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Fearsome Fred

The "Dragon Rider" [aDwD Spoilers]

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This is an expansion of a theory begun in another thread (“Did Quentyn Succeed?”). Some new points are raised in its favor. I have also pulled together some points that was scattered throughout the original thread.

SUMMARY OF THE THEORY

There are 2 “princes” in Meereen: Tatters and Quentyn. I postulate that both have similar builds – appearing stocky due to short legs; but this is not evident in Tatter’s case, since he is never seen when standing. Both, I believe, are part of the 9-man party that invades the Pit to steal the dragons. I postulate that Tatters is incognito, as one of the four unnamed Windblown disguised as Brazen Beasts. Quentyn has success with Viserion, but is breathed upon by Rhaegal.

Quentyn, despite some pain, survives the burning. It turns out he is indeed one of the three “heads of the dragon” after all, destined to be a dragonrider after all. Archie is actually the more seriously injured, attempting to put out the flames on Quentyn’s hair and clothes.

Quentyn manages to form a bond with Viserion, and (as happened to Dany earlier) is carried off by him, leaving behind the burnt bodies of Viserion’s victims (Tatters and the crossbowman). Viserion leaves the city with Quentyn, but remains nearby (Viserion is later seen by Barristan hunting in the skies to the east). The second of the 3 dragonriders has been found.

Tatters, however, remains alive, and Gerris is furious that he and his men attacked and angered the dragons, which is why he is found standing over Tatters with a drawn sword. He quickly throws away his sword when the locust guards arrive.

Tatters spends 3 days dying, on Dany’s bed, with Missandei as his nurse. He is accustomed to being addressed as “prince” and, on those few occasions when he utters a few words, says nothing that causes Missandei to suspect he is not Prince Quentyn.

A LIST OF POINTS/CLUES IN FAVOR OF THE THEORY

1. ARGUMENT FROM STORY EFFICIENCY

GRRM has spent a lot of time, energy and text developing the Quentyn subplot. GRRM is a sufficiently good writer, that we can assume would not waste that much time on useless filler that does not advance the story. Hence, there must be hidden purpose to the Quentyn story (if not this, then another).

The argument from story efficiency also underlies many of the specific points raised below, many of which are foreshadowings or loose ends begging to be resolved. These may be considered light of GRRM’s not-so-firm promise to finish in 7 volumes (a lost cause, but I’d like to think he is at least trying, and can finish in 8 or 9). If there is any hope for the series being completed, we should already be seeing threads starting to come together, prophesies starting to come true, etc., etc.

2. FORESHADOWING: THE THREE RIDERS.

The prophesy of the “dragon with three heads” seems to link the 3-headed dragon that is the symbol of House Targaryen, which in turn is based on the original trio of dragon-riders (Aegon and his sisters) who conquered Westeros. It is therefore a reasonably theory that the “three heads of the dragon” refer to 3 dragonriders.

Additionally, in aDwD, Dany explicitly tells Quentyn that no rider ever controlled more than one dragon, and that she only hopes to be able to ride one of the dragons. Quentyn concludes (correctly I think) that she is hinting that she wants Quentyn to become a dragon riders.

If my theory is correct, two “riders”: Quentyn and Dany, have already made progress toward controlling their dragons by the end of aDwD. This leaves less ground for GRRM to cover in future volumes. Otherwise, he is very far behind schedule. As explained below, the dragons probably need to be controlled before Dany can reach Westeros.

3. DANY’S ARRIVAL IN WESTEROS

Lets face it. If Dany and her dragons never arrive in Westeros, then her story arc is the biggest red herring in the history of fiction. Yet, five volumes into the series, she seems barely any closer to arrival than she was at the end of Book 1.

Some fans are now speculating that Dany is destined to sweep in the final volume and save Westeros from the Others. But this was not originally the plan. When GRRM was planning a trilogy, his plan was for Dany to arrive in the second volume. When his plan was 6 volumes, his plan was for Dany to arrive not too long after the start of the 4th volume. His plan of the series seems to envision her arrival not too long after the half-way point.

