Lapis Exilis wrote:
Add on top of all that the Dothraki who glorfiy murder, mayhem, and rape and are the readers' introduction to the cultures of Essos, as well as being obviously based on the Mongols, the hordes of which have merged in many a Western mind with modern Islamist fundamentalist "hordes" screaming about the great Western Satan, and I think there's a case to be made for using the term Orientalism.
I think the Dothraki are a pretty accurate depiction of that sort of historical barbarian culture. They weren't men of honour, and were very much in the spirit of glorifying violence and rape. I'm glad GRRM wrote them like that, as it made for a more conflicting reading experience when we see Dany embrace their culture.
It also made it more interesting when Mirri Maz Duur was supposedly outed as anantagonist, when she's clearly much more sympathetic and likeable than Drogo and his Dothraki.
I LOVE the Dothraki - and pretty much all the cultures Martin writes. I'm not really faulting him for some Orientalism or othering sneaking in, especially since it happens largely through the POV of Westerosi characters, which gets him off the hook a bit. Plus I really think he portrays the culture of Westeros as just as completely barbaric as any other culture he presents. The closest he gets to real racial stereotyping is his portrayal of the Summer Islanders, who, again, are largely seen the Westerosi eyes.