He had come to Sansa in the darkness as green fire filled the sky.
I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she’d been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she’d kept it.
♛ SANDOR & SANSA ★ Season 1.
“You promised me a song, little bird. Have you forgotten?”
“Little bird,” he said once more, his voice raw and harsh as steel on stone. Then he rose from the bed. Sansa heard cloth ripping, followed by the softer sound of retreating footsteps.
When she crawled out of bed, long moments later, she was alone. She found his cloak on the floor, twisted up tight, the white wool stained by blood and fire. The sky outside was darker by then, with only a few pale green ghosts dancing against the stars. A chill wind was blowing, banging the shutters. Sansa was cold. She shook out the torn cloak and huddled beneath it on the floor, shivering.
So a while back I wrote about how Sansa’s and Sandor’s interactions make for a really interesting unwriting of the typical male-gaze centered narrative because a) all of their textual interactions take place from Sansa’s perspective, b) we get to know Sandor best through the Sansa and Arya chapters, and c) Sandor is quite interested in Sansa as an active spectator, not a passive, looked-upon object.
Anyway, I was just rereading some of their passages and this struck me and I can’t believe I didn’t notice it before:
“There’s a pretty for you. Take a good long stare. You know you want to. I’ve watched you turning away all the way down the kingsroad. Piss on that. Take your look.”
-A Game of Thrones, ch. 29
First off, you can read the tonal shift here from mocking to hurt and very possibly sincere. As happens time and again, his bravado kind of falters and he ends up getting a little too raw, exposing just how damaged he is. He starts off intending to mock Sansa’s polite behavior and the courtly culture that surrounds them, but he ends up telling her about his scars.
He doesn’t say “look at me” here, which he does later in this scene and in several of their scenes together. He chooses “take your look” (the only time, I think, he says this). “Look at me” is a command with a clearly implied imbalance of power: Sandor has it, Sansa does not. ”Take your look” implies Sansa’s agency as the active spectator, and also acknowledges the weird power/semi-ownership she has over him. He wants her—and no one else—to look at him.
It also has a nice double meaning given Sandor’s later use of give/take language when he talks about the Little Bird. During his confession to Arya, he twists what he had earlier meant as a crude boast about Sansa “singing” to him, saying that he “took the song, she never gave it,” and that he should have “taken” her too.
Given the true meaning behind the ~song and the giving vs. taking of it, “take your look” takes on a whole new meaning to me. He might go about expressing it in a nasty, brutish way, but Sandor’s one of the only people who sees Sansa as a real person—not just a small cog in a large machine—who can and should be able to take whatever the fuck she wants.
The outer parapet came up to her chin, but along the inner edge of the walk was nothing, nothing but a long plunge to the bailey seventy or eighty feet below. All it would take was a shove, she told herself. He was standing right there, right there, smirking at her with those fat wormlips. You could do it, she told herself. You could. Do it right now. It wouldn’t even matter if she went over with him. It wouldn’t matter at all.
“Here, girl.” Sandor Clegane knelt before her, between her and Joffrey. With a delicacy surprising in such a big man, he dabbed at the blood welling from her broken lip.
The moment was gone. Sansa lowered her eyes. “Thank you,” she said when he was done. She was a good girl, and always remembered her courtesies.