So, it seems Dany must be due to arrive in Westeros VERY soon, as soon as possible. Otherwise, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this is a 10-12+ volume series that will not be completed this century.

It seems unlikely that Dany will fly off to Westeros on Drogon and simply leave her other “children” to run wild in Essos. Meanwhile, we are past the point where the dragons can simply be chained up and transported by ship. The dragons must be “tamed” or controlled by someone (whether Dany’s ally or her enemy) and brought to Westeros for Dany to be willing to join them or follow them. As far as the reader knows, only Drogon has found his Rider (Dany) by the end of volume 5.

An advantage of my theory is that it postulates that a second dragon, Viserion, has now found his Rider as well. This leaves fewer things for GRRM to accomplish before Dany’s landing on Westeros.

4. TATTERS INCOGNITO

Tatters tells the Dornishmen (p767), regarding his distinctive tattered cloak “And if I want to move unseen, I need only slip it off to become plain and unremarkable.” If GRRM is not merely feeding us useless details, this must have some relevance, which implies Tatters has appeared or will appear incognito at some point in the story. Under my theory, we need not wait for this event to occur, because it has already happened: Tatters has appeared incognito as one of the Windblown’s Bronze Beasts, and, finally, as the dying “prince”.

5. THE CLUE OF THE APPROPRIATE TITLE

The last Quentyn chapter, in aDwD, is called THE DRAGONTAMER., and it is hard to imagine this refers to anyone but Quentyn. Under my theory, the title fits. Otherwise, it must be taken as an ironic reference to Quentyn’s failed ambitions.

6. THE DEVIOUS DORNISHMAN

It is established in Quentyn’s first chapter that Gerris is the “mummer” of the party, and also that he is capable of false grief, but not genuine grief. He is unaffected by the deaths of friends; “This is still a game to him”, thinks Quentyn (p 89), but is glib enough to tell a pack of lies about them while giving a funeral oration for them (p 88). Later (p. 786), Barristan also senses Gerris’ deceptive nature: “False coin”, he thinks.

But when Barristan goes to visit the two Dornishmen in their cells, to give them the news of Quentyn’s death, it is only Gerris who makes a display of grief (p. 926).

Barristan thinks Quentyn is dead, but even so, he is not entirely fooled by Gerris’ performance. “Do you take me for a doting grandfather?” he asks (p 927), in response to Gerris’ melodramatic claim that Quentyn acted out of love for Dany.

Then Barristan asks them what happened when they tried to take the dragons:

The Dornishmen exchanged a look, then Drinkwater said …

Why do they exchange a look? This is the first hint that they are hiding something.

After Gerris’ start, Archie takes over, describing the scene in the Pit. His account seems accurate, matching what we saw occur during Quentyn’s POV. But when he starts to reach the point where Rhaegal breathes on Quentyn, he falters, becomes vague, and stops. Then Gerris, the natural born liar takes over:

“And the Windblown blew away,” said Ser Gerris. “Quent was screaming, covered in flames, and they were gone. Caggo, Pretty Meris, all but the dead one.”

Still vague enough, and contains some truth. But a lie. The Windblown did not all blow away. Before it was over, one more remained behind, besides the dead crossbowman. Gerris was found standing over him with sword in hand.

And is it not strange that the Dornishmen are so specific in describing what we already know, and become suddenly vague when we reach the point beyond that?

Then, after Barristan tells them he wants to send them on a mission to talk to Tatters, we have this:

Gerris Drinkwater pushed back his mop of sunstreaked hair. “Might we have some time to discuss this amongst ourselves.”

“No,” said Selmy.

“I’ll do it,” offered Ser Archibald, “just so long as there’s no bloody boats involved. Drink will do it too.” He grinned. “He don’t know it yet, but he will.”

Both Gerris and Archie have ideas about the mission that they do not want to discuss in front of Barristan. They both may know something Barristan does not. They may know, for instance, that Tatters, the target of their mission, is already dead, and/or that Quentyn remains alive.

7. DREAMS OF BLOOD AND FIRE

At the beginning of Quentyn’s final chapter, we have the following:

The prince lay abed, staring at his ceiling, dreaming without sleeping, remembering, imagining, twisting beneath his linen coverlet, his mind feverish with thoughts of blood and fire.”

