A Collection of Metas (critical essays or analysis) about A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF), gathered from across tumblr.


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If you were required to venture a guess about "liberties at the bedding," what would you say?

“Prince Aerys… as a youth, he was taken with a certain lady of Casterly Rock, a cousin of Tywin Lannister. When she and Tywin wed, your father drank too much wine at the wedding feast and was heard to say that it was a great pity that the lord’s right to the first night had been abolished. A drunken jape, no more, but Tywin Lannister was not a man to forget such words, or the… the liberties your father took during the bedding.”

Hmm. I know you have that theory about Aerys burning Joanna, but that’s never been something that crossed my mind. Honestly, from when I first read Barristan speaking of the matter, I thought that Aerys was just… highly inappropriate. More inappropriate than beddings usually are — which after all involve the men at the wedding undressing the bride, and the women undressing the groom, all making lewd jokes while they do so, then pushing them both into bed naked.

For example, if we can take the Butterwell-Frey wedding in The Mystery Knight as a standard:

The next thing he knew, he was climbing a tower stair with the bride squirming in his arms. How he kept his feet was beyond him. The girl would not be still, and the men were all around them, making ribald japes about flouring her up and kneading her well whilst they pulled off her clothes. The [troupe of comic] dwarfs joined in as well. […] Dunk had no notion where Lord Butterwell’s bedchamber was to be found, but the other men pushed and prodded him until he got there, by which time the bride was red-faced, giggling, and nearly naked, save for the stocking on her left leg, which had somehow survived the climb. […] When Dunk finally plopped the bride onto her marriage bed, a dwarf leapt in beside her and seized one of her breasts for a bit of a fondle. The girl let out a squeal, the men roared with laughter, and Dunk seized the dwarf by his collar and hauled him kicking off m’lady.

Sure, the men undress the bride, and they’re not shy about it, but note nobody actually tries anything approaching assault except the dwarf (who since he’s a comic dwarf, everyone finds it hilarious and he gets away with it).

I think what Aerys did was similar — grope Joanna and otherwise handle her inappropriately during the bedding. Perhaps he even jumped into the marriage bed and made jokes-that-were-not-actually-jokes about how they should lock the door and keep Tywin out, continuing his theme about the “first night”. (And he got away with it, because he was the king, and drunk, and so on.) But obviously Aerys didn’t actually rape Joanna, not in near-public where all the wedding guests were watching, people who would have stopped him. Frankly, anyone who thinks “liberties at the bedding” equals “rape” is stupid, tbh.

I think it could also be compared to Sansa and Tyrion’s wedding — where Joffrey took the opportunity during the cloaking ceremony to grope Sansa, during the dancing told her that marriage was no protection from him and he could have her whenever he wanted, and announced the bedding because he explicitly wanted to see Sansa naked. But no matter how power-mad Joffrey was, he wasn’t going to rape her during the bedding ceremony itself with everyone watching and where someone (Tyrion, Tywin at least) would have definitely stopped him. (Though if Joffrey had had the opportunity afterwards, I’m sure he would have tried. But not during the bedding.)

Come to think of it, a comparison between Joffrey and Aerys is actually made textually, several times. Most notably in the post-RW council scene, by Tywin himself:

“Aerys also felt the need to remind men that he was king. And he was passing fond of ripping tongues out as well. […] And any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king at all. Aerys never understood that, but you will.”

Though that’s getting a bit off the subject… but anyway. Considering we know how bedding ceremonies work, and with the repeated comparisons of Joffrey to Aerys, I think we have a good idea of what Aerys’s “liberties at the bedding” very probably involved. Awful, severely inappropriate behavior, groping and such, but things that could be “excused” because of his rank and obvious drunkenness. Though not forgotten, not ever. But especially since Tywin continued being Aerys’s Hand for at least another 16 years, certainly nothing like some people who can’t read might speculate.




