- Daenerys Targaryen: "The Masters tear babies from their mothers' arms. They mutilate little boys by the thousands. They train little girls in the art of pleasuring old men. They treat men like beasts..."
- Jorah Mormont: "It's tempting to see your enemies as evil, all of them. But there's good and evil on both sides in every war ever fought."
- Daenerys Targaryen: "Let the priests argue over good and evil! Slavery is real. I can end it. I will end it. And I will end those behind it... They can live in my new world, or they can die in their old one."
- — Daenerys Targaryen explains the idealism behind her campaign in Slaver's Bay, in the face of Ser Jorah's pragmatic warnings.[src]
After suffering betrayal and near imprisonment in Qarth, Daenerys departed the city on a ship bought with the plunder from Xaro Xhoan Daxos' manse with her long-time advisor and friend Jorah Mormont, her few remaining dothraki followers, and her three young dragons: Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal. The young Khaleesi landed in Astapor, one of the three slaver cities in the eponymous Slaver's Bay, where she took Ser Barristan Selmy into her service, as she was looking for a way to acquire an army to take the Iron Throne and Mormont told her about the prowess of their warrior-eunuchs, called the Unsullied. However, after witnessing their brutal training and abuse at the hands of the Good Masters and the general squalor in which the slaves of the city had to live, she resolved to free them all.
Daenerys negotiated with the Masters, agreeing to trade her dragon Drogon for the command over the Unsullied and, as a gift, their translator Missandei. However, after the exchange, she ordered the Unsullied to slay the Masters and free all the slaves and commanded Drogon to torch Kraznys mo Nakloz, who had insulted her during her stay in the city. The Unsullied and the rampaging dragon then proceeded to sack and burn the city. Afterwards, Daenerys freed her new slave soldiers, who in return pledged to serve her as free men. Before marching out of the city with her 8,000 Unsullied strong army, Daenerys installed a council in Astapor to rule the city in her stead.
Fall of AstaporEdit
Although Jorah Mormont counseled Daenerys that taking Yunkai would not help her take the Iron Throne, she decided to proceed with a campaign to free all the slaves in the city and cleanse all of Slaver's Bay of slavery. Therefore, her newfound army, with Grey Worm elected as their commander, marched on the Yellow City.
Near the city, she received the envoy Razdal mo Eraz, of the Wise Masters of Yunkai. She spurned his offer of gold and ships to guide her to Westeros in exchange for leaving them alone in their business, although she kept their gold. After finding out that Yunkai had employed a mercenary company called the Second Sons to stand against her Unsullied, she met with the captains and tried to persuade them to her cause, to no avail. Sensing an opportunity and smitten with the beauty of Daenerys, one of the captains, Daario Naharis, killed his colleagues and pledged his company to Daenerys' cause. With Daario's insider knowledge, a small party of supporters, composed of Jorah Mormont, Grey Worm and himself, entered Yunkai through a back-gate to open the front-gates for her army. With the numerical advantage on their side, Yunkai fell within hours. The city then surrendered their slaves to Daenerys, who praised her as their 'Mother'.
While on the march for Meereen, the last and greatest of the slave-cities, Daenerys' army, now numbering over 10,000 and armed with siege engines, came across a series of 163 crucified slave-children pointing towards the city, one for each mile between them and Meereen. Daenerys was greatly angered by this provocation by the Great Masters.
After her arrival before the city gates, Meereen sent forth a champion to challenge her best fighter in single combat. Daario Naharis swiftly dispatched the champion and Daenerys ordered the broken slave-collars from the slaves of Astapor and Yunkai be flung over the city-walls as a message to the slaves inside the city. During the night, Grey Worm sneaked himself and a select group of the Unsullied soldiers under his command into Meereen through the sewers, disguised as slaves, to arm the Meereene slaves and incite them to revolt against their Masters. In the following revolt many Masters were mobbed in the streets and the victorious slaves opened the gates for Daenerys. Her first act was retribution for the dead slave-children: 163 Great Masters were crucified along the streets of Meereen, while Daenerys took residence in the Great Pyramid.
