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Daenerys and Lost Childhood

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I don’t have a good way to title this topic, but when I read the chapter BEFORE Drogo comes and the locusts etc, I felt a deep sadness. 

Daenerys is pissed that she decided to work with the Great Masters. Reasonable, I think she made a mistake (and she agrees). Problem is (as I’ve stated in another topic) that she sees no other options (such as giving power to qualified Freedmen and Shavepates rather than the former Great Masters). However, this isn’t what makes the chapter tragic. 

Daenerys is a child, It’s something easy to forget. She is what? 14 in ADwD? She is quite young. And it's not just that she is a child, it's that Daenerys longs for the safety of childhood. She spends a rather long time thinking about it. I know people hate talking about real life, but I often find children, or adults, who long for this childhood they missed had a horrible childhood. Perhaps they were forced to grow up to soon, perhaps they were abused in childhood, or perhaps they just didn't get enough attention from their parents (parental neglect). Daenerys kind of has it all. Her brother was abusive, she didn't really ever have the security of a true childhood, and she was forced to grow up too soon. 

At the end of the chapter, Hizdahr has passed out after a brief sexual experience Daenerys clearly ....did not enjoy, and Dany is left alone. She is sad and she is lonely. She does not think about the red door, but this mood is often when she does think about the red door. I think that red door represents her lost childhood, but also what she truly wants. I think the tragedy of Daenerys is ....I think she actually wants a simple life. She just wants a roof over her head, security that she never had as a child, and she wants (she wants it so badly) to trust others. Unlike some characters who thrive in the lying world of Westeros/Essos, Daenerys really never doesn't like mistrusting people. She wants to trust everyone, even the Great Masters.

Honestly, I really really relate to this. I had a great mother, so I don't long for a lost childhood quite like Daenerys does, however I do relate to the desire for a simple life. I dislike the modern world in a large part to its complexity, but also, much like Daenerys, I desire to trust people. I want to just be loved and love others, but I've found in adulthood that people often betray you, or lie to you. I'm not perfect, nor am I claiming to be, but I am ridiculously loyal to my friends. Every time a friend has betrayed me, I feel a deep loss, and an anger (I certainly don't call it "waking the dragon", but for sure it is a wildfire growing inside me, or it feels that way sometimes) grows inside me. Now, I live in the modern time. I take therapy to help me deal with this. Daenerys does not sadly. 

I'll leave off with this. At the end of the chapter, Missandei hears Daenerys crying and comes to her. Daenerys asks Missandei to talk to her of Naath, and so Missandei does. I felt like this scene was just so heartbreaking. Again, I feel sad that we, as humans can't all just enjoy moments like this. Closeness. Love. Without any strings attached, and without ulterior motives. Missandei unlike everyone else in Daenerys's camp is truly loyal to her and truly trusts her. We all deserve more Missandei's in our life and less people trying to use us/only being friends with us when it is convenient for them. 

I guess I am an adult man who just wishes for my own red door (for me, it is a middle school friend who asked me to say he was his friend while the bullies prepared to beat me up if I did that....I forever desire to just say, "Yes, he is my friend," and I've spent my life repeatedly trying to be loyal to make up for the moment I wasn't. I know it's not a red door persay, but I wish to go back to before I was damaged I guess. Before bullies took who I could have been from me. To the part of my childhood I lost.)

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It's great that you understand yourself well enough so that you can see how your feelings about the book are a reflection of your own life.  When fiery debates spring up here, I sometimes think that that's what's going on. People read situations that remind them of problems in their own lives. So they get angry at the characters, and then if some other readers disagree with their interpretation, they get angry at them too. I suppose that kind of misplaced anger can be therapeutic sometimes. But your way is better.

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A song of ice and fire follows young people growing into adulthood. The mains are the ones who will shape their world for the good and some for the bad. Daenerys has the weight of responsibility on her young shoulders and she has managed better than anyone. She does have enormous power and authority to carry out her vision.  The Gods have granted her three dragons, the power of the great Targaryen name, high intelligence, and let’s not forget, beauty. In return, fate expects her to do great things.  The Targaryens are special. I’m expecting George to reveal that these folks are the same who ruled during the great empire of the dawn. She is the daughter and heir to the old empire.  

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This is a theme for Dany right from her very first chapter.

