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Apple Martini

The Green Grace is the Harpy

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This has been tossed around before, last summer when the book first came out, but I'm doing a reread of ADWD and I'm pretty much sold on the Green Grace being the Harpy.

First off, the obvious: The Harpy in its mythological connotation is female. The (male) Meereenese nobles who are waging guerilla war against Her Radiance are referred to as Sons of the Harpy. If there really is a "head" figure in this guerilla war and they're not just a bunch of independent sleeper cells, it makes sense that the Harpy in question would be a woman. But it never occurs to Dany, herself a woman allegedly ruling a city, and her advisers that this is a possibility.

Dany's advisers are convinced that Hizdahr (who I think is a slug but ultimately just a pawn) is the Harpy, because "he" can get the violence to stop when Dany agrees to marry him. But who suggested to Dany that she should marry Hizdahr? The Green Grace.

Dany starts getting paranoid about the prophecy, thinking, for instance, that Reznak is probably the "perfumed seneschal." Yet she lets the Green Grace have access to her with pretty much no hesitancy or suspicion or wariness whatsoever. Even though she's a Ghiscari high priestess with significant cultural and familial ties to the city — she seems to defend the rise of the slave culture, saying that the area had no other economic prospects; she tells Dany to her face that she's seen as an invading murderer; she's intimately aware of each noble house and the differences between them. By giving Dany "helpful advice," she also has access to most of Dany's plans and strategy, and as such would know the easiest way to exploit any weaknesses. Dany tells her exactly who's moved against her and how (i.e. Qartheen ships doing a blockade). The Green Grace knows when freedmen have been killed, "or so she's been told." She also knows that Dany would never kill the child hostages — namely that she and her agents can wreak havoc without worrying about losing anything.

She also moves pretty seamlessly between the nobility and Dany's court — it seems to me that if she were actually helping Dany, she herself would be a target and treated like a collaborator. But she isn't. Why? Because she's not actually helping Dany.

Finally — this isn't exactly evidence, just a bit of irony — it'd be hilarious if the people that Dany's really suspicious of were actually loyal to her while the woman she thinks of as a close confidante is actually the one working to destroy her. Oops?

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Great logic behind the theory. I wish it had occurred to me. Was I too gender blinded? Hmmm

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Agree. Barriston seems to be suspicious of her.

Leave it to Barristan to put it together. :)

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It does make a lot of sense, and looking back I cant see why it never occured to me that the Harpy would be female (which they are!). I think that you got it spot on with this one.

Will Ser Barristan figure this out? he must have some idea about treacherous woman after being around Cersei for a long time.

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Will Ser Barristan figure this out? he must have some idea about treacherous woman after being around Cersei for a long time.

I think that, if she ever is figured out, it will be because she slips up and gives away too much. She almost does this in one of her meetings with Dany; she knows, despite supposedly staying in the temple most of her time, when Dany's men have been killed. Those instances usually occur late at night and are cleaned up (bodies removed, graffiti scrubbed) in the morning, and Dany tries her best to keep the murders under wraps. She uses the passive-voice explanation "or so I've been told" when she brings it up, but could there be another reason why she knows about the killings?

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Good thinking. Though, to be honest with myself, I hope this all becomes moot when Dany arrives back in Meereen only to say, "Bugger you all!" and hightail out of the place with her people and not a look back. Not likely to happen and also not in line with her character but hey, one can dream.

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That the Green Grace is the Harpy has been brought up before i believe. IIRC i think it came up during the Shavepate is the poisoner thread. But i do agree, she is just the kind of benevolent front an organization would need. Very much like the mafia hits were done; you don't tell the guy you are dragging him out to murder him in the desert, you smile kindly and tell him of this great opportunity to lure him away.

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This theory makes me wonder if Hizdahr's murder attempts are for his own purposes and loosely for the Harpy or if he takes direct orders from the Sons of the Harpy.Harpy? The most likely scenario is that he would be the Harpy approved King allowing them to basically disband and resume their previous overt privileges.

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Good thinking. Though, to be honest with myself, I hope this all becomes moot when Dany arrives back in Meereen only to say, "Bugger you all!" and hightail out of the place with her people and not a look back. Not likely to happen and also not in line with her character but hey, one can dream.

Yeah, I'm not sure how important this would end up being. It probably matters now more in Barristan's context, since he's in Meereen cleaning up the mess and dealing with the Green Grace and the Shavepate and Reznak and the rest of them.

If it does end up being true, I think that it says a lot about Dany's naivete and misplaced trust, which would have more abstract implications than any future tangible Meereenese events.

