High Valyrian

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High Valyrian is a language originating from Valyria and the Valyrian Freehold. Corrupted dialects known as bastard Valyrian are spoken in the Free Cities[1] and Slaver's Bay.[2]

History

Some of the oldest remaining ancient texts were written by Andals, Valyrians, Ghiscari, and Asshai'i.[3] After the Old Empire of Ghis was conquered by the Valyrian Freehold in the Ghiscari wars, the Ghiscari began speaking the High Valyrian of their conquerors.[4]

High Valyrian is no longer widely spoken due to the Doom of Valyria,[5] and most Valyrian records were destroyed in the catastrophe.[6] The tongues of the Free Cities have continued to evolve from the original High Valyrian.[5]

Queen Alysanne Targaryen is said to have begun learning how to read from Valyrian scrolls while still at the breast of her mother, Queen Alyssa Velaryon.[7] Alysanne's husband, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, was fascinated with the Old Valyrian scrolls in the library of Dragonstone.[8]

Racallio Ryndoon is said to have spoken a dozen dialects of Valyrian.[9] Lord Alyn Velaryon studied Valyrian treaties about warship design and sea tactics when he visited the Citadel.[9] Larra Rogare, the wife of Prince Viserys Targaryen, was fluent in High Valyrian and the dialects of Lys, Myr, Tyrosh, and Volantis.[10]

Some highborn children of Westeros are still taught Valyrian as a sign of their noble education.[11][12] Songs[13] and scrolls[14][15] are still sung and read in High Valyrian, although by 300 AC most Westerosi nobles cannot understand the language.[13]

High Valyrian

Language

The High Valyrian phrase valar morghulis‎[16] is translated as "all men must die."[17] A counterpart phrase, valar dohaeris,[18] is translated as "all men must serve."[19]

The word dracarys is translated as meaning "dragonfire."[20] Obsidian is called "dragonglass" in the Common Tongue, but "frozen fire" in High Valyrian.[21] Valonqar is the word for "little brother."[22] High Valyrian is the most likely source language for maegi (pronounced differently from 'Maggy'),[23] which means "wise".[24]

The Valyrian writing system, or at least a Valyrian writing system, is described as involving glyphs.[25] It was also probably standard practice to write on scrolls, and not in books.[26] The glyphs can also be inscribed, as on an old Valyrian dragon horn, which, when sounded, had "every line and letter shimmering with white fire."[27] Valyrian carvings have been found on obelisks.[28]

Valyrian steel is forged with spells, as well as hammers.[29] Some smiths still know them, although not entirely.[30]

Names

House Targaryen came from Valyria and thus most of its members can be considered to have High Valyrian names. These include:

  • Aegon
  • Aelor
  • Aelora
  • Aelyx
  • Aemon
  • Aemond
  • Aenar
  • Aenys
  • Aerea
  • Aerion[26]
  • Aeryn
  • Aerys
  • Alysanne[31]
  • Ayrmidon[14]
  • Baela
  • Baelon
  • Baelor
  • Daella
  • Daemion
  • Daemon
  • Daena
  • Daenerys[32]
  • Daenora
  • Daenys
  • Daeron
  • Elaena
  • Gael
  • Gaemon
  • Helaena
  • Jaehaera
  • Jaehaerys
  • Maegelle
  • Maegon
  • Maegor
  • Maekar
  • Maelys[33]
  • Naerys
  • Rhae
  • Rhaegar
  • Rhaegel
  • Rhaella
  • Rhaelle
  • Rhaena
  • Rhaenyra
  • Rhaenys
  • Rhalla
  • Saera
  • Shaena
  • Shaera
  • Vaegon
  • Vaella
  • Valarr
  • Valerion
  • Visenya
  • Viserra
  • Viserys

Houses Baratheon, Celtigar, Qoherys, and Velaryon are of Valyrian descent, and thus these names are possibly Valyrian as well.[34][35]

Velaryon first names include:

  • Aethan
  • Corlys
  • Daenaera
  • Jacaerys
  • Laena
  • Laenor
  • Lucerys
  • Monterys
  • Vaemond
  • Valaena

Jaenara Belaerys was a Valyrian explorer[36] and Aurion was a would-be emperor.[37]

The Valyrians most likely gave Valyrian names to their dragons, as the dragons Balerion, Meraxes, Vhagar, and Syrax were named after Valyrian gods and goddesses.[38][39] However, not all dragons of House Targaryen had Valyrian names (e.g., Queen Alysanne Targaryen's dragon, Silverwing[31]).

