High Valyrian

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High Valyrian is a language originating from Valyria and the Valyrian Freehold. It is no longer widely spoken due to the Doom of Valyria, although there are songs and books still sung and read in it. In Westeros, highborn children, specifically the Targaryens, are taught Valyrian as a sign of their noble education.[1][2] Corrupted dialects known as bastard Valyrian are spoken in the Free Cities and Slaver's Bay.

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, 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.[3]

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

Language

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[4]
  • Aeryn
  • Aerys
  • Alysanne[5]
  • Ayrmidon[6]
  • Baela
  • Baelon
  • Baelor
  • Daella
  • Daemion
  • Daemon
  • Daena
  • Daenerys[7]
  • Daenora
  • Daenys
  • Daeron
  • Elaena
  • Gael
  • Gaemon
  • Helaena
  • Jaehaera
  • Jaehaerys
  • Maegelle
  • Maegon
  • Maegor
  • Maekar
  • Maelys[8]
  • 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.[9][10]

Velaryon first names include:

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


Jaenara Belaerys was a Valyrian explorer[11] and Aurion was a would-be emperor.[12]

The Valyrians most likely gave Valyrian names to their dragons, as the dragons Balerion, Meraxes, Vhagar, and Syrax were named after Valyrian gods.[13]"[14] However, not all dragons of House Targaryen had Valyrian names (e.g., Queen Alysanne Targaryen's dragon, Silverwing[5]).

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.[15]

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.[4] 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."[26]

Valyrian steel is forged with spells, as well as hammers.[27] Some smiths still know them, although not entirely.[28]

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 has an accent, the lilt of the Free Cities, Braavos perhaps, or Myr."[29] One of the Brave Companions is described as having a "thick Myrish accent."[30]

The Free Cities use glyphs to write Valyrian.[31] Valyrian is described as sounding "liquid".[32]

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.[33]

Astapori Valyrian is described as having a "characteristic growl," influenced by Ghiscari.[33] The dialect of Yunkai is close enough to that of Astapor to be mutually intelligible.[34]

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).[34]

Some slavers speak a mongrel tongue,[35] a blend of Old Ghiscari and High Valyrian.[36]

Characters familiar with High Valyrian

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  2. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  3. So Spake Martin: Yet More Questions, July 22, 2001
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 40, Bran III.
  6. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 9, Tyrion I.
  7. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  8. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  9. Citadel. Heraldry: In the area of King's Landing
  10. The Citadel. Heraldry: Houses in the Riverlands
  11. The World of Ice and Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Sothoryos.
  12. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  13. The Rogue Prince.
  14. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  15. A Dance with Dragons, Map of Valyria
  16. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
  17. 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. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
  28. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
  29. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  30. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
  31. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  32. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 27, Daenerys II.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  34. 34.0 34.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  35. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 59, The Discarded Knight.
  36. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 60, The Spurned Suitor.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
  38. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I, p 146.
  39. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 47, Tyrion X.
  40. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 26, Samwell III.
  41. 41.0 41.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
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