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Kat

[BOOK & TV SPOILERS] Dany and Drogo's relationship

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I was very displeased when I saw the attitude Drogo had toward Daenerys. In the book he was depicted as a bestially strong but gentle man and very skilled and desirable lover.

Dany was only a young girl and very scared, sold off to a savage. He asked her constantly for her consent, caressed her and touched her so sensually and at the same time gently that her desire for him overcame all the misfortune and fear that befell her. That showed a great part of his understanding and great capability as lover.

In the series he was depicted as a savage rapist.

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I was very displeased when I saw the attitude Drogo had toward Daenerys. In the book he was depicted as a bestially strong but gentle man and very skilled and desirable lover.

You haven't read the book very carefully then, for weeks after their tender wedding night he took her every night with her eyes tearing from the pain. She even contemplated suicide.

Dany was only a young girl and very scared, sold off to a savage. He asked her constantly for her consent, caressed her and touched her so sensually and at the same time gently that her desire for him overcame all the misfortune and fear that befell her. That showed a great part of his understanding and great capability as lover.

I have seen plenty of discussions about this and I just don't understand it. To begin with Dany is 13 years old, no matter how horny she is or how gentle Drogo is it would be rape in our day and age.Then comes the issue of culture, Dany like most of women in the series are conditioned to see their primary function producing children for their husbands.

She knows sex is part of it. And of course Drogo can force himself on her since he is her husband. And starting your marriage by displeasing the dude whom you existance depends on just isn't very smart.

How could she possible in any meaningsful way say no, assuming she wanted to? No one has accused me of feminism, but I just don't get why so many apparently female fans find the lack of a cozy wedding night the big problem here.

In the series he was depicted as a savage rapist.

He most likely was. He certainly endorsed it.

In the tv-series I read something about Emilie and Momoa wanted it changed because they didn't think the sequence, nice wedding night- rape sessions, then mad love worked out.

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You haven't read the book very carefully then, for weeks after their tender wedding night he took her every night with her eyes tearing from the pain. She even contemplated suicide.

Word. I think it's weird how much this is overlooked.

How could she possible in any meaningsful way say no, assuming she wanted to? No one has accused me of feminism, but I just don't get why so many apparently female fans find the lack of a cozy wedding night the big problem here.

Exactly. I find Drogo/Dany creepy whether we are talking about books or TV. Dany adjusted to Drogo as her husband because she had no choice. Like everything she does, Dany went in whole heartedly, to such an extent that she sees it as truth herself. That doesn't mean that Drogo is some kind of great lover or romantic figure in reality. On the contrary, even Dany knows that Drogo, for all his tenderness to her, is a savage rapist and killer, and that she is very lucky that somehow the former can coexist with the latter in one person.

If anything I'd say that TV show has made more of a romance between the characters, if the fan reaction is any indication. Before the TV show I don't think I knew any fans of Drogo/Dany. After the TV show it's like the most popular couple out there (weird???)

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Well I really thought the relationship interesting because of the cultural relativism. It's quite possible that neither Dany nor Drogo would consider a man excercising a husbands marital rights with a wife who didn't care for it rape. Maybe Dany would even find the notion insulting.

But that they came to love eachother I never found strange. Daenerys has spent her whole life on the run, at her brother's caprice, eating at the tables of strangers fearing the usurper's assassins. But through her marriage to Drogo she gains the father-protector she lacked her whole life and her opinion matters. Drogo is perceptive enough to respond to her efforts to make the marriage work and fit in with the Dothraki, which of course endears him to her. Also when your SO is ready to cross a ocean and make war in answer to an assault on your person, I don't think you have to be a teenage girl to find it romantic. You really don't need to bring the Stockholm syndrome into it.

And it's also amusing in the later books how she compares the men she meets to Drogo and mostly dismiss them as wimps.

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When I look at it I can understand everything relating to them, at right from the start I do think there's an element of tenderness in Drogo (removed in the series I feel). Even though it's not much he does at least seem to give her the final say on the wedding night. Of course we don't know if she had told him "no" what would've happened and due to the savage barbaranism of the Dothraki a lot of us would guess he'd have had her there and then regardless but we don't know this.

