A recent article on WinterIsComing.net entitled “What new image from Game of Thrones Season 6 intrigued fans most?” got me thinking.
A captured Queen in a Dothraki tribunal was not what I expected. Daenerys looks exhausted, trapped. Questions come to mind: Who is the new Khal? Why is Daenerys a prisoner? And what will he do with her? If we consider how Dothraki tend to treat women, Drogo was unusually kind to Daenerys from the very beginning. But Khal Drogo was a fluke, a one off, a barbarian who fell in love. And she was his Khaleesi.
When the Dothraki thundered through the valley, enclosing Daenerys in an asphyxiating noose of brawn and menace, I believed it to be a classic case of misdirection from the showrunners to keep us guessing.
My theory was this: the Khalasar appeared because they saw Dany and Drogon flying over the Dothraki Sea. The horde was suitably impressed, decided to track them and proclaim Dany as “The Stallion Who Mounts The World”. They leap off their mounts with a swing of their scimitars crying “blood of my blood” and anoint her Khal of Khals – Have Dragon Will Rule. Why else would thousands of Dothraki screamers travel far and wide for Daenerys Stormborn except to pay tribute?
Well, I was wrong. Maybe not about the tracking part, but everything else.
Daenerys may have been in the Dothraki migratory path. But bumping into her accidentally on a massive expanse of rolling hills and grass plains seems far fetched. She was a speck in an ocean; how could they spot her unless they knew she was somewhere in the area? Hunting Dany appears deliberate. The first to arrive was Cohollo, bloodrider to Khal Drogo. He was on a hillock to the north and may have been an advance scout. The first riders came from all directions, north, south, east, west. A Khalasar in its’ thousands gunning for Daenerys.
Last night my brain geared into overdrive. In a half-awake half-dream state, Euron Greyjoy became the new Khal. What? that can’t be right. Now you know how far gone I am.
For those who don’t know, Euron Greyjoy is the disgraced, demonic, exiled younger brother of Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands. Euron will be played by Pilou Asbæk. Pilou was plucked from the same talented pool of actors to which Birgitte Sørensen (Karsi the Wildling in Hardhome) belongs. They co-starred in the excellent Danish series Borgen.
Euron isn’t, of course, the new Khal. And when I say new, two new Khals have been named so far; Khal Moro and Khal Rhalko. HBO’s casting for Season 6 Episode 1 includes both. Khal Jhaqo is a recurring character in Season 6. He was first mentioned by Ser Jorah in Season 2 when Daenerys and her followers were lost in the Red Waste. She sent her bloodriders into the desert to discover what was beyond. Faithful Rakharo was beheaded, slung over his horse, his head thrown into a pouch, his pony tail cut as a sign of disrespect.
Khal Moro will be played by New Zealander Joseph Naufahu.
Khal Rhalko will be played by Maltese born Andre Claude.
The question still remains: what do the Khals want with Daenerys and how will she get out of this pickle? Was she tracked or was it just a really bad case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time? That which seemed fairly straightforward out of all the clangers and cliffhangers dropped in last season’s finale has just become far more complicated.
Revenge for Khal Drogo’s death and branding Dany as an upstart witch who caused his death could be motive. It does raise other questions though. Are the Dothraki really that concerned with the death of a rival Khal? If they are, why would they keep her alive? And would it be reason enough to organize a huge posse? I don’t think so. I suspect Daenerys was taken hostage for ransom. Jorah said that the Khalasar don’t believe in money. They are good at stealing what better men make.
Solving the Pickle
Diplomacy: Dany could try to talk her way out of it. The Dothraki however are not known for finesse or diplomatic etiquette. They respect brutality, plunder and warriors, the winner takes all. And horses, which may have greater value than beautiful queens from far off lands.
Ransom: Said queen has a dragon or two and a treasure trove of gold and jewels. This scenario would require a Dothraki escort to Meereen. They have to collect their plunder.
Dragons: When last seen, Drogon was in mumbly grumbly don’t-bug-me-now mode. He just saved his mother and needed a long snooze. Will he recover in time to save her again? And could he against so many foes? Reports say that this year the dragons will double in size, which is encouraging, but not perhaps enough for an early fireball attack. Harming the Dothraki may not be the best way to go. Fearless barbarians as allies is a better option, and reminiscent of Jon Snow’s pact with the Free Folk.
Heroes: Another scenario is the hero rescue. Jorah the Andal and Daario Naharis sneak in at dead of night and spirit her away. But there’s a ton of Dothraki in their way. Ramsey crept into Stannis’s camp but he had twenty men and fewer opponents, most of whom were fed-up, starving, frozen or sleeping. The Khalasar doesn’t look frozen or starving to me, more like half naked, bulked-up and fighting happy. Maybe they hold a Dothraki rave the night before and all forty thousand are hungover. I am grasping at straws.
So we have dragons, diplomacy, ransom and heroes. Diplomacy and ransom may factor into the situation. But the real solution to this conundrum is likely to be far more elusive. Breadcrumb: It may involve a certain red priestess arriving in Meereen.