This suggests that there is something not entirely normal about Quentyn, who does, after all, have Targ heritage. We may indeed have found our second “head of the dragon”.

A little later, he deliberately burns himself on a candle, which is not exactly normal behavior. Some will take his vulnerability to fire as proof that he is “no dragon”. But we cannot make too much of this. As GRRM once warned us:

Lastly, some fans are reading too much into the scene in GAME OF THRONES where the dragons are born -- which is to say, it was never the case that all Targaryens are immune to all fire at all times.

8. QUENTYN’S SURREAL BURNING

There is something surreal about the final moments in Quentyn’s last POV chapter, when he catches fire. His reaction to the “furnace wind”, which we are later led to belief is FATALLY hot, is not normal or credible. Here’s the quote:

Quentyn turned and threw his left arm across his face to shield his eyes from the furnace wind. Rhaegal, he reminded himself, the green one is Rhaegal.

When he raised his whip, he saw that the lash was burning. His hand as well. All of him was burning.

Oh, he thought. Then he began to scream.

This cannot happen to a normal person. A normal person does not get engulfed in a “furnace wind” hot enough to ignite cloth and leather, belatedly realize he is on fire, and then get scared and belatedly start screaming. The pain would be instant; his reactions instinctive and reflexive. Nor should he be able to see the whip catching fire. The heat should instantly blind him, or at least force him to blink his eyes shut. (See also below, for the severity of the Dying Prince’s facial injuries).

It could just be an unrealistic passage. Or perhaps, Quentyn is not a normal person. Perhaps he is a “dragon”; one of the “three heads of the dragon”. A “dragon” who panics and starts screaming when he realizes he is on fire; but a “dragon” nonetheless. Perhaps this is one of those unpredictable fire-resistant events that GRRM referred to.

9. BURNT BEYOND RECOGNITION

The “Prince” who dies on Dany’s bed, three days later, is burnt beyond recognition (p. 915). His aspect was so horrible that only Missandei had the courage to tend him. He had no lips. He had pools of pus where his eyes used to be. Parts of his skull were visible beneath the burnt flesh.

Is this really the same Quentyn whose fully functional eyes (the only part of his face exposed behind his bronze mask) watched himself catch fire?

In any event, his injuries are severe enough that it would be hard to tell the difference, if it were another person. Remember Bran’s head mounted on a spike? If a character is no longer recognizable when he dies, that itself is cause for suspicion.

10. TWO PRINCES, SIMILAR BUILD?

There is no evidence for (or against) the idea that the two princes might have similar features. This hardly matters, however, since most of the dying Prince’s face was burned off. What matters is that they might be similar in general height and build. Here, there is a LITTLE evidence (admittedly not much) that they do.

Quentyn is short of leg and stocky of body. He is shorter than Pretty Meris, who stands just under six feet tall. He is described as “ordinary” looking, and less “impressive” than his two Dornish companions, both of whom are described as tall.

We do not know if Tatters’ legs are short or long, because we never see him standing, only seated. We know he seems impressive under some circumstances, but not in others. He seems impressive, for instance, when he is riding a huge stallion, mounted on a “high saddle”, with his distinctive tattered cloak blowing in the wind around him. But, as Tatters himself admits, he is perfectly capable of seeming ordinary under other circumstances, with his tattered cloak removed. This is, at least, consistent with a man with short legs, and a stocky body.

It has been argued that Quentyn is short, whereas Tatters is tall. But Quent is never described as “short”, merely “short-legged”. And Tatters is never described as “tall”, it is merely said that he “sits tall in the high saddle”. To “sit tall in the saddle” is merely a term that refers to proper riding posture, and a “high saddle” is a saddle that makes you look tall … while you are seated on it.

11. THE CLUE OF THE DYING SMILE.

We learn this about Quentyn on p. 84:

Smiles had never come easy to Quentyn Martell, any more than they did for his lord father.

But later, Missandei has this to say about the dead man:

“Honored ser. The prince is beyond pain now. His Dornish gods have taken him home. See? He smiles.”

