Game of Thrones has several fictional languages, but Valyrian may be the most important – so learn how to speak it, here!
By Kristopher Heaton
Published Jun 08, 2019
It was a nice run, but a few weeks ago, after the longest wait since the series’ debut and five episodes preceding it, audiences finally watched the?Game of Thrones series finale. With a king chosen, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss going off to run a new Star Wars series,?now might be a good time to brush up on some High Valyrian. With this vocabulary, anyone can be one step closer to speaking well enough to make even the lovely, late, great Missandei proud.
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When author George R.R. Martin envisioned what he could of the Valyrian language, he worked in broad strokes, imagining characteristic sounds and spellings. But he did not spend the decades that his inspiration J.R.R. Tolkien (an alumni of the University of Oxford and a philologist) did working tirelessly toward the invention of the Elvish language. The man who further developed High Valyrian for?Game of Thrones?was American artist, linguist and writer David J. Peterson. And in this article, Screen Rant readers well get to observe this lexicon of common Valyrian words all fans must use. Speaking of things all people must do:
High Valyrian for “All men must die,” which is basically to say that “All men are going to die sooner or later.” It is a customary greeting and phrase in Essos traditionally replied to with “valar dohaeris.” This translates to “all men must serve.”
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In the Valyrian-speaking world within the show, it can serve as a loose analogy of “Who wants to live forever?” This indicates an acceptance of an unpleasant reality. The word is also a common Braavosi greeting, particularly among assassin guilds such as the Faceless Men.
The High Valyrian word for “dragonfire,” commonly used in-universe by Daenerys Targaryen to command her dragons to breathe fire. Starting off saying the word to encourage a young Drogon to breathe fire and cook his own meat, she later graduates to teaching her hatchlings to breathe fire on command, which they?then use to burn the warlock Pyat Pree alive.
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She also uses the command to have an adolescent Drogon rain fire on those she perceives tyrants in both Essos and Westeros. “Dracarys” is also the last word of Missandei before she is executed by Cersei Lannister on the battlements of King’s Landing, a defiant cry for Daenerys to burn them all… that she and her army take a bit too far in the next episode. A synonymous phrase for this word is “zaldrizo perzys,” which literally translates to “fire of the dragon.”
The High Valyrian word for “no” or “not.” This word generally occurs at the end of a sentence. One example of this in the show is the High Valyrian for Arya’s declaration to the god of death: “tubi daor,” which translates to?”not today.” This is a reply to “Skoros morghot vestri,”?which means “What do we say to death?”
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Another in-show example is Daenerys Targaryen’s declaration to the aforementioned slaver Kraznys mo Nakloz when he attempts to tame an adolescent Drogon with a chain wrapped around his neck: “zaldrizes buzdari iksos daor,” which literally translates to?”a dragon is not a slave.”
The High Valyrian word for “yes.” This was another word translated by David Peterson himself, who was kind enough to provide the translation and the pronunciation of this word and other common Valyrian phrases on Making Game of Thrones.
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Oddly enough, it seems that there are no examples of the use of this word present anywhere in the show. Thankfully, when a reader has a webpage from the creator of High Valyrian himself, they know some things, Jon Snow.
The High Valyrian word for “thank you.” A speaker of High Valyrian can also say “kirimvos”; therefore they have something shorter that rolls off the tongue more easily. The stress goes on the second “i” for both words. It is pronounced as four syllables, as well as a rolled “R”.
The High Valyrian word for “fly.” Daenerys Targaryen says this in the plural form to her dragons in Yunkai in season three.
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The original intention was for her to say the singular form of this same word, “soves,” to a fully grown Drogon in order to have him take off from Daznak’s Pit with her atop his back, but instead she said “valahd,” the Dothraki word for “horizon;” informally the same word can mean “Giddyup!” or “Hya!”
The High Valyrian word for “dragon.” Though the search would be hard for a use of the singular form of the word in the show, David Peterson himself translated the plural form of the word on the aforementioned page showcasing other common phrases translated in High Valyrian. Besides that, he translated the word as part of a phrase you might recognize from one scene in the second season and an oft-repeated meme born from its use: “Skoriot nuhyz zaldrizesse ilzi?”. This is the High Valyrian for “Where are my dragons?”
The High Valyrian for “frozen fire”. These are the words for dragonglass, the common name in Westeros for a form of volcanic glass known as obsidian. Dragonglass is one of the two known substances in-universe capable of killing White Walkers, the other being Valyrian steel. Both substances?can also kill the Walkers’ undead servants known as the wights.
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Ironically, the Children of the Forest utilized this tool thousands of years before the story began, not only for weaponry but for the creation of the White Walkers themselves. Therefore, they created the great evil of the series to be a living weapon against the realm of men, yet somewhere down the road, they expanded their focus to become enemies of the realm of the living.
The High Valyrian for “I love you.” Those three words are regrettably words that often end in tragedy in a show as gritty as?Game of Thrones. Incidents like the death of Eddard Stark and the Red Wedding can account for that, as well as the polarizing tragedy that marked the end of the show. And if Westeros had an abundance of normal marriages unlike the traditionally purely arranged ones, perhaps these words would be more frequent: “Ao ynoma dīnilūks?” That is the High Valyrian for “Will you marry me?”
The High Valyrian for “Seven Hells!” “Seven Hells,” or “Seven Bloody Hells” as an alternative, originates from the Faith of the Seven. It is one of the key theologies in both the books and the show which author George R.R. Martin based off the medieval Catholic Church. In it, there are seven deities, seven heavens, and seven corresponding hells.?The term is often used to express anger, surprise, or turmoil, but it not limited to those emotions. It could also be considered akin to an expletive in its usage, though at least in the books, it is more often used by a person of the upper-class than a lower-class one.
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