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Milady of York

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XXI

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It seems you really did your HW, Milady of York; an excellent job. As to Sandor as the Huntsman:

I should have . . . ripped her heart out before leaving her for that dwarf.

The Huntsman was charged with ripping out Snow White's heart, and after he let her go she bumped into the seven dwarves. After Sandor leaves Sansa, she is married to Tyrion, a dwarf.

Cersei's relationships and loyalties are usually bought with gold, promises or sex. While Sansa can build healthy relationships based on trust and genuine care.

Not only is she officially married to a dwarf, she is also currently stuck with one little man (Littlefinger) and one little "man" (Sweetrobin)! :D

Several elements from Snow White are to be found in Sansa's story, but they don't play out the way they do in the fairytale. The Queen is supposed to try to murder Snow White three times, with a tight bodice that makes it impossible for her to breathe, with a poisoned comb, and (the successful one) with a poisoned apple. (It's interesting to think about the metaphorical meanings of these objects: the first two are related to beauty and ladylike attention given to one's appearance; tight bodice, in particular, is reminiscent of the pressure the society puts on women to look and behave the certain way; while the apple represents appetite and temptation - a pretty clear erotic metaphor. I remember a comment I read somewhere which humorously suggested that the Queen was surprisingly clueless, since it took her so long to realize that sexual desire is what you could use most successfully to tempt a teenage girl! :) )

Now, there is no bodice in Sansa's story that I can remember, though you could interpret it as the stifling lack of freedom and virtual imprisonment she had at the hands of Cersei and Joffrey. And Cersei gives her her maiden's cloak for her wedding. But t here are definitely some important poisoned hairnets, though. However, they were used to kill someone else - and to frame Sansa, but not by Queen Cersei, but by two other queens or "queens" - queen Margaery and the "Queen of Thorns". It didn't result in Sansa's almost-death, but it did in the accusation of regicide that's hanging over her head, while various people try to hunt her down.

Cersei was never as Evil Queen-ish as when she was threatening absent Sansa in the Council meeting, with that memorable phrase that has to put a smile on the reader's face, for reasons Cersei has no idea about: "When I'm finished with her, she will be singing to the Stranger, begging him for a kiss".

Now, is there going to be a poisoned apple? If there is, it's probably not going to have anything to do with Cersei, just as the poisoned "comb" was not her doing, either - Cersei is really not the great schemer holding the cards, as the Evil Queen appears to be.

In any case, when those Snow White-like elements started to appear in AFFC, I couldn't help thinking about Cersei's words to Sansa in ACOK: "Love is a poison. A sweet one, yes, but it will kill you all the same."

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Another way to consider it is that most critics have identified Bertha as Jane's double (Grace Poole is the stand in as you said), the spectre who unleashes all the fury and frustration that still resides in Jane against patriarchal dominance, becoming manifest the closer she gets to marrying Rochester, and the fundamental inequality of that relationship, despite the love they have for each other. With respect to Jeyne Poole, even though she's sent North to impersonate Arya, she's really Sansa's double, entrapped in a violent marriage to Ramsay Bolton and expected to be a pliant and good wife to him, as Sansa was envisioned for Tyrion (and others). All these women have to find the courage or "madness" to escape their captors and achieve their independence/liberty.

Have you read Wide Sargasso Sea, btw? It's a post-colonial novel that "writes back" to Jane Eyre, telling the story of Antoinette and her life growing up in the West Indies, meeting Rochester and how their relationship develops. It really deepens one's understanding and sympathy for Bertha.

I have heard of Wide Sargasso Sea but have not read it yet. It's been on my list. I really want to read it now since I just finished Jane Eyre and it sounds like it would make a good complement to it. You bring up a good point about the patriarchy and its effect on women and I do think that Jeyne Poole is a symbol of how the patriarchy abuses the woman. Jeyne is literally beaten down and her scars are the physical representations of how she has been forced into submission.

I took a look at the wikipedia page for Jane Eyre before starting my essays. I know wikipedia is the lazy way to conduct research but I like to use it as a starting point as a succinct way to hone in on the themes of a book and to find some additional resources if needed. I thought the one for Jane Eyre was quite good and the discussion surrounding the themes of gender relations and feminism also acknowledge this idea of the struggle against the patriarchy and the established roles for women in the Victorian age. The following quote in particular clearly expresses this idea:

It is also interesting to note that while most readings of Jane Eyre accept that Bertha is truly insane, the only specific claim Mr Rochester makes against her is that she has been 'unchaste'. While this admittedly continues to be considered unacceptable behaviour in a spouse, it hardly qualifies as insanity. Some feminist readings of the novel have taken this to mean that the strictures imposed on women contemporary to the book were such that stepping outside of them could have been construed as insane. Whether or not Bertha was genuinely mad before she was confined to the attic is open to interpretation.

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Wonderful work, Milady!





Now I feel guilty about thinking Sansa's possible future in this series will turn out like Lavinia's in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. . .



Not based upon Sansa or any criticism of her, but upon the world she inhabits. . .


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Thank you, Blisscraft, it's always good to know that our work here has had an impact.



