Wiki of Westeros

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Wiki of Westeros
Wiki of Westeros
This page is about the culture. For other uses, see: Dothraki (disambiguation)

"The Dothraki do things in their own time, for their own reasons."
Jorah Mormont to Daenerys Targaryen[src]

The Dothraki[1] are a race of nomadic horse-mounted warriors in Essos, the continent to the east of Westeros across the Narrow Sea. They inhabit the vast central plains of Essos, known as the Dothraki Sea. Their bond with horses is such that Dothraki are said to be born, fight, and die in the saddle.

Dothraki warriors are commonly referred to as "horselords". They are also often (and half-derisively) called "Dothraki screamers", because of their fierce war cries as they charge into battle and raids.[2]


Drogo 1x01

Drogo, a powerful Dothraki khal.

The Dothraki are nomadic horse-mounted warriors, who sweep across the vast central plains of Essos in search of plunder. Most of their society is centered around their horses: even their name for themselves in their own language, "Dothraki", literally means "riders". Dothraki boys learn to shoot bows from horseback when they are only four years old.[3] The Dothraki will abandon a sick or injured leader who can no longer ride a horse.[4]

The Dothraki are divided into several nameless clans known as khalasars, each led by a single leader called "khal". The khalasars roam the Dothraki Sea, always on the move looking for new pasture lands and new targets to plunder. The Dothraki frequently raid neighboring regions, such as Lhazar to the southeast or the Free Cities to the west. The Dothraki live by taking what they need including supplies, valuables, and new captives to serve as slaves. The Dothraki respect force, and thus only respect those who are able to successfully resist them, while conquered slaves deserve only contempt.[5] The Dothraki are usually dismissive of infantry (with the notable exception of the elite Unsullied warrior-eunuch legions).

Drogo 1x01b

Khal Drogo's braid is so long it reaches past his waist, indicating he has never been defeated and thus never cut it.

The Dothraki traditionally fight with curved swords known as arakhs, but also employ bolas, daggers, and whips, or huge, recurved bows with impressive range and striking power that can be fired from horseback. They also shun armor, considering speed and freedom of movement to be more important in battle. Dothraki warriors wear their hair in a long braid and only cut it when defeated, so the world may see their shame. The most capable warriors therefore often have a very long braid. As light cavalry, their attacks are extremely fast and deadly, but they are vulnerable to archers and on the ground they are less effective against armored infantry despite their speed. However, they seldom attack on foot except for individual combat, so they usually retain the advantage.[5]

The only Dothraki city is Vaes Dothrak, located to the far north-east of the Dothraki Sea. It is ruled by the Dosh Khaleen, crones and wise women who were once the wives of deceased khals. All Dothraki commerce (with fellow Dothraki and other Essosi peoples) is done in the marketplaces of the city, and all sacred rituals are conducted there. Drawing weapons or shedding blood is forbidden inside Vaes Dothrak - although there are loopholes around this if an execution absolutely must take place. Provided that the target is killed in a method that does not shed blood (such as strangling or burning), it is permissible.[5]

A large khalasar

A large Dothraki khalasar.

Dothraki do not trust salt water, because their horses cannot drink it. The literal term for "ocean" in the Dothraki language is "poison water". Therefore, they refuse to sail in ships over the oceans, and as such they are not considered a threat by the Westerosi because they will not cross the Narrow Sea. However, Drogo was willing to consider it when provoked enough, and the remainder of Daenerys's khalasar (about 100 Dothraki) loyally made the journey across Slaver's Bay with her to Astapor, though many became ill because they were unaccustomed to sea travel.[5]

Despite their disdain for the seafaring, Daenerys's newly acquired khalasar of 100,000 Dothraki declare their commitment to cross the "poison water" in "wooden horses" for the conquest that Drogo had promised, after she had emerged from the flames and thus proved herself to be their leader at the Khalar Vezhven. Giving them time to adjust, Daenerys trained her khalasar not only to be comfortable on ships, but to actually crew them when her armada set sail for Westeros.[6]


It is said that the Dothraki "don't believe in money", instead taking what they want through raiding (which includes enslaving defeated peoples). The two resources they actually have on the plains of the Dothraki Sea are miles upon miles of grass, and horses. As people can't eat grass, the main staples of the Dothraki diet are horse meat and fermented mare's milk.

What material wealth or precious objects they do possess have been acquired through raiding surrounding nations such as the Free Cities, Slaver's Bay, or Lhazar, or from raiding other Dothraki hordes to take their plunder secondhand. The Dothraki do not so much function on the barter system, as they use the honor system: they frown upon "trade" but honor the exchange of gifts, such as tribute. Long ago the Free Cities decided that it was often less destructive to just give the Dothraki massive tributes in gold, finished products, and slaves, than to try to fight them off (though a Dothraki horde might still attack if they find the gift insufficient, or if they just haven't had a good fight in a while). The Dothraki will not reciprocate these "gifts" on an immediate quid pro quo trade system; as a rule, they will keep their word to eventually give a gift which they have promised, but will do it in their own time.

In practice, however, if a Dothraki horde has a particular need for a resource that it cannot obtain through direct raiding, i.e. new armor and weapons, they will resort to actual "barter" by "gifting" slaves they have captured in return for finished products from the Free Cities or Slaver's Bay.


Main page: Great Stallion

Mirroring the importance of the horse in their culture, the Dothraki religion worships a deity known as the Great Stallion. The Dosh Khaleen crones are the leaders of the religion.

Dothraki religion also rejects the employment of bloodmagic. For this reason, maegi are distrusted and hated by Dothraki.

Dothraki language[]

Main page: Dothraki (language)

The Dothraki have their own language, which is quite different from the Common Tongue of Westeros.

Important Dothraki terminology:

  • Dosh Khaleen - council of crones. Widows of deceased khals, who preside over the Dothraki city of Vaes Dothrak. Wise-women who are essentially the leaders of the Dothraki religion.
  • Dothraki - lit. "men who ride", "riders"; the Dothraki people. A single Dothraki rider is a dothrak.
    • The noun for "riders" plural is Dothraki. The verb for "ride" conjugates as Anha dothrak = "I ride," Me dothrae = "You ride," Kisha dothraki = "We ride." Thus "dothraki" can also be the first person plural conjugation for "(We) ride" - it's just a homonym.[7]
  • Khal - Dothraki warlord.
  • Khaleesi - The wife of the khal.
  • Khalasar - Dothraki clan or tribe, led by a khal.
  • Ko - Kos are lieutenants of a khal, commanding subdivisions of a khalasar. On the death of a khal, a ko may try to become the new khal, or split off his own riders to form a new, smaller khalasar.
  • Dothrakhqoyi (lit. "Bloodrider") - a Dothraki warrior that has pledged his life to the service of a khal. A khal and his bloodriders address each other as Qoy Qoyi ("Blood of my blood").
  • Me nem nesa - "It is known."[8]

Known Dothraki[]

Khal Drogo's khalasar[]

  • {Drogo}, son of Bharbo, the Khal of one of the largest khalasars. Smothered by Daenerys Targaryen after a healing ritual left him in vegetative state.
  • {Qotho}, bloodrider to Drogo. Killed by Ser Jorah Mormont in a duel.
  • Cohollo, bloodrider to Drogo. Whereabouts unknown.
  • Haggo, bloodrider to Drogo. Whereabouts unknown.
  • {Mago}, a ko in Drogo's khalasar. Killed by Drogo in a duel.
  • Jhaqo, a former ko in Drogo's khalasar, now a Khal.
  • Pono, a former ko in Drogo's khalasar, now a Khal.
  • Jhiqui, a handmaiden to Daenerys. Whereabouts unknown.

In Daenerys Targaryen's remaining khalasar after the death of Khal Drogo:

  • Aggo, bloodrider to Daenerys. Whereabouts unknown after riding off into the Red Waste.
  • {Rakharo}, bloodrider to Daenerys. Killed and beheaded by members of a rival khalasar after Drogo's death.
  • Kovarro, bloodrider to Daenerys.
  • Malakho, an aged Dothraki warrior.
  • {Irri}, a handmaiden to Daenerys.
  • {Doreah}, Locked inside a vault by Daenerys and left to die along with {Xaro Xhoan Daxos}.

Khal Moro's khalasar[]

  • {Moro}, a rival Khal whose khalasar captured Daenerys after she escaped from the Great Pit of Daznak on Drogon. [9] Burned alive by Daenerys during the Khalar Vezhven with all the other khals present.
  • {Qhono}, bloodrider to Moro, who aids in the capture of Daenerys. He later escorts Daenerys to Vaes Dothrak. He is the sole bloodrider of Khal Moro to have survived the fire that killed his master, as he witnessed the event from outside along with the other denizens of the city. Killed by wights during the Battle of Winterfell.
  • Moro's two wives, present when Daenerys is brought before Khal Moro.
  • {Moro's bloodriders}, two of Khal Moro's bloodriders, who openly mock and fantasize about Daenerys prior to herself revealing her true nature. Both burned alive during the Khalar Vezhven along with most of the other bloodriders, with the exception of Qhono.
  • {Aggo}, a Dothraki warrior. Stabbed in the back by Daario with a knife he hid in his armor; his corpse is immediately bludgeoned by Daario to make it seem more like a rock attack as opposed to a stabbing (as weapons are forbidden in Vaes Dothrak).
  • {Iggo}, a Dothraki warrior. Killed alongside Aggo by Daario.

Other khali[]

Dosh Khaleen[]

In the books[]

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Dothraki are numerous and are divided into large hordes or khalasars which range over vast areas. Khal Drogo's khalasar consists of 40,000 warriors and is said to be unusually large. The Dothraki are mostly active on the Dothraki Sea, a vast inland area of grassy plains and steppes, but sometimes raid into the Free Cities to the west and Slaver's Bay and Lhazar to the south. The Dothraki are untrusting of outsiders, but respectful of capable warriors even from other cultures. They particularly dislike those who have inherited their titles and done nothing to earn them. Though the Dothraki also consider the sea poison since their horses cannot drink it, the books establish that at least some Dothraki have crossed the Narrow Sea to Westeros, such as Zollo and Iggo, who serve in the sellsword company, the Brave Companions, under Vargo Hoat (Locke in the TV series)

George R.R. Martin has stated that the Dothraki are inspired by a loose mix of the Mongols, Huns, Alans, Turks, Great Plains Native American tribes, and various other nomadic horse-riding peoples who lived on the open steppe.[10]

In appearance, the Dothraki are a large people, with copper-toned skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. In facial features, their eyes are almond-shaped.

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Dothraki" is pronounced "Doth-RACK-ee". David J. Peterson has pointed out that peculiarly, author George R.R. Martin pronounces the final "i" in the word "Dothraki" long, like the final "i" in "fungi" or "alumni", but he's the only one that pronounces it that way. It isn't pronounced that way in the official audio books, or anywhere else.[11]


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