Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Daenerys V, ACOK


“It was not by choice that she sought the waterfront. She was fleeing again. Her whole life had been one long flight, it seemed.”

Synopsis: Dany gets the hell out of Qarth and meets some people along the way.

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:

As I’ve discussed a bit before, I think Dany V is a bit of a weird place for her prophet’s narrative to end. Having survived the ordeal of the desert, passed the test of worldly temptation, and undergone a dream quest in the House of the Undying, she now….dickers around a bit with Xaro Xhoan Daxos, gets in her own head a bit, survives an assassination attempt, and meets some new people down by the docks. It’s a bit all over the place and nakedly stage-setting for the new paradigm in ASOS, but there are some interesting things going on despite the lack of narrative momentum.

Failing to Assimilate in Qarth 

Continuing my obsession with Dany’s story as cultural politics, the chapter starts with a check-in on the new state of affairs, post-House of the Undying. To begin with, we can see that, after every group in Qarth has tried to bamboozle her, has given up on assimilating and is re-establishing her identity as a Dothraki (by marriage):

If the Milk Men thought her such a savage, she would dress the part for them. When she went to the stables, she wore faded sandsilk pants and woven grass sandals. Her small breasts moved freely beneath a painted Dothraki vest, and a curved dagger hung from her medallion belt. Jhiqui had braided her hair Dothraki fashion, and fastened a silver bell to the end of the braid. “I have won no victories,” she tried telling her handmaid when the bell tinkled softly.

Jhiqui disagreed. “You burned the maegi in their house of dust and sent their souls to hell.”

That was Drogon’s victory, not mine.

While Dany is still ambivalent about her relationship to her dragons – she’ll feel very different in the Plaza of Punishment – braiding her hair and putting a silver bell on her braid is a bold statement that not only is Daenerys Targaryen a Dothraki but a khal. (Another moment of flipping gender-signalling that might foreshadow how she relates with the horselords in TWOW) And if Dany has given up on a rapprochement with Qarth, it very much is in response to Qarth collectively turning against an outsider who’s changed from curiosity to danger:

Pale men in dusty linen skirts stood beneath arched doorways to watch them pass. They know who I am, and they do not love me. Dany could tell from the way they looked at her…

But it was run or die. Xaro had learned that Pyat Pree was gathering the surviving warlocks together to work ill on her.

Dany had laughed when he told her. “Was it not you who told me warlocks were no more than old soldiers, vainly boasting of forgotten deeds and lost prowess?”

“…these are strange times in Qarth. And strange times are bad for trade. It grieves me to say so, yet it might be best if you left Qarth entirely, and sooner rather than later.”

There’s a couple things going on here that need to be teased out. First, the warlocks of Qarth are something of a strange threat from this point on – yes, we hear that they want to “work ill on her,” but they never come in contact with her again, which makes them a bit remote as a threat. And them being captured and tortured by Euron Crowseye doesn’t exactly make them seem powerful and dangerous. Second, this contributes the lack sense of urgency for Dany to leave Qarth other than there’s nothing for her to do anymore, a bit like the feeling you get when you hang around an early zone in an RPG where all the quests are done, so nothing happens anymore.

credit to themico

Third, and here’s where things get more interesting, we already see Xaro Xhoan Daxos beginning to act more coolly towards Dany as he realizes she’s becoming less useful to him. Which is a bit of an odd attitude to take right before he makes his final proposal of marriage:

“You need not go alone, though. You have seen dark visions in the Palace of Dust, but Xaro has dreamed brighter dreams. I see you happily abed, with our child at your breast. Sail with me around the Jade Sea, and we can yet make it so! It is not too late. Give me a son, my sweet song of joy!”

Give you a dragon, you mean. “I will not wed you, Xaro.”

His face had grown cold at that. “Then go…”

Xaro Xhoan Daxos would be no help to her, she knew that now. For all his professions of devotion, he was playing his own game, not unlike Pyat Pree. The night he asked her to leave, Dany had begged one last favor of him. “An army, is it?” Xaro asked. “A kettle of gold? A galley, perhaps?”

Dany blushed. She hated begging. “A ship, yes.”

Xaro’s eyes had glittered as brightly as the jewels in his nose. “I am a trader, Khaleesi. So perhaps we should speak no more of giving, but rather of trade. For one of your dragons, you shall have ten of the finest ships in my fleet. You need only say that one sweet word.”

“No,” she said.

While it’s hardly unusual in this world for marriage negotiations to include questions of wealth and property, it is surprising how quickly XXD moves from professions of love and promises of children to naked commercial transaction. It takes very little for Dany to uncover a man who offhandedly mentions mothers selling their children, and who reacts to being told no by sending her messages “each cooler than the last. She must quit his house. He was done feeding her and her people. He demanded the return of his gifts…” I think their entire relationship can be summed up by XXD asking for a dragon “for all my kindnesses,” and then balking when Dany asks for “one third of all the ships in the world” instead.

Daxos’ motives here, as in previous chapters, are somewhat vague. He doesn’t want Dany for her person, he doesn’t seem to want the dragons to take over Qarth (as in the show) or the world for that matter, nor to vanquish his enemies, nor to gain magical power. He simply wants them because they’re something he doesn’t have. And while I wouldn’t generally recommend this as a literary technique, this vagueness works here. XXD’s greed parallels the unfulfilled hunger that fuels commerce and capitalism itself (indeed, one of the fundamental principles of human behavior as economics sees it is that demand is un-ending), because he is the purest embodiment of the merchant class there is in ASOIAF. Thus when he reappears in ADWD it’s quite effective – he’s equally happy to negotiate or war with the Breaker of Chains, because at the end of the day, he doesn’t care about the glory of Old Ghis or whether Dany broke any of the laws of war. All he cares about is that the spice slave trade flows once more.

The Metaphysical and the Metatextual

Moving from the material to the metaphysical, in the aftermath of Dany’s ordeal in the House of the Undying, we see that, far from the House’s destruction putting an end to magic in Qarth, it has only become more potent:

“It is said that the glass candles are burning in the house of Urrathon Night-Walker, that have not burned in a hundred years. Ghost grass grows in the Garden of Gehane, phantom tortoises have been seen carrying messages between the windowless houses on Warlock’s Way, and all the rats in the city are chewing off their tails. The wife of Mathos Mallarawan, who once mocked a warlock’s drab moth-eaten robe, has gone mad and will wear no clothes at all. Even fresh-washed silks make her feel as though a thousand insects were crawling on her skin. And Blind Sybassion the Eater of Eyes can see again, or so his slaves do swear. A man must wonder.” He sighed.