He had not been dead when she left the throne room. He had been on his knees, though, clawing at his throat, tearing at his own skin as he fought to breathe. The sight of it had been too terrible to watch, and she had turned and fled, sobbing. Lady Tanda had been fleeing as well. “You have a good heart, my lady,” she said to Sansa. “Not every maid would weep so for a man who set her aside and wed her to a dwarf.”
A good heart. I have a good heart. Hysterical laughter rose up her gullet, but Sansa choked it back down. The bells were ringing, slow and mournful. Ringing, ringing, ringing. They had rung for King Robert the same way. Joffrey was dead, he was dead, he was dead, dead, dead. Why was she crying, when she wanted to dance? Were they tears of joy?

- Sansa, ASOS

Just~ As a Sansa fan I wanted to remind everyone that the book leaves Sansa’s reaction to Joffrey’s death ambiguous at best. Rather than a consistent feeling of joy or relief or satisfied vengeance, Sansa experiences a disconnect between what she thinks she feels and how she is actually physically and emotionally reacting to the death.

Her instinctive and initial reaction to the cruel and unsightly death that Joffrey suffers is to “turn and flee, sobbing” because “the sight of it had been too terrible to watch,” not to feel any form of positive emotion. It is only later, when she has time to reflect on the course of events that she begins to think about how she should feel and what Joffrey’s death actually means for her.

And even after concluding that, logically, she should feel joyous about Joffrey’s death, Sansa continues to weep - no longer for Joffrey, but for Robb and for Margaery. Because this is the kind of person that Sansa is - not someone who dwells on the satisfaction of seeing a hated enemy dead at her feet, but someone who instinctively recoils from the suffering and pain of others and, even when she can no longer find it in herself to feel compassion for the victim, is still much more concerned with the effect of Joffrey’s death on “poor Margaery, twice wed and twice widowed” than she is with the vengeful satisfaction that the death should afford to her.

I’ve just been seeing quite a few posts about how Sansa would be celebrating or extremely happy over Joffrey’s death in the Purple Wedding so I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone about the actual text of her reaction in the series :D


One thing I would like to make note on that D&D did with Sansa that I appreciated is her ability to sit through the “War of the Five Kings” farce of a show. It’s hard to illustrate mental strength in a medium like television (or at least while keeping it interesting.) Thus, Sansa’s arc in KL has suffered a bit through the change of medium from books to shows.

That being said, the episode did one thing really well. It highlighted the juxtaposition between Sansa and others watching the same show. Loras lost the man he loved, Renly, and has to watch his death and life be insulted. Sansa watches the brother she loved dearly- and also all her hopes, her home, and her family- be mocked and degraded in death.

We see Loras unable to take it. He runs without being able to watch anymore. Sansa sits quietly, never turns away and watches every second. Because she has to. I loved that demonstration of Sansa’s growth and inner strength. 


Ha. Ha. Ha.

So in case you needed proof that Tumblr is not remotely representative of the world at large, here are some of the comments on the first page of this article which has been making its rounds. These are some accusations hurled at Sansa who is ~14 years old at this point:

  • Killed her dog
  • Killed her father
  • Started the war of the five kings 
  • Caused the deaths of her mother and brother
  • Fought with her sister
  • Dumb
  • Selfish
  • Naive
  • Passive
  • The cause of her entire house’s downfall

Hell is a teenage girl and Sansa Stark is the reason for everything bad that ever was. The last ice age, the Crusades, the Holocaust, Justin Bieber…

I wrote about it a bit ago here but the aspect of Sansa hate that makes me the most angry is criticism of her response to being abused by Joffrey and the Kingsguard, and a lot of the reblogs showed surprise in their tags that it even was an issue since Sansa hate is all but nonexistent on Tumblr. But as you can see, victim blaming is rampant outside certain safe areas of the fandom. And like I said about Daenerys earlier, my anger at these comments is not solely about Sansa Stark the fictional character; it’s about real life women and girls whose personalities are derided as inherently worthless and weak and whose abuse is stigmatized, ignored, and even ridiculed because supposedly, “they should be less selfish and passive and make better decisions” so they don’t get abused. As a society, we shouldn’t be telling girls to stop being helpless and not get abused, we should be telling people not to abuse helpless young girls.

