Of Bran and Sansa Stark: A Comparison

Thanks again to the Fattestleech for hosting this essay on her site.

I’ve argued in previous essays that Sansa like her brother Bran is a greenseer. Some will no doubt say that this is a tin foil or a straw-man theory. To that I will say that all theories are ultimately tin foil until confirmed or proven wrong by George in the pages of the books.

Be that as it may, if my theory is correct, then it makes sense for George to have dropped some clues by comparing her to Bran who we know is definitely a greenseer. However, this essay is not about proving my theory one way or another. It is instead meant to do something that I don’t think has been done in the fandom…at least not that I’ve come across and that is to lay out all the many ways that Bran and Sansa are compared in the text. Curiously enough, the vast majority of the comparison has an underlying greenseer/weirwood theme.

I’ve seen many essays comparing Bran and Dany, Bran and Jon and Bran and other characters but not any of Bran and Sansa. I find this oversight to be somewhat strange as George compares and connects their story on numerous occasions. I’ve mentioned some of these comparisons in previous essays, but I wanted to put the ones I’ve come across all in one place for easy reference. Let’s begin with the most obvious comparisons.

KISS BY FIRE HAIR

This is the most obvious comparison and so we should get it out of the way upfront. Outside of little Rickon who we know has green dreams, Bran and Sansa are the two remaining Starks with red hair. Kiss by Fire hair is symbolic of having the fire of the gods. Of course, this is not true of all redheads. However, we know that Bran attained the fire of the gods, but it has not been proven that is also the case with Sansa.  Only time and GRRM will answer this question. 

The Wildings also consider red hair to be a lucky portent but so far, it’s hasn’t turned out to be the case for most of the red-headed characters in the story. Ygritte, Catelyn, Lyssa and Beric all had red hair, and all are currently dead. Things also don’t look too promising for Rickon, but we shall see what type of luck if any being redheaded brings to Bran and Sansa. So far, things have not been too positive. Bran fell and almost died, and Sansa has been though a series of trials and tribulations that have not yet ended.

BOTH ARE ASSOCIATED WITH BIRDS

Bran is of course associated with crows…especially those of the symbolic three-eye variety. His training also involves him skinchanging crows and of course, his teacher is Bloodraven, the aforementioned three-eyecrow. Bran’s destiny also seems to be for him to become the “last greenseer.”

Sansa on the other hand is called little bird by Sandor Clegan. This moniker should be analyzed alongside Varys’ little child spies and when done in this manner, it becomes obvious that it has strong greenseer symbolism as I broke down in this essay.

DIRECT COMPARISON OF SANSA TO BRAN BY SANDOR

She grabbed a merlon for support, her fingers scrabbling at the rough stone. “Let go of me,” she cried. “Let go.”

“The little bird thinks she has wings, does she? Or do you mean to end up crippled like that brother of yours?”

Sansa twisted in his grasp. “I wasn’t going to fall. It was only … you startled me, that’s all.”

A Clash of Kings – Sansa IV

As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, Martin writes in symbolism and so the comparison of Sansa to Bran…especially in terms of birds and flying is not a random unimportant act on his part. Also, considering the importance of falling, flying and how both relate to the opening of Bran’s third eye, such a direct comparison of the two siblings is doubly interesting.  You can read my thoughts on this comparison here.

BOTH ARE MARKED WITH SYMBOLIC THIRD EYES

There are several scenes in the text of Bran being marked on his forehead by the crow and Jojen to symbolize the attempt by Bloodraven to get him to open his symbolic and metaphysical third eye.

“I’m flying!” he cried out in delight.

I’ve noticed, said the three-eyed crow. It took to the air, flapping its wings in his face, slowing him, blinding him. He faltered in the air as its pinions beat against his cheeks. Its beak stabbed at him fiercely, and Bran felt a sudden blinding pain in the middle of his forehead, between his eyes.

“What are you doing?” he shrieked.

The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman, a serving woman with long black hair, and he knew her from somewhere, from Winterfell, yes, that was it, he remembered her now, and then he realized that he was in Winterfell, in a bed high in some chilly tower room, and the black-haired woman dropped a basin of water to shatter on the floor and ran down the steps, shouting, “He’s awake, he’s awake, he’s awake.”

A Game of Thrones – Bran III

Now here is Sansa being also struck in her symbolic third eye. The excerpt is pretty long but including so much is necessary to show all the similarities between Sansa’s scene and Bran’s with the three-eye-crow.

