All the Spice You’ll Want: An Analysis of the new Winds of Winter Sample Chapter

As many of you know, George RR Martin released a new Winds of Winter sample chapter on April 2, 2015 from the perspective of Alayne (Sansa). So, of course we had to analyze it. In this special edition of the Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire podcast, the entire team delves into the chapter and the various plots, themes and characters revolving around the chapter including:

  • The history of this Winds of Winter chapter
  • The Conflict of Identity between Alayne & Sansa
  • Lynception
  • Myranda Royce, Frenemy
  • The Hunger Games of Lord Littlefinger
  • The Controversy Surrounding this Chapter (and the controversy about the controversy)
  • Our predictions for the future of Sansa Stark

Listen to us at the following places:

Thanks so much for listening and being our And if you’d like to follow along with the podcast, here are the notes that we used when we recorded!


Filed under ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF Podcast, ASOIAF Political Analysis, ASOIAF Speculation

31 responses to “All the Spice You’ll Want: An Analysis of the new Winds of Winter Sample Chapter

  1. shan

    Thanks for providing the notes! Had a blast reading them

    • somethinglikealawyer

      Thanks. I remember you were asking for a transcript, and we’re glad to include these notes for our listeners’ enjoyment.

  2. Ser Hollis Rivers

    Very interesting stuff. I gave me a lot of food for thought to wrap my tinfoil around.

    In regards to Sansa’s first kill, I would put forward Myranda. Myranda will turn on Sansa for Wanting To Marry Harry(TM Fox Network) and might even try to kill her or Harry (hence the reference to killing her first husband). Also if any killing goes down, I have a feeling Ser Lothar Brune will be around.

    Sansa thinking of the tourney definitely plays well in to Martin’s deconstruction of chivalry. She now understands, at least on some level, that the trappings of knighthood are used to maintain (or change) the balance of power, like all cultural institutions. I think we have to be getting a mystery knight, but I’m not sure who yet. Sansa still has that favor to give to someone.

    One thing that keeps popping up for me is that Littlefinger’s plans are going to well. One Martin-y solution to that would be if Harry dies and Sweetrobin survives.

    Great job, folks. I’ll be thinking about those tapestries until 2022.

    • Elyse Frances Enger

      I have to agree that Myranda will be killed, and with her Harry. I think Lyn Corbay will betray both to further his ends.

      LF I think will end up being poisoned by Sansa. The Strangler crystals are there in Sansa’s arc for a reason,

      Ser Sandrich may take Sansa after the following events has occurred.

  3. Direliz

    Great analysis! Sound levels were perfect and I have no idea what GRRM is going to do with sansa, except her current happiness makes me so afraid for her. I love the name mad mouse and I wonder if the mad mouse is a call out to reepicheep in Narnia who actually was a mouse and a bit over the top.

    • As a kid, I loved Reepicheep, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Martin was looking to subvert a major character from a fantasy world. Also, loved Jim’s 30s evil mastermind voice for The Mad Mouse.

  4. Petyr Patter

    Consider this, what does Littlefinger get should Sweetrobin die? Well, Harold is now Lord of the Vale, and Baelish’s only role in the Vale is his “estate” on the Fingers. So, his plan which involves Sweetrobin dying? It needs to be taken with a lot of scrutiny.

    More likely, he doesn’t care if Robin lives or dies, and has pretty much decided Robin is going to die anyways. So, he’s making plans to maximize on the death. How? I can only speculate.

    Also, I think “something” has just happened. Who is actually trying to buy that grain for a “fair price?” What kept Lord Petyr from not being there for Lady Waynwood? This is a very important person for his apparent plans for the Vale, and he decided to talk shop instead?

    I’m pretty sure Harold is going to quickly be a red herring. He is either going to find a way to die quickly, or Sansa is going to be leaving the Vale by choice or by force. Also, she can’t get married so long as Tyrion lives.

    • Elyse Frances Enger

      I agree, I think both Harry and Myranda will die. Actually I think both will die as a result of someone’s betrayal; maybe Lyn Corbay’s?

