Monthly Archives: April 2012

Lei Harenhaloon

I’m watching the Clipper game right now, and I’m not happy. Going to write this to take my mind off things.

Yesterday’s episode, “The Ghost of Harrenhal”, was a bit easier to watch than last week’s. Or, at least if you’re not a fan of Renly who wasn’t familiar with the books. If you are, well… Props to the fallen. Big ups to Gethin Anthony for portraying a Renly Baratheon that I think all of us were really coming to like. For myself, I could really see him as the likable character he’s supposed to be in the books. I didn’t see that so much in the books. Gethin Anthony did a fantastic job, and he will be sorely missed.

Let me step out for a minute to say that I just saw one of the most ridiculous comebacks I have ever seen. I could see the Clippers maybe making a run. But winning that game? Are you kidding me?! Unbelievable. Memphis is not going to enjoy looking at the film of this one!

But yeah, back to Game of Thrones. I like Jaqen H’ghar. I like Brienne and Cat. I like Pyat Pree. And I like Dany teaching her little dragon how to eat. More of that please!

But before getting into Dany’s scenes, a quick note about the translation of the title. There are a couple of ways to do “The Ghost of Harrenhal”, and I decided on the ablative for two reasons—first, it could be “The Ghost From Harrenhal”, which gives a bit more of a locative feel than the genitive would, and also because it makes it sound like Harrenhal is an entity, and that the ghost is a part of its body. I kind of like that, so I went with the ablative over the genitive.

And, of course, the word for “ghost”, lei, got its form from the fabulous Leigh Bardugo, whose debut novel Shadow and Bone is coming out this June (look out for it!).

And since we’re talking shout-outs, let’s jump right into the Dothraki dialogue for Episode 5. We open on a scene with Dany and Doreah giving food to my good friend and trusted advisor Bitey, shown below:

Drogon roasting his meat.

Irri is a bit miffed by Dany saying how much Drogon loves Doreah, so she points out how she’s been fixing up her native Dothraki garments. First Irri says:

  • Anha soqe akka jin sacchey essheyi.
  • “I rewove this part of the top.”

We have, I believe, a new word in soqat, “to weave”, and following it up with akka renders “to reweave”. The word saccheya (seen above in the accusative) derives from the root sach, which gives us words for “half” (sachi, class B) and “to divide” (sachat). With the part-to-whole morphology, you get kind of a part of a half (literally), which becomes a very general word for a part or a piece of something. You’d use the same word (saccheya) for a piece of pizza, a piece of pie, a part of a story—or, if the Dothraki ever developed mathematics, for a word for “fraction”. Then the word essheya (above in the genitive) is formed using the same pattern off of the root she, which is a general locative preposition that most commonly means “on” or “on top of”.

After this, we get to the sentence I was referring to last week featuring Hrakkar’s word! Here it is:

  • Qisi tim, anha arrisse vemishikh jinoon akka.
  • “And I fixed the heel on this one.”

Literally, though, that begins with “Regarding the boot(s)”. So there you go, Hrakkar! A Dothraki word based on your name made it onto TV. Thanks for all the help at WorldCon (which, by the way, it currently looks like I will be returning to this year. I’ll likely have more details later). In fact I had to kind of throw that in, because the line was rewritten. Originally it had the word “boot” in the line, but all that remained was “heel”, so I kind of shoehorned (if you’ll forgive the pun) the word “boot” back into the line, and it made the cut. Hoorah!

The word for “heel” is kind of fun. It starts with vem, a word that means either “elbow” or “knee”, depending on contexts. From that we get vemish, which means “heel” (both of the foot and the hand [the part you hit the board with if you're doing a palm strike]), and then from that we get vemishikh, which is kind of like “artificial heel”, or, specifically, the heel of a boot or shoe (and this one just refers to the footwear, really, since gloves don’t have an equivalent part that’s equally important).

Later when Dany mentions Drogo’s name, Irri offers up this short prayer/saying (I like the Dothraki term asto for this):

  • Me dothralates she Rhaeshi Ajjalani ayyeyaan.
  • “May he ride through the Night Lands forever.”

Last week we got caught up talking about the jussive because I confused the terminology, but the use of dothralates above is a true jussive (used optatively here).

As we shift scenes, Dany’s out in the courtyard talking and out of the corner of her she sees her Dothraki up to no good. We don’t really hear what they’re saying, but what Jorah says as Dany walks up is:

  • Chaki, chaki. Khaleesi jada. Me vakkelena jin.
  • “Quiet, quiet. The khaleesi is coming. She’ll decide this.”
  • Then we have a bit of rapid-fire discussion between Dany, Jorah, Kovarro and Malakko. After Jorah explains the argument, Kovarro adds (regarding that boss peacock statue):

    • che ivvisaki mae. Disisse.
    • “Or melt it. Very simple.”