“Liar,” Arya said. Her hand clenched the blood orange so hard that red juice oozed between her fingers.

“Go ahead, call me all the names you want,” Sansa said airily. “You won’t dare when I’m married to Joffrey. You’ll have to bow to me and call me Your Grace.” She shrieked as Arya flung the orange across the table. It caught her in the middle of the forehead with a wet squish and plopped down into her lap.

“You have juice on your face, Your Grace,” Arya said.

It was running down her nose and stinging her eyes. Sansa wiped it away with a napkin. When she saw what the fruit in her lap had done to her beautiful ivory silk dress, she shrieked again. “You’re horrible,” she screamed at her sister. “They should have killed you instead of Lady!”

Septa Mordane came lurching to her feet. “Your lord father will hear of this! Go to your chambers, at once. At once!”

“Me too?” Tears welled in Sansa’s eyes. “That’s not fair.”

“The matter is not subject to discussion. Go!”

Sansa stalked away with her head up. She was to be a queen, and queens did not cry. At least not where people could see. When she reached her bedchamber, she barred the door and took off her dress. The blood orange had left a blotchy red stain on the silk. “I hate her!” she screamed. She balled up the dress and flung it into the cold hearth, on top of the ashes of last night’s fire. When she saw that the stain had bled through onto her underskirt, she began to sob despite herself. She ripped off the rest of her clothes wildly, threw herself into bed, and cried herself back to sleep.

It was midday when Septa Mordane knocked upon her door.“Sansa. Your lord father will see you now.”

Sansa sat up. “Lady,” she whispered. For a moment it was as if the direwolf was there in the room, looking at her with those golden eyes, sad and knowing. She had been dreaming, she realizedLady was with her, and they were running together, and … and … trying to remember was like trying to catch the rain with her fingers. The dream faded, and Lady was dead again.

Sansa.” The rap came againsharply. “Do you hear me?”

“Yes, Septa,” she called out. “Might I have a moment to dress, please?” Her eyes were red from crying, but she did her best to make herself beautiful.

A Game of Thrones – Sansa III

First, note how Martin positions Sansa as a symbolic weirwood tree. She’s almost a weirwood goddess in the scene. It’s of course a different type of dress than the one she wore for her coronation but I suspect that the weirwood goddess feel was what they were trying to symbolize on the show. I even tweeted about it.

In the passage above, George has Sansa in an ivory dress that symbolizes the white of the weirwood. Her red hair are the leaves of the tree and when Arya hits her with the “blood” orange, the juice runs into her eyes meaning they are now red like the ones on the face of a weirwood while leaving the mark of a symbolic 3rd eye in the center of her forehead. On wakening, she thinks her eyes are red from the tears, but we know that symbolically it’s from both the “blood” orange juice and the tears. The orange falling in her lap also has birthing symbolism, which I will discuss in an upcoming chapter of my Secret Song of Florian and Jonquil essay series.

Notice also how in addition to receiving a symbolic third eye, both scenes also have Bran and Sansa as sleeping and dreaming and being awaken by a servant. Bran of course awakens from a coma while Sansa is in a deep nap. Both awaken from beyond the veil. In the case of Bran, he wakes to the scream of the maid while Sansa is awakened by Septa Mordane’s voice at the door. The similarities in the two scenes are too striking to be mere coincidence.

Another interesting aspect of this passage is that with the juice of the blood orange oozing through her fingers, Arya is symbolically shown to have blood on her hands. This passage is from the first book in the series and so it seems clear that George already had plans for Arya’s dark turn. 

If Martin was hinting at Arya’s future storyline in the scene and the juice on her hand is symbolic of blood, shouldn’t the juice running in and out of Sansa’s eyes be symbolic of the same. And so, what is George suggesting about Sansa by giving her a symbolic third eye and making her a symbolic weirwood.

Sophie Turner and Isaac William Hempstead as Sansa and Bran Stark/GOT

THE ONE IN A THOUSAND RATIO  IS ASSIGNED TO BOTH

Here is Bloodraven explaining the rareness of greenseers to Bran.

Only one man in a thousand is born a skinchanger,” Lord Brynden said one day, after Bran had learned to fly, “and only one skinchanger in a thousand can be a greenseer.”