For the crying as they did so for a time afterwards, could part of this be that she's stupidly saddle sore anyway? While I'm not that familiar with horsemanship and all that but if you're suffering from saddle soreness I suspect being pounded from behind regularly will cause a little bit of pain. Not to mention that you've got that she's 13 and by all accounts quite slight and he's a massive bloke. I suspect there'd be an element of pain with penetration anyway.

The suicide contemplation could be linked into bog standard depression. She's on her run all her life, she's treated like dirt all her life and even when she get's a husband she's STILL badly under the abusive thumb of her brother who's getting even worse since the wedding as she has no power over Drogo and so takes it out on her. On top of this she's a little girl who's inexperienced and his having more pressure piled on by the one constant in her life. She's in pain, she's being bullied, she's in constant fear of assassination and on top of that she can't understand a word anyone says to her EXCEPT her bully pretty much. She's just bloody miserable and I think most of us can relate to that and I'm sure a fair few would contemplate suicide in that manner. CERTAINLY in the hormone riddled mind of a young teen.

This is the optimists way of looking at their early relationship and I can understand the reason some people don't see it that way, if not rape she was certainly heavily coerced early on. However it's quite clear by their relationship they certainly grew closer and the feelings were genuine. Their actions and efforts to please each other in many ways would've enhanced their feelings and while at first I suspect there were elements of "duty" by the time Drogo dies clearly they're devoted to eachother. It's unwritten but I have the image of Drogo having sneaky words with the handmaidens when he sees the efforts Dany is making for him to learn a little more of the common tongue and to find out what she wants. His actions later on suggest he genuinely felt for her, why on earth would he risk losing his khalasar by backing up her orders when he can do what the heck he wants?

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You haven't read the book very carefully then, for weeks after their tender wedding night he took her every night with her eyes tearing from the pain. She even contemplated suicide.

But Drogo didn't know any of that because she hid that from him. There's some line about how she's thankful that he's taking her from behind because that way she can hide her tears and muffle her cries in a pillow - and that's basically the only contact they have at that point. I didn't read the suicide contemplation piece as a response to her sexual relationship with Drogo, but rather her being isolated and alone in a strange environment - Drogo includes her in no part of his life beyond their bed. Drogo has no intent to have sex with his wife against her wishes, he's just not in any way capable of reading her emotions.

I'm not suggesting that Drogo is a sensitive turtleneck wearing middle manager with progressive sexual politics (if he hasn't raped other women himself he's certainly condoned it), but in the book the foundation of their relationship is consensual. In the TV series, it is not. That's a big difference, and I can't see what narrative benefit the latter choice provided.

How could she possible in any meaningsful way say no, assuming she wanted to?

By saying "no."

He asked. There was nothing about the scene that suggested he wouldn't take no for an answer. There is no doubt from the text that she said yes because that's what she wanted to do, not because she felt as if she had no choice.

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I can't see what narrative benefit the latter choice provided.

D&D have said that it was to create a clearer character arc. (Bad to good rather than ok to bad to good).

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But Drogo didn't know any of that because she hid that from him. There's some line about how she's thankful that he's taking her from behind because that way she can hide her tears and muffle her cries in a pillow - and that's basically the only contact they have at that point.

Not to be rude but have you ever had sex? The notion that he wouldn't notice implies that he has the perception of a a near inanimate object.Hardly fangirl gushing material.

I didn't read the suicide contemplation piece as a response to her sexual relationship with Drogo, but rather her being isolated and alone in a strange environment - Drogo includes her in no part of his life beyond their bed. Drogo has no intent to have sex with his wife against her wishes, he's just not in any way capable of reading her emotions.

It's all in the same context, you really think she would kill herself to avoid the pain of the saddlesores or because she isn't part of his war councils? Drogo seemed perfectly capable of reading her emotions on their wedding night. He just decides to treat her like a fuckdoll. Which makes sense from his perspective, what could he possible have in common with a 13 old girl?