I could give these people a detailed explanation on why all those accusations are blatantly wrong and I would have the textual evidence for it but the point is, I really shouldn’t have to do that. I shouldn’t have to actively defend a preteen/teenage victim of physical and emotional abuse who believes her entire family to be dead and was forcibly married to a man whose family murdered her family and was almost raped and the list goes on and on. I don’t know whether it’s deeply internalized misogyny or just an extreme lack of empathy that spurs people to make these comments but to be quite honest, I feel physically ill just looking at them. But, they’re a harsh reminder that even our world isn’t kind to Sansa or to people like her and so we have to protect them. 


I already wrote about how both Sansa’s and Arya’s journeys are stories about loss of innocence. This is probably rather obvious to most fans as most character journeys in the books can be interpreted that way. However the more I thought about it, the more the parallels between Sansa and Jamie came to my mind.

Both characters start out believing in the classical tale of knightly valor that is probably told to all young nobles in Westeros. Because of their privileged status however both seem to believe more in that tale than their siblings. They are not only the noble offspring of two of the most powerful houses, they also fit the stereotypes about what knights and ladies have to be like almost perfectly. While Cersei soon learns that she will never wield true power because of her gender and Tyrion is obviously in no way what people want to see in a noble, Jamie does not have to deal with the harsh reality of Westeros until much later. And in a way he seems (at least to me) much more innocent than both of his siblings. He is one of the few people who stands by his brother no matter what. And like Sansa he doesn’t seem to understand the political implications of his actions. The thought that his appointment to the Kingsguard is meant as a slight to his father does not seem to occur to him until it is much much to late. He also never truly accepted that his job as a member of the Kingsguard entails that he has to protect the king even when that king in horribly cruel. I truly believe that he killed Aerys because he was morally appalled by the mad king and saw it as his duty to protect the city and not because of some kind of political power play to advance his family. After all, he does not have any interest in inheriting Casterly Rock. Even in the beginning of the first book, when he is clearly cast as the villain and he is clearly jaded by his experiences, he still does not think about the consequences of his actions. (Cersei was so not happy with him throwing Barn off that tower and rightly so. It was a dumb and impulsive thing to do.) 

Also like Sansa, Jamies change from naive to cunning does not even truly set in when he sees the hypocrisy of the court, but only once he himself becomes a victim of it. For Sansa it was not enough to see Jeoffrey’s ugly side on the Kingsroad, she had to experience his cruelty herself as the Lannister’s hostage. Similar Jamie only seems to become truly aware Cersei’s nature once he looses his hand. (This carries with it some unfortunate implications that suffering somehow makes people better. However I think there are enough examples to the contrary in the books that show, that this is not a point Martin wants to make. Apart from this, only the future will show wether Jamie and Sansa are truly better people or wether they might also have lost something important; in Jamie’s case his relationship with Tyrion, for example.)

Only and AFfC does Sansa show that she has a mind to understand politics and manipulate people and only in ADwD does Jamie show his true potential outside of being a great sword fighter. And both had to go through extremely traumatic events to get there. And I think this similarity will continue in that they both will play extremely important roles in the survival of their respective houses.

Anonymous asked:
I just discovered the ASoIaF series and am in love with both Tyrion Lannister and with your meta about him! I would like to ask something, however. I'm very surprised that you ship him with Sansa Stark. Wasn't she rather awful to him? I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just curious to know your reasoning.

Okay well, the thing is, I don’t think Sansa was awful to Tyrion - ever.  Not any more than he was awful to her - which, again, I think was not at all.  

Sure, the two of them were thrust into a horrible situation, one that was undoubtedly meant to make both of them miserable.  (Because lbr, I can’t imagine Tywin Lannister meant to see either his son or Sansa Stark happy. This marriage was - as were so many of his actions regarding his children - a reminder that their lives, their happiness, was never so much their business as it was their father’s.  It is Tywin who gives, and Tywin who takes away.)