Eight of the nine Free Cities were founded as colonies of the Valyrian Freehold, and are thus likely to bear Valyrian names as well:

Volantis's satellite towns of Selhorys, Valysar, and Volon Therys likely have Valyrian names as well. It is also probable that Elyria, Mantarys, Oros, Tolos, Tyria, and Velos are Valyrian in name, being cities close to Old Valyria.[40]

Bastard Valyrian

Free Cities

Bastard Valyrian includes the languages of the nine Free Cities.[1] Each of the cities has its own dialect, and each dialect likely has its own separate derived vocabulary. Syrio Forel of Braavos speaks the Common Tongue with a lilting accent.[41] One of the Brave Companions is described as having a thick Myrish accent.[42]

The Free Cities use glyphs to write Valyrian.[43] The Valyrian of the Free Cities is described as sounding "liquid".[44]

Slaver Cities

The Old Empire of Ghis was conquered by the Valyrian Freehold five thousand years ago, and the Ghiscari have since spoken High Valyrian. The Slaver's Bay cities of Yunkai, Meereen, and Astapor have their own versions of bastard Valyrian, which have been influenced mainly by Old Ghiscari, the ancient language of Old Ghis. Like the Free Cities, the people of the Slaver Cities use glyphs to write Valyrian.[2]

Astapori Valyrian is described as having a "characteristic growl," influenced by Ghiscari.[2] The dialect of Yunkai is close enough to that of Astapor to be mutually intelligible.[45]

Yunkai used to be part of the Old Empire of Ghis, and has multiple languages spoken in the city. Mhysa, Maela, Aelalla, Qathei, and Tato are given as words for "mother", but which tongue fits which word is unknown (excepting the first, which is Ghiscari).[45]

Some slavers speak a mongrel tongue,[46] a blend of Old Ghiscari and High Valyrian.[47]

Characters familiar with High Valyrian

Quotes

Each of the Free Cities has its own history and character, and each has come to have its own tongue. These are all corruptions of the original, pure form of High Valyrian, dialects that drift further from their origin with each new century since the Doom befell the Freehold.[5]

—writings of Yandel

Behind the Scenes

According to George R. R. Martin,

Tolkien was a philologist, and an Oxford don, and could spend decades laboriously inventing Elvish in all its detail. I, alas, am only a hardworking SF and fantasy novel[sic], and I don't have his gift for languages. That is to say, I have not actually created a Valyrian language. The best I could do was try to sketch in each of the chief tongues of my imaginary world in broad strokes, and give them each their characteristic sounds and spellings.[57]

David J. Peterson further developed High Valyrian for the television adaptation Game of Thrones.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  3. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Dawn Age.
  4. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities.
  6. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
  7. Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
  8. Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.
  10. Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  14. 14.0 14.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 9, Tyrion I.
  15. A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
  16. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
  17. 17.0 17.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 27, Daenerys III.
  18. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
  19. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
  20. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  21. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
  22. 22.0 22.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
  23. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  24. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 72, Daenerys X.
  25. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
  27. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
  28. The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Grasslands.
  29. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
  30. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
  31. 31.0 31.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 40, Bran III.
  32. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  33. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  34. Citadel. Heraldry: In the area of King's Landing
  35. The Citadel. Heraldry: Houses in the Riverlands
  36. The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Sothoryos.
  37. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  38. Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  39. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  40. A Dance with Dragons, Map of Valyria
  41. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  42. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
  43. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  44. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 27, Daenerys II.
  45. 45.0 45.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  46. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 59, The Discarded Knight.
  47. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 60, The Spurned Suitor.
  48. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  49. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
  50. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
  51. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  52. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 45, The Blind Girl.
  53. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  54. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 47, Tyrion X.
  55. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 26, Samwell III.
  56. 56.0 56.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
  57. So Spake Martin: Yet More Questions, July 22, 2001
  • The material on this page is taken from the web page Other languages at Dothraki Wiki that is owned by dothraki.org and may be used for noncommercial purposes.

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