Game of Owns: Chastity Pelt

Episode 244 – Chastity Pelt
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Jon and Ghost, growing closer to these free folk, continue their task of deep cover within the colorful ranks of Mance’s wildling army. Meanwhile in King’s Landing, Sansa has been gifted the hands of a seamstress and all that it will bring.



Discussion Topics
The scope of Mance’s army
A reason for marching
Jon and Tormund, and GRRM
Chastity, fathering bastards
Showdown at the Fist
Sansa’s new dress
Advising the new queen
Remember your claim
Owns of the Chapters
Big ol mailbag
#thankyougameofthrones Giveaway

30 responses

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    1. The Jon/Wildlings plot really needed more development in the first part of season 3. Compared to these chapters, his immersion in the Wildling culture isn’t anywhere near as convincing.

      As far as this chapter goes, when people assess Sansa’s development, a lot of people tend to view her behaviour as “naivete” in the same manner it was prior to Ned’s death, but I think the changed context of it really bears consideration. Sansa’s being sucked up into the little bubble of the Tyrell entourage is fundamentally different from her innocent childhood fantasies in AGOT. She’s not a pampered kid with unrealistic dreams; she’s a viciously abused child who desperately wants to believe the hurting will stop, otherwise she really has nothing to hope for at all. Margaery offers her her first reprieve from the non-stop hell she’s been living since Ned’s failed coup.

      More generally, one of the more realistic aspects of Sansa’s story (and one of the things that a lot of the readers, who claim to appreciate this series as a deconstruction of tropes, nonetheless dislike about it) is that taking an 11-year-old girl and viciously abusing her, both physically and mentally, for a year plus, is not going to turn her into a master court strategist. Nevertheless, she does pick up some things; in the midst this escapism, we get a clear example of Sansa’s observational skill in her appraisal of the Margaery/Joffrey marriage and Loras’ being named to the Kingsguard. Namely, she recognizes that this situation is a powder keg that will invariably go off, and wonders why the Tyrells can’t see that, though Margaery assures her it isn’t a problem, so she tries to push it away. But Sansa’s right, and by comparison it’s notable that nobody in the Lannister camp recognizes this, and its implications.

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    2. Sean C.,

      I completely agree. People definitely can change, but change is never linear. This was what I liked especially about Sansa’s story arc. By comparison, Arya’s change is, more or less, a clean transformation. But in a way, how Sansa evolves is much more believable and personal than what we experience with Arya (this is also partly due to Arya getting alienated from herself, of course).

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    3. I agree with Kate to an extent. If you compare Daenerys at 13 (in her first chapter, for example) to Sansa at 13, it’s clear that Dany is much more perceptive and less trusting than Sansa in this chapter. She knows Illyrio and Viserys do not have her interests in mind in the least.

      Yet, one of the things I appreciate most about Sansa is that she refuses to become dark and cynical. She will always value and believe in goodness, nobility, and kindness, and I think this will continue to be the case even when she becomes more perceptive and give her trust less easily.

      Jon was a bit of an airhead last chapter too, when you think about it. I mean it was pretty stupid of him to think for half a second that he could kill Mance. He should have read the situation and known he needed to go into deep cover immediately and really played the role. He is the worst spy ever, and yet he gets away with it (quite unlike Sansa, as we know from the show). We don’t despise Jon, though, because much like Sansa he’s young, and he has good values and a good heart.

      I’ll also add that I really do’t think Sansa trusts Cersei at all. It seems from the subtext that she is like wtf… why is Cersei being so nice…? Maybe it’s because of Joffery’s wedding…? Her mind doesn’t find the right answer (did you as a reader guess that Cersei was preparing to marry her to Tyrion? I sure didn’t), but she is definitely suspicious.

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    4. I think Kate was perhaps a bit too harsh on Sansa. She is Just a 13 year old, physically and psychologically abused girl, who believes most of her family to be dead. she is just trying to find her “happy place”.
      Also the men totally owned the giants by fishing all the fish from their rills.