    Dany responds:

    • Kisha nevaki mae! Yer laz vos vefenari mae, vos tavi mae, vos ivvisi mae.
    • “We are his guests! You can’t pry it or chop it or melt it.”

    The vos, you can see, is required since the verb has a second person subject, and the positive and negative conjugations are identical. Kovarro objects:

    • Vosecchi, zhey khaleesi! Kisha vayoki athezaraan kishi.
    • “Of course not, khaleesi! We will wait until we leave.”

    Literally the second bit is, “We will await our departure”. Dany responds:

    • Kash athezar kishi vos akka.
    • “Not even when we leave.”

    Or more literally, “During our departure, not even”. Kovarro, curious, asks:

    • Vos arrek? Kifindirgi?
    • “Not then? Why?”

    And then Dany says, at the very least, some of the following:

    • Hash idrik kishi vijazero kisha Athasaroon Virzetha hash yer zali zifichelat moon? Anha acharak vos alikh.
    • “Our host saved us from the Red Waste and you want to steal from him? I will hear no more.”

    Of this, well…Dany’s pronunciation of “alikh” was spot on! But I think everything after Athasaroon got cut off, and a stray kishi was inserted somewhere. So it goes.

    Overall, I thought the Dothraki scenes were pretty good! Any time I get to see a little dragon roasting a little bit of meat and eating thereof it’s a good day. (Plus I got to see the Clippers come back from an eleventy-billion point deficit to win.)

    As a final note, Justin commented on the last post asking:

    So, maybe this has been answered somewhere else, but how would you render “When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die” in Dothraki? I can get the rest, I think, but the only word I see for “play” means playing a musical instrument, so it’s driving me crazy.

    Up to then I didn’t have a word for “to play” in the usual sense. As I commented, I did have a word for “to spar” or “to train” which is based on the word “to fight” (in fact, it’s a diminutive thereof). I decided it made sense to extend the meaning of that word (lajilat) to “play” in the sense of children playing, or playing a game. To play in general, then, is lajilat, and to play something, you’d use a preposition phrase headed by ki, which assigns the genitive case. So, to translate the phrase “When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die”, I would do the following:

    • Hash yer lajie ki Vilajeroshi Adori, hash yer che najahi che drivoe.

    I decided to use the present tense here rather than the future tense to make it more of a “when…then” phrase as opposed to an “if…then” phrase. Somehow it seems like the present does a better job of that than the future.

    Halfway! Only five more episodes of season 2 of Game of Thrones. Been good so far! See you all next week.

Halahasar Tolorri

Another week, another episode of Game of Thrones—this week, “Garden of Bones”, which I rendered as Halahasar Tolorri. Yeah…not much we can do with “garden”. Can you imagine! Drogo out with his visor on, water bucket in hand, tending his garden… “Daffodils coming in well this year. Me nem nesa.” Dothraki wouldn’t even have time to set up a vegetable garden with the way they move from place to place. So until there’s a language to borrow a word for “garden” from, halahasar it is.

The mystery is solved regarding the missing Dothraki from Episode 3: About half went to Episode 2, and about another half went to yesterday’s episode. When I say “about”, though, I do mean “about”, as some of the lines didn’t make the cut—including (and I’m totally bummed about this) the line featuring Hrakkar’s word. Sorry!

Oh, but wait! I take that back. I’m looking back at the scripts, and thought what I’d translated was for Episode 4, it’s clear that the action that’s going on takes place after the action in tonight’s episode, so perhaps it will show up in the coming weeks! We’ll have to wait and see. I’ll let you know if it doesn’t (and if it does, of course).

So, yeah, “Garden of Bones”… Hard to watch, no? I mean, there was some heavy graddakh in this episode. I will say this, though: That scene with the rat and the bucket could have been worse. How you might ask, trepidatiously? Let’s just say that they could have attached the bucket to something other than his stomach, and leave it at that (or if you don’t want to leave it at that, get a hold of this novel, which I don’t recommend [because it simply wasn't very good (nice intro, though)]). But, hey! Didn’t Qarth look good? (Why would she want to leave…?)

Before getting to the Dothraki, I wanted to note that:

  • That scene between Renly and Stannis was brilliant.
  • Harrenhal looked stunningly hideous.
  • The scene with Melisandre and the shadow baby looked exactly as I envisioned it in my head. Exactly!

What an extraordinary job D&D are doing (and kudos to Vanessa Taylor, the writer of the episode)! Glad to be along for the ride.

The Dothraki in today’s episode was originally written for Episode 3, as I mentioned, but Dany’s story got shifted a bit, so here we are. I watched today’s episode with the folks at Streamin’ Garage, so I wasn’t prepped to follow the Dothraki with my script materials. As a result, there might have been less Dothraki in the episode than I’m giving here (i.e. some of these lines may have been converted to English). We’ll see!

