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Shiera + Bloodraven = Mel

radiowesteros:

It seems almost everything about Melisandre’s appearance can be attributed to either Shiera Seastar or Bloodraven – two characters known to have had a sexual relationship. We will see that skin, eyes, height, figure, face, breasts, beauty, elegance, even apparel have startling similarities, as well as aspects of personality and aptitude (& lots more). Here’s Shiera + Bloodraven = Mel, which was originally posted at Westeros.org last year. 

Here’s the description GRRM gave us of Shiera…

"She was the greatest beauty(1) of her age, a slender(2)  and  elegant(3) woman, slim of waist(4) and full of breast(5);… She had a heart-shaped face(6); full lips, and her mismatched eyes were strangely large and full of mischief”

Compared with Cressen’s description of Mel from Clash…

"Slender(2) she was, graceful(3), taller than most knights, with full breasts(5) and narrow waist(4) and a heart-shaped face(6). Men’s eyes that once found her did not quickly look away, not even a maester’s eyes. Many called her beautiful(1).”

The similarities are undeniable here… and the heart-shaped face is interesting. A heart-shaped faced is a rare trait, only attributed to two other characters outside of Mel and Shiera, and one of those is related to Shiera. (Mel’s possible glamour is considered further on).

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Anonymous asked: People who thinks Arya's a misogynist shoud notice that she repeats "I'm a girl" everytime someone misunderstood her with a boy... She only says the opositte when it's necessary for her safety. It means even liking unconventional thing for a proper Westerosi lady she still consider herself as a girl, so she obviously thinks girls and boys can do the same things. "I can be AS good AS Bran", she said. Not better, not worse. Equal. She's a medieval feminist :)

No one thinks Arya’s a misogynist that doesn’t want to think that. These claims of Arya being anti-feminist are always used as a reason to hate her, question her popularity as a character, or justify why she’s a worse character than another. They also have no evidence ever- because there is none. 

Unless they’re only judging by only the show (which has some very unfortunate, OOC lines that contain anti-women sentiments from not just Arya, but also Brienne and Asha,) no one could possibly read Arya’s chapters and come to the conclusion that she’s not one of (if not the) most feminist characters.

Your examples are important to remember, the fact that she asserts her femininity whenever she can and whenever it’s questioned (outside a life or death situation.) And even when it may have been more helpful to pretend to be a boy, she doesn’t. When she meets the BWB, she angrily corrects Tom when he assumes she was a boy. They could want to rape her now- a fear that has been drilled into from Yoren to Harrenhal- and yet it’s her impulse and desire to declare that she’s a girl. The only time is when she was with the Night Watch recruits (where no girls are allowed, it’s not an option.)

Telling Jon that the women are important too and that she could fight as well as Bran:

She watched her little brother whack at Tommen. “I could do just as good as Bran,” she said. “He’s only seven. I’m nine.”  

She doesn’t even use their genders as factors in her assessment- she’s older by two years, she can do “just as good”.

It’s actually interesting because while Arya notes the differential treatment of the sexes and expresses upset over it, this never manifests as bitterness. What I mean by that is that she doesn’t develop any anger towards men nor does she internalize the sexism and seek to differentiate herself from other women/girls. 

And that, to me, is really amazing. I think it speaks to Arya’s level of understanding and empathy for other people. She’s always been able to connect with people from all walks of life and express affection for people who even treat her horribly (Lommy, Elmar, Hot Pie at first, Bubono.) 

Arya questions (why can’t she be lord of a holdfast or a shipmaker or the High Septon? why can’t she own a sword and learn to fight? why can’t she go boar hunting when even younger Bran is allowed?) but she never gets angry or bitter over it towards others. She still very happily a girl, she just doesn’t see why that makes her any different or lesser. She still has male friends and brothers and not think why do these people who aren’t as good or deserving or anything get these opportunities. She doesn’t even get jealous. She wants to know why and doesn’t accept that she’s any different.

