Game of Thrones

HBO's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' TV Show

Episodes

EP509: The Dance of Dragons

Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Directed by David Nutter
IMDB

Stannis (Stephen Dillane) confronts a troubling decision. Jon (Kit Harington) returns to The Wall. Mace (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) visits the Iron Bank. Arya (Maisie Williams) encounters someone from her past. Dany (Emilia Clarke) reluctantly oversees a traditional celebration of athleticism.

Index

Recap

Night and snow besets Stannis’s camp. Melisandre, in a tent lit by candles, senses something is wrong and steps outside with a lamp. She turns and sees tents starting to go alight. Men scream and start to shout about the fires that break out throughout the camp. Chaos rules, and Melisandre sees a screaming horse race by, burning.

In the morning, Davos and Stannis march through the remains of the camp. Ser Davos informs Stannis that a band of twenty men snuck into the camp, burning the army’s supplies and siege weapons. The king asks about horses, and Davos says hundreds are dead. Stannis cannot believe twenty men slipped by his men without their sounding an alarm, and despite Davos’s point that the northerners know their land better, Stannis demands that the guards be placed in chains and orders them to be questioned as to whether they were in league with the Boltons or were asleep at their posts; regardless of the answer, he wants them hanged.

As soldiers go to do Stannis’s bidding, Davos tells Stannis that without a thaw in the weather they cannot go forward to Winterfell and without food they cannot get back to Castle Black. Stannis refuses to go to the Wall again, however. Davos cannot see how they can proceed, and then sees Stannis looking past him… to Queen Selyse, and to Melisandre beside her. The two men exchange a look as Stannis starts to approach the women. He gives Davos a last order to have the dead horses butchered for meet.

North of the Wall, at the entrance to Castle Black, Jon Snow leads the survivors from Hardhome. He is flanked by Dolorous Edd and Tormund Giantsbane, who has Karsi’s daughters with him, and nearby is the giant Wun Wun. The hundreds of survivors stare up at the Wall, while Ser Alliser Thorne stares down. Jon and Edd exchange a look before Jon steps forward. After a long moment, Thorne turns away and orders the gates opened. Jon shows his relief.

As the wildlings march out of Castle Black, Jon tells Samwell that their mission was a failure. Sam disagrees, but Jon says that he had gone to save them and he failed. Tarly points out a number of the survivors and tells Jon that he didn’t fail them, but Jon retorts that they’re the only ones who survived. Then he notes that he doesn’t think that fact is lost on “them”, and they look at some of the men of the Watch who are clearly displeased with the presence of the wildlings and the failures of their Lord Commander.

Just then, Wun Wun enters the castle. Many eyes turn to him in awe. In the distance, on a balcony, Olly appears and Jon smiles at him… but the boy simply stares and then walks off. Ser Alliser Thorne comes down to join Jon, and informs him, “You have a good heart, Jon Snow. It’ll get us all killed.” He departs, leaving Jon contemplative.

Stannis sits at a table covered by a map with markers for various forces. Davos enters, having been summoned by Stannis. The king commands him to take an escort of knights and a few horses to go back to Castle Black, to tell the Lord Commander that his king commands him to provide him with food, supplies, and horses, and in return once Stannis has the throne he’ll give Jon Snow all he wants—even sufficient men to guard all nineteen castles, if he so wishes. Davos notes that he is the King’s Hand, and that the Hand should not abandon his king in time of war. Stannis, without looking at Davos, tells him he’s not abandoning him but obeying a command. Davos replies that a boy with a scroll could deliver that message, but Stannis asks what happens if Jon refuses the boy with the message?

Setting down a scroll, Stannis rises and tells Davos he made him Hand not because of his military expertise. He bluntly tells Ser Davos to ride to Castle Black and not come back empty-handed before he turns away. Davos asks if Selyse and Shireen can accompany him. “My family stays with me,” Stannis says brusquely. Davos protests and asks to take Shireen at least, that a siege is no place for a little girl. “My family stays with me,” Stannis repeats, half a whisper. Davos looks at the king and then, accepting defeat, departs.

