George r r martin a dance with Dragons pewviews and chapter summaries from public readings Prologue (summary)


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Daenerys 3
The chapter opens with Dany dreaming of Daario. The dream is sexual -- there are images of groping, kissing, etc. In the dream, they are man and wife, leading a simple existence. Irri wakes her.

Missandei is crying. Dany ushers away Grey Worm and Reznak. The Sons of the Harpy struck again in the night, leaving nine dead. They were keeping the Queen's peace on the bricks of Mereen when they were attacked. Missandei's brother, Mossador, was among them. Dany takes the news hard. She is scared.

The harpist, Rylona Rhee was murdered after the Sons cut off her fingers. Dany fondly remembers her music. Two of the nine were poisoned at a wine shop where they would customarily stop during the night for a drink. The owners are in custody. Dany instructs Grey Worm to question them "sweetly" at first, then sharply if necessary, repeating Grey Worm's words.

Dany is furious. She instructs Grey Worm to do "whatever necessary," including "sharply" interrogating the wineseller's daughters. She tells Grey Worm that she wants names. She then instructs him to pull the Unsullied off the watch and to make them her personal guard only. The Mereenese will protect Mereen, she says. Dany has Grey Worm form a new guard, made up of the shavepates and the freedmen. When he asks how she will finance such a guard, Dany commands that a tax be exacted on each pyramid for each murder committed by the Unsullied. Grey Worm does not like the idea, but Dany insists that the Sons of the Harpy be made to fear her.

Dany returns to her quarters with Missandei and takes her into her bed. Dany comforts the girl, telling her stories of her early days running from the Usurper with Viserys and how difficult it was for her protectors to protect her. Dany tells Missandei that she now understands the frustration, and refers to herself as the Mother of Dragons. Missandei corrects her, saying that she is Mother to All. They drift off to sleep.

Dany has a restless sleep with thoughts of King's Landing that quickly turn back to darker visions of Slaver's Bay. She wakes and opts for a cool bath to calm her. She thinks about the thirteen ships that Xaro offered her to leave for Westeros and ponders the logistics of using that fleet to sail West. She thinks of the Dragons, wondering how she will take them with her. Her thoughts end on Drogon, the winged shadow. Then, her moment of reflection is interrupted. She hears something.

A woman in a wooden mask painted in a dark red lacquer stands beneath a tree. It is Quaithe. Dany demands to know how she passed the guards. Quaithe tells her that she came another way and that if Dany calls out, her guards will swear to her that Quaithe is not present.

Quaithe tells Dany "The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare. After her will come the others [no caps]. Crow and kraken, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Remember the undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal."

Dany thinks this seneschal is Reznak. She demands that Quaithe cease speaking in riddles. Quaithe tells her that she wants to show her the way, after which Dany repeats the path "go north to go south, etc." Quaithe bids that Dany remember who she is. Dany thinks about being the blood of the dragon, the three mounts, the three betrayals. She is interrupted by Missandei. Quaithe is gone.

Over breakfast, Dany reveals Xaro's offer of thirteen galleys to Dany for her to leave Mereen and travel to Westeros. The Dothraki believe that thirteen is unlucky (and too few), but Dany says that it is enough to take them to Westeros. Irri and Jhiqui don't like the idea of crossing the poisoned sea with horses.

Reznak arrives and Dany instantly mistrusts him. She thinks about Quaithe's warning and wonders whether she ever trusted him.

Dany goes to her royal seat and listens to the day's petitions, which are much fewer (see Daenerys II summary for why this is the case), but one of the petitions is dire. Yunkai has laid seige to Astapor. Lord Ghael begs Dany to fly South with her strength. She refuses. He continues, saying that King Cleon is continuing what she began, destroying the vile slavers. Dany knows that she cannot hold Mereen without the Unsullied, but will not admit as much in open court. Ghael pleads with Dany to bring her army and her dragons. Dany thinks that her dragons are more likely to burn the city than save it. She refuses again. Ghael tells Dany that she brought them death rather than freedom. He spits in her face and is repaid by Strong Belwas. He slams Ghael's face into the stone floor and drags him away, trailing blood and teeth.

