Daenerys rides her silver through a town of the Lhazareen newly taken by Drogo. Khal Ogo had arrived first to loot the town, but Drogo killed him and his son, Fogo, and integrated most of Ogo’s khalasar into his own. Drogo plans to take the slaves to Meereen and sell them to buy ships to cross the sea to Westeros. Daenerys rides with Ser Jorah, Irri, Jhiqui, Doreah, Aggo, Jhogo, Quaro, and Rakharo to find Drogo. On the way, she sees a girl her age being raped and cannot stand the sight, telling Jorah and her khas to make it stop, which they do. Ser Jorah comments that she is truly like her brother Rhaegar. Daenerys leaves Doreah to tend to the girl and continues on, claiming every woman she sees being raped as she passes by.
Daenerys finally finds Drogo with his bloodriders, Cohollo, Haggo, and Qotho before a giant mud building with an onion dome. Drogo has an arrow in his arm and a cut on his chest. One of his riders, Mago, is complaining about Daenerys stopping him from raping the first girl that she claimed, but Drogo does not care. Daenerys soon realizes that Drogo’s wounds are more serious than she was led to believe. She learns that Drogo has refused the healers and is about to send for them when one of the Lhazareen women she saved speaks up, saying she can help Drogo. She is Mirri Maz Duur, the godswife of the town’s temple, which is dedicated to the Great Shepherd. Haggo names her maegi, a woman who lies with demons and practices the dark arts, but Mirri says she is a healer. Her mother was godswife before her and taught her of healing and she also travelled the East to learn the ways of the Dothraki, Jogos Nhai, and Asshai’i. She even studied with a maester of Westeros named Marwyn, who opened a body for her to examine. Daenerys convinces Drogo to let her heal him, and Mirri takes him inside the temple. She pulls out the arrow, stitches up his wounds, and applies a poultice which she says he must wear for ten days and nights. Afterwards, Daenerys asks her to be midwife when she gives birth.
Ah this was a ridiculously difficult chapter to get through especially on a re-read, knowing how it’s all going to end. So, I guess the unwritten rule in ASOIAF is ‘No good deed goes unpunished’, huh? Still, I think this is one of the points in the story where I began to have a problem with Dany as a character and I don’t think it was until much later, maybe mid-way through ASoS until I realized that it was intentional on Martin’s part. It’ll probably make more sense if I explain as we go through the chapter.
The chapter itself could quite easily belong to a scene from hell – if it wasn’t bad enough being attacked by one Dothraki horde, this poor town was attacked by two. I wouldn’t blame them for hoping that the two hordes just neutralized each other but of course, fate never has your back in such situations.
The Dothraki had mocked him for a coward when he donned his armor
Yeah, what an idiot being all safe and not risking getting disembowelled over a random village in the middle of literally fucking nowhere! Shame, shame on House Mormont! (Oh, wait…)
Across the road, a girl no older than Dany was sobbing in a high thin voice as a rider shoved her over a pile of corpses, facedown, and thrust himself inside her.
Being unfamiliar with both killing and raping, I have to ask: after how many years of doing that shit do you become basically immune to how absolutely gross it is to be that near rotting corpses? Like, I don’t condone rape obviously, but it’s almost as if Martin is going above and beyond to make the Dothraki war zones as savage as possible. I can almost imagine it, Martin thinking: ‘No, no, they can’t just be raping, mass murderers, how will the readers be able to them apart from Gregor Clegane then?! No, to make them stand out, they need to be literally cavemen like!’
“Still, there may be as many as ten thousand captives”
This makes me wonder – where exactly are these people getting their food from? I thought the Dothraki Sea is full of ghost grass that prevents anything else from growing there. Where exactly is the food coming from then? And more importantly, where the fuck are they going to find the food for 10000 new captives?
“Jhogo, Quaro, you will aid Ser Jorah. I want no rape.”
And this is where my problem with Dany begins. Now, before I come across like some sort of monster, my problem isn’t specifically that she wants to stop the rape but more that she feels so compelled to step in and act when there are bigger considerations. Like, I get that she wants to stop the violence but then why not stop the killing too? On her orders, two Dothraki warriors lose their lives and from their perspective they didn’t even do anything wrong! I get that cultural relativism should stop somewhere, but I don’t know. It feel like Dany is flexing all her social power to just to get what she wants without really considering her own role as Khaleesi and incidentally this soft side of her is exactly what gets us stuck in Meeren for so fucking long. I realize I’m not being very coherent here and truth be told, it’s probably a bigger issue than I can or want to deal with here, so I’ll just summarize my points:
She is a Khaleesi. I don’t know if it’s justifiable for her to decide, on her own and only on her own, that raping is no longer ok and therefore arbitrarily cause a good deal of conflict. If she really wants to change the Dothraki then she should work on changing their mindsets, not making demands out of nowhere. If you think that’s never going to happen (and it probably won’t) then she should accept that fact and move on. I guess my point is that she just decides to change things and use blunt force without any appreciation for the problems she might cause by doing so. It’s also this self-righteous proclamation that an act, that has been acceptable for the longest time, is no longer acceptable – just because she says so. I end up sounding like the Dothraki should be allowed to continue raping and killing indiscriminately, but that’s not it. It’s more that Dany sounds like this outsider coming in to civilize the savages and something about that is rubbing me the wrong way.
This whole thing with Mirri Maz Duur sort of reinforces my point. What was wrong with using the eunuchs like they always did? Why does Dany feel like she has to fix things that aren’t broken? I guess I can’t complain too much given how everything turns out, but my point from above still bothers me.
“Marwyn, he named himself”
When was this I wonder? Maybe one day, we’ll get a book on Marwyn’s travels. Maybe, one day, we’ll even get The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring (sobs). Speak of our least favourite maegi, did she ever actually try to cure Drogo’s wound, or did she actually cause the infection to set in? I remember thinking that she had honestly tried to heal it but failed and then decided to make Dany (of all people) suffer for it. That seems true this time too – the boiling wine if nothing else would disinfect the wound and the rest of it seems close enough to old medical practices that I don’t feel like I should be too suspicious of it…but I am, somehow.
“Remember, maegi, as the khal fares, so shall you.”
Oh, she knows. She definitely knows and now I’m feeling depressed all over again.