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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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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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A Follow Up


To that collection of quotes from earlier.

So, one of the things that made me sad while rereading the Stark sisters chapters over vacation is the way, in Book II and beyond, Arya and Sansa think about one another and interact with the memories of one another. 

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sansa — not just a pretty little talking bird

When it comes to gauging characters’ intelligence, people can be brutal— and also, in the case of Sansa, weirdly polarizing. Sansa hate has died down to some degree, but people can still be awfully quick to label her as unintelligent when I really don’t think the books support this claim at all.

One thing that I’m certain of is that Sansa isn’t vapid (imo she’s very bright and adaptive, and I’ll try to explain why), and the denigration of her as someone without intelligence does bother me a little. There’s a lot that’s wrong with it: the general demeaning of stereotypically feminine girls as flighty or stupid, the over-simplification of her character, the victim blaming that always seems to rear its ugly head when you mention one of the Stark sisters, etc.

So here’s my case for Sansa being much more intelligent and astute than many of her detractors give her credit for. Sansa’s not an empty-headed bird at all; she really is a wolf. And the fact that she can play the role of nonthreatening wallflower so well when needed is a testament to her ability to deceive— an ability that, it’s true, isn’t without its dangers.

Because it’s not that Sansa is unintelligent, an unskilled manipulator or a poor liar— the problem that many of her detractors seem to struggle with is that sometimes she can be too good at deceiving. and that’s because Sansa doesn’t just lie to her enemies; she also lies to herself.

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He can make me look at the heads, she told herself, but he can’t make me see them.

Sansa VI, A Game of Thrones

So, in retrospect this quote is really kind of chilling because this—this right here is Sansa’s psychological MO.  When confronted with things that are horrifying to her, with things she doesn’t understand, she stops seeing them for what they are, she skews details in her mind, makes them not as they are.  

This is a moment of bravery for her—to actively refuse to succumb to Joffrey’s torment of her.  But at the same time, it’s active proof of what she pushes herself to do, suppressing the bad, not letting herself confront it, not letting herself process it.

(via ashaqueenasha)

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No, It Wasn’t Normal Back Then
(yes, you do have to look at your ships critically)

There’s this very popular perception among SanSan, Sansa/Petyr, and Sansa/Tyrion shippers that is was normal, in the medieval era, for young maidens to be sexually active or romantically involved with older men. It’s also an incorrect perception, one that perpetrates an (often disrespectful to survivors of sexual abuse) attitude that erases the problematic (and potentially triggering to other members of fandom) nature of these ships.

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Also, for those who objects that “Yeah, Westeros was different from the Middle Age” let me tell you, even there 12 is not an age to get married - with older men or not.

« ”Come south with me, and I’ll teach you how to laugh again,” the king promised. “You helped me win this damnable throne, now help me hold it. We were meant to rule together. If Lyanna had lived, we should have been brothers, bound by blood as well as affection. Well, it’s not too late. I have a son. You have a daughter. My Joff and your Sansa shall join our houses, as Lyanna and I might once have done.”

This offer did surprise him. “Sansa is only eleven.”

Robert waved an impatient hand. “Old enough for betrothal. The marriage can wait a few years.”» Eddard, AGOT

See, Ned is shocked at the idea of Sansa marrying, and that’s not only because he is a good father. To wed this young was not common and very much frowned upon. And there, it’s between two people who are almost the same age (Sansa is eleven and Joffrey 12/13), not even with older men.

However it was quite common to set betrothals at this age. They were used as promesses, alliances. It wasn’t like our days, the marriage didn’t take place shortly after being engaged. Let’s have a look at the one between Catelyn Tully and Brandon Stark :

« ”[Robert] offers his own son in marriage to our daughter, what else would you call that ? Sansa might someday be queen. Her sons could rule from the Wall to the mountains of Dorne. What is so wrong with that ?”

"Gods, Catelyn, Sansa is only eleven,” Ned said. “And Joffrey… Joffrey is…”

She finished for him. “… crown prince, and heir to the Iron Throne. And I was only twelve when my father promised me to your brother Brandon." » Catelyn, AGOT

So, I looked a little at the timeline. Catelyn is born in 264AC ; the betrothal happens when she is twelve, so in 276AC. But Brandon (who by the way isn’t much older because he’s born in 261AC or 262AC, so barely 3 or 4 years older than her) comes for the wedding in 281AC. We know that because he was travelling towards the Riverlands to get married to Catelyn when he heard that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna and decided to go to King’s Landing instead, which was roughly one year before the Rebellion (282AC) - and his death.