This is some damn fine world-building. On the one hand, there are a number of things in here that repeat throughout the series and give us a sense of connections beginning to be made – the glass candles, for example, will play an important role in the Oldtown plot in AFFC, and it’s interesting that this sorcerous means of communication extends so far outside the orbit of the former Valyrian Empire. The ghost grass reaches back to Dany III of AGOT and the Dothraki version of the apocalypse, and may extend forward through Mirri Maz Duur’s prophecy and the state of the Dothraki sea in Dany’s last chapter in ADWD.

On the other hand, there’s a lot here that works because GRRM allows things to remain mysterious – Urrathon Night-Walker, the Garden of Gehane, Mathos Mallarawan’s widow, and Blind Sybassion the Eater of Eyes are incredibly evocative names. However, the fact that GRRM doesn’t go on to describe them means that our imaginations are free to run wild. And this is a tendency I would love to see become more prevalent in the fantasy genre, where especially in more recent years our love of Tolkien-esque world-building leads us to describe too much, leaving no blank spaces or “there be dragons” on the map. And to GRRM’s credit, both the World of Ice and Fire and the Lands of Ice and Fire (the map book) do a wonderful job of providing evocative details while still leaving room for wonder.

The importance of the magical isn’t limited to worldbuilding, however. In what is one of the major redeeming virtues of Dany V, we get one of the most meta moments in the entire series, as Dany and her crew sit down to analyze the prophecies of the House of the Undying…just like ASOIAF fans have been doing since 1998. It starts with Dany beginning to react to the prophecy she’s been given, letting it color to how she sees the people around her (possibly necessary for the self-fulfillment to take place):

The warlocks whispered of three treasons…once for blood and once for gold and once for love. The first traitor was surely Mirri Maz Duur, who had murdered Khal Drogo and their unborn son to avenge her people. Could Pyat Pree and Xaro Xhoan Daxos be the second and the third? She did not think so. What Pyat did was not for gold, and Xaro had never truly loved her.

As we will see in ASOS and ADWD, the three treasons will be the lodestone to which Dany’s mind will gravitate toward again and again, coloring his interactions with Jorah, Ser Barristan, Dario Naharis, and others. This suggests in turn that one of the major elements of her arc in TWOW and ADOS will be how she will learn to trust others, especially Jon and Tyrion. At the same time, it is interesting that Dany gravitates to the three treasons, as opposed to the three fires she has to light or the three mounts she will ride.

But before she sinks into paranoia and mistrust, Dany extends her trust to Ser Jorah long enough to bring him into her close-reading group. So let’s see how Dany and Jorah do as ASOIAF fans:

The streets grew emptier as they passed through a district given over to gloomy stone warehouses. Aggo went before her and Jhogo behind, leaving Ser Jorah Mormont at her side. Her bell rang softly, and Dany found her thoughts returning to the Palace of Dust once more, as the tongue returns to a space left by a missing tooth. Child of three, they had called her, daughter of death, slayer of lies, bride of fire. So many threes. Three fires, three mounts to ride, three treasons. “The dragon has three heads,” she sighed. “Do you know what that means, Jorah?”

“…the sigil of House Targaryen is a three headed dragon…the three heads were Aegon and his sisters.”

“…A dead man in the prow of a ship, a blue rose, a banquet of blood…what does any of it mean, Khaleesi? A mummer’s dragon, you said. What is a mummer’s dragon, pray?”

“A cloth dragon on poles,” Dany explained. “Mummers use them in their follies, to give the heroes something to fight.”

…Dany could not let it go. “His is the song of ice and fire, my brother said. I’m certain it was my brother. Not Viserys, Rhaegar. He had a harp with silver strings.”

“…but if [Aegon] was this prince that was promised, the promise was broken along with his skull…”

“I remember,” Dany said sadly. “They murdered Rhaegar’s daughter as well, the little princess. Rhaenys, she was named, like Aegon’s sister. There was no Visenya, but he said the dragon has three heads. What is the song of ice and fire?”

“It’s no song I’ve ever heard.”

“I went to the warlocks hoping for answers, but instead they’ve left me with a hundred new questions.”

There’s a lot going on here, so let’s tease out some themes. First of all, the three heads of the dragon being Aegon and his sisters plays into the whole misgendered translation thing that Aemon brings up in AFFC, which suggests that if Dany is the Princess Who Was Promised, the other two heads should be male to complete the gender-flip. Second, Dany’s focus on the baby Aegon and the mummer’s dragon should be all the refutation we need to those who say that dropping Aegon VI into ADWD was an example of poor writing leading to a too-late revelation. Aegon VI was clearly part of the plan since 1998, hence the focus on Aegon being murdered here, and his role in the story could not be clearer: “mummer’s dragon…mummers use them in their follies, to give the heroes something to fight.” Aegon is Dany’s penultimate antagonist in the same way that the Boltons are the penultimate antagonists for the North, which is one of the reasons why I think the second Dance of the Dragons is going to be over very quickly, because at the end of the day Aegon is there to be a roadbump on the way to fight the White Walkers (as well as a thematic device for Dany to finally and decisively claim her mantle as *the* Targaryen). Third, there is an enormous amount of withholding here. We still don’t know what the title-dropping “song of ice and fire” is, and GRRM never brings it up again, whereas he does elaborate on other aspects of the HOTU prophecy. Likewise, there’s a huge amount we still don’t know about Rhaegar’s motivations – fans have guessed that his fixation on Lyanna Stark was part of a plan to breed a Lyanna to go along with his Aegon and Rhaenys, but other than the story of the Knight of the Laughing Tree, we don’t get much more about Rhaegar and the prophecy after this.

At the end of the day, Dany decides that prophecies are completely useless, because all they do is provoke more questions. If only we’d listened back then…

File:Manticore tvseries.jpg

Getting Out of Town

On a completely different note, one of the actual events in Dany V is that the khaleesi acquires a new mission: get out of Qarth. And that means hiring a ship:

Dany would get no help from the Thirteen, the Tourmaline Brotherhood, or the Ancient Guild of Spicers. She rode her silver past several miles of their quays, docks, and storehouses, all the way out to the far end of the horseshoe-shaped harbor where the ships from the Summer Islands, Westeros, and the Nine Free Cities were permitted to dock.

…neither her beauty nor his size and strength would serve with the men whose ships they needed.

