Curtain Call: Jason Momoa

If there was one actor given the single toughest task in Game of Thrones, it was Jason Momoa.

“You need to play a powerful leader of men but speak no lines in English. You will learn a completely different, newly-created language and act as though you’ve spoken it all your life. When you need to communicate with any sort of emotion to your love interest—or anyone–you’ll be doing it with your eyes, and with your body, since no one watching the television will understand the words coming out of your mouth. Here’s the Dothraki dictionary in pdf form.”

“Oh, and brush up on ripping tongues out of throats with your bare hands. In your spare time. If you can.”

Say what you want about the guyliner—and it was kohl, I always imagined, like the Babylonians and the Egyptians used to use—Jason Momoa wins, hands down, the award for Manliest of the Manly Men on this show. Sure, the Greatjon tried to cut Robb’s meat, and yeah, Jaime taunted a grieving, rock-armed wife while he was helpless and chained to a stake, but Drogo…

Drogo pwnd. He did it with the thunder in his voice, he did it with his bare hands. His braid was never cut. It could even be argued he was so badass that only he could self-inflict the wound that eventually proved his undoing. Jason took a role that anyone with less charisma would have floundered in. How do you come across as anything other than a brute if all you do in your introductory episode is grunt the word “No” while raping your young, virginal wife?

Reaction to his character after the first episode was less-than flattering. Fans of the books didn’t expect such a brutal consummation, and new viewers only understood the brutality of what they were being given on the screen; there were cries of racial stereotyping (which I personally found more than a little odd), and some people accused him of being one-note. Jason was not in the running for “most popular” Game of Thrones actor after the first episode.

But he sure as hell was by the time episode eight came and went. It wasn’t just the exponential badassery; it was Drogo’s entire journey that Jason was able to capture. I’m the guy that followed the Twitter comments, so I saw the slow shift, through his dedication to the role and his onscreen chemistry (eyes, body language, everything) with Emilia Clarke, how Jason was able to win the masses. Especially to the non-readers; the Khal Drogo in A Song of Ice and Fire may have felt like a plot device to some people, but onscreen he loomed larger than life. He was gigantic, heroic.

And that was all Jason. At the end… it really was a shame to see him go.

Luckily, we’ve not seen the last of Jason Momoa. He made heads turn on Stargate Atlantis as Ronon Dex, and then garnered himself a floodton more fans as Drogo, and it doesn’t end there. Most of you know where to find him next: in the starring role of CONAN, in Conan the Barbarian, guest-starring Ron freaking Pearlman. It opens August 19—less than two months away. You can bet your asses I’ll be there front and center on day one to see that.

I might not have, without Momoa there.

For us he’ll always be Drogo; he’ll always be the horselord who won Dany’s heart, and in the process won so many people over that he had fans screaming, “I’ll quit this show if he dies!”

(Hopefully not. I guess we’ll know next season.)

And he’ll always be that dude’s dude who came in and freaked out the casting assistants by throwing down a Maori Haka.

Hell yeah.

Best of luck, Jason. You will be missed, warrior. We here at House Gatewatch salute you. You were the freaking Khal, man.

And that makes you immortal.

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  • Great addition to the show, and I’m looking forward to seeing him in Conan. His speech is episode 7 is one of my favorite scenes in the series.

  • Has that Maori haka been put up on the web anywhere? Or if not, have we had any word about whether we may see it one day (Blu-ray extras?)

    Being from New Zealand, I am most interested to see it…

  • Jason really surprised me.

    For me he was just the good-looking guy from Baywatch and, although I was happy with his casting – for he certainly looked the part – I was not expecting him to do it so well.

    Well done, Jason, you were the freaking khal.

  • Jason brought Drogo into 3D for those of us who, as you mentioned, often thought of the Khal as little more than a plot device.

    Standing out in this awesome of a cast was no small feat.

    Nicely done.

  • I loved his Dothraki/Henry V speech!! I thought Momoa was marvellous at negotiating the very difficult line between balls-out masculinity & tenderness. He had great chemistry with Emilia too.

    Also in interviews he came across as a DUDE.

    After seeing him kill it in GoT, I can’t wait for Conan!

