ASOS

A Storm of Swords

Sansa I
Sansa II
Sansa III
Tyrion IV, VI, VII
Sansa IV
Tyrion VIII
Sansa V
Sansa VI
Sansa VII
ASOS Round-up: Sansa’s Development
ASOS Symbolism and Foreshadowing

ASOS

Sansa I

By Brashcandy

Tyrion I

SUMMARY
Tyrion wakes up weak and disoriented. Seeing a shape moving towards him, he is at first terrified that it may be someone in Cersei’s service, but realises that it’s Bronn, his former sellsword. Bronn proceeds to mock his features and we get the first description of Tyrion’s terrible facial injuries:

 Tyrion’s fingers went to the great gash that ran from above one eye down to his jaw, across what remained of his nose. The proud flesh was still raw and warm to the touch.

In contrast to Tyrion, Bronn cuts a fine figure, dressed in leather and silk, with his hair washed and brushed. Tyrion questions why he has now come to see him after he sent for him a long time ago, but Bronn informs him that it’s only been a couple days since Tyrion made the request, and that he had visited twice only to find the dwarf “dead to the world.”

He proceeds to fill Tyrion in on what has occurred since the battle, and Tyrion learns of just how much has changed for him whilst he was recovering from his injuries:

  • Bronn has been made a knight by Tywin Lannister: Ser Bronn of the Blackwater.
  • The Hound has disappeared and thousands have perished in the battle.
  • Tywin has officially taken up the post of Hand of the King.
  • A knight called Addam Marbrand (one of Tywin’s Westermen) is in charge of the gold cloaks now.
  • The Burned Men have returned to the Vale, the Stone Crows are still in the Kingswood, and Black Ears were run off by Tywin’s red cloaks.
  • Alayaya has been released by Cersei, but only after receiving a whipping
  • Cersei has retrieved Tommen from the Rosbys, and Tyrion can no longer gain access to him.
  • The Kettleblacks are no longer working for him either, having gone too long without payment, and have now been made knights by the Queen.
  • Everyone is talking about Renly’s ghost during the battle, and no credit has been given to Tyrion for his design of the chain, etc.
  • The Tyrells have won the love and favour of the city in Margaery’s name, handing out barrels of food in Kings Landing.

All in all, it’s a bitter awakening for Tyrion:

 My hirelings betray me, my friends are scourged and shamed, and I lie here rotting… I thought I won the bloody battle. Is this what triumph feels like?

He is anxious to find out more about Ser Mandon and firmly believes that the man was hired by Cersei to kill him.

What he wanted was proof that Ser Mandon had been Cersei’s, but he dare not say so aloud. In the Red Keep a man did best to hold his tongue. There were rats in the walls and little birds who talked too much, and spiders.

Deciding to pay a visit to his father, he gets dressed painfully and leaves Maegor’s Holdfast. The castle is filled to capacity with Tyrells and their bannermen, who have all come to take part in the wedding celebrations. He meets Ser Addam Marbrand on the way and learns that his father is still keeping up the search for Tyrek Lannister, who went missing during the riots.

On entering the solar, Tyrion finds his father writing letters, and notices Tywin’s chilly reception of him. The conversation that follows between them is awkward and resentful:

What I want…” His throat felt raw and tight. What did he want? More than you could ever give me, Father. “Pod tells me that Littlefinger’s been made Lord of Harrenhal.

“An empty title, so long as Roose Bolton holds the castle for Robb Stark, yet Lord Baelish was desirous of the honor. He did us good service in the matter of the Tyrell marriage. A Lannister pays his debts.

The Tyrell marriage had been Tyrion’s notion, in point of fact, but it would seem churlish to try to claim that now. “That title may not be as empty as you think,” he warned. “Littlefinger does nothing without good reason…

The conversation turns to Tyrion’s efforts in the battle, with Tywin grudgingly giving him credit for the chain idea and his help in brokering the Dornish alliance. Tyrion tells him that the Martells want more than just a hostage and questions whether his father would be willing to part with Gregor Clegane:

Ser Gregor has his uses, as did his brother. Every lord has need of a beast from time to time… a lesson you seemed to have learned from Ser Bronn and those clansmen of yours.

Getting up to leave, Tyrion finds the courage to ask for what he really wants from his father: Casterly Rock. But Tywin is brutally clear on his chances of ever getting his birthright:

Lord Tywin’s eyes were a pale green flecked with gold, as luminous as they were merciless. “Casterly Rock,” he declared in a flat cold dead tone. And then, “Never.”

The word hung between them, huge, sharp, poisoned.

I knew the answer before I asked, Tyrion said. Eighteen years since Jaime joined the Kingsguard, and I never once raised the issue. I must have known. I must have always known. “Why?” he made himself ask, though he knew he would rue the question.

“You ask that? You, who killed your mother to come into the world? You are an ill-made, devious, disobedient, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning. Men’s laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors, since I cannot prove that you are not mine. To teach me humility, the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion that was my father’s sigil and his father’s before him. But neither gods not man shall ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.

After this remark, Tyrion realises that Tywin knows about Alayaya, and his father reveals his disgust that Tyrion would threaten his own nephew to protect his whore. It was Tywin who had Alayaya whipped, but he promises to do worse:

 Go back to your bed, Tyrion, and speak to me no more of your rights to Casterly Rock. You shall have your reward, but it shall be one I deem appropriate to your service and station. And make no mistake –this was the last time I will suffer you to bring shame onto House Lannister. You are done with whores. The next one I find in your bed, I’ll hang.

Sansa I
SUMMARY

Sansa is perplexed and bewildered upon having received a letter from Margaery Tyrell inviting her to supper. She doesn’t know why the girl would want to dine with a traitor’s daughter, and is worried that Margaery might be taking some perverse pleasure by wanting to get a closer look at the girl she’s replaced, or that she might believe Sansa wishes her harm. She has seen Marg’s celebrated entry into the city, with her mother and grandmother following close behind, and the townspeople cheering and throwing flowers in her path.

 The same smallfolk who pulled me from my horse and would have killed me, if not for the Hound. Sansa had done nothing to make the commons hate her, no more than Margaery Tyrell had done to win their love.

She is fearful that Joff could be behind the invitation from the Tyrells, and worries that he might try to shame her in front of Margaery by having her stripped again. This time, she notes, with Tyrion injured, there will be no one to stop him. She thinks that only Dontos, her Florian can save her now, but she has to wait until the night of Joffrey’s wedding to make her escape. Even though she is reluctant to accept the invitation, she realises she must, but this isn’t going to erase her suspicions:

 It might be just a supper. But this was the Red Keep, this was Kings Landing, this was the court of King Joffrey Baratheon, the First of his Name, and if there was one thing that Sansa Stark had learned here, it was mistrust.

Her thoughts mirror the ones Tyrion has about talking in the Red Keep and not being able to trust anyone. Again, she’s still a prisoner and pawn, but she’s learnt the first rule of playing the game: mistrust everyone and everything. In thinking over her fallen status, her thoughts turn to Sandor Clegane:

 I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night wondering if she’d been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she she’d kept it. The Hound had turned craven, she heard it said; at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men. But Sansa understood. She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fire he feared. That night, wildfire had set the river itself ablaze, and filled the very air with green flame. Even in the castle, Sansa had been afraid. Outside … she could scarcely imagine it.

On the night of the dinner, Loras Tyrell turns up to escort her down, and Sansa is enraptured by his beauty and presence. She notes that he is as different from Sandor Clegane as “a flower from a dog.” Sansa cannot believe that she is so near to Loras, and that he is actually touching her arm. She manages to mumble out that he looks lovely and Loras gives her a puzzled look, but returns her compliment.

She continues to note his good looks and that he has the “warmest laugh,” whilst being nervous about her conversational skills:

 He was beautiful though. He seemed taller than he’d been when she’d first met him, but still so lithe and graceful, and Sansa had never seen another boy with such wonderful eyes. He’s no boy, though, he’s a man grown, a knight of the Kingsguard. She thought he looked even finer in white than in the greens and golds of House Tyrell.

They pass men training in the yards, and when Loras comments that his brother Garlan is a better sword than he is, but he’s more skilled with the lance, Sansa agrees and reminds him that she saw him ride during the Hand’s tourney where he threw the other girls white roses, but gave her a red one. When Loras only gives a polite response, she grasps the truth of the matter:

 He doesn’t remember, Sansa realised, startled. He is only being kind to me, he doesn’t remember me or the rose or any of it. She had been so certain that it meant something, that it meant everything. A red rose, not a white.

Desperately trying to get Loras to remember, she mentions him unhorsing Ser Robar Royce, but her efforts have the opposite effect, and remind Loras of what happened when Renly was murdered. Sansa has heard of the incident, and that Loras killed Royce and another of Renly’s rainbow guard from the serving women in the castle.

 That was when Lord Renly was killed, wasn’t it? How terrible for your poor sister.”

“For Margaery?” His voice was tight. “To be sure. She was at Bitterbridge, though. She did not see.”

“Even so, when she heard…”

Ser Loras brushed the hilt of his sword lightly with his hand. Its grip was white leather, its pommel a rose in alabaster. “Renly is dead. Robar as well. What use to speak of them?

Loras’ tone is sharp and Sansa is dismayed over her mistake. She realises that saying anything more would only make it worse. Housed in the Maidenvault, Margaery comes to greet Sansa graciously when she arrives.

Sansa knelt at the foot of the future queen. “You do me great honour, Your Grace.

Telling Sansa to call her Margaery, and asking if she can call her Sansa, Marg takes her to meet the other Tyrell women in attendance at the dinner. Margaery’s mother, Lady Alerie, is there, in addition to Garlan’s wife, Lady Leonette, and Marg’s three cousins, Megga, Alla and Elinor, among others. Sansa’s final introduction is to the Queen of Thorns, Lady Olenna, Mace’s mother and Marg’s grandmother.

The old lady wastes no time in getting acquainted with Sansa. She tells the girl that she knew her grandfather, Lord Rickard, and expresses sympathy for Sansa’s recent losses. When Sansa replies that she, too, was sorry to hear of the gallant Lord Renly’s death, the Queen of Thorns is dismissive:

Gallant, yes, and charming, and very clean. He knew how to dress and he knew how to smile and he knew how to bathe, and somehow he got the notion that this made him fit to be king. The Baratheons have always had some queer notions to be sure. It comes from their Targaryen blood, I should think.” She sniffed. “They tried to marry me to a Targaryen once, but I soon put an end to that.

And so goes Sansa’s introduction to the Lady Olenna, and her understanding of just why the old woman is considered so prickly deepens. Olenna proceeds to go off on a tangent about her worthless son, her warnings that it would all not end well when Renly decided to pursue the crown, and how the Tyrells are not the only family who can trace their ancestry back to Garth Greenhand. She sends for Butterbumps and while he is entertaining the other women, puts a sharp question to Sansa:

I want you to tell me the truth about this royal boy.” said Lady Olenna abruptly. “This Joffrey.

Sansa immediately begins to panic inwardly, and stumbles over her words, but Olenna insists on hearing what she knows, telling Sansa that they have heard “troubling tales” back in Highgarden. Sansa still cannot bring herself to admit the truth about Joffrey, and states that he is “fair and handsome, and… and as brave as lion.”
This answer annoys Lady Olenna:

Yes, all Lannisters are lions, and when a Tyrell breaks wind it smells just like a rose,” the old woman snapped. “But how kind is he? How clever? Has he a good heart, a gentle hand? Is he chivalrous as befits a king? Will he cherish Margaery and treat her tenderly, protect her honor as he would his own?”

“He will” Sansa lied. “He is very comely”

“You said that.” You know, child, some say that you are as big a fool as Butterbumps here, and I am starting to believe them. Comely? I have taught my Margaery what comely is worth, I hope. Somewhat less than a mummer’s fart. Aerion Brightfire was comely enough, but a monster all the same. The question is, what is Joffrey?

Lady Olenna tells her that no harm will come to her if she speaks the truth, and Sansa states that her father always told the truth, but Joff cut his head off after promising to be merciful. This is the opening the Tyrells wanted, and Marg tries to urge Sansa to continue, but she is too petrified of the consequences. Noting that she is aware that the walls have ears in the Red Keep, Lady Olenna calls on Butterbumps to sing The Bear and Maiden Fair very, very loudly. As Butterbumps bellows out the song, Sansa confesses to Joffrey’s depravity:

Sansa felt as though her heart was lodged in her throat. The Queen of Thorns was so close she could smell the old woman’s sour breath. Her gaunt thin fingers were pinching her wrist. To her other side, Margaery was listening as well. A shiver went through her. “A monster,” she whispered, so tremulously she could scarcely hear her own voice. “Joffrey is a monster. He lied about the butcher’s boy and made Father kill my wolf. When I displease him he has the Kingsguard beat me. He’s evil and cruel, my lady, it’s so. And the queen as well.

Margaery and her grandmother exchange a glance, and Sansa is terrified that now Marg will call off the wedding, but Olenna reassures her that Mace is set on his daughter being a queen. The Tyrells then put forward their secret plan to wed Sansa to Willas Tyrell, but at first Sansa thinks they are speaking of Loras, and indulges in a fantasy:

Wed to Ser Loras, oh… Sansa’s breath caught in her throat. She remembered Loras in his sparkling sapphire armor, tossing her a rose. Ser Loras in white silk, so pure, innocent, beautiful. The dimples at the corner of his mouth when he smiled. The sweetness of his laugh, the warmth of his hand. She could only imagine what it would be like to pull up his tunic and caress the smooth skin underneath, to stand on her toes and kiss him, to run her fingers through those thick brown curls and drown in his deep brown eyes. A flush crept up her neck.

Her thoughts are quickly dashed on realization that it is another brother, Willas Tyrell, the crippled heir of Highgarden, that Lady Olenna and Marg are alluding to.

Sansa felt dizzy; one instant her head was full of dreams of Loras and the next they had all been snatched away. Willas? Willas? “I,” she said stupidly. Courtesy is a lady’s armor. You must not offend them, be careful what you say. “I do not know Ser Willas. I have never had the pleasure, my lady. Is he… is he as great a knight as his brothers?

The Tyrells then explain that Willas was crippled after falling off his horse in his first tourney, and place the blame on Oberyn Martell and his maester. Margaery tells her:

Willas has a bad leg but a good heart… He used to read to me when I was a little girl, and draw me pictures of the stars. You will love him as much as we do, Sansa.

Sansa inquires when she might meet him and Marg tells her Lady Olenna will personally escort her after she is wed to Joff. Their meeting comes to a close as the song ends.

ANALYSIS

Tyrion’s chapter is useful to study because we see Tywin’s absolute disgust with his son and his determination that Tyrion will not get Casterly Rock, but will receive another prize more suitable to his station. We all know what that prize turns out to be. However, besides highlighting how Tywin can be cold, callous and cruel towards his son, and their strained relations, I thought that the chapter really revealed Tyrion’s love of power and prestige, a love that arguably leads him later on to not resist his father as strongly as he could have over the lure of Winterfell and Sansa.

When Bronn comes to visit him, he is upset when he learns the sellsword has already been knighted. Bronn tells him that it was by his lord father’s command and Tyrion responds petulantly:

I was the one who promised you knighthood, remember?” He had liked that “by your lord father’s command” not at all.

When he learns that Addam Marbrand has taken over control of the gold cloaks:

In most cases the gold cloaks would have resented having an outsider placed over them, but Ser Addam Marbrand was a shrewd choice. Like Jaime, he was the sort of man other men liked to follow. I have lost the City Watch.

When he next asks after his clansmen and learns that they’ve returned home or are in the surrounding forests, and that the Black Ears were chased from the city and pelted with dung by townspeople, he thinks:

Ingrates. The Black Ears died for them.

The only time Tyrion seems to feel genuine concern for another person is when he hears that Alayaya was scourged, but even then, it quickly becomes a battle between him and Cersei and how he can pay her back:

I promised my sister I would treat Tommen as she treated Alayaya,” he remembered aloud. “How can I scourge an eight year old boy?” But if I don’t Cersei wins.

That thought really disturbed me, and then it was compounded by Tyrion’s chagrin, but ultimate relief that he wouldn’t have to make such a choice because Cersei had regained control of her son.

He then inquires if it is true that Stannis was defeated by Renly’s ghost. When Bronn fills in him that indeed this is the popular tale making the rounds, Tyrion reflects bitterly:

After all his planning, after the sortie and the bridge of ships, after getting his face slashed in two, Tyrion had been eclipsed by a dead man.

His thoughts on Ser Mandon Moore don’t really seem to be about investigating who hired the man, but rather in proving that it was Cersei who did so. Asking about Margaery’s arrival and learning that the townspeople are celebrating the Tyrell’s arrival, Tyrion again feels the sting of resentment:

They spit on me, and buy drinks for the Tyrells.

When Addam Marbrand tells him that he’ll find his father in his solar, Tyrion thinks, “my solar.” He compliments his father on the hand’s chain, but thinks:

Though it looked better on me.

See the pattern developing? Honestly, one can sympathise with Tyrion’s frustrations about being gravely injured and his sense that people have overlooked his efforts in helping to win the war, but there’s a disturbing trend in all his thoughts in this chapter, which highlight an overwhelming love for power and authority, and a lack of concern for the soldiers who put their lives in grave danger, and the townspeople who were regularly terrorized by the clansmen. I felt for him when he expressed his desire for Casterly Rock and was thoroughly insulted and denigrated by his father, but for the most part, Tyrion’s “me, me, me” attitude in this chapter really undermined the little sympathy I had for his dreams being dashed. I can honestly understand why Genna Lannister later claimed that Tyrion was Tywin writ small. He may be capable of doing nice things and being kind, but Tyrion does possess the same kind of obsessive determination to playing the game of thrones and winning, holding on to power, and paranoia over being humiliated or seen as weak.
Sansa
GRRM did a great job in illustrating all the facets of Sansa’s character and personality in this chapter. She’s developing into a young lady, but is still prone to girlish behavior and nervousness around cute boys. She’s learnt the hard way not to be trusting and naïve when it comes to other people, and weighs all the possible implications of Marg’s letter, but is still mature enough to realize that she has to follow protocol and accept the invitation.

The first point of interest for me in the chapter was her observation that just as she had done nothing to make the townspeople hate her, Margaery had essentially done nothing to make them love her. It’s an astute judgment on the fickleness of treatment from the masses: one minute they can love you, and the next they can turn on you viciously. Compare this to Tyrion’s jealous reaction concerning the love the citizens have for the Tyrells, and Sansa’s reflection is even more noteworthy.

It’s interesting that in the midst of her uncertainty and consternation, Sansa thinks that she misses the Hound. Wishing that he was there is understandable given that she’s confused about Marg’s letter, and probably desires the one honest and frank person she has come to trust. However, the curiosity of this desire deepens when we learn she has kept the Hound’s cloak, placing it in her cedar chest beneath her summer silks. How are we supposed to read this action, and of course, Martin cleverly prevents any direct interpretation by having Sansa note that she doesn’t know why she did this.

We also learn that some nights she stays up wondering if she should have gone with him, another indication that he’s been on her mind often since he left KL. This personal connection between them is further strengthened by Sansa’s secret knowledge of just why the Hound deserted the battle. She knows it was due to his fear of fire and not from any cowardly reaction. It’s puzzling as to why others don’t realize this as well, besides Tyrion, really. Sansa knows the truth, and Tyrion, I suppose, is fairly intelligent, but otherwise it highlights the superficiality of these people at court. No one concerns themselves with looking deeper into a situation and realizing what could have made the Hound quit his duty that night. Their sole concern is that he left the battle, which equates to cowardice. There’s no consideration or appreciation of what the man had to face again, even though everyone knows he suffered terrible burns. The moment he stopped being a machine, was the moment he became useless, a craven. So in keeping his cloak, Sansa is performing a kind of personal homage to the Hound, one which undermines the public perception of the man after the battle. She knows the truth, and that’s what matters to her.

When Sansa noted that Margaery was cheered into the city with her mother and grandmother following close behind her, I couldn’t help but remember her own considerable lack of a similar matriarchal support system when she came to KL. As we see later on, when she goes to the meeting with the QOT, Margaery has an invaluable resource that she can draw on for advice and that can be relied on to have her best interests at heart. We know the circumstances of how the girls came to journey to KL with only their septa and father, but I still think it was incredibly short-sighted of both Ned and Cat to allow Sansa and Arya to be initiated into a place like King’s Landing with no maternal guidance for them along the way.

Sansa gets another initiation into a standard rite of passage for nearly everyone in this chapter: unrequited love/infatuation. Poor girl. It was funny to watch her freaking out over Loras Tyrell. The excitement of being near to someone she idolized, someone that represents her perfect man, was captured extremely well by Martin (he likes fangirls, after all!), from the inability to form coherent sentences, not knowing what to say, and inwardly doing back flips because the person is actually touching you. Of course, I felt badly for her too, not knowing of Loras’ romantic involvement with Renly, and blundering into mentioning Marg and Robar Royce. Loras was Sansa’s first real crush and the fantasy she develops about him when she thinks she is going to marry him reveals a young girl developing her first strains of sexual desire.

It’s interesting how Martin chooses to be very explicit when describing Sansa’s feelings for other men, but keeps her thoughts on the Hound veiled and cryptic. Also intriguing, her comparison of Loras Tyrell to the Hound when he comes to collect her for the dinner, and her reference to him in this evaluation as Sandor Clegane. Are we meant to read the comparison as her way of contrasting the men as potential romantic suitors? Or is she simply drawing on the one KG knight that she knows well?

Personally, I’m not a fan of the Tyrells in general. I consider them to be sweet-smelling Lannisters, and Lady Olenna’s aggressive questioning of Sansa and brazen personality was a bit off-putting. However, I really do admire the old woman’s fierce protection of Margaery, and her frank assessment about gallantry and “comeliness” in a man. If Sansa had had some of this tough talking whilst growing up, her awakening to the real world would not have been half so painful. The qualities that Lady Olenna emphasizes that a king should possess are just the qualities that Sansa is realizing matter in a man: chivalry, gentleness, protecting their woman’s honour as they would their own. As it happens, the one person who has ticked off these boxes in Sansa’s life so far, appears to be Sandor Clegane:

Chivalry: rescuing from the riot.

Gentle: how many times did Martin write ‘not ungently’ with regards to Sandor’s touch.

Protecting honour: “No one would hurt you again, or I’d kill them.”

These are the things that count a lot more than good looks, reflected in what Marg tells her about Willas Tyrell: he “has a bad leg, but a good heart.”

It’s clear that this is the conversation that sealed Joffrey’s fate, and it’s the height of karmic justice that it would be his treatment of Sansa that convinced the Tyrells to kill him. Sansa’s testimony is a damning validation of all they must have heard rumored about Joffrey. The structuring of Sansa’s confession, punctuated by the bellowing song of The Bear and the Maiden Fair, symbolizes her moving from fear and concern over telling the Tyrells what she knew, to the shock and surprise that they are planning to marry her off to Willas—someone who is not a knight and crippled—and finally her mature acceptance of the idea of being involved with a “bear.”

This has been an important chapter for Sansa’s development. She’s experienced the thrill of being near to Loras Tyrell, but has grasped the truth that he is not interested in her and does not remember even giving her the rose. She’s finally been able to tell the truth to someone about the kind of monster Joffrey is, and now she’s secretly planning to go to Highgarden to marry a man she would never have thought of as a possible husband. The Tyrells might have had their own mercenary reasons for wanting Sansa married to Willas, but there’s no denying that she had agency in this situation to either accept or refuse, and that ultimately, Willas would have been a much better option than the one she is later forced to choose.

ASOS

Sansa II

by Rapsie

SUMMARY

A new gown?” she said, as wary as she was astonished.

Sansa is with an old dressmaker, who is fitting her for a new dress; a present from Queen Cersei. The seamstress tells her that the Queen has said she is now a woman and must have a woman’s dress.

Sansa reflects that she needs a new gown as she has grown three inches in the last year, and most of her old gowns were ruined by the fire she had set trying to destroy the evidence of her first period.

The seamstress says she will have a bosom as lovely as the Queen’s. Sansa blushes and thinks that the stableboy was gaping at her and that grown men looked at her chest as well.

She enquires about the colour and the seamstress states that she will decide the colour, and tells her she shall have other garments as well.

… and all else befitting a… a lovely young lady of noble birth.

Sansa asks if it will be ready for the King’s wedding and the seamstress says much sooner, and that all other work has been put aside to finish the dress.

During the fitting, Sansa wonders why Queen Cersei wishes a new dress is prepared for her.

But why? Sansa wondered when she was alone. It made her uneasy. I’ll wager this gown is Margaery’s doing somehow, or her grandmother’s.

She thinks about Margaery’s unfailing kindness and how the arrival of the Tyrell ladies had changed everything: she now had company and was finally getting high harp lessons and feeling she had friends. She immediately is ingratiated into everyday life amongst the Tyrells. She thinks about each of the personalities of the little cousins, and lastly thinks about Megga who is dying to be kissed.

Sansa wondered what Megga would think about kissing the Hound, as she had. He’d come to her the night of the battle stinking of wine and blood. He kissed me and threatened to kill me, and made me sing him a song.

Megga comments on Joff’s beautiful lips and how Sansa must have wept when she lost him.

Joffrey made me weep more often than you know, she wanted to say, but Butterbumps was not on hand to drown out her voice, so she pressed her lips together and held her tongue.

One of the cousins, Elinor is betrothed to a squire. She says he wore her favour to the BBW, and another cousin says how that made him brave and she wished she had someone to wear her favour.

They are children, Sansa thought. They are silly little girls, even Elinor. They’ve never seen a battle, they’ve never seen a man die, they know nothing. Their dreams were full of songs and stories, the way hers had been before Joffrey cut her father’s head off. Sansa pitied them. Sansa envied them.