I thought the greenseers were the wizards of the children,” Bran said. “The singers, I mean.”

“In a sense. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift. The chosen ones are not robust, and their quick years upon the earth are few, for every song must have its balance. But once inside the wood they linger long indeed. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers.”

A Dance with Dragons – Bran III

And here is Petyr symbolically doing the same for Sansa. George is such a tricksy bird.

“Bronze Yohn knows me,” she reminded him. “He was a guest at Winterfell when his son rode north to take the black.” She had fallen wildly in love with Ser Waymar, she remembered dimly, but that was a lifetime ago, when she was a stupid little girl. “And that was not the only time. Lord Royce saw … he saw Sansa Stark again at King’s Landing, during the Hand’s tourney.”

Petyr put a finger under her chin. “That Royce glimpsed this pretty face I do not doubt, but it was one face in a thousand. A man fighting in a tourney has more to concern him than some child in the crowd. And at Winterfell, Sansa was a little girl with auburn hair. My daughter is a maiden tall and fair, and her hair is chestnut. Men see what they expect to see, Alayne.” He kissed her nose. “Have Maddy lay a fire in the solar. I shall receive our Lords Declarant there.”

A Feast for Crows – Alayne I

Sansa like Bran is a skinchanger and so she already fulfills the first part of the requirement but is she also the one in a million who can be a greenseer. Quite possibly that is what George is implying when Petyr refers to her as one face in a thousand. Bran and Sansa are the only two characters so far to whom this ratio has been applied in the text.

In explaining the odds of being a greenseer to Bran, Bloodraven describes the signs that marked the special ones amongst the Children of the Forest…accent on children. And look at how George also has Petyr subtly refer to Sansa as a child in his comment about when Yohn Royce saw her for the first time. She was that one in a thousand child, not with the red eye that marked the greenseers of the COTF but rather a little girl with kiss by fire red hair that marks human greenseers.  

George didn’t give her the symbolic red eyes of the COTF greenseers in the passage because there was no need. Also, to do so would be overkill and make things a bit too obvious. He did not need to add that symbolism to the passage because he previously tipped to the link to the children in the Arya blood orange scene reference above. As I said, George can be a tricky one.

THE WINGED WOLVES OF WINTERFELL

Jojen described Bran as the winged wolf and surprisingly, Sansa is given the same symbolism.

“My brother dreams as other boys do, and those dreams might mean anything,” Meera said, “but the green dreams are different.”

Jojen’s eyes were the color of moss, and sometimes when he looked at you he seemed to be seeing something else. Like now. “I dreamed of a winged wolf bound to earth with grey stone chains,” he said. “It was a green dream, so I knew it was true. A crow was trying to peck through the chains, but the stone was too hard and his beak could only chip at them.”

“Did the crow have three eyes?”

_______

“You can if you want to.” Picking up her net, Meera shook out the last tangles and began arranging it in loose folds.

You are the winged wolf, Bran,” said Jojen. “I wasn’t sure when we first came, but now I am. The crow sent us here to break your chains.”

A Clash of Kings – Bran IV

Now let’s look at Sansa’ winged wolf scene.

“What wife?”

“I forgot, you’ve been hiding under a rock. The northern girl. Winterfell’s daughter. We heard she killed the king with a spell, and afterward changed into a wolf with big leather wings like a bat, and flew out a tower window. But she left the dwarf behind and Cersei means to have his head.”

That’s stupid, Arya thought. Sansa only knows songs, not spells, and she’d never marry the Imp.

A Storm of Swords – Arya XIII

“May the Father judge him justly,” murmured a septon.

“The dwarf’s wife did the murder with him,” swore an archer in Lord Rowan’s livery. “Afterward, she vanished from the hall in a puff of brimstone, and a ghostly direwolf was seen prowling the Red Keep, blood dripping from his jaws.”

A Storm of Swords – Jaime VII

Jojen says that Bran is the winged wolf bound to earth by grey stone chains. Bran needs to break the symbolic stone shackles to come into his own as a skinchanger and more importantly, as a greenseer. For Bran, the grey stone is Winterfell. He must leave it in order to truly fly.

To a boy, Winterfell was a grey stone labyrinth of walls and towers and courtyards and tunnels spreading out in all directions. In the older parts of the castle, the halls slanted up and down so that you couldn’t even be sure what floor you were on. The place had grown over the centuries like some monstrous stone tree, Maester Luwin told him once, and its branches were gnarled and thick and twisted, its roots sunk deep into the earth.

