Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Daenerys V


“He was no dragon…fire cannot kill a dragon.”

Synopsis: Dany passes through the Dothraki’s hazing ceremony, and receives a prophecy of her child’s future, which pleases the khal. Viserys is less pleased, until Khal Drogo gives him a golden crown. At which point, he doesn’t feel much of anything anymore.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

Political Analysis:

It’s a bit strange even to me, but it kind of feels good to be back in Essos in Dany V, after ten chapters of densely-plotted Westerosi political machinations. In this chapter, we get a further helping of Dothraki culture and assess the life and (gruesome) death of Viserys Targaryen, the King Who Never Was.

Dothraki Culture Gets Complicated

As I’ve mentioned before, the Dothraki culture presented in A Game of Thrones is far more complicated than what we got on the HBO series’ first season, when it comes to their role in Essosi commerce, their ability to move back and forth between different material cultures, and the way in which the khalasar itself creates certain cultural values and ideals often invisible to Westerosi observers.

In this chapter, the reader along with Daenerys gets exposed to more (and more complicated) aspects of Dothraki culture, beginning with the tricky question of gender. First, we learn that the women of the dosh khaleen wield an enormous amount of cultural, religious, and political power across the whole of the Dothraki people: “when their lord husbands died…they were sent here, to reign over the vast Dothraki nation. Even the mightiest of khals bowed to the wisdom and authority of the dosh khaleen.” Given their role as the center of religious and mystical power within the culture, and the fact that the dosh khaleen are really the only trans-khalasar institution in Dothraki life, one might conclude that the Dothraki are a matriarchal society, akin to Native American tribes where only men could be chiefs, but where the women of the tribe alone elected who the chief would be.

At the same time, we learn that “if the mother…choked on the blood or retched up the flesh…the child might be stillborn, or come forth weak, deformed, or female.” Equating female sex with deformity, weakness, and death doesn’t exactly suggest gender equality, let alone matriarchal values. Likewise, the fact that the Dothraki creation myth omits women altogether (the first man and the first horse being born at once in an act of parthenogenesis, without the involvement of any female force) points to a misogyny equal if not more so than in Westerosi culture.

So which is it – matriarchy or misogyny? Well, it could either, could well be both, with a form of separate spheres in which some women (notably only the wives of the khals gain power, not rank-and-file Dothraki women) are given power within specifically-female areas of life, while excluded from military and economic power. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to get much more data, unless Dany takes a trip back to Vaes Dothrak and we get to see more of the dosh khaleen. The larger point here is that cultures are incredibly complex, and readers should be very careful about getting all of the data in before we, as outsiders to that culture, make judgements.

On a different cultural topic, we can also see more of the Dothraki’s cultural imperialism and sense of manifest destiny. We’ve already seen a bit of this with the Dothraki custom of dragging the statues of foreign gods back to Vaes Dothrak as tribute to the superior virtues of the Great Stallion, but here we get a much fuller explanation of how the Dothraki see themselves in the world: “as swift as the wind he rides, and behind him his khalasar covers the earth, men without number…his enemies will tremble before him, and their wives will weep tears of blood…the milk men in the stone tents will fear his name…the prince is riding, and he shall be the stallion who mounts the world.” Dany’s son is prophecied to be the Dothraki messiah, the “khal of khals” who “will unite the Dothraki into a single khalasar, and ride to the ends of the earth…all the people of the world will be his herd.” In other words, a key part of Dothraki self-identity and religious purpose is a sense of imperialist Manifest Destiny.

Which gets to something that I’ve noticed in discussions of ASOIAF online and the critique of Daenerys’ storyline, especially in A Storm of Swords and A Dance With Dragons, as a colonialist one in which a white woman (practically an albino) saves the benighted eastern masses of people of color by striking down their orientalist despot masters and establishing an enlightened government. I’ve written elsewhere why I think this analysis is exporting post-colonialist theory that emerged out of our earth’s historical experiences, especially in the 18th-20th century, and why it misses some of the subtleties of the specific historical and anthropological experiences of this different world, and that our colonialist readings (while absolutely valid and a necessary part of the discourse) shouldn’t overwhelm an anti-slavery reading of the plot. However, the reason I bring this up here is to note that Dany isn’t the only one with imperialist or colonialist ideology in the world of ASOIAF, that the Dothraki have it as well.

