In Game of Thrones S05E09, we see the Sons of the Harpy attack Daenerys and her council. Few questions regarding the inconsistencies in that scene.

  1. Wouldn't someone notice a member of the Sons of The Harpy running forward to stab Dany?!

    Got the following image from Reddit. Source


  2. Where were they hiding? Do they just stand up from the crowd, put on their masks and start fighting?

    Hiding in plain sightHiding in plain sight

  3. Why don't they throw their knifes at Dany? Wasn't she in close range?

  4. Do the Sons include former slaves as well? (we see quite a few who are shirtless)

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  5. Also couldn't they have attacked Dany in the lesser pit (shown in S05E07) when she had fewer guards?

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    The attacker wasn't noticed, because he chose a perfect moment - every spectator was looking at Jorah. That's why only Jorah himself was able to spot the attacker. Jun 9, 2015 at 11:19
  • 6
    Very unimpressive guards, indeed! Guards shouldn't be spectators; could you imagine the US Secret Service's efficacy paying more attention to the event than the potential threats?
    – hexparrot
    Jun 9, 2015 at 15:53
  • 1
    @hexparrot I admit, I completely didn't think about guards that indeed shouldn't be spectating, but, well, guarding. I cannot think about a good explanation for this part, other than them being really bad in their job. Jun 10, 2015 at 11:30
  • #3 really bugged me.. they had javelins and were skilled enough with them to hit the dragon in the neck several times, how come they didn't even try throwing one at Dany? Granted, the unsullied had shields around her, but not that many... and there's really no reason why they should have stopped throwing spears while she climbed on the dragon's back. We can't even use the excuse "they're pampered slave-owners not fighters" since we've seen them fight unsullied successfully Jun 10, 2015 at 22:01
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    @RowanFreeman They're also supposed to be unmatched in their discipline! Even a amateur guard should be able to identify a member of the crowd approaching the queen, reaching even melee range...
    – hexparrot
    Jun 16, 2015 at 2:50

3 Answers 3


Wouldn't someone notice a member of the Sons of The Harpy running forward to stab Dany?

On the one hand people (or at least the important ones, i.e. Dany's few Unsullied guards) didn't notice the first assassin first and foremost because his attack came pretty suprisingly. He waited in the whole crowd for the right moment, when everyone was captivated by the pit fight and approached her from the back, as Hegemon elaborates in his comment. And the few audience member noticing him might either not have cared, be surprised too, or just not have dared to say anything (i.e. next answer).

Where were they hiding? Do they just stand up from the crowd, put on their masks and start fighting?

Indeed they do. Now first of all you have to consider that the larger population seems to be at best rather indifferent to the deeds of the Sons of the Harpy and if a bunch of people next to you suddently rise and put on those masks, you're not gonna cry out "Hey unknown queen, watch out!". Those people that did care for Daenerys were likely suprised and intimidated by their sudden uprisal.

Add to this, that the masks aren't only for diguise but also for identification among the rebels and as a symbolic gesture. It doesn't really matter so much if your seat neighbour recognizes your face before you put on the mask, he won't run to the courts with that information, especially not when you succeed in killing the queen and reinstantiating the old order and don't have much hesitation to murder any non-Harpy audience members anyway.

Why don't they throw their knifes at Dany? Wasn't she in close range?

Well, granted, that might not have been such a bad idea. But well, they just didn't do it. Other than that wasn't what happened since we don't want a dead Daenerys I don't have a much better answer either.

Do the Sons include former slaves as well? (we see quite a few who are shirtless)

Now on the one hand that may simply have been disguise by the rich people in order to better scatter through all the audience. And on the other hand you also have consider the factor that likely not all the former slaves were entirely on Dany's side, however unusual that may sound. You have to understand that those people grew up as slaves all their lives and in physical as well as psychological dependence on their masters and their status as slaves. Not everyone might be happy about being freed, since apart from the lack of freedom and the possibly harsh treatment as slaves they also had economical security and somewhat kind of a family. So I don't have doubt that some of the less strong-willed former slaves might even support their former masters in reacquiring the status quo.

Also couldn't they have attacked Dany in the lesser pit (shown in S05E07) when she had fewer guards?

In the lesser pit in S05E07 there weren't any people other than Dany and some select few from her staff at all. It was a "private session" that wasn't even in the city of Meereen but somewhere in the outskirts without a whole large crowd to hide under and to fight for the Sons of the Harpy.

  • 6
    More to your point on the fourth item, about slaves being dependent on their masters, there was a scene in either season 3 or 4 where an old man approaches Daenerys and requests to go back to serving his former master, specifically to help raise his children, whom he'd grown very fond of if I'm not mistaken. Dany refused initially, but he made the point that he'd been a slave all his life and was an old man, therefore the changes she was bringing wouldn't have much impact on his life, and the younger slaves had taken it upon themselves to beat up the older ones in a show of power.
    – MattD
    Jun 9, 2015 at 13:34
  • I've tried throwing knives. It's not as easy as they make it look on TV or in movies. How does one throw a blade that's tumbling/rolling so it just happens that the point is facing the target just as it arrives? "with great difficulty" would be the answer to that, from someone who has seen many blades cast hit the target and harmlessly fall to the ground. Jul 30, 2018 at 22:12

In real life there was always a division between House & Field Slaves. Many house slaves revelled in their small power over field slaves and their better conditions and would narc on any upstarts in the field ...also some field slaves with hopes of becoming of the house would rat out other field slaves too. Coupled with this is the fact that not all slave owners were arseholes to their slaves. Not all relationships between slave and master were horrible & violent. Some owners respected their slaves and some slaves loved their owners. Also there is a lot of evidence to show that a bunch of the SoH were hired mercenaries. Standardisation of gear and their co-rdinated actions indicate military organisation & intelligence-gathering. Many of the Masters young men too were trained for combat & as officers to command their slave forces. They would also have had an intelligence organisation to keep an eye & ear on the slaves to sabotage/prevent any uprising/revolt. Many slaves would already be under it's thumb. A good threat always works well. "Keep on helping us or we'll let all your ex-slave neighbours know you were a collaborator" ...or "Help us or we'll kill your children/family" or just simple bribery "You have no gold or house, help us & we will provide for you".


A nice and complete answer from @Napoleon Wilson. To add to your third point (regarding knife-throwing,) there is no way to know if the average SoH rebel is an experienced knife-thrower, especially when considering the backgrounds of the group's members. We're looking at former slaves or members of great houses of Meereen, none of whom would possess a great need or aptitude for knife-throwing (which is much harder than throwing a baseball.)

Also, their weapons appear to be more dagger-like than knife-like, meaning that the pommel-to-blade weight ratio may not even favor a thrown attack.

Finally, and perhaps most obviously, the daggers wielded by SoH served as protection against the Unsullied, as the Unsullied are unused to fighting in such tight circumstances against smaller, individual weapons. Throwing your knife away would effectively throw away your only defense against trained soldiers.

**bonus reason! maybe the SoHs didn't thinking throwing the daggers would be necessary, as prior to Drogon's appearance, the situation seemed pretty hopeless for Dany and company.

  • Although very thoroughly you only answered point 3, that's why I would see it more like a comment than an answer. I understand that the character limit for comments is too low, but still it's not a proper answer. Jul 8, 2015 at 18:49
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    This could be rephrased to be a proper answer. There's no reason why you cannot repeat similar answers to the other points and make your own enchancements. Otherwise this will likely be converted to a comment!
    – iandotkelly
    Jul 8, 2015 at 19:28
  • Thank you @Hegemon; I believe you are right. If I'm being honest, I just started on this SE today and do not have the reputation score required to comment. And thank you @iandotkelly for the support - it's nice to be a part of a supportive community! Jul 8, 2015 at 20:03

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