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    5. Lollius Palicanus,

      Yes! And Arya’s journey is very much a case of arrested development as her viewpoint remains in the same black and white (is the pun intended here?) view of the world and sense of justice that her very young self displays in Winterfell. Her list is that of a child who has suffered slights from playmates, but sees her own retribution as justified when meted out to others. Rather than develop the empathy a child would develop as she matures, Arya remains in that eye-for-an-eye, poke me and I poke you back mindset, with dangerous consequences. I am interested to see what GRRM does with the Gravedigger. Will he have abandoned his own search for retribution after his experience with Arya, or will he also remain arrested? We shall see!

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    6. Ashara D,

      I really don’t follow there. Arya’s journey certainly has tremendous negative psychological consequences, but as far developing “empathy”, she has considerable empathy for the downtrodden. The people on her list, etc. are, pretty much to a man, a collection of the most hateful scum to roam the continent, so it’s hardly a failure of empathy.

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    7. Ashara D,

      In a sense, I agree. In a way the same Arya remains throughout all the books. But even before the HoB&W, the real ‘evolution’ she goes through is the creation of a second persona as a cold-blooded killer. The first time she knowingly kills a man (the gate guard in Harrenhal), the description is immensely terrifying because she doesn’t feel a thing. George describes it brilliantly as it feels as if someone else is acting through Arya. Everybody likes Arya (or so it seems) because she does stuff, but her coping mechanism is, like you said, much more dangerous and emotionally stunted than Sansa’s.

      Sean C.,

      Yes but only because they have hurt Arya directly. Tywin Lannister wasn’t on that list, nor is Walder Frey who she knows was responsible for her brother and mother’s deaths (even though she apparently claims she doesn’t, according to awoiaf). The Mummers aren’t on the list, and they were pretty horrible.

      And if we look at who she actually kills (especially a certain singer in AFFC comes to mind)…

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    8. Sean C.,

      Empathy in the sense that she cannot see the grey areas between that motivate those around her. Completely self-absorbed (as she should be at her age) she doesn’t add to her list on behalf of others, only herself. The thread that keeps me hoping for her redemption in the end is her unbreakable attachment to her Stark identity (often portrayed in her thoughts of Jon). GRRM seems to be saying that circles of violence may be broken by the development of such healthy group attachments formed in infancy/childhood.

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    9. Lollius Palicanus:

      And if we look at who she actually kills (especially a certain singer in AFFC comes to mind)…
      He was a deserter. By the law of Westeros, her actions were justified. We today might think the law unduly harsh, but it’s not unusual for the time. She did what her own father did.

      Ashara D:
      Empathy in the sense that she cannot see the grey areas between that motivate those around her. Completely self-absorbed (as she should be at her age) she doesn’t add to her list on behalf of others, only herself.

      Not true. She had Jaqen kill Chiswyck in retaliation for his telling the story of the grotesque abuse of the innkeeper’s daughter, to cite the most obvious example (not a great decision, tactically).

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    10. Micah’s back, bitches <3
      Also, Zack ilu, but it's so reductive to comment on Sansa chapters by saying "oh, Arya would never act like this"… ok? Sansa's "romanticized" reveries seem to be some form of escapism. It's a coping mechanism, really. Arya's coping mechanism is polar; she hardens, becomes terribly vengeful and also very desensitized (the rotten apple, and the dead bodies — which you guys, incidentally, interpreted as "badassery", but ultimately Arya's desensitization is so, so sad and damaging, too).
      I still love the show; can't wait for the next ep.

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    11. Sean C.,

      Hmmm…I would argue that that situation is more sympathetic than empathetic. The innkeepers daughter is very like Arya herself.

      ShireenForQueen,

      Exactly. But who will have the courage to go beyond coping and evolve? It is the challenge GRRM offers to all of us: who will move beyond their own circumstances and strive to understand others to make a better world? Clearly his own upbringing is playing out in the Stark children’s struggles.
      Both mechanisms are damaging. Just as Bran’s desire to return to his former state is leading him down a questionable path. Does the end ever justify questionable means?