I'm not suggesting that Drogo is a sensitive turtleneck wearing middle manager with progressive sexual politics (if he hasn't raped other women himself he's certainly condoned it), but in the book the foundation of their relationship is consensual. In the TV series, it is not. That's a big difference, and I can't see what narrative benefit the latter choice provided.

It's consensual in the respect that they agree to get married, much like a mail order bride consent to marry a westerner to get away from poverty. If you choose not to see Daenerys miserable honeymoon it's understandable that you cant see the narrative benifits of course, but the tender honeymoon and the latter abuse was screenplayed, the actors themselves didn't think it worked. Besides you don't find it strange that Drogo the murderous, slavetaking warlord have such concern for his childbride state of mind?

By saying "no."

He asked. There was nothing about the scene that suggested he wouldn't take no for an answer. There is no doubt from the text that she said yes because that's what she wanted to do, not because she felt as if she had no choice.

You have just been married with a barbarian warlord that kills people for a living who can snap your neck like a twig without having to fear any legal repercussions and can't speak your language.He doesn't know the first thing about you and has married you for your name to breed his children. What is the best case scenario of a No here?

Sent back to her brother for a beating in disgrace for not honoring your marriage contract?

Also it's heavily implied that Daenerys (or Drogo for that matter) wouldn't understand the notion of marital rape. Even in Westeros a husband has access to his wife body whenever he pleases. The purpose of a marriage in this world is to produce heirs, even at her age she understands that this requires sex, which means saying no to sex defeats the purpose of the marriage.

For your convience this is Weiss-Benihoff explanation:

Another strong response was over changing the physical relationship between Dany and Drogo, making it less consensual in the first two episodes.

DB: That first encounter between Daenerys and Drogo, originally we scripted it pretty much exactly as the book and we shot it that way for the pilot. But there was something to us, that while it worked in the book, seeing it on screen, here’s a girl who is absolutely terrified of this barbarian warlord she’s being married off to, it’s the last thing in the world she wants, yet somehow by the end of this wedding night she seems to be in a complete joyful sexual relationship with him. It didn’t entirely work for us.

DW: Also in the second episode she has to go back to the less consensual rougher relationship, which in the book works, but we just don’t have that amount of time and access to the character’s mind, it turns too quickly. It was something the actors themselves felt wasn’t gelling, they weren’t able to find an emotional hand-hold.

DB: We listen to our actors. When Emilia Clarke or Jason Momoa comes to us with something like this, we give it a lot of thought. It doesn’t always mean we change it, but Emilia mentioned the wedding night and the issues she was having it meshed with issues we were having ourselves.

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Not to be rude but have you ever had sex? The notion that he wouldn't notice implies that he has the perception of a a near inanimate object.Hardly fangirl gushing material.

Of course you meant to be rude. I won't take it personally.

My point is not that he is "fangirl gushing material." My point is that he's not raping his wife. The counterpoint was that she was crying and miserable, and that based on that he should have known she wasn't consenting to sex. In response, my point is that she concealed that from him. I don't think he needs the perception of a near inanimate object not to notice.

It's all in the same context, you really think she would kill herself to avoid the pain of the saddlesores or because she isn't part of his war councils?

No, I think that isolation drove Dany to the brink of desperation, as it can for most people.

It's consensual in the respect that they agree to get married, much like a mail order bride consent to marry a westerner to get away from poverty.

I don't think the marriage itself was consensual in the way I understand the term, and less consensual than what you describe above. But we aren't talking about the marriage.

Also it's heavily implied that Daenerys (or Drogo for that matter) wouldn't understand the notion of marital rape. Even in Westeros a husband has access to his wife body whenever he pleases. The purpose of a marriage in this world is to produce heirs, even at her age she understands that this requires sex, which means saying no to sex defeats the purpose of the marriage.

I'll happily concede that Drogo is unlikely to have read much Gloria Steinem, and that his sexual politics are different from ours. But for all your spin, including assumptions of what he would have perceived and assumptions as to what Dany must have been thinking you continually overlook and ignore two things:

1- He asked. Does Drogo ever ask anyone permission for anything else the rest of the series? Drogo isn't a man who'll ask a question for the sake of politeness. If he just wanted to take her and her consent didn't matter, he'd have done that. He didn't. Her answer mattered to him.