So, in this case Catelyn must have been 17 when she was about to get married to Brandon and 18 to Ned. Her sister was two years younger than her, which means she was about 16 when she married Jon Arryn (a little young but still less than 12).

Another example : Cersei was married to Robert Baratheon at the age of 18 (284AC).

Margaery Tyrell is married to Renly Baratheon at 14/15, and to Joffrey at 16.

« [Margaery] was sixteen, brown-haired and brown-eyed, slender and beautiful. » Sansa, ASOS

Elia Martell’s betrothal to Rhaegar Targaryen came when she was 20, and likely married him shortly after.

So in short :

  • Catelyn : wed at 18
  • Lysa : wed at 16
  • Cersei : wed at 18
  • Margaery : wed at 14 and 16
  • Elia : wed at 20+

The acceptable age to get married wasn’t the same as the one to be betrothed - when there were still some rules and decency in Westeros. Everybody would have thought it was sick to wed a child. Tywin makes her wed only because he doesn’t give a fuck about her well-being. He doesn’t see her as a person, only ‘the Key to the North’, and it’s probable he would have killed her after she gave Tyrion a son.

(That’s why I’m having a hard time shipping Sansa with anyone, because her potential courtiers are so much older and frankly, not very much healthy for her… Not to say you can’t ship her, but please be aware of how young and psychologically unprepared she is.)

Also, the two youngest girls (at marriage) were married under different circumstances: Holster wanted to have Lysa married off quickly, as he considered his daughter already “stained”. The fact that she got pregnant also could have made Holster see her as more adult. I can hypothesize that Margaery was offered as wife to Renly in a haste, to be made queen and ensure the Tyrell support in a stronger way than a betrothal would have made.

806 notes   •   VIA: ofhouseadama   •   SOURCE: ofhouseadama


No, It Wasn’t Normal Back Then
(yes, you do have to look at your ships critically)

There’s this very popular perception among SanSan, Sansa/Petyr, and Sansa/Tyrion shippers that is was normal, in the medieval era, for young maidens to be sexually active or romantically involved with older men. It’s also an incorrect perception, one that perpetrates an (often disrespectful to survivors of sexual abuse) attitude that erases the problematic (and potentially triggering to other members of fandom) nature of these ships.

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southagermican asked: Yes yes yes on your thoughts about Littlefinger. I have a doubt, though. You say he brainwashed her into considering his kissing and other sick stuff to be normal. Is that really so, or is she just complying to avoid getting in trouble, in the same way that she recited "my brother is a traitor" in King's Landing? She seems to trust him partially at moments (as Petyr), but she saw Littlefinger murder in cold blood (and get away with it) and she knows she has nobody else and nowhere to go.

Maybe “brain-washed” was a little exagerated, but not too much.

It’s definitively a combination of both. Sansa protects herself with her courtesies and that includes giving people what they want. She can’t really fight back ; it would be pointless, because she doesn’t have the martial abilities and her situation doesn’t allow her that (a little girl against all the Kingsguard, gold cloaks and basically all who can fight. Yeah, odds are great). So the only choice she has left is obey. Give people what they want, because in this case they don’t have anything to blame on you right ?

So Sansa gives Littlefinger what he wants to hear because even if she is supposely safe (lol no), there is still a risk. Like I said, she is entirely at his mercy.

« … and sometimes it seemed to her that the Lord Protector was two people as well. He was Petyr, her protector, warm and funny and gentle… but he was also Littlefinger, the lord she’d known at King’s Landing, smiling slyly and stroking his beard as he whispered in Queen Cersei’s ear. And Littlefinger was no friend of hers. » Sansa, AFFC

For now he is showing the gentle side of the mask, Petyr, her friend and protector (from her point of view) ; but she also knows that Littlefinger lurks beneath. Littlefinger who still works for the Queen. Littlefinger who could give her to Cersei in a heartbeat. He knows the truth and could use it.

So Sansa stays weary of him, because he is still a threat. She may seem to be free but in truth she is as chained and alone as she was in King’s Landing. Nobody will stand up against Littlefinger.

« He sounded almost like Marillion, the night he’d gotten so drunk at the wedding. Only this time Lothor Brune would not appear to save her ; Ser Lothor was Petyr’s man. » Sansa, ASOS

So, like with Joffrey, Sansa has no other choice than obey and give him what he wants. It’s her only way to protect herself.