Indeed, within the context of the series, to the sense that “Manifest Destiny” thinking appears, it mostly comes out of Essos: the Valyrian Freehold’s imperial ambitions continue to structure the culture and politics of the continent, much of the Ghiscari culture is a re-invention of an older imperialist tradition, the Volantine belief that they are the rightful heirs of Old Valyria and their attempts to reclaim that empire by force, the conflicts between the Free Cities over the Disputed Lands, Aegon the Conqueror’s belief in “one land, one king”, and now the Dothraki belief that they were meant by the gods to rule the world. The same attitudes don’t really appear among the Westerosi, who notably stay out of Essosi politics save when it involves rival claimants to the Iron Throne (as in the case of the War of Ninepenny Kings), save perhaps among the Ironborn, who believe that they have the right to reive and to rule. The larger point here: just because we have an analogue for Medieval England, and an analogue for Renaissance Continental Europe and points east, we can’t assume that West = colonialist and East = colonized. We need to look beyond geography and analyze the historical dynamics of the world in question before we begin to compare them to our own.

What Viserys Was

And now the death of Viserys Targaryen, Third-ish of his name. George R.R Martin has given us many deaths of villains – from Joffrey choking to death to Tywin’s will being overcome by the rudeness of biology – but I don’t know whether he’s ever given us a more pathetic villain, brought to his death a complete failure reduced to helpless babbling pleas for mercy.

So what was Viserys, in the end? At one point, Dany points to their shared past, that “he is my brother…and my true king…he was the only one left…he is all I have.” In the past, Viserys was once the hope of his house, a figure of childhood memories of judgement and protection who loomed over Daenerys, a role that Dany still gives him – witness her willingness to hand over the dragon eggs. At the same time, this moment is one in which that image of Viserys is destroyed before his death; note that the moment Viserys puts his sword to her belly, Dany refers to him  as “this man who had once been her brother.” Jorah points the way to the truth, that Dany now has a husband, a child-to-be and a destiny that has nothing to do with him any more.

To Varys and Illyrio, Viserys’ place is uncertain. Given their hold over Young Griff/Aegon VI and the intense level of secrecy they wove around him and the focus on his education and training, compared to the extensive neglect of Viserys (who was allowed to wander as the Beggar Prince for around 5-6 years before Illyrio gave him a place to live), Viserys seems like a pawn used as a distraction to keep Robert Baratheon’s eyes away from the true prince they meant to place on the Iron Throne. At the same time, the fact that Viserys’ name was used on the marriage contract with the Martells, whose support is vital for a successful landing in Westeros, suggests that at least at one point he was considered important to their plans (unless they were sufficiently ruthless enough to gamble that Doran Martell wouldn’t really care which Targaryen prince his daughter would be bethrothed to).

To Khal Drogo, Viserys seems to have been something of an appendix from the beginning – after all, if you’ve got a son who’s supposed to be the Stallion Who Mounts the World, why bother giving the “Iron Chair” to his whiny uncle? One thing that’s absolutely clear is that Viserys’ lack of understanding of Dothraki culture killed any possible working relationship between the two of them; a khal isn’t going to respect a Cart King, a Sorefoot King, which is probably one of the reasons Illyrio wanted to keep Viserys away from the khalasar.

Ultimately, it’s his lack of understanding – “she knew what a drawn sword meant here, even if her brother did not” – his failure to adapt to this new culture he’s living among, that brings Viserys to his death by cultural snobbery.

There is one other important thing to note about Viserys and the manner of his death. While it’s true that GRRM is willing to kill any character when it suits his story, it’s absolutely not true that anyone dies randomly in ASOIAF (he’s far too intricate in his plotting for that). Here we have the first on-screen death of a major character (depending on how major one considers Jory Cassel), and it’s the death of a king in the act of being crowned. In ASOIAF, prophecy always comes with its own heralds and forerunners, echoes of the future rippling backwards in time, Here, the message is clear – kings are going to die, and the crowning of kings is going to bring horror rather than joy. Anyone wondering what’s going to happen to Robert and Joffrey just needs to pay attention.