A Game of Thrones – Bran II

How does George show that Sansa has the same symbolism? Well, he doesn’t specifically call her a winged wolf. No, he assigns that job to the common folks do so by having them out of the blue and for no obvious reason create a myth of her sprouting bat wings and flying out a window to escape Kings Landing.

Now yes, I know that the bat wings ties into her Whent heritage. However, that does not take away from the fact that for all intents and purposes, she is a symbolic winged wolf like Bran.

If Bran has to escape the grey stone chains of Winterfell in order to truly fly, might the same also be symbolically true of Sansa? And if so, what are her grey stone chains? As would be expected, the answer is yes and George the trickster that he can be, hides the symbolism in plain sight.

The grey stone chain holding Sansa back is none other than Petyr Baelish. He steals her away to the rocky mountainous region of the Vale and turns her into a bastard by the name of Alayne Stone. However, if that is not enough stony symbolism for you, consider this passage.

Within, the tower seemed even smaller. An open stone stair wound round the inside wall, from undercroft to roof. Each floor was but a single room. The servants lived and slept in the kitchen at ground level, sharing the space with a huge brindled mastiff and a half-dozen sheep-dogs. Above that was a modest hall, and higher still the bedchamber. There were no windows, but arrowslits were embedded in the outer wall at intervalsalong the curve of the stair. Above the hearth hung a broken longsword and a battered oaken shield, its paint cracked and flaking.

The device painted on the shield was one Sansa did not know; a grey stone head with fiery eyes, upon a light green field. “My grandfather’s shield,” Petyr explained when he saw her gazing at it. “His own father was born in Braavos and came to the Vale as a sellsword in the hire of Lord Corbray, so my grandfather took the head of the Titan as his sigil when he was knighted.”

“It’s very fierce,” said Sansa.

“Rather too fierce, for an amiable fellow like me,” said Petyr. “I much prefer my mockingbird.”

A Storm of Swords – Sansa VI

The description of Petyr’s family home reads almost like it’s a prison. It a small stone building that sits alone on the rocky shores of the Fingers. However, the most important aspect for the purpose of this Sansa/Bran comparison is the family sigil. 

The family sigil of House Baelish is rendered as a grey stone like image of the Titan of Braavos. Petyr has been trying to run away from his heritage by making the mockingbird his sigil, but such birds simply produces mimicry. They ultimately are who they are. Petyr family sigil shows that in Sansa’s arc, he represents the grey stone chains that are confining her.

Bran willingly left Winterfell to escape his bondage and learn to fly. As I’ve stated, I think that Sansa is already flying but she is not truly free and so will need to escape the grey stone chains that is Petyr Baelish. How that will play out is still to be determined but maybe the ghostly direwolf with blood dripping from his jaws that the small folks said helped her escape Kings Landing will have a role to play in things.

THE READERS IN THE FAMILY

“In a sense. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift. The chosen ones are not robust, and their quick years upon the earth are few, for every song must have its balance. But once inside the wood they linger long indeed. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers.”

Bran did not understand, so he asked the Reeds. “Do you like to read books, Bran?” Jojen asked him.

Some books. I like the fighting stories. My sister Sansa likes the kissing stories, but those are stupid.”

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,” said Jojen. “The man who never reads lives only one. The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world. Maesters will tell you that the weirwoods are sacred to the old gods. The singers believe they are the old gods. When singers die they become part of that godhood.”

A Dance with Dragons – Bran III

All of the Stark kids loved stories…especially the ones told by Old Nan. As they could also all read, I’m sure they all spent time in the Winterfell library enjoying the books available to them. 

My point is that when you consider that readers are compared to greenseers by Jojen, it is interesting that Sansa is the sibling that Bran describes that like him, loves to read. We are also shown in Sansa’s chapters that books are an escape from her. She gets lost in their stories and uses them to escape her reality.

Bran Stark by VarshaVijayan/Deviant Art/Creative Commons License

THE SECRETS OF WINTERFELL

It taught him Winterfell’s secrets too. The builders had not even leveled the earth; there were hills and valleys behind the walls of Winterfell. There was a covered bridge that went from the fourth floor of the bell tower across to the second floor of the rookeryBran knew about that. And he knew you could get inside the inner wall by the south gate, climb three floors and run all the way around Winterfell through a narrow tunnel in the stone, and then come out on ground level at the north gate, with a hundred feet of wall looming over you. Even Maester Luwin didn’t know that, Bran was convinced.

