“… want to wake the dragon …”
Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade. “Faster,” they cried, “faster, faster.” She raced, her feet melting the stone wherever they touched. “Faster!” the ghosts cried as one, and she screamed and threw herself forward. A great knife of pain ripped down her back, and she felt her skin tear open and smelled the stench of burning blood and saw the shadow of wings. And Daenerys Targaryen flew.
“… wake the dragon …”
— A Game of Thrones, Daenerys IX
This is one of the many opposing-parallels between Daenerys and Bran. Martin has clearly taken his first ideas from the story And Seven Times… and has expanded it for the purpose of A Song of Ice and Fire. Just as Daenerys is the bride of fire (detailed below), Bran is also wedded to the trees. These two are going to meet out on that ‘darkling plain’, as GRRM describes it in his story A Song for Lya, and detailed in this Greenseeing post here. However, on this page we are going to focus mainly on the story And Seven Times Never Kill Man.
However, I point out they are opposing-parallels because while the route and experiences are incredibly similar between Daenerys and Bran, the details and outcomes are quite opposite.
The cups. One drinks from the cup of ice (weirwood paste), while the other drinks from the cup of fire (shade of the evening). The House of the Undying is like the underworld, or Hell, opposite of where Bran currently resides. Bran is in a different type of hell- this Hel, one of a cyclical nature between incarnations. The Shade trees are essentially the opposite of weirwoods in location, color, and iconography- it is inverted compared to the where Bran is in the story.
An inverted tree is supposed to be a symbol of rejecting the tree of life in many cultures. A zaqqum tree is said to spring out of the bottom of hellfire. Some Islamic scholars believe in a literal meaning of this tree means “grown in fire”, showing the inverted flora of Jahannam-hell. As described in the Quran, Hell has seven levels, each one more severe than the one above it; seven gates, each for a specific group of sinners(Horse Gate of Vaes Dothrak and the proceeding lines of god statues); a blazing fire that creates deamons (Drogo funeral pyre), boiling water (we know Dany prefers scalding baths), and the Tree of Zaqqum.
Pyat essentially acts as a “devil” and tries to trick Dany in to misdirecting her. Stay to the right, but oh, come here straight ahead. Nothing is real, but everything can hurt and kill. This is a place of shadows. However, as readers are told in the series, the Targaryens think themselves above all gods and men, and Drogon chews the weirwood door and burns the Undying Ones inside. She is beating death as her own type of goddess. Another prototype for Daenerys is Cyrain of Ash and Liltih, and yes, Cyrain sits in a large cup that overflows with fiery lava. Read about that here.
The other person in the story that we hear of with a direct connection to the inky shade trees and the shade of the evening drink is the other Demon Reaver, Euron. Could Daenerys and Euron be destined to team up together? Or is Cersei, the Daenerys parallel (per George) and fire woman in this vision by Aeron Greyjoy in The Winds of Winter:
- The dreams were even worse the second time. He saw the longships of the Ironborn adrift and burning on a boiling blood-red sea. He saw his brother on the Iron Throne again, but Euron was no longer human. He seemed more squid than man, a monster fathered by a kraken of the deep, his face a mass of writhing tentacles. Beside him stood a shadow in woman’s form, long and tall and terrible, her hands alive with pale white fire. Dwarves capered for their amusement, male and female, naked and misshapen, locked in carnal embrace, biting and tearing at each other as Euron and his mate laughed and laughed and laughed …
Drogon is Daenerys’ black demon reaver sword that was created by blood and fire magic. Dragons are swords which have no hilts, which makes fire people/dragons the sword without a hilt that Jon is warned against by the sisters Dalla and Val. A sword without a hilt has no control.
- A Storm of Swords – Jon X
It was Dalla who answered him, Dalla great with child, lying on her pile of furs beside the brazier. “We free folk know things you kneelers have forgotten. Sometimes the short road is not the safest, Jon Snow. The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it.”
Sidenote: When Dany first rides Drogon, he goes where he wants, which is back to his own “Dragonstone” out in the Dothraki sea (very Iron Islands-like). Dany eventually learns she can somewhat control Drogon by lashing against him on the right or left, but not much more. I speculate that this dragon-sword without a hilt could gain a hilt byway of saddle, ingeniously provided by Tyrion. Then Daenerys will have her sword control over Drogon.
Trees- Nor do they love the Flames
Remember, trees and fire do not get along… books and fire for that matter, and the trees are the books of true history in this series. Even fiery Cersei burns icy Eddard Stark to the ground.
- A Storm of Swords – Arya VIII
“She will leave on the morrow, with us,” Lord Beric assured the little woman. “We’re taking her to Riverrun, to her mother.”
“Nay,” said the dwarf. “You’re not. The black fish holds the rivers now. If it’s the mother you want, seek her at the Twins. For there’s to be a wedding.” She cackled again. “Look in your fires, pink priest, and you will see. Not now, though, not here, you’ll see nothing here. This place belongs to the old gods still . . . they linger here as I do, shrunken and feeble but not yet dead. Nor do they love the flames. For the oak recalls the acorn, the acorn dreams the oak, the stump lives in them both. And they remember when the First Men came with fire in their fists.” She drank the last of the wine in four long swallows, flung the skin aside, and pointed her stick at Lord Beric. “I’ll have my payment now. I’ll have the song you promised me.”