And is there any POV character who values women who work in whorehouses or brothels like Arya does? She takes advice from Merry, never looks down on any of the many whores she meets and encounters, she doesn’t think less of them or scorn them for their profession.

But it’s nor just about valuing the women society considers to be the lowest, Arya always admires women. She looks up to Ned and Jon and Robb of course, but her heroes are women. She wants to be like Wenda the White Fawn, she wants to name her direwolf after Queen Nymeria. 

The funny thing, is that people use their own headcanons or whatever to prove that Arya is anti-women.

SHE DOESN’T LIKE/DO FEMININE THINGS! Except she likes to pick flowers and had dolls growing up and romanticizing her parents’ relationship and what exactly are we classifying as feminine anyway here? What qualities does Arya need to have to be feminine enough for the haters? And, most important question, is it because Arya isn’t pretty enough? Some comments/gifsets unfortunately imply as such. 

SHE WANTS TO BE A KNIGHT AND NOT A LADY! She has never expressed any interest in being a knight and the lady bit is very debatable. And even if it isn’t, it’s the idea of being a Lady as the profession than being a lady as in the gender. That’s not anti-women, it’s anti-highborn life if anything. And why would that be an an issue anyway? Can’t you have a feminine knight? It’s a profession choice, not a sex declaration. 

SHE CARRIES A SWORD AND DOES “MASCULINE” THINGS!! CLICHE! I’m struggling to see how people get this notion. For starters, what is this idea of being masculine when you use examples such as being angry and having short hair to state she’s masculine? And where does this idea that having a sword is cliche? Pretty much every male character has carried one at one point, is it only wrong if it’s women? Why is that bad? And what female character isn’t wielding some blade/weapon at some point? Because even forgetting those considered “masculine” like Arya, we know Sansa and Catelyn both threatened men with knives/blades. Do male characters have a monopoly on survival because otherwise how can you overlook the absolute necessity of this in a world like Westeros?

Being a woman and unarmed won’t save you from abuse in such a violent, war-consumed world, as she learns quickly enough, so Arya has to make do somehow. Not that Arya even carries a weapon for most of Harrenhal when she’s worked as a slave. 

There’s nothing to textually support that Arya has any anti-women or anti-femininity sentiments. She gets jealous over not being feminine enough, that’s the closest you can say.

The reason this started, to be honest, is because people wanted to hate Arya. That’s why it gets continued as well. Arya is a fan favorite (but note, not a fandom favorite by any means,) and some people looked for reasons to justify their hatred and even shame people for liking Arya. (Trust me, I’ve read all these “metas” on the subject. They’re very transparent.)

Anyway, anon, there’s really nothing to be done. It’s not based on textual evidence, it’s not based on anything logical- because if I’ve learned one thing from being in fandom, it’s that character hate is the quickest path to twisting facts and rationality into nothingness. They’re not going to notice Arya’s stance as very pro-women because they don’t want to.

Permalink   •   Tags: #arya stark #feminism

donewithwoodenteeth:

Thanks to sansalayned for organizing Sansa Appreciation Week! Sorry this is late, but this is for Day 5, favorite scene. 

His hand was shaking.
Oh, no, Alayne thought. Please. Not here. Not now…

Alayne took Robert’s gloved hand in her own to stop his shaking. “Sweetrobin,” she said, “I’m scared. Hold my hand, and help me get across. I know you’re not afraid.”

He looked at her, his pupils small dark pinpricks in eyes as big and white as eggs. “I’m not?”

“Not you. You’re my winged knight, Ser Sweetrobin.”

“The Winged Knight could fly,” Robert whispered.
“Higher than the mountains.” She gave his hand a squeeze.

Lady Myranda had joined them by the spire. “He could,” she echoed, when she saw what was happening.

“Ser Sweetrobin,” Lord Robert said, and Alayne knew that she dare not wait for Mya to return. She helped the boy dismount, and hand in hand they walked out onto the bare stone saddle, their cloaks snapping and flapping behind them. All around was empty air and sky, the ground falling away sharply to either side. There was ice underfoot, and broken stones just waiting to turn an ankle, and the wind was howling fiercely. It sounds like a wolf, thought Sansa. A ghost wolf, big as mountains.

