Expect Fire and Blood from Daenarys Targaryen in The Winds of Winter
Warning: the following article contains spoilers from A Dance With Dragons. For those of you that haven’t read the books yet, you have been warned.
After firmly establishing herself as a fan favourite in A Storm of Swords, Daenerys Stormborn’s storyline seriously stagnated in the latest instalment of the Asoiaf series. Throughout A Dance With Dragons the politics of Meereen weighed heavily upon the young Queen and a result her character began to lose touch with that Targaryen identity that had made her so loved in the previous books. Her mantra of “if I look back I am lost” became a central part of her makeup which led to her forgetting her words “Fire and Blood” as well as her true destiny as the ruler of Westeros and even the loss of her Dragons. However, after the destructive return of Drogon in Daznak’s Pit and a long absence of Daenerys viewpoints we see her reappear in the penultimate chapter of ADWD with the most important development of her character yet.
When we encounter Dany after a long hiatus from her POV, she finds herself on a “stony island in a sea of green” after being spirited away amidst the fire and chaos of Drogon in the Meereenese fighting pits. From here, she begins her descent from the hill and in doing so begins one of the most important journeys of self-discovery of any ASOIAF character. All throughout A Dance With Dragons, the young queen has insisted “if I look back I am lost.” Yet here, in this penultimate chapter, she begins to do just that and begins to reconnect with her forgotten past. She takes to naming the hill that Drogon has made his lair on “Dragonstone” after the place where she was born and admits that she “too knew the lure of home” when she sees Drogon returning to his new lair. From here we see the first glimpses of her beginning to understand her own identity as she admits that when she rode Drogon she “felt whole.” Drogon as well as Rhaegal and Viserion represent Daenary’s true self, showing a clear understanding of her even when she does not. The shackling and suppression of them represent Dany doing the exact same to her Targaryen identity in favour of her new artificial one as Mother to the thousands of liberated slaves in Meereen. We see her clearly disregard her Targaryen nature when, despite her admission of feeling whole upon Drogons back, she still insists that “she was a woman grown, a queen, a wife, a mother to thousands. Her children had need of her. Drogon had bent before the whip, and so must she.”
Yet we know that these are not truly Danys children as Drogon’ refusal to return to Meereen despite the wishes of the Dragon Queen, in addition to her acknowledging that she felt strangely happy upon ‘Dragonstone’ and “would do it all again.” Despite all her fighting and internal struggles, her identity as the last true Targaryen will always be a key part of her character as shown by ‘Dragonstone’ looking as if she could “reach out and touch it” no matter how far she journeys away from it in the hope of returning to her false life in Meereen. No matter how embroiled in the politics of Essos Dany gets, she will never escape that her destiny lies across the Narrow Sea in Westeros.
The catalyst for her journey of self-discovery comes in the form of three visions and epiphanies Daenarys has whilst attempting to get back to Meereen. The first comes in the form of Quaithe who reminds Dany of her original warning from A Clash of Kings that “To go forwards you must go back” and she must remember who she really is before adding that “The Dragons know, do you?.” This in my opinion validates my idea that her Dragons represent who Daenarys truly is and she must go back and discover this identity rather than attempting to move on from it with her artificial duties to her ‘children’ in Meereen.
From here Daenarys Stormborn journeys on before encountering the second manifestation of her self-conscious in the form of her dead abusive brother Viserys. Angrily he states that if he had a dragon he “would’ve taught the world the meaning of our words.” Whilst this is not true as we saw Viserys to be an incompetent leader earlier in the series, it serves to remind Dany of her true identity as a Targaryen, which is the logical result of her journey of self-discovery. When Dany awakens from this vision, she is startled to find herself covered in her own blood: she has just suffered a miscarriage. Whilst it is disputed amongst fans as to whether this really was a miscarriage or not, I contend that it is exactly that as the idea fits in with thematically with the abortion of Daenarys artificial identity as the mother to the people of Meereen. She has just been reminded of her Targaryen identity by her vision of Viserys and now we see the physical manifestation of the abortion of this idea. This is further backed up by the fact that we know her and Daario have been lovers for quite some time now whilst also she fails to remember the last time her moon’s blood was upon her nor “ever having such a heavy flow.” In addition, she fails to recall the name of the little girl Drogon had killed earlier in the novel, symbolising that she is no true mother to the people of Meereen and that her true people lie across the narrow sea. Thus we see that alongside Dany’s miscarriage as a result of her second vision, so too has her Meereenese identity been aborted.