  • Really well done ! I also didn’t expect much more than eye-candy ,and was very pleasantly surprised. Great speech , great fight ..and the growth of the Dany /Drogo relationship was more touching than I ever thought it could be.

    My sons, who were fairly meh.. about the upcoming Conan movie..( they worried Jason was too pretty , feared another wooden portrayal a la Arnie ).. are now psyched for August. ( As am I , because of Jason and the apparent homage to Frazetta’s art )..My sister may even go, though she normally wouldn’t walk across the street to see a Conan movie on a free ticket.

    ( Mind you, when Drogo died, she said ” That was so sad…and I can’t believe we won’t get to see that body anymore..” )

  • After i saw the first images, i have to admit, i was a doubter. But Jason, you were terrefic!
    At the end, i didn t want to see “your” Drogo

    And i m really looking forward to the new Conan movie.

  • Kind of odd that outside of Ned and Cat, the most functional relationship in the first season is between a raping, mass-murdering warlord and his mail-order bride. Momoa did the trick, though. Just look at his supportive looks during Dany’s heart-eating scene. And his vow to bring his army across the narrow sea? Chills, I tell you.

  • You Mighty Khal!

    You even did the impossible: Made me want to see Conan.
    (never seen the first one – kind of hate for Arnie)

    Wish you all luck !

  • I loved Jason portrayal of Khal Drogo, that speech was a brilliant moment in the series. Any interview with the actor was also well worth a read.

    You will be missed, man.

  • I got goosebumps just reading this…. He was almost to awesome, making me regret his death more then Neds. I thought he was good in Stargate Atlantis, but he took his acting to a whole other level playing the Khal.

    Also for the Conan movie, I would seen it either way, but with our Khal as Conan I think it will be a good movie :)

  • Didn’t know he did a haka at his audition. Anyone who can do that and pull it off 1: proves that they have understood the core of the role and 2: deserves to play Drogo…

  • Yep, Jason is the dude, and Jason made the Khal his own!

    The acting was astounding, and to think in a made-up language, what the hell?

    It has made me want to go see Conan, which is a shock to my brain, and SGA, which means I need a lie-down.

    Jason, you were THAT good! Thanks.

  • Jason was great. The way he acted while speaking Dothraki and communicating with his voice and body expressions was truly exceptional. He will be missed.

    Your eulogies are also great, FiB! Makes me wish that more deaths are forthcoming… (oups)

  • I thought Jason would be a great fit for the part when he first got cast. Then we had a minor costumegate (eyeliner?! No mustachios? Where are the bells???) And that wedding night rape slant that had a number of folks up in arms. Jason overcame all that by being the ultimate tough guy yet showing great chemistry with Emilia Clarke and with few words showing just how this barbarian came to cherish the “moon of his life”. Great job – jason was a perfect fit as the Khal!

  • Saw him for the first time on Stargate Atlantis, loved his acting there and as soon as it was announced that he would be playing Khal Drogo and Conan I was like “YEAH, perfect fit!” Jason proved me right and went beyond what I expected in Game of Thrones and Im sure he will do it again in Conan. Heres a good interview with Jason talking about both Conan and Game of Thrones, and he mentions a certain fellow Game of Thrones cast member at the end, posted this in an earlier thread, here it is again:


  • amazing role and he had the awesomest death of all warrior characters. Who would have expected him to die this way.
    here is an impression of his haka for those of you who are interested.

    fare thee well lord of horses. and I salute you with my favourite quote from the show “….”.

  • I remember him from the short-lived series North Shore. Dude just killed it as Drogo though. I’m going to pretend Conan is the Khal reborn in a land where the sun rises in the west.

    Well done, Jason!

  • I salute you mr. Momoa, you really brought the great khal to life with your performance.

    On a side note – thanks for talking producers into adding a fight scene, that tongue-ripping move was amazing.

  • Jason, you were perfect. From rants to vegetation, you nailed it.
    If I knew how, I’d use Dothraki to say, “You deserve small statute of winged lady holding up circle of hoops.”

    CONAN The Barbarian
    August 19, 2011

  • Hell yes I would pay to see Jason and dinklage in a remake of Twins!!!!! That would be unfuckingbelievablyepicwindavos wow!

