Symbols in Sansa and Sandor’s Story
This is how Sandor Clegane appeared in the Tourney of the Hand in KL, a tournament held in lady Sansa’s father’s honour. Notice how he isn’t called The Hound, he’s mentioned as a man and not a beast.
Sandor Clegane was the first rider to appear. He wore an olive-green cloak over his soot-grey armor. That, and his hound’s-helm, were his only concession to ornament. (AGoT 312)
Sandor is wearing a green cloak,not just green but olive green, and he’s wearing it over a soot grey armour. Green over grey,olive over soot. Green is the colour of hope,spring and growth, but that olive component makes me think of the olive branch which represents peace. He’s wearing it over an armour, the colour of soot,which has to do with burning,destruction and ashes,as if it was the matle of mother nature covering the effects of war and destruction.
There’s another important point,he talked to Sansa the previous night,while escorting her like a reluctant gentleman,and today,the day he may have to kill his brother,he’s wearing a green cloak while Sansa is also wearing green. As if he was wearing the colours of his lady,and she was wearing the colours of her knight.Martin pays a lot of attention to colours,there’s no way he chose them by chance without attaching a meaning to this choice.
I don’t know if you are familiar with the poems of Federico García Lorca,a great Spanish poet whose work is full of symbology and very powerful imagery. Very often he depicts tragedy and repression over women in a patriarcal society where women feel suffocated. In his play “La casa de Bernarda Alba”, a young woman wants to join her lover and her mother does everything she can to stop her. In this poem,both knives and a horse have that meaning we may observe in relation to Sandor and Sansa. Knives represent the man,they are phallic symbols in a house where there are only women in mourning, women who can only smother their passions and endure. The horse stands for the masculine, the instictive and the primitive. And this is not the meaning I personally attach to these symbols, as Lorca’s symbology has been studied by experts over and over throughout the years.
In this play, which is already a classic, Pepe el Romano is a handsome young man from the village where the house of Bernarda is, and all the women are crazy for him, even Bernarda’s daughters but he is only interested in one of them because of her dowry. Bernarda (60), doesn’t let her daughters come out and see Pepe, he’s supposed to be outside waiting for one of the young women. There is a horse in the play, a stallion, and the animal is a reference to Pepe,with a very clear erotic symbolism. The horse is uneasy, very nervous due to his need for coupling and they say that he even beats the walls theatening to bring them down,thus showing his frustration (representing as well how trapped the girls feel). The man is also represented as a rider.
It is said in the play that the horse is always thirsty, hinting at his need, his repressed sexual energy and desire. The two sisters who desire Pepe most are thirsty two, suffocated by lack of freedom and repressed sexuality. If a a character is always thirsty in ASoIaF, it is Sandor Clegane, always craving wine with a thirst that he seems unable to appease no matter how much wine he drinks. I think he may be thirsty for something else. Not in vain he says to Sansa that “wine is all a man needs. Or a woman”. As if his thirst is for a woman he can’t have, rather than for wine.
Pepe never appears on stage in the play,but he is larger than life in that barren house where women are deprived of freedom,and in special, sexual freedom.
So, yes, Sandor is the rider and Stranger represents the masculine, virility, and probably also Sansa’s need for freedom, including a budding primal need of sex as part of her free will. Sandor signals her awakening and later we’ll see there’s sexual desire in her, but not for sex with any man, for this man she wants is Sandor, the man who appears in her dreams and fantasies.
Lorca’s play is a tragedy,but the symbols are the same Martin uses to show desire associated to a very manly (like Pepe) Sandor, who is unwittingly wanted by Sansa while she is also desired by him. She may not know yet,probably Alayne already knows,
The horse in Lorca’s play is in the stables,and there,on the straw,Adela, one of the sisters, has sex with Pepe in the night. It is forbidden sex because he is her sister’s betrothed.Pepe wants her sister’s dowry but Adela is the one he desires.
Also,Adela wears a green dress, showing her rebellious nature, she wears green instead of black (black of mourning, because their father has died) like her mother and sisters.
Sansa also wears green at her father’s tourney and so does Sandor.Green represents hope, but for Lorca it also represents rebellion against the establishment,doing what you desire.
The horse that wants to break free represents need to escape and repression of the sexual desire in the play. Remember Stranger at the QI,kicking and biting,not letting them geld him, just like Sandor. He is celibate there,and if Stranger has such bad temper it reflects his owner’s frustration, sexual frustration too. I think he will go for Sansa, it can’t be any other way, a man like Sandor won’t stay a monk, too much raw sexual energy in him to stay celibate for ever. And also,he is in love, it’s not only sex he wants, like Adela he wants freedom,sex,love and a life with his lover.
Lorca’s story is a tragedy but I really hope SanSan isn’t.