2- She said yes because it is what she wanted. We are in Dany's head for their wedding night, and what's going through he head aren't her options if she says no. What's going through her head is that the man with her looks great, smells great and knows how to touch her. And since we're talking heavily implied I took Drogo's question to be the first time since Darry died that anyone has expressed any interest in what she wants, and that goes a long way.

For your convience this is Weiss-Benihoff explanation:

Another strong response was over changing the physical relationship between Dany and Drogo, making it less consensual in the first two episodes.

...[text cut]

...we just don’t have that amount of time and access to the character’s mind, it turns too quickly.

I understand what they're saying, I just vehemently disagree with it. Rather than find a way to develop Dany's internal struggle without access to her thoughts they went for a shortcut. IMO that shortcut undermined the relationship at issue, by making the subsequent romance more gross than I think they intended.

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Of course you meant to be rude. I won't take it personally.

No I didn't or I wouldn't have added the disclaimer. Most people at some time in their life lack sexual experience.

My point is not that he is "fangirl gushing material." My point is that he's not raping his wife. The counterpoint was that she was crying and miserable, and that based on that he should have known she wasn't consenting to sex. In response, my point is that she concealed that from him. I don't think he needs the perception of a near inanimate object not to notice.

It's Dany's POV she tries to conceal it from him as a matter of pride. I just find Drogo having sex with a 13 year old girl crying in a pillow with pain so severe that she thinks she will die from it for weeks at ends in blissful unawareness .. silly. It actually sounds like a common rape defence, The defendant claiming they weren't aware that the victim wasn't into it, Although that are generally singular events.

No, I think that isolation drove Dany to the brink of desperation, as it can for most people.

Dany's POV complains about physical pain and exhortion, the only isolation made an issue of is the one from her husband,

Khal Drogo ignored her when they rode, even as he had ignored her during their wedding, and spent his evenings drinking with his warriors and bloodriders, racing his prize horses, watching women dance and men die. Dany had no place in these parts of his life. She was left to sup alone, or with Ser Jorah and her brother, and afterward to cry herself to sleep.

1- He asked. Does Drogo ever ask anyone permission for anything else the rest of the series? Drogo isn't a man who'll ask a question for the sake of politeness. If he just wanted to take her and her consent didn't matter, he'd have done that. He didn't. Her answer mattered to him.

You are quite right the scene gives the impression that her answer matters to him. The problem is that there are no reason for Drogo to ask after the marriage. Marriage equals consent to sex in this world already. If he truly was a gentleman-lover he should have brought it up during the negotiations. but really why should a murderous slaver that routinely torture and kills people be concerned about what the women breeding his children really thinks?

2- She said yes because it is what she wanted. We are in Dany's head for their wedding night, and what's going through he head aren't her options if she says no. What's going through her head is that the man with her looks great, smells great and knows how to touch her.

And Dany being conditioned to get on with her wifely duties what Drogo looks or smells like are irrelevant.

I understand what they're saying, I just vehemently disagree with it. Rather than find a way to develop Dany's internal struggle without access to her thoughts they went for a shortcut. IMO that shortcut undermined the relationship at issue, by making the subsequent romance more gross than I think they intended.

Well I disagree with you, The wedding night is the abberation and come across as a cheap romance novel, There really are no reason for Drogo to concern himself about his his thropy wife beyond that she is cared for. They have nothing in common, not even a language. What possible insights could a citybreed child have relevant to a adult nomadic warrior chief? The cinematic adaption made the relationship more realistic and interesting. Daenerys forcing Drogo actually see her as a person, instead of Drogo being exceptionally sensitive makes for a greater journey.

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No I didn't or I wouldn't have added the disclaimer. Most people at some time in their life lack sexual experience.

I'll take you at your word. I'll note the rest of your comments have been civil in tone despite substantive disagreement.