ADDRESSING SOME COUNTERARGUMENTS

1. ALLEGED OMNISCIENT POV CONFIRMATION

It has been argued that the first chapter of Barristan’s final POV chapter (“The Queen’s Hand”) confirms Quentyn’s death, as it is stated in the Third-Person Omniscient perspective:

The Dornish prince was three days dying.

One obvious objection to this is that the chapter is from Barristan’s POV. Barristan believes the dying man is Quentyn, so the chapter reflects that belief.

Another obvious objection is that we know nothing of Prince Tatters’ origins. The “Pentoshi Prince” story is merely a story, and it is a story which Quentyn doubts. Tatters could well be Dornish, for all we know.

---------------

All page numbers above refer to the Bantam (US) hardback.

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I agree that the whole Quentyn story seems a bit pointless if he is just dead, and he certainly seemed to be on the point of 'taming' Viserion, but I don't know that he is alive. 2 characters (him and Dany) performing the same miraculous escape in one book seems a bit too much...

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I agree that the whole Quentyn story seems a bit pointless if he is just dead, and he certainly seemed to be on the point of 'taming' Viserion, but I don't know that he is alive. 2 characters (him and Dany) performing the same miraculous escape in one book seems a bit too much...

I'm not sure what you mean by "same miraculous escape". Dany succeeded in riding a dragon; and, under my theory, Quentyn did as well.

Foreshadowing seems to promise us 3 dragonriders. If two riders getting started in a single 1000-page book is "a bit too much", then I wonder, how many total volumes do you expect in the series?

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I'd like for this to be the case and you make a good argument - but I'm not overly hopeful.

The fake death seems a little too convoluted - even for GRRM.

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First of all Quentyn and his company are amusing but edit relatively unimportant in the long run - what is important is fate of Dorne and 50 000 spearmen waiting to wreak havoc on Reach and Stormlands - fate of Dorne that is decided by the outcome of Quentyn's mission

if he is alive Doran will wait for the dragons and there is no chance he moves before her supposed invasion

on the other hand "if you fail, Dorne will bleed" - there are new options for Doran - one opened with Aegon and Connington, another is Swann/Dayne affair that could damage Dorne if not done correctly - and bleeding Dorne sounds so much fun and offers much better storyline than dragonrider Q surviving dragonpit incident - after all this is Song of Ice and Fire not some soap-opera with lost sons, faked pregnancies and protagonists surviving unsurvivable accidents.

Or as Jeor Mormont's raven would say: "Dead. Dead Dead."

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You certainly make a good argument, I am on the fence. If this theory is true, I hate that a rider is introduced so late in the story. If it is false, It was a terrible waste of pages.

why would it be terrible waste of pages?

or even better question: When was anything in these books terrible waste of pages?

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This is a very interesting theory with some strong arguments in favor, which you stated clearly and logically. You already gave one counter argument, but for sake of having a good discussion, I will try to be the devil's advocate and find more. This isn't to say that I am not impressed and convinced by your story. It seems we have to question every single death in this epic, and this only definitely is far from proven.

1) as you said, he burns. Might be fire-immunity is tricky thing, but it seemed very prophetic at the time to read about him not being able to keep his hand over the flame when we witnessed Dany early on holding the hot dragon eggs and enjoying hot baths.

2) he is afraid of the dragons. From his own POV it comes across that he is almost shitting his pants (something like "I can't let them see my fear") and it appears the dragons can sense this fear (well, horses can...), so why would they let someone ride them who is scared. I don't really think they WANT a rider.

3) Why would his companions conceal the success? Doesn't it seem better for them to tell it true, to make the claim that now Quentin can marry Dany and fulfill the mission they all had set out to do? They are already getting the blame for letting loose the dragons, how does concealing that Quentin was successful help them?

4) Viserion doesn't seem to behave any different from Rhaegal after their escape. Both claim a pyramid and slaughter a lot of harpies/innocents. Not sure this says much considering what Drogon did after being ridden, but it doesn't suggest Viserion had somehting happen to him either.

I may have missed some, and I don't suggest that they are stronger than your points. Still, it would be nice to find answers, especially to the motivation. Why would the Dornish conceal this other than f***ing with the readers. There's got to be an in-universe reason for them.