In the opening, we see Jhogo-usurper Kovarro riding in on a brand new horse. Dany remarks on this fact:

  • Jin vos sajo yeri.
  • “This is not your horse.”

Kovarro responds:

  • Me nem azh anhaan ki Senthisiri—jin Fozaki Qarthoon.
  • “It was given to me by the Thirteen—the Elders of Qarth.”

Senthi is “thirteen”, so Senthisir, I reasoned, would be “the Thirteen” (made sense to do a direct translation since we hear it that way in the book). We also see the deemphatic structure used in Dothraki, where extra information is deliberately pushed to the end and introduced with jin. So the last three words don’t translate to “these Elders of Qarth”, but just “the Elders of Qarth”.

Dany responds with, Zhey Qarth? (a kind of echo question, hence the lack of hash), and Kovarro responds:

  • Sen asshekhi tithaan, qisi havazzhifi.
  • “Three days to the east, on the sea.”

Now here’s the part I can’t remember. I have these lines translated and sent them off, but I can’t remember if they were said in English or Dothraki… Funny how that happens. I had a similar experience when I was learning American Sign Language, and when I’d get home from class, I’d remember the class being loud, and remember signed instructions as if I’d heard them, even though everything was purely visual… The brain is funny that way. Anyway, Dany asks of Kovarro:

  • Hash mori vazhi kishaan emralat?
  • “Will they let us in?”

The main verb is the future non-first person plural of azhat, which means “to give”. It’s used in jussive contexts, and also in granting permission (sorry, the jussive is actually a different construction. Thanks, Esploranto!), as here. The literal translation is, “Will they give us to enter?” Kovarro responds:

  • Mori astish memori nem achomoe hash mori viddee Mayes Zhavvorsi.
  • “They said they would be honored to receive the Mother of Dragons.”

And come to think of it, I do remember this in Dothraki. We see a truly irregular word in mayes, the accusative of mai, which means “mother”. Then we have this word iddelat. Those who know some of the basic verbs may be able to guess that this is the causative form of indelat, which means “to drink”. Basically, this word is to “drink” as “feed” is to “eat”. In Dothraki, though, what the verb means is “to welcome”. To offer someone fresh water (especially for the horses) is to welcome them, and so iddelat means “to welcome”.

That brings us to the end of the Dothraki scenes in Episode 4, and into the magnificent city of Qarth! I’ve seen a tiny bit of Episode 5, and I’m looking forward to it.

Also, as I mentioned briefly above, last night I was on the live streaming show Stupid For Game of Thrones (that’s their YouTube page; their Facebook page is here), hosted by Sarah Penna and Bob Jennings. If you missed it, you can see the whole thing on YouTube here. It was fun, and we even got a question from ingsve, but I totally didn’t recognize it even though I’d seen it before! I also totally messed up the pronunciation of nhizo, the word for “raven” (I pronounced it as nhizho). In my defense, while I have slept in the past 72 hours, I spent every waking minute until 10 p.m. last night working. My brain is fried.

Oh, and just in case any of the Stupid For Game of Thrones folks are reading this, I think I am going to have to come up with a word for Jonathas. It looks like the imperative of the verb zhonathat. That doesn’t mean anything yet, but when I need a verb next, I think that’s destined to be a verb; I really like the sound of it. I’ll note it here if I come up with something for it.

Oh, and looking at that screenshot, I now know why my barber calls me “Elvis” whenever I come in. I think it’s about time for me to pay my respects again… I’ll have to find some sort of battle to lose, though. Anyone want to take me on in bowling? I’m straight-up terrible at it.

Dothras chek!

Me Reki Driva Laz Vo Drivoo Avvos

That was not an easy one to translate (and for ingsve: I used me there so that reki wasn’t stranded; I’m ambivalent as to whether to stick with reki, or jump to animate with rek). But no more of that: We have a lot to work to do! Episode 3 of the second season is in the books, so let’s jump right into all that Dothraki dialogue!

Oh, wait. Who wrote that episode? Oh, yeah: Bryan Cogman. What’s that mean? No Dothraki.

Heh, heh. I’m sure it’s just happenstance, but for the second year in a row, Bryan’s episode doesn’t have any Dothraki in it. That guy’s all right, though—a real rhaek—so I must give him a pass. (More on that later.)

If I may talk about the episode a bit, I think I’ll join the chorus in saying the whole bit with Theon was great! When you read the books, there’s this sense of disorientation you get with certain characters (and I’m sure this was done on purpose) when GRRM takes a non-point of view character and turns them into a point of view character. This happened with me with Theon—kind of like, “Who is this guy?!” The way Theon was developed in the show, though, you can see hints of the treachery coming early, but I think it’s fantastic to see him struggling—personally—with the decision he’s making to turn his back on Robb. It was a good overall choice, and the scenes in this episode were wonderfully written. Excellent job, Bryan!

