“You think my life is some precious thing to me? That I would trade my life for a few years? ...I grew up with soldiers. I learned how to die a long time ago.”
Game of Thrones is nearing its Season One endgame, and as the Starks and the Lannisters continue their violent feud, the bodies are beginning to pile up. “Baelor,” this week's penultimate episode, ups the stakes considerably, with a number of game-changing plot developments—and the series’ most shocking casualty to date.
As the Dothraki continue their wild-card quest toward Westeros, Khal Drogo collapses due to a wound he incurred in last week's episode. In theory, the fight that caused his injury is exactly the type of moment that gets immortalized in Dothraki legend: the courageous khal, stabbed by a brash young rival, deliberately leans into the traitor's blade before easily besting him in battle. It's not hard to imagine young Dothraki boys gathering around the campfire to hear the story of the courageous Khal Drogo.
But unfortunately for Khal Drogo, the story doesn't end there. As it turns out, the mighty Khal Drogo wasn't felled by a powerful enemy during a glorious battle; he was defeated slowly, by a small, infected wound. There's no glory in Khal Drogo's impending death, and in Dothraki culture, that's unforgivable. In desperation, Daenerys turns to "blood magic" to revive her dying husband, but it's unclear whether he'll return as the same man—or whether the Dothraki will have any interest in continuing to follow a man who's shown such weakness.