The Pale Child
Bakkalon the Pale Child as described by GRRM in And Seven Times Never Kill Man compared to Daenerys with her own fiery reaver sword. Just a quick mention for those not familiar with with this story yet, this Bakkalon is the best god speech is given by a leader of the religious zealot group of the Steel Angels. This is compared to Melisandre and her narrow, biased, binary world view of R’hllor versus other “gods”, merged with a Faith of Seven/Andal archetype (another reason why Aegon/Griff will win over the Riverlands). This message from Bakkalon claims that violence is the only answer, or the most devoutly effective answer. Additionally, we can see the setup for a battle with greenseer/skinchanger types, as well as thralldom as the “sons of Bakkalon” are analogous to the wights, Frey family, sparrows, Unsullied (read Legion), and smallfolk prostrating themselves outside the pyramids for Daenerys.
Lyon and DaHan both nodded, among others. “Speak wisdom to us,” Fieldbishop Dhallis said then.
Proctor Wyatt agreed. One of the lesser-ranking squadmothers brought him the Book, and he opened it to the Chapter of Teachings.
“In those days much evil had come upon the seed of Earth,” the Proctor read, “for the children of Bakkalon had abandoned Him to bow to softer gods. So their skies grew dark and upon them from above came the Sons of Hranga with red eyes and demon teeth, and upon them from below came the vast Horde of Fyndii like a cloud of locusts that blotted out the stars. And the worlds flamed, and the children cried out, ‘Save us! Save us!’
“And the pale child came and stood before them, with His great sword in His hand, and in a voice like thunder He rebuked them. ‘You have been weak children,’ He told them, ‘for you have disobeyed. Where are your swords? Did I not set swords in your hands?’
“And the children cried out, ‘We have beaten them into plowshares, oh Bakkalon!’
“And He was sore angry. ‘With plowshares, then, shall you face the Sons of Hranga! With plowshares shall you slay the Horde of Fyndii!’ And He left them, and heard no more their weeping, for the Heart of Bakkalon is a Heart of Fire.
“But then one among the seed of Earth dried his tears, for the skies did burn so bright that they ran scalding on his cheeks. And the bloodlust rose in him and he beat his plowshare back into a sword, and charged the Sons of Hranga, slaying as he went. Then others saw, and followed, and a great battle-cry rang across the worlds.
“And the pale child heard, and came again, for the sound of battle is more pleasing to his ears than the sound of wails. And when He saw, He smiled. ‘Now you are my children again,’ He said to the seed of Earth. ‘For you had turned against me to worship a god who calls himself a lamb, but did you not know that lambs go only to the slaughter? Yet now your eyes have cleared, and again you are the Wolves of God!’ [sidenote: this is the shadow of a wolf in the tent with Mirri who preganant Daenerys is brought in to “meet”].
“And Bakkalon gave them all swords again, all His children and all the seed of Earth, and He lifted his great black blade, the Demon-Reaver that slays the soulless, and swung it. And the Sons of Hranga fell before His might, and the great Horde that was the Fyndii burned beneath His gaze. And the children of Bakkalon swept across the worlds.”
The Proctor lifted his eyes. “Go, my brothers-in-arms, and think on the Teachings of Bakkalon as you sleep. May the pale child grant you visions!”
A Storm of Swords – Daenerys III– dreaming of slaying the ice symbol Jon Snow.
Ser Jorah had no answer. He only smiled, and touched her hair, so lightly. It was enough.
That night she dreamt that she was Rhaegar, riding to the Trident. But she was mounted on a dragon, not a horse. When she saw the Usurper’s rebel host across the river they were armored all in ice, but she bathed them in dragonfire and they melted away like dew and turned the Trident into a torrent. Some small part of her knew that she was dreaming, but another part exulted. This is how it was meant to be. The other was a nightmare, and I have only now awakened.
She woke suddenly in the darkness of her cabin, still flush with triumph. Balerion seemed to wake with her, and she heard the faint creak of wood, water lapping against the hull, a football on the deck above her head. And something else.
A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys III
I know one stands before me now, weeping mummer’s tears. The realization made her sad.
“When I went to the Hall of a Thousand Thrones to beg the Pureborn for your life, I said that you were no more than a child,” Xaro went on, “but Egon Emeros the Exquisite rose and said, ‘She is a foolish child, mad and heedless and too dangerous to live.’ When your dragons were small they were a wonder. Grown, they are death and devastation, a flaming sword above the world.” He wiped away the tears. “I should have slain you in Qarth.”
“I was a guest beneath your roof and ate of your meat and mead,” she said. “In memory of all you did for me, I will forgive those words … once … but never presume to threaten me again.”
- What GRRM has to say about the dragons and them being “nuclear” written out in the Demon Reaver page here.
So, either Daenerys is GRRM’s reinvention of his own Pale Child Bakkalon, or the tinfoil theories are correct and baby Rhaego is secretly alive and is waiting for Daenerys with the Dosh Khaleen… right? Right? (answer: no)
More from And Seven Times Never Kill Man:
- It was a statuette no larger than his fist, a heavy-breasted fertility goddess fashioned out of the fragrant, thin-veined blue wood of the fruit trees. She sat cross-legged on a triangular base, and three thin slivers of bone rose from each corner of the triangle to meet above her head in a blob of clay.
- The trader turned. Half of the Steel Angels were on their knees, the rest had absent-mindedly lowered their arms and they froze in gaping wonder. The Squadmother turned to DaHan. “It is a miracle,” she said. “As Proctor Wyatt has foreseen. The pale child walks upon this world.”
But the Weaponsmaster was unmoved. “The Proctor is not here and this is no miracle,” he said in a steely voice. “It is a trick of some enemy, and I will not be tricked. We will burn the blasphemous thing from the soil of Corlos.” His arm flashed down.
The Angels in the powerwagon must have been lax with awe; the blastcannon did not fire. DaHan turned in irritation. “It is no miracle!” he shouted. He began to raise his arm again.
