The Hazzea Whisperjewel- bones & memory

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What does the fact that Daenerys forgets the little Girl Hazzea’s name in her last chapter of A Dance with Dragons have to do with anything? A lot. A lot, lot.

Quick reminder: Open discussion of all works and interviews by George R.R. Martin.

Having read all of George R.R. Martin’s stories is not required to understand the connections here. I will provide as many quotes as I can without overwhelming the page. If you do want to read further and these other stories interest you, I recommend:

  1. The Glass Flower. One of the strongest proto-Dany stories GRRM wrote, and also the last he completed before the ideas of starting ASOAIF with Bran and the wolf pups came to him. Transcribed and noted here.
  2. Fast Friend. A story about memories and transformations, and a crystal is in there somewhere.  Transcribed and noted here.
  3. A Song for Lya. Oh yeah, this story has it all- fire-lava “gods” under a mountain, memory, connections and resonance, and transforming oneself. Transcribed and noted here.
  4. The Ice Dragon, as we see the little girl, Adara, have a moment that “transforms” her elementally.
  5. Sandkings. Quaithe and Drogon (the winged shadow), both key figures trying to get Daenerys to remember who she is, were developed a while ago as the pair Jala Wo (Quaithe) and Shade (Drogon) to the Daenerys-like Simon Kress. Honestly, Simon Kress has bits of Viserys in him as well, which makes sense when we witness Daenerys making a few Viserys-like decisions along her path.
  6. Nightflyers. The whisperjewel plays a part in the resonate memory of not just Melantha Jhirl who wears a green jewel (a Val protoype), but also is used to hold the soul of the “mad” dragon-ship-mother who etches herself into a red crystal.
  7. Dying of the Light. The whisperjewel plays a crucial plot device as its arrival sets the the story in motion when it is sent to Dirk as a type of memory/calling card.
  8. Armageddon Rag. Not just for the abundant Ananda Cain to Dany and a bit of Melisandre protoyping, but also because a type of glamouring and resonate memory is at play in that story- not a whisperjewel, but a glamour jewel. Brief Wiki info here.
  9. …And Seven Times Never Kill Man. Very crucial details of religion, crystal pyramids, crystal necklaces, resonate memory. This is the story that shows the strength of proximity telepathy in Martinworld. In short, the closer the humans and Jaenshi are to the fiery pyramids, the stronger the mond-control influence the pyramids have on the being. When you move away from the pyramids, the telepathy weakens and breaks… like what is happening to Stannis now that he is away from Melisandre in A Dance with Dragons.
  10. The opposite-green parallel to this “consuming children” idea the difference being Bran’s weirwood paste, which is not Jojen, but rather Bloodraven. Read it here.

Whisperjewels… What are they and can they figure out my taxes?

Symbolism is the practice or art of using an object or a word to represent an abstract idea. An action, person, place, word, or object can all have a symbolic meaning. When GRRM  wants to suggest a certain mood, emotion, or development, he uses various resonate connectors to show this rather than just blatantly saying it. Favorite tools for this purpose are jewels and gemstones.

There are many types of special gemstones across Martinworld, but I am going to leap right in here with the written definition of whisperjewel from Martin’s story Dying of the Light.

  • whisperjewel. A crystal that has been psionically “etched” to retain certain emotions or thoughts, which are thereafter perceptible when the crystal is held by “resonate” or sympathetic minds. Any type of crystal may be fashioned into a whisperjewel, but certain kinds of gemstones retain the patterns far better than others. The strength and clarity of a whisperjewel may also vary with time, and with the degree of skill of the etching esper. The whisperjewels of Avalon are highly esteemed; Avalon has both a suitable base-crystal and a number of potent Talents. Some less developed worlds are reputed to produce even finer whisperjewels, but their products seldom find their way onto the interstellar market.

Now, we should keep in mind that even though Martin himself says he reuses his own themes and materials from past works, he re-purposes them a bit to fit the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. Basically it is part of his “furniture rule”.

We see many whisperjewels in ASOIAF, and they do not need to be actual jewels/gemstones to perform as one for literary purposes. Just the same, in ASOIAF, not every jewel, glass candle, or bit of igneous rock is a whisperjewel. It is the idea and function of such an item that GRRM seems to prefer. All of Martin’s past works are present in ASOIAF, just not in the 1:1 representation some readers may assume.

Whisperjewels are often given as gifts between two people, can change color, and then when they are out of “esper”, the resonate memory seems to weaken or fade away. Esper is a neoglism Martin created from the concept of E.S.P., extrasensory perception, which is the psi-link bond skinchangers and wargs have, as well as the link dragon-folk have with their dragons.