And then they were on the other side. Sansa, AFFC

You know, there’s a lot of talk of Sansa manipulating, and people point to scenes like Sansa/Joffrey when she saves Dontos. But in that scene, and most every other discussed from the earlier books, it’s not a plan. It’s not really conscious. Sansa blurts out Joffrey can’t kill Dontos and then has to scramble for a lie to explain why she reacted that way. It’s quick thinking but not really true control as she needed Sandor to back her up, it wasn’t thought through. But that scene is in ACoK and Sansa has grown considerably since then. 

This scene illustrates the control over her instincts and Sansa’s development as a character. She sees the issue (Robert beginning to shake) and panics, but then she recovers and handles it seemingly effortlessly. 

She doesn’t blurt something out, she collects herself and plays Robert using her knowledge of him. It’s a lot like Arya’s whole playing the person tactics that continued in her Mercy chapter.

Sansa knows Robert Arryn at this point. If she attempts to order him around or tell him to calm down, it’d be useless. But she also knows his pride, how he has such sheltered power thanks to Lysa and his status as Lord Arryn. So instead of trying to command him, instead of pleading with him, Sansa plays into that pride. 

He wants to feel powerful and strong, Sansa uses that as well as subtlety playing up her own fear to assure him of his lack of terror.

I love this moment so much because of a few reasons. For starters, this is in many ways the accumulation of skills and lessons Sansa has obtained through her time in King’s Landing and from Littlefinger. In court, she learned to say what people wanted to hear or expected. She was taught to boost the egos of those around her and control her emotions so that they didn’t manifest in anger or tears. With Littlefinger, he taught her the importance of lying to achieve a specific purpose and to behave in a way that is considered harmless. Both of them enhanced her perceptiveness of people and reading their character.

Sansa utilizes all of that in this moment. She takes her knowledge of Robert, processes it, turns that knowledge into something useful for her situation, manipulates Robert, and all the while appears to Robert as though she wasn’t doing anything at all.

Had Sansa blurted out something or reacted emotionally, she probably would have caused Robert’s shaking to worsen. Moreover, if she didn’t have such a good read on Robert, she may have caused him to have an attack or tantrum as he is a pretty unstable and emotional individual.

She appeals to his as a child, with youthful ideas about himself (“Ser Sweetrobin” the winged knight) and as a proud lord/man (with him needing to be strong for her.)

I just find this scene to be a very underrated Sansa moment. Sure, it’s not her life or death and it may not be very politician/warrior in nature. It’s a very subtle scene, not that noteworthy in a series full of coups and beheadings and battles.

That being said, it’s a favorite of mine. I love Sansa’s growth here. She’s in complete control despite her fear. She handles an unforeseen crisis quickly and efficiently whilst displaying the tricks and teachings of her hardships. She just handles it with maturity and awareness.

I think it’s a precursor in some ways to a Sansa with agency. She reads the person, considers that knowledge, uses it for a purpose, and achieves her means- all the while seeming as though she hasn’t done anything worthy of notice, harmless and not worth worrying over. 

Permalink   •   Tags: #sansa stark #robert arryn

buffyofwinterfell:

It’s a staple in this fandom to say that Arya and Sansa are put in positions that best utilize their inherent skill-set. The charming & quiet Sansa maneuvers herself through court politics while athletic & gutsy Arya maneuvers war zones.  That’s not an incorrect observation, but it’s becoming clear to me that from AGOT to ASOS, Arya and Sansa are actually put in situations that appeal to their polar opposite weaknesses, not strengths, which makes their survival even more impressive to me.

