Fighting pits of Meereen
The combats are considered to be profoundly religious in nature, 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 honored 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.
Meereen customarily claims one-tenth of the pits' profits as a tax. Foreign sailors visit the pits to amuse themselves while they wait for their ships holds to be filled.
A Storm of Swords
A Dance with Dragons
Daenerys, Queen of Meereen, closes the city's fighting pits, which causes the value of pit shares to plummet. Hizdahr zo Loraq takes advantage of the cheap prices and soon owns most of the pits in the city.
Hizdahr has an audience with the queen six times to plead that she re-open the pits, unsuccessfully arguing that by re-opening the pits Dany would show the people of Meereen that she respects their ways and customs. The queen considers collecting one-tenth of the revenue, rather than one-tenth of the profits after expenses. The seventh time Hizdahr brings with him seven well-known pit fighters, slaves previously freed by Daenerys. The pit fighters give her practical reasons as to why they want her to re-open the pits so that they can risk their lives on the scarlet sands. With the exception of Missandei, Dany's councilors also promote the advantages of reopening the pits.
In order for peace Dany marries Hizdahr and allows the fighting pits to be reopened. To celebrate the peace between Yunkai and Meereen, Daenerys and her new husband attend the re-opening of Daznak's Pit, where Dany is almost assassinated. During the fighting, her dragon Drogon appears, descends into the pit, and she flies away on him.
After Viserion and Rhaegal are unleashed upon the city the ruling council of Meereen herd animals into Daznak's Pit, the Golden Pit, and the Pit of Ghrazz in order to feed them and keep them sated. The two dragons prove to have a taste for mutton, returning to Daznak's Pit, which is full of sheep, whenever they grow hungry.
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 armor. Only the little scribe Missandei seemed to share the queen’s misgivings.—thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen
—thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen