Like so many of us, I was enraged by season eight. Enraged and heartbroken. The misogyny, the inaccurate portrayal of women and their relationships, the inaccurate portrayal of characters in general- these are the things that angered me the most. I intend to fix everything I can as best I can and do each character justice. You should know before going in to this that this fic really does begin in episode one. I'm retelling Game of Thrones from the beginning, from Dany's point of view. I searched for fanfiction to help me cope with the disaster that was season eight (and some of season seven), and while there are some wonderful fics out there, none of them were quite what I was looking for. I found that so many people are focused on the romance between Dany and Jon, or Jon's point of view, or alternating between points of view. None of these things are what I imagined when searching for a fic, so I resolved to write one myself. I am so, SO done with male points of view. I couldn't care less what they are thinking or feeling. Therefore, this fic will focus on a woman's perspective in a world where they are at a tremendous disadvantage. It will be primarily the TV version. I haven't read the books. Please note, too, that this will be a fairly long fic, and it will take me some time to get it up and running since I do work full time.
"It's done, Your Grace. The Targaryens are gone."
"Not all of them."
Chapter One: The Last of the Targaryens
Daenerys could feel the warmth of the sun on her skin as she looked out at the coast before her, the heated breeze blowing gently through her hair. Her hands rested on the stone of the balcony, warmed by the sun. It was a lovely day; hot, but Daenerys had never minded the heat. She had grown up with it, never having left Essos. The sea, too, was beautiful. Not terribly far from where she stood was her birthplace. Just to the northwest was the home of her ancestors, and west of that was the kingdom they had built. She thought of it often.
It was one of the last days she would be there, in the relative safety of Illyrio's home. This, what was coming, would be a step towards her marriage to a man she'd never met.
A step towards her brother returning to Westeros to sit upon their father's Throne. Daenerys wondered what the Throne looked like, as she often did. Her brother had seen it, although she never had. The last person in her family to sit upon it had been murdered months before she was born.
"Daenerys!" Her eyes fluttered briefly when Viserys' voice drew her from the silence of her reverie, and she turned her head towards the sound. She heard his footsteps getting closer and moved from the warmth of the balcony to the interior of the palace.
"Daenerys!" he said again, stepping into the bathing chamber. "There's our bride to be." Well, at least he seemed to be in a decent mood. Viserys was taller than she, and his silver hair matched her own in both color and and the way it seemed to be relatively untamable. Daenerys' hair needed near-constant attention if she were to keep it maintained, and she had long since given up on it. Her brother, too, seemed not to care overmuch if his hair was a wild mess about his head. He always wore the Targaryen colors of red and black, but she rarely did. She had always felt as if he thought her to be a secondary Targaryen, even in such simple things of him choosing her wardrobe.
He continued to approach her, arms outstretched with some flimsy fabric laying across them. "Look," he said, "a gift from Illyrio." She walked towards him, her bare feet cold against the stone floor.
"Go on," Viserys encouraged. "Feel the fabric," He smiled down at her hand touching the dress when she reached for it. "Mmm. Isn't he a gracious host?" he looked up with a smile.
"We've been his guests for over a year and he's never asked us for anything," Daenerys voiced. It had been some time since Illyrio had invited them into his home, but even so, Daenerys still couldn't quite comprehend how unfailingly kind the Magister had been to them, a pair of foreign orphans on the run.
"Well, Illyrio's no fool," Viserys hadn't stopped smiling since he entered the room. "He knows I won't forget my friends when I come into my Throne," he stopped smiling at this point and wordlessly handed off Daenerys' new dress to one of the servants.
"You still slouch," he told her. He often berated her for this, reminding her it was unbecoming of the sister of a king. She had never told him that she was not the sister of a king, as her only living brother was not a king. He reached around and untied her dress from her neck, brushing her hair over each shoulder. She knew what was coming. She also knew that if she objected, she would anger him, or wake the dragon, as he so eloquently put it.
When he said, "let them see; you have a woman's body now," and pulled her dress down to her waist, she stared at him blankly, giving away no emotion. When he let the dress fall into a pool of fabric at her feet and examined her body, as he sometimes did, she showed no emotion. She looked directly ahead of her, forced herself to think of other things. The warmth of the sun, the calls of the birds. She imagined herself flying through the air like a bird, far away from this place, from Viserys, from the assassins, and from her husband-to-be.