[the developed caution Arya “usually-impulsive-but-now-imma-walk-through-a-courtyard-of-gold-cloaks-looking-for-me-like-they’re-zombies-on-the-walking-dead-and-i’m-covered-in-guts-no-biggie-like-a-boss” Stark has been discussed at large already so this will focus on Sansa]

Political courts are inherently social places, but Sansa’s actually an introvert at heart. She prefers intimate activities like needlework and storytelling among friends. At the first tourney, she is fascinated by the pageantry and sights, but the people themselves she mostly sees as idealized versions of themselves from her stories ( Knightly Loras gives her a “special” rose; Chivalrous! Joffrey who cuts her meat even though he smugly agreed to the death of her wolf last she saw him etc). She’s not selfish (that’s something much different), but Sansa’s interior world and observations are the focus of her narration.

Sansa’s introversion gives her great social intelligence and she is actually a good judge of character but this cerebral talent ends up working against her: as donewithwoodenteeth states in this wonderful meta, Sansa has good instincts but she constantly second-guesses them to adjust her worldview to something she can understand and tolerate.(meta goes through some excellent examples like her initial recognition of Joffrey being filled with “nothing but the vilest contempt” being replaced with something she can stomach later). One of her flaws (that contributes to her, in my opinion, the most realistic character in the series) is that she kinda fumbles in a crisis not because she’s empty-headed, like Cersei says, but she thinks too much until she paints a picture of people that doesn’t really exist.

The friendless, social nature of King’s Landing threatens to erase Sansa’s agency and ability to control her own narrative. But she learns socialize with agency in small, but critical ways. She intervenes with Dontos; during Blackwater, she takes over hostess duties and calms the Holdfast during down after Cersei abandons her post; she instinctively helps an injured Lancel even if her mind tells her he’s an enemy; she makes a powerful statement by refusing to kneel at her wedding to Tyrion. Sansa’s selective passivity is instrumental to her survival, but where does she makes strides?

The turning points in Sansa’s development are when she actually trusts her astute gut and comes out of her shell to seize agency where she can. Her arc is equal parts realizing the power passivity AND the realization of public agency.

(As an aside, remember how Sansa saw Littlefinger as a creeper from the start when they first met AND HE STROKED HER HAIR WHILE CALLING HER MOM HOT? that part of her is going to rise from the subconscious soon, and I hope it’s not pretty…)

Permalink   •   Tags: #sansa stark
elrewin asked: When you think about it, Sansa doesn't seem to have a great self-estime. Better than Arya's, of course, but I don't feel she's really confident in her abilities. Maybe it's one of the reasons she is so eager to fit in the mold, to become the best in what's asked of her.

(My opinion here, very open to interpretation and not something I’m going to debate.)

I don’t know, I disagree with this assessment. I think you’re confusing cause and effect here. Sansa does lack confidence in her own instincts, but i don’t think she truly lacks confidence as a person.

Maybe it’s one of the reasons she is so eager to fit in the mold, to become the best in what’s asked of her.

This is the cause in my mind, not the effect. Sansa was “a lady a three”. And that was ideal, she was praised for it, it’s what was expected of her. At the same time, what does being a “lady” in Westeros really mean? They are meant to be dutiful, soft spoken, accepting, obeying, second to men, ect. They are supposed to never question anything in some ways.

I think society made Sansa this way. She’s the “perfect lady” in some respects. It’s a good thing in that it allows her to function well within society, be praised and loved for it, but at the same time, it’s harmful.

Think of other female POVs. Arya, Brienne, Asha, Arianne, and especially Cersei for instance think on what Westerosi society expects of women, they acknowledge the unfairness, the limitations, the expectations, ect. Sansa, on the other hand, doesn’t really. We don’t have a moment from her where it’s clear she’s aware and/or upset with the placement of women in society.

Sansa is very content with her place as a woman. This isn’t surprising since A) it’s all she’s ever known, B) she’s good at it, and C) that lifestyle seems to appeal to her.

But I think that manifests in Sansa not wanting to assert herself always. She’s the “good girl” who does what’s expected of her. And oftentimes, what’s expected of her is to just take whatever’s being handed to her and told to her and just accept.