As Davos walks out in the snow, men cough and wheeze from the blizzard. Davos enters Shireen’s tent, where he finds her reading. He asks what it is and she says it’s The Dance of Dragons: A True Telling by Grand Maester Munkun. Davos sits and says it sounds like a proper story. She proceeds to tell him of Ser Byron Swann having wanted to kill the dragon Vhagar, and polished a shield for a week so that the dragon would only see its own reflection. However, the dragon saw a “dumb man holding a shield”, Davos replies. Shireen finishes with the dragon having burned Ser Byron to a crisp, and Davos chuckles at the end of Swann’s dragon-slaying career.

Davos then tells Shireen he made her something, and gives her a finely carved stag. He asks if she likes it, and Shireen happily says it’s beautiful and gives Ser Davos a kiss on the cheek. She asks him to make a doe to keep the stag company, and Davos promises to do so. Then Shireen asks why she’s getting a gift, and Davos explains she deserves it. He tells her that his son Mathos was always after him to learn to read, but he was stubborn and refused because he had done well without it. Then he admits he wishes he had listened to him, and that the gift was his poor way to thank her and for teaching him “to be a grown up.” He then rises, telling her he’ll be gone a few days but that he expects her to tell him all about the Dance of the Dragons. She says he’ll read it for himself, and after he kisses her head he leaves her.

In the Water Gardens, Areo Hotah leads Ser Jaime Lannister into a richly decorated room. There he finds Prince Doran Martell, Ellaria Sand, Prince Trystane Martell, and Princess Myrcella Baratheon. Jaime greets the prince, and Prince Doran asks for forgiveness as they’ve started drinking wine without him. A serving girl at that moment, having finished pouring Doran a cup, moves to fill Ellaria’s. Jaime moves to sit when invited, and remarks on the “lovely dress”—a flimsy, shoulder-baring gown—that she’s wearing. He remarks she must feel cold in it, and she denies it, saying the Dornish climate agrees with her. Jaime offers Trystane a greeting as well, as he sits, and then asks how his jaw feels. “A flea bite,” the young prince replies, while Hotah moves to stand behind Princ Doran.

Ellaria bluntly asks Jaime what he’s doing in Dorne, and Jaime responds that he’s watching after the safety of Myrcella. Doran points out that rather than send a raven or approach Doran directly, Jaime decided to enter Dorne in secret to abduct his guest by force. Jaime explains that they had received a threat, Myrcella’s necklace in the jaws of a viper. Myrcella says the necklace had been stolen from her room. Ellaria meets Doran’s gaze, and then looks away. A meal is offered to Jaime then, and Jaime imagines it’s a last meal before he’s beheaded. Doran says he can’t do that—many in Dorne want war, he explains, but he has has seen the horrors of war. He looks directly at Ellaria as he says he does not want to lead his people into that.

Ellaria sneers and says Doran instead prefers to break bread with the Lannisters. Doran says that that is precisely what they are doing. He offers a toast to King Tommen, and everyone takes up their cup… but Ellaria empties her on the floor, rather than drinking. She slams the cup down, loudly. Then Doran asks if Tommen insists on Myrcella’s return. At that, Prince Doran says he cannot disobey his king’s command, causing a startled (and angry) look from Ellaria. Doran goes on to say that Myrcella will of course return to King’s Landing… and Prince Trystane will accompany them both. He points out their engagement must stand, and Jaime accepts that.

Then Doran adds that Oberyn had been on the small council before his death, as Tywin had understood that it was important to keep Dorne in the fold. He requires Trystane to take Oberyn’s place on the small council, and Jaime gives his word that it will be so. Ellaria sneeringly remarks that it’s the word of a kingslayer. She gets up to leave, but tells Prince Doran that it’s no wonder he cannot stand: “You have no spine!” Doran grabs her arms and flatly tells her that she is the mother of four of the nieces he loves very much, so for their sake he hopes she lives a long and happy life. “Speak to me that way again,” he finishes, “and you won’t.” She pulls away from him and stalks away in anger.

