This is an update to my previous post about Daenerys and the House of the Undying.
The Three She’d Never Suspect
While I’m fairly confident about most of the predictions I made, something about the three treasons didn’t feel right to me, so I decided to take another look…
“three treasons will you know… once for blood and once for gold and once for love…” – (Daenerys IV, ACOK)*
Understanding that the treasons happen in order, I anchored my logic in either Mirri or Illyrio. Because we know that there will be a Second Dance of the Dragons, we can assume that there is an Illyrio betrayal coming. To put it simply, if Mirri Maz Duur is the treason for blood, then Illyrio Mopatis would be the treason for love (betraying Dany for the love of fAegon). But if Mirri Maz Duur is not the treason for blood, then Illyrio can be either the treason for blood or love (fAegon being his son).
“The first traitor was surely Mirri Maz Duur, who had murdered Khal Drogo and their unborn son to avenge her people. Could Pyat Pree and Xaro Xhoan Daxos be the second and the third? She did not think so. What Pyat did was not for gold, and Xaro had never truly loved her.” – (Daenerys V, ACOK)
Daenerys thinks that Mirri is the first treason over and over. Her certainty of this fact points to her being incorrect. In fact, it’s not 100% clear that Mirri truly betrayed Dany at all. Did she kill Khal Drogo, or did she merely fail to save him? This is never actually confirmed by the books.
“The Undying of Qarth had told her she would be thrice betrayed. Mirri Maz Duur had been the first, Ser Jorah the second. Would Reznak be the third? The Shavepate? Daario? Or will it be someone I would never suspect, Ser Barristan or Grey Worm or Missandei?” – (Daenerys I, ADWD)
When Daenerys guesses Mirri and Jorah, it becomes clear that her judgement on the three treasons is not necessarily to be trusted. Jorah did not betray Dany for gold, but for a pardon. And since she’s wrong about Jorah, Martin’s writing style indicates that she is wrong about Mirri as well. Which makes sense because Illyrio being the third betrayal felt a bit anti-climactic.
So my guess was that Illyrio was the treason for blood, Tyrion for gold, and Daenerys for love.
Still, something doesn’t sit right about this.
The Mother of Dragons visions are all so significant to Dany’s arc. All such huge moments for her character. While Illyrio’s betrayal has huge consequences in that it sparks a Second Dance of the Dragons, it’s not a very personal betrayal to Dany. Daenerys doesn’t trust Illyrio from the beginning. So for him to be the third treason, or even the first… even if it leads to a war… it doesn’t really impact Daenerys emotionally, so it doesn’t feel right.
But then again, Daenerys won’t likely trust Tyrion either in the books either.
“No. Hear me, Daenerys Targaryen. The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal.” – Quaithe (Daenerys II, ADWD)
While the books have taken Tyrion down a different road, Quaithe has already warned Daenerys not to trust Tyrion. And Tyrion has allied himself with the Second Sons, who have already turned cloak twice and display dubious loyalty to her. Which made me really start to reconsider all three treasons.
Then I looked at this passage again…
“The Undying of Qarth had told her she would be thrice betrayed. Mirri Maz Duur had been the first, Ser Jorah the second. Would Reznak be the third? The Shavepate? Daario? Or will it be someone I would never suspect, Ser Barristan or Grey Worm or Missandei?“- (Daenerys I, ADWD)
Martin has a particular writing style when he has characters interpret prophecies. Usually when they guess one thing, that thing turns out to be wrong. It’s almost like how announced plans don’t work out as announced. For example, shortly after the Red Wedding Jon dreams a bloody grey direwolf in the crypts and wonders if it’s Summer. But it’s not Summer, it’s Greywind. Melisandre is the same way (for example, she thinks the grey girl on the dying horse is Arya, but it’s Alys Karstark). She’ll see a vision, yet her interpretation is consistently wrong. It’s routine that POVs get prophecy wrong.
