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"It was only a matter of time, Your Grace. Conquerors always meet with resistance."
Barristan Selmy to Daenerys Targaryen[src]

The Uprising in Meereen was a conflict in Meereen between Queen Daenerys Targaryen and the Sons of the Harpy, former Masters who want to overthrow her rule for abolishing slavery.



First attacks

The Unsullied pull down the golden harpy atop the Great Pyramid of Meereen. Having completed the task, a soldier named White Rat heads to a brothel where he pays a woman to simply hold him. As he relaxes, an assassin wearing a harpy mask sneaks in and slits his throat. When she learns of White Rat's death, Queen Daenerys commands he receive a public burial and that his murderers be held accountable.

The Uprising

After the Riot of Meereen, Hizdahr zo Loraq is once again persuading Daenerys to open the fighting pits. Seeing that Dany is becoming more vulnerable, The Sons of the Harpy stage attacks all across Meereen. Several Second Sons were flirting with a Meereenese prostitute, who is secretly in league with the Sons of the Harpy, were then ambushed by The Harpies. A group of Unsullied, led by Grey Worm, respond but are trapped and ambushed in a passageway. Ser Barristan sees the panicked masses evacuating the area and runs into the fighting. He kills several men but ultimately falls. Grey Worm, injured and bleeding, falls on the ground beside him. Although Grey Worm survives, he is severely injured and in bed rest being taken care by Missandei, while Barristan's death leaves Daenerys both devastated and furious.

Attack at Daznak's Pit

Following the reopening of the fighting pits, Queen Daenerys attends the main matchups in Daznak's Pit, protected by only a small company of Unsullied. After watching the first battle end in a beheading, Daenerys is shocked to once again see Jorah Mormont, who has decided to risk his life to fight in front of her one last time. Jorah is badly wounded during the battle, but manages to win, defeating the Meereenese champion last, much to the displeasure of the crowd. Shortly after this moment, Jorah notices a Son of the Harpy attempting to sneak up on Daenerys from behind, and throws his spear, killing the Son. The Sons then begin to reveal themselves and block the entrances to the arena, leaving Daenerys trapped. The Sons kill many Masters, including Hizdahr zo Loraq and then proceed to encircle Daenerys and her Unsullied guards. Drogon, Daenerys' biggest dragon, returns and surprises the Sons of the Harpy, burning many of them alive and eating a couple before taking off with Daenerys. The rest of the Unsullied then force the Sons of the Harpy to scatter, but the city remains on the brink of civil war.

Following this, Dany's various advisers- Tyrion Lannister, Jorah Mormont, Missandei, Daario Naharis, and Grey Worm- regroup in the Great Pyramid to debate their options. They decide that Jorah and Daario should leave the city in search of Dany, while Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm will remain in Meereen and try to maintain order- aided by the newly-arrived Varys and his little birds.

Burning of Meereen's shipyards

Sometime after Jorah and Daario's departure of Meereen, Tyrion and Varys are inspecting the city of Meereen when they discover the shipyards of the city have been burned.

Internal peace restored

Upon discovering that Astapor, Yunkai, and Volantis are financing the Sons of the Harpy, Tyrion invites the Masters to Meereen to forge peace. Tyrion urges the Masters to cut their financing for the Sons and gives them a seven-years term to abolish slavery in their cities and replace it with a new system, with the condition that slavery is not re-enforced in Meereen. The Masters agree with this terms, therefore forging a brief peace in Slaver's Bay, as the Sons of the Harpy's activity is reduced to null.


Despite making a deal with Meereen, the Masters of Astapor and Yunkai send a fleet to attack the city, starting the Second Siege of Meereen.

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the armed resistance of the Sons of the Harpy is referred to as "the shadow war" because the attacks of the Sons are mostly carried out at night. At first, they have limited their attacks to unarmed freedmen. As they have grown bold, they moved to kill Daenerys's soldiers, among them Stalwart Shield and Mossador.

Daenerys suspects that the noble houses of Meereen are the ones who send the Sons of the Harpy to terrorize her loyalists and weaken her reign, but there is no evidence against them. Daenerys takes several steps to fight back:

  • She forms an army of watchmen called "The Brazen Beasts" wear brass masks in the shape of different animals to protect the member's identity from attacks by the Sons of the Harpy.
  • She takes a child hostage from each of the Meereenese noble families.
  • She collects a "blood tax" - a hundred pieces of gold from every noble house for each freedman that the Harpy’s Sons have slain.
  • She offers a generous reward to whoever provides information about the Sons of the Harpy - one hundred Gold Honors, later increases it to one thousand honors.
  • The Brazen Beasts have taken dozens of the Harpy’s Sons, and those who have survived their capture have yielded names when questioned sharply, but the identity of their leader (known as "the Harpy") remains unknown.

Unfortunately, none of the above stops the murderers, or even slows them down. Daenerys makes an offer to Hizdahr: if he manages to stop the murders for ninety days, she will marry him. He does for twenty-six days, then Daenerys marries him.

The Sons of the Harpy do not attack Daenerys openly at Daznak's Pit as happened on the show. Instead, she is offered by Hizdahr poisoned honeyed locusts, luckily she refuses to eat them. It is strongly suspected that the Sons of the Harpy are behind this failed assassination and that Hizdahr collaborates with them, but it is not confirmed. Ser Barristan Selmy is convinced that Hizdahr is the "Harpy", and has him arrested. However there are other signs that indicate that some of Meereen's freedmen may have been responsible: Daenerys had just given large concessions to both the Yunkai'i and the former slave-masters in Meereen in a tentative peace agreement - the realization that Daenerys wasn't going to simply massacre all of the former slave-masters may have encouraged some freedmen to force her hand by framing the slave-masters for an assassination attempt.

Following Hizdahr's arrest the Sons of the Harpy renew their shadow war, though they still do not act openly, but they do claim many more victims than before. Ser Barristan and Daenerys's other loyalists, who rule Meereen is her absence, cannot deal with the Sons of the Harpy because there are much more urgent matters to take care of, as Yunkai is leading a new alliance of slaver-powers to besiege the city.