Mhysa

And now its watch is at an end (it being season 3)! Good show, D&D! I know there haven’t been many seasons, but this was by far the best. That said, it’s understandable if as a viewer you felt this finale was a little anticlimactic after last week’s showstopper. There’s absolutely no event that could top the horror of the Red Wedding (well, except for the event that many thought would happen last night that didn’t. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to wait till next season [or read A Storm of Swords]). Instead of trying to do that, they tried to tie up as many story lines as possible and set the table for next season, and I thought they did a good job. But there was also some fantastic stuff in this episode that it’s easy to forget about upon reflection.

Certainly at the top of my list was the Small Council scene. Tywin Lannister is, as you know, my favorite Song of Ice and Fire character, and you can’t ask for more than Joffrey being Joffrey and Tywin being Tywin at the same time. There’s rarely more electricity in the room than when someone publicly threatens Tywin Lannister. What genius! At the various premiere events I’ve been to, I have yet to run into either Charles Dance or Jack Gleeson, but I’d love to shake both of their hands. The quality they bring to their work and the life they’ve imbued in their characters is, for me, one of the highlights of the show. Game of Thrones is filled with twists, action and some great special effects, yes, but for me some of the most fun I have watching the show is witnessing the verbal repartée between characters with massive egos—one of the same reasons I enjoy watching Downton Abbey so much, in fact.

Since we’re in King’s Landing, I also wanted to tip my cap to Lena Headey. Cersei is an extremely unsympathetic character if you read the books. Some of the things she does have been left out of the show, but they’ve added some new scenes which really help to round Cersei out—and one of them came in “Mhysa”. I thought it was a lovely scene with her and Tyrion, and it adds a little something extra to this whole Joffrey question (i.e. how does the worst person ever come to be the worst person ever? What went wrong?). Not even she is blind to how awful Joffrey is, and yet he is her son. Lena Headey does a good job conveying just how tough that is.

Also I actually like that the reunion of Cersei and Jaime is a bit overshadowed and understated. It’s not a triumphant return, but also theirs is not the best relationship. It’d feel a little weird to be cheering that reunion like it’s Ross and Rachel (and before anyone comments, yes, I recognize that a good chunk of America was not cheering for that reunion [I was among them], but I don’t know how many would be familiar with Florentino and Fermina). I think the scene laid the groundwork for what’s going to become of their relationship rather well.

Another book comment. I like that the scene with Davos was allowed to play out. In the book, as I recall, that’s one of those chapter enders that George R. R. Martin is fond of: Davos is being carried away to be executed, and to save himself he pulls out a slip of paper and begins to read. You don’t know what or why; you have to wait until it’s explained later. Bleh. I’m a busy man. I’ll take my answers now, thank you.

As I’ve been watching this season with friends, I can say with confidence that Ramsey Bolton is a crowd favorite. He introduced acquitted himself quite well this season, what with his little horn and his sausage from this episode. That’s classic mirth-making. Ditto to Arya and the Hound. I hope we get a few more good scenes out of that pairing next season.

Before getting to the scene in Yunkai, I’d also like to mention a point of discussion that came up in regard to the “Wolf King” bit. This is something from the books, but we all found it to be quite a bit more awful than we were imagining—and I think this reaction has been a common one on the net. I think one thing that’s surprising is both my friend and I had the exact same reaction, which is that we thought the wolf head thing would be a lot cleaner than it actually was—but, realistically, there’s no reason it should have been. It should have been shoddy work, and, indeed, the wolf head should have looked like it didn’t fit on their properly. Still, when we read and imagined the season, we somehow imagined precision tailoring: a perfect fit for the wolf head, neat stitching… It’s comical, if you think about it, how unrealistic that expectation was. My friend contends this is on account of the fact that unless something is described in vivid detail (in the books it’s just an anecdote related by Salladhor Saan), our imaginations probably aren’t going to try to shock or horrify us. After all, such a thing isn’t pleasant. Thus, we get the Nutcracker Mouse King version of Robb with a wolf head in our imagination.

The season ends in Yunkai with some darling little dragons. I’m quite certain that if my cat had wings, she’d be Drogon. At first Missandei addresses the crowd (one wonders how many could actually hear. What did they do in the old days without sound systems…?):

  • Bizy sa Daenerys Targarien, Jelmazmo, Dorzalty, Dāria Sikudo Dārȳti Vestero, Muña Zaldrizoti. Sa va zer sko enkat jiva derve.
  • “This is Daenerys Targaryen, the Stormborn, the Unburnt, the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the Mother of Dragons. It is to her you owe your freedom.”

