“A Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair.”
Now, I originally set out to write this article after watching one of the most violent weddings in House of the Dragon. I wanted to write this as accurately as possible but realized how difficult that is. I don’t know any facts about Dothraki weddings other than the one-off line about how dull affair. And you know what? I’m going all in on that as my own metric.
There are a few other things we know, or might know, about Dothraki weddings, at least according to the AWOIAF wiki on Westeros dot org, but all of these seem to be conjecture:
- They occur beneath an open sky
- There’s lots of feasting, drinking, dancing, and fighting
- There’s some gift giving
The only Dothraki wedding, in either Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire, is the one between Danaerys and Drogo—which is why, as I look into this, I believe the only standard rule that we can apply to Dothraki wedding traditions is the one offered by Magister Illyrio Mopatis.
Honorable Mention: Khaleesi and Carl Drogo
While there are some deaths at this wedding—and it’s the one where the audience learns the three deaths rule—I’m not counting it because I’m only doing Westerosi weddings. So great wedding, Drogo and Dany, but we are going to move on and look just at Westeros now.
Weddings with zero deaths, i.e. very dull weddings:
It’s worth noting that, when a wedding is dull in Westeros, it’s usually because something violent either just got done happening or is about to happen.
Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark
While this is one of the unhappier weddings on this list, it’s still not even the unhappiest wedding involving Sansa Stark as a bride. Wait, are any of these weddings happy? Hard to say. But while this one is miserable, it’s not caused by someone dying (see several weddings below) and the bride and groom both live to the end of Game of Thrones. But by Dothraki standards? This wedding is as boring as it gets. And it’s entirely set indoors.
Margaery Tyrell and Tommen Baratheon
A happy wedding, immediately following a different wedding during which the bride watched her groom choke to death on poison—which itself wasn’t too unhappy, as she was part of the family that made sure he died. So yeah, dull wedding. And yeah, the bride and groom will both be dead not too long after this wedding, but they and all their guests make it through the event unscathed.
Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark
One of the most low key weddings we bear witness to in GoT. Both bride and groom don’t have much longer to live, but yeah, they’re alive and well. They also made the choice not to invite anyone but the Septon, so for this one to be not dull, it would’ve required the triple murder of all three parties involved. (Unless you can’t the mystical time travels who visit it in their dreams.)
Robb Stark and Talisa Maegyr
Secret, snowy, and boring—but don’t worry, Robb and Talisa got to go to a pretty exciting wedding not long after this one (see below.)
Rhaenyra Targaryen and Daemon Targaryen
One more low key wedding where the people might be in love! The problem with these secret Westerosi weddings is that there aren’t very many people there, and that means there are very many potential dead people. And because this is a Valryian wedding ceremony—one of the few we see in either of the shows—that means we get to see blood smeared all over the couple. Also, it’s outside! So yeah, no one dies, but one thinks the Dothraki guests, if there had been any, would be a little less bored at this event.
A wedding with zero deaths was still pretty fucked up:
Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton
Brutal, upsetting, tragic—but without any death. A difference from many of the ones above which, other than Sansa and Tyrion, involved people who genuinely liked one another. We won’t go into the details of what makes this wedding so awful, but this is one where, when the groom finally dies over a season later, we are pretty happy. But yeah, the Dothraki would be super bored during it. And cold.
Westerosi Weddings with deaths:
The Purple Wedding (Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell)
Only one death at the Purple Wedding, but it’s a wedding that puts many more deaths into motion. The only reason the Dothraki might not approve of this one is that it’s the groom who dies. Which one could argue counts triple and make it not dull, but it’s hard to believe that the Dothraki would really be happy with the groom dying.
Rhaenyra Targaryen and Ser Laenor Velaryon
This is the second best wedding by Dothraki standards, because a wedding guest gets beaten to a dead and bloody pulp by another wedding guest (or guard, or whatever he is.) Then the killer comes real close to killing himself before getting interrupted. Oh, and intriguingly, like the Purple Wedding, the dead guy is named Joffrey. So yes, arguably still a dull affair, as it’s only one dead person at the end of the day, but still, pretty exciting.
The Red Wedding (Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey)
This is, believe it or not, the only wedding on this entire list that passes the Dothraki test. So many dead people. Way more than three. And neither the bride nor the groom among them. Congrats to the Frey family for throwing the only wedding a Dothraki horde would not have been bored by.
Want to read more about the worlds built by George R. R. Martin? You might enjoy The Link Between George R. R. Martin and the Grateful Dead.