She then thinks that Margery is different, though, and although sweet, has a little of her grandmother in her. She recalls Margery taking her hawking and seeing the devastation of the aftermath of the BBW. Her merlin brings down three ducks, but Margaery’s peregrine takes down a heron. In a moment out of the guards’ earshot, Margaery tells Sansa that Willas has an eagle and squeezes her hand and calls her sister. Sansa then thinks how she always wanted a sister like Margaery and instead got Arya, who was been unsatisfactory as sisters went. She wonders how she can let her sister marry Joffrey, so reiterates Joff’s cruel nature, and asks her not to marry him as he’ll hurt her. Margaery says she believes her, but doesn’t appear too bothered, because Loras is in the KG and says:

I shall have the finest knight in the Seven Kingdoms protecting me day and night, as Prince Aemon protected Naerys. So our little lion had best behave, hadn’t he?” She laughed, and said “Come, sweet sister, let’s race back to the river. It will drive our guards quite mad.

Sansa thinks she is so brave. Sansa thinks that Aegon the Unworthy feared the Dragonknight, but had his other mistress and the KG member Ser Toyne killed when he found out about their affair. She thinks Loras is a Tyrell and would have an army behind him, but thinks that Joffrey will only restrain himself for a little while and when he stops, there may be a second Kingslayer. She was surprised Margaery did not see it too, but then thinks that Margaery is older than her, so must be wiser and that her father must know what he is doing and that she is just being silly.

She thinks that when she told Ser Dontos of the marriage to Willas, she had thought he would be pleased, but he told her that she shouldn’t marry him and that:

These Tyrells are only Lannisters with flowers.

He begs her to forget about the Tyrells and says the escape plans are made for Joffrey’s wedding night and that is not so long to wait. Sansa rebukes him by saying something could go wrong, and that when she wanted to escape he wouldn’t take her, and now there is no need because Willas will protect her.

Dontos tells her that the Tyrells care nothing for her.

It’s your claim they mean to wed.”

“My claim?” She was lost for a moment.

“Sweetling,” he told her, “you are heir to Winterfell.

He pleads with her again not to change their plans, but Sansa wrenches free from his grasp and since then had not visited the godswood.

But she had not forgotten his words, either. The heir to Winterfell, she would think as she lay abed at night. It’s your claim they mean to wed. Sansa had grown up with three brothers. She never thought to have a claim, but with Bran and Rickon dead… It doesn’t matter, there’s still Robb, he’s a man grown now, and soon he’ll wed and have a son. Anyway, Willas Tyrell will have Highgarden, what would he want with Winterfell?

She thinks about Willas and what he will be like, deciding:

If I give him sons, he may come to love me. She would name them Eddard and Brandon and Rickon, and raise them all to be as valiant as Ser Loras. And to hate Lannisters, too. In Sansa’s dreams, her children looked just like the brothers she had lost. Sometimes there was even a girl who looked like Arya.

She then thinks about Willas again.

She could never hold a picture of Willas long in her head, though; her imaginings kept turning him back into Ser Loras, young and graceful and beautiful. You must not think of him like that, she told herself. Or else he may see the disappointment in your eyes when you meet, and how could he marry you then, knowing it was his brother you loved? Willas Tyrell was twice her age, she reminded herself constantly, and lame as well, and perhaps even plump and red-faced like his father. But comely or no, he might be the only champion she would ever have.

She then recalls that:

it was still her marrying Joff, not Margaery, and on their wedding night he turned into the headsman Ilyn Payne. She woke trembling.

She thinks that she does not want Margaery to suffer and that she had warned her. She thinks that he plays the perfect knight with Margaery as he had once done with her, but also thinks that she will see his true nature soon enough. She thinks that she most light a candle to the Mother to protect Margaery and a candle for the Warrior to protect Loras.

She then thinks that she will wear her new gown for the ceremony at the Great Sept of Baelor, while the seamstress finishes her measurements. She thinks Cersei must be having a dress made so she doesn’t look shabby at Joff’s wedding. She thinks that she will wear an old dress to the feast as she wants to keep her new dress pretty for taking to Highgarden to meet Willas.

She thinks:

Even if Dontos was right, and it is Winterfell he wants and not me, he still may come to love me for myself. Sansa hugged herself tightly, wondering how long it would be before the gown was ready. She could scarcely wait to wear it.

ANALYSIS
Poor Sansa. She is right to be wary about the gown. Sansa, after the last dress Cersei gave you I would be worried about gifts of dresses or hoping for dresses in future.

Anyway, this chapter is one where we see her hopes for what her married life will be with Willas.

Sometimes she would whisper his name into her pillow just to hear the sound of it. “Willas, Willas, Willas.” Willas was as good a name as Loras, she supposed. They even sounded the same, a little. What did it matter about his leg? Willas would be Lord of Highgarden and she would be his lady. She pictured the two of them sitting together in a garden with puppies in their laps, or listening to a singer strum upon a lute while they floated down the Mander on a pleasure barge. If I give him sons, he may come to love me. She would name them Eddard and Brandon and Rickon, and raise them all to be as valiant as Ser Loras. And to hate Lannisters, too.

Her notions of married life are still slightly whimsical to a degree, however, unlike the Sansa in AGOT, she is prepared to love a man who is lame, potentially unattractive and one that might not even love her, just what she represents as a claim. She thinks of her children as being like the family she’s lost, and he idea of bringing them up to hate Lannisters underlines why there was a fundamental problem for her and Tyrion as a couple. Her thought that she can maybe make Willas love her for herself is both pragmatic and sad. Even sadder still is the dress she is having made, that she hopes to woo Willas in, is the very dress that will shatter her dreams of a beautiful wedding and happy marriage or even a happy married life.

This chapter also shows us a more hopeful side of Sansa, and how she has begun to hope again in the company of the Tyrell ladies. I think it is debatable how many of them are being put up to it, as it were, and although Marg and the QoT have an interest in keeping her sweet (unlike Cersei and Joff, they use love rather than fear), I am not certain it is all completely pretence.

We also see her reflect on the UnKiss with Sandor.

Sansa wondered what Megga would think about kissing the Hound, as she had. He’d come to her the night of the battle stinking of wine and blood. He kissed me and threatened to kill me, and made me sing him a song.

However, rather than just mention the kiss as a passing thought, she expands on it and almost romanticizes what was actually quite a traumatic encounter. It is especially important as the kiss didn’t happen in the first place. Now, this is a major mismemory and a purposeful one by the author. Is the reason for it to illustrate that Sansa is an unreliable narrator, or does it signify Sansa and Sandor meeting again and the UnKiss having some fallout at that point, or does it signify something else entirely?

Also, it is interesting that Sandor asks for a song. For a grown man to request a song is in and of itself more akin to Sansa’s songs and stories than real life. In real life, men do not request songs. Knights do not care about songs.

There are a few other potential points of interest in terms of possible ideas about foreshadowing the future for Sansa. The first concerns the seamstress, who remarks that she has made Cersei’s clothes for many years, and that Sansa will have a bosom as lovely as the Queen’s. Is this another hint that Sansa will be the younger and more beautiful Queen?

We also see Megga fawning over Joffrey’s beautiful lips, which is similar to the Sansa of AGOT, who thought Joff had beautiful lips, and then when her father’s head was cut off thinks that they are actually rather wormy-looking.

We also see her maturity has risen sharply for her age, as she sees the other girls with their stories and hopes and dreams, and thinks of them as children. The sad part being, of course, that she is a child as well, but her childhood has been cut short and is about to be cut even shorter still. Oddly, she used a familiar phrase….

they know nothing.

What is it with redheads and thinking people know nothing…

We then have Sansa’s dreams. Since AGOT, when Sansa says dreams are prophetic, it has been interesting to see what hers contain.

She dreams of children who look like her dead brothers and sometimes of a sister who looks like Arya. Whether this is prophetic or not is debatable. Certainly, the Tully looks are strong, but it is curious that she only sometimes dreams of a daughter who looks like Arya. Of course, there is the possible foreshadowing relating to the Hound here, as Arya whilst travelling with the Hound is constantly mistaken for his son/daughter.

Anyway, moving swiftly, her other dream was more frightening.

It was still her marrying Joff, not Margaery, and on their wedding night he turned into the headsman Ilyn Payne. She woke trembling.

Ser Ilyn features in nearly every chapter she is in, which is something I had missed until now. Is it just a natural fear of him as a grim spectre, or is there again some foreshadowing of him killing her at some point?

Also, I forgot to note that it is evident that the seamstress knows that it is a wedding dress. She has to stop herself from letting something slip. How many people actually knew about the wedding beforehand, whilst Sansa was left in the dark?

Also forgot, there is yet another reference to Naerys and the Dragonknight, and also Marg referring to Joff as a lion, not a stag. Again, it seems that everyone is very aware that Joff is probably not Robert’s son.

I shall have the finest knight in the Seven Kingdoms protecting me day and night, as Prince Aemon protected Naerys. So our little lion had best behave, hadn’t he?

ASOS

Sansa III

by Brashcandy

SUMMARY

Tyrion III

The small council is meeting to discuss matters of state. The new members on the council are Kevan Lannister, Paxter Redwyne of the Arbor, Mathis Rowan of Goldengrove and Mace Tyrell of Highgarden. There’s also a new High Septon and Grand Maester Pycelle has been reinstated by Tywin Lannister.

Too many strange faces, Tyrion thought, too many new players. The game changed while I lay rotting in my bed, and no one will tell me the rules.

Varys gives some reports on the fighting between Robb’s men and the Lannisters, and Kevan informs them that Balon Greyjoy is seeking to make an alliance with the crown. If the Lannisters accept the alliance, they would have to recognize Greyjoy as the King of the Iron Isles and grant him the lands north of the Neck. The talk turns to what should be done concerning another holdout from the crown, Lysa Arryn. Paxter and Mace are of the opinion that Lysa will cause no trouble and should be left alone, but Tyrion remembers how he was treated in the Eyrie and advocates for vengeance:

She did throw me in a cell and put me on trial for my life,” he pointed out, with a certain amount of rancor. “Nor has she returned to King’s Landing to swear fealty to Joff, as she was commanded. My lords, grant me the men, and I will sort out Lysa Arryn.” He could think of nothing he would enjoy more, except perhaps strangling Cersei. Sometimes he still dreamed of the Eyrie’s sky cells, and woke drenched in sweat.

Tyrion’s hopes are dashed, however, when his father states that “Lord Petyr may hold the key to the Eyrie.” Littlefinger agrees, stating crassly:

Oh I do,” said Littlefinger, “I have it right here between my legs.” There was mischief in his grey-green eyes. “My lords, with your leave, I propose to travel to the Vale and there woo and win Lady Lysa Arryn. Once I am her consort, I shall deliver you the Vale of Arryn without a drop of blood being spilled.

Some doubts are expressed by Lord Rowan and Cersei, but Littlefinger touts his suitability for the task by reminding them that he is now Lord of Harrenhal, and reassures them that he can control Lysa’s son, Robert Arryn, and make sure that the boy grows up as Joffrey’s most loyal subject. Tyrion realises that all of this has already been discussed before and that it’s a done deal. Still, he objects to the plan by mentioning LF’s job as Master of Coin. It is then that Tywin reveals he wants Tyrion to take over that duty. Littlefinger is given permission to head to the Eyrie and plans on leaving the next day.

After this, Tywin advocates that the crown not trouble itself with making an alliance with Balon Greyjoy. Tyrion remembers his father busy writing letters, and wonders what he has in the works that makes him so confident they can ignore the kraken’s request. Discussion of the wedding arrangements follows, with the news that Doran Martell is planning on his way to KL with 300 Dornishmen to attend the wedding. Mace Tyrell is unhappy about this, but soon has reason to be pleased when Tywin awards Highgarden with the lands and castles of Lord Alester Florent, and his son Garlan is given Bridgewater Keep, along with its lands and incomes. Tyrion notes that Garlan is now transformed into a great lord.

Varys next mentions that there have been reports of three-headed dragons in Qarth, but this is quickly dismissed as mere fantasy. When the question of what to do with the gold cloak deserters comes up, Varys recommends that they be sent to the Wall to deal with some of the troubling news coming from that region, but Lord Tywin commands that their knees be broken as a lesson to others thinking of doing the same. Remembering the concerns of Lord Mormont, Tyrion suggests a compromise, but his words are not heeded.

The meeting concludes, and only the Lannisters remain to have a private meeting. Tyrion immediately complains about his appointment as Master of Coin and warns his father about trusting Littlefinger. After a brief argument between him and Cersei, Kevan Lannister reveals about LF:

Only yesterday he brought us word of a Tyrell plot to spirit Sansa Stark off to Highgarden for a ‘visit,’ and there marry her to Lord Mace’s eldest son, Willas.

Tyrion is intrigued that it was Littlefinger who brought word, and not Varys, but Cersei is simply shocked, stating:

Sansa is my hostage. She goes nowhere without my leave.

Lord Tywin, asserting that he will not have the rose and the direwolf in bed together, reveals his plan to thwart the Tyrells by marrying Cersei off to Willas. Cersei is aghast at the proposal, but Kevan and Tywin maintain that it will be the best thing to stop the rumours about the incest that Stannis has been spreading. Tywin tells her:

Willas is heir to Highgarden, and by all reports a mild and courtly young man, fond of reading books and looking at the stars. He has a passion for breeding animals as well, and owns the finest hounds, hawks, and horses in the Seven Kingdoms.

Tyrion is gleeful about this idea for Cersei, and notes the control his father has over Cersei even though she is queen. After Cersei storms from the room, Tywin turns to Tyrion and tells him that a wife is what he needs to get over his habit of whoring. Tyrion, although outwardly dismissive of the idea, thinks to himself:

A wife might be the very thing he needed. If she brought him lands and a keep, it would give him a place in the world apart from Joffrey’s court … and away from Cersei and their father.

He tells his father that he knows it is Sansa he is planning to wed him to, but goes on to insist that she is only a child. Tywin replies:

Your sister swears she’s flowered. If so, she is a woman fit to be wed. You must needs take her maidenhead, so no man can say the marriage was not consummated. After that, if you prefer to wait a year or two before bedding her again, you would be within your rights as a husband.

Kevan weighs in with a reminder that the man who is married to Sansa can claim Winterfell in her name, and then he and Tywin discuss Lancel and other Lannister relatives as possible options for Sansa. We read:

Tyrion let them have their byplay; it was all for his benefit, he knew. Sansa Stark, he mused. Soft-spoken sweet-smelling Sansa, who loved silks, songs, chivalry and tall gallant knights with handsome faces. He felt as though he was back on the bridge of boats, the decks shifting beneath his feet.

Tywin proceeds to tell Tyrion of all the highborn women he had tried to arrange a marriage with for him, but to no avail.

If you will not have the Stark girl, I shall find you another wife. Somewhere in the realm there is doubtless some little lordling who’d gladly part with a daughter to win the friendship of Casterly Rock. Lady Tanda has offered Lollys…

Tyrion gave a shudder of dismay. “I’d sooner cut it off and feed it to the goats.”

“Then open your eyes. The Stark girl is young, nubile, tractable, of the highest birth, and still a maid. She is not uncomely. Why would you hesitate?

Why indeed? “A quirk of mine. Strange to say, I would rather a wife who wants me in her bed.”

“If you think your whores want you in their bed, you are an even greater fool than I suspected.

Tyrion asks his father why he hasn’t proposed Balon’s daughter as a marriage option, but Tywin makes known that he is expecting the Greyjoys to outlast their welcome in the North and that Tyrion returning home with Ned Stark’s grandson would ensure him the goodwill of the Northern people. He reiterates that Tyrion will never have Casterly Rock, but that he can have Winterfell.

Tyrion Lannister, Lord Protector of Winterfell. The prospect gave him a queer chill.

At this point Tyrion accepts, but mentions Robb Stark as a possible obstacle in the plan. Tywin informs him that Robb has broken his promise to the Freys and has instead married a Westerling. Tyrion is suspicious that his father doesn’t seem more perturbed about this betrayal by the Westerlings. The chapter ends with Tywin promising:

You will marry Sansa Stark, Tyrion. And soon.

Sansa III

It is the day that Sansa’s new gown is to be ready for her to wear and her serving girls have carefully attended to her preparation, along with Cersei’s bedmaid, who has trimmed her nails and done her hair, and even brought scent for her to wear.

Sansa chose a sharp sweet fragrance with a hint of lemon in it under the smell of flowers. The maid dabbed some on her finger and touched Sansa behind each ear, and under her chin, and then lightly on her nipples.

Cersei arrives with the seamstress and Sansa’s notes that the gown is quite mature:

And it was a woman’s gown, not a little girl’s, there was no doubt about that. The bodice was slashed in front almost to her belly, the deep vee covered over with a panel of ornate Myrish lace in dove-grey. The skirts were long and full, the waist so tight that Sansa had to hold her breath as they laced her into it. They brought her new shoes as well, slippers of soft grey doeskin that hugged her feet like lovers.

Sansa is ecstatic about her appearance, and thinks that Willas must love her when he sees her and that she’ll make sure he forgets about Winterfell. The queen recommends the moonstone gems given to Sansa by Joffrey and declares:

Yes. The gods have been kind to you, Sansa. You are a lovely girl. It seems almost obscene to squander such sweet innocence on that gargoyle.

Sansa is immediately alarmed and wonders if Cersei could have found out about Willas.

No one knew but her and Margaery and the Queen of Thorns … oh, and Dontos, but he didn’t count.

When she sees the cloak that Cersei has called for, however, she knows that something has gone wrong. It is a maiden’s cloak—the one that a girl wears on her wedding day—and Sansa begins to protest. Cersei tells her:

You are a ward of the crown. The king stands in your father’s place, since your brother is an attainted traitor. That means he has every right to dispose of your hand. You are to marry my brother Tyrion.

Sansa realises the truth of Dontos’ words that people only want her for her claim. Cersei advises that she can cry if she wants to, because if it was her she would be pulling her hair out, but that ultimately Sansa has no say in the matter and that she can choose to come quietly like a lady or be forced to the altar. Sansa tries to run, but is quickly stopped by Cersei’s handmaid. Ser Meryn and Ser Osmund Kettleblack are waiting on the outside to escort her down, and when Ser Osmund tells her that wolves are supposed to be brave, she calms herself:

Brave. Sansa took a deep breath. I am a Stark, yes, I can be brave. They were looking at her, the way they had looked at her that day in the yard when Ser Boros Blount had torn her clothes off. It had been the Imp who had saved her that day, the same man who was waiting for her now. He is not so bad as the rest of them, she told herself. “I’ll go.

Waiting for her is Joffrey, and he tells her that he’s her father today and touts his power over her to make her even marry a common pig boy or Ilyn Payne.

Her heart lurched. “Please, Your Grace,” she begged. “If you ever loved me even a little bit, don’t make me marry your—

Tyrion appears at this moment and apologizes for not having been able to tell her of the plans before now. He tells her that she can say whether she would prefer him or his cousin Lancel, the latter being better looking and closer to her age. But Sansa thinks:

I don’t want any Lannister, she wanted to say. I want Willas, I want Highgarden and the puppies and the barge, and sons named Eddard and Bran and Rickon. But then she remembered what Dontos had told her in the godswood. Tyrell or Lannister, it makes no matter, it’s not me they want, only my claim.

She tells Tyrion that she will do her duty as the king commands and they proceed inside the sept. She notices that none of the Tyrells are there. Miserable throughout the entire ceremony, she wonders that no one can see she is crying, but surmises that they probably don’t care. When it comes time for the cloak exchanges, Sansa decides not to bend down in order to make it easier for Tyrion to put the Lannister cloak around her:

No one had thought to bring a stool, however, and Tyrion stood a foot shorter than his bride. As he moved behind her Sansa felt a sharp tug on her skirt. He wants me to kneel, she realized, blushing. She was mortified. It was not supposed to be this way. She had dreamed of her wedding a thousand times, and always she had pictured how her betrothed would stand over her shoulders, and tenderly kiss her cheek as he leaned forward to fasten the clasp.

This memory hardens her resolve, and finally Tyrion is made to stand on the back of Dontos to pin the cloak around her, whilst everyone laughs. She notices afterwards that Tyrion is embarrassed and feels ashamed of her behaviour. But when the High Septon pronounces them man and wife, we read:

She had to bite her lip to keep from sobbing.

When they enter the Small Hall for the wedding feast, Sansa spots the Tyrells. Marg gives her a sad look, but Lady Olenna and the cousins don’t even acknowledge her.

My friends, Sansa thought bitterly.

She dreads what will happen during the bedding, something that she once thought was exciting. The dancing begins and Joffrey and Margaery lead the couples on the floor. Sansa is longing to dance despite her unhappiness, and when Garlan requests her hand she is grateful. He tells her that his wife is very worried about her, and also of how Willas came to give him his nickname “Garlan the Gallant.” The dance changes partners, and Sansa finds herself with Joffrey. He kisses her, and threatens that he can have her anytime he wants just like Aegon had many whores in the past.

Not surprisingly, Joffrey is the one to suggest the bedding commences, but Tyrion adamantly shuts down such actions by promises to geld his nephew. Tywin agrees that there is no need for a bedding, and Tyrion and Sansa proceed to their room, with Tyrion making rude jests:

Come, wife, time to smash your portcullis. I want to play come-into-the-castle.

In the bedroom, Sansa is terrified, but asks Tyrion if he wants her to undress or if he’ll do it himself. Telling her to call him Tyrion, he begins to muse on his first marriage to Tysha. Sansa inquires about the girl:

Lady Tysha.” His mouth twisted. “Of House Silverfist. Their arms have one gold coin and a hundred silver, upon a bloody sheet. Ours was a very short marriage… as befits a very short man, I suppose.

He learns that Sansa will be 13 when the moon turns, and is astonished at her young age, but still commits to the bedding. Sansa undresses with fear and trepidation:

Gooseprickles covered her arms and legs. She kept her eyes on the floor, too shy to look at him, but when she was done she glanced up and found him staring. 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.

Trying to comfort her, Tyrion tells her that he can be kind to her despite being a Lannister and that with the lights off no worse than any other man; he’s like the Knight of Flowers. Sansa realises just how afraid he is:

He is as frightened as I am, Sansa realized. Perhaps that should have made her feel more kindly towards him, but it did not. All she felt was pity, and pity was death to desire. He was looking at her, waiting for her to say something, but all her words had withered. She could only stand there trembling.

Getting into bed after her, Tyrion touches her breast, but realises that Sansa is shivering and shuddering. At this, he removes his hand and promises not to touch her until she is ready for him. When Sansa tries to see some beauty in him, all she can see is his twisted and ugly body, with even his penis appearing disgusting.

It took all the courage that was in her to look in those mismatched eyes and say, “And if I never want you to, my lord?

Tyrion replies bitterly:

… that is why the gods made whores for imps like me.

ANALYSIS

First to speak on the timeline: As Rapsie indicated in a post upthread, the chapters in the story do not necessarily follow a linear progression, and it’s evident that the events of Tyrion III occurred before Sansa II where we see her being fitted for her dress. In this Tyrion chapter, Cersei is shocked by the news that the Tyrells want to steal Sansa away, and would have only started making plans for Sansa’s dress after getting the go-ahead from her father. I posited yesterday that I believed that it was Littlefinger who suggested the Willas/Sansa match to the Tyrells, and I believe this chapter gives a small hint that either this theory is correct, or that it was the Tyrells themselves who told him about the plan. When Kevan mentions it to Cersei and Tyrion, he states:

Only yesterday he brought us word of a Tyrell plot to spirit Sansa Stark off to Highgarden for a ‘visit,’ and there to marry her to Lord Mace’s eldest son, Willas.

The key revelation that points to the info coming from the Tyrells or being hatched by LF himself is the knowledge of the ‘visit’ that would be devised as the cover to get Sansa away from the Lannisters. Now, it’s possible that Sansa could have confided all the plans in Dontos, but my feeling is that she only told him that the Tyrells were planning to marry her off to Willas, and not about the particulars of the plot. Here is what Sansa says about it in the previous chapter:

When she told Dontos that she was going to Highgarden to marry Willas Tyrell, she thought he would be relieved and pleased for her. Instead he grabbed her arm and said, “You cannot!” in a voice thick with horror as with wine.

The evidence isn’t ironclad, and none of this means that Dontos didn’t indeed report what Sansa told him. It just means that there’s a strong possibility that either the Tyrells told LF themselves, or LF is the one who first recommended such a plot in the first place.

We also see the dangerous underestimation of Littlefinger from the Lannisters. Tyrion is the only one who remains suspicious of Littlefinger’s motives, but Kevan believes that LF won’t pose a threat because of his humble origins:

I would sooner have Petyr Baelish ruling the Eyrie than any of Lady Lysa’s other suitors. Yohn Royce, Lyn Corbray, Horton Redfort… these are dangerous men, each in their own way. And proud. Littlefinger may be clever, but he has neither high birth nor skill at arms.

The lords of the Vale will never accept such as their liege.

The innate privilege of the highborn prevents them from seeing Littlefinger’s darker machinations, and Tyrion’s musing on the curiosity that it was LF who brought word of the Tyrell plot and not Varys goes unnoticed.

This chapter did a good job of highlighting Tywin’s cunning, his cruelty and his command over his children all at once. The plot to kill Robb Stark is obviously well under way, and Tywin is not perturbed by the Westerlings’ “betrayal” because Sybil is supposedly giving Jeyne copious amounts of moon tea to prevent any pregnancy.

Nothing gets in the way of Tywin winning a war, and his refusal to send the deserters to the NW, but instead to break their knees in order to send a message to others, reveals the absolute coldness behind his decisions. The lives and happiness of his children are not exempt from this calculated approach. He wants Cersei to marry Willas in order to remove the stain of the incest rumours and for Tyrion to marry Sansa in order to prevent the Tyrells from gaining leverage over the Lannisters, and to throw a bone to his son because he refuses to let him have Casterly Rock. However, it would be wrong to view Tyrion’s final capitulation to Tywin’s desires as a reflection of the latter’s complete power and authority. Martin clearly shows in the chapter that the idea of Winterfell and Sansa are appealing to Tyrion, even though it’s the kind of appeal that brings more uncertainty and hesitation than it does joy and anticipation. This explains the “queer chill” that Tyrion gets when thinking of himself as Lord Protector of Winterfell.

