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Lost Melnibonean

Evidence that the Lemon Tree Was Not Originally in Braavos

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All y'all are gonna poo right in your pants...

Before Bantam Spectra published A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin on 08/06/1996, Asimov's Science Fiction magazine included Blood of the Dragon, a novella consisting of Daenerys's chapters from Game of Thrones in the July 1996 issue. The novella was republished by Bantam Spectra later that year as Blood of the Dragon: The Iron Throne Saga, Part I.

Now, I had read that the original published version differed from Game (first in @Frey family reunion's excellent thread dealing with this issue, and then in Reddit, where the OP appeared to be repeating what he'd heard or read), so I set about to find the original publication. Armed with a smart phone, I questioned Google sharply to obtain all the necessary information. Then, the eRavens flew back and forth between a maester at my local county library and other maesters throughout the realm, until we had discovered the scroll, which was lost these past 19 years. I have seen it with mine own eyes, and I can attest to it's authenticity.

In Bantam Spectra's versions, Viserys and Daenerys had "lived in Braavos, in the big house with the red door. Dany had her own room there, with a lemon tree outside her window. After Ser Willem had died, the servants had stolen what little money they had left, and soon after they had been put out of the big house. Dany had cried when the red door closed behind them forever. They had wandered since then, from Braavos to Myr, from Myr to Tyrosh, and on to Qohor and Volantis and Lys, never staying long in any one place."

Before A Game of Thrones was published, though, this is what The George wrote for Asimov's Science Fiction: "That was when they had lived in Tyrosh, in the big house with the red door. Dany had slept in her own room there, with a lemon tree outside her window. After Ser Willem had died, the servants had stolen what little money they had left, and soon after they had been put out of the big house. Dany had cried when the red door closed behind them forever. They had wandered since then, from Tyrosh to Myr, from Myr to Braavos, and on to Qohor and Volantis and Lys, never staying long in any one place."

There most certainly is something rotten about that lemon tree in Braavos, but it was not intended to signal anything . . . um, sour about Daenerys's backstory. Before moving her backstory to Braavos, for whatever reason, The George had her living in Tyrosh, where we would expect lemon trees to grow. And we can point to a bit of confirming evidence later in Game . . .

Quote

The merchant must have taken her for Dothraki, with her clothes and her oiled hair and sun-browned skin. When she spoke, he gaped at her in astonishment. "My lady, you are . . . Tyroshi? Can it be so?"

"My speech may be Tyroshi, and my garb Dothraki, but I am of Westeros, of the Sunset Kingdoms," Dany told him.

Daenerys VI, Game 54

The George apparently forgot to change her dialect several chapters later, but I dont think he forgot to remove the lemon tree. I think he transplanted it. The George obviously had a reason for putting that lemon tree outside Daenerys's window, since he left it there after he moved her backstory to Braavos.

But what was the purpose of the lemon tree? Well, I'm glad you asked . . . You see, the lemon, of course, is defined by its yellow color and sour taste. In addition to its use as food and drink, lemons can be used to clean. After a brief review of the use of lemons in art and literature, my understanding is that the lemon symbolizes bitterness and disappointment. (Exhibit A would be The Lemon Tree, the Israeli film from 2008, in which a Palestinian attempts to stop her neighbor, who happens to be the Israeli Defense Minister, from destroying the family's lemon grove.

Spoiler

In the end, the protagonist's efforts fail, and the trees are cut down.

The lemon is also used to symbolize power. The fruit appears to have originated in South Asia. Although they were known in Ancient Rome, they were not widely known in Europe until the tenth century. The first significant cultivation of lemons in Europe did not happen until the very end of the Middle Ages. Since they had to be imported to medieval Europe, lemons became associated with wealth and power. This symbolism of wealth and power seems to have been The George's intention when he had

Spoiler

Petyr serve the giant lemon cake in Alayne, Winds.

Fans of Sansa who think her weakness for lemon cakes is a symbol of her innocence and purity should take note and be wary. They might be comforted at least to note that within the Church, the lemon is considered a symbol of fidelity. (And of course, as I'm sure will be discussed ad nauseam below by fans of Sansa and Daenerys, I am just a hater.) I believe The George included the lemon tree to foreshadow Daenerys's ultimate bitterness and disappointment.

So didja poo?

ETA

When we see lemons, things don't usually end well... In Sansa I, Game 15, she was looking forward to lemon cakes in the queen's wheelhouse, but her day ended with her prince's loathing and contempt. Samwell's early childhood went from snitching lemon cakes to contempt, abuse, and banishment by his father. In Sansa II, Game 29, Sansa went from enjoying lemon cakes with Joffrey at the feast following the first day of jousting to being escorted back to her cell by the Hound. In Sansa III, Game 44, Sansa and Jeyne (poor Jeyne) looked for lemon cakes in the kitchen, but at the end of the chapter learned her father was sending back to Winterfell. Sansa shared lemon cakes with the Tyrells before being forced to wed the imp. On the morning Sansa was forced to marry the imp, along with the new gown, Cersei sent her favorite scents for Sansa's use too. Of course, "Sansa chose a sharp sweet fragrance with a hint of lemon in it under the smell of flowers." 

