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Was leaving Daenerys in Meereen a mistake?


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#1 Pinkie Baelish

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:50 PM

Now, I'm not trying to troll here, I'm being completely serious when I question Martin's decision to have Daenerys rule Meereen and be nowhere near Westeros by the end of ADWD. Now, I completely understand why he needed to showcase Daenerys' inabilities to rule properly, but did it have to be in a foreign city, which only draws away from Westeros? After all, the story does predominantly concern Westeros, and with more and more time being spent on Essos, I just feels it detracts from the story of Westeros as a whole.

A Song of Ice and Fire has three distinct storylines: the struggle for power in Westeros, the threat beyond the Wall, and Daenerys Targaryen's conquest to reclaim the Iron Throne. The first 3 books effectively wrapped up and concluded the first of the storylines, while books 4 and 5 ideally should have focused on Daenerys invading and trying to conquer Westeros, and the final 2 dealing with the war against the Others. If Martin wanted to show Daenerys' struggle to maintain her power and city's well-being, why couldn't he have done it after she takes the Iron Throne?

Here's a simple suggestion: Let's hypothesize that in book 4, Daenerys conquers Westeros, only to find out that holding on to power is much harder than gaining it. We can then see her struggles to rule Westeros, similar to those she has when trying to rule Meereen. However, since it is in Westeros, Martin does not have to engage in additional world-building and conflicts in Essos that detracts from Westeros' importance to the story. At the end of book 4, it is revealed that Aegon Targaryen is still alive, thus setting up the second Dance of Dragons, which would be the focus of book 5, although the two other major storylines would still be prevalent, thus preventing their importance to the story from being written off. Once the second Dance of Dragons concludes, we can then progress to the final stage of ASOIAF, which is the battle against the Others, thus wrapping up the saga in 7 novels.

Now, I'm not telling Martin how to write his story, this is just my own feedback and opinions on his decision to leave Daenerys in Meereen. Ideally, we want the saga to be wrapped up in 7 novels, but with Daenerys still in Essos, and the slow-build up to an inevitable second Dance of the Dragons, and the Others still not having besieged the Wall yet, it's becoming increasingly harder to see this as a certainty. IMHO, the over-indulgence into Essos society in ADWD really detracts from the story, and ultimately dilutes the focus on these three major storylines. We've had 2 books since ASOS, and still there hasn't been nearly as much plot advancement as one would have liked, and I'm being increasingly skeptical of the story being finished in 2 more novels.

#2 StannisBamfatheon

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:53 PM

I'm in no position to question GRRM, but the Meereen storyline was an abject disaster, and it really hurt Daenerys' perception among readers. I don't think she'll ever live down A dance with Daario.

Edited by StannisBamfatheon, 24 April 2013 - 08:06 PM.


#3 Pinkie Baelish

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:55 PM

I'm in no positions to question GRRM, but the Meereen storyline was an abject disaster, and it really hurt Daenerys' perception among readers. I don't think she'll ever live down A dance with Daario.


This was my main gripe with leaving her in Meereen. We're supposed to actively root for Daenerys and remain invested in her quest to conquer Westeros. But given the noticeable amount of Daenerys detractors following ADWD, I think Martin done goofed a little bit. Personally, I'm not nearly as invested in her arc as I once was.

Oh, and if anybody is reading this, please don't see my suggestion as fanfiction. It's just me openly wondering whether Daenerys' arc could have been handled in a quicker way.

Edited by Pinkie Baelish, 24 April 2013 - 07:58 PM.


#4 Flayed Starkman

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:56 PM

I think it would be premature to judge Dany's storyline, as George isn't finished writing.

But as for me personally, every Dany chapter in ADWD was a chore, and endless soap opera with nothing happening. But if the point was to make me hate Dany with a vengeance, I would say mission accomplished.