Next to neKrol, the bitter speaker suddenly cried out. He looked over with alarm, and saw her eyes flash a brilliant yellow-gold. “The god!” she muttered softly. “The light returns to me!”
And the whine of powerbows sounded from the trees around them, and two long bolts shuddered almost simultaneously in the broad back of C’ara DaHan. The force of the shots drove the Weaponsmaster to his knees, smashed him against the ground.
“RUN!” neKrol screamed, and he shoved the bitter speaker with all his strength, and she stumbled and looked back at him briefly, her eyes dark bronze again and flickering with fear. Then, swiftly, she was running, her scarf aflutter behind her as she dodged toward the nearest green.
“Kill her!” the Squadmother shouted. “Kill them all!” And her words woke Jaenshi and Steel Angels both; the children of Bakkalon lifted their lasers against the suddenly surging crowd, and the slaughter began. NeKrol knelt and scrabbled on the moss-slick rocks until he had the laser rifle in his hands, then brought it to his shoulder and commenced to fire. Light stabbed out in angry bursts; once, twice, a third time. He held the trigger down and the bursts became a beam, and he sheared through the waist of a silver-helmeted Angel before the fire flared in his stomach and he fell heavily into the pool.
For a long time he saw nothing; there was only pain and noise, the water gently slapping against his face, the sounds of high-pitched Jaenshi screaming, running all around him. Twice he heard the roar and crackle of the blastcannon, and more than twice he was stepped on. It all seemed unimportant. He struggled to keep his head on the rocks, half out of the water, but even that seemed none too vital after a while. The only thing that counted was the burning in his gut.
Then, somehow, the pain went away, and there was a lot of smoke and horrible smells but not so much noise, and neKrol lay quietly and listened to the voices.
“The pyramid, Squadmother?” someone asked.
“It is a miracle,” a woman’s voice replied. “Look, Bakkalon stands there yet. And see how He smiles! We have done right here today!”
Compare that story passage to this from A Dance with Dragons:
A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys III
“Those left behind in Meereen would envy them their easy deaths,” moaned Reznak. “They will make slaves of us, or throw us in the pits. All will be as it was, or worse.”
“Where is your courage?” Ser Barristan lashed out. “Her Grace freed you from your chains. It is for you to sharpen your swords and defend your own freedom when she leaves.”
“Brave words, from one who means to sail into the sunset,” Symon Stripeback snarled back. “Will you look back at our dying?”
- A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys VIII
He will give us these castrati, Dany thought, and then he will march home and make some more. The world is full of boys.
The tumblers who came next failed to move her either, even when they formed a human pyramid nine levels high, with a naked little girl on top. Is that meant to represent my pyramid? the queen wondered. Is the girl on top meant to be me?
Afterward her lord husband led his guests onto the lower terrace, so the visitors from the Yellow City might behold Meereen by night. Wine cups in hand, the Yunkai’i wandered the garden in small groups, beneath lemon trees and night-blooming flowers, and Dany found herself face-to-face with Brown Ben Plumm.
There are plenty more quotes to add from both stories that show the sameness between the Bakkalon/Steel Angels and the R’hllorists and Daenerys. In order to attempt to keep this essay at a readable length, I will not post them all. Please ask if you want to see them, as I will add them upon request.
In the meantime, a few other connections between R’hllor- fire god worship and the Bakkalon/Steel Angels are the prayers don’t start until night sets, they pray for hours, they have weird relationships with their children- both sacrificing their children to the flames. And we know that there are no children in Asshai.
The Pale Child and Saagael in Fire & Blood
This came as a shock to me while reading Fire & Blood, vol 1. The god Saagael comes from one of Martin’s early works of fantasy titled Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark that deals with opposing forces, not unlike ice and fire at all. In fact, I have the entire story of Saagael written out with my commentary notes added along the way. This is clearly where, on paper, George first started to develop his fire god/R’hllor religion with red priests, child sacrifice, and more. We know other elements including, but not limited to, Zoroastrianism were used to further develop the red religion, and the name R’hllor is drawn from Lovecraft’s R’lyeh, but you can see Martin’s own end use as he proto-develops the ASOIAF fire religion in this early story. Additionaly, Saagael being referenced as a giver of pain also connects to the story The Glass Flower and the character Cyrain of Ash and Liltih, as noted and quoted in this page here.
We know that in A Song of Ice and Fire that there are a few references to Bakkalon, but then Martin went ahead and added Bakkalon again in his newest work and now linking Bakkalon to Saagael just blows my mind at this point. And the plot and character setting they are displayed in… I am a smidge staggered.
- Fire and Blood
Though the court and city still doted on the king’s brother, that clever, gallant boy Viserys, the same could not be said for his Lysene wife. Larra Rogare had taken up residence in the Red Keep with her husband, yet in her heart she remained a lady of Lys. Though fluent in High Valyrian and the dialects of Myr, Tyrosh, and Old Volantis in addition to her own Lysene tongue, Lady Larra made no effort to learn the Common Tongue, preferring to rely upon translators to make her wishes known. Her ladies were all Lyseni, as were her servants. The gowns she wore all came from Lys, even her smallclothes; her father’s ships delivered the latest Lysene fashions to her thrice a year. She even had her own protectors. Lysene swords guarded her night and day, under the command of her brother Moredo and a towering mute from the fighting pits of Meereen called Sandoq the Shadow.
All this the court and kingdom might have come to accept in time, had Lady Larra not also insisted upon keeping her own gods. She would have no part in the worship of the Seven, nor the old gods of the northmen. Her worship was reserved for certain of the manifold gods of Lys: the six-breasted cat goddess Pantera, Yndros of the Twilight who was male by day and female by night, the pale child Bakkalon of the Sword, faceless Saagael, the giver of pain.
