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Theory: Dany's a dunce. Lemon trees don't grow in Braavos.

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What went through my head one day was that, basically, Dany's recollections of the house with the red door and the lemon tree outside the window of her old room are incorrect. She has the city wrong. Completely.

Lemon trees can't grow in Braavos. The climate isn't warm. Trees are sparse, the houses are side by side and leaning against each other and so the only windows there would be would face forward or back. The place is always foggy and lemon trees need heat and sun. Braavos is stone and fresh water is hard to come by and only the rich have actual trees. Even the "Garden of Galeni" that Arya/Blind Girl walks through in that chapter has a big tree with leaves of hammered silver. Not real leaves.

So how the heck is Dany remembering a lemon tree?

Basically I think Dany is remembering a lemon tree at the house with the red door, but its not Braavos she's remembering. Its the Tower of Joy in Dorne that she remembers from when she lived as Rheagar. (Yes I'm suggesting reincarnation. *ducking to avoid cracked pots being thrown my way*) Here's how I broke it down to this conclusion:

  • The house with the red door had a lemon tree outside of the window of her room.
  • There are hardly any trees, the rich may have trees in their courtyards because they can afford it so a princess might have had one but...
  • Braavos is described as having only three types of weather: foggy, rainy, and freezing rain according to Cat of the Canals chapter. Sunny days are few.
  • Lemon trees need full sun, and heat above 30 degrees. Frost is killer.
  • They take a few years before they can flourish, so its not likely one could ever grow in Braavos.

So her cherished memory of the red door is actually a memory from her life as Rheagar. The house with the red door must be from the tower of joy, located in Dorne, where lemon trees flourish.

Additional points:

Dany does describe carved wooden beams too, which seems odd for Braavos to have in a city of stone built of stone houses. Remember the vision of the little girl running towards the house with the red door? Rheagar's daughter Rhaenys perhaps?

HotU vision:

She fled from him, but only as far as the next open door. I know this room, she thought. She remembered those great wooden beams and the carved animal faces that adorned them. And there outside the window, a lemon tree! The sight of it made her heart ache with longing. It is the house with the red door, the house in Braavos.

...

Faster and faster the visions came, one after the other, until it seemed as if the very air had come alive. Shadows whirled and danced inside a tent, boneless and terrible. A little girl ran barefoot toward a big house with a red door. Mirri Maz Duur shrieked in the flames, a dragon bursting from her brow.

This confims that lemon trees DO exist in Dorne:

from ASOS Arya chapter:

“Hang this,” she said, handing him the duck.

Anguy shuffled his feet. “We were thinking we might eat it, Shama. With lemons. If you had some.”

“Lemons. And where would we get lemons? Does this look like Dorne to you, you freckled fool? Why don’t you hop out back to the lemon trees and pick us a bushel, and some nice olives and pomegranates too.” She shook a finger at him.

And this is just GRRM f*cking with us... ASOS, Sansa chooses a fragrance:

Sansa chose a sharp sweet fragrance with a hint of lemon in it under the smell of flowers.

Yes George, blue flowers = Jon, and I'm looking at that "hint of lemon" now. Message received. Hint taken. :P

If there are other threads that cover this PLEASE post the link below. I've searched a lot, and found nothing, but since the site is under heavy load right now I'm not actually trusting the results too far. <_< Yes I've tried search engines too. Haven't seen this theory anywhere.

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Daenerys lived with Viserys for her entire life. Where would Dany get the idea of living in Braavos, unless she actually lived there or someone told her. If some told her they lived in Braavos even though they didn't, why would they tell her that? What could they possibly gain from lying to her about where she lived? Who would tell her that? Viserys?

ETA: I reread the OP, and I see that you're saying that Dany is Rhaegar reborn, but still it makes not sense to me, you really think that Dany doesn't know where she lived until she was six? It's been confirmed that they fled to Braavos.

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I'm not saying she didn't live in Braavos with Viserys, but just that the characteristics of the place she is remembering as where she was her happiest is not the place in Braavos. Its the Tower of Joy.

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I'm not saying she didn't live in Braavos with Viserys, but just that the characteristics of the place she is remembering as where she was her happiest is not the place in Braavos. Its the Tower of Joy.

Don't you think that if she was remembering the ToJ, then she would've described it as the tower with the red door? Most five-six year olds can tell the difference between a tower and a house.

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Don't you think that if she was remembering the ToJ, then she would've described it as the tower with the red door? Most five-six year olds can tell the difference between a tower and a house.

