Well-behaved women don't make history

We are Aesara and Thelma, two fans with a passion for ASOIAF, in especial for the pairing of Sandor Clegane and Sansa Stark. As part of showing our appreciation for these characters, we’ve created a long-term project to have artistic depictions of scenes from their arcs that we personally commission to various artists, which are to be featured and shared with fellow fans on this blog. We’re happy to have you follow, like and reblog our content, with the sole requirement being to treat our content respectfully and give due credit to this blog, as the copyright of all the artworks made public here belongs to us and to the respective artists, so no reposting of the artwork should be done without our written consent.
hit counter
Art lovers viewed this

 21/Oct/14 by thestrangerskiss



In the palace of the Hound by Yanadhyana
In the Beauty and the Beast legendarium, music plays an important role during Belle’s captivity in the castle of the Beast, where a room to play all kinds of musical instruments is the third of several rooms containing delights that Beast has furbished in part to keep her days occupied and also as part of his wooing process. Amongst the similarities shared with the tale’s heroine, there is Sansa’s preference for stories, music and singing as attested by this quote from AGOT: 
“Sansa could sew and dance and sing. She wrote poetry. She knew how to dress. She played the high harp and the bells.”
As the canon significance of music and singing is firmly established in the Sandor and Sansa relationship, this depiction feels suitably appropriate to reflect the growing intimacy between these characters, and is a fitting follow-up to the garden scene in the first painting of the series.

In the palace of the Hound by Yanadhyana

In the Beauty and the Beast legendarium, music plays an important role during Belle’s captivity in the castle of the Beast, where a room to play all kinds of musical instruments is the third of several rooms containing delights that Beast has furbished in part to keep her days occupied and also as part of his wooing process. Amongst the similarities shared with the tale’s heroine, there is Sansa’s preference for stories, music and singing as attested by this quote from AGOT:

Sansa could sew and dance and sing. She wrote poetry. She knew how to dress. She played the high harp and the bells.”

As the canon significance of music and singing is firmly established in the Sandor and Sansa relationship, this depiction feels suitably appropriate to reflect the growing intimacy between these characters, and is a fitting follow-up to the garden scene in the first painting of the series.


'Ilustrating Westeros: ASOIAF Artists Speak' 15/Oct/14 by thestrangerskiss


The Stranger’s Kiss art blog is inaugurating today a new art endeavour that’s going to be known as Illustrating Westeros: ASOIAF Artists Speak, consisting of a series of talks with remarkable artists whose works are renowned in the fandom. Being great admirers of J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy books and the art it has inspired, we were drawn by the similar interviews project Talks with Tolkien Artists hosted by artist MirachRavaia, who amiably encouraged us to pursue our own version to spread appreciation for art inspired by George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books and HBO’s adaptation Game of Thrones. As with our source of inspiration, our project’s main purpose is to get more widespread recognition for the talent and dedication of those artists professional and hobbyist that have contributed to enriching the still-developing section of ASOIAF non-official artworks. And in addition to that, we also want to encourage future production of quality art pieces by artists that haven’t yet done any, and in greater quantities that would significantly boost the segment of ASOIAF fan art.

In this first edition, we talk with Mathia Arkoniel, a veteran illustrator that is amongst the first fan artists to grace the ASOIAF fandom back in the days when the pool was smaller and the variety in styles and interpretations more reduced. She is an artist whose paintings capture the dynamic and sensual world that George R. R. Martin has crafted in his fantasy series. Her pieces are distinguished by a bold use of colour and polished rendering, and each one reveals an expressive emotional quality that highlights not only Mathia’s talent but a perceptive grasp of the source material, which we hope will be enlightening for artists and readers alike.

Welcome to the first edition of Illustrating Westeros, Mathia. To begin, tell us how you became an artist, and the influences that have shaped your style.

Thank you very much for the honour of inviting me to participate in Illustrating Westeros.

