But if any Stark girl is going to take out UnGregor I’d bet it would be Arya,
Would it? Consider the following:
1. This is not the only prophecy involving a giant and at least one Stark girl. Bran’s dream in AGoT has this:
He saw Sansa crying herself to sleep at night, and he saw Arya watching in silence and holding her secrets hard in her heart. There were shadows all around them. One shadow was as dark as ash, with the terrible face of a hound. Another was armored like the sun, golden and beautiful. Over them both loomed a giant in armor made of stone, but when he opened his visor, there was nothing inside but darkness and thick black blood.
Now a few books back there were people who held that the giant of Bran’s dream was Littlefinger, Robert, even Tyrion, but post-ADwD, considering that at this point Gregor
- was noted to wear freakishly heavy armor
- died of a poison that thickened his blood
- is currently literally wearing a helmet with nothing inside it
…I’d say this one is pretty well sewn up. Now, given that the Mountain’s role in the girls’ lives is signified by a giant in prophecy, what are the odds that there’s a second, unrelated figure whose role in Sansa’s storyline is symbolized by a giant in a different prophecy? If GRRM wanted a symbol for Littlefinger, he could easily use something else. Occam’s Razor says they’re both the same giant, and that means they’re both Gregor.
2. One way or another, the end of Gregor’s storyline is going to involve his brother – that’s been set up since way back. Now Sandor and Arya had a nice little road trip together and I actually like their relationship quite a lot, but whether you ship it or not, you gotta admit Sandor is a much bigger figure in Sansa’s psychic landscape than Arya’s. I can much more easily imagine Sansa being motivated to do something drastic to save Sandor, for instance, than I can Arya.
3. Gregor is the very first person Sansa ever calls “no true knight.” Given the way Sansa’s whole story and character arc is set up, that’s a huge deal, and it deserves a payoff. Yeah, the Mountain plays a big role in desensitizing Arya to brutality and violence, but I don’t think Arya’s arc revolves around that issue in quite the same way Sansa’s revolves around her disillusionment with storybook ideals of knighthood. (The heart of Arya’s arc is not so much her relationship with violence as her relationship with death – it’s a subtle distinction but an important one, and it makes Gregor’s role in her story very slightly less central.)
4. UnGregor is going to die by fire. It’s a traditional way to dispatch zombies, and it’s all sorts of poetic justice for a guy whose single most character-defining act was the time he set his little brother’s face on fire, so I’d say it’s being set up pretty clearly. And locking a really sturdy door and knocking over a candle takes absolutely no l33t ninja training whatsoever.
I hope Sansa’s going to take down Littlefinger. But I’m damned near certain she’s going to kill the Mountain.
I agree with you on the fact that the huge shadow in Bran’s dream is certainly Gregor. I’ll even add that a lot of things link him to « an armour made of stone » :
his nickname, The Moutain That Rides
« Clegane had no splendor about him ; his armor was steel plate, dull grey, scarred by hard use and showing neither sigil nor ornament. » Tyrion, AGOT – grey and dull like rocks
He is said to wear a helmet with « a stone fist pushing towards the sky » (Tyrion, ASOS)
But I really disagree with the fact Sansa could bring him down. I do believe that, if one of the Stark girls would kill him, it would be Arya.
First, this prophecy in particular (contrary to the one about the maid with purple serpents in her hair) is not only about Sansa, but also Arya.
« Over them both loomed a giant in armor made of stone, but when he opened his visor, there was nothing inside but darkness and thick black blood. » Bran, AGOT
The two of them are mentioned, not only Sansa – meaning that, if we take only this, both of them have equal « chances » to kill him. But if you look at the other components, there is very, very few chances she will be the one.
On the practical view : how could Sansa ever hope to defeat Gregor Clegane, aka one of the most skilled, strong, cruel knight of Westeros ? How would she even meet him outside of a battle field ? Gregor is the personification of raw strength, of the violence and cruelty of battle. We never hear anything about his ruling skills (he is the heir of House Clegane) or something else outside his strenght, his fighting « exploits » and his cruelty. Every comment about him, everything we hear about him link him on the ground of battle, of physical violence.