Now let me detract from the chorus in talking about Shae (I’m looking squarely at you, WinterIsComing.net). Honestly, hearing all this talk about how Shae is nothing like the books, I feel like Toph watching The Boy in the Iceberg. The show nails Shae. Here’s what WiC has to say about Shae:

I think out of all the TV show versions of characters, Shae has suffered the most. In the books she didn’t come off nearly this unlikable. I don’t really get why Tyrion is risking everything by having her around. In the book, Shae came off as sweet and totally in love with Tyrion, so it made sense for Tyrion to want her around. But on the show, you don’t see that sweetness nor does she have any chemistry with Tyrion. At this point, I’m ready to say that the Shae character has been botched.

Not nearly as unlikable? This is the prostitute that (spoilers) and (spoilers), and then when Tyrion confronts her (more spoilers)? We reading the same book series? Shae doesn’t come off as sweet: She comes off as a whore who’s playing her part very well. And by the time she gets to King’s Landing, the only thing we ever hear from Shae is, “I’m bored!”, “I want more jewelry!”, “I don’t want to be a handmaiden!” Whine, whine, whine. That’s all she does!

Now the question of why Tyrion wants her around can be asked not only of the show, but of the book, as well. In fact, I’d say that’s rather a central question—one of the more important questions to ponder when it comes to understanding Tyrion’s character. Just why does he want her around? Why does he keep making all these sacrifices for her? Why does he bend over backwards to accomodate her when (and let me italicize this to emphasize it) all she does is get in the way and screw up his otherwise brilliant plans?! No, they’ve done well with Shae—mark my words. Once her arc has played out, I say we will look back and say, “Good show, writers.”

Anyway, since there was no Dothraki in this episode, I thought I’d use this space to respond to some of the requests I’ve gotten in the past week. Shae-enthusiast WiCnet asked on Twitter:

Is there a Dothraki equivalent to “rest in peace”?

The answer when they asked was “no”, but that really got me thinking. If there was an equivalent (whether uttered sincerely or in a threatening manner), what would it be?

As we’ve seen, the preferred method of corpse disposal for the Dothraki is a ritual cremation on a funeral pyre. The Dothraki believe that when they die, their souls join the great Khalasar in the sky led by Vezhof, the Great Horse God. The stars are the fiery khalasar of Vezhof, and it’s a Dothrak’s greatest wish to join the herd. Given the method of cremation, it’s reasonable (not set in stone, mind, but reasonable) to assume that they believe this allows the spirit to transcend the terrestrial plane and reach the heavens (the body is broken up and becomes lighter—transformed into ash—and the winds take the remains and swirl them upwards).

Given that state of affairs, it’s possible that the following phrase might actually serve:

  • Vod chafaan.
  • “Dust in the wind.”

Or, more literally, “dust to the wind”, but ha! How about that! Our old friend from the Kansas song enjoys a new life with a different meaning. In the song, the phrase is meant to be kind of a downer (nothing lasts forever, so no use attaching meaning to anything, for “all we are is dust in the wind”, emo tear, etc.), but this phrase is rather hopeful—more like “May you become dust in the wind, that you may join the Great Horse God’s fiery khalasar in the sky.” I like it!

In our last post, John Erickson asked for some more Mortal Kombat translations. Since I don’t think it’s showed up anywhere yet, the word for “scorpion” is shiro (animate noun). But more to the point:

  • Annakhos mae!
  • “Finish him!”

Annakhat is “to stop” and nakholat is “to finish” (intransitive), so annakholat I think gives the sense of it (more like “Put an end to him!” as opposed to “Stop him!”).

Next, if I may, I’d like to tie the current translation back into what we were talking about when we started. I’ll kid around about Bryan cutting all my juicy episode 3 Dothraki lines (I translated the entire scene between Renly and Loras into Dothraki! Why didn’t you use it?! They’re secretly fluent Dothraki speakers! It makes sense, dammit!), but really, I can’t say enough about this guy. From the beginning, he’s been the one working directly with me as I’ve been translating stuff for Game of Thrones, and has been the go-between while, at the same time, he’s been doing just about everything else. Those who watch the show will know he wrote episode 4 from the first season and episode 3 this season, but he’s also the keeper of the lore (making sure everything on screen makes sense with everything that’s come before and jives with books), he’s my “Dothraki wrangler”, he wrote an entire book—he pretty much does everything. And, on top of that, he’s an all-around good guy—and a husband and father.

So for quite a while, I’ve wanted to give Bryan a Dothraki word, but, of course, his first name is just about as non-Dothraki as you get, and his second is odd-looking, at least—until I remembered the suffix -men, which is kind of like “-less”, in English. I cogitated for a bit, and I came up with something good.

To get things started, we need a noun, so I came up with koge. Koge is an inanimate noun of class B, and it means something like “nick” or “blemish” or “imperfection” or “flaw”. As a class B noun, this one happens to end, phonologically, in a consonant (the only reason the e is there is because words can’t end in g in Dothraki). That means when you add the suffix -men to it, you disregard the final -e, and you get: kogmen “flawless”. And there we have Bryan’s word! Hajas!