Jaime, ignoring the interplay pointedly, asks about Bronn’s fate. Doran asks what would have happened to a commoner who strikes a prince in King’s Landing, and Jaime notes that Trystane said it was just a “flea bite.” Then Jaime argues that that fault was his, since Bronn was a soldier following his orders. He says that if anyone deserves punishment, it is him. Doran considers and then says Prince Trystane must learn judgment if he is to rule one day. He lets his son decide. Trystane considers the question, and says he has learned the value of mercy from his father… so he will set Bronn free. Jaime starts to say he’s a good man, when Trystane adds that he has one condition.

In the Water Garden’s prison cells, Bronn sits alone—having survived his poisoning at Tyene’s hands, thanks to the antidote she provided—as he listens to slaps coming from the other cell. Tyene and Nymeria play a hand-slap game, as Nymeria repeatedly beats her sister, slapping her hands painfully again and again while mocking her. Tyene insists Nymeria will miss eventually, because she’s thinking too much and is becoming nervous… and when Nymeria swipes, she’s too slow and Tyene wins the round. Nymeria then prepares to avoid Tyene’s slap, mocking her as being too slow and blowing a kiss to her—only for Tyene to roundly slap her in the face, and blowing the kiss back.

Nymeria prepares to fight her sister when Areo Hotah enters, and opens Bronn’s cell. Bronn asks the captain of guards if he’ll be happy at the end of the walk, and Hotah says he’ll find out soon. Before he leaves, Tyene demands he identify her again. He gives her a look and then says she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. “ANd that’s the truth!” she shouts after him, laughing, while Obara calls her a slut.

In the prince’s chamber, Bronn is brought forward and Jaime introduces him as Ser Bronn of the Blackwater. Doran says he did not know there were knights of the Blackwater, and Bronn admits he’s the only one. Jaime them reintroduces him to Prince Trystane, and Bronn apologizes for what he did. Jaime informs him that Prince Trystane has decided to grant him his freedom, and Bronn seems relieved. Noting food on the table, he says the pie looks good. But Jaime informs him that there was one condition. He directs his attention to Hotah—and Hotah elbows him square in the face, knocking him down. Doran asks the stunned Bronn if soup might be more suitable.

In Braavos, Arya calls out, “Oysters, clams, and cockles!” as she pushes a wheelbarrow with such items. Two men approach her and stop her, and ask how much for her “little clam”. They depart, and she resumes her call as she approaches the thin man at his business. She discreetly takes out a bottle of poison from the wheelbarrow, and puts it in a pocket before cming nearer. She pauses, as he gestures for her to come closer—but it’s because beyond him she sees a ship with Lannister sails, and docking from it a boat carrying Lannister guards, Lord Tyrell, and Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard.

Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank is there to greet them, and approaches Lord Tyrell, asking after the journey. Lord Mace says it went well, and that he was pleased to see the “old chap”—the Titan of Braavos—still guarding the harbor. As they talk, Ser Meryn examines the crowd and Arya turns her face away. Nestoris and Tyrell lead their followers down the docks as the banker asks how the harvest as gone in the Reach, and Lord Mace claims they say it’s the best harvest of red grapes in half a century. He promises to send a cask of Arbor wine to Tycho if they conclude their negotiations favorably, clapping the man on the shoulder familiarly, but Nestoris—clearly uncomfortable by the familiarity—admits he doesn’t drink. Tyrell seems disappointed.

