A Dance with Dragons-Chapter 2
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A Storm of Swords
During the night, Daenerys is presented with the body of Stalwart Shield, one of her Unsullied soldiers, who has been killed by the Sons of the Harpy. When day has come, Daenerys holds court, where the last petitioner presents her with a terrible
Daenerys Targaryen, now riling Meereen as its Queen, is presented the body of Stalwart Shield, one of her Unsullied soldiers. Stalwart Shield was killed by the Sons of the Harpy when he was visiting a brothel. He was found with the genitals of a goat stuffed down his throat, and with his sword missing. Daenerys notes that, although the Harpy's Sons have killed to freedmen loyal to her before, Stalwart is the first of her soldiers to be killed. Ser Barristan Selmy, Lord Commander of her Queensguard, warns her that Stalwart will not be the last. Daenerys offers a reward for anyone who can return the missing sword, and orders her men to investigate who has been gelding goats recently. Barristan informs her that the Unsullied are ill-suited to find the murderers, but Daenerys sees them as her only option, as the Dothraki, who would fare far worse, are gone from the city, attempting to subdue the hinterlands, as are her Second Sons and Stormcrows, the former gone south to guard Meereen against possible attacks from Yunkai, the latter to the east to make an alliance with the Lhazareen.
From the terrace of her private chambers in the Great Pyramid, Daenerys looks out over the city as dawn breaks. Her dragon Viserion looks at her as she walks by, and takes off into the sky as Daenerys watches him go. She notes that her dragons have been growing larger and wilder, and wonders if she has left them too much to themselves. She thinks they are almost large enough to ride.
When Viserion is out of sight, she returns to her chambers and dons a tokar. On her way to hold court, she is met by Reznak mo Reznak, her seneschal, and Skahaz mo Kandaq. They have heard what happened to Stalwart Shield. Skahaz, a Meereenese nobleman who has "put the old Meereen behind him to accept the new", symbolized by him shaving his head, thereby exchanging the customary Meereenese hair styles for a bald head. He and his followers, "the shavepates", are regarded as enemies by the Harpy's Sons. Skahaz is convinced that the noble Meereenese slave families are behind the attack, and suggests killing one man of each family now, and two of each of these families the next time one of her soldiers is killed. Reznak is horrified by the suggestion, and insists that the murderer will prove to be baseborn. Daenerys orders them to increase the reward offered for a Harpy's Son, and leaves to hold court.
The first petitioner is the Astapori envoy, Lord Ghael. He presents Daenerys with a present from Astapor's new king, Cleon. Ghael has asked Daenerys for her hand in marriage in Cleon's name several times before, but today he proposes Astapor and Meereen form an alliance against Yunkai. Daenerys regrets having left Yunkai untaken, as the Yellow City had resumed to slavery as soon as she had moved on. However, she also finds that Cleon is little better than the Yunkai'i, as he has enslaved the former slave masters. She suggests to the ambassador that King Cleon should feed the people in his starving city before sending them out into war.
The next petitioner is Hizdahr zo Loraq, a wealthy Meereenese noble. For the sixth time, Daenerys refuses to grant him his wish of opening the fighting pits of Meereen. Daenerys recalls that Reznak and the Green Grace have been urging her to take a Meereenese noble for her husband in order to reconcile the city to her rule. Daenerys thinks that Hizdahr might be an option. She recalls how Skahaz had offered to wed her, expressing willingness to set aside his wife to do so. However, Daenerys does not like the notion.
Several other petitioners follow, many of them presenting Daenerys with grievances about deeds done during the sack of the city. A young boy tells her how two of his father's houseshold slaves had killed his father and older brother, and raped and killed his mother. He request they be hanged, but Daenerys has to deny him, as she had declared a blanket pardon for all crimes committed during the sack, and will not punish slaves for rising up against their masters. The boy attempts to attack her upon hearing her decision, but fails when he trips on his own tokar. Daenerys forgives him and sends him away, but as he leaves she sadly thinks to herself that the Harpy has just gained another Son.
The day at court ends with petitions made by shepherds claiming that her dragons have devoured their animals; Some have even brought burned bones as proof. Although she is convinced that some of the claims are false, Daenerys orders Reznak to pay they for the animals they have lost. The petitioners are all sent away, but one man stays behind. As Daenerys asks him what he wants from them, he empties a sack of burnt bones on the floor. Reznak angrily berates him, telling him the compensations for the losses are to be collected the next morning, but Barristan quickly speaks up while Daenerys comes to the same realization. They are not the bones of a sheep. They belong to a child.
Places and Terms Mentioned
References and Notes
- A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance with Dragons, Part 2 Analyses and summary of the chapter by Leigh Butler.