Hizdahr comes to Dany after a number of other petitions, pleading with Dany for the seventh time to reopen the fighting pits (clearly, they are no longer opened in Dany II... more to come). He links the seventh plea to her seven gods, hoping that it will have some significance. Hizdahr also brings seven companions, gladiators from the pits, to speak and plead with her for the reopening. Dany doesn't want to listen, but then thinks that a Queen must hear her subjects. Dany sees more and more that many that she freed do not want to be free, as they had better lives as slaves (like the champions that accompany Hizdahr).

Dany thinks that the winners are right, and that their lives will be good, but then asks about the fate of the losers. Barsena replies that "all men must die... all women, too." Dany thanks them for their counsel and dismisses them. She contemplates some more "woe is me" about being the Mother of Dragons. Dany instructs Reznak to assemble all her commanders in the armory.

Dany briefs the commanders about the Yunkai situation, saying that she wants to intervene because after Yunkai crushes Astapor, the next stop will be Mereen. Her Unsullied and Shavepates chime in with a number of different strategies for dealing with the Yunkai'i. Dany thinks that Ser Jorah Mormont would have known exactly what to do and is sad that he betrayed her and isn't present.

One of her commanders suggests that the Yunkai sellswords will not have been paid near enough to face dragons. Dany complains that the dragons aren't nearly large enough to take into war. Mollono suggests that the mere sight of the dragons may be enough, should they follow. Dany wonders if they will, indeed, follow, or whether they will lay havoc to the land and her army. Dany thinks again of Hazzea, the girl that Drogon killed earlier (she thinks of Hazzea quite a bit in the new chapters). Dany ponders the irony of the Mother of Dragons needing protection from her children.

Barristan Selmy returns from inspecting Xaro's galleys. One is so worm-ridden that it cannot leave port, but the others, short of a few problems, are ready to sail. Selmy encourages Dany to use them to sail to Westeros. This makes Dany think of how she is a stranger in the Eastern lands and how Westeros will welcome her when she returns home, filing in behind her banners. Reznak tells Dany that this means Yunkai will take Mereen and rape its daughters and maiden wives. Skahaz Shavepate slaps his sword, saying that he would kill his family before seeing them fall to such a fate. This hurts Dany.

They argue, telling Dany to set sail and leave the Unsullied. Someone tells her to leave the dragons. She silences them. She decides that she cannot take Xaro's fleet and that Westeros must wait. Barristan tries to sway her by saying that the people will cheer for "Prince Rhaegar's sister" and this makes Dany smile. But she insists that the Seven Kingdoms will be there when she arrives, no matter when that is. She sends for Xaro to give him the news that she will refuse his gift.

Xaro comes bearing an old, large map. He unrolls it before Dany. She knows the map is old because Valyria is not surrounded by the smoking sea and it is "not yet an island" (is this new information about the Doom, perhaps?). Xaro puts an arm around her and shows Dany how she lost her way by coming to Mereen and promises that his fleet will help bring her back where she belongs, to Westeros.

Dany refuses him. Asks him to lend her the ships for another use. Xaro, with tears in his eyes, tells Dany that he sees that she is now playing Queen with dreams of conquest and dragons. He tells her that she has no idea the effect of her actions and that she does not know many of the enemies she has already made. He tells her that her dragons, while small, were once a wonder, but were now becoming a great danger. He tells her that they will not be allowed to grow large enough to breed, nor will she. He adds that he should have slain her in Qarth. This makes Dany angry. She tells him she does not respond kindly to threats. Xaro ensures her that it is not a threat, but a promise. She tells him to begone from Mereen or he will find out whether his mummer's tears will move Viserion and Rhaegal.

The next morning, Xaro's ship was gone, but the thirteen gifted galleys remained. An envoy of Xaro's approaches Dany and lays a pillow at her feet. Atop the pillow is a bloody glove. "It means war," Dany thinks.
Daenerys 4
Dany floats in a pool at the top of a large pyramid in Meereen. Irri and Jhiqui come find her and say, "It is time." She dresses as a Ghis (in linen with veil and to'khar) and tells her servants to ready her silver to ride to the Pits of Daznakh, to watch the first set of matches in the reopened gladiator fighting pits.

The Sons of Ghis hate her rule in Meereen, and have promised a hundred virgin slaves to the person causing her death.