A certain person by the name of Brash that's responsible for the existence of these threads mind-tricked me into writing another piece for the Motherhood mini-project, and since I apparently haven't graduated from the Padawan academy yet, a new piece is going to be posted which will focus on examining the Hound's set of skills, and is going to be part of the arguments in Brash's upcoming essay for this series of analyses on the motherhood theme.


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On the Hound’s job



When thinking about Sandor Clegane’s job, the first thing brought forth to mind is “sworn shield.” And true enough, that’s what he is introduced as since the first mention of his name in AGOT: beside Prince Joffrey as his protector, a position he retains when the crown prince becomes the king and he is raised to the rank of Kingsguard, which he retains until he deserts. Even before Joffrey, all we know of the work he did is also related to being a bodyguard, to Queen Cersei, in which he also stays until he’s needed for the royal heir.



Because of that, it seems like he’s been a sworn shield for approximately half his life, practically since short after he learnt to fight with all sorts of weaponry and built a reputation for himself as a fighter. Given for whom he’s been working, the eldest daughter and biggest political asset of Lord Tywin Lannister, the richest man in Westeros, and Queen of the Realm, and for the heir to the throne, being a simple royal bodyguard is in itself an enviable job: prestigious and coveted, with moderate danger in peacetime, not overly exhausting even if physically demanding, and that confers unto him a social status respectable enough to enable a landless and non-titled minor nobleman to rub shoulders with the powerful and filthy rich, competing in tournaments with men of higher birth, and living in the decadent luxury of the court and its various entertainments and feasts others don’t have access to, etc. And best of all, it’s well-paid in gold in the the form of a regular salary, and one can wonder if there could’ve been generous bonuses for certain activities demanded by his liege (which, knowing the lions, is likely) or on special occasions, plus there are tourney winnings to be had. There are also other small details in his clothing that point to Sandor being a well-off man as a result of the steady income throughout the years in the service of the Lannisters and the royal house which merit a closer look because his appearance can be deceptive: he’s far from being a dandy or showy a la Jaime or Loras, but he does use jewelled brooches for his cloak sometimes, and his best outfits seem to be in bright colours, red for example, which is a colour that used to be hard to obtain and very costly in the real Middle Ages and therefore amongst those reserved for the nobility; so if he dresses in clothes that are described in dark colours and of roughspun and woollen fabric it’s not for lack of resources but rather something that speaks of practicality, and above all of soldierly habits. It’s impractical to fight in velvets and silks and luxurious furs, fabrics that get ripped, dirtied and ruined too easily and are unfit for someone who trains on a daily basis and who’s used to going on military campaigns where men often have to sleep on the bare ground or on bedrolls; so sturdy fabrics of wool, linen and leather are usually preferred.



But there are some frequently overlooked details which reveal that Sandor Clegane is more than an overpaid and glorified bodyguard, and that allow an argument to be made that he’s an army commander for House Lannister in addition to being a sworn shield. The main salient point is that Queen Cersei has her own household troops in King’s Landing, knights and men-at-arms wearing the colours of House Lannister who get their orders from her, troops which Lord Eddard was the first to call “the queen’s men,” and whose commander’s identity we’re not told at first until Osfryd Kettleblack is named captain of a detachment of the crimson cloaks guarding the queen one year later. In this little piece, my contention is going to be that their commander was none other than the Hound himself.



When the Hound appears in the first chapters of Arya and Tyrion during the royal visit to Winterfell, there are “squires in the livery of Lannister and Baratheon” as well as knights described as “Lannister men” following him and Joffrey everywhere, who obviously are a small detachment from Cersei’s troops left at the capital, and the first hint indicating that Clegane commands them is when he rides out to search for Mycah and takes these soldiers with him, as we read in AGOT Eddard III:



“Thank the gods,” Ned said. His men had been searching for Arya for four days now, but the queen’s men had been out hunting as well. “Where is she? Tell Jory to bring her here at once.”


. . .


He was walking back to the tower to give himself up to sleep at last when Sandor Clegane and his riders came pounding through the castle gate, back from their hunt.



That adds another layer to the killing of Mycah, as it not only confirms further that the order was to have the boy dead but also clarifies how Cersei was able to give that order bypassing Robert’s authority: as queen consort she couldn’t overrule Robert by telling Jaime, a Kingsguard whose orders come first and foremost from the king, to kill or maim Arya (she asked him as sister-lover to brother-lover), but as both their liege lady and queen she could order the Lannister men to kill Mycah as these were her own soldiers and obeyed her directly.



Right before that, we’d learnt that it was also Cersei who appointed Clegane as sworn shield to her son, not her husband as it’d have been expected in normal circumstances:



Joffrey laughed. “He’s my mother’s dog, in truth. She has set him to guard me, and so he does.”



Yet he the Hound’s behaviour doesn’t follow the expectations for the average sworn shield; any bodyguard of the crown prince and heir to the Seven Kingdoms should have King Robert as direct superior and he’d have been the one to give the orders to him, he should report to the sovereign about his heir’s activities, etc. Robert could give him orders if he wished, for he’s above any liege lord, and so he did occasionally, for example during the fight with Gregor at the Hand’s tourney, and the Hound obeyed as a subject, but as vassal and subordinate, his allegiance was to Cersei. It’s the Queen whom the Hound obeys, her to whom he reports, her whom he informs about what the crown prince is doing and her who he goes to every time he returns to the castle after an excursion outside . . . That he’s efficient is certainly valued, yet it seems like loyalty was the weightier factor in his appointment, as she needed someone she could trust would follow her commands unflinchingly and answer only to her, a very necessary requisite for anyone guarding her son and commanding her soldiers given the rivalry and animosity towards her husband.