So I began to wonder. Dany doesn’t trust Illyrio. She won’t trust Tyrion. And she has already guessed Mirri, Jorah, Reznak, the Shavepate, Daario, Barristan, Grey Worm, and even Missandei… hasn’t she guessed all the closest people to her? has Dany already guessed all of her betrayers? Who’s betrayal could possibly be more devastating than Missandei? Are we waiting for Jon?
And then it hit me.
Daenerys has already considered the thought of being betrayed by the three people most loyal to her. But she never suspects her three children.
The treason for blood will be Rhaegal. The treason for gold will be Viserion. The treason for love will be Drogon.
When dragons fly the coop
Now, although I sense people will be very skeptical of this theory, I think you should really give it a chance. The three treasons are in a set with the three mounts and three fires, both hugely impactful moments for Daenerys as a person. Moments that shape who she will become. The funeral pyre, riding Drogon, etc. But something feels off about the three treasons being people she doesn’t trust like Illyrio or Tyrion.
It’s also important to note that aside from GRRM writing an explicit pattern of POV characters being wrong every time they try to interpret prophecy, and Daenerys guessing all the people closest to her except her dragons, there is also a precedent for characters being betrayed by the things closest to them.
Lastly, though the show has only recently given us the loss of a dragon through UnViserion, the dragons are Martin’s allegory for WMDs, and the thing about WMDs is that they don’t stay in the same persons hands. And since their birth, Quaithe has warned Daenerys of people coming to take her dragons away from her, or to try to use her for them. Though Dany on the show rides Drogon with two riderless backup dragons, the books will be different. Now that Dany can ride Drogon, Martin will have Daenerys lose her other two dragons to other riders. Euron is one, and Tyrion will be the other.
GRRM has confirmed that a Second Dance of the Dragons is coming. Which historically hints at dragons being scattered among all factions, not one conqueror with two three dragons against a Blackfyre pretender. I propose that ADOS will see Drogon at Dragonstone, Viserion headed for Casterly Rock, and Rhaegal at Oldtown.
From there, they dance.
ONCE FOR BLOOD
Rhaegal’s treason for blood will come when Rhaegal is bonded to Euron through the blood magic of Dragonbinder.
“Your brother did not sound the horn himself. Nor must you.” Moqorro pointed to the band of steel. “Here. ‘Blood for fire, fire for blood.’ Who blows the hellhorn matters not. The dragons will come to the horn’s master. You must claim the horn. With blood.“- (Victarion I, ADWD)
The Battle of Fire will conclude well before Daenerys gets back to Meereen in the books, but Victarion Greyjoy has brought Euron’s magic hellhorn to slavers bay with the intent of stealing a dragon for himself. And currently, Rhaegal was last seen flying over the Greyjoy fleet in the Battle of Fire, possibly drawn to the pork stores in Victarion’s ship. Victarion believes that when he blows the horn, a dragon will be his, and Rhaegal is the closest target.
“Victarion would have his due at last. I have the horn, and soon I will have the woman. A woman lovelier than the wife he made me kill . . .”
“Euron was a fool to give me this, it is a precious thing, and powerful. With this I’ll win the Seastone Chair, and then the Iron Throne. With this I’ll win the world.” – Victarion I, TWOW
Except Victarion is the fool. We see very clearly that he is being duped by both Euron and Moqorro at every step of the way, and yet he speaks with a degree of overconfidence that in Martin’s world utterly dooms a POV character. He will not have the Seastone chair, or Daenerys, nor will he ride a dragon. Before he tries to claim the dragon horn for himself, he allows the Euron’s mute “dusky woman” to draw his blood. We’ve been told over and over again, all of Euron’s gifts are poison. Victarion has made a terrible mistake. Victarion is doomed.
“As you command. Would you have me bleed you?”
> “Victarion seized the dusky woman by the wrist and pulled her to him. “She will do it. Go pray to your red god. Light your fire, and tell me what you see.”
> Moqorro’s dark eyes seemed to shine. “I see dragons.” – Victarion I, TWOW
When Rhaegal is bound by Dragonbinder, he will be bound to the horn’s owner. The horn must be claimed by blood, and the horn’s owner has not changed. Rhaegal will be bound to Euron by blood magic. This is the treason for blood.
