FANDOM


"Vaes Dothrak" is part of the Histories & Lore, a special feature from Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season. It is narrated by Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont.

Synopsis

Jorah Mormont discusses the city of the Dothraki, Vaes Dothrak.

Narration

Jorah Mormont: Between the Free Cities and the Bones, between the Shivering Sea and Slaver's Bay, spreads the Dothraki Sea. Named not for its waters but for how freely its conquerors roam upon it. A traveler on the Dothraki Sea will find few villages and no farms. Because the Dothraki view it as a sin to cut into their Mother Earth with plows and shovels. And the Dothraki know only one punishment.

The closest the Dothraki approach to civilization is Vaes Dothrak. Though to outsiders, it doesn't look like a city. There are no walls, because the Dothraki believe only cowards hide behind them, instead of facing an enemy blade in hand. But the Dothraki couldn't do that here either. Within the bounds of the city, no one, not even the mightiest khal, may carry a blade, by order of the priestesses of the Dosh khaleen. Not that any enemy would be foolish enough to attack the sacred city of the Dothraki in the first place.

Two giant bronze stallions rear over the entrance to the city, their hooves meeting in the air to form an arch. The famous Horse Gate. Through it is the Godsway, where the Dothraki drag the sacred idols of the cities and peoples they've broken. Along one side, stone gods look down on you from cracked thrones with chipped and stained faces, their names lost to time. Across the road, monsters watch you pass. Black iron dragons with jewels for eyes, roaring griffins, manticores with barbed tails poised to strike and other terrible beasts from every corner of Essos. But there is nothing to fear. If these gods and devils had any power, they would never have ended here.

Not all foreign gods in Vaes Dothrak are broken. In the Eastern and Western Markets, merchants worship their god of trade with the sufferance of the Dothraki, who themselves don't understand buying and selling. The Western Market is a great square of beaten earth filled with animal pens, drinking halls and a maze of stalls and crooked aisles. Even goods from Westeros find their way here. Though the merchants who sell them wouldn't know a Lannister from a Frey. The Eastern Market is, fittingly, a stranger place. The elders of the Dosh khaleen view it with suspicion and most Dothraki stay away. They aren't wrong. The great elephants, the basilisks in silver cages and the striped black-and-white horses of the Jogos Nhai are harmless enough. But I can see how the elders wouldn't want their younger members to see the warrior maids of Hyrkoon, who wear iron rings in their nipples and rubies in their cheeks. Or listen to the Shadow Men, who cover their bodies with tattoos and hide their faces behind masks and whisper dark secrets for a price.

This is all of Vaes Dothrak that foreigners ever know. For only Dothraki are permitted in the inner city where the Dosh khaleen live out their lives. A bloodrider, drunk on fermented mare's milk, once told me that the Dosh khaleen are stewards. They prepare for the day when every rider of every khalasar shall return to the city. And the Dothraki truly will be one blood and one khalasar again, under the greatest khal of all, the Stallion Who Mounts the World. He will ride to the ends of the earth and grind nations into dust, and take the whole world as his herd. Or so the prophecy goes. Yet the world is vast, with many places a horse can't go. The Stallion Who Mounts the World couldn't rear above a mountain range. Or leap across the sea. Still, the world has been conquered before. Just not with stallions.