The astute reader will note that this isn’t actually pure Low Valyrian, but rather a mix. Dany’s name and titles are done in High Valyrian, and everything else is done in Low. This was intentional.

Next, Dany says a good portion of the following:

  • Dāervose jevosy yne enkot daor. Jemot ziry tepagon koston daor. Dāerves jevys tepagon yne sytilībos daor. Jemēle mērī sytilības. Lo ziry arlī jaelāt, jemēlo syt ziry mazemagon jemo bēvilza. Tolvies jemys.
  • “You do not owe me your freedom. I cannot give it to you. Your freedom is not mine to give. It belongs to you and you alone. If you want it back, you must take it for yourselves. Each and every one of you.”

If there’s a controversial bit in that translation, it’s the choice of verb and tense in lo ziry arlī jaelāt—i.e. “if it again you want”. There are a couple of ways I could’ve gone. One would be, for example, to use the verb emagon, “to have”, in the subjunctive. I felt that was too hypothetical. This translation I felt was more direct (i.e. using the indicative rather than the subjunctive and using the verb for “to want”), and I liked it better for the content. It was a choice, though, so feel free to skewer me in the comments.

After that, Dany commands her dragons to fly with sōvētēs (all three of them—hence, the plural command), and she asks her Unsullied to let her pass by saying Ynot rebagon. I know you’re probably looking at that and you’re all like, “Whaaaaa…?” so let me explain. Permissive commands (“let me pass”, “let him speak”, “let my dragon roast him like Roseanne Barr”, etc.) are done differently from other commands. The verb in the imperative is actually gaomagon, but it’s pretty much never used. Instead what you have is gaomagon in the imperative preceded by a verb in the infinitive (the main verb of the sentence) preceded by an agent in the dative. Thus instead of it being something like, “Pass to me”, it’s “Let me pass”.

Oh, and a note since folks have asked, the lyric in that final chant was based on the last speech Dany gives, but was altered for the choir. I don’t think you can necessarily recover any of the text at this point. I haven’t checked, though. I didn’t write it and wasn’t involved with it.

Now to close the discussion of this season: Talisa’s letter. Before getting into the issues, let me just give you the whole thing. Here it is in High Valyrian:

Muñus jorrāeliarzus,

Olvie hen embraro tolmiot nykēlot avy ivestragon issa. Nykēlo syt ūndon daor luo valzȳro ñoghossi ōressiks. Dārys issa vestris, se prūmio ñuho konir drējior issa. Ȳghāpī īlōn rāelza, kesrio syt lanta iksan, rūso zȳhosy gōvilirose zijo syt pyghas lue prūmie. Vīlībāzma ajomemēbza, yn aderī, mōrī, aōt māzīli se hēnkirī īlvi biarvī manaerili.

And here is the original English, written by Cat Taylor:

Dearest mother,

So much news I have to give you from over the seas. I find myself held by the arms of a husband I never expected to have. They say he is a king and of my heart that is true. He holds us safe, for now I am two, with his child beneath the heart that beats for him. The war rages on, but soon, when it is all over, we shall come to you and celebrate together.

Okay. The Valyrian’s all there, so those who are interested can work on it. For those who were interested in the letter specifically because of the theory that Talisa was a Lannister spy (if you’re unfamiliar with this theory, go here for a full breakdown), obviously you can now see that the letter reveals that, in fact, she was not—or, at the very least, that she was actually writing a letter to her mother. You might be able to say it was a code, but if you go back to the letter that Arya saw from a Lannister spy, that doesn’t make much sense, since Arya had no trouble (a) reading it (i.e. presumably it was in Common), and (b) judging its content. In reality, all the letter does is point up the fact that there really is no actual evidence for Talisa being a Lannister spy.

That said, the original video was very clever (even though it misses some obvious things. Everyone from Essos has an accent? What about Varys?), and I felt that revealing the contents of the letter right after episode 7 would have pretty much torpedoed the theory (though note that the author of the video says at the end that the theory was a joke. Others thought it quite plausible). Conspiracy theories are fun when they’re about television shows (Who shot Mr. Burns? Who killed Laura Palmer? Who is Number One?), so it’s no fun to have someone with inside knowledge rain on everyone’s parade.

