Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Sansa V, ASOS

“Is it all lies, forever and ever, everyone and everything?”

Synopsis: Sansa leaves the frying pan for the fire.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

79 thoughts on “Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Sansa V, ASOS

  1. lluewhyn says:

    Thanks again for the essay!

    “However, it’s also possible that Ser Dontos’ improbable network of informants (consider how little time has transpired between Cersei ordering Tyrion’s arrest and this moment in the godswood, and how difficult it would be to get from there to here while the Goldcloaks are locking down the former) is simply not as good as it first appears.”

    I’m thinking it’s possible that GRRM’s just fudging a bit here. Ser Dontos’s role is not to ensure the assassination goes off successfully (that’s the Tyrells), but to get Sansa to Littlefinger. As soon as she leaves the party (along with many other guests who can sense what’s going to happen), it seems like it would be likely Dontos would be leaving to meet up with her as well. It’s not until several minutes (2-3?) after she leaves that Joffrey finally dies, Tywin tells Cersei to let Joffrey go, and Cersei has Tyrion arrested. Was Dontos hanging around this whole time while Sansa is already on her way out of the Red Keep?

    And yet, knowing Tyrion’s been arrested is crucial here for the Sansa/Littlefinger dynamic, so Dontos needs to know this information.

  2. jedimaesteryoda says:

    1. Jay Gatsby and the Phantom of the Opera is a good description. I would add that he’s more the guy in a HS rom-com who is the protagonist who competes for a pretty girl against a jock, but loses the girl, and never gets over it even in adulthood, convincing himself that she liked him when she never saw him as more than a friend. He’s a middle-aged man still holding onto HS drama.

    And he’s trying to relive or rather rewrite his past with Sansa.

    2. “One more stair took them to an oaken door banded with iron. ‘Be strong now, my Jonquil, you are almost there.'”

    Brings to mind the prayer: “Oak and iron guard me well, or else I’m dead and doomed to hell.” It goes with Sansa hardening herself.

    3. “In a better world, you might have been mine, not Eddard Stark’s. ”

    Why do I get the feeling that Ser Bonnifer Hasty will think the same thing when he meets Daenerys?

  3. Ciaran Fullerton says:

    1. I don’t think Dontos has a spy network so much as Littlefinger telling him that Tyrion would be blamed and that he would need to move fast. Sansa shouldn’t be a suspect at this point, at least until she’s escaped.
    2. I always assumed Littlefinger was never in the Vale and had been waiting in Blackwater bay the whole time. I don’t remember anyone at the fingers mentioning him having been there recently.
    3. Does Varys know Littlefinger has Sansa? Ser Shadrich doesn’t work for Varys so much as he’s a bounty hunter, one who offered to join Brienne and needed to take a job protecting a merchant on the way. I always assumed he felt Sansa would run to Lysa like Brienne did initially and got lucky.
    4. I like yourthe hypothetical of Jaime freeing Sansa. Do you think that he would betray his family like that for the vow rather than for Tyrion?
    5. You’ve called Petyr Baelish a psychopath before (no arguments here) but do you think that he was already like that on some level at Riverrun? We see how twisted his love for Catelyn is now but was he ever capable of caring for someone else in a healthy way in your opinion?

    • Grant says:

      2. From how they talked to him at his ancestral home, doesn’t sound like he was back there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in a safe house instead of on the water. Easier to get and receive messages that way.

      4. I’m not sure if he ever thinks about it, but it didn’t sound like sending Brienne out for Sansa was related to Tyrion. Telling Brienne to go and protect Sansa, giving her a specifically named sword, that seems to me to be about keeping oaths (and doing the right thing).

    • Keith B says:

      1. There’s no way that Littlefinger could know that Tyrion would be blamed. No doubt he hoped that would happen, and hired the dwarfs in an attempt to bring it about, but he’s not a magician who can control all the details of a plot remotely. Dontos had to have stayed around long enough to hear Cersei’s accusation before leaving to join Sansa.

      3. I agree, there’s no good reason to believe that Varys knew Littlefinger was behind the plot. If he had known, he would have sent the Mad Mouse and probably several others to the Vale directly. Shadrich didn’t say that anyone had sent him to find Sansa. He heard about the reward and decided to look for her in the Riverlands, same as Brienne. After a while he gave up and took service with Littlefinger. He probably does know or strongly suspect who “Alayne Stone” is, though, but that’s just luck. He didn’t expect to find her in the Vale.