  5. wizzsmith

    Another great podcast guys ! A couple of things, firstly, Nina, I’m with you, Sansa is an awesome character. But I will add that it wasn’t the case for me straight away. I’ve posted with some ‘SanSan’ fans since reading, and I was intrigued by the amount of textual evidence they had to back up any notions of this idea. So I set out to try and understand her arc a bit better. With some homework + info from posters on the forums, I started to see + understand the Beauty + the Beast angles, and wonderful writing that make up these chapters.

    The bottom line is, I really appreciate the writing, and how George is playing with the BatB notions – the parallels/references in the writing – her growing character etc… and whether there is romance, tragedy, friendship, future service, nothing…. whatever…. I’m invested in the Sandor/Sansa storyline, and want try and understand these books a bit better. For me, the evidence is all there in the text for something to be going on, whatever it turns out to be. I want to follow it to it’s conclusion, no matter what the outcome. Which leads me to the fact, I get frustrated that I’m labelled a ‘shipper’, and often constructive conversation seems to come second to arguments over my apparent ‘shipping’. Anyway……

    Shadrich, I find it interesting that his sigil is a white mouse with red eyes, does this have any significance with weirwoods/old gods ? Certainly other white skinned, red eyed imagery could be associated with that. [ Ghost, Bloodraven etc..] Hard to make an immediate link, but thought provoking nonetheless. Also, is he really under the restrictions of Varys ? There’s plenty of wealth being flaunted in the Vale. And is he maybe on Sansa’s side ? Probably not, but I’m not convinced either way with the mad mouse.

    Again great podcast, keep up the good work !

    • Petyr Patter

      I actually have a fun theory about Mad Mouse’s sigil, and by extension Shadrich himself. A white animal? You know who else has a white animal on their sigil? The Tullies. Actually, the red eyes of the mouse means his sigil shares the colors of the Tully sigil (red, blue, and white), plus brown.

      If his shield is an inverted Tully standard, then he is probably a Tully bastard, and age considered his father is probably Hoster, Catelyn’s father.

      I go on in more detail at the Song of Ice and Fire Forum, but they appear to be down right now, so I can’t link it.

      Mind you, this if true wouldn’t prohibit him from also being a bounty hunter, or a Varys agent, or almost anything else.

  6. ophie

    Love listening to you guys!

    Just one thing when you’re talking about Littlefinger being evil by controlling the food supply and driving up prices. He also created the demand by starting the war.

    He’s the source of the Throne’s economic problems as well. He’s not just A merchant of misery. He’s THE merchant of misery.

  7. An extremely entertaining and informative podcast, keep up the good work! Here are a few thoughts on what you discussed:

    Regarding Sansa and Littlefinger, I somewhat disagree that this is forming to be a father-daughter relationship, or at least one that doesn’t go both ways. I believe Sansa considers Petyr as her mentor, as she is desperately trying to pick up survival skills, after the shock she lived through in King’s Landing. It may be even considered the consequence of a PTSD – Sansa wants never to be a victim again, so she will do anything to survive.

    This includes her relationship with Littlefinger – Sansa may be in the role of a student, but I believe she considers Littlefinger as a potential threat as well, so we may see her making her own decisions when she feels confident enough. Naturally, as everything else in the series, she may be well over her head.

    Regarding the Baratheon tapestries, I think there is a line you haven’t explored – Mya Stone. I believe it is an open secret that she is an illegitimate daughter of Robert Baratheon, since even Catelyn Stark was aware of that as early as in “Game of Thrones”. I have no idea what the designs of Littlefinger may be, and it may turn out to be a red herring. But Mya Stone is the obvious Baratheon connection here, in my opinion.

    Moving on to Lyn Corbray – I agree that the most logical conclusion is that he is most probably just gay, nothing more. However, it doesn’t mean Littlefinger won’t use it in some way. If at some point Sweetrobin must go, Lyn Corbray may be a very convenient scapegoat – just a thought …

    Overall, great podcast, looking forward to your next postings.

  8. Baeliever

    First I really enjoy the podcast, so thank you all for putting out such an entertaining and well thought out piece. So I’m sorry if I sound a little contrary.