How I became an artist is a rather long story, but I’ll try to keep it as short as possible.  I’ve been drawing since I can remember, but I seriously decided to BE an artist in 5th grade, after watching Sailor Moon on a German TV channel. I began drawing ceaselessly. Later, I attended a school of Fine Arts, but during that time I’d been using only traditional tools. I have a strong dislike of traditional tools in art for several reasons, one of which would be that they are messy and they smell, particularly oils. So I started looking for a better, cleaner way of painting.

That’s how I stumbled on Digital Art, or Digital Painting in my case. I loved it! I have spent most of the past decade teaching myself skills in Photoshop, Manga Studio, Illustrator, etc. I slowly got to know the online world and been inspired by the artwork of some amazing artists like Linda Bergkvist, Pete Amachree, Xiao Bing, Bobby Chiu, and the one man who, to this day, is my absolute favourite digital painter, Michael Komarck.

I was greatly inspired by Michael Komarck’s fantastic paintings. The mood, the lighting, the realism, the textures, all of it simply mind-blowing. My great dream is to be one day good enough to paint as amazingly as he does.

You are an outstanding illustrator of George R. R. Martin’s works. When did you read the A Song of Ice and Fire books for the first time, and what was your initial impression?

To be honest, I can’t recall the exact year when I read A Song of Ice and Fire for the first time, but I think it was around 2005-2007. I remember reading A Game of Thrones, and around the chapter where Tyrion is attacked by Ghost at Winterfell and Jon calls him off, I was thinking, “This is not a ‘bad’ book, but I am not sure I will like this in the long run. Still, let’s read it till the end and decide then.” To me, the beginning wasn’t too captivating, but I think this happens with most books, until one starts to truly be familiar with the characters and feel invested in wanting to know their fate.

Needless to say, I never regretted reading A Game of Thrones till the end. By the end of the book, I couldn’t imagine not reading the rest in a marathon. The writing style, the dialogue, the world, the plot, but especially the characters were beyond anything I’ve ever read before. They were so real, so three-dimensional! From the most despicable to the most lovable characters, I loved them all, because they were SO real. I also loved something else in the books that I did not see before A Song of Ice and Fire in fantasy books: the author was not afraid to write about the ugly stuff. I can’t read novels that are all fluff, as I like to call it. Novels that flinch away from the violence in battle to the mundane need to ‘take a leak’ aren’t novels that I could ever enjoy.

George R. R. Martin’s works don’t flinch away from describing anything. It’s all there. 

Read the rest of the interview and see her art by clicking here.


 03/Oct/14 by thestrangerskiss


The Red Keep Years I: Desire (Updated) by mckadeinsanity
As soon as we saw the incredibly photorealistic quality of Sara’s art, we knew she’d be the one to bring into existence our concept for a life-like Sandor Clegane that we’re pleased to share now.
In this piece that kicks off our new series of paintings, we have Sandor during the timeline of the first books, in a scene we’ve left fairly unspecified on purpose, and situated at the Red Keep as the background insinuates, where he’s lived for a great portion of his life and where so many events took place that would define him and steer his course towards an unexpected direction.
And why ‘Desire’? It’s just beyond his gaze.

The Red Keep Years I: Desire (Updated) by mckadeinsanity

As soon as we saw the incredibly photorealistic quality of Sara’s art, we knew she’d be the one to bring into existence our concept for a life-like Sandor Clegane that we’re pleased to share now.

In this piece that kicks off our new series of paintings, we have Sandor during the timeline of the first books, in a scene we’ve left fairly unspecified on purpose, and situated at the Red Keep as the background insinuates, where he’s lived for a great portion of his life and where so many events took place that would define him and steer his course towards an unexpected direction.

And why ‘Desire’? It’s just beyond his gaze.