      • godot123 says:

        Shadrich does know who she is. I suspect it is no accident that when talking to her in TWOW sample chapter he utters: “A good melee is all a hedge knight can hope for, unless he stumbles on a bag of dragons” to Sansa.

    • 1. That’s a possibility, although Ser Dontos is in a position to be there in the present.
      2. I don’t think he’s been in the bay all this time, he had to meet up with Lysa.
      3. I this Shadrich does work for Varys, and I think Varys knowing about LF is what explains how Shadrich winds up in the Vale instead of wandering around the Riverlands.
      4. I mean, symbolically that’s what he’s doing when he sends Brienne out looking for Sansa in OTL.
      5. It does seem to have become obsessive pretty early on.

      • Ciaran Fullerton says:

        2. I’m not so sure Lysa has met Petyr. I’ve just read the chapter where they land on the fingers and Lysa updates Petyr on Bronze Yohn pressuring her for war and the rest for marriage. It doesn’t seem like they’ve talked since the war began.
        3. It might be presentism on my part but the Eyrie is where I’d look for Sansa. Lysa is the only known relative she has left and is the most likely candidate. It’s where Brienne planned to go before getting sidetracked. As for Varys why would he tell Tyrion he has no idea, why is Shadrich protecting a merchant due to lack of funds and why send one knight to kidnap Sansa without any means of getting her out of the vale?

  4. teageegeepea says:

    While Varys probably didn’t know about the plan to smuggle Sansa out of King’s Landing with Ser Dontos’ help ahead of time, he certainly puts two-and-two together quickly enough, and manages to get his chosen knight to the Vale first despite Littlefinger’s attempt to cover-up any connection between himself and Ser Dontos.

    Are you referring to Ser Shadrich? Referring to a reward doesn’t make him “chosen” by Varys.

    • I think he’s closely linked to Varys, as I’ll explain when I get to that Brienne chapter.

      • Keith B says:

        That could be a long time. Can you give us a hint?

      • lluewhyn says:

        I would love to hear this theory. Ser Shadrich has always bothered me as this magical “knows all the pertinent facts” all-seeing bounty hunter. It would make more sense if Varys was involved, who actually *does* know a good deal of the facts and could point him in the right direction.

  5. Sean C. says:

    Sansa doesn’t make it out? If for whatever reason Sansa is stopped in the throne room or the godswood, or doesn’t make it down the cliffside ladder, things change dramatically. It’s quite possible that Sansa would be put on trial next to Tyrion due to Cersei’s accusation, although Tywin’s larger plans would suggest that he would be manuevering to see that Sansa is acquitted of her charges so that she could be remarried to a Lannister upon Tyrion’s death. Tyrion’s escape at the end of ASOS would leave Sansa in an uncomfortable no-man’s-land, where it would be a tossup whether she would remain Cersei’s prisoner or whether Jaime could manage to smuggle her out to be returned to her family.

    I disagree on what Tywin would do. Tywin would think she was guilty (which she was, technically), he would be enraged and set on brutal punishment for offenses against his family.

    As far as the escape, Varys would have taken her along with Tyrion, I imagine.

    • Keith B says:

      She was technically guilty. The worst kind of guilty!

    • Grant says:

      Would Tywin really think she’s a credible suspect? For all that he has serious blind spots, he’s still a very capable politician and any amount of time interrogating Sansa would show she doesn’t have actual knowledge of what happened or the nerve to pull it off.

      Sure Cersei would insist Sansa was involved, but Tywin already knows Cersei isn’t exactly capable. Besides which, it’s politically useful to rush Sansa into a wedding with Lancel or some other relation since if she dies then the North is left with ‘Arya’ married to Ramsay and only the word of the Lannisters that she’s a fake.

      • Sean C. says:

        Sure Cersei would insist Sansa was involved, but Tywin already knows Cersei isn’t exactly capable.

        He believed Cersei on everything relating to Tyrion.

        And in this scenario she’s caught wearing the murder weapon.

        • Grant says:

          Cersei’s worst claims had the advantage of being true (albeit leaving out his own massive efforts to salvage the situation) and Tyrion admitting it, and Sansa wearing it doesn’t prove she was party to it.