Now back to our translation, if kogmen is “flawless”, then…

  • Iffi kogmen.
  • “Flawless victory.”

ATHADDRIVAR!

Thanks for stopping by! If my birds haven’t betrayed me, there should be some Dothraki for us next Sunday. Fonas chek!

Rhaeshi Ajjalani

Busy day, yesterday! In the morning (or at least morning on the West Coast), CNN’s The Next List did a show on Dothraki in Game of Thrones. It was a half hour and featured interviews with Dave and Dan, Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), and Amrita Acharia (Irri).

Oh, and a couple of other things: Two videos from our very own Daenerys and Hrakkar speaking Dothraki! They were awesome! You guys are the best! Now that the episode has aired, maybe we can see about posting their videos here, so you can see them in full. Since we don’t have any thank yous in Dothraki: Zhey Hrakkar; zhey Khaleesi: Fichi sen vezhi drogikhoon anni. Anha, zhey Deviddo, azhak mora shafkea. Haji!

On to last night’s episode “The Night Lands”. I know the show is based on the books and sticks to them, but Peter Dinklage is taking over. That dude’s bringing it every night! I should say, though, that I also have a new favorite that I’m going to be watching for: Salladhor Saan. He’s pretty cool in the books, but I never paid him that much attention. Lucian Msamati’s portrayal of Saan, though, really breathes some life into the character. I look forward to seeing him more as the season progresses!

As for our fearless band of Dothraki, things are looking pretty bleak. Poor Dany gets some grisly news in the form of a painted horse riding with a decapitated head. Funny story about this scene. Periodically on Twitter I search “Dothraki” to see what people are tweeting, and last week I saw several people tweeting that there were no subtitles on episode 2. “What a terrible defect to have on a shipped DVD!” I thought, thinking that everyone was talking about episode 2 of season 1 on the DVD release.

That’s when I realized they were talking about yesterday’s episode. Before it aired. Geez, internet, piracy is one thing, but before the episode even airs?! Serves you right! I hope that was a feature, and not a bug, and that if any episodes get leaked before the air date in the future, none of the Dothraki is subtitled. (In fact, maybe we should translate all the dialogue into Dothraki and dub it. Hmm…)

That got me to thinking, though: What Dothraki? As I recalled, there wasn’t any in episode 2 of season 2. But, of course, scenes get moved around a bit during shooting, so I went back to my dialogue sheet and saw that one scene from episode 3 was moved to episode 2, and that was the scene we all saw. So, without further ado:

We open on Dany et al. sitting around miserable and dehydrated. Off in the distance we see a horse arriving. As the horse gets closer, we see it has no rider, and it’s been painted with red Dothraki paint (an invention of the show, I think, but recall that the paint for Drogo’s khalasar was blue). Jorah goes up to the horse and sees a bag hanging off the side. It contains a head and a severed braid. On seeing it, Irri bursts into tears, saying:

  • Mori atthasish oakah moon!
  • “They killed his soul!”

Quick sidebar. Remember the mysterious ad lib by Drogo in the very first episode of Game of Thrones last season? It’s not subtitled, but I did a bit of retconning and decided that what he said was:

  • Itte oakah!
  • “Test your might!”

Or something close to that (that translation just comes to mind from my old arcade days). The noun oakah I decided would be a word that refers to one’s own worth or ability—perhaps something like “mettle”, but treated almost like a physical body part (as if one’s spirit was corporeal). So saying something like this would seem appropriate as Drogo as watching to Dothraki fight.

Fast forward to today, and commenter RavenB over at one of the blog posts I did for The Next List has discovered the secret behind the ad libbed line by Jason Momoa! What he says is the following:

I’m Maori (indigenous New Zealander) and I noticed that the very first line Drogo speaks is “I te waka” which is the refrain from a very well-known Maori haka.

So, what does it mean? By itself, it could mean several things, but in context, it means “on the canoe”. The equivalent word in Hawaiian is wa‘a, which has the secondary meaning of a chant one does in praise of a chief’s canoe, and the whole thing would be i ke wa‘a (though I could’ve sworn that would be a ka word…). Anyway, it looks like they wanted Jason to say something, and they didn’t have anything else, so I’m guessing he used a line from the haka he did for his audition. Ha! Well, now Māori has worked its way into Dothraki—though, of course, the words were Dothrakified.

Back to our episode, I had a hard time writing down exactly what I meant by oakah, but I really liked the word, and wanted to use it. When I got this line, I was like, “Yes!” The word translated as “kill” is atthasat, which I used here in a kind of metaphysical sense. If Dothraki ride on into the Night Lands (Rhaeshi Ajjalani) when their body is burned, then not doing so is the equivalent of causing their oakah to fall from their horse—which, in Dothraki terms, is about as bad as bad gets. One can understand why Irri is broken up.