Rule over MeereenEdit
Although the Second Sons took hold of the Meereenese navy, Daenerys learned that the council she had set up to rule Astapor had been overthrown by a self-proclaimed Emperor called Cleon and that the Wise Masters of Yunkai had returned to power and enslaved all the freedmen. Therefore, instead of marching to King's Landing in her new fleet and take the Iron Throne, Daenerys decided to remain in Meereen to rule over Slaver's Bay and enforce her abolition of slavery. In order to accomplish this, she sent to Yunkai a Great Master at her service, Hizdahr zo Loraq, to negotiate with the Wise Masters. If they did not comply with her demands of abandoning slavery once and for all, Daario would send in his Second Sons and execute them all. By this point in time, Meereen was already beginning to experience clandestine revenge killings and civil unrest between freedmen and former slave-masters.
Then, Daenerys suffered three great subsequent losses for her cause. Firstly, after Barristan Selmy uncovered her adviser Jorah Mormont as a former spy for King's Landing, she was forced to exile him. Secondly, having been shown that her abolition of slavery had left many former slaves in an even more precarious position, she begrudgingly accepted the creation of one-year contracts, which could allow the former Masters to effectively reintroduce slavery. Lastly, when Drogon killed the daughter of a local goatherd and then disappeared, she decided to lock up her two remaining dragons, Viserion and Rhaegal, in the catacombs.
Eventually, Hizdahr zo Loraq and Daario Naharis returned successful from their Yunkish diplomatic mission: the Wise Masters would comply with her abolition of slavery and set up a ruling council of former slaveholders and freedman as long as she reopened the fighting pits, a condition Daenerys could not tolerate, despite repeated appeals by Hizdahr and Daario. Meanwhile, a clandestine organization opposing her rule, the Sons of the Harpy, turned to violence and began assassinating her men, including Ser Barristan Selmy and several Second Sons and Unsullied, and severely injuring the latter's commander, Grey Worm. In retaliation, Daenerys rounded up the leaders of the great families and, as a show of strength, fed one of them to Viserion and Rhaegal. However, she soon reconsidered her approach and compromised: she would reopen the fighting pits and strengthen her bond with the Meereenese people by marrying the leader of an ancient family —Hizdahr zo Loraq.
Accusation of Tyrion LannisterEdit
Yezzan zo Qaggaz took his fighters to Meereen, to test them in the lower pits and seek out those who would be worthy to fight in the Great Pit of Daznak. Unexpectedly, Daenerys was present, as she was making the rounds to the lower pits ahead of the main tournament, so Jorah Mormont entered the Pits early and easily defeated the other fighters without killing them, impressing Dany. When he revealed his identity, however, she ordered him taken away. Before the Unsullied could comply, Jorah declared that he brought her a gift, and Tyrion Lannister entered the arena and revealed his identity to the astonished Queen.
Back at the Great Pyramid, Tyrion persuaded her to let Jorah go alive, though still in exile, commenting on his obvious devotion and maybe even love towards her, yet also on the fact that he did not trust her enough to inform her of his mission to spy on her for King Robert. Jorah decided to return to fight in the pits, intending to win back her favour once again, while Tyrion entered into the service of Daenerys as an advisor, after he revealed several things, including Varys's secret loyalty to her and his insight into the politics of the Seven Kingdoms.
Attack at Daznak's PitEdit
The reopening of the fighting pits was officially celebrated during the Great Games at the Great Pit of Daznak. Though it all started according to plan, the Sons of the Harpy staged an attack on the Queen, which she only survived thanks to Jorah Mormont. Daenerys and her supporters were nevertheless surrounded by the Sons, with nowhere to go, only for Drogon to return and and scatter the Harpies, many of whom died by the dragon's fire and his teeth. However, Drogon became injured in the fight, and Daenerys mounted him in order to soothe him. With no safe option for Drogon, Daenerys ordered him to fly away, which he did, with Dany still on his back, leaving Daznak's Pit and Meereen behind them.
