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The Stark Sisters: Contrasts & Parallels

Sometimes her sleep was leaden and dreamless, and she woke from it more tired than when she had closed her eyes. Yet those were the best times, for when she dreamed, she dreamed of Father…Perhaps I will die too, she told herself, and the thought did not seem so terrible to her. (Sansa VI, AGoT)

Some mornings Arya did not want to wake at all. She would huddle beneath her cloak with her eyes squeezed shut and try to will herself back to sleep. If the Hound would only have left her alone, she would have slept all day and all night. And dreamed. That was the best part, the dreaming. She dreamed of wolves most every night.  (Arya XII, ASoS)

After Ned’s execution Sansa falls into despondency. Sansa cries for days, she doesn’t eat or bathe, she doesn’t leave her room and she even considers killing herself. Her dreams are laden with images of her father’s murder and she prefers her dreamless nights because they give her more peace than her nightmares. Lady is dead, so is Ned. The rest of her family are far away and she’s not sure what’s become of Arya. She’s trapped in a prison of grief and soon enough she’ll realise that the Red Keep is to be her new cage.

This is a contrast to Arya who, although she is also a captive, falls into a different sort of grief after the Red Wedding. She is silent, she feels empty and numb and she doesn’t want to be awake anymore. Her dreams however are filled with wolves. In her dreams she is big, strong, fast and she answers to no one. She has a big pack; a family who would never abandon her and those are really the only moments in which she doesn’t feel alone. Her wolf dreams are a source of strength and a constant reaffirmation of her identity. It doesn’t completely alleviate her emptiness but for a girl in who a big part of her story is survival in the wild, her loyal wolf pack represents that fierce and survivalist energy that she has to adapt to in order to survive.

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? … Robb had died at a wedding feast as well. It was Robb she wept for. (Sansa V, ASoS)

Arya edged farther into the room. Joffrey’s dead. She could almost see him, with his blond curls and his mean smile and his fat soft lips. Joffrey’s dead! She knew it ought to make her happy, but somehow she still felt empty inside. Joffrey was dead, but if Robb was dead too, what did it matter? (Arya VIII, ASoS)

Conflicting feelings arise for both girls at the death of Joffery. Sansa watched him call for her father’s death after he promised her mercy and she was the main recipient of his torment and so she loathes him but she still weeps at his death. She cries because it was a horrible image, Joffery clawing at his throat and tearing at his own skin. She cries too because it also brings up memories of Robb who was also killed at a wedding. 

Conversely, Arya still hates Joffery for Ned’s death and she still remembers the part he played in the death of Mycah and Lady. She too thinks she should be happy that he’s dead but in the end it rings hollow because her brother died too. 

Both girls still had some naive faith that Robb would storm King’s Landing, kill the monster and that they would finally be safe and be able to go home. None of this came to be and instead Catelyn and Robb ended up in their graves killing any hope either girl had in ever being safe again. They can’t celebrate Joffery’s death because it doesn’t undo every loss and hurt he’s caused them and neither girl is able to reconcile the idea of rejoicing in the death of an enemy when Robb, Catelyn, Ned and Bran and Rickon (or so they believe) lay dead.

Swinging the doll by the legs, he knocked the top off one gatehouse tower and then the other. It was more than Sansa could stand. “Robert, stop that.” Instead he swung the doll again, and a foot of wall exploded. She grabbed for his hand but she caught the doll instead. There was a loud ripping sound as the thin cloth tore. Suddenly she had the doll’s head, Robert had the legs and body, and the rag-and-sawdust stuffing was spilling in the snow. (Sansa VII, ASoS)

And there was one girl who took to following her, the village elder’s daughter. She was of an age with Arya, but just a child; she cried if she skinned a knee, and carried a stupid cloth doll with her everywhere she went. The doll was made up to look like a man-at-arms, sort of, so the girl called him Ser Soldier and bragged how he kept her safe. “Go away,” Arya told her half a hundred times. “Just leave me be.” She wouldn’t, though, so finally Arya took the doll away from her, ripped it open, and pulled the rag stuffing out of its belly with a finger. “Now he really looks like a soldier!” she said, before she threw the doll in a brook. (Arya XII, ASoS)

This was particularly interesting to me because children taking out their traumas on toys is actually pretty common. Sansa who has seen her father beheaded, accidentally ripping off the head of a doll and Arya who has witnessed all the horrors of wars reenacting a soldier being disemboweled on a doll. I think it’s important to note that while they could have taken their rage out on the children themselves they hurt dolls instead, inanimate objects. 

