HOLY SHIT I DIDNT EVEN REALIZE THERE WAS A SONG ATTACHED TO THIS MEME N I WAS LIKE “lol ok it can’t b that bad. It’s prob just some generic sounding pop and people were mad about it being generic…” *Song starts playing after loading for 5 seconds*
Instead, the primary inspiration for George R.R. Martin’s Dothraki seems to come from deeply flawed Hollywood depictions of noamdic peoples, rather than any real knowledge about the peoples themselves. The Dothraki are not an amalgam of the Sioux or the Mongols, but rather an amalgam of Stagecoach (1939) and The Conqueror (1956). When it comes to the major attributes of the Dothraki – their singular focus on violent, especially sexual violence, their lack of art or expression, their position as a culture we primarily see ‘from the outside’ as almost uniformly brutal (and in need of literally the whitest of all women to tame and reform it) – what we see is not reflected in the historical people at all but is absolutely of a piece with this Hollywood legacy.
But Martin has done more damage than simply watching The Mongols (1961) would today. He has taken those old, inaccurate, racially tinged stereotypes and repackaged them, with an extra dash of contemporary cynicism to lend them the feeling of ‘reality’ and then used his reputation as a writer of more historically grounded fantasy (a reputation, I think we may say at this point, which ought to be discarded; Martin is an engaging writer but a poor historian) to give those old stereotypes the air of ‘real history’ and how things ‘really were.’ And so, just as Westeros became the vision of the Middle Ages that inhabits the mind of so many people (including quite a few of my students), the Dothraki become the mental model for the Generic Nomad: brutal, sexually violent, uncreative, unartistic, uncivilized.
And as I noted at the beginning of this series, Martin’s fans have understood that framing perfectly well. The argument given by both the creators themselves, often parroted by fans and even repeated by journalists is that A Song of Ice and Fire‘s historical basis is both a strike in favor of the book because they present a ‘more real’ vision of the past but also a flawless defense against any qualms anyone might have over the way that the fiction presents violence (especially its voyeuristic take on sexual violence) or its cultures. No doubt part of you are tired of seeing that same ‘amalgam’ quote over and over again at the beginning of every single one of these essays, but I did that for a reason, because it was essential to note that this assertion is not merely part of the subtext of how Martin presents his work (although it is that too), but part of the actual text of his promotion of his work.
And it is a lie. And I want to be clear here, it is not a misunderstanding. It is not a regrettable implication. It is not an unfortunate spot blind-spot of ignorance. It is a lie, made repeatedly, now by many people in both the promotion of the books and the show who ought to have known better. And it is a lie that has been believed by millions of fans.
lol get rekt George R.R. Martin
Maybe if i listen to darkness on the edge of town bruce will make it better
I will make sure you regret not killing me. —EPISODE 13
[ID: seven gifs from episode thirteen of the series “My Country: The New Age” showing Bang-won crouched down in front of Seon-ho, who’s on his knees and with a bloodied face. Both of them are framed with close up shots of their faces.
Bang-won looks at him with disdain and says, “Regret… is just an excuse for the weak”, tapping the ground with the tip of two fingers to remark the word “excuse”. He smiles sardonically. As he taps the ground, Seon-ho looks down at his fingers then slowly back up at his face. He stares, dead-eyed, for a few seconds and then slowly enunciates “I will come back for your neck”. The last shot shows Bang-won’s hostile expression as he stares ahead, still crouched down, not following Seon-ho’s movement when he stands to leave. /end ID.]