A Game of Thrones – Bran II

Her bridges kept falling down. There was a covered bridge between the armory and the main keep, and another that went from the fourth floor of the bell tower to the second floor of the rookery, but no matter how carefully she shaped them, they would not hold together. The third time one collapsed on her, she cursed aloud and sat back in helpless frustration.

A Storm of Swords – Sansa VII

The chapter that includes the above Bran passage is of course the one where Jaime pushes Bran from the window. Prior to being pushed as he climbs to the eyrie, Bran thinks about all the secrets he knows about Winterfell that others don’t…including his siblings and Maester Luwin.  George puts the emphasis on this secret knowledge with the statement, “Bran knew about that.” It implies that Bran knew what others did not. And yet, we see from the passage when Sansa builds her Winterfell snow castle that she also knows about that.

Now it’s possible that Ned knew and maybe even Maester Luwin but what is implied is that only Bran knew. And so, how does Sansa know to include it in her snow castle. We know that she didn’t go climbing and exploring like Bran did. She wouldn’t have been interested in such creepy places. And yet she knew about it. Even more importantly, Martin makes it a point to let us the reader in on the fact that she knows. Why?

TIME’S FABRIC IS FRAYED

Both Bran and Sansa are both shown losing time.

Hodor carried Bran back to his chamber, muttering “Hodor” in a low voice as Leaf went before them with a torch. He had hoped that Meera and Jojen would be there, so he could tell them what he had seen, but their snug alcove in the rock was cold and empty. Hodor eased Bran down onto his bed, covered him with furs, and made a fire for them. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees.

Watching the flames, Bran decided he would stay awake till Meera came back. Jojen would be unhappy, he knew, but Meera would be glad for him, He did not remember closing his eyes.

… but then somehow he was back at Winterfell againin the godswood looking down upon his father. Lord Eddard seemed much younger this time. His hair was brown, with no hint of grey in it, his head bowed. “… let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them,” he prayed, “and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive …”

“Father.” Bran’s voice was a whisper in the wind, a rustle in the leaves. 

“Father, it’s me. It’s Bran. Brandon.”

Eddard Stark lifted his head and looked long at the weirwood, frowning, but he did not speak. He cannot see me, Bran realized, despairing. He wanted to reach out and touch him, but all that he could do was watch and listen. I am in the tree. I am inside the heart tree, looking out of its red eyes, but the weirwood cannot talk, so I can’t.

Eddard Stark resumed his prayer. Bran felt his eyes fill up with tears. But were they his own tears, or the weirwood’s? If I cry, will the tree begin to weep?

A Dance with Dragons – Bran III

Yet she stepped out all the same. Her boots tore ankle-deep holes into the smooth white surface of the snow, yet made no sound. Sansa drifted past frosted shrubs and thin dark trees, and wondered if she were still dreaming. Drifting snowflakes brushed her face as light as lover’s kisses, and melted on her cheeks. At the center of the garden, beside the statue of the weeping woman that lay broken and half-buried on the ground, she turned her face up to the sky and closed her eyes. She could feel the snow on her lashes, taste it on her lips. It was the taste of Winterfell. The taste of innocence. The taste of dreams.

When Sansa opened her eyes again, she was on her knees. She did not remember falling. It seemed to her that the sky was a lighter shade of grey. Dawn, she thought. Another day. Another new day. It was the old days she hungered for. Prayed for. But who could she pray to? The garden had been meant for a godswood once, she knew, but the soil was too thin and stony for a weirwood to take root. A godswood without gods, as empty as me.

A Storm of Swords – Sansa VII

Bran loses time and in his longing for home, travels to the Winterfell godswood of the past via the weirwood net to see his father. Where did Sansa go during her bit of lost time? She awakens from her “trip” to find herself in a godswood without a weirwood and in her longing for home and family, builds a snow castle version of Winterfell. And so maybe like Bran, she went home. She certainly seems to do so in most of her dreams.

Both Bran and Sansa are also feeling the same despairing emotions in their individual scenes. Sansa can’t pray because there is no weirwood in the Eyrie and neither can Bran because he is now the god to whom his father prays. When you become a god, to whom do you pray?

