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Meereen

Meereen.

Meereen is the northernmost and greatest of the three great city-states of the Bay of Dragons, north of Yunkai and Astapor. It is located at the mouth of the Skahazadhan River, which flows from its origins in Lhazar through the mountains separating Meereen and the rest of Slaver's Bay from the Red Waste. The Dothraki Sea lies to the north, beyond the river. The wealthiest residents live in pyramids.[1]

People and things from Meereen are known as "Meereenese".[2]

Notable Meereenese and residents

History

Background

Like the other major cities of the Bay of Dragons, Meereen was founded as a colony of the old Ghiscari Empire, which was later conquered by the Valyrian Freehold when it destroyed the Ghiscari Empire 5,000 years ago. Similarly to the Free Cities to the west, after the Doom of Valyria (four hundred years before the War of the Five Kings) the local slaver-cities reasserted their independence.[3]

Meereen is by far the largest of the now-independent city states, bigger than Astapor or Yunkai.[4] At the time that Daenerys Targaryen arrives at the city, there are about three slaves in the city for each free man.[5]

Season 2

While Ser Davos Seaworth tries to convince the pirate-lord Salladhor Saan to take a contract for his fleet of thirty ships to supplement the faction of Stannis Baratheon, Davos mentions that he could instead spend the rest of his career making easy but small raids on the ships of "Pentoshi cheese-mongers" and "Meereenese silk merchants." 

A noblewoman attending Xaro Xhoan Daxos's party tells Daenerys that Qarth's night market is superior to that of Meereen.[6]

Season 4

Following the liberation of the slave population of Yunkai, Daenerys Targaryen and her army march towards Meereen. As a warning, the Great Masters crucify 163 slave children along the road towards the city.[7] However, she marches on and arrives at the gates, so the Great Masters send forth a champion to challenge her best fighter into single combat. Daario Naharis swiftly dispatches with the champion and Daenerys flungs the broken slave-collars from the slaves she has freed at Astapor and Yunkai over the city-walls as a message to the slaves therein.[8] D​uring the night, the Unsullied commander Grey Worm sneaks into Meereen through the sewers, disguised as a slave, to arm the slaves and incite them to revolt against their Masters. In the following revolt many Masters are mobbed in the streets and the victorious slaves open the gates for Daenerys. Her first act is retribution for the dead slave-children: 163 Great Masters are crucified along the streets of Meereen, while Daenerys takes residence in the Great Pyramid.[9]

Although the Second Sons have taken hold of the Meereenese fleet, Daenerys learns that the council she had left behind to rule Astapor have been overthrown by a self-proclaimed Emperor called Cleon and that the Wise Masters of Yunkai have returned to power and enslaved all the freedmen in the city. Therefore, instead of marching to King's Landing in her newly acquired fleet and take the Iron Throne with her army, Daenerys decides to remain in Meereen to rule over Slaver's Bay and enforce her abolition of slavery.[10] In order to accomplish this, she sends Hizdahr zo Loraq, a Great Master at her service, to Yunkai to negotiate with the Wise Masters: if they do not comply with her demands of abandoning slavery once and for all, Daario will send in his Second Sons and execute them all.[11]

Daenerys's hold over Meereen is weakened after three great subsequent losses for her cause. Firstly, after Tywin Lannister uncovers her adviser Jorah Mormont as a former spy for King's Landing[12], she is forced to exile him.[13] Secondly, having been shown that her abolition of slavery has left many former servants in an even more precarious position, she begrudgingly accepts the creation of one-year contracts, effectively reintroducing slavery in all but name and giving some power back to the Great Masters. Lastly, when her dragon Drogon kills the daughter of a local goatherd and then disappeares, she decides to lock up her remaining two dragons in the catacombs.[14]

Season 5

A resistance movement against Daenerys's rule called the Sons of the Harpy rises and starts harassing the Unsullied, eventually resorting to murder and even hiring local prostitutes to aid them. Though the Wise Masters of Yunkai have surrendered to Daenerys, they are now requesting the re-opening of the fighting pits, but Daenerys refuses.[15]