After the attack at Daznak's Pit, Daenerys's advisors decided that Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis would leave Meereen to find their missing Queen. Until they returned with Daenerys, Tyrion would rule Meereen in her stead, as he was the only one with experience in governing a city; Grey Worm would stay, as he commanded the respect of those loyal to Daenerys; and Missandei too, as she was the Queen's closest confidant. Varys arrived soon after, and offered Tyrion the service of his spies. Meanwhile, an injured and tired Drogon landed in the Dothraki Sea, unwilling to take off again and take Daenerys back to Meereen. While surveying the area and looking for food, Daenerys was soon surrounded by a whole khalasar.
In the booksEdit
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Daenerys sets out with Jorah and her bloodriders to find ships to take her from Qarth. Along the docks, Jorah warns her that a big, scarred man and an old man with a staff are following them. When a merchant hands her a beautiful box as a gift, Daenerys opens it to find a green scarab within. The creature within the box flies out, and mayhem erupts. The creature attempts to kill her, but the old man with the staff not knocked it out of her hands. The merchant was a Sorrowful Man, and the creature a manticore that would have killed Daenerys had it bitten her. They learn that the huge, scarred eunuch is the pit-fighter Strong Belwas, and the old man is his squire Arstan Whitebeard, both sent by Magister Illyrio Mopatis to return them to Pentos. The old man recognizes Mormont, and the exile recognizes him but cannot place a name. Arstan claims he comes from the Seven Kingdoms, and squired for a knight of House Swann as a young man. The two claim that Illyrio sent for them because he wishes to have her dragons in order to bring justice to the Seven Kingdoms, which are a divided and warring realm. Daenerys concedes that she must leave Qarth, but commands them to change the names of their three ships to that of Aegon I Targaryen's three dragons.
Daenerys meets with Kraznys mo Nakloz, one of the Good Masters of Astapor to discuss the purchase of Unsullied through a translator. Daenerys pretends not to know High Valyrian, but she understands everything the slaver is saying to the translator. Kraznys demonstrates the loyalty of the Unsullied, how the eunuchs follow every command given them and feel hardly any pain. Both Daenerys and Arstan are horrified by the conditions the Unsullied live under, and the brutality of their training. The slaver indicates he has 8,000 Unsullied currently for sale. Daenerys informs him she will spend the night considering the offer.
Arstan is against the use of slaves, when sellswords can be bought in the Free Cities; he insists that if Daenerys lands in Westeros at the head of a slave army, many of the realm's people will oppose her for no more reason than the abbhorence of slavery. Daenerys is, however, too proud to go back to Pentos as a beggar, not after seeing what it did to her brother Viserys, how bitter and angry constantly begging for help left him.
Lonely since Drogo's death and confused over Ser Jorah's advances on her, Daenerys takes Irri as a lover one night, the Dothraki handmaiden more than willing to sexually pleasure her Khaleesi, but Daenerys finds no release, only guilt over treating her handmaid as a bedslave.
The next morning, when Ser Jorah comes to speak with her, Daenerys snaps at him; she despises Astapor and has only contempt for the Unsullied, but she still recognizes that they are too useful to pass up. Ser Jorah also gives Daenerys more food for thought on hiring the Unsullied, pointing out that they don't rape nor put to the sword the population of cities they've conquered unless specifically ordered to, minimizing the bloodshed that will inevitably occur when Daenerys starts the war to reclaim her throne. He also points out their usefulness in answering Daenerys' query as to why Astapor has never been sacked, since any enemy attacking Astapor would face the city's entire garrison of Unsullied, there are few neighboring cities and nations that pose a threat, and the combination of the Unsullied's reputation and heavy bribes offered by Astapor's rulers are enough to dissuade passing Dothraki Khalasars from attacking the city.