ONCE FOR GOLD
The show has radically transformed our expectations of Tyrion in TWOW.
“What, o’ the queen’s little pets?” Brown Ben’s eyes crinkled in amusement. The grizzled captain of the Second Sons was a creature of the free companies, a mongrel with the blood of a dozen different peoples flowing through his veins, but he had always been fond of the dragons, and them of him.” – (Daenerys V, ADWD)
Tyrion Lannister has recently joined up with the Second Sons, a sellsword company led by the former Westermen Brown Ben Plumm, who has a strange affinity for dragons. And clearly they have an affinity for him.
> Her captains bowed and left her with her handmaids and her dragons. But as Brown Ben was leaving, Viserion spread his pale white wings and flapped lazily at his head. One of the wings buffeted the sellsword in his face. The white dragon landed awkwardly with one foot on the man’s head and one on his shoulder, shrieked, and flew off again. “He likes you, Ben,” said Dany.
“And well he might.” Brown Ben laughed. “I have me a drop of the dragon blood myself, you know.“- (Daenerys V, ASOS)
Ben doesn’t seem to be lying either. House Plumm is of the Westerlands, and Tyrion without even witnessing it guesses that the dragons liked Ben, as he has heard stories of Targaryen lineage in House Plum.
“I hear you’re twice a turncloak, Plumm. A man after mine own heart.” – (Tyrion XI, ADWD)
Brown Ben Plumm and the Second Sons have also shown dubious loyalty, starting off on the side of the slavers, the switching over to Daenerys, then switching back to the Yunkai’i when word got out that Daenerys could not control her dragons, and then defecting back to Daenerys at the end of Tyrion II, TWOW. Ben claims this to be a ploy, yet it’s more likely to be a combination of two things. First of all, wanting to be on the winning side. The other aspect of it is that sellswords, and particularly Brown Ben Plum, love gold. And Tyrion has offered them a whole lot of it. The gold of Casterly Rock to be precise, in the form of IOUs. After all, a Lannister always pays his debts.
This is where I’m proposing a massive divergence from the show.
Lets look at the facts. Tyrion, Ben, and the Second Sons have shown themselves to have no true loyalty to anyone but their own interests. It’s often been expected that Tyrion is going to use his information of fAegon to leverage his way into Daenerys’ inner circle by pointing out the Mummers Dragon as a Blackfyre pretender and exposing Illyrio’s treachery. But is that going to be enough to gain Daenerys’ trust? Tyrion is not only a Lannister, but Daenerys is warned by Quaithe *not to trust him.*
“There is blood between Targaryen and Lannister. Why would you support the cause of Queen Daenerys?”
“For gold and glory,” the dwarf said cheerfully. “Oh, and hate. If you had ever met my sister, you would understand.” – (Tyrion III, ADWD)
What happens when Daenerys offers him neither gold nor glory nor vengeance? If Daenerys does not allow Tyrion into her inner circle, or if she refuses to allow Tyrion to go take back Casterly Rock… What will Tyrion and the Second Sons do? Tyrion has promised Brown Ben Plumm 100,000 gold dragons and a lordship (and that’s only what he promised the commander). And by his own admission, Tyrion’s whole purpose for joining Daenerys is gold and glory and hate. If he can’t get revenge on Cersei and take Casterly Rock, who’s to say that Tyrion and Ben are not going to turn cloak once more and try their luck with fAegon? And given wha the text has set up with Ben and Tyrion and their love of dragons, who’s to say they won’t take Viserion with them?
Tyrion taking Viserion is setup at the close of Tyrion’s TWOW sample chapter.