    Baelish is one of my favorite characters so I wanted to talk more about him. In your discussion about what the big controversy in this chapter was you all mention how awful it is that Baelish is using Sansa by betrothing her to Harry the Heir. While I agree that by modern standards this is abhorrent, the use of children, female and male, their marriages and even their sexuality as a way to cement alliances and curry favor is a common and well accepted practice in Westeros. Eddard and Catelyn, paragons of virtue and parental caring, do the exact same thing to Sansa by promising her to Joffrey. Catelyn is married off to her dead fiancé’s brother and Lysa to man decades older than her in order to secure an alliance. In fact political marriage regardless of age or personal feelings of the children getting married is far and away more common than marrying for love. So why the hate for Baelish over this particular maneuver?

  9. Rob

    One of the theories on the tapestries is that they are not going to be used to evidence the incest of the Lannisters but as a source for Littlefinger’s claim to be a Lord / King. The tapestries likely show the ascension of House Durrendon during the Age of Heroes where they effectively rise up against the Storm god, showing enough chivalry and impressing the gods that House Durrendon become Kings of the Stormlands. I wouldn’t be surprised if Littlefinger is trying to do something similar to eventually solidify his Lordship or try to claim a throne (he is going to fail – I’m just saying these tapestries mean a lot to Littlefinger and are not just a bribe).

  10. If Sansa is crowned Queen alongside Faegon at the end of the series, she has nothing to worry about from Danaerys. Every character in the entire story will grow old and die, before she makes it to Westeros.

  11. BoccageTheBlueBard

    An interesting thing that crossed my mind when watching the show is that Sansa is asked to entrance Ramsay, by Petyr, just like how she’s bound to do with Harry the Heir…
    I do understand the troubles coming up with a show where HBO needs to produce the characters and all that comes out of GRRM mind, but as I’m more of a fan of the books than the show, I tend to look into the plot from the show and try to see the parallel of it from the book, as I understand the main plot lines from both must be the same. So I’m wondering how the development if her character will go now, since the plot is sort of breaking from the show vs. the books. If Petyr gets to try and seize the north with Sansa, I suppose it is of little matter if it will be with Harry the Heir or Ramsay, but on the other hand it makes me wonder where in the plot will be the place for Ramsay as well…
    Whenever I watch the show I keep wondering how this char’s path will go until both show’s and book’s path meet up again…

  12. I just listened to this recording again. I am a huge fan of your blog and your recent podcasts. I always gain insight from your informed perspectives on ASOIAF. As Season 5 of GOT has taken us where we hoped it would not in the Sansa storyline, I am feeling particularly down and came to listen for discussion on the real Sansa storyline. It real struck me how the idea of Sansa being raped at this point in her story is so pointless, and how you were talking about it in this discussion weeks prior to the broadcast. I am now so pleased that GRRM choose to put out this Alayne chapter for our comparison at this time.

  13. Listening to this after the 6th episode of season 5, I predict Nina will be joining the anti-show contingent. Great podcast in general – I wish one of the male commentators could get rid of that nasty 60 cycle hum though.

  14. TheReal_Rebel

    What if the show actually doesn’t deviate that much from the book? ? I mean Sansa’s been under drooling threat from LF since she’s met him and Harry may be as horrible as Geoff & Ramsey in the show when they are wed and alone?

    If they do wed. Which I don’t find as much of a done deal as some seem to think.

    And why doesn’t anyone think The Black Fish wouldn’t return to the Vale to rally his grand nephew Robert to the Tully cause?

  15. Lady Elena

    Great review! I am Sansa fan. She is going to be queen because she’s meant to be and has been foreshadowed since the first book just as Arya – a assassin, and Jon – a savior, so don’t worry. I really liked the analysis about the winged knights and how one could turn to be a Jaime Lannister and the parallel of Sansa and Aegon with Lyanna and Rhaeghar… I wished you had predicted whom you think is going to receive Alayne’s favor as I think it would be important because it would need to be someone Harry might feel it would compete for Alayne, but to not really win the tourney?)

    So my personal tinfoil, after reading the chapter: Alayne is going to give Lyn her favor (thinking he is Littlefinger’s man and being gay he won’t misunderstand her favor). Sweetrobin (who wants to kil people and knows Harry wants his position and girl) finds out and pays Lyn (Lyn needs money and now hates Littlefinger). Myranda hits on Harry (possibly beds him). Alayne finds out and takes care of her. In the tourney, Harry wears Myranda’s favor and Lyn wears Alayne’s favor. Something happens and Harry gets injured and dies. Littlefinger plans are destroyed along with Sansa’s hopes… Then happens your great theory: she get’s kidnapped to King’s Landing to meet Aegon and help him secure an alliance with the North and Vale (through Littlefinger/Sweetrobin) and Riverlands (there are many houses still loyal to the Tullys and after Lannisters fall they are going to help her).