“You require passage for a hundred Dothraki, all their horses, yourself and this knight, and three dragons?” said the captain of the great cog Ardent Friend before he walked away laughing. When she told a Lyseni on the Trumpeteer that she was Daenerys Stormborn, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, he gave her a deadface look and said, “Aye, and I’m Lord Tywin Lannister and shit gold every night.” The cargomaster of the Myrish galley Silken Spirit opined that dragons were too dangerous at sea, where any stray breath of flame might set the rigging afire. The owner of Lord Faro’s Belly would risk dragons, but not Dothraki. “I’ll have no such godless savages in my Belly, I’ll not.” The two brothers who captained the sister ships Quicksilver and Greyhound seemed sympathetic and invited them into the cabin for a glass of Arbor red. They were so courteous that Dany was hopeful for a time, but in the end the price they asked was far beyond her means, and might have been beyond Xaro’s. Pinchbottom Petto and Sloe-Eyed Maid were too small for her needs, Bravo was bound for the Jade Sea, and Magister Manolo scarce looked seaworthy.

Having now thoroughly burned her bridges with the Qartheen, Dany turns instead to the outside world. And what she gets from the outside world is essentially a condensed version of Viserys’ life experience: she gets laughed off in disbelief, she gets refused both for pragmatic and bigoted reasons, and she gets people trying to overcharge and otherwise scam her. It’s an interesting moment of regression for Dany, and the pull quote for this essay suggests that it’s enough to give her a moment of empathy for her otherwise shitty brother.

Unfortunately, now that she’s down in the docks and no longer protected by XXD’s manse’s high walls, this brings us to the part of the chapter that doesn’t really work – the Sorrowful Man’s attempted assassination:

A Qartheen stepped into her path. “Mother of Dragons, for you.” He knelt and thrust a jewel box into her face.

Dany took it almost by reflex. The box was carved wood, its mother-of-pearl lid inlaid with jasper and chalcedony. “You are too generous.” She opened it. Within was a glittering green scarab carved from onyx and emerald. Beautiful, she thought. This will help pay for our passage. As she reached inside the box, the man said, “I am so sorry,” but she hardly heard.

Dany took it almost by reflex. The box was carved wood, its mother-of-pearl lid inlaid with jasper and chalcedony. “You are too generous.” She opened it. Within was a glittering green scarab carved from onyx and emerald. Beautiful, she thought. This will help pay for our passage. As she reached inside the box, the man said, “I am so sorry,” but she hardly heard.

The scarab unfolded with a hiss.

Dany caught a glimpse of a malign black face, almost human, and an arched tail dripping venom…and then the box flew from her hand in pieces, turning end over end. Sudden pain twisted her fingers. As she cried out and clutched her hand, the brass merchant let out a shriek, a woman screamed, and suddenly the Qartheen were shouting and pushing each other aside. Ser Jorah slammed past her, and Dany stumbled to one knee. She heard the hiss again. The old man drove the butt of his staff into the ground, Aggo came riding through an eggseller’s stall and vaulted from his saddle, Jhogo’s whip cracked overhead, Ser Jorah slammed the eunuch over the head with the brass platter, sailors and whores and merchants were fleeing or shouting or both . . .

On a pure plot basis, I can see why GRRM needed this to happen. First, Dany needs a compelling reason to get out of Qarth right now, because she’s finished her primary quest chain and she needs to move on to the Slaver’s Bay zone and keep levelling up. Second, Dany needs a reason to trust Arstan Whitebeard and Strong Belwas so that she’ll add them to her party, and having them save her from an attempted hit is as good a reason as any.

The problem to me is one of execution – this is just weak tea. The attempted murder of our protagonist should feel a lot bigger than that, an omnipresent threat coming at her from every angle as an entire ancient and corrupt city seeks to drive out the foreign element within. There should be teams of assassins jumping out from every dark corner and alleyway, driving Dany’s party to the very end of the docks, only for the Millenium Falcon Seduleon, Summer Son, and Joso’s Prank to show up just at the nick of time so that they can dramatically leap aboard, arrows falling just short. One guy with a manticore scarab just doesn’t provide enough of a sense of urgency or much of a reason for Arstan and Belwas to be there – after all, there really isn’t anything they do that couldn’t be done by Jorah and Jhogo.


credit to themico

Speaking of our newest additions to the group, Dany V also gives us the first secret identity in ASOIAF, but not the last, as Arstan Whitebeard introduces himself:

“…You owe me nothing, Your Grace. I am called Arstan, though Belwas named me Whitebeard on the voyage here.” Though Jhogo had released him, the old man remained on one knee. Aggo picked up his staff, turned it over, cursed softly in Dothraki, scraped the remains of the manticore off on a stone, and handed it back.

“…I am. I was born on the Dornish Marches, Your Grace. As a boy I squired for a knight of Lord Swann’s household.” He held the tall staff upright beside him like a lance in need of a banner. “Now I squire for Belwas.”

I like how Ser Barristan handles the whole secret identity business. As we might expect from the living embodiment of the best of the Kingsguard, he never actually lies to Dany apart from a name that’s clearly just a shortened version of bARrriSTAN. He really was born on the Dornish Marches, as House Selmy are marcher lords, and it makes sense that he would have squired for his powerful neighbors in House Swann. It’s a very in-character way of showing how someone who is basically Lawful Good (and Lawful Neutral at the very worst reading) doesn’t have to be Lawful Stupid and can actually be just as sneaky and underhanded as the most Chaotic Neutral of rogues.

Checking In With the Varys/Illyrio Conspiracy

Finally we get to the genuinely political section of this chapter, where we get to see what Illyrio’s been up to since he met with Varys in the crypts under the Red Keep back in AGOT. Now, as we know from ASOS, Ser Jorah’s been sending regular updates to the Pentoshi merchant prince about Dany throughout AGOT, but it’s really only his letter from Qarth (his very last missive, as a matter of fact) which stirs Illyrio into action. Formerly a semi-disposable Targaryen who potentially could complicate Aegon’s claim to the Iron Throne, Dany is now the Mother of Dragons and the Varys/Illyrio Conspiracy is the only group in Westeros that knows of her existence. And so Illyrio shows his characteristic flexibility (or vacillation, according to Tristan Rivers of the Golden Company) and reaches out to her:

“Illyrio?” she said. “You were sent by Magister Illyrio?”

“We were, Your Grace,” old Whitebeard replied. “The Magister begs your kind indulgence for sending us in his stead, but he cannot sit a horse as he did in his youth, and sea travel upsets his digestion.” Earlier he had spoken in the Valyrian of the Free Cities, but now he changed to the Common Tongue. “I regret if we caused you alarm. If truth be told, we were not certain, we expected someone more…more…”

Now, as we have seen before, Illyrio uses his supposed immobility strategically, hoping to bring people to him and keep them in his orbit until he can re-direct their energies in the direction before. Before, he attempted to keep Viserys in hand, so that he could be used in conjunction with the Golden Company (and probably disposed of later): “Viserys Targaryen was to join us with fifty thousand Dothraki screamers at his back. ” Here, Illyrio attempts to use his three ships as the perfect lure to get Dany to Pentos.