          Then there’s Dontos almost certainly disappearing in this situation since Baelish is not leaving him alive for questioning, along with her testimony stating he was the one who provided it.

          • Sean C. says:

            Most people would think it was much more credible that she was part of it. If you divorce yourself from Sansa’s POV and got the seeming details of this crime in real life, her guilt would seem obvious.

          • Grant says:

            As I said, even briefly interrogating her would show she really doesn’t know anything about what happened or have the nerve for the assassination. You don’t need to see her perspective to think that, even if Tyrion killed Joffrey, bringing her in on the hit wouldn’t be a good idea.

            And again, there’s the matter of Dontos, who Sansa would definitely name and would almost definitely turn up dead if the Lannisters didn’t reach him first, indicating someone was using her.

        • Secretary of Balloon Doggies says:

          He’s hated Tyrion from the time he was born as Tyrion is a mirror of everything Tywin hates about himself and in Tywin’s mind cost him his wife. He’s never judged Tyrion using reason.

    • Her guilt aside, he still needs her claim to Winterfell.

      • Sean C. says:

        If he believes she’s a regicide, her use as a political pawn is minimal, even aside from his desire to punish her.

        • Grant says:

          If he does that, he’s signing away the North to the Boltons. Sure it’s not a stable reign at first, but they’ve got a possible Stark and the Lannisters don’t, which means the best the Lannisters have is the unverifiable claim she’s not a Stark and trying to offer Winterfell to someone else. Not the best situation when the Lannisters are trying to balance the Tyrells and can’t count on the Freys.

          • Sean C. says:

            I didn’t say it was ideal, but if he believes she’s a regicide she is realistically too dangerous to be used as a pawn for her claim long-term.

          • Grant says:

            He would definitely think Tyrion was the one behind the murder, and Sansa is very easily surrounded by people with no reason to work for her and a husband whose only ambition is getting her pregnant.

            Heck, even if Tywin somehow overlooked how completely out of her depth she would be in this situation, the only reason she could possibly be involved in regicide was because her important husband hated the king.

          • Sean C. says:

            Heck, even if Tywin somehow overlooked how completely out of her depth she would be in this situation, the only reason she could possibly be involved in regicide was because her important husband hated the king.

            That was the only reason she could commit regicide in this particular way. There would be nothing stopping her from walking up to any member of the Lannister family and stabbing them in the jugular with a utensil, if she wanted to.

          • Grant says:

            I’d say there’s a fair amount stopping her from doing that, such as the fact that it isn’t that easy to do, especially in an environment where servants and guards would definitely be told to watch her.

        • David Hunt says:

          “If he believes she’s a regicide, her use as a political pawn is minimal, even aside from his desire to punish her.”

          If the trial clears her, she’s not a regicide anymore. Then he can marry her off to another Lannister. One who will actually produce an heir to Winterfell on her. After they’ve got that, he was probably going to have her killed off, anyway. If he believed that she really had something to do with Joffrey’s death, he’d probably arrange for the death to be horrible in some sort of sexually humiliating manner. That’s how Tywin typically deals with women who stymie him

          • Sean C. says:

            If the trial clears her, she’s not a regicide anymore.

            We are obviously talking about the actuality, not the legal finding. A woman who you believe committed regicide is a huge danger.

            After they’ve got that, he was probably going to have her killed off, anyway.

            This is an aside, but there’s really no basis for this.

    • David White says:

      I would think that if Sansa were on trial next to Tyrion, then Tywin could declare Sansa guilty but Tyrion innocent. From Tywin’s perspective, this would allow him to protect the Lannister name from regicide (because I can’t imagine Tywin stomaching a second “kingslayer” in the family). With Sansa guilty, he could attaint her, removing the Stark claim from Winterfell/The North, and then gift the North to whomever he wanted. Whether it would go to Tyrion or a different Lannister nephew is an open question, but that would definitely thwart the Boltons. (From Tywin’s POV).

      Whether the North would accept a Lannister in Winterfell under those conditions is another matter.

      • Grant says:

        Roose would make a (decent) argument that it’s pretty hard to claim a captive teenager like Sansa could carry out a poisoning without her husband being at all aware of it, and that even if she was a murderer any inheritance should go to the last living Stark’s descendants (meaning Roose’s grandchildren).