Plus, if fans can have fun generating conspiracy theories, can’t I have fun teasing? I’m probably never going to get another chance!

But, yeah, the Lannister spy theory would’ve been a tremendous break from canon, I think. And even though they’ve broken from canon before (and will again), there are certain lines that they can’t cross, and that’d be one of them. Plus, I’d expect much better of Tywin. Plant a random girl in Robb’s army of thousands and expect that not only will he run into her, but he’ll fall in love with her? There’s way too many variables in that plan for someone as awesome as Tywin.

Anyway I guess that does it for season 3. The first season, Game of Thrones was just getting its feet, and the second was building an audience. This season, I thought, was superb, and I would not be surprised to see it garner some serious attention when the Golden Globes and Emmys roll around. I contributed to the first two seasons, but I’m really proud of the performances in this season. Wonderful, wonderful work.

And, to close the chapter on this season, I’ve got two words, and two words only.

JACOB

ANDERSON

Posted on June 10, 2013, in Episode Recaps and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 91 Comments.

  1. Anthony Docimo

    >(one wonders how many could actually hear. What did they do in the old days without sound systems…?)

    If I remember correctly, in the days of Disraeli (and Churchill to an extent?), there would be people stationed at intervals through the crowd, who would listen to what the speaker said, and then repeat it so people further away could hear.

    • Wow… That’s brilliant. I imagine that only works for planned announcements. Also must be odd for those who are positioned just where the repeater is. What that would mean is that (unless their ears were bad) they’d hear the message the previous repeater (or original speaker) said and then would hear it when the repeater said it as well (because the repeater would logically need to be close enough to the previous speaker to hear it). Heh, heh. Fun.

  2. Yay! We got ourselves a rosetta stone! :)

    No time to go into details, but {vīlībāzma} for “war” is very interesting. We already have {jelmāzma} “storm” and {nūmāzma} “the truth of it? meaning?”, so this seems to be a productive ending, not unlike the Greek {-sma}… We already have {vīlīb-} attested in {syti-vīlīb-ilāt} “will you fight-for?”, so we can postulate other verbs {jel-} “to storm/rage?” and {nūm-} “to be true?”, though we have both “rage” and “true” translated with different roots {a-jo-memēb-za} and {drējior} in the letter…

    What is more, the {oress oressiks} that confused us to no end is apparently a mere erroneous rendition of {ōressiks}.

    And {rāel-} apparently means something like “to hold dear” or “to treasure”?

    • though we have both “rage” and “true” translated with different roots {a-jo-memēb-za} and {drējior} in the letter…

      I don’t think that’s too problematic, especially since we’re not entirely certain exactly what the roots jelm- and nūm- mean.

      What do you suppose that a- element is in your analysis of ajomemēbza?

      I have an idea brewing on verb roots, but I’ll discuss it later.

      And {rāel-} apparently means something like “to hold dear” or “to treasure”?

      No surprise there. But it just occurs to me that rovaja must be from something like *rovarzus.

      • Er, I mean *rovarza, sorry.

      • I’m not so sure the {-arzus} part is a superlative. It might not be a literal translation. I’m still betting on a passive participle “continuingly treasured”, as it would be {-arus} for an active participle.

        No idea about the {a-} verbal prefix. Perhaps it marks the fact that the statement will be relativized later? “The war may rage on (for now), but…”

        Actually (d’oh!), we already know the root {memēb-} from the very first use of HV on the show. {Naejot memēbātās} “forward march!” — I guess it must mean “to advance”, which also fits with the war raging on. We also have {urnēb-} “watch” and {iderēb-} “choose” with that {-ēb-} element — think it might be a productive suffix?

        • Re jorrāeliarzus you are probably right.

          Re -ēb-, that’s part of the theory to which I alluded before. Man, I can’t save anything for later, with you around ;)

          Not only do we have memēbagon and derēbagon, and so on, but I strongly suspect this -ēb- is an allomorph of -īb-. Of Dāvīd noster made that cryptic remark “… even though not all the affixes have any meaning ….,” so I speculated that -īb- was like -ate in English, which is a common element used to form verbs (and adjectives, and nouns), but synchronically it doesn’t really have any set meaning of it’s own.

          • Re 4: Maybe {gōvilirose} is analogous to {dāervose} and even {kirimvose}?