As 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 was on her way to Pentos with three new-hatched dragons.” My guess is that, since Young Griff and co. were in the general vicinity of Pentos before they traveled on the Shy Maid to Volantis (the fact that they sail south through Ny Sar is highly suggestive that they had started on the far western fork of the Rhoyne that comes closest to Pentos), Illyrio wanted to get Dany to meet Young Griff right away so the young widow could meet her miraculously alive cousin, know that she was not an orphan for the first time since Viserys died, and marry him, uniting the two claims in a thoroughly Tudor fashion. And what better way for Young Griff to prove his Targaryen bonafides by bonding with one of her three dragons?

Unfortunately for Illyrio, his major weakness as a conspirator is that he keeps using catspaws who have their own agendas – we’ll see Jorah’s agenda revealed in Dany I of ASOS, Jon Connington’s in ADWD, and here I think we see a little of Arstan and Belwas’:

“…Now tell me, what would Magister Illyrio have of me, that he would send you all the way from Pentos?”

“He would have dragons,” said Belwas gruffly, “and the girl who makes them. He would have you.”

“Belwas has the truth of us, Your Grace,” said Arstan. “We were told to find you and bring you back to Pentos. The Seven Kingdoms have need of you. Robert the Usurper is dead, and the realm bleeds. When we set sail from Pentos there were four kings in the land, and no justice to be had.”

Joy bloomed in her heart, but Dany kept it from her face. “I have three dragons,” she said, “and more than a hundred in my khalasar, with all their goods and horses.”

“It is no matter,” boomed Belwas. “We take all. The fat man hires three ships for his little silverhair queen.”

“It is so, Your Grace,” Arstan Whitebeard said. “The great cog Saduleon is berthed at the end of the quay, and the galleys Summer Sun and Joso’s Prank are anchored beyond the breakwater.”

As one might expect, Belwas and Ser Barristan play their cards straight; the former frankly admitting that Illyrio wants Dany for himself, the latter beginning to plant the seeds of his later argument about the Targaryens as the coin with madness on one side and greatness on the other. What they don’t do is make any particularly persuasive argument for why they ought to take these ships to Pentos as opposed to Westeros itself (or indeed, to Slaver’s Bay). Nor do they do much in the way of bargaining, as both men hand Dany the three ships that represented the sum total of their leverage on a silver platter, rather than extracting any kind of oath to actually go to Pentos and meet with Illyrio.

Historical Analysis:

So let’s talk about manticores! To begin with, a brief caveat: yes, I know manticores aren’t actually historical creatures. But they were creatures that historical peoples and societies believed existed, so it totally counts. Manticores were creatures out of Persian mythology – although it’s a bit more accurate to say that they were probably a Greek mistranslation/misunderstanding of Persian mythology – which date back at least to the 4th century BCE.


According to these sources, manticores had the head of a man and the body of either a tiger or a leopard, and were incredibly fearsome. In addition to “three rows of teeth along each jaw” like a shark, manticores had “the tail of a Scorpion of the Earth,” that grew “sharp pointed quills” a “cubit long and sharp as thorns,” which it could fling like javelins at its enemies. In some version of the tales, these quills carried either a deadly poison or a paralytic agent that would immobilize its prey. In other versions, the manticore had a voice like  “a pan-pipe blended with a trumpet” and large bat wings that it could use to fly. Notably, the manticore is always a man-eating animal (the original Persian name for the manticore literally means man-eater), and is associated with cruelty and hunger, based on its use of venom to either cause agonizing pain or paralyze its prey while it consumes them, and its habit of devouring humans alive, clothing and all.

So you can see the bare bones of GRRM’s manticore here – he kept the stinger tail with its deadly poison, especially Oberyn’s thickened venom to cause an agonizing slow death, and he kept the human face. But where he got the idea for it being an insect that can be folded up into a box, I don’t know.

What If?

I’m going to handle the What If? where Dany goes to Pentos instead of Slaver’s Bay in Dany I of ASOS, so we don’t have any hypotheticals this week. No way is Dany dying to the Sorrowful Man.

Book vs. Show:

I won’t say that the show handled this particular part in the story any better or any worse than the book did. It’s just an awkward transition, combining new characters and location changes, and there’s no way to get around that. Indeed, I actually found the creepy blue-lipped child assassin who disappears from view more effective than the Sorrowful Man in the text.

Regarding the Arstan persona, you can see right away why it is that Benioff and Weiss decided to side-step this entire plotline – secret identities are a device that works on the page, because GRRM has the complete power to decide what descriptive details he gives about this character. But the camera doesn’t have the same discretion – even if they had Ian McElhinney grow a beard and keep his hood up the whole time like Obi-Wan Kenobi, audiences are going to recognize who this character is almost immediately.

So chalk one up to adaptation making a virtue out of necessity.


68 thoughts on “Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Daenerys V, ACOK

  1. Iñigo says:

    What if the manticore gets Jorah? I think it is a interesting alternative.

    Great text!

    • Winnief says:

      Yeah, Jorah’s death could have a number of ripples…firstly without him, Dany might never have stopped in Slaver’s Bay but gone straight to Pentos.

  2. witlesschum says:

    I hadn’t put it together before that Jorah would have surely been sending his messages to Varys through a system that routed them through Illyrio, so of course the later would know everything he’s sending.

  3. Steven Xue says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the title of the series “A Song of Ice and Fire” an homage to the poem “Fire and Ice” which was written by Robert Frost.

    • Winnief says:

      I always thought that the ‘song of ice and fire’ is Jon Snow who is after all the child of Ice and Fire.

      • He is a person, not a song. Even in the vision in THOTU, vision!Rhaegar says about Aegon: “*HIS is the song of ice and fire”, not “HE is the song of ice and fire”.

        And I’m pretty sure that the series is not named after any of the characters, because it is certainly not ALL about Jon Snow, or anyone else. He is not the one and only main and central character. The series is not “(The life of Jon Snow)”. It’s not like “David Cooperfield” or “Tess of d’Urbervilles”.

        The duality of ice and fire is mentioned multiple times in the series. The House of the Undying chapter may be the first (or at least I can’t remember any earlier ones), but there are at least two in ASOS: “ice and fire” are competing, opposing forces in the world, eternally at war, according to Melisandre (in her big speech about her worldview that she gives Davos when she visits him in his cell), and harmonious, complementary forces that are both necessary for the world, in the view of Jojen and Meera Reed, as they explain it to Bran.

    • Frost was in inspiration, but it’s more than that.

