A Dance with Dragons-Chapter 67

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The Kingbreaker
A Dance with Dragons chapter
POV Barristan Selmy
Place Meereen
Page 874 UK HC (Other versions)
Chapter chronology (All)
The Discarded Knight
Tyrion XII  ← The Kingbreaker →  The Dragontamer

The Queen's Hand


Ser Barristan meets with Skahaz mo Kandaq again, and they go through with their plan to seize Hizdahr and the city, and have it ruled by a council until Daenerys's return. They decide that their word for going ahead with the plan will be "Groleo," in reference to the hostage that was slain by the Yunkai'i. Skahaz reveals that he was present in the throne room when Bloodbeard and the slaver lords made their insult, and that he and every one of the Brazen Beasts present would have killed the Yunkish delegation in an instant had Hizdahr given the command, raging that the Yunkish would never have dared do such a thing to Daenerys. The Shavepate goes on to explain to Ser Barristan that Hizdahr's horrified reaction to Groleo's severed head was a sham and the slavers couldn't care less about Yurkhaz zo Yunzak's death in the pit; the whole thing was arranged so as to give Hizdahr a pretext to kill the queen's dragons before Volantis's fleet arrives.

Despite Skahaz's objections, Barristan insists that after Hizdahr is deposed, they will order the Yunkai'i return their remaining hostage and withdraw their armies from Meereen, only going forth to do battle if they refuse. Selmy is also confident he can overcome Hizdahr's guards, as they are only pit fighters and Barristan believes men like that, who fight for the adulation of the crowd and only when they are called to, are no match for a knight of the Kingsguard who must always be alert and ready to fight and die at a moment's notice to defend their monarch.

Barristan and Skahaz also dispute over trying to rescue the remaining hostages—Jhogo, Hero and Daario—as the Shavepate believes it is too dangerous to try. He is also particularly scathing about Daario, believing it would be better in the long run for Daenerys if the Stormcrows's captain were to die. Though he is aware Daenerys is in love with Daario, Barristan privately agrees as he is well aware from history that the Targaryens have a propensity for choosing poorly in matters of the heart, choices that almost always lead to disaster:

Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna and thousands died for it. Daemon Blackfyre loved the first Daenerys, and rose in rebellion when denied her. Bittersteel and Bloodraven both loved Shiera Seastar and the Seven Kingdoms bled. The Prince of Dragonflies loved Jenny of Oldstones so much he cast aside a crown, and Westeros paid the bride price in corpses. All three of the sons of the fifth Aegon had wed for love in defiance of their father's wishes. And because that unlikely monarch had followed his heart when he chose his queen, he allowed his sons to have their way, making bitter enemies when he might have made fast friends. Treason and turmoil followed, as night follows day, ending at Summerhall in sorcery, fire and grief.

Skahaz also mentions that they have hostages of their own and that they can easily retaliate in kind if the Yunkai'i harm any more of their hostages, but like his queen, Barristan refuses to harm the cupbearers, due to his own aversion to killing children. Though disappointed, the Shavepate agrees and promises that everything will be ready for the plan by nightfall.

For the rest of the day, Barristan makes his rounds about the pyramid and trains with his boys. He thinks to himself that some of them might be ready for knighthood soon. However, as he wrestles with what he is planning to do that night, he decides it would be worse for the boys if they were knighted by a knight without honor just before his death. He lectures the boys about honor and thinks that someday maybe they will understand. He also warns Missandei not to leave the queen's chambers, but refuses to answer her questions about his intentions. He also reflects on his own failures, one in particular; that he didn't defeat Rhaegar at the tourney at Harrenhal. Had he won, he would have crowned Ashara Dayne, who he was enamored with, as queen of love and beauty and wonders that if he had, would Ashara not have killed herself from grief over a child supposedly fathered on her by a Stark. Barristan considers that his greatest failure.

During the night, after bathing and donning his armor, Ser Barristan goes to confront Hizdahr in his chambers; the Brazen Beasts let him past without incident. Barristan, using the pretext of delivering a message to gain entrance, tries to question Hizdahr, demanding to know if he is in league with the Sons of the Harpy and if he had anything to do with the assassination attempt on Daenerys. Hizdahr's denials of the accusations do not convince Selmy, and when the old knight draws his sword, Hizdahr call for the pit fighter Khrazz, one of his guards, to defend him. Despite Barristan's efforts to convince Khrazz to surrender, the pit fighter attacks him; however, Khrazz's inexperience of fighting opponents wearing armor is his downfall, and Selmy kills him quickly. Barristan tells Hizdahr, who desperately begs for his life, that he means to take Hizdahr to a cell, where he will be imprisoned until Daenerys returns. Suddenly, a cup bearer informs them that Reznak wishes to see the king. Barristan, surprised as he and Skahaz had planned to imprison Reznak as well, asks why and is told the dragons (Viserion and Rhaegal) have been loosed upon the city.

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