"I need you to be perfect today," he told her, his eyes still on her body and his hands still on her waist from examining her. Viserys' hands had always been far too cold for her liking, and she wished he would refrain from touching her at all. He lifted his gaze to her face, "can you do that for me?" While technically a question, it was by no means a request. This was a command. An order. She looked up at him, parting her lips with unspoken objections. "You don't want to wake the dragon, do you?"
Her only response was a soft "no," and he nodded his understanding before turning and walking away.
He stopped at the doorway, saying, "when they write the history of my reign, sweet sister, they will say it began today," he held her gaze as he left the room. The history of his reign, indeed. And what kind of reign would that be, she wondered. What would she be in this written history? Would she be a scribbled note off to the side, merely a means to an end?
As his footsteps faded, she turned towards the steaming bath in the center of the room, climbing the steps towards it. The closer she got, the more she could feel the heat rising from the water, so different from the cold of the tile on her feet. She stepped into the water, feeling the heat soak itself into her skin, into her blood, into her bones.
"It's too hot, my lady," came the voice of the servant girl. Daenerys ignored this statement. Her concern was unnecessary; the water, after all, was soothingly warm.
The birds sang around them as they stood under an awning, waiting for her husband-to-be. Viserys and Illyrio stood in front of her, Viserys' cape fastened to his tunic with a dragon pin. She wore two of the very same dragon pin to hold her dress together at the shoulders. Her initial judgement of the dress' fabric as flimsy was correct. Viserys had said, after all, that she should let people see her body now that she was a woman. She supposed that the way you could see almost every detail of her body in it would have that effect. Regardless, it was humiliating to wear such a thing and call it a dress, gift or otherwise.
"Where is he?" Viserys demanded of Illyrio.
"The Dothraki are not known for their punctuality," Illyrio informed her brother. Indeed, they must not have been, for they had been waiting long enough that Daenerys was able to hold on to hope that these riders would never come.
Her hopes were dashed, however, with the sound of horse hoofs against the ground. When the riders rode up towards the base of the stairs, Daenerys wondered which one of these men she was to marry.
Illyrio descended the stairs towards the riders. "Athchomar chomakaan, khal vezhven," he said, which she could only assume was a greeting in whatever language these men spoke. "May I present my honored guests? Viserys, of House Targaryen, the third of his name, the rightful King of the Andals and the First Men, and his sister, Daenerys of House Targaryen," He said this much in the Common Tongue, so perhaps this Khal spoke it after all?
She could only hope he did know the Common Tongue. How else was she to speak to the man who would be her husband? One man had ridden his horse closer to the base of the stairs. The man was looking at Daenerys. She surmised that this man must be Khal Drogo. He was the largest person she had ever laid eyes upon. He sat higher on a horse than anyone she had ever seen, and even from such a distance, she could see his muscles ripple with each of his movements. How terrifying he was, up on a horse with such a commanding gaze. Commanding indeed, she was sure. She was to be given commands from one man right up until the moment that man gave her to yet another man who would give her only more commands.
Illyrio continued to approach the riders and spoke to them in their own language once more. Viserys leaned close to Daenerys, gripping her arm too tightly with his cold hands, as he always did and saying, "do you see how long his hair is?" he pointed out as the man in question rode his horse in circles, looking at Daenerys all the while. "When Dothraki are defeated in combat," he continued, "they cut off their braids so the whole world can see their shame. Khal Drogo has never been defeated. He's a savage, of course, but he's one of the finest killers alive. And you will be his queen," the way he whispered the last statement shot ice down her spine.
Illyrio turned towards her then. "Come forward, my dear," he said with a gentle expression. Viserys let go of her arm.
Daenerys took slow, purposeful steps forward, descending the stairs as slowly as possible. The hot breeze blew through her paper-thin dress with every step she took, and she feared she may fall over. When she reached the base of the stairs and stood before the warrior king, high atop his horse, she tried to mask the terror that was in her expression, but she knew it must've shown through her eyes. She was able to make out his features far better than she had been able to from atop the stairs. His nose was straight and his beard was well maintained, but what stood out to her the most were his eyebrows, harsh and strong. These were not the closely manicured eyebrows of her brother, or the unkempt ones of those she'd known on the streets. These were the brows of a warrior, of someone who had been a warrior for many years; there was a slash through one, showing her that he had been in close combat on more than one occasion. She wondered if, from his expression and that of his men, it was their custom to frown rather than smile. She wondered, too, if this man would ever smile at her, or she at him. As she felt just then, she feared she would never smile again.