« Had his lord father taken leave of his senses ? No pikes, too few bowmen, a bare handful of knights, the ill-armed and unarmored, commanded by an unthinking brute who led with his rage… » Tyrion, AGOT
And Sansa is nowhere near that. Of course she suffers from it (the blows Ser Meryn and co give her) but she is less brutalized physically than her sister, and simply is less involved in the physical ground than Arya (that, outside her link to fighting, must also do physical tasks like scrubbing, running to get things, work in the kitchens,…). She never learns about fighting, swords, battle, and she has never taken interest on it. I don’t even remember her saying she would like to kill somebody herself (it’s more like « Robb will kill you » or « I hope you die in battle »). Her battles will stand on another ground. Her weapons are and will be her mind, her courtesies, maybe manipulation. She will fight (if she ever does) on the political, intellectual field. But she isn’t and will never be trained to kill with her bare hands (of course that could happen. But even if she does, she won’t actively learn how to fight after that…).
« ”Clean hands, Sansa. Whatever you do, make certain your hands are clean.” » (-Petyr Baelish’s philosophy about killing) Sansa, ASOS
« She made herself look at that face now, really look. It was only courteous, and a lady must never forget her courtesies. » Sansa, ACOK
« What was it that Septa Mordane used to tell her ? A lady’s armor is courtesy, that was it. » Sansa, ACOK
In that, their grounds of action are totally different and I would be very surprised if one or another crossed their respective borders - especially considering Gregor isn’t really one of the most important characters, so why mess things by putting him in the intellectual field ?
Arya on the other hand has a deeper bond with fighting and battle, way more than her sister. She is not the tomboy girl that resolves everything with her sword, like some in the fandom like to say (most of her « victories » happen thanks to her mind) but she definitively plays on the physical field. Even before AGOT, she was playing swords with Bran. In the first book she was taught the basis of water-dancing, skills that she uses throughout all her journey – because Westeros, and especially Westeros in the middle of wars, is a hard place for
a girl for anybody. And of course in Braavos she joins the House of Black and White, a brotherhood of assassins where she learns poisons and means to kill, amongst other things.
That’s why I think Arya has stronger chances to even only meet him again. You say that Sansa is linked to Gregor to Sandor, but Arya is directly linked to him in the fact that she has already met him and suffered from his own hand.
« The guards took women off into the bushes at night, and most seemed to expect it and went along meekly enough. One girl, prettier than the others, was made to go with four or five different men every night, until finally she hit one with a rock. Ser Gregor made everyone watch while he took off her head with a sweep of his massive two-handed greatsword. » Arya, ACOK
« If there were ghosts in Harrenhal, they never troubled her. It was the living men she feared, Weese and Ser Gregor Clegane and Lord Tywin Lannister himself… » Arya, ACOK
(I’m sparing you the tale of the rape of a thirteen years-old. Or Elia Martell’s. Or crushing a baby’s head onto a wall. Or…)
He directly made her life hell, forcing her to see things nobody, and especially not a ten years-old should see. She fears him and she hates him so much she wants to kill him.
« Arya glanced sidelong at Needle, sheathed at the hip of a black-bearded, balding man-at-arms called Polliver. It’s good that they took it away, she thought. Otherwise she would have tried to stab Ser Gregor, and he would have cut her right in half, and the wolves would eat her too. » Arya, ACOK
He’s even the first name in her list of people to kill !
« Every night Arya would say their names. ”Ser Gregor,” she’d whisper to her stone pillow. ”Dunsen, Polliver, Chiswyck, Raff the Sweetling. The Tickler and the Hound. Ser Amory, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, King Joffrey, Queen Cersei.” Back in Winterfell, Arya had prayed with her mother in the sept and with her father in the godswood, but there were no gods on the road to Harrenhal, and her names were the only prayer she cared to remember. » Arya, ACOK
« ”Ser Gregor, Dunsen, Raff the Sweetling, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, Queen Cersei. Valar Morghulis.” » Arya, AFFC
Gregor is one of the direct reason of the shattering of Arya’s illusions and the loss of her innocence. He has had much more impact on her than on Sansa (I don’t deny she hadn’t had her illusions shattered too, but it was by other people). Remember at the beginning, Arya too believed knights were there to protect them. She was disabused even before Sansa.