But the crux of the issue is - and this is a good part of the reason why I ship them, tbh - while Tywin wants to see Sansa and Tyrion miserable, neither of them ever desires to see the other miserable.  Certainly Sansa is cold toward her husband, but who can blame her?  She is married to a man twice her age - a man whose family is responsible for the death of her mother, father, and brother.  A man she doesn’t know.  (I think it happens a lot that people forget that Sansa has no way of knowing Tyrion the way we, the readers, know Tyrion.  She does not have a copy of ACoK or ASoS to refer to.  And even if she did, well, there are moments in Tyrion’s chapters that would still probably make her reluctant to trust him.)

I guess I just don’t think that coldness equates to any sort of animosity on her part.  If anything motivates the way Sansa keeps herself closed off from Tyrion, it’s self-preservation.  Sure, Tyrion has promised he has no desire to hurt her - would, in fact, protect her from the rest of his family - but didn’t Joffrey initially say the same?  Didn’t Cersei?

There’s no question that Sansa puts her own good before Tyrion’s feelings, but man, I think that’s something Tyrion understands!  I mean, neither Sansa nor Tyrion is currently afforded the privilege of selflessness.  Neither of them have anyone looking out for them - they occupy a space where people would see them suffer, would see them dead.  For these two, letting their guard down might invite humiliation.  It might even invite death.  

So yeah, Tyrion is hurt by Sansa’s coldness (because he’s human and because even if he can logically understand all the reasons Sansa might have for fearing him, he can’t help attributing it at least a little to the monstrosity he has long been told is inherent in him).  But he gets it, he gets that it’s not malicious and that she’s not out to hurt him - her selfishness, after all, is her survival.  (Never never never let them see you hurt, and wow is that the story of Tyrion’s life too or what?)

So, I’d argue, if Tyrion can understand that given he has emotional stake in the situation that we can’t really even fathom, I feel like we should be able to do the same without labeling Sansa “awful.”



I think the reason that Arya is treated poorly in regards to what she’s had to do to survive is that very early on in the narrative, she’s a character that’s very relatable—low self esteem, mocked by her sister, doesn’t fit in, is punished by societal norms—and within three books she’s in a situation where the average reader has no tools left to relate to her with because the average reader hasn’t been in a concentration camp, traveled with a traumatized deserter through a warzone, or trained by a magical assassin, or the like. The average reader doesn’t relate to the context of her actions like they very easily could in book one, and after using empathy as a crutch, fails to sympathize or contextualize. 

Whereas with Sansa, she’s easily resentable because she’s the girl who made fun of you in middle school—shallow, naive, conformist, privileged by birth and looks—and within three books she’s in a situation the average reader (at least on tumblr) can more easily relate to, whereas in book one none of us know what it’s like to be raised as the eldest daughter of a high lord, expected and succeeding at the norms and standards of the time, but we can understand the context of abusive “family” members and corrupt regimes. Empathy, for some, kicks in. 

Not saying that the way they’re perceived is fair, just that people hold onto ideas of who they were in book one to contextualize the characters when they shouldn’t which means that knee-jerk reactions are continuously implemented rather than the reader growing with the character. 

Arya haters they cling to the notion that she’s the tomboy being praised by Ned and Jon being ~badass in the way that makes the fanboys wank, and Sansa haters cling to her being shallow, bratty, and naive, rewarded and petted for things we know to be sexist constructs. 

Clarification, because this has already been misread and I’m really not into passive aggressive post wars, but it’s 2 AM again and I’m not looking for people to come shouting in my askbox—

By “average reader,” I probably should have just out-and-out said (but didn’t, because I wrote this at 2 AM and didn’t tag it and was largely just thinking out loud) the white, middle class, able-bodied nerd who is bullied or at least picked on for their passions. This post was a part of a dialogue where that had already been established, so I regret not delineating that in this post, and in no way wanted to say that Arya isn’t relatable—just not to people who are privileged enough to never have to face homelessness or institutionalized violence and do not wish to extend sympathy to a child, and who have a very loud voice in fandom and drive the sentiment that Arya is bad/evil/etc. 

This wasn’t supposed to excuse people who think that Arya can’t tell right from wrong, or refuse to feel sympathy for her. Just the same I don’t excuse people who shame Sansa. 

Regardless, I think my point is valid in which Arya is thrown into a situation that many people of privilege take on a “blame the victim” mentality on tumblr, which correlates in a way as to how Sansa is victim-blamed off of tumblr. 



