Fighting pits of Meereen
The fighting pits of Meereen have been a part of the city of Meereen since it was founded and are far famed across the world.
The combats are considered to be profoundly religious in nature, that is a blood sacrifice to the gods of Ghis. To the Meereenese the mortal art of Ghis is not mere butchery but a display of courage, skill and strength most pleasing to the gods.
Victorious fighters are pampered and acclaimed and the slain are honoured and remembered - their names are graven on the Gates of Fate amongst the other fallen. For a criminal condemned to die upon the sands the pits represent judgement by battle, a last chance to prove their innocence.
The pits draw trade to the city and fill its coffers with coin from the ends of the earth. It is said that all men share a taste for blood, a taste the pits help slake. In that way, it is argued, they make Meereen more tranquil.
It is customary for Meereen to claim one-tenth of all the profit from the fighting pits, after expenses, as a tax. Sailors would visit the pits to amuse themselves whenever while they wait for their ships holds to be filled. By re-opening the pits Daneyes would show the people of Meereen that she respects their ways and customs.
A Dance with Dragons
Once installed as Meereen’s ruler Queen Daenerys Targaryen closes the city’s fighting pits. This causes the value of pit shares to plummet. Hizdahr zo Loraq grabs the cheap pit shares up with both hands and soon owns most of the fighting pits in Meereen.
Hizdahr has an audience with the queen six times to plead that she re-open them, and six times she refuses to have the pits re-opened. The seventh time Hizdahr brings with him seven well known pit fighters. Even Dany's own people will give her no rest on the matter,
Reznak mo Reznak stressed the coin to be made through taxes. The Green Grace said that reopening the pits would please the gods. The Shavepate felt it would win her support against the Sons of the Harpy. “Let them fight,” grunted Strong Belwas, who had been a champion in the pits. Ser Barristan suggested a tourney instead; his orphans could ride at rings and fight a melee with blunted weapons, he said, a suggestion Dany knew was as hopeless as it was well-intentioned. It was blood the Meereenese yearned to see, not skill. Elsewise the fighting slaves would have worn armour. Only the little scribe Missandei seemed to share the queen’s misgivings.
All seven pit fighter give Dany practical reasons as to why they want her to reopen the pits so that they can risk their lives on the scarlet sands. Dany tells them she will consider all they have said.
In order for peace Dany eventually marries Hizdahr zo Loraq and the fighting pits are reopened. Dany can see the fighting pits from her terrace; the small ones dot the face of Meereen like pockmarks while the larger are weeping sores red and raw.
To celebrate the peace between Yunkai and Meereen Daenerys and her husband attend the re-opening of Daznak's Pit. There, Dany is almost assassinated, her dragon Drogon appears, descends into the pit, and she flies away on him.