In the HBO TV series Game of Thrones episode Blackwater, the Hound offered to take Sansa to Winterfell. The ending of the scene was ambiguous and I thought she left King's Landing with the Hound. However, in the next episode she's still in King's Landing. Perhaps in the books there is a better description of events, but I do not think they explained Sansa's thought process very well in the TV series.

In the episode Sansa is under the impression that the city had fallen to Stannis Baratheon's forces. King Joffrey made her suffer in previous episodes, and during the Battle of Blackwater, no one was watching Sansa and she had an opportunity to escape. Why did Sansa stay in King's Landing after all she endured?

7 Answers 7


I have read the books and seen the series. Here's my take:

  1. In the book, Clegane is in her bed drunk, crying, and covered in blood. Not a great scene for a teen to walk into. And he didn't expect her to be there. She's supposed to be hiding in Maegor's Holdfast. He went there to experience what he thinks is his last time to "be" with her.

    He also grabs her quite violently, throws her on the bed, and holds a knife to her throat and MAKES her sing a song to him. If you read the tale behind the song, it's relevant. The Florian and the Jonquil. He does not kiss her. at all. Sansa recollects later that he kissed her - she is an unreliable narrator, and still has a lot of evolving to do.

    That scene alone would have scared anyone out of going with him.

  2. Outside the window, wildfire is raging. Sansa sees that. It's terrifying.

  3. She thinks Stannis has won - she has always thought if he won, barring Ser Ilyn beheading her, that she will be safe. But hey, Stannis is one mean son of a gun and determined.

  4. In the end, Sansa decides better the devil I know than the one I don't, which is escaping and hitting the road to who knows where*.

And to clarify something if you have read book three, and I won't give spoilers here: what The Hound says about Sansa, although brutish, is done to incite another to kill him. He would never have done what he says he wished he had done. And besides, it was to keep her out of the hands of the Lannisters anyway, whom he despises.

* But I would have gone because I adore The Hound.

  • 3
    I agree with everything here, but the last paragraph appears to have a whole lot of speculation. He is a man that shows almost no emotion besides anger and no intention that is not evil or selfish. I believe he would do and has done terrible things to both men and women.
    – JMD
    Jul 13, 2012 at 18:27

The Hound isn't exactly a friendly person (ie: the whole "I like killing" thing), and he's pretty intimidating for a teenage girl to just go running off with even in her current situation.

In the books, he's also described as being heavily intoxicated and (if I remember right) kisses her during that conversation, which may have influenced her decision to risk staying in Kings Landing versus running off with such an intimidating person.

  • That's just how I remember the scene, and while we have outsider knowledge that the Hound isn't just a beast poor Sansa is only just beginning to get past his rough exterior as she grows less naive in the world. IMO Jun 17, 2012 at 5:19
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    No, The Hound didn't kiss Sansa. However, for some reason Sansa (in future recollections) is convinced that The Hound kissed her. One theory is that a latent sense of attraction has developed inside Sansa towards The Hound, and has retroactively changed her memory of the situation. Sansa/Sandor shippers love this theory :) Jun 17, 2012 at 8:24
  • I will have to go back and reread, is Sansa's "Jonquil" in the picture by this point in the books? I thought her reluctance to leave was partly due to thinking she had a better alternative...
    – KutuluMike
    Jun 17, 2012 at 12:24
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    @MichaelEdenfield I am reading ACOK now, and Sansa has already met Ser Dontos in the godswood, long before the battle of the Blackwater Rush where Sandor deserts. So yes, she knew of her alternative.
    – TLP
    Jun 17, 2012 at 15:05

I always thought this particular part was poorly explained in the books. Sandor has proven himself to Sansa many times, by saving her life, confiding in her, protecting her, etc. To the reader, it is clear that Sandor develops a bond with Sansa. I assume the reason she stays is that she is afraid of him, and she hesitates long enough for him to leave. Had she been given more time to decide, I think she would have gone with him.

But of course, she also has her secret friend (at least in the books), who has promised to rescue her, and she may be counting that as a safer option. Sandor's offer must seem very "spur of the moment" to her, and she did not know what to make of it. When they meet in her chambers, there is a distinct feel of potential rape in the air, when he comes to claim his "song" from her. I expect she would not feel safe alone with him on the road.