I did consider in the very early stages not having the dragons in there. I wanted the Targaryen’s symbol to be the dragons, but I did play with the notion that maybe it was like a psionic power, that it was pyrokinesis — that they could conjure up flames with their minds. I went back and forth. My friend and fellow fantasy writer Phyllis Eisenstein actually was the one who convinced me to put the dragons in, and I dedicated the third book to her. And I think it was the right call.– George R.R. Martin

Longclaw is Jon’s whisperjewel. The Hound’s cloak that Sansa now has is a whisperjewel, and it has even changed color. Theon’s name somewhat behaves with whisperjewel tendencies. Arya has needle as well as the faces she wears as a Faceless Man hold memory. Bran is told to remember Old Nan and her stories and she will remain “alive” that way. Jaime’s hand was his whisperjewel, but one that has now faded and gone. Aegon VI will act as a type of resonate memory for Westeros, and he has the sword Blackfyre which helps (but then Dany will take it as Aegonn VII). The list will go on…

  • Dying of the Light- “No? I’m not? I wear the bond of jade-and-silver, though.” She glanced toward Dirk and lowered her voice. “For Jaan,” she said. “This is really his car, and that’s why I fly it, to answer your original question. For Jaan.”

Also, can they figure out your taxes? They might, if you rub them the right way.

  • Nightflyers- “Perhaps some other time,” Royd said politely. “What is that crystal you wear?”

It hung between her breasts ordinarily; she had removed it when she stripped for her exercises. She picked it up again and slipped it over her head; a small green gem laced with traceries of black, on a silver chain. When it touched her Melantha closed her eyes briefly, then opened them again, grinning. “It’s alive,” she said. “Haven’t you ever seen one? A whisperjewel, captain. Resonate crystal, etched psionically to hold a memory, a sensation. The touch brings it back, for a time.”

“I am familiar with the principle,” Royd said, “but not this use. Yours contains some treasured memory, then? Of your family, perhaps?”

Melantha Jhirl snatched up a towel and began to dry the sweat from her body. “Mine contains the sensations of a particularly satisfying session in bed, captain. It arouses me. Or it did. Whisperjewels fade in time, and this isn’t as potent as it once was. But sometimes—often when I’ve come from lovemaking or strenuous exercise—it comes alive on me again, like it did just then.”

https://creativejewelrybymarcia.com/collections/swarovski-crystal-jewelry
Melantha wears the green jewel while the dragon-mother-ship etched herself into a red crystal.
  • Nightflyers- “I was not familiar with whisperjewels until you told me of yours,” Royd said, “but the principle is the same. Esper-etched, you said. Then you know that psionic power can be stored. The central core of my computer is resonate crystal, many times larger than your tiny jewel. I think Mother impressed it as she lay dying.”

Only an esper can etch a whisperjewel,” Melantha said.


Memory Vessels

Long before readers are introduced to the idea that bones or trees remember, Martin gave readers the clue set-up in Daenerys’ first chapter in the first book in the series that dragons remember. And it is Viserys that provides this bit of double entendre information, just as it is Viserys that Daenerys often favors when she makes certain strategic moves across the chess board of war. The Glass Flower gives great proto-Dany examples of this that Martin has carried over into A Song of Ice and Fire.

  • A Game of Thrones – Daenerys I

    Somewhere beyond the sunset, across the narrow sea, lay a land of green hills and flowered plains and great rushing rivers, where towers of dark stone rose amidst magnificent blue-grey mountains, and armored knights rode to battle beneath the banners of their lords. The Dothraki called that land Rhaesh Andahli, the land of the Andals. In the Free Cities, they talked of Westeros and the Sunset Kingdoms. Her brother had a simpler name. “Our land,” he called it. The words were like a prayer with him. If he said them enough, the gods were sure to hear. “Ours by blood right, taken from us by treachery, but ours still, ours forever. You do not steal from the dragon, oh, no. The dragon remembers.”

    And perhaps the dragon did remember, but Dany could not. She had never seen this land her brother said was theirs, this realm beyond the narrow sea. These places he talked of, Casterly Rock and the Eyrie, Highgarden and the Vale of Arryn, Dorne and the Isle of Faces, they were just words to her. Viserys had been a boy of eight when they fled King’s Landing to escape the advancing armies of the Usurper, but Daenerys had been only a quickening in their mother’s womb.

It is not until much later that readers are provided the information from another fire person, fiery hand Melisandre, that among other the other items mentioned above, the bones remember. So the theme that resonate memory is built-in to key items, generally based on items of personal significance, has been with this story from the beginning.

Fire Hand

  • A Dance with Dragons – Melisandre I

    Mance Rayder chuckled. “I had my doubts as well, Snow, but why not let her try? It was that, or let Stannis roast me.”

    “The bones help,” said Melisandre. “The bones remember. The strongest glamors are built of such things.dead man’s boots, a hank of hair, a bag of fingerbones. With whispered words and prayer, a man’s shadow can be drawn forth from such and draped about another like a cloak. The wearer’s essence does not change, only his seeming.”