Her ladies, her servants, and her guards would join Lady Larra at certain times in performing obeisances to these queer, ancient deities. Cats were seen coming and going from her chambers so often that men began to say they were her spies, purring at her in soft voices of all the doings of the Red Keep. It was even said that Larra herself could transform into a cat, to prowl the gutters and rooftops of the city. Darker rumors soon arose. The acolytes of Yndros could supposedly transform themselves from male to female and female to male through the act of love, and whispers went about that her ladyship oft availed herself of this ability at twilight orgies, so she might visit the brothels on the Street of Silk as a man. And every time a child went missing, the ignorant would look at one another and talk of Saagael’s insatiable thirst for blood.
Religio-Political Hierarchy = Mass Control
From the wide base up to the tippy-top, all fire leads to Daenerys. The pyramids with flames (dragons) on top, and the Citadel beacon with flames on top. The Pale Child Bakkalon with her flaming black sword/reaver. This is also reflected in Baelor the Blessed, who is playing his part as Proctor Wyatt, pale child worshiper, even down to the Baelor statue in the Sept. http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Baelor_the_Blessed
- A Storm of Swords – Daenerys VI
She had them nailed to wooden posts around the plaza, each man pointing at the next. The anger was fierce and hot inside her when she gave the command; it made her feel like an avenging dragon. But later, when she passed the men dying on the posts, when she heard their moans and smelled their bowels and blood . . .
Dany put the glass aside, frowning. It was just. It was. I did it for the children.
- A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys V
“We were all unblooded once, Your Grace. The Unsullied will help stiffen them. If I had five hundred knights …”
“Or five. And if I give you the Unsullied, I will have no one but the Brazen Beasts to hold Meereen.” When Ser Barristan did not dispute her, Dany closed her eyes. Gods, she prayed, you took Khal Drogo, who was my sun-and-stars. You took our valiant son before he drew a breath. You have had your blood of me. Help me now, I pray you. Give me the wisdom to see the path ahead and the strength to do what I must to keep my children safe.
- A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys VIII
He will give us these castrati, Dany thought, and then he will march home and make some more. The world is full of boys.
The tumblers who came next failed to move her either, even when they formed a human pyramid nine levels high, with a naked little girl on top. Is that meant to represent my pyramid? the queen wondered. Is the girl on top meant to be me?
Dany is going to be a red god folk saint, because of fire worship. Aegon will act as powerwagon and pave the way for Daenerys to arrive in Westeros. Too bad Aegon is the mummer’s dragon, because that means the next Dance of Dragons will be between fire and ice, Daenerys and Jon/Bran.
And this SteelAngel/R’Hollor/Bakkalon-fire god parallel carries over with the Daeron I and his statue with his sword pointed toward Dorne. The conquest of Dorne by the dragons is something I discussed as history repeating, but with a twist, between the Free Folk, Jon and Val, and fiery Queen Selyse and Night’s Watch mutineers.
Set up from the Beginning
Even Illyrio Mopatis’s manse has a Bakkalon style figurehead at his manse. There is a marble pool with a statue of a naked boy in its center. The statue is lithe and handsome, made of painted marble so that the hair is blond and shoulder-length. It is poised to duel with a bravo’s blade in hand. The pool is surrounded by six cherry trees. Fruit/fruit trees in ASOIAF tends to represent children or family. Young Aegon (Young Griff) would be Aegon the sixth of his name.
- A Feast for Crows – Brienne VI
…We are blessed here. Where the river meets the bay, the currents and the tides wrestle one against the other, and many strange and wondrous things are pushed toward us, to wash up on our shores. Driftwood is the least of it. We have found silver cups and iron pots, sacks of wool and bolts of silk, rusted helms and shining swords . . . aye, and rubies.”
That interested Ser Hyle. “Rhaegar’s rubies?”
“It may be. Who can say? The battle was long leagues from here, but the river is tireless and patient. Six have been found. We are all waiting for the seventh.”
- A Dance with Dragons – Tyrion II
Illyrio brushed away the objection as if it were a fly. “Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon. When Maelys the Monstrous died upon the Stepstones, it was the end of the male line of House Blackfyre.” The cheesemonger smiled through his forked beard. “And Daenerys will give the exiles what Bittersteel and the Blackfyres never could. She will take them home.”
With fire and sword. It was the kind of homecoming that Tyrion wished for as well. “Ten thousand swords makes for a princely gift, I grant you. Her Grace should be most pleased.”
The magister gave a modest bob of his head, chins jiggling. “I would never presume to say what might please Her Grace.”
A New Blackfyre Burns Bright
A Blackfyre resurgence in the current story is also foreshadowed from the past, as the author is wont to do on many occasion. Here we see a gold coin (Targaryens) but it doesn’t look like a king with its clean shaven face, which could imply a female instead for our current story, and it is young like our Bakkalon, and it connected to Blackfyre (Drogon = blackfire), and it is connection to a rebellion. While we will not have a rebellion in the current story, we will have another Dance of Dragons, and it is foreshadowed to happen between Daenerys and Jon on the Trident with Jon in his ‘black ice” armor that is Bran.
- The Mystery Knight
Dunk took a closer look. The face on the coin was young, clean-shaved, handsome. King Aerys was bearded on his coins, the same as old King Aegon. King Daeron, who’d come between them, had been clean-shaved, but this wasn’t him. The coin did not appear worn enough to be from before Aegon the Unworthy. Dunk scowled at the word beneath the head. Six letters. They looked the same as he had seen on other dragons. DAERON, the letters read, but Dunk knew the face of Daeron the Good, and this wasn’t him. When he looked again, he saw that something odd about the shape of the fourth letter, it wasn’t… “Daemon,” he blurted out. “It says Daemon. There never was any King Daemon, though, only—”
“—the Pretender. Daemon Blackfyre struck his own coinage during his rebellion.”
