husband doted on the girl as a baby more than his own children, since her mother was his beloved sister, and because of that she never liked Jane. She also could not ever forgive Jane for how she turned on her in a fury that one time and so she took her revenge on Jane for that. Even now she can't forgive Jane and she is only telling her of this because she is on her deathbed. Jane however, does freely forgive her Aunt and tries to kiss her but to her last breath her Aunt won't show any kindness to Jane.

[so, Jane has come a long way from her outburst as a child when she exclaimed that she would never go see her Aunt or call her “Aunt” again. This passage heavily explores the theme of forgiveness and the lesson is that Aunt Sarah Reed will never be at peace and dies in pain after a troubled end of life because of her inability to forgive. This is in direct contrast to Jane's friend Helen Burns, who Jane thinks about while watching her Aunt on her death bed. Jane remembers how calm Helen was just before she died because her soul was at peace. Also, I think this is meant to show Helen's influence again and that gives Jane the composure to forgive her Aunt. Jane, of course, comes off as the better person for being able to forgive.]

b. The Proposal

Jane is very happy to return to Thornfield and to see Mr. Rochester again, and when he refers to her arrival as coming home Jane is thrilled. She has always longed for a home and place that she feels that can truly belong. I particularly like this passage:

'Pass Janet,' said he, making room for me to cross the stile: 'go up home, and stay your weary little wandering feet at a friend's threshold.'

All I had now to do was to obey him in silence: no need for me to colloquise further. I got over the stile without a word, and meant to leave him calmly. An impulse held me fast, - a force turned me round. I said – or something in me said for me, and in spite of me:-

'Thank you, Mr. Rochester, for your great kindness. I am strangely glad to get back again to see you; and wherever you are is my home-my only home.'

Adele, Mrs. Fairfax and the other servants are all very happy to see Jane and she thinks how wonderful it is to be received in this manner: “there is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow-creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.”

[This passage just evokes a strong sense of the theme of having a home and sense of love and belonging that Jane longs for. She's always been looking for a true home. This will become a factor in their exchange below which comes during Rochester's proposal.]

Yet, Jane is uneasy because she believes Rochester is going to marry Blanche Ingram and when he does so she has decided that Adele should be sent to school and she should find a new position as Blanche will not want either of them around at Thornfield when she is its mistress. However, after a couple of weeks, she notices that no preparations are being made for a wedding nor has Rochester gone to visit with Blanche at all and she begins to harbor hope that perhaps the rumors of their marriage were not true and that the marriage has been called off. Then, on a lovely midsummer evening as Jane is walking around the gardens, she comes across Mr. Rochester also roaming his gardens and taking in their natural beauty. He has her come over and look at a large moth, and then they walk together towards the sunken fence and the huge horse-chestnut tree. He tells her that it is time for her to move on. This is a blow to Jane but she does not let it overwhelm her. He says that he is going to marry Blanche Ingram and as she had intimated to him once before, this means that Adele will be sent off to school and Jane must get a new situation. She says she will advertise at once but he says there is no need as he has found another situation for her in Ireland. Now Jane is really struggling here as she says that Ireland is such a long way off from Thornfield and from him. As she says this the tears begin to flow uncontrollably. As they reach the chestnut tree Rochester muses on how they have been good friends and he will be sorry to send her away. This is when he goes into that well known speech about how he feels they are connected:

”I sometimes have the queer feeling with regard to you- especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you,- you'd forget me.'

“That I never should, sir: you know” – impossible to proceed.

This is why Jane will never forget Mr. Rochester or Thornfield, because it is the truest home she has ever known:

”I grieve to leave Thornfield: I love Thornfield:- I love it, because I have lived in it a full and delightful life, - momentarily at least. I have not been trampled on. I have not been petrified. I have not been buried with inferior minds, and excluded from every glimpse of communion with what is bright and energetic, and high. I have talked, face to face, with what I reverence; with what I delight in, - with an original, a vigorous, and expanded mind. I have known you, Mr. Rochester; and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel I absolutely must be torn from you for ever. I see the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death.”

All of a sudden Rochester does a 180 degree turn around and asks her why she must leave and swears that she must stay. Now Jane gets really incensed and launches into what is probably her most well known speech (and certainly one of my favorites):

”I tell you I must go!” I retorted, roused to something like passion. “Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton? -a machine without feelings? . . . Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! - I have as much soul as you, -and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty, and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.”

Rochester tries to take Jane in his arms but she fights him to get away saying that now she has spoken her mind she is free to leave. He tells her to stop struggling with him “like a wild, frantic bird.” She replies “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.” [some of you may recognize this quote from my signature below]. Finally, Rochester tells her that she will be able to decide her own destiny and he asks for her to marry him as he only intends for her to be his wife. At first Jane does not believe him but he implores her, saying “You -you strange -you almost unearthly thing! I love as my own flesh. You -poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are -I entreat to accept me as a husband.” Jane has Rochester step into the moonlight so that she can look upon his face to read it properly and only after she does this and sees that he is telling the truth does she accept him.

