8 Canadian locations you might see on Game of Thrones (but are they fit for a khaleesi?)
The Dothraki city of Vaes Dothrak will be inspired by Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson
Be vigilant, Vancouver. Same goes for Toronto, Montreal and possibly even Red Deer and Lethbridge, Alta. Winter is not coming, but the Dothraki hordes might be.
The intensely anticipated new season of Game of Thrones launches Sunday, and while there are very few scraps of intel circulating about what to expect, we do know this: we're going to see Vaes Dothrak for the first time, and the greatest (and possibly only?) city in the Dothraki nation has a Canadian connection. Deborah Riley, GoT's art director, revealed this week that Vaes Dothrak will look like it was designed by the late Vancouver architect, Arthur Erickson.
One fun fact about the screaming, beard-braiding horse-lords that live there, though: Dothraki warriors pillage everything. They mercilessly take what they need, whether that be livestock, fresh loincloths or every last building in their city.
Every Dothraki palace and marketplace is technically stolen property, the stones carted across the expanses of Westeros on the backs of their slaves. Given what we now know about their taste in architecture, we fear many of the enslaved may have been Canadian university students and/or museum employees.
During his career as Canada's most prominent modernist architect, Erickson designed more than 500 buildings internationally, though many are found around the country — from Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall to the pavilions for Montreal's Expo 67. We look forward to seeing them all play host to a nation of horse-loving brutes on Season 6 of Game of Thrones, because Canada.
Given what we understand of Dothraki quirks and culture, however, some of Erickson's buildings are less fit for a khaleesi than others. For example…
Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver
Their pillaging instincts are strong, but so is their fear of the ocean. Like giant shirtless versions of the Wicked Witch of the West, these guys are absolutely terrified of large bodies of water. Apparently, it's because their precious horses can't drink salt water. Neither can they, presumably. But instead of just not drinking it, and packing a few extra barrels of water or wine or wizard-flavoured Gatorade, they stay far away from oceans at all times. This museum's coastal views definitely save it from a thorough ransacking.
Bank of Canada, Ottawa
Money? Dothraki don't believe in money, and they don't believe in banks. Me nem nesa. This is the home of the original sharing economy, even if their version of Uber is just threatening people with rusty harvesting blades until they give you a horse.
Sukis Salon and Spa, Vancouver
Get a haircut, and you show the world your shame. So is the drain-clogging code of the Dothraki warrior, who will only cut his pony-tail when defeated in battle. Good stylists of Vancouver, you are safe from the Dothraki invasion, although GoT lore is less clear when it comes to their stance on facials, mani-pedis and other salon services.
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
You'll find everything in the marketplace of Vaes Dothrak, from food to temples to probably way too many places where they'll braid your hair like you're a tourist who's day drunk on resort Bahama Mamas. When Erickson designed Simon Fraser University, a project that launched his reputation in the early 1960s, he modelled the mountain-top campus on a similar public space, the acropolis in Athens.
Lethbridge University, Lethbridge, Alta.
Ah, the grassy prairies of Southern Alberta. Nowhere in Canada will you find a place more like the Dothraki heartland, a place where livestock and juiced-up bros with tribal tattoos roam freely.
Yorkdale Subway Station, Toronto
When a Khal can no longer ride — when he is sick, or old, or injured — he will be abandoned by his people. A Toronto subway station seems a fitting place for these aged warlords to wallow in shame while welcoming death. Bonus: it can efficiently connect them to the downtown core at a discounted price for seniors.
Trump International Hotel and Tower, Vancouver
The Dothraki are a brutal people, known for raping, pillaging and merciless bloodthirst. Still, we wouldn't go so far as to call them tyrants.
King's Landing, Toronto
Sorry, Westeros already has one of those.
Game of Thrones Season 6 premieres Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m. ET/MT on HBO Canada.