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    12. I was hard on Sansa! I admit it. But maybe it’s because I already know her fate up to a point, and it’s frustrating for me to revisit her plotline at this particular point in the story and experience the foolishness all over again. I understand she’s blindly reaching out for love wherever she can find it. The lesson I wish that she’d learn faster is that other people can’t be trusted to take care of her! She’s gotta look out for number one. She’s gotta start playing the game, if not as a master strategist, then at least as someone with caution and self-preservation as top concerns. This is a lesson Arya’s learned and adapted to, to a much more violent extreme, certainly… but at least she’s fully aware of how dangerous the world is when you’re a Stark.

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    13. Sansa is a beautifully written character, and a realistic one at that. I’ve never not been invested in her arc, and she really has become a character that I could see with some well-needed autonomy at the end.

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    14. Ashara D:
      Sean C.,

      Hmmm…I would argue that that situation is more sympathetic than empathetic. The innkeepers daughter is very like Arya herself.

      Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. So, if you’re right that Arya thinks the innkeeper’s daughter is like herself, then that would be a choice made from empathy. Though I’m sure sympathy fits into it as well.

      You’re also wrong in saying that Arya doesn’t add to her list on behalf of others, only herself. Let’s go down the list:

      The Hound – He was added because he murdered Mycah.

      The Tickler – He was added because he tortured people.

      Cersei – She was added because she had Lady killed.

      Meryn Trant – He was added because he murdered Syrio.

      Joffrey – Added because he had her father murdered.

      Ilyn – Added because he murdered her father.

      I forget which one, but another name was added because the soldier took Gendry’s helm.

      So, yes, her names have a lot to do with finding justice not just for herself, but for others.

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    15. Really enjoyed the ep and looking forward to the next one. You guys give me something soothing and funny to listen to when I would rather be strangling my co-workers. 😉

      Kate,
      Ashara D,
      Sean C.,
      I replied to Ashara and Sean C here because I think my point is salient to their ongoing conversation about the “coping mechanisms” that Sansa and Arya employ.

      Kate said

      The lesson I wish that she’d learn faster is that other people can’t be trusted to take care of her!

      I was really frustrated with Sansa the first time I read the books but on subsequent re-reads I discovered that Sansa’s growth is definitely there but it’s more subtle than Arya’s and obviously, for someone like me, less satisfying. I always identified with Arya because I was just like her at that age (not a killer per se, but very self reliant and cold). Regardless of what coping mechanism one chooses the abused child will always hope that someone will come along and love them enough to take care of them again. The younger the abuse starts, the worse it is. And that hope continues long after they become adults and can take care of themselves. I think Arya, even as cold and self-reliant as she has become, still longs for it. I think it’s why she clings to being a Stark and the idea of Jon because she still has that hope. As Ashara noted, the bonds formed in childhood/infancy do provide some inoculation and that’s where we see it in Arya. Basically Sansa’s behavior is motivated by what is essentially an irrational, almost instinctual thing, and actually pretty normal. As is Arya’s detachment. It’s just that Arya’s detachment is more satisfying to us from our omniscient viewpoint, as you astutely noted in the podcast.

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    16. Kate:
      The lesson I wish that she’d learn faster is that other people can’t be trusted to take care of her! She’s gotta look out for number one. She’s gotta start playing the game, if not as a master strategist, then at least as someone with caution and self-preservation as top concerns.

      You’re definitely correct there, but I take issue with the idea that she should have figured this out by now. Up until this point, Sansa has associated her victimization almost exclusively with the Lannisters – despite her abuse having come at the hands of many different people, just about every negative thing that’s happened to her has been carried out or ordered by Joffrey or Cersei. Seeing another powerful house come into the picture and show her kindness was a relief from the constant state of tension and fear, and if the plan to marry her to Willas had worked, it probably *would* have solved a lot of her problems! I’m not too surprised that she assumed the end of her betrothal to Joffrey meant she would be safer.