Now Jane's despair has turned to joy (what an emotional roller coaster!), but in true Gothic style, there are some ominous foreshadowings that their happiness will not last and that something will go wrong. The first big thing is that as they are sitting under the chestnut tree after Jane accepts Rochester's proposal, the weather changes quickly (much like Rochester's demeanor changed here) and soon the moon is hidden and they fall into shadow so that she can barely see his face. The wind picks up causing the chestnut tree to writhe and groan as the wind comes roaring upon them. The skies let loose and Jane sees lightening flashes and then the rain comes pouring down on them. As they get back to the house Mrs. Fairfax spies Rochester kissing Jane and looks shocked and disapproving. Jane thinks she should give her an explanation but does not do so that night. The next morning Jane learns that the chestnut tree she and Rochester had been sitting under was struck by lightening causing half of it to split away.

[i could probably write 10 pages on the proposal and month leading up to and including the wedding alone as it is so rich in symbolism and meaning and full of many of the themes that Jane struggles with. The reason I quoted large parts of the proposal scene directly is because these are some of the most well known passages of Jane Eyre. They represent the passionate side of Jane as she struggles with her emotions when she first thinks she has to leave Thornfield and Rochester, as it has become the home she has always longed for and he represents that feeling of home and belonging to her. She also has strong emotions and some anger when Jane thinks Rochester wants her to stay once he is married to Blanche. Doing so would take away that feeling of home and belonging as she knows that Blanche would not make her feel welcome there and it hurts her even more to think of staying there in such a circumstance. The poor, obscure, plain and little line and how she speaks to Rochester so passionately here reminds me again of Arya. Then there is the part that has Jane look upon his face to see if he is really telling the truth and does want to marry her that reminds me of Sansa and Sandor, but inverted as she is the one who makes him stand in the light so she can look upon him.

Also, another big issue here is the fact that Rochester starts off this whole scenario leading Jane to believe that he is going to marry Blanche and send her to Ireland where she will never see him again because he never goes to Ireland. This ties to the theme of lying and being deceitful that I have mentioned before. As a girl Jane loathed the idea of being thought of as deceitful and felt that no one could love her if they thought of her as a liar. Here Rochester is being deliberately deceitful at first. It's hardly the way to start off a proposal to the person you hope to marry. Jane has to be convinced that he is telling the truth before she finally accepts him but the fact that it started off with a lie is another example of the ominous undertones of this scene. When Jane confronts Rochester about this later, he admits that he feigned courtship to Blanche because he wanted to make Jane jealous and use that to draw out her feelings of love for him. Jane responds that this was scandalous and he did not think of how Blanche would feel but Rochester brushes that off saying Blanche mostly feels pride and that needed humbling. (Interestingly, one of Rochester's faults is that he is proud so what does this say about him?) I have to agree with Jane here about this though. Despite the fact that we are made to dislike Blanche Ingram and to understand that she's not a nice person, what Rochester did by using her to make Jane jealous was not only deceitful to Jane but really was not nice to Blanche either. Jane gives into her passion here because she loves Rochester so she is able to overcome his initial deceit, which is very different from the little girl Jane at Lowood who felt that a deceitful person was not worthy of love. The themes of finding a home and having a sense of belonging, and that of lying and deceit, are both big themes for Sansa and Arya.]

(I am ending this section of the essay here for now to get discussion started. I am working on the end of the essay and will post the rest of it in a few days. Thanks!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for such a thorough and engaging contribution, Elba :)

Jane Eyre is one of my favourite novels, and I think its value for comparison to Sansa's experiences can be appreciated through the framework of the female bildungsroman novel, also called the frauenroman. The stories are coming of age narratives, where Sansa and Jane confront oppressive patriarchal forces, experience passionate relationships with "unruly" male characters leading to love, and resist temptations that seek to negate fundamental parts of their identities. Sansa's story is still not over, but we can anticipate a trajectory akin to that of Jane Eyre's: a journey towards selfhood and independence.

It's interesting how both girls are exposed to a number of female role models and friendships, and though these women vary in terms of being more negative or positive, they all have an important role to play in the protagonists' growth. Each role model corresponds to a particular stage in the heroine's journey, and you outlined nicely the ones for Jane so far. For Sansa, there's a bit of overlap, but broadly speaking we have Winterfell, King's Landing and the Eyrie.

You identified Mrs. Reed as being similar to Cersei Lannister, and this comparison is quite apt. Both women are responsible for confining the heroines to their "red rooms" - the bedchamber of Mrs. Reed's deceased husband, and the Red Keep built by the rulers of the former Targaryen dynasty. The chambers are therefore not only symbolic of patriarchal power, but of how patriarchy continually perpetuates its dominance, with Cersei and Mrs. Reed in the roles of gatekeepers and jailors.

But for Sansa, the symbolism of the red room runs deeper and is more localized, and similar to what happens to Jane, her "confinement" results in a panicked, almost manic reaction, that leads to a direct confrontation with Cersei - the primary unjust female figure in Sansa's story. This particular confinement is represented by the arrival of her first period, a red visitor that ruins her bedding, and threatens to initiate the worst imprisonment of them all, where she will be forced to marry Joffrey and bear his children. Interestingly, this crisis is prefigured in AGOT, when Sansa is sent to her room by Septa Mordane - another patriarchal enforcer - as punishment for fighting with Arya. That fight features of course the symbolically rich blood orange splatter on Sansa's dress, seeping unto her undergarments and ruining the ivory silk that was a present from the Queen:

Sansa stalked away with her head up. She was to be a queen, and queens did not cry. At least not where people could see. When she reached her bedchamber, she barred the door and took off her dress. The blood orange had left a blotchy red stain on the silk. I hate her! she screamed. She balled up the dress and flung it into the cold hearth, on top of the ashes of last nights fire. When she saw that the stain had bled through onto her underskirt, she began to sob despite herself. She ripped off the rest of her clothes wildly, threw herself into bed, and cried herself back to sleep.