Daenerys is tempted, knowing that Viserys would purchase as many Unsullied as he could, but she questions if she can be anything like her elder brother, to whom Arstan and Jorah keep comparing her, if the loyalty of her men is only based on being bought and paid for. Ser Jorah points out that Rhaegar's honor and the loyalty he inspired in his men didn't save him from dying at the Trident.
Daenerys tells the slavers that she wants all eight thousand Unsullied, plus all the slave boys in training, whether they’ve been cut yet or not. In order to pay the slave masters, Daenerys offers all three of her ships as well as Drogon, for the price of a dragon is incalculable. Daenerys frees Missandei and takes her into her service, revealing that she can speak High Valyrian.
That night, Quaithe appears to Daenerys, seemingly in a dream, telling her again, "To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow." When the time for the deal to be brokered arrives, Daenerys swings the slaver’s whip in Kraznys’ face, and releases Drogon on him, shouting, "Drogon! Dracarys!" This is the sign for her followers to attack the slavers. With the help of the Unsullied who obey her as she is now their owner she has the slavers killed. The other slaves join her and soon Astapor is conquered.
Daenerys and her army of Unsullied reach Yunkai, to find the city guarded by a huge force including two sellsword companies. She knows that open battle will cost her many lives, even though her commanders feel she will win easily. Daenerys tells her men to invite the two sellsword Captains, as well as the Yunkish leader. The first to arrive are the three Captains of the Stormcrows, who spurn her offer to join her, although she notices Daario Naharis smile at her as they leave. Mero, the Captain of the Second Sons also laughs at her offer, but does accept a wagonload of wine to bring to his men. The master slaver Grazdan mo Eraz brings Daenerys chests full of gold hoping she will leave Yunkai alone, but she sends him off with his gold and a warning that she will attack in three days time.
After he leaves, Daenerys tells her commanders that they will attack that night, since none of Yunkai’s defenders will be expecting it. Soon after, Daario returns with the heads of Sallor the Bald and Prendahl na Ghezn, the other two Stormcrow Captains, and swears the service of his company. Jorah warns her not to trust the Tyroshi, yet she commands the battle to commence as planned. During the fight, she asks Arstan to tell her more of her brother Rhaegar. Whitebeard explains that the Prince was always melancholy, and a sense of doom hung over him. "He was born in grief, and that shadow hung over him all his days." Daenerys knows that it was the shadow of Summerhall that Arstan is referring to. Word arrives that her army won the battle easily during the night, with the help of the Stormcrows, and all the Second Sons too drunk to fight. Daenerys commands her men to spare any who threw down their swords, and promised to free any slaves. Once again, Daenerys’ army swells to even greater size. Daenerys rides on her white mare past all the newly freed people who call out to her as "Mother!"
Meereen is enclosed by a great wall, with hundreds of defenders to guard it. Daenerys’ huge army consists mostly of freed slaves. They are eating up the surrounding lands, and Daenerys realizes that she must claim the city before the army starves. Aware that storming the walls will cost her a great deal, Daenerys sends Strong Belwas to dispatch the Hero of Meereen. Belwas kills Oznak zo Pahl, but the city still stands strong. Brown Ben Plumm reveals a way into the city through the sewers, and she discovers that her dragons seem to like Brown Ben, and perch on his shoulder when he visits.
Daenerys, however, finds herself drawn to Daario Naharis, and keeps thinking of his blue eyes. Later, she goes off with Arstan and Missandei to visit the camps, and there she is attacked by Mero of Braavos. Arstan kills the Titan’s Bastard with his staff alone, and when Dany reaches her pavilion, Jorah is shocked to learn that a squire with a staff could defeat Mero with such ease. Arstan reveals that he is actually a knight, and Jorah finally recognizes him as Barristan the Bold. Barristan apologizes for deceiving her, and swears his sword in her service. Jorah warns her not to accept the man, for he went over to Robert Baratheon after the Trident. But Barristan reveals that Jorah has spied on her on behalf of Varys and the Small Council in hopes of gaining a royal pardon. Jorah pleads that he did so only at first, but he has been loyal to her since the birth of the dragons. Daenerys, disgusted, dismisses them both. She doesn't want them in her service any more. When she wonders where to send them, she suddenly has an idea.