Historical Analysis:

Another sign that GRRM never acts randomly is that he doesn’t choose just any form of death for Viserys, but a historically famously form of murder, death by pouring of molten gold. The Consul Manius Aquillius was despised by the people of Anatolia for levying crippling taxation upon them to fill his own purse (Aquillius had previously managed to skate from a charge of maladministration as governor of Sicily based on his war record), and so when Mithridates of Pontus defeated him at Protostachium, he was paraded through the streets of Anatolia’s capitol on the back of a donkey, where Mithridates the Great had molten gold poured down his throat to the cheers of the crowd.

When Marcus Licinius Crassus, the richest man in Rome and so infamously avaricious that he was called “Crassus rich as Croeseus” (the inventor of coinage), invaded the lands of the Parthian Emperors to plunder the riches of the East, and was routed at Carrhae, the victorious Parthians meted out the same fate to him (having heard of and clearly been impressed by Mithridates’ punishment). According to Plutarch, his head was then used as a prop in a staging of The Bacchae at a Parthian royal wedding.

hat tip to Echoes of Narcissus

In some tellings of his death, the Emperor Valerian (the only Roman Emperor ever to be captured on the battlefield, again by the Persians) was forced to swallow molten gold as the crowning of ritual humiliations (that began with being used as a human footstool for the Emperor Shapur the Great), possibly as a way to mock the Emperor’s offers of lavish ransoms if he was freed. Following this death, the Emperor was skinned and the skin stuffed so that it could be kept as a trophy of the greatness of the Persian Emperors. If you think George R.R Martin has a sick mind, all I can say is look at this historical example and realize that, if anything, Martin is rather tame compared to the kings and emperors of history.

It’s not accidental that Viserys’ death in this fashion comes after he attempts to steal Daenerys’ wedding gift and use to it to further his royal ambitions – Martin is symbolically punishing the prince for his vanity, his pride, and his greed. At the same time, it’s not an accident that all of these historical deaths involved the triumph of an eastern monarch over a western one; Martin’s playing with some orientalist tropes here, but instead of this death being seen as an outrage that must be avenged, as they were historically, instead it’s shown as a righteous judgement for a coward and a bully, and one that clears the way for a Queen who combines East and West to rise.

What If?

There’s really only one hypothetical that matters here (yes, there’s also the possibility of what if Viserys had actually managed to kill Dany’s baby, but given that the baby dies anyway, it doesn’t really change anything; Viserys might have gotten away with stealing the eggs if the timing had been different, but I think the rule of Chekov’s Dragon Eggs holds): what if Viserys had avoided his brutal death here? It’s not likely, given his raging ego and need to be recognized as the most important person where ever he goes, but it’s possible Viserys gets so drunk that he passes out and sleeps it off without ever making it to the feast, so maybe he survives.

On one level, Viserys’ story is kind of done, so it seems a bit unfair to keep dragging things out. However, on a petty and personally satisfying level, it would be kind of hilarious to see his sister birth the three dragons that his family has been trying and failing to achieve since the time of Aegon III. On a plot level, it might actually change things a bit – the Martell marriage doesn’t need to be changed, so Quentyn probably isn’t sent to Meereen, which means he probably isn’t burninated to death by Rhaegal in the attempt to tame…Viserion. In turn, this may well mean that what looks like a forthcoming alliance between the Martells and Aegon VI (Blackfyre?), which seems likely to happen in The Winds of Winter.

Book vs. Show:

The major thing we gain from transition between book and show is the addition of the scene between Jorah Mormont and Viserys where the knight prevents the prince from stealing his sister’s dragon eggs. It’s a great scene, because it makes Viserys’ actions less insane and provides a strong through-line when it comes to Viserys’ motives, that his betrayal of Dany ultimately comes from his insecurity and thwarted desire for love and admiration, and ultimately his realization that he is not the dragon he desperately feels he must be. It’s also a good scene because it rounds out Jorah Mormont’s feelings towards Daenerys, by putting his loyalty to her and his desire for in conflict.

