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Milady of York

From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa XXI

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I saw someone elsewhere question why Sansa would add a hood onto the cloak, and it got me thinking.

Hoods are used for two things - protection and concealment.

We see the NW protect themselves against the cold with hoods. We know Bloodraven used a hooded cloak to protect against the sun. So the idea of a hood as a 'protector' fits very well with Lady Gwyn's assertion that Sansa has made a 'shield'.

More pertinently, we have the numerous examples of people wearing hoods to conceal their identities. The hooded man, Cat, Varys, the Hound among others. This fits with Sansa who is trying not only to conceal her identity, but also to 'hang on to herself'. In creating a hood for her shield, Sansa might be doing so to remind herself that she's Sansa Stark. The hood might be symbolic of her inner resistance, as she conceals her true self and feelings from not only those at the Vale buying LF's ruse - but from LF himself. Again, this fits with Lady Gwyn's notion of the cloak becoming a 'shield'.

Great point about the cloak hiding identity as well as offering protection, yolkboy! In my essay on Sansa's Arthurian themes I asserted that she became a Grail Maiden (guardian of Self) for Sandor on the night he left the cloak in her chambers. Also, that as she fled KL she donned the green cloak not only as protection, but as her own symbolic Grail Castle in which to hide her identity. The concept of the Grail Castle as the unconscious where the experience of Self may be discovered is a cornerstone of Jungian interpretation of the myth. (This observation is where the cloak theory actually originated) We see this borne out in her chapters following the flight, as her true identity is increasingly subject to her assumed identity. How appropriate it will be then if, as brash speculates, the cloak becomes instrumental (literally as a vehicle, as she has the hairnet of death concealed in its pocket) in her reassertion of her true identity. The narrative purpose of the cloak continues to gain symbolic and thematic relevance as we look deeper.

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The Elder Brothers healing powers: Enhanced by the Old Gods?

*snip

So, considering that the weirwood at Winterfell is responsible for whatever magic there is in the lichyard that maintains Sansas link to her direwolf, then the hidden weirwood in the cave could have the same function as well, in relation to Sandor. If the Old Gods had a hand in Sandor ending up replacing her as Sansas protector after Lady died, then itd be thematically fitting that theyd have to do with his recovery after the Hound died as well. And if both protectors of Sansa have been nurtured by the Old Gods, and end up in a lichyard, it would suggest that Sandor is officially ordained as Ladys replacement, and through doing this penance there hes now recognisably assuming this duty.

Interesting connections that reinforce Sandor fulfilling the foreshadowing in Robert's statement "Get her a dog, she'll be happier for it."

I'm also fascinated by the thematic link of Stark children to caves and lichyards as Ragnorak noted. Relative to the EB theory, Sansa would have a clear connection to the QI cave and lichyard, while Arya is clearly linked to the Riverlands cave, Bran to BR's cave and Jon to the CB lichyard. Since the lichyard is a symbol of death and a cave of rebirth, I wonder what we can make of it? In the case of Sansa I think you've laid out a nice case for Lady (dead in the lichyard) being symbolically reborn, through the agency of EB in the QI cave, as Sandor.

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The fact that we're considering these three places mentioned here as magical is agreeable, but notice the common factor here remains the weiwoods. It's from them that the magic is flowing. About Thoros, we know that his magic is different than Melisandre's magic, so can we assume that the Old Gods are assisting him, or calling to him in some way, or Blood raven is involved here? Because we know that Thoros hasn't converted his faith from Arya's POV.

I read the OP of your thread AryaK, and it really lends itself well to this theory on Sandor's recovery by the old gods, obscured or facilitated through the actions of men of different faiths. That he's possibly been "reborn" in two caves where the presence of weirwoods is noted and/or implied is quite provocative and seemingly part of a deliberate trajectory that Rag spoke of upthread. For a man like Sandor, whose life has been defined by the destructive power of fire - manifested in the identity of the Hound - I find the idea of the weirwoods representing the balance of ice and fire to be very appealing concerning the healing of these psychic wounds, his future potential, and the reunion with Winterfell's daughter.

Also notice that the two people working wonders here- The Elder Brother and Thoros are working for a just cause, to bring stability to the realm, to bring justice and peace. Is it possible that the Old Gods are assisting them (Or Bloodraven is) by channeling magic through them? I'd really like to here some opinions about that. Because I do believe that it will be revealed that the old gods, or broadly speaking anything that embodies the ice and fire symbolism are the key to all magic - ex Obsidian or Frozen Fire.

It's interesting to think about, but not so clear cut I'd imagine. Given BR's direct involvement with Bran, I'd say that it's about the Stark children and the roles they will play in the main conflict ahead. Sandor as the replacement for Lady has to be sheltered to fulfil that role.

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Hi, all.



I've been following the P2P threads for some time, tho' I rarely post. Owing to Real Life I've been away from the boards for about a month. And what do I come back to find? Quite a lovely assortment of "as is" porcelain, there!



I'm delighted by the EB-as-hedge-knight theory, and amused by the green cloak. I have a little notion regarding the latter. Has anyone noticed how easy it would be for Sansa to get *green* dye? After all, it's a Tyrell color.



Picture it: Sansa is giggling and gushing with Margery, who's telling her all about Willas and Highgarden. Sansa says something to the effect of how excited she is that they're to be sisters. Only, alas, she has nothing green to wear to honor her betrothed when she goes to the Reach. Could one of Margery's ladies spare a bit of dye, so she can redo an old garment? These lions are loath to splurge on clothing their hostages, so poor Sansa must make do.



:laugh:





Just chipping in to the potsherds. Keep crackin', folks!


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Picture it: Sansa is giggling and gushing with Margery, who's telling her all about Willas and Highgarden. Sansa says something to the effect of how excited she is that they're to be sisters. Only, alas, she has nothing green to wear to honor her betrothed when she goes to the Reach. Could one of Margery's ladies spare a bit of dye, so she can redo an old garment? These lions are loath to splurge on clothing their hostages, so poor Sansa must make do.