It's Dany's POV she tries to conceal it from him as a matter of pride. I just find Drogo having sex with a 13 year old girl crying in a pillow with pain so severe that she thinks she will die from it for weeks at ends in blissful unawareness .. silly. It actually sounds like a common rape defence, The defendant claiming they weren't aware that the victim wasn't into it, Although that are generally singular events.

That's quite a spin. She does not think that she is going to physically die from sexual injuries. We don't know how long this period is. We don't know what her cries sound like, only that it is dark and that her tears are concealed from him.

Dany's POV complains about physical pain and exhortion, the only isolation made an issue of is the one from her husband,

Khal Drogo ignored her when they rode, even as he had ignored her during their wedding, and spent his evenings drinking with his warriors and bloodriders, racing his prize horses, watching women dance and men die. Dany had no place in these parts of his life. She was left to sup alone, or with Ser Jorah and her brother, and afterward to cry herself to sleep.

Yes, she'd like to be emotionally intimate with the man she is married to, and is unhappy when she is not. Then she approaches him about it and he happily agrees.

She rides all day and it hurts, her husband ignores her and drinks with his friends, then wakes her up and has sex with her. It's bad and not sustainable.

You are quite right the scene gives the impression that her answer matters to him. The problem is that there are no reason for Drogo to ask after the marriage. Marriage equals consent to sex in this world already. If he truly was a gentleman-lover he should have brought it up during the negotiations. but really why should a murderous slaver that routinely torture and kills people be concerned about what the women breeding his children really thinks?

And Dany being conditioned to get on with her wifely duties what Drogo looks or smells like are irrelevant.

You keep getting back to some language I am not using: this post has the "gentleman-lover" line, the last one had "gushing fangirl material." I have claimed neither of these things, only that he isn't raping Dany. "Not a raping your wife" does not equal "tiger beat pinup" or even "good husband".

But in response to your points - you're looking for at the decisions of Drogo's heart and saying they don't make sense. First off, looking for rationality when it comes to the human heart is a fool's errand, IMO. Second, I think you're selling Drogo short. I agree with you - Drogo is objectively a bad guy, and the people of Westeros are better off for having never met him. But he does a lot of things one wouldn't expect, starting with his marriage to a westerosi princess (who's throne means little and less to him when he does it), whom he doesn't share with his bloodriders, followed by his order not to enslave the Lhazareen women and capped by his vow to cross the black salt sea.

When it comes to Dany he's routinely willng to go outside Dothraki norms, the same way Dany is open to his culture. If this is more "pro-Drogo" than you're willing to go, think of it as based on his boundless ego. The romance with the foreign princess is part of what makes him exceptional in his own eyes, and to buck Dothraki culture is another display of his power.

And as far as Dany's being "conditioned to do her duty", again it isn't duty that is going through her head on their wedding night. What is going through her head is how good he is making her feel and how much she would like to have sex with him. We know this, because we are privy to her thoughts. And I do think that her desiring him, and subsequently verbally and physically consenting to sex make it clear that it wasn't duty, fear or desperation that turned her to Drogo that night.

The cinematic adaption made the relationship more realistic and interesting. Daenerys forcing Drogo actually see her as a person, instead of Drogo being exceptionally sensitive makes for a greater journey.

And my problem is that from a story perspective, who cares that her rapist comes to respect her later? To the extent that the series wants me to buy Dany and Drogo as a romance (and I think it's clear they do), that romance is undermined by a rape in ways that it is not by the unhappy first weeks of their marriage.

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That's quite a spin. She does not think that she is going to physically die from sexual injuries. We don't know how long this period is. We don't know what her cries sound like, only that it is dark and that her tears are concealed from him.

No but it's clear that the sexual pain adds to the saddlesore pain. This is brought up in her POV 3 days after the wedding if you cared to read about the thing you try to discuss. I'm not even going to bother adressing you excusing Drogo's callousness because you believe 13 year old Dany succesfully hides the pain and tears she thinks she will die from during intercourse.

Yes, she'd like to be emotionally intimate with the man she is married to, and is unhappy when she is not.

