W Magazine reacted to Game of Thrones’ most recent episode by declaring the fictional fantasy show is “killing off entire immigrant populations and it’s a problem.”
W Magazine writer Kyle Munzenrieder specifically takes issue with how the Dothraki horde are extinguished in the latest episode.
For those who haven’t seen the episode yet, in one of the opening scenes, the Dothraki are blessed by the Lord of Light’s priestess Melisandre, who grants their weapons a fire enchantment. After receiving this blessing the Dothraki horde charge off into the night against the waiting army of the undead led by the Night King. In a matter of moments, the Dothraki’s flames are completely extinguished, and it is assumed they have all been wiped out by the undead.
Munzenrieder laments about how the Dothraki are depicted in Game of Thrones, “It continues to burn up entire ethnicities like kindling in the fire of expensive battle scenes, revealing that it only introduced them in the first place to populate its numerous bloodbaths.”
He then lists off other groups of people, who are not native to the Seven Kingdoms. He includes the Wildlings and the Unsullied as well as the Golden Army. He describes the Unsullied as “dudes who will die for Daenerys.” And states the Golden Army is “yet another force of foreigners whose fate seems simply to die in battle.”
Munzenrieder is completely missing the nuance the show has given us with these differing peoples, and the fact he’s labeling them as immigrants is quite galling and possibly speaks to his own political leanings than anything to do with the actual show.
First off, the Dothraki are anything but immigrants. They were disparate tribes of horsemen that roamed the Dothraki sea. Daenerys united them by killing off the members of the Dosh Khaleen. In fact, as Daenerys points out in the clip below, her late husband Khal Drogo had promised to take the Dothraki to Westeros in order to conquer it.
Daenerys states Drogo “promised to kill the men in their iron suits and tear down their stone houses.” That sure doesn’t sound like “immigrants” to me. These are hardened warriors, who were brought to heel by Daenerys to serve her in her conquest of Westeros.
The Dothraki are part of Daenerys’ conquering army. In fact, they were extremely effective against the Lannister army. Their forces combined with Daenerys’ dragon led to a complete rout of the Lannister army. And as you can see in the clip below, it’s not just the “immigrants” as Munzenrieder describes who are killed during the events of Game of Thrones. The armies of Westeros also pay the price for the wars and battles between the various lords.
In fact, the reason why Cersei has to recruit the Golden Army, a renowned unit of mercenaries, is because Daenerys had wiped out much of her forces in the above battle.
But let’s look at the Unsullied. The Unsullied are actually eunuch slaves, who have been trained by birth into prized soldiers. Daenerys actually purchases them as slaves from the Good Masters and then issues her first order to kill the slave masters. After their work of slaughtering is done, Daenerys grants the Unsullied their freedom. They take that freedom and pledge their allegiance to Daenerys joining her army. An army as we’ve already pointed out is used to conquer Westeros and lay claim to the Iron Throne.
Like the Dothraki, they are not immigrants, but a literal conquering force led by Daenerys.
Now, let’s get to the Free Folk. Just like the Dothraki and the Unsullied, they are also invaders. Jon Snow confirms the Free Folk have attempted to invade the Seven Kingdoms at least six times since the Wall was constructed to prevent the Night King and his army of undead from invading south.
In fact, since the undead had not marched south in over 8,000 years, the Night’s Watch, which had been tasked with patrolling the wall and keeping a lookout for the undead, switched their focus to patrolling for Free Folk movements in case they united under a King Beyond the Wall and attempted to invade south. Not only do they look for full-on invasions, but they are also trying to prevent raiding parties against the kingdoms in the north.
In season 2, the Wildlings attacked Mole Town and were ruthless in their slaughtering of the people there. Once again these are not immigrants, but invaders.
Munzenrieder is right about one thing. The death of the Dothraki people is problematic. However, it has nothing to do with the fact they are immigrants. They aren’t. The problem with the Dothraki dying has everything to do with the absolute horrible battle strategy shown during the Battle of Winterfell. They should not have been leading with a light cavalry charge into a horde of undead.
Game of Thrones is not killing off immigrant populations. It shows the cost of war. It shows that the people of Westeros, and the peoples recruited by Daenerys and possibly Cersei end up dying in war. War is hell.