They are children, Sansa thought. They are silly little girls, even Elinor. They’ve never seen a battle, they’ve never seen a man die, they know nothing. Their dreams were full of songs and stories, the way hers had been before Joffrey cut her father’s head off. Sansa pitied them. Sansa envied them. (Sansa II, ASoS)

A whooping gang of small children went running past, chasing a rolling hoop. Arya stared at them with resentment, remembering the times she’d played at hoops with Bran and Jon and their baby brother Rickon. (Arya V, AGoT)

For Sansa, constantly subjected to torment and abuse and for Arya, starving and scared on the streets of Flea Bottom after fleeing from the Red Keep, they are reminded of the children they used to be and of the childhood they so desperately wish they could regain. From two children who have had their childhoods ripped away from them, and quite cruelly too I might add, we see some natural resentment towards children who are allowed to be just that, children.

Ser Arys offered his arm and she let him lead her from her chamber. If she must have one of the Kingsguard dogging her steps, Sansa preferred that it be him. … Arys Oakheart was courteous, and would talk to her cordially. Once he even objected when Joffrey commanded him to hit her. He did hit her in the end, but not hard as Ser Meryn or Ser Boros might have, and at least he had argued. (Sansa I, ACoK)

She bit her lip. “I—”

He slapped her.

The blow left her cheek stinging, but she knew that she had earned it. “Thank you.” Enough slaps, and she might stop chewing on her lip. (The Ugly Little Girl, ADWD)

They both internalise their abuse in different ways and either way it is very sad. With Sansa believing that Arys is not so bad because he doesn’t hit her as hard as the others. (He is. He could have refused.) And Arya deciding that she deserves to be hit (She doesn’t) in order to learn a lesson. Both reactions are very common in abuse survivors and I don’t think it can be stated enough that both girls have suffered tremendous abuse and trauma and there are actually some similarities in how they deal with the things they’ve faced. 

These aren’t all their parallels by a long shot but these are the ones that I don’t see a lot of discussion about. 

Arya and Sansa have a complicated relationship and a past full of bullying, resentments and disappointments. When they reunite there is going to be friction, GRRM himself said that they have issues they need to work out and while we can all be certain it won’t be the poorly written disaster that it is in the show, it certainly won’t be easy. But Sansa is still part of Arya’s pack and whatever they have to work through they need each other to succeed or as good ol’ Ned once said:

Sansa is your sister. You may be as different as the sun and the moon, but the same blood flows through both your hearts. You need her, as she needs you … and I need both of you, gods help me. (Arya II, AGoT)

Sansa and her “Stark connection”

Since the fandom is always saying how Sansa is not a Real Stark ™    I wanted to  make a post in which I explain why Sansa, born in the Winter (unlike Arya or Bran or Rickon born in the long Summer), in Winterfell (unlike Jon or Robb born in the south) will always be a Stark ( no Lannister or Baelish or whatever…), no matter who she is forced to marry (to survive I might add..). 

 In AGOT Sansa (before her father died, and when she was meant to marry joffrey) is already very proud of her Stark origins. 

Alyn carried the Stark banner. When she saw him rein in beside Lord Beric to exchange words, it made Sansa feel ever so proud.

While prefering The Seven (like her mother) she does admire the poetry of the old gods. 

Besides, even if she could leave the castle, where would she go? It was enough that she could walk in the yard, pick flowers in Myrcella’s garden, and visit the sept to pray for her father. Sometimes she prayed in the godswood as well, since the Starks kept the old gods.

By the time she reached the godswood, the noises had faded to a faint rattle of steel and a distant shouting. Sansa pulled her cloak tighter. The air was rich with the smells of earth and leaf. Lady would have liked this place, she thought. There was something wild about a godswood; even here, in the heart of the castle at the heart of the city, you could feel the old gods watching with a thousand unseen eyes.

While she is called little bird, or little dove (when people want to undermine her), she is called wolf  too.

Tyrion found himself thinking of his wife. Not Sansa; his first wife, Tysha. The whore wife, not the wolf wife.

“Your Grace has forgotten the Lady Sansa,” said Pycelle.

The queen bristled. “I most certainly have not forgotten that little she-wolf.” She refused to say the girl’s name.