Dany tries to calm her:

  • Affa, affa. Mori laz vos atthi oakah vosecchi.
  • “Shh… They cannot kill his soul.”

Again, recall that an inalienable possessor does not need to be expressed if it’s understood in context. The word affa isn’t actually a word, but it’s old. Back when I was coming up with dialogue for the pilot (in fact, when I was applying), I came up with a bunch of horse commands, thinking they might enjoy some use in the series. Mostly they didn’t, but affa—a contentless expression used to calm a horse—seemed appropriate here. I imagine it’s something warriors would use with their horses, and also mothers with their children.

Next Irri has her longest line in the series since season 1:

  • Jin tish mori! Mori ogish ven mae ven rho. Mori avvirsosh khadoes moon. Me laz odothrae kimi mae she Rhaeshi Ajjalani avvos.
  • “They did! They butchered him like an animal. They did not burn his body. He can never join his ancestors in the Night Lands.”

In the first clause, you can see a bit of the old VSO word order of Dothraki popping up. It seemed like the best way to translate the emphatic in English. We also see word ogat being used in its original sense: to slaughter an animal. And we also see one of the words I coined based on the names of those who asked questions back during WorldCon! For three of those who really made my first WorldCon a great one, I made sure to coin words that I knew were going to be used in the upcoming season. As a result, kim became the word for “ancestor” specifically for this scene. San athchomari yeraan, zhey Kim Raymoure!

After this, Dany has another longish reply:

  • Affa. Kisha amariki vorsqoy ha maan. Majin anha astak yeraan asqoy, me-Rakharo adothrae kimi mae ajjalan.
  • “Shh. We will build him a funeral pyre. And I promise you, Rakharo will ride with his ancestors tonight.”

Marilat hasn’t been introduced yet, I think (“construct”), same with vorsqoyi, though that one’s an old one. (By the way, I’m not using interlinears here because Carsten’s plugin isn’t quite working the way I expected it to with this theme. I’m still testing it; give me a couple weeks.) Other than that, it should be pretty self-explanatory. More next week!

Before going, though, a recent commenter asked about getting some dog commands in Dothraki. I did a few, but I thought this might be fun for the main blog. So, if you want to train your dog using Dothraki (Dograki? Dothbarki? Barkraki? Dogbarki?), here are some commands:

  • Neva! “Sit!”
  • Vikovareras! “Stay!”
  • Asto! “Speak!”
  • Fichi! “Fetch!”
  • Chorki! “Roll!”
  • Zohhe! “Down!”
  • Yath! “Up!”
  • Sek! “Yes!”
  • Vos! “No!”
  • Jinne! “Here!”
  • Hazze! “There!”
  • Ajjin! “Now!”
  • Jadi! “Come!”
  • Anni! “Mine!”
  • Qora mae! “Seize him!”
  • Ostos! “Bite!”
  • Zoqwa! “Kiss!”
  • Akkovaras! “Stand up!”
  • Ayos! “Wait!”
  • Ifi! “Walk!”
  • Irvosi! “Trot!”
  • Nakhi! “Stop!”
  • Os! “Don’t move!”
  • Oho! “Be still!”
  • Navi! “Urinate!”
  • Vroz! “Slow!”
  • Dik! “Fast!”
  • Emras! “In(side)!”
  • Yomme! “Across!”
  • Saji! “On!”
  • Mel! “Bad!”
  • Mithri! “Rest!”
  • Nrisas! “Straight!”
  • Noti! “Turn!”
  • Sili! “Follow!
  • Vitihiras! “Watch!”

Whew! That’s a lot! I may add more to this if you need them, zhey kelly; let me know in the comments. I’ll definitely look forward to a video! If you get one, we’ll post it here. I tried to vary the command forms, bearing in mind that the prominent syllable is going to be the one the dog gets the best shot at hearing. Hopefully it won’t be too confusing for the dogs. Just how many words can a dog remember, anyway?

Until next week, fonas chek!

Update: It’s been pointed out that some of these words are just too long for a dog to learn. Here are some options for those words:

  • Vikovareras!Reri! “Stay!”
  • Akkovaras!Akko! “Stand up!”
  • Vitihiras!Hiri! “Watch!”

This isn’t a standard way of abbreviating in Dothraki, but if you want that dog to stay put, well, sacrifices need to be made. Thanks, E&L!

Valshe Vinesera

Kisha ray essash!

For those who were able to watch the season 2 premiere of Game of Thrones, I hope you enjoyed it! (And for those who have yet to watch it in their home markets, I hope you enjoy it!) I saw the first episode about a week ago, and everyone there (myself included) was mightily impressed.