    P.S. Alayne wishes at one point that for Harry to get thrown of his horse and hit his head (I think is going to be very amusing if that’s exactly what happens…). Other funny thing it would be if Sweetrobin will be the only one that actually survives, only because he is the character no one expects to live.

  16. Luvlydoll

    I don’t think it’s a sign that Sansa is taking on this Alayne Stone personality that she’s getting annoyed with sweet Robin. Sansa was raised as a princess of winterfell she was spoiled, she never had to take care of children like she does now, of course she’d get annoyed.
    Kinda weird watching this after season five is over and knowing what happens to Sansa.

  17. Anon

    IMO, Sansa will manipulate Lyn Corbray to kill Ser Shadrich the Mad Mouse during the tourney,

  18. cori

    in regards about Robin, do you think that he might be a greenseer since he sits on a warewoood throne as well as being tolerant of the sweet sleep since he always hase trouble sleeping. Preston Jacobs on youtube made some really interesting points.

    • No. Robert Arryn is not a greenseer. He’s a weak boy who Littlefinger is poisoning slowly to vault Harry the Heir into a Lordship of the Vale.

      • cori

        I just find it interesting that he has not die yet when he is giving the dream sleep constantly as well as Robert telling Sansa he has dreams. I am pretty sure Lysa told him about Harry, but he seem shelf aware that Harry is the heir. My thing is LF’s plans are going so well, that you think eventually something will backfire towards him.

  19. josephus

    I really like Sansa so far but I have to say I feel her character would be totally destroyed if she is complicit in robert’s death. Robert was raised to this point by a totally deranged mother but he’s her first cousin and not that old. As far as Sansa knows Robert and jon snow are her closest remaining relatives. I would really like to see Sansa rehabilitate and save Robert from littlefinger

  20. One of the casters, I haven’t been listening to these casts long enough to know off the top of my head….mentions how Little Finger’s grain policies are “evil” and that there is no better word for it.

    This is utter trash. Emotional garbage.

    Tens of thousands die during a normal winter, and many times this during a very very bad winter. They starve because prices go up as the supply dwindles and the demand on remaining grain stocks increases. If prices didn’t go up, people with gold to buy grain would starve, and many who didn’t save will survive. Additionally a handful of people may buy all the grain if the price doesn’t increase or everyone buys a little (though it’s generally a mix of these features given specific contexts) The price increase in the end will maximise the amount of people that will survive the winter; since the grain is being hoarded to be sold when it’s most needed.
    (to be sure, what I mean by people = nobility, merchants, and those that the nobles will directly be feeding, not poor people with no money in the most devastated places who will die regardless because local grain reserves were all war depleted. The poor people are going to die regardless of Baelish’s policies)

    Baelish is ensuring that the Vale will have access to the grain. He is ensuring that noble families and others with money, with trade access through Gull town will be able to purchase grain during the worst parts of this winter. (presuming even this doesn’t run out because the winter lasts 100 years…and everyone dies) Even peasants in the Vale are likely to be taken of, at least some of them, in order to maintain stability in the Vale and supply levies for a possible war.

    Baelish is ensuring that the Vale which he has responsibility over will survive, and that his influence and power will grow instead of no one’s…or instead of some other grain supplier (like the Reach, who’s prices will be even higher than his because of transport costs)

    How is this evil? His policies as they stand right now, will maximize survival, maximize Vale strength, and maximize his own power. More peasants will also survive under this policy than otherwise.

    It would be so much better if everyone just died naturally and everyone who survives comes out of this mess equally fucked? As Lord Protector of the Vale, his primary responsibility is he to make sure that while providing for the Vale, he do so in a manner that makes Lord Yon Royce more powerful, and doesn’t penalize people who want to make a quick Dragon instead of saving?

    ^.^ No.

  21. Sansa manipulating Harry to kill Ser Shadrich would be SUCH a Cersei move – interesting parallel…

  22. Siomhe "sheeo-vah"

    I think Myranda will try to blackmail Sansa with her identity and Sansa will slip some strangler in her drink

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