The whole theory is based on the fact that she's confusing vague memories, so I think its possible she would not have been able to differentiate between a tower and a tall house at that age. Since the memories are only of the door, and then of the interior room, and a window overlooking a lemon tree, the outdoor architecture of the house/tower itself may not even be an issue between the two memories. Especially since the houses in Braavos are multilevel stone dwellings. We see her describe it in early books as a big house, but not what type.

from the wiki on Braavos, general architecture of homes, source #3, AFFC Arya chapter 6:

The streets are lined with houses made of grey stone, built so close that they lean upon one another. Some houses are built above waterways. They are usually slim buildings with peaked tile roofs, raised four to five stories tall.

there is also this other quote I didn't include for brevity in the op:

from ADWD, a dream she had of being in the house with Daario:

In her dream they had been man and wife, simple folk who lived a simple life in a tall stone house with a red door.

So her description is kind of generic. I think this is the first time we see the outside of it described. She annoyingly dreams of the place a lot in ADWD.

edit: clarification

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What went through my head one day was that, basically, Dany's recollections of the house with the red door and the lemon tree outside the window of her old room are incorrect. She has the city wrong. Completely.

Lemon trees can't grow in Braavos. The climate isn't warm. Trees are sparse, the houses are side by side and leaning against each other and so the only windows there would be would face forward or back. The place is always foggy and lemon trees need heat and sun. Braavos is stone and fresh water is hard to come by and only the rich have actual trees. Even the "Garden of Galeni" that Arya/Blind Girl walks through in that chapter has a big tree with leaves of hammered silver. Not real leaves.

So how the heck is Dany remembering a lemon tree?

Basically I think Dany is remembering a lemon tree at the house with the red door, but its not Braavos she's remembering. Its the Tower of Joy in Dorne that she remembers from when she lived as Rheagar. (Yes I'm suggesting reincarnation. *ducking to avoid cracked pots being thrown my way*) Here's how I broke it down to this conclusion:

  • The house with the red door had a lemon tree outside of the window of her room.
  • There are hardly any trees, the rich may have trees in their courtyards because they can afford it so a princess might have had one but...
  • Braavos is described as having only three types of weather: foggy, rainy, and freezing rain according to Cat of the Canals chapter. Sunny days are few.
  • Lemon trees need full sun, and heat above 30 degrees. Frost is killer.
  • They take a few years before they can flourish, so its not likely one could ever grow in Braavos.

So her cherished memory of the red door is actually a memory from her life as Rheagar. The house with the red door must be from the tower of joy, located in Dorne, where lemon trees flourish.

Additional points:

Dany does describe carved wooden beams too, which seems odd for Braavos to have in a city of stone built of stone houses. Remember the vision of the little girl running towards the house with the red door? Rheagar's daughter Rhaenys perhaps?

HotU vision:

This confims that lemon trees DO exist in Dorne:

from ASOS Arya chapter:

And this is just GRRM f*cking with us... ASOS, Sansa chooses a fragrance:

Yes George, blue flowers = Jon, and I'm looking at that "hint of lemon" now. Message received. Hint taken. :P

If there are other threads that cover this PLEASE post the link below. I've searched a lot, and found nothing, but since the site is under heavy load right now I'm not actually trusting the results too far. <_< Yes I've tried search engines too. Haven't seen this theory anywhere.

Your assumption is flawed because ALL of our description of Braavos we got was from Arya and Sam and both stuck to so-called downtown Braavos. The description of grey streets paved with stone, houses leaning on each other - basically its downtown Braavos where most of lower middle-class and worker class live, also where businesses located, houses of worship, whorehouses, harbors, bars, inns and such. Arya never mentioned getting inside grounds of rich/upper class people in Braavos. I would assume their houses/palaces/menses are surrounded by tall walls inside being a garden and a house. And I am pretty sure that one of the things Dany remembers is that the house was surrounded by walls.

You might be right about climate, but rich people don't care about planting right trees for the right climate just what they like. If a rich merchant's wife wants a lemon tree, her servants would go to Dorne or whenever lemon trees are native and bring a seedling of lemon tree. The tree will be stunted, dying but it will be there. And Dany remembers a SMALL lemon tree, not a big flourishing lemon tree.

From what GRRM wrote, he never goes for cliches as re-incarnation, so no chance there of Dany being reincarnated Rhaegar. Maybe prophetic dreams, maybe collective Targ memory thing but not reincarnation.

BTW Sansa quote - never mentions roses or blue flowers - symbolizing Jon/Lyanna - just flowers and lemon smell and that lemoncakes are absolute favorite of Sansa. ALL flowers don't equal Lyanna/Jon not even roses which now mean Tyrells, just blue roses and blue flowers.

