12

We know that Daenerys is against slavery, and she knows that Ser Jorah Mormont traded slaves:

"The Usurper wanted his head," Illyrio told them [Viserys and Daenerys]. "Some trifling affront. He sold some poachers to a Tyroshi slaver instead of giving them to the Night's Watch. Absurd law. A man should be able to do as he likes with his own chattel."

So, shouldn't she dislike him?

  • 4
    This seems like it's asking for opinions rather than a verifiably correct answer. – Mike Scott Feb 10 '14 at 7:53
  • She's swayed by his impressive swordfighting skills and even more impressive exposition skills. – Paul D. Waite Feb 10 '14 at 9:59
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    @MikeScott: I don't think so; at least no more than other questions about character motivation. – Paul D. Waite Feb 10 '14 at 10:00
  • It was a one-off doomed attempt to raise money to keep his wife Lynesse in the style she desired. It's not as if he were raiding villages and selling innocent people into slavery. The normal penalty for poaching was to lose a hand or take the Black in any case. – TheMathemagician Feb 11 '14 at 10:08
  • I could've sworn she said something negative to him about being involved in slavery in the show, but I don't even know where to start in looking for it. – DCShannon Jun 17 '16 at 21:55
11

Ser Jorah is not the only person in Daenerys' life who is involved in the slave trade. Just about all authority figures she knows are, such as Magister Illyrio, Khal Drogo (or any Dothraki), or Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Slavery is a common occurrence in Essos, though forbidden in many cities, such as Pentos and Braavos.

As I recall, Daenerys says something like that it was only in Astapor that her eyes were opened to the cruelty of slavery, and I think that she is not a fanatic about slavery to the point that she hates anyone ever involved in it. Also, Ser Jorah did what he did because of love (for his wife Lynesse), not because he was a slaver.

The question is valid, though, as one could easily make the argument that Daenerys had no problem with slavery until she had to pay for it. If she had, had the money, she might not have started the war or even spoken out against slavery. Where she is today is greatly due to necessity, rather than conviction.

Slavery is also a custom of Old Valyria, but not, it seems, a tradition the royal Targaryen family (who came from Valyria) upheld when they took Westeros. In that sense, I guess Daenerys is a true dragon, upholding her family legacy. But in a sense, Daenerys just jumped on a cause to get what she wanted, and now she finds that it is also a way to gain allies.

3

As far as I remember Jorah was almost like a parent to Daenerys'. He'd been with her from a very early age and she'd looked to him for support and advice since almost birth. Therefore, as a father figure she'd be more likely to overlook past transgressions, up to a point.

In a later book she does actually cast him out and he goes his own way although (depending on as yet unpublished books there's a possiblity that he'll be back to save her again.

  • 5
    Jorah hasn't been with Daenerys since her birth. They met at her wedding with Khal Drogo. – JAD Jun 1 '18 at 10:43
2

Releasing slaves and/or other captives is often done for political reasons, and has no bearing on the actual attitude towards slavery of the people involved.
For example, during the American civil war, the Confederacy freed slaves who wanted to sign up for the Confederate Army, after that war the Union ended slavery in the former Confederate states as punishment (slavery in the Union was not abandoned until quite a bit later). The people who made that decision to punish the Confederacy by freeing their slaves (and thus effectively crippling their economy which had relied on those slaves as a source of labour) were themselves slave owners who'd not free their own slaves.

It's furthermore quite possible to dislike someone's business without disliking the person. In fact it's quite common for for example business rivals to be on quite good speaking terms on a personal level.
So Daenerys might well be quite capable of placing her dislike for a slaver's business aside when dealing with him on a personal level.
And of course as a stateswoman she'd have to do the reverse as well. If the slaver is a potential political ally, being seen as being on friendly terms with him despite a dislike for his line of business would be politically astute. Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon no doubt despised the human rights situation in China, but that didn't stop them opening diplomatic relations with the country.

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    The problem with this is that Daenerys, while obviously at least somewhat adept at realpolitik, hates slavery. Most of her actions in Slaver's Bay are arguably detrimental to her endgame, but still she carries them out because she hates slavery and slavers. It's also made quite clear she doesn't release slaves out of political convenience, but because she believes in it, even when it is inconvenient. – Andres F. Feb 10 '14 at 18:09
  • 1
    She also told the Unsullied to kill everyone except for the innocent. So her actions don't make sense at all. – Ivo3185 Feb 10 '14 at 19:28
  • The Confederacy never freed slaves that fought for them. The original proposal wanted that, but the legislators did not approve of that. And none ever fought in that unit. – Oldcat Feb 10 '14 at 20:29
  • @Oldcat maybe not by law, but individuals were. Remember whether to free a slave or not was up to their owners, not the government. – jwenting Feb 11 '14 at 7:31

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