4 Problems With Living in the 'Game of Thrones' Universe
There is one man who has been traveling throughout all of the nine kingdoms over the course of his life. Many settle down, whether to work in Winterfell or guard the Wall, but one man lived the life of a wanderer, the life of a nomad. This was perhaps due to his restless spirit, or perhaps due to his thirst for adventure and new challenges. It's also very likely, however, that he was routinely kicked out of wherever he ended up, due to the wretched stench that followed him wherever he went, his near-constant spitting and a demeanor that Lady Lysa Arryn once described as "The most appalling thing I've ever seen, and I'm a woman who still breast-feeds her 12-year-old son." Whatever the reason, the man known as Sir Danyul, Screamer of Filth and Puncher of Cats, never really found a home.
Here is the account of his brief time spent in the Game of Thrones universe, and all that he learned while there.
It's Impossible to Keep Track of Almost Any of You
For the first time in decades, almost everyone in all of the nine kingdoms had gathered together at the Wall. Sir Danyul, Singer of Songs and Eater of Drugs, had astonishingly convinced everyone to be in one place at one time to settle, once and for all, what he found to be one of the greatest difficulties of his time.
"Thanks for coming, everyone. I know a lot of you traveled very far distances to be here, and I really appreciate it."
"What's this all about?" cried one of the old, barrel-chested, white-bearded men of which there are about a dozen or so throughout the entirety of the series. He was hardened and outspoken, much, in fact, like all of the other ones. "I've got hunks of non-specific meat to chomp on and large brass steins of some kind of ale to gulp. Make this quick!"
"You're part of this problem," Danyul said to the broad, white-haired lifetime soldier who may or may not have been a bad guy, "but you're sort of a minor character, so I don't really feel bad for not being able to keep tabs on you. Still, though, it's very confusing. Are you Jon, the soldier who pals around with the shaggy-haired Stark kid in battle, or Jeor, the soldier who pals around with the other shaggy-haired Stark kid at the Wall?"
"What do you mean, 'keep tabs'?" barked one of the other large, outspoken soldiers. Or it might have been the original outspoken old soldier, Danyul couldn't really tell. One of them was Jon and one of them was Jeor, but he'd go to his smelly grave not knowing.
They're so similar that if you Google "Jon Umber," Jon and Jeor both come up. Even the Internet can't tell them apart.
"Just, in general," Danyul said. "I'm having just a bitch of a time figuring out which one of you is which."
"What does that mean?" called one of three messy-haired white guys from House Stark who were all introduced at the same time, so who could even keep track?
"We're all very different," they shouted in unison.
"This is what I'm talking about. It's really hard tell you guys apart. Only one of you is an actual, full-blooded Stark, right?"
"Aye, that's me," Robb said, stepping forward. Danyul made a mental note to call that one "Humperdink," because he looked like something out of The Princess Bride.
"Great. How about the other two? What are your stories?"
"I'm a bastard," pouted Jon, while looking sad and whiny. "I'm Ned's son from another woman, so I'm only 'kind of' part of the family. Ned Stark raised me." He pouted some more.
"And I'm also not part of the family, but I kind of am. Ned Stark raised me," the third one said. He also looked like something out of The Princess Bride, so Danyul made a mental note to call him "Humperdink II: Humplectric Dinkaloo."
"Right," Danyul said, "and that's my problem as a ... let's say a 'viewer' of this world. I mean, right here, we've got three 20-somethings who all hang out and look kind of the same and have the same mannerisms and--"
"I'm actually supposed to be 14," said Jon, the moodiest of the bunch.
"Bull. The Fuck. Shit you are."
"Let's move on," Danyul said, as he instructed three sword-wielding, armor-clad men to step forward. "You three. Please explain why you're different."
"I am Jorah. I'm the very dedicated and dependable bearded guy who has been hanging around one of the major characters, working as a badass and bodyguard."
"And I, meanwhile, am Jory, the very dedicated and dependable bearded guy who has been hanging around one of the other major characters, working as a badass and bodyguard."