Dany's daydreams in ADWD is a natural desire of having a "simple" happy life and for most people - that association brings them back to childhood memories - thus red door, for Dany red door with lemon tree is association of her most happy and yet simple childhood memory. So whenever she thinks "blah blah blah house... red door" means "I really want to go back home where I was happy and had no worries, responsibilities and life was simple".

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Eh? It's made clear that trees grow all around Braavos, and are used to windbreak storms. Our PoVs in Braavos are all, as TheMysteriousOne said, in the downtown areas of Braavos. Far from being in a "cold" climate, Braavos seems cloudcovered but also quite pleasantly warm based on the garb Arya wears. The manse Dany stays in while in Braavos is also described as having servants (who threw her out when her caretaker died), so it's even more unlikely she was downtown admist all the squabble and half-sinking buildings.

So it's perfectly plausible for the red door and lemon tree to have been genuine memories of Dany's, not some confused reincarnative memory.

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Your assumption is flawed because ALL of our description of Braavos we got was from Arya and Sam and both stuck to so-called downtown Braavos. The description of grey streets paved with stone, houses leaning on each other - basically its downtown Braavos where most of lower middle-class and worker class live, also where businesses located, houses of worship, whorehouses, harbors, bars, inns and such. Arya never mentioned getting inside grounds of rich/upper class people in Braavos. I would assume their houses/palaces/menses are surrounded by tall walls inside being a garden and a house. And I am pretty sure that one of the things Dany remembers is that the house was surrounded by walls.

You might be right about climate, but rich people don't care about planting right trees for the right climate just what they like. If a rich merchant's wife wants a lemon tree, her servants would go to Dorne or whenever lemon trees are native and bring a seedling of lemon tree. The tree will be stunted, dying but it will be there. And Dany remembers a SMALL lemon tree, not a big flourishing lemon tree.

No matter how rich someone is, if the climate is mostly cloudy and prone to freezing rain, the best a rich person would be able to do in their gardens is try to have a greenhouse, which a whole tree wouldn't fit in. They don't have sunlamps. Its a medieval setting.

I am not a horticulturalist, and please, can someone who is a gardening expert chime in here, but it seems very very improbable that a tree that needs at least 8 hours of full sunlight a day could survive in a city that is mostly cloudy and cold.

From what GRRM wrote, he never goes for cliches as re-incarnation, so no chance there of Dany being reincarnated Rhaegar. Maybe prophetic dreams, maybe collective Targ memory thing but not reincarnation.

BTW Sansa quote - never mentions roses or blue flowers - symbolizing Jon/Lyanna - just flowers and lemon smell and that lemoncakes are absolute favorite of Sansa. ALL flowers don't equal Lyanna/Jon not even roses which now mean Tyrells, just blue roses and blue flowers.

Never any cliches? Never say never, you're not the one writing the book.

Glad to see you have every iota of symbology and foreshadowing for all the FUTURE novels nailed down pat. *sarcasm*

Dany's daydreams in ADWD is a natural desire of having a "simple" happy life and for most people - that association brings them back to childhood memories - thus red door, for Dany red door with lemon tree is association of her most happy and yet simple childhood memory. So whenever she thinks "blah blah blah house... red door" means "I really want to go back home where I was happy and had no worries, responsibilities and life was simple".

I never said it didn't represent that desire.

I just said she's confusing her memories, that's all. That's neither here nor there.

Eh? It's made clear that trees grow all around Braavos, and are used to windbreak storms. Our PoVs in Braavos are all, as TheMysteriousOne said, in the downtown areas of Braavos. Far from being in a "cold" climate, Braavos seems cloudcovered but also quite pleasantly warm based on the garb Arya wears. The manse Dany stays in while in Braavos is also described as having servants (who threw her out when her caretaker died), so it's even more unlikely she was downtown admist all the squabble and half-sinking buildings.

So it's perfectly plausible for the red door and lemon tree to have been genuine memories of Dany's, not some confused reincarnative memory.

Yes, pines. They are hardy trees that can grow in colder climates. Not so for lemon trees. They are illegal to cut down because trees are so scarce and Sam's chapter makes mention of how expensive firewood is because its all shipped in.

What garb is Arya wearing that suggests a warmer climate to you? When she's getting up in the morning she describes gooseprickles and feeling the chill from the stone. One of Bruscos daughters gets dressed IN bed and is always cold.

Cat of the canals, as I said in the op, says the climate almost always cloudy, rainy and freezing rain. That's not warm.

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I'm a gardener, here to give my professional opinion. If you had nice summers, and heated indoor winters, you could grow a citrus tree if it was potted and moved indoors for the harsh seasons. Fruit trees expend so much energy making fruit that they only last a couple decades and need tons of sun and nutrients. If the weather is constantly cold and grey it wouldn't seem ideal, but who knows.

