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Let's catch up with our dear Dany girl, shall we? To date, she has fled her homeland, married Khal Drogo, almost been assassinated, watched her abusive brother be viciously murdered by her husband, miscarried her first son, had to euthanize her husband, and brought the dragon species out of extinction. And she's only fifteen years old. Wow. When we were fifteen, the worst we'd gone through was an embarrassing MySpace account.
While Dany is a mature fifteen-year-old, she's still a young woman, and with all she's been through, she is a little lost as to what to do next.
After hatching her dragon eggs, Dany adopts the creatures as her new family—in fact, she starts calling herself the Mother of Dragons. And she's not just grabbing a fancy title here. She really does look at the dragons as her children.
The names she gives the dragons also signal how she views the relationship. As she tells Aggo: "I would name them all for those the gods have taken. The green one shall be Rhaegal, for my valiant brother who died on the green banks of the Trident. The cream-and-gold I call Viserion. Viserys was cruel and weak and frightened, yet he was my brother still" (13.Daenerys.24). She names the black one Drogon after her late husband Khal Drogo.
In naming the dragons after her deceased family, we see they hold more value to Daenerys than just as weapons to take back the Seven Kingdoms or novelties to gain esteem—they have become her surrogate family, meaning they give her strength and support her emotionally. And one day, they will give her strength and support with their fiery breath, but they have some growing up to do first.
In many ways, Dany and Jon Snow's stories complement each other (so be sure to read up on Jon elsewhere in this section). Both take place away from the major events in the Seven Kingdoms, and both are coming-of-age tales about finding your place in the world. Dany spends most of this novel in the city of Qarth, trying unsuccessfully to convince the Qartheens to support her conquest of the Seven Kingdoms.
The Qartheens are famous of their ability to trade. They won't give something for nothing, and everybody is eyeing her dragons. Xaro wants her to marry him, so he can claim the dragons; Pyat and the Undead want her dragons for their magical property; and the Pureborn are amused by Dany's one-of-a-kind pets (41.Daenerys.3).
Unwilling to trade her dragons, Dany goes around Qarth "garbed in the Qartheen fashion" (41.Daenerys.4) to impress the Pureborn. She begs Xaro to lend her his ships several times, and she enters the House of the Undying only to find more questions and discover the Undying pine for her lifeforce. And she might have given it, too, had Drogon not gone all firestarter on them (49.Daenerys.77).
In the end, Dany decides it will be best if she is just herself and finds her own way rather than relying on the help of others. She returns to dressing as a Dothraki and riding a horse because when "she [rides] she felt as though she was getting somewhere" (64.Daenerys.6). And as soon as she decides to do this, a couple guys named Whitebeard and Strong Belwas show up with ships to aid her in returning to Westeros. Isn't that convenient?
Now that she's decided to be queen when she grows up, Dany spends some time considering what kind of queen she wants to be. When crossing the Red Waste, she sees her people become weak and she thinks to herself, "I must be their strength. I must show no fear, no weakness, no doubt. However frightened my heart" (13.Daenerys.12). Remember: She's only fifteen.
Later in the novel, when Dany considers attacking King's Landing, she decides that she does not want to take the city in the Dothraki fashion, what with all that looting and plundering and burning. Instead, she imagines her kingdom as a beautiful place filled "with fat men and pretty maids and laughing children. I want my people to smile when they see me ride by, the way Viserys said they smiled for my father" (28.Daenerys.37). Fun fact: Her dad was the Mad King, and he was called such for a reason. Still, Dany's heart's in a good place it seems.
It's interesting to compare Dany's fantasy to the reality of King's Landing's current Queen Regent, Cersei. Cersei cares not a bit for the smallfolk's lives and discomforts, and she willingly shows fear, especially when it comes to Joffrey, in front of anybody. Of course, Cersei also has to deal with reality. We'll have to wait to see if Dany makes her fantasy a reality, or falls prey to the same traps as Cersei.