((Sorry if you wanted full on smut. I’m not yet sure how Aegon and Reader would smut it up soooo no detailed smut scene just yet))
((Word Count: 1,504))
The Aegonfort was eyrie silent as you made your way through
the halls. Figuring everyone else was still asleep, you hadn’t bothered to wear
your boots and the cold stone felt nice on your feet. It had been two years
since you came south and married the dragon king, and in those two years you
hadn’t gotten used to the summer heat. Even with it being Winter, it was hot to
Moving over to the window, you watched the sun rising over
the waters of what would someday be known as Blackwater Bay. You always enjoyed
the sight of it. In the early days of being in the south, it was your only
source of comfort.
Do you think Robb and Sansa were as close as Jon and Arya?
No, absolutely not. I can’t think of a relationship as unproblematic and unconditionally loving in the whole series that compares to Jon/Arya. Part of it is that Arya and Jon are two of the three most POV chapters characters, we have a lot of time to see into their heads and they are always thinking of each other.
So much so that we get this from an interview:
Granny: Are you trying to say something to the reader by drilling into us how much Arya and Jon love each other?
George_RR_Martin: “Say something to the reader?” No, I’m just reporting how the characters feel. <g> Of course, everything in the book says something to the reader. [source]
There’s a reason Jon calls Arya being with him home and his central conflict, the one that leads to his “death”, in the most recent book is about saving her. There’s a reason that Arya finds the thought of Jon not recognizing her to be sad in ADWD, that thinking of his smile brings tears to her eyes in AFFC, and that she knows he’d never judge her for her killings or unladylike appearance.
I can’t think of any stronger, unconditionally loving bond illustrated in the series (or at least as emphasized.)
That being said, my dismissal of Robb and Sansa has less to do with how great Arya/Jon is and more to do with my own issues with Robb/Sansa. I think the fandom idealizes their relationship, I don’t like some of what Robb does in regards to Sansa.
Part of the reason I think the fandom builds it up is Sansa’s thoughts of Robb. Arya focuses more on Catelyn in her thoughts while Sansa does the same with Robb. However, we know Catelyn had a better relationship with Sansa than Arya, and that Arya/Cat’s relationship is a little strained. A lot of that I believe has to do what each Stark sister needed at the time.
Sansa: hostage in KL, Robb would be the one to save her- him and his army.
Arya: lost child enslaved/witnessing carnage and death at every turn/starving/roamer- she’s want the stability and nurturing nature of her mother I’d expect.
Anyway, Robb says some things about/does some stuff about Sansa that rubbed me in the wrong way.
Bran would never forget the look on Robb’s face as he stared at their sister’s words. “She says Father conspired at treason with the king’s brothers,” he read. “King Robert is dead, and Mother and I are summoned to the Red Keep to swear fealty to Joffrey. She says we must be loyal, and when she marries Joffrey she will plead with him to spare our lord father’s life.” His fingers closed into a fist, crushing Sansa’s letter between them. “And she says nothing of Arya, nothing, not so much as a word. Damn her! What’s wrong with the girl?” Bran, AGoT
His immediate conclusion is to blame Sansa and to question why she would leave out information about Arya and whatnot.
Then there’s this:
“I should have traded the Kingslayer for Sansa when you first urged it,” Robb said as they walked the gallery. “If I’d offered to wed her to the Knight of Flowers, the Tyrells might be ours instead of Joffrey’s. I should have thought of that.” Catelyn, ASoS
I just felt like he had completely detached from Sansa and only saw her value as a tool rather than his sister here. While I understand some of that in theory, considering he was trying to act as a king, I can’t imagine say Ned doing the same thing- in fact, he chose Sansa over much earlier. It just always bothered me. And this is before she’s married to Tyrion.
And even just disinheriting her, if Robb had gone through with anything- had he not died so soon afterward- taken Jon and groomed his as his heir, there’s a huge chance (considering that they no longer had Jaime) that Sansa could have been seen as expendable by the Lannisters.
