The Geography of Game of Thrones: Part 13 – The Dothraki Sea and the Red Waste

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In the interior of Essos, there are vast sparsely populated lands. The largest section of plains and steppe is known as the Dothraki Sea, home of the fierce nomadic horsemen known Dothraki. During the first season of Game of Thrones, Daenerys was married to a Dothraki Khal named Drogo. This people migrate across the plains in large hordes called khalasars to plunder neighboring lands. South of the Dothraki Sea is the peaceful hill country of Lhazar, home of shepherds. But they’re often targets of Dothraki slave raids since they don’t fight back. South of that is the Red Waste, which is a harsh desert region with ruins that not even a Dothraki would dare cross.

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Location: North of the Bay of Dragons and east of the Free Cities of Essos

Size: It’s quite vast, covering most of what’s known of the continent.

Capital: Vaes Dothrak, which is basically the only Dothraki city. Despite being a warrior culture, the Dothraki are forbidden to carry weapons through the place since it’s frowned upon to spill or shed blood there. Unless someone dies a particularly stupid death or the Khal in charge of that Dothraki who died doesn’t really care.

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Climate: Temperate to arid.

Environment: The Dothraki are an array of nomadic tribes so it’s quite clear that the great steppe of central Essos doesn’t provide much arable land. While there are vast plains and rivers with the occasional mountain. The Red Waste mostly consists of desert.

Resources: There’s not a lot of resources here aside from basic agriculture in Lhazar. Also, the Dothraki don’’t really believe in money.

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Population: This is a sparsely populated region since it mostly consists of nomadic horseback riding Dothraki and Lhazaareen shepherds.

Key Cities: Other than Vaes Dothrak, there’s not much else. Though the inhabitants of Lhazar are peaceful shepherds and perfect targets for slave trafficking.

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Culture: The Dothraki are a nomadic culture who plunder the settled peoples for resources. Although sometimes the mere threat of force will suffice and they’ll be paid to leave. Unlike the many states, the Dothraki follow people for their physical strength, not bloodline or wealth. And the Khal will always be male since despite that they may love their women, their ladies aren’t treated much better than slaves. Though equestrianism is one of the most defining traits of a man’s worth. For if a Khal can’t ride, then he’s no longer a Khal. Also have a deep hatred for witches and blood magic.

Religion: The Dothraki worship the Great Stallion. Their religious leaders are the dosh khaleen and consist of the widows of former khals. Though they command great respect even from the khals and live in luxury, they’re sworn to celibacy and can’t leave Vaes Dothrak. The Lhazaareen worship “the Great Shepherd” in the sky.

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Great House: N/A

Vassal Houses: N/A

History: The Red Waste used to be inhabited but no one has lived there for centuries as the buildings have been abandoned.

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Current Status: Well, 100,000 Dothraki pledged support for Daenerys.

Best Known for: The Dothraki, obviously.

Home of: Khal Drogo, Qotho, Cohollo, Haggo, Mago, Qhono, Khal Jhaqo, Khal Moro, and Miri Maz Duur.

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Landmarks: There are some ruined and lost cities in the Red Waste which were once able to flourish using large irrigation works. But they’ve long been abandoned and reclaimed by the sand. Vaes Dothrak has a gate with giant horse statues.

What to Avoid: Well, the Dothraki for one since they’re a hostile presence. Also, stay out of the Red Waste if you want to live.

For Those Who Want to Visit: If you want to see something spectacular at Vaes Dothrak, remember that most of the important buildings are made out of straw and mud, are lit with huge flaming braziers, and lack ways to quickly put out a blaze. Also, despite being stadium size, it only has one exit. Also, the Dothraki usually barter and raid for stuff they need and don’t believe in money.

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