It irks me when people say that Dany is nothing without her dragons. GRRM described her as a warrior Queen some years ago. He compared her to Nymeria the warrior queen from Dorne. I can't find the source but I do remember reading it. I wonder how Martin feels when people try to deminish one of his favorite characters? He must take some offense or something.
I’m sure GRRM is used to it by now, but I think he probably laughs to himself when people are so off about one of his characters.
Regarding Dany, her dragons are in a way a symbolic representation of her own power. People who say she’s nothing without her dragons don’t understand the character and quite frankly have a really shitty memory. Her dragons did not make her strong enough to survive and get the respect of Drogo, or to cross the Red Waste, or to come up with the entire plan to sack Astapor without anyone’s help, or her plan to make Yunkai put down their swords with minimum bloodshed. He dragons are not what inspires her people or keeps them loyal to her, it’s her and fight to free the slaves and to treat them like people.
It’s funny that you mentioned Nymeria because I was discussing with a friend the many similarities Dany shares with her. GRRM has compared Dany to Nymeria (who is Dany’s ancester from her great-great-grandfathers marriage to Mariah Martell) on a couple of occasions. Here is one:
In particular, given that Nymeria was a warrior-queen, is there a certain amazon tradition?
“The Rhoynar did impact Dorne in a number of ways, some of which will be revealed in later books. Women definitely have more rights in Dorne, but I would not call it an “Amazon” tradition, necessarily. Nymeria had more in common with someone like Daenerys or Joan d'Arc than with Brienne or Xena the Warrior Princess.”
I found this fantastic comparison between Dany and Nymeria, I’ll quote my favorite parts but you can find the discussion here: (The bolded are quotes from the books.)
The refugee, the nomad, the woman wearing the literal skirt and metaphorical pants
“In the songs, Nymeria is said to have been a witch and a warrior; neither of these claims is true. Though she did not bear arms in battle, she led her soldiers on many battlefields, commanding them with cunning and skill.”
Dany is doing the exact same thing. She’s a warlord that’s not a warrior. And yes, you can be a warlord with absolutely no skill at arms, else Dany wouldn’t be called Aegon the Conqueror with teats.
Now let’s skim over Nymeria’s general history as it applies to Dany so far.
“Only Princess Nymeria of Ny Sar spoke against him. “This is a war we cannot hope to win,” she warned, but the other princes shouted her down and pledged their swords to Garin.”
In AGOT, Viserys is dreaming his fool dreams about re-taking Westeros with Dothraki. Dany knows better. She’s also somewhat skeptical of the Dothraki taking Westeros from the start, mostly thanks to Jorah Mormont educating her.
“The same fate awaited her own city, she saw.”
Nymeria runs for it after Valyria massacres the Rhoyanar men.After Drogo dies, Dany hatches her invaluable dragons. She’s also left with few Dothraki, and she has to flee from various Khals (on top of her constant running from Robert).
“Nymeria’s voyage was long and terrible.”
The difficulty of the Red Waste corresponds to this.Then, Nymeria had her Odyssey: Rhoyne -> Basilisk Isles -> jungles of Sothoryos -> Isle of Naath -> Summer Isles (Isle of Women).She couldn’t stay in any of these places, because~
“(…) arrived at Yeen to find that every man, woman, and child in that haunted, ruined city had vanished overnight.”
Haunted (to the eye) ruins, like the House of the Undying?
“The sullen wet heat oppressed their spirits, and swarms of stinging flies spread one disease after another (…)”
“On Naath, the Isle of Butterflies, the peaceful people gave them welcome, but the god that protects that strange land began to strike down the newcomers by the score with a nameless mortal illness”
Illness, like the Bloody Flux outbreak? Also, Missandei - one of Dany’s main helpers - is a friendly girl from Naath Dany finds somewhere at the halfway point of her journey.
“Basilisk Isles (…) only to fall afoul of the corsair kings (…) carrying off hundreds into slavery.”
“new towns on Basilisk Point were raided by slavers,”
Well, what do you know, Dany’s slave liberation campaign isn’t working out so well. In fact, seemingly half of the slaving Essos is sending armies against her in ADWD - Yunkai, Qarth, New Ghis, Tolos, Elyria, Volantis, the Harpies within Meereen itself.
“In the Summer Isles (…) its thin stony soil yielded little food, and many starved.”
As Dany approached Meereen, the slavers put the land around it to torch to starve her out. She still took the city, but many of her people are nonetheless starving.
“The battered, tattered remainder of the ten thousand ships sailed west with Princess Nymeria. This time she made for Westeros.”
Dany at the end of ADWD:
“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.
Never, said the grass, in the gruff tones of Jorah Mormont. You were warned, Your Grace. Let this city be, I said. Your war is in Westeros, I told you.”
The once and future queen
Back to Nymeria and why I think Dany will do well in Westeros~
“Dry, desolate, and thinly peopled, Dorne at this time was a poor land where a score of quarrelsome lords and petty kings warred endlessly over every river, stream, well, and scrap of fertile land.”
Wet, desolate and overflowing with corpses, at the end of ADWD Westeros is a fucked-up continent where a score of quarrelsome lords and petty kings war endlessly over everything. Euron, Tommen, Aegon, Stannis, KINGINDANORF? are just the Kings we have. (Does the Night King count?)
“Most of these Dornish lords viewed the Rhoynar as unwelcome interlopers, invaders with queer foreign ways and strange gods, who should be driven back into the sea whence they’d come.”
Yeah, Dany will have barbarians, slaves (you think Westerosi can notice they have no collars?), the infamous Imp, dragons, a trail of burning enemies behind her. She won’t get warm reception from most.
And they lived happily ever after
Well, probably not. I don’t see how GRRM will keep Dany on Nymeria’s track without breaking his tone.
“Though she married twice more (first to the aged Lord Uller of Hellholt, and later to the dashing Ser Davos Dayne of Starfall, the Sword of the Morning), Nymeria herself remained the unquestioned ruler of Dorne for almost twenty-seven years, her husbands serving only as counselors and consorts.”
I suppose that in a certain way, Mors can also work as Drogo, old Lord Uller as lame King Hizdahr, and the Sword of the Morning as… Jon NOT DARKSTAR, because I refuse to contemplate the possibility of Darkstar (she already did Bad Boy Daario). The husbands as consorts works for Hizadhr, and whomever her prophesized 3rd husband is, Dany will be leading in her own right - Drogon, Dracarys! helps there.
“She survived a dozen attempts upon her life, put down two rebellions, and threw back two invasions by the Storm King Durran the Third and one by King Greydon of the Reach.”
Dany already survived at least 4-5 attempts on her life - AGOT wineseller, ACOK manticore and arguably Undying, ASOS Titan’s Bastard, ADWD Poizdar do Loqust. I also don’t see Stannis bending to Dany, same for Tyrells who’ll stay with Tommen Lannister. Other possibilities for revolting kingdoms are Dorne (the irony!) and Iron Islands.
That was pretty awesome, there are more quote at the link if you want to read all the parallels between these awesome women.
I will add one thing regarding Nymeria’s 3 husbands vs. Dany’s 3 husbands.
Nymeria’s first husband (Mors Martell) came from a people who are famed for their horses (Dorne), Dany’s first husband came from a people famed for their horses (Dothraki).
Nymeria’s second husband came from Hellholt (Lord Uller), which is symbolized by a sort of fiery yin-yang thing, it’s half this and half that, it’s divided basically. Dany’s second husband was symbolized by the Harpy, half woman, and half bird.
Finally, Nymeria’s third and final husband was Ser Davos Dayne the Sword of the Morning, I do wonder if the Sword of the Morning will play a role in the books as it has been mentioned a lot. And whether Jon will use it or not. Jon does have a connection to an actual Sword of the Morning in Author Dayne. And of course, there is the whole War for Dawn thing going one.
Sorry, I hijacked your asked but yeah, Dany doesn’t need to wield a sword to be kickass, just look at her very kickass ancestor Nymeris.