Compare Sansa thinking to herself how she never considered having a claim to Winterfell because she had three brothers to Arya asking Ned in AGoT whether or not she could be the lord of a holdfast. Sansa accepted how life was for her, it’s something that resulted in continuous love and praise and affection because that’s how women are supposed to react. Ned, who had Lyanna as a sister, seems conflicted. He loved and respected his sister, but he also believes to some extent that her wildness got her killed. But ultimately, through his comments like “the impossible task of making you a lady” to Arya, we can see that Ned also goes along with the system for the most part. And that’s why Arya’s self-esteem is so poor even though people think that Ned was the cool parent or whatever. He was better than most, but he was still accepting of the system overall. And Arya failed the system in the beginning of the story.

So with Sansa, to me, it’s a partial manifestation of her lady training and how she was raised. 

She questions her instincts on certain things because she was raised to believe that what she’s told by authority was right, it was the truth, that was how things were, and she was accepting and okay with that. Remember this moment in AGoT when Sansa tried to question Ned’s authority directly:

“Sansa, your lord father knows best,” Septa Mordane said. “You are not to question his decisions.”

This is the sum of it. Sansa is “eager to please”, and pleasing for a lady is often abiding by whatever authority figures (almost always men) tell her to think, feel, say, do.

When her life went to hell, it was still expected of her to just take whatever was dealt to her, but now it wasn’t sheltering or not having privileges her brothers had or anything relatively innocuous (comparatively,) now Sansa was supposed to take abuse, reformations of identity, being an accomplice in murders, unwanted marriages, denouncements and mockery towards her family, ect.

And that’s one of the reasons why I think Sansa’s development involves learning to trust her instincts and question. While there was nothing wrong with her being a proper lady by Westerosi society, it’s no longer an option for her to completely fall into that mode for her if she wants to gain agency. The authority figures in her life, the people around her seeking to control her, none of them have her best interest at heart. Sansa needs to assert herself for herself.  

The cause is that Sansa is eager to fit the mold, I think. And the effect becomes that part of fitting in and people pleasing meant never questioning, trusting authority and not her own instincts. As as result, she became accustomed to accepting that her instincts were not the ones to trust, whatever authority was telling her was.

So anyway, that’s how I’ve always interpreted it as. It’s not a lack of confidence in herself so much as something that’s been drilled into her head since she was born. 

ashaqueenasha:

I think this is interesting and very true; it also wouldn’t surprise me if it factors into the way that she suppresses her own memories.  She is eager to please and needs to play a part and she feels it so deeply that she then has to go and make things that have happened to her line up in a similar way.  And of course, the things she suppresses are often traumatic and upsetting in some way, but how would a lady react to those things?  She would take them in stride, find the good in them—and that’s what Sansa does, even if it’s at the expense of her instincts and emotional/psychological well-being.

Permalink   •   Tags: #sansa stark
ghostlymermaidpopulation asked: Hello! I really love your blog, and reading your meta. (I have a slight obsession with Asoiaf meta.) I was wondering if you have any tips for people who want to try writing their own (since I' usually rubbish at analyzing people and motivations etc.) thanks :)

"I have a slight obsession with Asoiaf meta"

Don’t we all :)

I can try to give some tips, but A) I’m hardly the authority on meta, and B) I firmly believe that meta writing is kind of personal as I know my method is considered unusual.

Well, you should know a few things. I’m very insecure about my writing. I wrote a book and planned out a trilogy in great detail, thought about it so often and developed it meticulously, and wrote 70K in a month… and have since let it sit for like a year. I’m too insecure in my writing to show it to anyone (so I can’t get a second opinion) and too insecure to edit it myself (as just reading my own writing is so painful because I doubt myself.)

The point is, you may not feel 100% great with what you’ve written but that doesn’t mean other people won’t appreciate it. You just got to put yourself out there!

For me, I let my inspiration roll and crank out metas quickly. Most of my metas (even the 5K+ ones) are written in one sitting over the course of a couple hours max- oftentimes more like under one hour. I hear that’s unusual, but I never force anything. I don’t write anything for the sake of others or reactions, I write because I want to. I get this drive to write meta and nothing can stop me. All my blogs were created because I wanted to write my thoughts and had nowhere to put it.

