As of the end of ADwD, I’m beginning to think it’s the mare (Dany) who will “unite the Dothraki into a single khalasar” and all that.
Viserys’ end is one of the series’ great scenes. Daenerys, like Sansa, goes “cold” and “curiously distant,” but here it feels like an appropriate response to the situation. Maybe because, unlike those whose deaths Sansa dismisses from her consciousness, Viserys is known to have brought his fate upon himself. (And Daenerys will never remember this as the most magical time of her life, or silver-lining philosophize that now she can find someone handsomer to hang out with.)
Something about the wording and arrangement makes it hilarious, as well as a wonderfully economical illumination of Viserys’ character:
Spying an obscene likeness of a woman with six breasts and a ferret’s head, he rode off to inspect it more closely.
But to get serious about the objectification of women, ferret-headed or otherwise: so far this reread has not accorded with charges that the Song of Ice and Fire books contain “TWENTY THOUSAND MILLION” rape scenes — there has only been Daenerys’ wedding, at which both she and some bystanders were subjected to sex that was to at least some degree non-consensual. Now there’s the additional assertion one of the bloodriders “sometimes made Irri sob in the night.” Not a huge amount for being halfway through the first, long book, and all the descriptions have been matter-of-fact, almost perfunctory; if they’re meant to titillate the reader they’re not doing a very good job. Rather, the rape instances are meant to say something, and not something approving, about the kind of society in which slavery and the type of “marriage” equivalent to the selling of women exist.
In this chapter we also learn that Viserys, like Robert, considers Daenerys a “slut” for having a child with her husband (the one he sold her too, remember?)
Here Dany’s dream sequence foreshadows the pregnancy/miscarriage/dragon connection, and features Viserys yelling “you woke the dragon,” a statement that will become literally true. (Also there’s a soon-to-be-ironic conversation between Viserys and Illyrio about the former’s impatience for his crown.)
The words fear, afraid, frightened/ing, terror/ified are used incessantly in association with Dany, not to mention the times she is described as shaking, stomach-roiling, etc. It’s almost overdone. The consummation/conjugal rape scene is a surprisingly evocative and plausible presentation of her feelings, though, given that I remember ASoIaF sex writing as being mostly either perfunctory or embarassingly cheesy.
(I so wanted Dany to be a horse girl, too, but now she’s described as knowing little about horses or riding. Darn. Maybe does love horses, but has had insufficient opportunities to actually ride them?)
As a bonus, we learn a little bit more about what Dothraki look like: “men and women alike wore painted leather vests over bare chests [on the women? if so, why is Qartheen costume made to seem such a big deal later?] and horsehair leggings cinched by bronze medallion belts.”
Physically, Viserys is “a gaunt young man with nervous hands [they are later described as shaking when he gets emotional] and a feverish look in his pale violet eyes.” He has silver-blond hair which is long enough to be pulled back and fastened behind his head.
I #love the way this chapter conveys Viserys’ paranoia, and Illyrio’s indulgence and encouragement of it:
Her brother would not allow [them to stay long in any one place]. The Usurper’s hired knives were close behind them, he insisted, though Dany had never seen one.
“…And the smallfolk will be with us. They cry out for their king.” He looked at Illyrio anxiously. “They do, don’t they?”