“The Dothraki weren’t even given their own identifying character. They were commanded by a white guy.”
A journalist wrote an article criticizing the “killing off of entire immigrant populations” in the HBO TV series “Game of Thrones” following an episode in which the Dothraki, a fictional race of nomadic horse-warriors, were decimated in battle with an army of undead soldiers.
In a piece titled, “Game of Thrones Keeps Killing Off Entire Immigrant Populations, and It’s a Problem,” W Magazine senior news editor Kyle Munzenrieder opined that “Where once it seemed like Game of Thrones had something to say on the topic of immigration and the introduction of new populations to the staid old continent of Westeros,” he is “no longer sure it’s interested in such heady ideas anymore.”
Half an entire race of people died last night, but sure… https://t.co/iysPGCGfoR
— Kyle Munzenrieder (@Munzenrieder) April 29, 2019
According to Munzenrieder, whose Twitter activity reveals liberal leanings, the show “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.”
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“Entire peoples with proud, interesting histories have been given the send-off of a random red-shirt cadet in Star Trek,” he claimed.
Munzenrieder waxed nostalgic for the days when the show “spent several seasons humanizing the Free Folk, tracking the peace they eventually came to with the Northerners and exposing centuries-old bigotries as nonsense in the process.”
But, Munzenrieder averred, the show has done a disservice to outsider peoples such as the Free Folk and Unsullied by systematically killing them off.
“It’s odd, because not only have so many outsiders died to protect the people of the Seven Kingdoms, but some [of] the most prominent characters have foreigners to thank for the skills, experiences, and magic they’ve learned from both Essos and the Free Folk,” Munzenrieder added. “So it sits a bit awkwardly that there are very few Free Folks or immigrants from Essos left to share in the rewards and the power structure that emerges afterward.”
And Munzenrieder wasn’t hopeful that “Game of Thrones” could find a way to rectify its imperialist streak.
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“The show could still find some way to address these themes and questions that once seemed so central. Unfortunately, it’s killed off so many immigrants and foreigners that it’s left itself very little to work with,” he wrote.
Nor is Munzenrieder alone in his feeling that “Game of Thrones'” handling of immigrant populations is “problematic.”
“The Dothraki weren’t even given their own identifying character. They were commanded by a white guy,” wrote one concerned viewer in response to a tweet by The Atlantic staff writer Adam Serwer.
The Dothraki weren’t even given their own identifying character. They were commanded by a white guy.
— uptowngbv (@uptowngbv) April 29, 2019
The Ringer writer Danny Heifetz was similarly critical of the show’s portrayal of the Dothrakis, arguing that they are treated as, “plot devices, not people.”
The meditations on “Game of Thrones'” depiction of immigrants from the commentariat class could be seen as a sign of the culture’s inability to refrain from injecting any facet of society with political or ideological significance.
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- Game of Thrones: Screen grab