In A Storm of Swords Arya hears some tall tales about Joffrey’s death and the disappearance of Sansa Stark. Among them we find one, which in my opinion is yet another reference to the tolkienic story of Beren and Luthien.
Who killed him?”
“The Imp, it’s thought. Him and his little wife.”
“I forgot, you’ve been hiding under a rock. The northern girl. Winterfell’s daughter. We heard she killed the king with a spell, and afterward changed into a wolf with big leather wings like a bat, and flew out a tower window.
Let us return to the tale of Beren and Luthien, which I wrote about the day before yesterday.
Luthien was the daughter of the King of Grey Elves, Thingol and Melian, one of The Maiar. All tales agree that among Elves and Men there was no woman more beautiful than her. She fell in love with a mortal man called Beren, but jealous minstrel Daeron denounced the couple to the king. Thingol ordered Beren to recover a Silmarill from the Iron Crown of the Dark Lord, Morgoth. The King believed that the youth will surely die in the process.
Beren set off alone, but King of the Noldor (High Elves) Finrod and ten other Elves of Nargothrond joined him on this quest. They dressed up as orcs and tried to reach Morgoth’s stronghold of Angband. But Sauron captured them, and imprisoned at Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Finrod fought the famous duel of the Songs of Power, but he lost, and Sauron realised who were his captives. But they refused to tell him what was the goal of their journey, so Sauron sent a werewolf to their dungeon every day, to devour one of their companions. In the end, only Finrod and Beren remained alive. When the wolf came for the man, the elf killed the beast, but his wounds were deadly. Thus died Finrod, called Felegund, King of Nargothrond, the greatest friend Men had among The Elves.
Meanwhile, Luthien escaped from her father’s realm, Doriath, and searched for Beren in the wilderness. She was tracked down by The Hound, Haun, who accompanied two sons of Feanor, the Silmarill-maker on their hunting trips. Celegorm and Curufin took Luthien to Nargothrond, and plotted to take over this kingdom, while King Finrod was away. (Feanor and Finrod’s father Finarfin were brothers, but from different mothers, and the two branches of the Royal House of Noldor split). Celegorm wanted to marry Luthien, and force King Thingol to ally with him.
But his plan was thwarted by Huan (who was not a mere dog, but came from Valinor, and once served Orome, The Valar (‘god’) assoicated with woods and hunting. (Celegorm received Huan as a gift, and took with him when The Noldor returned to Middle-Earth, led by Feanor and his seven sons, to pursue Morgoth after The Dark Lord stole Silmarills and killed King Finwe, Feanor’s father).
Luthien mounted The Hound, as if he were a horse, and they escaped from Nargothrond, traveling northward, to Tol-in-Gaurhoth. When they arrived at Sauron’s fortress, The Necromancer sent all his beasts against them, among them the most monstrous of his werewolves. But none was a match for The Hound of Valinor, and Luthien, daughter of Melian. (Sauron was one of The Maiar, like her mother, but after his fall, his power was grealty reduced, like Morgoths, as he used it to corrupt numerous creatures into his monsters).
Finally the Future Dark Lord came personally, but in the shape of a great werewolf – Sauron was one of the most skilled in the art of skinchanging. But after a lenghty, bloody duel, Sauron lost, and had to surrender the fortress. Only when he left his physical body behind, he was able to escape as a spirit. For a long time he wandered in the wild lands, to ashamed to return to his master, Morgoth.
Beren was freed, alive, but very weak. When he became stronger, Beren and Luthien prepared for the final stage of their quest. Huan came up with a plan how they could enter Angband without being recognised. Beren took the skin of one of Sauron’s werewolves, and Luthien of the vampire Thuringwethil, who flew between Sauron and Morgoth as a messenger.
By the counsel of Huan and the arts of Lúthien [Beren] was arrayed now in the hame of Draugluin, and she in the winged fell of Thuringwethil. Beren became in all things like a werewolf to look upon, save that in his eyes there shone a spirit grim indeed but clean; and horror was in his glance as he saw upon his flank a bat-like creature clinging with creased wings. Then howling under the moon he leaped down the hill, and the bat wheeled and flittered above him.
Will Sansa’s story end in similar way as Luthien’s? Will Sandor Clegance, known as The Hound, play the role of The Hound of Valinor (like Huan, Sandor abandoned his evil master)? And maybe, like Petyr Baelish says, the life is not a song?