    Oh and Jason was a good khal, I would say recast as Davos but then he might be too distracted to team up with dinklage in some awesome buddy film.

  • Fire and Blood’s posts always suck, he’s so high on himself and tries way too hard to be funny (failing miserably). I wish he would be removed from staff.

  • I can’t believe how Jason turned the audience on to his side after the “rape” scene (so hard to know how to write that because we know it was consensual in the book but in the series you can only call it rape)
    He did this with pure charisma and talent. I loved Jason in Stargate and always thought he was never give much of a chance in that role (hells teeth the producers overlooked Conan in favour of McKay ffft!) yet dominated any scene that he was in.
    As Drogo he was perfect. He communicated so much with just his eyes in the scene where Dany eats the horse heart, that no words were needed and I dont think I need to mention the crowning or the speech scenes because they were so awesome.
    Jason, you were just fabulous, I will follow career from now on and will be in the front row for Conan. And though I knew it was coming, Drogo’s death broke my heart.

  • Jake Stormoen, I see you!!

    (See, I’m here, shaking my fist at him.)

    … I probably should be removed from staff. But who would bring the donuts?

  • Awesome actor for an awesome character. I will definately miss him. If you can get away with rape, and threatening to rape all the women on a continent and you are beloved you probably have done something right.

    I also loved the interviews he gave, very charismatic dude. This picture says a thousand words.

  • He was awesome as the Khal.

    Thanks, Jason, for contributing to one of the greatest first seasons of TV ever!

  • You were amazing Jason, and exceeded all my expectations. I don’t watch action flicks but I just might watch Conan because of you. :)

  • For all the fears that he was too pretty boy to play the part, he rocked it. I wouldn’t have ever wanted him pissed at me.

  • He made the book character so much more interesting, and sold me on the Drogo/Dany romance for the first time. He (and his insanely amazing body) will be missed.

  • Thinking on it, i have nothing but praise for Jason. And a long rant is a little boring, so i’ll just say he was perfect!

  • All I could think of was Ronon from SGA when he was cast. Kinda ruined the image that I had in my head for the Khal. But he absolutely nailed it, 100%! Very sad that he won’t be returning.

    Great job!

  • It could even be argued he was so badass that only he could self-inflict the wound that eventually proved his undoing.

    That was the moment when his performance went from very good to great, for me. Seeing the look he gave his opponent when he pushed his chest against the blade with a little smile just let you know how bad-ass Khal really was.

  • I had no doubts. He was excellent as Ronnon in Stargate Atlantis. I knew that he could create memorable Khal Drogo.
    Thank You very much. I’m looking forward to see Your Connan.

  • Well said, FaB! :) Those little observations put a huge grin on my face.

    Seriously, would Drogo have ever died had he not done it himself? Probably not. The man’s a beast, and you couldn’t be more correct about his skyrocketing popularity. I read with dismay after the preview all the lengthy discussions of unfavourable, noble savage stereotypes, but by Viserys’ crowning, people were all behind their horse lord!

    They were many viewer’s favourite on-screen couple, and their chemistry was blazing. That scene with Dany eating heart? They were ravishing each other with their eyes.

    In the end, I’m not sure which there were more of: oaths to swear off the show if Ned died, or if Drogo died. Jason brought a tangible presence and charisma that will certainly be missed, and definitely contributed, in whatever small or large way, to the show’s popularity.

  • I never, ever thought it would be his acting that I’d remember most from his Drogo.

    Guess he showed me.

    But no way, and from now on, will I ever see anyone but Jason in my head when I think about the Khal.

  • Big hulking darkskinned buck brutalizing a thin, aryan woman? doesn’t that scream 1920’s racemongering? I mean, it practically screams Birth of a Nation!

    If this confuses you, that is OKAY. But please, get yinz some culture! And STAT!

    Does it make it better if he essentially sexually molests her until she is unable to say no? If she, as a 13yrold, is utterly unable to grasp her own agency, and thus doesn’t realize that she can say no?

    And what of the question of — how normalized was this? Is this how all marriages (dothraki and westeros) went?

  • And what a Curtain Call it was! Jason did himself, his fans, and the show proud. It is not an easy thing to let your physicality convey your essense and identity as a character. This could have easily gone the other way and made Khal Drogo seem and look like an oversized buffoon. Luckily that was NOT the case.