Welcome to the thread Purrl, and I can definitely picture this scenario :) I suggested before that it could have been a Tyrell servant who dyed the cloak for Sansa, and this fits nicely with that possibility. Not only doing needlework on the cloak and imagining the unkiss with them, but using their dye? That is taking it too far :laugh:

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I read the OP of your thread AryaK, and it really lends itself well to this theory on Sandor's recovery by the old gods, obscured or facilitated through the actions of men of different faiths. That he's possibly been "reborn" in two caves where the presence of weirwoods is noted and/or implied is quite provocative and seemingly part of a deliberate trajectory that Rag spoke of upthread. For a man like Sandor, whose life has been defined by the destructive power of fire - manifested in the identity of the Hound - I find the idea of the weirwoods representing the balance of ice and fire to be very appealing concerning the healing of these psychic wounds, his future potential, and the reunion with Winterfell's daughter.

It's interesting to think about, but not so clear cut I'd imagine. Given BR's direct involvement with Bran, I'd say that it's about the Stark children and the roles they will play in the main conflict ahead. Sandor as the replacement for Lady has to be sheltered to fulfil that role.

Thanks Brashcandy. :) .

About Bloodraven, I'm not sure he's calling specifically to Stark children as if that is his main motive, it is part of his grander scheme of things I believe. I know how it sounds very generic, but in the novellas he is painted in a very dark light (for in-universe characters) so I'm rather inclined to believe otherwise, that he is working for the greater good. People have made arguments against him saying that he has deserted Night's Watch. Another possibility should be accounted for, which is that he might still be bound by the oath to the NW, still defending the "realms of men" as he alone realizes the real threat. So we should ideally assume that the scope of his plans go well beyond just the Stark children.

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Thanks to Milady of York and brashcandy for another great crackpottish theory! You've provided quite a bit of food for thought. And this thread indeed feels like a gift chapter. :)



At the beginning of this thread, Milady of York announced a Gothic Romance mini-project which was kicked off by Mahaut with her essay on The Bloody Chamber, followed by brashcandy's essay on the appropriation of the Female Gothic in Sansa's arc. I shall be posting an essay on Jamaica Inn shortly. However, I first want to thank Milady and brash for inviting me to participate in this mini-project. I also want to express my gratitude to Milady for her patience, suggestions, and input, and for playing the role of both muse and mentor.


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Sexual Awakening in the Female Gothic



No Gothic novel is complete without a huge, ancient, foreboding structure of some kind for the heroine to get lost in. In the Female Gothic, this structure is more than simply where the story takes place; the structure in the story becomes the structure of the story, and also becomes the structure of the heroine's emerging sexuality. [1]





The exploration of female sexual awakening is an intrinsic theme in the Female Gothic. A young, virginal female protagonist embarks on a harrowing journey, navigating through a dangerous and terrifying setting of isolation and decay, finding herself in the clutches of a corrupt and tyrannical patriarchal figure; and this very same journey takes the heroine from childlike innocence to sexual maturity. According to Angela Lynn Rae, "In order to achieve her happy ending the heroine has had to explore her emerging sexual identity, confronting the dangers faced by sexually adult women in a patriarchal society, dangers which are symbolised by the Gothic setting."[2] This essay seeks to explore Sansa Stark’s own sexual awakening through the lens of the Female Gothic, comparing her own arc to the leading character of Jamaica Inn, Mary Yellan.



Jamaica Inn – Summary



Mary Yellan, the female protagonist of Jamaica Inn, suddenly finds herself without any close living relatives upon the death of her mother. Honoring her mother’s dying wish to go live with her aunt Patience, an aunt she barely knows, in a far off town, Mary reluctantly leaves the only home she has ever known, one that’s provided her with a sense of comfort and many happy memories. Leaving her home for the first time ever, she finds the landscape she travels through cold, dismal, barren, harsh, and unwelcoming. When Mary finally arrives at her destination, she’s the only passenger left in the carriage, as all the others off boarded at the last town before Jamaica Inn. At this last stop before Jamaica Inn, the passengers and driver warn Mary not to continue.



Mary, overcome with a desire to heed their warnings, gathers her resolve and decides she must continue on to Jamaica Inn. She finds the inn isolated, in a state of disrepair, and cold and dirty, inhabited only by the landlord, her uncle Joss, a brute and a drunk, and his timid, fearful wife, her aunt Patience. During her stay at Jamaica Inn, Mary uncovers a terrible smuggling enterprise led by her uncle who, along with a gang of unsavory companions, wreck ships, kill the passengers, and steal the cargo.



Mary, even though she longs to leave, decides to stay for the sake of her broken aunt, a woman who is now only a shell of her former self. After being abducted by Joss and forced to witness a chilling and horrifying “wrecking” expedition, Mary is determined that justice be served and attempts to seek help from the vicar of the nearest village, Altarnun, as well as the magistrate of Launceston. When neither is available, Mary heads back to Jamaica Inn and finds Joss and Patience have been murdered.



The vicar, whom she has already met and feels she can trust, offers his hospitality; and during her stay at his comfortable and “odd” house, he reveals that he murdered Joss and Patience and is the mastermind behind the smuggling operation. Knowing it won’t be long before the authorities discover his involvement, he flees, forcing Mary to go with him. Before they get far, a search party, which includes Joss’ brother Jem, an unrepentant horse thief with whom Mary has fallen in love, shoots and kills the vicar.



After spending a few weeks pondering her future, Mary decides to go back to her hometown to resume the life she left behind for Jamaica Inn. While walking along the moors, Mary crosses paths with Jem, and decides to go with him despite a lifestyle he feels no need to renounce and his own warnings he won’t be good for her.



Journey from Childhood to Adulthood




The Gothic heroine’s journey begins with the departure from home, a familiar and safe place that symbolizes childhood innocence, to the unknown that turns into a perilous and anxiety-inducing passage into adulthood. Navigating through the dangers of unfamiliar territory where predatory men present a real threat to her innocence, the heroine transitions from a sexually inexperienced child to a sexually mature woman who embraces and asserts her own sexual autonomy.



Mary is a very attractive woman in her early twenties, brave, resolute, and intelligent. But despite her age, the readers are led to believe she’s sexually innocent, having decided to sacrifice a relationship with a man in order to care for her ailing mother and look after their farm. Once the latter dies, Mary fulfills her mother’s wish that she go live with her aunt, who now resides at Jamaica Inn with her husband, and thus will begin her journey.



