[Re-Read] A Game of Thrones – Dany IX


Summary:

Game of Thrones

Daenerys sleeps and has strange dreams of Drogo having sex with her, of Viserys talking of waking dragons, of her son, tall and proud with bronze skin and white hair, consumed in flame, and of Rhaegar, yet when she opens his visor she sees her own face. She awakens very weak and tries to reach her dragon eggs. Irri, Jhiqui, and Doreah are there, as are Rakharo and Mirri Maz Duur. Jorah comes and takes her back to her bed. She sleeps again, and when she wakes she asks to hold an egg before going back to sleep. The third time she stays awake and asks for Jorah. Her egg is warm to the touch, but when Jorah arrives with Mirri and Daenerys asks him to feel it, he only feels cold stone. She feels different, all her fear gone.

Daenerys learns her son is dead; he came out of the womb twisted and seeming to have died years ago. Entering the tent killed her son; it was the price for Drogo’s life. She tells Mirri to show her Drogo. When they get outside, they see Aggo, Jhogo, Rakharo, and about a hundred old men, women and children. The rest are gone. Pono declared himself a khal first and left with many others; next Jhaqo did the same with twenty thousand men. Nearly a dozen new khalasars were formed in all. They took the livestock and the slaves. Mago, now a bloodrider to Jhaqo, and several others took Eroeh and raped her then slit her throat. Daenerys says they will both pay. Mirri takes her to Drogo. He is blind, deaf and does not respond to anything. Daenerys is furious at Mirri, and Mirri explains that she did it for revenge and to rid the world of the stallion that mounts the world. Daenerys orders her bound hand and foot and carried away. That night, she takes Drogo out into the grass and uses every sexual trick she knows to try and revive him. When all fails, she smothers him.

Source

Commentary:

And so begins the real transformation of Daenerys Stormborn from meek child princess, to headstrong Khaleesi, to ice-cold, vengeful Targaryen. Well, that final transformation doesn’t last long, but here’s hoping that she will discover that part of here soon in TWOW. I say soon, but I think we’ll be well into ASOS before I can even contemplate touching a single page of TWOW. Anyway back to this chapter, Dany begins walking that fine, fine line between super sane and batshit crazy. I’ll explain as we go along.

I don’t really know what to make of the dream. Part of me just wants to let it go as just a dream with some vague allusions to fear, pain and loss but the more analytical side of me wants to take a closer look at what exactly is going on in that dream sequence. I don’t think I will though because after three attempts at trying to properly articulate what exactly I think of the sequence it’s clear that I don’t actually have a point to make. So instead of making well thought out points, I’ll raise a few interesting-ish points. Firstly, let’s think about the red door for a while. It’s easy to dismiss the image as being simply just a memory but that simple image has lasted all the way through to ADWD. I will propose that it is instead a representation of Dany’s childhood innocence. It is a symbol of the part of Dany that keeps trying to help people out even when she might subconsciously know it’s not a good idea and I theorize that once (or if) she decided to embrace the whole ‘Dragons sow no seeds’ philosophy, she might not think of the red door as much. Still, I have precious little textual evidence to support this theory and reading it back, it feels almost as though I’ve forced my own interpretation of things on the actual events. I’ll leave it there though so I can hopefully get some thoughts on the red door. Next, we have Rhaego. I really don’t have much to say except that I find it odd that he would appear in her dream as grown. To clarify, I mean that from a larger, literary point of view, the decision to include Rhaego in the dream has to mean something and I think I understand what that something is on a more instinctive level and it has something to do with reminding, or showing, Dany what exactly she has lost. Note that she mourns Rhaego’s loss before even learning that he’s (actually) dead – it’s like the dream has made it clear to her that this particular Dothraki, Rhaego plan is done for, once and for all, no take-backs, no do-overs. There was probably a better way to phrase that, but I hope someone out there gets what I mean. The last point, is almost trivial but it’s about how Dany’s vision of flying as a dragon over the Dothraki sea almost implies a warging sort of deal though it definitely foreshadows the whole Drogon debacle.

“They found her on the carpet, crawling toward her dragon eggs.”

This may seem like a simple line but it caused a bit of confusion. Why is she going for the dragon’s eggs? Is she just confused from the blood loss and having just regained consciousness? Or, did she learn something about the eggs from the dream she had and if so what? We saw the same dream she did so we should know (theoretically) as much about it as she does. Or, and I don’t really believe it myself but just for the sake of argument, can it be an early, minor sign of madness?

Her fingers trailed lightly across the surface of the shell, tracing the wisps of gold, and deep in the stone she felt something twist and stretch in response.

So, did the dragons activate (so to speak) from the blood magic that Mirri performed? And how did Dany know that they were alive – she doesn’t seem surprised at all?

“No. Cold stone.”

More questions. How does this work exactly? If the eggs had been awakened by the blood magic would they not be warm to all touch? Or did Mirri’s blood magic somehow bind the eggs to Dany? The bigger questions of course, revolve around what exactly is going on with the child in Dany’s womb. The child was born dead, which is hardly unheard of, but the whole magical mutation thing is both freaky and confusing. I’m not saying we need to know the specifics of the blood magic or its mechanics or anything, but I would be interested in knowing whether Dany’s dragon dream influenced the form that the child took or whether it was the other way around.

“The shadows have touched you too, Ser Jorah”

Hmm, yes, they seem to have, but am I wrong in assuming that their effects were only temporary? Jorah doesn’t seem to change much from this point on till he parts ways with Dany in ASOS but I’ll keep an eye out for any weirdness from him. On a more emotional note though, he must be miserable realizing that he is indirectly responsible for Dany’s son’s death but this quote makes me wonder:

“That was a lie you told yourself. You knew the price.”

In the last Dany chapter, I looked very carefully at how the whole deal worked and while Mirri never precisely said that the horse was the price, it was certainly implied and Dany never really thought about it being her child though…I do remember her hand going to her belly when Mirri mentions that only life can pay for death so perhaps it’s not so farfetched to say that she knew on some level. Coming back to Jorah though – Mirri’s comment makes it seem like Dany’s son was doomed from the outset and that Jorah bringing Dany inside the tent wasn’t the actual cause of the stillbirth.

“Before I am done with them, Mago and Ko Jhaqo will plead for the mercy they showed Eroeh.”

So badass as this line is, it does make you wonder? Is it just the grief talking? Or is it something more sinister? Also, I hope for his sake that Khal Jhaqo is nowhere near a certain black dragon at the end of ADWD. If I remember correctly, that was Khal Pono and from the looks of things it doesn’t seem like Dany bears him any particular ill will, so maybe things will work out? Yeah, I didn’t think  so either.

“When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” said Mirri Maz Duur. “When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.”

There have been a few theories around this particular quote involving Quentyn Martell (there’s a name I haven’t thought of in a while!) being the Sun (the Martell sigil) that rose in the West(eros) and set in the East. It also involves Dany being pregnant at the end of ADWD which would make the kid Daario’s…which would make very little literary sense in a series where birth and lineage mean so much. For my part, I’m willing to let this particular curse rest at face value – no kids for the Mother of Dragons and no life for Drogo.

She knelt, kissed Drogo on the lips, and pressed the cushion down across his face.

This is fine to read on a re-read but originally it was depressing as hell. She tries to bring him back but then realizes there’s nothing to bring back and so she euthanizes him. It’s a dark end to a dark chapter.

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