Undoubtedly, Tywin’s method of breaking down Tyrion’s resistance in this chapter is brutal. He doesn’t intend to cajole and persuade his son into the match, so much as to shame and disgrace him to agree to it. He does this by first castigating him on his penchant for whores, telling him that if he thinks they want him in their beds, he’s mistaken. Then we see him listing all the Houses that he tried to broker a marriage alliance with, even going so far as to consider the girl Robert had deflowered, but still to receive no takers. The mentioning of Lollys is meant more to alarm Tyrion about his options should he not agree than as a serious proposal, and finally there’s the kicker that he’ll never get Casterly Rock, hope as he might.

What we see, however, is that Tyrion was already seduced by the idea of having a wife and a place to get away from his family. Even before he admits that he knows his father is planning to marry him to Sansa, he thinks:

A wife might be the very thing he needed. If she brought him lands and a keep, it would give him a place in the world apart from Joffrey’s court … and away from Cersei and their father.

So there’s a genuine part of Tyrion that wants the freedom the marriage can bring him. Of course, he is mindful that Sansa Stark would not want him anywhere near her bed, this being the Sansa who likes pretty things and pretty boys, but overall, Tyrion’s objections to his father never take on the same force and outrage as Cersei’s responses do:

It came so suddenly that Cersei could only stare for a moment. Then her cheeks reddened as if she had been slapped. “No. Not again. I will not.

. . .

Three children is quite sufficient. I am Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, not a brood mare! The Queen Regent!”

. . .

She stood. “I will not sit here and listen to this—”

. . .

“No,” Cersei said from between white lips. “No, no, no.

Instead, what we have is Tyrion almost appearing to be matching wits with his father—raising objections that he knows Tywin will easily shoot down, assuming that the consideration of Lancel and the twins were for his “benefit,” and then refusing to call Tywin’s bluff on the offer by Lady Tanda, instead responding with the exact revulsion his father was expecting. Tyrion makes the assumption that Cersei will do exactly what his father wants, but even if this is so it’s quite noticeable that only Cersei really fights back against Tywin’s plans.

Added to all this, is the sinister suspicion that Tyrion has of Tywin having some plan to kill Robb Stark. Indeed, Tyrion’s own acceptance of the plan and its success—claiming Winterfell for himself—depends on Robb Stark not having an heir that can contest Tyrion’s claim. When we think back to the promise Tyrion made to Sansa in ACOK, those words now ring hollow. Instead of helping to liberate the girl, he is helping to extend her captivity and intensify her suffering.

Bottom line: Tyrion could have refused Tywin. He could have chosen, no matter the extent of his father’s displeasure, to not be part of a sham marriage to steal a girl’s claim with the very real possibility that it would involve tramping over the graves of her family members, and ignoring the pain that the girl would feel from such a union with the family that murdered hers. Whilst being fully aware that Tywin and Kevan were out to entrap him, Tyrion allows himself to be ensnared by the lure of a pretty wife and an impressive castle. His thoughts on Sansa as “sweet-smelling” and loving songs, chivalry and tall gallant knights are only considered as to how they make him feel, not as a serious objection to why would he make this girl extremely unhappy.
Sansa

This chapter represents the cruel crushing of a Sansa’s hopes and desires in order to further the selfish agenda of the Lannister family. It was evocative of the fairytale Cinderella, where the young girl gets a beautiful dress in the hopes of going to a ball where she’ll meet her Prince, but in Sansa’s case the dress turns into a poisoned gift, designed to increase the Lannister’s control over her, and to deepen her unhappiness. I was really shocked at the extent of the insensitivity shown to Sansa here. To surprise her with the news that she is to marry Tyrion Lannister on the same very day of the wedding was the height of heartlessness, even for a family that has turned this into a fine art like the Lannisters. One minute Sansa is twirling and excited by how beautiful she looks in her dress, and literally the next minute she is being told that she has to marry Tyrion, a man from the House she despises. It’s a moment of true horror for the girl, not made any easier by Cersei’s callous remarks on what she would do in Sansa’s place. Sansa’s innocent dreams of making Willas love her for herself are replaced by the reality of a ruthless power grab, which embitters the young girl, and confirms her worst fears about her romantic future.

What’s ironic about this is that Sansa had already come to terms with accepting a husband that did not fit her image of the ideal suitor. Her unwillingness to marry Tyrion does not mean that she is shallow or that she cannot recognize Tyrion’s essential kindness. We see her recognition of this when she notes that Tyrion was the one who protected her when she was beaten by Ser Boros, and that he’s not as bad as the others in KL. The reason why Sansa cannot accept Tyrion has everything to do with lack of free will, lack of any physical attraction, and most importantly, the fact that he is a Lannister, of the House that she has planned to bring her children up to hate. When it comes to the divide between Sansa and Tyrion, both the personal and the political collide in spectacular fashion to illustrate the reasons why this union was doomed from the start.

This is the second time that Sansa was alone in a bedroom with a man, scared and somewhat helpless about what was going to happen next. With the Hound we saw her getting over her terror and reaching out to him in a moment of compassion and empathy that brought them closer together and left her with lingering doubts/feelings. Her bedroom scene with Tyrion, however, is remarkably different in terms of the outcome. This time, even though Sansa can empathise with his feelings—“he is as frightened as I am”—there is absolutely no compulsion or instinct that she feels to comfort this man. What she feels isn’t compassion or concern but pity, and Martin refers to it as the death of desire. The best way to describe it would be like feeling sorry for someone, but having absolutely no interest in alleviating their pain. If this scene is meant to parallel the earlier one with the Hound, Martin is sending a clear message about which relationship still has the potential to go somewhere.

Physical attraction, no matter how much we may tout the importance of seeing what is inside someone, is still vital to making a successful relationship. It doesn’t matter if the person isn’t objectively beautiful, but if there is something about them that draws you closer, if there’s chemistry between the two of you that defies what you would have normally gone for, then it can work. We see these elements completely missing in what Sansa feels for Tyrion. He can appreciate her naked body, but she finds his to be overwhelmingly hideous:

Look at him, Sansa told herself, look at your husband, at all of him, Septa Mordane said all men are beautiful, find his beauty, try. She stared at his stunted legs, the swollen brutish brow, the green eye and the black one, the raw stump of his nose and crooked pink scar, the coarse tangle of black and gold hair that passed for his beard. Even his manhood was ugly, thick and veined, with a bulbous purple head. This is not right, this is not fair, how have I sinned that the gods would do this to me, how?

This is probably not Sansa’s first time seeing a man’s naked body, but it is definitely the first time for her seeing a naked body that is enflamed with desire for her. Should Tyrion have taken off his clothes? No. Should Tyrion have made Sansa take off her clothes? No. Should Tyrion have asked her if she was frightened when he said that he desires her despite her being a child? No. I’m not without sympathy for Tyrion in this scene, but his discomfort could have been avoided by refusing to participate in the marriage and definitely by refusing to go ahead with a bedding. Fondling Sansa’s breast and then deciding to stop when he sensed her terror was definitely taking it too far. When he gets angry because Sansa has put up her courtesy armor, I have to wonder what he expected. She’s a young girl who’s just been forced into marrying you so that you can lay claim to her family’s home and lands, and you expect her to be open and honest with you? At that moment, courtesy was probably all that was keeping Sansa from breaking down completely.

It is remarkable indeed that Sansa managed to get through the entire day without collapsing. Her ability to recollect herself when Ser Osmund reminds her that she’s a wolf really highlighted how her inner strength and courage have grown. She may not be able to warg, but she’s not lacking in the other ‘wolfish’ attributes of her family’s banner. At this moment, her dignity and nobility of character are what she has to rely on even when grown women like Cersei admit that they would be hysterical and panicking. Even though her resolve slips at times throughout the day, she never lets her grief get out of control and consume her.

The refusal to kneel in order for Tyrion to clasp the Lannister cloak on her shoulders has important symbolic implications for Sansa’s arc. So far, she has received two cloaks, both from Sandor Clegane, and in the second incident we see her choosing voluntarily to wrap herself in his discarded cloak. One act seems to imply acceptance, whilst the other signifies flat out rejection. She didn’t refuse to kneel out of malice or in an effort to humiliate Tyrion (we see how badly she feels afterwards), but rather makes a stubborn decision not to submit herself further to Lannister authority and not to yield in the face of the destruction of all her hopes and dreams. This small act might not have prevented the marriage from being performed, but it did show Sansa’s unwillingness to accept Tyrion as a husband, and negates the meaning of this particular cloak exchange.

The Tyrells’ desertion of Sansa when she would have needed their support and kindness most was very telling. I felt the most anger and disappointment at Lady Olenna, who definitely has the age and experience to discern what was behind the shotgun wedding. Margaery can only manage a sad look, and the cousins ignore her completely. It was a harsh lesson for Sansa to learn concerning the nature of friendship. The Tyrells were willing to entertain and be nice to her when they felt they were gaining something in the bargain, but as soon as their plot dissolved, so did their “affection.” The effort shown by Garlan in trying to cheer her up being the notable exception to the women’s behaviour. It is through Garlan that we learn a bit more about Willas and it does seem as though his kindness and goodwill have not been exaggerated. It’s not hard to imagine therefore that Sansa could have found happiness with him as a husband.

Final thoughts:

  • I’ve always found it a little strange to fathom that Sansa was in a mood for dancing on this day, and I’d like to hear what others think about it.
  • Sansa’s observing Cersei working her charm on the other Lords and thinking that she hates her—again seems to be establishing the personal enmity and rivalry between the two women that makes Sansa’s eligibility for the Younger Queen in the prophecy seem more likely and fitting.
  • I was very annoyed by Tyrion’s lack of consideration for Sansa’s feelings when he makes his crude jokes after Joff suggests the bedding.
  • Sansa managing to let Tyrion know that she might never want him—it took a lot of nerve to say it and I was proud she made her feelings known from that first night.

ASOS

Tyrion IV

by Rapsie

SUMMARY

As Tyrion goes with Bronn to a wineskin to speak with the blackmailer Symon Silver Tongue, he reflects on the fallout from his recent marriage.

He describes his marriage to Sansa as a daily agony. The stableboys laugh at him behind his back and he feels even his horse is laughing at him. He reflects that half the castle knows she is still a maid.

He’d risked his skin to avoid the bedding ritual, hoping to preserve the privacy of his bedchamber, but that hope had been dashed quick enough. Either Sansa had been stupid enough to confide in one of her bed maids, every one of whom was a spy for Cersei, or Varys and his little birds were to blame. What difference did it make? They were laughing at him all the same.

He then thinks of Sansa and notes she is the only one who doesn’t find their marriage amusing.

The only person in the Red Keep who didn’t seem to find his marriage a source of amusement was his lady wife.

Sansa’s misery was deepening every day. Tyrion would gladly have broken through her courtesy to give her what solace he might, but it was no good. No words would ever make him fair in her eyes. Or any less a Lannister. This was the wife they had given him, for all the rest of his life, and she hated him.

He then reflects that their nights together are even worse, because he can no longer sleep naked because he can’t bear the look of revulsion in Sansa’s eyes when she looks at him, although he reflects:

His wife was too well trained ever to say an unkind word.

He has commanded her to wear a sleeping shift as well.

I want her, he realized. I want Winterfell, yes, but I want her as well, child or woman or whatever she is. I want to comfort her. I want to hear her laugh. I want her to come to me willingly, to bring me her joys and her sorrows and her lust.

He then thinks of Shae and how he had wanted to tell her about the wedding himself the night before it happened.

Wait,” he said, “there is something you must hear. On the morrow I am to be wed . . . “. . . to Sansa Stark. I know.” He was speechless for an instant. Even Sansa did not know, not then. “How could you know? Did Varys tell you?

“Some page was telling Ser Tallad about it when I took Lollys to the sept. He had it from this serving girl who heard Ser Kevan talking to your father.” She wriggled free of his grasp and pulled her dress up over her head. As ever, she was naked underneath. “I don’t care. She’s only a little girl. You’ll give her a big belly and come back to me.”

Some part of him had hoped for less indifference. Had hoped, he jeered bitterly, but now you know better, dwarf. Shae is all the love you’re ever like to have.

He meets Symon the blackmailer, who knows about him and Shae, and when Symon refuses his offer and asks for a different price, Tyrion promises him that Bronn will deliver his reward. During the conversation, the blackmailer says:

My sweet lady Shae tells me you are newly wed. Would that you had sent for me earlier. I should have been honored to sing at your feast.”

“The last thing my wife needs is more songs,” said Tyrion. “As for Shae, we both know she is no lady, and I would thank you never to speak her name aloud.

After the meeting, Tyrion tells Bronn to kill the blackmailer and dispose of the body.

In the castle, he meets Pod, who tells him his father wants to see him. Tyrion meets his father, to find Tywin looking at two Valyrian swords: one for Joff and one for Jaime. Tyrion laments that there is no sword for him.

Tywin brings up the subject of Sansa Stark.

You will,” his father promised, “and while you are about it, see if you can find your wife’s bed as well.

Tyrion reflects that the gossip has reached him. Tywin suggests since he knows where his bed is, he should know his wife, the woman who shares it with him. Tyrion thinks she is a child, not a woman. He asks why all his wife’s maids are Cersei’s spies and Tywin says he is free to choose his own. He then continues to press Tyrion about Sansa.

That is your right. It is your wife’s maidenhood that concerns me, not her maids. This … delicacy puzzles me. You seem to have no difficulty bedding whores. Is the Stark girl made differently?”

“Why do you take so much bloody interest in where I put my cock?” Tyrion demanded. “Sansa is too young.”

“She is old enough to be Lady of Winterfell once her brother is dead. Claim her maidenhood and you will be one step closer to claiming the north. Get her with child, and the prize is all but won. Do I need to remind you that a marriage that has not been consummated can be set aside?”

“By the High Septon or a Council of Faith. Our present High Septon is a trained seal who barks prettily on command. Moon Boy is more like to annul my marriage than he is.”

“Perhaps I should have married Sansa Stark to Moon Boy. He might have known what to do with her.”

Tyrion’s hands clenched on the arms of his chair. “I have heard all I mean to hear on the subject of my wife’s maidenhead. But so long as we are discussing marriage, why is it that I hear nothing of my sister’s impending nuptials? As I recall—

Tywin interrupts him to say the Tyrells have refused Cersei’s hand in marriage. This upsets Tywin as the reason put forward is that Cersei is too old and too used. It puts Tyrion in a good mood, though. Pycelle later comes in and they discuss the issues on the Wall. Tywin suggests that Janos Slynt be put in charge and Tyrion objects. Tywin ignores him. Tyrion reflects that he should have killed Pycelle and Janos Slynt, but reflects that he has not made the foolish mistake of letting Symon Silver Tongue live.
ANALYSIS

From this chapter, it is clear that Tyrion and Sansa’s marriage was common gossip amongst the servants and some other Lannister retainers and knights before it happened. We know from the dressmaking chapter that the seamstress knew about it. The issue this raises is what was being gossiped about? Is it the fact Sansa, the bride, wasn’t to know about it, or was it just normal gossip? Ser Tallad seems to associate with the Tyrells, but they did not appear to know. Either way, it seems like the wedding was a joke from the start. The events of the wedding when Sansa cried and wouldn’t kneel also seem to be prime gossip issues, as well as Tyrion’s non-consummation of it. Even Tyrion at the wedding, before the bedding, had derisively told Sansa when she asked him to dance that they had given the guests enough amusement for the day.

Shae’s comments also suggest that it was seen as a power grab.

I don’t care. She’s only a little girl. You’ll give her a big belly and come back to me.

Shae acts as though it is not a proper marriage, and her comment about Sansa being “only a little girl” suggests that, like the previous marriage between Tyrek and Ermesande where Tyrek was mocked as wet nurse for being married to a toddler, that Tyrion may be mocked for marrying a child in a power grab.

He’d risked his skin to avoid the bedding ritual, hoping to preserve the privacy of his bedchamber, but that hope had been dashed quick enough.

The impression I got from this statement that Tyrion had avoided the bedding in order not to have the people listening and making rude japes outside the bedroom door, rather than preserve Sansa and his dignity by being stripped. Again, the fact that Tyrion was completely prepared to consummate the marriage would, I think, back this interpretation up, as he wanted the “privacy” of what was happening in the bedroom preserved.

The only person in the Red Keep who didn’t seem to find his marriage a source of amusement was his lady wife.

Sansa’s misery was deepening every day.

Despite everything Sansa has been through in her year as a hostage, it is notable that the marriage to Tyrion that truly seems to break her spirit.

Tyrion’s impression of Sansa as a person is also evident in this chapter, as when he talks about her as a person, rather than his desires towards her, he thinks the following statements:

Either Sansa had been stupid enough to confide in one of her bed maids,

. . .

His wife was too well trained ever to say an unkind word.

. . .

“The last thing my wife needs is more songs,” said Tyrion.

. . .

but the revulsion in her eyes whenever she looked on his body was more than he could bear.

None of these are particularly pleasant comments or thoughts. Oddly, the first two echo Sandor’s first impression of her, that she is like a pretty bird from the Summer Isles, repeating everything her Septa has told her: stupid and trained.

Indeed, Tyrion seems exasperated by her love of songs and can’t cope with her revulsion to him, whilst at the same time thinking of her as stupid and well-trained. He also doesn’t seem to see that she is as guarded with what she says to him as what she says in the RK, full stop. We know from her conversations with Sandor and Dontos that she can be quite direct on issues, although she is rarely unkind.

Compare our analysis of her so far and it seems that Tyrion has very little concept of her personality at all. What it does show, though, is perhaps the general impression people in the RK have of her. A stupid but polite girl.

Looking at Tyrion’s desires in view to their future marriage.

I want her, he realized. I want Winterfell, yes, but I want her as well, child or woman or whatever she is. I want to comfort her. I want to hear her laugh. I want her to come to me willingly, to bring me her joys and her sorrows and her lust.

. . .

Tyrion would gladly have broken through her courtesy to give her what solace he might, but it was no good. No words would ever make him fair in her eyes. Or any less a Lannister. This was the wife they had given him, for all the rest of his life, and she hated him.

Some areas of these statements struck me as strange and as if he was projecting the Tysha fantasy he has Shae and other prostitutes play on to Sansa. True, he wants to comfort her and be her protect her, but he also wants Winterfell and his conversation with his father makes it very clear that he is aware of how he will get it and it doesn’t seem to bother him. He doesn’t even think about the following his father says, or comment on it:

She is old enough to be Lady of Winterfell once her brother is dead.

I had always hoped Tyrion had just been willingly blind to the fact that Robb had to die for him to become Lord of Winterfell, and I never picked up on this phrase before, and although Tyrion was not part of the Red Wedding, his desire to have Winterfell depended on his wife’s brother’s death. This can’t be anything but a barrier between them. Tyrion was counting on Robb dying for him to get his prize.

It also makes a mockery of his previous statement about:

I want to comfort her. I want to hear her laugh. I want her to come to me willingly, to bring me her joys and her sorrows.

Her sorrows have to increase for him to benefit. He is still working towards the destruction of her family.

Also, his statement about “her lust” didn’t sit well. He himself recognizes she is a child and too young for sexual urges such as lust, etc. He says:

Sansa is too young.

I think this again highlights his wish for her to be the Tysha replacement. He doesn’t see her as a person, just as a potential other Tysha. He is already fantasizing about her personality, because her courtesy armour is keeping her actual self away from him.

Also, if he wanted to comfort her, then why not tell her before the wedding that it was happening. He goes to the trouble of telling Shae, because he cares about her feelings, but not the girl he is marrying. Now, I know he was not meant to, but he was not meant to have Shae in the RK either. He could have arranged something with Varys. So why didn’t he?

We also find out in this chapter that the marriage can be set aside. Is this option here as foreshadowing that it will be set aside, or that Sansa will reject an annulment to stay with him?

In conclusion, we see Sansa through someone else’s eyes and the portrait is not flattering. Oddly, Tyrion completely misunderstands Sansa’s personality, but both Sandor and Littlefinger already have a better measure of her. We also see that the marriage is truly making her miserable, and making Tyrion miserable as well. It is also the subject of gossip and mockery. Sansa has been through so much humiliation already, that I can only imagine what the Tyrell’s ditching her and being the laughingstock of the RK must have felt like. It would have been good to see a POV from her when she goes back to reformulate her escape plans with Ser Dontos. Indeed, her commitment to the marriage is obvious from the fact that she restarts the escape plan. Whilst she would have married Willas, she is desperate to get away from Tyrion and the threat of Joff.

Tywin’s attitude again highlighted his ruthlessness and his casual way of referring to Robb Stark’s death whilst looking at the Stark family steel he has defiled, again suggests that he is not bothered about either Tyrion or Sansa. In fact, the intact blade would have helped any son of Tyrion and Sansa in their claim to Winterfell. So by denying the sword to the proposed rightful heir, was he actually expecting Tyrion to succeed, or just interested in further humiliating the North?

Tyrion VI & VII

by Brashcandy

SUMMARY

The chapter opens with Tyrion and Sansa having dinner together. It is an awkward meal, with both of them making banal comments on the state of the food:

The pease are overcooked,” his wife ventured once.

“No matter,” he said. “So is the mutton.”

“Why? Some cook should be sorry. Not you. The pease are not your province, Sansa.”

“I… I am sorry that my lord husband is displeased.

Tyrion’s mood has darkened since the arrival of Oberyn Martell and the ensuing conflict with the Tyrells. We learn that a fight broke out in Flea Bottom leaving casualties on both sides and that Lady Olenna has called Ellaria Sand “the serpent’s whore.”

In order to make Sansa feel better about the meal, Tyrion calls on Podrick to fill his plate with even more peas, but rues:

That was stupid … Now I have to eat them all, or she’ll be sorry all over again. 

After the supper ends, Sansa requests leave to be able to visit the godswood, and Tyrion entertains the idea of joining her, even though he cannot understand this kind of religious faithfulness. Sansa immediately objects to this thought, however, telling Tyrion that he would find it boring. He agrees with her, and thinks that she knows him better than he thought.

After Sansa leaves, Tyrion resumes work on trying to track down debts owed to the Crown, but is soon called to meet with his father. On arriving at the Hand’s solar, he sees Cersei and Joffrey, the latter bouncing up and down, and Cersei with a “smug little smile” on her face.

His father offered him a roll of parchment. Someone had flattened it, but it still wanted to curl. “Roslin caught a fine fat trout,” the message read. “Her brothers gave her a pair of wolf pelts for her wedding.

Unable to contain himself, Joffrey announces that Robb Stark is dead. Tyrion muses to himself:

First Greyjoy and now Stark. Tyrion thought of his child wife, praying in the godswood even now. Praying to her father’s gods to bring her brother victory and keep her mother safe, no doubt. The old gods paid no more heed to prayer than the new ones, it would seem. Perhaps he should take comfort in that. “Kings are falling like leaves this autumn,” he said. “It would seem our little war is winning itself.

Cersei lets him know that it was Tywin who won that war, not the whims of fate. After this, Tywin speaks about the conditions of the other battles being fought in and around the Riverlands, stating that he will be merciful to anyone who decides to bend the knee. This will not happen at Harrenhal, however, as he plans on sending Gregor Clegane to deal with the Brave Companions residing there. Joffrey is against the talk of sparing any traitors and announces that he wants everyone’s head on a spike, particularly Robb Stark’s, which he will make Sansa kiss.

Sire,” Ser Kevan said, in a shocked voice, “the lady is now your aunt by marriage.

Cersei claims that Joff doesn’t mean it, but the boy is insistent that he will indeed make Sansa kiss the head.

No.” Tyrion’s voice was hoarse. “Sansa is no longer yours to torment. Understand that monster.

Joff returns the insult, with Tyrion upping the ante to remind him that kings are “dropping like flies.” For his part, Tywin tries to counsel Joffrey that a king must show mercy or else no one would ever bend the knee to them. Instead of letting the issue die, Joffrey hits back that Lord Tywin was a coward and that it was his father, Robert, who really won the war. Tyrion thinks:

Oh my, hasn’t this gotten interesting?

The tension ends with Tywin suggesting that Joffrey be given dreamwine to sleep, and when the boy departs, he accosts Cersei for letting him believe that the boy cared nothing for his father. Cersei replies:

Why would he? Robert ignored him. He would have beat him if I’d allowed it. That brute you made me marry once hit the boy so hard he knocked out two of his baby teeth, over some mischief with a cat. I told him I’d kill him in his sleep if ever did it again, and he never did, but sometimes he would say things…

Stating that it’s clear some things needed to be said, Tywin dismisses Cersei. Tyrion mentions that the boy is more like Aerys the third than Robert the second, and Tywin notes that he requires a “sharp lesson.”

The following conversation between father and son reveals that Tywin has no intention of turning Gregor Clegane over to the Martells for justice, instead planning to place the blame all on the already dead Amory Lorch. Tywin has also made Roose Bolton the Warden of the North and arranged a marriage alliance with Arya Stark. When Tyrion posits that Arya must be dead, Tywin basically confirms that it will all be an elaborate ruse, using another girl as Arya.

Perhaps Littlefinger succeeded where you and Varys failed. Lord Bolton will wed the girl to his bastard son. We shall allow the Dreadfort to fight the Ironborn for a few years and see if he can bring Stark’s other bannermen to heel. Come spring, all of them should be at the end of their strength and ready to bend the knee. The north will go to your son by Sansa Stark… if you ever find enough manhood in you to breed one. Lest you forget it is not only Joffrey who must needs take a maidenhead.

Tyrion thinks that he hadn’t forgotten, but was hoping Tywin had. He responds sarcastically:

And when do you imagine Sansa will be at her most fertile… Before or after I tell her how we murdered her mother and her brother?