As they continue on, Arya determines to follow them as they go on to the Iron Bank. Lord Tyrell says there are those who see usury as sinful, but he thinks it nonsense, and Tycho appreciates his agreement. Lord Tyrell speaks of King Maegor the Third [note: there is no Maegor the Third] having tried to outlaw the charging of interest with the threat of cutting off both the hands of the usurer. Nestoris quips that that would be a tragedy for glovers. Lord Mace goes on to say that if one cannot charge interest on a loan, there is nothing to gain and everything to lose in lending money. He concludes that the promise of a reward will convince a man to gamble, but at that the banker says they are not gamblers at the Iron Bank.

Mace refutes him, saying the Iron Bank and its bankers are the world’s best gamblers, and all the wagers they won built the magnificent facade of the Iron Bank which they stand before. Arya, watchin from a distance, sees Ser Meryn follow Lord Tyrell into the bank. Some time later, eating an oyster, Arya sees them leaving as Lord Mace insists that Tycho accompany him to enjoy the city. Tycho begs off, claiming he has too much work, but Lord Tyrell overrides him and then asks if he sings. Nestoris demures, saying he hasn’t the gift, but Tyrell blusters that it’s a skill that anyone can learn and proceeds to serenade him with the song of a lover asking his love to kiss him by the Long Canal and in Salty Town as they’ll die on the ‘morrow. He leads Tycho off as Arya again hides herself from Trant’s gaze.

Later that evening, Trant curses Tyrell for his endless singing and thinks that the Tyrells can all rot in hell. He leads two Lannister guards through an alleyway, telling them that the Tyrells were going to make the “boy-sucker” Renly king. Then he leads them to a brothel where he promises they’ll find the “sleekest little minx” in Braavos. One of the men asks if he’ll buy, and he admits he is… but that he’s no good at sharing. Arya appears behind them, and follows them into the busy brothel. A man stops her, telling her to sell her fish elsewhere, but the prostitute Larra (one of her frequent customers) tells the man—who she names Brusco—to let her in, as she’s hungry. She calls Arya over and tells the man she’s with that oysters get the juices flowing, and orders half a dozen—the man pays up three coppers dutifully, but he gives her a silver because Larra likes her.

Arya sees where Trant and the men go, and goes on to a more private chamber where she watches one prostitute after another present herself to Trant under the gaze of the brothelkeeper. He dismisses each woman as too old. Even the most expensive of the girls, wearing very little, remains too old. The brothelkeeper considers that, and sends the last girl away. Trant asks if she has what he wants, and she insists that she does before disappearing. Just then, a Lannister guard comes up behind Arya, clapping her on the shoulder. Startled, she’s speechless—but then he asks if the oysters are fresh, and tries one. He tells her to follow him, as the other men are hungry.

He presents her to Trant, saying that there’s nothing better for his lust than fresh oysters. He starts to take a few, as Trant stares at Arya and puzzles at her familiarity. He’s on the verge of recognizing her when the brothelkeeper comes in, screeching about who let the girl in and shooing Arya away. Arya goes out of sight as the brothelkeeper distracts Meryn with a very young girl that she’s brought to him, seemingly from the brothel’s kitchens. He says good, and stands. The brothelkeeper gives the girl an hourglass, but he takes it from her and gives it to the woman, saying he’ll tell her when he’s done. Before he goes out of sight, he tells the woman that she’ll have a fresh one for him the next day. She nods with a forced smile, but clearly seems to dislike his proclivities. She unleashes her fury on Arya, telling her she’ll have her whipped if she doesn’t leave.

In the House of Black and White, Arya enters as Jaqen helps an old man drink from the pool. He approaches her and asks what became of her mission. She claims the thin man was not hungry, and he remarks, “Perhaps that is why a man is thin.” She promises she’ll do it the next day, and he acknowledges it before telling her that she has work to do. She walks on to the body of the man Jaqen assisted.

In the Water Gardens, Prince Doran sits in his wheeled chair, Ellaria before him and the Sand Snakes to one side. He informs Ellaria that her rebellion is over and she must swear her allegiance to him or die. Ellaria, after a long hesitation, kneels before him and takes his hand to kiss his ring as tears fall on her cheeks. She weeps, while the Sand Snakes look only grimly. Doran informs her that he believes in second chances, and then pulls his hand away from her grip as he tells her he does not believe in third chances.