But where it differs from King’s Landing, is a question of identity. This whole point of Alayne is a question of identity. In King’s Landing Sansa never doubted to be a Stark. Well, she couldn’t forget it because everybody basically saw her as the key to the North and nothing else.

« Tyrell or Lannister, it makes not matter, it’s not me they want, only my claim. » Sansa, ASOS

« The thought made Sansa weary. All she knew of Robert Arryn was that he was a little boy, and sickly. It is not me [Lysa] wants her son to marry, it is my claim. No one will ever marry me for love. » Sansa, ASOS

But also I don’t recall a time she explicitely stated she didn’t want to be a Stark, despite them being labelled as traitors. She always took strength in the thought of her family.

« I must be brave, like Robb, she told herself. » Sansa, ACOK

« Gods give me courage. She took one step, then another. Lords and knights stepped aside silently to let her pass, and she felt the weight of their eyes on her. I must be as strong as my lady mother. » Sansa, AGOT

« She wondered where this courage had come from, to speak to him so frankly. From Winterfell, she thought. I am stronger withing the walls of Winterfell. » Sansa, ASOS

But in AFFC, she must need to conceal her identity because Sansa Stark is searched for kingslaying. Except that she doesn’t only conceal it, she also slowly “erase” it to become Alayne. It’s interesting to note, in the three chapters she has in this book, the differences between the first and the last :

« Once when she was just a little girl, a wandering singer had stayed with them at Winterfell for half a year. An old man he was, with white hair and windburnt cheeks, but he sang of knights and quests and ladies fair, and Sansa had cried bitter tears when he left them, and begged her father not to let him go. “The man has played us every song he knows thrice over,” Lord Eddard told her gently. “I cannot keep him here against his will. You need not weep, though. I promise you, other singers will come.” » Sansa, AFFC

« I am not your daughter, she thought. I am Sansa Stark, Lord Eddard’s daughter and Lady Catelyn’s, the blood of Winterfell. She did not say it, though. » Sansa, AFFC

The very first thing she says in her first chapter is a memory of Winterfell. At this time Sansa still clings strongly to her identity. Now in her last chapter :

« Ser Loras had given Sansa Stark a red rose once, but he had never kissed her… and no Tyrell would ever kiss Alayne Stone. (…) It made no matter. That day [the one with the UnKiss] was done, and so was Sansa. »

« Alayne had told the lie so many times that she remembered it more oft than not ; the other seemed no more than a bad dream that sometimes troubled her sleep. »

« Colemon only wanted the best for his charge, Alayne knew, but what was best for Robert the boy and what was best for Lord Arryn were not always the same. Petyr had said as much, and it was true. Maester Colemon cares only for the boy, though. Father and I have larger concern. » Alayne, AFFC

First there is of course the fact she is called “Alayne” and not “Sansa”. But she also tries to distance herself from “Sansa”, talking about herself like it was another person. She tries very hard to forget about her old self, because like she said :

« Petyr’s friends at court had sent him word that the queen had men out looking for the Imp and Sansa Stark. It will mean my head if I am found, she reminded herself as she descended a flight of icy stone steps. I must be Alayne all the time, inside and out. »

She tries to literally be another person. And where it worries me it’s she could succeed. Sansa has this tendency to deal with painful events by erasing facts and re-writing the story in her head (see here with the story of Lady’s death) ; she knows how to convince herself of something she made up.

(Of course it won’t happen. Sansa will stay Sansa. But still.)

So. Where Littlefinger has a hand, it’s he encourages very much these kind of thoughts. He tells her how to behave, how to dress, how to speak,… so she would truly be his “daughter”.

« Petyr put a finger to her lips to silence her. “The dwarf wed Ned Stark’s daughter, not mine. (…)” »

« He smiled. “I know Lord Nestor, sweetling. Do you imagine I’d ever let him harm my daughter ?” »

« ”(…) And at Winterfell, Sansa was a little girl with auburn hair. My daughter is a maiden tall and fair, and her hair is chesnut. Men see what they expect to see, Alayne.” He kissed her nose. » Alayne, AFFC

Littlefinger tries to convince her she is his daughter (so she must be as dutiful) but he also covets on her claim and the idealized image of Catelyn she represents. He slowly manipulates her so she would think she owes him everything, so he’ll get the North and a version of the girl he couldn’t have. Infortunately it’s working.