Even though Mary is already in her twenties, her pragmatic and unromantic attitude towards love and sex suggests she’s clinging to childhood. The reluctance she feels at having to leave the only home she’s ever known, that fills her with a sense of safety and warmth, symbolizes her resistance to recognizing her own sexuality. Scornfully thinking of women as silly and weak, she refuses to enter into that realm of womanhood.





Mary was no hypocrite; she was bred to the soil, and she had lived too long with the birds and beasts, had watched them mate, and bear their young, and die. There was precious little romance in nature, and she would not look for it in her own life.




When she arrives at Jamaica Inn, she’s horrified by what has happened to her aunt, astonished that someone she remembers as so pretty and vibrant has been reduced to a timid woman who cowers in her husband’s presence. And during Mary’s stay at the inn, Joss futilely will attempt to crush Mary as he’s crushed his wife. It’s within this menacing and dangerous setting that Mary, for the first time, struggles with feelings of love and lust when she meets Joss’ brother Jem, a man who proudly and unapologetically lives outside the law.





The thought of staying in Launceston with Jem Merlyn made her heart beat faster perhaps, and it was exciting to think about it now he was gone and he could not see her face, but for all that she would not lose her head to please him. Once she departed from the line of conduct she had laid down for herself, there would be no returning.




Sansa’s upbringing as a highborn noble is vastly different from a woman growing up on a farm, yet both she and Mary were isolated from the larger world and when they leave home, it’s the first time for each. When Sansa first leaves Winterfell, her circumstances also differ from Mary’s: whereas Mary has lost her mother (and her father a long while ago) and travels to an unknown place alone and with reticence, Sansa travels to King’s Landing with enthusiasm in the company of her father and sister. She’s overjoyed at the prospect of her new life in King’s Landing, expecting it will be a place where all the stories from her favorite tales and songs will come to life.



Soon after leaving Winterfell, things sour quickly for Sansa. The altercation between Joffrey, Mycah, and Arya mar the journey, creating tension and conflict. And as much as Sansa initially loves King’s Landing, Ned’s men are soon slaughtered by Jaime Lannister, and then Ned is executed and Arya disappears. Sansa quickly finds herself alone and isolated, surrounded by no one she can trust save two unlikely people. As beautiful as Sansa once found King’s Landing palace, it is now a place of danger where she withstands insults, beatings, and threats of rape.



In contrast to the adult and obstinate Mary, Sansa is a very innocent child. Sansa, whose notion of romance fits into a tight and tidy paradigm romanticized by troubadours, begins her journey extremely young and naïve, not at all prepared to handle the realistic complexities of adulthood. While captive at King’s Landing, Sansa struggles with her idealistic worldview as those surrounding her attempt to shatter it. Mary’s journey, on the other hand, forces her to reexamine her own cynical perception of women and love as she vacillates between embracing her sexuality and rejecting it.




Fear of Womanhood



The fear of emerging womanhood is an inherent theme in the Female Gothic. In the world of Westeros and during the 19th century, in which Jamaica Inn takes place, commonly arranged marriages and childbirth presented genuine anxiety, fear, and danger. The transition from child to woman was truly daunting, fraught with the unknown. Hence Mary’s attempts to hold onto her sexual innocence by telling herself women are foolish and silly, and settling for a life of domesticity as a wife will only end in unhappiness.



During one of Joss’ days-long drinking binges, Mary is able to leave the inn for the day and spends it with Jem, who takes her to a Christmas Eve fair. After enjoying a carefree day together, Jem asks Mary to spend the night with him. Tempted, Mary resists, denying her own sexual desires in obligatory adherence to the norms of a patriarchal society, and thinks of her aunt, a woman who, for her, symbolizes the dangers of womanhood.






She wished that women were not the frail things of straw she believed them to be; then she could stay this night with Jem Merlyn and forget herself as he could forget, and both of them part with a laugh and a shrug of the shoulder in the morning. But she was a woman, and it was impossible. A few kisses had made a fool of her already. She thought of Aunt Patience, trailing like a ghost in the shadow of her master, and she shuddered.





However, Mary, though she suspects that Jem may be involved with the smuggling ring, openly professes to the vicar her feelings for Jem and the fear those feelings instill:





“I don't want to love like a woman or feel like a woman, Mr. Davey; there’s pain that way, and suffering, and misery that can last a lifetime. I didn’t bargain for this; I don’t want it.”




Mary, after Jem abandons her on Christmas Eve, finds herself in real danger when a drunken Joss and his band of rogues kidnap her and force her to accompany them on one of their wrecking expeditions. During the two-hour trip, she is subjected to chauvinistic verbal abuse. And on arriving at their planned destination, she then finds herself fending off an attempted rape by one of Joss’ men. Escaping her would-be rapist, Mary runs toward Joss and the rest of his men as they’re about to overtake a ship, and is savagely beaten, tied, and gagged for trying to yell out warnings.



Sexual predators surround Sansa as well. Within the confines of the Red Keep as a prisoner, her sexuality begins to emerge, along with the threat of womanhood. When Sansa experiences her first menstrual cycle, she’s terrified and attempts to burn her bloodied bed and clothes to hide that she can now bear children, which leaves her even more vulnerable to the Lannisters, as they can now imprison her forever as Joffrey’s wife and mother of his children.





She squirmed away in horror, kicking at the sheets and falling to the floor, breathing raggedly, naked, bloodied, and afraid.


But as she crouched there, on her hands and knees, understanding came. “No, please,” Sansa whimpered, “please, no.” She didn’t want this happening to her, not now, not here, not now, not now, not now, not now.




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.






When it was time for the bedding, her knights carried her up to the tower, stripping her as they went and shouting bawdy jests. Tyrion spared me that, Sansa remembered. It would not have been so bad being undressed for a man she loved, by friends who loved them both.