Tyrion VII

It is the middle of the night (before Joffrey’s wedding) and Tyrion is planning a secret rendezvous with Shae.

Tyrion dressed himself in darkness, listening to his wife’s soft breathing from the bed they shared. She dreams, he thought, when Sansa murmured something softly – a name perhaps, though it was too faint to say and turned onto her side. As man and wife they shared a marriage bed, but that was all. Even her tears she hoards to herself.

We learn that after Sansa finds out about Robb’s and her mother’s death, she does not break down in front of Tyrion but waits until she is alone to vent her grief.

Tyrion had considered going to her then, to offer what comfort he could. No, he had to remind himself, she will not look for solace from a Lannister. The most he could was to shield her from the uglier details of the Red Wedding as they came down from the Twins. Sansa did not need to hear how her brother’s body had been hacked and mutilated, he decided; nor how her mother’s corpse had been dumped naked into the Green Fork in a savage mockery of House Tully’s funeral customs. The last thing the girl needed was more fodder for her nightmares.

It was not enough, though. He had wrapped his cloak around her shoulders and sworn to protect her, but that was as cruel a jape as the crown the Freys had placed atop the head of Robb Stark’s direwolf after they’d sewn it onto his headless corpse. Sansa knew that as well. The way she looked at him, her stiffness when she climbed into their bed… when he was with her, never for an instant could he forget who he was, or what he was. No more than she did. She still went nightly to the godswood to pray, and Tyrion wondered if she was praying for his death. She had lost her home, her place in the world, and everyone she had ever loved or trusted. Winter is coming, warned the Stark words, and truly it had come for them with a vengeance. But it is high summer for House Lannister. So why am I so cold.

Tyrion and Sansa have been given new spacious apartments, and he’s relieved to be out of Maegor’s Holdfast and away from Cersei. There’s also been a change in maids, with Shae and another woman named Brella looking after Sansa and their chambers. Tyrion meets Shae in a room in the castle bowels filled with dragon skulls. She teases him at first, making him catch her and then they have sex.

My giant,” she breathed as he entered her. “My giant’s come to save me.

When he states that they should go back before Sansa wakes, Shae advises that he should give her dreamwine, which would allow them to even have sex beside her without her waking. She is able to sense that Tyrion is concerned about something, and he confesses:

My wife. My sister. My nephew. My father. The Tyrells.” He had to move to his other hand. “Varys. Pycelle. Littlefinger. The Red Viper of Dorne.” He had come to his last finger. “The face that stares back out of the water when I wash.

Shae reassures him that she loves his face and kisses his scarred nose. Tyrion wants to believe her, but admonishes himself for his folly:

All the sweet innocence of the world was in her voice. Innocence? Fool, she’s a whore, all she knows of men is the bit between their legs. Fool, fool.

He recalls the conversation he had with Varys, where the eunuch told him that he wouldn’t lie if Cersei requested the truth about Shae and how she came to be appointed as one of Sansa’s maids. Varys thinks that Tyrion is a fool for risking all for this girl, and Tyrion thinks that he is right:

The risk he was taking left him tight as a drumhead, and there was guilt as well. The Others take my guilt, he thought as he slipped his tunic over his head. Why should I be guilty? My wife wants no part of me, and most especially not the part that seems to want her. 

He considers telling Sansa about Shae, since even the honourable Ned Stark had fathered a bastard, but ultimately decides this would be foolhardy:

No, I dare not. Vows or no, his wife could not be trusted. She might be maiden between the legs, but she was hardly innocent of betrayal; she had once spilled her own father’s plans to Cersei. And girls her age were not known for keeping secrets.

He decides at the end that the only safe route would be to let Shae go; perhaps send her to Chataya’s or arrange a marriage between her and a knight who seems enamoured with her. These thoughts are fleeting though, as he admits his desire for Shae often gets in the way of making any concrete arrangements.

ANALYSIS

These two chapters really help to cement just how ill-suited Sansa and Tyrion were as a couple, with Martin rolling out the quintessential symbol of a broken marriage: the awkward and strained conversation around the dinner table. Every day that the marriage continues heaps more misery and bitterness onto their respective lives. Both try to overcompensate for the lack of love and affection by being overly polite and courteous, but it’s a poor show regardless.

Sansa’s one hope now remains in the godswood—not in prayer as Tyrion believes but in the secret plan to escape after Joffrey’s wedding. Still, despite using the godswood as a cover for the plot, religion remains a prominent part of Sansa’s life, as Tyrion notes that she frequents the sept as well:

He had become accustomed to his wife’s nightly devotions. She prayed at the royal sept as well, and often lit candles to Mother, Maid and Crone. Tyrion found all this piety excessive, if truth be told, but in her place he might want the help of the gods as well.

As we noted back in other books, religion has taken on an increasingly relevant purpose in Sansa’s life, and there’s no pretence about her dependence on it to provide comfort, hope and wisdom. She’s no longer the child who only turns to the Seven because she likes the pageantry of that religion, but is now open and receptive to the deeper value of both the old gods and the new. Tyrion, on the other hand, is cast in the role of Sansa’s younger self, as she tells him that he won’t like the godswood because it has no candles or songs or priests.

His essential disconnect from Sansa is also evidenced by his unemotional response to the news of the Red Wedding. Now, of course, I’m not arguing that Tyrion should have cried tears over the demise of Robb and Catelyn, but still, outside of his acknowledgement that the news will be distressing to Sansa (something that even Moon Boy could have noted), we see very little concern about the lives of two people who’ve been callously murdered by his father, and his own investment in the murder of Sansa’s family is acknowledged when he speaks of the “we” who did the killing. Tywin may have written the letters and hatched the plot, but the culpability rests on the entire Lannister family, and Tyrion’s hopes for Winterfell and the North make him particularly blameworthy in the entire enterprise.

This chapter also touches on the depths of Joffrey’s depravity and the uneasy relationship that was developing between him and his Hand. Tywin, for all his cunning and cruelty, is still mindful about following a certain code of conduct and “honour” when it comes to granting mercy to traitors, but Joff shows glimpses of what a truly mad king he potentially would develop into when he got older. Kevan’s astonishment when he hears Joffrey’s wish for Sansa to kiss Robb’s head may suggest that he would have been a forceful guardian of Sansa had she been married to Lancel. Tyrion’s objection to Joffrey’s perverse desire also underscores Sansa’s central predicament as a Lannister bride and hostage. Tyrion may oppose Joffrey, but the dangers to Sansa being in such an environment are evident, and even though she may no longer be Joffrey’s or Cersei’s pawn, she is still Tyrion’s pawn, and the end of the chapter makes clear that eventually he would have been expected to start using her to satisfy the requirements of his father’s plots.

As we see in the two chapters, Tyrion is no longer deluding himself that Sansa wants him as a husband or lover, and he also understands why this is, and shows some sense of guilt over it. His admission that the wedding was a farce and that he cannot protect her undermines the marriage even further. Tyrion knows that he isn’t the kind of man Sansa needs or desires, not in name or stature. Instead of protecting her, he has been involved in the destruction of her family. His feeling of coldness whilst thinking that the Lannisters are enjoying a high summer foreshadows the coming events of Joffrey’s death and the murder of his father. The cold winds will soon be blowing for everyone.

I was surprised that Tyrion would accuse Sansa of having betrayed her father, and not have taken into account the girl’s distress over being sent away or his own sister’s deviousness. Either way, he completely fails to accord Sansa with any growth or maturity and this is to his detriment. The irony is evident when he talks about girls her age not being known to keep secrets as we know that Sansa has been keeping a huge secret for a very long time. Tyrion continues to lust after Sansa, but he has very little understanding of how she has developed from a child to a young lady. Admittedly, Sansa hasn’t wanted to let him get to know her, but there’s still a basic difference in personalities between the two of them that doesn’t promote sincerity and/or closeness.

We may not get a Sansa POV until the morning of Joffrey’s wedding, but Martin has still managed to communicate her depression and unhappiness, along with the irreconcilable issues in her relationship with Tyrion. Her grief over the deaths of her mother and brother is as profound as we would have expected, and her continuing visits to the godswood reveal her resolve to fight against the life the Lannisters have forced her into. These chapters depict a marriage in crisis, but also show Tyrion and Sansa in two very different lights. Tyrion’s actions continue to entrap him further, from his grudging acceptance of his father’s plans, to his inability to commit to sending Shae away. Sansa’s role as a Lannister pawn is coming to an end, and she has managed to survive the game, and in her own small way, to outplay her husband.

ASOS

Sansa IV

by Brashcandy

SUMMARY

Sansa wakes from a dream and thinks of how pleasant it was:

That was such a sweet dream, Sansa thought drowsily. She had been back in Winterfell, running through the godswood with her Lady. Her father had been there, and her brothers, all of them warm and safe. If only dreaming could make it so…

She doesn’t dwell on these thoughts for long, however, but tells herself she must be brave because “her torments would soon be ended, one way or the other.” She thinks that if Lady were there she would not be afraid, but now she is all alone in the world. She notices that Tyrion is not beside her, but this doesn’t come as a surprise since he is a bad sleeper and she usually wakes to find him in the solar at work or taking a walk.

When she opens up the shutters, she sees clouds that have formed into a castle shape:

There were clouds massing in the eastern sky pierced by shafts of sunlight. They look like two huge castles afloat in the morning sky. Sansa could see their walls of tumbled stone, their mighty keeps and barbicans. Wispy banners swirled from atop their towers and reached for the fast fading stars. The sun was coming up behind them, and she watched them go from black to grey to a thousand shades of rose and gold and crimson. Soon the wind mushed them together, and there was only one castle where there had been two.

When her maids enter the room to get her ready for the wedding breakfast, she calls them to the window to see the castle.

It’s made of gold.” Shae had short dark hair and bold eyes. She did all she was asked of her, but sometimes she gave Sansa the most insolent looks. “A castle all of gold, there’s a sight I’d like to see.”

“A castle, is it?” Brella had to squint. “That tower’s tumbling over, looks like. It’s all ruins, that is.

Sansa doesn’t want to hear talk of ruined castles, so she closes the shutters and inquires about Tyrion’s whereabouts. Shae responds quite boldly that he might have gone to see his father, while Brella suggests that Sansa get into her bath. Sansa is extremely nervous as she contemplates the day ahead, thinking bitterly:

They have made me into a Lannister.

Tyrion arrives shortly and proceeds to get dressed. During this time, Sansa tries to engage Pod in conversation, but the boy is painfully shy and barely manages to make sense in talking about the colours of his house. Although Sansa is tempted to come up with an excuse for not attending the wedding breakfast, she realises that she has to be brave, “like Robb” and attend the festivities.

The wedding breakfast is held in the Queen’s ballroom and it’s a pretty elaborate affair, with lots of dishes and drinks, musicians and fools cantering around. After the food is cleared away, Cersei presents Joff with the Lannister bride cloak that he will present Margaery with. Sansa thinks that it looks a little threadbare.

Then it’s time for the gifts. Joffrey receives elaborate wedding gifts and is gracious in thanking everyone, until Tyrion presents him with a book called The Lives of the Four Kings. When Joffrey wonders what it is, Sansa notes sarcastically:

A book. Sansa wondered if Joffrey moved those fat wormy lips of his when he read.

Joffrey shoves the book away and proceeds to humiliate Sansa by telling Tyrion that if he had less time for books he would have gotten her pregnant by now. He promises that after he is wed, he will come to her bedchamber and show Tyrion how it’s done.

Sansa reddened. She glanced nervously at Tyrion, afraid of what he might say. This could turn as nasty as the bedding had at their own feast. But for once the dwarf filled his mouth with wine instead of words.

After this, Mace Tyrell presents Joffrey with a “golden chalice three feet tall, with two ornate curved handles and seven faces glittering with gemstones”. He explains how each of the seven faces represent the seven kingdoms, and Joffrey announces that they’ll need to scratch the wolf off and put a squid in its place. Tyrion muses that the chalice is so tall that Joff will be falling down drunk with only half a cup, to which Sansa thinks:

Good… Perhaps he’ll break his neck.

The highlight of the gift-giving is Tywin’s present of the Valyrian longsword. Joff promptly proceeds to wave it around, and petitions for an appropriate name, choosing “Widow’s Wail.” He then uses the sword to chop Tyrion’s gift in half. Garlan Tyrell tells him:

Your Grace… Perhaps you did not know. In all of Westeros there were but four copies of that book illuminated in Kaeth’s own hand.

Joff replies that now they are three. When he states that Tyrion and Sansa owe him a better gift, Tyrion is watching him closely:

Perhaps a knife, sire. To match your sword. A dagger of the same Valyrian steel … with a dragonbone hilt, say?

Joff gave him a sharp look. “You… yes, a dagger to match my sword, good.” He nodded. “A… a gold hilt with rubies in it. Dragonbone is too plain.

Prince Oberyn and Ellaria Sand join Sansa and Tyrion as they are leaving the breakfast and Sansa takes note of the woman:

Sansa glanced at the woman curiously. She was baseborn and unwed, and had borne two bastard daughters for the prince, but she did not fear to look even the queen in the eye. Shae had told her that this Ellaria worshipped some Lysene love goddess. “She was almost a whore when he found her, m’lady,” her maid confided, “and now she’s near a princess. Sansa had never been this close to the Dornishwoman before. She is not truly beautiful, she thought, but something about her draws the eye.

Tyrion and Oberyn proceed to get into a conversation about the book that Joffrey destroyed. Tyrion is dismissive towards Baelor the Blessed, whom he sees as having spent all his time praying. Sansa believes that Baelor was a great king, and then recites the story of Baelor rescuing the Dragonknight from a snakepit without being bitten. Ellaria tells her that this is only a tale for singers and septons, but that truthfully Baelor was bitten half a hundred times.

Tyrion and Sansa take a litter back to the castle, and Tyrion insists that the curtains be closed because the people of KL hate him so much. Sansa is disappointed because it is a lovely day, but nevertheless acquiesces. She tells him that he is sorry that Joffrey destroyed his book, and Tyrion muses that he should have known better and recognized a lot of things sooner.

Perhaps the dagger will please him more.”

When the dwarf grimaced, his scar tightened and twisted. “The boy’s earned himself a dagger, wouldn’t you say?

Tyrion then questions Sansa on the relationship between Joffrey and Bran at Winterfell, but Sansa does not remember there being any ill feelings between the two. As the journey continues, she notices Tyrion staring at her and is uncomfortable with his gaze.

You loved your brothers, much as I love Jaime.

Is this some Lannister trap to make my speak treason? “My brothers were traitors, and they’ve gone to traitors’ graves. It is treason to love a traitor.

Tyrion asks her if she knows what happened to Bran at Winterfell and tells her that he never harmed Bran, despite Catelyn having her suspicions, and that he means no harm to Sansa. The chapter ends with Sansa telling him that she has no desire to know how her mother and Robb died because it would give her bad dreams. Tyrion tells her he will say no more about it because he knows about bad dreams too.

ANALYSIS

Tyrion discovers in this chapter that it was Joffrey who hired the murderer for Bran, and it appears to make him regretful over the unhappiness that the Lannisters have caused Sansa’s family. He cannot tell her the truth about Bran’s assassin, but he wants to reassure her that he won’t harm her. The tragedy of their relationship, however, is that even while Tyrion may genuinely be trying to have a sincere moment with Sansa, and to reach out to her, she will never be able to overcome her fear and suspicions of him and his family. His mentioning of Jaime has the opposite reaction he intended, and merely serves to make Sansa become guarded and to revert back to her programmed responses. Sansa can see that he is desperate for something from her, but is in no way prepared or able to meet his desires. After he tells her that he would never harm Bran and means no harm to her, she thinks:

What does he want me to say? “That is good to know, my lord.” He wanted something from her, but Sansa did not know what it was. He looks like a starving child, but I have no food to give him. Why won’t he leave me be?

This reaction by Sansa pretty much illustrates the vast gulf and division between her and Tyrion. He remains desperate to connect with her, but she remains unwilling and unable to do the same. Sansa may recognize that he’s not a terrible person, and she may even appreciate that he didn’t force her to sleep with him, but there is absolutely no interest on her part to find any kind of shared understanding with this man, or to reveal her true feelings to him. When we think back to how easily she connected with the Hound, and was able to open up herself emotionally to him, the contrast is stark.

Whilst I can understand how Tyrion feels, my sympathies remain with Sansa. There is something to be said for her refusal and inability to respond to Tyrion’s needs in this moment and throughout their brief marriage. She might have been forced to repeat those wedding vows to him, and to let him put a Lannister bride cloak on her shoulders, but she has kept the really important part of herself separate and unreachable. Some people continue to express the belief that Sansa was shallow, or that she should have seen that Tyrion was at heart a nice man who only wanted to help her. However, what Sansa is being here isn’t shallow, superficial or unkind. I think she’s being honest, realistic and defiant. She shouldn’t be under any obligation to make a marriage work when she had no consent to it in the first place. And she shouldn’t be under any obligation to love a man simply because it would make him happy. Chemistry, attraction, desire, romance, compatibility, compassion: these things cannot be manufactured, even when one person in the relationship wants them badly.

I have to say that when I see the kinds of statements GRRM is making via Sansa’s character and her arc so far, I have hope that she will be able to chart an independent path for herself—away from the negative influences of men like Littlefinger—and that her romantic life in particular will not be about settling or compromising, but really experiencing true fulfilment in the man she ends up with.

Anyhow, back to the chapter!

I really had a good time seeing Joffrey’s wedding breakfast through Sansa’s eyes, and she’s not without her humorous moments, like wondering whether Joffrey moved his fat, wormy lips to read. Also, when she notes that Lannister bride cloak was looking a bit threadbare, but surmised that it was because it was so “used,” it was a nice confirmation (albeit unknowingly) of the reason that the Tyrells rejected Cersei. One of the things this chapter makes clear is just how bitter Sansa is over having been made a Lannister, and how uncomfortable she is around her new family. She can make it through this wedding breakfast by slyly undermining Joffrey in her thoughts and wishing him badly, but if she didn’t have an escape planned I’m not sure she could have endured it.

I would imagine that any doubts Garlan Tyrell might have had that Joff would not make a suitable husband for Margaery were all erased that morning. Not only did the destruction of the book obviously annoy Garlan and move him to say something, but he could not have been pleased to hear that Joffrey was planning on raping Sansa whenever he wanted. Joff was truly becoming more and more uncontrollable and dangerous, and it’s hard to believe that Tyrion would have been able to protect Sansa if he had remained alive.

Her fear that Tyrion will say something to embarrass her again when Joff makes the promise to come to her bedchamber supports the argument I was making earlier about how mortified Sansa was when Tyrion made those rude jokes at the motley wedding. It wasn’t necessary for Tyrion to say those things, and only served in humiliating the girl.

Sansa’s opinion of Ellaria Sand is intriguing given the role she herself will later adopt as a bastard. Her recognition of the woman’s pride and dignity despite being unwed and of low birth serves as another lesson for Sansa about placing value in a person’s character, not whether they’re married or from noble stock. Ellaria might be baseborn, but she’s kind and thoughtful, telling Sansa that Oberyn was only teasing her, and then going on to explain the truth behind him the tales. She also did this without talking down to the girl or making her appear stupid because she believed in the fabled version of events.

The dream of Lady and her brothers back at Winterfell and everyone safe together shows just how Sansa continues to be connected to her family and her Northern roots. The power of memory is evinced repeatedly in Sansa’s arc, and her ability to still dream of Lady suggests that her need for a replacement protector remains constant. After she wakes up, Sansa thinks that she must be brave like Robb, another sign of maturity and her determination not to buckle under her fears. Robb has died, but she’s going to honour his memory by keeping her courage in preparation for her escape later on in the night.

The cloud castles that she sees in the sky appear to foreshadow the eventual downfall of House Lannister, which aligned with the Freys ( the first image she sees appears to be that of “twin” castles) to bring about the destruction of the Starks (black and grey) but whose power is about to crumble (via their union with the Tyrells). What do others think about the symbolism of the cloud castles?

To sum up, it’s interesting how this chapter evokes the earlier one where Tyrion also agreed with Sansa on the fear of nightmares when dreaming. The difference of course is that now Tyrion is feeling quite bitter by his failed attempts to engage Sansa and reach past her courtesy armour, and agrees with her sarcastically.

Tyrion rubbed at his scarred, scabby nose yet again, an ugly habit that drew the eye to his ugly face. “You have never asked me how Robb died, or your lady mother.

“I… would sooner not know. It would give me bad dreams.”

“Then I will say no more.”

“That … that’s kind of you.”

“Oh, yes,” said Tyrion. “I am the very soul of kindness. And I know about bad dreams.

What remains the same is what is ultimately significant: Sansa still does not trust him and is still planning on escaping from KL no matter the assurances that Tyrion tries to placate her with. It’s almost like Martin wants to highlight just how their relationship hasn’t developed over this time, unfortunately remaining stagnant and unnatural.

ASOS

Tyrion VIII

by Rapsie

SUMMARY

Tyrion is in the Great Sept of Baelor with everyone else attending Joff’s wedding to Margaery. He notes that the couple do look regal and describes how lovely Margaery’s dress is, noting that she is coming before them as a Tyrell, not a Baratheon (as his widow, she had the right to wear Renly’s colours). He wonders if she really is a maid and if Joff could tell the difference. He then notes how regal Joff looks, but is bitter because he:

I saved that bloody crown for him.

He also wants to strangle him because he has discovered that it wasn’t Jaime or Cersei who sent the assassin to kill Bran, but Joff.

He ought to have seen it long ago. Jaime would never send another man to do his killing, and Cersei was too cunning to use a knife that could be traced back to her, but Joff, arrogant vicious stupid little wretch that he was…

He then recalls the morning in Winterfell when he found Joff jesting to Sandor Clegane about killing wolves. He thinks that Joff would not have sent Sandor Clegane to do it as the Hound would have told Cersei, and that instead Joff must have found his catspaw in the lowlife camp followers who had come with them to Winterfell. He thinks at least Joff didn’t use his own dagger and must have picked one from the king’s baggage train, but obviously didn’t know what he was doing, as he picked LF’s dagger.
Tyrion wonders why Joff would have done it and thinks it may be simple cruelty. He feels sick and reflects that:

He ought to have held his tongue at breakfast. The boy knows I know now. My big mouth will be the death of me, I swear it.

The wedding continues seamlessly, and it is time to exchange the cloaks.

He made certain not to look at Sansa, lest his bitterness show in his eyes. You might have knelt, damn you. Would it have been so bloody hard to bend those stiff Stark knees of yours and let me keep a little dignity?

Joff and Margaery exchange cloaks, and Joff swears to protect her, while Tyrion reflects who will protect her from Joff. The wedding service finishes and the guests begin to exit.

Tyrion offers Sansa his arm.

She took it dutifully, but he could feel her stiffness as they walked up the aisle together. She never once looked down at him.

He reflects that the crowds love Margaery so much, that they are willing to love Joff again too. He jests about needing to escape.

Sansa had no choice but to look at him then. “I… yes, my lord. As you say.” She looked sad. “it was such a beautiful ceremony, though.

As ours was not.

They queue up to congratulate the bride and groom, and then get in their litter to return to the castle. He looks at Sansa once they are inside.

Sansa sat staring at her hands. She is just as comely as the Tyrell girl. Her hair was a rich autumn auburn, her eyes a deep Tully blue. Grief had given her a haunted, vulnerable look; if anything, it had only made her more beautiful. He wanted to reach her, to break through the armor of her courtesy. Was that what made him speak? Or just the need to distract himself from the fullness in his bladder?

He begins to suggest that once the roads are safe, they journey to Casterly Rock, while thinking it will be far away from his sister and Joff. He tells her it would please him to show her where he and Jaime played as boys.

She raised her head slowly. He knew what she was seeing; the swollen brutish brow, the raw stump of his nose, his crooked pink scar and mismatched eyes. Her own eyes were big and blue and empty. “I shall go wherever my lord husband wishes.”

“I had hoped it might please you, my lady.”

“It will please me to please my lord.”

His mouth tightened. What a pathetic little man you are. Did you think babbling about the Lion’s Mouth would make her smile? When have you ever made a woman smile but with gold? “No, it was a foolish notion. Only a Lannister can love the Rock.”

“Yes, my lord. As you wish.

Tyrion hears the crowd shouting Joff’s name and reflects that in three years the boy will be king in his own right, and that Tyrion had best be far away. He thinks about Oldtown or Braavos.

Perhaps that would please Sansa. Gently, he spoke of Braavos, and met a wall of sullen courtesy as icy and unyielding as the Wall he had walked once in the north. It made him weary. Then and now.

They passed the rest of the journey in silence. After a while, Tyrion found himself hoping that Sansa would say something, anything, the merest word, but she never spoke.

Tyrion finally manages to get to a loo, and then meets Pod outside his chamber, who tells him his new doublet is in there. He reflects that Shae and Sansa will be in there as well. He reflects on the wedding between Highgarden and Casterly Rock and thinks after what happened to Stannis and Robb, who would be mad enough to contest Joff’s reign now. He thinks that the Riverlands will soon all have yielded and that Paxter Redwyne’s fleet will sail up and crush Stannis’s pirates. The war is almost over.

When he enters the bed chamber he sees Shae helping Sansa to dress.

Joy and grief, he thought when he beheld them there together. Laughter and tears.

He looks at Sansa and thinks:

Tyrion had never seen her look more lovely, yet she wore sorrow on those long satin sleeves.

Tyrion tells Sansa she will be the most beautiful woman in the hall. Shae asks if she can attend and Sansa uncertain, tells her that the Queen has chosen all the servers.
When they are ready, Tyrion takes Sansa by the arm to go to the feast. Outside the main hall, he takes her around the yard to perform the necessary courtesies.