So tips:

  1. Tag it #asoiaf meta. That’s a tag a lot of people (like the asoiafuniversity mods and meta fans in general) follows. If you want feedback, that’s a good place to start.
  2. Use quotes. Don’t just make a statement and expect people to agree. Even if it seems obvious and commonly accepted, try to add the textual evidence. 
  3. Use full quotes. I can’t tell you how often I see metas that quote excerpts but then leave out crucial parts on that part of the book. Like the “Littlefinger never lifted so much as his little finger for her” that then ignores how Sansa immediately states afterwards “Except to get her out…” and goes on to contradict herself.
  4. Be mindful of sensitive topics. If you make statements- especially about real life issues- just be aware of how they can be interpreted. It’s very easy online without the use of tone and expression to mistake the meaning of something. Just be clear in your intention, don’t be afraid to restate and reword your point.
  5. Don’t worry about the destination, enjoy the journey. By that I mean, sometimes I write meta about a topic and realize where I’m going with my writings as I write. I don’t plan what I’m going to say or outline necessarily, I decide based on what the quotes and sources are telling me. Don’t get boggled down with where you’re going and follow your instincts. Don’t just decide the endpoint without writing the beginning and middle. Let it flow and then see what the conclusion you came to is. (That’s only applicable on some things though.)
  6. Consider your length. The longer a meta is, the less likely people are to read it. It may be amazing and no one will ever know because all they saw was too long and kept scrolling. Established meta writers can get away with writing thousands and thousands of words, but normally it’s preferred if you keep it short and simple. 
  7. Try not to let the haters get you down. Everyone’s a critic- but people on tumblr can be especially critical. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I mean that I rarely have posts that don’t get hijacked, criticized, ect. People who’ve followed me for a while probably remember how I got a lot of hateful messages and comments on my posts and almost gave up on writing despite wanting to. Not everyone is going to agree with you. While there are definitely things that are inarguable, while some assertions are just plain stupid/impossible, you’ll find that people can just see the same thing different ways. “We look up at the same stars and see such different things” and all.
  8. Be sure to assert your point clearly and immediately. What question are you answering? You should be asking yourself that. You have a thesis statement, stick to it. You’ll lose interest quickly if people don’t know what topic you’re addressing so state your thesis quickly and then go into detail and evidence. In the end, you should restate it, tie it all together with a nice conclusion to a cohesive argument.
  9. Try not to handle too many topics at once. You can always write another essay, don’t try to fit in every thought into one meta.
  10. Don’t let a lack of notes intimidate you. Especially if you’re just starting out. When I started writing asoiaf meta, I would be writing thousands of words for no one. Many of my first metas got something like 3-10 notes. Some didn’t even get one. What I consider my best metas normally do the worst note-wise, and many of my rambles do really well. You have to get traction in order to get feedback normally, so don’t let a lack of response hurt your confidence.
  11. Short, simple, sweet titles. What’s the meta about? Try to be very plain and attention-grabbing with a title that makes it clear you are going to be talking about so and so. 
  12. Tag well. Like if it’s about Sansa Stark, don’t tag Arya, don’t tag House Stark, don’t tag gotedit, tag relevantly. People might just get in your face and not even respond to your meta.
  13. Don’t be afraid to use a “read more”. It’s far worse to just have that post that takes up someone’s entire dash forever. You just have to ensure that the beginning part that’s visible is enthralling so that someone is enticed to click the read more (and make sure your blog has legible font for that.)
  14. I never do this but I always regret not doing so, edit before you publish. There could be a lot of really glaring and easy mistakes.
  15. And last of all, if you ever want feedback, I’m (usually) totally eager to give it! I get a fair amount of messages and can get busy, but if you have a question or want an opinion, contact me! And not just me, any blog that you admire. I remember I asked for feedback from a big meta blog when I first started out and had maybe 20 followers. Try to be understanding though on whether or not they’re busy.

Okay, that’s all that came to mind. Remember, I’m just one meta writer, everyone has their own style. What works for me may not work for you. And I’m sure some other meta writers could look at this and wonder how the hell I write anything coherent haha.