    She made it sound a simple thing, and easy. They need never know how difficult it had been, or how much it had cost her. That was a lesson Melisandre had learned long before Asshai; the more effortless the sorcery appears, the more men fear the sorcerer. When the flames had licked at Rattleshirt, the ruby at her throat had grown so hot that she had feared her own flesh might start to smoke and blacken. Thankfully Lord Snow had delivered her from that agony with his arrows. Whilst Stannis had seethed at the defiance, she had shuddered with relief.

There are plenty of connections in ASOIAF relating the Valyrians, volcanoes, and dragons to obsidian. Even in The Glass Flower the main character, Cyrain, has a special castle built of obsidian to her specifications. Dragon bones are not obsidian, but Dragonbone is black due to its high iron content. It is as strong as other metals, such as steel, yet lighter and more flexible. In addition, they seem to take on gemstone-like qualities when polished and displayed as valuable art within the throne room (or Dragonstone=Cyrain’s home), staring as if they hold a memory.

  • A Game of Thrones – Daenerys I

    And perhaps the dragon did remember, but Dany could not. She had never seen this land her brother said was theirs, this realm beyond the narrow sea. These places he talked of, Casterly Rock and the Eyrie, Highgarden and the Vale of Arryn, Dorne and the Isle of Faces, they were just words to her. Viserys had been a boy of eight when they fled King’s Landing to escape the advancing armies of the Usurper, but Daenerys had been only a quickening in their mother’s womb.

    Yet sometimes Dany would picture the way it had been, so often had her brother told her the stories. The midnight flight to Dragonstone, moonlight shimmering on the ship’s black sails. Her brother Rhaegar battling the Usurper in the bloody waters of the Trident and dying for the woman he loved. The sack of King’s Landing by the ones Viserys called the Usurper’s dogs, the lords Lannister and Stark. Princess Elia of Dorne pleading for mercy as Rhaegar’s heir was ripped from her breast and murdered before her eyes. The polished skulls of the last dragons staring down sightlessly from the walls of the throne room while the Kingslayer opened Father’s throat with a golden sword.

  • Nightflyers–  “It’s alive,” she said. “Haven’t you ever seen one? A whisperjewel, captain. Resonate crystal, etched psionically to hold a memory, a sensation. The touch brings it back, for a time.”

“I am familiar with the principle,” Royd said, “but not this use. Yours contains some treasured memory, then? Of your family, perhaps?”

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Black obsidian “etched” crystal dragon skull.

Temporary Void

Readers are shown from the beginning that memory and self identity are going to be a constant and strong theme in ASOIAF. Every major character is having some sort of identity crisis or transition. For Daenerys, she struggles between wanting to be like Rhaegar, and making decisions as Viserys would. And then there is the shadow of her father she contends with, even when she stops listening to the story before it is completed. The thing is, Daenerys is going to be the culmination of all Targaryens throughout history, all the way back to old Valyria slavers and Maegor the Cruel, while on Tuesdays she will be as “Good” Queen Alysanne. As Dany calls out to those left around her who are her loyal followers (not adversaries that had already left):

  • A Game of Thrones – Daenerys IX

    The Dothraki exchanged uncertain glances. “Khaleesi,” the handmaid Irri explained, as if to a child, “Jhaqo is a khal now, with twenty thousand riders at his back.”

    She lifted her head. “And I am Daenerys Stormborn, Daenerys of House Targaryen, of the blood of Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel and old Valyria before them. I am the dragon’s daughter, and I swear to you, these men will die screaming. Now bring me to Khal Drogo.”

    He was lying on the bare red earth, staring up at the sun.

But somewhere between Daenerys having her Waking the Last Dragon dream and then hatching dragons in A Game of Thrones and then as she sets sail across the Red Waste, she gets lost- literally and proverbially. However, despite her peaceful people dying (and “disappearing”, no travelers), her dragon side prospers deep down inside.

Foreshadowing often appears at the beginning of a story, or a chapter, and it helps the reader develop expectations about the upcoming events. In her first chapter of the book, the one that sets the tone for character arc and development, we learn that in the middle of a wasteland without trees, water, or food sources, her dragons prospered. Like Valyrian steel (an analogy for dragons), it should make the reader wonder if these dargonlettes aren’t also prospering on the souls of humans:

  • A Clash of Kings – Daenerys I

    “The black,” she said, “is Drogon.”

