Meereen

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Meereen
Ghiscari city
Meereen city.png
Daenerys Targaryen in Meereen, by lvlorf3us
Location Slaver's Bay, Essos
Government Great Masters
Religion gods of Ghis
Founded thousands of years ago
Notable places Great Pyramid, Temple of the Graces, Daznak's Pit, Purple Lotus
Organizations Great Masters, Graces, shavepates, Sons of the Harpy
Meereen is located in Slaver's Bay
Meereen
Slaver's Bay and the location of Meereen (red)[1]

Meereen is the northernmost and the largest of the three great Slaver Cities of Slaver's Bay. It is ruled by the Great Masters, the heads of Meereen's slaving families.

Like the other Slaver Cities, Meereen's emblem is the harpy.[1]

City

Location

Meereen is the northernmost of the slaver cities in Slaver's Bay. The city is located on the northeast coast at the mouth of the Skahazadhan.[2] The Dothraki sea lies to the north, beyond the river. To reach Lhazar from Meereen one must pass through the Khyzai Pass.[3] By the old Ghiscari coastal road, Yunkai is somewhat more than fifty leagues to the south, and Astapor another hundred more; In total, the distance between Meereen and Astapor is between a hundred-and-fifty and two hundred leagues.[4][5][N 1]

Meereen’s hinterlands consist of all the land west of Lhazar, which includes hills and a range of rounded sandstone mountains,[3] as far south as the Yunkish hills.[6]

Layout

Meereen in Game of Thrones © HBO
See also: Images of Meereen

Meereen is the largest[1] and most formidable of the cities along Slaver's Bay.[7] Meereen is as large as Astapor and Yunkai combined. Like them the city is made of brick, but unlike Astapor and Yunkai, Meereen's bricks are of many different colors.[1] Meereen's walls are higher than Yunkai's and Astapor's,[1][5] thicker than Astapor's[5] and better maintained than Yunkai's[1], studded with bastions and anchored by great defensive towers at every angle.[1] The city's north wall runs along the riverbank, its west along the bay shore.[1] The river wall is a few feet higher than the others.[1] Upon the walls, rows of bronze harpy heads with open mouths are positioned, from which the Meereenese can squirt boiling oil out upon any attacker below.[1] Within the city there are narrow twisty alleys and wide brick streets, temples, granaries, hovels, palaces, brothels, baths, gardens, fountains, and fighting pits.[8]

The nobility of Meereen lives in the stepped pyramids. The greatest of them all is the Great Pyramid, located on Meereen's central plaza,[9] which stands eight hundred feet tall. There are a score of lesser pyramids in the city, but none stand even half as high.[8] The Great Pyramid has a great bronze harpy on top of its apex.[1][8] The pyramids are built in the colors of the noble house occupying them; The pyramid of Pahl is pink-and-white, the pyramid of Naqqan is green-and-black,[10] and the great pyramid of Rhazdar is yellow-and-green.[11] The pyramid of Kandaq is said to be modest.[12] Between the pyramids the poorer districts are located.[3]

The city's wastes are carried into the Skahazadhan by great brick sewers. These sewers are closed off with iron gates, although some have rusted through.[1] The Meereenese do not drink the water from the river; Instead, they drink the water gathered from wells.[1]

Meereen has multiple fighting pits scattered across Meereen.[10] These include Daznak's Pit, the Pit of Ghrazz, and the Golden Pit.[13] Daznak's Pit is the largest of all the fighting pits in the city.[10] It is located west from the Great Pyramid.[10]

The Temple of the Graces, home to the priestesses of Meereen, is likewise located west of the Great Pyramid. It is a huge structure topped with golden domes.[3]

A great bronze harpy can be found in the Plaza of Purification.[3] Meereen has several markets,[12] including a spice market where the Purple Lotus is located, near the great pyramid of Rhazdar.[11] Another location in Meereen is Mazdhan's Maze.[14]

Nature

Olives grow along the shores of Slaver's Bay.[6] Tall cedars once grew along the coast, but were either cut down the Old Empire of Ghis or burned by dragonfire during the wars against the Valyrian Freehold.[6] On the terraces of Meereen's pyramids grow night-blooming flowers, lemon trees, and persimmon trees.[8][15]

Near Meereen, multiple farmer's fields and wells can be found. Numerous plants, including waspwillow, dusky roses, wild mint, lady's lace, daggerleaf, broom, prickly ben, and harpy's gold can be found beside the coastal road leading from Yunkai to Meereen.[1]

People

Queen Daenerys Targaryen looks at Meereen from her terrace atop the Great Pyramid.