This theory makes me wonder if Hizdahr's murder attempts are for his own purposes and loosely for the Harpy or if he takes direct orders from the Sons of the Harpy.Harpy? The most likely scenario is that he would be the Harpy approved King allowing them to basically disband and resume their previous overt privileges.

The theory assumes that the Green Grace is the one pulling Hizdahr's strings. He's not acting on his own and he himself isn't the Harpy.

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Cannot agree more!

In addition, you can also read out the gradual increase in GG's influence on Mereneese following her "cooperation" with Dany. The passage where GG complains that Graces used to be much more powerful, but their power diminished following slave lords' rise, etc. irrespective of which she exhibits an extraordinary ability to control the nobility of Mereen, and by extension the SoH.

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That the Green Grace is the Harpy has been brought up before i believe.

I know. I said so in my post. The very first sentence, in fact.

I was skeptical about it until I reread the book, and during the reread, I became convinced. To my knowledge there hasn't been a thread devoted exclusively to the theory, or at least, not recently enough to matter, so I thought I'd make my case.

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Glad someone agrees with the way I read it. Hizzy is the poisoner, though, on the Harpy's command.

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If Hizdahr isn't the Harpy it's either the GG or Shavepate. I'm not actually sold on Hizdahr being the poisoner, either. The evidence against him is circumstantial at best. Sure it was his box, but anyone could have had access to it, and recommending something without eating it doesn't mean much. It's not like he tried to force them on her repeatedly. I think he mentioned them once and that was it.

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If Hizdahr isn't the Harpy it's either the GG or Shavepate. I'm not actually sold on Hizdahr being the poisoner, either. The evidence against him is circumstantial at best. Sure it was his box, but anyone could have had access to it, and recommending something without eating it doesn't mean much. It's not like he tried to force them on her repeatedly. I think he mentioned them once and that was it.

The Shavepate suggests that the Green Grace might sell them out Yunkai, but this seems more to do with changing circumstances, and not so much like it had been her plan all along. One interesting thing I noted in Barristan's last chapter, when he talks to the Grace about the hostages and such, is that she still tries to get him to free Hizdahr, and Barristan still says, "How could Hizdahr guarantee the peace, unless he was the Harpy?" It doesn't even occur to him that the Green Grace herself was the one who pushed Hizdahr at Dany, or that the Harpy could be female (he refers to the Harpy as a he, even when not speaking directly about Hizdahr). Barristan might be getting more suspicious of the Green Grace, but as of now, he still doesn't connect her to the Harpy.

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Agree. Barriston seems to be suspicious of her.

I thought Barristan was very taken in by her. In his very last chapter, he sends her as an envoy to the Wise Masters, over the protests of the Shavepate. More than that, look at how he thinks of her in "The Queen's Hand":

An aura of wisdom and dignity seemed to surround her that Ser Barristan could not help but admire. This is a strong woman, and she has been a faithful friend to Daenerys.

I agree that all evidence points toward the Green Grace as the Harpy, and if so, Barristan is totally misreading her. He makes a great fuss over how elderly she is (he mentions that she's about twenty years older than he is), and a good part of his blindness could be good old-fashioned paternalism; elderly women just aren't supposed to be threats to men of Barristan's social status and culture.

In a way, I can see why Dany would be so blind toward the Green Grace: she's never had a mother, and she tends to just immediately trust older maternal figures (see, e.g., Mirri Maz Duur). This could be a pretty dangerous blind spot in Westeros---Dany has a track record of just naturally trusting women like, say, the Queen of Thorns. Or worse, Cersei.

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I agree that all evidence points toward the Green Grace as the Harpy, and if so, Barristan is totally misreading her. He makes a great fuss over how elderly she is (he mentions that she's about twenty years older than he is), and a good part of his blindness could be good old-fashioned paternalism; elderly women just aren't supposed to be threats to men of Barristan's social status and culture.

In a way, I can see why Dany would be so blind toward the Green Grace: she's never had a mother, and she tends to just immediately trust older maternal figures (see, e.g., Mirri Maz Duur). This could be a pretty dangerous blind spot in Westeros---Dany has a track record of just naturally trusting women like, say, the Queen of Thorns. Or worse, Cersei.

Yeah, I thought that Barristan had been more suspicious and just reread his last chapter and ... he isn't, really. He's still assuming it's Hizdahr and/or a dude.

Your reasoning for why Dany would trust the Green Grace makes a lot of sense, and like you said, she was already betrayed by one maternal type.

Also, if Dany ends up losing Westeros and/or getting killed because of Olenna Tyrell, my head will explode from the awesomeness. :bowdown:

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