    Yet even as her dragons prospered, her khalasar withered and died. Around them the land turned ever more desolate. Even devilgrass grew scant; horses dropped in their tracks, leaving so few that some of her people must trudge along on foot. Doreah took a fever and grew worse with every league they crossed. Her lips and hands broke with blood blisters, her hair came out in clumps, and one evenfall she lacked the strength to mount her horse. Jhogo said they must leave her or bind her to her saddle, but Dany remembered a night on the Dothraki sea, when the Lysene girl had taught her secrets so that Drogo might love her more. She gave Doreah water from her own skin, cooled her brow with a damp cloth, and held her hand until she died, shivering. Only then would she permit the khalasar to press on.

    They saw no sign of other travelers. The Dothraki began to mutter fearfully that the comet had led them to some hell. Dany went to Ser Jorah one morning as they made camp amidst a jumble of black wind-scoured stones. “Are we lost?” she asked him. “Does this waste have no end to it?”

This is a slow burn. The Storm is building and will be reborn in the (Dothraki) Sea. This is all “middle act” stuff, the rising action, and act three is when this self-acceptance will come to the forefront when we will see Dany’s dragon banners fly.

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Martin has referred to this series as a three-part story per his original outline, three literary acts, and in act 3 Daenerys was supposed to arrive in Westeros as an “invasion” with her Dothraki at her command.

The Steel Andal Invasion has a lot more on this setup.


Drogon the Esper Etcher

  • Nightflyers- “I was not familiar with whisperjewels until you told me of yours,” Royd said, “but the principle is the same. Esper-etched, you said. Then you know that psionic power can be stored. The central core of my computer is resonate crystal, many times larger than your tiny jewel. I think Mother impressed it as she lay dying.”

Only an esper can etch a whisperjewel,” Melantha said.

We are back to the importance of the character’s first chapter in a book, that which sets the tone to the development to come; Drogon sends a “whisperjewel” to Daenerys to remind her of who she is → a dragon. This will be re-emphasized in Daenerys’ final middle act plot point in ADWD when she eats a burned horse with Drogon at her side as the Dothraki arrive back on page. This is a setup for the folk-myth experience of Daenerys as the Dragon of the North come again, just as Daenerys is the religious icon of the Lady of Spears for the Unsullied.

  • Dying of the Light [very beginning as Dirk is “called back” to Gwen via a whisperjewel]

The beginning came long after the end: a whisperjewel. It was wrapped in layers of silver foil and soft dark velvet, just as he had given it to her years before. He undid its package that night, sitting by the window of his room that overlooked the wide scummy canal where merchants poled fruit barges endlessly up and down. The gem was just as Dirk recalled it: a deep red, laced with thin black lines, shaped like a tear. He remembered the day the esper had cut it for them, back on Avalon. After a long time he touched it. It was smooth and very cold against the tip of his finger, and deep within his brain it whispered. Memories and promises that he had not forgotten.

This is just as we see it in Daenerys’ first A Dance of Dragons chapter, with Drogon as the etcher in this case. There is even a shared sensation of cold touch and shivering. Dany comes to realize that this is Drogon’s work, the father has no reason to lie, and just like whisperjewels, Dany thinks about Hazzea a few times but Hazzea’s name fades in frequency throughout ADWD as the realization/transition happens- mother of dragons, not mother of children. This is a rather jagged pill Martin gave to his readers, but hey, he says he writes the stories he wants to read. This is also where I recommend Armageddon Rag to see how GRRM has drawn much of Daenerys’ military development from Ananda Cain, the sweet and gorgeous hippie girl that wants to bring about a war for her vision of “peace”.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys I

The pronouncement was received in sullen silence. You would think they might be happier, Dany thought. They have what they came for. Is there no way to please these people?

One man lingered behind as the rest were filing out—a squat man with a windburnt face, shabbily dressed. His hair was a cap of coarse red-black wire cropped about his ears, and in one hand he held a sad cloth sack. He stood with his head down, gazing at the marble floor as if he had quite forgotten where he was. And what does this one want? Dany wondered.

All kneel for Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Shackles, and Mother of Dragons,” cried Missandei in her high, sweet voice.

As Dany stood, her tokar began to slip. She caught it and tugged it back in place. “You with the sack,” she called, “did you wish to speak with us? You may approach.”

When he raised his head, his eyes were red and raw as open sores. Dany glimpsed Ser Barristan sliding closer, a white shadow at her side. The man approached in a stumbling shuffle, one step and then another, clutching his sack. Is he drunk, or ill? she wondered. There was dirt beneath his cracked yellow fingernails.

“What is it?” Dany asked. “Do you have some grievance to lay before us, some petition? What would you have of us?”

His tongue flicked nervously over chapped, cracked lips. “I … I brought …”

“Bones?” she said, impatiently.

“Burnt bones?” 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 …”

No. Dany shivered. No, no, oh no.

“Are you deaf, fool?” Reznak mo Reznak demanded of the man. “Did you not hear my pronouncement? See my factors on the morrow, and you shall be paid for your sheep.”

“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.

*end chapter*

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys II

“Never. That was Lannister work, Your Grace.”

