August 13, 2011

Daenerys VII

Daenerys Targaryen
Dany can't sleep. While the night is slowly pushed away by the upcoming day, she watches Daario beside her in bed, naked, admiring his body and arousing herself. She is in love with the sellsword, and while thinking about simply escaping with him she is realistic enough to concede to the fact that Daario loves the queen, not her alone. Two nights are left before she has to wed Hizdahr zo Loraq, and she dreads the day. When Daario awakes, he propses that she married him instead, but she dismisses the thought right away. They shortly talk about the city, and Daario states that half of the people are hers, regarding her as her mother, a thought that makes Dany uncomfortable. Daario then tells her that there are some Westerosi sellswords come over from the Windblown who asks for an audience with her, claiming they have a gift for her. She allows them for the day after tomorrow, curious about them.

The next night, Dany sleeps bad, having nightmares about Hizdahr and their marriage. When she opens the court the following morning, the Green Grace approaches her, scolding her for sleeping with Daario in barely hidden words. Dany is struck by it, barely avoiding a scandal by blaming Brown Ben Plumm. Daario then lets forward the Westerosi. Three Dornish talk last, claiming that they are knights and travelling under false name, a fact that Daario clearly didn't know and that angers him. They ask for a private word, and the court is cleared. Two of the knights then present themselves as Gerris Drinkwater and Archibald Yronwood, the third - Frog - claiming that he wants to present his gift first. He gives her a rolled up parchment, which turns out to be the secret marriage contract for her and Quentyn and Viserys and Aryanne. Frog then presents himself as Quentyn Martell, asking for her hand. Skahaz and Daario both speak up against it; Skahaz claiming that she needs a king of Ghiscari blood, Daario telling her that the three are worthless as are their promises. Dany declines, stating the obvious: she is to marry tomorrow.

That night, she fucks Daario for the last time. Daario tells her that the marriage won't stop him, and Dany is part delighted and part terrified about it. Daario gets angry, however, and quickly leaves. He wants to make a last sortie before the peace is in effect, to kill Ben Plumm if he is able to. Together with Missandei, Dany prepares herself for the wedding. While being carried through the streets, she talks to Ser Barristan about her parents. He tells her that there once was a Stormlands knight who was in love with her mother and upon her wedding - which she took, being dutiful - taking vows of celibacy. Her father once desired Joanna Lannister, the later wife of Tywin Lannister, a root of the emnity between the two. They cross the path of Hizdahr and continue the last part of the journey together, reaching the temple of the Green Grace, entering it and leaving it four hours later as man and wife.

Now the political fate of Meereen is sealed. We get the grand bargain between the old elite, represented by Hizdahr, and the newcomers and upstarts, represented by Daenerys. The might of the latter was always present by sheer force. Daenerys could uphold her sway on the city only at swordpoint, the freed slaves being an unruly and constant reminder of her being a foreign occupant. The marriage in the old elite should technically solve the problem, although - like grand bargains tend to do - it greatly favors the old, conservative elite. Dany feels in her guts that everything about the marriage is wrong, and that it will undo most of her successes, but she can't break free from the problem and has given in, hoping against hope that it will lead to something. She can't really believe in returning to Westeros with Hizdahr at her side, and when she talks to Quentyn about returning "someday", this "someday" resembles the one Robert Baratheon always gave the exiled Summer Islander.

Daario Nahaerys proves to be a problem waiting to happen as well: he clearly is just what he seems to be, an aggressive sellsword with no sense for moral or courtesy, but in a strange kind in love or at least desiring Dany. When he strides out her chambers to try and kill Brown Ben Plumm, he resembles Khal Drogo, who proves his love and devotion by slaying the most dangerous beast around. Daario remains the joker of the game that Daenerys plays in Meereen, currently on her side, but now that he is disappointed he is always in danger of swaying to the other side. At the moment, he tries to direct the rage he feels at Dany's enemies, but the anger and provocation he directs at Quentyn, trying to get him to fight back shows a feral aggressiveness that would become dangerous for Dany's rule did she not fly away on Drogon anyway in the next chapter.

As to Barristan, he tries to maintain his Westerosi-knight-outlook, representing the honor and steadfastness of a Lord Commander. He is, however, cursed with a very narrow perspective. A good soldier as he might be, he is nothing if not only that - he has no political instincts whatsoever, and his devotion to Dany remains strange, a bit out of place. Perhaps he grasps the concept of the Hizdahr marriage in the abstract, but he certainly doesn't understand his queen. For him, she still plans to go to Westeros as soon as possible. The way to pave her path is to solve the Meereenese ciris, and once that is done, they can leave. He doesn't understand that Dany doesn't feel that way, and that the realities she maneuvered herself into in Meereen prevent an easy departure.

At least we get some background information about the Targaryens. If there is one big disappointment in "A Dance with Dragons", it's the broken promise Ser Barristan made to Dany (and the reader) in her last chapter of "A Storm of Swords", when he promised to tell her of her ancestors and "Rhaegar. Rhaegar most of all." We learn nothing about him. Instead, we get some nostalgic love story of her mother, which sonds too sweet to be true (who is this landed Stormlands knight who took to the Faith anyway? It seems like I should know him) and a rumor about Aerys II. having something with Tywin's wife. I mislike this rumor, since the idea of Tyrion being a potential Targaryen bastard always stroke me as silly, storywise, but it is lent some credibility here.

As a side note, the wedding in the temple of the Grace takes on for four hours. My god, what a tedious worshipping!

10 comments:

  1. Pretty sure the knight who goes celibate is Ser Bonifer Hasty, leader of the Holy Hundred.

    Jaime put him in charge of Harrenhal in Feast IIRC

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  2. Ser Bonifer the Good, commander of the Holy Hundred. He's a good bit older than Jaime, who thought of him as being formerly a noted jouster who decided at some earlier point that jousting was an "empty vanity" and put his lance aside. This fits with what Barristan said.

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  3. Thanks! I have a wague remembering, but he's no person I really kept in mind.

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  4. UGH!! My only real reaction to this chapter is "Hey Dany, you're a moron!"

    I know that's unfair, but it's my real reaction. :(

    I almost feel sorry for Quentyn, except for the fact that the entire time Viserys and Dany were running and hiding and poor, the Martells did nothing to help them, and now they want her dragons! A bit of rather poor planning on Doran's part, I think.

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  5. Worth noting that this chapter was probably part of Martin's solution to the "Meereenese Knot." He chose to time Quentyn's arrival two days before Dany's wedding, so Dany would not have the chance to seriously consider the Dornish offer.

    Also, Daario continues to represent the alternative path, the path that rejects political compromise in favor of violence and dominance. Dany tells herself and Daario that such a path is wrong and monstrous, yet her attraction to him shows her continuing fascination with the possibility and her unwillingness to fully abandon the "conquerer" side of her own personality that she has temporarily chained with her dragons.

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  6. Yeah, that's likely, thanks for noting.

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  7. Baristan reffered to "the liberties he took during the bedding." Which would've been during Tywin and Johanna's wedding. Wouldn't that imply that it might be the twins who were Targaryens?

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  8. I don't think that these "liberties" include sex. Even the king can't fuck the bride on a wedding in front of everyone.

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