Spoiler

In Winds, Lord Nestor’s cooks prepare a lemon cake in the shape of the Giant’s Lance, twelve feet tall and adorned with an Eyrie made of sugar, all for Alayne. "The cake had required every lemon in the Vale, but Petyr had promised that he would send to Dorne for more." 

Run, Sansa! Run! 

Before donning the ugly little girl's face, the kindly man gave a girl a drink so tart it was like biting into lemon. That made "no one" think of Arya's sister, and Sansa's fondness for lemon cakes. In Arya V, Game 65, Arya offered to trade a fat pigeon for a lemon, but ened up at her father's execution. Jeor Mormont drank lemon in his beer every day. He still had his own teeth but his men mutinied and murdered him. At Bitterbridge, Renly's bannermen feasted on lemon cakes. Of course, Renly's campaign ened shortly thereafter. As Davos sailed with Stannis's fleet into Blackwater Bay, he observed Aegon's High Hill, dark against a lemon sky. That's an odd description for a sky, no? As Davos turned downstream, the mouth of the Blackwater Rush had turned into the mouth of hell.

At Edmure's wedding feast Catelyn noted that Ryman Frey had bathed in lemon water but failed to mask his sour sweat, and that Roose smelled sweeter but no more pleasant. The Feast did not end on a happy note. At Joffrey's wedding feast Tyrion had a slice of pigeon pie covered with a spoon of lemon cream. A few paragraphs later Tyrion stood accused of regicide. That was the last of 18 dishes served to Joffrey just before he choked. On the night Daenerys was sold to the savage she smelled sweet lemon among other eastern scents. 

Cersei drank lemon water so tart she had to spit it out the morning she learned that Tyrion had murdered their father. When Cersei entered Maggy the Frog's tent, one of the eastern scents she smelled was lemongrass. Before the night was done Cersei would learn that Melara had a crush on Jaime, and Melara would die at the bottom of a well. 

Lem Lemoncloak just reeks of bitterness and disappointment, and Doran's Water Gardens smell of lemons and blood oranges. Anybody think Dorne is going end up happy with their blood and fire? In The Queenmaker, Arianne noticed that Darkstar preferred lemon water to summer wine, and she served lemonsweet to Myrcella before Darkstar cut off Myrcella's ear amidst lemon orchards watered by a spider's web of old canals. Arianne’s first meal while locked in the tower included kind roasted with lemon. And the soup at the feast to welcome Gregor's head was made with eggs and lemons. 

Stannis enjoys boiled eggs and lemon water for breakfast, and, well, I think we all know his end will be bitter and disappointing. In Jon IV, Dance 17, Stannis offers lemon water to Jon. Wisely, Jon refuses. Stannis drinks more.

Just after Tyrion plants the notion of sailing to Westeros without Daenerys in the noble lad's head, the merry band aboard the Shy Maid enjoy a pike with lemon juice, and they learn that Daenerys hasn't left Meereen. Aegon fatefully decides to go west insteaed of east. Anybody think Aegon will win the dance? And Tyrion decides to go whoring after dinner, and meets his new buddy Jorah. Tyrion suspected Yezzan was drinking lemon water as the yellow whale bid on him and Penny. Tyrion served Nurse lemonsweet with the mushrooms from Illyrio's garden.The Green Grace accepted a goblet of sweeetened lemon juice from the Queen's hand, just before infected corpses started flying over the walls. Oh, and guess what kind of trees Daenerys has in her terrace garden in Meereen? 

And we see a lemon in one of the ancillary novellas... When Dunk has a personal feast, feeling what it means to be a knight for the first time at the beginning of The Hedge Knight, he dines on lamb and an even better duck cooked with cherries and lemons quaff in it down with four tankards of a thick, nut brown ale. By the end of the novella, though, Prince Maekar had slain his brother, Baelor Breakspear, who died defending Dunk against Prince Aerion's accusations. 

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:(




So you're saying that he forgot to change that one line about her speech being Tyrosh?


Maybe she spent more time in Tyrosh than she did in Braavos, during her speech development years, which is why she would have a Tyroshi accent?



If she can hardly remember the house with the red door, then she was probably only 3 or 4 when she left right?


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:(

So you're saying that he forgot to change that one line about her speech being Tyrosh?

Maybe she spent more time in Tyrosh than she did in Braavos, during her speech development years, which is why she would have a Tyroshi accent?

If she can hardly remember the house with the red door, then she was probably only 3 or 4 when she left right?

What I'm saying, with a great deal of confidence, my fleur de lis, is that The George intended for Daenerys to have spent her early childhood in Tyrosh, not Braavos, but for some reason decided to switch the location to Braavos. Perhaps to link up with Arya or Lanna? Or maybe to join Daenerys's story in Essos to the simmering conflict between the Lord of Light and Him of Many Faces? But in any case, the lemon tree is a hint that Daenerys's story will end on a sour note; it is not a hint that Daenerys was rsised in Dorne or switched at birth, or a secret Blackfyre.