Rule over MeereenEdit
Daenerys sits in the great pyramid of Meereen, her troops having conquered the city after the men she sent into the sewers opened the gates. She meets an envoy from Astapor, who represents King Cleon the great, a former butcher who now rules Astapor, supposedly in Daenerys' name. But the envoy suggests that King Cleon wishes to marry Daenerys, and that the men she left to rule Astapor have all been deposed. Cleon has amassed new slaves, and is beginning to train them as Unsullied, and Daenerys is dismayed that all she has done to free Astapor of slavery is coming undone.
The envoy tells Daenerys much worse news about Yunkai: soon after Daenerys' host left to Meereen, the Wise Masters start to plot against her. New levies have been raised and can be seen drilling outside the city walls, warships are being built, envoys have been sent to New Ghis and Volantis to make alliances and hire sellswords. The Yunkai have even dispatched riders to Vaes Dothrak to bring a khalasar down upon Daenerys. Daenerys is greatly disheartened by these news, musing "All my victories turn to dross in my hands. Whatever I do, all I make is death and horror", but takes no action against Yunkai.
Finally, she sends for Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan, wishing the two had died in the sewers, but the two knights are greater warriors than even that suicide quest. Barristan speaks of things Daenerys was never aware of, that her father was mad, and that Viserys, even as a young boy, seemed to be more like his father than his brother Rhaegar. She absolves Barristan, and he swears his sword to her cause. But Ser Jorah does not beg forgiveness, and remains defensive, insisting that he has done nothing wrong. Daenerys then exiles the knight who was once her closest friend and protector, threatening to kill him if she ever sees him again.
Later, Daario warns her that she should not have banished Jorah, and that she may come to regret not keeping him near or having him killed outright. When her advisors urge her to move on, Daenerys cannot bear the thought that the newly freed slaves of Meereen will be enslaved again after she leaves for Westeros. She believes that many of these ex-slaves will follow her, but she cannot feed them all even if she empties every granary in the city, thus many of them will die on the way. Daenerys decides that she must learn to rule if she ever wishes to sit the Iron Throne, and she declares that she will stay in Meereen and rule as queen.
While Daenerys rules Meereen, things turn from bad to worse, each day brings more bad news, more troubles and more disasters:
- She devotes nearly her entire time to ruling, and neglects her dragons. They are left to grow without proper taming, and become an extremely dangerous menace to the people of Meereen: she hears a number of other petitioners, including shepherds who are claiming that her dragons have devoured their sheep. All are sent away, promising they will be compensated for their loss, but one man remains behind. He empties out a sack of burnt bones on the marble floor. To her horror Daenerys realizes they are not the bones of a sheep - they belong to a child. Daenerys orders all three dragons to be captured and imprisoned in a pit inside of her Great Pyramid. Viserion and Rhaegal are eventually chained (though not without cost) in a makeshift dragonpit in the Great Pyramid, but Drogon escapes and disappears.
- The freedmen find it difficult to earn their living, that they live in very poor conditions in comparison to their former lives. They have no choice but to work cheaply, and as a result the craftsmen's guilds are angry at Daenerys that their work is stolen, and demand her uphold their ancient rights and customs. Daenerys, in attempt to appease the guilds without sentencing the freedmen to uneployment, decrees that only guild members shall be permitted to practice those works, provided the guilds open their rolls to any freedman who can demonstrate the requisite skills.
- The underground known as Sons of the Harpy preys on freedmen and Daenerys's soldiers, claiming many victims. The steps Daenerys take against them are in vain.
- The Yunkai nobles, supported by the Free Cities whose economy relies on slavery, form an army to conquer Meereen. Daenerys's failure to tame her dragons deprived her of the best weapon that she could have in disposal, whose only existence could have discouraged her enemies.
