‘Game of Thrones’: Is Valyrian a Real Language That You Can Learn?

Game of Thrones is a fantasy story taking place in a fictional world. It would make sense if some of the languages used between characters are fake. Is that the case for Valyrian? Here is everything to know about the use and creation of the language and if you can learn it.

Daenerys Targaryen and more speak High Valyrian

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones | Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

High Valyrian is described as a language no longer spoken in everyday life in A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s mostly used by educated individuals and nobles.

Daenerys Targaryen is one of the characters who speak the language on the show. According to Mental Floss, she does mix High Valyrian with Low Valyrian dialects at times when speaking to make a point.

For example, when she said, “zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor” or “a dragon is not a slave” before burning down a city she specifically used the Low Valyrian word for “slave.” This moment reportedly was to show another character that she knew that version of the language as well.

Other iconic phrases in the language that was used are “valar morghulis” which means “All men must die,” and “dracarys” which means “dragonfire.”

The language is real and was created by David J. Peterson

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Valyrian didn’t exist before the books, but it’s now a real language. Author George R.R. Martin did have the language in the books, but it wasn’t a fully form language.

David J. Peterson is the person behind making it a complete language. The producers of the show wanted more scenes with the language being used and hired Peterson to create it.

This is fitting given Peterson founded the Language Creation Society and has a masters in linguistics, according to Entertainment Weekly. The funny thing is he doesn’t really like the sound of High Valyrian.

“Seriously, it drives me nuts,” the creator revealed. “It’s like the [Valyrian] language has a bow on it. These words are just so stupid pretty. Like the word for copper is ‘brāedion’ [pronounced: BRI-dee-on, where the first syllable sounds like the first syllable of “bridle”]. Bronze is ‘brāedāzma’ [pronounced: BRI-dah-zmah, again like “bridle”]. How do I get away with that? This one’s funny: The word for chain is belmon.”

On the other hand, Peterson seems to really like the low version of the language. “Part of the fun doing the Low Valyrian is that I could really take a bat to pretty, proper High Valyrian. Sometimes I imagine High Valyrian being a piñata of a princess castle,” he said.

There are multiple ways fans can learn the languages

Dedicated fans have already started learning to speak and write in Valyrian. There are many ways to learn the language as well.

The language app, Duolingo offers a course on the language. Language platform, Memrise also offers tools to learn it. There has even been a college course on it taught by Peterson at UC Berkeley.

The course was called “The Linguistics of Game of Thrones and the Art of Language Invention” according to CNBC. It not only covers the language along with Dothraki, but it’s about how to create your own language.

So the once fictional language became a real one for the TV show. People now are learning to speak it.

Read more:Game of Thrones’: Does the Script Reveal What Daenerys Whispers to Ser Jorah?

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