• Mattie Stu

The Dothraki - Game of Thrones Lore

The Dothraki were horse-mounted warriors who, as a result, were commonly referred to as “horselords”. In addition, due to their fierce war cries when charging into battle, they were also known as "Dothraki screamers". Though the Dothraki inhabited the vast central plains of Essos called the Dothraki Sea, they often wandered across the continent in search of plunder. To find out more about the race, let’s take a closer look at the warriors who are said to be born, fight and die in the saddle…

Most of the Dothraki’s society was based around their horses. The word “Dothraki” even translated to “riders” in their language. Boys as young as the age of four learned how to shoot bows from horseback. But the Dothraki abandoned anyone too sick or injured to ride. The race was split into several nameless clans known as khalasars, which were led by a single leader, the khal. Often seen raiding neighbouring regions to the Dothraki Sea, such as Lhazar and the Free Cities, the khalasars lived by taking what they needed, which included supplies, valuables and even captives for slavery. Respecting force, the Dothraki respected those who could resist them, meaning conquered slaves deserved only contempt. The Dothraki traditionally fought with curved swords, known as arakhs, bolas, daggers, whips or huge bows. Preferring to move fast and with freedom, they never wore armour. Because of this, Dothraki cavalry moved swiftly and proved to be incredibly deadly. However, they were vulnerable to archers and were less effective against armoured infantry. Dothraki warriors wore their hair in a long braid, only cutting it in defeat so the world would see their shame.

The only Dothraki city was Vaes Dothrak, which was located to the far north-east of the Dothraki Sea. It was ruled by the Dosh Khaleen, crones and wise women who were once wives of dead khals. All Dothraki commerce and sacred rituals took place in the marketplaces of the city. Though drawing weapons or shedding blood was forbidden, executions were allowed to take place in Vaes Dothrak if it was absolutely necessary and providing the target did not shed blood. Because their horses could not drink salt water, the Dothraki did not trust seas and oceans. The word for ocean in their language actually translated to "poison water". Because of this, the race refused to sail in ships over oceans, meaning the people of Westeros did not fear a Dothraki invasion. However, Drogo considered crossing the Narrow Sea if provoked enough. Furthermore, what was left of Daenerys Targaryen’s khalasar loyally made the journey with her across Slaver’s Bay. Unfortunately, many became ill due to their inexperience to sea travel.

The Dothraki were said to not believe in money, preferring to just take what they wanted from raiding. Having only two resources that were plentiful across the Dothraki Sea, both being grass and horses, the race had to mainly eat horse meat and drink fermented mare's milk. Though they frowned upon trade, the Dothraki honoured the exchanging of gifts. Furthermore, the Free Cities decided it was best to give the race massive tributes in gold, products and slaves rather than fighting them off. Unfortunately, the Dothraki still attacked if they believed the gift was insufficient or if they hadn’t had a good fight in a while. If the Dothraki could not obtain a particular resource through raiding they would trade their captured slaves. Because horses played such an important part in Dothraki culture, the race worshiped a deity known as the Great Stallion. The Dosh Khaleen crones lead the religion. The religion rejected the use of blood magic, which made maegi distrusted and hated.

Now it’s time for this week’s question: would you rather have an army of Dothraki or Unsullied? Let me know in the comments below.

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