“Lannister or Stark, what difference? Viserys used to call them the Usurper’s dogs. If a child is set upon by a pack of hounds, does it matter which one tears out his throat? All the dogs are just as guilty. The guilt …” The word caught in her throat. Hazzea, she thought, and suddenly she heard herself say, “I have to see the pit,” in a voice as small as a child’s whisper. “Take me down, ser, if you would.”

A flicker of disapproval crossed the old man’s face, but it was not his way to question his queen. “As you command.”

[…and then]

What sort of mother lets her children rot in darkness?

If I look back, I am doomed, Dany told herself … but how could she not look back? I should have seen it coming. Was I so blind, or did I close my eyes willfully, so I would not have to see the price of power?

Viserys had told her all the tales when she was little. He loved to talk of dragons. She knew how Harrenhal had fallen. She knew about the Field of Fire and the Dance of the Dragons. One of her forebears, the third Aegon, had seen his own mother devoured by his uncle’s dragon. And there were songs beyond count of villages and kingdoms that lived in dread of dragons till some brave dragonslayer rescued them. At Astapor the slaver’s eyes had melted. On the road to Yunkai, when Daario tossed the heads of Sallor the Bald and Prendahl na Ghezn at her feet, her children made a feast of them. Dragons had no fear of men. And a dragon large enough to gorge on sheep could take a child just as easily.

Her name had been Hazzea. She was four years old. Unless her father lied. He might have lied. No one had seen the dragon but him. His proof was burned bones, but burned bones proved nothing. He might have killed the little girl himself, and burned her afterward. He would not have been the first father to dispose of an unwanted girl child, the Shavepate claimed. The Sons of the Harpy might have done it, and made it look like dragon’s work to make the city hate me. Dany wanted to believe that … but if that was so, why had Hazzea’s father waited until the audience hall was almost empty to come forward? If his purpose had been to inflame the Meereenese against her, he would have told his tale when the hall was full of ears to hear.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys III

    “Do you? In Qarth, you were seldom seen without a dragon on your shoulder … yet now that shapely shoulder is as fair and bare as your sweet breast, I observe.”

    My dragons have grown, my shoulders have not. They range far afield, hunting.” Hazzea, forgive me. She wondered how much Xaro knew, what whispers he had heard. “Ask the Good Masters of Astapor about my dragons if you doubt them.” I saw a slaver’s eyes melt and go running down his cheeks. “Tell me true, old friend, why did you seek me out if not to trade?”

Daenerys knows that Drogon burned and ate Hazzea, just as a skinchanger/warg knows when their animal has eaten or done other things. Daenerys knows because:

  1. She realizes that the grieving father has no reason to lie and the way he told his tale was for Daenerys’ ears only, not to inflame the city even further, and later Dany admits this to herself.
  2. Daenerys is shown proof in her first chapter when the child’s bones represent the whisperjewel, then she admits this to herself in ADWD II, III, and then in chapter X.
  3. Because this is a dragon’s nature and the first “contact” Dany has had with Drogon for sometime after he flew off. This is the power of ‘touch’ in whisperjewels and other psi-link bonds in Martinworld. Proximity telepathy is another psi-connection. As the Dying of the Light quote above shows readers, “deep within his brain it whispered. Memories and promises that he had not forgotten.
  4. Because throughout the entire story, Daenerys and Drogon act as one, including the final ADWD scenes when they reunite.

Daenerys is essentially reading the etchings in the bones via her psi-link bond with Drogon. She’s picking up what Drogon was puttin’ down; memory… wake the dragon… Drogon killed the little girl to let the Khali be born.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys IX

    One man took it on himself to be a hero.

    He was one of the spearmen sent out to drive the boar back to his pen. Perhaps he was drunk, or mad. Perhaps he had loved Barsena Blackhair from afar or had heard some whisper of the girl Hazzea. Perhaps he was just some common man who wanted bards to sing of him. He darted forward, his boar spear in his hands. Red sand kicked up beneath his heels, and shouts rang out from the seats. Drogon raised his head, blood dripping from his teeth. The hero leapt onto his back and drove the iron spearpoint down at the base of the dragon’s long scaled neck.

    Dany and Drogon screamed as one.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys X

    Then she saw. Her mask is made of starlight.

    “Remember who you are, Daenerys,” the stars whispered in a woman’s voice. “The dragons know. Do you?”