Sexual Awakening



Romance between the heroine and a socially unacceptable love interest is a central plotline in the Female Gothic. The heroine falls in love with the Gothic hero typically characterized by Byronic traits—a brooding, troubled man who struggles with his own inner demons and whose behavior often confuses and/or upsets the heroine. In Sansa’s case, a dangerous, horribly scarred non-knight; and in Mary’s, a thief and drifter. According to Angela Lynn Rae, the hero of the Female Gothic “acts as a catalyst in the heroine’s move towards a definition of female sexuality independent from the patriarchal order.”[3] Sandor’s contemptuous attitude toward the respected institution of knighthood and lack of interest in social and economic climbing and Jem’s general disregard for society and the law represent a metaphorical criticism of that patriarchal order. The hero, similar to the heroine, also undergoes a psychological journey, a journey often defined by a search for redemption for a failing that it is a source of guilt and shame.



Mary, initially reluctant to fall in love with Jem, in the end openly recognizes her feelings towards him when confiding in Francis Davey. Even though she suspects Jem is complicit in Joss’ wrecking operation, bonded by love, she tries desperately to convince herself of his innocence.






And now she ranged herself on his side, she defended him instead, without reason and against her sane judgment, bound to him already because of his hands upon her and a kiss in the dark…


She spoke now to reassure herself rather than the man at her side, and Jem’s innocence became suddenly of vital importance.





Sansa, with all of her illusions of knighthood and royalty completely shattered, finds herself attracted to the one man who challenged those illusions in an effort to protect her. Before the pivotal Battle of the Blackwater scene, three events that set Sandor apart from the patriarchal order, an order exemplified by predatory men who seek to strip Sansa of her economic and sexual rights, have occurred: Sandor covers Sansa with his Kingsguard cloak after she’s been stripped naked and beaten; Sandor saves Sansa from gang rape and probable death during the King’s Landing riot; and Sandor, who just recently observed that Sansa is developing into a woman, is there to catch and steady Sansa as she nearly falls after experiencing her first menstrual cramp. Sandor also stands in stark contrast to the sexual predators and oppressors who present a genuine threat to Sansa in that he continually expresses a strong desire to willing receive her gaze, rather than use her for his own economic ambitions.



In addition to being present during a crucial moment when Sansa unknowingly experiences the onset of her first menstrual cycle, Sandor appears in her bedroom while she’s still menstruating, during the Battle of the Blackwater, which we know because Cersei asked her about it:





“You look pale, Sansa," Cersei observed. "Is your red flower still blooming?"


"Yes."


"How apt. The men will bleed out there, and you in here."




After being told rape or Ser Ilyn Payne’s axe is the likely outcome if the city falls, Sansa runs to her room for protection, and there she finds Sandor Clegane waiting. The setting is terrifying—men dying by the thousands, the fall of the city very likely, and wildfire raging. Both are gripped in a paroxysm of fear. Sandor, suffering from extreme PTSD brought on by exhaustion from hours upon hours of battle, where he faced his deepest fear—fire—is extremely drunk. In this state of emotional turmoil he summons the courage to ask Sansa to leave King’s Landing with him, an attempt at rescue that he botches terribly. After telling her he would keep her safe and allow no one else to ever hurt her, at his rawest, he reacts poorly to perceived rejection: “Still can’t bear to look, can you?” And further terrifying an already afraid girl, he forces her to sing for him. After Sansa sings the Mother’s Hymn, Sandor, reduced to tears for frightening Sansa and taking something from her without her consent, rips off his white Kingsguard cloak and leaves consumed with shame and regret. Sansa, after Sandor leaves, wraps herself in his discarded cloak—a Kingsguard cloak Sandor once draped over her to cover her nakedness from the uninvited looks of the predatory men surrounding her.



It’s significant that Sansa is still menstruating—on the verge of womanhood—when this emotionally-charged scene with sexual undertones unfolds. Sandor wants Sansa to willing return his gaze and willfully return the desire he feels for her (You promised me a song, little bird. Have you forgotten? Look at me. Look at me…), yet, in a transitory stage, she’s still too young and unprepared to enter into a relationship of this nature. And while both are emotionally vulnerable, which shifts the balance of power, it is by no means equal at this stage, as Sandor has his own emotional issues to work out before he can interact with Sansa on a level playing field.



The deep emotional connection that Sansa and Sandor experience when she sings him the Mother’s Hymn and cups his cheek acts as a catalyst for them both. Sansa, through song and a gentle touch, penetrates Sandor’s wall of rage and fear, calming him.[4] Sandor, ashamed and guilt-ridden, enters into self-imposed exile in search for redemption. For Sansa, Sandor becomes the object of her sexual fantasies as she invents the UnKiss. This, coupled with the keeping of the cloak, suggests that as Sansa transitions into adulthood, Sandor will play a central role when she fully embraces her sexuality and regains her agency.



Mary, similar to Sansa, receives a visitor in her room late at night after the traumatizing events of the wrecking expedition, rape attempt, and vicious beating that left her unconscious for two days. After Joss tells her that he, Patience and she are to flee Jamaica Inn, she decides to take matters into her own hands, and while plotting her escape from the inn so she can travel to the next town to turn Joss in, Jem sneaks into her bedroom. Mary, initially excited that he pays her a covert visit, finds his demeanor frightening and off-putting. She notes a streak of cruelty in the expression of his face and feels detached and alienated from him.






She thought again of the laughing, carefree Jem who had driven her to Launceston, who had swung hands with her in the market square, who had kissed her and held her. Now he was grave and silent, his face in shadow. The idea of dual personality troubled her, and frightened her as well. He was like a stranger to her tonight, obsessed by some grim purpose she could not understand.





This scene follows the similar Female Gothic plotline of rape attempt, rescue attempt, failing, and hero’s journey with a twist and inversion of the journey. Mary, who had to fight off a rapist and then was savagely beaten, finds Jem in her room and he, unlike Sandor, who was emotionally vulnerable and raw, is cold, guarded, and distant. When he discovers his brother had beaten Mary, he feels anger and guilt since it happened on the evening he abandoned her in Launceston, leaving Mary to find her own way home. Jem realizes what he has to do. Already a drifter by nature, Jem decides to cooperate with the law, a violation of his own personal moral code, to help incriminate Joss in the wrecking expedition. And Mary, completely unaware of Jem’s predicament, still suspects that Jem is involved with Joss and the wreckers.



Before Jem leaves Mary, he kisses her.






…and he kissed her then as he had kissed her in Launceston, but deliberately now, with anger and exasperation.