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    17. Stacy,

      You just made my case if you look at the list from Arya’s point of view and not as a reader:
      Hound: killed HER friend
      Tickler: tortured people in front of HER traumatizing and threatening HER and HER friends and keeping HER captive so that she couldn’t continue home
      Cersei: threatened HER direwolf with death
      Meryn Trant: killed HER “dancing master”
      Joffrey: ordered HER father murdered
      Ser Illyn: swung the sword that murdered HER father

      The chapter when she arrives at Harrenhall has her thoughts about why all of the people on her list are there. Its clear that she is most concerned with eliminating those that have done or have threatened to do her harm personally, either physically or mentally, in the way that a bullied child seeks revenge. She IS a child, after all, but will she acquire (and survive the acquision of) the necessary lessons to move beyond petty revenge? I’m sure we can all think of examples from our lives or in the media of those who have not learned these lessons, to the detriment of themselves and others. Heck, hang out in the stands at a child’s sporting event and you’ll hear the parents who are passing these poor coping skills to their offspring. Or see them take a swing at another parent for some perceived slight. Will Arya be able to move beyond the primitive? Will Sansa find a way to see the world clearly, not as a fantasy? Her behavior in this chapter, so frustrating to some, seems a step back, yet GRRM hints at her growing maturity in her wariness. She would love to be the giggly girl again, but her growing mind tells her that that is not wise. Both refuges are unrealistic and dangerous. We shall see. Personally, I’m rooting for both of them. 🙂

      It would be great to see Wilko Johnson come back, but we just don’t know if there will be a spot in the material going forward, now that Ser Illyn’s duties have been passed to Bronn in the show. I sure hope so.

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    18. Ashara D,

      Um, what? I’m sorry but doesn’t make any sense, nor does it prove your point.

      Arya is trying to get justice for the wrongs she sees in her journey and a lot of it is for wrongs done to others. Caring about the smallfolk and ensuring justice are lessons she learned from Ned. That’s why she sees these people not just in terms of how they’re connected to her, but as people deserving justice. Hell, Lommy wasn’t even her friend and she got justice for him.

      Bending over backeards to contort the story around just to reach an extemely illogical conclusion isn’t proving anything. Its just muddling the discussion. So is adding unneeded character bashing that goes against canon. Only someone who has never read her chapters could truly believe Arya is “primitive” or hasn’t already been learning lesson beyond “petty revenge”.

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    19. Stacy:
      Ashara D,

      Um, what? I’m sorry but doesn’t make any sense, nor does it prove your point.

      Arya is trying to get justice for the wrongs she sees in her journey and a lot of it is for wrongs done to others. Caring about the smallfolk and ensuring justice are lessons she learned from Ned. That’s why she sees these people not just in terms of how they’re connected to her, but as people deserving justice. Hell, Lommy wasn’t even her friend and she got justice for him.

      Bending over backeards to contort the story around just to reach an extemely illogical conclusion isn’t proving anything. Its just muddling the discussion. So is adding unneeded character bashing that goes against canon. Only someone who has never read her chapters could truly believe Arya is “primitive” or hasn’t already been learning lesson beyond “petty revenge”.

      This is how I’ve always seen it too: Ned Stark was very concerned with honour and justice – what Arya sees over her arc is that justice isn’t an absolute but entirely dependent on circumstance and expedience. So, for example, The Hound isn’t punished by Robert and Cersei for killing Mycah, nor is he killed by Beric in trial by combat. These, and the others getting away with murder, rape and torture are failures of justice in her young eyes. So the course she takes may well be a perversion of justice in purely moral terms but for her she is probably simply meting out the justice that the “system” such as it is failed to deliver. There’s no great sense of Arya taking personal joy in revenge, it appears rather more dissociative. We are often told in real life that a murder where the victim has multiple bullet or stab wounds or mutilations is a sign of a deeply emotional and personal killing, while Arya is content with a quick clean kill even if through agency by Jaqen for example.