At first, the name that comes to mind when considering who’s in charge of those soldiers is Jaime’s. But Kingsguard have forsaken everything that comes with lands and titles besides Ser, and that includes being at the head of armies that aren’t the king’s own soldiers or other troops that the king himself has put under their command for determined tasks, such as happened with Arthur Dayne and Lewyn Martell to name some, which excludes Jaime from being the one captaining the Lannister troops in the city. However, in his position as nobleman of the House Lannister, he can order those men round when he’s in “civilian” errands, i.e. personal business, such as when he ambushed The Ned with more or less twenty soldiers wearing the crimson livery, but apparently those were his own men and not from the Westerlands household army, as he refers to the one leading them, a certain Tregar, as “his captain” and later Cersei herself tells that those were his men.



Thus, Jaime excluded, there’s the Hound left as main suspect for position holder. This passage from a conversation between Eddard and Littlefinger merits attention:



“The Hound?” Ned asked, frowning. Of all the Lannister party, Sandor Clegane was the one who concerned him the most, now that Ser Jaime had fled the city to join his father.


“Oh, returned with Joffrey, and went straight to the queen.” Littlefinger smiled. “I would have given a hundred silver stags to have been a roach in the rushes when he learned that Lord Beric was off to behead his brother.”



Why does the Lord Hand feel so concerned about Clegane if he’s a mere royal bodyguard whose responsibility is to keep the heir hale and healthy and in one piece? This worry is noteworthy for a reason, and that can only be that the Hound is the leader of the crimson cloaks. Otherwise, the obvious distress shown by Stark appears less justified because, as ferocious and skilled and “badass” as Sandor Clegane is, he alone can’t overwhelm an army, even with a small bunch of guards assisting him. The Ned goes on to make a guesstimate on how many men Cersei’s personal army is made up of:



The queen has a dozen knights and a hundred men-at-arms who will do whatever she commands . . . enough to overwhelm what remains of my own household guard. And for all I know, her brother Jaime may be riding for King’s Landing even as we speak, with a Lannister host at his back.”



And as if to confirm his fears (and support the notion of Clegane as army leader on the side), the morning he had his armed altercation with the queen, he observed a martial show of strength below his window:



The grey light of dawn was streaming through his window when the thunder of hoofbeats awoke Eddard Stark from his brief, exhausted sleep. He lifted his head from the table to look down into the yard. Below, men in mail and leather and crimson cloaks were making the morning ring to the sound of swords, and riding down mock warriors stuffed with straw. Ned watched Sandor Clegane gallop across the hard-packed ground to drive an iron-tipped lance through a dummy’s head. Canvas ripped and straw exploded as Lannister guardsmen joked and cursed.


Is this brave show for my benefit? he wondered. If so, Cersei was a greater fool than he’d imagined.



Ned also observes that some of those queen’s soldiers are at the Throne room when he goes to face Cersei . . . again with the Hound in front of the men-at-arms, and when he’s the first to unsheathe his longsword, the royal guard and the Lannister soldiers follow his lead even before the queen or the new king give the order:



Above them, Prince Joffrey sat amidst the barbs and spikes in a cloth-of-gold doublet and a red satin cape. Sandor Clegane was stationed at the foot of the throne’s steep narrow stair. He wore mail and soot-grey plate and his snarling dog’s-head helm.


Behind the throne, twenty Lannister guardsmen waited with longswords hanging from their belts. Crimson cloaks draped their shoulders and steel lions crested their helms.



“And now the treason moves from words to deeds,” Cersei said. “Do you think Ser Barristan stands alone, my lord?” With an ominous rasp of metal on metal, the Hound drew his longsword. The knights of the Kingsguard and twenty Lannister guardsmen in crimson cloaks moved to support him.



Clegane also led them in the clash with the few northern soldiers of the Hand and the slaughter of his household, which would technically fall outside the competence of a normal sworn shield but not those of a commander of a House army (he wasn’t a Kingsguard yet). During that fight, an incident took place that could be traced to him:



So she wept, pleading through her door for them to tell her what was happening, calling for her father, for Septa Mordane, for the king, for her gallant prince. If the men guarding her heard her pleas, they gave no answer. The only time the door opened was late that night, when they thrust Jeyne Poole inside, bruised and shaking. “They’re killing everyone,” the steward’s daughter had shrieked at her. She went on and on. The Hound had broken down her door with a warhammer, she said. There were bodies on the stair of the Tower of the Hand, and the steps were slick with blood.



Considering that the whole of The Ned’s servants, and not just his soldiers, were killed—even someone that owed the Starks no allegiance due to being godsworn like Septa Mordane, who was innocent in this scenario—Jeyne Poole’s survival is exceptional. Even Cersei is surprised that the girl wasn’t disposed of:



“Everyone has been very sweet and pleasant, Your Grace, thank you ever so much for asking,” Sansa said politely. “Only, well, no one will talk to us or tell us what’s happened...”