I also think we might be reading too much into this. Martin isn't necessarily a horticulturist, and I don't necessarily think everything is a trick by him either. Maybe sometimes he just forgets things or makes mistakes. He's writing big books, and a lot of them.

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If Daenerys is Rhaegar reborn or has his memories of ToJ sort off, why would Ser William Darry come into it, IIRC Daenerys associates Ser William Darry with that house in Bravos as well, do correct me if I am wrong its been a long time since I read the books, but her dreams may be similar to those of the other targryens before her that had the same ability, perhaps Danaerys can dream of things past as well

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I'm a gardener, here to give my professional opinion. If you had nice summers, and heated indoor winters, you could grow a citrus tree if it was potted and moved indoors for the harsh seasons. Fruit trees expend so much energy making fruit that they only last a couple decades and need tons of sun and nutrients. If the weather is constantly cold and grey it wouldn't seem ideal, but who knows.

I also think we might be reading too much into this. Martin isn't necessarily a horticulturist, and I don't necessarily think everything is a trick by him either. Maybe sometimes he just forgets things or makes mistakes. He's writing big books, and a lot of them.

I think this is a real key point here.

Yes, pines. They are hardy trees that can grow in colder climates. Not so for lemon trees. They are illegal to cut down because trees are so scarce and Sam's chapter makes mention of how expensive firewood is because its all shipped in.

What garb is Arya wearing that suggests a warmer climate to you? When she's getting up in the morning she describes gooseprickles and feeling the chill from the stone. One of Bruscos daughters gets dressed IN bed and is always cold.

Cat of the canals, as I said in the op, says the climate almost always cloudy, rainy and freezing rain. That's not warm.

Friend, I live in the Pacific Northwest. Our climate is dreary and rainy year-round, and I live ten minutes (walking) from the Pacific Ocean- a climate that's probably not that far from what Braaovs has. Here's a wonderful shot of our palm trees downtown caked in snow from a winter not that long ago, and here's a thread that might interest you. Lemon trees can be grown; it's hard, but it's possible. Maritime climates can get chilly, but given Braavos' geography and what Martin's told us in the books that's all it's likely to be; something between Venice and Amsterdam (snowy but mostly comfortable).

By Arya's garb I meant that she is not dressed like a northener or someone living in a colder climate. Courtisans are described as wearing flowing silks, she may be cold on a foggy morning (near the ocean, who wouldn't? the wind is oft quite strong) but she's never described as freezing or uncomfortable. There may be freezing rains because it's autumn, but Southern France, Italy, Turkey and hell even Dallas, TX get freezing rains in late autumn/winter too; would you call them cold? There's nothing to suggest Braavos is steamy, but the garb she wears in the Temple of the Faceless Men suggests a moderate or mild climate where small clothes, a tunic and robes are enough to keep you comfy- not multiple layers like in the North.

Lastly of course, we have Occam's Razor to consider here. Your theory is not discountable; like many things, it is possible. But the amount of contingencies you're resting it on is.. considerable, to say the least. Here we have to consider: (1) discount authorial error on the part of GRRM, (2) that Dany's unreliable narration applies to this scenario, (3) accept that reincarnation is a possibility within the ASoIaF universe, (4) postulate that Dany is a reincarnated Rhaegar, (5) explain why Dany has no unadulterated memories of Rhaegar's life in the past and (6) accept that the Tower of Joy has a red door and a lemon tree in it. Those are all huge gaps to surmount, can you do it? Without convoluting your argument anymore?

You're welcome to try but in the end I believe, it's going to be a futile effort. For instance, let's suppose you don't accept that it's authorial error (most likely culprit). Now we have to consider Dany's unreliable narration... your argument requires us to go through 5 more increasingly difficult steps, but I can throw up another possibility: maybe it wasn't a lemon tree? Maybe it grew some other fruit that Dany simply didn't pay attention to while she lived there because she was so small, and so mistook it for a lemon tree. It takes a lot less hurdles to accept that then to say Dany's a reincarnated Rhaegar, and there's nothing in the books or GRRM's interviews to suggest reincarnation happens; so getting there is well, magical thinking really.

Continue if you must, but unfortunately I think you're grasping at straws here. It's not a knock on you- it's creative, but best expend your energy on more possible outcomes in the books imo.

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It's a big stretch but i've seen worse threads before. I don't believe it but at least you have put a structured idea together. good crack pot argument.

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Something to note in the Stallion Who Mounts the World prophesy:

"the milk men in the stone tents will fear his name."

Now I am inclined to believe that this refers to Braavos. So Drogon, and Dany will make appearance there, but not as destructors. Maybe Dany will look for the house with the red door? And if she doesn't find it there, what if the vision is a dream of the future?

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