There was greenery all about them; the delicate beauty beauty of IIllyrio's garden and the elegant white stones of his house a stark contrast against the harshness of Daenerys' future husband.
He rode away, and Daenerys looked down in relief. "Where's he going?" Viserys demanded, rushing forward.
Following close behind, Illyrio said, "the ceremony is over."
Clearly concerned for the army he so desperately wanted, Viserys spoke once again. "But he didn't say anything. Did he like her?"
"Trust me, Your Grace," began Illyrio, "if he didn't like her, we'd know." Illyrio led Viserys away to stare out across the Narrow Sea. Nothing could be seen over the horizon, of course, but sometimes Daenerys pretended she could see her homeland amongst the waves if she squinted her eyes just right.
"It won't be long now," Illyrio told Viserys. "Soon you will cross the Narrow Sea and take back your father's Throne. The people drink secret toasts to your health. They cry out for their true king," Illyrio promised.
Viserys moved away from the lookout and began walking down the garden path. "When will they be married?" he questioned of Illyrio, who was walking next to him by this point with Daenerys following behind silently, as she had always done.
"Soon. The Dothraki never stay still for long,"
"Is it true they lie with their horses?" Viserys wondered. He always had been vulgar, ever since she was a girl. She wondered, sometimes, why men were often so.
"I wouldn't ask Khal Drogo," came Illyrio's reply.
Her brother turned to the Magister, "do you take me for a fool?"
Illyrio turned to Viserys as well, saying, "I take you for a king. Kings lack the caution of common men. My apologies if I've given offense."
Viserys faced forward again. "I know how to play a man like Drogo," the way he said the Khal's name was mocking, condescending. Her brother was often one or both of those things. "I give him a queen, and he gives me an army."
Give him a queen. Daenerys was still behind the two men, an afterthought. She had always been an afterthought. Her brother had never bothered to ask her what she wanted. Why would he ask? He didn't care, so there was no need to ask. But the Magister… Perhaps he would be able to talk her brother out of selling her like property.
"I don't want to be his queen," she began in the gentlest voice she could muster, feeling so strongly as she did. Both men turned towards her, expressions of bewilderment on their faces. Had it truly never occurred to them that she might want something different than them? "I want to go home."
"So do I," said Viserys with one of his strange smiles. The Magister followed behind her brother as he walked towards her, saying, "I want us both to go home, but they took it from us. So tell me, sweet sister, how do we go home?"
"I don't know," she said truthfully. How could she possibly?
"We go home with an army," her brother said with a nod. "With Khal Drogo's army," he reached up to stroke her cheek, and said, "I would let his whole tribe fuck you; all forty-thousand men and their horses, too, if that's what it took," He kissed her forehead then, and he may as well have spit on her. When he walked away from her, she was left with her own thoughts of the nightmare he would put her through to reach his own goal.
Daenerys couldn't remember much of her wedding. Even when only minutes had passed, she couldn't remember much of it. She remembered standing next to her husband-to-be, this great beast of a man, and being instructed to say things in a language she didn't understand. She remembered finding it strange that he hardly looked at her throughout the entire ordeal, and that it was strange, too, that she couldn't hear anything but the sound of her own heartbeat, the blood rushing through her veins. She wondered if Khal Drogo was even the least bit afraid. She wondered if he had ever been married before, if he had ever loved before. She wondered if he would ever love her.
When she was seated next to her new husband as they were presented with their many gifts, the beat of celebratory drums reverberating throughout her body, she was caught between wanting it to be over with already and wanting it to last forever so that she wouldn't have to face what came next. The heat of the sun at her back, at least, gave her some comfort through the whole thing, although the hard seat she rested upon wash as harsh as her husband appeared to be.
The snakes she was presented with were startling, to say the least. Whatever were they to do with snakes? The food at the wedding feast (Was it even a wedding fest? She didn't know what the Dothraki called such things) seemed to her inedible, flies buzzing around whole carcasses with the stench wafting to where she sat, and the entire thing seemed incredibly primitive and foreign to her, with painted dancers being mounted by the men present. Some were only half clothed, although she supposed that the men went without coverings on their chest, too.
Her husband looked on as two men fought over one of the dancers. Although he did not take part in the cheers of the crowd, he did look more pleased than she had ever seen him before.
"Itte oakah," came her husband's voice, nearly drowned out by the noise surrounding them. She watched, too, when one of the men prevailed over the other, slitting his throat before her eyes. The dancers flocked to the victor, clearly pleased with the outcome.
She looked from her smirking husband to the man who approached them. His skin was paler than that of the Dothraki, more like hers.