Every once and awhile I’ll read an excerpt like this and it hits me all over again how astonishing it is that such a wounded man still retained within him a small spark of goodness and honor. And that it was a young girl who believed in that sort of goodness who was brave enough to question his nihilistic outlook and tap into something within him that he might not have even realized was there.

It’s secondary, really, that I’m an endgame shipper of these two. What makes it truly extraordinary is the ages-old tale of how powerful it can be to find someone who is accepting of you, who can see the humanity in you and who cares about you, despite any outward appearances. It reminds me how important it is to treat people with kindness. I think that’s the greatest gift we can bestow on our fellow human beings.

#I can’t even express anymore how much I love Sandor Clegane

When he says “Die, maybe” my heart convulses. He always says things like that, things that could be taken as so hard-hearted, but are really utterly depressing because they show how paper-thin his mental/emotional armor really is.

He’s saying “I’m going to kill people tomorrow. There’s a good chance I could die tomorrow.” and I believe that he means his nonchalance about both of them, and that he has come to believe that people are there for the strong to play with. This worldview is very ingrained, and it’s gradually developed over many years to protect his psyche against the discrepancies between his childhood idealism and the realities of his adulthood.

But it’s interesting that it’s such a fragile world view that he feels threatened by a devout, kind, distressed girl just… existing. He feels the need to force his nihilistic worldview on her because as long as this girl really believes things should be like they are in the songs, there is a chance he is wrong, and his way of life is reprehensible, and has been reprehensible for years. He does all he can to show his resentment.

Even through this terrible conversation, (and really, all of their terrible conversations) you can see that he is the vulnerable one. Sansa is just largely confused about his refusal to verbally be nice and play along with his role in the story. His role: a protector, which, lovely enough, is what he actually does for both her and Arya, despite his words. Sansa’s estimation of him and role for him (a human not-quite-knightly protector who would never let her come to harm if he could prevent it) is closer to the truth than his role for himself (a mindless dog that preys on the weak)

So he is the one at risk in these conversations, his very identity is at risk, and everything he says is so goddamn vulnerable I could die. He is the one saying “I’m maybe going to die tomorrow” to Sansa, nonchalantly like he doesn’t care at all.

But I’m sorry. You don’t say “I’m maybe going to die tomorrow” to another person without a part of you hoping they will respond, “I hope that you come back alive.”

He wants her hopefulness gone so it won’t threaten his identity, but he needs her to hope for him more. And he never knows, but she does have enough empathy in her enormous loving heart to pray for him. She’s the only one in the whole world who hopes for him, who has sympathy for him, who wonders about what his fate is afterward. No wonder he came back to her like a homing beacon through the fires of battle.

#and he returns to end it once and for all #one of them will win the argument and define once and for all who Sandor Clegane is #he tries to prove he is that beast by threatening her with the knife #and making her sing (making her realize her songs aren’t true) #but it backfires on him - the song is a song from his childhood a song of innnocence #a pious song #a gentle loving hopeful song #he is too vulnerable against this onslaught #he is wrong #and his way of life is reprehensible #he is a human man who does remember what it was like to dream like that #vulnerable identity shattered he leaves #and Sansa is left with his not-quite-knightly cloak #(cloaks protect against the elements) #(cloaks protect new brides) #(but she knows of a better protector and she is confused and sad that he’s left her with nothing but this substitute)

(Source: halfprincesshalfgoddess)

Anonymous asked:
I've been meaning to ask you, will you do a write up on what you think the death of Lady means for Sansa? I do think it foreshadowed the death of Sansa Stark- the identity, not the person. As we see now, she's Alayne Stone. But beyond that, what are the ramifications of being the only Stark child without a wolf? And, Arya doesn't have her wolf either, but Nymeria is alive, leading a pack in the Riverlands, and Arya wargs with her every night from Braavos. Their connection is only strengthening.

Well, the whole connection between Stark and direwolf is interesting and very symbolic. It’s also very powerful and important, which means that Sansa and Arya have had to struggle through being separated from theirs.

It’s pretty complex in my opinion.

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