However, when a particular attack ends with the murder of Ser Barristan Selmy and the near-death of Grey Worm, Daenerys consents and decides to marry Hizdahr and re-open the fighting pits for free men, concluding that it may be better to forge an alliance with the Great Masters rather than continue to deny their way of life.[16] During the opening ceremony of the fighting games, Daenerys is accosted by Jorah Mormont, who has brought Tyrion Lannister to her.[17]

Daenerys summons both Jorah and Tyrion to her throne room. While Dany refuses to forgive Jorah for working for Robert Baratheon and banishes him from her presence, she enlists Tyrion's services as an advisor due to his knowledge of Westeros and shared opposition to the Lannisters. Unwilling to give up on Dany, Jorah returns to Yezzan zo Qaggaz and offers to fight for him. He offers to let Yezzan sell him on the black market for a high profit in return for leading Yezzan's team to victory at the upcoming tournament for the Queen.[18]

Dany and her advisors Tyrion, Missandei, and Daario Naharis attend the tournament at the Daznak's Pit. The tournament opens with a melee between six fighters including Jorah, who gives the traditional dedication to her. Torn between her role as a politician and her old friendship for Jorah, Dany reluctantly signals for the games to begin. Following a fierce competition, Jorah manages to defeat the competitors. He then foils an attempt by the Sons of Harpy to assassinate Dany.[19]

At that point, several of the Sons of Harpy don their masks and begin attacking the other spectators. During the fighting, Dany and Jorah reconcile. Jorah and Dany's entourage join forces in protecting the Queen from a mob of Harpy assassins. Eventually, the Sons of Harpy encircle Dany's entourage and push them to the centre of the arena. Before the Sons of Harpy can finish off Daenerys and her supporters, Drogon descends on the arena and attacks them; burning and killing several of the Sons. The Sons of Harpy retaliate by hurling spears at Drogon. To save Drogon, Dany climbs onto his back and they fly away.[19]

Following the disappearance of Dany, Jorah and Dany's entourage meet in her throne room to discuss what to do next. Following a tense discussion, it is agreed that Jorah and Daario will depart on horseback to rescue Dany. Meanwhile, Tyrion will run Meereen in Dany's absence with the help of Missandei and Grey Worm. Shortly later, Tyrion is met by his friend Varys, who offers his help and the services of his Little birds to Tyrion.[20]

Season 6

The disappearance of Daenerys has led to a breakdown of Meereen's society and economy. While walking through the streets of Meereen, Varys and Tyrion encounter a woman and her baby, whom they donate some coins. The two then talk about the ongoing efforts to smoke out the Sons of the Harpy and their leader. Varys claims that his spies are all over the city and that they will soon bring him this information. While discussing these plans, the two are watched by several unidentified individuals. Shortly later, Varys and Tyrion witness a crowd fleeing the harbor and quickly learn that Meereen's fleet has been set ablaze.[21]

Later, Missandei and Grey Worm inform Tyrion and Varys that Dany's two remaining dragons, Rhaegal and Viserion, have not been eating since their mother's disappearance. As a former prisoner, Tyrion is able to emphatize with the dragons and decides to free them from their chains. Together, Tyrion and Varys visit the dragon's keep. While Varys waits at the top of the staircase, Tyrion manages to calm the dragons by talking to them and unlocks the restraints around their necks. He and Varys then make a hasty exit.[22]

At the Great Pyramid, Varys strikes a deal with the prostitute Vala, who is aligned with the Sons of the Harpy. In return for sending Vala and her son to Pentos, she reveals that Astapor, Yunkai, and the Free City of Volantis are secretly supporting the Harpies. Tyrion then proposes using his little birds network to open contact with the leaders of these slave-trading cities.[23] Emissaries from Astapor, Yunkai, and Pentos meet with Tyrion and his entourage. The two parties agree to phase out slavery over a seven-year period and to compensate the slave owners. Tyrion's diplomacy generates criticism from the former slaves of Meereen. While disagreeing with Tyrion, Grey Worm and Missandei publicly support his policy of negotiations to maintain a semblance of unity.[24]