And of course, there is the meta-reason of plot development. Both Sansa and Sandor have other roles to fill further on in the story.

And lastly, of course, Sansa is the queen of bad decisions. If not for her poor decision making, her wolf Lady would be alive, her and Arya would have fled to Winterfell, Ned would be alive (perhaps).

It is interesting to note, however, the canine aspect of all the siblings also apply to Sansa. Sansa may have lost Lady, but she easily charms The Hound, and earns herself a new fierce protector.


There are three main reasons why Sansa doesn't go with Clegane:

  1. She is scared of being alone with him (and his actions in her room don't help matters)
  2. She is constantly wary of Lannister traps, trying to catch her being traitorous.
  3. She has been told by Ser Dontos that he is working to get her out of Kings Landing.

One of the themes of Sansa's time in Kings Landing is her inability to recognize the "bad" people from the "bad but not really a threat to you" people. Tyrion and Clegane are two of the latter -- neither of them are heroic or virtuous in the sense that Sansa expects good men to be (spoiled by her father, clearly) but both of them actually look out for her well being. In Clegane's case, it seems less like any moral imperative to be kind to young ladies, as much as he sees no point in being cruel to someone when there's no profit in it and they are helpless to defend themselves.

Clegane, of course, scares the crap out of Sansa, because he is Joffrey's muscle, because he admits that he likes killing people, because he's a Lannister man, and because he is ugly. Three of those things are perfectly legitimate reasons for her to be wary, even when his actions towards her are far more chivalrous than the rest of the knighted Kingsguard. (That last just shows her still-naive attitude towards knights -- they should all look like Ser Loras, not Clegane.)

By the time that Clegane makes his offer to Sansa to leave with him, she has already committed herself to the idea that Ser Dontos is going to get her out. She knows him not to be an ally of the Lannisters, and indebted to her for saving his life. And though he isn't acting like one at the time, she can at least pretend that he is a true knight, just one that's playing a part. When faced with the chance to flee Kings Landing with someone that would be branded a coward and deserter, whom she knew to be cruel and violent, and whom she was utterly terrified of, its no wonder she would rather stay in Kings Landing (where she's at least politically protected) than go on the run.

  • "She is scared of being alone with him." No she isn't. In the TV adaptation, which is what OP is asking about, this is the exact scene where Sansa realizes she isn't afraid and has nothing to fear from Clegane. This is made abundantly clear when Sansa remarks, "You wont hurt me."
    – arkon
    Feb 18, 2017 at 21:03

There are several reason why Sansa didn't leave with The Hound:

  1. She didn't completely trust him. True, out of everyone in King's Landing, he seems to have been one of the few who has shown her any kindness. But at this junction, Sansa didn't trust anybody anymore. Much less the disfigured bodyguard of her hated fiance.
  2. At the time she was under the impression that Stannis was going to win, and she was convinced that Stannis would help her and return her to her family.

The Tv Series doesn't exactly match the books - there is a muddle with timings and whole scenes and characters are left out. However, when Sansa was beaten by order of Jeffrey, the Hound watched and did nothing. In the books, previously she met the hound on the way back from the the weir wood garden and he was drunk and frightened her. I think her reasoning is two fold: she does not trust him, and she believes that her noble birth will afford her protection (even against the warnings of Little Finmger whom she at that point doesn't trust either - but will). Remember her age too.


Since no one else has mentioned it, I will. Sansa, in the books, was frightened and repulsed by Sandor's scars. Sansa was never so bad in the show and she has grown a lot in the books. But she was a very shallow person who put a lot of stock in appearance.

She trusted Cersei and Geoffrey for a long time in part because the looked like an ideal queen and prince. She feared Sandor and Tyrion because of their appearances despite the fact that they were the best men left in the snake pit that was King's landing.

There are a lot of other good reasons mentioned here. But I think this is part of it. Young and stupid Sansa didn't go with Sandor, in part, because he didn't look or seem like a valiant knight fit to rescue the damsel in distress.

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