            Man, I can’t save anything for later, with you around ;)

            Then let me sneak another one in before it’s too late! ;)

            {Mazemagon} “take” is transparently {māz-emagon}, “come (to) have”. I feel we’ve seen other {maz-} verbs before, but I don’t recall them right now.

            Also, do you think {Mirri maz Duur} might just mean “Mirri who comes from Duur” (either geographically or genealogically)? Not sure what language the Sheeple speak natively, but maybe it’s related to Valyrian.

            • Oh, I also found this in AV: {mazedhas derari va buzdar} “…was taken as a slave”. The first word looks like it could be the perfect {māzitas} “has come”. Maybe this is how you form passives in AV? I am taken = “I come taken”? {Derari} looks like an active participle though, which is a bit strange in this context.

            • Re 4: Maybe {gōvilirose} is analogous to {dāervose} and even {kirimvose}?

              Well, obviously, at least in that it is in the instrumental singular (or comitative if it is from a declension class that merges those cases). That is in fact why I asked that. Here’s my thinking:

              …rūso zȳhosy gōvilirose zijo syt pyghas lue prūmie.
              …with his child beneath the heart that beats for him.

              zȳhosy, which looks instrumental (or comitative, as I said) is in its postpositive form, therefore it’s modifying rūso. So, word for word, “… with child his _____ … heart” (not going to gloss the rel. clause, because that’s a pain with the word order). The only word that can fit in that slot is “under.”

              So my interpretation is that gōvilir- is a prepositional adjective meaning, essentially, “which is under.” It apparently takes an accusative (prūmie). Obligatory Latin comparison: inferus.

              Excellent point about māz·emagon. I hadn’t noticed that… now, that does raise a question: I had been thinking ēza was from *em·za (on the basis of emon, which we already had.) Should we expect *māzēza, or does it get leveled to *māzemas?

              What I had noticed about mazemagon was the similarity to AV *mazméris (my transcription) apparently meaning “trained,” and mazédhas, apparently meaning something like “taken.” Better yet, notice ji·ōr·in·na “I will receive” vs. maz·ōr·īn·na “I will accept.” So maz- is pretty clearly used as a verbal prefix.

              As I recall the Sheeple are supposed to have their own language. But maz does remind one of AV ez ;)

            • Well, took me so long to type that up that I missed you catching mazedhas. For derari compare also whatever that AV phrase is, which I poorly transcribed as mazméris funmári (very likely mazméris is mazmédhis, but no idea what that f- actually is, as it’s unlikely AV has an /f/. Either I misheard, or perhaps it’s just Master Hildebrand devoicing his fricatives again.)

  3. That’s the first time we have heard that the dragons understand High Valyrian.
    Like dogs understand simple English commands?
    I don’t think this is in the book, but I love it.
    Would just one have flown if it had of been singular?
    Just what commands in HV do they understand, sit, roll over, beg, tear his throat out?…..

    • Well, there’s the obvious precedent of drakarys.

      Would just one have flown if it had of been singular?

      Ha, I was wondering that too. Just how much grammar do they know? ;)

    • Would just one have flown if it had of been singular?

      I think this is a question real life can answer. Many languages have singular and plural imperatives (Spanish, for example). What happens in those situations? Say three dogs. Can a speaker get only one of those dogs to go and do something simply by issuing a singular command (and ideally without using their name)? My guess would be no. It doesn’t mean they wouldn’t, as a native speaker, naturally switch between singular and plural commands as they would with humans.

    • Zaldrizes Dare

      “Just what commands in HV do they understand, sit, roll over, beg, tear his throat out?”

      I wonder how one says, “Bad, Drogon, BAD! Those were mommy’s *expensive* shoes!” in HV. If Dany’s dragons are anything like my dogs, this should come in handy from time to time.

      • Drogon does eventually eat something he shouldn’t in the books, but it’s a whole lot more serious than a shoe.

        • Zaldrizes Dare

          “Bad Drogon, BAD! Little children who are not Lannisters, Freys, or Boltons must not be eaten!”

          Now *that* would make quite the phrase in High Valyrian.

          • Anthony Docimo

            Couldn’t that simply be “you ate the wrong enemy” ?
            :)

            • Zaldrizes Dare

              [SPOILER TAG JUST IN CASE]

              The kid Drogon allegedly snarfled was not exactly an enemy. She was the daughter of a Mereenese shepherd.