She is good at this, he thought, as he watched her tell Lord Gyles that his cough was sounding better, compliment Elinor Tyrell on her gown, and question Jalabhar Xho about wedding customs in the Summer Isles. His cousin Ser Lancel had been brought down by Ser Kevan, the first time he’d left his sickbed since the battle. He looks ghastly. Lancel’s hair had turned white and brittle, and he was thin as a stick. Without his father beside him holding him up, he would surely have collapsed. Yet when Sansa praised his valor and said how good it was to see him getting strong again, both Lancel and Ser Kevan beamed. She would have made Joffrey a good queen and a better wife if he’d had the sense to love her.

Lady Olenna Tyrell, in a gown of gold, stops to talk to them and tells Sansa she looks exquisite, but the wind has been playing with her hair. She tucks in the loose strands. She tells her she is sorry to hear about her losses, and although he was a terrible traitor, we can’t have men murdered at wedding feasts. She then invites Sansa to go to Highgarden with her the day after next.

You are too kind, my lady,” said Sansa, “but my place is with my lord husband.

Lady Tyrell then turns to Tyrion and says she didn’t mean to steal his lovely wife, but assumed he would be off leading a host to battle. Tyrion says it will be a host of dragons and Lady Tyrell makes a joke about collecting Dwarf’s Pennies. As they depart to go into the feast, Lady Tyrell says to Sansa:

Well, off with you, child, and try to be merrier.

As they walk into the hall,

Tyrion clutched Sansa’s arm and made the walk with a heavy waddling stride. (…) Tyrion wondered which of them looked more absurd, him with Sansa or the wizened little woman between her seven-foot-tall twin guardsmen.

Joff and Margaery ride into the hall on white chargers. He and Sansa have been seated at the far right of the table, beside Ser Garlan and his wife. There are toasts and the first of the 77 courses are served. Sansa has one mouthful and pushes her spoon away. He asks if it is not to her liking.

She fiddled nervously with her hair and looked down the table to where Joffrey sat with his Tyrell queen.

Does she wish it were her in Margaery’s place? Tyrion frowned. Even a child should have better sense. He turned away, wanting distraction, but everywhere he looked were women, fair fine beautiful happy women who belonged to other men.

He looks at other couples around the room, and after seeing a man kiss his wife, wonders:

what Sansa would do if he leaned over and kissed her right now. Flinch away, most likely. Or be brave and suffer through it, as was her duty. She is nothing if not dutiful, this wife of mine. If he told her that he wished to have her maidenhead tonight, she would suffer that dutifully as well, and weep no more than she had to.

There are more courses and entertainment and several singers. Tyrion asks Sansa which she prefers.

I… I’m sorry, my lord. I was not listening.”

She was not eating, either. “Sansa, is aught amiss?” He spoke without thinking, and instantly felt the fool. All her kin are slaughtered and she’s wed to me, and I wonder what’s amiss.

“No, my lord.” She looked away from him, and feigned an unconvincing interest in Moon Boy pelting Ser Dontos with dates.

Another singer comes forward to sing about the BBW. Tyrion makes jests about the song with Ser Garlan and his wife. When Tyrion is left out of the song, Ser Garlan tells his wife about Tyrion’s chain across the river and how helpful it was. Tyrion feels very grateful for this. During the song, there are verses about the bravery of Queen Cersei:

She never did that,” Sansa blurted out suddenly.

Tyrion tells her not to believe anything she hears in a song.

There are more courses until Joff calls forth the royal jesters. Then two dwarfs come in on a pig and a dog with the colours of House Stark and House Baratheon on them, and joust too much amusement. Tyrion notes that:

Of all those at the high table, only Sansa Stark was not smiling. He could have loved her for that, but if truth be told the Stark girl’s eyes were far away, as if she had not even seen the ludicrous riders loping toward her.

Joff then challenges Tyrion to be the champion, and Tyrion says only if he faces Joff as that’s the only man he has a chance of beating. Everyone laughs, but Joff is furious. The jousters leave the hall and Joff pours wine over Tyrion’s head. Ser Garlan tells the King it was ill-done and Joff and Tyrion publically argue. Queen Margaery defuses the situation, and Tywin announces the pie has been brought in and Margaery and Joff go to cut the pigeon pie. Tyrion is made Joff’s cupbearer.

They use Ser Ilyn’s sword.

Sansa stirred in her seat. “What sword is that?” Tyrion’s eyes still stung from the wine. He blinked and looked again. Ser Ilyn’s greatsword was as long and wide as Ice, but it was too silvery bright; Valyrian steel had a darkness to it, a smokiness in its soul. Sansa clutched his arm. “What has Ser Ilyn done with my father’s sword?

I should have sent Ice back to Robb Stark, Tyrion thought. He glanced at his father, but Lord Tywin was watching the king.

They cut the pie and pigeons fly out. Slices of pie are served, but Tyrion doesn’t want his.

Sansa was not eating either. “You’re deathly pale, my lady,” Tyrion said. “You need a breath of cool air, and I need a fresh doublet.” He stood and offered her his hand. “Come.

Before they can leave, Joff makes Tyrion his cupbearer again. Joff drinks and eats some pie, which he says is dry. He drinks some more and then begins to choke. There is a frantic scene and Joff is dying. Tyrion looks round to see how Sansa is taking this and can’t see her. He sees the chalice on the floor and pours out its contents. Guests are fleeing the hall, and he thinks he should leave too. Instead, he goes to comfort Cersei, but she demands his and Sansa’s arrest for poisoning Joff.

ANALYSIS

There is a lot in this chapter on how Sansa is viewed by Tyrion and how others interact with her, and knowing what we know about her escape plans, how her behaviour is misinterpreted.

While Tyrion appreciates her beauty and wants to comfort her, he seems completely vexed by who or what would please her as a person.

His descriptions of her all seem to echo coldness and armour and grief and weeping, like the Wall in the North.

Her own eyes were big and blue and empty.”

“She looked sad”

“Grief had given her a haunted, vulnerable look;”

“met a wall of sullen courtesy as icy and unyielding as the Wall he had walked once in the north. It made him weary. Then and now.”

“grief,”

tears.”

“Tyrion had never seen her look more lovely, yet she wore sorrow on those long satin sleeves. “

“deathly pale

Everything in this chapter highlights how miserable and depressed Sansa is.

He does however see what she does well and that is courtly courtesy. Indeed, we see as Sansa interacts with people how well they respond to her. She may be shunned at other times, but that does not mean people do not pity her or not know about the awful things that have happened to her. Tyrion observes this:

She is good at this.

. . .

She would have made Joffrey a good queen and a better wife if he’d had the sense to love her.

Again, this could be foreshadowing of Sansa marrying (f)Aegon, as he has very similar thoughts about (f)Aegon when he meets him and how any girl in Westeros would fall for him. Indeed, both of those characters have been trained for a role as king and high lady from birth. While all noble girls are trained to be as such, we know from AGOT onwards that Sansa excels in this.

We also see that Tyrion completely has no idea about her true character:

She fiddled nervously with her hair and looked down the table to where Joffrey sat with his Tyrell queen.

Does she wish it were her in Margaery’s place? Tyrion frowned. Even a child should have better sense.

. . .

Or be brave and suffer through it, as was her duty. She is nothing if not dutiful, this wife of mine. If he told her that he wished to have her maidenhead tonight, she would suffer that dutifully as well, and weep no more than she had to.

Obviously, we know she is nervous about the escape and it has been a trying and humiliating day already. Tyrion thinking she wants to be in Margaery’s place shows how little he knows her. Also, the line “She is nothing if not dutiful” is ironic, as she has been playing a part in order to get out of captivity. While he is imagining a life together, she is plotting to escape. It never crosses his mind that she may do this.

The last part about taking her maidenhead sent a slight shiver down my spine, as it could be read that Tyrion was already beginning to think about requesting such a thing and breaking yet another vow to her. It could, however, just be a reflection on what he assumes is her dutiful nature.

We again see that she avoids interacting with him as much as possible:

She took it dutifully, but he could feel her stiffness as they walked up the aisle together. She never once looked down at him.”

. . .

“Sansa had no choice but to look at him then.

. . .

“They passed the rest of the journey in silence. After a while, Tyrion found himself hoping that Sansa would say something, anything, the merest word, but she never spoke.

Also, in this and the previous chapter it is noticeable that several times she starts to say something, but changes it from her true statement to a polite courtesy answer: “I … yes, my lord. As you say.” “I… I’m sorry,” etc. There are two occasions in the feast that do make her speak her mind:

She never did that,” Sansa blurted out suddenly.”
. . .

“Sansa clutched his arm. “What has Ser Ilyn done with my father’s sword?

Even Tyrion seems aghast when he realizes that Tywin has had Ice melted down. This is yet another humiliation for Sansa. It also brings up another problem with the proposed plan that Tyrion should rule Winterfell, and that is he cannot act like a Northman and perform things such as executions himself. The difference between Southron and Northern culture is quite large.

Again, we have a slightly bitter view of Sansa in terms of Tyrion’s remembering that she wouldn’t kneel for him.

He made certain not to look at Sansa, lest his bitterness show in his eyes. You might have knelt, damn you. Would it have been so bloody hard to bend those stiff Stark knees of yours and let me keep a little dignity?

Given the wedding was forced, she was sobbing and was facing him raping her later that evening (although, thankfully, that didn’t happen), I am amazed he can’t understand why she wouldn’t have been concerned about his dignity. His selfishness in this case is quite ridiculous. The fact he is still bitter about it also highlights the danger of showing any defiance to the Lannisters, and that had she resisted further the day may have turned even more unpleasant for her.

We also see that although Tyrion was horrified that Joff had tried to kill Bran, he obviously had previously thought it was his sister or Jaime, which again begs the question, when he knew the Lannisters were guilty and that he was covering up for them, why would he be so cross when taken prisoner by Cat? He never seems to see that his tacit role in covering up others’ crimes or depending or the crimes of others (Robb’s murder, Sansa’s forced marriage) to benefit him are things he should take partial responsibility for.

Also, despite knowing this, he offers to take her to the Rock (where there will be more Lannisters), and show her where Jaime (who tried to kill her brother) and he played as children. This highlights the gulf between them: even Tyrion’s happy childhood memories and places he loves will be ones where she does not wish to go or see. Although the line about “Only a Lannister could love the Rock” could be foreshadowing that she will like it there, as she is a Lannister. Although again this only works if the “opposite” trope is being used and the forced bride/unwilling girl who eventually comes to love her captor/abductor is a rather tired one in fiction and one we have already had with Khal Drogo and Dany, and that marriage came without the baggage of her husband being part of the family that had slaughtered hers and kept her prisoner.

We also see a brief glimpse of how Olenna Tyrell sees her:

Well, off with you, child, and try to be merrier.

This would seem to indicate, along with Tyrion’s views on her misery, that it was very obvious to everyone that she was deeply unhappy.

We also get one glimpse that Sansa was slightly more astute than Tyrion in regards to the Loras, Marg and Joff situation.

Tyrion thinks:

But who will protect her from Joff? Tyrion glanced at the Knight of Flowers, standing with the other Kingsguard. You had best keep your sword well honed, Ser Loras.

But he doesn’t see or reflect on the implications of the statement: that this mix of people is a disaster waiting to happen.

Sansa, in two chapters previous to this, had already been thinking:

Joff might restrain himself for a few turns, perhaps as long as a year, but soon or late he will show his claws, and when he does … The realm might have a second Kingslayer, and there would be war inside the city, as the men of the lion and the men of the rose made the gutters run red.

We see from this chapter that no one has a clue that Sansa is capable of being part of an escape plan and that generally she is incredibly unhappy. We also see that she and Tyrion’s marriage is a disaster. He does not really want to face who she is and is still longing for Tysha 2.0, while she is maintaining a safe distance and not letting him see any of her true self at all.

ASOS

Sansa V

by Rapsie


SUMMARY

Bells are tolling across the city.

Sansa felt as though she were in a dream. “Joffrey is dead,” she told the trees, to see if that would wake her.

She reflects that he was not dead when she left, but was kneeling and clawing at his throat. The sight made her flee from the room. She bumps into a similarly fleeing Lady Tanda who tells her,

You have a good heart, my lady,” she said to Sansa. “Not every maid would weep so for a man who set her aside and wed her to a dwarf.

Sansa feels hysterical at her words and tries to choke down laughter. The bells continue ringing as they had for Robert. She thinks about Joffrey being dead. Then reflects:

Why was she crying, when she wanted to dance? Were they tears of joy?

She begins to change her clothes to the clothes she had hidden the night before last, but finds it slow going without her maids. Her hands are a bit clumsy, though she thinks she is not as frightened as she should be. She reflects that the gods were cruel to take the handsome king at his wedding, but Sansa thinks “The gods are just” and remembers that Robb died at a wedding, too. She thinks it is Robb and Margaery she is crying for. She feels sorry for Margaery, being two times a widow.

She finally removes her dress and retrieves the clothes she has hidden in the bole of an oak and begins to put them on. She remembers Ser Dontos’s instructions that she must “Dress warmly”, “and dress dark.” She has no black dresses, so has a brown woollen dress with pearls on it that she hides beneath a dark green cloak and has simple sturdy brown shoes.

The gods heard my prayer, she thought. She felt so numb and dreamy. My skin has turned to porcelain, to ivory, to steel.

She goes to remove the net from her hair and finds it difficult, and for a moment wishes Shae was there to help her, but eventually pulls the net free and lets down her hair. She looks at her hairnet in the moonlight, and then realizes one of the amethysts is missing. She looks closely at it and sees the empty space has a dark smudge in it.

A sudden terror filled her. Her heart hammered against her ribs, and for an instant she held her breath. Why am I so scared, it’s only an amethyst, a black amethyst from Asshai, no more than that. It must have been loose in the setting, that’s all. It was loose and it fell out, and now it’s lying somewhere in the throne room, or in the yard, unless…

She remembers that Ser Dontos said the hairnet was magic and it would take her home, but that she had to wear it to the wedding feast. She rubs her hands over the missing stone casing, unable to leave it alone as the hairnet stretches over her fingers. She wonders “What kind of magic,” and then thinks that the cruel king, who had once been her prince “a thousand year ago” was dead.

She is then fearful that Ser Dontos lied to her about the hairnet and therefore lied about the escape. She wonders what would happen if he never comes, or there is no boat, no escape…”What would happen to her then?”

There is a rustling of leaves and she cries out to see who is there. Ser Dontos appears and tells her that her Florian has come. He is drunk and is using her arm to stand straight. Sansa wrenches away and demands to know what type of stones are in the hairnet. Ser Dontos says they were black amethysts and Sansa accuses him of lying, and when he says there was magic in them, she responds that “There was murder in them.” Ser Dontos begins to chortle and says Joff choked on his pie and talks about silver and stones and magic.
Sansa continues:

The bells were tolling, and the wind was making a noise like he had made as he tried to suck a breath of air. “You poisoned him. You did. You took a stone from my hair…

Ser Dontos tells her to hush and that they must go as people are searching for her and Tyrion has been arrested. This shocks Sansa, and Ser Dontos informs her that the Queen thinks he poisoned Joff. Sansa wonders if she wished Joff dead, and thinks about the grumkins who create magical items that make wishes come true and then reflects she’s too old to believe in them.

She reflects that Tyrion hated his nephew, but wonders how he knew about her hairnet. She thinks Tyrion brought Joff wine, and then wonders how you can make someone choke by putting a stone in their wine. Then she starts to worry that:

If Tyrion did it, they will think I was part of it as well, she realized with a start of fear. How not? They were man and wife, and Joff had killed her father and mocked her with her brother’s death. One flesh, one heart, one soul. 

Ser Dontos tells her they must go and she hides her face with her hood. She keeps her head down and they move through the castle sticking to the shadows. They stop momentarily on the serpentine steps for Ser Dontos to vomit and Sansa thinks “My poor Florian”. She then notices that despite telling her to dress darkly, under his brown cloak he is wearing his old surcoat with the colours of House Hollard which are quite bright.

Why are you wearing your surcoat? Joff decreed it was death if you were caught dressed as a knight again, he … oh…” Nothing Joff had decreed mattered any longer.

“I wanted to be a knight. For this, at least.

They cross a small courtyard and enter a long gallery where Ser Dontos has to light a taper so they can see. There are several rows of armour there.

Along the walls stood empty suits of armor, dark and dusty, their helms crested with rows of scales that continued down their backs. As they hurried past, the taper’s light made the shadows of each scale stretch and twist. The hollow knights are turning into dragons, she thought.

They finally emerge outside the RK on a cliff face and Ser Dontos tells her they must climb down. Sansa is worried she’ll fall as Bran had done. Ser Dontos explains that there is a stone ladder and shows her where it is. She reflects that is still a long way down and asks if there is another way. Ser Dontos tells her it is the way and it will be okay for a strong young girl like her to make the climb. He then says he is the one who should be afraid and asks her if she remembers how he used to fall off his horse and how Joff wanted his head, but that Sansa saved him.

He’s weeping, she realized. “And now you have saved me.”

“Only if you go. If not, I have killed us both.”

It was him, she thought. He killed Joffrey. She had to go, for him as much as for herself. “You go first, ser.” If he did fall, she did not want him falling down on her head and knocking both of them off the cliff.

She promises to follow after him, and after a count of ten Sansa eases herself over the cliff.

The castle walls loomed large above her, and for a moment she wanted nothing so much as to pull herself up and run back to her warm rooms in the Kitchen Keep. Be brave, she told herself. Be brave, like a lady in a song.

Sansa dared not look down. She kept her eyes on the face of the cliff, making certain of each step before reaching for the next.

Despite her fear and occasional slips, she continues down the steps. She keeps telling herself to take “one more step,” reflecting that if she stops she will be found there still clinging in fear in the morning. She doesn’t realize when she reaches the bottom and falls on to her back.

When she rolled onto her back and stared up at from where she had come, her head swam dizzily and her fingers clawed at the dirt. I did it. I did it, I didn’t fall, I made the climb and now I’m going home.

Ser Dontos tells her to be quiet and they make their way along the beach. Close by, they find a man in a half hidden skiff and they quickly get in the boat. They begin to row out into the bay past the wreckage of the BBW.

She asks how far they must go and is told to be silent as sound travels over water. Ser Dontos begins to tell her, but the oarsman again tells Ser Fool to be quiet. It is nearly dawn when they see a small trading galley. When they reach it, a rope ladder is thrown over the side, the oarsman helps Sansa up to the ladder.

Sansa thanked him for his kindness, but received no answer but a grunt.

She trembles on deck, and hears someone say she’s cold and put their cloak round her shoulders and ask her if that is better, and tells her the worst part is over. She knows it is Lord Petyr’s voice, but thinks “he’s in the Vale.” Lothor Brune is beside him. Ser Dontos calls up from the boat that he needs to be off before he is noticed as missing, and LF says he’ll want his payment of 10,000 dragons. He says yes, and archers come forward and shoot him three times. Lothor Brune then chucks a lit torch on the boat and it and Ser Dontos begin to burn.

You killed him.” Clutching the rail, Sansa turned away and retched. Had she escaped the Lannisters to tumble into worse?

Sansa says he saved her, but LF says he sold her for a promise of money. He then tells her that her disappearance will make her a suspect in Joff’s death and Lord Varys and the Gold Cloaks will be hunting for her. He then tells her that Ser Dontos had been working for him all along, and how he knew after she had saved him that he would be the perfect catspaw.

Sansa feels sick at this news. LF asks her if she remembers what he said to her the day her father sat on the Iron Throne.

The moment came back to her vividly. “You told me that life was not a song. That I would learn that one day, to my sorrow.” She felt tears in her eyes, but whether she wept for Ser Dontos Hollard, for Joff, for Tyrion, or for herself, Sansa could not say. “Is it all lies, forever and ever, everyone and everything?”

“Almost everyone. Save you and I, of course.

He then mentions the note about the godswood, and tells her that it had to be the godswood as it is the only place in the RK where Varys can’t spy on people. He then says she has had a long and trying day and escorts her to her cabin.

Already the little boat was no more than a swirl of smoke and fire behind them, almost lost in the immensity of the dawn sea. There was no going back; her only road was forward. “Very weary,” she admitted.

LF talks about the feast and asks her if Tyrion enjoyed his dwarfs. Sansa queries this, and LF tells her he had to get them from Braavos and hide them in a brothel until the wedding. He says it was an expense, only exceeded by the bother as it was difficult to hide them and Joff only agreed to have them when LF pointed out how much Tyrion would hate them.

The deck rocked beneath her feet, and Sansa felt as if the world itself had grown unsteady. “They think Tyrion poisoned Joffrey. Ser Dontos said they seized him.”

Littlefinger smiled. “Widowhood will become you, Sansa.”

The thought made her tummy flutter. She might never need to share a bed with Tyrion again. That was what she’d wanted … wasn’t it?

LF shows her to her cabin, saying it is a little snug, but points out:

. . . a cedar chest under the porthole. “You’ll find fresh garb within. Dresses, smallclothes, warm stockings, a cloak. Wool and linen only, I fear. Unworthy of a maid so beautiful, but they’ll serve to keep you dry and clean until we can find you something finer.” He had this all prepared for me.

She questions LF, saying that Joff gave him Harrenhal and made him Lord Paramount of the Trident, why would he betray him? LF says he had no motive to kill Joff and is a thousand leagues away in the Vale as far as anyone is concerned.

Always keep your foes confused. If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what you are like to do next. Sometimes the best way to baffle them is to make moves that have no purpose, or even seem to work against you. Remember that, Sansa, when you come to play the game.”

“What… what game?”

“The only game. The game of thrones.

LF then tells her that she is old enough to know the truth about him and her mother. He tells her:

There was a time when Cat was all I wanted in this world. I dared to dream of the life we might make and the children she would give me… but she was a daughter of Riverrun, and Hoster Tully. Family, Duty, Honor, Sansa. Family, Duty, Honor meant I could never have her hand. But she gave me something finer, a gift a woman can give but once.

He then says in a better world she may have been his daughter, and to put Joff, Dontos and Tyrion from her mind as they will never trouble you again.

You are safe now, that’s all that matters. You are safe with me, and sailing home.

ANALYSIS

This is a pivotal chapter for Sansa and the culmination of nearly a year waiting for the escape plan to happen. If we reflect on her behaviour on the day of the wedding, and remember that she had been waiting for the day for a year, it explains how nervous she was. She was finally going to be free of the Lannisters and her “torment.” This chapter therefore is very much a mix of emotions. The horror of Joff’s death and her lack of knowledge about the future or where she thinks Ser Dontos is taking her and the secrecy of it all cause a variety of responses. Overall, she manages to handle the situation well. We see how she has prepared for her escape, and despite being criticized in posts for liking dresses, etc., she shows is more than happy to leave her finery behind in order to escape. We also see her growing awareness and heightened level of suspicion with the hairnet. She is very quick to discern something is amiss. Her escape through the RK is a fraught one and echoes the night she first went armed to the godswood. We see her yet again discover that people, such as Ser Dontos, are not all they seem and she finally begins to get her first lessons in the game of thrones.
One of the first things in this chapter is her conversation with Lady Tanda. We never truly get to see how the “court” view Sansa, especially those who have seen her treatment from when her father dies onwards. We know from her previous chapters that she has been shunned and with the brief exception of a couple of weeks with the Tyrells, the only people who have spoken to her willingly seem to be Ser Dontos and Sandor Clegane. So Lady Tanda’s statement says a lot about the possible true feelings of some of the court.

You have a good heart, my lady,” she said to Sansa. “Not every maid would weep so for a man who set her aside and wed her to a dwarf.

I think this statement would suggest a very sympathetic view from the court under different circumstances.

That she feels like laughing, and then ends up crying is a very understandable response. She has kept all her feelings pent up inside and the joy of her escape is also compounded with the death of someone she hated. That she still thinks fondly and sympathetically of Margaery again highlights what a nice character she is. Her tears for Robb also reflect the fact that she has been unable to grieve fully or openly and had no one to comfort her when she has lost her entire family (as far as she is aware).

Like her sympathy for Marg at a time when she could have been thinking only of herself, her common courtesy to Oswell exemplifies her nature and one of her best traits: never forgetting her courtesy to others.

Sansa thanked him for his kindness, but received no answer but a grunt.

In terms of her escape, while it isn’t as risky as some of the other characters’ actions, Sansa having to smuggle clothing to the godswood again highlights that she did actually have to participate in her escape and hiding clothing actually carried a risk: if caught, she would have to explain it, and there may have been questions asked, or she may have been watched more closely. She had to get the clothing without her maids seeing, which would have been tricky as their rooms were beside Sansa’s and they could flit in and out.

Sansa’s love of songs also play an undercurrent in this chapter. She values the ideals of songs and Sansa herself seems to inspire others to those ideas themselves. We see Ser Dontos wanting to be a knight for the rescue and to an extent Sandor Clegane has been inspired by her songs as well, as much as he derided them. When she climbs down the stone staircase she thinks she must:

Be brave, she told herself. Be brave, like a lady in a song.

Rather than a naïve thing to hold on too, I think her wish to be like “a lady in a song” is again a good part of her character. She is being inspired to be brave and those songs give her strength. She may realize she is too old to believe in grumkins, but she has not yet lost her idealism about courtly behaviour. Also, ironically, if she ever does become the Younger Queen, her escape from the RK may indeed make her the brave lady of a song in the future.

We also get the first glimpse of Sansa benefitting from the fall of another and her reaction to it:

Widowhood will become you, Sansa.” The thought made her tummy flutter. She might never need to share a bed with Tyrion again. That was what she’d wanted … wasn’t it?

Again, I think this really highlights the level of awfulness of Sansa’s marriage. When she hears Tyrion is going to be killed and she will become a widow, the first thing she feels is her tummy flutter, which seems to be a good thing, but she then feels a pang of conscience about an innocent man being killed. I think this highlights that while Sansa wants out of the marriage, she doesn’t want Tyrion to necessarily be killed. Although she doesn’t seem too cut up about it either. Of course, there is still the possibility of annulment.

