Second siege of Meereen

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Siege of Meereen
Mike Capprotti Ser Barristan.jpg
Ser Barristan Selmy commands his queen's forces as Hand of the Queen during the Battle of Slaver's Bay© FFG

Date 300 AC - Present
Location Meereen, Essos
Belligerents
1. Queen Daenerys Targaryen
2. Yunkai and its allies
3. Victarion Greyjoy
Ser Barristan looks at a smouldering Meereen - by Marc Fishman ©

The second siege of Meereen takes place after Daenerys Targaryen has taken control of Meereen. A coalition of slavers besieges the city, in an attempt to restore slavery.

Prelude

Upon buying eight thousand six hundred trained Unsullied, as well as five thousand boys who had not yet completed their training, Daenerys Targaryen sacks Astapor.[2] Daenerys installs a council of three to rule the city, a healer, a scholar, and a priest.[8] She marches her army to Yunkai, where four thousand slave soldiers, as well as two sellsword companies, the Second Sons and the Stormcrows, each consisting of five hundred men. Daenerys meets envoys from all three parties, and promises the Yunkai'i that they'll remain unharmed if they'd release their slaves. The Stormcrows defect to Daenerys prior to battle, and join Daenerys against the remaining Yunkai'i forces.[9] Daenerys does not take the city, but instead marches her army, now greater than eighty thousand men, though less than a quarter are warriors.[10]

Daenerys conquers Meereen and installs herself as its Queen, taking the Great Pyramid as her seat.[11] However, the council she had left to rule Astapor has been killed after a former slave, the butcher Cleon, accused them of plotting to reinstall the Good Masters, the former slavers. Following the deaths of the council members, Cleon names himself king and has all highborn boys in the city seized, to train them as Unsullied.[11] Cleon sends an envoy, Lord Ghael, to Meereen, to inform her of Cleon's reign. Cleon offers an alliance, to be sealed with marriage. Daenerys declines.[11] Meanwhile, Yunkai return to slavery.[12]

Even without Daenerys, Cleon marches his army out to meet Yunkai in the field. He is defeated during the Battle at the Horns of Hazzat, and flees with his host back to Astapor.[13] The Yukai'i follow, and besiege the Red City.[14] When Cleon orders his men to march out and fight, they kill him. His successor, Cleon the Second, is slain eight days later, and the killer takes up the crown. The concubine of the first Cleon claims the crown as well, and the Astapori name them "King Cutthroat" and "Queen Whore".[14] While Astapor starves, the King and Queen accuse one another of eating the slain.[15] When the Green Grace of Astapor has a vision that the first Cleon will soon deliver the Astapori from the Yunkai'i,[15] the Astapori make the decision to strap Cleon's corpse into his armor and onto his horse to lead the Unsullied in battle.[15][4] When the dead King Cleon is slain once again, the Astapori break and attempt to flee, only to find the gates to the city closed. The battle itself is butchery.[4]

Many of the survivors of the second fall of Astapor have the bloody flux. The Yunkai'i command their sellswords to hunt the survivors down and turn them, driving them back to Astapor or north to Meereen to prevent them from going near Yunkai.[4] In Meereen, Queen Daenerys Targaryen receives the news of the fall from three escaped Astapori, and, following the advice of her councillors, refuses to allow the other Astapori to settle in the city,[15] but instead settles them outside the walls,[16] to prevent the bloody flux from spreading into Meereen.

Siege of Meereen

Initial siege

With Astapor defeated, the Yunkai'i forces march on to Meereen.[4][16] Ships from Qarth, Tolos, and New Ghis are shocking off the bay, aided by ships from the Meereenese fleet who had fled when Daenerys first arrived at the city.[15] The Yunkai'i march their new slave soldiers up the coast road, accompanied by four sellsword companies, four Ghiscari legions, a hundred elephants, Tolosi slingers, and a corps of Qartheen camelry, while another two legions from New Ghis are set to arrive by ship.[16]

Following the death of the young girl Hazzea and the subsequent imprisonment of Viserion and Rhaegal and the escape of Drogon, Daenerys refuses to use her dragons in battle.[15] Following her refusal, Ben Plumm allies his Second Sons with Yunkai.[16] The Yunkai'i are in contact with Hizdahr zo Loraq, and inform him that they are willing to give Meereen peace, on the condition that the Yunkai'i can resume slaving. They insist that Astapor, once rebuild, will be a slaver city once again, and that Daenerys has to promise that she will not interfere. The agreements are to be sealed by Daenerys's marriage to Hizdahr.[16] When the Yunkai'i lay siege to Meereen, they build catapults, scorpions, and tall trebuchets. Their aim is to weaken Meereen, until famine and disease brings the city to its knees.[17] The bloody flux has by now already spread across Meereen;[17] However, it has also begun to spread among the Yunkish camps as well.[18]

Agreement of peace

Following Daenerys's occupation of Meereen, Ghiscari descendants known as the Sons of the Harpy began to fight a shadow war against her, killing freedmen and Unsullied, which leads to the formation of the Brazen Beasts, Meereen's new city watch.[19][13] However, the Harpy's Sons continue their killings, and the Green Grace, Galazza Galare, suggests to Daenerys that she should take a Meereenese nobleman as her husband and recommends Hizdahr zo Loraq.[14]