      Interestingly modern psychological thinking is that revenge does not give the catharsis it was once thought to but leads to more aggression, and that a failure to take revenge more often leads to a need to move on and become happier. It’ll be interesting to see where the Gurminator takes her story and Sansa’s.

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    20. Kate:
      I was hard on Sansa! I admit it. But maybe it’s because I already know her fate up to a point, and it’s frustrating for me to revisit her plotline at this particular point in the story and experience the foolishness all over again. I understand she’s blindly reaching out for love wherever she can find it. The lesson I wish that she’d learn faster is that other people can’t be trusted to take care of her! She’s gotta look out for number one. She’s gotta start playing the game, if not as a master strategist, then at least as someone with caution and self-preservation as top concerns. This is a lesson Arya’s learned and adapted to, to a much more violent extreme, certainly… but at least she’s fully aware of how dangerous the world is when you’re a Stark.

      But how exactly do you think she should have “played the game” at this point? As a hostage of the Lannisters, closely watched at court, she is no position to “play the game” at all. What good would it have done to her if she hadn’t trusted either the Tyrells or Dontos? She would have still been a hostage and would have eventually been forced into marriage with a Lannister, if not before the Red Wedding (the Tyrell plot may have hastened Tywin’s plans for Sansa’s wedding) then definitely after. I don’t get why people have this need to continuously compare Sansa to Arya as if one is better than the other (usually to make a point how “Sansa sucks and Arya is totally awesome!!!”), but if we’re doing that, tell me: what could have Arya done if she had been in Sansa’s place, i.e. if Syrio hadn’t been there to help her escape and if Yoren wouldn’t have been there to take her out of King’s Landing? She would have been a hostage and wouldn’t have trusted anyone. And? What good would that have done her?

      Back to Sansa: you could make a good argument that she should have not trusted Dontos to tell him about the Willas marriage plot; that way she may have ended up in Highgarden. This would have certainly been better than being a hostage of the Lannisters, even though it’s just a sad example of Sansa settling for less and trying to make the best out of the bad circumstances by convincing herself that marrying Willas – even though she has never met him, they don’t love or even know each other, and they mostly want her for her claim to Winterfell – could lead to a happy loving marriage, eventually, if she works hard enough to make him love her. Or you could make an argument that she should have refused the Tyrells and completely focused on the Dontos plot to get her out of King’s Landing and get her to her family – even Dontos is a really sketchy guy, and while Sansa is doubting his motives at this point, she has lots of doubts about his abilities to actually do what he’s promised. This could have perhaps gotten her out of King’s Landing without being married to Tyrion, but would have still landed her in Littlefinger’s clutches, as we now know. There was no wonderful, perfect option open for her; she just had two bad options on how to get out of King’s Landing. But criticizing her for not distrusting both the Tyrells and Dontos doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me, since refusing both their offers wouldn’t have lead to her “playing a game” or achieving anything at all; she would have just remained where she was, a hostage in KL. (Only her story would have been more boring, kind of like in the TV show, where there was no Dontos plot until the last minute, and Sansa never planned a secret and risky escape from the Lannisters.)

      It’s funny that you criticize Sansa as incredibly naive for trusting the Tyrells, but then even the four of you aren’t sure if the Tyrells are really good or bad. And let’s remember that the entire King’s Landing adores the Tyrells at this point (in Tyrion’s first chapter, Bronn makes a point of how the people of KL are buying drinks for every Tyrell in the city, and the women all want to sleep with them); should we criticize all those adult people of being incredibly naive? I think Dontos was right about them being “Lannisters with flowers”, though he also had an agenda; but I can also see why Sansa would like the idea of being around people who treat her nicely, whatever their reasons, and who haven’t murdered any of her family. (I’m still glad that she did not marry Willas or go to Highgarden.)