Sansa saw the embattled ramparts of one of the Imp’s winch towers looming above, but the great chain had been lowered, and they rowed unimpeded past the spot where a thousand men had burned.

I wonder in any way if this is symbolic of the end of Sansa’s marriage: she had been chained to the Imp, but now the chain has been lowered and she is moving on past it? It may be a stretch, but there could be some reference in the following line to her getting free from her marriage in an easier way such as annulment. Although this may be reading too much into the text.

We also see LF’s start to teach Sansa how to play the “game,” LF says:

Always keep your foes confused. If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what you are like to do next.

Sansa is already quite skilled at this, without knowing she is. While not a player, she has already developed an essential skill and unwittingly used it to her benefit in her escape plans.

She may have developed this skill as a basic survival mechanism, but it has worked. For example, Sansa never dropped her courtesy armour with Tyrion and therefore was able to make sure that Tyrion didn’t get to know her and suspect her true intentions. She did in fact keep him confused, as we see at the feast when he thinks she wishes to be in Marg’s place, and then later when he can’t think where Sansa would have got poison from. People underestimate her intelligence.

We also see LF begin to give her useful pieces of advice should she ever return to KL.

No other place in the Red Keep is safe from the eunuch’s little birds … or little rats, as I call them.

This is very useful information if she wants to hide anything from Varys. Also due to her previous visits and well known religiosity, no one would find it suspicious for her to go there.

There was also some possible foreshadowing during her escape.

The hollow knights are turning into dragons, she thought.

Eddard Stark goes past these same statues in AGOT and thinks of them as:

. . . relics of the Targaryens, black steel with dragon scales cresting their helms, now dusty and forgotten.

Ned thinks of them as dusty and forgotten, and indeed the Lannisters have forgotten the threat of the Targaryens. Sansa sees them almost coming to life before her: a sign that the dragons are going to return. Indeed, the reference to “hollow knights” could also be foreshadowing of those who are going over to the Targaryen side such as Barristan Selmy, who LF described as a naked knight. Also, it could represent a threat that was always seen, but thought to be empty. Like the armour, the Targs and Targ supporters are hidden away, but they are still there and as of ADWD we have Dany being talked about and (f)Aegon on the scene.

Also, the reference to black steel echoes both Jon and Dany’s dreams about being armoured in black. We may see this armour again.

We also see more hints that she might be a future younger Queen.

There was no going back; her only road was forward. “Very weary,” she admitted.

So far in the re-read, we have seen a potential parallel between Sansa and Cersei being set up, however, these words here seem to parallel Dany, and her view that if I look back I am lost. With her father’s and brother’s murder and forced marriage at an even earlier age, Sansa has also now got a slight parallel to Dany as well. Again, if they ever meet, I wonder if they will be allies as Sansa will be empathetic to what Dany has been through. Certainly, both girls have a desire for home and safety: Dany and the house with the red door, and Sansa with Winterfell.

Okay, a little bit of a crackpot theory coming up:

. . . a cedar chest under the porthole. “You’ll find fresh garb within. Dresses, smallclothes, warm stockings, a cloak. Wool and linen only, I fear. Unworthy of a maid so beautiful, but they’ll serve to keep you dry and clean until we can find you something finer.” He had this all prepared for me.

We know from the chapter where Sansa has her dress made that she has grown considerably in the last year, so this begs the question how LF found clothes that would fit her exactly or if these clothes are some of her own or if they were an approximate fit. Anyway, pondering this, we know Shae was more than just Sansa’s maid, but what about her other maid, Brella? She is suggested to Tyrion by Varys, but that does not mean that she is not in the employ of LF, in the same way the Kettleblacks are.

At some point, Sansa may have to be cleared of killing Joff. The only evidence against her was her disappearance and Shae. Now Shae is dead, and the fact that she was with Tywin and also killed by the Imp, may become common knowledge if Cersei loses power and either the Tyrells or Aegon take over. This could throw a lot of suspicion on her testimony. The other maid, however, didn’t testify. She is mentioned by Brienne three different times in AFFC.

Brienne had hunted down a certain Brella, who had been one of Sansa’s maids. The woman told her that there was little warmth between Sansa and the dwarf. Perhaps she had been fleeing him as well as Joffrey’s murder.

. . .

The woman Brella had told her how Joffrey had stripped Ser Dontos of his spurs, how Lady Sansa begged Joffrey for his life. He helped her flee, Brienne had decided, when she heard the tale. Find Ser Dontos, and I will find Sansa. She should have known there would be others who would see it too.

. . .

In King’s Landing, Brienne had found one of Sansa’s former maids doing washing in a brothel. “I served with Lord Renly before m’lady Sansa and both turned traitor,” the woman Brella complained bitterly. “No lord will touch me now so I have to wash for whores.” But when Brienne asked about Sansa, she said, “I’ll tell you what I told Lord Tywin. That girl was always praying. She’d go to the sept and light her candles like a proper lady, but near every night she went off to the Godswood. She’s gone back north, she has. That’s where her gods are.

So, like I said, this may be crackpot. but Brella is washing in a brothel. LF owns brothels and I find it odd that Brella couldn’t even get a job with some rich merchant family. It seems a bit of a leap from lady’s maid to brothel clothes washer. Also, what Brella tells Brienne gives us some clue as to how others may also be viewing Sansa’s disappearance: that she may have been fleeing Tyrion (which she was). Brienne reflects that Ser Dontos must have helped her flee and that others will work out the same thing. While the story may not have been circulated too widely while Joff and Tywin lived, it seems like the stories of Sansa’s bravery in the face of Joff’s cruelty are becoming common knowledge. This reminds me of what LF did with the Tyrells and the stories of Joffrey, but in the opposite way. If Brella is a LF spy, are she and others helping to spread stories about Sansa in a positive light, that will have the majority of the court’s sympathy on her side should she reappear in KL? This is vast speculation, the fact she is mentioned three times in AFFC seems to suggest she may be important in future. Could Brella be used as a witness in a trial to clear Sansa of murder if she returns to KL?

Also in favour of her being an LF spy is what she told Lord Tywin, about looking in the North to find her, when Sansa is actually in the Vale. Has she been told to say that?

On a side note, the mention of a cloak in the chest reminds me of Sandor Clegane’s cloak that she hid under her summer silks. What happened to it?

One last query with the chapter was the following line:

I could never abide the weeping of women, Joff once said, but his mother was the only woman weeping now.

What’s interesting about this phrase is that we only ever saw Joff say that exact phrase in front of Sandor and Tyrion. How and when did Sansa hear him say it? Is this a slip on GRRM’s part?

ASOS

Sansa VI

by Brashcandy

SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS

The chapter entails Sansa’s arrival to Littlefinger’s birthright, a small island of the Fingers, stony and desolate. Lothor Brune helps her off the ship and she thinks:

Ser Lothor, she had to remind herself; the man had been knighted for his valor in the Battle of the Blackwater. Though no proper knight would wear those patched brown breeches and scuffed boots, nor that cracked and water-stained leather jerkin. A square-faced stocky man with squashed nose and a mat of nappy grey hair, Brune spoke seldom. He is stronger than he looks, though. She could tell by the ease with which he lifted her, as if she weighed nothing at all.

Now, do you see what I mean by GRRM trolling readers? Is it not curiously strange and ironic that Littlefinger would have a man so similar in dress and speech (or lack thereof) to Sandor Clegane? Even though Sandor is no longer in Sansa’s life, Brune is definitely fulfilling the imagery related to the man: strong, taciturn, very bad fashion sense. If Martin indeed wants to extend these similarities further, is it possible that we could see Lothor switching his loyalties from LF to Sansa? He’s had a first-hand view of the LF’s treachery and manipulations, so if there’s anyone besides Sansa (and maybe Sandor) who could be damaging to the man, it would be Brune.

Sansa is grateful to finally have calm waters beneath her given the harrowing sea journey she endured. Two men were swept over board during a storm and another had broken his neck. She remembers the awful time she had, filled with memories of Joff’s death:

She had seldom ventured out on deck herself. Her little cabin was dank and cold, but Sansa had been sick for most of the voyage … sick with terror, sick with fever, or seasick … she could keep nothing down, and even sleep came hard. Whenever she closed her eyes she saw Joffrey tearing at his collar, clawing the soft skin of his throat, dying with flakes of pie crust on his lips and wine stains on his doublet. And the wind keening in the lines reminded her of the terrible sucking sound he’d made as he fought to draw in air. Sometimes she dreamed of Tyrion as well. “He did nothing,” she told Littlefinger once, when he paid a visit to her cabin to see if she were feeling any better.

Littlefinger’s response to this is to tell Sansa that although Tyrion might not have had a hand in Joffrey’s death, he was still a vile human being, having given his first wife over to his guardsmen when he was done with her. He tells Sansa that he might have done the same with her so shed no tears for the man.

What we’re seeing here is LF’s continued campaign of disparaging any man in Sansa’s life that she may think even decently of. His words about shedding no tears for Tyrion echo his earlier words about Dontos. He wants not only to isolate her physically but emotionally as well, painting Tyrion as a monster who would have callously given her over to be raped and tortured. What’s ironic here is that LF is the one who actually endangered Sansa’s life in this way, letting the Lannisters know of the Willas plot, and making her endure a forced wedding and bedding to Tyrion. Had it not been for the latter’s innate kindness, Sansa’s innocence would have been lost. It is not enough for LF to know that Tyrion might be sentenced to death and be out of Sansa’s life forever; he must ensure that she isn’t even thinking somewhat kindly of the man. This kind of behaviour is what really disturbs me about LF as well. The all-consuming preoccupation with making sure that he is the only one who holds a place of worth and trust in Sansa’s thoughts.

Littlefinger comes to stand next to her and reassures her that a little wine will make her stomach feel better when they disembark, but Sansa is reluctant to come ashore and instead wants to wait until they reach White Harbour. It’s then that she learns that the home LF meant for her wasn’t Winterfell:

Here?” She did not want to go ashore here. The Fingers were a dismal place, she’d heard, and there was something forlorn and desolate about the little tower. “Couldn’t I stay on the ship until we make sail for White Harbor?”

“From here the King turns east for Braavos. Without us.”

“But… my lord, you said … you said we were sailing home.”

“And there it stands, miserable as it is. My ancestral home. It has no name, I fear. A great lord’s seat ought to have a name, wouldn’t you agree? Winterfell, the Eyrie, Riverrun, those are castles. Lord of Harrenhal now, that has a sweet ring to it, but what was I before? Lord of Sheepshit and Master of the Drearfort? It lacks a certain something.” His grey-green eyes regarded her innocently. “You look distraught. Did you think we were making for Winterfell, sweetling? Winterfell has been taken, burned and sacked. All those you knew and loved are dead. What northmen who have not fallen to the Ironborn are warring amongst themselves. Even the Wall is under attack. Winterfell was the home of your childhood, Sansa, but you are no longer a child. You’re a woman grown, and you need to make your own home.”

“But not here,” she said, dismayed. “It looks so…”

“… small and bleak and mean? It’s all that, and less. The Fingers are a lovely place, if you happen to be stone. But have no fear, we shan’t stay for more than a fortnight. I expect your aunt is already riding to meet us.” He smiled. “The Lady Lysa and I are to be wed.

This exchange is important for a number of reasons:

  • It highlights Littlefinger’s deep-seated discontent with his origins, which of course ultimately led him to want to acquire power and prestige at all costs. The castles he names are also the ones he’s had a hand in destroying and/or taking over, again revealing the very personal nature of his vendetta. LF may be a master of politics, but he’s driven by a very private need for revenge.
  • His assertion that Sansa is now a “woman grown” is very much how he wants to see her. Whilst it’s true that Sansa is now more mature and has left her childish phase behind, she’s still far from being a woman grown. This characterisation fits LF’s purposes and desires, however, which is to have her as some kind of pseudo-Cat replacement, and to discourage her from thinking of Winterfell as a refuge.
  • Although Sansa is unable to imagine making a life on the Fingers at this moment, there might be some foreshadowing in LF’s statement the Fingers are only lovely if you’re a stone. It is in this chapter that LF devises the alias Alayne Stone for her, and we know that unlike her Lady Lannister title, she comes to really embrace this identity in the future. So is it possible that we could see Sansa choosing to return to the Fingers one day to live? Something to think about for sure.

Sansa is shocked to hear that LF is planning to marry her aunt and her first thought is:

You said it was my mother you loved.

She reconciles this by noting that Catelyn is now dead, so even if she had given her maidenhood to Petyr and loved him secretly, it didn’t matter now.

She manages to congratulate LF politely, and thinks of Lysa:

She will be kind to me for my mother’s sake, surely. She’s my own blood. And the Vale of Arryn was beautiful, all the songs said so. Perhaps it would not be so terrible to stay here for a time.

It’s interesting that even after Sansa’s disappointment with her own marriage, she still associates the act of getting married with being in love. This idealistic outlook is an intrinsic part of Sansa’s character, coupled with her simple appreciation of the Eyrie from what she has heard in songs. Growing up in the world of Westeros may involve becoming more cynical and disillusioned, but I do think Martin wants us to appreciate that Sansa’s inherent personality is one that might always believe in or at least yearn for true love. If this remains so, she may indeed find it very difficult to commit to another political marriage.

When they come ashore on the island, the small household of servants gather to meet them. There are two women—one thin and old, the other fat and middle-aged, along with two very old white-haired men and a little girl “with a sty on one eye.” They kneel when they see Petyr, and he jokingly comments on the child as being another one of Kella’s bastards:

He gave the old woman a kiss on the cheek, and grinned at the younger one. “Who fathered this one, Kella?”

The fat woman laughed. “I can’t rightly say, m’lord. I’m not one for telling them no.”

“And all the local lads are grateful, I am quite sure.”

“It is good to have you home, my lord,” said one old man. He looked at least eighty, but he wore a studded brigantine and a longsword at his side. “How long will you be in residence?

It’s quite evident that whilst LF may be viewed with suspicion at court, he’s quite liked back at his own keep. The exchanges between him and the servants show that they respect and are fond of him, and he seems to feel the same, although his distaste for his birth home means that he is a bit condescending towards them and how they make their living on the rocky land:

If we knew you was coming we would have laid down fresh rushes, m’lord, said the crone. “There’s a dung fire burning.”

“Nothing says home like the smell of burning dung.” Petyr turned to Sansa. “Grisel was my wet nurse, but she keeps my castle now. Umfred’s my steward, and Bryen… didn’t I name you captain of my guard the last time I was here?”

“You did, my lord. You said you’d be getting some more men too, but you never did. Me and the dogs stand all the watches.

My crackpot: Sansa often prays to the Mother, the Maiden and the Crone. It’s interesting that here she meets a mother, Kella, and an old woman Martin chooses to refer to as a crone, and a little girl who could represent the maiden. Might this stony bleak island play a larger part in Sansa’s future?

Also, let me just say, LF doesn’t deserve these servants. They all come across as good-natured and honest people, and whilst they clearly like LF and he does them, it’s noticeable that he thinks they are beneath him, and his insecurities over his birth come out repeatedly in his jokes over the humble life on the island. Also of note: the island is pretty much isolated and deserted. It doesn’t get many if any visitors, and Bryen seems capable of standing watch with only a few dogs.

On entering the tower, Sansa notices a “battered oaken shield, its paint cracked and flaking.” It picture is a grey stone head with fiery eyes on a light green field. LF explains to her that it was:

My grandfather’s shield … His own father was born in Braavos and came to the Vale as a sellsword in the hire of Lord Corbray, so my grandfather took the head of the Titan as his sigil when he was knighted.”

“It’s very fierce,” said Sansa.

“Rather too fierce, for an amiable fellow like me,” said Petyr. “I much prefer my mockingbird.

So here we have the biggest clue that LF might be the savage giant that the maid with the purple serpents in her hair kills. But it’s interesting that the actual image on the shield is of a grey stone head. This recalls the dream that Bran has of:

He saw his father pleading with the king, his face etched with grief. He saw Sansa crying herself to sleep at night, and he saw Arya watching in silence and holding her secrets hard in her heart. There were shadows all around them. One shadow was as dark as ash, with the terrible face of a hound. Another was armored like the sun, golden and beautiful. Over them both loomed a giant in armor made of stone, but when he opened his visor, there was nothing inside but darkness and thick black blood.

Now, the giant in armor made of stone is generally thought to be UnGregor, but could it instead be Littlefinger? When the giant lifts his visor there is nothing but darkness and thick black blood, and whilst this does seem to be a clear allusion to UnGregor who never takes off his helm, it might also be referring symbolically to the evil contained within LF. Anyways, just a thought. Of course, we also have to consider that LF disavows his grandfather’s shield, claiming that he prefers his mockingbird. This however comes off as mere pretence for Sansa’s sake. LF might prefer the mockingbird for it’s suggestions of intrigue and subtlety, but there’s no doubt that he has giant aspirations and has effected lots of change on a massive scale.

LF then tells her that it’s necessary for her to adopt a different identity before her aunt arrives, cautioning that Varys has spies everywhere and that it wouldn’t be safe to be Sansa right now. He suggests that she pretend to be his natural daughter, and Sansa is aghast at the thought at first, until LF convinces her that any other story would be unbelievable. He suggests his mother’s name Alayne, and she choose this one, saying “Alayne is pretty.”

Sansa’s desire to not be seen as a bastard is a product of her upbringing and socialization. We know the stain that bastards carry in Westeros, and it’s quite understandable why she would at first be apprehensive to the idea of posing as one. I found it funny that when LF is crafting the story of Sansa as the daughter of a gentlewoman who spent her early years being cared for by the Faith, he tells her to look over some devotions because “nothing discourages unwanted questions as much as a flow of pious bleating.” Of course, Sansa had already done something very similar with Tyrion back in KL, and achieved the desired results of getting him to give up the thought of accompanying her to the godswood.

Another noteworthy bit to highlight:

Do you think you can remember all that?”

“I hope. It will be like playing a game, won’t it?”

“Are you fond of games, Alayne?”

The new name would take some getting used to. “Games? I… I suppose it would depend…

Just what would it depend on, Sansa? What would she have gone to say or what would we have learnt had Grisel not entered and LF had been able to probe her further? What is the deal-breaker for Sansa when it comes to game playing?

The scene between LF and Sansa eating the fruits is highly symbolic, and sexually suggestive. Littlefinger chooses the pomegranate and offers half to Sansa, but she chooses the pear instead:

Pomegranate seeds were so messy; Sansa chose a pear instead, and took a small delicate bite. It was very ripe. The juice ran down her chin.

Lord Petyr loosened a seed with the point of his dagger.

Now, do you guys remember the Hidden Symbolism of Fruit in Renaissance Painting that I had posted in one of the earlier PTP threads? Well, here’s what it said about the two fruits that are eaten here:

Pomegranate: Symbolizes eternal life; divine prosperity; unity of the Christian community. The pomegranate can also signify fall from grace and man’s sinful nature. Also associated with Saint Catherine, as the mystical bride of Christ.

Pear: Symbolizes marital faith. Also associated with Saint Catherine, as the mystical bride of Christ.

I would definitely say that LF’s eating of the pomegranate is meant to highlight his fall from grace and his sinful nature. He’s committed himself to a path of deceit and treachery, and his offering of Sansa of half of the fruit could be taken as a sign of him wanting to corrupt her, as Eve offered half of the apple to Adam. Indeed, LF goes on to talk about pieces and pawns in the game, telling Sansa that although her father was honest and loyal, he was an awful player.

Sansa’s rejection of the pomegranate, then, perhaps symbolizes her future rejection of LF’s corrupt behaviour, and certainly by not accepting his “seed” it may signify that there will be no sexual relations between the two. With regards to the symbolism associated with the pear, might this mean that Sansa will indeed remain “faithful” to Tyrion in some form, or simply that she has more principles and honour than LF does? Interestingly, both symbols mention Saint Catherine – the mystical bride of Christ. A quick google search reveals this to be Catherine of Alexandria:

Life

Living in the capital—the centre of Hellenistic knowledge—and possessed of an uncommon beauty and intellect, Catherine received a most splendid of educations, having studied the works of the finest philosophers and teachers of antiquity. Young men from the most worthy families of the empire sought the hand of the beautiful Catherine, but none of them was chosen. She declared to her parents that she would be agreeable to enter into marriage only with someone who surpassed her in illustriousness, wealth, comeliness, and wisdom.

Catherine’s mother, a secret Christian, sent her for advice to her own spiritual father—a saintly elder pursuing prayerful deeds in solitude in a cave not far from the city. Having listened to Catherine, the elder said that he knew of a youth who surpassed her in everything, such that “His beauty was more radiant than the shining of the sun, his wisdom governed all creation, his riches were spread throughout all the world—this however did not diminish but rather added to the inexpressible loftiness of his lineage.” The image of the heavenly Bridegroom produced in the soul of the holy maiden an ardent desire to see him. Truth, to which her soul yearned, revealed it to her. In parting, the elder handed Catherine an icon of the Mother of God with the God-Child Jesus on her arm and bid her to pray with faith to the Queen of Heaven—the Mother of the Heavenly Bridegroom—for the bestowing of the vision of Her Son.

Catherine prayed all night and was given to see the Most Holy Virgin, who sent her divine Son to look upon the kneeling of Catherine before Them. But the Child turned his face away from her saying, that he was not able to look at her because she was ugly, of shabby lineage, beggarly and mindless like every person—not washed with the waters of holy Baptism and not sealed with the seal of the Holy Spirit. Catherine returned again to the elder deeply saddened. He lovingly received her, instructed her in the faith of Christ, admonished her to preserve her purity and integrity and to pray unceasingly; he then performed over her the mystery/sacrament of holy baptism. And again Saint Catherine had a vision of the Mother of God with her Child. Now the Lord looked tenderly at her and gave her a ring—a wondrous gift of the heavenly Bridegroom.

Okay, so lots of potential relevance and foreshadowing there in Sansa’s arc! I’ll leave this discussion to be extended in follow up posts.

Later on during their conversation, Sansa does accept half of a blood orange from LF, but according to the source on the fruit symbolism:

Orange: Symbol of free will.

This fits with Sansa’s earlier rejection of the pomegranate, and again has important implications for the future decisions we may see her making. The blood orange also has personal symbolism for Sansa in that it was this fruit which Arya hit her with in AGOT, representing a bloody and painful experience of maturity. By accepting this fruit from LF, Sansa could be symbolically accepting the challenge of moving from pawn to player. No longer being hit with the fruit, but this time having some control over where the blood goes.

I love the juice but I loathe the sticky fingers,” he complained, wiping his hands. “Clean hands, Sansa. Whatever you do, make certain your hands are clean.

The entire conversation is filled with discoveries and lessons for Sansa. LF reassures her that everyone starts out as a piece and that she’s still a child after all. He brings up Cersei as an example of someone who thinks she’s a player, but is only a predictable pawn with nothing to rely on besides her beauty and birth, of which the first will eventually desert her.

She wants power but has no notion what to do with it when she gets it. Everyone wants something, Alayne. And when you know what a man wants you know who he is, and how to move him.

The reference to Cersei as an example is particularly useful for Sansa, given her own dubious “lessons” from the Queen back at the Red Keep. Sansa is learning to operate in another fashion, not relying on beauty and birth, but on brains and insight.

Following on, she learns the true identity of Oswell (he is the father of the Kettleblacks), with LF telling her that he was behind the sending of the Kettleblack boys to KL in the first place, when he learnt that Bronn was looking to hire swords. Littlefinger goes on to reveal that it was Lady Olenna who was behind the poisoning of Joffrey, leaving Sansa shocked. He explains the subtleties of approach he used: not bad-mouthing Joffrey outright, but making sure that disturbing tales were spread about the King, and not suggesting directly that Loras joined the KG, but making sure that the vacancies were well noted and getting singers to sing of the exploits of Serwyn of the Mirror Shield and Aemon the Dragonknight.

The end result is that Mace thinks it is his idea to have Loras on the KG, but of course Lady Olenna realises the potential kingslayer stew to boil. Knowing that Mace was determined to make Marg a Queen, but that Joffrey did not need to be the king, the plot was set. Sansa thinks:

Margaery and Tommen. Sansa did not know what to say. She had liked Margaery Tyrell, and her small sharp grandmother as well. She thought wistfully of Highgarden with its courtyards and musicians, and the pleasure barges on the Mander; a far cry from this bleak shore. At least I am safe here. Joffrey is dead, he cannot hurt me anymore, and I am only a bastard girl now. Alayne Stone has no husband and no claim. And her aunt would soon be here as well. The long nightmare of King’s Landing was behind her, and her mockery of a marriage as well. She could make herself a new home here, just as Petyr said.

These thoughts indicate that what Sansa wants more than anything is to be left in peace. After her abusive and tumultuous time in KL, she longs for a sense of home, and is beginning to appreciate the freedom in anonymity that being a bastard girl might bring to her. She’s glad that the sham marriage is behind her, and doesn’t seem all that interested in the shenanigans of Margaery and her grandmother, past thinking a bit on Highgarden. The fanciful Sansa is being replaced by the pragmatic Alayne, learning the contentment of being free and safe, even if one has to exist without desired pleasures and comforts.

Lysa takes eight days to arrive on the island. And during this time, Sansa finds companionship with an old, blind dog that is too sick to walk guard anymore with Bryen.

… when she patted him he whined and licked her hand, and after that they were fast friends.

I’ve always thought that the old dog is meant to represent Sandor Clegane and the relationship she came to share with him (and may yet still). Although theirs was a lot more complex and tortured than the one she enjoys with the actual dog, they basically came to enjoy a closeness and connection on the night when she touched his shoulder after hearing of what Gregor had done to him. Sandor as is he now may be closer to the state of the old blind dog, as we don’t know if he’s retained his fighting skills after the leg injury (Brienne notes in AFFC that the gravedigger walks with a kind of lurching gait).