This is the biggest, most current, hint that Daenerys will be a new Blackfyre in the GRRM scheduled Dance of Dragons. History repeats, but with a twist, and dragons change gender. Daenerys is young, clean faced, and beautiful. Dany will come with her black-fire Drogon, and she will slay the mummer’s dragon Aegon (possibly after a romance), she will take the sword Blackfyre from him as her own. The chest that Illyrio sends with Tyrion most likely has Blackfyre the sword in it. Aegon will bring it back to Westeros and Dany will retrieve it then after they have their affair of sorts and she slays Aegon as the “mummer’s dragon”.
- A Dance with Dragons – Tyrion III
“Your ploy was a success,” said Haldon. “I laughed myself.”
“There is a gift for the boy in one of the chests. Some candied ginger. He was always fond of it.” Illyrio sounded oddly sad. “I thought I might continue on to Ghoyan Drohe with you. A farewell feast before you start downriver …”
Tyrion found the plain fare a pleasant change from all the rich food he had eaten with Illyrio. “Those chests we brought you,” he said as they were chewing. “Gold for the Golden Company, I thought at first, until I saw Ser Rolly hoist a chest onto one shoulder. If it were full of coin, he could never have lifted it so easily.”
“It’s just armor,” said Duck, with a shrug.
- A Dance with Dragons – Tyrion IV
“Swords?” Young Griff grinned. “Swords will be sweet.”
Tyrion helped him dress for the bout, in heavy breeches, padded doublet, and a dinted suit of old steel plate. Ser Rolly shrugged into his mail and boiled leather. Both set helms upon their heads and chose blunted longswords from the bundle in the weapons chest. They set to on the afterdeck, having at each other lustily whilst the rest of the morning company looked on.
So now we are set to witness how the swords are about to come back out to dance. However, in many ways it has been in the works from the beginning. And keep in mind that the Pale Child carries a black sword. Black sword = Drogo.
It starts with the cart/ploughshare, and advances from there. The House Darry sigil shows a type of cart king- a man with a ploughshare working his field. King of his castle. This implies that Willem Darry intended to raise Viserys and Daenerys as a peaceful, reasonable people. However it did not work because as noted in the story, Viserys was showing his father’s cruelty at a young age, and later Dany sits complicit as her husband kills her brother and rightful king and “dragons plant no trees.”
I will add that I have long speculated the reason George RR Martin kept Brynden Bloodraven Rivers around in the story, whose lifetime goal to repeatedly stomp out the Blackfyre fires, is because we do indeed have a new resurgence in the make. History repeats with a twist, and now Bloodraven, who has been watching Bran since his birth, has to turn the page/leaf to Bran to man the helm of that ship.
It was recently confirmed by GRRM that Bloodraven took Dark Sister to the wall. That, in addition to his means of protection and Raven’s Teeth accompanying him, seems to point to a future setup for this new dance of dragons.
And when Daenerys is backed into a stressful corner, she rejects the talk/song of peace from Missandaei and instead wants to talk about battle and her brother, Rhaegar, winning fights. As Arstan Whitebeard (Barristan Selmy) tells Daenerys how Rhaegar did not always win at fights, Daenerys gets upset and keeps prodding for a “win”, meanwhile overlooking the truer type of person Rhaegar was:
- A Storm of Swords – Daenerys IV
The hours crept by on turtle feet. Even after Jhiqui rubbed the knots from her shoulders, Dany was too restless for sleep. Missandei offered to sing her a lullaby of the Peaceful People, but Dany shook her head. “Bring me Arstan,” she said.
When the old man came, she was curled up inside her hrakkar pelt, whose musty smell still reminded her of Drogo. “I cannot sleep when men are dying for me, Whitebeard,” she said. “Tell me more of my brother Rhaegar, if you would. I liked the tale you told me on the ship, of how he decided that he must be a warrior.”
“Your Grace is kind to say so.”
“Viserys said that our brother won many tourneys.”
Arstan bowed his white head respectfully. “It is not meet for me to deny His Grace’s words . . .”
“But?” said Dany sharply. “Tell me. I command it.”
“Prince Rhaegar’s prowess was unquestioned, but he seldom entered the lists. He never loved the song of swords the way that Robert did, or Jaime Lannister. It was something he had to do, a task the world had set him. He did it well, for he did everything well. That was his nature. But he took no joy in it. Men said that he loved his harp much better than his lance.”
“He won some tourneys, surely,” said Dany, disappointed.
“No, Your Grace. That honor went to another knight of the Kingsguard, who unhorsed Prince Rhaegar in the final tilt.”
Dany did not want to hear about Rhaegar being unhorsed. “But what tourneys did my brother win?”
“Your Grace.” The old man hesitated. “He won the greatest tourney of them all.”
This stressful lashing out is also shown in the man character from Sandkings, Simon Kress. There are many, many parallels to Simon Kress, including the desire for god-like worship, Woe who is akin to Mirri Maz Duur or the Ghost of High Heart, and the Sandkings themselves acting as part her worshipping army, and part the families of Meereen that go against Daenerys. I will detail Sandkings in another post, but for now, Simon Kress uses a “lightbringer” sword down upon his followers.
The restoration went well. But as Kress inspected the work through his magnifiers, he chanced to glance close at the face on the sandcastle wall. It startled him.
He drew back, blinked, took a healthy gulp of wine, and looked again.