Meereen's population is a fraction of what it was at the height of the power of the Old Empire.[7] The Meereenese are a sly and stubborn people, who speak a bastard form of High Valyrian, blended with Old Ghiscari.[3][16][11] They use the styles of "Your Worship",[8][14][6] "Magnificence",[6] and "His Radiance"[12] to address their royalty. Meereenese nobility wear the Ghiscari tokar, a sign of wealth and power.[3] Some old lines might prefer tokar's of a specific color. For example, family members of the ancient line of Loraq favor tokars of purple, indigo, and lilac, and family members of the ancient line of Pahl tokars of pink and white, the latter similar to the color of their pyramid.[10] Women might paint their nails,[10] while the men, like other Ghiscari men, tease their hair into horns, spikes, and wings using combs, wax and irons.[3][17] Meereenese seldom ride within the city, preferring to use palanquins, litters, and sedan chairs instead, carried by their slaves.[17] The Ghiscari love a course of dog, and have multiple different ways to prepare it.[18][15]

Ghiscari inter their honored dead in crypts below their manses.[8] The bones of the deceased might otherwise be laid to rest in the Temple of the Graces, where men might light candles in their memory.[14]

Meereen is ruled by the Great Masters, members of the old slaving families.[1][8] These families include the Houses of Dhazak, Galare, Ghazeen, Hazkar, Kandaq, Loraq, Merreq, Naqqan, Pahl, Quazzar, Reznak, Rhazdar, Uhlez, Yherizan, and Zhak. [3][18][10][19] The richest man of Meereen, prior to the arrival of Daenerys Targaryen, was from the House of Pahl. Another man from Pahl commanded Meereen's city guard.[1] Some nobles, like Zhak and Merreq, have estates in the hills.[14]

The priestesses of Meereen are known as Graces. The color of their robes indicates role they fulfill. There are green, white, pink, red, blue, gold, and purple graces.[17] White Graces are girls of noble birth who are still too young to serve in the temple's pleasure gardens.[20] The Blue Graces take care of the sick,[5][12] while the Red Graces serve in the temple's pleasure gardens, where they wait every night until a man chooses them; Should they not be chosen, they must remain until the sun comes up.[9]

In the fighting pits of Meereen combats taken place which are profoundly religious in nature. They are seen as a blood sacrifice to the gods of Ghis, as well as a display of courage, skill, and strength most pleasing to your gods. Victorious fighters are pampered and acclaimed, and the slain are honored and remembered, their names graven on the Gates of Fate amongst the other valiant fallen.[3][14] Additionally, criminals can be condemned to die in the pits.[10] For them, the pits represent a judgment by battle, which gives them a last chance to prove their innocence.[3] Within the fighting pits, contests are held between men, women, children, and wild animals. These are alternated by follies. All animals killed during the contests and follies in the pits are made into a healthful stew for the hungry, and a bowl is given to every man who presents himself at the Gates of Fate.[10]

In Meereen Ghiscari wedding customs are still practiced. The female relatives of the groom examine the bride's womb and female parts, to ensure her fertility. Three Graces witness this ancient ritual, reciting prayers. The bride is to be stripped completely naked for this purpose. After the examinations are done, the women eat a cake baked specially for betrothals, which men are forbidden to taste.[18] Usually, the bride is to wash the groom's feet, signifying that she will be her husband's handmaid.[18] Under special circumstances, it might be the groom who washes the feet of the bride.[17] When Daenerys Targaryen marries Hizdahr zo Loraq, she sits in an ivory chair whilst he washes her feet with water from a golden bowl, while fifty eunuchs sing to them.[17] The bride traditionally wears a tokar of white silk, with dark red veils. The tokar is fringed with baby pearls, which symbolize fertility.[18] Weddings of the highest nobility in Meereen takes place at the Temple of the Graces. The ceremony might last up to four hours, and when husband and wife emerge from the temple, they are bound together wrist and ankle with chains of yellow gold.[17]

Economy

Meereen is a wealthy city,[8] deeply involved in the slave trade.[6] As in Yunkai, slave swordsmen in Meereen are cheaper than their swords.[21] Warriors are bred and trained in the fighting pits,[22][8] and young boys and girls are trained in the brothels.[23] In Meereen, as in Yunkai, eunuchs are often made by removing only the testicles, leaving the penis.[21]

The fighting pits of Meereen are far-famed across the world, drawing trade to the city.[3][15] Meereen claims one-tenth of all the profits from the fighting pits, after expenses, as a tax, through which way the pits help to fill the city's coffers.[3]

