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Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - Essos - The Dothraki

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This is a listing of the Dothraki in A Song of Ice and Fire.

For the main character index, see here

The Dothraki

A warrior nomadic race, which practice a culture than is seen as barbaric and brutal to the rest of the world. Khalasar's roam the Dothraki Sea, a massive grassland that covers a large portion of Essos. They raid cities for plunder and slaves, which they sell to the cities of Slaver's Bay. Most cities avoid getting attacked by paying off the Khals, but those who cannot afford to do so suffer frequent attacks.
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    In General 
  • Abandon the Disabled: As part of their Social Darwinist culture, Dothraki infants are abandoned at birth if they're born disabled or deformed.
  • Alliterative List: "Salt, silver, and seed" are the traditional gifts that traders have to give to the dosh khaleen in order to cross the Dothraki sea unharmed.
  • Animal Motifs: It is hard to name a single aspect of their culture that doesn’t revolve around the horse in one way or another. Even the name of their people means "horse rider" in their language.
  • The Archer: All Dothraki men know how to use a bow. Young boys learn to shoot arrows from horseback starting at the age of four.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Averted. Like the Ghiscari, the Dothraki have no qualms about enslaving their own people. When two khalasars battle, the men of the losing khalasar are killed while the women and children are enslaved.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Khals get their position by being the strongest and most willful warrior. Any sign of weakness can result in the death of even the most powerful Khal and the destruction of his Khalasar.
  • Barbarian Longhair: The Dothraki never cut their hair unless they're defeated in battle.
  • Barbarian Tribe: And proud of it. Even after 400 years of interaction with the settled peoples they steadfastly refuse to become civilized.
  • Battle Trophy:
    • Dothraki warriors wear bells in their braided hair, each one representing a victory over a defeated enemy. The sound of tinkling bells is a sure sign that a khalasar is approaching.
    • Vaes Dothrak houses the statues of numerous defeated cities and civilizations.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Despite engaging in infanticide (see below), the Dothraki still care for their sick and elderly.
  • Born in the Saddle: Exaggerated as they essentially wear their horses as a hat. They worship horse-gods, describe everything in horse-metaphors, and are said to waddle bow-legged if they're ever forced to walk on their own two feet. When a Khal can't ride anymore he is no longer Khal.
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: Dothraki warriors use both bows and arakhs, long scythe-like blades.
  • Braids of Barbarism: They give themselves an Important Haircut if they're ever defeated in battle.
  • Bury Your Disabled: If a Dothraki child is born deformed, it is killed at birth.
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: The Dothraki have no ships and mistrust the sea, which they call "poison water" because horses refuse to drink it.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Even from a very young age, Dothraki children are exposed to war and combat. Young boys learn to shoot arrows while on horseback starting from the age of four, while young girls fill baskets with arrows taken from corpses after every raid.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Blood magic is forbidden amongst the Dothraki.
  • Due to the Dead: Dothraki funeral rites include burning the body on a pyre and sacrificing the deceased person's horse so that they may ride with their ancestors in the Night Lands.
  • Exact Words: It is forbidden to spill blood in Vaes Dothrak, the holy city of the Dothraki. However, some merchants keep muscular slave eunuchs whose purpose is to strangle thieves with silk scarves. Khal Drogo also kills Viserys for threatening his wife and unborn child by spilling a pot of molten gold on his head.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: A combination of the worst traits of a variety of nomadic cultures, especially the Mongols.
  • Graceful in Their Element: They are expert horse riders, but said to walk with a bowlegged swagger on the ground.
  • Guttural Growler: The Dothraki language is described as rough and harsh-sounding.
  • Holy City: Vaes Dothrak is the only city of the Dothraki. They are forbidden to spill blood there.
  • Hordes from the East: After the Doom of Valyria, they came out of the eastern steppes, sacking and burning every town and city in their path. They utterly destroyed several nations and killed or enslaved millions of people.
  • Horrifying the Horror: The Dothraki are some of the most fearsome warriors in the known world, yet even they fear the Asshai'i, calling them "spawn of shadows".
  • Horse Archer: Dothraki boys learn to use bows from horseback at by the age of four.
  • Hollywood Tactics: They scorn infantry and believe that footmen exist only to be ridden down by them. This bit them hard in the ass at Qohor, when three thousand Unsullied spearmen held firm against eighteen cavalry charges by a khalasar of 20,000 men, and killed 12,000 of them.
  • Irony: Despite Dothraki culture being incredibly misogynistic, the highest authority among them is the dosh khaleen, a group of old women, and their two most important landmarks are called the Mother of Mountains and the Womb of the World.
  • Male Sun, Female Moon: In the Dothraki religion, the moon is a goddess and the wife of the sun. Daenerys calls her husband Khal Drogo "my sun and stars," while he refers to her as "moon of my life."
  • Marital Rape License: A Dothraki wife has to submit to whatever her husband wants. If he is a khal, he may even share her with his bloodriders.
  • Masochist's Meal: When a pregnant khaleesi is close to giving birth, a ritual takes place in which she eats the raw heart of a freshly killed stallion to make her son strong and fearless. It is not known if this practice is done by all pregnant Dothraki women.
  • Mercy Kill: After every battle, it is custom for the jaqqa rhan, or mercy men, to cut the heads off the dead and dying alike.
  • No Woman's Land: Ye gods, the Dothraki sea makes Westeros look progressive. Women and girls in the warlike Dothraki society are expected to only serve as wives and mothers, and can be beaten, raped and taken as slaves with impunity. The births of infant girls are not seen as cause for celebration—if a pregnant khaleesi fails to eat a whole stallion's heart, it is said that her child will be born weak, deformed, or female. The only women to hold any sort of power in Dothraki society are the dosh khaleen, the widows of dead khals who reside in Vaes Dothrak. Even they have no choice over their position; a khaleesi must join the dosh khaleen upon her husband's death regardless of her wishes, and must stay at Vaes Dothrak for the rest of her life.
  • Offing the Offspring: Any Dothraki child born weak or deformed is left behind to die of starvation or be eaten by feral dogs.
  • Polyamory: Dothraki men can take multiple wives if they choose.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Dothraki live for war and have structured their whole society around it.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: What their culture can be summed up as.
  • Reincarnation: According to Dothraki tradition, this happens to a child who dies before they are old enough to ride a horse.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Dothraki don't see the shame in having sex in the open air. According to them, everything important in a man's life should take place beneath the open sky.
  • Sinister Scythe: Besides the bow and arrow, a Dothraki warrior's other Weapon of Choice is the arakh.
  • Stars Are Souls: The Dothraki believe the night stars are a herd of fiery horses galloping across the sky. On the night of a man's death, the more fierce he was in life, the brighter the first star in the sky will be. The first star on the night of Khal Drogo's burial is a blazing red comet with a tail so long it appears to cover half the sky.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Dothraki girls and women are not trained to be warriors, and are only expected to serve as wives, mothers, healers, and pleasure slaves.
  • The Social Darwinist: There is no room for weakness in the society of the Dothraki. Disabled newborns are killed at birth, warriors take bells from the men they slay as a sign of victory, and only the strongest khalasars survive to roam the Dothraki Sea.
  • Theme Naming: Most Dothraki names are two syllables long. Male names end with "o", while female names end with "i".
  • The Theme Park Version: Though Martin has claimed them to be based on Mongols and plains Indian tribes, the resemblance is very loose at best aside from them being horse nomads, and seems to be a mix of their most extreme stereotypical traits and pure fantasy.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The preferred food and drink of the horselords are horsemeat and fermented mare's milk.
  • Treated Worse than the Pet: The Dothraki are so misogynistic that in some respects, horses are considered of more value than women. A khal might allow his bloodriders to have sex with or rape his wife, but he would never allow them to ride his horse.
  • Truce Zone: The Dothraki city of Vaes Dothrak; spilling blood within carries the death penalty (being strangled to death bloodlessly). Khal Drogo invokes Exact Words in order to kill Viserys in the city after he threatens Daenerys and his unborn child.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The Dothraki fear and shun the sea, calling it "poison water" because their horses cannot drink it. Dany's khalasar has a miserable time when they have to travel to Pentos by ship.
  • The Worf Effect: The Dothraki's only major historical loss was against an army of 3,000 Unsullied at Qohor.
  • Worthy Opponent: Historically, after losing against the Three Thousand of Qohor, the new khal and his surviving warriors rode past the gates, and one by one, cut off their braids and threw them down before the men who had defeated them.

    Khal Drogo 

Khal Drogo

The Great Khal
"I swear before the Mother of Mountains as the stars look down in witness!"

A powerful Dothraki warlord Daenerys is arranged to wed early in A Game of Thrones. At first appearing to be nothing more than a bloodthirsty barbarian, Drogo revealed his gentler side when Daenerys began to gain her strength and accept her role as Khaleesi. They are very much in love by the time they discover their unborn son, Rhaego, is destined to be The Stallion who Mounts the World. He is uninterested in humoring her brother Viserys or his dream of conquering Westeros, eventually killing him after he pisses Drogo off one time too many. However, once Daenerys' life is endangered by one of Robert Baratheon's assassins, Drogo has a new passion for crossing The Narrow Sea, sacking Westeros, and taking her family's Iron Throne.

  • The Ace: Of The Dothraki.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Daenerys eventually starts calling him "my sun and stars". He in turn calls her "moon of my life".
  • Age-Gap Romance: With Daenerys. He's around thirty while she is just thirteen when they marry (sixteen/seventeen year gap). The marriage ends up being a surprisingly happy one, though.
  • Amazon Chaser: A downplayed variant. Daenerys isn't exactly an Action Girl and Drogo was attracted to her for her beauty and exoticism (as well as her status as the last Targaryen princess), but he really starts to fall for her when she begins taking charge in the bedroom and acting more assertively.
  • Badass Boast: Makes one when he pledges to invade Westeros and take back the Iron Throne for his wife and son after a man from the Seven Kingdoms attempts to kill her in Vaes Dothrak.
  • Barbarian Hero: To his people. To everyone else...
  • Barbarian Longhair: Since Dothraki only cut their hair when they are defeated, the length of their hair is a direct symbol of how Badass they are, and Drogo's hair is down to his hips.
  • Blood Knight: You get the impression that putting dissent down both physically and personally is not just about saving face for him. He loves a scrap.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: His demeanor in a fight is both happy, comfortable and quite cheerful. And, he won't say no to staring one, either.
  • Character Death: After falling into a coma, Daenerys smothers him with a pillow to put him out of his misery.
  • Cool Horse: He rides a beautiful red stallion. Daenerys later allows Mirri Maz Duur to sacrifice the horse in an attempt to save Drogo's life.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Neither a nice nor expected way for him to go. He'd probably have preferred to be eaten alive by lions over being smothered while brain dead thanks to a botched magical revival.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: He is one of the most feared Khals in history, and is ultimately done in by a minor wound that becomes infected.
  • Empty Shell: Becomes this after Mirri Maz Duur performs a blood magic ritual at Daenerys' request to save him from an infected wound. He's alive, but in a permanent vegetative state and seems to be completely unaware of his surroundings.
  • Happily Arranged Marriage: To Daenerys, though it took her a while to warm up to the idea.
  • Hidden Depths: He has a few moments of genuine sweetness and caring with Daenerys, and even allows her to save several women from being raped by his Khalasar. On their wedding night, instead of forcing himself on Daenerys as tradition demands, he instead caresses and soothes her into the proper mood, not wanting to force himself on her if she didn't want to sleep with him. Daenerys also mentions that he's a surprisingly quick learner and makes an effort to start learning a few words and phrases in the Common Tongue.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Daenerys.
  • Improbable Age: Drogo is considered unusual in that before he turned thirty, he commanded a khalasar of around 40,000 people.
  • Lightning Bruiser: We never see him fight, but when Daenerys first meets him he points that though he is taller and larger than everyone else in the room, he is surprisingly light on his feet. She even remarks he reminds her of a panther.
  • Marital Rape License: Zig-zagged. Rape is generally an accepted part of Dothraki culture. However, on his wedding night with Daenerys, Drogo actually makes an effort to comfort her and asks her permission before having sex with her (see Hidden Depths). However, it's unclear what he would've done if she had said no and for several nights after that, he seemingly doesn't bother to get her consent. When Daenerys becomes more confident, learns some sexual practices from Doreah and begins initiating and taking the lead when they have sex, he happily goes along with this.
  • Mercy Kill: Daenerys smothers him with a pillow after he is left mostly comatose.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: He's disdainful of his brother-in-law Viserys and ends up killing him by pouring molten gold over his head. In his defence, Viserys had been a complete prick the whole time, looking down on the Dothraki, acting like they were his to command and smacking Daenerys around. Drogo's killing him was provoked by Viserys bringing a sword into Vaes Dothrak and publically threatening his wife and unborn baby.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Gets a broad but shallow cut across his chest in a raid, and is casually still ordering his warriors about even before it is treated. Unfortunately, infection accomplishes what the blade could not...
  • Papa Wolf: Hell yes, especially considering his future son is The Chosen One of his people.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: A standard Dothraki practice, which he is very nonchalant about.
  • Revenge: His motivation for going to war with Westeros.
  • Sacrificial Lion: He is set up as a major player, but dies near the end of the first book and sets up Daenerys to become a leader in her own right.
  • So Proud of You: It is usually difficult to tell what Drogo is thinking at any given time due to his stoic manner, but when Daenerys is eating the horse's heart to make their child strong, she thinks she glimpses a fierce pride in his eyes.
  • Spanner in the Works: His dumping a pot of molten gold on Viserys' head blew a hole in Doran Martell's plan to make his daughter Arianne Viserys' queen in return for Dornish support overthrowing Robert.
  • Stealth Insult: Albeit one that only counts as "stealth" because Viserys doesn't understand Dothraki culture. After making him walk back to the khalasar without his horse for threatening Daenerys, Drogo offers him a cart to ride in the next day. Viserys interprets this as a gesture of apology, unaware that in Dothraki society, carts are only for the very young, the very old, cripples, and eunuchs. Guess which category the youthful, able–bodied Viserys might fall into.
  • The Stoic: For the most part.
  • Warrior Poet: When he's not The Stoic, and always when it counts.

    Drogo's Khalasar 

Ko Cohollo

One of Drogo's bloodriders, he saved Drogo's life when Drogo was young and has been his companion since.

Ko Haggo

One of Drogo's bloodriders.

Ko Qotho

One of Drogo's bloodriders.

  • Blood Brothers: With Drogo.
  • The Brute: The most sadistic of Drogo's bloodriders. He's described as having cruel eyes and quick hands that liked to hurt. He left bruises on Doreah's pale skin, and sometimes made Irri sob in the night.
  • Character Death: Meets his end on the blade of Ser Jorah Mormont.
  • Colonel Badass: As a Ko, he commands a portion of Drogo's Khalasar.
  • Co-Dragons: With Cohollo and Haggo.
  • Scare the Dog: Even his horses react in fear to him.
  • Undying Loyalty: As expected of the blood rider of a Khal.


A warrior assigned to Daenerys' khas.

    Khal Pono 

Khal Pono

A ko in Drogo's khalasar. He becomes an independent Khal after Drogo falls ill.

    Khal Jhaqo's khalasar 

Khal Jhaqo

A ko in Drogo's khalasar. He becomes an independent Khal after Drogo falls ill.


A rider in Ko Jhaqo's khas. He becomes Jhaqo's bloodrider.

  • Blood Brothers: With Jhaqo.
  • The Dragon: To Jhaqo.
  • Jerkass:...Wears his sullenness and mean-spirited attitude on his sleeve, this one.
  • Karma Houdini: Has faced no retribution for his actions thus far.
  • Kick the Dog: Daenerys stops him from raping a Lhazarene girl, Ereoh, taking her as a maid. After Drogo's death, Mago takes Ereoh back, rapes her, gives her to his new khal to do the same, then slits her throat.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Is introduced attempting to rape several Lhazareen women, outraging Daenerys.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: He swears himself to Jhaqo and leaves with him.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Daenerys has vowed both Mago and his Khal Jhaqo will "die screaming" for their murder of Ereoh.

    Other Khalasars 

Khals Jommo, Moro and Ogo and Khalakkas Rhogoro and Fogo

Allies and rivals of Khal Drogo.

  • Advertised Extra: Despite having only one appearance in A Game of Thrones, Khals Jommo and Moro are mentioned in A Feast for Crows as uncertain allies of Daenerys.
  • Enemy Mine: Drogo and many of the other Khals were occasional allies.
  • Friendly Enemy: Ogo and Fogo were this to Drogo in Vaes Dothrak, where bloodshed is forbidden.
  • Overlord Jr.: Khalakka Rhogoro, the son of Khal Moro. Fogo, son of Khal Ogo, is another one.
  • Royal Harem: Khal Jommo is specifically mentioned as having four wives.
  • Taking You with Me: Drogo takes a wound fighting Ogo and his son, which eventually leads to infection that leads to the blood magic ritual that leaves Drogo a vegetable.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Khal Ogo and his son, Fogo, are killed near a Lhazareen settlement in battle with Drogo.
  • You Are in Command Now: Fogo briefly became Khal after his father's death.
  • You Killed My Father: Fogo tries to avenge his father. He fails.

    Dosh khaleen 

The elderly widows of dead khals who reside in Vaes Dothrak. They enjoy great honor and status amongst the Dothraki, and serve as seers, foretelling the future and interpreting omens for their people.

  • Eye Scream: The crone who prophesizes the coming of the Stallion Who Mounts The World is missing one eye. It is unknown how she lost it.
  • Female Misogynist: They consider the birth of a girl to be an ill omen.
  • Gilded Cage: The dosh khaleen are respected by all and have their every need provided for by slaves and servants in Vaes Dothrak. However, they have no control over their position; when a khal dies, his khaleesi must join the dosh khaleen and stay at Vaes Dothrak for the rest of her life.
  • It Was a Gift: To cross the Dothraki sea unharmed, traders must bring them the traditional gifts of salt, silver, and seed.
  • Meet the In-Laws: After being married to their khals, prospective khaleesis must journey with their new husbands to Vaes Dothrak to be presented to the dosh khaleen for acceptance.
  • No Name Given: None of the individual names of the dosh khaleen are revealed.
  • Prophecy Twist: Daenerys and Drogo's unborn son Rhaego is said by them to become the Stallion Who Mounts The World, but that future is cut short when his mother suffers a Tragic Stillbirth. However, it's possible that the prophecy instead refers to Daenerys herself.
  • Seer: They can foretell the future by staring into clouds of smoke.
  • Thread of Prophecy, Severed: They prophesize that Rhaego will become the Stallion Who Mounts The World, the fiercest khal among all the Dothraki whose vast khalasar will cover the earth. But, during an attempt to save Drogo's life using magic, Rhaego is stillborn as Equivalent Exchange.
  • Widow Witch: Each of the dosh khaleen is a widow, a former khaleesi that came into her position when her khal died. They also have the power to prophesize the future.

Historical Dothraki

    Khal Mengo 

Khal Mengo

Mengo was the first Khal of the Dothraki, who forged over 30 different nomadic tribes into a single nation.

  • Barbarian Hero: From the perspective of the Dothraki, at least.
  • Famous Ancestor: Averted. His dynasty ended with his grandson, after which the Dothraki fractured again.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Before he came along the nomads of the steppes were nothing more than a nuisance to the mighty Kingdom of Sarnor. Within a century, there was no more Sarnor, except for one small town which the Dothraki overlooked.
  • Hordes from the East: He was responsible for turning the Dothraki into this.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Of Genghis Khan.
  • Our Founder: He was responsible for unifying the various nomadic tribes of the grasslands into a single nation.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Even if you paid him off, he would still do this to your kingdom.

    The four Khals 

Khals Haro, Qano, Loso and Zhako

Four khals that faced High King Mazor Alexi and the Sarnori on the Field of Crows, and their combined strength was 80,000 men against 100,000 Sarnori. While Haro died in battle, the other three Khals destroyed the Sarnori and the rest of their cities soon after.

  • Defensive Feint Trap: They drove the Sarnori into a trap with one of this, which allowed them to surround the much larger enemy host.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Khal Loso was called Loso the Lame, although no explanation is given for the nickname.
  • Four Is Death: Well, Haro died in battle, so they were this for both the Sarnori and themselves.

    Khal Dhako 

Khal Dhako

The Dragon of the North

A khal who lived during the Century of Blood. He was famous for destroying the ibbenese city of Ibbish, earning the moniker of the Dragon of the North. He was defeated and killed by Khal Temmo in his old age.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Temmo cut off his hands, feet and genitals and roasted them in front of him before throwing him in the fire.
  • Forced to Watch: His wife and children were executed in front of him before being killed.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When the ibbenese retreated without a fight, not only he burned the abandoned city, he also destroyed the countryside surrounding it.


    Khal Temmo 

Khal Temmo

The khal who lost the Battle of Qohor against the Three Thousand Unsullied.

  • Hollywood Tactics: He charged straight ahead at the Unsullied to ride them down… eighteen times. He never even tried flanking and he only used his archers 3 times.
  • Self-Destructive Charge: Temmo lost 12,000 men out of the 20,000 he had at the start of the battle, including his own sons, his bloodriders and himself.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He seriously underestimated just what the Unsullied were capable of.
  • Zerg Rush: His only strategy for dealing with the Unsullied was overwhelming them with sheer numbers. It did not work.