  6. Brett says:

    So is the general consensus that being sent to the Wall is basically “social death”, and your marriage counts as annulled because of it leaving your wife free to re-marry? I’m just wondering about that, because if it isn’t then Tyrion is doomed if Sansa doesn’t make it out – Tywin would want him gone to make sure Sansa can be cleanly married to another Lannister.

    I love Littlefinger’s monologue in this chapter. I especially like his description of how he played the Tyrells – talking up Joffrey in person to them, while having his men spread accounts of how awful he was to the Tyrell men so that it seemed like it was “organically” making its way known to them.

    • Grant says:

      Since you can take the black at apparently any age and your vows include you not having family ties, I’d say so. Certainly there’d be a lot of incentive for everyone relevant to agree since otherwise Sansa’s not available.

    • It works that way with succession (see Jeor and Jorah Mormont), so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work the same way with marriage.

  7. Sam says:

    I actually think Varys doesn’t know about Sansa being in the Vale since he doesn’t mention that to Tyrion when he asks about her and he has no reasons to lie then.

    Honestly I think this is actually Littlefinger at his most cunning. He has successfully got his hands on Sansa, destabilized the Lannisters/Tyrell alliance, effectively removed Tyrion from the game (at least until he comes back with Dany in the far future, and the only people who know for certain he’s behind it the Tyrells involved with the assassination can’t talk without exposing themselves. All in all he wins pretty big this chapter.

    • Varys knows she escaped with Dontos. And then all of the sudden Shadrich pivots from looking for Sansa and Dontos in the Riverlands to the Vale. I think Varys is the reason.

      Littlefinger does do very well with this chapter.

      • Keith B says:

        But by the time Shadrich shows up in the Vale, Varys is no longer Master of Whispers. So what does he plan to do about Sansa if he finds her? And why would Shadrich participate in Varys’ plan when he can get a bag of gold by handing her over to the Lannisters?

      • Sampson says:

        In the released Alayne TWOW chapter, Ser Shadrich refers slyly to “stumbling upon a bag of dragons” when speaking to “Alayne”. Stumbling suggests it was accidental

  8. artihcus022 says:

    Littlefinger gloating to Sansa has a sense of him going “I’ve been waiting forever to gloat” it’s quite obvious he’s a narcissist who wants to be admired for how smart/cunning/clever he’s been and how he masterminded crimes and murder and gets away with it and now gets to bask in his evil lair. Varys generally doesn’t have that (though that does make his confession speech to Kevan at the end of ADWD a little out-of-character because he channels LF there). That anecdote about Matilda’s escape is pretty interesting, classic case of tactical victory versus strategic failure.

    I actually wonder what GRRM’s plans for Littlefinger were because he’s another character who wasn’t there in the original outline and obviously “grew in the telling” because by the end of ASOS he becomes established as the mastermind of the Wot5k and the Big Bad of that entire story arc but the narrative points to him having a marginal role after that, so it’s a big lopsided in terms of what his overall ‘arc’ is. As a villain-manipulator who plays different factions against one another, Littlefinger feels out of Renaissance Drama and of course as many literary scholars have noted, the bad guy who manipulates stuff and pulls strings is a double for the author, so I wonder if LF in a way is a kind of mirror for GRRM in terms of creating a sense out of these KL politicking.

    • Bail o' Lies says:

      Littlefinger will run his course once Sansa and the Knights of the Vale land in the North. Instead of conquering the lands of the house that stole Cat from him with his former liege lord’s army. He’ll have to deal with an army of the undead he can’t trick. As well a lot of the living don’t put up with his antics and scheming like the Small Council did.

      Also, Sansa will slowly realize on some level she not alone anymore and that people are fighting for her over Baelish. As well as people from her past: Jon Snow, her little brother Rickon, and Jenye Poole.

      Discoveries. Realizations. Then an execution.

  9. Adam says:

    I’m not sure about the timescale but I had always assumed Littlefinger never sailed to the Vale at all, but merely anchored close-ish to Kings Landing for the weeks between him leaving and the Purple Wedding. How likely would thay have been?

  10. Kandrax says:

    Had Cersei don’t accuse Tyrion, what do you think Tywin would do? In my opinion, he would told Pycelle to stay silent about poisoning.

    • Jim B says:

      I don’t think Tywin would let a good crisis go to waste.

      I suspect he would have blamed “unknown agents of Stannis Baratheon.” After all, Stannis is already rumored (correctly!) to have had his own brother assassinated, so it will have some credence, and further poisons (pardon the pun) Stannis’s reputation.