The face on the wall was still his. But it was all wrong, all twisted. His cheeks were bloated and piggish; his smile was a crooked leer. He looked impossibly malevolent.
Uneasy, he moved around the tank to inspect the other castles. They were each a bit different, but ultimately all the same.
The oranges had left out most of the fine detail, but the result still seemed monstrous, crude; a brutal mouth and mindless eyes.
The reds gave him a satanic, twitching sort of smile. His mouth did odd, unlovely things at its corners. The whites, his favorites, had carved a cruel idiot god.
Kress flung his wine across the room in rage. “You dare, ” he said under his breath. “Now you won’t eat for a week, you damned . . .” His voice was shrill. “I’ll teach you.”
He had an idea. He strode out of the room, then returned a moment later with an antique iron throwing sword in his hand. It was a meter long, and the point was still sharp. Kress smiled, climbed up, and moved the tank cover aside just enough to give him working room, exposing one corner of the desert. He leaned down and jabbed the sword at the white castle below him. He waved it back and forth, smashing towers and ramparts and walls. Sand and stone collapsed, burying the scrambling mobiles. A flick of his wrist obliterated the features of the insolent, insulting caricature that the sandkings had made of his face. Then he poised the point of the sword above the dark mouth that opened down into the maw’s chamber; he thrust with all his strength, meeting with resistance. He heard a soft, squishing sound. All the mobiles trembled and collapsed. Satisfied, Kress pulled back.
Black-Fire on the Water
Also, I think what we will see in the The Winds of Winter before this Dance of Dragons happens, is that the Riverlands will rise to support Aegon the VI. So far in the story we get many hints that the Riverlands is full of fire supports and fire magic. Therefore, in that we readers are allowed a set up for a return of the bigger dragon that will come and burn the crops as punishment to those who bowed to the “wrong” dragon, and/or those who refuse to support Daenerys. But truly, this comes after Daenerys and Aegon possibly become a couple, but she (speculative) kills Aegon as the mummer’s dragon who betrays Dany for his love of Arianne Martell. Jon is the Sun’s son, most likely not Quentyn or Aegon.
- A Feast for Crows – Jaime IV
The fields outside the walls of Darry were being tilled once more. The burned crops had been plowed under, and Ser Addam’s scouts reported seeing women in the furrows pulling weeds, whilst a team of oxen broke new ground on the edge of a nearby wood. A dozen bearded men with axes stood guard over them as they worked.
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys V
Dany followed on her silver, escorted by Ser Jorah Mormont and her brother Viserys, mounted once more. After the day in the grass when she had left him to walk back to the khalasar, the Dothraki had laughingly called him Khal Rhae Mhar, the Sorefoot King. Khal Drogo had offered him a place in a cart the next day, and Viserys had accepted. In his stubborn ignorance, he had not even known he was being mocked; the carts were for eunuchs, cripples, women giving birth, the very young and the very old. That won him yet another name: Khal Rhaggat, the Cart King. Her brother had thought it was the khal’s way of apologizing for the wrong Dany had done him. She had begged Ser Jorah not to tell him the truth, lest he be shamed. The knight had replied that the king could well do with a bit of shame … yet he had done as she bid. It had taken much pleading, and all the pillow tricks Doreah had taught her, before Dany had been able to make Drogo relent and allow Viserys to rejoin them at the head of the column.
“Is place,” Khal Drogo answered, in the Common Tongue that Dany had taught him, “for Sorefoot King.” He clapped his hands together. “A cart! Bring cart for Khal Rhaggat!”
At the last, Viserys looked at her. “Sister, please … Dany, tell them … make them … sweet sister …”
When the gold was half-melted and starting to run, Drogo reached into the flames, snatched out the pot. “Crown!” he roared. “Here. A crown for Cart King!” And upended the pot over the head of the man who had been her brother.
The sound Viserys Targaryen made when that hideous iron helmet covered his face was like nothing human. His feet hammered a frantic beat against the dirt floor, slowed, stopped. Thick globs of molten gold dripped down onto his chest, setting the scarlet silk to smoldering … yet no drop of blood was spilled.
Daenerys is the last dragon, a title she inherited from Rhaegar, whom Rhaego was named after, and then the baby Rhaego’s soul was sacrificed into the dragon’s egg to wake Rhaegal. Whew! That is a lot of lasts. However, Just as Daenerys is taking the last dragon helm from Rhaegar, she is also turning her peaceful ploughsahres back into swords, as Rhaegar did through Willem Darry. Also, it is worth noting that Bran is taking another type of helm from Bloodraven as the new Sea/See Lord- the ship’s helm.
- A Storm of Swords – Daenerys I
“As you wish,” said Whitebeard. “As a young boy, the Prince of Dragonstone was bookish to a fault. He was reading so early that men said Queen Rhaella must have swallowed some books and a candle whilst he was in her womb. Rhaegar took no interest in the play of other children. The maesters were awed by his wits, but his father’s knights would jest sourly that Baelor the Blessed had been born again. Until one day Prince Rhaegar found something in his scrolls that changed him. No one knows what it might have been, only that the boy suddenly appeared early one morning in the yard as the knights were donning their steel. He walked up to Ser Willem Darry, the master-at-arms, and said, ‘I will require sword and armor. It seems I must be a warrior.'”
“And he was!” said Dany, delighted.
Daenerys reveals her tricksy side as Bakkalon throughout the story.
- “I am only a young girl and know little of the ways of war,” she told Lord Ghael, “but we have heard that Astapor is starving. Let King Cleon feed his people before he leads them out to battle.” She made a gesture of dismissal. Ghael withdrew.