For more ASoIaF meta love, three of my favorite meta blogs can be checked out: joannalannister, ladysmallwood, and nobodysuspectsthebutterfly

Good luck with your writing! <3

Permalink   •   Tags: #resources #writing
Anonymous asked: i just read the part where sansa mentions her kiss with sandor that never actually happened and im really confused. is sansa having hallucinations? has she had any other times like this? im confused with how this might affect her in the future but no one seems to be talking about it

I’ve spoken briefly about this before (see here) and when I did, I discussed in detail the Sandor/Sansa “unkiss” (as it has been known to be called.)

And you’re right, not many people really discuss this- or at least not enough that it doesn’t get drowned out by more popular Sansa meta topics. I find with Sansa meta is that most of them are either A) some form of defense against Sansa hate or B) expressing praise for Sansa’s political journey and assumed future role.

I think this is a shame really because then the more subtle nuances of Sansa’s character don’t really get explored in meta as often as they could be considering the sheer bulk of Sansa meta floating around tumblr.

All that being said, I know some people talk about this aspect of Sansa’s character- but normally they only discuss the “Unkiss” and not the various other examples of Sansa’s repression and alteration of memories. 

For starters, just want to answer a bit. No, Sansa is definitely not hallucinating (nor did she “warg” into Sandor during the moment as I have seen some people claim.) But the “Unkiss” is just one instance in a long line of Sansa memory repressions/alterations. This is a very important element of her character- one that makes her the quintessential unreliable narrator as well. And it has already greatly impacted her life.

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thaalsinestros asked: TELL ME YOUR SANSA STARK AND CATELYN TULLY/STARK FEELS. TELL ME ABOUT QUEER LADIES OF WESTEROS (A friend told me Cersei and Dany are both queer, which was erased in the show?). TELL ME ABOUT UNDERRATED LADIES OF WESTEROS. LADIES OF WESTEROS. LAAAAAAAAAAAAADIES.

I’m going to break this ask into parts to make my rambling more manageable. Let’s start with Sansa Stark, because I am always ready to talk about my baby goddess princess Sansa Stark. Also Catelyn, because Catelyn is great. Spoilers for the first three book (roughly equivalent to season 1-3; I don’t get to the season 4 or book 4 and 5 stuff)

People who don’t like Sansa or Catelyn will frequently say that they aren’t real Starks. Something in them just isn’t sufficiently Stark-y. The people saying this always mean it in a dumb misogynistic way (note: no one ever says this about 100% PURE TULLY ROBB STARK), but the thing is they’re not totally wrong. Before we get to Sansa, or even Cat, we have to talk about Ned.

Ned Stark was never raised to be the Stark in Winterfell. His elder brother Brandon was heir, and he was raised to play a completely differently role in life. Ned Stark was raised by Jon Arryn, and the brother he grew up loving was Robert Baratheon. When he was what – 16? – he married Catelyn Tully. Ned may have had the blood of the North in his veins, but his life was in the South. Catelyn talks about becoming accustomed to Winterfell and the ways of the North in her chapters, but Ned had to do the same. Catelyn becomes a Stark, but she and Ned both have a lot in them that’s more Tully and Arryn than Stark. Family, Duty, Honor – those are the actual values both Ned and Cat live by, and those are the values most of their children absorb. This is especially true of their eldest two children, the ones who look just like their mother and almost nothing like their father: Robb and Sansa.

This is not to say that Cat, Ned, Robb and Sansa don’t have any typical Stark qualities – they do! But are the elder Stark men the platonic ideals of Stark-hood that they’re often thought of as? Certainly not. (I’d actually argue that Cat absorbs more than either of those children and maybe even more than Ned). As Cat is shaped by the Starks, the Starks - including Ned - are shaped by Cat. “Family, Duty, Honor”, is a lot closer to “As High as Honor” than “Winter is Coming” is to either, and so Cat’s learned Tully values take root in Ned more easily than the Stark values of his dead father and brother.