Yet, despite the helplessness and despair felt by the heroines, these episodes are crucial markers on their gradual path towards freedom and agency, allowing Jane to channel her fury against Mrs. Reed and be sent off to Lowood school, and illustrating how Sansa has “come of age” (a vital component at least), no longer the naïve girl who felt that Joffrey would be her ideal prince, but now in possession of a critical understanding of patriarchal tyranny and committed to evading it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see how "kindness" factors in. It's an erotic dream where she's placing the Hound in her bed, and that's the crucial moment Martin wants to capture.

Yes, there's acknowledgement and recognition of the desire she feels for Sandor and vice versa, but I don't agree that we're meant to see the male figure as a Tyrion/Hound hybrid. Sandor replaces Tyrion in the dream, and there's an argument to be made that he might have never even been present, since she speaks of the man being "bigger than Tyrion had any right to be" and then any ambiguity is over once he climbs into bed and his face is scarred on one side. It's also important to note that Sansa is looking at Sandor as he climbs into bed, something which did not happen on the actual wedding night. Rather than regret, the dream highlights that Sansa is still invested in being intimate with someone she desires, and still anticipates this happening one day.

I think you're confusing Sansa's personal sense of her development vs. the fear she feels concerning exploitative marriage contracts which do not consider her wishes or feelings. She speaks of herself as "a woman flowered and wed" in her next chapter, and later on in AFFC confirms to Myranda Royce that she knows what goes on in the marriage bed. What distresses Sansa is not an issue of arrested development, but not having the power to realise her personal desires, and being subject to the schemes of others.

Well, looking at the text ...

"And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion’s eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only one side."

... what I see is a sort of hybrid man. Tyrion, but bigger then Tyrion should be, etc., but not the Hound himself. It's neither man, and it's both. It's also a melding of two situations on two separate nights into one.

It is a dream, not a memory - the dream speaks to a lot of things, and much of it of her original expectations of what marriage and sex should be like being wrecked by actual events. She speaks of herself as a "woman flowered and wed", but taken in its context, this is not stated with pride or self-assured conviction - it's a technicality. And she nods to Myranda that she knows what goes on in a marriage bed, but this is mostly deflection - she does not know from true personal experience. That fear she feels of claims and unwilling marriages is woven completely into the rest of her sexual persona - that her desires will never be fulfilled on her terms. Of course it seems to her like her becoming a woman has stopped dead in its tracks - to herself, she thinks that no one will ever love Alayne, nor desire Sansa for anything but her claim. She does not feel she is too young for mating & marriage, but that under her circumstances any such experience would be miserable or perilous. There is a discrepancy between where her progress is, and where she thinks it should be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, looking at the text ...

"And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion’s eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only one side."

... what I see is a sort of hybrid man. Tyrion, but bigger then Tyrion should be, etc., but not the Hound himself. It's neither man, and it's both. It's also a melding of two situations on two separate nights into one.

I don't think of the dream as a melding of the two. It seems to me that the dream starts as a nightmare about her wedding night and, in the way it functions in dreams, it suddenly changes into a nightmarish dream about the other night. More like a smooth succession of different clips than a montage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, looking at the text ...

"And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion’s eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only one side."

... what I see is a sort of hybrid man. Tyrion, but bigger then Tyrion should be, etc., but not the Hound himself. It's neither man, and it's both. It's also a melding of two situations on two separate nights into one.

After lurking in this thread a lot, I'm going to come out to comment on this.

It's not a Tyrion/Sandor hybrid. It's Tyrion turning into Sandor - first it's Tyrion, devouring her with his eyes; but then suddenly he's much bigger than Tyrion, and when he climbs into the bed, it's clearly not Tyrion but Sandor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Elba; with your enthusiastic participation, this mini-project is now completed with the presentation of such a thorough piece.



Welcome to the Pawn to Player threads, Annara Snow. We hope you both participate in and enjoy the discussions here.





Snip.





Leaving aside the amusing image of a cross between the Imp and the Hound that seems to have sprung purely from your imagination rather than the text, there’s self-contradiction at the core of your interpretation.



First, you start by asserting that you think the dream is partly a nightmare but not completely a nightmare, yet you fail to explain how exactly the sexual component is what makes it a non-nightmare when in the comments that follow you assert that she is blending an undesirable man by whom she was revolted in what was an awful and awkward marital rape situation to a man whom she actively wishes to kiss in a consensual bedding situation, essentially taking the “it was a nightmare” interpretation and juxtaposing it to the part that is no nightmare at all, and by default you’re contradicting yourself and calling the whole dream sequence a nightmare whether you intended it or not.



