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Two running zorses, by Kevin Catalan©
Head profile of a Zorse - by MalinaIthil ©

A zorse is a striped black-and-white equine from the eastern continent of Essos.[1] They have been described as fierce[2] and foultempered.[3]


See also: Images of Zorses

Zorses are bred by the Jogos Nhai, who live on the plains north of Yi Ti, east of the Dothraki Sea and the Bone Mountains. They were originally created by breeding horses with a striped, horse-like animal found in southern Yi Ti and Leng (likely the equivalent of zebras), but are now bred as if they were their own species. They are hardy beasts, supposedly capable of surviving on weeds and devil grass for many months and travel long distances without water or fodder.[3]

There is no mention so far of anyone in a khalasar riding a zorse.

Zorses are ridden by members of the Brave Companions, and were likely transported to Westeros with the sellswords as their personal mounts when they were brought over by Tywin Lannister.[1]

As a highborn child Arya Stark received a good education and is well acquainted with horses, but she was still not able to identify the zorse by name when she first sets eyes on some of them,[1] so presumably they may be unknown among even well-educated Westerosi. Maesters know of them, however.[3] Zorses remain very rare beasts on Westeros.

The differences between riding a zorse, as opposed to a horse, is not known. The Dothraki opinion of a zorse is unknown as well. Daenerys Targaryen, who has ridden with the Dothraki, describes the zorse she is presented with as "fierce".[2]

Recent Events

Vargo Hoat riding a zorse. © FFG

A Game of Thrones

In the Eastern Market of Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys Targaryen sees the striped black and white horses of the Jogos Nhai.[4]

A Clash of Kings

While at Harrenhal Arya Stark witnesses the arrival of the Brave Companions and sees that some of them ride strange black-and-white horses, including their captain, Vargo Hoat.[1]

In Qarth a pair of Jogos Nhai present Daenerys Targaryen one of their striped zorses, as a token to the Mother of Dragons. She describes it as black-and-white and fierce. Dany sells the zorse along with other gifts received in Qarth in order to gather wealth needed for petitioning the Pureborn.[2]

A Storm of Swords

A mile from the gates of Harrenhal, Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth are tied to the pommel of Vargo Hoat's saddle so that he can parade Jaime into the castle. Jaime and Brienne stumble along side by side behind the Qohorik's striped zorse.[5]

Behind the scenes

"Zorse" is not the term used within the narrative for what would be called zebras in real-life. The World of Ice and Fire makes it clear that the Jogos Nhai created zorses by breeding regular horses with what are apparently actual zebras, which live in southern Yi Ti and on Leng. In fact, "Zorse" is the real-life term for a horse-zebra hybrid. Like most animal hybrids, real life zorses are sterile.

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 30, Arya VII.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 40, Daenerys III.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Plains of the Jogos Nhai.
  4. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys IV.
  5. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 31, Jaime IV.

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