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38 thoughts on “Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Daenerys V

  1. I believe it’s either stated in AFFC or by GRRM that the Arianne/Viserys betrothal contract was established with Willem Darry, before he died. I don’t think Varys and Illyrio knew anything about it — I don’t think Viserys knew anything about it either. (He was still intending to marry Dany right up until Illyrio suggested buying Khal Drogo with her.)

    And yeah, the difference between Viserys and Dany (sent off with the Dothraki and not expected to survive, per ADWD-Illyrio) and the carefully raised and taught “Aegon” is truly stunning.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Interesting. It does suggest a division within the ranks of the Targaryen loyalists; how sure are we that Willem Darry died of a natural illness and not a power play?

      • If I remember correctly, the Targayen childs were evicted from Darrys household and had a longer period of wandering, even selling their mothers crown. I can’t imagine that a Varys-level conspiracy would take this risk of unforeseen consequences and dangers, like, say, assassins from Westeros, being pawns in squabbling between the free cities or even highway robbers. Better would be to put them immediately in a safe house. So it could simply be chance, even the best conspirators stumble over small details.

        Speaking of chance: The whole discussion of two different classes of Targayen heirs would not exist, it not for the fleeing of Queen Rhaella and her child, living and unborn, to Dragonstone. Varys would have been in the chaos after the Sack of Kings Landing, trying to get in the good graces of the new King and lacking the influence at court to undermine Stannis’ Dragonstone fleet. So it would be Darry, one of these stubborn honest men, to do his own thing and flee with the kids, from Stannis and from his own garrison. Which begs the question: why was the Kings family evacuated but not the family of the crown prince?

        • stevenattewell says:

          That’s what’s so strange about the situation – Varys and Illyrio were clearly keeping tabs on them (Illyrio mentions something about the time they visited the Golden Company, IIRC), but at arm’s length. It may have been the case that by keeping them visible in public, they thought it less likely that Aegon would be discovered.

          As for the latter, it’s not clear.

        • “Why was the Kings family evacuated but not the family of the crown prince?”

          I believe someone said they should go with Rhaella (her perhaps, maybe Jaime?) but Aerys’s paranoia was that he felt he could only keep Dorne on his side if he kept Elia and her children in King’s Landing. Specifically, Lewyn Martell, the Kingsguard, was someone Aerys didn’t trust. Lewyn commanded 10,000 Dornishmen at the Battle of the Trident, and his niece Elia was kept as a hostage to hold him in check.

          The real question is why *Rhaegar* didn’t insist, and why he only left one Kingsguard in the capital. (Taking three with him, and leaving three at the Tower of Joy.) The basic answer was that he was confided he would win, and that his children would of course be safe (they were the prophesied 2 of the 3 heads of the dragon after all). But what it really shows is that his grasp of strategy and politics was extremely flawed because of his confidence in the “future”.

      • John says:

        I suppose I understand why Rhaegar sent three Kingsguards to the Tower of Joy, in that they were the only ones he could trust with what was going on there. And I get that Martell was needed to command the Dornish troops at the Trident. But it’s hard to see why he needed both Selmy and Darry there too. One of those would have

        But that also gets to the broader question of why he left Aerys in power at all, with only the non-entity Chelsted and the deeply untrustworthy Varys and Pycelle to watch over him. Surely, before he left he should have had his father put into protective custody of some sort (for his own protection, since he was obviously hopelessly insane by this point), taken up the Regency, and appointed someone reputable and respected to act as Hand in his absence. I know he planned to do something like this after he returned, but it was really imperative that he not waste any time. Aerys was a madman, and it was completely irresponsible to allow him to have any power at all. Roman Emperors could get away with that kind of bullshit, but medieval feudal monarchs generally could not. Witness Charles VI of France, not nearly as destructive as Aerys, but destructive enough, who was basically stripped of all power by his uncles, brother, and wife soon after his symptoms manifested.

        • stevenattewell says:

          I thin this gets to the particular nature of the Westerosi monarchy. One would expect that the moment Aerys II calls for a Lord Predominant to be burned alive without due process of law that there would be a Regency established, but it didn’t happen. Nor did it happen when Baelor the Blessed was in charge.