“Us?” Cersei seemed puzzled.


“We put the steward’s girl in with her,” Ser Boros said. “We did not know what else to do with her.”


The queen frowned. “Next time, you will ask,” she said, her voice sharp. “The gods only know what sort of tales she’s been filling Sansa’s head with.”



It’s implicit in Joffrey’s words (“Kill them all!”) that the order given was to exterminate all of them and leave no northerner alive, which was likely corroborated by his mother as Regent as can be gleaned from her displeased reaction; so one wonders about the reasons to save Jeyne. Would someone like Boros Blount or any other Kingsguard or a Lannister soldier have recognised who the girl was? And even if they did, would they have cared enough to spare her life? They’d just killed people as innocent as Jeyne after all, servants that had no say in what their lord did or didn’t scheme, so there’s no apparent reason to have spared the girl’s life within that context. But if someone would, it had to be the Hound. He brought down her door violently, and could very well have killed her or allowed the others to finish her off, as she was nothing to him personally. Yet he’d be the one to recognise her as Lady Sansa’s little friend and the one to not only care enough so as to spare her life on those grounds but also have the authority to either order or at a minimum suggest to the other men take Jeyne to Sansa’s bedchamber to keep her company, and as leader of the queen’s forces, he’d be obeyed or his recommendation would be heeded in the absence of any other superior to tell the contrary. If this is correct, then Jeyne Poole would owe her life to Sandor Clegane.



Once a Kingsguard, he seems to have been fulfilling bodyguard duties more often than commander duties, but still he does appear doing work that a regular sworn shield wouldn’t necessarily be doing. As both Hand of the King and Lannister nobleman speaking for his father, Tyrion had now the authority to order and assign specific tasks to his sister’s troops as well as the Baratheon men of the royal troops “inherited” from Robert, not to mention the Gold Cloaks, and he places a lot of value on Clegane as an important member of their House’s army. When the bread riot happens, he reproaches Joffrey that:



“You set your dog on them! What did you imagine they would do, bend the knee meekly while the Hound lopped off some limbs? You spoiled witless little boy, you’ve killed Clegane and gods know how many more, and yet you come through unscratched. Damn you!” And he kicked him.



Joffrey is foolish enough to not realise, or mind, that risking to lose a man like him isn’t something the Lannisters can afford in their situation; with Jaime a prisoner, Tywin fighting elsewhere and Stannis’ armies approaching, they need loyal and competent leaders of men and Clegane is the best they have. Tyrion and the Hound aren’t exactly on cordial terms, yet the Imp is intelligent and knows how to put the Hound’s abilities to use for the benefit of their interests. So, he assigns him to go with Bronn and other soldiers to fight the fires in the city and protect the water wagons, whilst he orders the others to go on simple herald chores:



“Bronn, take as many men as you need and see that the water wagons are not molested,” Gods be good, the wildfire, if any blaze should reach that . . . “We can lose all of Flea Bottom if we must, but on no account must the fire reach the Guildhall of the Alchemists, is that understood? Clegane, you’ll go with him.


For half a heartbeat, Tyrion thought he glimpsed fear in the Hound’s dark eyes. Fire, he realized. The Others take me, of course he hates fire, he’s tasted it too well. The look was gone in an instant, replaced by Clegane’s familiar scowl. “I’ll go,” he said, “though not by your command. I need to find that horse.”



It’s interesting how mouthy he can be to the Hand, his superior both in social status and in authority, which amongst other things shows a degree of independence others in the crimson-and-gold household aren’t allowed, least of all by Cersei, who takes any doubting as a personal insult. And when the decisive Battle of Blackwater is looming closer, the Imp decides to have the Hound again in the role of battlefront commander; and coming from someone with a good grasp of war tactics as him this is a recognition that having him standing beside the king is a waste of human resources, for apart from the Hound there’s only another Kingsguard competent enough to be leading soldiers into battle:



“He says you mean to take the Hound from Joffrey.”


Damn Varys. “I need Clegane for more important duties.”


“Nothing is more important than the life of the king.”


“The life of the king is not at risk. Joff will have brave Ser Osmund guarding him, and Meryn Trant as well.” They’re good for nothing better. “I need Balon Swann and the Hound to lead sorties, to make certain Stannis gets no toehold on our side of the Blackwater.



It’s during the battle that we learn that Osfryd Kettleblack “captained the queen’s new red-cloak guard,” the position Clegane probably had before, and that his place beside Joffrey has been taken by Osmund Kettleblack. The two Kettleblacks in exchange for the Hound might appease Cersei, and these men might be convinced of their own suitability and their aptitude with a blade, and the washerwomen can talk about their fastness and strength, but Tyrion sees that these aren’t the men for such a perilous task, and so the Hound and Swann find themselves fighting for hours at the head of the combined forces of Lannister soldiers, Gold Cloaks and sellswords.