 31/Aug/14 by thestrangerskiss


By a spring-fed pool by Irulana 
This new addition to our Legendary Crossovers is possibly the first artwork about the Florian and Jonquil legend, and is based on a passage in A Storm of Swords describing when Ser Florian the Fool first encounters young Jonquil bathing in Maidenpool, currently our only information about its purported origins. 
Sansa scripts significant parts of the events in her life after this favourite story of hers in the first books, most famously the Ser Dontos scheme, whom she calls her Florian that will help her escape, unaware of who the real Florian figure in her life is, to whom she’ll later make the offer to sing this same song, again not knowing what he’s insinuating in reality. Both incidents illustrate GRRM’s use of dramatic irony through twisting the knightly archetype contained in the song: her “Florian” won’t engage a giant for her like the legendary knight-jester did for his lady, but will instead drop her in the lap of a metaphorical “giant” for gold. Meanwhile, the man she doesn’t yet consciously associate with Florian is the one that takes risks to aid her—and might continue to do so in the future—all the while making fun of all those songs and knights she loves. The song also works subconsciously on him, for after rejecting it and pounding tirelessly on the hypocritical and unrealistic nature of the knightly ideals, he adopts this song as his, one that he’d been promised and wants to hear from her. We may not know the entire contents of the story, but we do possess interesting clues from which to draw conclusions; and to ascertain that it’s no coincidence at all that the song appears most frequently in the arcs of the true non-knights and no true knights, those characters who struggle with the ideals and realities of knighthood: Sandor and Sansa, Brienne and Jaime, and Duncan the Tall.

By a spring-fed pool by Irulana 

This new addition to our Legendary Crossovers is possibly the first artwork about the Florian and Jonquil legend, and is based on a passage in A Storm of Swords describing when Ser Florian the Fool first encounters young Jonquil bathing in Maidenpool, currently our only information about its purported origins.

Sansa scripts significant parts of the events in her life after this favourite story of hers in the first books, most famously the Ser Dontos scheme, whom she calls her Florian that will help her escape, unaware of who the real Florian figure in her life is, to whom she’ll later make the offer to sing this same song, again not knowing what he’s insinuating in reality. Both incidents illustrate GRRM’s use of dramatic irony through twisting the knightly archetype contained in the song: her “Florian” won’t engage a giant for her like the legendary knight-jester did for his lady, but will instead drop her in the lap of a metaphorical “giant” for gold. Meanwhile, the man she doesn’t yet consciously associate with Florian is the one that takes risks to aid her—and might continue to do so in the future—all the while making fun of all those songs and knights she loves. The song also works subconsciously on him, for after rejecting it and pounding tirelessly on the hypocritical and unrealistic nature of the knightly ideals, he adopts this song as his, one that he’d been promised and wants to hear from her. We may not know the entire contents of the story, but we do possess interesting clues from which to draw conclusions; and to ascertain that it’s no coincidence at all that the song appears most frequently in the arcs of the true non-knights and no true knights, those characters who struggle with the ideals and realities of knighthood: Sandor and Sansa, Brienne and Jaime, and Duncan the Tall.


On posting and reposting of artworks: A note from ‘The Stranger’s Kiss’ art blog04/Aug/14 by thestrangerskiss


Since posting artworks in an irregular manner has become a commonplace issue, we thought we’d give some basic guidelines so people can share art properly on Tumblr:

  • If you see a painting on DeviantArt or other art sites, look for a warning label asking not to repost. It’s not always obvious; sometimes it’s an icon with a red hand, and other times it’s a written request by the artist to not “use” their art without permission. And within the definitions of use there’s reposting of paintings, even with linking and full credit. If you see a warning of any sort, the safest way is to NEVER repost anywhere, not even with credit.
  • DO NOT assume that because the painting is there and you see no stated warning, it means it’s up for grabs. It’s still personal property of the artist. Ask the artist if they’d allow you to repost it on your blog or social media. The majority of them will gladly and graciously grant you permission to post their piece on your social media site or blog with only a link back to their DeviantArt gallery or personal website. If they refuse, respect their wish, it’s their work.
  • When on DeviantArt or any other art website you see comments and descriptions like “For John/Jane Smith” or “Commission for John/Jane Smith,” it means that the piece was done with affection for a friend of the artist—in the first case—and paid for, often a considerable sum of money, by the client who commissioned that painting—in the latter case. Therefore, it’s not just the artist you have to consider but the person for whom the painting was done. The artist may be fine with your reposting the piece, but the person who got the piece as a gift/dedication or commission may not agree, and in some cases as they share 50% copyright with the artist, they have a right to require for the piece not to be reposted anywhere and to refuse permission when asked. So, try to never repost paintings that have a name/nickname as a dedication or as a commissioner without asking the artist first. And look round first, because it’s likely that the person for whom the piece was done has already posted it here on Tumblr, in which case, the correct and decorous thing to do is to reblog from their page instead of reposting.
  • When a painting is posted on Tumblr by the person for whom it was done or to whom it was given as a gift, you DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT to repost it on Tumblr as well, not even with full credit to the artist, and all you can do is reblog it from the source blog. Those pieces often are co-created by the client and the artist, sharing copyright on a 50-50% basis, they may have exclusivity agreements on posting and use, or simply the piece became the property of the client with 100% exclusive copyright through purchase, therefore you’re misappropriating their property if you repost on Tumblr without asking.
  • Always remember that ARTWORKS ARE NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN material in any way. Only because they’re displayed publicly doesn’t mean it’s at your disposal for your use under your own terms. It’s the product of long hours of work by people who earn their bread through doing paintings for those who pay for them, and in many cases each painting has cost hundreds or thousands of euros/dollars that come from the client, and when you take a piece from an art gallery and post it, use it as banners and avatars for blogs without permission and credit, you’re essentially misappropriating private property and copyrighted material, which can get you into legal trouble at worst and have your post/blog be deleted by the website administrators at best, for copyright infringement and art thievery.
  • When the artist and/or the client that commissioned the piece has given you verbal or written permission to repost a determined piece, always include along with the full title BOTH the link to the artist’s page and the name of the client when it’s stated that it’s been done for that person. Don’t assume that because the painting is widely known and famous, it’ll be enough to post it with carelessly written tags as people will recognise it anyway. That way you’re establishing that it’s not you who either has produced or owns the artwork. Otherwise you’d be incurring into copyright infringement, which is penalised by the Tumblr Terms of Service, and is likewise not acceptable in other social media sites.

These guidelines are meant to serve as reminders on how to proceed with artwork posting. It’s advisable that you follow them, because not doing so has also a detrimental effect on the morale of the fan clients and fan artists, whose only desire is to share art on subjects they’re passionate about. Many talented artists have ceased doing fan art because of the disrespectful attitude of the fanbase, and others are keeping their pieces private and unshared to prevent these unfortunate incidents, which is negative for the wider fandom that would appreciate them. This segment of the ASOIAF fandom is quickly becoming known for the high quality of artworks, and a respectful attitude would be most encouraging to those people whose fan endeavours have been enjoyed by so many at no cost for themselves.


 24/Jul/14 by thestrangerskiss


Knights are for Killing II: All the stories can’t be lies by Wulfsbane

This painting is the second part to the original Knights are for Killing, and features the initial moment when Sansa and Sandor meet atop Maegor’s Holdfast. It’s an unexpected encounter for both, and a charged conversation follows that highlights the conflicting views each holds on the values of knighthood, as one maintains that all knights are killers and the other that the stories about true knights must have a grain of truth, a theme that permeates their complicated connection.