Would be thrilled if you are right, especially for the advancing the Dany returns plot line.

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1. ARGUMENT FROM STORY EFFICIENCY

GRRM has spent a lot of time, energy and text developing the Quentyn subplot. GRRM is a sufficiently good writer, that we can assume would not waste that much time on useless filler that does not advance the story. Hence, there must be hidden purpose to the Quentyn story (if not this, then another).

The argument from story efficiency also underlies many of the specific points raised below, many of which are foreshadowings or loose ends begging to be resolved. These may be considered light of GRRM's not-so-firm promise to finish in 7 volumes (a lost cause, but I'd like to think he is at least trying, and can finish in 8 or 9). If there is any hope for the series being completed, we should already be seeing threads starting to come together, prophesies starting to come true, etc., etc.

This isn't an argument from story efficiency because you are assuming that Quentyn MUST be part of the dragon riding part of the plot, whereas his story is far more likely to be tied into the invasion of Westeros, as his death causes political problems for Dany before she even gets there.

In other words, Quentyn's story accomplished exactly what was intended but you have failed to recognize the intention and mistook it for something it wasn't. One of us is wrong - obviously - but you need to bear that in mind when you attempt to make such an argument. As you don't know what martin actually intended Quentyn's plotline to accomplish, you cannot state authoritively that he wrote 'useless filler'.

2. FORESHADOWING: THE THREE RIDERS.

The prophesy of the "dragon with three heads" seems to link the 3-headed dragon that is the symbol of House Targaryen, which in turn is based on the original trio of dragon-riders (Aegon and his sisters) who conquered Westeros. It is therefore a reasonably theory that the "three heads of the dragon" refer to 3 dragonriders.

Additionally, in aDwD, Dany explicitly tells Quentyn that no rider ever controlled more than one dragon, and that she only hopes to be able to ride one of the dragons. Quentyn concludes (correctly I think) that she is hinting that she wants Quentyn to become a dragon riders.

If my theory is correct, two "riders": Quentyn and Dany, have already made progress toward controlling their dragons by the end of aDwD. This leaves less ground for GRRM to cover in future volumes. Otherwise, he is very far behind schedule. As explained below, the dragons probably need to be controlled before Dany can reach Westeros.

Save that you don't know what the schedule is and neither do we. The hints we have are that Dany is going to be going east before going west, giving plenty of time for her dragons to pick up their riders (which seems to lean more towards Tyrion - who has an acknowledged and well developed understanding of dragon history - and Victarion with his magic horn).

3. DANY'S ARRIVAL IN WESTEROS

It seems unlikely that Dany will fly off to Westeros on Drogon and simply leave her other "children" to run wild in Essos. Meanwhile, we are past the point where the dragons can simply be chained up and transported by ship. The dragons must be "tamed" or controlled by someone (whether Dany's ally or her enemy) and brought to Westeros for Dany to be willing to join them or follow them. As far as the reader knows, only Drogon has found his Rider (Dany) by the end of volume 5.

An advantage of my theory is that it postulates that a second dragon, Viserion, has now found his Rider as well. This leaves fewer things for GRRM to accomplish before Dany's landing on Westeros.

This is a weak reasoning. We still don't know what Martin is intending. This point is based on you knowing Martin's intention for Dany, Dany's story, Dany's final role in the overall tale, and most importantly, that Martin needs all three dragons to have their riders ASAP.

We don't even know that all the dragons are going to survive the books. It could easily work out that Victarion masters a dragon with the dragonhorn, and that Tyrion masters the third in the chapters later. Or a dragon could die. Or Daario and Missandei turn out to be dragonriders. Or Barristan does. Etc. etc.

'Because it'll be convenient for my particular reading of the tale' is a very faulty premise at best when theorizing about the plot. There's very little evidence pointing towards Quentyn as a dragonrider. There's a great deal of evidence pointing towards him as a corpse.