That is also part of the reason why Clegane decided to desert at Blackwater of all times: there’s the possibility that he could’ve taken it had the shaming been only to him personally as a warrior, but there he had been the commander of those troops and had been leading those men; his reputation as a soldier could take a blow and recover, especially because he had been fighting for hours and was all dented, bleeding, and exhausted to the core (he’s swaying as he stands and using his sword for support), which men could remember later, but the implication of cowardice as a commander is fatal to his reputation. There’s nothing worse for a battlefront officer than to be accused of that even if implicitly. And this is reinforced by the fact that after he’s gone all that people know of his performance, according to rumours Sansa heard, is that he deserted because of cowardice and no one seems to remember that he’d fought quite impressively and efficiently, going by what we see from Davos’ POV.



His fear of fire is shared by men who don’t have his traumatic background, too, as a sellsword dared to tell Tyrion, though the Imp dismisses it because he’s not been fighting surrounded by it, and in his own limited battle experience he’s desperate to proceed according to the theoretical tactics he knows well, which causes him to reject Clegane’s alternative tactic without hesitation:



The blood on Clegane’s face glistened red, but his eyes showed white. He drew his longsword.


He is afraid, Tyrion realized, shocked. The Hound is frightened. He tried to explain their need. “They’ve taken a ram to the gate, you can hear them, we need to disperse them—”


“Open the gates. When they rush inside, surround them and kill them.” The Hound thrust the point of his longsword into the ground and leaned upon the pommel, swaying. “I’ve lost half my men. Horse as well. I’m not taking more into that fire.”


Ser Mandon Moore moved to Tyrion’s side, immaculate in his enameled white plate. “The King’s Hand commands you.”



Such an advice clarifies that Clegane does master strategy and tactics as well, not merely hacking people down. The tactic he speaks of can actually be quite effective, and has many variations according to whether the battleground is in an open field or inside a city, and others. Without expanding so in-depth on it, the basic principle painted in broad strokes for simplicity and conciseness is this: lure the infantry into a trap by feigning to relinquish ground, i.e. a fake “we’re losing” feint, and once the infantry is on the spot you’ve marked as the trap, be it in the open field or within the city, surround them through a pincer movement that holds them trapped and still on place (a flanking/double envelopment manoeuvre with the cavalry if in the open field, which can also be reproduced on a smaller scale if the space within the city allows it) and once you have them enveloped with your own troops, proceed to slaughter them at will. As mentioned, it has several variations, and is the tactic that contributed to successful results for famous generals of the past like Alexander the Great, Hannibal Barca, Julius Caesar, and more recently the German panzer commanders, all of whom were able to defeat larger forces employing varieties of this tactic. It looks like Tyrion’s purely theoretical knowledge of battle (one combat experience doesn’t teach much) as well as pride, and perhaps the notion that allowing Stannis’ men into the castle would amount to defeat, factored in his decision to not take a seasoned commander’s opinion into account at least as an alternative, and go lose more soldiers’ lives in a risky and ultimately not very productive sortie that killed many and almost cost him his own life.



In sum, all those textual examples do serve to highlight that the Hound is not just a traditional royal bodyguard, that he has a baggage of experience and knowledge from being both a low-ranking fighter following orders and as a commander planning battle strategies, leading men into battle, etc., and is likely been doing that for a long time:



“I killed my first man at twelve. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve killed since then. High lords with old names, fat rich men dressed in velvet, knights puffed up like bladders with their honors, yes, and women and children too—they’re all meat, and I’m the butcher. Let them have their lands and their gods and their gold. Let them have their sers.”



These words of his to Sansa on the rooftop of Maegor’s Holdfast definitely do speak of a life that sounds more like that of a soldier than that of a sworn shield since boyhood.


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A certain person by the name of Brash that's responsible for the existence of these threads mind-tricked me into writing another piece for the Motherhood mini-project, and since I apparently haven't graduated from the Padawan academy yet, a new piece is going to be posted which will focus on examining the Hound's set of skills, and is going to be part of the arguments in Brash's upcoming essay for this series of analyses on the motherhood theme.

Mind-tricked! How terrible! :wideeyed: But in my defence it was a secret plot to get you to your true knight title in fine fashion. And I knew a post on Sandor was the only fitting way to do it ;)

Thanks again for looking into this and producing such a comprehensive analysis; it's valuable not only for my motherhood piece, but as another offering of insight into Sandor for interested readers.

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On the Hound’s job

<snip>

Fascinating read Milady! Every time there's a new essay from this thread, I learn more about the characters. Keep up the great work! I never put a lot of thought about all the tasks that Sandor actually does besides the designated "sworn shield" job description.

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That's a very interesting clump of information on Clegane's possible rank in the Lannister troops, since it is never explicitly stated. It's curious that he's one of the non-pov characters that seems so integral to the story that he cannot be cut or merged with anyone else in the TV series (besides LF stealing his lines). Most of the others in that role I can think of are major power players like Stannis, Tywin and other nobility, etc. Bronn as well, I suppose, but then he is tied intimately to Tyrion's story, who is pretty much one of the heroes (anti-hero?). I guess he's very infamous and the Hound persona is referenced so often by so many people in the story. I suppose what I mean is that his character is so dualistic, where the reader is given glimpses of different personas through different viewpoints but still kept back from a full fleshing out from full disclosure of his past or a pov of his own, which would probably show his personality as a complete whole and not a two-faced construct. So even though we know more than the characters, we still have to suspect there's stuff we don't know which GRRM eludes to. It does make me really hope that his redemption arc is not closed and we will see him again (besides being a gravedigger).