Daenerys follows the advice of Galazza and agrees to a pact with Hizdahr: if he is able to stop the Sons of the Harpy from killing for ninty days, Daenerys will marry Hizdahr.[14] Hizdahr discusses a peace treaty with the Yunkai'i, in which the marriage is an important aspect.[16] Following ninety days of peace, Daenerys and Hizdahr are wed.[17]

Following the marriage, the peace between Meereen and the slavers is to be signed and sealed, and Meereen's fighting pits are to be opened once more.[18] Meereen's ports have already been opened following the wedding,[3] and Hizdahr has invited the Yunkai'i commanders into the city to witness the opening of the fighting pits and sign the peace. Three Yunkish noblemen and the four commanders of the sellsword companies enter Meereen, and in return seven Meereenese hostages are sent to the camps of Yunkai.[3] The following day, Daznak's Pit is opened. Daenerys and Hizdahr witness the matches from Hizdahr's box. Hizdahr urges Daenerys to try some honeyed locusts, but she declines them, letting Belwas eat them all. However, Daenerys feels more and more uneasy while watching the fights. During a fight where Barsena is slain by a boar, Daenerys stands to leave, when Belwas falls to his knees, and Drogon returns to the city. Drogon slays the boar and begins to eat Barsena and the animal. The gathered public panicks and attempts to flee. Daenerys rushes to Drogon's side and flies away from Meereen on his back.[20]

Two hundred fourteen people died at Daznak's Pit, while three times as many were injured.[21] After Daenerys's departure on Drogon, Hizdahr takes over the rule of Meereen and removes many of Daenerys's people from command. He places the command of the Brazen Beasts under the command of one of his cousins, and attempts to do the same with the Unsullied, which angers them, resulting in Hizdahr losing their support. Skahaz mo Kandaq contacts Barristan Selmy and informs him that Hizdahr's confectioner has confessed to having poisoned the locusts, from which Belwas had gotten sick, on behalf of the Sons of the Harpy, who had threatened to kill his daughter. As Daenerys survived, the girl was killed. Skahaz has been gathering support against Hizdahr, but needs Barristan to bring the Unsullied to their side. Barristan agrees.[21]

The Battle of Slaver's Bay

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Warning
This section contains pieces of information which have thus far been only released in samples chapters for The Winds of Winter, or which originate from notes taken at readings from unreleased chapters. Therefore, the section might therefore be considered to contain spoilers. Additionally, the information might not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that parts of the content as described below could still be subject to change.

One of the deaths at Daznak's Pit was the Yunkish Supreme Commander Yurkhaz zo Yunzak. Following his death, the Yunkai'i commanders rotate the leadership, with a new general commanding the army each day, starting at dawn.[22] Because Yurkhaz died whilst inside Meereen, the Yunkai'i speak of a breach of the peace, and continue their siege. They present King Hizdahr with the severed head of one of the Meereenese hostages, Groleo. They also return three hostages - all family to Hizdahr - as a shown of good faith, while promising to return the other three after Hizdahr has slain the dragons.[23] Barristan and Skahaz agree to imprison Hizdahr, as well as Reznak mo Reznak, and rule Meereen by a council.[24] However, in the meantime, Prince Quentyn Martell has contacted the Tattered Prince and enlisted his help in capturing Daenerys's dragons,.[25] Barristan's and Skahaz's plan to arrest Hizdahr takes place on the same night as Quentyn's plan to steal the dragons. Quentyn's plan fails, resulting in his mortal injuries as well as the escape of both Viserion and Rhaegal.[26] While Barristan is confronting Hizdahr about his role in the poisoning attempt of Daenerys, a cupbearer informs them that the dragons have been loosened on the city.[24]

Following Hizdahr's arrest, the Sons of the Harpy return to their nightly killings. Galazza Galare is send to the Yunkai'i to discuss terms, but upon her return informs Barristan that the they demand that Hizdahr is restored to his throne. Galazza had presented an offer from Barristan to the nobles from Yunkai, but they have refused. When Galazza has informed Barristan of this fact, he is informed that the Yunkai'i are now flinging corpses into Meereen, using the trebuchets.[27]

Meereen prepares for the Battle of Slaver’s Bay[28] during the night. At the western gate, five thousand Unsullied are lined up, along with the Stormcrows and several hundred pit fighters. Barristan rides on Daenerys's silver, hoping it gives the soldiers courage. The Brazen Beasts have taken the city walls, and are to be Meereen's final stand against Yunkai, should all else fail. The Stalwart Shields have gathered by the eastern gate, the Mother's Men by the south gate, and the Free Brothers by the north gate. Meanwhile, the Yunkishmen have two Ghiscari legions to the north, across the Skahazadhan, while their main camp is located to the west, with two of its six trebuchets located there; one beside the river, one opposed Meereen's main gates.[1] Yunkai has six trebuchets in total: the Dragonbreaker, the Harridan, the Harpy's Daughter, the Wicked Sister, the Ghost of Astapor, and the Mazdhan's Fist.[18] Yunkai's numbers are larger than Meereen's, and the attack goes against all of Barristan Selmy's instincts, but he knows the battle is necessary nonetheless.[1]