Her brother smiled. "Good." He touched her hair, almost with affection. "When they write the history of my reign, sweet sister, they will say that it began tonight."
When he was gone, Dany went to her window and looked out wistfully on the waters of the bay. The square brick towers of Pentos were black silhouettes outlined against the setting sun. Dany could hear the singing of the red priests as they lit their night fires and the shouts of ragged children playing games beyond the walls of the estate. For a moment she wished she could be out there with them, barefoot and breathless and dressed in tatters, with no past and no future and no feast to attend at Khal Drogo's manse.
Somewhere beyond the sunset, across the narrow sea, lay a land of green hills and flowered plains and great rushing rivers, where towers of dark stone rose amidst magnificent blue-grey mountains, and armored knights rode to battle beneath the banners of their lords. The Dothraki called that land Rhaesh Andahli, the land of the Andals. In the Free Cities, they talked of Westeros and the Sunset Kingdoms. Her brother had a simpler name. "Our land," he called it. The words were like a prayer with him. If he said them enough, the gods were sure to hear. "Ours by blood right, taken from us by treachery, but ours still, ours forever. You do not steal from the dragon, oh, no. The dragon remembers."
And perhaps the dragon did remember, but Dany could not. She had never seen this land her brother said was theirs, this realm beyond the narrow sea. These places he talked of, Casterly Rock and the Eyrie, Highgarden and the Vale of Arryn, Dorne and the Isle of Faces, they were just words to her. Viserys had been a boy of eight when they fled King's Landing to escape the advancing armies of the Usurper, but Daenerys had been only a quickening in their mother's womb.

In my opinion the section above really sets the tone for Dany's whole story. Although, I think the Red Door is more than just a wish for a lost childhood, and more literally a past she has almost forgotten.

Dany sees the sunset in Pentos and recalls the Sunset Kingdoms, home. She wishes to be a child again, rather than being married off to a Khal. This is Dany's first chapter, and the history of her reign (rather than Viserys) does literally begin that night for the reader. But the character Dany's history does not, she has a past which includes the House with the Red Door.

By the end of Game of Thrones, Dany has her "wake the dragon" dream.

The door loomed before her, the red door, so close, so close, the hall was a blur around her, the cold receding behind. And now the stone was gone and she flew across the Dothraki sea, high and higher, the green rippling beneath, and all that lived and breathed fled in terror from the shadow of her wings. She could smell home, she could see it, there, just beyond that door, green fields and great stone houses and arms to keep her warm, there. She threw open the door.
"… the dragon …"
And saw her brother Rhaegar, mounted on a stallion as black as his armor. Fire glimmered red through the narrow eye slit of his helm. "The last dragon," Ser Jorah's voice whispered faintly. "The last, the last." Dany lifted his polished black visor. The face within was her own.
After that, for a long time, there was only the pain, the fire within her, and the whisperings of stars.

Compare the underlined sections of the two quotes above. Green hills and flowered plains/Green fields, Towers of dark stone/great stone houses, banners of their lords/arms to keep her warm. The banners of a lord carry their sigil, or arms.

The arms to keep her warm are, in my opinion, the direwolf of House Stark. The cold receding behind her are the white winds.

"The hard cruel times," her father said. "We tasted them on the Trident, child, and when Bran fell. You were born in the long summer, sweet one, you've never known anything else, but now the winter is truly coming. Remember the sigil of our House, Arya."
"The direwolf," she said, thinking of Nymeria. She hugged her knees against her chest, suddenly afraid.
"Let me tell you something about wolves, child. When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. Summer is the time for squabbles. In winter, we must protect one another, keep each other warm, share our strengths. So if you must hate, Arya, hate those who would truly do us harm. Septa Mordane is a good woman, and Sansa … Sansa is your sister. You may be as different as the sun and the moon, but the same blood flows through both your hearts. You need her, as she needs you … and I need both of you, gods help me."

Double meanings abound. The Trident. Remember the sigil of our house. Nymeria, the queen who crossed the water, and a constellation of stars. As different as the sun and the moon, like Dany and Jon.

"Daenerys. Remember the Undying. Remember who you are."

Quaith keeps telling her to remember. 

"He has a song," the man replied. "He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire." He looked up when he said it and his eyes met Dany's, and it seemed as if he saw her standing there beyond the door. "There must be one more," he said, though whether he was speaking to her or the woman in the bed she could not say. "The dragon has three heads." He went to the window seat, picked up a harp, and ran his fingers lightly over its silvery strings. Sweet sadness filled the room as man and wife and babe faded like the morning mist, only the music lingering behind to speed her on her way.

In the House of the Undying, Rhaegar says there must be one more. I can't help but compare this line to Yoda in Starwars when Luke leaves training (in reference to Leia), after Luke sees his own face in Vader's black helm, just like Dany sees her own face in Rhaegar's helm in the "wake the dragon" dream above.

Then she saw. Her mask is made of starlight.
"Remember who you are, Daenerys," the stars whispered in a woman's voice. "The dragons know. Do you?"

The whispering of stars from Dany's "wake the dragon" dream. 

I think Dany has to remember who she is, she has to remember her own past, and the House with the Red Door, if she is to remember who she really is, making this a plot device and not just a metaphor for a lost childhood.

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