So no, I don’t think Robb/Sansa even remotely compares to Jon/Arya at all. Just look at how Jon reacts to juggling his ruler’s duties and Arya’s (supposed) captivity in ADWD vs. how Robb does the same with Sansa’s.
Regardless, I’m not much of a fan. At least I’m not a fan in overstating it. I think they were loving, adorable siblings but not as strong as some other sibling relationships.
That being said, I have my own preferences. The fact is that Sansa/Arya is by far one of my favorite ASoIaF relationships. But if you’re looking for a more Sansa/brother feel, I would like to direct you towards my favorite:
(hearing Robb’s words about Sansa’s letter) Bran felt all cold inside. “She lost her wolf,” he said, weakly, remembering the day when four of his father’s guardsmen had returned from the south with Lady’s bones. Bran, AGoT
(on hearing Bran will live) The night the bird had come from Winterfell, Eddard Stark had taken the girls to the castle godswood, an acre of elm and alder and black cottonwood overlooking the river. The heart tree there was a great oak, its ancient limbs overgrown with smokeberry vines; they knelt before it to offer their thanksgiving, as if it had been a weirwood. 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.”Ned, AGoT
Back in Winterfell, Sansa had told him that the demons of the dark couldn’t touch him if he hid beneath his blanket. He almost did that now, before he remembered that he was a prince, and almost a man grown. Bran, ASoS
Bran and Sansa are such cuties. Full stop. Bran’s instinct is to defend Sansa and even though he says so “weakly” implying he doesn’t completely buy it, he wants to defend her. He doesn’t stand for anyone talking her down. And can you just picture when Sansa would have told that to Bran?
Ugh they’re adorable. I don’t know why people focus on Sansa/Robb when Sansa/Bran is clearly where it’s at in my opinion. Of course, Sansa/Arya is better than pretty much every relationship in my mind so….
I definitely agree with you that there are clearly closer bonds within the Stark family. For example, when Jon thinks of fond memories from home, sometimes only Arya is involved, but in many of them its always "Robb, Bran, Arya" and he thinks how Bran and Arya played together like him and Robb before them. Its really cute! I think the Bran x Arya relationship is underrated, they were pretty close as well. Rickon was too young to form those bonds, which breaks my heart, the poor baby.
Playing, Jon thought in astonishment, grown men playing like children, throwing snowballs the way Bran and Arya once did, and Robb and me before them. Jon, ADWD
I love it. It’s so cute. It also mirrors a quote of Arya’s I have further down.
Yeah, I once catalogued Jon’s moments when he thinks of his family, and unless it’s every single child in the Starks, it’s mainly just Arya, Bran, and Robb (though Robb references lessen a bit post-ASoS and Ned was included in AGoT.) But that makes sense because the three of them were also his three goodbyes before leaving Winterfell.
He remembered the day he had left Winterfell, all the bittersweet farewells; Bran lying broken, Robb with snow in his hair, Arya raining kisses on him after he’d given her Needle. Jon, AGoT
There are several other cute ones, but I’ll leave that for another post.
Well, this mirrors many real families. Even in close families, there tends to be people with closer bonds because of things like similar interests. Age is also a huge factor. Jon is way closer with Robb than Rickon for instance because he grew up with Robb, and Rickon was too young for him to form a bond with.
But about Bran x Arya. Well, I’m glad you asked because I have a bunch of feelings on the subject. First, you’re right, they are a highly underrated relationship.
There’s some great parallels to start with.