In fact, I think it’s worthwhile to meditate on that experience a little bit. For each of the first two seasons, HBO had this premiere event for cast and crew and their +1’s, and the events were pretty much the same in structure, but the atmosphere was quite different. The first time around, of course, George R. R. Martin was there, which was awesome, but overall, there were fewer people in attendance. The crew, of course, knew the show, but outside of that, I got the impression that a lot of folks there didn’t know what the books were all about, and didn’t know what to expect. They were there to support their friends and families, and to get a glimpse of a new show.

For the second premiere event, the place was packed. Not only that, but you could tell that everyone there was a fan of the show. We were allowed to invite one person, and I’m sure the first time around, guests were probably like, “Well, I’m not doing anything else, so that could be neat. Sure, I’ll come.” This time they were fighting over who would get to go. Plus, everyone knew every character, and knew all the ins and outs of the first season, and reacted appropriately to the action on screen. It was like going to a midnight showing for a blockbuster movie—not with Hollywood types, but with actual fans. That was really cool.

Back to the show, I love how the first thing we see is Peter Dinklage’s name—and his entrance is wonderful (as is his quip about Cersei’s cheekbones [which is true!]). Before his return, though, I wonder: Did anyone else think of the pit stage on Mortal Kombat seeing the Hound topple Ser Red Shirt over the edge? Because that’s the very first thing I thought of.

Other favorite bits of mine: The scene where Maester Cressen attempts to poison Melisandre; Cersei playing Simon Says with her guards at Littlefinger’s expense (“Power is power.” Ha!); Grey Wind menacing Jaime; and, of course, Joffrey getting slapped.

But, of course, we’re here to talk Dothraki, so talk it we shall!

First, a new character is introduced: Kovarro. As mentioned before, this was a name that the writers came up with (or perhaps Bryan Cogman specifically…?) based on the information I included about how to come up with Dothraki names (which, by the way, is a post that’s seriously overdue. Remind me if I forget). Dothraki makes a distinction between single and double consonants (e.g. ige “bowl (accusative)” vs. igge “bucket”), but I decided very early on that this wouldn’t necessarily be the case with names. Instead, consonant doubling is stylistic. It can also be functional, because a trisyllabic name like Hadoro would be stressed on the first syllable, even though the word hador, “gust of wind”, is stressed on the last. By doubling the last consonant, we get Hadorro, which keeps the stress on the same vowel as the original word, making the tie between the name and word more recognizable.

Our new name Kovarro, then, derives from the verb kovarat, which means “to stand”. Kovarro, then, is kind of like “stander (who is male)”: a tough guy who stands his ground. Of course, the name always reminds me of the wedding episode of Home Movies, which features one of Brendan’s films Landstander, with the main character, Landstander, whose key ability is that he can “stand on the land”.

Oh, and, of course, we also see Bitey! (I’ve named the little shoulder-standing dragon “Bitey”. Seems appropriate.) That’s really exciting. Can’t wait to see more dragons!

Back to Dothraki, we find Dany and Jorah et al. wandering the Athasar Virzeth, the Red Wastes, looking mighty dusty and bedraggled. And then, sadly, we lose another horse: Dany’s present from Drogo, her silver. To honor the poor horse’s memory, here’s a line from season 1 that never saw the light of day, but which readers of the book will remember:

  • Vizhadi vizhadaan norethi shafkoa. “Silver for the silver of your hair.”

This is what Drogo says to Dany on giving her his present. In the show, Drogo ends up not really saying anything to Dany until, like, episode 3, so, naturally, this line had to be cut—and, quite frankly, it’s a good thing it was, because in the original script I sent, I made a mistake: I wrote shafki when I should have written shafkoa. Oops! I was still a beginner when it came to Dothraki grammar at that point, though, so I hope the gaffe can be overlooked.

As things become more desperate, Dany gathers her bloodriders together (Zhey Rakharo, zhey Aggo, zhey Kovarro), and says the following:

  • Fichi hrazef zinayi kishi. “Take our remaining horses.”

A short bit, but we see a couple of rare things in here. First, if the form zin looks familiar, it’s probably from a sentence like the second one below:

  1. Anha adakhak. “I’m eating.”
  2. Anha zin adakhak. “I’m still eating.”

Zin is one of those post-subject particles that acts like certain auxiliaries do in English. Now we see a bit of its history in the word zinay, which is itself in a rarely seen form: the Dothraki active participle. (In case you’re wondering, no, there is no [longer a] verb associated with this word.) And, also a bit rare, the adjective zinay agrees with the inanimate noun in plurality, even though the inanimate noun can’t display number. And rarer still: the sequence yi, which is quite rare in Dothraki (e.g. no word begins with yi). So a small phrase, but some fun stuff going on.

Once Dany has her bloodriders’ attention, she tells them what to do:

  • Ma yer adothrae tith; ma yer heshtith; ma yer valshtith. “You ride east; you southeast; and you northeast.”