              And I mean allegedly: we never actually see the snarfling occur, only that the father comes before Dany at court and dumps the charred bones of the girl in front of her. It could easily be a lie concocted by the “Sons of the Harpy” to freak dany out and get her to lock away her dragons.

            • Anthony Docimo

              thank you for the clarification.

              Hm…definately should emphasize the “wrong” and underemphasize the “enemy”. (unless – does either Valyrian or High Valyrian have an “enemy/ally/bystander” distinction?)

          • As a Mad Latinist, it has always bothered me that I’m never quite certain if “Good boy!” “Bad girl!” “Good dog!” “Bad Drogon!” and so on are vocatives, or accusatives of exclamation.

          • Aside from that, and the fact that I don’t think we’ve yet seen the word for “good,” we could almost certainly say this in HV ;)

  4. Hi, where can I find this dictionary? :)

  5. OK, um, wow. So much information here, it must have taken me 45 minutes to read this whole post. Predictably, though, I have a lot of questions. Also predictably: they’re almost all about declension. I know it’s a lot of questions, and I really doubt you’ll get around to answering them all, so I’ve numbered them for your convenience.

    1. OK, so jamelo is genitive. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than jemēle, which I had previously put in that slot, and is nicely parallel to pontalo…. But just what case is jemēle? Dative?

    2. What’s with dāervose? Does enkagon just take an instrumental? I suppose that makes sense, if you think of it as “to be in debt.”

    3. Hmm, what is the citation form of the word for Kingdom, dary? Najahho had speculated to me that remȳti was from rémy, so that would make sense. But why is the a short?

    4. … rūso zȳhosy gōvilirose… hmm, well since we have the full zȳhosy “child” must be rūso, but what an odd form. What on earth is the citation form? And I guess gōvilirose must be an adjective rather than a preposition?

    5. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to ask here than on twitter: how do you decline mhysa in HV? As you know I’ve been perpetually concerned about whether or not all loanwords go into the buzdari declension. But ones that end in a vowel seem especially problematic.

    6. On that note, not so much a question, but Vestero is very interesting: it certainly looks like -os is being treated like an ending, not a part of the stem. And that makes good sense to me… though it raises questions about language of origin of course. On the other hand, AV Vesterozi(a) must have been a learned borrowing or something, since it keeps the -s, right?

    • Also: lanta “two,” nalanta “twenty.” There is a relation, after all.

      • True, but I didn’t bother mentioning it, because we had learned that from the podcast. I was still having trouble translating kesrio syt lanta iksan, though, because I was translating the first two words as “for this.” And, by the way, now that I know kesrio means “now,” that syt is very interesting: it appears to mean “because” exactly as English “for” can.

    • 1. OK, so jamelo is genitive. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than jemēle, which I had previously put in that slot, and is nicely parallel to pontalo…. But just what case is jemēle? Dative?

      Sigh. Who are you, Qvaak?! Jamelo is a typo. It should be jemēlo. (Wouldn’t be surprised if there were more above. Retyping is difficult.) Jemēle is the accusative.

      2. What’s with dāervose? Does enkagon just take an instrumental? I suppose that makes sense, if you think of it as “to be in debt.”

      Yeah, one of its arguments is instrumental.

      3. Hmm, what is the citation form of the word for Kingdom, dary? Najahho had speculated to me that remȳti was from rémy, so that would make sense. But why is the a short?

      More typos. Again, it’s tough to remember where the long vowels are, since they’re not preserved in Final Draft. Will fix after I post this comment. Oh, “kingdom” is dārion.

      4. … rūso zȳhosy gōvilirose… hmm, well since we have the full zȳhosy “child” must be rūso, but what an odd form. What on earth is the citation form? And I guess gōvilirose must be an adjective rather than a preposition?

      The citation form is rūs. And yes, the latter looks like an adjective.

      5. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to ask here than on twitter: how do you decline mhysa in HV? As you know I’ve been perpetually concerned about whether or not all loanwords go into the buzdari declension. But ones that end in a vowel seem especially problematic.

      I suppose it really depends on how the speaker is feeling. You could certainly drop it straight into the lunar declension I paradigm (same as vala). You could also just strip the final -a in everything but the nominative singular and put it into the paradigm for borrowings. It’s a foreign word, so you never know.

      6. On that note, not so much a question, but Vestero is very interesting: it certainly looks like -os is being treated like an ending, not a part of the stem. And that makes good sense to me… though it raises questions about language of origin of course. On the other hand, AV Vesterozi(a) must have been a learned borrowing or something, since it keeps the -s, right?