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Anonymous asked: If the gravedigger theory is true, why do you think Sandor Clegane lives? What drives him to continue to exist in a world that's brought him nothing but pain and sorrow?
amplifyme answered:

He lives because he’s a survivor. That’s the response that initially came to mind and the short answer to your first question. He lives because he’s a stubborn, hard-headed, battle-tested warrior who rages against the awful world he lives in while continuing to hold to a smidgen of hope that maybe, just maybe, things might get better.

"Maybe we can save her.”

"Maybe you can. I’m not done living yet." 

Even in the midst of the slaughter surrounding them during the Red Wedding, even knowing in those moments that his last hope of securing a new position with the King in the North has been obliterated, Sandor Clegane chooses to live to fight another day. Because that’s all he knows how to do. That’s what he’s been doing all his life. Whether the threat is physical or physiological, he will not give up. Because there might be something better just up the road.

"Might be we should stay here awhile," the Hound told her, after a fortnight. He was drunk on ale but more brooding than sleepy. "We’d never reach the Eyrie, and the Freys will still be hunting survivors in the riverlands. Sounds like they need swords here, with these clansmen raiding. We can rest up, maybe find a way to get a letter to your aunt."

Truth be told, had the the village elder not sent he and Arya on their way after the palisade was built, I think Sandor would’ve been perfectly content to stay there and create a new life for himself and his ‘daughter.’ And even after they were shooed off, he wanted to make for Riverrun on the chance of finding the Blackfish and taking up with whatever army Arya’s great uncle might’ve been able to muster in the wake of the Red Wedding. This is not a man who gives up. This is a man with something to live for:

- To see Arya safely to family or at the very least maintain his own position as her protector. Because if anyone truly thinks all he cared about was collecting a ransom, I suggest they read the books again.

- A position with a House not associated with the Lannisters or their allies. Or work that suited him and allowed him to feel like he was contributing something of value to someone other than himself. Because the definition of valar dohaeris in the Westerosi dictionary has a picture of Sandor Clegane beside it. 

- To offer recompense for the torment inflicted upon Sansa by not only the Lannisters but by him as well. Even if it wasn’t a conscious weighing of the scales on his part, I firmly believe he felt honor-bound to find a way to make up for the wrongs he’d done, even if there was nothing he could do directly for Sansa.

Of course that all came crashing down around his head when he found out she’d been married off to Tyrion. But now on the Quiet Isle, healing and under the caring auspices of Elder Brother and various and sundry monks, I’m certain he’s on his way to discovering (or rediscovering) reasons to continue to exist.

"He served, but found no pride in service. He fought, but took no joy in victory. He drank, to drown his pain in a sea of wine. He did not love, nor was he loved himself."

Knowing the way GRRM’s evil little mind works, I have no doubt that when/if Sandor Clegane leaves Quiet Isle he will be well on his way to becoming a man who finds pride in service and joy in victory, who no longer has to temper his pain with wine but will welcome it as a reminder that he can also experience comfort. And that he will be a man who can love and be loved in return.

That’s why he lives.

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Anonymous asked: Hi, I know this message is kinda late (really late) but what you thought about the scenes between Arya and Tywin Lannister at Harrenhal?

Well, on a non-book reader basis, I objectively liked them. They were interesting to watch, and Charles Dance and Maisie Williams played off each other very well I thought. The dialogue, usage of dramatic irony, and the actors’ chemistry was entertaining.

As a book reader, I more or less loathed them. Somehow, with just the few scenes between Arya and Tywin, the show managed to more or less ruin their book characterizations.

I want to specify quickly though that from a production of television perspective, this was a great, creative choice that makes perfect sense. Charles Dance would have been underused and absent- which would have been a shame considering his acting charisma, contract, and how well he’s received by audience members. Also, Arya’s time in Harrenhal was largely spent interacting with unimportant political characters (with the exception of Roose, who came to Harrenhal later in her stay anyway.)

So all that being said, it ruined the characters and was the first clue I had on what the show really values.

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