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Daenerys - red herring?


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#1 Katerine459

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:36 AM

Ok, so there was a thread yesterday about a different Dany-related topic, that changed into an argument about whether she's really the savior of the story, or a red herring. And then it devolved into other unrelated arguments and got closed. And I figured that the topic was big enough to deserve its own thread, anyway. :)

 

Anyway, for context, here are the posts that sparked this thread:

My first post: http://asoiaf.wester...-7#entry5016089

My second post: http://asoiaf.wester...-7#entry5016126

The reply: http://asoiaf.wester...-7#entry5016133

 

A little groundwork:

  • I DO believe that in the universe of ASOIAF, magic, dragons, prophecies, visions, gods, curses, etc. are not superstitions. They are all Very. Real. Things. And, by extension, Fate is also real in ASOIAF.
  • I DO believe that the prophecy of Azor Ahai is true. It's a little too literally accurate to Dany to be a coincidence.
  • I DO believe that Melisandre is right about one thing: this is a story about the war between life and death, good and evil, and it will end with Azor Ahai saving all of mankind from the forces that seek to destroy it.
  • I DO believe that the Azor Ahai in the prophecy is Dany.
  • I DO NOT believe that this means that Dany will swoop in and save the day all by herself, rendering everybody else inconsequential. The truth is quite different: I have a certain view of what I think will happen, and this causes me to automatically group the major POV characters (except Cersei and some of the Ironborn, who are more antagonists) into two categories: those who will be very important to the saving of the world (either directly, if they live that long, or indirectly, if they don't), and those who will be absolutely vital to the saving of the world. Dany is in the latter category. And so are most of the Starks. I rank them equally - you're either absolutely vital, or you're not (you're merely very important).
  • Dany is not my favorite character. She's actually in my top... five? Ish? I don't know, it changes all the time. I was bored with her in books 1 and 2, but she was my absolute favorite at the end of book 3, but then... Jaime happened to me.  :rolleyes:

 

So now that that's done...

 

I do see (or rather, anticipate - not done with ADWD yet) why people can think she's a red herring from a story perspective. We have this other character that comes along that probably (again, haven't gotten that far yet) seems a lot more worthy of the title of "savior of the world" than Dany.

 

But... she can't be a red herring. She really can't... it doesn't work from a literary perspective.

 

Think back to the experience of reading GoT and CoK:

  • Here is what's going on in King's Landing, with Ned Stark.
  • ...and now, here is what's going on, on the road, with Tyrion Lannister, who's with Catelyn Stark.
  • ...and now, here is what's going on, at the Wall, with Jon Snow (who, in the mind of the reader, is really a Stark in every way that counts).
  • ...and now, here is what's going on, in Winterfell, with Bran Stark.
  • ...and now, here is what's going on, back in King's Landing, with Arya Stark.
  • ...and now, here is what's going on, thousands of miles away, with a character who's never even heard of most of the Starks, and whom most of the rest of the characters have never even heard of.
  • ...and now, here is what's going on, back in King's Landing, with Sansa Stark.

 

For two full books, roughly a thousand pages each, you could basically break everything down into "The story of the Starks and the Lannisters," "The story of the Wall," and, "this other story, which, while interesting in its own right, is not even remotely connected to the story of the Starks and the Lannisters, or the Wall."

 

We kept reading because we had faith, that the three stories would wind up, not only connecting, but somehow being vitally important to each other. And finally... finally... in BOOK THREE... there started to be the beginnings of connections.

 

A red herring is a false lead. But an author has to be careful with them. They can't take up too much time, unless it's a mystery, or it's a story from a single POV, and that single POV is wrong (i.e. Harry Potter thinking through most of Sorcerer's Stone that Snape is the villain, when he's not). Otherwise, we get angry. At the author. Because he wasted our time. There are limits to what an author can do with reader expectations. Especially when it comes to the expectation of "importance to the story."