So yes, it’s a combination of both her mechanism of defense and Littlefinger’s efforts. Like I said, “brain-washed” was a little exagerated but he definitively manipulates her.

(Damn, I can’t wait the day she will kick his ass.)

Anonymous asked: Why this reaction to Littlefinger after reading Sansa’s last chapter? What has he done?!

Nothing, except that he’s an EVIL LYING SCHEMING FUCKING BAST-


(SPOILER BELOW - warning just in case)

Ok, let me tell you one thing or two about Littlefinger.

First, he’s disgusting. He lurks after Sansa since FOREVER - seriously, even in AGOT we can see his interest :

« Varys was wringing his soft hands together, Grand Maester Pycelle kept his sleepy eyes on the papers in front of him, but she could feel Littlefinger staring. Something about the way the small man looked at her made Sansa feel as though she had no clothes on. Goose bumps pimpled her skin. » Sansa, AGOT

Sansa, young girl who has never known anything sexual in her life, feels like she’s being undressed only by the way he’s looking at her. And he’s always touching her or complimenting her too :

« When Sansa finally looked up, a man was standing over her, staring. (…) His fingers brushed against her cheek as he stroked one auburn lock. » Sansa, AGOT

« Sansa had no choice but to explain about heroes and monsters. The king’s councillor smiled. ”Well, those are not the reasons I’d have given but…” He had touched her cheek, his thumb lightly tracing the line of her cheekbone. ”Life is not a song, sweetling. You may learn that one day to your sorrow.”

Sansa did not feel like telling all that to Jeyne, however ; it made her uneasy just to think back on it. » Sansa, AGOT

He touches her without her consent when they barely know each other, and it’s not pats on the back or hand shakes ; it’s very soft and intimate, like a lover’s caress - except they’re not. It’s so intrusive and obvious that Sansa, who is though still naive and unaware of lust and this kind of things, is unsettled by him. Her reactions are quite visceral :

« ”I’m Sansa Stark,” she said, ill at ease.” »

« Sansa did not feel like telling all that to Jeyne, however ; it made her uneasy just to think back on it. »

« Goose bumps pimpled her skin. » Sansa, AGOT

And there is also the fact she is a fucking child. She’s 11/12 in AGOT. She’s not even flowered, so even by Westerosi standards she is still a child ; and yet Littlefinger still lurks after her like a vulture on his prey (that should be his sigil, a mean ass vulture). What does that make him ? A pedophile. Yes, even in Westeros.

Then Ned is beheaded (probably certainly on Littlefinger’s account). What does he do ? He makes creepy comments about her. He tries to marry her (again, a child).

« I would have made Sansa a good marriage. A Lannister marriage. Not Joff, of course, but Lancel might have suited, or one of his younger brothers. Petyr Baelish had offered to wed the girl himself, she recalled, but of course that was impossible ; he was much too lowborn. » Cersei, ADWD

« Littlefinger agreed. ”The Stark girl brings Joffrey nothing but her body, sweet as that may be. Margaery Tyrell brings fifty thousand swords and all the strength of Highgarden.” » Tyrion, ACOK

Except for that he never does anything to prevent Joffrey to beat her, or protect her from the crowd during the riot, or anything - a fact she is well-aware of :

« He saved Alayne, his daughter, a voice withing her whispered. But she was Sansa too… and sometimes it seemed to her that the Lord Protector was two people as well. He was Petyr, her protector, warm and funny and gentle… but he was also Littlefinger, the lord she’d known at King’s Landing, smiling slyly and stroking his beard as he whispered in Queen Cersei’s ear. And Littlefinger was no friend of hers. When Joff had her beaten, the Imp defended her, not Littlefinger. When the mob sought to rape her, the Hound carried her to safety, not Littlefinger. When the Lannisters wed her to Tyrion against her will, Ser Garlan the Gallant gave her comfort, not Littlefinger. Littlefinger never lifted so much as his little finger for her. » Sansa, AFFC

That doesn’t seem like he cares really much about her. He never tried to protect her from the Lannisters’ abuses.

You can argue he got her out of King’s Landing. Fine, I give you that. But even that is a poisoned gift. He doesn’t save her by goodness of heart, he saves her because he wants her to himself. He carefully planned the whole thing so Sansa would have no escape :

  • she’s searched for king slaying (apparently one of the worst crimes in Westeros, even if said king was a dick) ;
  • she has nowhere to go, with Winterfell burned and her family dead.