The description of an angry and exasperated kiss conveys passion and sexual longing. When Sansa fantasizes about the UnKiss, she thinks of Sandor’s “cruel mouth pressed down on her own.” This could be interpreted as receiving a forced kiss from a man she does not desire, except GRRM uses the exact same language to describe Daenerys’ fantasies about Daario: "The girl in her wanted to kiss him so much it hurt. His kisses would be hard and cruel, she told herself…” Therefore, this indicates that when Sansa thinks of Sandor’s cruel lips, she’s experiencing sexual longing.



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.




Nature and the Feminine



"When the protagonist of female Gothic novels and slave narratives are exhausted by their fight against oppression, they look to a higher power for respite. Sometimes the texts label that higher power 'God'… More often, they name it 'nature.'"[5]



The connection between nature and the feminine are intricately linked in the Female Gothic. According to Kari Winter, the Gothic heroine looks to nature and the sublime landscape for strength and rejuvenation.[6] That’s true for both Mary and Sansa, who find comfort and a renewed sense of energy and strength from their natural surroundings.


Mary, several weeks after the murders, contemplates what to do with her life. Walking along the moors, she recognizes how truly beautiful and austere they actually are, losing their menace as Mary realizes she had been conflating man with nature. During this moment of peace and tranquility, she recalls the landscape of her home.








The broad river ran from the sea, and the water lapped the beaches. She remembered with pain every scent and sound that had belonged to her so long, and how the creeks branched away from the parent river like wayward children, to lose themselves in the trees and the narrow whispering streams.


The woods gave sanctuary to the weary, and there was music in the cool rustle of the leaves in summer, and shelter beneath the naked branches even in winter. She was hungry for the birds and for their flight amongst the trees.




It’s during this moment of reflection that Mary, feeling rejuvenated, makes the decision to return to Helford:





She belonged to the soil and would return to it again, rooted to the earth as her forefathers had been. Helford had given her birth, and when she died she would be part of it once more.


Loneliness was a thing of poor account and came not into her consideration. A worker paid no heed to solitude, but slept when his day was done. She had determined her course, and the way seemed fair and good to follow.




In one of the most poignant chapters in A Song of Ice and Fire, the snow castle chapter, Sansa, after awakening early, looks out the window to find snow falling on the Eyrie, evoking thoughts of Winterfell. Stepping into the snow-blanketed garden, Sansa feels and tastes the snow. Experiencing a state of transcendence, she falls to her knees.[7]





Sansa drifted past frosted shrubs and thin dark trees, and wondered if she were still dreaming. Drifting snowflakes brushed her face as light as lover's kisses, and melted on her cheeks. At the center of the garden, beside the statue of the weeping woman that lay broken and half-buried on the ground, she turned her face up to the sky and closed her eyes. She could feel the snow on her lashes, taste it on her lips. It was the taste of Winterfell. The taste of innocence. The taste of dreams.


When Sansa opened her eyes again, she was on her knees. She did not remember falling.





Recalling a snowball fight with Arya and Bran, Sansa begins to pack snowballs, but, with no one to throw them at, decides to build a snow castle that soon takes shape as a snow replica of Winterfell. As brashcandy eloquently argued in her essay, Sansa's recreation of Winterfell in this sublime setting reaffirms her identity as a Stark and empowers her.




Agency and Choice



Immediately after deciding she wants to return home, something she desperately longs for, Mary crosses paths with Jem, whom she hasn’t seen since the shooting of the vicar. Jem, who has all of his belongings packed on a horse-drawn cart, tells Mary he’s tired of his neighborhood and plans on living the life of a drifter since he’s “been a rover since a boy; never any ties, nor roots, nor fancies for a length of time; and I daresay I’ll die a rover too.”



Mary tries to convince him that there’s no peace in wandering and that it will only be a matter of time before he wants to settle down on his own plot of land, a place where a man can rest his bones. Jem dismisses it, telling her she doesn’t understand because she’s a woman and they don’t speak the same language. She confesses to Jem that she’s homesick and wants to walk in her own country, but decides to go with Jem.





“If you come with me it will be a hard life, and a wild one at times, Mary, with no biding anywhere, and little rest and comfort. Men are ill companions when the mood takes them, and I, God knows, the worst of them. You’ll get a poor exchange for your farm, and small prospect of the peace you crave.”


“I’ll take the risk, Jem, and chance your moods.”


“Do you love me, Mary?”


“I believe so, Jem.”


“Better than Helford?”


“I can't ever answer that.”


“Why are you sitting here beside me, then?”


“Because I want to; because I must; because now and forever more this is where I belong to be,” said Mary.




Although Jem tells her that he can never give her a life she desires, she still elects to go with him, leaving the reader to wonder if she’s doomed to follow in the footsteps of Aunt Patience. However, what matters is not whether Mary made the right or wrong choice, but that Jem is Mary’s choice. She actively chooses to turn her back on social convention, and joins Jem to live a life that falls well outside the norms set by the sanctioned patriarchy.



Ever since imagining the UnKiss, Sansa has demonstrated a clear disillusionment with the established patriarchal system. She does not want to be used for her claim, and after five betrothals and a forced marriage, she questions whether she wants to be married at all. The positive influence of Mya Stone and Myranda Royce hints that it’s very likely that Sansa will develop a healthy attitude toward female sexuality and choice. Currently, the end to Sansa's own journey remains open, in contrast to the ending to Mary’s journey that symbolized making the final break from her childhood, which is a common ending to a Gothic heroine’s arc. Yet there’s another common ending: the heroine returns to her childhood home economically and sexually independent, with the lover of her choice. If GRRM were to continue to employ the Female Gothic plotline in Sansa’s narrative, then it’s very feasible that this could be the one for Sansa, that she returns to Winterfell to help rebuild it and start a new beginning for herself as an economically and sexually independent woman, with the person of her choice.




______________________________________________



[1] Gothic: Materials For Study


[2] Angela Lynn Rae, The Haunted Bedroom: Female Sexual Identity in Gothic Literature, 1790-1820


[3] Ibid.


[4] For a more detailed analysis of the significance of the Mother’s Hymn and the connection between song and emotional bonding, see Milady of York’s essay here.


[5] Winter, Kari, Subjects of Slavery, Agents of Change: Women and Power in Gothic Novels and Slave Narratives, 1790-1865


[6] Ibid.


