- "Oh, my name is quite long and quite impossible for foreigners to pronounce. I am simply a trader of spices."
- ―The Spice King to Daenerys Targaryen
The "Spice King" was a resident of the city of Qarth and a member of the Thirteen. He did not use his name when dealing with foreigners because it is difficult to pronounce. He was killed by Pyat Pree during a meeting with Daenerys Targaryen and Xaro Xhoan Daxos in the city of Qarth.
Daenerys Targaryen and her ragged khalasar reach the gates of Qarth. They are met by the Thirteen with a company of spearmen. The Spice King steps forward and she begins to introduce herself. He cuts her off to say that he knows who she is. She asks his name and he says that foreigners find it too difficult to pronounce. He says that he is simply a trader of spices and introduces the rest of his part as the Thirteen, the rulers “of the greatest city that ever was or will be.” Daenerys claims to have heard of the beauty of the city but mispronounces the name and is corrected by the merchant. He asks to see her dragons and she asks to be admitted first. He says that the more sceptical members of the Thirteen do not believe in the existence of the dragons. Daenerys says that she is not a liar. He unctuously claims to believe her but says that his opinion is of little value. Daenerys says that guests are afforded respect where she comes from. He suggests that she return to where she has come from and turns away. Daenerys steps forward and reminds them of their promise to receive her. He says that they have received her already. She says that they will die if refused entry and he claims that they will regret her death but that Qarth did not achieve greatness by allowing Dothraki savages through its gates.
The Thirteen turn back to their city. Ser Jorah warns Daenerys to be careful. She steps forward and the spearmen present their arms. She calls to the Thirteen and they turn back to her. She says that when her dragons are grown they will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground and threatens to burn them first if they are turned away. The spice merchant says that she is a true Targaryen. Xaro Xhoan Daxos says that it is unbecoming for them to fear a little girl. He says that they can let a few Dothraki through the gates without endangering the city and points out that he arrived in Qarth as a savage from the summer isles. He invokes a custom called Sumai to vouch for them and allow them entry to the city. The gates are opened and Daenerys leads her people into the city with Xaro at her side.
Daenerys paces in a courtyard of the Spice King’s mansion. The Spice King descends the stairs and loudly greets Daenerys as the mother of dragons. He asks for forgiveness, blaming his terrible dreams for his lateness. He says that he could not sleep until the sun was shining and the birds were singing. He says that he can see Daenerys true beauty now that the Red Waste has been washed from her and flippantly apologizes for his behavior at the gates of Qarth. He goes on to say that she has the silver hair of a true Targaryen. He then tells Xaro that Daenerys is too lovely for him because he is a glorified dock worker. Xaro agrees and then points out that the Spice King’s grandfather was a lowly pepper salesman and married far above his status. The Spice King says that every lady alive was lovelier and higher born than his grandfather. His entourage laugh at the exchange and Daenerys clears her throat to regain her host’s attention. The Spice King wonders if his servants failed to offer Daenerys refreshment and threatens to have them flogged.
Daenerys thanks him for being a gracious host and directs the discussion to her purpose by saying that there is no servant alive who can bring her what she wants. The Spice King says that Daenerys has a talent for drama and asks what she wants, calling her a "Little Princess." She says that she wants her birthright, the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The Spice King says that he is no better than a servant in that case because he cannot give her what he does not have. She elucidates that she wants the use of his ships to reach Westeros. He sarcastically says that he needs his ships to move spices from port to port. Daenerys offers to triple any investment he makes in her retaking the Iron Throne. He objects to her saying retake because she has not sat the throne before. She counters that she did not come to argue grammar. He says that she has come to take his ships and offers to explain his position, again calling her "Little Princess." He says that he applies logic to his business investments and sees her as a poor proposition because she lacks an army or support in Westeros. Daenerys insists that the people will rise to fight for their rightful queen. He counters that he will not make an investment based on wishes and dreams. He asks her to excuse him but she halts him by asking if he knows Illyrio Mopatis, the Magister of Pentos. The Spice King says that Illyrio is a shrewd man. Daenerys tells him that Illyrio gave her the dragon eggs that she hatched by walking into a fire, based on her dreams. She says that she is no ordinary woman because her dreams come true. He says that he admires her passion but trusts in logic. He dismisses her as a little princess and she asserts her heritage and vows to take what is hers. He says that she might but not with his ships.
When Daenerys's dragons are stolen, Xaro calls a meeting of the Thirteen at his home. The Spice King takes umbrage with Daenerys, claiming that she called him a thief. He states "Your dragons will bring the world nothing but death and misery", and says that he would not tell her if he knew where they were. Pyat Pree reveals that he has taken the dragons to the House of the Undying and claims to be working with the King of Qarth. Xaro reveals that he is Pree's collaborator. The Spice King mocks Xaro for thinking he can proclaim himself king with the aid of three cat sized dragons and a charlatan, Xaro counters that empires have been made with less. Pyat uses his magic to kill the Spice King and the other ten of the thirteen.
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What Is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, there is no character specifically called "the Spice King". However, there is an "Ancient Guild of Spicers" in the city of Qarth. This guild is a powerful faction and power-broker in Qarth. Politically, it vies with the Tourmaline Brotherhood and the Thirteen for dominance in the city, as well the city's nobility, the Pureborn, and the Undying Ones, the elite among the Qarth warlocks. The Spicers own between 1,200 and 1,300 ships. Thus it seems plausible to assume the "Spice King" in the TV series is a composite character based on "Ancient Guild of Spicers".
After the destruction of the House of the Undying, the Guild called openly for the death of Daenerys.
- The Ancient Guild of Spicers at A Wiki of Ice and Fire (major spoilers from the books)