      Down the road, if anyone at court is causing headaches for the Lannister-Tyrell alliance, Tywin can use them as a scapegoat just as Tyrion was in the original timeline. “Oh, we discovered the identity of Stannis’s assassin!”

      Also, if the official explanation is that Joffrey, a seemingly healthy teenager, just died of natural causes, that’s not going to be very satisfying to the public. People don’t like believing that stuff like that just happens randomly. It’s bound to cause whispering that the gods themselves must have struck Joffrey down. Perhaps they’re displeased with him and the Lannisters? Hmm, what was that accusation that Stannis made?

      • Sean C. says:

        This seems to overlook that Tywin would be very concerned about finding out who murdered Joffrey, because that’s an urgent threat to the regime.

        Tyrion wasn’t used as a scapegoat, they thought he was guilty.

        • Jim B says:

          I’m not suggesting Tywin wouldn’t be concerned about finding out the murderer. Publicly blaming Stannis doesn’t preclude conducting an investigation; in fact, it’s entirely consistent (hence the “unknown agents” part). Certainly it’s an easier fit than hushing up the info about poison.

          As to whether Tyrion was being used as a scapegoat, that may depend on who the “they” is there, but I really don’t remember if it’s made clear whether Tywin truly believed in Tyrion’s guilt or not, so you may be right.

    • If Cersei hadn’t accused Tyrion, I think Tywin would have accepted a verdict of “natural causes” and moved on with Tommen.

  11. Rake says:

    Littlefinger is trying to manipulate Sansa to isolate her and make her not trust anyone but him, that’s bad because he’s not trustworthy but I wonder if this advice is that bad in context after all almost everyone Sansa has trusted until now betrayed her or intended to betray her, if Littlefinger is right the Tyrells could very well pin her as guilty of Joffrey’s death, Sansa was wrong to trust Cersei in the first book and Dontos was most likely not to be trusted, and part of her family he died trusting the wrong people (with Baelish himself being one of those people), more realism and less romanticism would benefit Sansa (always distrusting Baelish of course).

    Maybe I’m wrong but by the end of book four Baelish seems to have managed to make Sansa dependent on him and also seems to have “brainwashed” her (but incomplete), I wonder how she’s going to get out of it.

    I never perceived this change in Sansa’s clothes as very significant, she will become a bastard but she will still have the standard of living of a noblewoman, and will also continue to act and be treated like a noblewoman, only of lower nobility status, in addition she will be betrothed to the heir of the Vale.

    The whole relationship between Baelish and Tyrion seems very artificial, Baelish seems to have a very personal hatred towards Tyrion, just see everything he did to humiliate and kill Tyrion, but apparently there is no reason for that, it is never said that Tyrion has already harmed Baelish or has offended him, Baelish just hates Tyrion irrationally, this is so poorly explained it seems contrived, I always thought this was Martin’s fault (yes, he makes mistakes), hope he explains this in the future.

    Despite the show’s fame, in the books it sometimes seems like the characters simply teleport to one place, the best example being the fateful encounter of Catelyn and Tyrion, it seems to me that Martin made Tyrion teleport to the inn as he leaves Castle Black almost at the same time as Catelyn left King’s Landing but they still found themselves in the middle of the Riverlands, meaning Tyrion crossed the entire North in a short time.

    Who is the knight Varys sent to the Vale?

    • lluewhyn says:

      There’s no reason for Littlefinger to hate Tyrion in AGoT when he pins him with owning the dagger, but Tyrion’s just a convenient political target at that point.

      However, early on in ACoK, Littlefinger receives a VERY good reason to personally hate him: Tyrion tricks him by playing on his personal insecurities and vanity when trying to ferret out Cersei’s informant. Littlefinger’s whole deal is that he believes that he has hacked the noble “code” and can easily manipulate them by understanding their needs and weaknesses while completely overlooking him as a threat. He’s been largely successful, with the embezzlement of the treasury being a major accomplishment. It doesn’t matter to him if some schemes don’t bear fruition and/or a noble does something he doesn’t want, as that’s just part of the game (see his comment about pawns having their own mind) and he can just try again.