      “Q: Why your saga is called A Song of Ice and Fire, because of the Wall and the dragons or is something more beyond that?
      GRRM: Oh! That’s the obvious thing but yes, there’s more. People say I was influenced by Robert Frost’s poem, and of course I was, I mean… Fire is love, fire is passion, fire is sexual ardor and all of these things. Ice is betrayal, ice is revenge, ice is… you know, that kind of cold inhumanity and all that stuff is being played out in the books.”

      Also, the title of the series is “A Song of Ice and Fire”, whereas the thing being debated is “the song of ice and fire”. I think it still counts as a title drop, though. 🙂

  4. David Hunt says:

    “fans have guessed that his fixation on Lyanna Stark was part of a plan to breed a Lyanna to go along with his Aegon and Rhaenys”

    I suspect that you meant the second (hopefully bolded) “Lyanna” to actually be “Visenya.”

  5. Lann says:

    Great job!

    Small issue. I think Rhaegar tried to make a Visenya not a Lyanna.

  6. bryndenbfish says:

    Lovely write-up! Do you make Urrathon Nightwalker as an Ironborn or potentially Euron Greyjoy? I think GRRM made a literary case for Urrathon to be Euron in disguise especially given the history of Urrathon IV Goodbrother and Torgon the Latecomer

    “To their dismay, the captains and kings chose Urrathon Goodbrother of Great Wyk instead. The first thing the new king did was command that the sons of the old king be put to death. For that, and for the savage cruelty he oft displayed during his two years as king, Urrathon IV Goodbrother is remembered in history as Badbrother.” (TWOIAF, Iron Islands: Driftwood Crowns)

    Given that Asha and Tris Botley later reference this particular story in ADWD, The Wayward Bride as the means by which Euron could be unseated by Theon Greyjoy, I’m thinking this points to Euron living incognito in Qarth as Urrathon — also how he was able to grab up the warlocks without too much effort as reported in AFFC.


  7. Winnief says:

    ITA that the creepy blue tongued kid worked better than the Sorrowful Man, and I for one really enjoyed seeing Barristan’s intro to Dany. Yet another delicious irony of the series is that by dismissing Selmy from the Kingsguard, Cersei and Joffrey inadvertently saved Dany’s life.

    Yeah, if Illyrio had bothered to go to Qarth himself to pick up Dany, things might have turned out very, VERY differently.

    I think one reason Rhaegar chose Lyanna was because he *knew* that one of the three riders HAD to have Stark blood. Am now convinced that the Stark lineage has always been crucial to some sort of contract with the Children in defending Westeros from the White Walkers.

    It does sound like Martin was setting up fAegon in this book, but foreshadowed or not, in keeping with the Perken Warbeck bit from the actual War of the Roses or not, I consider it a mistake for ASOIAF. Firstly, I felt that having Griff and the GC be the first to invade Westeros kinda stole Dany’s thunder and a LOT of readers were very annoyed at seeing him swoop in and do what they’d been waiting for Dany to do. Secondly, it also cheapens the Big Reveal a bit. Oh, wait we have a lost Targaryen heir-oh but he isn’t for real…but whoa there is an ACTUAL Targaryen heir up North. It just adds a lot of unneccesary complications to the series when we should be nearing the end game and is I think one of the reasons for Martin’s difficulty in getting TWOW out. Frankly, I think D&D made the right call leaving it out.

    • Andrew says:

      Yes, and Cersei apparently keeps finding new ways to screw herself. The first time is in rejecting Ned’s offer to flee. I think in a form of irony, the course of action she takes results in the death of her family whereas if she took Ned’s offer her family would have lived. Now she fires a competent man who ends up saving the life of someone who will be the biggest threat to her.

      Rhaegar could have come upon an original idea of the “song of ice and fire” being instead of ice vs fire with ice being the side of evil (the Others) and fire the side of good (Targaryens), is a synergy between the two. It makes me wonder what help the CotF gave Brandon the Builder when he visited them. Could they have played an instrumental role in the creation of Lightbringer?

      I think fAegon adds a twist, with the the threat of the Blackfyres from Dunk and Egg being thought to be long-dead actually turning out to be an active threat. It will also be an opportunity for Dany and Tyrion to grow.

    • “. Firstly, I felt that having Griff and the GC be the first to invade Westeros kinda stole Dany’s thunder and a LOT of readers were very annoyed at seeing him swoop in and do what they’d been waiting for Dany to do”

      I think that’s kind of the point. People want easy solutions and heroes that swoop in with battles and ‘kick ass’, and that’s why they are frustrated by Dany having other consideration and not going for the obvious route. Well, Aegon is giving them right that. But he’s all outward glow and no substance. A mummer’s dragon in more ways than one.

      But for Aegon to play a real and important role, he can’t be Perkin Warbeck. In spite of being a big threat to the rule of Henry VII for years and getting a lot of support in foreign courts, ‘Perkin’ was unsuccessful, his three attempts at invasion all failed, only managed to get himself captured, humiliated and executed, and since he was unsuccessful, historians decided that he was definitely an impostor, because Henry VII said so, even though we can’t really know either way. If he was an impostor, his story is a mildly tragic one about a guy who was an adventurer or delusional and kind of a nuisance. It is a real tragedy only if he was the real deal. Since I’m sure Aegon is not who he claims to be (though I’m sure he believes he’s the real deal), I’m sure he WILL be successful, probably straight away, and will remain so for a time, before his inevitable downfall. I expect him to be False Dmitry I, not Perkin Watbeck or Henry Tudor (the latter is what his fans are hoping for) – to swoop in and triumph and sit on the IT, but then have a huge downfall and death just a few months later.

      As for the show, I used to think before season 5 that may have made the right call, though I was cautious, since I thought it remained to see how they deal with the complications for Varys’ character and motivations. Having seen the utter clusterfuck that was season 5, I can now say with certainty that it was the wrong call, which caused Varys’ character motivations and arc to be retconned in the way that doesn’t make sense and turned him from a mysterious schemer into nothing a fanboy of Dany and especially Tyrion. It was also a part of the general removal of any interesting setbacks or challenges in Dany’s and Tyrion’s story. And as we know, it was done just because it made sense for D&D to have Dany and Tyrion meet ASAP, because they wanted it to happen (in their own words), so they subjugated their stories to that goal. The payoff was an incredibly boring, anticlimatic scene.

  8. Keith B says:

    The timeline here is a bit fishy.

    Daenerys arrives at Qarth about the same time that Stannis starts to besiege Storm’s End; Barristan and Belwas arrive around the time of the Battle of Blackwater, or very shortly after. That’s only a few months. It’s only enough time for Renly to take his cavalry from Bitterbridge to Storm’s End (traveling as fast as cavalry can go, since they outran their foragers), then for Renly to be assassinated, Stannis to complete the siege, then for his ships to travel around the Stormlands to Blackwater Bay and KL.