The white cyvasse dragon ended up at Tyrion’s feet. He scooped it off the carpet and wiped it on his sleeve, but some of the Yunkish blood had collected in the fine grooves of the carving, so the pale wood seemed veined with red. “All hail our beloved queen, Daenerys.” Be she alive or be she dead. He tossed the bloody dragon in the air, caught it, grinned. “We have always been the queen’s men,” announced Brown Ben Plumm. “Rejoining the Yunkai’i was just a plot.” – (Tyrion II, TWOW)
I propose that rather than sticking around as Dany’s advisor, the climax of Tyrion’s story in TWOW will be stealing Viserion with Brown Ben Plumm and defecting over to Aegon, hence giving the Aegon side a dragon for the Second Dance of the Dragons. The whole “Tyrion as Dany’s trusted advisor and conscience” thing feels like a change developed for the show to put together two major characters that need to get back to Westeros. But in the books, Tyrion and Dany will only intersect, they won’t share a common goal.
“Well, Tyrion and Dany will intersect, in a way, but for much of the book they’re still apart,” Martin said. “They both have quite large roles to play here. Tyrion has decided that he actually would like to live, for one thing, which he wasn’t entirely sure of during the last book, and he’s now working toward that end—if he can survive the battle that’s breaking out all around him. And Dany has embraced her heritage as a Targaryen and embraced the Targaryen words. So they’re both coming home.” – GRRM
This will set up Tyrion laying siege to Casterly Rock in the final book, making use of the experience he gained when Tywin put him in charge of the sewers of Casterly Rock (as we see in the show).
“Ah, if only the Tyrion in the books could fly, what mischief he will… ah… could… ah, never mind.” – GRRM
But the treason is not by Tyrion. Daenerys will never trust Tyrion. The treason is by Viserion.
Viserion the white and gold dragon, will leave Daenerys for gold. Tyrion is the gold.
ONCE OR LOVE
The final treason will be the treason for love. And since Rhaegal is the betrayal for blood, and Viserion is the betrayal for gold, it only makes sense that the final betrayal is the most precious of Dany’s children. The one she has bonded with to become it’s rider. Her very own mount to dread, Drogon.
For Daenerys there will be no treasons more personal, than those committed by her own children. And though Rhaegal and Viserion betray Dany to different riders, Drogon’s betrayal will be a bit more complicated. If he betrays her for love, then the love of who? the love of Dany herself? will it be jealousy for Daenerys taking the third mount (Drogon is her second mount of three)? What would make Drogon betray his mother? It’s honestly hard to say.
This is where I leave the rest to you, as this is where we get into endgame speculation that I’m not ready to make in this essay.
Why it kinda has to be this way
In a way, Dany’s three dragons as the three treasons is the only thing that makes sense. It provide Daenerys’ story with the three least expected, yet most impactful treasons she can possible have. It ties in with one of the most major plot shake ups of the novels, which is the fact that everyone wants the fire made power that Dany brought into the world, and she is eventually going to lose them.
But furthermore, if makes the prophecy read more consistently with the other sets. Daenerys suffers a lot more than three treasons. Mirri betrays her. Xaro betrays her. Pyat Pree betrays her. Jorah betrays her. The Second Sons betray her. Illyrio betrays her. This makes the three treasons read differently than the other three. The three fires will certainly be the most personally significant fires that Daenerys lights. The three mounts will be the most significant three mounts Daenerys rides (and probably the only ones). Yet if the three treasons are just three out of many, then why is Jorah’s treason not on there? Jorah is her most trusted advisor. Is Jorah’s treason not more personally significant to her than Illyrio’s? Than a hypothetical betrayal by Tyrion, who she is unlikely to trust? There has to be something special about the these three treasons to set them apart and place them on par with the accompanying prophecies.
Daenerys is told she will never have children of her own. And whether or not that is true, she comes to see her dragons as her three children. Yet at least two of them cannot stay with their mother forever. For the three treasons to be the most significant to Daenerys, not only in terms of consequence, but in terms of who commits the treason, her three dragons are the most personal possible treasons.
tldr; The Undying of Qarth tell Daenerys she will know three treasons. Rhaegal will be the treason for blood, Viserion will be the treason for gold, and Drogon will be the treason for love.