    Jason Momoa adopted Drogo as his own personna, hell now I’ll have a hard time seeing him as Conan since I will always have Drogo on my mind, and that is not necessarily a bad thing because to me it underscores just how convincing Jason was in his role!

    Besides he literally played a part in Dany’s “rebirth” and contributed to one the show’s most memorable moments!

    So good luck Jason, all the best to you in the future, may you experience continued success and prosperity!

    PS See you later on this summer as Conan!

  • The speech where he pledged to give the Iron Throne to Rhaego was AWESOME!!

    Probably the best scene in the show other than the big two scenes we all were waiting for (Ned’s death and the dragons).

  • Momoa was great as Drogo, he managed to be intimidating without saying a word. One of my few complaints about the series is that I wish we’d seen more Drogo. That fight was amazing- would have loved to see more of Drogo the warrior, away from Dany as well as with her.

    But what we got was still great. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to make a completely new, created language sound natural but Momoa made it work.

    Drogo will be missed, but I might just go to see Conan :)

  • Fire And Blood,

    Nice comeback, was considering posting something hateful to Jake. You killed my hate boner.

    I love your posts, btw, and that’s a lot to say considering I’m a passive-agressive Seattlite fanboy

  • Not an easy mission for the funniest and most charismatic guy i can think of to play the biggest bada$$ so convincingly.

    I had no doubt at all and Jason was so awesome. Jason owned the role. He didn’t play Khal Drogo. He was Khal Drogo.

    His most likely last interview about Game of Thrones :


    For all of us who can’t get enough of The Man, watch out for :

    Conan vs. Rambo: One Wins, One Dies and One is Jason Momoa


    Thanks for writing this curtain call, i’ve enjoyed each word of it.

  • Jason Momoa blew me away with his passion, power and that body of steel. I present to him the GoT Finest-Ass Award: B

    Khal Drogo and Rhaego are giving the horse-gods hell I’m sure.

  • Jim Cross,

    You should try the Detroit way of being active-aggressive. It’s quite liberating (unless you’re on the receiving end, that is!)

  • Uhhhh, what?

    Big hulking darkskinned buck brutalizing a thin, aryan woman? doesn’t that scream 1920′s racemongering? I mean, it practically screams Birth of a Nation!

    If this confuses you, that is OKAY. But please, get yinz some culture! And STAT!

    Does it make it better if he essentially sexually molests her until she is unable to say no? If she, as a 13yrold, is utterly unable to grasp her own agency, and thus doesn’t realize that she can say no?

    And what of the question of — how normalized was this? Is this how all marriages (dothraki and westeros) went?

  • Ed,

    He said “yinz.” That automatically puts him in a sub-stratum of America, and thus can be safely ignore.

  • Jason Momoa was AMAZING as Drogo. His eyes said everything. His performance will stay with me for a long time.

  • KG,
    ya, I’m from MORDOR. yagotafugginproblemwidat?
    p.s. Anyone from Gotham around here?

  • He was quite a surprise. At first, he looked just like your average big guy with no talent, but, damn, that guy can act. Dominated the screen every time he was in it, and could play both tough and tender.

    knurk said it best:
    Awesome actor for an awesome character. I will definately miss him. If you can get away with rape, and threatening to rape all the women on a continent and you are beloved you probably have done something right.


  • Jim Cross,

    Criticism is fine, not everyone is expected to dig my style. Or lack thereof. My lexicon can be offputting.

    OT, you have my surname. Brotha!

  • Ah Khal Drogo, if I didn’t love my khaleesi so much I may have made a play for him. Yummy…sigh.

  • My opinion of his performance started out as indifferent, declined to unimpressed, and then from episode 6 ramped quickly up to blown the fuck away.

    Glad they put his fight scene in, though the speech in e07 was the defining moment for me.

  • Jason,
    Forget crossing the Narrow Sea: we ladies would just like to navigate those abs. We even got used to the manliner and are now advocating its use for all our fellers. (Sadly, it is a look only the mightly khal can pull off day after day.)

    Ser Jorah….you’re a nice guy but you are not going to do it for us, and it’s too cold in Westeros for anyone else to try the leather-chaps-and-nothing-else look. Winter is indeed coming. Sigh.