    Once he gets to Qarth, Jorah sends a letter to Varys reporting that Daenerys is there with dragons. The reason this stirs Varys and Illyrio into action is that it’s the first intelligence they’ve received since the death of Drogo. Daenerys has been incommunicado in the Red Waste, and Jorah hasn’t been able to get any reports out. As far as anyone knows she’s vanished from the earth, and their plans for Viserys and her have completely failed.

    Varys quickly makes new plans and contacts Illyrio. Or maybe Illyrio gets the message first, it hardly matters. He was planning to send Belwas and Barristan to help Aegon, but now he outfits three ships for a long sea voyage and sends them to Qarth. They have to travel through the Stepstones, past Lys and Volantis, around Valyria, past Slaver’s Bay and on to Qarth. I guess we have to believe it’s possible to make that journey in such a short amount of time, but it’s a stretch.

    It’s also worth noting what else Varys does (or doesn’t do). He buries Jorah’s report and says nothing to Tyrion or anyone else in KL. The first time he mentions dragons, he only reports garbled sailor’s stories, and only in the midst of a number of other seemingly random observations. Whatever faults Qyburn has as Master of Whispers, at least he’s not working directly for Cersei’s enemies.

    If Tyrion is comparing notes with Jorah in ADWD, he has even less reason to trust Varys and Illyrio than he did before.

    • Grant says:

      Tyrion should have already known by ADWD that Varys was working on a different agenda, shouldn’t he? That Varys hid the information from the Lannister court doesn’t make him more untrustworthy than he might already be.

      • Keith B says:

        I think deliberately deceiving him goes a step beyond having a different agenda.

        • Grant says:

          If you’re talking about Varys concealing the existence of dragons at the meeting, at the time he and Tyrion were on different sides. Tyrion was a leading figure in a regime that Varys was trying to covertly overthrow.

          • Keith B says:

            Tyrion already doesn’t trust Varys, and he already knows that Varys is a traitor to the Baratheon-Lannister regime that he was supposed to be serving. But unless he finds out from Jorah, he doesn’t know that Varys was lying to him about the intelligence. That would crank the mistrust up a notch, because he would then know that he can’t take anything Varys tells him at face value.

          • Grant says:

            I’m sorry but I can’t see the logic to that. If Tyrion knows that Varys was a traitor to the government Tyrion used to be working for, then of course Tyrion knows that Varys was lying to them all, Tyrion included. It would have been slightly difficult (in the sense that Varys would have lost his head) for Varys to have been a traitor and keep working for the Lannisters if he wasn’t lying to them. Really that should be a default assumption for Tyrion as soon as he meets Illyrio. “Varys and Illyrio have some odd plan? Varys was, at the very least, lying to us about his information in Essos.”

          • Keith B says:

            If I found out that someone had a hidden agenda that was opposed to my interests, I would mistrust him. If I later found out that there was some piece of information that he actively concealed that he was specifically obligated to tell me, I would mistrust him more. I would have a better handle on how far he was willing to go to deceive me. Maybe that additional knowledge would make no difference to you. It would to me.

          • Mar says:

            Of course Tyrion mistrust Varys, and Illiryo. He very much said so in his POV in Illyrio’s mansion. In fact, the main secret that Varys was keeping wasn’t the dragons….it was fk fAegon!

    • Lann says:

      Tyrion doesn’t trust them. Infact he screwed up their plans by planting the idea of going to Westeros early in (f)Aegon’s head.

      • Keith B says:

        That wasn’t lack of trust. Tyrion just didn’t see any reason why he should be loyal to Varys and Illyrio when he could make his own plans. Throughout the series, Varys and Illyrio have been making the same mistake that Littlefinger warned Sansa about, assuming that the people you are using as pieces won’t become players.

  9. Brett says:

    I’m not quite sold on the change in the show. Sure, the audience is going to know that it’s Barristan Selmy immediately, but Dany doesn’t know that – and they could have kept it as a hanging source of potential tension in the next season, when she finds out who he is.

  10. Noseflower says:

    I have always suspected the three treasons to be a major plot twist ahead. After all, the words are “3 treasons you will know,” which leaves it very open. My thought is that the treasons will be those Dany commits, rather than is victimized by. The treason for gold is very easily her welching at Astapor (or blood, for that matter). Love could be her sham marriage with HZL.

    • How were those “treasons”? Who did she betray when she freed the Unsullied and killed the slavers of Astapor? Please don’t say “she betrayed the slavers”. And how was that for gold?

      Who did she betray with her marriage to Hizdahr zo Lorak? Which was not a “sham” marriage, it was a real one. The two of them not loving each other doesn’t make it a a “sham” – especially not in the universe of ASOAIF, where marriages of highborn people are supposed to be about politics, not personal feelings. And that’s exactly what that marriage was about.

  11. T.M. says:

    “(indeed, one of the fundamental principles of human behavior as economics sees it is that demand is un-ending)”

    Actually, that’s not a principle of economics. Human wants>human resources to satisfy them is.

  12. Andrew says:

    Good to see another chapter analysis

    1. A little nitpick: “so the young widow could meet her miraculously alive cousin.” Aegon supposed to her nephew not her cousin.

    2. As for “the song of ice and fire,” I have one theory about where it comes from. You once argued that Azor Ahai was Brandon the Builder. The story of Azor Ahai tells of a warrior forging a flaming sword and leading a war effort while Bran’s story tells of an administrator building the Wall from ice and the castle of Winterfell. The first is intrinsically connected with fire, and the latter with ice. I think in the east they seemed to focus on Part 1 of Bran’s story, and neglected Part 2. I think the story of Bran the Builder is the song of ice and fire.

    2. ” It was well known that the cheapest place to buy a slave was right off the ship, and the banners floating from her masts proclaimed that the Sunblaze had just arrived from Astapor on Slaver’s Bay.”

    A hint to where Dany is headed next?

    3. Barristan seems to deceive the way Varys does, without actually outright lying but providing only enough truths to give the wanted impression.

    4.If Aegon is Dany’s penultimate enemy, I don’t think the second Dance will be very quick. It won’t last an entire book, but there has to be some struggle for Dany and Tyrion to grow as characters, and some impression that at some point in the war that they are losing.

    4a. Personally, I don’t think Aegon will even manage to take KL given I think he is the Tom Sawyer to Connington’s Huck Finn with taking the IT in place of the plan to break Jim out.