          I’m still not entirely sure why this is, but part of it may be the interesting disconnect between the more powerful nobility and the court. It’s not that the Great Houses aren’t active, but you do read a lot more of lesser nobles, etc. as Hands of the King or Small Councillors, and the wider royal court seems to be mostly made up of the houses of the Crownlands, whereas the Great Houses seem to stick closer to their bases of power and only periodically become involve in the court (Ned, Tywin, etc.). Thus the people around the king might not have been high enough status that them taking over the government would have been credible in the eyes of the great houses.

    • Sean C. says:

      That’s right. The contract was between Darry and Oberyn, witnessed by the Sealord of Braavos. It seems fairly clear that Varys, Illyrio and Connington don’t really know anything about the Martells’ actions — they’re just banking on them being willing to help.

    • Balmiki says:

      Always wondered what could have been the reason behind prepping Aegon/Young Griff and not Viserys/Dany combo by the loyalists. When they will have to claim the throne, they will need to prove that the boy is actually Rhaeger’s son and an impostor. Difficult to prove when a lot of people had seen a dead boy and dead girl brought to the throne room the day Lannisters sacked KL. Again readying both Viserys and Aegon could give them a clear advantage in terms of if you lose one, you can still use the other. Unless the boy is really an impostor and would be far more pliable in the hands of the so called loyalists.

      • stevenattewell says:

        The advantage of Aegon is pretty clear; as Varys points out, they’ve been able to control his education from Day 1, so they’d be getting the most suitable candidate for their interests.

      • John says:

        That Viserys was a chip off the old block was apparently widely known in King’s Landing before the war, and Dany is a girl.

      • Sean C. says:

        The most obvious explanation would be that Aegon is a Blackfyre, and putting a Blackfyre on the throne in Targaryen clothing is what Varys and Illyrio really want to accomplish.

    • David Hunt says:

      butterfly,

      I think Elia and the kids remained in King’s Landing as hostages to keep RAEGAR in check. IIRC, Aerys was paranoid about his own son mounting a coup. His wife and children would have been hostages. Based on Jaime’s recollections of his conversation with Raegar before he went to the Trident to die, I’d say Aerys was correct about this as Raegar said something about calling a council and changes being made after he smashed the rebels. I’m guessing he was referring to a Great Council to choose a new king (him).

  2. This is going to sound snooty, but I have to disagree with Viserys death being a prophecy for what will happen down the line to other monarchs. I mean Viserys has some very specific circumstances for his death, it’s a unique situation. It’s too broad, using hindsight as 20/20. To me that’s like saying Ned’s death should’ve cued us in that Robb was going to die, which could not have been predicted then.

  3. “The larger point here: just because we have an analogue for Medieval England, and an analogue for Renaissance Continental Europe and points east, we can’t assume that West = colonialist and East = colonized. We need to look beyond geography and analyze the historical dynamics of the world in question before we begin to compare them to our own.”

    Right! It’s also worth noting that there is often a lot of confusion among a certain set between imperialist desire and imperialist success, at least in terms of who was left standing at the end. The various iterations of Persian empires controlled vast swathes of the modern day Middle East, Turkey, the Caucusus, and Central Asia (and would’ve taken Europe too, if it weren’t for those darn Romans!). Carthage controlled all of North Africa from (modern-day) Benghazi to Casablanca and at one point large chunks of Sicily and Spain (and would’ve taken Europe, too, if it weren’t for those darn Romans!). The explosive emergence of Islam led to empires that were the largest yet seen in the world, from Lahore to Marseilles (and would’ve taken the rest of Europe too, if it weren’t for those darn Byzantines!). In the end, light-skinned Europeans succeeded in conquering or population most of the world in the last wave of conquest before humans in general decided that taking over other countries wasn’t OK anymore, and that still has massive repercussions for modern-day economics, politics, and culture, but it’s not like the darker-skinned peoples of the world were all just pleasantly pursuing constructive hobbies and self-actualization until Europe invented imperialism. And that way of seeing the world fails to grant other nations and cultures true agency.