This leads the young queen to the profound recognition that “Meereen was not her home and never would be” which is cemented by the final vision of her journey. She sees an image of Jorah Mormont, her exiled knight, who confirms that she is “the blood of the dragon… and dragons plant no trees” before adding that she needs to “Remember who you are, what you were made to be. Remember your words.” To which Daenarys emphatically replies “Fire and Blood.”
Thus, the transformation of Daenarys Targaryen is complete. She is no longer the girl inexperienced in the ways of war, who plays ruler to the people of Meereen but instead is a woman grown, fully aware of her identity, her destiny and her words. This change is shown through her now being able to call and ride Drogon using only her voice and the magic of Old Valyria after encountering the Dothraki scout, in comparison to Drogon not returning to Meereen as Dany wished earlier in the chapter when she still believe that she truly belonged there. The whip, her tokar and all pretence of being the mother to the Meereenese people has been abandoned, and the Dragon Queen is fully in control of her true destiny now. This is how she is found by Khal Jhago and his khaleesar at the end of the chapter. This will provide the perfect opportunity for Daenarys Targaryen to remind us all of why she came to be a fan favourite in the series, as she has previously promised that, for the rape of Eroeh at the end of Game of Thrones “Before I am done with them, Mago and Ko Jhaqo will plead for the mercy they showed Eroeh.” And the new Daenarys is in a position to deliver on that promise. There is much uncertainty in the universe of A Song of Ice and Fire, but there is one thing we can be sure of and that is that there will be Fire and Blood. It is known.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
Very enjoyable read. She is definitely going to go to Westeros, the questions are when, with what army, and with how many of her dragons.
Glad you liked it. I really hope she does, but we all know that GRRM feeds upon the misery of his readers (see Red Wedding.)
I’m just getting tired of the meandering of Dany in the East.
Yeah, I can really understand that frustration. After she gained her army of Unsullied, I was really expecting her storyline to kick off quickly. Guess that’s part of George R R Martin’s appeal though, in that nothing he does in the ASOIAF universe is ever that predictable. That said, I do believe we will see Dany get her act together now and return to stake her claim on the Iron Throne soon.
Great article! Well we know that she needs her dragons to fight the other so she will go to Westeros. Everything else could lead to anything. Martin is a genius.
Does she though? I feel that’s entirely too predictable for Martin’s style. Plus, I’ve heard there are some pretty interesting rumours about everyone’s favourite bastard concerning the Others storyline.
I agree with all the points in this article and I am intrigued but I can’t help to feel that the books would have been better if Dany and her dragons were just rumors. And when she finally returns to westeros, everyone will be shocked.
What do you mean by rumours? To the people or Westeros or to the reader too?
Can’t wait for TWoW.
Personally I’m really looking forward to Sansa’s storyline, being with Littlefinger may just put her in the most danger of all.
Wow really nice article man! I find Danaerys story least appealing and I can’t wait for Jaime to meet UnCat!!
I’m with you on that! Cat wait for Jamie Lanisters showdown with UnCat. Daneries ain’t going anywhere till Tyron shows up and teaches her how to play the game of thrones.
Very worthy to be shared, great read indeed. However, I can not say that I agree completely with the abortion idea but everything else is presented very well.
What exactly puts you off of that idea? Rereading my article, I feel I could have put more into my explanation of the theory but i’m interested as to why it doesn’t appeal to you.
I’m not convinced by that idea 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.”
Her womb cannot carry a phoetus. The abortion idea would suppose that she is fertile.
I think she will go to Valyria next, to find her roots and the magic which is still left in those lands.
I never thought of the “bleeding” part of it as you have written here, but I agree. Mirri Maz Duur said “When your womb quickens again, and you bear a LIVING child…”. I thought she had just gotten her monthly visitor lol, but I can see your point of view as being correct.
BTW, where did you get the picture of Dany with Drogon on the rocks? Is it 2 pics photoshopped together, or a painting? I love it!!
As long as one Targaryen is alive, the throne belongs to them. that is why Robert tried to kill them all and sent assassins to kill Daenerys.
Unfortunately the throne is Robert/Joffrey/Tommen’s. When Robert defeated Rhaegar and King’s Landing was sacked, the throne changed hands to the Baratheons by right of conquest.