In the chamber he was kept in earlier, Jaime writes a letter when Ellaria Sand enters the room. He continues writing after looking at her. She glances at the scribbled writing and remarks that he writes like a 7-year-old. He admits that the maester at the Water Gardens agreed to make a clean copy for him. She asks if he tried to make Jaime pay, and Jaime indicates not. She muses that the maester has perhaps changed his ways. She moves to the window, and remarks that the queen will be thrilled to have her daughter home. Jaime agrees she will be. When Ellaria observes he loves her very much, Jaime responds that she’s his niece—but she tells him she was speaking about Cersei.

Jaime looks at her, but she asks him if he thinks she disapproves, and then wonders why she should—just because others do where Jaime is from? She notes that others disapproved of Oberyn and Ellaria in King’s Landing, but in Dorne no one cared. She points out that a hundred years earlier, no one would have blinked at Jaime and Cersei—at least if they had been named Targaryen. She goes on to argue that it always changes, who one is to love and who one isn’t. She tells him that the only certain thing is that a person wants who they want. Jaime remains silent.

She approaches, and tells him that she knows that Jaime’s “daughter”—clearly calling Myrcella such—had nothing to do with Oberyn’s death, and that perhaps even Jaime was innocent of that. She departs then, leaving him thoughtful.

In Stannis’s camp, a smiling Shireen plays with the carved stag Davos gave her when she hears her father enter her tent. She greets him, and asks if he’s cold. He says he isn’t, then asks about the book she’s reading—it remains “The Dance of the Dragons”, explaining to him that it concerns the war between Rhaenyra and Aegon II, causing great loss of life and the death of dragons. Stannis repeats the name, and wonders why it was a dance. Shireen says it’s just what they called it, and when Stannis claims it doesn’t make sense, she offers that it’s poetic.

Stannis stares at his daughter silently, and then asks her that if she had to choose between Rhaenyra and Aegon, who would she have chosen. Shireen says that she’d choose neither, that choosing made everything horrible. Stannis notes sometimes one has to choose, that the world forces a man’s hand. He informs her that if a man knows what he is and remains true to himself, “the choice is no choice at all.” He concludes the man must fulfill his destiny, to become who he is meant to be… even if he may hate it. Shireen reassures him that it’s all right, but he tells her that she doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. She insists it doesn’t matter, and that if there’s anything she can do to help, she will do so.

After a long silence, Stannis says there is. She says that’s good, as she wants to. “I am the Princess Shireen of House Baratheon,” she tells her father before hugging him, “and I am your daughter.” He tells her to forgive him.

Clutching her carved stag, Shireen is escorted by guards as the serried ranks of the army watch in silence. The snow falls heavily as she is led to a pyre. Seeing it clearly, she stops, frightened… and when she sees Melisandre, she demands to know where her father is. Melisandre insists it will be over soon. Shireen starts to back away, and protests, calling for her father as the men bind her to the pyre. Stannis, further away, steps out of a tent to watch. Selyse comes up beside him, insisting that it is what the Lord of Light wants, and that the sacrifice will be a good and great thing.

Melisandre begins to say ritual words presenting the sacrifice to the Lord of Light, even as Shireen begs. Selyse insists that if Stannis does not act, they’ll starve where they are in their thousands, but that the sacrifice will solve it. Melisandre takes a burning brand and calls to the Lord of Light, when Shireen sees her mother and starts begging for her help, and then Stannis’s. Suddenly, Selyse can no longer convince herself to sacrifice her own daughter. Stannis restrains her, telling her there’s no other way because Shireen has a king’s blood.