Maegor’s has always been one of my favourite scenes between Sandor and Sansa, and I’m delighted to have it now completed, and to welcome the fantastic artist Wulfsbane to The Stranger’s Kiss family. 
This painting is the second part to the original Knights are for Killing, and features the initial moment when Sansa and Sandor meet atop Maegor’s Holdfast. It’s an unexpected encounter for both, and a charged conversation follows that highlights the conflicting views each holds on the values of knighthood, as one maintains that all knights are killers and the other that the stories about true knights must have a grain of truth, a theme that permeates their complicated connection.
Maegor’s has always been one of my favourite scenes between Sandor and Sansa, and I’m delighted to have it now completed, and to welcome the fantastic artist Wulfsbane to The Stranger’s Kiss family. 

 10/Jul/14 by thestrangerskiss


Love in the realm of gray by Irulana
 
Sansa fans will be familiar with the Hades and Persephone myth through her time with Littlefinger and his offer of the pomegranate—its hallmark symbolical fruit—when she is at the Fingers. However, in our choice of this myth for the Legendaries project, we have focused on the love story between the gods Hades and Persephone told in the early sources, something which goes against the posterior widespread notion that she was unhappy with her husband, and therefore appropriate for a Sansa and Sandor portrayal. The god of the Underworld loved his wife dearly, building for her a manse and planting an orchard for her there, so she’d have a strip of the above world to live in during the months she was with him, from where the famous pomegranates came. 
And though the archaic rites of the spring festivals put emphasis on the joyful reunion of mother and daughter, there were also some less known texts in which it’s described how light and laughter and happiness came back to Hades with Persephone’s return, which is nicely conveyed by these lines from Jo Walton’s poem “Hades and Persephone”:
I see you, and you see me, and we smile,  And your smile says you are as pleased as me With everything and nothing still to say. All that we’ve saved and thought through all this time Boils down to affirmation now as we Stand here enlightened in my realm of grey.
This is very much a poem about the happiness of reunion, which we are looking forward to with Sandor and Sansa after their long separation.

Love in the realm of gray by Irulana

 

Sansa fans will be familiar with the Hades and Persephone myth through her time with Littlefinger and his offer of the pomegranate—its hallmark symbolical fruit—when she is at the Fingers. However, in our choice of this myth for the Legendaries project, we have focused on the love story between the gods Hades and Persephone told in the early sources, something which goes against the posterior widespread notion that she was unhappy with her husband, and therefore appropriate for a Sansa and Sandor portrayal. The god of the Underworld loved his wife dearly, building for her a manse and planting an orchard for her there, so she’d have a strip of the above world to live in during the months she was with him, from where the famous pomegranates came.

And though the archaic rites of the spring festivals put emphasis on the joyful reunion of mother and daughter, there were also some less known texts in which it’s described how light and laughter and happiness came back to Hades with Persephone’s return, which is nicely conveyed by these lines from Jo Walton’s poem “Hades and Persephone”:

I see you, and you see me, and we smile,
And your smile says you are as pleased as me
With everything and nothing still to say.
All that we’ve saved and thought through all this time
Boils down to affirmation now as we
Stand here enlightened in my realm of grey.

This is very much a poem about the happiness of reunion, which we are looking forward to with Sandor and Sansa after their long separation.


 27/Jun/14 by thestrangerskiss


"One of the recognizable features of the authentic masterpiece is its capacity to renew itself, to endure the loss of some kinds of immediate relevance while still answering the most important questions men can ask, including new ones they are just learning how to frame." Arnold Stein


 17/Jun/14 by thestrangerskiss


The Blood of Winterfell by Yanadhyana

This piece inaugurates our newest artistic endeavour called Facesof Ice and Fire, a series of portraits that will show Sansa and Sandorin separate scenarios which highlight a determined theme.

