daughter of death, slayer of lies, bride of fire…
It is true that I am only a young girl, and do not know the ways of war. Explain to me how you propose to defeat ten thousand Unsullied with your five hundred. Innocent as I am, these odds seem poor to me.
Daenerys Stormborn, of House Targaryen. Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.
And all around them slavers ran and sobbed and begged and died, and the dusty air was filled with spears and fire.
”noble lord, you are in the presence of daenerys stormborn of house targaryen, queen of the andals and the first men, khaleesi of the great grass sea, breaker of chains and mother of dragons”
1) illustrate the irrelevance of bloodlines - it think we’ll never get 100% waterproof confirmation whether Aegon is legit or not; there will certainly emerge rumours that he isn’t. But it won’t matter one way or another. He’ll lead a very successful campaign, win a the support of Dorne and the Faith, be beloved by the smallfolk, sit the Iron Throne for a hot minute and get roasted by Dany’s dragons, none of which would have been impacted in any way by the legitimacy or illegitimacy of his birth. (The rumours would emerge anyway, strewn by his enemies and Dany’s bound to believe them, being primed by Quaithe’s prophecy and her vision in the HOTU for a mummer’s dragon).
2) give Dany a reason to relinquish the Iron Throne - I think she’s meant to conquer but she’s not meant to rule Westeros. And I don’t think she’ll die. She’ll walk away voluntarily (like in the TV-show vision of the HOTU). Not immedately though. I think Dany’s reaction to the news of Aegon will be to doubt his claim. Maybe also because of something she learns in Pentos or through the Tattered Prince connection about Illyrio. (She might find out Illyrio betrayed her in some way and since Illyrio backs Aegon…..). She’ll oppose Aegon and defeat him. It will be ugly. (I think Aegon’s going to bear the brunt of Dany’s new taste for mercilessness, afterwards she’ll be shocked at herself and mellow down a bit again/save it for the Others). Then all of Westeros will hate her, because Aegon at this point will be hugely popular (Dany’s vision says as much; the mummer’s dragon is cheered by the crowds). That’s actually a good sign for Dany’s character development - the Westerosi population has a knack for accidentially hating on the comparatively competent/somewhat well-intentioned people; case in point: Tyrion. I don’t think Aegon’s going to turn out downright evil and spoilt, Joffrey style, but I’m pretty sure he’ll get massively overhyped. I’ll picture him deeply average in terms of competence and evilness as far as Westerosi rulers are concerned, approximately at the level of Renly. Anyway, he will be deeply mourned. And Dany will realize that this people will never love her, that Westeros will never be a home for her, that her khalasar will be miserable here and she’ll go back to Essos. (She’ll probably also lose her dragons in the meantime and see little hope in trying to control an unwelcoming population without them, having hopefully learned from the misery in Meereen).
I don’t think that opposing Aegon would put Daenerys firmly on the antagonistic side. It will certainly make her even more morally ambiguous, but in a way that enables her to let loose her fire-and-blood side without getting to a place where’s she’s utterly beyond redemption. We are simply not that emotionally invested in Aegon, some readers are bound to take her side and believe that he’s illegitimate anyway and that Dany’s justified in roasting him; he’ll turn out to be kind of a brat, not quite deserving of all the hype. It will be like Stannis killing Renly. Something that certainly taints her and that’s going to haunt her, in her own heart, but something many people can look past, more or less.) Dany has been set up for raining down some destruction for a while now - we expect to see her roast someone. That brings me to my next point:
3) keep Dany away from Stannis a little longer. Roasting Aegon will make Dany unpopular but not as unpopular as roasting Stannis in the midst of him trying to save the North from the Boltons and the realm from the Others. An eventual confrontation between them seems unavoidable, but when it comes at a later time, Stannis might be already dead, fairly evil (Night King 2.0 or something) or so enlightened that he can let go of his personal ambitions (acknowledging his responsibility for the murder of Renly and taking the black to punish himself). Martin has been trying our patience with Dany, but I don’t think he’ll ever want us to lose all our sympathies for her (I think he miscaculated a litte bit in the Mary-Sue-counter-action department and did not intend her to get quite as hated after DWD). So he has to give her something to do to keep her from bothering Stannis, while he’s actually doing something beneficial for the realm for a change.
Aegon is the scapegoat set up to absorb Dany’s wrath, so that she can be all fire and blood without harming any of the characters we are more emotionally invested in. (Destroying the Lannistes for instance is no longer all that satisfying, because the Lannisters have already destroyed themselves).
4) galvanize the religious conflict between the Faith and Rhollorism - two religious movements that have become increasingly ambitious in the course of the series. Aegon will be supported by the Faith and Dany will be supported by the Red Priests. Another reason why Aegon will certainly win the popularity contest concerning the smallfolk.
5) illustrate the hybris of Varys who thinks he can socially engineer the perfect ruler, by turning out to be thoroughly average and certainly not quite worth all the trouble. I think Aegon will fail, because I don’t think Martin will affirm Vary’s worldview in that particular regard. (Varys might survive the entire thing in fairly good condition, but ultimately, I don’t see him winning this particular round). It’s certainly ironic how Vary’s little speech about Aegon while assassinating Kevan fits Jon (and, argueably, Dany) so much better….
6) acting as Sansa-bait. Sansa might get another opportunity to choose between becoming the queen of a fairy-tale prince and doing something to support her family (probably Jon and Stannis), I bet she’ll make another choice this time around….
If he accomplishes only one of these things, I won’t consider him a wasted plotline.
I LOVE DANY A LOT OKAY
but she does some really terrible things
and a lot of them are because she just does not stop and fucking think
because she refuses to think
because she has to be right
because to be wrong is to fail
because if i look back i am lost
“I have a gift for you as well.” She slammed the chest shut. “Three days. On the morning of the third day, send out your slaves. All of them. Every man, woman, and child shall be given a weapon, and as much food, clothing, coin, and goods as he or she can carry. These they shall be allowed to choose freely from among their masters’ possessions, as payment for their years of servitude. When all the slaves have departed, you will open your gates and allow my Unsullied to enter and search your city, to make certain none remain in bondage. If you do this, Yunkai will not be burned or plundered, and none of your people shall be molested. The Wise Masters will have the peace they desire, and will have proved themselves wise indeed. What say you?”
“I say, you are mad.”
“Am I?” Dany shrugged, and said, “Dracarys.”
The dragons answered. Rhaegal hissed and smoked, Viserion snapped, and Drogon spat swirling red-black flame. It touched the drape of Grazdan’s tokar, and the silk caught in half a heartbeat. Golden marks spilled across the carpets as the envoy stumbled over the chest, shouting curses and beating at his arm until Whitebeard flung a flagon of water over him to douse the flames.