Melisandre sets the pyre alight, as Shireen screams. Men in the army look troubled by what’s happening. Selyse breaks away from Stannis and starts to run, but with a look Stannis sends his men to hold her back. As their daughter screams while the flames rise to consume her, Selyse collapses in tears. Shireen’s screams seem endless, and even Stannis cannot bear to watch. Melisandre, however, does so. Selyse cries out in agony, and Stannis turns away.

In Meereen, the Great Pit of Daznak echoes with cheers and applause as a display of horsemanship is presented. Daenerys sits in a viewing stand with Tyrion to one side, Missandei to another, and Daario behind. Hizdahr zo Loraq arrives belatedly. Daenerys demands to know why he is late, and he states he was seeing to arrangements. Just then, doors open and the horsemen ride out of the arena while the master of the games comes forward. Silence falls as he addresses the crowd and the queen, introducing the Great Games. Many thousands cheer aloud. Two pit fighters, one a large muscular man with a two-handed sword, the other slighter and with a buckler, come forward. The master of the games asks which will win: the strong or the quick. The two men loudly announce they will fight and die for the glory of the queen.

There is a long pause as Daenerys hesitates. Hizdahr tells her that the are awaiting her signal, and to clap her hands. After a long delay, she finally conceeds and does so. The crowd cheers, and the combat begins as the quicker fighter dances around his larger opponent. Daario chuckles and says the smaller man should be where Daenerys puts her money. Tyrion quips, “The smaller man it is.” Daenerys refuses to wager, and Hizdahr notes that kings and queens do not bet on the games before suggesting Daario find company who will. Daario instead remarks that people used to wager against Daario in the pits—a common novice mistake, he tells Daenerys.

Hizdahr notes he’s spent much of his life in the arena, and that larger men do triumph over smaller men more often than not. Daenerys asks if that experience includes actual fighting, personally trying to kill another man who was trying to kill him. Hizdahr is rendered silent, and Daario boldly offers how the crowds responded to seeing him—all skin and bone—against a big, muscular man and couldn’t get their money out fast enough. As he says it, he pulls out his long dirk and twirls it adroitly, the point ending up near Hizdahr’s head. Daario twists and turns the knife, pointing out big men don’t have notable muscles in the throat… or just under the ear, the point of his blade almost touching that spot on Hizdahr, who is visibly nervous while Daenerys shows an unkind amusement.

Hizdahr glances at Tyrion, who keeps silent. Daario insists he could always rest easy against big “beasts”—but just then, the muscular pit fighter beheads the quicker man. Daario’s cheerful expression turns sour and he turns away, while Hizdahr is pleased.  He looks to Tyrion and observes he doesn’t approve. Tyrion admits there’s more than enough death in the world and that he can do without it in leisure. Hizdahr says it’s an unpleasant question, but what great thing has ever been achieved without killing or cruelty. “It’s easy to confuse what is with what ought to be,” Tyrion tells Hizdahr, especially when “what is” is in one’s favor. Hizdahr retorts that he’s not speaking about himself, but instead the necessary conditions for greatness.

Daenerys, disbelieving, asks if Hizdahr think that the display they just saw—the dead man’s headless corpse being dragged away—is greatness, and Hizdahr says it’s an integral part of the great city of Meereen, “which existed long before you or I, and will remain standing long after we’ve returned to the earth.” At that, Tyrion remarks that his father would have liked Hizdahr. Just then, the master of the game returns to present the next game as several warriors come forward. Daenerys informs Hizdahr that one day Meereen will returned to the dirt. Hizdahr asks if it will be at her command, and she says it will, if it comes to that. Hizdahr asks how many will die to make that happen, but Daenerys says they would die for a good reason.

Hizdahr retorts that the men in the pit believe they are dying for a good reason. She says dismissively that it’s for someone else’s reasons, and at that Hizdahr states that it must mean her reasons are true and that theirs are false, and she must believe they do not know their own minds but that she does. Tyrion tells Hizdahr it was well-said, calling him an eloquent man. Hizdahr nods his head in acknowledgment. Tyrion adds that it doesn’t mean Daenerys wrong, as in his experience eloquent men are as right as often as imbeciles.  As they speak, the master presents each warrior: a champion of Meereen, a Braavosi waterdancer, a Dothraki screamer, a Norvoshi…. or a westerosi knight?