Initially, Dany had halted the practice of slave-fighting in Meereen. A contingent of Meereen gladiators (including Barseena, the most renowned female slave fighter; a fighter known as the "spotted cat"; Kroz; Gogor the Giant; and Belacqua the Bonebreaker) visited her and begged her to reopen the fighting pits. They pointed out that, as slaves, they were treated like princes, but as free men they are treated as paupers.

Dany's advisors in Meereen also urged her to reopen the fighting pits (so that she can earn income on the pits; so that she can regain the love of the citizens of Meereen; to reward the fighting slaves which were the first to revolt); only Missandei and Ser Barristan Selmy argued against reopening. Dany reluctantly agreed to allow the gladiator fights again.

Missandei asks Dany not to go to the fights. Dany argues that her people will cheer her, but Missandei says that they will only cheer the restart of the fighting.

As Dany descends from the eight-hundred-foot pyramid, she is greeted by two Meereenese, Skahaz and Roznakh. Skahaz, nicknamed "shave pate", is the head of the city watch; he was one of the first Meereenese to betray the Sons of Ghis. Roznakh is her urban seneschal.

Dany states her determination to ride to the pits, rather than be carried in a palanquin; Skahaz questions whether this is wise, but Roznakh says that Dany knows best.

Dany's dragons are growing, and there are many claims of sheep lost to her dragons; Dany has been compensating any sheepowners for lost sheep, but she begins to suspect that she is being cheated.

She worries about the city's finance. The city currently has plenty of food, but the surrounding countryside was burned and despoiled before she and her army arrived; no crops can be grown on that land. She hopes to encourage trade with the Lhazareen, but Meereen's economics were founded on the slave trade; they produce nothing of economic value to use as trade goods.

Barristan worries about Dany's safety at the pits, and encourages her to take a guard of Unsullied; Dany rejects that offer, instead choosing to rely on the animal-masked Meereen city watch. (The members of the city watch, half freed slaves and half "shave pates", wear bronze animal masks of bronze in order to remain anonymous; the slave masters threatened to harm the families of those cooperating with Dany.) The Unsullied were despised by the Mereenese as conquerors, and were killed when Dany attempted to use them as members of the watch.

Barristan is training forty young ex-slaves as Westerosi knights, though their training is incomplete.

Dany's bloodriders aren't in the city; Dany sent them to free the slaves of landowners outside the city (and to rally those landowners to her cause).

Dany and entourage (including Irri, Jhiqui, Roznakh, Skahaz, and Barristan) move towards the pits. The streets are crowded with people moving towards Daznakh's pits. A stalled palanquin blocks their progress; a bearer collapsed in the road. Dany sends someone to give the collapsed bearer water, and she questions whether freeing the slaves made any difference in their lives. Barristan points out that, if nothing else, the slaves are being paid, and there is no overseer whipping them through the streets.

At the blockage, Hisdar Zolareg (????) joins Dany. He is a key figure in the city, and both Roznakh and Skahaz say that, if Dany is to remain the leader of Meereen, she needs to keep Hisdar on her side. (Furthermore, he was mentioned as a possible husband for her.) After the slaves were freed, Hisdar bought up most of the slave pits for a pittance, and is now a tremendously wealthy man.

He brings news about a battle at the Horns of Hazdat, where Cleon, the "Butcher King" of Astipor, was fighting the Yunkai. The Yunkai have hired several sellsword companies, and are attempting to hire the Golden Company (who Viserys unsuccessfully attempted to hire into his service many years ago). [My notes are really unclear here -- I think there many be something that I missed.]

They arrive at the pits. Dany and company descend to the lowest level of the pits, which are stained red. She looks around at the citizens of Meereen who are out to watch the spectacle, including her main enemies the Zopal.

At the beginning of the fights, Hisdar introduces Dany. They can't pronounce her foreign name, so they cheer for "Missa" (the mother). Dany thinks to herself that she's not their mother, and that they love their fights, not her.

In the fights, the favorites (Kroz, the spotted cat) win their matches. After a host of minor matches, Barseena (the female fighter) is matched against a boar. Barseena is a crowd favorite and the most skilled female fighter, but she is gored and killed by the boar.

Dany gets up to leave in disgust, discarding her Meereen clothes, when a shadow appears across the sky. Drogon, her largest dragon, appears from above (Dany thinks that he's following her). He bathes the boar and Barseena in a blast of fire, and indiscriminately feeds on both charred bodies.


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