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Now I feel guilty about thinking Sansa's possible future in this series will turn out like Lavinia's in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. . .

Not based upon Sansa or any criticism of her, but upon the world she inhabits. . .

That's extremely unlikely. Her function in the story is completely different. Lavinia is a character whose purpose is to be "fridged" in order to move the plot and affect the more important male character, her father. Sansa is a main character who has been through a lot already and there would be no point to just pile more suffering on her for no reason but to show how awful the world is - we already see how awful her world is and have plenty of examples of girls/women suffering in it; she is not going to be "fridged" because she's not a supporting character in a more important male character's story. Her father and elder brother, who would have been protagonists/heroes of the entire story if it was a classic narrative, are both dead. If anything, Ned was "fridged" in order to produce an effect on the other characters, mostly his children and his wife - and Sansa is a character whose development was perhaps more affected by Ned's death than anyone else, it's the turning point in her story. Sansa's sufferings and troubles aren't supposed to produce a development in a main male character; they're supposed to produce a development in herself, as a main character.

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I never connected Sandor breaking down Jeyne Pooles door as him saving her life. It makes sense as Milady says, no one else would have hesitated to kill her as they killed all the Stark people. He knows she is Sansa's friend.

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I never connected Sandor breaking down Jeyne Pooles door as him saving her life. It makes sense as Milady says, no one else would have hesitated to kill her as they killed all the Stark people. He knows she is Sansa's friend.

Indeed. It also makes for a pointed comparison to the actions of Littlefinger with regard to Jeyne.

@Milady - I just remembered that Baelish made Lothor Brune the captain of the guards at the Eyrie. Interesting, isn't it? :)

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I read rereading A Clash of Kings recently and there's a bit in "Sansa II" of that book that I was always a bit confused about:





By now, Arya was safe back in Winterfell, dancing and sewing, playing with Bran and baby Rickon, even riding through the winter town if she liked. Sansa was allowed to go riding too, but only in the bailey, and it got boring going round in a circle all day.




It's a throwaway line, but are we supposed to take from this that the girls aren't supposed to go out riding, but Arya got exempted? Or did their parents just not want Sansa out by herself?


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I read rereading A Clash of Kings recently and there's a bit in "Sansa II" of that book that I was always a bit confused about:

It's a throwaway line, but are we supposed to take from this that the girls aren't supposed to go out riding, but Arya got exempted? Or did their parents just not want Sansa out by herself?

"The bailey" Sansa is referring to here is in Kings Landing not Winterfell. In her Lannister captivity she is only allowed to ride in the bailey. The winter town is just outside Winterfell so it isn't even very far. I think this line puts it in a better perspective:

“I’m sure I don’t know why Arya does anything.” Sansa hated stables, smelly places full of manure and flies. Even when she went riding, she liked the boy to saddle the horse and bring it to her in the yard. “Do you want to hear about the court or not?”

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SPOILERS FROM "THE PRINCESS AND THE QUEEN"



Reading The Princess and the Queen recently released, I came upon an interesting bit of information that might reveal a detail about Sansa’s favourite song.




There’s a Ser Florian amongst Lord Mooton's men at Maidenpool, and his description is included in this passage:



“The girl is but a child, however foul her treasons,” said Ser Florian, that old knight, grey and grizzled and stern. “The Old King would never have asked this, of any man of honor.”


“These are foul times,” Lord Mooton said, “and it is a foul choice this queen has given me. The girl is a guest beneath my roof. If I obey, Maidenpool shall be forever cursed. If I refuse, we shall be attainted and destroyed.”



We know that the “historical” Florian was a knight and that he met Jonquil at Maidenpool, according to a Jaime chapter in ASOS; and as their legend is previous to the time of the Dance of the Dragons, we can assume he was named after Florian the Fool, someone that’d be legendary by then and more so in the home of Jonquil.



Which brings me to the most interesting bit: In the castle of Lord Mooton one tower is called Jonquil's Tower:



Prince Daemon helped Nettles saddle Sheepstealer one last time. It was her custom to feed him each day before she flew; dragons bend easier to their rider’s will when full. That morning she fed him a black ram, the largest in all Maidenpool, slitting the ram’s throat herself. Her riding leathers were stained with blood when she mounted her dragon, Maester Norren records, and “her cheeks were stained with tears.” No word of farewell was spoken betwixt man and maid, but as Sheepstealer beat his leathery brown wings and climbed into the dawn sky, Caraxes raised his head and gave a scream that shattered every window in Jonquil’s Tower. High above the town, Nettles turned her dragon toward the Bay of Crabs, and vanished in the morning mists, never to be seen again at court or castle.



Does this not suggest that the “historical” Jonquil that inspired Sansa's favourite song could've been a Mooton? If she wasn’t of House Mooton, then of the family that held the castle before them, because naming a tower after her hints that the maiden lived there. Jonquil was highborn after all, whereas Florian was lowborn, so she’d need to have a rank higher than that of a knight, like a Lord’s daughter.



