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How Did Khal Drogo Die In Game Of Thrones - Was It An Infection Or Poison?

A lot of people die on "Game of Thrones." The series is actually pretty infamous for killing off characters in droves; during its heyday, fans would joke that you should never choose a favorite character lest they get their head chopped off or an arrow to the heart. That includes Jason Momoa's Khal Drogo, the formidable Dothraki warlord who ends up dead by the end of Season 1, leaving his new wife Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) stranded in a strange land and mourning the man she came to love. So how did Drogo die, exactly? Well, it's actually kind of a complicated question, as these fans on Reddit discovered — aside from the fact that Daenerys is left without a choice and essentially forced to suffocate a deeply ill Drogo to death.

A now-deleted Reddit user started a thread asking about Drogo's death, asking, "Why did Mirri Maz Durr do this?! Was she simply trying to teach Daenerys a cruel lesson, which is that life doesn't matter when your loved ones are dead and your property destroyed? Or was Mirri Maz Durr just trying to prevent Khal Drogo from conquering more people? And when did Mirri Maz Durr decide to 'kill' the Khal? Did she purposely make him worse the moment she touched him after his last fight?" That user is referring to the witch Mirri Maz Durr (Mia Soteriou), to whom Daenerys turns after Drogo develops an infection from a battle wound — and who may or may not have contributed to Drogo's awful state in the end.

Fans of Game of Thrones are torn over Khal Drogo's downfall

From there, Redditors were off to the races, asking about a specific scene where Mirri Maz Durr goes into a tent with Drogo and does some questionable magic ... after which Daenerys finds her husband comatose and loses their baby. As u/lllurkerr wrote, "I believe the tent scene was left purposely ambiguous. I tend to think Dany's baby was unknowingly sacrificed for a dragon, and the witch was not involved. Dany did it herself, probably when she put the egg on the brazier and then held it. (GRRM [original book author George R. R. Martin] has said that Dany is not fireproof, it was a magical event that allowed her to be unburned). Drogo and the witch paid for the other two dragons."

u/Leo_OfRedKeep had a similar take: "Mirri Maz Durr never admits to doing anything, she merely tries to explain how some divinity made things happen and why: 'it angered the Great Shepherd.' She has a fatalistic attitude. She did as asked, answers questions and happen whatever may, it's out of her hands. She does not plead either, shows neither fear nor satisfaction." Meanwhile, u/IndispensableDestiny pointed out that, before Drogo got sick, he and his Dothraki hordes destroyed Mirri Maz Durr's home and killed the people around her, saying, "SImple, Mirri Maz Durr double crossed Daenerys in revenge for the attack on her village."

u/Kerodan_Alduin summed it all up elsewhere on the thread: "In the books, there was a prophecy that Dany's child Rhaego would be the leader of all Dothraki. Miri was, like many women foreign to the Dothraki, abused by them and held a grudge against them and feared that Dany's son would make it worse for her people. In the books, she always intended to sacrifice Rhaego for her blood magic ... Story-wise, this is a very important moment, as Dany takes her dragon eggs into Drogo's funeral pyre and emerges as the mother of dragons."

It's ultimately almost impossible to say whether Khal Drogo was poisoned or simply sick

Clearly, the fine folks on this Reddit thread couldn't quite parse exactly what contributes to Drogo's near-death state — and as one of them noted, that's kind of the point. Daenerys is, at this point in the narrative, incredibly naive, and when she saves Mirri Maz Durr from an attack by a Dothraki soldier, she genuinely believes the woman is now on her side. After Drogo goes completely catatonic and Daenerys miscarries their son Rhaego — who, it was said, would grow up to be the "stallion that mounts the world" — she realizes that Mirri Maz Durr may or may not have helped her, and that's simply the way the world works.

Daenerys is indisputably the cause of Drogo's death; as she sees him catatonic and completely unable to return to full consciousness, she puts a pillow over his head and smothers him until his last breath. That said, she wouldn't have even had to make that choice without Mirri Maz Durr's meddling. Mirri Maz Durr has every reason to hate Daenerys, whose privilege within this dangerous and violent world shields her from the truth ... which is that the Dothraki have ruined countless lives as they try to conquer their part of the world. Whether or not she intended to make things worse isn't really the point, and she pays the ultimate price after her maybe-betrayal.

What happens in the immediate aftermath of Khal Drogo's death?

After mercy-killing her beloved husband, Daenerys grabs her three dragon eggs — gifts she received during her wedding that most people think are purely ornamental — and burns Mirri Maz Durr on Drogo's funeral pyre, wandering into the flames as well with the eggs in hand. In the end, Daenerys emerges from the ashes naked with three baby dragons clinging to their new mother, and that's what the mess with Mirri Maz Durr and Drogo's descent into catatonia came to: the birth of the Mother of Dragons.

From there, Daenerys is all but unstoppable, and she turns her grief to anger, torching slave owners and freeing people as she prepares to cross the Narrow Sea and claim the Iron Throne for herself. We all know what happens next, unfortunately; after seeming like a hero for most of the series, she ends up committing genocide at the end of the series when she burns King's Landing to the ground, a twist that deeply infuriated a lot of viewers. (Drogo probably would have been proud of this, though, with all things considered.) Daenerys becomes a terrifying force in her own right, surpassing the violent standard set by her late husband ... and killing her own catatonic husband without flinching might have been a sign of things to come later down the line.