Since Dothraki pride their voracity and skill in battle via their hair:

Dothraki warriors wear their hair in a long braid and only cut it when defeated, so the world may see their shame. Very capable warriors therefore often have a very long braid.

-- Dothraki Warrior

If a Khal was to go bald, what would happen to his status as a Khal?

Canon answer to this are preferred but even out-of-universe answers would be welcome.

  • 7
    That's just repeating the question. What do you mean, "what would happen"? What would happen to his pride? His appearance? His status? His hygiene? His followers? His love life? His fighting prowess? Simply asking "what would happen" seems rather broad and open-ended.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 6, 2018 at 11:21
  • 3
    @Randal'Thor, His status as a Khal. Feel free to edit if the question feels vague to you
    – KyloRen
    Dec 6, 2018 at 11:22
  • 11
    Probably most Dothraki Khals did not live long enough to become bald from aging...
    – Hans Olo
    Dec 6, 2018 at 12:50
  • 4
    It's pretty rare for anyone to go 100% bald. Even with aggressive pattern baldness, they'd end up with a horseshoe pattern (appropriately enough) and still be able to grow long hair on the back and sides.
    – AndyK
    Dec 6, 2018 at 16:08
  • 5
    It's possible that with hair being such a status symbol in their society, balding men would be shunned by the group and unfavoured by women meaning centuries of genetic selection on this basis mean men are very unlikely to go bald. As another point on genetics, various ethnic groups experience hair loss differently, and maybe the ancestors of the Dothraki just mean they are prone to good hair by default.
    – Ongo
    Dec 6, 2018 at 22:23

2 Answers 2


NOTE: For a word of god answer, see Skooba's answer here.

Begin my speculative answer.

There's no example of a naturally bald Khal in the canon so we cannot draw on precedence.

As far as the implications such a condition would have on his status as a Khal, I believe it wouldn't be much of a problem.

Dothraki follow strength, not hair. That's the only thing they look for when choosing a leader.

The hair's importance is merely that it indicates how many battles has that person won. But it is not the only indicator of a Khal's strength and victories. The number of cities he razes, his personal wealth, the number of horses in his herds, the size of the Khalasar surrounding him, they all indicate his strength and victories. As long as they are sufficiently impressive, I do not see why his hair would be a problem.

  • 2
    The Dothraki following strength is a good point, but wouldn't baldness be seen as a sign of weakness? Dec 6, 2018 at 15:38
  • 13
    Well, as long as his single combat record still proves his strength..... feel free to challenge him if you think you can do better ?
    – Gloweye
    Dec 6, 2018 at 16:21
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    Is there any chance that the 'mystic' people in their society (don't know the correct name for them, or if they have them) could say that the baldness is an omen or a sign of them going to fail or lose a battle, thereby making any balding Khal lose their power due to a self fulfilling prophesy?
    – Ongo
    Dec 6, 2018 at 16:44
  • 2
    @Nemon27 No. This isn't a Samson situation where the hair is thought to provide power. Instead, it's a form of bragging about successes.
    – kuhl
    Dec 6, 2018 at 21:30
  • 4
    @Nemon27 Of course there's "a chance" the mystics would say that. And there's a chance the mystics would say because "The bald Khal has no hair, his hair can never be cut. He is incapable of being defeated!" Or something else - the mystics are probably very skilled at spinning things however they want.. I don't think putting words into the mouths of Dotrhaki mystics contributes much to the discussion. Dec 7, 2018 at 4:02

They would likely be "dethroned", but may be able to stay in power if they can show sufficient strength.

I reached out to Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson on Twitter (as they have been responsive and helpful to our community). As the co-authors of The World of Ice and Fire they have a close relationship with George, and while what they say may not be 100% canon it can at least give a level of insight beyond guessing.

@SFFSkooba What would happen to a Dothraki would went bald, especially a kahl? Would they been seen as unfit or weak, would they braid their beard in lieu of their hair? We have very little info on kahls who made it to an older age...

@westerosorg Interesting question1 I suspect they would be considered unfit somehow, if they went totally bald. But presumably a good way with an arakh might convince naysayers otherwise.

Source: Twitter @westerosorg

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