    • Winnief says:

      Regarding some of your points…

      1. Yep fAegon is supposedly her nephew. I do wonder though…even if had Dany gone to Pentos; would she have been as….biddable as Illyrio hoped. Especially if none of the dragons actually bonded with fAegon.

      2. Like that theory. If Bran the builder was AA then of course the whole business began with the Stark bloodline. Also it would hint that Jon’s ultimate importance wouldn’t be as a warrior but as an administrator/builder. Like his groundbreaking efforts to create peace with the Wildlings.

      3. Great catch. But maybe Martin should have avoided that whole plotline because of the Mereenese knot.

      4. Yet another of the many ways, Barristan is such a great character…and such an effective bad ass.

      5. My prediction is that fAegon marries Arianne, (though I’m sure Varys wanted him to wed Dany or failing that Sansa for obvious reasons,) and gets a lot of support initially because Cersei’s been running Westeros into the ground. Unfortunately none of that matters a damn when Dany shows up with her own good sized army and three grown dragons. I’m not sure there’ll be an IT for him to hold, since we know at some point Cersei’s going to torch KL and run to the Rock, .no wonder Martin’s having trouble resolving all this!

      • Keith B says:

        I must be missing a clue, but I thought one of the dragons was supposed to ignite all the wildfire hidden in KL. Why would we think that Cersei will do it? And how do we know she’s going back to Casterly Rock?

        Agree on Arianne marrying Aegon, as she’s the one who’s most likely to be available. But sending Arianne out to determine if Dorne should support Aegon is just one more reason why Doran must be the worst GOT player ever.

        • Andrew says:

          Cersei shares a lot of connections with wildfire from AGoT onward, and when added to her associations with Aerys, that is the clue.

          We saw in ACoK, that she was willing to have Payne kill her rather than be taken alive and she would take Sansa with her so her family would take no joy in her fall. I think if the enemy was at the gates, and she had lost her last semblance of sanity she would do it so they don’t take her alive and she leaves a burned capital, hollowing out their victory.

          • Keith B says:

            I don’t know what GRRM will do, but many readers assume there’s a large stockpile of wildfire left over from Aerys’ attempt to burn the city, and that it’s a Chekhov’s Gun that’s sure to go off at some point. However, Cersei doesn’t know about it. So if she does set it off, it will be by accident. And if she burns the city in order to keep her enemies from taking her alive, how does she get to Casterly Rock?

            I suppose Jaime could tell her about the wildfire, and she might ignite it from outside the city, maybe with a very very long fuse. Anything’s possible. But I don’t see how we can “know” that Cersei will burn the city, rather than Daenerys or even Aegon, or how we can “know” that she’ll eventually go back to Casterly Rock. We would need a more definite indication of the author’s intentions than the fact that she seems to like wildfire.

          • Andrew says:

            I don’t think she’ll get to Casterly Rock.

            It isn’t she likes wildifre, but is cimpared to it often with Ned and Sansa boththinking she had eyes of wildifre, and Jaime thinking “Cersei is all wildfire” in her personality.

          • Keith B says:

            Our friend Winnief says she knows it. If someone claims to know something, she should have strong evidence to support it. It’s quite possible that the evidence exists and I’m not aware of it. For example, I didn’t pick up on the identity of Alleras in Oldtown until I read about it somewhere. Now that I’ve seen the arguments, I think it’s beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s certainly possible that Cersei will burn down KL and escape to Casterly Rock, but the evidence I’ve seen so far is very weak..

          • winnief says:

            “Know” was perhaps too strong a word but given that the show has Cersei telling Tommen she’d burn cities to the ground for him it seems pretty damn likely to me.

          • @winnief: “Know” was perhaps too strong a word but given that the show has Cersei telling Tommen she’d burn cities to the ground for him it seems pretty damn likely to me.”

            Is there’s one thing we can be sure of based at this point, it’s that whatever happens in the show means diddly squat for what happens in the books.

        • “But sending Arianne out to determine if Dorne should support Aegon is just one more reason why Doran must be the worst GOT player ever”


      • Andrew says:

        1. Well, I think Dany could have been convinced fAegon is the real deal. If none of the dragons bonded with Aegon there might be suspicions.

        “His Grace gave the babe a pearl ring off his finger to play with, and told the twins the story of how their great-great-grandsire and namesake Jaehaerys the Old King had flown his dragon north to the Wall to defeat a vast host of wildlings, giants, and wargs. ”

        Tell me that doesn’t remind you of Jon who had come north to the Wall, and actually fought a vast host wildlings, giants and wargs.

        Jon does remind me of Jaehaerys I, including having predecessors named Aegon and Viserys who died before they could assume the IT. Jaehaerys saw the end to a war, and then rebuilt the realm and made it stronger than ever from infrastructure to passing laws the benefited the smallfolk. I’m hoping Jon is another Jaehaerys the Conciliator.

        4. Barristan is one of my favorite characters too. He’s the one person who doesn’t give you a reason to hate him. Even not being fully honest with Dany is understandable, he wants to check her out to see if she isn’t mad. He doesn’t want to serve another Mad King Aerys.

        5. I think he will wed Arianne as well, especially given the rumor the Ghiscari spread that Dany is dead will eventually reach Westeros. I think knowing GRRM, the second Dance will start to go in her favor until she suffers a huge setback, likely one of the greens mounts Rhaegal. It won’t be until after the setback, that the war reaches a turning point in Dany’s favor.

        • John Galvano says:

          I think it’s more likely that the “dance” won’t start in her favor but then it will turn around. I don’t really see how there is enough time to play all that out.

        • John Galvano says:

          Also I kind of doubt Jon will be king or Jaehaerys like you say since he turned down Stannis’ offer. Why would he accept the throne?

          Plus as much as I like Jon he’s not an administrative genius like Jaehaerys lol, let’s not get carried away.

          • Andrew says:

            He didn’t choose to become LC either, but was chosen by the NW. He could be chosen by a Great Council, and if he the threat of the Others was dealt with and the realm needed someone to hold things together, he could accept it.

            Even Jaehaerys I wasn’t in his prime as an administrator at 17.

          • Winnief says:

            I’ve often thought Jon might be a Jaehaerys in training as well myself. No he doesn’t *want* the crown, but with the coming war with the White Walkers on top of all the other chaos he may end up being appointed it whether he asks for it or not, in order to rebuild the Seven Kingdoms. I can also see Sam acting as a Septimus Barth to Jon…the last question is who’d be his Alysanne?!? Somehow I don’t see it as Dany, but I have my own theory as to who would be suited be for the role…

          • Andrew says:

            I think Jon would be inclined to name Davos his Hand should he be named king.

