While we’re talking about Daenerys…

Second Dany post for today: Nina Friel at Good Queen Alysanne fielded this question yesterday, and it finally gave an answer to a question that I’d kept in the background for Dany ever since I read Dance.

I remember reading Dany’s walk down the hill after she flies out of Daznak’s pit on Drogon’s back, and I thought: it looks like she’s having a miscarriage. It’s a very rough day for her, she’s exhausted and dehydrated, and in her arduous march back to Meereen (or not), she suddenly gets her period, except it’s much heavier than usual and come to think of it, when was the last time she bled?

That sounds like a miscarriage rather than just irregular menstrual cycles.

Based on that answer from Mirri Maz Duur in the first book, Dany thinks she’ll never be able to have a child, but if that sudden bleed at the end of Dance is any indication, she’s not incapable of getting pregnant. Nina Friel answers the question of what was behind the miscarriage for Dany:

Daenerys asked when Drogo would be as he had been; Mirri told her that he would return after a series of impossible circumstances and circumstances Mirri might have reasonably thought were impossible (after all, Daenerys’ fate as a widowed khaleesi should have been to go to the dosh khaleen, where she would never be touched again by a man, never conceive again, and never bear a living child). In other words, Mirri said to Daenerys that Drogo would return when the impossible happened – that is to say, never.

Now, Daenerys has taken that to be a definitive statement on her childbearing prospects, but I don’t think that’s the case. For one, Daenerys was not sleeping with anyone between the death of Drogo and her affair with Daario/marriage to Hizdahr; it’s impossible to test your ability to conceive and bear a child if, well, you don’t put yourself in circumstances where you could potentially conceive a child. And, as you mention, what she suffered on the Dothraki Sea certainly seems to have been a miscarriage.

There’s the missing element between Mirri’s speech and Dany’s assumptions: Mirri was assuming Dany would join the dosh khaleen and spend the rest of her life celibate, which would rule out any more pregnancies, whereas Dany heard Mirri’s litany of impossible circumstances and thought she’d just been rendered infertile.

Which meant at that moment, Dany believed Mirri had taken her husband from her, and baby Rhaego, and also performed some additional magic that would prevent Dany from having any more children. I’m still not in agreement with her burning the old woman, but given the circumstances, I can see why she’d be super-extra-pissed.

The practical upshot is that Dany spent the next three books (I’m not counting Feast, as Dany has no POV there) thinking she’d never have a living child, and then in Dance, it seems she was pregnant for at least a little while. Probably by Daario, but in this case the paternity is not as important as the fact that Dany was able to conceive at all.

At the same time, we may think this is still in compliance with Mirri Maz Duur’s supposed curse, as Dany still hasn’t given birth to a living child. She can still conceive, but she can’t stay pregnant for very long. However. As I said before, it is a very rough day. Given that she’s exhausted and dehydrated, it’s not surprising that her body can’t sustain the pregnancy.

In my last post, I showed you all how I learned to stop worrying and learn to love the Jade Holocaust. I have been successfully convinced that when Daenerys lands with her dragons, she will basically destroy everything her ancestors built in King’s Landing and thus destroy the ability of the Seven Kingdoms to function as a unified country. Not deliberately. I’m sure it’ll be an accident that sets off the remaining wildfire, but the explosions will happen and there won’t be a usable city left when the burning is done.

However. The fact remains that GRRM chose to write Dany having what looks very much like a miscarriage, in the context of Dany thinking pregnancy was impossible for her, and he had his reasons for doing so. Her conquest of Westeros won’t go the way she’s thinking, in fact her campaign of “fire and blood” will cost countless lives, but that doesn’t mean she won’t also be part of the peace that follows. I didn’t put her on my Official Survival List because I couldn’t really think of a good argument for her, but she’s long been on my short list of characters whom I expect to make it through the series alive. She may even live long enough to be a mother.