A Game of Thrones-Chapter 51
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On the third day after sneaking out to tell Queen Cersei of her father’s plans to send her away, Sansa is summoned from her house arrest. She is brought before the queen and the small council. There she is informed that her father is a traitor and is persuaded to write letters to her relatives explaining what has happened.
Sansa is locked in a room with Jeyne Poole, who does nothing but cry for her father. Sansa, thinking Jeyne was acting childish, has told her friend that she would ask Queen Cersei to let her see her father, but it does not seem to have helped.
Sansa herself wept the first day. She was used to the sound of fighting in Winterfell, but knowing it was real—with angry shouts and the moans of dying men—was different. At first she pleaded for news and to see someone familiar, such as her father or her gallant prince, but she got no answer. Then they shoved Jeyne into the room and she claimed they were killing everyone and that there were bodies on the steps. The next day the fighting was over and Lannister guardsmen patrolled the walls. The servants who bring them food and clothes refused to answer any questions. At sunset they heard the bells tolling from the Great Sept of Baelor proclaiming King Robert’s death. Sansa is afraid for her beautiful prince and her father and at night she dreams of Joffrey on the throne with her beside him with everyone she knows coming before them to bend their knee.
Ser Boros Blount comes for her on the third day. Resolved to be a lady no matter what, Sansa complements the ugly knight. He leads her out of Maegor’s Holdfast, where she sees a body impaled on the spikes of the dry moat. Rather than being taken to the queen’s apartments, Sansa is brought to the council chamber and presented to Queen Cersei and the small council, though her prince is not there as she was hoping.
The queen asks if she has been well taken care of and Sansa affirms that they have, though no one will tell them what happened. Sansa's use of the word "us" leads to confusion until Sansa explains that Jeyne is staying with her. Cersei is surprised to discover that Jeyne has been put in with Sansa and expresses concern about what absurd tales Jeyne might have told Sansa. Remembering her promise, Sansa asks about Vayon Poole, unable to imagine anyone killing a steward who does not even carry a sword. Cersei asks what to do with Jeyne and Littlefinger states that he will find a place for her. The queen then instructs that Jeyne be taken to Littlefinger’s apartments and that saying Littlefinger will take her to her father should calm her down. Sansa asks where Vayon is and where Jeyne is being sent, wondering why Littlefinger must be involved, but Cersei brushes off the question.
Cersei tells Sansa that Joffrey loves her, but that her father is a traitor. Varys and Pycelle explain that Lord Eddard, who had sworn to protect King Robert’s children, was planning to turn the kingdom over to Stannis Baratheon. Then Cersei shows Sansa the letter her father wrote to Stannis, which has been taken off the captain of his guard. Sansa insists that it cannot be true because her father was the king’s friend.
Cersei informs Sansa that she cannot allow the daughter of a traitor to marry her son. Sansa is overwhelmed by the unfairness of taking away her beloved because of something her father did. Cersei states that she knew Sansa was innocent from the moment Sansa came to her with Lord Eddard’s plan to take her away. Sansa insists that she did this because she loves Joffrey, remembering that she felt very wicked sneaking away to the queen. She had wanted to go to the king, but loud and often drunk King Robert had always frightened her. She had also believed the king would probably have just sent her back to her father. After having informed the queen of her father’s plans, Sansa was locked in the high room in Maegor’s Holdfast, under guard. A few hours later the fighting had started.
The small council discusses whether Sansa could also turn out to be traitorous. Varys and Grand Maester Pycelle opine that the child of a traitor is also likely to become traitorous. Littlefinger points out that Sansa reminds him of her mother rather than her father. Queen Cersei expresses doubt that Sansa can be trusted since her sister turned her wolf on Joffrey. Sansa replies that she is nothing like her traitorous sister; she only wants to be Joffrey’s wife.
Queen Cersei then suggests that if the rest of Sansa's kin prove loyal it would rest some of the council’s fears. Therefore, Cersei asks that Sansa write to her lady mother and her brother Robb explaining how Lord Eddard betrayed his king. Sansa does not know what to say, but Cersei assures her that they will provide her with the words. The important thing is that the Starks keep the King’s Peace; otherwise it will go hard on them and on Sansa. Sansa is also told write that she is being well cared for and that her family must come to King's Landing and pledge fealty to Joffrey.
Sansa asks to see her father, but is told that if she is truly loyal she should not want to see him. Sansa says she is concerned about him and what will happen to him. She is told that her father is well and that the king will decide his punishment. Sansa realizes that the king is now her gallant Joffrey, whom she knows would never hurt her father and who is sure to listen to her pleas. Perhaps her father will only be exiled for a few years. However, if her mother or Robb did something treasonous it will all go wrong.
Sansa agrees to write the letters and ends up writing four: to her mother, her brother Robb, her Aunt Lysa, and her grandfather Hoster Tully. When she returns to her room, Jeyne and her belongings are already gone. It is only when she is drifting off to sleep that night that Sansa realizes she has forgotten to ask about Arya.
- Summary and analyses of the chapter by Leigh Butler.
- Summary of the chapter on Tower of the Hand.