Dany's Visions in the House of the Undying 1
First, whenever fantasy involves visions or prophecies they don't just show random events or things just to make the author look clever. They are intended to convey important information for the story, usually involving critical events and decisions the characters must make. Second, despite what people say, GRR Martin is not as unconventional as claimed.
In fact, he is in keeping with most traditional, pre-Hollywood fantasy. Our way of looking at fantasy today has been strongly influenced by the way Disney and Hollywood have shaped it over the past hundred years. ie: for children. This is most definitely not how fantasy used to be. In fact, if you study Beowulf or the Arthurian sagas they are packed with adult content, including the willingness to kill off important characters. JRR Tolkien is actually the more unconventional regarding traditional fantasy format.
So what does this mean? You have to examine the visions more as if they were a puzzle and not as just a bunch of random pictures.
And there is most definitely a pattern to them.
3 linked groups: 3 fires, 3 mounts, 3 treasons
These are presented in the story like this:
…three heads has the dragon…
mother of dragons… child of storm…
three fires must you light… one for life and one for death and one to love…
three mounts must you ride… one to bed and one to dread and one to love…
three treasons will you know… once for blood and once for gold and once for love…
We must now parse out the pattern. What is most obvious is the tripartite form of each sentence - 3,3,3.
What this suggests is that these predictions involve three specific events. Although the temptation is to assume that each is related to its own, the fact that they are always presented in threes means that they are most likely all connected to the same three. An additional clue is the reference to the Dragon has Three Heads. In this context each 'head' represents a different event.
The next question we must ask is: which three goes with which event? Clearly the three within each group cannot all be the same event - three fires has three separate fires. That means one from each grouping must be connected with each event. Each event has one - 1 fire, 1 mount, 1 treason.
That now leads to this question - how do the fires, mounts, and treasons relate to each other? This requires some guesswork. It is reasonable to assume that the order in which they are presented is the grouping to which they belong. If we assume that 'mount' does not actually mean a literal mount, but Dany 'mounting' someone in a sexual sense than the mounts most likely refer to those men Dany will marry.
So how does each mount, treason, and fire relate to one another? Given that treason requires human intention, it stands to reason that each treason would involve a mount. Because treason is punished with death, and Dany is the Mother of Dragons, that means each treason will result in fire. The most likely format of each event is therefore - treason leads directly to the lighting of each fire and each fire involves burning, each mount. So this is how you might visualize it:
Treason → Fire (consuming Mount)
The three fires are the central events. Each event can be described as an important decision Dany has to make about her future. You might also notice each involves an important stage with her dragons. The decision and the dragons are also linked. If we infer that each mount represents Dany’s husbands than figuring out the three fires and by extension the three treasons becomes much easier.
The easiest vision of all is of course the first one: the funeral pyre of Drogo. The mount is therefore Drogo himself, a Mount to Bed. Naturally, the Treason for Blood is Mirri Maz Duur’s killing of Dany’s unborn son and Drogo. Mirri Maz Duur betrayed Dany which leads directly to Drogo’s funeral pyre, the Fire for Life. This of course resulted in the birthing of Dany’s dragons and Dany’s life choice of fleeing retirement in Vaes Dothrak and becoming a queen.
Mount to Bed Treason for Blood Fire for Life
Mirri Maz Duur → Drogo’s funeral pyre (Drogo)
This provides the clue to the meaning of the other two linked groups, which require speculation because they involve events that haven't happened yet. The key to the second is her mount, which is Hizdahr, a Mount to Dread. He is almost certainly the Harpy.
Mount to Dread
That leads us to the question of what people or events are linked to him. After the successful ending of the Siege of Meereen, Hizdahr will launch a plot to overthrown Barristan Selmy. This will involve his bribing of the Shavepate Skahaz and Victarion Greyjoy. This is the Treason for Gold.
Treason for Gold
Dany will condemn him and his followers to death. She forces them into the fighting pits and has her dragons burn them to death - the Fire for Death. Likely quite a lot of people will die. This will also symbolize Dany turning to ‘Fire and Blood’, ie: giving up queenship of Meereen and becoming Dany the Conqueror.
Fire for Death
Skahaz and Victarion → Dany executing her betrayers (Hizdahr)
This leads us to the final linked group.
One of the things I have become convinced of is that Dany and Arya will eventually meet and become BFFs. How they meet is likely like this: Euron eventually goes to Essos to meet Dany. He makes a deal with her to transport her army to Westeros. But she discovers when they’re at sea that she is his prisoner. He wants to force her into marriage. Her being held prisoner by him reaches the ears of Arya. She, with some help from Sandor, Theon, Asha, and Thoros, will use her assassin skills to rescue Dany and kill Euron. See my Euron article for more.
It is important to understand all this because it leads directly into what happens next. Dany is going to use Arya to get Jon to travel to Dragonstone. He is the Mount to Love. I explain this in the article on the Three Heads of the Dragon. She needs Arya because Arya is the person Jon likes and trusts most.
Mount to Love
The reason is because she will trick Jon into a trap, which she sets on fire. Jon is unlikely to do so voluntarily and neither Jon nor Arya would willingly go along with this plan. In other words, the Treason for Love is Dany herself betraying Arya and Jon.
Treason for Love Fire for Love
Why? Because by that point Dany and Arya will have already figured out Jon’s true parentage. All they have to do is combine Arya’s knowledge with Dany’s visions. Convincing the two of them though isn’t the problem. It’s convincing the rest of Westeros. They need to demonstrate in a fashion that is beyond dispute that Jon is a true Targaryen and the only way to do that is with fire, the Fire for Love. It is useful here to remember that GRRM loves word games. In this case ‘for’ means ‘leads to’ or ‘to acquire’.
Although Jon was burned when he threw a lamp at a wight, after he gets resurrected his fire resistance is activated. When Jon survives the trap everyone will know he is the true born son of Rhaegar. In addition, the dragons will then bond with their new riders, Arya and Jon. This is very symbolic both because the Three Heads of the Dragon will be revealed and because it represents Dany surrendering some of her power, her willingness to share it with others. It also means Jon will marry both Dany and Arya.
Dany → Dany’s trap (Jon)
As stated before, each event is connected by a choice Dany has to make. Each choice involves a critical decision about which direction her life will take. They could be described as a crossroads. And they all involve her dragons.
Crossroad 1) whether to retire to the Dosh Khaleen after Drogo's death or become 'the Mother of Dragons.' Early retirement verses giving birth the creatures that will change the world.
Crossroad 2) whether to remain quietly as Queen of Meereen or 'Fire and Blood'. This means either locking her dragons up forever or setting them loose on the world.
Each time she chooses the most difficult path. It’s hard to argue which the more difficult path is on the third choice, but the choice itself is clear.
Crossroad 3) to remain the sole dragonrider and all-powerful, or to share her power and her crown with others.
This last is the most important decision of all. And it is what distinguishes Daenerys from Cersei. Daenerys will make the willing choice of giving up total power for family. The comparison of Cersei's storyline with Daenerys' is handled in its own article.