Now, Daenerys did not just kill Mirri, she tied her to Drago's funeral pyre and burned her to death. She died screaming. Daenerys justifies this horrible end for the as justice for the Mirri's “betrayal.” I put betrayal in quotation because Dany clearly lied to herself more than Mirri did. Read carefully the exchange below, where Daenerys agrees to let Mirri save Drago using bloodmagic.
“But it is hard, lady, and dark. Some would say that death is cleaner.”
“Do it,” Dany blurted. She must not be afraid; she was the blood of the dragon. “Save him.”
“There is a price,” the godswife warned her.
“You’ll have gold, horses, whatever you like.”
“It is not a matter of gold or horses. This is bloodmagic, lady. Only death may pay for life.”
“Death?” Dany wrapped her arms around herself protectively, rocked back and forth on her heels. “My death?” She told herself she would die for him, if she must. She was the blood of the dragon, she would not be afraid. Her brother Rhaegar had died for the woman he loved.
“No,” Mirri Maz Duur promised. “Not your death, Khaleesi.”
Dany trembled with relief. “Do it.”
At that point, Daenerys doesn't care who “dies,” but is happy it isn't her. Also, what she is buying isn't made clear, except that Mirri hints that death would be better. On one hand, Mirri is clearly hoping Daenerys buys the deal, but Mirri is also telling Daenerys that it won't be pleasant. We later find out the price was not a horse, but “Rhaego,” Daenerys's unborn child. Also, “life” for Drago was an infantile state devoid of emotion.
Yet, Mirri gives a very good defense for her actions.
“It was wrong of them to burn my temple,” the heavy, flat-nosed woman said placidly. “That angered the Great Shepherd.”
“The stallion who mounts the world will burn no cities now. His khalasar shall trample no nations into dust.”
“I spoke for you,” she[Daenerys] said, anguished. “I saved you.”
“Saved me?” The Lhazareen woman spat. “Three riders had taken me, not as a man takes a woman but from behind, as a dog takes a bitch. The fourth was in me when you rode past. How then did you save me? I saw my god’s house burn, where I had healed good men beyond counting. My home they burned as well, and in the street I saw piles of heads. I saw the head of a baker who made my bread. I saw the head of a boy I had saved from deadeye fever, only three moons past. I heard children crying as the riders drove them off with their whips. Tell me again what you saved.”
Mirri Maz Duur laughed cruelly. “Look to your khal and see what life is worth, when all the rest is gone.”
The Dothraki sack of her city strikes me as a combination of the Red Wedding, the Saltpans, and Harrenhal. What makes it worse, is it was just Dothraki being Dothraki. Destroy, pillage, rape, enslave, and ride to get between tasks. While I certainly won't condone the death of a neonate... I understand. A woman has lost everything, been brutalized, and continues to live as a slave. The man responsible is soon to have a son prophecized to do it to the world!
So, she not only takes revenge for her slaughter people, but prevents more of the same. All the while giving Daenerys exactly what she said she would.
What lesson does Daenerys take home? To be careful what you ask for? That the Dothraki are a cruel people? That blood magic is dangerous and should not be used? That a few kindnesses don't repay a mountain of death and suffering? That all men must die? No, she learns she can use blood magic to wake her stone dragon eggs. And who better than the witch who just “betrayed” her? And she succeeds.
In some ways, I'm willing to cut Daenerys some understanding. She was very young, and had just watched half her world die or ride away. Yet, I still cannot forgive nor forget. She burned a rape victim to death because her dangerous blood magic which everyone, including Mirri, said was a bad idea, turned out to be a really bad idea.
And to get to the point of this topic, I don't think George Martin wrote those events to let Daenerys off the hook either. Yet, I cannot recall ever reading any sort of guilt or remorse from her perspective. She continues to think of Mirri as a “betrayal.” Instead, she got 3
For one, I cannot help but notice the “Mage,” archmaester Marwyn, taught Mirri at some point in the past. It could just be a throwaway line to introduce Marwyn long before he would actually appear. Or, it could be an important plot point. If Marwyn does reach Daenerys, how will he react to learn his former pupil was burned to death? Admittedly, we have no reason to think Marwyn is a “good guy” who cares about the people in his life in lieu of pursuing macabre knowledge. Yet, it is a possible avenue where Dany “pays” for her great sin.
Alternatively, maybe the price is already being paid. Even if Mirri Maz Duur had king's blood in her veins, one life for three dragons strikes me as to good a deal. Instead, perhaps Mirri was merely the “horse” for this ritual, providing a component to let the actual “exchange” take place. Before she screamed, she sang. Was she singing, or casting another spell?
Now, assuming Daenerys is still alive and not a R'hollor resurrected wight, who else died? And for that matter, who would Mirri use to pay “death for life”? Actually, the ritual with Drogo and Rhaegor might better be described as fate for fate. Drogo was in the process of dying, while Rhaegar was soon going to be born. Both are 'alive' before the ritual. However, at the completion of the ritual, Drogo remained alive and Rahegar showed evidence of having never lived.
So, maybe fate for fate. Who dies so Dany might have 3 dragons? The Dothraki sea is drying. Did Mirri use the ritual to give Dany what she thought she wanted, while destroying the culture that destroyed Mirri's home?
Well, I'm out of ideas. Anyone else have thoughts?