And Sansa herself when she is in put  a hard position takes courage in her Stark origins. Its something that gives her  strength:

Do as you’re told, sweetling, it won’t be so bad. Wolves are supposed to be brave, aren’t they?

“Brave. Sansa took a deep breath. I am a Stark, yes, I can be brave.

"Winterfell?” Robert was small for eight, a stick of a boy with splotchy skin and eyes that were always runny. Under one arm he clutched the threadbare cloth doll he carried everywhere.

Winterfell is the seat of House Stark,” Sansa told her husband-to-be. “The great castle of the north.”

“Do you require guarding?” Marillion said lightly. “I am composing a new song, you should know. A song so sweet and sad it will melt even your frozen heart. ‘The Roadside Rose,’ I mean to call it. About a baseborn girl so beautiful she bewitched every man who laid eyes upon her.

I am a Stark of Winterfell, she longed to tell him. Instead she nodded, and let him escort her down the tower steps and along a bridge. 

 Petyr put his arm around her. “What if it is truth he wants, and justice for his murdered lady?” He smiled. “I know Lord Nestor, sweetling. Do you imagine I’d ever let him harm my daughter?

"I am not your daughter, she thought. I am Sansa Stark, Lord Eddard’s daughter and Lady Catelyn’s, the blood of Winterfell.

"As was bringing me here, when you swore to take me home.”She wondered where this courage had come from, to speak to him so frankly. From Winterfell, she thought. I am stronger within the walls of Winterfell.

I will tell my aunt that I don’t want to marry Robert. Not even the High Septon himself could declare a woman married if she refused to say the vows. She wasn’t a beggar, no matter what her aunt said. She was thirteen, a woman flowered and wed, the heir to Winterfell.

.His seamed and solemn face brought back all of Sansa’s memories of his time at Winterfell. She remembered him at table, speaking quietly with her mother. She heard his voice booming off the walls when he rode back from a hunt with a buck behind his saddle. She could see him in the yard, a practice sword in hand, hammering her father to the ground and turning to defeat Ser Rodrik as well. He will know me. How could he not? She considered throwing herself at his feet to beg for his protection. He never fought for Robb, why should he fight for me?

From the high battlements of the gatehouse, the whole world spread out below them. Sansa could see the Great Sept of Baelor on Visenya’s hill, where her father had died. At the other end of the Street of the Sisters stood the fire-blackened ruins of the Dragonpit. To the west, the swollen red sun was half-hidden behind the Gate of the Gods. The salt sea was at her back, and to the south was the fish market and the docks and the swirling torrent of the Blackwater Rush. And to the north …She turned that way, and saw only the city, streets and alleys and hills and bottoms and more streets and more alleys and the stone of distant walls. Yet she knew that beyond them was open country, farms and fields and forests, and beyond that, north and north and north again, stood Winterfell.

but personally my favorite line about Sansa being always a Stark and belonging North in Winterfell  (Never a Lannister! , no matter who she marries) is this quote by Ned: 

When it was over, he said, “Choose four men and have them take the body north. Bury her at Winterfell.”

“All that way?” Jory said, astonished.

“All that way,” Ned affirmed. “The Lannister woman shall never have this skin.

Sansa whole story (to me) is about her journey retaking her Stark origins which were stolen from her in the worst of way, just like they killed her wolf Lady. But just like Lady remains, Sansa place is and always will be in the north, as a Stark of Winterfell. 

micklegate bar ▴ york, north yorkshire, england

the city wall (gatehouse/bar) was constructed in the 12th century and updated in the 14th century. it was once the traditional ceremonial gate for monarchs entering the city. its name comes from the old norse mykla gata, meaning ‘great street’.

A Partial Guide To Legendary Sites...

Legendary sites, similar to magical locations, are areas with special properties or effects from which a character might gain a significant benefit.

Magical locations are areas that have been crafted by mighty magic or imbued with ancient power. 

They are hard to find and harder to use, and confer their powers but rarely. 

Legendary sites, in contrast, are places where great works have been wrought and where seemingly impossible deeds have occurred. 

These locations have a lesser kind of power. 

A site such as a sandy beach where an explorer stepped for the first time, or a plaza where a long-fallen marvel once towered, pulses with its own renown, if not with true magic. 

The stories that inspire these places and make them famous lend them reputations that can be shared by those who brush with such a site’s notoriety. 

Characters who visit these sites of historical import, incredible acts, mystery, and great danger come away changed, not just in the eyes of the public but in their own hearts as well…

Such legendary sites need not be unique. 