4. TATTERS INCOGNITO

Tatters tells the Dornishmen (p767), regarding his distinctive tattered cloak "And if I want to move unseen, I need only slip it off to become plain and unremarkable." If GRRM is not merely feeding us useless details, this must have some relevance, which implies Tatters has appeared or will appear incognito at some point in the story. Under my theory, we need not wait for this event to occur, because it has already happened: Tatters has appeared incognito as one of the Windblown's Bronze Beasts, and, finally, as the dying "prince".

Why would Tatters be there? He's a careful man, he doesn't trust the Dornishmen as far as he can throw them, and he has no need whatsoever to hang around with dragons.

5. THE CLUE OF THE APPROPRIATE TITLE

The last Quentyn chapter, in aDwD, is called THE DRAGONTAMER., and it is hard to imagine this refers to anyone but Quentyn. Under my theory, the title fits. Otherwise, it must be taken as an ironic reference to Quentyn's failed ambitions.

Yep, sounds right to me. Quentyn is set up as a failure all along. He arrives known as 'Frog'. Quentyn is a small man attempting something great, and is destroyed in the process. Martin's inverting the trope of the small man doing great things. That's sort of Martin's calling card.

7. DREAMS OF BLOOD AND FIRE

This suggests that there is something not entirely normal about Quentyn, who does, after all, have Targ heritage. We may indeed have found our second "head of the dragon".

A little later, he deliberately burns himself on a candle, which is not exactly normal behavior. Some will take his vulnerability to fire as proof that he is "no dragon".

Alternately he's having nightmares because he's about to try and tame a dragon and is terrified of what's to come, and he's having dreams of blood and fire because of experiences with Dany and at the dragonpit, and he tests himself on the candle because he's trying to work up courage and prove to himself that he's got the magical chops to pull this off.

8. QUENTYN'S SURREAL BURNING

This cannot happen to a normal person. A normal person does not get engulfed in a "furnace wind" hot enough to ignite cloth and leather, belatedly realize he is on fire, and then get scared and belatedly start screaming. The pain would be instant; his reactions instinctive and reflexive. Nor should he be able to see the whip catching fire. The heat should instantly blind him, or at least force him to blink his eyes shut. (See also below, for the severity of the Dying Prince's facial injuries).

It could just be an unrealistic passage. Or perhaps, Quentyn is not a normal person. Perhaps he is a "dragon"; one of the "three heads of the dragon". A "dragon" who panics and starts screaming when he realizes he is on fire; but a "dragon" nonetheless. Perhaps this is one of those unpredictable fire-resistant events that GRRM referred to.

Yes, it's an unrealistic passage. It says explicitly in the text that he's on fire. Not that the fire washes harmlessly around him but that he is burning. This is 100% the opposite of what happened with Dany.

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1) as you said, he burns. Might be fire-immunity is tricky thing, but it seemed very prophetic at the time to read about him not being able to keep his hand over the flame when we witnessed Dany early on holding the hot dragon eggs and enjoying hot baths.

I enjoy hot baths too. And the dragon eggs in the book were only hot to her, they felt cold to everyone else. Hardly a sign of fire-immunity or even fire resistance.

3) Why would his companions conceal the success? Doesn't it seem better for them to tell it true, to make the claim that now Quentin can marry Dany and fulfill the mission they all had set out to do?

Their mission was blood and fire. Even honorable Barristan sees through the whole "his mission was to marry Dany". That was one goal, but that was not the main objective. Daenerys is still just as married as she was before, and even if Hizdahr is found to be guilty and beheaded she is not likely to want to marry someone who resolved to steal one of her dragons for himself and sell the other to a company of sellswords, along with granting them Pentos.

I think the prince that died was Quentyn, just pointing out problems with certain refutations. I think the readers here over-estimate how possible it is to tame a Dragon. Even Dany, as Drogon's mother, realizes he does what he wants to do and she can't really control him anymore. One imagines it would be even worse for someone that they don't see as mother. She can grab on and ride and scavenge from his kills, but he will do what he wants to do. She also references that Valyrians (one assumes including the Targs on Westeros) used sorcery and dragon-binding horns to control their dragons. It doesn't seem likely that the dragons will be anything but mostly random forces of nature that take special care to protect Dany when she's around until a dragon-binding horn or a learned mage comes into play. Such will likely be necessary for another dragon-rider to claim a place on top of a dragon, let alone get it to do what he or she wants.

which seems to lean more towards Tyrion - who has an acknowledged and well developed understanding of dragon history

As much as I like Tyrion as a dragon-rider, all this means is that he knows that most of the weaknesses attributed to dragons in folklore are lies (like they are confused by their own reflection, lol). It doesn't seem likely that he knows a secret method of mounting them or getting them to do his will.

