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Mereen = Parallels to Iraq?

George W. Lannister

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Based on reading background information about GRRM's need to scrap the 5-year time gap between books after a Storm of Swords and his subsequent decision to make two novels (A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons) rather than one, I have a feeling that Daenerys's plot in Mereen is due to the effect of the Iraq War and US occupation happening during the time of writing. Whether this was intentional or unintentional on GRRM's part I am unsure, but there are a number of parallels.

Moral Good vs. Rational Good

Beyond the catalyst "weapons of mass destruction" argument, the importance of having presence in an oil producing region and the strategy of fencing in Iran with US power in both Iraq and Afghanistan, there was also a moral argument put forward by the Bush administration -- that freeing the people of Iraq from a despotic maniac like Sadaam Hussein was America's moral responsibility.

When comparing this to Dany's urge to free all slaves she came across and kill as many slaveowners as she could, she was using the same argument -- that it was her moral responsibility as a major powerholder to topple the status quo.


The US's major mistakes in this situation was to ignore the ramifications of making an abrupt regime change, to have few or no plans in terms of reconstruction/implementation of self-rule, and to ignore or fail to understand local culture and norms in making new plans.

For Dany...see some similarities? you can use the exact same sentence by replacing "The US's" with "Dany's".

The Rise of Insurgency and Inability to Deal with It

Iraq was riddled with murders, civilian deaths, ambushes, and guerilla tactics by numerous insurgent groups, all with a primary goal of kicking out the foreign presence so that a power vacuum could be exploited.

Mereen is riddled with murders, civilian deaths, ambushes and guerilla tactics by an insurgent group(s), all with a primary goal of kicking out the foreign presence so that a power vacuum could be exploited.

Even now in 2013 after the "troop surge", improved infrastructure and civil society functions, there are still bombings and ambushes fairly consistently in Iraq. I am wondering where we the readers will be left with Mereen after the most recent battle is finished. Dany has the convenience of not living in a politically correct world, so she essentially could just get the fuck out of town and be ready to go back to Westeros.

Political Overstretch

Being involved in multiple campaigns of occupation/reconstruction (Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time), the US was not able to completely eradicate operations and support for the Taliban. That was their initial goal in 2001, but now in 2013 the Taliban are stronger than ever (support-wise if not in terms of control).

On Dany's side, she could not be in three cities at once. Her feeble attempts at setting up self-rule in Astapor, simply walking away from Yunkai and the subsequent return of slavers power in both of those places are due to the fact that she had her plate full of shit-sandwiches in Mereen, trying to deal with the Harpy insurgency, consolidate power, etc.


There are a number of other aspects I could highlight (is Quaithe actually Donald Rumsfeld? haha), but the above is more than enough to get the point across.

SO, back to the main point -- I think that this was either intentionally done or unintentionally done by GRRM. Does anyone have any insights into his writing of Dany's pieces in aDwD that can shed some light on this?

(BTW -- My screenname has nothing to do with the post. I just think of the Bush family whenever I think of the Lannisters :) )

EDIT: Grammar, spelling, formatting

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GRRM said the series is not a metaphor for our times

The poster said, unconsciously. GRRM is of our time, in our newscycle and environment. Intention doesn´t enter into it.

I certainly hope Martin wasn't inspired by US troops being used to slaughter millions of innocent people.

Why not? Was Picasso morally wrong when he painted Guernica? Being a pacifist doesn´t mean you cannot write of war. It means that you´d write of war critically. Which GRRM does.

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I'm quite sure that there is no direct correspondence between the two situations. However, there are some motifs which may have been brought to the forefront of GRRM's mind by the Iraq debacle - but to be honest they too have occured in many invasions.

If the books had been written in the 70s, we'd have compared the difficulties to prevail in Meereen to the difficulties to beat the Vietcong, if they had been written in the 40s, we'd have talked about the 3rd Reich's problems against the Résistance and the Partisan uprising, if they had been even older, we'd have talked about Louis' overreaching excursions into Italy. Each time, the focus shifts somewhat and slightly different insights can be gained, but there are always parallels that can be drawn.

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