And it’s fundamentally wrong. Dreams are dynamic mental processes that don’t end always as they start; those which start as nightmares can end as sweet dreams and those which start as sweet dreams can end as nightmares, and then there are those which are purely nightmares or purely good dreams, or even a mix of both in varying stages and lengths, so the categorisation is seldom as clear-cut as people would wish and one portion of a dream doesn’t negate or overrides the other portion of the dream. Hence the necessity to examine the sequence of the events happening in a dream so you don’t end up calling a dream by the wrong name just because you’ve focused on how it began or on how it ended, or you just don’t know where the dividing line is.



Now, let’s take a memory-refreshing look at the sequence of events in Sansa’s dream from the passage from which you cherry-picked just one line and isolated it from the context:



She dreamt of Joffrey dying, but as he clawed at his throat and the blood ran down across his fingers she saw with horror that it was her brother Robb. And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion’s eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only on one side. “I’ll have a song from you,” he rasped, and Sansa woke and found the old blind dog beside her once again. “I wish that you were Lady,” she said.



I’ve always contended that the middle and the end of a dream are what matters when it comes to defining the pathological or normal nature of a dream where there’s no crystal-clear dividing line. So what do we have here? Let’s see:



Start: Joffrey is dying. Joffrey turns into Robb.


The dream starts as a nightmare. It is a nightmare, and Sansa even names the feeling this part stirs in her: horror. Dreams are actually based on memories of life events, they are memories replayed and reprocessed, through those visual images an emotionally or motivationally significant memory is activated. And here, she is reliving an impactful scene she witnessed, for she did see Joffrey choking to death and clawing at his throat, but she didn’t see her brother die and doesn’t know what they did to his head, but nevertheless it had an enormous emotional impact on her and instinctively she reveals that on a subconscious level she believes her brother’s death was as cruel as Joffrey’s, hence why she sees him dying like Joffrey. She’s not mixing both.



Middle: It’s her wedding night and she’s disrobing for a man who’s appraising her lustfully.


This part is different in nature to the first part, in which she’s reliving an event she witnessed as it happened, because here she’s not reliving her real wedding night to the Imp as it happened, this is an erotic dream that takes place in a completely new wedding night fabricated by her mind.



The nature of erotic dreams is cognitively different from any other types of dreams. An erotic dream is intricately linked to subconscious libidinal desires that the unconscious recognises and processes during dreaming, when the conscious doesn’t interfere. Put it even in simpler, bared-to-the-bone terms: libidinal desires are perceived and recognised but cannot be acted upon during sleep, i.e. release isn’t possible whilst asleep, so to satisfy that essential impulse the unconscious creates vivid hallucinations comprised of images of real people, someone the dreamer finds desirable, and it’s these unconscious hallucinations that get the name of erotic dreams. The keyword here is “unconscious desire” that’s being acted upon by the mind through recreating the person and events that are emotionally salient for the dreamer.



That’s what Sansa is doing; she describes that in the place of the husband is someone who’s “devouring her with his eyes,” someone who desires her and whom she’s undressing for willingly and holding his gaze, as otherwise she’d not know what expression there was on his eyes. She’s saying it’s someone in the place Tyrion was in her real wedding night, not that it is Tyrion himself who is there, in this moment, which is stressed with the “bigger than he had any right to be” line that negates it’s the Imp, not that it’s an oversized version of him, so I don’t understand how you could possibly contend that she’s mixing both, as he’s been replaced from the start and it’s only his name that is mentioned, not his looks nor his actions because he didn’t behave nor do what the husband in this dream is doing.



Everything points to the identity of the man from even before the dream: earlier in that same chapter, she is thinking of her wedding night prompted by her aunt’s bedding:



a. She thinks Tyrion spared her the stripping ceremony, but she tells herself it wouldn’t have been so bad to undress for a man she loved. Please, tell me what is she doing in the dream, again? Undressing. And she’s confidently receiving and reciprocating the feelings through that gaze. It’s not Tyrion.


b. She thinks of Tyrion’s words at their wedding night aimed at convincing her to shut her eyes, negate her desire and her gaze, and pretend as “Lannister lies,” going on to remember what Sandor told her about liars at the Serpentine, to wonder what’s become of her and if he’d care. What is she doing in the dream, you remember? Right, she is doing the opposite of what Tyrion wanted her to do. She’s looking at the man’s visage, looking at it and describing the scars, recognising his feelings and acting upon them and hers. It’s not Tyrion.


c. When Marillion tries to assault her, she mistakes the voice of her helper for Sandor’s voice, and expresses disappointment that it’s Lothor instead. What is she doing in the dream, once more? See below.



As you can see, everything points to Sandor Clegane being there from start to finish, not Tyrion. And if there’s any doubt left, let’s allow our lovely trickster of an author to settle it for us: the only other man whom GRRM describes with the phrase “bigger than any man had any right to be” is also of House Clegane. His name is Gregor. He burnt his brother. He must prepare to die (again). Go ahead, read it from the Imp’s mouth in ASOS Tyrion X, chapter 70; that leaves no doubt about who the other man in Sansa’s dream is through a deliberate parallel of Sansa describing Sandor and Tyrion describing Gregor with the same phrase.



End: The man climbs into the bed.