Ultimately, it’s all semantics anyway. The house with the power to hold the iron throne is the house who owns the iron throne.
awesome read although i was a little confused at the part where you stated that DROGON refused to go back to meereen did she try to get him too havent read the book in a while, also im full on with the abortion theory but i was wondering WHY you specifically beleive it was a miscarraige (i do) but detractors have pretty good arugments as too why
This was posted somewhere else when discussing this very article. It is an interesting enough comment to post here too:
There are a lot of interesting ideas in this article. I agree with her having the miscarriage and all that, however I do feel that the authors conclusion about her identity as a mother to the freed slaves is a bit of base. IMO Dany will never stop caring for them and she’ll always feel responsible for them, like a good leader should. She rediscovered her quest for the IT in the grasslands but she will not simply shed her identity as a liberator.
I think Dany, when she returns to Meereen, will take charge of her people and be a lot more ardent in altering their habits. She’ll also leave Slaversbay imo, but she won’t leave her people. She shall take them with her on the greatest exodus since Nymeria and the Rhoynish and take them to Volantis and finally Westeros (in that way she’ll also mimic Aegon the Conqueror, before he set out to conquer Westeros he first fought against Volantis).
I think the first part of Dany’s arc in tWoW will have a lot of fire and blood in it. She’ll take that Khalesar and she’ll get rid of Ko Mago and Khal Jaqho. After that she’ll lead (or perhaps more accurately herd) the surviving members of the Khalesar to Vaes Dothrak. There the old widows will proclaim her to be the SwMtW. All the Khalesars present at Vaes Dothrak (the one she took + perhaps the Khalesars mentioned by Tyrion in ADWD, who sought refuge in Vaes Dothrak from Pono’s horde).
After that she’ll head over to Meereen. I think quite a large amount of time will have passed by then. I believe that the rest of the Meerenese cluster (Barristan, Tyrion and Victarion + all the non-PoV’s) will be given time to interact and make alliances (and start hostilities between each other). They’ll have bested the Yunkai’I quite easily and will be gearing up for the fight against Volantis.
When that fight actually takes place things will be looking dire for the Dany-loyalists. The Volantine Navy will vastly outnumber the Iron Fleet and other defenders of Meereen. The Daenerys loyalists will do their best and use their superior position and perhaps the element of surprise (I think that Victarion and the Iron Fleet will tackle the rear of the Volantine navy while they are busy setting troops a shore), but the superior numbers of the Volantine Fleet combined with the fact that they – in stark contrast with the Yunkishmen – are experienced soldiers, with great equipment and morale, will make it impossible for the Daenerys loyalists to win the battle.
On top of that I think we’ll see an uprising of the Sons of the Harpies during the battle when most of Daenerys troops will be busy elsewhere, thus further limiting the possibility of a victory for them. Just when all seems lost her Khalesar will appear with herself seated on top of Drogon. They’ll break the landing party and the fleet itself will surrender to their new messiah. Dany will lead her forces back into the city and be confronted with her betrayal for gold namely Daario who aided the GG in rising against her. I believe an important member of Dany’s entourage will find his/her demise there (I’m betting on Missandei but Ser Barristan could also die).
The betrayal of Daario and the death of Missandei will make Daenerys determination a lot more powerful. She’ll take some time off to mourn the death and plan the next step of her campaign (e.g. the taking of Volantis). She’ll come to the conclusion that even with the addition of the Volantine Navy she does not have enough ships to take all her people with her. Therefore I believe she’ll send her Khalesars and other mounted forces to Volantis over the demon road.
This land army will be supplied by part of her fleet until they get too close to Valyria. There that part of her fleet will break off and head to Elyria, pillage the city and free its slave and then head for the meeting point. Her land will head straight to Volantis after two stops. One in Mantarys and the other in Tolos, laying waste to both cities and adding their supplies and wealth to her own coffers.
In the meantime she’ll pull a Nymeria on Meereen. She’ll pick the city clean of its valuable’s and then she’ll burn it to the ground. She’ll load what remains of her army and people up in her ships and head for New Ghis. She’ll take that city, burn it down, free its slaves and take it ships, supplies and valuables. There she’ll link up with the rest of her fleet and head for Volantis.