"Jadi, zhey Jora Andahli," was the raspy greeting from the Khal.
"Khal vezhven," said the man, with the pronunciation of someone who spoke the Common Tongue. He stepped closer to them, now looking solely at her. "A small gift for the new Khaleesi: songs and histories from the Seven Kingdoms," he handed her a stack of books.
"Thank you, Ser," she told him. Such a thoughtful gift, with consideration of her own origins. "Are you from my country?" She wondered.
"Ser Jorah Mormont of Bear Island," he stepped back. She had seen Bear Island on maps; a small place in the North of Westeros. "I served your father for many years," he nodded towards Viserys, seated nearby. "Gods be good, I hope to always serve the rightful king," her brother nodded in appreciation. From his expression, he did not know or remember this man from his first few years of life. If the man had indeed known her father, she hoped to speak with him further.
Illyrio stood from his seat next to Viserys, approaching Daenerys and her husband. Two men carrying a box stepped forward, placing it before her. When they opened it, she saw was surprised at what she saw. She reached out and picked up one of the three heavy, scaled things, examining it more closely. It was rough to the touch, and felt to be more of a rock than anything else.
"Dragon's egg, Daenerys, from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai. The ages have turned them to stone, but they will always be beautiful," The Magister told her. A most thoughtful gift, too, in honor of her house. Illyrio may not have saved her from her brother's insistence on her marriage, but he and this Jorah Mormont, they both acknowledged where she had come from, and the acknowledgment was a kindness she was not used to.
Her husband stood and looked down at her. That must have been the end of the gifts, then. Putting the egg back in its box, she followed his purposeful steps down between the rows of quiet revelers. She was vaguely aware of each one's gaze upon her as she walked past them, and she heard their steps behind her. They formed a path for her to where her husband stood, the reins of a white mare in his hand.
She stroked the creature's head, the white fur soft against her hand. "She's beautiful," Daenerys voiced her thoughts, although she knew her husband couldn't understand her. Her husband looked down at her, as silent as he had been upon their first meeting. She turned towards the man from her own country, "Ser Jorah, I- I don't know how to say "thank you" in Dothraki," she told him.
"There is no word for "thank you" in Dothraki," he responded. A harsh language for a harsh people, she supposed. How, then, was she to tell anyone who would be around her anything?
Her husband moved around the horse to stand before her, putting his arms on either side of her waist and lifting her as if she were nothing more than a feather, placing her atop the mare he had gifted her. He walked towards his own horse, still in silence.
Her brother came up next to her, placing his hand on her mare, just behind her leg. "Make him happy," he commanded. She knew nothing about how to do such a thing, however. All she had been told was to let her husband take care of it, to do what he wished. She said nothing in response to Viserys, following Khal Drogo as he rode away.
Her husband brought her to a cliff overlooking the ocean. She looked out at the sunset, feeling its warmth on her skin, the wind blowing her wedding dress about her legs. Perhaps now she could do as she had always done when Viserys had inspected her body: think of other things, other places. She tried to focus on the sunset, the water, the breeze.
She was still trying to focus on anything but her husband when he stood before her and began to remove his clothing. He reached out and touched her hair, and still, she focused on the breeze. But the heat of the sun was fading, its time above the ocean done. When he began to untie her dress, she couldn't stop the tears that came from her eyes. She didn't want this, she had never wanted to this, and she had no choice. Would her husband beat her if she didn't do as he wanted, as her brother had? Would he yell at her if she objected? She didn't know, and she was too afraid to find out.
She began to cry softly, more than just tears, and her husband looked at her and wiped a tear from her face, saying, "no."
She fingered the dragon pin between her breasts, trying to ground herself, to remember who she was and where she had come from. "Do you know the Common Tongue?" she looked up at him.
He circled around to her front, pulling the pin from her dress and letting it fall to the stone they stood on. "No," he said again.
"Is "no" the only word that you know?" she asked.
"No," he continued to circle her, and she heard the clang of metal hitting the stone, and he reached underneath her hair and completely untied her dress. It fell to her waist, and she lifted her arms, trying to at least maintain a shred of dignity. He gripped her arms, his touch firm but not so much that it hurt, and lowered them to her side. He felt along her jawline, his hand cupping beneath it, then running down her side, brushing her breast. He pushed on her back, and she lowered herself to the ground, sobbing.
When she felt him inside of her, she couldn't quiet her sobbing. It was painful and it was humiliating and she just wanted it to be over.