Her hair had burned away in Drogo’s pyre, so her handmaids garbed her in the skin of the hrakkar Drogo had slain, the white lion of the Dothraki sea.
blood of Valyria still runs strong in Lys, where even the smallfolk oft boast pale skin, silver-gold hair, and the purple, lilac, and pale blue eyes of the dragonlords of old.
Beating back peace in favor of War
Bakkalon’s sword into ploughshares, turns back on human children, wants to war instead of peace. This idea is also reflected as the tiger woman/ Volantis plot develops.
The meaning and inspiration for Bakkalon comes from real life from both religion and socialism.
Isaiah 2:4. This passage has rather stunning comparisons to what we read about in ASOIAF, including the relationship between Daenerys and her Dothraki hoards and the mother of mountains.
The Mountain of the Lord
…3And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war. 5Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.… http://biblehub.com/isaiah/2-4.htm
Swords to ploughshares (or Swords to plowshares) is a concept in which the innate human desire for conflict and competition is transmuted into peaceful, productive activities. The conversion of military weapons or technologies into peaceful civilian applications is both a metaphor for, and a consequence of, this. However, Daenerys as the Bakkalon figure that warriors in the story pray to shows that peace is not an option. If you stand still and try for peace you will be left behind. Choose war.
If you would like to read more about the sculpture artist Yevgeny Vuchetich
Remember readers, be sure to beat your ploughshares back into swords…
- “No. You are the blood of the dragon. The whispering was growing fainter, as if Ser Jorah were falling farther behind. Dragons plant no trees. Remember that. Remember who you are, what you were made to be. Remember your words.
“Fire and Blood,” Daenerys told the swaying grass.
This little pale child in Daenerys learns the ways of necromancy (whether instinctual or not?) and she sacrifices her own living family to give life to these cold stones that now radiate heat with each step taken. She draws forth her own Excalibur sword from stone. And then comes final union, much like in the story A Song for Lya.
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys III
Yet when she slept that night, she dreamt the dragon dream again. Viserys was not in it this time. There was only her and the dragon. Its scales were black as night, wet and slick with blood. Her blood, Dany sensed. Its eyes were pools of molten magma, and when it opened its mouth, the flame came roaring out in a hot jet. She could hear it singing to her. She opened her arms to the fire, embraced it, let it swallow her whole, let it cleanse her and temper her and scour her clean. She could feel her flesh sear and blacken and slough away, could feel her blood boil and turn to steam, and yet there was no pain. She felt strong and new and fierce.
And the next day, strangely, she did not seem to hurt quite so much. It was as if the gods had heard her and taken pity. Even her handmaids noticed the change. “Khaleesi,” Jhiqui said, “what is wrong? Are you sick?”
“I was,” she answered, standing over the dragon’s eggs that Illyrio had given her when she wed. She touched one, the largest of the three, running her hand lightly over the shell. Black-and-scarlet, she thought, like the dragon in my dream. The stone felt strangely warm beneath her fingers … or was she still dreaming? She pulled her hand back nervously.
From that hour onward, each day was easier than the one before it. Her legs grew stronger; her blisters burst and her hands grew callused; her soft thighs toughened, supple as leather.
We see Daenerys sacrifices her son, Rhaego, to the flames, not unlike Lilith is required to sacrifice her children. Daenerys is most likely acting on instinct here, but these are some of the first steps that level her up to “fire goddess” status to be worshiped as a folk god by her story’s end. This again follows the Damon Julian “bloodmaster” theme from the story Fevre Dream.
In addition to Daenerys giving her child to sacrifice, we also see Euron Greyjoy doing the same in the Euron sample chapter of The Winds of Winter. This is yet another of the many clues that at some point Euron and Daenerys are going to come together (and probably meet Jon on the Trident, with Davos by Jon’s side- per the clues from Fevre Dream).
Daenerys giving her child to the flames happens about five chapters before Mirri Maz Duur’s supposed blood ritual, and it starts with the traditional Targaryen “cradling” of the egg along with a baby Targaryen.
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys IV
Irrifetched the egg with the deep green shell, bronze flecks shining amid its scales as she turned it in her small hands. Dany curled up on her side, pulling the sandsilk cloak across her and cradling the egg in the hollow between her swollen belly and small, tender breasts. She liked to hold them. They were so beautiful, and sometimes just being close to them made her feel stronger, braver, as if somehow she were drawing strength from the stone dragons locked inside.
She was lying there, holding the egg, when she felt the child move within her … as if he were reaching out, brother to brother, blood to blood. “You are the dragon,” Dany whispered to him, “the true dragon. I know it. I know it.” And she smiled, and went to sleep dreaming of home.
We read about this “reaching flames” idea with another fire mage, Melisandre. The parallels here actually emphasize how disheartening it is that Daenerys fed her son to the hungry flames.
A Dance with Dragons – Jon X
Though only a few men of the Night’s Watch had gathered about the ditchfire, more looked down from rooftops and windows and the steps of the great switchback stair. Jon took careful note of who was there and who was not. Some men had the duty; many just off watch were fast asleep. But others had chosen to absent themselves to show their disapproval. Othell Yarwyck and Bowen Marsh were amongst the missing. Septon Chayle had emerged briefly from the sept, fingering the seven-sided crystal on the thong about his neck, only to retreat inside again once the prayers began.
Melisandre raised her hands, and the ditchfire leapt upward toward her fingers, like a great red dog springing for a treat. A swirl of sparks rose to meet the snowflakes coming down. “Oh, Lord of Light, we thank you,” she sang to the hungry flames. “We thank you for brave Stannis, by your grace our king. Guide him and defend him, R’hllor. Protect him from the treacheries of evil men and grant him strength to smite the servants of the dark.”