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As much as I like Tyrion as a dragon-rider, all this means is that he knows that most of the weaknesses attributed to dragons in folklore are lies (like they are confused by their own reflection, lol). It doesn't seem likely that he knows a secret method of mounting them or getting them to do his will.

Oh I personally think Tyrion as a dragonrider is ridiculous but I feel that is where Martin's angling.

My personal theory is that each dragon needs to be tamed in a different way, Drogon by force of will (the whip), and the other two by different methods, perhaps one by learning and one by magic. No true evidence for that either way, just a narrative feeling I get from multiple readings, rooted partially in Martin's pattern of not letting the same thing happen twice in the same way (Tyrion's second duel escape goes horribly wrong, etc.).

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1) as you said, he burns. Might be fire-immunity is tricky thing, but it seemed very prophetic at the time to read about him not being able to keep his hand over the flame when we witnessed Dany early on holding the hot dragon eggs and enjoying hot baths.

I agree. It SEEMS prophetic ... as though GRRM is setting us up to expect Quent to fail. But GRRM is on record as saying that we should NOT expect Targs to be consistently immune to fire at all times.

I do not think you can compare a candle flame to a hot bath. 212 degrees F is the maximum temperature of liquid water. The temperature of a candle flame is much, much higher (some sources say 1800 F). In fact, though a candle flame is a very small flame, it is in fact a very bright hot flame (hotter for its size, ahd having a higher temperature, than the flames of a typical wood fire).

2) he is afraid of the dragons. From his own POV it comes across that he is almost shitting his pants (something like "I can't let them see my fear") and it appears the dragons can sense this fear (well, horses can...), so why would they let someone ride them who is scared. I don't really think they WANT a rider.

Yes. And once again, GRRM is setting the reader up to expect Quent to fail.

It is also emphasized that Quent is terrified of burning. Hence, this foreshadows his panic, when he realizes he is on fire and starts screaming. The reader is invited to assume Quent is screaming in pain ... but GRRM has already provided enough clues that another explanation is plausible.

But Quent is not too different from Dany. Dany is also afraid, as she faces Drogon, and she too is telling herself not to let him see her fear. Perhaps she is more successful than Quentyn in hiding that fear ...

But still. Quent may look like he wants to shit in his pants, but look at what he DOES. Even after seeing what Viserion does to the crossbowman ... he raises his whip, hits Viserion on the face with the whip, and shouts at Viserion. I dunno if Viserion was impressed by that, but I sure am. Quent is one awesomely brave dude.

3) Why would his companions conceal the success? Doesn't it seem better for them to tell it true, to make the claim that now Quentin can marry Dany and fulfill the mission they all had set out to do? They are already getting the blame for letting loose the dragons, how does concealing that Quentin was successful help them?

Dany has gone missing. King Hizdahr wants the dragons killed. Barristan has just warned Quentyn that King H wants Quentyn killed as well. Probably, if there were any inkling of the fact that Quentyn was making progress in controlling a dragon, killing Quentyn and the dragon would assume top priority for the King H and his allies.

Dany's enemies don't mind dragons out of control running amok and causing problems for Dany. But they would be terrified of dragons under her control and usable as weapons.

Barristan arrests the King just as the dragons are released. But his hold on the city is tenuous, and there are many inside and outside the city who share the same agenda as King H.

4) Viserion doesn't seem to behave any different from Rhaegal after their escape. Both claim a pyramid and slaughter a lot of harpies/innocents. Not sure this says much considering what Drogon did after being ridden, but it doesn't suggest Viserion had somehting happen to him either.

I think you are mistaken about this. Barristan explicitly states that the only human lives lost since the dragons escaped are those killed by Rhaegal while taking the pyramid of Hazkar.