 

Besides... Ned Stark began the story, already a hero. And he's dead. I kind of get the impression that GRRM is more interested in the hero's journey (or, as my brother described it to me (paraphrased), "the journey towards competence for the job of being a hero") than in telling the story of somebody who's already a hero.


Edited by Katerine459, 04 October 2013 - 11:56 AM.


#2 SeanF

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:49 AM

Dany will have huge significance in the last two books.  Of that, I have no doubt.  But, I suspect that Jon is the real deal, in terms of being AA reborn.



#3 Arthur Dayne's Honor

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:01 AM

Dany will have huge significance in the last two books.  Of that, I have no doubt.  But, I suspect that Jon is the real deal, in terms of being AA reborn.

:agree: she will be many characters antagonists, while that doesn't make her a bad guy, she will begin to be viewed differently. She will definitely have a huge impact no doubt but I don't believe she is AAR or TPTWP. It will either be Jon, Bran, and someone else or just Jon

#4 Bright Blue Eyes

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:10 AM

Dany will have (and already has to a certain extent) a major impact on Westeros. But even if there would be a gigantic battle between Good and Evil (which would be contrary towards everything GRRM ever said), it's damn unlikely to be Dany on the side of Good.

Indeed, it is very likely to be a three-way face off between ice, fire and humanity. Which would tie in with the distinction between the story of the Wall, Dany's story in the east and the very human trouble between Stark and Lannister and everybody else. Without any clear good and evil.



#5 Consigliere

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:10 AM

I dont think that Dany is AA/TPtwP simply because she is too obvious. I know this is not a good argument to make but her pyre moment and Aemon coming out and point blank saying Dany is TPtwP makes her too obvious and leads me to believe that she isn't. I do believe however that Dany is the SWMTW and will undoubtedly play a significant role in the upcoming books.



#6 Mikeygigs

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:21 AM

I mostly agree with you. If there is an AA, its probably Dany. Though, I can totally see it being another character given the nature of prophecy in this series; e.g., you can't accurately predict results leading to multiple interpretations.

That said, while I think magic is real, gods in this story are not (not counting the Old Gods, who are really just powerful wizards), so I don't think that prophecy is backed by divine will, just magic.

#7 Sordelor

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:23 AM

I think Dany is a red herring for AAR, she's just too Obvious, the only way I see her being it if it's not supposed to be the hero.

 

I'm more assuming that it  will e left to our interpretation wether Jon Snow was Azor Ahai Reborn or that it was just a myth.



#8 Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:31 AM

The whole AAR/PTWP prophesy is a red herring in my personal opinion.

I think its no one, or it was Aegon Rhaegar's son and he is dead now.

I don't think GRRM is going to make one prophecy centered around one person.

This isn't Harry Potter or other series where we have an Oracle confirming if prophecies are false or not and who they are.


Edited by Queen_Alysanne, 04 October 2013 - 10:42 AM.


#9 Mart of house Stark

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:32 AM

I think Slaver's Bay was a red herring, not Dany. I really thought something of significance would happen there. But nope! Total waste of time.

#10 Little Balerion

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:35 AM

Dany is too obvious to be AAR.

 

Besides, how does she fulfill the prophecy?

How would she be reborn of salt and smoke?



#11 Katerine459

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:04 AM

Dany is too obvious to be AAR.

 

Besides, how does she fulfill the prophecy?

How would she be reborn of salt and smoke?

 

AA lived thousands of years ago, and then (presumably) he died.

 

Thousands of years later, Daenerys Stormborn was born amidst salt and smoke.

 

(That, btw, is accurate, but can easily be pinned to coincidence. Her literally waking dragons out of stone while burning a king while the red star bleeds... that can't really be pinned to coincidence.)


Edited by Katerine459, 04 October 2013 - 11:06 AM.


#12 Little Balerion

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:13 AM

 

AA lived thousands of years ago, and then (presumably) he died.

 

Thousands of years later, Daenerys Stormborn was born amidst salt and smoke.