Arguably in this, the consummation part, is precisely when the unnamed man whose identity we’d previously have only guessed by hints scattered throughout the chapter is now clearly identified by his face and by his voice and by his words: he’s a scarred face, he has a rasp and tells her what only one person had told her previously. It’s the phrase Sandor had told her at the Serpentine, the one to which Sansa had then naïvely answered that she’d sing for him gladly. What is this dream if not her mind working on a scenification of this “singing”? Going further, there’s an argument to be made that the Sandor she’s seeing here is the Sandor from the Serpentine who lowered his guard and let his feelings slip and be subconsciously registered by Sansa to re-emerge later into her conscious, because her memories of him fit with what he did on that scene: his appraisal of her desirability, his words on liars, his words on having a song from her someday; all of it happened at the Serpentine.



So, how in the name of the old gods can this be a hybrid of the Hound and the Imp when the latter isn’t even present?



There’s no melding of two separate occasions into one, each occurrence is playing out separately, distinct and unrelated. The first part is a trauma dream that revolves round her mistreatment at the hands of the abuser she saw dying in front of her, and the unresolved grieving for her slaughtered family is personified in Robb because she had hopes he’d defeat the House that had her captive but who instead was killed by them. The middle part almost looks like a separate dream, and an argument would’ve been made that it was a separate one had there been a pause in-between, but these occurrences seem to belong in only one and the same dream sequence. However, the dividing line is noticeable, there’s a stark contrast in tone and emotions between the first and middle/last parts of the dream: where there’s blood, dead and horror in the first part, there’s desire and love, and even a hint of humour if you take into account Sandor’s grinning double-entendre at the Serpentine which he’s repeating here.



And nowhere in the text is there any indication that Sansa is feeling in the least uncomfortable or that she’s mixing both men and regarding both positively. Sansa’s never confused good dreams with bad dreams, she has had nightmares previously, in which she’s also seen people turning into other people and relived traumatic experiences, and in all of them she’s always noted what she’s felt, she noted how she felt in the dreams after her father’s beheading, she noted her feelings in the nightmares about the bread riots, etc., and she’s doing the same for the start of this dream only. The logical conclusion would be that this absence of negativity speaks against the notion that the entire sequence is about the wreckage of her personal expectations regarding freedom and marriage/sex, that such descriptions of negative emotions are absent from the later part of this dream because there’s nothing to arise such discomfort, which would’ve likely happened had she been dreaming of a hybrid of her unwanted husband and another man in a marriage that almost drove her to the verge of suicide.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not a Tyrion/Sandor hybrid. It's Tyrion turning into Sandor - first it's Tyrion, devouring her with his eyes; but then suddenly he's much bigger than Tyrion, and when he climbs into the bed, it's clearly not Tyrion but Sandor.

Well this is what I'm trying to tell people. Transformation from one person to another, as the brain tries to process and interpret its emotions thanks to experiences with both men, and blurs them. The text says - literally - "her wedding night" and "Tyrion", and nowhere does it actually say "Sandor" or "Hound", but we know enough to know not to be so literal as to exclude the Hound - but neither should people exclude what text is actually written right there.

The scene is a dream, not a memory. People are so stuck on the idea it has to be either Tyrion or Sandor, and cannot be both. Incorrect - dreams function according to a different principle. What's going on in her head is not neatly segregated according to logical principles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

Nice observations, Milday. One of the reasons I'm such a huge fan of Sandor is because of how he treats his horse, so I'm a little embarrassed I didn't even pick up on that.

I've also thought that Sansa's dream is certainly part nightmare - just the quality of it, the nature of her fears leaping into it. Not 100% nightmare though, since there is the clear evidence of something sexual.

She's blurred the two men together - both of them with a menacing visage, but actually for both of them she is not entirely thinking negatively of them. (It's actually a bit funny too - who else would imagine would a Hound-sized Tyrion ?)

Tyrion is imagined in the context of what she had always hoped would be a consenting sexual experience (marriage, wedding night), which has gone horribly wrong. Sansa definitely wanted marriage, and by extension, sex - she was not indifferent or revolted by the idea it, but instead always idealized it. Not that she had a clear idea of what it actually meant in practical terms. But she looked forward to making that girl-to-wife transition.

Of course, her actual experience of marriage was suddenly forced on her, and her experience of the "wedding night" sexual initiation never actually took place. It was an awful and awkward situation for both people involved - so much for the full-grown experienced male taking her virginity. In the dream, you can see Tyrion forcefully willing to take her virginity, but actually acting in a way Tyrion would not act to begin with. At the same time, Sansa's imagining the same wedding night with the Hound, but it's important that now he's in the "husband" role, and there is no ambiguity about his lust. Yet, the Hound acting Hound-ish is still not in the husband role she has actually desired to have - there is none of the kindness she would hope for in this wedding night scene, not even that amount even Tyrion had tried to show her.

Is the dream one of regret ? She wants a husband, but the TyrionHound hybrid seems to be a symbol of how that chance at a "growing up" moment has been ruined for her by circumstances. Despite this, I think the dream does not diminish the strange attraction she has for the Hound (and which she now mentally acknowledges he has for her). As well, it does not diminish her acknowledgement that Tyrion - for all his faults and the fact that he was not the object of her desire - did at least try to be kind and protective, as The Husband should be, even though it was a lost cause.

Sansa still has her virginity, but you can see how one the one hand she still clings to it defensively, but on the other, she is feeling that her development into womanhood has stalled. By the time we reach the end of AFFC, she's feeling despair that she will never actually experience it properly.

