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The Sons of the Harpy are a terrorist resistance group from A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, serving as minor antagonists in Daenerys Targaryen's storyline in A Dance With Dragons and the main antagonists of her storyline in Season 5.
They are minor antagonists of Daenerys' POV storyline in the 5th book, after the Wise Masters of Yunkai, Hizdahr zo Loraq, and Quentyn Martell. They are a group of Ghiscari from Meereen and Astapor who were originally the officers that command the Unsullied if the city is attacked. They are suspected of being noble Meereenese families who oppose Daenerys Targaryen and her occupation of their city, and wish to restore slavery in Meereen by removing Daenerys from rulership of the city. Their name refers to the Old Empire of Ghis, one of the oldest known nations and ancient cultures in the world.
Since Daenerys took Meereen, they started slaying Freedmen, Unsullied, and Shavepates. They mostly attack at night, and also attempt to poison Daenerys at some point. Their actions caused an insurrection at Meereen. Noble Meereen families who are main suspects of being Sons of the Harpy are Loraq, Zhak, Pahl, Quazzar, Uhlez, Ghazeen, Hazkar, Dhazzak, Yherizan and Merreq. They are indirect allies of Yunkai and the Slaver Alliance that includes Yunkai, Qarth, Volantis, and various sellsword companies. Their leader is still unkown, someone who's mostly referred as "the Harpy".
A Song of Ice and Fire
Among their victims are included Stalwart Shield (named White Rat in the TV series) and Mossador, one of Missandei's brothers (not to be confused with another character of the show with the same name). Daenerys first orders an investigation without getting any results. Her Dothraki attempt to subdue the city, while Ben Plumm and Daario Naharis are out to prepare for an attack from Yunkai and try to make alliances outside Slaver's Bay. Skahaz mo Kandaq the Shavepate urge Dany to punish the Great Masters and their families for the murders of the Sons of the Harpy, While the seneschal Reznak mo Reznak denies that the families are connected to the Sons. That same day a man meets the Ruling Council of Meereen with the burned dead body of a little girl. The dragon responsible of this, Drogon, has left the city and Daenerys is unable to use her other 2 dragons, Viserion and Rhaegal, against the Sons of the Harpy. She has them locked into what is eventually called the Dragon Pit.
The number of attacks and deaths in the night start to increase drastically and they manage to kill 9 fully-armed Unsullied in the streets of Meereen, but this time they also kill freedmen (former slaves). This time Dany allows the Shavepate to torture a wineseller and his daughter during the second investigation Dany orders the Unsullied to restrict themselves to patrolling the walls, and imposes a blood tax on the great families of Meereen to fund a new mixed force of freedmen and and shavepates to patrol the city streets under the control of Skahaz. The families of Zhak and Merreq are preparing to leave the city; the Queen orders that their wealth must remain behind, as well as some of their children in her custody.
The attacks of the Sons of the Harpy keep going while Dany refuses to listen to Hizdahr zo Loraq's advice to reopen the fighting pits of Meereen. The Queen receives a visit of Xaro Xhoan Daxos, one of the Thirteen of the commercial city of Qarth. Xaro warns Dany about the danger of the Sons of the Harpy and informs her that Pyat Pree and the rest of the warlocks lust for vengeance after the destruction of the House of the Undying and the deaths of the Undying Ones. Xaro tells Dany that her attempt to abolish slavery is not working and that Qarth is willing to trade in slaves with Meereen. He offers her 30 galleys is she leaves Essos for Westeros. Meanwhile Astapor is facing a siege from the army of Yunkai, but Daenerys refuses to leave Meereen to defend Astapor and leaves it on its own. She refuses Xaro's offer, who abandons his flattering tone and becomes hostile to her. He admits that he should have killed in Qarth and promises her that she will die screaming at the hands of the Masters, then he leaves Meereen for Qarth. The next day Qarth declares war.
The Green Grace Galazza Galare advises Daenerys to marry Hizdahr zo Loraq. The two don't love each other, but Hizdahr promises to put an end to the attacks of the Sons of the Harpy. The Hand of the Queen, Ser Barristan Selmy, disapproves of this. Daenerys has many children of the powerful families of Meereen taken to the Great Pyramid as well-treated hostages. The children are made cupbearers and continue their education. Daenerys eventually grows fond of them and doesn't allow the Shavepate to harm them to send a message, despite the murders from the Sons of the Harpy.