      And then Tyrion pulls the same gambit on him. He just out-conned the conman. This doesn’t garner his respect like Varys doing something of this nature would (who has his own similarities to Littlefinger), it deeply upsets his worldview and is a deep slight against Petyr’s ego. So, Tyrion has to be brought down and made to suffer.

      As far as the knight Varys sent to the vale, see the conversations above about Ser Shadrich.

      • David Hunt says:

        I agree with everything you wrote regarding LF’s grudge against Tyrion. I hope you won’t take offense by my adding a proposed addendum. The prize that was dangled in front of LIttlefinger for Tyrion’s con was Harrenhall. I don’t know how fully fleshed out LF’s plan to marry Lysa so he could gain power in the Vale was. But it was clear when Tyrion made the offer, that LF was VERY interested in Harrenhall.

        Having something that he wanted dangled in front of him and snatched away, by being made look a fool no less, was a personal slight to LF. Tyrion pulled off the sting by running a con, making it clear that LF WASN’T the smartest man in the room that day, which is contrary to his personal needs. Finally, it’s clear that Tyrion figured he could get away with it because LF was a nobody as nobles go. No lands. No armies. No threat, so he can be pushed around without consequence. Just like Hoster Tully did. I think THAT is what made it so personal against Tyrion.

        • Richc77 says:

          And Tyrion is a member of a great house who is married to a woman Littlefinger is fixated on, which triggers his insecurities as well.

      • Rake says:

        I don’t know, the fact that Littlefinger told Catelyn that Tyrion owned the dagger already indicates that he had something personal against Tyrion, if that was the only thing he did against Tyrion I would think it was an isolated case but we know he didn’t was (and the humiliation he put Tyrion through was completely unnecessary, if Tyrion didn’t escape he wouldn’t even know it was Littlefinger), marriage to Sansa may have increased the hatred but I think that hatred already existed.

        Which brings me to another question, Tyrion always knew Littlefinger framed him in the dagger case, so why in the second book did he never do anything to Littlefinger? Honestly this was the biggest mistake Tyrion ever made, maybe he thought Littlefinger was necessary but he never tried a damn thing against Littlefinger.

        • Jim B says:

          Re your last paragraph: I think the “real” answer is that LF has very good plot armor. In-universe, the best explanation I have is that Tyrion was so preoccupied with the threats posed by Cersei, Joffrey, and Stannis, that he either wasn’t focusing enough on LF, and/or didn’t think he could afford to open yet another front. So he slotted LF somewhere in between the categories of “immediate threats I have to deal with” (C/J/S) and “possible threats who are useful to me now” (Varys).

        • lluewhyn says:

          When Littlefinger tells Catelyn Tyrion owns the dagger, he has no reason to believe that Catelyn is going to run into Tyrion later. The other 2 of 3 Lannisters that were in Winterfell are currently in King’s Landing, which might blow up in his face rather soon.

        • Grant says:

          Even weirder, Tyrion NEVER tells Tywin about this. You would assume this would be one of the first things he would tell his father about his arrest by Catelyn because it makes very clear that a major figure in the regime has some kind of anti-Tyrion agenda for some reason. Even if Tywin hates Tyrion, this would still be a very suspicious thing and an anti-Tyrion agenda might mean an anti-Lannister agenda.

        • Tyrion never acted against Littlefinger because he viewed Littlefinger as indispensible given his financial acumen and control over patronage.

    • Yes, it’s still bad for Sansa to trust someone as predatory as Littlefinger.

      The clothes continue to be important to Alayne’s story, we’ll get into that in future chapters.

      I don’t think it’s artificial; sometimes people just hate each other for no reason.

      Shadrich is the knight Varys sent to the Vale.

    • godot123 says:

      As to why Petyr hates Tyrion, maybe he heard Tyrion joke about Petyr being an commoner or having a “little finger”, and Petyr decided to add him to his personal vendetta list. I think Petyr has the same disproportionate grudge retaliation sense as Walder Frey or Tywin Lannister.

  12. Michael S says:

    Fantastic as always. Thank you!

  13. Brian Bowles says:

    It’s been a while since I read them so I can’t remember, but who is Varys’ chosen knight that he sends to the Vale first?

  14. Thank you for another great analysis! I wanted to say, not only are your chapter analyses informative and give me new perspective on characters, but I think your writing itself is also very nice and you have some very poetic sentences.