While I don't agree with your interpretation of the dream and still strongly believe that Sansa is envisioning Sandor in her marital bed, not a hybrid of Tyrion/Sandor, I appreciate that you took the time to read my very lengthy post and comment.

Jane Eyre Influences in AsoIaF (with a focus on the Gothic elements)

Rereading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte again after a very long time was a real pleasure. There were so many details I had forgotten. There are certainly many similarities with Sansa's story, especially the relationship with Rochester, but what surprised me was how much of Arya's story I saw as well. The Gothic elements that have been discussed recently are also very prominent in this story too as you will see below. I have analyzed this novel part by part, focusing on various themes represented in the story, rather than solely on the Gothic elements, so this is going to be very long. Therefore, I will be posting this in parts.

Jane's story can be broken down into three sections, the first being her childhood at her Aunt's house and at school, the second when she leaves school and arrives at Thornfield Hall, and the last part when she leaves Thornfield and meets St. John. (I used the Signet Classic edition, published in America by the New American Library for this discussion.)

<snip>

Very impressive, Elba! I just finished rereading Jane Eyre this morning. Since I reread it in a SanSan bubble, I did not compare Jane to Arya, but young Jane does share a lot of similarities with Arya. I also thought Rochester's manipulation of Blanche was somewhat reminiscent of how Littlefinger manipulated Lysa, however, Lysa is a far more sympathetic character than Blanche (at least to me), and Blanche probably moved happily along to another wealthy suitor. Yet, I very much disapprove of Rochester's game playing.

I look forward to the rest. As much as I dislike Rochester throughout the novel, he wins me over in the end.

Thank you for such a thorough and engaging contribution, Elba :)

Jane Eyre is one of my favourite novels, and I think its value for comparison to Sansa's experiences can be appreciated through the framework of the female bildungsroman novel, also called the frauenroman. The stories are coming of age narratives, where Sansa and Jane confront oppressive patriarchal forces, experience passionate relationships with "unruly" male characters leading to love, and resist temptations that seek to negate fundamental parts of their identities. Sansa's story is still not over, but we can anticipate a trajectory akin to that of Jane Eyre's: a journey towards selfhood and independence.

<snip>

What a lovely post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well this is what I'm trying to tell people. Transformation from one person to another, as the brain tries to process and interpret its emotions thanks to experiences with both men, and blurs them. The text says - literally - "her wedding night" and "Tyrion", and nowhere does it actually say "Sandor" or "Hound", but we know enough to know not to be so literal as to exclude the Hound - but neither should people exclude what text is actually written right there.

The scene is a dream, not a memory. People are so stuck on the idea it has to be either Tyrion or Sandor, and cannot be both. Incorrect - dreams function according to a different principle. What's going on in her head is not neatly segregated according to logical principles.

That's not what I was trying to say. It's not a Tyrion/Sandor hybrid. She dreams of the situation that happened in real life - "And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion’s eyes devouring her as she undressed." But that's the last time she mentions Tyrion. She assumed it was Tyrion at first, but when it turns out it's not him - it's Sandor. "Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only on one side. “I’ll have a song from you,” he rasped"

Maybe I didn't express myself well enough. I didn't mean that Tyrion is turning into Sandor and that there's some point where the man is a hybrid of two; I meant that the situation starts as a recollection of a real event where Tyrion was the husband, but transforms itself into a different situation, in which Sandor is the husband and Sansa is looking at him. She replaces Tyrion with Sandor in her dream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Milady of York has extensively addressed your argument on the erotic dream, I am just going to respond to this bit:

She speaks of herself as a "woman flowered and wed", but taken in its context, this is not stated with pride or self-assured conviction - it's a technicality.

That's incorrect. Taken in its context, Sansa is standing up for herself and refusing to be forced into another marriage that she does not want. She's asserting her maturity and the self-confidence it brings, and making clear that despite what her aunt says, she does have resources and desires which should be respected. See below for clarification:

I will tell my aunt that I don't want to marry Robert. Not even the High Septon himself could declare a woman married if she refused to say the vows. She wasn't a beggar, no matter what her aunt said. She was thirteen, a woman flowered and wed, the heir to Winterfell. Sansa felt sorry for her little cousin sometimes, but she could not imagine ever wanting to be his wife. I would sooner be married to Tyrion again. If Lady Lysa knew that, surely she'd send her away . . . away from Roberts pouts and shakes and runny eyes, away from Marillion's lingering looks, away from Petyr's kisses. I will tell her. I will!

And she nods to Myranda that she knows what goes on in a marriage bed, but this is mostly deflection - she does not know from true personal experience. That fear she feels of claims and unwilling marriages is woven completely into the rest of her sexual persona - that her desires will never be fulfilled on her terms. Of course it seems to her like her becoming a woman has stopped dead in its tracks - to herself, she thinks that no one will ever love Alayne, nor desire Sansa for anything but her claim. She does not feel she is too young for mating & marriage, but that under her circumstances any such experience would be miserable or perilous. There is a discrepancy between where her progress is, and where she thinks it should be.

One does not need to have had sex to know what happens in a marriage bed. No where in Sansa's thought process do we see her "deflecting" that question. There is no hesitation or even reluctance to answer. She does know what happens in a marriage bed and she bases it on the experience of intimate situations with Tyrion and the Hound. That she knows what happens is further revealed in the awkward attempt to sympathise with Myranda over her husband's death:

She thought of Tyrion, and of the Hound and how he’d kissed her, and gave a nod. “That must have been dreadful, my lady.Him dying. There, I mean, whilst . . . whilst he was . . .”