They’re both climbers:
The rooftops of Winterfell were Bran’s second home. His mother often said that Bran could climb before he could walk. Bran, AGoT
Arya was a skilled climber and a fast picker, and she liked to go off by herself. Arya, ACoK
They’re not fans of romantic stories:
“Some books. I like the fighting stories. My sister Sansa likes the kissing stories, but those are stupid." Bran, ADWD
(on hearing the story of Ashara Dayne) Sansa would have sighed and shed a tear for true love, but Arya just thought it was stupid.Arya, ASoS
They both have darkness as a theme that their teachers tell them will give them strength/guide them:
There he sat, listening to the hoarse whispers of his teacher. “Never fear the darkness, Bran.” The lord’s words were accompanied by a faint rustling of wood and leaf, a slight twisting of his head. “The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother’s milk. Darkness will make you strong.” Bran, ADWD
Every dawn she woke to darkness…
"How long must I be blind?” she would ask. “Until darkness is as sweet to you as light,” the waif would say, “
"You must now walk in darkness until you see the way” [the Kindly Man tells Arya] Arya, ADWD
They’ve both met at least one of the Children of the Forest despite them being so rare now:
Bran saw a bear skull and a wolf skull, half a dozen human skulls and near as many giants. All the rest were small, queerly formed. Children of the forest. Bran, ADWD
[The Ghost of the High Heart] turned her head sharply and smiled through the gloom, right at Arya. “You cannot hide from me, child. Come closer, now.” Arya, ASoS
They are also the most accomplished skinchangers so far, the youngest two POVs, and deal the most with wolves (although Jon’s up there.)
But about their actual relationship. Well, for starters, Bran likens someone he has great respect for to Arya:
Meera reminded Bran of his sister Arya. She wasn’t scared to get dirty, and she could run and fight and throw as good as a boy. She was older than Arya, though; almost sixteen, a woman grown. ACoK
He’s highly complimentary of Arya here since the idea of women being on par with men in terms of running, fighting, and throwing is unusual in such a patriarchal society. But also because of Bran’s feelings for Meera.
He wondered what Meera would think if he should suddenly tell her that he loved her. ADWD
Bran thinks very highly of Meera, so the comparison of the two girls in Bran’s life is great praise.
Also, I like this bit:
Bran had not wanted the Freys at the high table, but the maester reminded him that they would soon be kin. Robb was to marry one of their aunts, and Arya one of their uncles. “She never will,” Bran said, “not Arya,” ACoK
Bran seems to really know Arya here, especially considering what we see of Arya/Elmar’s interaction.
And one of my favorite things is how Bran sees Arya all the time now. There’s him seeing Arya in Meera above but also
A cloud of ravens was pouring from the cave, and he saw a little girl with a torch in hand, darting this way and that. For a moment Bran thought it was his sister Arya … madly, for he knew his little sister was a thousand leagues away, or dead. And yet there she was, whirling, a scrawny thing, ragged, wild, her hair atangle…
And the Arya thing stood over them, clutching her torch… That was not Arya’s voice, nor any child’s. It was a woman’s voice, high and sweet, with a strange music in it like none that he had ever heard and a sadness that he thought might break his heart. Bran squinted, to see her better. It was a girl, but smaller than Arya, her skin dappled like a doe’s beneath a cloak of leaves. ADWD
Bran sees Arya in Leaf.
Now two children danced across the godswood, hooting at one another as they dueled with broken branches. The girl was the older and taller of the two. Arya! Bran thought eagerly, as he watched her leap up onto a rock and cut at the boy. But that couldn’t be right. If the girl was Arya, the boy was Bran himself, and he had never worn his hair so long. And Arya never beat me playing swords, the way that girl is beating him. She slashed the boy across his thigh, so hard that his leg went out from under him and he fell into the pool and began to splash and shout. “You be quiet, stupid,” the girl said, tossing her own branch aside. “It’s just water. Do you want Old Nan to hear and run tell Father?” She knelt and pulled her brother from the pool, but before she got him out again, the two of them were gone. After that the glimpses came faster and faster, till Bran was feeling lost and dizzy. He saw no more of his father, nor the girl who looked like Arya. ADWD
and he sees Arya in Lyanna. Another great thing of that second quote is that it alludes to how Bran and Arya used to play. Bran even thinks “if the girl was Arya, the boy was Bran himself” and that “Arya never beat me playing swords”, which means that they must have played swords a fair amount together. This is also interesting because people tend to see people they miss or are thinking about in others.
And on Arya’s side there are some good moments as well.
"Father, will Bran come and live with us now?”
