anchor stone blocks

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She had been born on Dragonstone nine moons after their flight, while a raging summer storm threatened to rip the island fastness apart. They said that storm was terrible. The Targaryen fleet was smashed while it lay at anchor, and huge stone blocks were ripped from the parapets and sent hurtling into the wild waters of the narrow sea. Her mother had died birthing her, and for that her brother Viserys had never forgiven her.

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“She had been born on Dragonstone nine moons after their flight, while a raging summer storm threatened to rip the island fastness apart. They said that storm was terrible. The Targaryen fleet was smashed while it lay at anchor, and huge stone blocks were ripped from the parapets and sent hurtling into the wild waters of the narrow sea. She did not remember Dragonstone either.

Complimentary Counterparts The Parallel Journey of Daenerys Targaryen & Jon Snow


Essay I: From the Outside Looking In


In troduction

A princess on the run, a bastard brought up in a castle, so begins the story of Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. One might ask what these two characters could possibly have in common, well, a lot actually. Superficially they might be as different as the sun and the moon yet their journeys, experiences, trials and tribulations have an uncanny parallel to them.

Their worlds where forever changed before they were even born, losing both of their parents to a war that tore the kingdom of Westeros apart, Robert’s Rebellion. These two orphans have not had an easy roads since then, lovers lost, brothers dead, no home or place to truly belong to. Where their journey will lead them is still unknown, as the last time we saw them they were both at a crossroads.

In this series of essays we will explore their journeys, from two lonely outsiders to young leaders trying to change a world that for far too long has been stagnant in its routine. We will also look at their lovers, their mentors and the magic that surrounds them.

This essay will focus on Dany and Jon as we first meet them, lonely outcast trying to find a place to belong. Finally, we’ll look at their closest bonds, those they share with their animal familiars, Dany and Drogon and Jon and Ghost.


Spirited Away

She was born in the West and smuggled East. He was born in the South and smuggled North. Both infants whisked away from the common threat that almost decimated their entire family, Robert’s Rebellion. Had they not been taken away they themselves would surely have been victims as well of this war. A harrowing start to life for both Dany and Jon, taken away from their place of birth neither of them has ever truly belonged anywhere ever since.


Dany

The details of Dany’s birth and escape from Dragonstone are pretty slim. They were told to her by Viserys who himself was still a child when Ser Darry fled with them to Braavos in order to save their lives. Dany recounts the tail in her very first chapter:

“She had been born on Dragonstone nine moons after their flight, while a raging summer storm threatened to rip the island fastness apart. They said that storm was terrible . The Targaryen fleet was smashed while it lay at anchor, and huge stone blocks were ripped from the parapets and sent hurtling into the wild waters of the narrow sea. Her mother had died birthing her, and for that her brother Viserys had never forgiven her.

She did not remember Dragonstone either. They had run again, just before the Usurper’s brother set sail with his new-built fleet. By then only Dragonstone itself, the ancient seat of their House, had remained of the Seven Kingdoms that had once been theirs. It would not remain for long. The garrison had been prepared to sell them to the Usurper, but one night Ser Willem Darry and four loyal men had broken into the nursery and stolen them both, along with her wet nurse, and set sail under cover of darkness for the safety of the Braavosian coast.”

As we see Dany has been spirited away since conception, first her mother runs from King’s Landing before the rebels sack it and then she is take away from Dragonstone before the rebels reach it. So started her life, living on the run, never stopping for too long should the hired knives catch them. This can be very hard on a child, never knowing the comfort of home and family, the stability that is necessary to feel cared for and safe. Running from one place to the next never setting down roots, it’s no wonder why she yearns so much for the House with the Red Door.

This theme will continue throughout Dany’s life. After her time in Braavos (the longest she’s every lived in one place) she will continue to run from one city to another, never settling down. He time with the Dothraki is ironically parallel of this; she goes from one place to the next, as they themselves, are a nomadic people, never settling down. Next, after her time with the Dothraki she continues to go from one place to next, first Qarth, then Astapor, then Yunkai and finally she settles in Meereen, yet another place where she does not belong.


Jon


(Note, that for the purposes of this essay R+L=J will be treated as canon. )

Like Dany, what we know of Jon’s birth and the events soon after is very limited. Much of it has been inferred by the clues we have been given regarding his parentage. Early in AGOT we are told by Catelyn:

“When the wars were over at last, and Catelyn rode to Winterfell, Jon and his wet nurse had already taken up residence. That cut deep. Ned would not speak of the mother, not so much as a word, but a castle has no secrets, and Catelyn heard her maids repeating tales they heard from the lips of her husband’s soldiers. They whispered of Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, deadliest of the seven knights of Aerys’s Kingsguard , and of how their young lord had slain him in single combat. And they told how afterward Ned had carried Ser Arthur’s sword back to the beautiful young sister who awaited him in a castle called Starfall on the shores of the Summer Sea.”