Dany's enemies have more ships in their fleets, while her Pentoshi admiral Groleo is unable to build new ships (she doesn't have a fleet anymore). Hizdahr manages to put an end to the attacks of the Sons of the Harpy, after visiting 11 pyramids of the noble families. After 26 days there are still no new attacks from the Sons, but this causes Dany and the Shavepate to suspect on Hizdahr, however this time Dany wants to leave him and the other masters alone, as she prefers this quiet over an open rebellion in the city. She also refuses to take hostages from the powerful families, not wanting to anger them.
Meanwhile, during these days, the city of Astapor faced a siege commanded by the Yunkish Wise Masters, determined to retake it from the freedmen. They are joined by the Windblown mercenary company from Volantis and by the mercenary Company of the Cat. Quentyn Martell and his companions join the Windblown. The situation in Astapor has been chaotic and Cleon the Butcher King was murdered by Cleon the Second, until he was murdered as well by King Cutthroat. The Yunkish devour the Astapori crops and slaughter their herds. Inside the Astapori starve, eating cats and rats and leather, with a horsehide considered a feast. The pyramid of Nakloz is despoiled and set aflame by those who claim that Kraznys mo Nakloz is to blame for all their woes. Others blame Daenerys but many still love her. There are rumors that King Cleon sent for Daenerys and she is coming. Every day the citizens tell each other that Daenerys is on her way, at the head of a great host, with food for all. There are other rumors that she has been seen mounted on a dragon flying high above the camps of the Yunkai’i. Every day the citizens look for her. Eventually the forces of the slaver alliance destroy the Unsullied host of Astapor at the gates. The Unsullied listened to a false vision of the Green Grace of Astapor and attacked their enemies. As a punishment, the survivors impale the Green Grace, leaving her to die, and after a feast they kill themselves with poison wine. Soon after the bloody flux (how dysentery is called in the ASOIAF universe) starts spreading in the city, then the legions of New Ghis, the Yunkai'i, and the sellswords sack the city. Soon there is nothing left in Astapor but corpses, with also the river full of bodies and a terrible smell in the streets. What Astapori that still survive creep out of their hidey-holes and pour out into the countryside, hundreds of them, maybe thousands, all starved and sick, many with the bloody flux. The Yunkai'i command the sellswords to hunt them down and turn them, driving them back to Astapor or north to Meereen to prevent the Astapori from going near the Yellow City. The burning Astapor is now dead and left in ruins. Quentyn reflects to himself that the sights he saw riding down the red brick streets of Astapor will haunt him forever and that Astapor was the closest thing to hell he ever hopes to know.
With the Sons of the Harpy gone quiet, Daenerys learns about the horrifying events of the Fall of Astapor from survivors. Many among the refugees have the bloody flux, so she refuses to let them in Meereen until the sickness passes. Refugees from Astapor are camped at the gates of Meereen and Dany refuses to unleash her dragons against the marching army of Yunkai and the slaver alliance. Brown Ben Plumm and his force of the Second Sons defect Daenerys to join with the slaver alliance.
The Sons of the Harpy are still quiet, while the army of Yunkai, with its Supreme Commander Yurkaz zo Yunzak, arrives at the gates of Meereen, massing more ships and building siege weapons; the Qarheen fleet and camel corps from Qarth, and forces from the island city of Elyria and the port city of Tolos are among them. Quentyn Martell and his friends and Westerosi sellswords of the Windblown meet the Queen at Meereen. Dany refuses Quentyn's proposal to marry him and make an alliance with Dorne against the Iron Throne, and instead marries Hizdahr zo Loraq in order to keep the Sons calm. Daenerys invites the Yunkish lords and their sellswords at her wedding feast. They make an exchange of hostages: Dany has nobles and commanders of the Yunkish forces gives them Hizdahr's sister, two of his cousins, Jhogo (named Rakharo in the show), admiral Groleo, Hero, and Daario Naharis. Daario is furious that Hizdahr is controlling Daenerys and even having sex with her.
At Daznak's Pit the Wise Masters, the Great Masters, the sellsword companies, and the rest of the citizens attend the fightings between mercenaries, free warriors, and slaves. It's in this day that the Sons of the Harpy decide it's time to help Yunkai by killing Daenerys Targaryen. They poison her food, a bowl of fried locusts, however Queensguard Strong Belwas, former slave of Illyrio Mopatis, eats them instead of Dany and feels sick. Hizdahr tried to convince Dany to eat the food, telling her the locusts are tasty. Dany watches the pit fighters from Essos and Westeros and wild animals killing each other. She's only amused when she sees a two slaves of the Yunkish Master Yezzan zo Qaggaz, a female dwarf (Penny) riding a dog, jousting with a male dwarf with the Lannister shield riding a pig. Daznak's Pit becomes full of blood and the Sons of the Harpy are unable to make another attempt at Daenerys' life when Drogon appears, his attention drawn by the blood and the screams. He joins the fighting and starts burning the pit fighters and the wild animals. The crowd goes in panic. Daenerys tries to stop the chaos by trying to tame Drogon with her whip. He allows her to mount him and flies away from Meereen. Without the queen, the city is under rule of Hizdahr zo Loraq, now King of Meereen.
Daenerys doesn't return at the besieged Meereen and many fear her dead. The Dothraki at Meereen search for her across the Worm River. Strong Belwas is still in mortal danger from the poisoned locusts of the Sons of the Harpy; the Blue Graces are taking care of him. The new ruler of Meereen, Hizdahr, makes his own new Ruling Council of Meereen, also removing Barristan Selmy from his duty as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Hizdahr receives the Yunkish lords, angered by Drogon's attack at Daznak's Pit, thinking it was a plot to defeat them; as a retaliation for the death of one of Daenerys' hostage Masters, Yurkhaz zo Yunzak, during Drogon's attack, they killed her admiral Groleo. Hizdahr slights the Unsullied and doesn't trust the Shavepates, so he takes pit fighters as body guards, as he discusses peace with the Yunkai'i. Barristan has gone under depression and Meereen is extremely quiet: the bloody flux started spreading in the city, as well in the Yunkish camps outside. Meanwhile, Volantis has dispatched its fleet and Hizdahr means to let them in Meereen.
Skahaz the Shavepate reveals to Ser Barristan that the Sons of the Harpy tried to kill Daenerys at Daznak's Pit. They both suspet that Hizdahr zo Loraq might be their leader, the so-called "Harpy". Barristan, the Shavepate, and Grey Worm conspire against Hizdahr, and plan to attack the unsuspecting Yunkai'i before the fleet from Volantis can arrive to take the city and enslave all Dany's people. If Hizdahr is found guilty, Barristan plans to kill him personally. The Shavepate also believes that the deaths of Yurkhaz and Groleo were all arranged by the Wise Masters to give Hizdahr a pretext to kill the dragons before the Volantene fleet arrives. Barristan wants to seize Hizdahr, order the Yunkai'i return their remaining hostages and withdraw their armies from Meereen.
That night in the Great Pyramid, Barristan questions Hizdahr about his role among the Sons of the Harpy and the attempted assassination of Daenerys, but Hizdahr denies anything. That same night, after the failed alliance with Daenerys, Quentyn Martell tries to tame and steal Viserion and Rhaegal from her, in order to bring them to Dorne. Prince Doran Martell is supporting the Golden Company, led by Jon Connington and the boy who calls himself Aegon Targaryen, currently conquering the stormlands in Westeros. A fight between the Windblown and the Brazen Beasts, a wacthmen group against the Sons of the Harpy, ensues in the Great Pyramid as Barristan is facing Hizdahr and four men are slain. Meanwhile Barristan fights against the pit fighter Khrazz and kills him. He seizes the begging Hizdahr and takes him to a cell, where he will remain until Daenerys returns. Meanwhile Quentyn failed at taming Viserion and Rhaegal, resulting with himself being burned alive as Pretty Meris and the rest of the Windblown fled. Viserion and Rhaegal are set free and the two furious dragons take their anger on the city, burning most of the place until they retire and make their lairs in the burned pyramids of Uhlez and Yherizan.
Quentyn Martell dies of his wounds three days later, while the rain prevented Meereen from burning entirely. The city is now ruled by the Hand of the Queen Barristan Selmy and his ruling council. Strong Belwas managed to survive the poisoned locusts of the Sons of the Harpy, though he's now a bit weaker. Quentyn's actions caused the anger of the people of Meereen and the Sons of the Harpy. An angry mob is gathered outside the pyramid demanding Hizdahr's release and that both dragons be destroyed, and since his arrest, the infuriated Sons of the Harpy have resumed their nightly murders with a vengeance; Barristan is shocked to learn they have killed 29 in the night, in contrast to nine the previous night and three the night before. However, despite Skahaz's insistence, Barristan still refuses to kill the hostages in retaliation. The Green Grace Galazza Galare tells the Yunkai'i refused to release the hostages, until the dragons are killed. With the promise of letting them in a ship back to Dorne, Ser Barristan sends Quentyn's Dornish friends, Gerris Drinkwater and Archibald Yronwood, back to the camps outside to their companions of the Windblown company, tell the Tattered Prince to free and protect the hostages of Yunkai, and in exchange he will have the Free City of Pentos, something that Daenerys refused as she feels she owes everything she has to Magister Illyrio Mopatis. With the city suffering the bloody flux and attacks of the Sons of the Harpy, the army of Yunkai starts a surprise attack against Meereen by throwing with their catapults dead bodies of victim of the bloody flux.
At the Dothraki Sea, Daenerys has started to show sign of the bloody flux, such as having diarrhea and feeling sick. Khal Jhaqo's khalasar finds her and Drogon before her Dothraki from Meereen.
The battle starts before dawn with the forces of Meereen led by Barristan to defend the city from the slaver alliance. The Brazen Beasts man the walls of the city in the absence of the Unsullied and the sellswords, defending the streets from the Sons of the Harpy. The forces of Yunkai have built six trebuchet catapults named "the Six Sisters". Ser Barristan and his men lead forces to destroy the six siege weapons defended by the Rhaezn brothers, the Girl General Malazza, Bloodbeard, and Gylo Rhegan. The Tattered Prince defects Yunkai for Daenerys and kills the Supreme Commander Gorzhak zo Eraz. Suddently the two armies are taken by surprise by a huge fleet with the banners of a Kraken. The Greyjoys join the siege; Victarion Greyjoy leads the Iron Fleet against the Qartheen fleet, with Viserion and Rhaegal flying around above them. He's been ordered by King Euron Greyjoy to bring Daenerys and her dragons to him. While the battle is infuriating, Tyrion Lannister, now free from slavery after Yezzan died of the bloody flux, is planning to take Casterly Rock for himself and convinces Brown Ben Plumm to fight again for Daenerys. Tyrion and Jorah joins with the Second Sons and prepare to defend Meereen in battle.
With the battle ensuing outside and Meereen almost completely destroyed and defended by a few men, the Sons of the Harpy might try to attack the Great Pyramid and take control of the city, as Barristan and his forces are outside fighting.
Game of Thrones
A member of the Sons of the Harpy slits the throat of White Rat, an Unsullied, when the latter approaches a prostitute and pays to be embraced by her. The assassin, who was in league with the prostitute, leaves his mask at the brothel as a revindication of the Sons' responsibility. The murderer is later caught by Daario Naharis, who finds him hiding in a wall. Daenerys pays heed to Ser Barristan Selmy's insistence that the man should have a trial for his crimes. However, Mossador believes the man does not deserve a fair trial, which leads him to finding his prison cell and killing him. Following a coordinated attack by the Sons of the Harpy, in which Ser Barristan is murdered and Commander Grey Worm is heavily injured, Daenerys decides to make peace with the Great Masters by reopening the fighting pits and arranging her own marriage to Hizdahr zo Loraq. As expected, the Sons of the Harpy stop their attacks following the betrothal, which leads Daario to suspect Hizdahr's involvement with the group.
However, at the reopening of the fighting pits in Daznak's Pit, the Sons mount a mass attack which kills Hizdahr zo Loraq as well as many Unsullied and Civilians. During the rebellion, Daenerys, Jorah, Daario, Missandei and Tyrion try to escape the assassins by crossing the fighting pit, surrounded by a small phalanx of Unsullied. In turn, the group is quickly surounded by more of the Sons, when suddenly Drogon intervenes, burning and crushing many of them. While the remainder of the Sons retreat, Daenerys flies off on the back of the dragon, leaving her advisors and allies in the centre of the pit. While Jorah and Daario track their Queen down, Tyrion is chosen to lead the city and deal with the Sons of the Harpy until Daenerys returns, as he is the only one with experience governing a city.
In the aftermath of Daenerys' disappearance, Tyrion and Varys learn that the Sons of the Harpy are funded by the masters of Yunkai, Astapor and Volantis. After Tyrion negotiates a fragile peace between the fractions, the Sons of the Harpy cease their attacks.
When the Masters lay siege to Meereen via sea and attack the city, the combined forces of the Sons of the Harpy lie in wait before the gates of the city. Once people start swarming out of the gates to escape the chaos in the city, the Sons of the Harpy attack and slaughter them. However, while they are murdering the refugees, Daario Naharis rides towards the city with a large horde of Dothraki in tow. The riders swarm over the Sons of the Harpy, routing them out of the city gates.