      Speaking of the marriage plot, let’s just take a moment to acknowledge the fact that Sansa, trying to make the best of her circumstances, was OK with marrying a crippled man she had never met, because she had been assured that he was a good man and would treat her right, and because it meant getting her out of the clutches of the Lannisters. Unlike in the TV show, where she’s portrayed as fantasizing about marrying the hot knight she has a crush on, Loras. It’s kind of ironic, don’t you think, that huge portions of the fandom nevertheless criticize her for being “shallow” and supposedly judging people only by looks. (Notably, in this chapter, she fantasizes about a loving marriage to a cripple, and creates a fake memory about a kiss with a man with half his face burnt off.)

      As for Sansa seeing through Cersei’s behavior, she didn’t trust Cersei, but how was she to guess that she was going to be forced to marry Tyrion? I don’t think that there were many readers who guessed that on their first read, and we had a lot more info than Sansa. For starters, after Joffrey had set her aside, Dontos had given her the lecture about how her position was now even worse and that Joffrey could rape her and get her pregnant with bastards; he never mentioned anything about her being still a too valuable hostage, let alone being a desirable bride, to a Lannister or anyone else, because of her claim to Winterfell. He had an agenda to convince Sansa that her position was still terrible so she wouldn’t possibly think twice about the sketchy and risky plan for escape, but few readers doubted his words. Secondly, Sansa had no idea what Robb was doing at the time – that he had married Jeyne Westerling and alienated the Freys, endangering his political and military position; and she certainly had no idea (because no one did, other than Tywin, Roose and Walder Frey) that Tywin was planning Robb’s death at the Red Wedding, which would make Sansa’s claim to Winterfell extremely valuable.

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    21. I don’t think Arya would have survived KL in Sansa’s position – she speaks her mind and was too inclined to be impetuous at that point. Although Cersei would stress her value as a hostage, Joffrey’s enmity for Arya was such that he may well have had her killed anyway or at the least locked away in the dungeons to die of starvation most likely.

      I disliked Sansa at first, as The Gurminator didn’t go out of his way to make her endearing in any way in GoT but with her plight in ACoK I felt much more empathy – and her being a redhead works for me 🙂

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    22. Mycah, I have to correct you: this is actually the first time Sansa “remembers” the Hound kissing her. In her previous chapter in ASOS, her memory of the Blackwater night was still relatively accurate, although somewhat idealized:

      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’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, the 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.

      Although, the fact that Sansa thought she could have, let alone should have gone with him in that situation, suggests that her mind was already rewriting her memories of that night. If you look back to the original scene in A Clash of Kings, he was really drunk, emotionally unstable and violent, and Sansa was really scared of him. Also, she didn’t actually refuse to go with him, and I don’t see any moment when she could have said yes. What happened was: she found him in her room, very drunk and emotionally unstable; he talked about the battle and the fire; then he suggested he could go somewhere north (it didn’t really seem like he had a plan, or had thought it through) and promised he would protect her; Sansa barely had achance to process what he was saying, before things went crazy – he yanked her close, she thought he was going to kiss her and closed her eyes; he took it as a sign of disgust at his burnt face and went berserk,putting a knife at her throat and forcing her to sing; she sang Mother’s Hymn about mercy and peace, he cried, she cupped his cheek, he muttered “Little bird…” and left.

      It’s also interesting that she had kept his blood-stained cloak as a remembrance – all this suggests that she’s starting to romanticize him in her mind.

      In this chapter, she goes on step further and adds the “memory” about the kiss:

      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.