Barristan's plan is to destroy the trebuchet known as the Harridan, in order to distract the Yunkai'i long enough for the Unsullied to form up before the city. The battle itself begins shortly before dawn.[1] Barristan leads the charge on the Harridan with cavalry fighters, while the Unsullied form a shield wall. He manages to reach the trebuchet, where a Ghiscari legion has formed up, six thousand men strong. However, they are not the only defenders. Barristan targets the Paezhar zo Myraq's Herons, and his plan is succesful when the Yunkai'i fail to launge a counter-attack, and the Unsullied can take their position. Tumco Lho points Barristan's attention towards the bay, due to the large amount of ships. They identify the banners of House Greyjoy, and Barristan is surprised to discover that the Ironborn are fighting on their side.[6]

Meanwhile, Tyrion Lannister, who had been enslaved[18] and had escaped to the Second Sons,[29] whom he has joined,[5] has been trying to convince Ben Plumm to defect to Daenerys.[30] When the Second Sons are commanded by a messenger from Gorzhak zo Eraz, the slaver commanding the Yunkish armies that day, to give their aid against the Greyjoy's, the mercenaries present refuse the order, in Ben Plumm's absence. Meanwhile, Viserion is snatching and devouring corpses in the air which are being thrown by the Wicked Sister, while Rhaegal flies over the bay and circles the clashing ships of the Iron Fleet and Qarth.[31] When Plumm returns, he informs his men that the Girl General commands them to defend the Wicked Sister, in case Barristan will turn to that trebuchet when the Harridan is down. However, the Girl General's command had ended at dawn, and a new messenger arrives, informing the Second Sons that commander Gorzhak zo Eraz has been slain by the Tattered Prince, and that the Windblown have declared their loyalty for Meereen. Command is now being held by Morghar zo Zherzyn, who commands the Second Sons to give their aid to the Company of the Cat and the two Ghiscari legions defending the Harpy's Daughter, as the Targaryen Unsullied are marching for the trebuchet. When Tyrion makes a sarcastic comment, the messenger recognizes him for an escaped slave. Jorah Mormont kills the messenger, and the Second Sons declare they have always to Daenerys.[22]

Quotes

Dragons wheeled overhead, their shadows sweeping across the upturned faces of friend and foe alike.[22]


Tyrion: "Do you hear that sound?"
Penny: "What is it?"
Tyrion: "War. On either side of us and not a league away. That's slaughter, Penny. That's men stumbling through the mud with their entrails hanging out. That's severed limbs and broken bones and pools of blood. You know how the worms come out after a hard rain? I hear they do the same after a big battle if enough blood soaks into the ground. That's the Stranger coming, Penny. The Black Goat, the Pale Child, Him of Many Faces, call him what you will. That's death." [22]
Tyrion Lannister and Penny at the start of battle


Whatever might befall us on the battlefield, remember, it has happened before, and to better men than you. I am an old man, an old knight, and I have seen more battles than most of you have years. Nothing is more terrible upon this earth, nothing more glorious, nothing more absurd. You may retch. You will not be the first. You may drop your sword, your shield, your lance. Others have done the same. Pick it up and go on fighting. You may foul your breeches. I did, in my first battle. No one will care. All battlefields smell of shit. You may cry out for your mother, pray to gods you thought you had forgotten, howl obscenities that you never dreamed could pass your lips. All this has happened too. Some men die in every battle. More survive. East or west, in every inn and wine sink, you will find greybeards endlessly refighting the wars of their youth. They survived their battles. So may you. This you can be certain of: the foe you see before you is just another man, and like as not he is as frightened as you. Hate him if you must, love him if you can, but lift your sword and bring it down, then ride on. Above all else, keep moving. We are too few to win the battle. We ride to make chaos, to buy the Unsullied time enough to make their spear wall, we—[1]
– Barristan Selmy’s speech, until he is interrupted.

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Winds of Winter, Barristan I
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 27, Daenerys III.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 50, Daenerys VIII.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 66, Tyrion XII.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Winds of Winter, Barristan II (Notes from Boskone 2013 reading]
  7. 7.0 7.1 A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
  8. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
  9. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  10. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys V.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  12. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 16, Daenerys III.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 23, Daenerys IV.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 30, Daenerys V.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 36, Daenerys VI.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 47, Tyrion X.
  19. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  20. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 55, The Queensguard.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 The Winds of Winter, Tyrion II
  23. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 59, The Discarded Knight.
  24. 24.0 24.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
  25. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 60, The Spurned Suitor.
  26. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
  27. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.
  28. George R.R. Martin Talks Season Two, 'The Winds of Winter,' and Real-World Influences for 'A Song of Ice and Fire' (March 26, 2012)
  29. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 57, Tyrion XI.
  30. The Winds of Winter, Tyrion I (Notes from Miscon reading: two Winds of Winter chapters (Victarion I and Tyrion I) (June 6, 2012)
  31. The Winds of Winter, Tyrion II

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