#5 Glenn of House Patrick

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:11 PM

Big mistake, in my opinion. Meereen made it so that I don't care what happens to Dany anymore. She lingered far too long and will be usurped by Aegon if she doesn't move soon.

#6 Master of Laws

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:17 PM

I think Dany really should've left for Westeros right after acquiring the Unsullied. Her storyline just plummeted from there on.

#7 l3ol3o

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:25 PM

Dragons.

Dany can't invade Westeros until her dragons are big enough to fight. After all if she wins the Iron Throne it will be because of her dragons. Getting rid of the 5 year gap made it so she had to wait around for her dragons to grow. She also doesn't have any ships or any alliances yet. She will need both before she invades.

#8 Longspear Ryk

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:28 PM

I think martin wanted the readers to get disgruntled with dany honostly. And i love the meeran plot... Esspecially once bariston got a pov...

The story is about the continent as a whole, the great other lives in the heart of winter, red god in the shadow past asshai

#9 A Man Has Said

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:45 PM

I'm in no position to question GRRM, but the Meereen storyline was an abject disaster, and it really hurt Daenerys' perception among readers. I don't think she'll ever live down A dance with Daario.

BINGO! /agree.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':agree:' />
Not only is the Dany storyline itself stuck in the rut of Meereen, GRRM makes matters worse by writing other storylines around it - Tyrion and the Griffs, Quentin the Dragon-tamer (EPIC fail!) which are sadly just travelogues. I mean it's nice to get some sense of the geography of Essos, but wouldn't a map have been a more direct way to do that?

I do hope Barristan will pull this thing out of the mud though. He has the opportunity to be a better leader of Danaerys' cause in her absence than she has ever been on her own account.

#10 Tumnas the Torpid

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:55 PM

I do hope Barristan will pull this thing out of the mud though. He has the opportunity to be a better leader of Danaerys' cause in her absence than she has ever been on her own account.

I keep seeing this sentiment around here, and, for the life of me, I can not understand it at all. Dany was working her ass off to prevent war at Meereen. As soon as she is gone, Barristan is manipulated into the Shavepate's coup (am I the only reader who sees shades of Ned and Petyr there?), inviting the very war Dany was trying to avoid. And this is after the loss of the one factor which may have been able to guarantee victory, the dragons.

#11 The Broke Howard Hughes

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:58 PM

I think we're forgetting the fact that there was supposed to be a large time jump. I think keeping her in Meereen was likely a consequence of changing his mind about that. It seems like she's killing time because thats probably what he needed her to do. Bringing her to Westeros too early only to have her roam around waiting for the epic battle at the wall is basically the same thing as leaving her in Meereen. At least in Meereen she can learn to rule. From a practical story point of view I totally get it.

#12 A Man Has Said

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:07 PM

I keep seeing this sentiment around here, and, for the life of me, I can not understand it at all. Dany was working her ass off to prevent war at Meereen. As soon as she is gone, Barristan is manipulated into the Shavepate's coup (am I the only reader who sees shades of Ned and Petyr there?), inviting the very war Dany was trying to avoid. And this is after the loss of the one factor which may have been able to guarantee victory, the dragons.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that point. I do not for an instant believe that Dany or anyone could have prevented the war. I do think that if she was still present in Mereen they would have a much diminished chance of winning it though.

I guess I'm a Barristan stan. /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' /> (OH, the irony!)

#13 Tumnas the Torpid

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:10 PM

At least in Meereen she can learn to rule. From a practical story point of view I totally get it.

Yes. This. Dany's detour in Meereen is there as another step in Dany's self-guided, DIY education on being a ruler. Do not be surprised if we see her applying lessons from her failures there to a more successful play at Westeros.

#14 Dagon Greyjoy

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:11 PM

Hizdahr did try to poison Dany. He still keeps slaves. He was considering killing the dragons to give his fellow slavers an upper hand. He's weak and craven and in cahoots with the internal enemy and a traitor to boot. Why shouldn't Barristan back that plot? The Shavepate's loyalty has been tested: His Brazen Beasts keep the counterrevolutionaries in check through terror.