To convince the Meereenese that everything has been done with Dany's blessing, Tyrion invites Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis, to negotiate spreading the work of Daenerys' achievements. Kinvara agree to support Tyrion's plan since she believes that Dany is The Prince That Was Promised. However, Varys is more skeptical due to his distrust of magical practitioners.[25] As agreed, the Red Priestesses begin preaching in the streets of Meereen that Dany had been sent by R'hllor to end slavery. Varys discreetly leaves for an unspecified special mission. Despite Tyrion's peace treaty, Astapor, Yunkai, and Pentos send a fleet to attack Meereen and reclaim their property. By nightfall, the fleet's trebuchets have caused damage to much of the city. Shortly later, Daeneryrs returns on the back of her dragon Drogon.[26]

The naval bombardment of Meereen causes extensive damage to the city. Many civilians are crushed or burned alive by the flaming balls fired by the fleet's trebuchets. The Sons of the Harpy also begin killing slaves and other civilians. In the morning, Dany and her entourage parley with Razdal mo Eraz, Belicho Paenymion, and Yezzan zo Qaggaz; the representatives from Yunkai, Volantis, and Astapor that Tyrion had earlier negotiated a pact with. In return for granting Dany and Tyrion safe passage, the slave masters demand the return of Missandei, the Unsullied, and the slaughtered of Dany's dragon.[27]

However, Daenerys rejects their demands and uses her three dragons to burn the slavers' fleet. Tyrion then orders Grey Worm to execute Razdal and Belicho, after they try to save their own skins by offering Yezzan to be killed. Tyrion then tells Yezzan to bring back tidings of Dany's power to the slaving cities. Meanwhile, Dothraki horsemen under Daario mop up the Sons of the Harpy. Following the defeat of the slavers' fleet, the Ironborn Yara and Theon Greyjoy arrive with a hundred ships. Meeting with Dany and Tyrion, they offer the services of their fleet if she helps them to defeat their uncle Euron Greyjoy and recognizes the independence of the Iron Islands. Dany accepts their offer on the condition that the Ironborn end their practice of reaving and terrorizing the mainland.[28]

Prior to leaving for Westeros, Daenerys leaves Daario and the Second Sons in charge of Meereen to keep the peace until the city can establish its own rulers. Slaver's Bay is also renamed Dragon's Bay. With her new Hand Tyrion, Dany leaves with her three dragons and a combined Dothraki, Ironborn, Dornishmen, Reachmen, and Unsullied fleet to conquer Westeros.[29]

Image Gallery

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Meereen is the largest city on Slaver's Bay, bigger than Yunkai and Astapor combined. It is located at least 163 miles north-east of Yunkai. It is the center and lynchpin of the world's slave trade, and a regular stop on the routes from the Free Cities to the Jade Sea. When the Dothraki raid Lhazar, they sometimes herd their prisoners downriver to be taken as slaves in Meereen. Sandstone mountains separate Lhazar from Meereen's hinterland, but the two are linked by the Khazai Pass, through which the Skahazadhan flows.

The city is built with multi-colored bricks and is surrounded by tall, solid walls with towers at every corner. The north wall runs along the Skahazadhan, while the west wall runs along the bay. The city has a large harbor located outside the main walls. Its sewers open directly into the bay. The noble families of Meereen live in large stepped pyramids, with the most powerful, the Great Masters, living on the Great Pyramid. The Great Pyramid rears 800 feet above the rest of the city and is one of the tallest structures in the world (along with the High Tower of Oldtown and the Wall).

The city's priestesses are called Graces, and are based at the Temple of the Graces to the west of the Great Pyramid.

See also

References

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