A Storm of Swords-Chapter 23

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Daenerys II
A Storm of Swords chapter
POV Daenerys
Place Astapor
Page 257 UK HC (Other versions)
Chapter chronology (All)
Daenerys I
Arya IV  ← Daenerys II →  Bran II

Daenerys III


Art by David Sondered © Fantasy Flight Games

Daenerys and one of the master slavers in Astapor are discussing the purchase of Unsullied through a translator. Dany is pretending not to know High Valyrian speech, but she understands everything the slaver is saying to the translator. Kraznys demonstrates the loyalty of the Unsullied, how the eunuchs follow every command given them and feel hardly any pain. Both Daenerys and Arstan are horrified by the conditions the Unsullied live under, and the brutality of their training. The slaver indicates he has 8,000 Unsullied currently for sale. Daenerys informs him she will spend the night considering the offer.

Arstan is against the use of slaves, when sellswords can be bought in the Free Cities; he insists that if Daenerys lands in Westeros at the head of a slave army, many of the realm's people will oppose her for no more reason than the abbhorence of slavery. Daenerys is, however, too proud to go back to Pentos as a beggar, not after seeing what it did to her brother, how bitter and angry constantly begging for help left him.

Lonely since her husband's death and confused over Ser Jorah Mormont's advances on her, Daenerys takes Irri as a lover one night, the Dothraki handmaiden more than willing to sexually pleasure her Khaleesi, but Daenerys finds no release, only guilt over treating her handmaid as a bedslave.

The next morning, when Ser Jorah comes to speak with her, Daenerys snaps at him; she despises Astapor and has only contempt for the Unsullied, but she still recognizes that they are too useful to pass up. Ser Jorah also gives Daenerys more food for thought on hiring the Unsullied, pointing out that they don't rape nor put to the sword the population of cities they've conquered unless specifically ordered to, minimizing the bloodshed that will inevitably occur when Daenerys starts the war to reclaim her throne. He also points out their usefulness in answering Daenerys' query as to why Astapor has never been sacked, since any enemy attacking Astapor would face the city's entire garrison of Unsullied, there are few neighboring cities and nations that pose a threat, and the combination of the Unsullied's reputation and heavy bribes offered by Astapor's rulers are enough to dissuade passing Dothraki Khalasars from attacking the city.

Daenerys is tempted, knowing that Viserys would purchase as many Unsullied as he could, but she questions if she can be anything like Rhaegar, to whom Arstan and Jorah keep comparing her, if the loyalty of her men is only based on being bought and paid for. Ser Jorah points out that Rhaegar's honor and the loyalty he inspired in his men didn't save him from dying at the Trident.

Character List appearing/mentioned

Places and terms mentioned

References and Notes