"Finally, I'm Bronn, the very dedicated and dependable bearded guy who has been hanging around one of the other major characters, working as a badass and bodyguard."
"Huh," Danyul said. "I can see why George R.R. Martin gets so much credit for creating tons and tons of interesting, diverse characters."
One of You Won't Stop Talking About Being a Eunuch
When the (unprecedented) gathering of similarly designed caricatures hadn't gone as planned, Danyul, Son of Rage and Farts, was forced away from the Wall, and he found a temporary home in Casterly Rock, where he wandered about, picking pockets or scamming the rich townsfolk out of their money in other ways. It was during one of his mid-afternoon cons that he ran into Lord Varys. The eunuch.
Lord Varys, sometimes known as "The Spider," or "The Master of Whispers," or "The Needlessly Creepy Bald Guy," approached. He always spoke quietly to, as he so claimed, avoid being overheard, though it was secretly suspected in all of the nine kingdoms that he only did so to have an excuse to get really close to whoever he was talking to. Like, he gets right up on you. Whispers in your ear, you can feel his tongue flicking your earlobe occasionally. "Sorry for licking your 'lobe" he once said to Ned Stark after a particularly close whisper. Ned almost took his head off that day.
Varys carried a torch, and the fire itself seemed to try to keep its distance from the general air of discomfort that he puts out into the world. Surely the shadows were playing tricks on me (the omnipotent, narrative eye of this world), because it looked like he was leaving a trail of slime in his wake. If there was anyone that made people more uncomfortable than Danyul, it was Varys.
"Good Sir Danyul," he said in a low whisper that was heavy with spit, and chunks of things, "have you a moment or two to ssssspare? For the Ssssspider?"
"Not, uh, not really, man. I've got-- There's a whole, like, a ton of ... things I should be doing, right now. If you give me just a second I'm sure I can think of ... a single task." Come on, Danyul. "Ravens? I have to do something with the ravens? Shoot them, or train them, or tie messages around their legs and assume they know where I want them to fly. Something."
"This will take but a moment of your time, your grace. I just have a brief ssstory."
"Please don't let it be about your balls."
"You know, I was a boy, once, before they took a hot knife to my scrotum to remove my balls--"
"I just knew it."
"It cauterized almost immediately, you know."
"I didn't know. Of course I didn't know. I spent my whole life trying not to know that. I was pitching a perfect game of not knowing the specifics of what happens during castration, until just this moment."
"They removed my balls."
"Well, that, yes, you've brought up lots of times. That I knew."
"And immediately, my skin cauterized. Something about the soft flesh of scrotal meat--"
"Makes it very conducive to abrupt cauterization. Funny, really."
"Anyway, what did you want to talk about, Sir Danyul? The stank of sizzled scrotal juice?"
"First of all, of course not," Danyul replied. "Also: What? You came to see me. Didn't you have something to talk about?"
"Oh, right, the queen and her piece-of-shit son are going to try to murder you."
"Ah. Is it because I threw the Lannister dwarf in a tree and convinced the local children he was a pinata?"
"I haven't checked on the specifics, but probably."
The Blonde Woman Who Leads the Badass Dothraki Is Boring and Terrible
Danyul fled to the wandering tribe of strong, terrifying Dothraki horsemen. He needed to lay low for a while, and he got the distinct impression that, since the Dothraki still didn't have armor or medicine or pants, they probably weren't up on the latest news (re: Danyul's many acts of high treason and illicit fornication).
"Y'all seem like an absolutely wonderful tribe of horrifying rage-monsters, I love it. And you -- skinny blonde woman -- are you their queen? That seems pretty out of place. I feel like you can't really lead these people."
"I can," Daenerys Targaryen, queen of the Dothraki, said, "and I will!"