« The splendor of it [the tourney] all took Sansa’s breath away : the shining armor, the great chargers caparisoned in silverand gold, the shouts of the crowd, the banner snapping in the wind… And the knights themselves, the knights most of all. » Sansa, AGOT
« Arya could reveal herself to Lady Whent, and the knights would escort her home and keep her safe. That was what knights did ; they kept you safe, especially women. » Arya, ACOK
Arya too believed knights would protect her, as Sansa did. She was more pragmatic than her sister, and probably didn’t thought they were the paragons of bravery and nobility Sansa drew from the songs, but still. But the first knight she meet after escaping King’s Landing is Gregor, who does a great job washing this idea out of her head. Both girls have, not only Sansa, and that’s one of the main tragedy of ASOIAF : that so many children loose their innocence so quickly and tragically. And the Stark sisters are the first ones in the front line.
(And I disagree with you about the core of Arya’s arc. It’s not death, it’s survival. Violence and death are infortunaly components of this, but Arya doesn’t actively seek them. Her story is not the one of someone that tries by every mean to get revenge for her family (no HBO, it’s not), but of a little girl that tries to survive and go home in a very hostile world.)
So Arya has : the means, a motive, greater chances to find herself in front of him. But still, I doubt she will kill him one day. I do too believe Sandor is going to have a part in his brother’s death – but even through him, Arya is still the one with greater odds.
I agree that Sandor may have had a deeper influence on Sansa, but it’s more on the psychological or even romantic side. She remembers the Unkiss, he protects her but he frightens her at the same time,… But don’t diminish his influence on Arya. First, they don’t have a « nice little road trip together ». They were not going on a picnic, it’s way more complicated than that. He kidnaps her from a brotherhood that protected her, wants to ransom her but saves her from a certain death ; he sees in her the child forced to grow up too fast he was. And she hates him but at the same time he’s protecting her, she tries to kill him but she mends his wounds when he’s stabbed. And she draws lessons from this, let’s say forced cohabitation and – surprise ! - it’s about killing. He taught her the « gift of mercy » - or why it’s better to kill quickly somebody that suffers rather than letting him agonize.
Again, Arya has lessons about physical topics, killing, while Sandor taught Sansa to grow up emotionally, teaching her the truth about knights (« ”What do you think a knight is for, girl ? You think it’s all taking favors from ladies and looking fine in gold plate ? Knights are for killing.” » Sansa, ACOK), about the world (« ”True knights protect the weak.” He snorted. ”There are no true knights, no more than there are gods. If you can’t protect yourself, die and get out of the way of those who can. Sharp steel and strong arms rule this world, don’t ever believe any different.” Sansa backed away from him. ”You’re awful.” ”I’m honest. It’s the world that’s awful. (…)” » Sansa, ACOK). He never taught her a way to stab her opponents or getting revenge on them, because 1. it would be useless in her situation and 2. that would led her to a certain death. He teaches her to bend the knee to Joffrey, to give him what he wants, and helps her clear her head of her illusions in order to survive. But Arya, by the time they meet, is pretty disabused and doesn’t need his help on this matter. He gives them both advices, but they fit their respective situations.
Besides, while Arya sure isn’t going to kill to save Sandor, if Sansa does something drastic to save him, I bet it would more be something like sacrifice herself than kill (but it’s a personal opinion here).
So, I hope I made my point clear. Sansa has very few chances to take down Gregor because :
They are not « playing » on the same ground (physical/intellectual), and therefore there is very very few chances they ever meet ;
She doesn’t have any notion of fighting skills. How could she ever hope to kill the biggest, strongest man of the Seven Kingdom, the man that Tywin Lannister calls « No other knight in the realm inspires such terror in our ennemies. » (Tyrion, ASOS) ?
Arya has deeper, personal reasons to take revenge on him. That would be disappointing, for me, if Sansa « stole » her from doing so – that would be like Arya killing Littlefinger, you know what I mean ? She deserves it (but that is the foolish hopes of a foolish reader that still thinks that someone in ASOIAF can take revenge of those that wronged him).
She also has, like I said, means, motives and is involved in the same ground.
But anyway, personally I doubt either Sansa or Arya will be the one putting down Gregor/UnGregor. I’d like to see that, but nothing in Bran’s dream (can we even call it a prophecy ?) shows it ; but if that was to happen, my money would definively be on Arya.