    The next morning she woke stiff and sore and aching, with ants crawling on her arms and legs and face. When she realized what they were, she kicked aside the stalks of dry brown grass that had served as her bed and blanket and struggled to her feet. She had bites all over her, little red bumps, itchy and inflamed. Where did all the ants come from? Dany brushed them from her arms and legs and belly. She ran a hand across her stubbly scalp where her hair had burned away, and felt more ants on her head, and one crawling down the back of her neck. She knocked them off and crushed them under her bare feet. There were so many …

And then as Daenerys and Drogon ride together as one (no controlling whip), hunt together, and then eat charred horsemeat together. Huge transmogrification going on in this last chapter. First Dany’s body starts rejecting the “normal” things and then it shifts in to Dragon existence.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys X

    Dany watched him go. When the sound of his hooves had faded away to silence, she began to shout. She called until her voice was hoarse … and Drogon came, snorting plumes of smoke. The grass bowed down before him. Dany leapt onto his back. She stank of blood and sweat and fear, but none of that mattered. “To go forward I must go back,” she said. Her bare legs tightened around the dragon’s neck. She kicked him, and Drogon threw himself into the sky. Her whip was gone, so she used her hands and feet and turned him north by east, the way the scout had gone. Drogon went willingly enough; perhaps he smelled the rider’s fear.

    In a dozen heartbeats they were past the Dothraki, as he galloped far below. To the right and left, Dany glimpsed places where the grass was burned and ashen. Drogon has come this way before, she realized. Like a chain of grey islands, the marks of his hunting dotted the green grass sea.

    A vast herd of horses appeared below them. There were riders too, a score or more, but they turned and fled at the first sight of the dragon. The horses broke and ran when the shadow fell upon them, racing through the grass until their sides were white with foam, tearing the ground with their hooves … but as swift as they were, they could not fly. Soon one horse began to lag behind the others. The dragon descended on him, roaring, and all at once the poor beast was aflame, yet somehow he kept on running, screaming with every step, until Drogon landed on him and broke his back. Dany clutched the dragon’s neck with all her strength to keep from sliding off.

The carcass was too heavy for him to bear back to his lair, so Drogon consumed his kill there, tearing at the charred flesh as the grasses burned around them, the air thick with drifting smoke and the smell of burnt horsehair. Dany, starved, slid off his back and ate with him, ripping chunks of smoking meat from the dead horse with bare, burned hands. In Meereen I was a queen in silk, nibbling on stuffed dates and honeyed lamb, she remembered. What would my noble husband think if he could see me now? Hizdahr would be horrified, no doubt. But Daario …

Daario would laugh, carve off a hunk of horsemeat with his arakh, and squat down to eat beside her.

As the western sky turned the color of a blood bruise, she heard the sound of approaching horses. Dany rose, wiped her hands on her ragged undertunic, and went to stand beside her dragon.

  • A Storm of Swords – Bran I

    “I will. I’ll remember. I could go back and do it now, if you like. I won’t forget this time.” But I’ll eat my deer first, and fight with those little wolves some more.

    Jojen shook his head. “No. Best stay, and eat. With your own mouth. A warg cannot live on what his beast consumes.”

    How would you know? Bran thought resentfully. You’ve never been a warg, you don’t know what it’s like.

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Horse set afire, not too unlike what Ramsay did to Smiler at Winterfell. Source.

Forgetting Hazzea’s name but remembering Fire and Blood

I know that a lot of other readers say that Dany forgetting Haazea’s name isn’t that big of a deal because Dany hasn’t seen thought of the girl for a while, that Dany is scared, that Dany is dehydrated, etc. I can’t agree that this is what the text shows us just as I cannot agree that GRRM needs word filler. This means something.

Let’s take a look at a portion of the scene to remind ourselves that Daenerys does remember many other life details, but just as the literary resonance of the “fertility” Doreah dying on the Red Waste (mentioned above) while Dany’s dragons prospered meant something, forgetting the girl’s name just as Dany and Drogon are about to psionically merge as they had never done so before means a lot. A lot, lot.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Bran II

    Bran’s eyes filled with tears. We came such a long way. The chamber echoed to the sound of the black river.

    “You will never walk again, Bran,” the pale lips promised, “but you will fly.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys X

Drogon killed a little girl. Her name was … her name …” Dany could not recall the child’s name. That made her so sad that she would have cried if all her tears had not been burned away. “I will never have a little girl. I was the Mother of Dragons.”

Aye, the grass said, but you turned against your children.

Her belly was empty, her feet sore and blistered, and it seemed to her that the cramping had grown worse. Her guts were full of writhing snakes biting at her bowels. She scooped up a handful of mud and water in trembling hands. By midday the water would be tepid, but in the chill of dawn it was almost cool and helped her keep her eyes open. As she splashed her face, she saw fresh blood on her thighs. The ragged hem of her undertunic was stained with it. The sight of so much red frightened her. Moon blood, it’s only my moon blood, but she did not remember ever having such a heavy flow. Could it be the water? If it was the water, she was doomed. She had to drink or die of thirst.