And before you said the isolation not the pain was the cause of the suicide contemplations, which leads back to Drogo's callousness then.

You keep getting back to some language I am not using: this post has the "gentleman-lover" line, the last one had "gushing fangirl material."

You claimed all Daenerys would have to do was say “No” despite the extreme duress she is burdened by, which suggests an alternate reality where such things as gentleman-lovers and gushing exists. After the marriage Drogo could torture, rape, or kill Dany as he please, he will never know if she complies of her own volition or out of fear and it shouldn't be relevant to him here either.

I think you're selling Drogo short. I agree with you - Drogo is objectively a bad guy, and the people of Westeros are better off for having never met him. But he does a lot of things one wouldn't expect, starting with his marriage to a westerosi princess (who's throne means little and less to him when he does it), whom he doesn't share with his bloodriders, followed by his order not to enslave the Lhazareen women and capped by his vow to cross the black salt sea.

Nah, he is an extraordinary individual able to think outside his cultural norms to a considerable degree. It's just that there is no reason to disneyfy him to get the lovestory to work. My interpretation was that it was Dany's efforts and spirit that he comes to admire and love, she doesn't get anything for free. also you are incorrect again, the Lhazareen women are enslaved but are a good example.

He knows that his warriors have the right to rape them and is annoyed when she brings the issue to him. Then she makes the hiss about how the dragon eats the horse and lamb alike and he is charmed by her imperiousness. He indulges her whim not any rational argument he knows his men are technically in the right. He just tells them to drop it and find other lambwomen to rape. By this time he is whipped but still Dothraki in every way.

And as far as Dany's being "conditioned to do her duty", again it isn't duty that is going through her head on their wedding night. What is going through her head is how good he is making her feel and how much she would like to have sex with him.

“"Please him, sweet sister, or I swear, you will see the dragon wake as it has never woken before.”

The fear came back to her then, with her brother’s words. She felt like a child once more, only thirteen and all alone, not ready for what was about to happen to her."

"“I am the blood of the dragon,” she whispered aloud as she followed, trying to keep her courage up. “I am the blood of the dragon. I am the blood of the dragon.” The dragon was never afraid."

"Afterward she could not say how far or how long they had ridden, but it was full dark when they stopped at a grassy place beside a small stream. Drogo swung off his horse and lifted her down from hers. She felt as fragile as glass in his hands, her limbs as weak as water. She stood there helpless and trembling in her wedding silks while he secured the horses, and when he turned to look at her, she began to cry."

Yeah no thoughts of duty and necessity there. Just plain horniness.

And my problem is that from a story perspective, who cares that her rapist comes to respect her later? To the extent that the series wants me to buy Dany and Drogo as a romance (and I think it's clear they do), that romance is undermined by a rape in ways that it is not by the unhappy first weeks of their marriage.

Rape is your interpretation of the scene. Nothing indicate she resisted anymore then she resisted on the ride from the wedding. For which you gave Drogo a free pass.Your problem stems from the idea that Daenerys has a concept of marital rape, which isn't the case. Drogo as her husband have every right to require sex, she expect nothing else. If she doesn't like it it's fault of the people who brokered the marriage not Drogo. She knows that she would never marry for love, so she doesn't expect that either. So when she decide to stop being the victim, Drogo isn't the problem but the solution and Drogo responds to her efforts to please him. Which encourage her to try harder. Through him she gets her first taste of power and for the first time in her life she feels safe, a considerable thing for someone who lived in fear her entire life. The dude is even ready to take his army across the ocean when they mess with his her. It would be kinda strange if she didn't get some fuzzy feelings.

Also Daenerys understands that all things considered she hit the jackpot in the marriage lottery.

my sun-and-stars made a queen of me, but if he had been a different man, it might have been much otherwise. Do you think I have forgotten how it felt to be afraid?"

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In the book i took it to be way more consensual than it was protrayed in the show. show leaned a lot more toward the rape side. Where as in the book, you could make a argument on both sides, in the show i felt it was way more one sided.

:agree: It feel like it was mainly rape on the show. Where in the books she wanted him to touch her.

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