Their inspirational effects might develop wherever a spot becomes imbued with a momentous event or spectacular achievement.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Yes!!! I want to hear more about vampires! Thank you!

Other vampire posts from my blog:

  1. Info
  2. Ask
  3. Protection
  4. Tarot
  5. Highgate Vampire
  6. Children of Judas
  7. Tag

Vampires in the UK

There have been over 200 vampire sightings in the UK during the past 100 years (more than Transylvania), one of the most famous examples being the Highgate Vampire (although the British occultist David Farrant who was present during the numerous vampire hunts of the 1970s claims that the spirit roaming the cemetery was more demonic in nature rather than a vampire, whereas Seán Manchester claims it really was a vampire, and even managed to photograph the vampire as it finally got staked). 

In David Farrant best selling book on the subject, Beyond the Highgate Vampire, David claims that ley lines, may be an important factor that has been left completely out of the Highgate equation. These lines, he says, can actually transmit psychic energy along their course and enable the vampire to materialise when the right conditions prevail. One such ley line, he points out, apparently begins in the middle of Highgate Cemetery at a large circle of tombs called the Circle of Lebanon, crosses through the Flask and Ye Olds Gatehouse pubs (both ancient pubs only yards from Highgate Cemetery); traverses a large block of council flats known as Hillcrest (themselves built upon the site of an ancient nunnery) and passes through an old Roman Settlement a quarter of a mile or so away in Highgate Woods which is marked by an old beech tree.

For without exception, all the locations on the Highgate ley line, were reportedly haunted by a ’tall black figure’ which, even when it was not actually seen, it caused dramatic drops in temperature, clocks to simultaneously stop, objects to fly from shelves or mysteriously shatter, and which also had a dramatic effect upon animals in it’s immediate vicinity.

Other sightings in the UK:

  • Alnwick Castle (Northumberland) - During the 1100s, a  vampire that once frequented this castle, a one time lord of the estate, lived underneath it and would emerge at night to attack the local villagers. An outbreak of plague was also attributed to the unholy creature, and this resulted in the villagers digging the monster up from its shallow grave and burning it.
  • Blandford Forum (Dorset) - (1800s) a corrupt manservant who stole thousands of pounds from his employer, William Doggett finally killed himself, and now drives his phantom horse and carriage along this area. One local story says he returned as a vampire; after his body was exhumed many years after his death (from St Mary’s Church in Tarrant Gunville) it was found to be uncorrupted, with a rosy tint to the cheeks.
  • Croglin (Cumbria) - In 1875, an old house had been rented out to a woman and two brothers, Amelia, Edward and Michael Cranswell. During one summer, Amelia was trying to sleep when a strange creature appeared at her window and began picking out the lead surrounding one of the window panes with a long fingernail, then removing it and putting its hand through the resulting gap to undo the window latch and let itself in. It was described as having a brown face and flaming eyes. The vampire bit her in the throat. When her brothers came into the room, the monster was gone. While one brother tried to help his sister, the other went after the creature. After a trip to Switzerland, the three returned to Croglin Grange and the creature returned again. The brother shot it in the leg and was able to track it down to a vault in the local cemetery. They waited until the next day to enter the vault, where they found the body of the vampire, with a fresh wound to the leg, resting inside a coffin. They then burned it.
  • Lochmaben Castle (Scotland) - During the early 1990s, Tom Robertson investigated the woods after hearing stories that animals had been found drained of their blood. He encountered a tall figure dressed in sacking with a hood over its head, which black eyes and grey face. The creature leapt into a tree and swung away. Eight years later Robertson went looking for the creature again, finding it and taking a couple of photographs

From my experience, vampires who have been around longer tend to look more naturally human in appearance, particularly if the spirits have gained enough energy to materialise in a fuller form. It is noted within folklore that vampires first start off as dark blobs or shadows before developing into a humanoid form. Being around vampire spirits can cause bruising on the skin, particularly on the neck if they “feed” on you. Vampire spirits are definitely ones that are more fond of physical contact, and it can be common for them to assault you (either sexual or physical violence), depending on the individual spirit. Vampires are fond of crystals that aid in blood disorders or circulation, particularly if they are dark red. If you work with vampire spirits it is better to use these as offerings rather than blood itself, which can pose all sorts of dangers - the biggest one being giving the vampire enough power to materialise physically for longer states of time, and moreover, power over you and your body