Dothraki Love Songs and Who is Paul McCartney, anyway?

Occasionally I do weird web searches–it’s usually how I find some very interesting things that I would never have come across even while some bemoan that the net has killed browsing culture.  Sure, it’s still not the same thing as having the physical and visceral feel of picking out a book and looking at it, but that’s not the point here.

Dothraki Love Songs are Srsly Serious!
Dothraki Love Songs are Srsly Serious!

I was looking for Dothraki Music since I’m interested in how “Geek Cultures” have created their own musical genres, and I came across this link blogpost, The Dothraki Have No Word For ‘Valentine’ by Kirk Hamilton.  The post, as you can see from the date, took place right before Valentine it linked to a series of Game of Throne Valentine Cards which I thought were hilarious when I first posted them to my Klingon Band’s facebook page last year.

The Hamilton’s post also included a link to Buzzfeed post which had screensave scans of twitter images of many of the folks who were wondering who the heck Paul McCartney is since he performed at the end of the Grammys last year.  This image is probably the most concise collection of the tweets (though the #OldFart hashtag in a later scan further down the page cracked me up):

Who is Paul McCartney?
Who is Paul McCartney?

Point is, what some of us may feel is “popular,” and therefore “relevant,” is usually informed by an idiosyncratic notion formed by what might have been “big” during some of our formative years as well as in a relatively restrictive context.  For example, how many people have heard of Lata Mangeshkar?  Go to India and probably some billions of people have listened to and loved some of her thousands of Bollywood playback songs over her 50 + year career.

The interesting thing about aging pop stars is the “close to classical” status they are starting to have.  Some of that was discussed in my Aging of the Orchestra Audience is “A Function of Demographic Evolution” post.  As Orchestras beef up their Pops Seasons with such fare as the Music of the Beatles concerts, we’re inexorably moving towards turning old pop music into classics much as has been done with classical music of the past when that used to be popular.

And it’s not just happening in orchestras.  One of the popular festivals down here is our Abbey Road on the River and a recent commenter on Greg Sandow’s most recent post talks about a Beatles Festival at Baldwin Wallace University.

What started as a small, student-driven performance for campus friends has quickly grown into a BW tradition. With a wink and a nod to the Conservatory’s long-running Bach Festival, the new “Beatles Festival” pays tribute to the music of the Fab Four, and students are running the show.

When Universities start canonizing music, you start to wonder how much relevance that music has anymore and the “Who is Paul McCartney?” twitter storm just accentuates the fact.  Some of the comments on Hamilton’s post could have just as easily have been read on a thread bemoaning the decline of culture due to the so-called decline of classical music:

Sometimes, I despair for the future, then I read those “Who is Paul McCartney?” tweets, and suddenly I hope the world does end in 2012.

[M]aybe it’s the fact that as new generations come along, the more distant we become from musical heritage. When it comes to music, I find that a lot of kids these days are only accepting of music that sounds aesthetically new, the other day my nine year old nephew was in my car and I was listening to Ziggy Stardust era Bowie, and he said that he didn’t like it because “it sounds old”. It’ll probably be the case that they turn 18 and suddenly develop a taste in music, we can only hope anyway, the music industry’s in dire straits when it comes to quality.

[I]t’s up to us to keep all those classics alive by enjoying them and showing them to others.

Which brings me back to Dothraki Love Songs–or rather, just Dothraki Music.  The Game of Thrones is a wildly popular HBO series based on a fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin.  While the series is still continuing, the first novel was published in 1996.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the following meme wasn’t created specifically in reference to this and other HBO programs:

Books: Get HBO programming 10 years before everyone else
Books: Get HBO programming 10 years before everyone else

And the ultimate irony is, if folks were to see a pic of the author (just 6 years younger than McCartney), I don’t doubt they’d be hashtagging #OldFart.  Fortunately for authors, looking young and being young isn’t nearly as important as it is for performers.

I’m on a tangent again–the Dothraki are a race of nomadic, horse-riding warriors.  Inspired, no doubt, by our own historical Huns and Mongols.  Thing is, I recently bought a Morin Khuur which I’ll be using for my Central Asian Music/Dance project, Raks Makam, and thought this would be the perfect instrument for a Dothraki musician!

Jon Silpayamanant's Morin Khuur
Jon Silpayamanant’s Morin Khuur

Because I need another ConLanguage to learn and new costume to make for my musical journey, right?  But somehow, I think it would be a good (and much cooler than wearing a Wookiee costume) look for me!

Khal Drogo shows us how to make a Dothraki Necktie
Khal Drogo shows us how to make a Dothraki Necktie



  • Lekh Dothraki – fan site for the Dothraki language created by George R. R. Martin and David Peterson.
  • Dothraki alphabet at Omniglot, the online encyclopedia of writing systems & languages


  1. I laughed a little at the coverage of the Super-Storm Sandy benefit concert. Paul McCartney was playing and all the Boomer news anchors mentioned him. But the cameramen, who I assume are considerably younger, panned right past him to the drum riser were Dave Grohl was playing.


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