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Rhaegal, Dany & the "sorrowful man"

Firiel Hiren

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Rhaegal is the only one that knows that Xaro Xoan Daxos attempted to poison Dany before she left Qarth in A Clash of Kings.

Here is the action without all of the conversation which serves to hide it:

Xaro Xhoan Daxos poured ruby-red wine into matched goblets of jade and gold.

He offered her a goblet.

Dany’s collar was chafing.She unfastened it and flung it aside.

Rhaegal hissed and dug sharp black claws into her bare shoulder as Dany stretched out a hand for the wine.

She drank deep.

The wine tasted of pomegranates and hot summer days.

Xaro sighed.

She stroked Rhaegal. The green dragon closed his teeth around the meat of her hand and nipped hard.

As Dany lifted her goblet to drink, Rhaegal sniffed at the wine and drew his head back, hissing.

Xaro wiped his lips.

Dany smiled.

A single perfect tear ran down the cheek of Xaro Xhoan Daxos.

To me, it seems fairly obvious that Rhaegal did not want Dany to drink that wine.

For those of you that wish to see the entire scene those sentences came from, I have put the relevant sections in the spoiler tags below (All underlining is mine):

A "Sorrowful Man", Part 1:

Reclining on cool satin cushions, Xaro Xhoan Daxos poured ruby-red wine into matched goblets of jade and gold, his hands sure and steady despite the sway of the palanquin. “I see a deep sadness written upon your face, my light of love.” He offered her a goblet. “Could it be the sadness of a lost dream?”

“A dream delayed, no more.” Dany’s tight silver collar was chafing against her throat. She unfastened it and flung it aside. The collar was set with an enchanted amethyst that Xaro swore would ward her against all poisons. The Pureborn were notorious for offering poisoned wine to those they thought dangerous, but they had not given Dany so much as a cup of water. They never saw me for a queen, she thought bitterly. I was only an afternoon’s amusement, a horse girl with a curious pet.

Rhaegal hissed and dug sharp black claws into her bare shoulder as Dany stretched out a hand for the wine. Wincing, she shifted him to her other shoulder, where he could claw her gown instead of her skin. She was garbed after the Qartheen fashion. Xaro had warned her that the Enthroned would never listen to a Dothraki, so she had taken care to go before them in flowing green samite with one breast bared, silvered sandals on her feet, with a belt of black-and-white pearls about her waist. For all the help they offered, I could have gone naked. Perhaps I should have. She drank deep. ACOK ch.40

In summary: Xaro pours wine into two goblets. Dany removes her “poison protection necklace” and as she reaches for the goblet being offered by Xaro, Rhaegal hisses and digs his claws into her shoulder. She ignores him and drinks.

A "Sorrowful Man", Part 2::

“They said no.”The wine tasted of pomegranates and hot summer days. “They said it with great courtesy, to be sure, but under all the lovely words, it was still no.”

“Did you flatter them?”


“Did you weep?”

“The blood of the dragon does not weep,” she said testily.

Xaro sighed. “You ought to have wept.” The Qartheen wept often and easily; it was considered a mark of the civilized man. “The men we bought, what did they say?”

“Mathos said nothing. Wendello praised the way I spoke. The Exquisite refused me with the rest, but he wept afterward.”

Alas, that Qartheen should be so faithless.” Xaro was not himself of the Pureborn, but he had told her whom to bribe and how much to offer. “Weep, weep, for the treachery of men.”

Dany would sooner have wept for her gold. The bribes she’d tendered to Mathos Mallarawan, Wendello Qar Deeth, and Egon Emeros the Exquisite might have bought her a ship, or hired a score of sellswords. “Suppose I sent Ser Jorah to demand the return of my gifts?” she asked.

“Suppose a Sorrowful Man came to my palace one night and killed you as you slept,” said Xaro. The Sorrowful Men were an ancient sacred guild of assassins, so named because they always whispered, “I am so sorry,” to their victims before they killed them. The Qartheen were nothing if not polite. “It is wisely said that it is easier to milk the Stone Cow of Faros than to wring gold from the Pureborn.”

In summary: Dany notes that the wine tastes of “pomegranates and hot summer days” and Xaro asks about the men that they bribed. When she explains, he is sorrowful. When Dany asks what would happen if she asked for her gifts back, Xaro speaks of the famous Qartheen assassins that apologize when they kill, the Sorrowful Men.