  • I have only had the pleasure of watching the first episode. I have read the books and am totally aghast at how they twisted the first love scene between Khal Drogo and Dany. It absolutely did NOT go down like that. And it was quite a disappointment. I do, however, think he is a phenomenal actor and am excited to watch the rest of the season. I suppose books are always better, but I was hopeful they would have stuck with that one thing from the book, it was so poignant that it made me cry when I read it in the book.

  • Well said! I think that summed up Jason Momoa’s performance as Khal Drogo brilliantly! I totally concur and am so going to watch him in Conan the Barbarian.

  • Jason Momoa was awesome. He made me like Khal Drogo a lot more than in the book (I always found book-Drogo kind of bland). I’m also looking forward to Conan now; I think Momoa’s performance as Drogo justifies his casting as Conan.

    Also, I was particularly impressed by his mastery of the Dothraki language!

    So, well done Jason Momoa!

    And for the record… I am GLAD that they changed the wedding scene. It feels unrealistic and cheesy in the book. Also, the change works better for the show with it’s limited story-telling time.

  • I loved him in SG: Atlantis, so I was really excited to hear he would be playing Drogo. When I was reading the book, I never took much notice of Drogo but Jason grabbed my attention and held it and held it. Not an easy task with a character such as Drogo. And his relationship with Dany was played out beautifully.
    Will defo be dragging the brother, or failing that the friends (the Gods help them!) to the cinema for Conan.

  • Yet another actor who took a fairly 2-dimensional book character and brought him to life. Well done Jason! Not just a gorgeous man, but an actor who took on the onerous task of emoting in a completely made-up language.
    Good luck in Conan – you deserve it!

  • I wish the story allowed for drogo to go mano-y-mano against the mountain…. and that Momoa and Conan (confusing I know) could play those roles… barring that, could we get like a special feature with a “Deadliest warrior (FX)-esque” scenario played out in the DVD box set??

    This would please me.

  • The entire portrayal of the Dothraki improved significantly between the first episode and the last. Whether it was Momoa’s performance as Khal, a small but important scene with one of the bloodriders talking about Westeros and it’s knights with Mormont, the improvement in costume design, seeing the language come alive, they really delivered.

  • Thanks Jason for your Khal Drogo. From the moment I saw you on that horse, there was no doubt in my mind you were him, and as the season went by you were more and more convincing. Somehow, the Dothraki’s culture being obviously inspired mostly from Mongols, I didn’t expect a Melanesian/Polynesian Haka… Given the article, it seems to be your idea, well Ser, it worked damn well! Good luck for the future…

  • I could say so much about your acting ability Jason; the subtlety, the immediacy of your emotional expression…

    But instead I’ll go below the belt and just say that you are one of the f i n e s t men alive. I know it is as much an albatross as a source of pride, but there it is.

    And we are very grateful.

  • Rose Petals,

    I agree…i was not sure about jason playing conan…till I saw him as drogo…masterful. I think it was a mistake for him to shave…he’d probably make a more scary conan with the facial hair…what do you think?

  • From the moment Jason hit the screen he had me hooked. I hadn’t seen any of his work in the past but I became an instant fan with this performance. He had great presence with a wonderful portrayal of Khal Drogo. I am so disappointed that he is gone. HBO needs to bring him back with flash backs! Jason and Emilia had amazing chemistry. I can’t wait for Conan and I look forward to his future projects. Well done!

  • All I can say is the GoT will NOT be the same without Jason Momoa and his character Khal Drogo. At first I wasnt’ sure if I would like him in that role but he sure did prove me wrong….about a 1000 times over. I don’t think there was anyone else out there who could have played that character better. I haven’t read the books but watched the entire HBO season so definitely going to have to read the books now. I barely remember him on Baywatch but loved him in SG(Dex character). Maybe they can bring him back again…this is the movies after all and if they can do it on a soap opera why not this show….LOL As for that gorgeous smile, mesmerizing eyes and of course that body…omg Lisa B needs to cherish that man and treat him right or some other lucky woman is going to snatch him up and treat him like he should be…I definitely wouldn’t kick him out of my bed ever :D