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SPOILERS FROM "THE PRINCESS AND THE QUEEN"

Reading The Princess and the Queen recently released, I came upon an interesting bit of information that might reveal a detail about Sansa’s favourite song.

There’s a Ser Florian amongst Lord Mooton's men at Maidenpool, and his description is included in this passage:

“The girl is but a child, however foul her treasons,” said Ser Florian, that old knight, grey and grizzled and stern. “The Old King would never have asked this, of any man of honor.”

“These are foul times,” Lord Mooton said, “and it is a foul choice this queen has given me. The girl is a guest beneath my roof. If I obey, Maidenpool shall be forever cursed. If I refuse, we shall be attainted and destroyed.”

We know that the “historical” Florian was a knight and that he met Jonquil at Maidenpool, according to a Jaime chapter in ASOS; and as their legend is previous to the time of the Dance of the Dragons, we can assume he was named after Florian the Fool, someone that’d be legendary by then and more so in the home of Jonquil.

Which brings me to the most interesting bit: In the castle of Lord Mooton one tower is called Jonquil's Tower:

Prince Daemon helped Nettles saddle Sheepstealer one last time. It was her custom to feed him each day before she flew; dragons bend easier to their rider’s will when full. That morning she fed him a black ram, the largest in all Maidenpool, slitting the ram’s throat herself. Her riding leathers were stained with blood when she mounted her dragon, Maester Norren records, and “her cheeks were stained with tears.” No word of farewell was spoken betwixt man and maid, but as Sheepstealer beat his leathery brown wings and climbed into the dawn sky, Caraxes raised his head and gave a scream that shattered every window in Jonquil’s Tower. High above the town, Nettles turned her dragon toward the Bay of Crabs, and vanished in the morning mists, never to be seen again at court or castle.

Does this not suggest that the “historical” Jonquil that inspired Sansa's favourite song could've been a Mooton? If she wasn’t of House Mooton, then of the family that held the castle before them, because naming a tower after her hints that the maiden lived there. Jonquil was highborn after all, whereas Florian was lowborn, so she’d need to have a rank higher than that of a knight, like a Lord’s daughter.

MORE SPOILERS FROM "THE PRINCESS AND THE QUEEN"

We never get the details of the Florian and Jonquil story, but I wonder if some might be inferred from the events in The Princess and the Queen

A tower named after Jonquil might imply the typical fairy tale of an imprisoned maiden.

Lord Mooton is asked to do a dishonorable task. I wonder if the events that unfold either mirror the Florian and Jonquil tale or mirror the attempted "crimes" of the Florian and Jonquil tale that Lord Mooton does not want to see repeated. The bolded parts strike me as likely aspects of the tale.

Long leagues to the north, in a castle overlooking the Bay of Crabs, another lord found himself sliding down a sword’s edge as well. From King’s Landing came a raven bearing the queen’s message to Manfryd Mooton, Lord of Maidenpool: he was to deliver her the head of the bastard girl Nettles, who was said to have become Prince Daemon’s lover and who the queen had therefore judged guilty of high treason. “No harm is to be done my lord husband, Prince Daemon of House Targaryen,” Her Grace commanded. “Send him back to me when the deed is done, for we have urgent need of him.”

All we know is that the maester, a young man of two-and-twenty, found Prince Daemon and the girl Nettles at their supper that night, and showed them the queen’s letter. After reading the letter, Prince Daemon said, “A queen’s words, a whore’s work.” Then he drew his sword and asked if Lord Mooton’s men were waiting outside the door to take them captive. When told that the maester had come alone and in secret, Prince Daemon sheathed his sword, saying, “You are a bad maester, but a good man,” and then bade him leave, commanding him to “speak no word of this to lord nor love until the morrow.”

No word of farewell was spoken betwixt man and maid, but as Sheepstealer beat his leathery brown wings and climbed into the dawn sky, Caraxes raised his head and gave a scream that shattered every window in Jonquil’s Tower. High above the town, Nettles turned her dragon toward the Bay of Crabs, and vanished in the morning mists, never to be seen again at court or castle.

The singers tell us that the old prince survived the fall and afterward made his way back to the girl Nettles, to spend the remainder of his days at her side. Such stories make for charming songs, but poor history.

Perhaps the birth status of Florian and Jonquil is inverted here and maybe some of the other details as well. The idea of never being seen at court or castle again lends itself well to the Dragonflies path. The Eyrie and Jonquil's tower as a possible prisons have potential parallels too as does the maester helping relative to the way Sansa seems to be gaining allies. Lots of ways to speculate on the love interest running off to fight a final battle. At the moment I find myself focusing in on Nettles flying away and pondering the bird/warg possibilities.

Very speculative even with the "charming song" reference but mirroring or inverting the details of Florian and Jonquil is the type of thing Martin might very well do.

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Intriguing thoughts Milady and Rag.



It's also notable that Winterfell twice supported the rights of Targaryen queens, with the Tullys and the Arryns - Lady Jeyne, the Maiden of the Vale - on Blacks' side as well. Textual evidence supports Sansa playing a notable role in the developing conflict in Westeros, so it's interesting to ponder if we can take any clues from the choices of the central families she is linked to and how it might play out.