"Is that how you're gonna deliver that line?" Danyul said quietly to no one in particular. Bad enough that it was an overused line, but now it was saddled with the performance of a high school theater actress in an unconvincing blond wig. If something interesting didn't happen soon, Danyul was liable to abandon the Dothraki and--
SUDDENLY, the leader of the Dothraki TOTALLY RIPPED SOME OTHER DUDE'S THROAT OUT. For the entirety of the series, Khal Drogo, the king, carried himself like a man who could at any moment rip out the throat of another dude so convincingly that Danyul was frustrated every second that he didn't do just that. When he finally DID rip that dude's throat out, Danyul wept with joy. Then Khal Drogo died (having done the thing he was put on this earth to do). And there went the only interesting thing about the Dothraki tribe.
"I'm in charge now. I will lead the Dothraki," the local theater actress playing Daenerys said unconvincingly. Danyul, knowing that leaving the Dothraki meant certain death at the hands of the king, decided to take his chances and bailed.
It's Not Just Me, Right? We HAVE to Kill the Little Blond Kid, Right?
His work with the savage Dothraki tribe complete, Sir Danyul, Screamer of Filth, Toucher of Butts, traveled onward to King's Landing, whereupon he met the newly crowned king, Joffrey Baratheon, son of Robert. Joffrey wore the crown unconvincingly; the crown only highlighted how out-of-place it was atop Joffrey's golden head, like a soldier wearing the tails and accoutrement of a nobleman, or like when a dog wears sunglasses. Despite the alien nature of the crown, he smirked the smirk of one intoxicated by his own power. Also he looked like this.
People came from all over the world to pay their respects to the new boy king. There were lines of peasants offering gifts, wise men offering advice and soldiers offering their swords. Danyul sat in the back with Hordor (his closest and only friend) and a few other random townsfolk: Jorg, who was a merchant; Rolph, son of Dagar, who was a former knight; and Mertha, who did something with dogs (no one was really sure).
"Quite a large turnout," Rolph said, clutching his gift (a rare dagger he'd acquired in the previous war).
"Indeed," agreed Jorg. "We've come out in droves to honor our new, brave king."
"Hey," Danyul said.
"I do hope this king is a merciful king."
"Yes, merciful and fair, not unlike his father."
The gentlemen tried to politely ignore Danyul, but he was from somewhere between the Wall to the North and all of those hoards of zombies and mutants, where grace and social etiquette are not only not taught but actively frowned upon.
"Hey, you guys, it's me, Danyul."
"I'm sure whatever way our king decides to rule will be the right way," Mertha offered, in an attempt to block Danyul's conversational stampede.
"We totally have to kill that kid, you guys."
There was a long silence.
"It's me, Danyul."
"We know who you are," Rolph said in a hasty whisper, "stop introducing yourself. What you speak of is treason."
"Right, and I'm WAY against treason. You're not going to find a dude more against treason than me. Ask anyone 'Who hates treason?' and they'll tell you: this guy." Danyul punctuated that last point by using both of his thumbs to indicate himself.
"Then why would you suggest regicide?"
"Well, I'm against treason, and I'm also against judging a book by its cover, and I'm ALSO against murdering children ... but seriously, look at that fucking kid. Again, I'm not an advocate of harming children, but if there's any kid in the world who, at face value, was clearly evil, it's that kid, right there. Lord Children of the Corn, His Holiness of the Aryan Brotherhood, or whatever."
"You only say that because he had the good Ned Stark executed," Mertha said.
"He did that? This is the first I've heard of it. I actually don't know anything about this kid, I just ... I mean, look at him. He sucks. And he's objectively evil-looking. If I had to design someone to be the embodiment of slimy evil, he's the guy I'd design. He looks like if vanity, smugness and blond hair had a baby. He's what entitled douchebags bow and pray to at dawn. At all times he looks like he just can't wait to go home and smell his own poop. Slimy, slimy little twerp, I hate him."
"Sssssurely he doesn't have the market cornered on sssslime, does he?" asked Varys from the shadows.
"Oh, Christ, seriously screw you, Varys."
For more from Dan, check out My Brief Time as a Student at Hogwarts and If 'Twilight' Was About Dragons (And Contained More Fisting).