[7] Ragnorak’s snow castle analysis beautifully illustrates Sansa’s transcendent state, specifically Sansa’s position of reverence and supplication and the drawing of nourishment from the snow.








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“Dutiful and beautiful,” said an elegant young knight whose thick blond mane cascaded down well past his shoulders.


Following the discussion earlier in this thread about Ser Morrigen = the Elder Brother, and the idea that these three knights are hidden knives at LF's throat, I thought I would consider Ser Byron the Beautiful. So far we have Ser Shadric "the Mad Mouse" who claims to be working for Varys. If the earlier assumption is correct, we also have Ser Morrigen the Elder Brother, who seems to be working in the interest of the North (if I have read that correctly?). So then we are left with Ser Byron, the third and final hidden knife. We don't have very much information about him, other than the short description above. From what little we have, it is no a huge stretch to assume he is a Lannister, or at the very least of a cadet branch of House Lannister. We know the Lannister's are famed for their golden blonde hair, and we know Cersei and Jaime are very attractive. That therefore fits. And we also have the use of the word mane; something used to describe a lion, the sigil of House Lannister. So if what I have said is correct, LF has three hidden knives at his throat, each held by a different player in the game.


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Dutiful and beautiful, said an elegant young knight whose thick blond mane cascaded down well past his shoulders.

[...]

So if what I have said is correct, LF has three hidden knives at his throat, each held by a different player in the game.

I'd say this is quite solid. It's the same impression Milady and I had when we were discussing the three knights, and we felt certain there had to be something up with Byron as well. He's the image of the golden beauty celebrated in the Lannister twins, and there's some early Joffrey in his flattering attentions towards Sansa.

<snip>

I am going to fully read this later tonight, DL, but I just wanted to thank you for working in a timely manner and always being so supportive and receptive to our projects. It's truly a pleasure to read anything you've produced for the PTP and elsewhere on the board.

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“Dutiful and beautiful,” said an elegant young knight whose thick blond mane cascaded down well past his shoulders.

Following the discussion earlier in this thread about Ser Morrigen = the Elder Brother, and the idea that these three knights are hidden knives at LF's throat, I thought I would consider Ser Byron the Beautiful. So far we have Ser Shadric "the Mad Mouse" who claims to be working for Varys. If the earlier assumption is correct, we also have Ser Morrigen the Elder Brother, who seems to be working in the interest of the North (if I have read that correctly?). So then we are left with Ser Byron, the third and final hidden knife. We don't have very much information about him, other than the short description above. From what little we have, it is no a huge stretch to assume he is a Lannister, or at the very least of a cadet branch of House Lannister. We know the Lannister's are famed for their golden blonde hair, and we know Cersei and Jaime are very attractive. That therefore fits. And we also have the use of the word mane; something used to describe a lion, the sigil of House Lannister. So if what I have said is correct, LF has three hidden knives at his throat, each held by a different player in the game.

This is great too! I can't wait to see how close these are to the actual story. I hope we'll find out though there seems to be many threads that get left unanswered.

Sexual Awakening in the Female Gothic

No Gothic novel is complete without a huge, ancient, foreboding structure of some kind for the heroine to get lost in. In the Female Gothic, this structure is more than simply where the story takes place; the structure in the story becomes the structure of the story, and also becomes the structure of the heroine's emerging sexuality. [1]

The exploration of female sexual awakening is an intrinsic theme in the Female Gothic. A young, virginal female protagonist embarks on a harrowing journey, navigating through a dangerous and terrifying setting of isolation and decay, finding herself in the clutches of a corrupt and tyrannical patriarchal figure; and this very same journey takes the heroine from childlike innocence to sexual maturity. According to Angela Lynn Rae, "In order to achieve her happy ending the heroine has had to explore her emerging sexual identity, confronting the dangers faced by sexually adult women in a patriarchal society, dangers which are symbolised by the Gothic setting."[2] This essay seeks to explore Sansa Stark’s own sexual awakening through the lens of the Female Gothic, comparing her own arc to the leading character of Jamaica Inn, Mary Yellan.

{snipped for space}

This was excellent DogLover. Great job. In anticipation of this essay I just recently read Jamaica Inn myself as it's something I have wanted to read for a long time anyway and this was a great opportunity to do it in conjunction with a discussion about it. You explained how it fits into the gothic really well and the parallels to Sansa's arc are significant. There's one other aspect that I'd like to bring up though and that's Mary's relationship with Francis Davey and how Sansa's relationship with LF mirrors that. When Mary meet Francis she is at first taken aback by his appearance (he is an albino) but something about his manner causes Mary to open up to him. Since he is the vicar she knows that she can confess to him about what she's seen and he is not supposed to reveal her confession to anyone. She longs to tell someone and she spills out everything to him. She comes to think of him as a friend and towards the end goes to him first to try and help her and her Aunt escape from Joss. He appears very guarded though and she doesn't know much about his own personal life.

Then there is the situation where it appears that he has saved her twice from her wanderings on the moors in the rain where she has become soaked through both times. They meet by chance on the road both times and the first time he takes her back to his home and has her dry off and give her some food before she goes back to Jamaica Inn. The second time he is in a closed carriage and he takes her in and she undresses before him and he gives her a warm wrap for her to use. This second time has had me wondering about that scene. Did he look away? It's not clear. Though again it seems like he was trying to help her I got a weird feeling about that scene like he seized an opportunity there. I found it an uncomfortable scene. Also, it becomes quite clear that he has a dual personality as he reveals in the end that he was the mastermind behind the wrecking and smuggling operation and he had others, led by Joss, doing his dirty work. In the end he kills Mary's poor innocent Aunt too and he wants Mary to run off with him convinced in his sociopathic, cool and conceited way that he will be able to get away with her and that she will eventually forget the horrors he caused and stay with him willingly.

