With Drogo and the dosh khaleen looking on, Daenerys eats a stallion’s heart. Other spectators include Daenerys’s handmaidens, Irri, Jhiqui, and Doreah; Drogo’s bloodriders, Cohollo, Haggo, and Qotho; Khal Ogo and his son Fogo; and Khal Jommo with his four wives. The Dothraki believe that if she eats the whole heart her baby will be strong; if she fails, her child will be female, deformed, or even stillborn. When Daenerys is finished, the crones declare that her son will be the “stallion who mounts the world.” They ask for a name, and she names him Rhaego. She then proceeds to the Womb of the World and cleanses herself. Afterwards, she rides her silver to Drogo’s tent for a feast.
Daenerys does not see Viserys in the feast tent and calls Jorah over to ask where he is. Jorah informs her that he went looking for wine. He has been talking to caravan guards in the hopes of hiring them, and talks of using Daenerys’s dragon eggs as payment. She asks who the stallion that mounts the world is, and Jorah explains that he is the khal of khals who will unite the Dothraki and conquer the world. Suddenly, Viserys arrives drunk with a sword on his hip. He demands to see Daenerys and to have a place at the feast. Drogo points to the farthest corner where those with no honor sit, and Viserys is affronted. He is mocked and draws his sword despite Jorah’s protests. He goes to Daenerys and threatens her baby unless Drogo gives him his promised crown. Drogo melts his gold medallions as his bloodriders seize Viserys and then pours the molten gold over Viserys.
And so we bid our (fond?) farewell to Prince (King?) Viserys Targaryen, third of his name, Beggar and Cart. I remember the first time I read this scene, I thought that the sorry bastard finally got what was coming to him, but this subsequent re-read has made me a little more sympathetic towards him as some of you might be able to tell. He was not a good man, he was not a strong man and he was certainly not a brave man, but despite all that I think it’s worth remembering that he was dealt an incredibly shitty hand at an incredibly young age and he did the best he could. The latter does not excuse the man he became, nor his cruelty, his pettiness and his cowardice but I think it’s only fair that we remember him for both his failings and his virtues (such as they are).
I thought this was actually a great chapter, very well-written and while there was an urge to skip some of the earlier sections of the chapter since I thought nothing important happens, I stuck with it and found some pretty inconsequential gems, which I shall share in just a moment. Let’s take it from the top though – first we have Dany eating her heart out. Well, not her heart in that sense, but I think the horse’s heart could belong to her, so it is her heart isn’t it? Ok, I’ll stop. The TV series had Dany almost retching the heart back up but I was surprised that I didn’t see it here (although in the TV series it was mainly because Clarke was puking herself). There are some choice quotes here as well:
“If she choked on the blood or retched up the flesh, the omens were less favorable; the child might be stillborn, or come forth weak, deformed, or female.”
In fairness, being born female in Dothraki society doesn’t seem like a great thing but I have to wonder – the ones who come up with these prophecies are Dothraki women, right? Why are they perpetuating a notion that disadvantages other women? Anyway, this is not the place to discuss institutionalized misogyny, so please don’t (I’m scared about what the comments will say now).
“He shall be called Rhaego”
While it seems sweet to name your child after the brother you never knew, I can’t help but think that you might be better off (re: omens) naming him for some family member who lived a happy life and died peacefully in his bed, like…oh wait, Dany’s a Targaryen.
“Still, it gave Dany the shivers to think that one day she might be sent to join them, whether she willed it or no.”
I wonder if she would get shivers if she knew the other option. Then again, given how staunchly against being forced into an early retirement she was, perhaps she would have been ok with how things turned out. Life seems ok for her until she decided to drive off into the sunset with Drogon but we’ll see how that turns out (anyday now, Martin).
“Three quick strokes and it was done.”
It’s also a shame that we do not get to see Visery’s attempt at stealing the eggs ‘on-screen’ since we had no POV characters to see it through and I’ll go on a little bit of a detour and say that that is one of the show’s strengths – it is not limited by POVs and thus can show us some of the stuff that happens behind the scenes and has a little more freedom in fleshing out characters that do not get screen time in the book (I’m thinking of that great Cersei-Robert scene).
Just like Ned set himself on a collision course with absolute disaster in the last chapter, so does Viserys here the moment he walks into the tent. Given his character and Drogo’s, there was no way Drogo would let him leave with making some snide comment about the Cart King and once the comment was made there was no way Viserys would not bite the bait and respond. It was over the second he walked into the tent. RIP in peace, Beggar Prince.