  4. mitsho says:

    Isn’t “the rule of Chekov’s Dragon Eggs hold here” a out-of-the-world literary explanation. Because GRRM introduces them, they can’t be stolen. I can’t remember you ever bringing up this explanation in previous chapter and I actually prefer to stay in world (which doesn’t mean you can’t highlight the literary reasons alongside that). But I don’t think Viserys could have succesfully stolen the eggs. Where would he sell them? On the market in Vaes Dothrak? Or how would he get away from the city? So I gotta agree with you that this what-if isn’t really worth it.

    But going back to Illyrio and Viserys, isn’t Jorah ‘paid’ by Illyrio to look out for the two Targs to a degree. It can’t have been Illyrio’s plan to just sacrifice Viserys. So what if Jorah had managed to temper Viserys to a degree (or shown any real motivation to do so…) Would there have been a ‘civil war’ between the two siblings? If Viserys went with them, I’d say yes so no change. But what if he decided to go back to Pentos? (to organize a navy?) Too many ripple effects from here on I’d say…

    Last question: How definite do you think Illyrio and Varys plans were with Aegon? You only adress this part of the story by the side (and admittedly in this chapter no character could know about him), but I don’t see him fitting into the plot (in both meanings) very well. Did Illyrio and Varys need Viserys dead after all? And thus this development was wanted by them?

    • SpaceSquid says:

      It’s been mentioned – and I have no idea whether this is true – that originally after releasing Game of Thrones Martin confirmed Aegon was dead, only to become more coy about it later on. I’ve long wondered whether the difficulty in matching up Viserys with the Aegon plot is a factor of this.

      Personally, I’ve always assumed Viserys was a combination of decoy and emergency back-up.

    • stevenattewell says:

      When it comes to hypotheticals, in the same way that I don’t consider hypotheticals that are wildly out of someone’s character (what if Ned just strangles Cersei?), I don’t generally consider hypotheticals that require a massive reordering of the metaplot – i.e, Walkers are going to come, dragons are going to hatch, because they are the starting point for the entire metaphysical storyline, and I find hypotheticals in which “plot doesn’t happen” or “everyone dies” to be boring.

      Granted, my attitude on this may change after TWOW; realistically, we know so little about the impact of say Bran meeting Bloodraven or the various magic horns are going to be that it’s impossible to speculate about what’s going to happen there. However, if we get more data about what’s going on and why GRRM is bothering to write those particular story arcs, I could revisit.

      It’s hard to tell re: Viserys. On the one hand, Varys and Illyrio haven’t bothered to get them under control until quite recently. They do assign Jorah, but they allow them to leave their custody and didn’t try very hard to keep Viserys safe. We have explicit statements that Illyrio at least didn’t expect Daenerys to survive the Dothraki.

      With Aegon, the plans seem more definite. They went to enormous lengths to hide him and educate him, to maneuver Jon Connington into command of the Golden Company, and to smooth the way for his invasion.

  5. Lann says:

    What about Septa Lemore? If, as I assume, she is Tyene Sand’s mother it could be proof that there is a link between Martells and the Varys/Illyrio Conspiracy. Also when Doran said a friend in the capital told him Cersei wanted to assassinate Myrcella’s prince (can’t remember his name) I assumed it was Varys.

    • Sean C. says:

      But the Martells clearly don’t know anything about the Varys/Illyrio conspiracy. Otherwise they wouldn’t be so confused by this “Aegon” person.

      • Lann says:

        True enough. Although that is from the extract of WoW from Arianne’s POV so we might want to be a bit cautious about its reliability.

      • Sean C. says:

        Why would Doran send Arianne, who has supposedly been brought into his confidence, on a dangerous fact-finding mission in a war zone if he already knows what she’ll find?

        • stevenattewell says:

          Good point – although that reminds me that Jon Connington knows something of the Martell plot, since he was privy to the marriage alliance.

          • I don’t think he was? It was Oberyn, Willem Darry, and the Sealord of Braavos. That’s it. JonCon was completely not involved in anything to do with Viserys or Dany.

          • stevenattewell says:

            He knows enough to send a letter to Doran about it.

