- 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.
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 their 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, in order 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 Tywin Lannister 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 servants 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 allowed the fighting pits to be reopened, 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 —in fact, their commander Grey Worm barely survived an attack. In retaliation, Daenerys rounded up the leaders of each 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, in order to strengthen her bond with the Meereenese people, marry the leader of an ancient family —Hizdahr zo Loraq.
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.
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.
- ↑ "Valar Morghulis"
- ↑ "Valar Dohaeris"
- ↑ "Walk of Punishment"
- ↑ "Walk of Punishment"
- ↑ "And Now His Watch is Ended"
- ↑ "First of His Name"
- ↑ "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"
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