At that, Daenerys turns her attention to the arena to see Ser Jorah Mormont swearing his life and death for her glory. Daario and Tyrion seem as surprised as the queen. Daenerys looks on, clearly moved by emotion. Hizdahr attempts to speak to her, but Daario tells him to shut his mouth. Finally, after a long silence, Daenerys claps her hand so the fight may begin.

The six warriors face off. Jorah takes on a Norvoshi slave-warrior with a great long ax, and initially is beaten until he manages to kill the man with a dagger just after the waterdancer kills the Dothraki warrior. The Meerenese champion, toying with a barbaric foe, keeps his distance as Jorah and the waterdancer face off. The man shows off his speed and skill, and cuts Jorah across the face and leg, toying with him even as the Meerenese champion finishes off his opponent. Jorah falls, disarmed by the waterdancer, and Daenerys remains silent as the waterdancer lifts his sowrd to finish off Ser Jorah—but the champion’s spear runs the waterdancer through the back.

Ser Jorah is allowed to get up by the champion, and takes up a sword. The Meereenese warrior duels with Ser Jorah, spear against sword, and almost runs him through. Then as Ser Jorah manages a rolling thrust that takes the man through the belly. The crowd boos at the westerosi knight’s victory. Jorah, looking to Daenerys, suddenly reaches for the champion’s spear and flings it at her—Daario springs forward to pull her out of the way, and then they realize the spear was aimed at one of the sons of the harpy who had climbed onto the stands behind them. Scores of masked sons of the harpy appear in the crowd, murdering those in the stands, attacking the Unsullied, and making for Daenerys as Daario and the Unsullied fight.

Hizdahr goes to Daenerys, calling he knows a way out, when a pair of sons of the harpy stab him to death. Jorah, climbing to the viewing stand, kills a son of the harpy as Daario fights off more. Going to Daenerys, Jorah takes her hand and leads her down to the arena floor. Missandei and Tyrion are separated from the others. Tyrion takes up a dagger, and as a son of the harpy approaches the cowering Missandei he kills the man from behind. They make for the arena floor and Jorah leads them to an exit only for the door to be shut. Jorah kills another son of the harpy, and Daario tells them to follow him to the other side of the arena. Tyrion and Missandei, and a troop of Unsullied, join them.

However, they find themselves surrounded on the arena floor by the sons of the harpy. The Unsullied, Jorah, and Daario hold them off for a time but one by one Daenerys’s defenders start to fall and the sons of the harpy get closer and closer to the queen. Daenerys and Missandei hold hands, preparing for death. Daenerys shuts her eyes, waiting—

And then there is a dragon’s scream.

Everyone looks to the sky, and from a burst of flames comes Drogon, soaring above the arena. He stoops down to the arena floor, crushing sons of the harpy beneath him and roaring. One man is torn in half, others are burned alive. The dragon burns more men, indiscriminately killing sons of the harpy and unsullied alike. Spears are thrown by some sons of the harpy, and some dig into the scales. Daenerys cries Drogon’s name and approaches the wounded, screaming dragon. She pulls one of the spears out of his flesh and he turns on her, roaring his rage . . . and then sniffing at her and recognizing the Mother of Dragons. She reaches to his muzzle when anotehr spear wounds him. Daario fights on, and Daenerys suddenly is moved to mount the dragon’s back.

Tyrion and the others watch as she climbs atop the dragon, and she gives a command in Valyrian. The dragon drags himself forward, then runs as his wings flap—and then springs into the air, the queen soaring above the arena on his back. They fly from Meereen as the sons of the harpy fly from the arena, leaving Daenerys’s companions to watch the sky as Drogon screams in his flight.

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