          • No…? Jon’s letter was about Aegon only. “To Prince Doran of House Martell, You will remember me, I pray. I knew your sister well, and was a leal servant of your good-brother. I grieve for them as you do. I did not die, no more than did your sister’s son. To save his life we kept him hidden, but the time for hiding is done. A dragon has returned to Westeros to claim his birthright and seek vengeance for his father, and for the princess Elia, his mother. In her name I turn to Dorne. Do not forsake us.” Doran and Arianne even wonder why he doesn’t mention Dany or Quentyn.

            And this was his conversation with Haldon in ADWD:
            “Prince Doran’s younger son has been betrothed to Myrcella Baratheon, which would suggest that the Dornishmen have thrown in with House Lannister, but they have an army in the Boneway and another in the Prince’s Pass, just waiting …”
            “Waiting.” He frowned. “For what?” Without Daenerys and her dragons, Dorne was central to their hopes. “Write Sunspear. Doran Martell must know that his sister’s son is still alive and has come home to claim his father’s throne.”

            Jon never thinks of Viserys at all, and only thinks of Dany in reference to joining her, or later that Aegon be free to marry her.

          • stevenattewell says:

            Whoops. Never mind, I had misremembered the letter.

  6. @rw9704039 says:

    Where does the term “Lords Predominant” come from?

    • stevenattewell says:

      Sorry, should be Lords Paramount. Aegon gave out the titles during his conquest to signify they were above all lords in their respective kingdoms, but below the King.

      • @rw9704039 says:

        Is there any canon source for that Lord Paramount title? The only reference I can find to it in the books is Petyr Baelish being appointed “Lord Paramount of the Riverlands.” Other than that, no other head of a Great House is referred to as a Lord Paramount – it’s possible Hoster Tully was never called a Lord Paramount and that Petyr Baelish received a new title?

        Obviously, I’m not doubting the institution exists; I’m just curious where everyone got the name from, and if there’s a canonical source.

        • stevenattewell says:

          GRRM’s also made mention to it in his readings from A World of Ice and Fire, in regards to Aegon’s Conquest. It’s the title Aegon gave to the Tullys he raised up to rule the Riverlands and the Tyrells of the Riverlands, the Baratheons who conquered the Stormlands, the elected ruler of the Iron Islands, and the kings who bent the knee.

  7. I think people fall into the trap of thinking Varys/Illyrio planned every detail in advance like a Rube Goldberg machine. Illyrio’s wife either is a Blackfyre or interacted with them. This turns Illyrio’s attention to a huge opportunity, a land under a single ruler where the top underling has allowed his insecurity about his embarrassment of a father to manifest itself as naked grasping ambition and the need to be seen as the one in charge that he’s heightened the kings natural suspicions. How better to take advantage than to send Varys then adjust based on circumstances.

    You can see the same possibilities if you start with the question of how to make the Dothraki attack Westeros. Anyone familiar with Dothraki would know revenge would be one of the few reasons they would brave the sea. Suddenly Danny becomes useful. Keep her brother with you and regardless of if Danny dies or not and Drago probably comes to Pentos to inform her brother and seek ships leaving you to direct their landing. Viserys insists on going you adjust and make new arrangements, no big deal. The eggs could be just a way to cement in Drogo’s mind Illyrio’s willingness and ability to help Danny.

    Danny and Viserys weren’t a threat to or an aid to Illyrio’s and Vary’s plan so they were ignored. When that changed they brought both of them to Pentos. It’s not like the siblings would be difficult to kill if they ever needed to do so.

  8. […] lay with sheep it is known…does the horse breed with the sheep?” If you recall from earlier, the Dothraki believe they have a manifest destiny to rule over the lesser peoples of Essos; here […]

  9. […] Dany V (the complications of Dothraki culture, who was Viserys, the history of the golden death) […]

  10. […] family in order to clear the way for Dany to become *the* Dragon, the scion of House Targaryen. The death of Viserys, however cathartic in the moment, is nonetheless an awful death meted out to a rather pathetic […]

  11. […] we learn in ADWD, this was his plan B after Viserys got himself killed: “then the Beggar King was dead, and it was to be the sister, a pliable young child queen who […]

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