Daenerys rides into Qarth on her silver flanked by Aggo, Jhogo, and Rakharo and with Drogon riding on her shoulders. Ser Jorah tells her that he does not trust any of the seekers and thinks they should leave Qarth quickly. They ride to Xaro’s palace, where Daenerys is to stay. Xaro leaves, promising that the Thirteen and many more will come to see her and give her gifts. Pyat takes his leave, promising to petition the Undying Ones for an audience. Quaithe departs, telling her to beware those who will come to see her dragons. Daenerys sends Rakharo to explore the city and Ser Jorah down to the docks for news. While they are gone, she bathes and thinks. She has doubts about how she can take back the Seven Kingdoms. As Irri and Jhiqui dry and dress her, she thinks that her comet led her to Qarth for a purpose and she will find what she needs there. That evening, as she is feeding Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, Ser Jorah returns with a Summer Islander named Quhuru Mo, captain of the ship Cinnamon Wind out of Tall Trees Town. Quhuru tells her that Robert is dead and the realm at war. Daenerys promises him a reward when she has her throne, and he leaves. Ser Jorah preaches caution and warns her that the Seven Kingdoms are still strong and she will need strong armies, but Daenerys now has hope that she can take Westeros while it is divided.
Odd to think that this is only our second Dany chapter of ACOK, isn’t it? One of the things that bothered me on reading this chapter is how little Dany’s inner ‘voice’ if you can call it that, reads like someone who has come close to dying of thirst and hunger. She herself might not have been directly at risk but it wasn’t like she was doing too great out in the Dothraki Sea. Yet, reading this chapter, it feels like she’s fine and that she’s somehow in a position to make demands. I guess I’m being overly critical but were it me writing this chapter, I think I’d make more mention of just how grateful Dany is to be in a place where there is plenty of food and water. Or maybe Martin is doing exactly what he intended and is specifically showing that Dany is not the kind of person to think about stuff like that and is instead always focusing on her next goal and on the future. It could go either way, I suppose.
How savage we must seem to these Qartheen.
By any measure of savagery imaginable, the Dothraki are savage compared to the Qartheen. I’m not saying Qarth is the best place ever, though there is certainly a case to be made for that assertion, but compared to a civilization (if you can call it that) that exists seemingly for the sole purpose of raping, plundering and murdering people, I’m pretty sure Qarth could be nothing more than a bunch of cavemen hitting rock together and still be less ‘savage’ and barbaric than the Dothraki.
“The only palace I desire is the red castle at King’s Landing, my lord Pyat.”
First of all, you’ve never seen it. Secondly, is she really that hell bent on King’s Landing? I mean, if I was offered a reasonably comfy gig in Qarth – turn the Thirteen into the Fourteen and Dany gets a seat at the table – then isn’t that worth a lot more, in the interim than King’s Landing? We could have avoided the whole Meereen disaster and just stayed in Qarth for a bit. It would have been so much more fun though we would have missed out on some great Dany moments.
“Once they were mighty,” Xaro agreed.
Did this have something to do with the dragons? As far as I know, the dragons in Westeros have only been gone around a hundred and fifty years, give or take, but there have been dragons in the rest of the world for ages. Why should the warlocks power sudden return with Dany’s three dragons? Is it possible that it isn’t the dragons that power the magic but the comet? No one seems to consider that possibility but it’s not even that unlikely. A cosmic event like a comet passing is far more believable in influencing events world-over than three overgrown lizards being born, isn’t it?
She wondered whether Aegon’s Red Keep had a pool like this, and fragrant gardens full of lavender and mint.
Dany had no wish to reduce King’s Landing to a blackened ruin full of unquiet ghosts.
WHY NOT?! Seriously, it’s a shitty place. It smells of shit and it’s full of shitty people because the nice guys like Davos and Gendry and Dunk get the fuck out. All that’s left in that place are humans that don’t realize that they’re actually animals. Your dad was right, burn them all. This is the most disappointing thing Dany has ever said.
“Your Grace,” the knight said, “I bring you Quhuru Mo, captain of the Cinnamon Wind out of Tall Trees Town.”
In case anyone forgot, this is the same ship that brings Sam to Oldtown, roughly a year later, just as promised. He also delivers news of dragons all over the place and basically the reason why people know that Dany’s dragons are a thing. I always like seeing a character properly reused and though it does stretch my suspension of disbelief a little that the exact same captain meets both Dany and Sam under such wildly different circumstances, this is one of the neat coincidences that I can totally forgive my fiction for. I’d be suspicious if it happened in real life, though.
“What honor could he have?” Dany said. “He was a traitor to his true king, as were these Lannisters.”
Ok, first of all, this coming from a girl whose idea of honourable exchange involves burning someone’s face off (referring to Dany agreeing to trade a dragon for her Unsullied army and then using said dragon to kill ex-owner) this is a little rich. I’m not saying that slave master in question didn’t totally deserve it but it also wasn’t exactly honourable to stab him in the back, was it? I wonder why it is that I get so defensive about people talking shit about Ned; I flame him often enough. I guess it’s just that coming from the man who sold people into slavery and Dany, who, to be fair is quite alright when she isn’t being annoying, it feels like a cheap shot and a tad hypocritical.
“This changes everything.” Dany rose abruptly.
Yes, this changes everything, so let me go hide in the middle of slave country and mess in affairs that don’t concern me or my plot for a couple of years while I contemplate how everything has changed. Seriously though, Dany is right that without a united front the Seven Kingdoms are easier pickings, I think Jorah is more correct in saying that united or not, no one is particularly keen to see a Targaryen back and I’m going to add that a country in the middle of a war might not quite welcome dragons as much as you’d think.