Notes

  • This video introduces into the TV continuity the Bone Mountains ("the Bones"), the Jogos Nhai, and the warrior women of Hyrkoon.
    • The Jogos Nhai, Hyrkoon, Shadow Men, and Yi Ti were not given full descriptions until the World of Ice and Fire sourcebook (2014), however they were all mentioned since the first novel, in much the same context: Daenerys Targaryen observes them in passing as she is visiting the markets of Vaes Dothrak.
  • The Bones are a massive mountain range, the largest in the known world, which completely bisects the entire continent of Essos - running the entire length from the southern coast on the Jade Sea to the northern coast on the Shivering Sea. The Bones are located east of Vaes Dothrak, the Red Waste, and Qarth - and are one of the major barriers to east-west travel. Historically they have always been a major block to mass migrations and explorers, so that all of the lands east of them are only semi-legendary to people from Westeros. The Bones are the reason why the Dothraki and Qarth are the farthest east that people from Westeros have any regular contact with.
  • Men in Westeros know some vague details about lands and peoples east of the Bones, but they are semi-legendary to them. East of the Bones, roughly the southern half of Essos is dominated by the vast empire of Yi Ti (their fantasy analogue of Imperial China), a lush semi-tropical land and ancient civilization, while to the north are vast plains dominated by the Jogos Nhai nomads (roughly their analogue of the Mongol hordes). Southeast of Yi Ti are Asshai and the forbidding Shadow Lands, while to the east and northeast are the vast Grey Waste, the absolute eastern limit of the Known World.
  • The eastern side of the Bones are in the mountains' rain shadow so they are very arid; once a vast empire known as the "Patrimony of Hyrkoon" flourished there, northwest of Yi Ti and southwest of the Jogos Nhai - but centuries of desertification destroyed it, so that only three major Hyrkoon city-states survive, which were founded to guard the only three passes through the Bones. The Hyrkoon are fierce Amazon-like warrior women who slaughter any who would attempt to pass the mountains without their leave, making yet another barrier to east-west travel. The Hyrkoon are fierce enemies of the Jogos Nhai, and even the Dothraki cannot force the mountain passes from their formidable defenses.
    • The only thing mentioned about the warrior-women of the Hyrkoon city-states (Bayasabhad, Samyrian, and Kayakayanaya) in the first book was the observation that they wear iron rings in their nipples and ruby studs in their cheeks. Sort of a running joke in book fandom for the next 18 years (between the first book and the World book) is that this was essentially the only thing revealed about them. The World book gave some more details, but gives a wry explanation for why so little background information about their culture, beliefs, social organization, etc. was given before: maesters who have written about them at all are so obsessed with the fact that their women go about with their breasts bare that their "treatises" on them do little more than remind the reader of this over and over again.
      • Jorah's narration says the elders of the Dothraki might not want their children to see the Hyrkoon women with iron rings in their bare breasts and rubies in their cheeks. Actually, both the books and TV series have explicitly stated that the Dothraki do not take shame in the naked body - everything in a khalasar is done out in the open in front of other people - and they think other cultures like the Free Cities are silly for thinking nudity is shameful. Nothing similar to Jorah's narration is mentioned in the novels. On the other hand, the video could be referring not to the mere nudity of the warrior-women, but to their dramatic body modifications giving them a fierce or outlandish appearance or to the notion of warrior-women.
  • Due to the eastern side of the Bones being more arid than the west, the northern plains of the Jogos Nhai are much more sparse than the lush grasslands of the Dothraki. Thus the Jogos Nhai breed hardy steeds who can survive there better on less food and water. These bizarre black and white striped horse-like animals are called "Zorses". Actually, the World of Ice and Fire specifies that these are not zebras, but crossbreeds between horses and zebras (the real life term for which is actually "Zorses").
  • This video depicts Basilisks on-screen for the first time, depicting them as large boa-sized snakes. Actually, the novels have never given a specific description of basilisks at all: only vague mentions that they are reptiles of some kind and they are venomous. The only other hint is that fighting pits around the Jade Sea often have basilisks face off against dogs - giving a rough idea of their size (i.e. probably not as big as lions or horses, probably bigger than Manticores and garden snakes). Even then it was unclear if basilisks are some sort of snake, or perhaps some kind of komodo dragon-like reptile. It is unclear if this is what Basilisks are actually like in the novels, of course, or if the Histories & Lore animators had to make their best guess based on limited information.

Appearances

Characters

Locations

Events

To be added

Organizations

Races

Miscellaneous