When they near Volantis she’ll send her Volantinians a head under the command of Moqorro and ser Jorah. Her land army will have lured the remaining defenders of the city away, so they will be the only real military left in the city. Moqorro will meet up with Benerro and Ser Jorah will seek out the Widow at the Waterfront (he’ll also meet Marwyn there). Both Benerro and the Widow will give the signal to their followers for a general uprising. The marines of the Volantinian Navy will leave their ships to seize all possible ships, seize the port and other key locations (think armories and granaries) but they will not tamper with the rebellion.
After the fall of the city Dany will easily sail into the harbor. The remaining part of the Volantine army will discover that it is trapped between the city walls and a vast land army and surrender. Dany will stay put in Volantis quite some time. She’ll want to use that time to plan her campaign in Westeros, to repair damage to her ships and other equipment and to let her people rest.
However thing will not go as smooth as planned. I think Dany will finally hear of Faegon in Volantis and Illyrio’s involvement. She’ll sent the Tattered Prince (who I think has some beef with Illyrio. He was either related to Illyrio’s first wife or he was in love with the girl himself) and a Khalesar to take the city.
At the same time I believe Victarion will finally come to realize that Dany will never really accept his proposal. He’ll wait until Dany leaves for Pentos to question Illyrio (she’ll wait a few days before going herself, on Drogon’s back she’ll be able to catch up with the Khalesar quite quickly) and then he’ll try to blow the horn. The Dusky Woman will kill him before he’s able to complete the spell, however he’ll take her with him in death (and reveal that she was a FM all along). I’m not sure how the dragons will react (will they go totally bonkers? Will they flee the city? Is only one of them going to be affected? Or both?).
Dany’s discovery in Pentos will lead her back to Volantis. There she’ll learn of Victarion’s doom and decide that the time has come to leave for Westeros. I think at that time she might also become caught up in the political struggles in Braavos (which will be very important in Arya’s PoV in tWoW), though be it more from a distance.
She’ll leave a Lord/Lady paramount in Volantis and the Pentos (The Tattered Prince in Pentos) and head for Westeros. She’ll land in the Vale and she’ll get caught up in the conclusion of Sansa struggle with LF.
She’ll save Sansa and SR in the Eyrie and LF will find his death there. After that she’ll be caught up in the second dance of dragons against Blackfyre/Brightflame pretender Faegon.
That is an astounding and rational and fun prediction. Tremendous!
Very good analysis! I agree with most of what you said. I think Dany might make some trip to Vaes Dothrak before returning to Westeros (to go forward I must go back), but once it is done, I expect she will be on her way back to Westeros before the end of the book. 🙂
I like the article. It makes me wonder how much does red rahloo own victarion. will he join up with Dany as a subordinate and take Dany’s new khalasar, unsullied, and whoever else back to westeros?
article goes viral on reddit:
Nice article! Through it would be nice if you could credit me for the picture you “borrowed”. Source here: http://solidsender.tumblr.com/post/49963612120/scrub-grass-and-thorny-bushes-covered-its-lower
Heya, sorry as active on here as I should be, so just got around to seeing this. I googled for images of Dany, and that one stood out. I can see the mods have credited you for it, sorry that I didn’t research into the picture enough, and do it in the first place.
That’s okay, better late than never 😉
Terrific article. I thought the blood came from the poisonous berries that she ate. Miscarriage makes the most sense. I’m looking forward to more “Fire and Blood”. She is one of the best characters in fiction. It’s time to start kicking some Lannister butts back home.
Enjoyed your article. My 2 cents is that, in the long run, we’ll end up with sort of the same scenario that existed pre GOT just with the new generation in each place. ie Dany and aegon on the throne with a “stark” king of the north loyal to them. Tyrion as the hand (in place of tywin for the mad king)etc.
I know that seems dull probably to a host of people and you all think that GRRM likes to do twists and surprises, but I haven’t been very surprised by much. Bummed -yes! (at the red wedding killings) but not surprised. So I am putting this on the shelf and will pull it out some years from now to see if I am right 🙂
Excellent article! Dany is one of my favorite characters, and I love your analysis here. I’m looking forward to WoW whenever it is finally released!
Well written article! I’m looking forward to The Winds of Winter 😀
Excellent work. I immediately empathized with Dany before any other character when I first started reading AGOT, and I’m eager to see where her arc will go in TWoW. Essentially, as you outlined, I imagine she’ll go back to the conqueror role she excelled in during ASOS. Her storyline in ADWD is how compromising her beliefs too much muddled her rule, and she rediscovers herself when she and Drogon are alone and the statement “Dragons don’t plant trees” comes about.