Baelish carefully waited for her to have no other options (no matter what she had to go through during this lap of time) so she would be at his entire mercy.

« … Littlefinger never lifted so much as his little finger for her.

Except to get me out. He did that for me. I thought it was Ser Dontos, my poor old drunken Florian, but it was Petyr all the while. Littlefinger was only a mask he had to wear. Only sometimes Sansa found it hard to tell where the man ended and the mask began. Littlefinger and Lord Petyr looked so very much alike. She would have fled them both, perhaps, but there was nowhere for her to go. Winterfell was burned and desolate, Bran and Rickon dead and cold. Robb had been betrayed and murdered at the Twins, along with their lady mother. Tyrion had been put to death for killing Joffrey, and if she ever returned to King’s Landing the queen would have her head as well. The aunt she’d hoped would keep her safe had tried to murder her instead. Her uncle Edmure was a captive of the Freys, while her great-uncle the Blackfish was under siege at Riverrun. I have no place but here, Sansa thought miserably, and no true friend but Petyr. » Sansa, AFFC

But there’s worse. Now that Sansa can’t escape, Littlefinger’s attempts to “win” her intensify. Now that she thinks he wants to keep her safe (out of genuine affection) and she can’t say a clear ‘no’ because he’s the only one she has and can’t afford to be kicked out, he uses the situation to manipulate her and sway her. He kisses her (again she is barely flowered at that time ; she’s what, 13 ?) twice. But that’s not the most worrying. Let’s have a look on the two scenes.

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

« “I did not expect you so soon,” she said. “I am glad you’ve come.”

"I would never have known it from the kiss you gave me." He pulled her closer, caught her face between his hands, and kissed her on the lips for a long time. "Now that’s the sort of kiss that says welcome home. See that you do better next time."

"Yes, Father." » Alayne, AFFC

See the differences between the two ? In the first she fights, she doesn’t want to kiss him and calls on him after that. She knows that it isn’t right. But in the second she does nothing. Even after she endures his groping and touching meekly - which makes me think it’s not the first time he does it :

« Petyr Baelish took her by the hand and drew her down onto his lap. »

« Petyr took her hand in his own and brushed his finger lightly down the inside of her palm. »

« He turned her hand over and lightly kissed her wrist. » Alayne, AFFC

Sansa calls him “Petyr”, which means she trusts him. This is a stark contrast with her thoughts after the first kiss, where she compares him to Marillion - aka the guy who tried to rape her, a danger. Now she doesn’t see his actions as unnatural, forbidden (she’s supposed to be his daughter after all). He totally brain-washed her into thinking it was normal. And worse, he’s brain-washing her into thinking it’s something she wants, that she must do willingly :

« “(…) See that you do better next time.”

"Yes, Father." »

« [after exposing his plan with Harry the Heir] That’s worth another kiss now, don’t you think ? » Alayne, AFFC

So that’s why I want to fucking kill him with my bare hands. He takes advantage of Sansa’s helplessness to sexually harass her and manipulate her, and make her think she is the one in the wrong for saying no (by the way, doesn’t that remind you of Joffrey making her believe it was her own fault if she was beaten ?). That’s disgusting.

And all that for what ? Because he couldn’t get her mother. Because Cat didn’t want him, so instead of accepting it like a grown-ass man, Baby Baelish decided no one would be happy on Earth. Sansa is nothing but a substitute of Catelyn.

« [First meeting] “You must be one of her daughters,” he said to her. He had grey-green eyes that did not smile when his mouth did. “You have the Tully look.” (…) “You mother was my queen of beauty once,” the man said quietly. His breath smelled of mint. “You have her hair.” » Sansa, AGOT

He doesn’t even want her, he only wants what he couldn’t have years ago.

So that is what he had done. I’m sorry, this is probably way longer than what you asked but I’m just so full of hatred for this man it had to burst out. And yet, I didn’t even talked about how he started the war, was responsible of Ned’s death or sent Jeyne Poole in a brothel and then in the hands of Ramsay Bolton (thing he would totally have done with Arya, by the way). This is truly the incarnation of evil, on the same level as Gregor Clegane or Ramsay Bolton - only shrewder and more clever.


Mona Lisa of the North - 1665
Girl with a Pearl Earring (Het Meisje met de Parel)
by Johannes Vermeer

This is a sensual painting with the girl gazing at the viewer with wide eyes and a parted mouth and there is an air of mystery surrounding her identity. [x]