- The Second Sons, who believe Daenerys has no chance against the Yunkai troops, betray her and join the Yunkai. The Stormcrows and Unsullied remain loyal to her.
Many people, both friends and foes, beg Daenerys to leave Meereen and head for Westeros. Xaro Xhoan Daxos is willing to give her thirteen ships, but she refuses for the same reason that made her stay in Meereen: there is not enough transportation for all her servants and loyalists. If she leaves Meereen, the freedmen will be enslaved again.
Daenerys receives more alamring news about Astapor and Yunkai. Ser Barristan advises her to send her troops against her enemies, but she knows that as long as her ruling is insecure - her domestic foes will seize the opportunity to overthrow her. Hizdahr informs her that he reached an agreement with the Wise Masters: Yunkai will give Daenerys peace, but since they suffered losses as a result of the disruption of slave trade, they demand a compensation to be paid in gold and gemstones; Yunkai will resume slaving, and Daenerys must not interfere; Hizdahr will marry her and become the king of Meereen. Daenerys does not like those terms at all, especially the second, but sees no other choice.
Following the wedding, Daenerys is enraged to see that the Yunkai opened a slave market within sight of Meereen - undoubtfully a deliberate provocation. Hizdahr assures her it is only for short while. To celebrate the peace, the Yunkai and the leaders of their sellsword companies are invited to festivity in the Great Pyramid hall, but to ensure their safety, Daenerys gives the Yunkai seven hostages: three relatives of Hizdahr, Daario, her bloodrider Jhogo, captain Groleo and Hero the Unsullied.
Daenerys and Hizdahr visit the fighting pits. Tyrion puts an entertaining show, but he does not have a chance to speak with Daenerys. Hizdahr offers Daenerys poisoned locusts, but she does not eat them. After a fight between Barsena and a boar, suddenly Drogon arrives, being tempted by the blood scent. A general commotion erupts. Hizdahr shouts to kill the dragon, while Daenerys rushes to help him, and riding him away from Meereen.
After Daenerys's departureEdit
In Daenerys's absence, Hizdahr takes over. He gradually dismisses all her loyal subordinates. Ser Barristan watches Hizdahr, and becomes convinced that he tried to poison Daenerys, and that he is in league with the Sons of the Harpy (maybe even their leader) and the Yunkai, all of them have a common motive: to dispose of Daenerys and restore the slave trade in Meereen. Ser Barristan throws Hizdahr to jail, and then he, Grey Worm and other Daenerys's loyalists form a ruling council to oversee the Meereeneese affairs until Daenerys returns. Their most urging missions are to find Daenerys, release the hostages and deal with the Yunkai. Aggo and Rakharo go to look for Daenerys in the Dothraki Sea.
In the meantime, Tyrion, Jorah and their dwarf companion escape from Yezzan's camp to the Second Sons' camp. Tyrion has plans to make the Second Sons switch sides again.
- ↑ "Valar Morghulis"
- ↑ "Valar Dohaeris"
- ↑ "Walk of Punishment"
- ↑ "Walk of Punishment"
- ↑ "And Now His Watch is Ended"
- ↑ "First of His Name"
- ↑ "The Laws of Gods and Men"
- ↑ "Kissed by Fire"
- ↑ "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
- ↑ "Second Sons"
- ↑ "The Rains of Castamere"
- ↑ "Mhysa"
- ↑ "Two Swords"
- ↑ "Breaker of Chains"
- ↑ "Oathkeeper"
- ↑ "First of His Name"
- ↑ "Mockingbird"
- ↑ "The Laws of Gods and Men"
- ↑ "The Mountain and the Viper"
- ↑ "The Children"
- ↑ "The Wars to Come"
- ↑ "Sons of the Harpy"
- ↑ "Kill the Boy"
- ↑ The Gift (episode)
- ↑ Hardhome (episode)
- ↑ The Dance of Dragons
- ↑ Mother's Mercy
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