If Sansa did go home, then her unknowing greenseer abilities is far stronger than Bran because while Bloodraven told him that in time, he will see without the need of the weirwood, he currently is unable to do so. And yet, Sansa with no access to a weirwood in either Kings Landing or the Vale, might already be visiting the weirwood net without the aid of the trees.

DREAMS TO REMEMBER

Bran compares his greenseer lessons to dreams.

Some days Bran wondered if all of this wasn’t just some dream. Maybe he had fallen asleep out in the snows and dreamed himself a safe, warm place. You have to wake, he would tell himself, you have to wake right now, or you’ll go dreaming into death. Once or twice he pinched his arm with his fingers, really hard, but the only thing that did was make his arm hurt. In the beginning he had tried to count the days by making note of when he woke and slept, but down here sleeping and waking had a way of melting into one another. Dreams became lessons, lessons became dreams, things happened all at once or not at all. Had he done that or only dreamed it?

A Dance with Dragons – Bran III

Sansa dreams a lot but often doesn’t remember them or just snippets. Here are just a few. Note where her “dreams” like Bran most often take her to Winterfell.

Sansa sat up. “Lady,” she whispered. For a moment it was as if the direwolf was there in the room, looking at her with those golden eyes, sad and knowing. She had been dreaming, she realized. Lady was with her, and they were running together, and … and … trying to remember was like trying to catch the rain with her fingers. The dream faded, and Lady was dead again.

A Game of Thrones – Sansa III

That was such a sweet dream, Sansa thought drowsily. She had been back in Winterfell, running through the godswood with her Lady. Her father had been there, and her brothers, all of them warm and safe. If only dreaming could make it so …

A Storm of Swords – Sansa IV

That night Sansa scarcely slept at all, but tossed and turned just as she had aboard the Merling King. She dreamt of Joffrey dying, but as he clawed at his throat and the blood ran down across his fingers she saw with horror that it was her brother Robb. And she dreamed of her wedding night too, of Tyrion’s eyes devouring her as she undressed. Only then he was bigger than Tyrion had any right to be, and when he climbed into the bed his face was scarred only on one side. “I’ll have a song from you,” he rasped, and Sansa woke and found the old blind dog beside her once again. “I wish that you were Lady,” she said.

A Storm of Swords – Sansa VI

She awoke all at once, every nerve atingle. For a moment she did not remember where she was. She had dreamt that she was little, still sharing a bedchamber with her sister Arya. But it was her maid she heard tossing in sleep, not her sister, and this was not Winterfell, but the Eyrie. And I am Alayne Stone, a bastard girl. The room was cold and black, though she was warm beneath the blankets. Dawn had not yet come. Sometimes she dreamed of Ser Ilyn Payne and woke with her heart thumping, but this dream had not been like that. Home. It was a dream of home.

A Storm of Swords – Sansa VII

That night Sansa dreamed of the riot again. The mob surged around her, shrieking, a maddened beast with a thousand faces. Everywhere she turned she saw faces twisted into monstrous inhuman masks. She wept and told them she had never done them hurt, yet they dragged her from her horse all the same. “No,” she cried, “no, please, don’t, don’t,” but no one paid her any heed. She shouted for Ser Dontos, for her brothers, for her dead father and her dead wolf, for gallant Ser Loras who had given her a red rose once, but none of them came. She called for the heroes from the songs, for Florian and Ser Ryam Redwyne and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, but no one heard. Women swarmed over her like weasels, pinching her legs and kicking her in the belly, and someone hit her in the face and she felt her teeth shatter. Then she saw the bright glimmer of steel. The knife plunged into her belly and tore and tore and tore, until there was nothing left of her down there but shiny wet ribbons.

A Clash of Kings – Sansa IV

Knowing what is implied by dreams, I’m curious to see whether we ever find out what Sansa saw in her dream that made Bran smile.

Sansa drifted to sleep as the moon rose, Arya several hours later, curling up in the grass under Ned’s cloak. All through the dark hours he kept his vigil alone. When dawn broke over the city, the dark red blooms of dragon’s breath surrounded the girls where they lay. “I dreamed of Bran,” Sansa had whispered to him. “I saw him smiling.”

A Game of Thrones – Eddard V

By the way, I think her dream about the riot is actually about the Others but that is a topic I will address when I get back to the Florian and Jonquil series.