A Meereenese coin is called an "honor".[3]

Copper is plentiful in the Ghiscari hills, and was valuable "when bronze ruled the world".[6] Meereen's vintage, made from small pale yellow grapes native to the regions, produce a notably inferior vintage.[3][24] Some nobles have estates in the Ghiscari hills, where slaves grow wheat and olives, herd sheep and goats, and mine salt and copper.[3]

History

It had been a thousand years since Meereen last had a king, and there were some even amongst the old blood who thought they might have made a better choice than him.[12]

Meereen was a colony of the Old Empire of Ghis. Cedars once grew tall along the coast but grow no more; they were felled by the axes of the Old Empire or consumed by dragonfire when Ghis made war against Valyria. Once the trees had gone, the soil baked beneath the hot sun and blew away in thick red clouds. According to Galazza Galare it was these calamities that transformed her people into slavers.[6] Meereen city survived the destruction of Old Ghis at the hands of the Valyrian Freehold and was subsequently was conquered by the Valyrians, who learned slavery from the conquered Ghiscari and used slaves to expand their empire.[25]

The modern Ghiscari in Meereen now speak a blend of the High Valyrian of their conquerors and Old Ghiscari.[3][16][11] Following the fall of the Freehold during the Doom of Valyria, the Ghiscari of Slaver's Bay took control of the slave trade.[7]

The slave Belwas was bred and trained in the fighting pits of Meereen.[22] From Meereen, he was eventually sold to Qohor.[26] The year before the birth of Daenerys's dragons, Meereen suffers from a plague.[23]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Ser Jorah Mormont advises Khal Drogo to drive his slaves to Meereen since it has suffered from a plague recently.[23]

A Clash of Kings

Khal Pono's khalasar rides to the Slaver Cities to sell thousands of slaves.[27] In Qarth Daenerys Targaryen meets Strong Belwas, a veteran of the fighting pits of Meereen.[26]

A Storm of Swords

The Great Masters prepare for Daenerys's arrival by scorching the earth around their city[1] and having the Meereenese fleet set sails.[6] The masters also nail a hundred and sixty-three slave children on mileposts along the coastal road.[1] Once Daenerys's forces have arrived, Meereen sends out their champion Oznak zo Pahl. Oznak is slain in single combat by Belwas, a warrior from Daenerys's forces.[1]

Daenerys besieges the city. The siege eventually comes to an end after Daenerys sends men through the sewers to strike the chains of the slaves within the city, while having her own forces battering down the eastern gate. The Meereenese slaves rise up, and Daenerys and her army gain access to the city, resulting in the sack of the city.[8] Daenerys takes up residence in the Great Pyramid of Meereen, and orders a hundred and sixty-three of the Great Masters to be nailed on posts upon the city's central plaza to avenge the slave children.[8] King Cleon of Astapor sends Lord Ghael to Meereen as an envoy, offering an alliance between Astapor and Meereen. Since Astapor has not fared well since its earlier capture, Daenerys decides to remain and learn to rule in Meereen instead of spreading her rule elsewhere.[8]

A Dance with Dragons

Meereen under siege - by Ignacio Lazcano © Fantasy Flight Games

Ruling as the Queen of Meereen, Daenerys abolishes slavery within the city, although the practice is continued in the hills where slaves still work on the estates of the wealthy. Instead of having slaves, former slavers hire freed slaves at meager wages.[3] Because Daenerys has abolished the slave trade and closed the fighting pits, merchant ships rarely travel to Meereen anymore.[24]

While several Great Masters accept the rule of Daenerys, a group of Ghiscari noblemen, known as the "Sons of the Harpy" or "the Harpy's Sons", engage in a shadow war against Daenerys. They slay freedmen, Unsullied and shavepates during the night, and leave a mark over the body of their victim: a harpy, drawn in blood.[3] To combat this movement, Daenerys orders the creation of a new city watch, made up from the Meereenese themselves:[14] the Brazen Beasts.[6] Additionally, Daenerys takes children from Meereen's old slaving families hostage, having them serve as her cupbearers.[14]

Lhazar allies with Meereen, but Yunkai gathers a coalition of slaving cities against Daenerys.[6] The Dothraki serving Daenerys free the slaves in the hills near Meereen.[5] After the siege of Astapor, the Yunkish host marches on Meereen[4] and the city is blockaded by sea.[28][5] Astapori refugees outside of Meereen's walls suffer from the bloody flux.[18]