As Sansa navigates the challenging and oppressive situations that have marked her experience since journeying South, her connection to Winterfell as dual symbol of home and hope grows ever stronger. It imbues Sansa with a sense of confidence and faith, and when she refers to herself as “the blood of Winterfell” it is a declaration of identity and belonging that nothing and no one can displace.
This piece inaugurates our newest artistic endeavour called Faces
of Ice and Fire, a series of portraits that will show Sansa and Sandor
in separate scenarios which highlight a determined theme.
As Sansa navigates the challenging and oppressive situations that have marked her experience since journeying South, her connection to Winterfell as dual symbol of home and hope grows ever stronger. It imbues Sansa with a sense of confidence and faith, and when she refers to herself as “the blood of Winterfell” it is a declaration of identity and belonging that nothing and no one can displace.

 03/Jun/14 by thestrangerskiss


‘Til there comes another by Yanadhyana
 
This second piece in our SanSan Legendary Crossovers project combines the Snow White fairy tale with Sansa and Cersei’s relationship dynamics, and was the easiest concept to create for me thus far as inspiration was aplenty. A while ago, I’d done a thorough comparative literary analysis of elements in the Brothers Grimm’s tale with ASOIAF, likening the main theme of the tale—the Evil Queen vs. the Maiden conflict—with the one between the Lannister queen and Sansa, and outlining a detailed breakdown of shared themes in both that made a case for Sansa as the “maiden” figure in Cersei’s arc, contrary to what she believes.
This soon gave way to the idea to include this one in our tale and myth series of illustrations. The scene depicted is the one at the Queen’s Ballroom told in A Clash of Kings which in a spark of creativity was mingled with the rivalry theme that’s central in the tale. In it, you can observe that the Queen is offering a cup of wine with a side of rotten advice to the young betrothed of her son, and from the high-arched window you can have a glimpse of the green flames that were burning over the Blackwater river as the land-and-sea battle raged on outside.
But … what is Sandor doing there behind Sansa instead of outside fighting the enemy, you ask? Let the northern girl explain:
“Why is Ser Ilyn here?” Sansa blurted out.
The queen glanced at the mute headsman. “To deal with treason, and to defend us if need be. He was a knight before he was a headsman.” She pointed her spoon toward the end of the hall, where the tall wooden doors had been closed and barred. “When the axes smash down those doors, you may be glad of him.”
I would be gladder if it were the Hound, Sansa thought. Harsh as he was, she did not believe Sandor Clegane would let any harm come to her.  
Just so, folks.

‘Til there comes another by Yanadhyana

 

This second piece in our SanSan Legendary Crossovers project combines the Snow White fairy tale with Sansa and Cersei’s relationship dynamics, and was the easiest concept to create for me thus far as inspiration was aplenty. A while ago, I’d done a thorough comparative literary analysis of elements in the Brothers Grimm’s tale with ASOIAF, likening the main theme of the tale—the Evil Queen vs. the Maiden conflict—with the one between the Lannister queen and Sansa, and outlining a detailed breakdown of shared themes in both that made a case for Sansa as the “maiden” figure in Cersei’s arc, contrary to what she believes.

This soon gave way to the idea to include this one in our tale and myth series of illustrations. The scene depicted is the one at the Queen’s Ballroom told in A Clash of Kings which in a spark of creativity was mingled with the rivalry theme that’s central in the tale. In it, you can observe that the Queen is offering a cup of wine with a side of rotten advice to the young betrothed of her son, and from the high-arched window you can have a glimpse of the green flames that were burning over the Blackwater river as the land-and-sea battle raged on outside.

But … what is Sandor doing there behind Sansa instead of outside fighting the enemy, you ask? Let the northern girl explain:

“Why is Ser Ilyn here?” Sansa blurted out.

The queen glanced at the mute headsman. “To deal with treason, and to defend us if need be. He was a knight before he was a headsman.” She pointed her spoon toward the end of the hall, where the tall wooden doors had been closed and barred. “When the axes smash down those doors, you may be glad of him.”

I would be gladder if it were the Hound, Sansa thought. Harsh as he was, she did not believe Sandor Clegane would let any harm come to her.  

Just so, folks.