August 23, 2011

Daenerys VIII

Daenerys Targaryen (Artwork by Amok)
The hall rings with the laughter and merriment of the Yunkish lords. Dany broods over her food, hating them. They celebrate the peace they have concluded, and the courses consists of all kinds of meat, tons of it. Hizdahr tries to calm her, telling her that they now have the peace they wanted. When she points out that the Yunkish mock her with the slave market outside the walls, he replies that they will be gone soon and that Meereen will stay free of slaves. Dany doesn't want to hear of it and watches the Yunkish, full of disdain. The captains of the four sellsword companies are there too, including Brown Ben Plumm. She would like to kill them all, but the Yunkish have hostages in return.

The Shavepate is not in command of the Brazen Beasts anymore, as Dany remembers musing about the new situation. His family is in conflict with Hizdahr's. Daario was unruly before the wedding, and she is glad that he isn't there, although she doesn't like that he is one of the hostages. When Brown Ben Plumm comes near, she accuses of him of switching sides. Ben tells her the story of his first battle and draws some conclusions: you should never trust a sellsword, and sellswords don't want to die. He then leaves after Dany threatens to kill him, and Barristan comes. He tells her that Ben is right. Dany asks if there are possibilities to sway the companies, but Barristan doesn't know of such things.

It is clear that Dany doesn't expect the peace to last long. After asking Barristan about the possibility of sellsword desertion, she commands that the captured Windblown are released to confuse their enemies and prepare the ground a bit. She then states that the Yunkish grow weaker every day since the flux ravages in their camp. Barristan doesn't want to know of these plans; he suggests to take the Dornish road, to leave Meereen and use the Dornish for an attack on King's Landing. Dany declines, however, since she doesn't believe in the strenght of Dorne. She summons Quentyn and takes him down to the dragons, showing them to him. Quentyn is terrified, but he tries to hide it and tries to persuade her again of allying with him. She declines, however and goes back to the feast.  After the feast, she goes to bed with Hizdahr, letting him enjoy a short fuck before he falls to sleep. She can't sleep, however, and asks Missandei to tell her of her home and soothe her with stories about the good in the world.

The war with Yunkai comes to a first close in this chapter. The peace is officially declared, although no one believes in it. Dany alrady thinks about hitting the Yunkish in some way. As of yet, there is no chance, however. What Dany more or less ignores is the treat she made up in the interior by herself. Hizdahr has already taken control over the watch of the Brazen Beasts as his first move, and he has an all but declared ally in the Yunkish troops outside. The compromise for peace is one he made, and it suits him well. After he disposed Dany, it will be just a stroke of a feather to make Meereen the slave city it was before. Daenerys is in much bigger peril than she permits herself to see.

The lesson from Brown Ben Plumm is, of course, a valuable one. Dany doesn't really trust anyone now, and especially sellswords will never again receive her trust, with the notable exception of Daario. She wants to use them for her own aims, of course, but she won't grant them anything powerful again. It is interesting that she states that "we want them to be treacherous", remembering that she won her wars by swaying the sellswords in the first place. It is a fickle thing, and the Second Sons will switch sides once again in this book. Whoeever is winning gets the loyalty of the sellswords, whose companies are strong enough to sustain something like that. The more individual sellswords of Westeros would get real problems if they changed sides so often.

The question remaining is whether the Dornish road is an alternative or not. Dany can't know of Aegon, but if she set sail now, land in Dorne, join her Unsullied and whoever cared to come with her with the Dornish and then struck an alliance with Aegon's Golden Company, chances should be good for her, better in any case than in Meereen. However, there is one big downside to this. She would have to leave the dragons behind, and knowing Dany, she can't do that. She needs to fulfill her destiny, and for that she has to control the dragons. There can't be another alternative.

As to side notes, the flux, of course, is a real danger to both armies. It ravages both; however, it seems as if the Yunkish suffer more from it for being disposed outside the walls. It is the bane of armies. Another question are the treasons: is Ben Plumm's the treason the one for gold? One could hope so. It has nor harmed Dany too much, and if it was this treason, there is only one left.


  1. I have actually been wondering if maybe the treasons against Dany are self inflicted. She loved Daario, and let him control her essentially. So, maybe the treasons against her are out of her own stupidity, kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nothing that's been done to her yet, has really been all too bad IMO.

  2. This chapter makes it quite clear - coming after Tyrion's enslavement, and the captured wildlings from Hardhome in Braavos- that Dany is a fool to compromise with these folk. Hizdahr is as bad as Xaro.