Right now Sansa is in the clutches of a cool mastermind who has others do his dirty work and who has seemingly "saved" Sansa. Sansa seems to be under LF's spell at times and has thought of him as a friend though she also is starting to understand that he is dangerous. For example, Sansa thinks of the two faces of Petyr and how as Petyr Baelish he can be charming and personable and as LF he is cold and calculating. And of course, LF has killed Sansa's Aunt and it's clear that LF wants Sansa for himself and believes he is training her to forget her Stark ways so that she will stay with him willingly. Will Sansa do so? That has been a hotly debated topic around here but I think it's clear that GRRM is following this gothic pattern with Sansa and I hope that means that eventually Sansa won't succumb to LF. Also, though it was Jem who eventually kills Davey, Mary used her head when trying to figure out how to detain him long enough for them to be found. I'd like to see Sansa use her brains and skills to be the one who ultimately brings down LF herself, or if she does have help, at least to be the one at the forefront of securing his end and her escape from him.

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Thanks, Elba! And I'm glad to hear you were able to read the novel. I wasn't able to read the Bloody Chamber until after Mahaut posted, but I'm rereading Jane Eyre (nearly done) in anticipation of the next essay. It is fun reading the books in conjunction with this project.



I absolutely agree that there are significant parallels between Francis Davey and Littlefinger, so much so that it can be its own essay in and of itself. Like Sansa, Mary escapes from one oppressive captor to unwittingly find herself with someone even more dangerous and extremely creepy. Francis Davey's preternatural appearance, odd house, and paganism also introduces the supernatural element, just as Sansa's time at the Eyrie with LF has elements of the supernatural, as brashcandy addressed in her essay. Mary didn't really start to feel suspicious of Davey until she found the blasphemous sketch in his desk drawer. I suppose that can be paralleled with the "Lysa through the moon door" moment for Sansa, but I do think Sansa will uncover LF's participation in Ned's death.




There's also strong similarities between Sansa's aunt Lysa and Mary's aunt Patience. Both have been crushed by the oppressive patriarchy, and both are killed by the very monsters who represent that order the most.



Mary does play a role in her own escape, and, if GRRM is indeed following the Gothic plotline, for Sansa to truly be economically and sexually independent, she has to be instrumental in her own escape. Though, like Jem, I think Sandor will also play a role. Hopefully Sansa will continue to hold her cards close (lies and Arbor gold strongly suggests she will), unlike Mary who felt she could trust the vicar and told him everything she knew.


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Great essay DL :) It's really striking how the female gothic novels contain such resonance and resemblance to Sansa's story. I am halfway through Jamaica Inn, and the first impressions I've had so far pertain to Mary's compassion for her aunt, and the similar hopes Sansa shares of being sheltered with her last remaining (or available) family member. Both of them notice how much their aunts have changed over time, transformed from youthful and spritely women, with Patience the image of a shadow of her former self, cowed and broken down by Joss. Mary is quite different by contrast, and even though she laments not being a man who could fight with Joss and take her aunt away to safety, she's still very spirited and courageous, leaving her room at night to investigate what is happening in the Inn, and standing up to Joss' intimidation. The conflict she experiences the first time meeting Jem is also reminiscent of the early interactions between Sansa and Sandor, and the struggles of both men to differentiate themselves from their beastly brothers, despite not being saints in their own lives.

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.


Lovely analysis of the dream. I would say that rather than "on the cusp", this is the moment of Sansa's full sexual awakening, marked by an actual awakening and expression of desire, with her wolf symbolizing her acceptance of the erotic attraction contained in the dream. The entire chapter at the Fingers builds up to this moment: from Petyr's offer of the pomegranate and her rejection of that seductive snare, to her own choice of the pear, and the juice running down her chin. Lysa's very public bedding contrasts with Sansa's private contemplation of Sandor, as she wonders if he would care what became of Joffrey. It isn't hard to imagine that she's really wondering if he would care what happened to her, further revealed in her brief moment of confusion when she is saved by Lothor Brune and thinks it might be him.

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Thanks, brash! The way Mary responds to Jem during their first meeting reminds me of Sansa when she lashes out at Sandor after he taunts her. And, yes, great point about Jem and Sandor both struggling to differentiate themselves from their brothers!



Also, another great point about Sansa experiencing a full sexual awakening. Taking into consideration the food symbolism, Lysa's bedding, and Sansa wondering what happened to Sandor and whether he would care certainly supports this.



As for accepting her erotic attraction, I reread your "Claiming Agency through the Erotic Power" essay yesterday. The notion of Sansa's "erotic power" as a source of liberation is quite intriguing, and, as usual, you present a compelling and convincing case.


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Hi guys,



Just popping in to say that it's looking really great! Starting with Elder Brother and the cloak.....ah, truly fantastic.



Anyway, I am sorry to deviate from this discussion and I don't know if this has been discussed before, but has anyone noticed (most likely have) the structure of Sansa's chapters in AGOT and ASOS?



Her chapters always seem to be preceded or succeeded by one character. In AGOT, it was Eddard and ASOS (quite surprisingly,JON). Now it could be a mere coincidence, but knowing GRRM, there must be a certain pattern or some parts of the story that links them. Looking at the chapter patterns and how it was analyzed in Jon Snow reread inspired me to look at Sansa's and this is what i found.



in AGOT:



Sansa I followed by Eddard III


Sansa II followed by Eddard VII


Sansa III preceded by Eddard XI and followed by Eddard XII


Sansa V followed by Eddard XV



in ASOS:



Sansa I followed by Jon I


Sansa II preceded by Jon II


Sansa VI followed by Jon IX


Sansa VII preceded by Jon XII



Again, it could be a mere coincidence as her chapters in acok don't follow a certain pattern. But it stood out to me and especially after reading tze's post on the relationship between Sansa and Jon and how their arcs are intertwining, this pattern definitely stood out.



I will look into this and try to find something but it's just a thought.



Again, keep up the GREAT work that is currently going on in the thread!

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Good to see you again Dreams and Prophecies :) The pattern you noted regarding Sansa/Eddard is intriguing, and Milady of York provided some insight at the beginning of her essay, Baelish vs. Stark, which you can find here: http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/88073-from-pawn-to-player-rethinking-sansa-xx/?p=4624210

As for Sansa and Jon, Black Crow from the Heresy threads made an observation that in Jon XII we see Jon foregrounding his Northern identity, represented in Ghost's appearance:

Red eyes, Jon realized, but not like Melisandres. He had a weirwoods eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree. He belongs to the old gods, this one. And he alone of all the direwolves was white. Six pups theyd found in the late summer snows, him and Robb; five that were grey and black and brown, for the five Starks, and one white, as white as Snow.