“Not for a long time, sweet one,” he told her. “He needs to win his strength back.” Arya bit her lip. “What will Bran do when he’s of age?” Ned knelt beside her. “He has years to find that answer, Arya. For now, it is enough to know that he will live.” The night the bird had come from Winterfell, Eddard Stark had taken the girls to the castle godswood, an acre of elm and alder and black cottonwood overlooking the river. The heart tree there was a great oak, its ancient limbs overgrown with smokeberry vines; they knelt before it to offer their thanksgiving, as if it had been a weirwood. 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.”
“He was going to be a knight,” Arya was saying now. “A knight of the Kingsguard. Can he still be a knight?” AGoT
I love how Arya is asking after Bran’s dreams. She knows Bran wanted to be a knight and wants to know if he still can.
And this is the sweetest memory of all the Stark kids (sans Rickon who had not yet been born) but has some close Arya/Bran bits:
Suddenly Arya remembered the crypts at Winterfell. They were a lot scarier than this place, she told herself. She’d been just a little girl the first time she saw them. Her brother Robb had taken them down, her and Sansa and baby Bran, who’d been no bigger than Rickon was now. They’d only had one candle between them, and Bran’s eyes had gotten as big as saucers as he stared at the stone faces of the Kings of Winter, with their wolves at their feet and their iron swords across their laps.
Robb took them all the way down to the end, past Grandfather and Brandon and Lyanna, to show them their own tombs. Sansa kept looking at the stubby little candle, anxious that it might go out. Old Nan had told her there were spiders down here, and rats as big as dogs. Robb smiled when she said that. “There are worse things than spiders and rats,” he whispered. “This is where the dead walk.” That was when they heard the sound, low and deep and shivery. Baby Bran had clutched at Arya’s hand.
When the spirit stepped out of the open tomb, pale white and moaning for blood, Sansa ran shrieking for the stairs, and Bran wrapped himself around Robb’s leg, sobbing. Arya stood her ground and gave the spirit a punch. It was only Jon, covered with flour. “You stupid,” she told him, “you scared the baby,” but Jon and Robb just laughed and laughed, and pretty soon Bran and Arya were laughing too.
The memory made Arya smile, and after that the darkness held no more terrors for her. AGoT
Arya uses this memory to keep her calm and unafraid right after everything becomes chaotic in her life- this is just after she killed the stableboy. I love picturing a three year old Bran clutching Arya’s hand because he’s afraid and then Arya getting defensive of him. “You scared the baby.”
Arya stared at them with resentment, remembering the times she’d played at hoops with Bran and Jon and their baby brother Rickon. She wondered how big Rickon had grown, and whether Bran was sad. AGoT
Another reminder that Arya and Bran used to play together. But also, I think it’s cute that Arya wonders if Bran is sad. She’s worried about him even though she’s in a horrible position herself at the moment, stuck alone in Flea Bottom without food or shelter or any sort of idea what’s going on.
She remembered a summer’s snow in Winterfell when Arya and Bran had ambushed her as she emerged from the keep one morning. Sansa, AFFC
And another quote to indicate that Arya and Bran played together and were probably up to the most mischief in the Stark household actually.
I think that Arya and Bran had a great relationship, which shows through in the text, and an underrated one. Bran and Arya are portrayed as each others’ primary playmate (likely because they are close in age,) enjoyed similar things like sword playing and climbing and snowball fights, and have some interesting parallels (like their mutual dislike of romantic stories and their themes of darkness as given by a mentor in ADWD and just by being the most accomplished skinchangers so far in the Starks.)
Clark Fork Natural Area, Missoula, MT
October 23, 2014 Robert Niese
The brilliantly yellow trees lining our valley bottoms and riversides here in the Pacific Northwest are predominantly Black Cottonwoods (also known as Western Basalm Poplars). They are famous for their fluffy, cotton-coated seeds which fill our air and waterways throughout the early summer. These seedlings need moist, bare soil to germinate and will rapidly colonize riverbanks exposed by erosion. Seedlings become dominant, fully-grown trees after about 25 years making them ideal for cultivation both in farms for harvest and as ornamentals in neighborhoods. Unfortunately, they also rarely live more than 150 or 200 years, so many neighborhoods in our area (many of which were first constructed in the 1800s) are being forced to remove these dying giants.