We continue our run of last chapters, this time with Sansa. The Battle of Blackwater has concluded and it is time for the spoils of war to be distributed. These spoils aren’t necessarily so much the physical goods captured (since this was a defensive war for the victors) but more the distribution of political capital for the Tyrells who will soon be making their grand debut on the main stage of the Westerosi side of the ASOIAF conflict. Sansa herself finds herself somewhat on the margins in all this. Joffrey has moved on – though tormenting Sansa will remain a fond hobby of his – and with him followed most of his court. With the grand Tyrells strutting around, Sansa is no longer the hot topic that she once was and this suits her just fine since it gives her time to think about her escape from King’s Landing. Little does she know, she will be given the key to that escape from a less than reliable source by this chapter’s end. As with the other previous ‘final’ chapters, I will spend some time wrapping things up with Sansa for A Clash of Kings before looking forward to her role in A Storm of Swords.
The Lord of Casterly Rock made such an impressive figure that it was a shock when his destrier dropped a load of dung right at the base of the throne. Joffrey had to step gingerly around it as he descended to embrace his grandfather and proclaim him Savior of the City.
It seems that Tywin’s horse has precisely as much respect for Joffrey’s authority and position as Tywin himself. Thus far, we’ve only seen Tywin through Tyrion’s eyes, on a single occasion. He cut an impressive figure then as well but Tyrion’s opinion of the great Lord was biased in no small part by the incredibly tense relationship between the two men. Tyrion felt a mixture of fear and resentment towards Tywin but Sansa, untouched by any past dealings see him more as the rest of Westeros does – as this ascendant figure, prim and proper in every way and a man not to be trifled with.
“Your Grace,” said Ser Loras, “I beg the honor of serving in your Kingsguard, to defend you against your enemies.”
Loras’ addition to the Kingsguard makes sense within the story since most people are all too aware of just what kind of a monster Joffrey is but outside the story itself, it seems that Martin saw more promise in young Loras than in either his father or brother. Yet, despite making more frequent appearances, it doesn’t seem like Loras will have much more to contribute to the overall plot than he has at this point. He will serve in the Kingsguard, yes, but it won’t be a particularly long or distinguished career since he will bear terrible injuries in the siege of Storm’s End before allegedly passing away (or was he still on the brink?). It seems that Martin just liked the character enough to want to keep him around with really any purpose for him to play in the larger story.
Lord Tywin was looking at his grandson. Joff gave him a sullen glance, shifted his feet, and helped Ser Garlan Tyrell to rise.
Was he really that reluctant to give Sansa up? Granted, he hadn’t seen Margaery just yet but I was surprised that he was so unenthusiastic about it. Alright, time for a tinfoil theory: Joffrey actually had feelings for Sansa Stark. Say what?! Yup, you read that right. So, here’s how my theory goes – Joffrey actually really liked Sansa Stark; not as a woman but as a pet. His reluctance here isn’t because he is being made to part ways with a real person he has feelings for but rather because he is losing his best claim to a plaything. Who knows if he would be able to push Margaery around the way he could Sansa? And if Margaery gave in, Loras would bash Joffrey’s brains out if he so much as laid a finger on Margaery. So, as far as Joffrey is concerned, the good times have ended and while it’s still and always will be ‘Make-Sansa-Miserable-Day’, he will have to try harder to make use of them, especially with Tywin watching.
What follows from this point is basically an award ceremony and while there are a few names that are familiar – Lothor Brune and Peck, Jaime’s squire-to-be – there isn’t anything here that’s significant until:
“It is the wish of the King’s Grace that his loyal councillor Petyr Baelish be rewarded for faithful service to crown and realm.”
In one fell swoop, Joffrey made Littlefinger both one of the most powerful and powerless Lords in Westeros. Powerful because should the Lannisters prevail, Littlefinger would command the Riverlands and Harrenhal – that’s a lot of real estate and with that real estate comes a lot of men and resources as well. Yet, the Riverlands, as we see again and again, is nigh impossible to defend and we should commend Tyrion for suggesting the Riverlands as Littlefinger’s prize. From a military standpoint, Littlefinger would never become a real threat by being Lord of the battered and demolished Riverlands. Of course, Littlefinger isn’t thinking about conquest – not just yet anyway. What the Riverlands and Harrenhal give him is some form of legitimacy that will allow him to make more political power plays and give him access to some of the highest rungs of the Westerosi political ladder.
He chopped down with his hand, a furious, angry gesture … and screeched in pain when his arm brushed against one of the sharp metal fangs that surrounded him. The bright crimson samite of his sleeve turned a darker shade of red as his blood soaked through it. “Mother!” he wailed.
Did Joffrey just cut himself and then scream for his mommy? Just when you thought he couldn’t fall any lower…Of course, Joffrey’s cut becomes a big deal and the healers are summoned, yadda yadda. Of more import, however, is that Joffrey cut himself at all – to the superstitious Westerosi, it is a bad omen, especially on a day like this. What I myself found notable however, was how smoothly Tywin stepped into his place and instead of a big fuss being kicked up, the ceremony moved forward as usual. It’s a sign that Tywin is the real power in King’s Landing, though anyone with eyes already knew that.
“The night of Joffrey’s wedding. After the feast. All the necessary arrangements have been made.
I had totally forgotten that Sansa knew this all along! I am double surprised that this plan had been in motion from so early on. My recollection was that Sansa had no idea that she would be leaving until Dontos actually snatched her and put her in the boat. Certainly, I don’t remember her chapters in A Storm of Swords showcasing any sort of anticipation – you would think that if there was even the slightest possibility that she could escape on Joffrey’s wedding night, it would feature more prominently in her thoughts. Yet, with all the gossip and politicking surrounding her, Tyrion, Shae and Loras, perhaps everyone, Sansa included, forgot that her great escape plot was in motion. Either way, it’s nice to see it foreshadowed so early on.
That brings us to an end of Sansa’s portion of A Clash of Kings. In some ways, I feel Sansa’s role in the story became slightly less relevant once we got a second, more involved POV in King’s Landing in the form of Tyrion’s character.