Quentyn Martell arrives in Meereen as part of his father Doran's marriage plot, but Daenerys rejects his offer. The queen instead weds Hizdahr in an attempt to bring peace to Meereen,[17] and a truce is made between Meereen and Yunkai.[11] Daenerys flees from Daznak's Pit on Drogon's back when the fighting pits are reopened, however, and the Yunkish leader Yurkhaz zo Yunzak is killed in the chaos.[10]

Quentyn is mortally burned by dragonfire while trying to tame Rhaegal and Viserion,[9] and the dragons escape from the Great Pyramid.[19] Ser Barristan Selmy, the Queen's Hand, deposes King Hizdahr, and the ruling council of Meereen assumes command of the overseeing of Meereenese affairs.[9] Headed by Barristan, they meet to discuss how to best deal with the Yunkish army.[13]

Victarion Greyjoy leads the Iron Fleet toward Meereen on a mission to bring back Daenerys for his brother Euron, King of the Isles and the North.[29] Tyrion Lannister joins the Second Sons, who are part of the Yunkish coalition.[30] The Yunkishmen resume the second siege of Meereen, using trebuchets to launch corpses into the city.[13]

The Winds of Winter

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Warning
This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.

Barristan rallies Meereen's defenses against the Yunkish host.[31] The Meereenese attack the six sisters which bombard the city, and the Windblown turn their cloaks. The Second Sons decide to join Daenerys's force as well, while Victarion's ironborn attack the Yunkish ships in Slaver's Bay.[32]

Quotes

The Great Masters, what a ripe lot o' maggots. The women weren't so bad, though it was worth your life to look at the wrong one the wrong way.[1]
- Ben Plumm, to Daenerys Targaryen


You stopped at Astapor to buy an army, not to start a war. Save your spears and swords for the Seven Kingdoms, my queen. Leave Meereen to the Meereenese and march west for Pentos.[1]
Jorah Mormont, to Daenerys Targaryen


Meereen had been rich beyond imagining.[8]
- thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen


A child departed Qarth, as lost as she was lovely. I feared she was sailing to her doom, yet now I find her here enthroned, mistress of an ancient city, surrounded by a mighty host that she raised up out of dreams.[6]
Xaro Xhoan Daxos, to Daenerys Targaryen


Daenerys: Meereen is a free city of free men.

Xaro: A poor city that once was rich. A hungry city that once was fat. A bloody city that once was peaceful.[6]

- Daenerys Targaryen and Xaro Xhoan Daxos


You will not make Meereen rich and fat and peaceful. You will only bring it to destruction, as you did Astapor.[6]
Xaro Xhoan Daxos, to Daenerys Targaryen


Before you came Meereen was dying. Our rulers were old men with withered cocks and crones whose puckered cunts were dry as dust. They sat atop their pyramids sipping apricot wine and talking of the glories of the Old Empire whilst the centuries slipped by and the very bricks of the city crumbled all around them. Custom and caution had an iron grip upon us till you awakened us with fire and blood. A new time has come, and new things are possible.[20]
- Hizdahr zo Loraq, to Daenerys Targaryen


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 delicacy. Meereen would always be the Harpy's city, and Daenerys could not be a harpy.[33]
- thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen

Chapters that take place at Meereen


Notes

  1. According to Quentyn Martell, "It was a hundred leagues from Astapor to Yunkai by the old Ghiscari coast road, and another fifty from Yunkai to Meereen." (A Dance with Dragons, The Windblown). According to Daenerys Targaryen, however, "two hundred leagues divided Meereen from Astapor" (A Dance with Dragons, Daenerys V), giving a count of fifty leagues more. There are at least a hundred and sixty-three miles between Yunkai and Meereen (A Storm of Swords, Daenerys VII), which results in ~54 leagues (one league being three miles (So Spake Martin: The Size of Westeros (April 17, 2008))).

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys V.
  2. A Dance with Dragons, Map of Valyria
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 30, Daenerys V.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 16, Daenerys III.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 10.9 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 60, The Spurned Suitor.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 55, The Queensguard.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 50, Daenerys VIII.
  16. 16.0 16.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 36, Daenerys VI.
  19. 19.0 19.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
  20. 20.0 20.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 23, Daenerys IV.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  22. 22.0 22.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 61, Daenerys VII.
  24. 24.0 24.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
  25. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 63, Daenerys V.
  27. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  28. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  29. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 63, Victarion I.
  30. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 66, Tyrion XII.
  31. Barristan I (The Winds of Winter)
  32. Tyrion II (The Winds of Winter)
  33. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X.

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