            I think I know who you’re thinking would be his queen. Jon himself described the woman as worthy a wife for any lord, and you do see chemistry in their interactions. She just has trouble getting past his vows.

      • There are no “obvious” reasons why Varys would want Aegon to marry Sansa. Nor is there any hint anywhere in the book that he wants to. Varys has, so far, been mostly indifferent and uninterested in Sansa. And a marriage to Sansa, even if possible at this point, would be utterly useless to Aegon’s interests. He needs allies in Westeros to help him overtake the throne. Even under the assumption that the North would look more kindly on his claim just because he married Ned Stark’s daughter (which is questionable, since everyone knows she’s been a helpless hostage since her father’s death, and she and her “sister” have been a pawn in people trying to marry them for their claim; there’s no reason for the Northmen to assume Aegon is any different), the Northmen are really not interested in fighting to place a Targaryen on the Iron Throne. They wanted independence and a Stark king in the North even when they were fighting under Robb Stark. And now, they’re far too busy with their own problems with the Boltons, and the upcoming winter, and will be even busier with the chaos that will no doubt erupt at the Wall between the wildlings and the NW after the assassination of Jon Snow, and the upcoming invasion of the Others. The Northern lords are even reluctant to support Stannis, who actually did go to the North and help defeat the wildlings, and is now marching against the Boltons. Why would they give a damn about Aegon and his claim to the IT? Aegon is, meanwhile, far too busy with trying to gain the IT to be able to offer any help to the Northmen in any foreseeable future.

        No, the one Westerosi princess Aegon really does have an interest in marrying, if Dany is unavailable, is indeed Arianne. He really needs to secure the Dornish support, and that support is far from being certain; he can’t prove who he is without a reasonable doubt, and Doran is far too cautious. Aegon doesn’t have it in the bag and a marriage to Arianne would help a lot. Whether Arianne and Doran will be up for it is a whole different issue.

        • Andrew says:

          The decision to marry Arianne would no doubt be spurred by the story the Ghiscari are spreading that Dany is dead reaches Westeros, so no dragons are coming (or so they believe).

        • Andrew says:

          Also, good points all. Also, Sansa is far away in the Vale with the snows making the passes through the Mountains of the Moon impossible. To get there by ship would require them to get past KL and Dragonstone.

    • I’m not sure how your Tom Sawyer comparison works. But I think that Aegon will take KL and sit on the throne for a while, before the inevitable downfall (and be a much closer parallel to False Dmitry I than Perkin Warbeck or Henry Tudor), for reasons I explained in another comment above.

      • Andrew says:

        Seeing Aegon on a riverboat in straw hat brings to mind the Adventures of Huck Finn. In the story of Huck Finn, both Tom and Huck are working to free Jim from his confinement on the plantation. Between the two, Tom is the romantic while Huck is the pragmatist. Huck’s plan would have Jim freed in less than a week, but he always follows Tom so he follows Tom’s plan. Tom’s plan consists of doing all these deeds he read from romance novels, and ends up taking nine months to finally free Jim and ultimately ends up in Tom getting shot and Jim getting recaptured.

        I think like Bittersteel and Daemons I&II before, Connington is the pragmatist while Aegon is the romantic. Daemon II wanted what would make a great story with a tourney and a hatching dragon egg while Bittersteel had a professional army with spies and assassins. His father, Daemon I dismounted and let his fallen opponent be taken to the rear to be seen to his wounds. Both acts of romanticism end up in the fall of their rebellions.

        Like Huck following Tom, Connington ultimately has to follow his king, Aegon. Under Connington’s plan they would take KL before Dany arrives, but Aegon wends up taking actions that win glory and help to make a good story, but are a long way away from KL. The result is Aegon doesn’t end up taking KL.

  13. Sean C. says:

    Minor note, the current Lord of Harvest Hall is Arstan Selmy (per the appendices), so Barristan is using his kinsman’s given name for an alias.

  14. Ser Biffy Clegane says:

    For me, the What If is what if one of the powers of Quarth decides to outright rob Dany by force, maybe at sea. The show did a good job of suggesting that they think the dragons might not obey (or live) without her, and maybe there’s a balance of power and maybe Quaithe is working behind the scenes, but what do the merchants have to lose at this point. (I often wonder the same thing about Jon and his priceless sword, but I guess GRRM played that straight with Brienne – maybe Jon and Dany are just lucky.)

  15. Grant says:

    With Barristan we know that one reason why he kept his identity secret was to observe Dany and see what kind of ruler she became. I wonder if he’d have gone as far as to kill her if he thought she was another Aerys II. That’s really the only way to stop mad ruler with dragons, cut off the head before the dragons grow.

  16. John Galvano says:

    I’m not really convinced it will even be a true “dance” of the dragons in which Dany and Aegon fight on dragonback. Just because GRRM wrote a short story about the Dance doesn’t mean that this will be the exact same thing.

    I think some people are trying to overbake the pie with Dany or whatever that food metaphor is that you use- they think there will be a full on dance that will devastate Westeros (not even sure how that would be possible since 2 of Dany’s dragons are pretty small), then a marriage and confrontation with Euron, then Jon Snow stuff, then fight with the White Walkers, plus add the fact that she still has to deal with the Dothraki, triumph over the slavers, and then actually get to Westeros.. I agree with you that the Aegon showdown will be pretty quick and his end will be kind of pitiful.

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      I am firmly of the opinion that fAegon will conquer KL, and on the very day of his coronation, as he’s waving to the cheering masses, Drogon swoops down out of the sky and swallows him. As Dany’s gigantic fleet sails right up Blackwater Bay.

      I am also convinced that she isn’t going to head straight for Westeros when she gets done in Slaver’s Bay; Volantis is going to pay for attacking her.

  17. Nothing about the show cutting Strong Belwas?

    • I have to say, that’s one of the very few changes I actually liked on the show. (And you certainly won’t see me saying that often…) It may be an unpopular opinion, but I always thought Belwas was too much of a caricature.

  18. MightyIsobel says:

    I see what you did there with referencing gaming mechanics and tropes. Very interesting.

  19. I think you posted this before adding the links you wanted to to the paragraph about Dany getting to be in the same situation as Viserys used to be. Instead, the text just has the word “(link)”.

  20. […] a much-exaggerated report of the murder of kin, and the emotional impact is real enough to act as a necessary kick in the pants to get Arya to make up her mind to leave […]

  21. […] downfall (which would have privileged the King’s Landing/Battle of Blackwater arc) or with Dany (as was the case in AGOT), or with Arya who began the novel, but with […]

  22. […] I said last time, the transition between ACOK and ASOS is an odd one for Daenerys. This entire chapter, for example, […]

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