    Something I didn’t appreciate about this chapter at first, is that I think it adds another fairytale allusion to Sansa’s story, in addition to some Beauty and the Beast and Snow White references. Sansa fleeing the royal celebration, beginning to discard the attire of nobility and her transformation into “Alayne Stone” reminds me a lot of Cinderella fleeing at midnight and changing out of her magical dress into her plain clothes. Except the prince (or rather, king) is dead, and the people searching for her are planning to arrest her for regicide (except for Brienne), not marry her. And it has elements of Snow White running into the forest with the queen ordering her death. This is something that I really like about how fairytales are incorporated into ASOIAF, that they are alluded to without it being a straightforward retelling.

  15. Richc77 says:

    The amount of info Dontos was trusted with is pretty reckless on Littlefinger’s part. He knew of the date of the assassination, the murder weapon, and he could at least identify Oswell Kettleblack. An inspection of the hairnet would have found the poison and confirmed his testimony. What if he tried to go double agent and sell this to the Lannisters?

    • Jim B says:

      That strikes me as a reasonable calculated risk on LF’s part. Certainly compared to some of the other gambles he has taken.

      Although Dontos is doing this in part for money, he has other motivations. Joffrey has continuously humiliated and abused him for months (?) now, and the other Lannisters haven’t done anything about it. The only person who’s been kind to him or tried to help him is Sansa. “Get a big bag of gold, Joffrey dead, and Sansa safely away from these people tormenting her” is a lot better deal for him than “Joffrey alive, Sansa possibly killed, and maybe you’ll get a big bag of gold and maybe Joffrey will be less of an asshole to you.”

      LF is right to be concerned about Dontos betraying him in the future. But that’s because Joffrey is now dead, and Sansa is safely away. Then Dontos’s choice becomes “keep silent” vs. “maybe get a big bag of gold, unless the Lannisters just kill you,” and his need for money might cause him to risk that second option.

      • lluewhyn says:

        And there’s no guarantee that Dontos doesn’t end up dead or exiled for helping the Lannisters anyway. One way or another, they seem to have a track record for screwing over their allies, or planning to do so.

    • That’s a good point. On the other hand, as Jim B. notes, Dontos does have a pretty good reason to want Joffrey dead.

  16. Manuel S says:

    Thanks for the first essay of the year!

  17. Pandoddle says:

    You’ve not addressed a couple of things I found intriguing in this chapter :

    1. Dontos Hollard : “Dress dark, he’d said, yet under his brown hooded cloak he was wearing his old surcoat; red and pink horizontal stripes beneath a black chief bearing three gold crowns, the arms of House Hollard.” & “”I wanted to be a knight. For this, at least.”

    2. Dontos Hollard : “I was drunk and fell off my horse and Joffrey wanted
    my fool head, but you saved me. You saved me, sweetling.” & then, Sansa : “He’s weeping, she realized. “And now you have saved me.” ”

    Why does Hollard want to be a knight “for this”, and why does he weep when helping Sansa to the cliffs and out ?

    • Bail o' Lies says:

      It is to show that Dontos, while on some level is doing it for the money, he was truly grateful that she saved his life, and for once in his life he is acting like a true knight, rescuing an innocent maiden from certain death.

      The thing about Dontos is ‘his intentions were never pure.’

      He was the one person Sansa could talk to, but he never told her the whole truth.

      The reason he constantly asked for kisses from Sansa? Well, that’s part of the chivalric romance, “a noble lady kissing her loyal knight,” even if its a chaste kiss, BUT he also wanted to be kissed by a cute girl that was way out of his league.

      ‘Yes he wanted to help save & protect Sansa, but he wanted to get paid as well.’ He could have easily kept his mouth shut about the Tyrells’ plan and she would have been saved from Joffery…but then he wouldn’t get paid. And that’s what killed him in the end. He rescued Sansa, but got killed for his greed…also to cover up for Baelish.

      Dontos (a knight & fool) like Tyrion (husband & enemy) or Sandor (guardian & thug) wanted to help Sansa in someway but they had their problems. Baelish wants Sansa to see only the negative in them so she will rely on only him. I suspect part of her breaking from Littlefinger’s hold is realizing the good and the bad in people.

      ‘There can be bad in the noble knight, and there can be good in the devious rouge.’

  18. Sweet says:

    Has there been an issue with viewing the essay? Neither this one nor the next (Jamie) is displayed on the page.

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