During this time, LF takes Sansa on a tour of the island, which takes only half a day. One thing I noted was that only the oldest members of the 12 families living on the island seemed to know Petyr. Again, just pointing out that if Sansa wanted to take over this island as her home in the future, she isn’t likely to meet with much opposition or even questions from anyone.

Lysa arrives soon after, and when Sansa sees her she is surprised by her appearance:

Could that by my aunt? Lady Lysa was two years younger than Mother, but this woman looked ten years older. Thick auburn tresses fell down past her waist, but beneath the costly velvet gown and jeweled bodice her body sagged and bulged. Her face was pink and painted, her breasts heavy, her limbs thick. She was taller than Littlefinger and heavier; nor did she show any grace in the clumsy way she climbed down off her horse.

It’s a pity that the degeneration of Lysa’s body had to match her mind. When she sees Sansa she isn’t happy, already showing signs of the jealousy that would bring her into conflict with the girl. Her announcement that she wants to be married in right there and then doesn’t please Littlefinger, but he cannot overrule her and the wedding takes place. It’s clear how much Lysa loves LF, with Sansa noticing that:

Mead and marriage had taken years off Lady Lysa. She laughed as everything so long as she held her husband’s hand, and her eyes seemed to glow whenever she looked at him.

The bedding that follows causes Sansa to remember her own wedding night and she thinks:

Tyrion spared me that … It would not have been so bad being undressed for a man she loved, by friends who loved them both. By Joffrey though … She shuddered.

Again, we’re seeing the importance Sansa places on love in a relationship. She’s able to realise the sincere affection Lysa holds for LF and how it transforms even her appearance and her behaviour. For Sansa herself, she’s showing signs of growing up, being able to contemplate getting undressed for a man and it not being unpleasant if she was in love with him.

Lysa’s screams and moans of pleasure are soon heard throughout the little tower and gradually the atmosphere becomes sexually charged, with knights and maids kissing in the corners. Sansa goes outside, and her thoughts revolve around her wedding night and Sandor Clegane:

Sansa went down the steps and out into the night. A light rain was falling on the remains of the feast, but the air smelt fresh and clean. The memory of her own wedding night was much with her. In the dark, I am the Knight of Flowers, he had said. I could be good to you. But that was only another Lannister lie. A dog can smell a lie, you know, the Hound told her once. She could almost hear the rough rasp of his voice. Look around you, and take a good whiff. They’re all liars here, and everyone better than you. She wondered what had become of Sandor Clegane Did he know that they’d killed Joffrey? Would he care? He had been the prince’s sworn shield for years.

These thoughts on Tyrion vs. Sandor reveal which man Sansa places more faith and trust in. Tyrion’s attempts on the wedding night to deceive her into bed are viewed through the unrelenting insight of Sandor Clegane: “a dog can smell a lie.” It’s a curious juxtaposition to say the least, but one that perhaps explains itself given Sansa’s dream later on.

When she returns to her bed, she finds the old dog waiting for her, and states:

You sad old hound,

Sandor’s relationship with the dog also illustrates the compassion and kindness she shows to those who have been hurt and/or rejected by society. The dog is no longer able to perform its duties, but it finds a friend in Sansa and vice versa. When Marillion appears, the dog immediately senses the danger and growls at the man, but is sent off whimpering after being kicked by the singer. Marillion really is a despicable human being, trying to take advantage of Sansa, and the text makes clear that he would have raped her had Lothor not shown up. Again, we see the man fulfilling the role recently held by Sandor in Sansa’s life: as a protector of her innocence. However, Sandor’s importance in her life wasn’t simply as a protector. It is, based on Sansa’s thoughts and dreams, a helluva lot more complicated: with Sansa expressing IMO both conscious and unconscious desire and longing for the man:

And quick as that, Marillion was gone. The other remained, looming over Sansa in the darkness. “Lord Petyr said watch out for you.” It was Lothor Brune’s voice, she realised. Not the Hound’s. No, no, how could it be? Of course it had to be Lothor.

Sansa of course knows it wasn’t Sandor, but the reason why she’s having such a hard time grasping this is because she badly wanted it to be him.

That night Sansa scarcely slept at all, but tossed and turned just as she had aboard the Merling King. She dreamt of Joffrey dying, but as he clawed her at his throat and the blood ran down her 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 crawled into bed his face was scarred only on one side. “I’ll have a song from you,” he rasped, and Sansa woke and found the old blind dog beside her once again. “I wish you were Lady,” she said.

Okay, so in trying to give you an analysis of this dream, it’s strange that we get absolutely no reaction from Sansa on it. She doesn’t wake up and think, gosh, that was unpleasant, or hmmm, that was interesting. Zip, zilch, nada. Of course, this is GRRM’s attempt to make us tear our hair out, but besides that, I think it’s also because she doesn’t know quite how to process the dream. The first one she has is familiar to her: Joffrey dying at his wedding feast. However, it becomes even more terrifying and awful when she realises that it’s Robb who’s dying. So this is a dream of death, moving from someone she hates to someone that she’s personally connected to, her brother. The second dream with Sandor and Tyrion follows the same pattern. She begins by dreaming of Tyrion and him devouring her with his eyes. We know from her POV chapter just how much this night terrified her, and just how much she was not interested in having Tyrion as a bed partner. But Tyrion goes the way of Joffrey as well, and is replaced by someone she has a much more personal bond with, someone who does represent a sexual threat to her – not in the way of men like Marillion, but where her own body and mind might be beginning to betray her attraction to Sandor. Death and desire are entangled in Sansa’s dreams that night, and it’s no wonder that when she wakes her first thought upon seeing the old dog is to wish for Lady.

The chapter comes to a close with Lysa and Sansa’s conversation. LF has informed her aunt of who she really is, and although Lysa at first appears to be kind and thoughtful, she soon lashes out, telling Sansa to admit if she’s with child. Sansa tells her that Tyrion never touched her and that he had his whores, choosing not to describe her husband as “kind” based on Lysa’s clear hatred for the man. Lysa asks her if she would like to marry her son, Lord Robert:

The thought made Sansa weary. All she knew of Robert Arryn was that he was a little boy, and sickly. It is not me she wants her son to marry, it is my claim. No one will ever marry me for love. But lying came easy to her now. “I can scarcely wait to meet him, my lady. But he is still a child, is he not?

Sansa’s disillusionment at the end of the chapter is aligned with her ability to lie much easier. She realises that Lysa isn’t genuinely interested in her welfare as a person but only wants to use her again, like the Lannisters did. It’s a crushing awareness that Sansa has to bear, given what we know of her thoughts on love and marriage. She wants someone to love her, but is coming to the belief that no one will. The persons that she should have been able to count on have either gone away or are there to further exploit her. Still, if this is the world that Sansa has to exist in, she’s at least prepared to meet it with her game on. She’s just as good a liar now as everyone else around her.

ASOS

Sansa VII

by Rapsie

SUMMARY

Sansa wakes up in the Eyrie and momentarily doesn’t remember where she is. She had dreamed she was little again and sharing a bed with her sister Arya. She reminds herself that it is her maid in her room with her, and it is the Eyrie, not Winterfell.

And I am Alayne Stone, a bastard girl.

She sometimes dreams of Ser Ilyn Payne and wakes with her heart thumping, but this dream had been of:

Home. It was a dream of home.

She thinks that the Eyrie is not home. It is a small castle, and outside it are only the sheer sides of the mountain. The old servants tell her that the halls had been full of laughter when her father and Robert were boys there, but those days were gone.

Her aunt kept a small number of servants and rarely allowed guests to get further than the first castle (Moon) at the bottom of the Valley. Apart from her old maid, Sansa’s only companion is Robert, who is 8 but more like a 3 year old.

And Marillion. There is always Marillion.

When he plays at dinner, she feels he is singing directly at her and this doesn’t please her aunt, who dotes on him and has already sent two serving girls away for “lying” about him.

She notes that Lysa was as lonely as her, because LF spends more time at the bottom of the mountain than at the top. He has been meeting with the Corbrays for the last four days, and Sansa has picked up gossip overheard from the servants that the Vale Bannermen don’t like the marriage and begrudge LF his authority as Lord Protector of the Vale. House Royce was nearly in revolt over the Vale’s failure to help Robb, and the Waynwoods, Redforts, Belmores and Templetons were supporting them.

There is trouble with the mountain clans and Lord Hunter’s death has been seen as suspicious as his eldest son is suspected of murdering him. It is far from the lovely place Lysa told Sansa it would be. She realises she can’t get back to sleep, so gets out of bed and opens her window.

Outside the flakes drifted down as soft and silent as memory. Was this what woke me?

She looks out over the garden where the snow is falling. The sight reminds her of cold nights at home in the “long summer of her childhood,” and she remembers that the last time she had seen snow was the day she left Winterfell. She remembers Robb had snow in his hair as he hugged her goodbye and that Arya was trying to make a snowball.

It hurt to remember how happy she had been that morning. Hullen had helped her mount, and she’d ridden out with the snowflakes swirling around her, off to see the great wide world. I thought my song was beginning that day, but it was almost done.

She dresses in layers of warm clothing, a blue dress and a hooded cloak of white fox fur.

She descends the stairs to the garden and opens the door, and holds her breath while she takes in the beauty of:

The snow drifted down and down, all in ghostly silence, and lay thick and unbroken on the ground. All color had fled the world outside. It was a place of whites and blacks and greys. White towers and white snow and white statues, black shadows and black trees, the dark grey sky above. A pure world, Sansa thought. I do not belong here.

She goes out into the snow anyway. The snowflakes brush her face lightly like lovers’ kisses, and standing…

… 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.

She finds she has fallen to her knees, but can’t remember falling. The sky is now a light grey and dawn is coming. She thinks that it is another new day, but it is the old days she wants.

It was the old days she hungered for. Prayed for. But who could she pray to? The garden had been meant for a godswood once, she knew, but the soil was too thin and stony for a weirwood to take root. A godswood without gods, as empty as me.

She begins to make snowballs, remembering a snowball fight between her Arya and Bran. They had ambushed her, and then she had chased Arya until they were out of breath and she slipped and fell. Arya went to see if she was okay and when discovering she was, hit her with another snowball and Sansa pulled her down into the snow. Jory had pulled them apart laughing.

Sansa then looks at her snowballs and thinks there is no one to throw them at. She thinks she could make a snow knight and then gets another idea. She begins to push the snowballs together to make a cylinder. She the puts windows in it and makes battlements and turns it on end to make a tower. She thinks that she needs to build walls and a keep.

As the snow keeps falling, the castle gets bigger. She builds two walls, the inner wall being taller and then towers and turrets, and keeps and stables etc. It started off as a castle, but has become Winterfell. She makes the godswood out of twigs and uses bark for the gravestones in the lichyard. She is soon soaked and cold, but keeps on building as snow Winterfell is all that matters. Some things are hard to remember, but most of it comes back easily to her. She is building when she hears her maid call to her from above and ask if she wants breakfast. She declines and keeps on building.

As it gets lighter, servants occasionally come out to look at her and what she is building and go back inside. Sansa ignores them all. Lysa comes to the window dressed in blue with fox fur and stares down at her. Maester Colemon looks down at her for a while curiously and then goes inside.

She is having problems building bridges and ends up cursing when they fall down.

A voice then tells her to pack snow round a stick. She realizes it is LF and doesn’t know how long he has been watching her. She queries his advice and he says it will give it strength to stand.

Petyr said. “May I come into your castle, my lady?” Sansa was wary. “Don’t break it. Be. . .”

“. . gentle?” He smiled. “Winterfell has withstood fiercer enemies than me. It is Winterfell, is it not?

LF tells her he always imagined Winterfell as a cold and dismal place, but Sansa says it was warm and lovely. LF then steps over both walls in one step and begins to help Sansa use sticks to build the glass gardens. Sansa says that is just right and LF touches her face saying it is, too. She doesn’t understand. He says he smile is just right and asks her if he can make another. She builds the walls of the glass gardens while LF puts the twig roves on them. They continue building the castle but Sansa can’t think how to make Gargoyles. LF asks her what gargoyles look like covered in snow and she says lumps, so they make lumpy snow gargoyles. They make the broken tower as a normal tower and then Sansa garbs a handful of snow from the top to make it appear broken and throws the snow in LF’s face.

LF tells her that was unchivalrously done and Sansa says:

As was bringing me here, when you swore to take me home.” She wondered where this courage had come from, to speak to him so frankly. From Winterfell, she thought. I am stronger within the walls of Winterfell.

LF then tells her he has been false in one other thing, and tells her that something would please him more than helping her build the castle.

This.” Sansa tried to step back, but he pulled her into his arms and suddenly he was kissing her. Feebly, she tried to squirm, but only succeeded in pressing herself more tightly against him. His mouth was on hers, swallowing her words. He tasted of mint. For half a heartbeat she yielded to his kiss … before she turned her face away and wrenched free.

She asks him what he is doing and he says kissing a snow maid. She tells him he should be kissing Lysa. LF says Lysa has no cause for complaint and then tells Sansa she is very beautiful in several terms.

He then says:

Let me warm you, Sansa. Take off those gloves, give me your hands.”

“I won’t.” He sounded almost like Marillion, the night he’d gotten so drunk at the wedding. Only this time Lothor Brune would not appear to save her; Ser Lothor was Petyr’s man.

Sansa tells him that she might have been his daughter and he shouldn’t kiss her, but LF says she isn’t and is even more beautiful than her mother. Sansa pleads weakly with him but is interrupted by Sweetrobin who has seen the Snow Castle. Sansa tells him it is meant to be Winterfell.

Winterfell?” Robert was small for eight, a stick of a boy with splotchy skin and eyes that were always runny. Under one arm he clutched the threadbare cloth doll he carried everywhere. “Winterfell is the seat of House Stark,” Sansa told her husband-to-be. “The great castle of the north.

Sweetrobin says it is not so great and says here comes a giant to knock the castle down. He stands his doll in front of the castle and says,

Tromp tromp. I’m a giant, I’m a giant,” he chanted. “Ho ho ho, open your gates or I’ll mash them and smash them.” Swinging the doll by the legs, he knocked the top off one gatehouse tower and then the other. It was more than Sansa could stand. “Robert, stop that.” Instead he swung the doll again, and a foot of wall exploded. She grabbed for his hand but she caught the doll instead. There was a loud ripping sound as the thin cloth tore. Suddenly she had the doll’s head, Robert had the legs and body, and the rag-and-sawdust stuffing was spilling in the snow. Lord Robert’s mouth trembled. “You killlllllllled him,” he wailed.

Sweetrobin then begins to shake and has a fit. Sansa is horrified, but LF grabs SR and calls for the maester. Servants arrive immediately and the maester shortly afterwards, gives him dreamwine, and takes him to his chambers to be leeched.

My lord husband, Sansa thought, as she contemplated the ruins of Winterfell. < > She wondered if Lord Robert would shake all through their wedding. At least Joffrey was sound of body. A mad rage seized hold of her. She picked up a broken branch and smashed the torn doll’s head down on top of it, then pushed it down atop the shattered gatehouse of her snow castle.

The servants look at her shocked, but LF laughs.

If the tales be true, that’s not the first giant to end up with his head on Winterfell’s walls.”

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

She returns to her bedchamber and sits by the fire. She thinks she will be punished by Lysa for her actions, but also thinks she doesn’t mind if Lysa sends her away. Lysa send anyone away who displeases her son.

Sansa thinks that she would welcome being banished. The Gates of the Moon were a larger castle with more going on and Myranda Royce, who runs them for her father, was said to be frolicsome. Her best friend is King Robert’s bastard daughter, Mya, and Sansa thinks that as Alayne her bastardry would not stand much against her.

I will tell my aunt that I don’t want to marry Robert. Not even the High Septon himself could declare a woman married if she refused to say the vows. She wasn’t a beggar, no matter what her aunt said. She was thirteen, a woman flowered and wed, the heir to Winterfell. Sansa felt sorry for her little cousin sometimes, but she could not imagine ever wanting to be his wife. I would sooner be married to Tyrion again. 

She thinks if Lysa knew that, she’d send her away for sure. Then she thinks she’d be away from Robert and his bratty behaviour, his runny nose, Marillion, and away from LF and his kisses.

I will tell her. I will! 

Later in the afternoon, she is called for by Lysa, and Marillion is sent to fetch her. He leers at her, but she has become used to it. She thinks he is attractive, but that he is hated by everyone except her aunt and SR. She has heard he has molested others girls, who unlike her had not had Lothor Brune to help them.

She notes that Lysa would not have a word said against Marillion. He sang to SR every night and mocked Lysa’s suitors in verse, but Lysa had given him gold, gifts, jewels, a horse and Jon Arryn’s favourite falcon. He was always gentlemanly with her, but arrogant with others when she wasn’t there.

Sansa says thank you and that she knows the way, but Marillion insists on taking her as he has been instructed to “bring her”. Sansa does not like the sound of this.

Marillion tells her he is composing a new song about a bastard girl whose beauty breaks everyone’s hearts, called “The Roadside Rose.” He tells her it will “melt even your frozen heart.”

I am a Stark of Winterfell, she longed to tell him. Instead she nodded, and let him escort her down the tower steps and along a bridge. The High Hall had been closed as long as she’d been at the Eyrie.

Sansa now was curious as to why Lysa was there, as she liked her solar and her husband’s chamber for interviews. They get to the hall, with two guards outside. Marillion tells the guards that no one is to enter while Alayne is with Lysa. The men agree and let them pass. Marillion bars the door behind them.

Sansa feels uneasy about this. She looks uncertainly around the room and sees Lysa sitting in a chair on the dais of weirwood. The chair beside her (SR’s) was empty. Sansa walks down the marble pillared hall towards Lysa.

Lysa looks austere, dressed in a cream-coloured gown and a necklace of sapphires and moonstones, but her face is puffy beneath a thick layer of make-up.

Sansa curtsies before her and says, “You sent for me.” Lysa says she did and then tells her she knows what she did. Sansa smooths down her dress and asks if SR is well and apologizes for destroying the doll, and begins to explain that she did not mean to rip the doll, but Lysa cuts her off.

Will you play the coy deceiver with me?” her aunt said. “I was not speaking of Robert’s doll. I saw you kissing him.

The hall seems to grow colder. Sansa exclaims that he kissed her.

Lysa’s nostrils flared. “And why would he do that? He has a wife who loves him. A woman grown, not a little girl. He has no need for the likes of you. Confess, child. You threw yourself at him. That was the way of it.

Sansa took a step backward. “That’s not true.

Sansa begins to back away, but Lysa asks her where she is going and if she is afraid of punishment. She tells her she has to tell the truth. Sansa says she was building the snow castle, then LF helped her and kissed her.

Lysa screams at her, questioning if she has no honour and if she takes her for a fool. Then rages on about her being taken for a fool. She asks her if she thinks she can have any man because she is young and beautiful. She then tells her she knows her kind, and that her big eyes and smiles will not win LF because he’s hers. She then tells her that:

They all tried to take him from me. My lord father, my husband, your mother … Catelyn most of all. She liked to kiss my Petyr too, oh yes she did.” Sansa retreated another step.

“My mother?”

“Yes, your mother, your precious mother, my own sweet sister Catelyn. Don’t you think to play the innocent with me, you vile little liar. All those years in Riverrun, she played with Petyr as if he were her little toy. She teased him with smiles and soft words and wanton looks, and made his nights a torment.”

“No.” My mother is dead, she wanted to shriek. She was your own sister, and she’s dead. “She didn’t. She wouldn’t.

Lysa asks her how she would know and asks if she was there when Lord Bracken and Lord Blackwood came to visit and talk about their feud. She says that Cat danced 6 times with LF because she counted. She notes that when her father and the lords were talking in her father’s solar, Edmure got drunk and LF tried to kiss Cat, but she laughed at him. Lysa says he looked so hurt she thought her heart would break, and says LF drank until he passed out. She asks Sansa if she remembers that and Sansa says she wasn’t born then. Lysa says she was and it’s not for Sansa to presume to tell her what was true. That she knows what is true and that Sansa kissed LF. Sansa tries to say LF kissed her, but Lysa cuts her off.

Be quiet, I haven’t given you leave to speak. You enticed him, just as your mother did that night in Riverrun, with her smiles and her dancing. You think I could forget? That was the night I stole up to his bed to give him comfort. I bled, but it was the sweetest hurt. He told me he loved me then, but he called me Cat, just before he fell back to sleep. Even so, I stayed with him until the sky began to lighten. Your mother did not deserve him. She would not even give him her favor to wear when he fought Brandon Stark. I would have given him my favor. I gave him everything. He is mine now. Not Catelyn’s and not yours.

Sansa’s strength fades from her after this, and she is as frightened of Lysa as she was of Cersei.

He’s yours, my lady,” she said, trying to sound meek and contrite. “May I have your leave to go?

Lysa says she can’t go.

If you were anyone else, I would banish you. Send you down to Lord Nestor at the Gates of the Moon, or back to the Fingers. How would you like to spend your life on that bleak shore, surrounded by slatterns and sheep pellets? That was what my father meant for Petyr. Everyone thought it was because of that stupid duel with Brandon Stark, but that wasn’t so.

She says her father would have turned her out like her Uncle if she had refused to marry Jon Arryn, and how he told her that she should be grateful Jon Arryn was willing to take her because she was “soiled.” She says it was Petyr she was meant for. She says she is telling Sansa all this so she knows how much LF and her love each other, and tells her that she was going to have LF’s baby and that he “was stolen from her,” and that she wasn’t going to let Jon Arryn have SR sent to be a ward on Dragonstone, then tells her that she won’t steal LF from her.

Sansa, trying to placate with what she wants her to hear, says she won’t try to kiss LF again. Lysa accuses her of being a wanton and grabs her wrist and tells her there is something she wants to show her. Lysa tells Marillion to play ‘The False and the Fair.’ Marillion begins to sing.

Lysa pulls her arm.

It was either walk or be dragged, so she chose to walk, halfway down the hall and between a pair of pillars, to a white weirwood door set in the marble wall. The door was firmly closed, with three heavy bronze bars to hold it in place, but Sansa could hear the wind outside worrying at its edges. When she saw the crescent moon carved in the wood, she planted her feet. “The Moon Door.” She tried to yank free. “Why are you showing me the Moon Door?”

“You squeak like a mouse now, but you were bold enough in the garden, weren’t you? You were bold enough in the snow.

Lysa then goads Sansa into opening the Moon Door, telling her that at least her mother was brave. She lifts the last bar and the door blows open. She tries to move back from the door, but Lysa pushes her forward and tells her to look down. Sansa tries to wrench free, but Lysa holds her tight. Sansa looks out over the 600ft drop and is terrified. Lysa asks if she still wants her leave to go. Sansa says no, not by the Moon Door, and tries to push backwards. She tries to garb the weirwood frame, but it is slippy and Lysa keeps pushing her forward. Sansa screams. Marillion keeps singing.

Sansa is hysterical with fear and has one foot dangling over the edge, but manages to get a hold of Lysa’s braid. Both women are teetering on the edge of the precipice. In the background, Sansa can hear the guards banging on the door.

Marillion stops singing, and LF appears shouting at Lysa, “What is the meaning of this.” Lysa loosens her grip enough for Sansa to get free. She falls to her knees. LF asks Sansa what’s going on, but Lysa interrupts and says that she is the trouble and she kissed him. Sansa begs for LF to tell her they were just building a castle. Her aunt screams at her to be quiet. Lysa says she was going to marry her to SR and she was teaching her a lesson. She tells LF she wants Sansa sent away.

LF says they can send her back to KL, but Lysa has to let her away from the door. Lysa screams “no,” and tells LF he can’t want her.

She’s a stupid empty-headed little girl. She doesn’t love you the way I have. I’ve always loved you. I’ve proved it, haven’t I?” Tears ran down her aunt’s puffy red face. “I gave you my maiden’s gift. I would have given you a son too, but they murdered him with moon tea, with tansy and mint and wormwood, a spoon of honey and a drop of pennyroyal. It wasn’t me, I never knew, I only drank what Father gave me…

LF tries to calm her, but she continues on hysterically.

Tears, tears, tears,” she sobbed hysterically. “No need for tears … but that’s not what you said in King’s Landing. You told me to put the tears in Jon’s wine, and I did. For Robert, and for us! And I wrote Catelyn and told her the Lannisters had killed my lord husband, just as you said.

LF tells her that they are together after all the storms they have weathered, and tells her to unhand Sansa and come to kiss him. Lysa throws herself into LF’s arms and Sansa crawls to the nearest pillar. Her heart is pounding and she realizes that her right shoe has fallen out the Moon Door.

My sweet silly jealous wife,” he said, chuckling. “I’ve only loved one woman, I promise you.”

Lysa Arryn smiled tremulously. “Only one? Oh, Petyr, do you swear it? Only one?” “Only Cat.” He gave her a short, sharp shove. Lysa stumbled backward, her feet slipping on the wet marble. And then she was gone. She never screamed. For the longest time there was no sound but the wind.

Marillion can barely speak, the guards are pounding on the door, LF pulls Sansa to her feet and tells her to unbar the door and let the guards in because Marillion has killed his wife.

ANALYSIS

This chapter, despite the ending, centres a lot on Sansa and her dreams of home and her longing for her family and the happier days of her childhood. We also see a serious attempt on her life by someone who should have kept her safe.

A longing for “home” and feeling safe have been a feature of Sansa’s story since she was shown her father’s head by Joffrey in AGOT. We saw in the last chapter LF telling her that the home she knew was gone and she would have to make her own home. She is clear that the Eyrie is not home. At least on the Fingers, however dismal it was, she felt safe. We also see her reflect that the Eyrie (which we have heard tales of from Eddard) as no longer being a lovely home, which certainly adds into the idea that home is the people around you, not a static location. Perhaps again in foreshadowing of Sansa remaining on the Fingers, Lysa does say to her:

… back to the Fingers. How would you like to spend your life on that bleak shore, surrounded by slatterns and sheep pellets?