Ned had gone down South for the war and when he returned, he returned with a child. Catelyn thinks that Ashara Dayne might be his mother; Ned says to Robert that it was a woman named Wylla. Nonetheless, by all accounts we know that Jon was born South and brought North.

However, as the series continue we begin to piece together the events surrounding Jon’s birth and it seems that they were not as straightforward as we were initially lead to believe. Not only was the war a shadow around his conception and birth, like with Dany, but also like her, his departure from the place of his birth was also marred by fighting and death.

From the information we are given it appears that Jon was born near or at the Tower of Joy in Dorne after the sack of King’s Landing. Ned went South in search of his sister Lyanna who had been taken or had left willingly, this is still up for debate, with Prince Rhaegar. When he reached the Tower of Joy he was confronted by three kingsguard who stood in the way of him getting to his sister. After a battle ensued, seven men died, while Ned and Howlin Reed survived. When Ned was finally able to get to his sister she had given birth to a child who Ned then spirited away North. Ned then claimed the child as his own in order to keep him safe.

Jon of course, unlike Dany, did not have to flee any further. In Winterfell he had a home and family that cared for him. However, he never quite felt like he fit in, both being a bastard and being unwanted by his “father’s” wife Catelyn made Jon feel like he did not quite belong.


Dany and Jon

If we believe the rummers both Dany and Jon were conceived in violence, king Aerys raped queen Rhaella to conceive Dany and supposedly Prince Rhaegar rapes the Lady Lyanna to conceive Jon. Both of their mother’s where hidden during their pregnancies and both died during childbirth and finally both Dany and Jon were whisked aways from the place of their birth in order to keep them safe.

It wasn’t an easy start to life for either character. Loosing most of their families as infants that shadow has followed them overtly and obscurely throughout their lives. And while Dany knows what happen, Jon is still in the shadows, yet it has affected them both in many similar ways. As we will continue to discuss, due to these circumstances both grew up feeling like outsiders, never quite fitting in or feeling like they belonged.

An interesting contrast between Dany and Jon is their experiences with the relative who raised them. While Dany was resented and demeaned and abusively treated by her brother, Jon was loved and cared for by his uncle.\father Ned.


It’s Lonely on the Outside

For Dany and Jon not fitting in is due to completely different circumstances. While Jon is outsider because of his status as a bastard, Dany is an outsider for being an exclude princess. Dany spent the first few years of her life living in the Sea Lord’s Palace in Braavos with her guardian Ser. Darry. He time there was peaceful; she had her own room and was well cared for by Ser Darry. After his death, however, they were thrown out of the palace and forced to go from one free city to the next begging the help of anyone who would offer it. From the time she was born to the moment where we meet her she has lived in 8 difference places: Dragonstone, Braavos, Myr, Tyrosh, Qohor, Volantis, Lys and Pentos. And while she was a beggar of sorts, she was still a princess and because she was a princess there were things her brother would not allow her to do, like play with the common children Dany encountered on the streets. This caused Dany a great deal of loneliness as it meant she wasn’t really able to make friends and the only companion she ever had was her brother.

Jon on the other hand grew up in a stable home with a family that cared for him, sans his father’s wife. As a child he dreamed that he would inherit Winterfell one day only to be told that as a bastard he was not be entitled to his family’s processions. This was very hard for Jon as he began to understand that his status in life precluded him from many of the things he would have been entitled to had he been a true born son. This made Jon feel like a misfit, he was part of a family yet outside of it. It was a difficult position to be in especially as a child as it’s hard to understand why you can’t be like everyone else. As he grew up he still had his family’s love but his position in life and society was something that was ever present for him, something he could not forget and would not be allowed to forget by society.

As we see them through the series their role as outsiders is very apparent, they each have found comfort and acceptance in certain places, the Dothraki, the Wall, the Wildings, yet they have never truly felt like they belonged anywhere.


Dany

When we encounter Dany for the first time in A Game of Thrones, she has been living for the past six months at the manse of Magister Illyrio Mopatis. He is the latest person that has taken her and her brother Viserys in. For Dany it’s just another place to feel as an outsider. She is once again living on the kindness of a stranger, as she looks outside all she wants to do is be like everyone else:

“The square brick towers of Pentos were black silhouettes outlined against the setting sun. Dany could hear the singing of the red priests as they lit their night fires and the shouts of ragged children playing games beyond the walls of the estate. For a moment she wished she could be out there with them, barefoot and breathless and dressed in tatters, with no past and no future and no feast to attend at Khal Drogo’s manse.”