Sansa does worry about exploitative marriages, but her psychosexual development has not been compromised in the process as you appear to be claiming. This is why she's still able to fantasise over Sandor and refuses to endure another unsavoury betrothal to a man (or boy) she does not want. Her "sexual persona" as you put it, continues to feature her own desires, and so far she's resisted all attempts to conquer and colonize it. The development into womanhood has meant recognizing how she is disadvantaged in society and learning how she can achieve badly needed agency. Rather than being stalled, it is the driving force behind Sansa's rebellion, and her growth into a player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's incorrect. Taken in its context, Sansa is standing up for herself and refusing to be forced into another marriage that she does not want. She's asserting her maturity and the self-confidence it brings, and making clear that despite what her aunt says, she does have resources and desires which should be respected. See below for clarification:

I will tell my aunt that I dont want to marry Robert. Not even the High Septon himself could declare a woman married if she refused to say the vows. She wasnt a beggar, no matter what her aunt said. She was thirteen, a woman flowered and wed, the heir to Winterfell. Sansa felt sorry for her little cousin sometimes, but she could not imagine ever wanting to be his wife. I would sooner be married to Tyrion again. If Lady Lysa knew that, surely shed send her away . . . away from Roberts pouts and shakes and runny eyes, away from Marillions lingering looks, away from Petyrs kisses. I will tell her. I will!

One does not need to have had sex to know what happens in a marriage bed. No where in Sansa's thought process do we see her "deflecting" that question. There is no hesitation or even reluctance to answer. She does know what happens in a marriage bed and she bases it on the experience of intimate situations with Tyrion and the Hound. That she knows what happens is further revealed in the awkward attempt to sympathise with Myranda over her husband's death:

Sansa does worry about these exploitative marriages, but her psychosexual development has not been compromised in the process as you appear to be claiming. This is why she's still able to fantasise over Sandor and refuses to endure another unsavoury betrothal to a man (or boy) she does not want. Her "sexual persona" as you put it, continues to feature her own desires, and so far she's resisted all attempts to conquer and colonize it. The development into womanhood has meant recognizing how she is disadvantaged in society and learning how she can achieve badly needed agency. Rather than being stalled, it is the driving force behind Sansa's rebellion, and her growth into a player.

Well, maybe I am just seeing less confidence in her. Not a child, still trying to deal with an adult world as someone who is not fully part of it yet.

To me it sounded like a "flowed and wed" self-talk, in mental rehearsal for what Sansa expected would be a scary confrontation. "I will tell her ! I will ! " I don't see assured confidence there, more like she has to convince herself first. I don't mean the part about not wanting any more ill-conceived marriages, because that much is 100% clear. In fact, it is partly the basis of my argument - her desire is that if she cannot marry on her terms, she would rather not marry at all. She has no good memory of her flowering, for instead of fitting her ideal of transition, it was used as a weapon against her; she has no good memory of being a wife, since it was not who she wanted, and used as a weapon against her family.

Sansa would not lean on the very things that had tormented her as arguments, but she has to make do with arguments that might get through to her aunt Lysa. (Of course, by this time, she has figured out that Lysa's not exactly an understanding fount of kinship & protection.) Maybe also she's unwittingly taken a page out of the Tyrion handbook here, and is wearing her being "flowered and wed" like armour, because she's about to go into battle against her own aunt, to fight for control over her own life. She can use it against the world around her, but inside, it still stings her emotionally, much as bastardy does for Jon Snow.

I'm not saying her desires are actually gone - far from it - I think she has them restrained still, waiting for the proper chance to break out. Her fantasies of Sandor are not so much attached to fanciful fairy-tale ideals of love. (Not that those are gone either, but she is lately telling herself that it is out of reach for her.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not saying her desires are actually gone - far from it - I think she has them restrained still, waiting for the proper chance to break out. Her fantasies of Sandor are not so much attached to fanciful fairy-tale ideals of love. (Not that those are gone either, but she is lately telling herself that it is out of reach for her.)

I'm not sure what you mean? Her current ideals of love are not very "fanciful fairy-tale" - they're personified in her fantasies about Mya Stone and Lothor Brune's hypothetical romance. (To put it in modern terms, Sansa is shipping them hard. ;) ) With Lothor being a lowborn and comely man whose strength, fighting ability and 'honest face' Sansa likes and who she's connected with Sandor in her mind before, and Mya being a bastard girl, similar to Sansa's current status of Alayne, I think Sansa's investment in that relationship, and her musings on how being a bastard allows Mya to marry someone like Lothor, which she couldn't do as a highborn girl, involve some projecting/living vicariously through others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, maybe I am just seeing less confidence in her. Not a child, still trying to deal with an adult world as someone who is not fully part of it yet.

To me it sounded like a "flowed and wed" self-talk, in mental rehearsal for what Sansa expected would be a scary confrontation. "I will tell her ! I will ! " I don't see assured confidence there, more like she has to convince herself first.I don't mean the part about not wanting any more ill-conceived marriages, because that much is 100% clear. In fact, it is partly the basis of my argument - her desire is that if she cannot marry on her terms, she would rather not marry at all. She has no good memory of her flowering, for instead of fitting her ideal of transition, it was used as a weapon against her; she has no good memory of being a wife, since it was not who she wanted, and used as a weapon against her family.