“Walk,” Dany commanded herself. “Follow the stream and it will take you to the Skahazadhan. That’s where Daario will find you.” But it took all her strength just to get back to her feet, and when she did all she could do was stand there, fevered and bleeding. She raised her eyes to the empty blue sky, squinting at the sun. Half the morning gone already, she realized, dismayed. She made herself take a step, and then another, and then she was walking once again, following the little stream.

The day grew warmer, and the sun beat down upon her head and the burnt remnants of her hair. Water splashed against the soles of her feet. She was walking in the stream. How long had she been doing that? The soft brown mud felt good between her toes and helped to soothe her blisters. In the stream or out of it, I must keep walking. Water flows downhill. The stream will take me to the river, and the river will take me home.

Except it wouldn’t, not truly.

Meereen was not her home, and never would be. It was a city of strange men with strange gods and stranger hair, of slavers wrapped in fringed tokars, where grace was earned through whoring, butchery was art, and dog was a…

You are a queen, her bear said. In Westeros.

“It is such a long way,” she complained. “I was tired, Jorah. I was weary of war. I wanted to rest, to laugh, to plant trees and see them grow. I am only a young girl.”

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.

***

Daenerys is done with denials. Fire and blood, dragons plant no trees = We do not sew.

What does Martin have to say about this?

“Well, Tyrion and Dany will intersect, in a way, but for much of the book they’re still apart,” he says. “They both have quite large roles to play here. Tyrion has decided that he actually would like to live, for one thing, which he wasn’t entirely sure of during the last book, and he’s now working toward that end—if he can survive the battle that’s breaking out all around him. And Dany has embraced her heritage as a Targaryen and embraced the Targaryen words. So they’re both coming home.”

Martin has Daenerys transforming from one element to another, as he did with the little girl Adara from his earlier story The Ice Dragon. After a series of battles both in civil war and one Adara fights within her own heart, she ends up transmogrifying elementally in the end, and this even brings tears- finally.

  • The Ice Dragon

He saved whatever he could, and he seemed happy. “Hal is gone, and my land,” he would tell Adara, “and I am sad for that. But it is all right. I have my daughter back.” For the winter was gone from her now, and she smiled and laughed and even wept like other little girls. Three years after they had fled, the king’s army routed the enemy in a great battle, and the king’s dragons burned the foreign capital. In the peace that followed, the northern provinces changed hands once more. Teri had recaptured her spirit and married a young trader, and she remained in the south. Geoff and Adara returned with their father to the farm. When the first frost came, all the ice lizards came out, just as they had always done. Adara watched them with a smile on her face, remembering the way it had been. But she did not try to touch them. They were cold and fragile little things, and the warmth of her hands would hurt them.

Jon is often a parallel to Daenerys (a battle parallel as Bran is the magic parallel to Daenerys). These two are going to clash in a war to end all wars before story’s end. Jon has his own “done with denials” moment, and while it doesn’t happen at the same story time as it does with Daenerys, the fact that by the time readers get into act 3 and these two characters have had this a-ha! moment about themselves is one to remember.

  • A Game of Thrones – Jon IX

    But he had not left the Wall for that; he had left because he was after all his father’s son, and Robb’s brother. The gift of a sword, even a sword as fine as Longclaw, did not make him a Mormont. Nor was he Aemon Targaryen. Three times the old man had chosen, and three times he had chosen honor, but that was him. Even now, Jon could not decide whether the maester had stayed because he was weak and craven, or because he was strong and true. Yet he understood what the old man had meant, about the pain of choosing; he understood that all too well.

    Tyrion Lannister had claimed that most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it, but Jon was done with denials. He was who he was; Jon Snow, bastard and oathbreaker, motherless, friendless, and damned. For the rest of his life—however long that might be—he would be condemned to be an outsider, the silent man standing in the shadows who dares not speak his true name. Wherever he might go throughout the Seven Kingdoms, he would need to live a lie, lest every man’s hand be raised against him. But it made no matter, so long as he lived long enough to take his place by his brother’s side and help avenge his father.

Martin has used this shared-eating consciousness before in some of his past stories, most prominently in A Song for Lya. We even see this human-to-animal shared sensation of knowing when the animal has eaten when Jon senses Ghost has taken in food…

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon III

    The Wall loomed on his right as he crossed the yard. Its high ice glimmered palely, but down below all was shadow. At the gate a dim orange glow shone through the bars where the guards had taken refuge from the wind. Jon could hear the creak of chains as the winch cage swung and scraped against the ice. Up top, the sentries would be huddling in the warming shed around a brazier, shouting to be heard above the wind. Or else they would have given up the effort, and each man would be sunk in his own pool of silence. I should be walking the ice. The Wall is mine.