All she wants is to be free to play with other children, to not have the responsibility of helping to restore her family’s crown upon her young shoulder. Having never truly had a childhood, all she wanted to do is to be a child. There is a deep loneliness there as she looks at the outside world, unable to join it. Not only is her loneliness born of her being unable to play along with other children but also because she was never allowed to set down roots. The only home she has ever known was in Braavos and that too was taken away from her when she was still a young child:

“She remembered Ser Willem dimly, a great grey bear of a man, half-blind, roaring and bellowing orders from his sickbed. The servants had lived in terror of him, but he had always been kind to Dany . He called her “Little Princess” and sometimes “My Lady,” and his hands were soft as old leather. He never left his bed, though, and the smell of sickness clung to him day and night, a hot, moist, sickly sweet odor. That was when they lived in Braavos, in the big house with the red door .

Dany had her own room there, with a lemon tree outside her window. After Ser Willem had died, the servants had stolen what little money they had left, and soon after they had been put out of the big house. Dany had cried when the red door closed behind them forever.

They had wandered since then, from Braavos to Myr, from Myr to Tyrosh, and on to Qohor and Volantis and Lys, never staying long in any one place. Her brother would not allow it. The Usurper’s hired knives were close behind them, he insisted, though Dany had never seen one.”

A rather sad memory for a child to have, seeing the only home they’ve ever known ripped from them and to never know another home again. Now, at the age of 13 she has been the Magistrate Illyrio has arranged for her to be given to khal Drogo as a bride in order for her brother Viserys to gain an army and take back his family’s kingdom.

Her marriage to khal Drogo is difficult at first but she learns to find comfort and acceptance with the Dothraki and yet, she never considers her the Dothraki sea home, she still delivers that her real home is back in Westeros:

“What do you pray for, Ser Jorah?” she asked him. “Home,” he said. His voice was thick with longing. “I pray for home too,” she told him, believing it. Ser Jorah laughed.

“Look around you then, Khaleesi.” But it was not the plains Dany saw then. It was King’s Landing and the great Red Keep that Aegon the Conqueror had built. It was Dragonstone where she had been born . In her mind’s eye they burned with a thousand lights, a fire blazing in every window . In her mind’s eye , all the doors were red.”

Even having found the family she craved she didn’t see her life with the Dothraki as home. She was still an outsider and what she wanted, was the home her brother had so often spoken to her about, their home in Westeros, the lifeline to the family she had never known. This home for Dany is a dream, she had never been there, what she imagined was an idealized version her brother had fed her. And yet, that’s what she was seeking, a place where she felt she could belong.

I think that’s what Dany is searching for when she is searching for home. She wants a place to belong, as she is discussing home once again with Ser Jorah she thinks to herself:

“Home? The word made her feel sad. Ser Jorah had his Bear Island, but what was home to her? A few tales, names recited as solemnly as the words of a prayer, the fading memory of a red door … was Vaes Dothrak to be her home forever? When she looked at the crones of the dosh khaleen, was she looking at her future?”

She knows that she has an idealized version of Westeros and question whether that could actually be her home, what exactly did that mean to her. But she knows deep inside that she does not belong with the the Dosh Khaleen in Vaes Dothrak.

Her search for home and a place to belong is also mingled with her duty to restore her house and the former glory of her family. As they are both intertwined one can see why she conflates her need to belong with her need for home:

“If I were not the blood of the dragon, she thought wistfully, this could be my home. She was khaleesi, she had a strong man and a swift horse, handmaids to serve her, warriors to keep her safe, an honored place in the dosh khaleen awaiting her when she grew old … and in her womb grew a son who would one day bestride the world. That should be enough for any woman … but not for the dragon. With Viserys gone, Daenerys was the last, the very last. She was the seed of kings and conquerors, and so too the child inside her. She must not forget.”

She thinks to herself that if she was not who she is, she could settle with the man she loved and just live a simple life. But alas that is not what she was meant for, she knows that she has a duty to her family, to their legacy, she feels an obligation to them, she cannot just turn her back on who she is:

“She had finally found a safe place, had finally tasted love and hope. She was finally going home. And now to lose it all … ”

“She could smell home , she could see it, there, just beyond that door, green fields and great stone houses and arms to keep her warm, there. She threw open the door. “… the dragon …” And saw her brother Rhaegar, mounted on a stallion as black as his armor. Fire glimmered red through the narrow eye slit of his helm. “The last dragon,” Ser Jorah’s voice whispered faintly. “The last, the last.” Dany lifted his polished black visor. The face within was her own.”
Home and family are forever intertwined in Dany’s mind. This comes to a head at the end of ADWD, while in the Dothraki sea she is confronted with the reality of what she wants and what she has to do:

“Up here in her garden Dany sometimes felt like a god, living atop the highest mountain in the world. Do all Gods feel so lonely?”