His coup had to be backed or Meereen was lost.

#15 Tumnas the Torpid

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:14 PM

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that point. I do not for an instant believe that Dany or anyone could have prevented the war. I do think that if she was still present in Mereen they would have a much diminished chance of winning it though.

I guess I'm a Barristan stan. /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' /> (OH, the irony!)

This is all well and good, but when I say, "War did not break out until after she left," it is an actual fact, not a belief. It is true that I can not prove that her absence was the determining factor, but I believe Barristan himself observed as much in one of his chapters.

And if her, "still being present in Meereen," entails having enough control over Drogon to have prevented him from flying away with her, she would have guaranteed victory, not lowered the chances of it.

#16 Tumnas the Torpid

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:16 PM

Hizdahr did try to poison Dany. He still keeps slaves. He was considering killing the dragons to give his fellow slavers an upper hand. He's weak and craven and in cahoots with the internal enemy and a traitor to boot. Why shouldn't Barristan back that plot? The Shavepate's loyalty has been tested: His Brazen Beasts keep the counterrevolutionaries in check through terror.

His coup had to be backed or Meereen was lost.

This is not yet known to be true. As far as I know, all we have on that is the Shavepate's word, and he and Hizdahr had been obvious rivals throughout the book.

#17 Pinkie Baelish

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:16 PM

I do understand the need for Dany to learn how to rule, but my point is, couldn't she have done so in Westeros? If she takes the throne, only to find out that there are numerous parties that oppose her, and an insurgency arises led by Aegon, couldn't she learn from her mistakes after defeating him?

#18 baudknight

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:17 PM

Of course it was a mistake. If you've read any of the interviews with GRRM or the personal stuff on his blog (search for "Meereenese knot"), it's clear that the plot sort of ran away with him there and he couldn't publish ADwD until he'd figured out some way to resolve it.

(There's somewhat of a tradition of fantasy writers writing themselves into corners like this. The immediate example I can think was Tolkien "killing" Frodo off at Shelob's lair--there are even copies of letters where he describes what an awful irredeemable situation he's written himself into)

He needed an interlude in between her getting an army and invading Westeros; the way things were set up with the Unsullied initially, it seemed like she was some unstoppable force and her invasion of Westeros would be too easy. But then he decided to get her bogged down in Meereen....without any satisfying way of resolving that plotline--she's far away from home, stuck between freed slaves who love her and insurgents who hate her, alone, etc etc etc.

It seems his solution was to bring in other characters to "resolve" the situation and move the series forward by consolidating plotlines (brings Varys's schemes, Dany, and Tyrion all together). But he couldn't just do it in a Deus-Ex-Machina fashion, because that wouldn't be satisfying. So I'm anticipating a crazy Blackwater-esque battle to go on in Meereen.

Edited by baudknight, 24 April 2013 - 09:23 PM.


#19 Dagon Greyjoy

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:17 PM

This is not yet known to be true. As far as I know, all we have on that is the Shavepate's word, and he and Hizdahr had been obvious rivals throughout the book.


He did offer Dany the poison locusts and not eat himself.

#20 Glenn of House Patrick

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:22 PM

So basically she uses Essos as a practice test before she reaches westeros, and somehow we're supposed to be ok with that? Robert didn't know how to rule when he ascended to the iron throne, and he barely learned anything during his rule either. Yet he sat the iron throne and let Jon Arryn and the small council run the realm. It's wrong for danaerys to use Essos as a guinea pig, and with the string of bad decisions she's made up to this point, it's debatable whether she actually learned anything during her time in slavers bay. I understand that she cannot just storm westeros with little dragons, but the whole meereen saga screams that she doesn't have a clue as to what she's doing.

Edited by Glenn of House Patrick, 24 April 2013 - 09:25 PM.