It is not stated where Viserion went. It is mentioned, however, that he does show up from time to time (presumably without Quentyn) to seize the sheep that Barristan sets out for the two dragons. But of course Drogon also left Dany alone to go hunting, after he carried her off.

It is also mentioned that "The Great Masters of Yherizan and Uhlez have abandoned their own pyramids to the dragons." So you may be right that Viserion has also claimed a pyramid. If so, he claimed it without resistance, and without loss of life. Quentyn, if alive, may have an entire pyramid to himself.

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Yes, it's an unrealistic passage. It says explicitly in the text that he's on fire. Not that the fire washes harmlessly around him but that he is burning. This is 100% the opposite of what happened with Dany.

aDwD, Bantam hardback:

p. 916: "She was burning ... "

p. 928: "... we saw her burning, that day in the pit ..."

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My personal theory is that each dragon needs to be tamed in a different way, Drogon by force of will (the whip), and the other two by different methods, perhaps one by learning and one by magic. No true evidence for that either way, just a narrative feeling I get from multiple readings, rooted partially in Martin's pattern of not letting the same thing happen twice in the same way (Tyrion's second duel escape goes horribly wrong, etc.).

Well, since (under my theory) Quent's taming of Viserion occurs off-screen, and has been presented to the reader in a radically different manner, I think readers will have no cause for complaint if Quent's methods are not radically different from Dany's. Viserion is, by all indications, the most friently, docile and tractable of the 3 dragons, so I see no special need for special methods in his case.

Rhaegar is wilder and meaner. I would not be surprised if Rhaegar's trainer needed some magical help (from Victarion's dragon horn, for instance).

Obviously, Victarion is not going to dare blow the horn himself. He will get some poor schmuck or guinea pig to blow it for him. Problem is: the horn probably works only for he who blows it.

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This isn't necessarily directed at the OP, but I'm kind of baffled that people think Quentyn's storyline was pointless when it's seems pretty obvious to me that his death will have serious repercussions in Dorne and may cause Doran to throw in with Aegon over Dany or even work to undermine Dany when she arrives. I think that's why there are so many bizarre/convoluted Quentyn theories; people are only looking at his plot insofar as it relates to ADWD and they aren't looking ahead to see how it might play out.

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5. THE CLUE OF THE APPROPRIATE TITLE
Other chapter titles include The Queenmaker, The Sacrifice, The Merchant's Man, The Prince of Winterfell, A Ghost in Winterfell.

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5. THE CLUE OF THE APPROPRIATE TITLE

The last Quentyn chapter, in aDwD, is called THE DRAGONTAMER., and it is hard to imagine this refers to anyone but Quentyn. Under my theory, the title fits. Otherwise, it must be taken as an ironic reference to Quentyn's failed ambitions.

I'm ... pretty sure that's exactly what it is.

Like Errant Bard said, there are other examples of this.

Arianne is The Queenmaker and it ends in disaster.

Theon is the Prince of Winterfell and that's a sham.

Asha is The Sacrifice and only lives in fear that Stannis will burn her.

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This is really well argued and definitely a possibility. I agree with most of the points you've made.

While reading I was SURE he got through to Viserion. Though that doesn't speak for Rhaegal, who might have actually killed him.

And it makes sense that Quentyn should ride Viserion. The contract that bound Viserys to Arriane became the contract that bound Q to Dany. So in a way, he has taken over the role of Viserys. And Rhaegal will go to Rhaegar's son (whether it be Jon or Aegon)

but as much as I wish it were true I just don't think we can hope for both Jon AND Q to survive.

We'll see though. And I hope you're right. I just can't help feeling that GRRM would give us that satisfaction.

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While reading I was SURE he got through to Viserion. Though that doesn't speak for Rhaegal, who might have actually killed him.

Viserion knew his name, and he's also the most docile of the three. Dany calls him "lazy." So it makes sense that he'd be a little more friendly and less likely to roast Quentyn on sight. Rhaegal though has a bit of, uh, pissiness to him, and it's Rhaegal who roasts Quentyn while he's distracted with Visersion.

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