yessss this is perfect
Finn’s comment about the perception of Loras through Sansa’s eyes is giving me fucking life and I really just want to talk about how fucking spot on he is about that. GRRM has continually said that one should be wary of how we view a character that has no POV, as there is always going to be biases present within the text. Where one character might see someone as bold and arrogant, another might see them as gentle and kind. It’s all about perception, and GRRM was warned us to keep these things in mind while we read. This is the case with Loras, particularly with regards to Sansa and Cersei.
Sansa projects her fantasies of the fairytale knight upon Loras. She first sees him when he’s playing the role of the ideal knight— wearing glittering, expensive armour, perfectly styled, handing out roses to beautiful girls, and winning his joust before going on to win the tournament. She sees Loras, and she sees what she expected she would see when she came to King’s Landing. She automatically makes Loras into this perfect persona, and continues to see him as such even as events unfold and he proves to be anything but the perfect, chaste, gentle knight she desperately wants him to be. Finn uses the word ‘fangirl’ to describe her vision of him, and I don’t think that is very far off. Knights of Loras’ calibre were like the celebrities of their time, and people back then, as they do now, saw them through a skewed lens. They are a fantasy— they fill a role in the viewer’s mind, and anything that is contrary to that view is either ignored or excused.
Such is the same with Loras and Sansa. Loras cheats to win at his tournament, using a mare in heat against the mountain that rides. Still, Sansa sees him as this glorious, blameless knight. Later on, he forgets who she is, and yet she still desperately clings to the rose that he had given her. Even after growing short with her and acting rude, she fantasies about what it would be like to marry him and have sex with him. It is not until much later, when at the Eyrie, she recognizes that Loras is probably not the man she thought he was, and that he was not going to rescue her. There is no such thing as a ‘true’ knight like the ones she had read about in books.
And I think that is the point of Loras. GRRM loves to write tropes and then completely switch them around. Loras, to Sansa, represents the perfect knight. We see him as a teenage girl would see someone she admires; blameless, sweet, gentle, heterosexual, and chivalrous. But Loras is anything but. He kills two innocent men; he is brash and arrogant at times; he is vain; he is in love with another man; he is short and terse with others, and deeply critical (as is the case with Brienne). He has a narrow focus, seeing only his family and his own ambitions.
On the flip side we have Loras in the eyes of Cersei. Overly critical and mistrusting of the Tyrells, Cersei views Loras accordingly. He is to be mistrusted because of his sexuality; he is trying to steal her son away; he is arrogant and stupid; he needs to be taught a lesson. He needs to be gotten rid of, essentially. Cersei has nothing flattering to say about Loras, just as Sansa is far too flattering.
I think the best view we have of Loras comes from Catelyn and Jaime. While Catelyn has her biases, there seems to be no malice behind her negative view of Loras, unlike Cersei. She sees a man enamoured with the idea of glory. A man completely devoted and blinded by his devotion. A man who thinks very little before reacting. A man who thinks more with his heart than with his head. He is a summer child in her eyes— naive and rambunctious, eager to prove himself and make a name for himself beyond his tournament glory. She sees him as a young knight not yet come into his own. We then have Jaime, the only person Loras has ever opened up to. Jaime sees himself in Loras. Both brash, young, arrogant and full of ‘empty chivalry’. While perhaps Jaime projects a little too much of his disenchanted world view upon Loras, it would appear as if he is not far off. Loras speaks of his grief for Renly; he describes the ease at which he killed two men, and then later struggles with the knowledge that they were most likely innocent; he tells Jaime where he buried Renly, and that his loyalties would always lie with a dead man. He also reveals he has a bit of a dirty mind, having enjoyed flipping through Renly’s book of sex.
The preconceptions, desires, and life experiences of different characters are always important to keep in consideration when reading about another character. Loras is no different. Sansa glorifies him and projects her wishes for a true, beautiful knight upon him, while Cersei demonizes him because he is a Tyrell. Jaime sees himself in Loras, but perhaps projects too much upon the young man, while Catelyn cannot help but hold him up to the high standards at which she views her son.
We do not know who the real Loras is, and we may never really get to learn who he is behind closed doors. One thing is for certain, however. GRRM does not write tropes, and Loras is no exception.
I don’t, but I can totally start doing those.
I haven’t read a fic like that yet, so you should totally write it!