Next follows Sansa's chapter, when she has a mystical experience and rebuilds Winterfell in the "snow". This act of rebuilding is another way of affirming where Sansa belongs, and along with the chapter juxtaposition is suggestive that she and Jon will play prominent and complementary roles in the developing conflict.

Any additional analysis on this is very welcome.

Mary, similar to Sansa, receives a visitor in her room late at night after the traumatizing events of the wrecking expedition, rape attempt, and vicious beating that left her unconscious for two days. After Joss tells her that he, Patience and she are to flee Jamaica Inn, she decides to take matters into her own hands, and while plotting her escape from the inn so she can travel to the next town to turn Joss in, Jem sneaks into her bedroom. Mary, initially excited that he pays her a covert visit, finds his demeanor frightening and off-putting. She notes a streak of cruelty in the expression of his face and feels detached and alienated from him.

I've finally finished the book, and just wanted to quickly note that the similarity between those two scenes is definitely noticeable. You've already noted the parallel between Sansa's memories of Sandor's cruel kiss, and the one delivered by Jem to Mary with "anger and exasperation". I also thought the language used a little earlier when Jem is still outside the window evokes the entire recollection Sansa makes in AFFC:

She was hurt by his manner. She had expected anything but this. When she saw him first, in the yard outside her window, she thought of him only as the man she loved, who had come now to her in the night, seeking her presence. His coolness damped her flame, and she withdrew inside herself at once, trusting that he had not seen the blank disappointment in her face.

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<snip>

DogLover, that was a wonderful analysis!

I really enjoyed reading it!

I loved the comparisons between Sansa's story arc and Mary's adventures.

I agree that there are similarities between aunt Patience and Lysa, most notably the fact that both women have changed significantly after their passage to womanhood.

I think that both Sansa and Mary, are forced to conform to the demands of society, in order to avoid an unhappy life.

Mary's mother, when she realised she was dying, she urged her daughter to seek Patience, because a girl can't live alone. She brought two examples of women, who chose a different path, less acceptable, and in both cases the results were disastrous. The first example, was of a girl, who never had a lover and yet she seen calling him name in the dark of the night. The second example was the exact opposite and involved a girl who ran away with sailors. In the end Mary chose to follow a path of her own, even though initially she was presented with limited choices.

The positive influence of Mya Stone and Myranda Royce hints that it’s very likely that Sansa will develop a healthy attitude toward female sexuality and choice.

I agree that in the end Sansa will be the one to decide about her future.

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In the end Mary chose to follow a path of her own, even though initially she was presented with limited choices.

And there was the nice symbolic touch of Jem allowing her to take the reins as they ride out together. I think that in the end Mary realises it doesn't have to be an either/or choice between giving into her desires for this man and returning to the security and peace of Helford. It's significant that when he asks her if she loves him more than Helford she responds by saying: "I couldn't ever answer that." It doesn't become a sacrifice of one over the other (as she feared earlier in the story), but an appreciation of her love for Jem and willingness to be with him despite the rather unconventional lifestyle this promises. The long contemplation of her childhood home and the decision she makes to return there helps to clarify for readers that Mary truly did have other pleasant options available to her (included in this is the offer by the Bassats to take her into their household), but she wants Jem, and this becomes as much an adventure for her as it is for him. I was certainly left with the impression that Mary will not become another Aunt Patience, not only because Jem is not another Joss, but because of Mary's strength of character and her confident approach in the relationship and to what the future holds.

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Thanks, Danelle!



I too agree that Mary will not become another Aunt Patience. Openly and boldly confronting Joss and refusing to be crushed like her aunt truly demonstrates her strength of character. And Jem allowing her to take the reins was a lovely symbolic gesture, especially after taking the reins from her on the way to the fair since he didn't like the way she handled the horse. It could be said that Mary's relationship with Jem also parallels Sansa and Sandor's relationship in that Mary initially tries to come of as cool and aloof, but Jem disarms her with his confidence and charm. While Sandor certainly isn't known for his confidence and charm, he manages to break through Sansa's wall of courtesy.


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Thanks should go to you for this lovely analysis, DogLover.

It’s already been pointed out that the similarities between the nocturnal encounter between Jem/Mary and Sandor and Sansa during Blackwater are striking, and I’d also add that there’s another line at the end of Jamaica Inn that bears a similarity with another familiar scene:

“You are very harsh today, and cruel.”

“I'm harsh to my horses when they're obstinate and out of hand; but it doesn't mean I love them any the less.”

“You've never loved anything in your life,” said Mary.

“I haven't had much use for the word, that's why,” he told her.


This struck me as reminiscent of the Hound and Sansa’s conversation on the rooftop at Maegor’s Holdfast, in which she is for the first time challenging him to his face, calling him hateful and awful because of his harsh words. But as she was able to see through him and understand what thoughts hid behind his demeanour, Mary can see that Jem is acting up to paint himself as more of a careless and jolly Joss-like type, and thus to hide an underlying fear that in the end she might choose not to come with him. Her “You just talk for argument, Jem,” rebuttal indicates that Mary is able to see through the act which conceals Jem’s essential gentleness and seriousness from a world inhospitable to such things, qualities that are revealed in his remark on how he treats his horses, gently but harshly when needed, which stresses that old line from the Book of Proverbs that used to be commonly quoted in the past, that a worthy person cared for his beast’s needs and the wicked ones were cruel to theirs. In a religious and horse-loving pre-automobile period like the Victorian era this novel is set in, a man’s character was prone to be judged by how he treated his horses (and his dogs), and to an extent this belief that animal treatment reflects on an individual’s nature is still held today. That would be also another parallel to Sandor’s treatment of his warhorse, for which he’s willing to brave his worst nightmare in order to rescue him (and note that when he’s actually fighting surrounded by wildfire he’s on Stranger), and the tenderness he treats Meribald’s dog; not to mention that Jem’s retort to Mary’s “you’ve not loved anything in your life” also applies to Sandor, of whom the Elder Brother said had never loved, but seems more due to lack of opportunity, “had no use for it,” to put it in Jem’s words, than to any fundamental incapacity for loving.

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