“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.

Once again there is the realization that she does not belong, and will once again have to leave to find her way.


Jon


While Dany had a name but no place to call home, Jon had a place to call home but no name. Having a home, however, did not mean that Jon felt like he belonged. Even surrounded by a father who loved him and brothers and sisters that cared for him, he always felt like a misfit, an outcast, an outsider. The fact that he was a bastard and not a legitimate member of his family is something that is always present in his mind that although he had Stark blood he was not a true Stark.

“Bran and Rickon would be Robb’s bannermen and rule holdfasts in his name. His sisters Arya and Sansa would marry the heirs of other great houses and go south as mistress of castles of their own . But what place could a bastard hope to earn?”

Once his father left to go South to become the king’s Hand Jon knew that he would no longer have a place at Winterfell. He decided to take his uncle up on his offers and join the men of Night’s Watch. As he continues on his journey he goes to Castle Black a place where at first he has a hard time adjusting to yet he realizes that there is no where else for he to belong. He no longer could call Winterfell his home and his new home is now with the men of the Watch.

“A deep restlessness was on him as he went back to Hardin’s Tower for Ghost. The direwolf walked beside him to the stables. Some of the more skittish horses kicked at their stalls and laid back their ears as they entered. Jon saddled his mare, mounted, and rode out from Castle Black, south across the moonlit night. Ghost raced ahead of him, flying over the ground, gone in the blink of an eye. Jon let him go. A wolf needed to hunt.

He had no destination in mind. He wanted only to ride. He followed the creek for a time, listening to the icy trickle of water over rock, then cut across the fields to the kingsroad. It stretched out before him, narrow and stony and pocked with weeds, a road of no particular promise, yet the sight of it filled Jon Snow with a vast longing. Winterfell was down that road, and beyond it Riverrun and King’s Landing and the Eyrie and so many other places; Casterly Rock, the Isles of Faces , the red mountains of Dorne, the hundred islands of Braavos in the sea, the smoking ruins of old Valyria. All the places that Jon would never see. The world was down that road … and he was here.

Once he swore his vow , the Wall would be his home until he was old as Maester Aemon . “I have not sworn yet,” he muttered . He was no outlaw, bound to take the black or pay the penalty for his crimes. He had come here freely, and he might leave freely … until he said the words. He need only ride on, and he could leave it all behind. By the time the moon was full again, he would be back in Winterfell with his brothers.

Your half brothers, a voice inside reminded him. And Lady Stark, who will not welcome you. There was no place for him in Winterfell, no place in King’s Landing either. Even his own mother had not had a place for him.”

Jon eventually finds a place with the men of the Watch, he makes friends and finds a role as a leader amongst the young trainees. However, even as he finds acceptance with some of the men on the Nights Watch, his status as a bastard is ever present, something he’s reminded about by one brother or another. Jon with time comes to accept his who he is:

“He was who he was; Jon Snow, bastard and oathbreaker, motherless, friendless, and damned. For the rest of his life— however long that might be— he would be condemned to be an outsider, the silent man standing in the shadows who dares not speak his true name.”

This realization, however, comes with the acceptance that he will forever be an outsider and there is nothing he believes he can do to change that. It’s a sad realization but a true one nonetheless. In the society that he has been brought up in and even with the men of the Night’s Watch, being a bastard is something you can never quite forget.

Next, he finds himself amongst the Wildings/Free Folk, these people, like the Dothraki, are somewhat nomadic, going from place to place trying to survive and keep away from the Wight Walkers. However, Jon finds comfort with some of them Tormound and of course Ygritte, he’s not judged for being a bastard (he’s judge more for being a man of the Watch), he’s judged by the man he is something he has not known much of. His time with the Wildings comes to a tragic end and he once again finds himself back in castle black.

“Thunder rumbled softly in the distance, but above him the clouds were breaking up. Jon searched the sky until he found the Ice Dragon, then turned the mare north for the Wall and Castle Black. The throb of pain in his thigh muscle made him wince as he put his heels into the old man’s horse. I am going home, he told himself. But if that was true, why did he feel so hollow? He rode till dawn, while the stars stared down like eyes.”

As he is returning to Castle Black after escaping from the Wilding, Jon once again finds himself conflicted. He had found comfort with the Wildings, mostly because of Ygritte, but as he was once again heads towards where he should belong, inside him he knows that even if he should belong there, it does not feel like that to him.


Dany and Jon

Trying to find a place to belong when you’ve never really fitted it, can be very hard. as those old scars can take a long time to heal. There is an inner isolation already in Dany and Jon and even as they reach out to other people and try to make a home for themselves, they still haven’t felt like they truly belong in the places they find themselves in. They have found acceptance in others and this is helpful and hopeful to them as they search for themselves and search for a place to belong to.

We will have a more in depth discussion of Dany and Jon’s leadership arc in the next essay but it’s important to note that their time as leaders is also marked by isolation. They both feel for various reasons that they must keep their distance in order to be as fair -minded leaders.


The Black Dragon and The White Wolf


We had discussed the importance and strength of the dragonlord and warg bond in a previous essay, so we will focus here on the specific bond between Dany and Drogon and Jon and Ghost. Dany and Jon’s relationship with their animal familiar is very unique to them. From the moment they first sensed them to the end of Dance where each comes to a crosswords involving their animal familiar, their shared experience with each animal have guided them to where they find themselves now.

Let’s start at the beginning when Dany and Jon first sensed their animal familiars. For Dany it was a stranger experience because she did not know what was going on:

“There are no more dragons, Dany thought, staring at her brother, though she did not dare say it aloud.

Yet that night she dreamt of one. Viserys was hitting her, hurting her. She was naked, clumsy with fear. She ran from him, but her body seemed thick and ungainly. He struck her again. She stumbled and fell. “You woke the dragon,” he screamed as he kicked her. “You woke the dragon, you woke the dragon.” Her thighs were slick with blood. She closed her eyes and whimpered. As if in answer, there was a hideous ripping sound and the crackling of some great fire. When she looked again, Viserys was gone, great columns of flame rose all around, and in the midst of them was the dragon. It turned its great head slowly. When its molten eyes found hers, she woke, shaking and covered with a fine sheen of sweat. She had never been so afraid …”

This dream occurred the night before her marriage to khal Drogo and of course before she received the dragon eggs as a gift. Yet, here we see her dreaming of a dragon, a dragon with molten eyes. As we know our old friend Drogon has been described as having molten eyes, in this dream Drogon appeared to her for the first time, perhaps as an introduction.

Jon sensed Ghost in a much more conventional way than Dany. After running into a litter of pups and distributing them amongst the Stark children, the group decides to head back to Winterfel when Jon suddenly hears something:

“Halfway across the bridge, Jon pulled up suddenly.

“What is it, Jon?” their lord father asked.

“Can’t you hear it?” Bran could hear the wind in the trees, the clatter of their hooves on the ironwood planks, the whimpering of his hungry pup, but Jon was listening to something else.

“There,” Jon said. He swung his horse around and galloped back across the bridge. They watched him dismount where the direwolf lay dead in the snow, watched him kneel. A moment later he was riding back to them, smiling. “He must have crawled away from the others,” Jon said.

“Or been driven away,” their father said, looking at the sixth pup. His fur was white, where the rest of the litter was grey. His eyes were as red as the blood of the ragged man who had died that morning.

Bran thought it curious that this pup alone would have opened his eyes while the others were still blind. “An albino,” Theon Greyjoy said with wry amusement. “This one will die even faster than the others.” Jon Snow gave his father’s ward a long, chilling look. “I think not, Greyjoy,” he said. “This one belongs to me.”

It is interesting that Jon was able to hear Ghost, when we know that Ghost is a mute. But whatever bond Jon and Ghost share allowed him to sense him, to hear his call when no one else would have been able to. It’s also interesting to note that as Bran described Ghost was the only one in the liter to have his eyes opened, while Drogon was the only one of the eggs to come to Dany, to announce himself to her in her dreams.

As Dany and Jon continue to build their relationship to their animal familiars, they come to see them as more than companies, to them these familiars are part of them. For Jon:

“…the Old Bear’s raven peered down at him with shrewd black eyes. My last friend, Jon thought ruefully. And I had best outlive you, or you’ll eat my face as well. Ghost did not count. Ghost was closer than a friend. Ghost was part of him.”

Dany describes what it feels like to ride Drogon:

“A silver moon, almost close enough to touch. Rivers running bright and blue below, glimmering in the sun. Will I ever see such sights again? On Drogon’s back she felt whole. Up in the sky the woes of this world could not touch her. How could she abandon that?”


Now, of course given the nature of each animal the bonding is different. Jon cannot ride Ghost and Dany cannot skin change Drogon, but nonetheless these animal familiars give each character a sense of wholeness. They feel like they are part of each other.

Throughout the series we have seen Drogon and Ghost being very protective of their masters. Two of the most memorable instances where Dany’s journey through the House of the Undying and when the Wight attacked Jon and Lord Commander Mormont. It was thanks to Ghost that Jon was able to defeat the Wight:

“Then he saw it, a shadow in the shadows, sliding toward the inner door that led to Mormont’s sleeping cell, a man-shape all in black, cloaked and hooded … but beneath the hood, its eyes shone with an icy blue radiance … Ghost leapt. Man and wolf went down together with neither scream nor snarl, rolling, smashing into a chair, knocking over a table laden with papers. Mormont’s raven was flapping overhead, screaming…”

For Dany, Drogon’s intervention was even more crucial as she had fallen under the spell of the Undying and it was Drogon’s who woke her and saved her:

“They wanted her, needed her, the fire, the life, and Dany gasped and opened her arms to give herself to them …

But then black wings buffeted her round the head, and a scream of fury cut the indigo air, and suddenly the visions were gone, ripped away, and Dany’s gasp turned to horror. The Undying were all around her, blue and cold, whispering as they reached for her, pulling, stroking, tugging at her clothes, touching her with their dry cold hands, twining their fingers through her hair. All the strength had left her limbs. She could not move. Even her heart had ceased to beat. She felt a hand on her bare breast, twisting her nipple. Teeth found the soft skin of her throat. A mouth descended on one eye, licking, sucking, biting …

Then indigo turned to orange, and whispers turned to screams. Her heart was pounding, racing, the hands and mouths were gone, heat washed over her skin, and Dany blinked at a sudden glare. Perched above her, the dragon spread his wings and tore at the terrible dark heart, ripping the rotten flesh to ribbons, and when his head snapped forward, fire flew from his open jaws, bright and hot. She could hear the shrieks of the Undying as they burned, their high thin papery voices crying out in tongues long dead. “


The interesting here is that both Drogon and Ghost saved Dany and Jon from cold, dead things. Perhaps the fact that both creatures are magical makes them even more acutely aware of these magical threads.

Drogon and Ghost have also played important roles in helping their familiars find their way when they have felt lost. It was Drogon who appeared to Dany in Daznak’s pit after she had decided to remove her “floppy ears” and during her time in the Dothraki sea it was him who stood guard over her while she re-discovered who she was and what was her purpose. For Jon, it was Ghost re-appearance that reminded him of his purpose to the Wall and of his oath, seeing him again gave him the answers he was searching for:

Red eyes, Jon realized, but not like Melisandre’s. He had a weirwood’s eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree. He belongs to the old gods, this one. And he alone of all the direwolves was white. Six pups they’d found in the late summer snows, him and Robb; five that were grey and black and brown, for the five Starks, and one white, as white as Snow. He had his answer then.”

This also ties in with the importance of the protection each familiar offers their master. For Drogon his appearance in Daznak’s might have also saved Dany’s life. Dany was able to capture and chain her other two dragons but she was never able to capture or chain up Drogon. In comparison Melissandre warns Jon to keep Ghost near him and she sees “daggers in the dark”. Jon, however, does not head her advice and leaves Ghost behind, locking him inside when he is assaulted by men of the Nights Watch. As we suspect, however, Ghost will be able to at least protect Jon’s mind as it seems that at the end of Dance Jon warns into Ghost, so his familiar is till offering him protection.

Curious enough and I’m unsure of the significance of this, but neither Dany nor Jon have had romantic relationship while their animal familiars where with them. When Dany was with Drogon the dragons were still eggs and although she flirted with Daario while Drogon was still around it was not until his escape that she began her relationship with Daario. Likewise, Jon did not begin his relationship with Ygritte until he had send Ghost away and although there has been flirtation with Mel and Val while Ghost has been around, the relationship(s) have gone no further at this moment.

We can see the importance of these relationship for both Dany and Jon. Not only are these familiars part of them but they are also their guardians and protectors. These animals were most likely sent to them to help Dany and Jon them from what was coming, and it’s important for both them to understand and maintain these bonds as it seem the closer we get to winter the more these familiars will be needed.

Conclusion


Dany and Jon started their lives much the same way, on the run, and although their lives have versed into completely different directions those early years still mark the people who they became. Throughout their journey the feeling of being an outsider and the need to belong (to be part of something) is still very strong for these two young heroes. They have taken completely different path yet continue to share many parallels throughout each stage. As we explore their arcs further we will continue to see the multitude of parallel shared by Dany and Jon.

The house with the red door in Braavos

@lovinhistorywithswords asked:

Hi Butterfly!  @racefortheironthrone pointed me your way for this question. Why do you think the “house with the red door” is in Braavos?  And where is it in the city?

Interesting question. The “house with the red door”, the house where Dany lived her earliest childhood, is in Braavos because that’s where Ser Willem Darry fled with the Targaryen children after their escape from Dragonstone. So the real question here is, why did Darry choose Braavos?

Per the map of the Narrow Sea, the Free City of Pentos looks a lot closer to Dragonstone than Braavos does, right? So why does it seem that Darry went out of his way?

Well, there’s more to it than just a simple glance at the map. The text of the book is illuminating:

She had been born on Dragonstone nine moons after their flight, while a raging summer storm threatened to rip the island fastness apart. They said that storm was terrible. The Targaryen fleet was smashed while it lay at anchor, and huge stone blocks were ripped from the parapets and sent hurtling into the wild waters of the narrow sea. Her mother had died birthing her, and for that her brother Viserys had never forgiven her.
She did not remember Dragonstone either. They had run again, just before the Usurper’s brother set sail with his new-built fleet. By then only Dragonstone itself, the ancient seat of their House, had remained of the Seven Kingdoms that had once been theirs. It would not remain for long. The garrison had been prepared to sell them to the Usurper, but one night Ser Willem Darry and four loyal men had broken into the nursery and stolen them both, along with her wet nurse, and set sail under cover of darkness for the safety of the Braavosian coast.

–AGOT, Daenerys I

So, first of all, we see that that Stannis’s fleet was coming up from Storm’s End. Willem Darry surely thought he couldn’t trust traveling south when a fleet that might intercept them was right there in the south. Secondly, we see that Darry’s ship didn’t land in Braavos itself, but the Braavosian Coastlands, which are a lot closer to Dragonstone, just about equidistant to Pentos. Thirdly, geography is much more complicated than what you see on the map – it involves weather as well:

The storms that blow up the narrow sea are infamous throughout the Seven Kingdoms, and in the Nine Free Cities as well. Though they may arise in any season, seafarers say that the worst of them come each autumn, forming in the warm waters of the Summer Sea south of the Stepstones, then roaring north across those bleak and stony islands.

The World of Ice and Fire

The prevailing winds in the Narrow Sea come from the south and blow north. There had just been a “raging summer storm” at Dragonstone, and the weather was probably still very unsettled. So, a small ship (with sails, not a galley with oars) traveling across the Narrow Sea would probably find it more difficult to go south-east – better to make use of the winds and go north-east instead, up to Braavosi territory.

And lastly, there’s politics. The spymaster Varys had come from Pentos, and Varys had just been pardoned by Robert and was now on his side. Willem Darry might not have been as politically astute as some, but he almost certainly believed that with Varys’s connections in Pentos, it wouldn’t be safe to take the Targaryen children there. (The fact that Dany and Viserys eventually ended up in Pentos… well, they had long since lost Darry’s guidance, since he had died years before.)

So, that’s why Braavos. As for where the house with the red door might be in the city:

That was when they lived in Braavos, in the big house with the red door. Dany had her own room there, with a lemon tree outside her window. After Ser Willem had died, the servants had stolen what little money they had left, and soon after they had been put out of the big house. Dany had cried when the red door closed behind them forever. 

–AGOT, Daenerys I

Trees did not grow on Braavos, save in the courts and gardens of the mighty.

–AFFC, Samwell III

This is not a contradiction (or some ~conspiracy~ that Dany’s beliefs about her childhood are a lie, as some crack theorists would have it). No, what it tells us is that this “big” house, with a lemon tree in its courtyard or garden, was in a neighborhood where the mighty of Braavos live.

Now, you can see the northeasternmost part of the city is where the Sealord’s Palace is, near the Purple Harbor where only Braavosi can dock. (It’s much nicer and cleaner and richer than the Ragman’s Harbor in the west.) The northeast of Braavos is also where the Iron Bank is located, and on the map there are many palaces and large houses with courtyards depicted in that area of the city. Also, we know that the Sealord was a witness to the secret betrothal contract between Viserys and Arianne Martell (arranged by Willem Darry and Oberyn Martell).

So I think it’s very likely that the house with the red door was located in the northeast of the city, probably not very far from the Sealord’s Palace. It might have been in some other wealthy neighborhood (near the palaces of the Prestayns or Antaryons maybe), but I’d still give odds on the northeast. But hopefully we’ll get an exact location of the house with the red door before the series is over, and then we can know for sure. :)

rewenzo  asked:

Here's a dumb question. Is it possible that Daenerys was conceived the night that Aerys burned Rickard Karstark? I seem to recall that Aerys would get aroused after burning someone and that Dany was born towards the end of the Rebellion. Could that be the meaning of "child of three"? It would be an interesting parallel to the "only death can pay for life" that births Dany her dragons.

It’s not a dumb question as such, you’ve just got the timeline messed up, and also the person executed.

Rickard Stark (not Karstark) was executed, burned alive, some time before the Rebellion officially began. (This was at the same time as Brandon Stark’s execution by strangling, and also concurrent with Aerys’s execution of Brandon’s companions and their fathers by unknown means.) After this, it was Aerys’s demand for the heads of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon that caused Jon Arryn (their guardian) to raise his banners, and officially begin the civil war that became known as Robert’s Rebellion.

The Rebellion lasted about a year or longer. Near the end of it, when it became clear the rebels were winning, Aerys executed his Hand Qarlton Chelsted, who had resigned when he discovered Aerys’s plan to burn down King’s Landing. The execution was performed by Aerys’s new Hand, the pyromancer Wisdom Rossart.

“But Aerys’s new mace-and-dagger Hand was not utterly stupid, and with Rossart, Belis, and Garigus coming and going night and day, he became suspicious. Chelsted, that was his name, Lord Chelsted.” It had come back to him suddenly, with the telling. “I’d thought the man craven, but the day he confronted Aerys he found some courage somewhere. He did all he could to dissuade him. He reasoned, he jested, he threatened, and finally he begged. When that failed he took off his chain of office and flung it down on the floor. Aerys burnt him alive for that, and hung his chain about the neck of Rossart, his favorite pyromancer. The man who had cooked Lord Rickard Stark in his own armor.”

—ASOS, Jaime V

Burning people alive was the only thing that sexually aroused Aerys at this time.

The sight had filled him with disquiet, reminding him of Aerys Targaryen and the way a burning would arouse him. A king has no secrets from his Kingsguard. Relations between Aerys and his queen had been strained during the last years of his reign. They slept apart and did their best to avoid each other during the waking hours. But whenever Aerys gave a man to the flames, Queen Rhaella would have a visitor in the night. The day he burned his mace-and-dagger Hand, Jaime and Jon Darry had stood at guard outside her bedchamber whilst the king took his pleasure. “You’re hurting me,” they had heard Rhaella cry through the oaken door. “You’re hurting me.” In some queer way, that had been worse than Lord Chelsted’s screaming. “We are sworn to protect her as well,” Jaime had finally been driven to say. “We are,” Darry allowed, “but not from him.”

—AFFC, Jaime II

Shortly thereafter (as Rossart was Hand for only two weeks), the Battle of the Trident took place, and the royalist forces were defeated, with Robert Baratheon killing Rhaegar Targaryen. When word reached court, Aerys sent Queen Rhaella and Prince Viserys to Dragonstone for their safety.

Jaime had only seen Rhaella once after that [night with Aerys], the morning of the day she left for Dragonstone. The queen had been cloaked and hooded as she climbed inside the royal wheelhouse that would take her down Aegon’s High Hill to the waiting ship, but he heard her maids whispering after she was gone. They said the queen looked as if some beast had savaged her, clawing at her thighs and chewing on her breasts. A crowned beast, Jaime knew.

—AFFC, Jaime II

Viserys had been a boy of eight when they fled King’s Landing to escape the advancing armies of the Usurper, but Daenerys had been only a quickening in their mother’s womb.

—AGOT, Daenerys I

And shortly after that, Tywin’s forces reached King’s Landing and there was the Sack; Jaime killed Aerys; Elia and her children were murdered on Tywin’s orders; the rebel army also reached KL; and Robert was considered to have won. But the Targaryen forces on Dragonstone continued resisting the “usurper”, and Rhaella and Viserys remained protected. (Note Rhaella crowned Viserys king during this time.) And then:

[Dany] had been born on Dragonstone nine moons after their flight, while a raging summer storm threatened to rip the island fastness apart. They said that storm was terrible. The Targaryen fleet was smashed while it lay at anchor, and huge stone blocks were ripped from the parapets and sent hurtling into the wild waters of the narrow sea. Her mother had died birthing her, and for that her brother Viserys had never forgiven her.

—AGOT, Daenerys I

So, yes, it is unfortunately evident that Dany was conceived through Aerys’s rape of Rhaella after he burned Chelsted. (It is absolutely certain that Dany does not know this, as Rhaella did her best to keep Viserys ignorant of his father’s madness. If he told Dany anything at all, or if she thought about it herself, she most likely imagined her parents had some sort of passionate farewell. Barristan possibly knows the details, but it’s anyone’s guess if he’ll ever tell Dany; I have the depressing feeling it may be Jaime who eventually tells her.)

As for the “child of three” line from the House of the Undying prophecies, I sincerely doubt that the “three” refers to Rhaella, Aerys, and Qarlton Chested. (Bad enough that Dany’s a child of rape, but thinking that the murder that sexually aroused her father would be her “other father”? yeeuuughh.) Since the line is followed by “three heads has the dragon”, I believe “child of three” means that Dany is one of three children who are the heads of the dragon. That is, the line should not be read “child of three people”, but rather “one of three”.

I hope that clears things up for you.