It’s Dany’s first chapter AV — After Viserys. Life is somehow a little brighter AV, like that scene post-sex from 500 Days of Summer. Sex happens a lot in A Game of Thrones, so that’s nothing special, but even here it’s not every chapter a slimy bastard bites it.
Speaking of sex, that’s what we open to: post-coital with Dany and Drogo. I would like to draw particular attention to this paragraph because it contains what is possibly one of the least sexy sex-related sentences in the English language: “His manhood glistened wetly.” Eurgh.
They’re having a post-coital squabble on the subject of conquering the Seven Kingdoms. Drogo doesn’t think his son needs an “iron chair” while Dany does. I hope Robert feels vindicated in deathly omniscience. It’s not that Drogo is averse to conquest, but the Dothraki do not like the sea and fear it.
When Drogo rides off to hunt, Dany calls for Jorah and asks him for help convincing her husband to turn his martial intentions westward instead of eastward. Jorah points out that being impatient was Viserys’s mistake. To cheer Dany up, Jorah invites her to go visit a newly arrived caravan from Pentos, maybe there’ll be a letter from Illyrio. It all sounds very fantasy appropriate, but stripped down what we have is a scene in which a rich teen goes to the mall.
As she’s carried to the market in her litter, Dany thinks about how fabulous her life is: she’s got a manly man husband, a pretty horse, slaves, anything a girl could wish for really. She feels, however, that it’s not enough for “the blood of the dragon.” The Targaryens were conquerors and she feels compelled to keep up the family tradition of raping and pillaging.
There’s a brief info-dump description of the marvels of the Orient, that is to say things and people that Dany likes about the Eastern Market, which is interesting because it mentions a whole lot of cultures that we don’t really get to see because they don’t have anything to do with the plot. It gives us a good sense of the world being bigger than just the Seven Kingdoms. Also, I am deeply amused by zebra being mentioned as fantastical creatures alongside manticores.
Her destination today is the Western Market. Jorah very shiftily and suspiciously slips away in order to find out if there are any letters alone. I like that it’s not one of those moments that’s telegraphed to the reader while the characters act like oblivious idiots, Dany fully notices that Jorah’s acting strange. She figures he must be so squirrelly because he wants to have sex in private without anyone knowing. I guess I could see how that could seem strange to someone who’s grown used to regularly doing it in public.
Dany and her entourage laugh and eat fast food. I feel like we’re in Saved by the Bell: the Dothraki Years. Eventually they make their way to a wine merchant. He tries to sell her stuff in Dothraki, she answers in Valyrian (as spoken in the Free Cities), and when he still doesn’t realize who she is, Doreah introduces her with her full titles. This is stupid, how many silver-haired, purple-eyed khaleesi could there possibly be? Surely she’s not that hard to recognize? Impressed, the wineseller pulls out some super-special wine and she takes a cask to share with Drogo later.
Luckily, Jorah is back to stop the underage pregnant girl from ingesting alcohol. He wants to see the wineseller’s licence! He’ll report him to the board! He also threatens to crack the man’s skull open if he doesn’t taste his own wares right now. Gee, I wonder what news from home could Jorah have possibly gotten. I’m pretty sure that would be illegal, Jorah, you can’t spill blood in the city. You’ll have to strangle him.
By the time the merchant is sweating with the effort to avoid drinking the wine, everyone’s caught on to what’s going on (I’m not actually sure what language Dany and Jorah are speaking to the merchant at this point, it might be Dothraki). The merchant then throws the casket at Dany, Jorah and Doreah prevent her from being hit or falling on her belly, and the bodyguards stop the man from getting away.
Back at home, Dany interrogates Jorah about the news he got from Illyrio and he admits to her that Robert put a price on her head, also on Viserys’s, so Dany laughs that Robert owes Drogo now. Dany is really scared, but also getting angry. Also, she said “dragon” so many times this chapter already that it’s starting to lose all meaning. Speaking of dragons, Dany orders a brazier lit and tries to hatch the eggs in the coals. I’m pretty sure that’s how your great-grandfather died, Dany, you might want to be careful with that. (I’m talking about Aegon V, the hero of the Dunk and Egg stories.)
Drogo comes back from a successful hunt with the carcass of a white lion he plans to make into a cloak for Dany. Ok, honestly, I do a little bit want a husband who’d fight lions and make me cloaks out of their skins. Dany and Jorah fill him in on the poisoning attempt and the price on their heads. Just like Lannisters, the Dothraki must also pay their debts, because Drogo’s first order of business is to reward Jorah and the bodyguard who caught the guy.
And then comes the speech. The big, manly, conquering speech, in which Drogo promises his unborn son the gift of his grandfather’s throne. Let’s take a pause here to laugh at Robert’s plan bringing about what he most feared, only now he can just sit back in the afterlife and laugh at everyone else having to deal with it. Drogo promises to destroy the cities, kill the men, rape the women, and enslave the children. The chapter doesn’t actually give us Dany’s reaction, but in the HBO series she’s watching it with this “oh, yeah, baby!” expression on her face. I’m telling you, Khal Drogo got so much sex that night.
Two days later, the khalasar is back on the road and heading back west. The merchant is chained up, naked, forced to run behind Dany’s horse. Dany seems ok with this. If the guy tried to kill me and my baby, I guess I would be too. You go on with your bad self, blood of the dragon.