 

(That, btw, is accurate, but can easily be pinned to coincidence. Her literally waking dragons out of stone while burning a king while the red star bleeds... that can't really be pinned to coincidence.)

I still don't get the salt and smoke part?



#13 The Witch King of Braavos

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:14 AM

Dany will have huge significance in the last two books.  Of that, I have no doubt.  But, I suspect that Jon is the real deal, in terms of being AA reborn.

:agree: Him, or possibly Bran. Dany will definitely have a major impact on the eventual conclusion of the series, whether she will be seen as a saviour or hostile threat with a savage army of eunuchs, dothraki slaves, Ironborn and Dragons remains to be seen...



#14 Nictarion

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:17 AM

It will either be Jon, Bran, and someone else or just Jon

How could it be Bran? I thought its pretty much confirmed AA will be of Aerys ll line. I am 50/50 on Dany or Jon. Sure Dany could be s red herring, although she is the only character to wake stone dragons so far. Jon might seem a bit convenient that he is already at the wall, but it could definitely be him. I am pretty sure its Dany or Jon, there's no way its Stannis. He is the real red herring, imo.

#15 Consigliere

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:21 AM

 

AA lived thousands of years ago, and then (presumably) he died.

 

Thousands of years later, Daenerys Stormborn was born amidst salt and smoke.

 

(That, btw, is accurate, but can easily be pinned to coincidence. Her literally waking dragons out of stone while burning a king while the red star bleeds... that can't really be pinned to coincidence.)

Remember there are two versions of the AA prophecy. One mentions being born amidst salt and smoke and waking dragons from stone while the other does not. For me, the comet being the bleeding star is a red herring. Also, the stone dragons may or may not refer to literal dragons. If we go by the prophetic visions in the D&E novella then there is precedent of literal dragons in prophecy actually turning out to be Targaryens.


Edited by The Titans Bastard, 04 October 2013 - 11:22 AM.


#16 Welease Woger

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:26 AM

Crackpot: what if the stone dragon is Aegon after being afflicted by greyscale?



#17 DeBasilisk

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:27 AM

Ironic that the only person almost EVERYONE agrees is NOT AAR is Stan the Man, the only person in the novels who has actually claimed to be. Well, I don't think he ever says it directly, but he sure let's Mel go around heralding him as AAR without complaining.

#18 Jon of the Dead

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:42 AM

The only people who can be AA are Jon, Dany and Aegon, and I think it's gonna be Jon.



#19 Arthur Dayne's Honor

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:57 AM

How could it be Bran? I thought its pretty much confirmed AA will be of Aerys ll line. I am 50/50 on Dany or Jon. Sure Dany could be s red herring, although she is the only character to wake stone dragons so far. Jon might seem a bit convenient that he is already at the wall, but it could definitely be him. I am pretty sure its Dany or Jon, there's no way its Stannis. He is the real red herring, imo.

I believe GRRM has said somewhere that the three heads don't have to be all Targs

#20 jenerationx

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 12:00 PM



I still don't get the salt and smoke part?

Depends on when you consider her birth. If you mean Dany's literal birth, then people say that the salt and smoke come from her being born on Dragonstone during a storm. If you mean her metaphorical rebirth, then it comes from Drogo's funeral pyre (smoke) and Mirri Maz Duur's tears (salt). Or some combo of the two.

 

Dany has literally met several of the "requirements." My problem with it, like many people, is that it's a little too literal. There are a couple of things that don't quite jive, however. One is that part of the prophecy says that AA will be reborn after a long summer. In both of Dany's "births," summer has not yet ended. Two is that AA is a warrior. Dany is not a warrior. She's a politician, but she's unlikely to wield a sword herself. If the prophecy said leader, she could fit it, but it specifically says warrior, and she does not meet that qualification (plus it's a little late in the books for her to suddenly learn swordplay and be awesome at it, this close to the end of the series).