FLY ME TO THE EYRIE

Both Sansa and Bran symbolically rule eyries…Bran at Winterfell and Sansa in the Vale. They also have similar memories of life at Winterfell while looking down and or descending from their eyrie.

Here are Bran’s memories of sitting in the eyrie at Winterfell and watching life in the yard.

When he got out from under it and scrambled up near the sky, Bran could see all of Winterfell in a glance. He liked the way it looked, spread out beneath him, only birds wheeling over his head while all the life of the castle went on below. Bran could perch for hours among the shapeless, rain-worn gargoyles that brooded over the First Keep, watching it all: the men drilling with wood and steel in the yard, the cooks tending their vegetables in the glass garden, restless dogs running back and forth in the kennels, the silence of the godswood, the girls gossiping beside the washing well. It made him feel like he was lord of the castle, in a way even Robb would never know.

——–

You could go straight up to where the gargoyles leaned out blindly over empty space, and swing from gargoyle to gargoyle, hand over hand, around to the north side. From there, if you really stretched, you could reach out and pull yourself over to the broken tower where it leaned close. The last part was the scramble up the blackened stones to the eyrie, no more than ten feet, and then the crows would come round to see if you’d brought any corn.

Bran was moving from gargoyle to gargoyle with the ease of long practice when he heard the voices. He was so startled he almost lost his grip. The First Keep had been empty all his life.

A Game of Thrones – Bran II

And here is Sansa/Alayne as she looks out over the Vale from her window in the Eyrie and later descends to the Gates of the Moon.

So lovely. The snow-clad summit of the Giant’s Lance loomed above her, an immensity of stone and ice that dwarfed the castle perched upon its shoulder. Icicles twenty feet long draped the lip of the precipice where Alyssa’s Tears fell in summer. A falcon soared above the frozen waterfall, blue wings spread wide against the morning sky. Would that I had wings as well.

She rested her hands on the carved stone balustrade and made herself peer over the edge. She could see Sky six hundred feet below, and the stone steps carved into the mountain, the winding way that led past Snow and Stone all the way down to the valley floor. She could see the towers and keeps of the Gates of the Moon, as small as a child’s toys. Around the walls the hosts of Lords Declarant were stirring, emerging from their tents like ants from an anthill. If only they were truly ants, she thought, we could step on them and crush them.

A Feast for Crows – Alayne I

By the time they finally reached her father’s castle, Lady Myranda was drowsing too, and Alayne was dreaming of her bed. It will be a featherbed, she told herself, soft and warm and deep, piled high with furs. I will dream a sweet dream, and when I wake there will be dogs barking, women gossiping beside the well, swords ringing in the yard. And later there will be a feast, with music and dancing. After the deathly silence of the Eyrie, she yearned for shouts and laughter.

A Feast for Crows – Alayne II

Yes, it’s natural for the kids to have similar memories of home but when you consider the association with the eyrie in both instances, it is interesting how specifically similar are their thoughts. The passages are so similar, it makes one wonder what George in implying…especially as Bran’s description of the yard is from the same passage where he mentions knowing about the bridge between the bell tower and the rookery. And of course, we later find out that Sansa knows the secret of the bridge as well. Also like with Bran, the only things above her are the birds.

Bran knowing Winterfell in a way Robb never would is not just about his knowledge of the secret nooks and crannies. It’s also about greenseer knowledge and the fact Bran will know all the history and secrets of the Winterfell, the Starks and all of Westeros. If Bran knows Winterfell in this manner, what is Martin suggesting by implying that Sansa knows it in the same way?

Bran takes care of the birds in his eyrie bringing them food most times he visits. Sansa also takes care of the bird in her Eyrie represented by Sweetrobin. Oh, and it’s also interesting that Sansa’s thoughts about the silence of the Eyrie echoes that of Bran’s about the godswood.

CHECK OR CHECKMATE?

If I’m right about Sansa being a greenseer, then as I’ve said before, she is a pretty powerful one because she’s been entering the WWN without training and continues to do so even after Lady’s death. 

George is a lover of chess. In fact, he competed professionally when he was younger. And so, I can’t help but think of the chess theme that he has running throughout his story. Bran and Sansa ended up King and Queen on the show, and they quite likely will in the books as well. I’m pretty good at checkers, but I know little to nothing about chess. However, one thing I do know is that while the king is the most important piece on the board, the queen is the most powerful and can also put the king in check.

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