Sunday’s episode of Sport of Thrones, “The Final of the Starks,” was disappointing on a number of fronts: poor plotting, irritating character growth, a espresso cup. However what stopped me in my tracks was an early dialog between Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Sandor Clegane, a.ok.a. the Hound (Rory McCann), the primary between these two characters since they parted on the finish of Season 2 in King’s Touchdown.
Again then, the Hound was Joffrey Baratheon’s (Jack Gleeson) right-hand man. Sansa was just a bit lady once they first met, and had watched him do loads of terrible issues. Once they had been in King’s Touchdown collectively, their relationship interrogated the deepest watch game of thrones season 8 prejudices every one had, which made it each fraught and one of many present’s most intriguing. (It has spawned fairly a little bit of fanfiction as nicely.) A lot has modified for every character since then.
However, frustratingly, in “The Final of the Starks,” each piece of their interplay is complicated and restricted. Worse, it obfuscates every character’s progress.
The scene is barely a minute lengthy, set through the drunken carousing in Winterfell’s nice corridor after the victory towards the Night time King. Oddly, and maybe considerably, it begins with intercourse: a couple of anonymous ladies proposition Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and the Hound, with the curious phrase “I’m not afraid of Wildlings.” This doubtful pick-up line works on Tormund (“possibly try to be,” he jeers), who disappears to drown his sorrows about Brienne. Sandor refuses the bait, going as far as to growl and menace on the different lady who expresses curiosity. Sansa observes this from a distance (very Littlefinger of her), after which makes her strategy.
“She might have made you cheerful, for a short time,” she says, sitting down.
Sandor dodges her overture—and the subject of intercourse—switching to his ever-present anger towards his brother as an alternative. “There’s just one factor that will make me blissful,” he responds, glowering.
“That’s my fucking enterprise.”
This entire time, the Hound hasn’t a lot as smiled at her. He’s barely even checked out her. However then he glances up and sees that Sansa is steadily gazing at him. “Was you couldn’t take a look at me,” he grumbles.
“That was a very long time in the past,” she solutions, coolly. “I’ve seen a lot worse than you since then.”
Sure, the Hound’s terrible scars carry with them a visual indication of how merciless the world could be, and it’s true that in Seasons 1 and a couple of, Sansa actually couldn’t face the sight of him. However there’s an edge to her assertion right here, too. She’s asserting how a lot stronger she is now, and the way a lot much less afraid. She’s doing this partly as a result of she has satisfaction in who she has change into, but in addition as a result of the Hound isn’t being very good to her.
“Sure, I’ve heard,” he responds, leaning in just a little. “I heard you had been damaged in. Damaged in tough.”
This line pivots the entire dialog—and its tenor. Keep in mind, Sansa simply sat down. She’s the Girl of Winterfell. We’re in her home, nay, her citadel. And Sandor Clegane, who stood by and watched as Joffrey taunted and berated her, as Ilyn Payne beheaded her father, as Meryn Trant beat her in entrance of your complete courtroom, abruptly shifts the dialog to her repeated rape and torture whereas married to Ramsay Bolton with a very dehumanizing phrase. As if Sansa had been a disobedient horse—not a terrified teenager. As if rape is someway coaching, or in any other case a course of by which she can be tamed or matured. It’s completely in character for the Hound to insult Sansa, however let’s be clear: this can be a taunt, and a deeply disgusting one, accentuated by the way in which he geese his head nearer to her, like he must get take a look at her struggling. (To the present’s credit score, we noticed precisely how depressing that struggling was—and likewise how tenacious Sansa was as she endured it.