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But in any case, the lemon tree is a hint that Daenerys's story will end on a sour note; it is not a hint that Daenerys was rsised in Dorne or switched at birth, or a secret Blackfyre.

Totes, and her house had a red door, which is a hint that she'll be lucky in love.

Alternatively, GRRM had no detailed conception of the geography of Essos at the time he wrote the story, and so some of those details changed as he built his world.

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I think there is something rotten about those lemons in Braavos too. GRRM keeps throwing lemons and where they grow in our faces. I respect and understand the idea of the sealord's palace, but I'm in the Dorne camp. I don't know how Tyrosh would serve the story, for me it's evidence that the places she lived in her memories aren't the real story.


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I personally believe she was either brought up in tyrosh or braavos.

A side note for tyrosh is its near/close to the stormlands. A large part of the stormlands income comes from lumber, soooooo may be nothing or it may be a connection to her memories of wooden decorations in the house with the red door.

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I think there is something rotten about those lemons in Braavos too. GRRM keeps throwing lemons and where they grow in our faces. I respect and understand the idea of the sealord's palace, but I'm in the Dorne camp. I don't know how Tyrosh would serve the story, for me it's evidence that the places she lived in her memories aren't the real story.

Tyrosh fought in the Dance of the Dragons on the side of the greens, Aegon's side. The Ninepenny Kings held sway in Tyrosh for some time after they were defeated by Jaehaerys in the Stepstones. A later Archon entered into an agreement with Dorne involving the Targlings. The brother of that Archon, or pehaps a successor, attended the betrothal feast at Drogo's manse in Pentos. The nascent trade war between Lys and Tyrosh was ended just as Myr was about to join Tyrosh with the Golden Company, but curiously, the Archon of Tyrosh, the brother of the man at the betrothal feast, offered terms to Lys to end the war.

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What I'm saying, with a great deal of confidence, my fleur de lis, is that The George intended for Daenerys to have spent her early childhood in Tyrosh, not Braavos, but for some reason decided to switch the location to Braavos. Perhaps to link up with Arya or Lanna? Or maybe to join Daenerys's story in Essos to the simmering conflict between the Lord of Light and Him of Many Faces? But in any case, the lemon tree is a hint that Daenerys's story will end on a sour note; it is not a hint that Daenerys was rsised in Dorne or switched at birth, or a secret Blackfyre.

I certianly agree with that.

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I think there is something rotten about those lemons in Braavos too. GRRM keeps throwing lemons and where they grow in our faces. I respect and understand the idea of the sealord's palace, but I'm in the Dorne camp. I don't know how Tyrosh would serve the story, for me it's evidence that the places she lived in her memories aren't the real story.

Lemon trees don't grow in Bbraavos--save for the gardens of the wealthy. That last bit covers the transplantation of the lemon tree from Tyrosh.

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Great work, OP.

And Thank god, I hope that lemongate is put to rest by this.

Turns out te LT being in Braavos is no more significant a detail than renlys eye color (both are just editing failures).

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Why couldn't the lemontree in Braavos simply be a false memory? As an imperfect human being, I certainly have false memories : I remember some events or details to be such and such, but proven false when a picture shows the opposite. It also happens that people mix two memories in a single event. So why couldn't the childhood in Braavos, the red door and the LT be from different mixed memories?


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Great catch LM, I can just imagine people at the library being like "what does this crazy person want with this magazine from 2 decades ago? Oh it's to check to see if some obscure detail matches the current version of ASOIAF. Makes total sense now."

I wonder why he decided to change it from Tyrosh to Bravoos? In addition to what You posted about Bravoos becoming more relevant to the story later on, wasn't Aegon hiding out in Tyrosh? Or was it just that he dyed his hair blue for his Tyroshi mom and they never said where he was hiding out? Maybe GRRM had the plan for him coming back from the get go and didn't want all the Targs growing up in one place.

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Tyrosh fought in the Dance of the Dragons on the side of the greens, Aegon's side. The Ninepenny Kings held sway in Tyrosh for some time after they were defeated by Jaehaerys in the Stepstones. A later Archon entered into an agreement with Dorne involving the Targlings. The brother of that Archon, or pehaps a successor, attended the betrothal feast at Drogo's manse in Pentos. The nascent trade war between Lys and Tyrosh was ended just as Myr was about to join Tyrosh with the Golden Company, but curiously, the Archon of Tyrosh, the brother of the man at the betrothal feast, offered terms to Lys to end the war.

Very fair.

I understand you are just saying that the lemons symbolize a bitter ending for Dany, more or less. But wouldn't the Tyroshi connections to the GC/Greens be wiped out in Dany's story with the change of the location of the house with the red door? Is it still applicable?

It seems more who cares she's misremembering or was misinformed about her location than a series of mistakes concerning her Tyroshi accents and lemon trees, to me. I think both sides of lemon gate have merit, I'm just on the other.

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I hate to be the party pooper, but I think someone (Mormont perhaps?) has raised this point before, and yet Lemongate persists like a bad case of teenage acne, or those stubborn blackheads in the creases of your nose that just won't go away!

So sadly, I fear Lemongate won't be dying anytime soon.

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