She also thinks life as a bastard at the Gates of the Moon would not be too bad. So, despite her initial horror, she is beginning to see some positives in her disguise.

We also see a strong attachment between Sansa and Arya in this chapter. Sansa thinks of Arya more than she has done in any previous chapter. Her freedom from KL also seems to let her reflect on her family, something that Sansa could not really do previously without sinking into despair. In conjunction with this idea, this chapter again highlights Sansa’s love of family and how she misses her sister and brothers. She has previously talked of it hurting too much to remember Jeyne Poole and Septa Mordane, and it really seems that she desperately misses them. While at Winterfell, she wished to see the “great wide world” and thought that her song was beginning. This is quite a natural urge, but she wasn’t to know how awful KL was to be for her. It is sad that she seems to see her time in Winterfell as the end of her happiness without hope to the future, but given all she has lost, it is understandable to think that little good can lie ahead of her.

This chapter also reflects incidents from two of Arya’s chapters: one from ASOS and one from AFFC. The first is the incident with Sweetrobin’s doll. Sansa ripping the head off the doll is similar to Arya ripping the little girl’s doll in half in the village on the outskirts of the Vale. In both instances, both girls get fed up with little children who are trying to play with them as fellow children, and the girls destroy their dolls. A reflection, perhaps, of their own destroyed childhoods.

She wouldn’t, though, so finally Arya took the doll away from her, ripped it open, and pulled the rag stuffing out of its belly with a finger. “Now he really looks like a soldier!” she said, before she threw the doll in a brook.

. . .

It was more than Sansa could stand. “Robert, stop that.” Instead he swung the doll again, and a foot of wall exploded. She grabbed for his hand but she caught the doll instead. There was a loud ripping sound as the thin cloth tore. Suddenly she had the doll’s head, Robert had the legs and body, and the rag-and-sawdust stuffing was spilling in the snow.

A mad rage seized hold of her. She picked up a broken branch and smashed the torn doll’s head down on top of it, then pushed it down atop the shattered gatehouse of her snow castle.

The destruction of Robert’s doll could be the vision that the Ghost of High Heart described to Arya of Sansa slaying a savage giant in a castle of snow. However, comparing the following from Sansa and Arya:

Arya in AFFC, (and could be foreshadowing of the “savage giant”) when Arya sees the Titan of Braavos she thinks:

He could step right over the walls of Winterfell.

While in Sansa’s chapter here, Littlefinger…

. . . stepped over both walls with a single long stride.

While there is the possibility the savage giant was the doll, or still could be Tyrion or Gregor, this comparison (especially knowing the Titan is LF’s actual sigil) seems to suggest it is LF whom Sansa will slay.

We also see yet again that Sansa gets a lot of her information from overhearing what servants say. In KL, it was from the washerwomen around the well and in the Eyrie it is from the servants. This also echoes what Ser Dontos told her about people happily saying things in front of people they think are unimportant or stupid, when he reflects that now he is a fool people will say anything in front of him. Even Lysa calls her an “empty headed little girl,” and then proceeds to tell her that she sent the Starks the info saying the Lannisters killed Jon Arryn, that she had her baby forcibly aborted, and that she poisoned Jon Arryn with LF’s help. Sansa now has a large amount of very important information that few others have.

We also see that despite his death and it being a lost cause and possibly treasonous, the Vale Lords still express loyalty and support for Robb (and presumably, by extension, all the Starks). This support may very well transfer to Sansa. She really is an ace up LF’s sleeve. If and when they discover that he rescued her from KL and has been hiding her, then he will have their full support. That he doesn’t appear to have used her for a bargaining chip with them (even privately) will stand in his favour. However, he is also subtly letting it slip who she might be. After all, how would his bastard daughter raised by the Faith in Gulltown know how to build a scale model of Winterfell, and he had no lack of servants or the maester observe her build the snow castle. Her hair has been seen as red at the Fingers by a few of Lysa’s knights and ladies. They will know it is dyed. Gossip may already be circulating. It is a masterful move in the game.

We also see her being more assertive when she thinks that she is not going to marry Robert. She thinks favourably of both Joffrey and Tyrion in comparison to him, which suggests that she would rather have some agency in her own choice of husband. We also see her try to tell Lysa what she thinks she wants to hear and it making the situation worse. Although horrible, this is another valuable lesson in the game and about judging people and their motivations.

In terms of religion, which has been a support to Sansa until now, we see her try to pray to the gods but the Eyrie lacking a godswood.

A godswood without gods, as empty as me.

This would seem to suggest that Sansa is almost placing more value on the Old Gods than the Faith as she queries who to pray to, as there is no godswood. It also may signify a slight lack of faith beginning to grow in her. She is looking for something to fill the void within her, and then begins to build the snow castle. It seems from this that again what she really wants is home.

In terms of foreshadowing, the scene in the garden is interesting. She falls to her knees next to the statue of Alyssa Arryn, which is broken on the ground from where Bronn killed Vardis Egen in Tyrion’s trial by combat. The imagery is interesting, as she refused to kneel for Tyrion yet falls to her knees beside the statue, which played such an important role in freeing him and causing her further misery and stopped her father from being exchanged for him. The statue is also of Alyssa Arryn, who didn’t cry for the death of her family so is condemned by the gods to weep until her tears hit the floor of the Vale in the form of a waterfall whose waters never touch the bottom of the Vale.

She sees the garden as ghostly and being in whites and blacks and greys, and thinks “A pure world, Sansa thought. I do not belong here. “ This, again, could foreshadow her staying Alayne, as the colours of House Stark seem very present in this description and the idea of ghostly fits with the Starks being “dead” and gone.

What is interesting as why she would think she doesn’t belong in a “pure world”?

Sansa’s attire has also had some symbolic meaning in the past (or at least has seemed to). So is the cloak with the white fox fur hood the one from the chest that LF mentioned? We again see her connected to a white cloak. This could just be good imagery from GRRM, but it does tie into her using both Barristan Selmy and Sandor Clegane’s white cloaks as protection and comfort. However, blue and white are the colours of House Arryn, so could this be foreshadowing of a marriage to Sweetrobin or Harry the Heir?

Since AGOT, Sansa has said that dreams are prophetic. We also know that she, like her siblings, is a warg and that wargs can slip their skin in their sleep. So her dreams are again interesting in this chapter.

I completely missed until this re-read just how often she thinks or dreams about Ser Ilyn Payne. I do think that this much foreshadowing would suggest she and he may meet again, and not in a good way for Sansa. Both he and Ser Gregor were the two monsters she describes in AGOT, and Ser Ilyn has been present in her arc since her first chapter in AGOT (as well as Sandor Clegane). Given Bran’s vision and Ser Gregor’s possible transformation into Ser Robert Strong, it is possible Sansa may meet all three figures again.

The game Come-into-my-castle has taken on a rather sinister connotation in Sansa’s circumstances. Tyrion makes the foul joke about raping her with the line that he has a mood to come into her castle, and then in this chapter we have LF:

Petyr said. “May I come into your castle, my lady?” Sansa was wary. “Don’t break it. Be…“

Ugh!

SR also wants to break through her castle gates, which she reacts badly to and similarly reflects her lack of enthusiasm about their future marriage.

ASOS

Sansa’s development

by Brashcandy

Generally speaking, this book is the one with the clearest sense of Sansa’s movement from pawn to player, as she is freed from her captivity with the Lannisters and the marriage with Tyrion, and is now receiving a kind of mentorship from one of the paramount game strategists, Petyr Baelish. However, this being ASOIAF, nothing is ever that simple, and the tumultuous upheaval that characterizes Sansa’s experiences in ASOS has resulted in a character at the end of the novel who is deeply confused and uneasy about the ones supposedly looking out for her best interests, and about her own place in a future that she struggles to envision.

Becoming a real player

Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion highlighted a lot of her natural game-playing attributes, which Littlefinger is now seeking to hone and sharpen. Her ability to conceal what she is really thinking, to keep her cool under pressure, and to fool others into believing that she has accepted her fate were all qualities and strategies that enabled Sansa to effectively make her escape from King’s Landing. Tyrion notes in watching how she interacts with the other nobles at Joffrey’s wedding:

She is good at this, he thought, as he watched her tell Lord Gyles that his cough sounding better, compliment Elinor Tyrell on her gown and question Jalabhar Xho about wedding customs in the Summer Isles. His cousin Lancel had been brought down by Ser Kevan, the first time he’d left his sickbed since the battle. He looks ghastly…Yet when Sansa praised his valor and said how good it was to see him getting strong again, both Lancel and Ser Kevan beamed. She would have made Joffrey a good queen and a better wife if he’d had the sense to love her.

Tyrion is quite cognisant here of Sansa’s potential, not seeing it as merely being courteous but recognizing the shrewd talent of charming others and putting them at ease—something that is invaluable in a political environment. To put this in context, compare it to the Sansa of AGOT: managing to identify Renly and Barristan Selmy, but doing so in a very childish, eager way to please and impress those around her. The Sansa of ASOS is much more sophisticated, and more importantly, is no longer naive about the realities of the world around her, and is also discerning concerning those she can trust. Look at the ones she is speaking to in Tyrion’s description above—Ser Gyles, a Tyrell, Xho and Lancel Lannister—and we should understand just what Martin is trying to underscore here. Sansa is becoming adept at masking her true feelings, and treating her “enemies” or those who have otherwise betrayed and disappointed her, as friends.

No longer belonging in a pure world?

Undoubtedly, the bitter experiences that Sansa endures in this novel—the false friendship of the Tyrells, forced marriage to Tyrion, death of her family, “betrayal” by Dontos, etc.—have all played a part in stripping away the remaining vestiges of her innocence and idealism. For Sansa, maturity has come with a heavy cost as she’s become more involved in the schemes of others both as a pawn (the land grab by the Lannisters) and as an unknowing player (wearing the poisoned hairnet to the wedding feast). The effect of all this is that we see a young girl who has become disillusioned with her life (particularly the claim to Winterfell), and longs mostly for the peace and stability of a home free from political intrigue. The marriage to Tyrion almost crippled her emotionally, but it’s noteworthy that Sansa never allows herself to succumb to absolute despair and depression. She may have been a victim, but above and beyond what stands out in ASOS is how Sansa functions as a survivor. From the forced marriage to Tyrion, all the way to her aunt’s attempt to take her life, Sansa is able to fight back in small, but significant ways.

Marrying the Beast; embracing bastard identity

One of the standout examples of Sansa’s development in this book has to be her willingness to marry Willas Tyrell—a man who is crippled, who she freely admits could be as unattractive as his father, and who isn’t ever going to morph into his brother, Loras. Despite Sansa’s attraction to the latter, she is able to reconcile her thoughts to marrying Willas and being a good wife to him. She recognizes the value of marrying someone who is kind and trustworthy, and in being able to have freedom in making the choice. Her later acceptance of her bastard status as Alayne Stone is also another significant development in Sansa’s character during ASOS. Bastardy might come with certain societal stains, but Sansa appreciates the freedom it can give her from having to worry about being taken advantage of because of her claim. Generally, throughout ASOS we see her being able to revise her initial expectations and opinions, a sign of how much she has matured.

Sexual desire and fantasy

This book marks the beginning of Sansa’s sexual maturity, and in large part this is focused on the figure of Sandor Clegane. The Sansa of AGOT had childish dreams of marrying Joffrey and having his babies, but in ASOS she’s reached the point where she’s having much more concrete fantasies of men like Loras Tyrell, and the dream of Sandor climbing into her bed:

Wed to Ser Loras, oh … Sansa’s breath caught in her throat. She remembered Ser Loras in his sparkling sapphire armor, tossing her a rose. Ser Loras in his white silk, so pure, innocent, beautiful. The dimples at the corner of his mouth when he smiled. The sweetness of his laugh, the warmth of his hand. She could only imagine what it would be like to pull up his tunic and caress the smooth skin underneath, to stand on her toes and kiss him, to run her fingers through those thick brown curls and drown in his deep brown eyes. A flush crept up her neck.

. . .

And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion’s eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only on one side. “I’ll have a song from you,” he rasped, and Sansa woke and found the old blind dog beside her once again.

We can add the UnKiss memory to this as well, along with Martin’s symbolic and erotic description of Sansa eating a pear with the juice running down her chin. What’s interesting about ASOS with regards to the relationship between Sansa and Sandor is that even though he isn’t around her anymore, Martin does not neglect to develop the bond we saw between them in ACOK. Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion and her inability to feel real compassion or desire for him is made more glaring due to the overwhelming empathy she feels for Sandor during the BBB scene, and the intimate connection between them when she touches his face. Further, the introduction of the kiss mismemory and her thoughts about missing him highlight the continued relevance that he plays in her life.

Family ties that bind

Despite her prolonged captivity in King’s Landing, becoming Lady Lannister, and then Alayne Stone, and constantly being disappointed in her desire to go home, Sansa’s connection to Winterfell and the memories of her family and the North are stronger than ever. She may not want to be married off for her claim, but she’s still invested in her identity as a Stark and proud of her Northern roots. She longs to tell Marillion:

I am a Stark of Winterfell.

And corrects Littlefinger’s assumption of Winterfell as a cold, dreary place.

Being able to literally rebuild Winterfell illustrates the power of that connection Sansa feels to her home, and the further she moves away from it in time and space, the closer she seems to grow to it spiritually.

Can this little bird still sing?

I thought my song was beginning that day, but it was almost done.

Overall, Sansa’s development in ASOS begs the question of whether becoming a player is worth the loss of idealism and optimism that seems to come along with it. By the end of the book, we are seeing a much more cynical and world-weary Sansa, one who despite her unwillingness is becoming more ensnared in the machinations of Littlefinger. His constant mind games and revolving identity as father figure, romantic suitor and game teacher is having an adverse effect on her development. She may be learning the game, but LF’s usefulness as a mentor has to be seriously weighed against the danger he represents as a sexual predator and corrupt influence.

Songs and stories have always symbolized Sansa’s innocence and childlike outlook, but in this book she is taking a much more mature appreciation of their relevance. First when she escapes with Dontos and thinks that she must be brave like a lady in a song. Next during her dream, when taking a song becomes symbolic of having sex, and finally in the Eyrie, when she tells LF that the tales of giants ending up on Winterfell’s wall were only stories. Sansa may yet be able to sing, but certainly her song will be completely different from any she would have known as a young girl.

ASOS

Symbolism and Foreshadowing

by Rapsie

ASOS covers a shorter time period than ACOK, but there is a lot in it in terms of Sansa’s foreshadowing and development. Brashcandy is doing the development, and here is some of the foreshadowing, much of which expands on previously discussed and foreshadowed points.

In AGOT Sansa makes a statement about dreams being prophetic. We see several chapters in this book with dreams, and it would be interesting to see if they are prophetic.

Foreshadowing

Home and family

In Sansa’s dreams, her children looked just like the brothers she had lost. Sometimes there was even a girl who looked like Arya.

This seems to suggest lots of boys and one girl. Throughout Arya’s chapters in ASOS, she is constantly mistaken for Sandor’s son/daughter. Of course, Jon also has very Stark features. The two people who don’t are Tyrion and Aegon. (Could this tie into foreshadowing of at least one illegitimate child for Sansa?)

On the morning of Joff’s wedding, she awakes from another dream of family:

That was such a sweet dream, Sansa thought drowsily. She had been back in Winterfell, running through the godswood with her Lady. Her father had been there, and her brothers, all of them warm and safe. If only dreaming could make it so…

Now, I am not sure if there is a prophetic meaning to this one, but it highlights the happy home she lost, and her desire we have seen from the end of AGOT for home and the life she had known previously.

Her thoughts regarding the Fingers are also interesting, as she finds the place dismal but safe and friendly. There may be some foreshadowing that this will be her final home in ASOS:

Here?” She did not want to go ashore here. The Fingers were a dismal place, she’d heard, and there was something forlorn and desolate about the little tower. “Couldn’t I stay on the ship until we make sail for White Harbor?”

“From here the King turns east for Braavos. Without us.”

But… my lord, you said … you said we were sailing home.”

. . .

She thought wistfully of Highgarden with its courtyards and musicians, and the pleasure barges on the Mander; a far cry from this bleak shore. At least I am safe here. Joffrey is dead, he cannot hurt me anymore, and I am only a bastard girl now. Alayne Stone has no husband and no claim. And her aunt would soon be here as well. The long nightmare of King’s Landing was behind her, and her mockery of a marriage as well. She could make herself a new home here, just as Petyr said.

There is possible foreshadowing here of Sansa ending up on the Fingers.

However, there is also the snow castle scene, which could easily foreshadow Sansa rebuilding Winterfell.

As was bringing me here, when you swore to take me home.” She wondered where this courage had come from, to speak to him so frankly. From Winterfell, she thought. I am stronger within the walls of Winterfell.

Joff and Tyrion

Whenever she closed her eyes, she saw Joffrey tearing at his collar, clawing the soft skin of his throat, dying with flakes of pie crust on his lips and wine stains on his doublet. And the wind keening in the lines reminded her of the terrible sucking sound he’d made as he fought to draw in air. Sometimes she dreamed of Tyrion as well. “He did nothing,” she told Littlefinger once, when he paid a visit to her cabin to see if she were feeling any better.

Tyrion is twice lumped in her mind with Joff after she escapes and I think it is indicative of the fact that whatever else Tyrion is, he is always going to be a Lannister, even if it is a better one than Joff or Cersei.

Ser Ilyn Payne

(…) it was still her marrying Joff, not Margaery, and on their wedding night he turned into the headsman Ilyn Payne. She woke trembling.

Ser Ilyn has featured in Sansa’s chapters almost as much as Sandor. In Sansa’s first-ever chapter, she sees Ser Ilyn and then backs into Sandor. Her constant thoughts of him seem to suggest some foreshadowing of a future meeting which could be very unpleasant for Sansa.

Although further discussion of this point by Fire Eater also suggested that it may have been foreshadowing of Joff’s death at his own wedding.

Ser Ilyn was meant to be the one who killed Lady, but it was Ned who said she is of the North, and that:

She deserves better than a butcher.

Interestingly, Sandor describes himself as a butcher in ACOK.
Stories and Tales

Marg says:

I shall have the finest knight in the Seven Kingdoms protecting me day and night, as Prince Aemon protected Naerys. So our little lion had best behave, hadn’t he?

Given that Ser Garlan is also her brother, I wonder if this was foreshadowing of his role in Joff’s death.

This is also the scene where Marg’s hawk takes down a heron, while Sansa’s takes down two smaller ducks.

Her escape also echoes an event that could be the basis for a song.

The castle walls loomed large above her, and for a moment she wanted nothing so much as to pull herself up and run back to her warm rooms in the Kitchen Keep. Be brave, she told herself. Be brave, like a lady in a song.

Sansa dared not look down. She kept her eyes on the face of the cliff, making certain of each step before reaching for the next.

Sansa has continually had references to stories in her arc. While they may be stories, they are based on actual events and it is possible that there is some foreshadowing that she herself will be the subject of one of these songs in the future.

The Clouds

There were clouds massing in the eastern sky pierced by shafts of sunlight. They look like two huge castles afloat in the morning sky. Sansa could see their walls of tumbled stone, their mighty keeps and barbicans. Wispy banners swirled from atop their towers and reached for the fast fading stars. The sun was coming up behind them, and she watched them go from black to grey to a thousand shades of rose and gold and crimson. Soon the wind mushed them together, and there was only one castle where there had been two.

There were several interpretations of this scene discussed:

Brashcandy gave an excellent analysis of this: The cloud castles that she sees in the sky appear to foreshadow the eventual downfall of House Lannister, which aligned with the Freys (the first image she sees appears to be that of “twin” castles) to bring about the destruction of the Starks (black and grey), but whose power is about to crumble (via their union with the Tyrells).

Wouter also suggested the clouds could represent the Tyrell-Lannister union, and how it would become ruinous for the Lannisters.

Queen of Winter also raised the issue that it could symbolize her marriage to Tyrion, as the Houses had been joined, but the relationship was crumbling to dust.

I think I mentioned that it could foreshadow Cersei burning the Tower of the Hand and the eventual destruction of the RK itself. (We have already had Sansa’s desire to see Baelor’s Sept burnt to the ground and Cersei’s desire to build a new castle across the river. KL may not survive very much longer).

Affairs and Illegitimate Children

One of the major issues we have seen in Sansa’s arc so far is her attitude towards bastards. Jon was always her half-brother and there’s her curiosity if Arya was a bastard. We have seen her horror at the notion of having to bear Joff’s illegitimate children, and in ASOS we see the issue raised again, and a slight change of viewpoint from Sansa on the issue. On the way to the wedding, it is with curiosity that she views Ellaria Sand.

Sansa glanced at the woman curiously. She was baseborn and unwed, and had borne two bastard daughters for the prince, but she did not fear to look even the queen in the eye. Shae had told her that this Ellaria worshipped some Lysene love goddess. “She was almost a whore when he found her, m’lady,” her maid confided, “and now she’s near a princess. Sansa had never been this close to the Dornishwoman before. She is not truly beautiful, she thought, but something about her draws the eye.

Then when she meets LF he tells her that he was the first man that slept with her mother.

There was a time when Cat was all I wanted in this world. I dared to dream of the life we might make and the children she would give me … but she was a daughter of Riverrun, and Hoster Tully. Family, Duty, Honor, Sansa. Family, Duty, Honor meant I could never have her hand. But she gave me something finer, a gift a woman can give but once.

So, we also see Sansa introduced to the idea that love and arranged marriages do not always work and that people look elsewhere for love, even if in this case it is not true.
The Return of the Dragons

Along the walls stood empty suits of armor, dark and dusty, their helms crested with rows of scales that continued down their backs. As they hurried past, the taper’s light made the shadows of each scale stretch and twist. The hollow knights are turning into dragons, she thought.

Eddard Stark goes past these same statues in AGOT and thinks of them as:

. . . relics of the Targaryens, black steel with dragon scales cresting their helms, now dusty and forgotten.

Ned thinks of them as dusty and forgotten, and indeed the Lannisters have forgotten the threat of the Targaryens. Sansa sees them almost coming to life before her: a sign that the dragons are going to return. Indeed, the reference to “hollow knights” could also be foreshadowing of those who are going over to the Targaryen side such as Barristan Selmy, who LF described as a naked knight. Also, it could represent a threat that was always seen, but thought to be empty. Like the armour, the Targs and Targ supporters are hidden away, but they are still there and as of ADWD we have Dany being talked about and (F)Aegon on the scene. Also the reference to black steel echoes both Jon and Dany’s dreams about being armoured in black. We may see this armour again.

The Savage Giant

It was more than Sansa could stand. “Robert, stop that.” Instead he swung the doll again, and a foot of wall exploded. She grabbed for his hand but she caught the doll instead. There was a loud ripping sound as the thin cloth tore. Suddenly she had the doll’s head, Robert had the legs and body, and the rag-and-sawdust stuffing was spilling in the snow.

. . .

A mad rage seized hold of her. She picked up a broken branch and smashed the torn doll’s head down on top of it, then pushed it down atop the shattered gatehouse of her snow castle.

The destruction of Robert’s doll could be the vision that the Ghost of High Heart described to Arya of Sansa slaying a savage giant in a castle of snow. However, comparing the following from Sansa and Arya:

Arya in AFFC (and could be foreshadowing of the “Savage giant”.), when she sees the Titan of Braavos she thinks:

He could step right over the walls of Winterfell.

While in Sansa’s chapter, Littlefinger…

… stepped over both walls with a single long stride.

While there is the possibility the savage giant was the doll, or still could be Tyrion or Gregor, this comparison (especially knowing the Titan is LF’s actual sigil) seems to suggest it is LF whom Sansa will slay.

Sandor Clegane and the UnKiss

From Sansa’s first chapter, we see her think several times about Sandor Clegane:

The same smallfolk who pulled me from my horse and would have killed me, if not for the Hound.

. . .

I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night wondering if she’d been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she she’d kept it. The Hound had turned craven, she heard it said; at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men. But Sansa understood. She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fire he feared.

. . .

Sansa wondered what Megga would think about kissing the Hound, as she had. He’d come to her the night of the battle stinking of wine and blood. He kissed me and threatened to kill me, and made me sing him a song.

As brought up by Child of Summer, the addition of the UnKiss gives the BBW scene all the components of the Westerosi wedding: a vow, a song, a kiss, being wrapped in a cloak and even the symbolic bloody white sheet.

Also, she gets down on the floor and wraps herself in Sandor’s cloak. Compare this to her wedding with Tyrion, where she refuses to kneel for him to put the cloak on her and refused to kiss him (although he kissed her). This could have implications for the future.

Also, what will be the ramifications of the UnKiss? GRRM has said it will be important. But will it be important in regards to Sandor or to her dodgy memory?

Her thoughts seem to go back to Sandor again after Lysa’s wedding to LF:

A dog can smell a lie, you know, the Hound told her once. She could almost hear the rough rasp of his voice. Look around you, and take a good whiff. They’re all liars here, and everyone better than you. She wondered what had become of Sandor Clegane Did he know that they’d killed Joffrey? Would he care? He had been the prince’s sworn shield for years.

. . .

The other remained, looming over Sansa in the darkness. “Lord Petyr said watch out for you.” It was Lothor Brune’s voice, she realised. Not the Hound’s, no, no, how could it be? Of course it had to be Lothor.

. . .

She dreamt of Joffrey dying, but as he clawed her at his throat and the blood ran down her 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 crawled into bed his face was scarred only on one side. “I’ll have a song from you,” he rasped, and Sansa woke and found the old blind dog beside her once again. “I wish you were Lady,” she said.

From a narrative point of view, the UnKiss coupled with the constant thoughts about Sandor should suggest that if they do not meet again, there at least has to be more significance to their interactions, otherwise why would it be included.

Also, after all the mentions in the text, something further (even if it is momentarily) really seems like it has to happen between them. For it not to would for me be the same as Patchface and his freaky prophecies turning out not to be anything, or AA not having any meaning, etc.

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