      It’s interesting that she first mentions it when she’s thinking about how different and more mature she is now from these naive girls who remind her of herself a year ago. She seems to associate Sandor and her “relationship” with him with maturity and adulthood. Maybe a part of her even likes to think of herself as a more mature girl who’s done naughty and risky things, who’s “kissed the Hound”, in contrast to Margaery’s cousins who are talking about kissing Joffrey as if it were something wonderful. But another part of her is envious of them and wishes to be that naive girl again – which is why she wants to trust the Tyrells, why she wants to indulge in a fantasy of sorts (even if it’s a “settling for what you can get and making the best out of it” type of fantasy) and believe that she would have a nice life in Highgarden and that she would be able to make Willas love her, and have children named Eddard, Bran, Rickon and Arya.

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    23. Queenofthrones:
      I agree with Kate to an extent.If you compare Daenerys at 13 (in her first chapter, for example) to Sansa at 13, it’s clear that Dany is much more perceptive and less trusting than Sansa in this chapter.She knows Illyrio and Viserys do not have her interests in mind in the least.

      Sansa is 12 at this point. She’s still 12, going on 13, on the night of her wedding to Tyrion (she says she would be 13 by the moon’s turn). She’s still one year away from Dany’s age in her first chapter in AGOT (Dany was 13 going on 14 – she turned 14 on the day she found out she was pregnant).

      So, a more accurate comparison would be: Dany in her first chapter in AGOT and Sansa in her last chapter in AFFC.

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    24. Ashara D: But who will have the courage to go beyond coping and evolve?

      !!!! A much more fascinating topic for discussion RE: Arya and Sansa (and also every other single character).

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    25. Indeed, and I like the coherence of your arguments, Annara Snow. IIRC Sophie Turner agrees with you by the way, as I think she has stated several times that Sansa was surviving King’s Landing in a way Arya never could.

      They are both tremendously fascinating characters. If you compare the Sansa in the present chapter with the Sansa riding down the King’s Road in the first book, there’s no comparison, really. And if we go to Alayne in AFFC (don’t worry, the show caught up), so much more is different, even if she is not the ‘Darth Sansa’ we have seen in the show yet.

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    26. Lollius Palicanus:
      Indeed, and I like the coherence of your arguments, Annara Snow. IIRC Sophie Turner agrees with you by the way, as I think she has stated several times that Sansa was surviving King’s Landing in a way Arya never could.

      They are both tremendously fascinating characters. If you compare the Sansa in the present chapter with the Sansa riding down the King’s Road in the first book, there’s no comparison, really. And if we go to Alayne in AFFC (don’t worry, the show caught up), so much more is different, even if she is not the ‘Darth Sansa’ we have seen in the show yet.

      The arcs of two Stark girls are parallel to each other in many ways. GRRM wrote them as subversions of the classic fantasy tropes – classic princess who marries a handsome prince and rebellious princess/cool tomboy who goes on adventures. They both get, in a way, what they thought they wanted – Sansa living at court, engaged to a handsome prince/king, Arya getting to avoid being a lady, hang out with smallfolk and travel across the countryside – but it’s a nightmare of the worst kind in both cases. They are forced to grow up too early and fight to survive on their own, but GRRM has also put them in situations that best allow them to use their talents and strengths to survive.

      They also both have their coping mechanisms for the incredible amount of trauma they’ve undergone. For Arya, it’s her list, and her focus on meting justice/revenge. For Sansa, it’s her ability to retain a degree of hope and romanticism, even when it involves recreating reality by ignoring parts of it or even creating fake memories (like the romanticized memory of the night of Blackwater).

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    27. Annara Snow,

      Yes, also RE: Sansa “recreating realities”: you could even see it as a form of — or, an attempt at — transcendence. She romanticizes futures for herself, yes, but there’s also a re-imagining of the past and alternative presents which she concocts for herself. When you look at the “realities” of those around her, esp. in King’s Landing… it surely must take an incredible degree of defiance on Sansa’s part.
      George had Sandor Clegane interact with both sisters to illustrate their vast differences in response to trauma. Sandor has v. little problem comprehending Arya’s response; whereas, he’s completely mystified by Sansa’s — dismissive at first, infuriated, and then, I believe, a little undone by his incomprehension.

      (apologies for butting in)

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