A "Sorrowful Man", Part 3:

She stroked Rhaegal. The green dragon closed his teeth around the meat of her hand and nipped hard. Outside, the great city murmured and thrummed and seethed, all its myriad voices blending into one low sound like the surge of the sea. “Make way, you Milk Men, make way for the Mother of Dragons,” Jhogo cried, and the Qartheen moved aside, though perhaps the oxen had more to do with that than his voice. Through the swaying draperies, Dany caught glimpses of him astride his grey stallion. From time to time he gave one of the oxen a flick with the silverhandled whip she had given him. Aggo guarded on her other side, while Rakharo rode behind the procession, watching the faces in the crowd for any sign of danger. Ser Jorah she had left behind today, to guard her other dragons; the exile knight had been opposed to this folly from the start.

He distrusts everyone, she reflected, and perhaps for good reason.

As Dany lifted her goblet to drink, Rhaegal sniffed at the wine and drew his head back, hissing.

“Your dragon has a good nose.” Xaro wiped his lips. “The wine is ordinary. It is said that across the jade Sea they make a golden vintage so fine that one sip makes all other wines taste like vinegar. Let us take my pleasure barge and go in search of it, you and I.”

In summary: Dany tries to pet Rhaegal and he nips her hand hard. Rhaegal sniffs her wine and pulls back, hissing. Xaro brings his fingers to his mouth and comments on the wine.

A "Sorrowful Man," Part 4:

“Marry me, bright light, and sail the ship of my heart. I cannot sleep at night for thinking of your beauty.”

Dany smiled. Xaro’s flowery protestations of passion amused her, but his manner was at odds with his words. While Ser Jorah had scarcely been able to keep his eyes from her bare breast when he’d helped her into the palanquin, Xaro hardly deigned to notice it, even in these close confines. And she had seen the beautiful boys who surrounded the merchant prince, flitting through his palace halls in wisps of silk. “You speak sweetly, Xaro, but under your words I hear another no.”

“This Iron Throne you speak of sounds monstrous cold and hard. I cannot bear the thought of jagged barbs cutting your sweet skin.” The jewels in Xaro’s nose gave him the aspect of some strange glittery bird. His long, elegant fingers waved dismissal. “Let this be your kingdom, most exquisite of queens, and let me be your king. I will give you a throne of gold, if you like. When Qarth begins to pall, we can journey round Yi Ti and search for the dreaming city of the poets, to sip the wine of wisdom from a dead man’s skull.”

“I mean to sail to Westeros, and drink the wine of vengeance from the skull of the Usurper.” She scratched Rhaegal under one eye, and his jadegreen wings unfolded for a moment, stirring the still air in the palanquin.

A single perfect tear ran down the cheek of Xaro Xhoan Daxos. “Will nothing turn you from this madness?”

“Nothing,” she said, wishing she was as certain as she sounded.

In summary, Xaro continues to attempt to persuade Dany to marry him. Dany is amused but does not believe Xaro is sincere. Dany scratches Rhaegal and he fans his wings. Dany assures Xaro that she is set on going to invade Westeros. Xaro weeps.

The Purse:

She would have been lost without Xaro. The gold that she had squandered to open the doors of the Hall of a Thousand Thrones was largely a product of the merchant’s generosity and quick wits. As the rumor of living dragons had spread through the east, ever more seekers had come to learn if the tale was true- and Xaro Xhoan Daxos saw to it that the great and the humble alike offered some token to the Mother of Dragons.

The trickle he started soon swelled to a flood. Trader captains brought lace from Myr, chests of saffron from Yi Ti, amber and dragonglass out of Asshai. Merchants offered bags of coin, silversmiths rings and chains. Pipers piped for her, tumblers tumbled, and jugglers juggled, while dyers draped her in colors she had never known existed. A pair of Jogos Nhai presented her with one of their striped zorses, black and white and fierce. A widow brought the dried corpse of her husband, covered with a crust of silvered leaves; such remnants were believed to have great power, especially if the deceased had been a sorcerer, as this one had. And the Tourmaline Brotherhood pressed on her a crown wrought in the shape of a three-headed dragon; the coils were yellow gold, the wings silver, the heads carved from jade, ivory, and onyx.

The crown was the only offering she’d kept. The rest she sold, to gather the wealth she had wasted on the Pureborn. Xaro would have sold the crown too- the Thirteen would see that she had a much finer one, he swore-but Dany forbade it.

In summary: Dany feels she owes it all to Xaro who helped her obtain a lot of gold by making people pay to see her. He then helped her spend it at his direction.

The Cutpurse:

Jhogo, slid one hand about her waist and leaned close. “The Milk Men shun him. Khaleesi, do you see the girl in the felt hat? There, behind the fat priest. She is a-”

“-cutpurse,” finished Dany. She was no pampered lady, blind to such things. She had seen cutpurses aplenty in the streets of the Free Cities, during the years she’d spent with her brother, running from the Usurper’s hired knives.