Caraxes shattering every window in Jonquil's tower was quite the dramatic touch, hinting at a passion between Nettles and Daemon that could very well have contributed to more than "poor history" as the maester opines.


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Oh I forgot to mention:

It's a shame we didn't get to see the fight between Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk. Apparently it was a casualty of the editing process.


“Prince Aemon the Dragonknight cried the day Princess Naerys wed his brother Aegon,” Sansa Stark said, “and the twins Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk died with tears on their cheeks after each had given the other a mortal wound.”


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Intriguing thoughts Milady and Rag.

It's also notable that Winterfell twice supported the rights of Targaryen queens, with the Tullys and the Arryns - Lady Jeyne, the Maiden of the Vale - on Blacks' side as well. Textual evidence supports Sansa playing a notable role in the developing conflict in Westeros, so it's interesting to ponder if we can take any clues from the choices of the central families she is linked to and how it might play out.

Caraxes shattering every window in Jonquil's tower was quite the dramatic touch, hinting at a passion between Nettles and Daemon that could very well have contributed to more than "poor history" as the maester opines.

The Winterfell backing of two consecutive female candidates for the Iron Throne is a very curious detail-- more so since the male over female vote was 20 to 1.

There might be a religious angle with respect to marriage. The family trees are a bit fuzzy to me (too little info, too much incest and bigamy), but I think the assertion that they were backing the proper claimant from the first marriage works out. This would be interesting to ponder in light of the Faith Militant uprising. The North and their old gods seem to find incest as abhorrent as those following the Seven though they likely had no part in that uprising. We aren't really told about their specific reactions on bigamy but in a world where First Night is Ok and all the lords still have one wife it seems like that isn't viewed upon very favorably either. To the best of my ability to figure it out it seems that there weren't any incest candidates involved on either side so that isn't a factor. The degree to which there was respect for the first marriage (and disdain for the second akin to the Faith Militant "rebelling" against incest) relative to old god beliefs is worth reflecting on.

I personally don't think a respect for the first marriage explains it because there's no real evidence of blanket animosity to all second wife offspring. It's worth looking at women in the North to see if there may be clues.

I wonder if the spearwives speak to a different cultural mindset more apparent in the past prior to Andal influences. Northmen don't seem to expect women to fight like the wildlings do but the Mormont women never experience anything like Brienne's treatment from their fellow Northmen either. No one, at least no Northman, balks at Maege as a war leader. No one balks at Lady Dustin ruling Barrowtown either and she's not even Dustin by blood. The mountain clans are willing to march off to death save The Ned's girl. Alys Karstark, Arya and Lyanna have a feminine feistiness that would never fly in a Southron House (other than Dorne.) We see more of that in Manderly's granddaughter and Lyanna Mormont. They aren't quite spearwives but they'd still give Septa Mordane a stroke.

Mance kicks out his whole council while talking with Jon but Dalla stays. Mance may have been bluffing about the horn but still has a certain reverence for Dalla's sorcery advice-- the same advice Val tries to impart to Jon later. Val is clearly a leadership figure among the Wildlings even if the title of princess and its implications are wrong. She's clearly capable of defending herself but is still honored by the grant of a giant as a protector-- that alludes to her respect as separate from pure martial prowess. The wildlings also have the Bael the Bard tale that speaks of a House Stark preserved through the female line. Looking back in time as Bran did we see a woman wielding the throat slitting dagger in a ceremony with hints of First Men justice.

All of this is worth taking a closer look at given that the North backed the female claimants consistently. Jon repeatedly insists to Stannis that Winterfell is Sansa's by right. He not only tells Karstark that daughters come before uncles but takes steps to see that Alys gets Karhold. Alys herself also runs to Jon, the last son of Ned Stark, when she wants her rights protected instead of Stannis the King. There's plenty to ponder. The Vale also seems to have strong First Men influences in House Royce and the Mountain Clans have a similar spearwife notion. It is interesting because it was the Starks, Dustins and Manderlys that backed the female claims and went to war for Rhaenyra. The Maiden of the Vale, an Arryn ruling in her own right, also allied with Rhaenyra though I don't think we're told who the Arryn's backed in the council. She also had wide support among the Riverlands Houses.

The speculation is that we'll see a Dance 2.0 between the greens and the blacks represented by the dragon colors. That seems reasonable. Dany and Aegon warring is also a common take, but the original green and black colors came from dresses the princess (black) and the queen (green) wore to a tourney years prior. Even the title The Princess and the Queen speaks of the important rivalry (arguably one sided jealousy) being between two women despite the "fight" being between a male and a female claimant. (Another angle to look at the conflict might be to see it as a fight between a woman trying to rule in her own right and a woman trying to rule vicariously through a son.) There are a lot of places to go with all this but I think dress color over dragon color is a very important detail. The dress colors come in a footnote that I didn't read until the end and I was a bit shocked that the colors came from dresses with so many brilliant color descriptions of the dragons given the nature of the conflict.

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This is so hard,,,,,must not open spolier box's. Must wait for Christmas to read TP&TQ...do not sneak a look.


I think I'd be safer if I told my husband to wrap the book now and leave it at his parents house because it being sat on top of our wardrobe is just a bit much. Not to mention all the spoilers cropping up on the forum.


Argh..

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