And later we see Daenerys’ new child, Drogon, a god (of fire) as the Valyrians named their dragons for, eating a child. Children and the red god do not co-exist very well. I guess that is why there are no children that dwell in Asshai. This Assjai concept was developed by George eons ago when he wrote one of his first stories Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark. In that story we see some very Rhllorian demon worshipers about to sacrifice a child to a red fiery god.
- A Storm of Swords – Daenerys I
Dragons always preferred to attack from above, Dany had learned. Should either get between the other and the sun, he would fold his wings and dive screaming, and they would tumble from the sky locked together in a tangled scaly ball, jaws snapping and tails lashing. The first time they had done it, she feared that they meant to kill each other, but it was only sport. No sooner would they splash into the sea than they would break apart and rise again, shrieking and hissing, the salt water steaming off them as their wings clawed at the air. Drogon was aloft as well, though not in sight; he would be miles ahead, or miles behind, hunting.
He was always hungry, her Drogon. Hungry and growing fast. Another year, or perhaps two, and he may be large enough to ride. Then I shall have no need of ships to cross the great salt sea.
- A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys I
He lifted the sack, and spilled its contents on the marble.
Bones they were, broken bones and blackened. The longer ones had been cracked open for their marrow.
“It were the black one,” the man said, in a Ghiscari growl, “the winged shadow. He come down from the sky and … and …”
“Reznak,” Ser Barristan said quietly, “hold your tongue and open your eyes. Those are no sheep bones.”
No, Dany thought, those are the bones of a child.
However, now that Daenerys started her process of transforming herself into the bride of fire by her child sacrifice, it continues as she “wakes the dragon” in later chapters. The burning in her womb is also reflected in the other (symbolic) fiery dragon queen, Selyse.
- A Storm of Swords – Davos V
“Give me the boy for R’hllor,” the red woman said, “and the ancient prophecy shall be fulfilled. Your dragon shall awaken and spread his stony wings. The kingdom shall be yours.”
Ser Axell went to one knee. “On bended knee I beg you, sire. Wake the stone dragon and let the traitors tremble. Like Aegon you begin as Lord of Dragonstone. Like Aegon you shall conquer. Let the false and the fickle feel your flames.“
“Your own wife begs as well, lord husband.” Queen Selyse went down on both knees before the king, hands clasped as if in prayer. “Robert and Delena defiled our bed and laid a curse upon our union. This boy is the foul fruit of their fornications. Lift his shadow from my womb and I will bear you many trueborn sons, I know it.” She threw her arms around his legs. “He is only one boy, born of your brother’s lust and my cousin’s shame.”
A Clash of Kings – Davos II
“Shadow?” Davos felt his flesh prickling. “A shadow is a thing of darkness.”
“You are more ignorant than a child, ser knight. There are no shadows in the dark. Shadows are the servants of light, the children of fire. The brightest flame casts the darkest shadows.”
Daenerys has transformed her son Rhaego from living boy, to her shadow child born of fire, and that shadow is now Drogon, who is referred to as a “winged shadow“.
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys IX
“… don’t want to wake the dragon …”
She could feel the heat inside her, a terrible burning in her womb. Her son was tall and proud, with Drogo’s copper skin and her own silver-gold hair, violet eyes shaped like almonds. And he smiled for her and began to lift his hand toward hers, but when he opened his mouth the fire poured out. She saw his heart burning through his chest, and in an instant he was gone, consumed like a moth by a candle, turned to ash. She wept for her child, the promise of a sweet mouth on her breast, but her tears turned to steam as they touched her skin.
“… want to wake the dragon …”
She should weep, she knew, yet her eyes were dry as ash. She had wept in her dream, and the tears had turned to steam on her cheeks. All the grief has been burned out of me, she told herself. She felt sad, and yet … she could feel Rhaego receding from her, as if he had never been.
Ser Jorah and Mirri Maz Duur entered a few moments later, and found Dany standing over the other dragon’s eggs, the two still in their chest. It seemed to her that they felt as hot as the one she had slept with, which was passing strange. “Ser Jorah, come here,” she said. She took his hand and placed it on the black egg with the scarlet swirls. “What do you feel?”
“Shell, hard as rock.” The knight was wary. “Scales.”
“No. Cold stone.” He took his hand away. “Princess, are you well? Should you be up, weak as you are?”
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys X
“You are khaleesi,” Rakharo said, taking the arakh. “I shall ride at your side to Vaes Dothrak beneath the Mother of Mountains, and keep you safe from harm until you take your place with the crones of the dosh khaleen. No more can I promise.”She nodded, as calmly as if she had not heard his answer, and turned to the last of her champions. “Ser Jorah Mormont,” she said, “first and greatest of my knights, I have no bride gift to give you, but I swear to you, one day you shall have from my hands a longsword like none the world has ever seen, dragon-forged and made of Valyrian steel. And I would ask for your oath as well.”
“You have it, my queen,” Ser Jorah said, kneeling to lay his sword at her feet. “I vow to serve you, to obey you, to die for you if need be.”
Fire Sex Union
And next we have the union of bride and “groom” to make it legit. The sensual fire coupling between the rider and the ridden. The final union may come much later if Daenerys ends up second-lifeing into Drogon, which is highly possible.
- The Princess and the Queen
…Meanwhile, Seasmoke rolled and banked and looped. One instant he would be below his foe, and suddenly he would twist in the sky and come around behind her. Higher and higher the two dragons flew, as hundreds watched from the roofs of Tumbleton. One such said afterward that the flight of Tessarion and Seasmoke seemed more mating dance than battle. Perhaps it was.
- A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys IX
Quite possibly more to come on this topic. In the meantime, Thank You for reading along to the jambles and jumbles of the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire.