Prior to season six of Game of Thrones we examined important historical events from the complex and controversial history of Westeros, ones that might tell us something about the story going forward. With the season now in full swing we’re going to continue by looking at what we know about characters and events that are new and important to the show. However, if you think theories are spoilers, do not cross the Dothraki sea of this warning, for there they are found. It is known.
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THE DOSH KHALEEN OF VAES DOTHRAK AND THE STALLION WHO MOUNTS THE WORLD PROPHECY
The Dothraki are no great mystery to us at this point (they’ve been around since the pilot episode). We know that the nomadic horselords are fierce, feared, ruthless warriors renowned the world over for their strength, though not a worry to anyone in Westeros, because as Ned Stark once said, “I shall fear the Dothraki the day they teach their horses to run on water.” Made up of competing, rival khalasars—each led by a great khal—the Dothraki are not a unified people. In fact, they only have one city, but it’s not even built up with walls. It’s more a gypsy-esque camping destination where the khalasars come together as one from time to time, better known as Vaes Dothrak.
In the northeastern part of the Dothraki sea, a giant swath of land in northern Essos, beneath the Mother of Mountains and near the lake known as the Womb of the World, sits the un-walled, gigantic Vaes Dothrak (which translates to the City of Riders). The city’s entrance is the Horse Gate, which is not actually a gate, but the start of a godsway framed by two giant bronze stallions. The godsway is named for the hundreds of monuments of the gods taken from people the Dothraki have conquered.
Vaes Dothrak has two major trade centers, the Western and Eastern Markets. The Western Market is made up of Free Cities traders, so the items there would seem familiar to a Westerosi. The Eastern Market is made up of sellers from the Far East, places like Asshai and Yi Ti, so the goods there would be quite foreign and exotic to someone from the Seven Kingdoms.
While great warriors, it is forbidden to carry any kind of steel blade into Vaes Dothrak or spill a free man’s blood. The show has been there before this season—Vaes Dothrak is where Daenerys ate that horse heart (among other things). It is also where her brother Viserys was given his gold “crown for king,” which was a clever way for Khal Drogo to bloodlessly kill him without dishonoring the sacred city.
While the city is huge in physical size—large enough to hold all the khalasars at once—Vaes Dothrak’s year-round population is actually quite small, consisting of slaves and the dosh khaleen, the widows of great khals.
Here, the former khaleesis are honored and serve as fortunetellers. Potential khaleesis must be presented to them for approval, overseeing the heart-eating ceremony performed by pregnant khaleesis. That ceremony is used as an omen for the birth of the child, and after Daenerys finished her horse heart, one of the dosh khaleen said this of her unborn son:
“As swift as the wind he rides, and behind him his khalasar covers the earth, men without number, with arakhs shining in their hands like blades of razor grass. Fierce as a storm this prince will be. His enemies will tremble before him, and their wives will weep tears of blood and rend their flesh in grief. The bells in his hair will sing his coming, and the milk men in the stone tents will fear his name. The prince is riding, and he shall be the stallion who mounts the world.”
For a culture not big on rules or customs, the dosh khaleen hold an important place in their hierarchy, even though the horselords are highly superstitious, wary of witches and blood magic. They also have their own horse god, the Great Stallion, but it is that prophecy that stands out most—even though we know Drogo and Dany’s son did not end up being the stallion who mounts the world.
For clarification, let’s look back at the original prophecy after Daenerys ate the heart.
“As swift as the wind he rides, and behind him his khalasar covers the earth, men without number, with arakhs shining in their hands like blades of razor grass. Fierce as a storm this prince will be. His enemies will tremble before him, and their wives will weep tears of blood and rend their flesh in grief. The bells in his hair will sing his coming, and the milk men in the stone tents will fear his name. The prince is riding, and he shall be the stallion who mounts the world.“
If we have learned one thing from this story, it’s that prophecies can be misread. What if the great stallion who mounts the world isn’t a man: What if the prince “fierce as a storm” happens to be someone that is literally Stormborn? Maester Aemon certainly thought so as he died. From A Feast For Crows:
“No one ever looked for a girl,” he said. “It was a prince that was promised, not a princess. Rhaegar, I thought… What fools we were, who thought ourselves so wise! The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female … The language misled us all for a thousand years. Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke. The dragons prove it.” Just talking of her seemed to make him stronger. “I must go to her. I must.”
The prince that was promised—the one that will save the world from the White Walkers—might be the princess we know as the Mother of Dragons. If that is the case, why can’t she also be the stallion who mounts the world, too? They might very well refer to the same prophecy. After all: the true nature/power of religions in the Realm has yet to be revealed.
The original plan put in place in season one was for a Targaryen to cross the Narrow Sea with an army of Dothraki. It’s been over 5 seasons since, and here we are with Daenerys back at the start. As Jorah once said, “The Dothraki follow only the strong.” Well, what would be more powerful to them than someone that rides a dragon instead of a horse?
Daenerys is a captive at the moment, but the Dothraki are waiting for the one that will unite them and ride to the ends of the earth. With every khalasar coming to Vaes Dothrak now, might they realize the Mother of Dragons is the strongest of them all? I mean, when your options are following one of many khals on a horse or one khaleesi on a dragon, the choice isn’t that hard.
It is known.
What do you think of Daenerys Targaryen’s future with the Dothraki? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
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Featured Image: HBO