The mage was gesturing, urging the flames higher and higher with broad sweeps of his arms. As the watchers craned their necks upward, the cutpurses squirmed through the press, small blades hidden in their palms. They relieved the prosperous of their coin with one hand while pointing upward with the other.

In summary: Dany is can identify a cutpurse in a crowd but she cannot apply the concept to herself.

A "Sorrowful Man," Part 5:

“What is there in Asshai that I will not find in Qarth?”

“Truth,” said the woman in the mask. And bowing, she faded back into the crowd.

Rakharo snorted contempt through his drooping black mustachios. “Khaleesi, better a man should swallow scorpions than trust in the spawn of shadows, who dare not show their face beneath the sun. It is known.”

“It is known,” Aggo agreed.

Xaro Xhoan Daxos had watched the whole exchange from his cushions. When Dany climbed back into the palanquin beside him, he said, “Your savages are wiser than they know. Such truths as the Asshai’i hoard are not like to make you smile.” Then he pressed another cup of wine on her, and spoke of love and lust and other trifles all the way back to his manse.

In summary: She is still drinking the wine and not looking for more falsehood from Xaro.


“You will get no help in this city, Khaleesi.” Ser Jorah took an onion between thumb and forefinger. “Each day I am more convinced of that than the day before. The Pureborn see no farther than the walls of Qarth, and Xaro...”

“He asked me to marry him again.”

“Yes, and I know why.” When the knight frowned, his heavy black brows joined together above his deep-set eyes.

“He dreams of me, day and night.” She laughed.

“Forgive me, my queen, but it is your dragons he dreams of.”

“Xaro assures me that in Qarth, man and woman each retain their own property after they are wed. The dragons are mine.” She smiled as Drogon came hopping and flapping across the marble floor to crawl up on the cushion beside her.

“He tells it true as far as it goes, but there’s one thing he failed to mention. The Qartheen have a curious wedding custom, my queen. On the day of their union, a wife may ask a token of love from her husband. Whatsoever she desires of his worldly goods, he must grant. And he may ask the same of her. One thing only may be asked, but whatever is named may not be denied.

“One thing,” she repeated. “And it may not be denied?”

“With one dragon, Xaro Xhoan Daxos would rule this city, but one ship will further our cause but little.”

Dany nibbled at an onion and reflected ruefully on the faithlessness of men.

In summary: Dany had figured out that Xaro wasn’t really attracted to her and assumed that was the only lie he was telling. Constantly asking her to marry him leads her to believe that is his only intent. It turns out that would work out for him in an additional way that she had not known about, the traditional gift.

It is my belief that Xaro wanted those dragons any way he could get them, but he didn’t want the blame or to risk revenge from her companions or followers.

Xaro's Plan in Summary:

Xaro expresses great passion and desire for Dany and asks constantly for her to marry him. Dany believes that Xaro is lying about his desire for her and that he really only wants to marry her for her dragons.

While Dany believes that she has Xaro pegged as an insincere power-hungry suitor, he treats her like a sideshow at a carnival. He was basically charging people to see her and then convinces her to pay off all his friends (and no doubt himself in the bargain) by paying for admittance to the Pureborn who are “notorious poisoners of wine to people they find dangerous”.

By giving her a “necklace that wards against poisons”, he gives himself an alibi in advance if she dies after visiting the Pureborn. After all, he wanted to marry her, had showered her with gifts, and “tried to protect her” and “warned her”, right?

Wrong, he is not really a potential bridegroom, he is more of an amateur sorrowful man. The necklace never guarded against poisons at all, that is why he offered the cup while she was still wearing it.

I am guessing Xaro already knew he wasn’t going to win her hand by that point, but it was a good cover for his less than honorable intentions and so he keeps pushing marriage. He also keeps pushing the wine that Rhaegal doesn’t like.

Yet, the poison doesn’t work. Why? I have a bunch of theories on that and a bunch of theories on the further ramifications of this failed poisoning. I am going to put that in the next post after I type it up.

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this is so long and so lame.

in summary i dont think i will read "part 2"

LOL, I would weep bitter tears at your carefully considered response, except...

You are following this topic! :D

So, I think you have "lame" pretty much covered...

I guess you enjoy making cruel comments and then going back to see the responses, huh?

It must be sad to be like that... :(

I hope you think about it and go outside, appreciate life, maybe write some of your own theories and ideas down, instead of just being negative about others and generally have a better day. :)

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