    He was walking beneath the shell of the Lord Commander’s Tower, past the spot where Ygritte had died in his arms, when Ghost appeared beside him, his warm breath steaming in the cold. In the moonlight, his red eyes glowed like pools of fire. The taste of hot blood filled Jon’s mouth, and he knew that Ghost had killed that night. No, he thought. I am a man, not a wolf. He rubbed his mouth with the back of a gloved hand and spat.

The difference being what the red fire consumes versus what the green man consumes:

  • A Dance with Dragons – Prologue

    Leagues away, in a one-room hut of mud and straw with a thatched roof and a smoke hole and a floor of hard-packed earth, Varamyr shivered and coughed and licked his lips. His eyes were red, his lips cracked, his throat dry and parched, but the taste of blood and fat filled his mouth, even as his swollen belly cried for nourishment. A child’s flesh, he thought, remembering Bump. Human meat. Had he sunk so low as to hunger after human meat? He could almost hear Haggon growling at him. “Men may eat the flesh of beasts and beasts the flesh of men, but the man who eats the flesh of man is an abomination.”

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Three heads of the ice dragon? Bloodraven, Bran, Jon. Artist: Rafael Caravaca

More GRRMspreading…

The notes above all fall in to line with what GRRM says about his characters, that he prefers the “grey” variety because we don’t need anymore dark lords. Well, not all characters are the exact same shade of grey. As Martin describes his style:

” I don’t believe in black and white characters. I don’t want to write the band of heroes on one side and the orcs on the other side but that’s not to say that that all characters are equally gray, you know some are very dark gray and some are some are mostly white but they still  have occasional flaws in them. You know, I’ve always been fascinated by human beings and all their complexity and even human beings who do appalling things. You know the question is, “why?” Why are they do appalling things and it’s interesting to get inside the head and see why you know some of my viewpoint characters are have done some incredibly reprehensible things.”

He then goes on to describe how villains are not born, but made. They are the result of their experiences. Things happen to a character along the way that brings them to junctures where they have to make decisions for themselves… which brings consequences. Video source.

Want to read more GRRM book club stories? try one of these:

  1. The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr – Discarded Knights guards the gates as Sharra feels the Seven while searching for lost love. Many Sansa and Ashara Dayne prototyping here as well.
  2. …And Seven Times Never Kill Man– A look into a proto-Andal+Targaryen fiery world as the Jaenshi way of life is erased. But who is controlling these events? Black & Red Pyramids who merge with Bakkalon are on full display in this story.
  3. The Last Super Bowel– SciFi overtakes football. Plenty of ASOIAF battle strategies to be found in football.
  4. Nobody Leaves New Pittsburgh– Another story where Martin uses corpsehandling to show how corporate dragons work.
  5. Closing Time– An early, and verry short story, where GRRM begins to develop his own style of skinchanging and Armageddon.
  6. Run to Starlight– A tale of coexistence and morality set to a high stakes game of football.
  7. Remembering Melody– A ghost tale written by GRRM in 1981 that tells of long nights, bloodbaths, and pancakes.
  8. Fast-Friend transcribed and noted. Written in December 1973, this story is a precursor to skinchanging, Bran, Euron, Daenerys, and ways to scheme to reclaim lost love.
  9. The Steel Andal Invasion– A re-read of a partial section of  The World of Ice and Fire text compared to the story …And Seven Times Never Kill Man. This has to do with both fire and ice Others in ASOIAF.
  10. A Song for Lya– A novella about a psi-link couple investigating a fiery ‘god’. Very much a trees vs fire motif, and one of GRRM’s best stories out there.
  11. For A Single Yesterday– A short story about learning from the past to rebuild the future.
  12. This Tower of Ashes– A story of how lost love, mother’s milk, and spiders don’t mix all too well.
  13. A Peripheral Affair (1973)When a Terran scout ship on a routine patrol through the Periphery suddenly disappears, a battle-hungry admiral prepares to renew the border war.
  14. The Stone City– a have-not surviving while stranded on a corporate planet. Practically a GRRM autobiography in itself.
  15. Slide Show– a story of putting the stars before the children.
  16. Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark– rubies, fire, blood sacrifice, and Saagael- oh my!
  17. A Night at the Tarn House– a magical game of life and death played at an inn at a crossroads.
  18. Men of Greywater Station– Is it the trees, the fungus, or is the real danger humans?
  19. The Computer Cried Charge!– what are we fighting for and is it worth it?
  20. The Needle Men– the fiery hand wields itself again, only, why are we looking for men?
  21. Black and White and Red All Over– a partial take on a partial story.
  22. Fire & Blood excerpt; Alysanne in the north– not a full story, but transcribed and noted section of the book Fire & Blood, volume 1.

If you want to browse my own thoughts and speculations on the ASOIAF world using GRRM’s own work history, use the drop-down menu at the top of the page for the most content, or click on the page that shows recent posts -> Recent Posts Page.


Thank you for reading the jambles and jumbles of the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire, by Gumbo!

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