Never thought the ordinal directions would ever see the light of day. Glad I’d already coined them, though! After this, it’s Rakharo, I believe, who asks:

  • Fin kisha fonoki, zhey khaleesi? “What do we seek, khaleesi?”

Fonat means “to hunt”, and by adding the suffix -(s)o, you get fonolat, which focuses on the beginning of the event: the event’s inception. This translates in various ways in English (e.g. “to track”), but in a non-hunting context, it means something like “to seek” (i.e. to search for with an uncertain chance of success).

After this, Daenerys delivers one of her longer Dothraki speeches—perhaps her longest to date. Here’s the whole thing:

  • Vaes, che thiri che drivi. Ma verakasaris ma voji. Che ashefaes che tozaraes che Havazzhife Zhokwa. Ezo athchilar Athasaroon Virzetha hatif kishi, ma reki vekha yomme moon. “Cities, living or dead. Caravans and people. Rivers, or lakes, or the Great Salt Sea. Find how far the Red Waste extends before us, and what lies on the other side.”

In fact, there was actually one more line after this that got cut. I looked at that the first time and thought, “Are you sure? That’s pretty long…” And, indeed, it was. Better to have more to choose from than less, though.

I had to ponder what the Dothraki might do with the concept of “caravan”. Certainly caravans would be known to them: they travel all over and caravans exist. I came up with verakasar, which ultimately derives from the root e (heh, heh) which is used in the verb elat, which means “to go”. Through regular derivation, we get verat from elat, the former of which means “to travel”. One who travels, then, is a verak, and a group of them is a verakasar. And, ultimately, that’s what a caravan is: a group of travelers. Many are commercial in nature, but the Dothraki don’t trade, so probably would have little interest in that aspect of it (well, save that a traveling merchant would probably make a good target for sacking and pillaging).

In the third sentence we see two of my favorite words that I wasn’t sure would ever see the light of day: ashefa “river” and tozara “lake”. Both were created at around the same time, and were created very early. I was looking to create vocabulary sets that fit together, and so both of these (bodies of water, trisyllabic, ending in -a) helped to establish a semi-regular pattern for animate nouns. There are a number that fit this description, and it also says a little bit about the Dothraki worldview (i.e. the agency present in natural forces like a river or the wind).

The last sentence was actually quite difficult. I had to think for quite a bit how it would make sense to express that sentence in Dothraki. A more literal translation will give you a better idea for how exactly it works:

  • Ezo athchilar Athasaroon Virzetha hatif kishi, ma reki vekha yomme moon. “Find the extent of the Red Waste before us, and that which lies beyond it.”

Athchilar there might also be translated as “limit”. It derives from chilat, a verb that means “to be prostrate”. A closer English expression might be “the lie”, in…huh. Having trouble coming up with an English expression. Well, there’s also “the lay”, as in “the lay of the land”, but I’m sure you can also say something like, “Give me the lie of your proposal and I’ll tell you what I think of it”. We also see an indefinite relative clause in the second part of this sentence (I mentioned these initially here, but never discussed them—and there’s certainly no room to discuss them here. I’ll get to it, though). That single example may be enough to help the dothraki.org folks to figure out the rest.

Finally, Dany approaches Rakharo individually and says:

  • Yer athzalar nakhoki anni, zhey qoy qoyi. “You are my last hope, blood of my blood.”

Or at least that’s what I have written down. Thinking back, doesn’t she start out with zhey qoy qoyi? I need to hit up HBO GO and watch it again (though maybe someone will remember). Whichever order it is, athzalar should look familiar. The verb zalat is both “to want” and “to hope”, and here it’s fulfilling the latter function. The word nakhok is actually very similar to an ordinal number in its behavior. It derives from the same stem that gives us nakhat, which means “to stop”, and nakholat, which means “to finish”. In order to modify a noun with an ordinal like “first”, “second”, etc., you put the ordinal after the noun and put it in the genitive. That’s what you see here.

Finally, Rakharo replies with:

  • Anha vos oziyenek shafkea, zhey qoy qoyi. “I will not fail you, blood of my blood.”

The verb there is ziyenelat, derived from the same stem that gives us yeni, “failure”, which features in the Dothraki translation of “WTF?” (i.e. Ki fin yeni?). The circumfix zi(r)- -(s)e is something like “mis(o)-” in English (borrowed from Greek), and indicates some sort of a value judgment—i.e. that whatever happened happened and it was bad. That seemed appropriate for this type of failure.

And, there you have it! Just a short scene in episode 1, but a good chunk of Dothraki. I can’t at present recall if Elyes Gabel’s ad lib made it in (it was such a short thing), but perhaps those who have it fresh in their minds can let me know. Did you hear the mysterious word gwe?

Great to have Game of Thrones back on a weekly basis! There’s some really cool Dany/Dothraki scenes on the horizon, so stay tuned!

Update: Whoops! Missed a line. Nice catch, zhey ingsve!

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