Maybe you're not seeing it because it doesn't jive with your preconceived ideas about Sansa? At this point, she is little aware of just how unstable her aunt really is, and she doesn't know that Lysa saw LF kissing her in the garden. She still has hopes that Lysa can be swayed into sending her away from the Eyrie, and the fact that she's intimidated by the prospect of this meeting and stating her case does not diminish the magnitude of her resolve after the snow castle scene. I'm going to suggest looking closely at the text, and placing Sansa's words here in their proper context. It comes after the beheading of Sweetrobin's doll, when she is very angry at the child's behaviour and the prospect of having him as a husband:

They led the boy away. My lord husband, Sansa thought, as she contemplated the ruins of Winterfell. The snow had stopped, and it was colder than before. She wondered if Lord Robert would shake all through their wedding. At least Joffrey was sound of body. A mad rage seized hold of her. She picked up a broken branch and smashed the torn doll’s head down on top of it, then pushed it down atop the shattered gatehouse of her snow castle. The servants looked aghast, but when Littlefinger saw what she’d done he laughed. “If the tales be true, that’s not the first giant to end up with his head on Winterfell’s walls.”

“Those are only stories,” she said, and left him there.

Back in her bedchamber, Sansa took off her cloak and her wet boots and sat beside the fire. She had no doubt that she would be made to answer for Lord Robert’s fit. Perhaps Lady Lysa will send me away. Her aunt was quick to banish anyone who displeased her, and nothing displeased her quite so much as people she suspected of mistreating her son.

Sansa would have welcomed banishment. The Gates of the Moon was much larger than the Eyrie, and livelier as well. Lord Nestor Royce seemed gruff and stern, but his daughter Myranda kept his castle for him, and everyone said how frolicsome she was. Even Sansa’s supposed bastardy might not count too much against her below. One of King Robert’s baseborn daughters was in service to Lord Nestor, and she and the Lady Myranda were said to be fast friends, as close as sisters.

I will tell my aunt that I don’t want to marry Robert. Not even the High Septon himself could declare a woman married if she refused to say the vows. She wasn’t a beggar, no matter what her aunt said. She was thirteen, a woman flowered and wed, the heir to Winterfell. Sansa felt sorry for her little cousin sometimes, but she could not imagine ever wanting to be his wife. I would sooner be married to Tyrion again. If Lady Lysa knew that, surely she’d send her away . . . away from Robert’s pouts and shakes and runny eyes, away from Marillion’s lingering looks, away from Petyr’s kisses. I will tell her. I will!

Sweetrobin is actually compared to Joffrey and Tyrion and comes up lacking. It's not that Sansa has any true desire to be back in those situations, but she is also just as resistant to the idea of SR the suitor.

Sansa would not lean on the very things that had tormented her as arguments, but she has to make do with arguments that might get through to her aunt Lysa.

What do you mean she has to make do? These are important life experiences for Sansa, and more so because they have taken place in less than ideal circumstances, where the fact that she survived them speaks to her strength of character and willpower. This is about attesting to experiences which have made her stronger and which are symbolically appreciated as significant milestones for female development. As evidenced in the passage I provided above, she is still capable of comparing SR to both Joffrey and Tyrion, and realising that what her aunt is offering her is no prize and as much a guarantee of future happiness as those unions were. What "flowered and wed" represents to Sansa does not equate to the unequal and cruel situation she endured during captivity under Lannister power. You see it as a testament of victimhood, but for Sansa it's one of womanhood and identity.

(Of course, by this time, she has figured out that Lysa's not exactly an understanding fount of kinship & protection.) Maybe also she's unwittingly taken a page out of the Tyrion handbook here, and is wearing her being "flowered and wed" like armour, because she's about to go into battle against her own aunt, to fight for control over her own life. She can use it against the world around her, but inside, it still stings her emotionally, much as bastardy does for Jon Snow.

Do you think being the heir to Winterfell stings her emotionally too? Because by your reasoning, the fact that her claim is subject to exploitation would undermine her using it along with being flowered and wed. And yet, we see that despite how people may abuse her claim, it is still a valid point in favour of challenging her aunt's attempts to diminish her relevance and make her feel grateful for the betrothal. Winterfell is also a ruin, and Ned and Cat are dead, but later on she will think in opposition to Littlefinger:

I am not your daughter... I am Sansa Stark, Lord Eddard’s daughter and Lady Catelyn’s, the blood of Winterfell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FEMALE INFLUENCES II: ON MOTHERHOOD


The theme of motherhood in Sansa's story has often been considered in the PtP threads as one of the key issues necessary to understanding the trajectory of her arc, relationships with others, and to ultimately unlock her potential as a player. Sansa occupies most of the story as a maiden, but we believe that it is in the interrogation of the mother archetype that Martin has invested the real conflict and struggles toward self-determination that she experiences. With a critical examination of this as our purpose, the project will comprise of three essays, written by Milady of York, Ragnorak and myself, which all explore different, but complementary topics on the theme. In the final analysis, we hope to dispel the established notion of the mother as passive and to present mothering as a practice which can be empowering and effect change.

Share this post


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

×