One of the things that disappointed some Game of Thrones fans was the fact that Khal Drogo died from a mere scratch when he, an undefeated warrior, could have had a more dramatic and exciting death. The prospect of seeing Drogo in an epic fight scene with a Westerosi knight and the white walkers ended with a scratch, blood magic, and a feather pillow.
One thought that does give me comfort is the that Mirri Maz Duur could have saved him inadvertently. Yes, we do see Daenerys smothering and later, burning the body of her sun-and-stars, but was his soul really in that body? Was any kind of spirit in there? It did not seem like it. So where did Khal Drogo's spirit go? To the Night Lands?
Through the blood magic ritual, Mirri Maz Duur's singing and dancing, the shadows could have transplanted Drogo's spirit into... drum roll please... one of the dragon eggs! And the same thing could have happened to Rhaego.
What we know is the that the three dragon eggs had been dead, fossilized for ages. We don't know how they came back to life, but I really think that the shadows had something to do with it. Mirri Maz Duur said only death can pay for life. So the life of dragons was paid with the horse, Rhaego, Drogo, or any of the bloodriders that died the night of the ritual. The shadows work in disturbingly mysterious ways.
This is what I think happened:
- The shadows arrive and hear Mirri Maz Duur asking to switch the dead and the living
- They decide to have some fun and disregard the witch's intentions when they see the dead dragon eggs
- They transplant Drogo's soul into an egg leaving his human body as an empty shell
- They see Rhaego in Daenerys's womb and transplant his soul into another egg
- The third egg gets a soul (I am not sure where from yet)
- They transplant all of the death and decay from the eggs into Rhaego's body in Dany's womb
I wish that Mirri Maz Duur's incantations were subtitled on the TV show. David Peterson, the creator of the Dothraki language, also created the language of Asshai, which was the language I think Mirri Maz Duur was singing in.
The incantations she must have been singing were probably to summon the shadows and ask them to replace the dead with the living. The shadows, being mischievous as they are, must have just done what they wanted to do. She knew that the ritual would be risky which is why she told Dany that death would be cleaner. She knew what could have happened which was why she showed so much contempt for Daenerys who expected the ritual to turn out perfectly.
When I read this chapter in the book, I noticed that after the ritual was the first time Daenerys could feel heat from the dragon eggs. Before then, they were just dead decorations.
So there is my explanation of how I think Drogo's soul is still alive on the earth and not riding through the Night Lands. It was only the empty shell of his former body that was suffocated and burned by Daenerys. Drogo is still around, he just has a new body, the body of a dragon. If this hypothesis is true, then it would be pretty exciting to see what happens when Dany finds out the true identity of her dragons and how they came to be born. Drogo would turn out to have the coolest non-death in the story.