      Nope. There is another possibility here, and it has to do with the ending -zia (or, in High Valyrian proper, -sīha).

      • 3. AHA! You said at one point that paradigm could be determined with just the citation form, so I’ve been grouping the nouns in my chart based on the nom.sing. ending. But I’m normally looking only at the last one or two letters for this, and I did wonder if there were any cases where what comes before that element would change the declension. Being a Mad Latinist my first thought was of Marcus voc. Marce vs. Iūlius voc. Iūlī, so I was trying to keep an eye out to see if, say, dāria declined differently from vala (thus far no evidence that it does).

        And here we have one for the first time: glaeson dat.pl. glaesoti vs. dārȳti. So is this really parallel to Marce vs. Iūlī, or is the paradigm entirely different? And does remȳti then come from *remion?

        (And now I have to decide how to mark this in my declension chart ;) )

        4.

        The citation form is rūs.

        Squee! New paradigm! And, oh, this must be the etymon of AV ruo.

        And yes, the latter looks like an adjective.

        Interesting choice of words there. If you are beginning to mistake me for Qvaak, I may be beginning to mistake you for Kosh Naranek ;)

        5. Thanks. As you know, this has been on my mind a lot. One of the things I most enjoy in Latin is seeing what paradigm a foreign name or word gets sorted into (if it does at all, of course).

        6. Aaaaah, I should have known. Something about that seems so… you. Can’t put my finger on why, though.

  6. “The verb in the imperative is actually gaomagon, but it’s pretty much never used. Instead what you have is gaomagon in the imperative[…]”

    I’m at loss here. I mean, more at loss than usual.

    – Qvaak, traveling and thus not logging with the usual account thingie.

    • OK, this I think I understand. As an example sentence, let’s use “Let me eat.” The full expression would be ýnot iprádagon gaomā́s, literally “Do for me to eat” (easier to do word-for-word into Latin: mihi edere fac). “Do” apparently has the idiomatic meaning of “permit” in this kind of construction.

      However, people tend more frequently to drop the word gaomā́s/gaomātā́s, and just say ýnot iprádagon, literally “For me to eat” (mihi edere).

    • What Mad Latinist has said is precisely correct.

  7. Hello, first of all congratulation on the great work this season!

    I’m curious about one thing. Given the prominence of the word freedom in this week’s Valyrian speech, I was wondering what are the High Valyrian words for Valyrian Freehold and freeholder.

    I’m also assuming that triarch isn’t a Valyrian word. ;)

    • I honestly have no idea what a freehold is. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with that.

      • I’m very sorry! My bad! It’s a term from the books, a form of government.

        Old Valyria wasn’t a monarchy, but something called a freehold, so the proper name of the Valyrian state was the Freehold of Valyria or the Valyrian Freehold.

        It’s not until A Dance with Dragons that we get a description of how a freehold works: all freeborn land owners, the freeholders, had a vote and shared the rule. Every year there would be elections and the freeholders would vote and elect three triarchs to rule for a one year term.

        • First off, I’m interested in the world for “freehold” as well, and have thought of it since I have read/heard David incorrectly refer to the Valyrian Empire a few times.

          But about the triarch thing, it hasn’t been explicitly stated in the books that this was something done in in Valyria as a whole. Volantis has indeed been described as a freehold, a form of government which came from Valyria, but the specific tradition of electing triarchs seems to be rather unique to Volantis.

          • The way I understood it, the purely Volantene addition to the workings of a freehold was the blood requirement that the candidates prove unbroken line of descent from Old Valyria.

            GRRM has said that the Freehold of Valyria had neither a king nor an emperor, and explicitly compared it to the Roman Republic. So it stands to reason that the 3 triarchs are analogous to the 2 consuls.

          • I thought that the Freehold was the name of the city itself (or city state). As for it being empire, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck…

        • Ah, I see. So “freehold” is a term for a system of government rather than the name of the city (which was just Valyria). Call it what they would, though, it was definitely an empire, and I think “Valyrian Empire” is the appropriate term. As for the word for the system of government they devised, that will take some thought. I have some ideas, but they need to percolate.

          • So Spake Martin: “The Freehold of Valyria is correct. Valyria at the zenith of its power was neither a kingdom nor an empire… or at least it had neither a king nor an emperor. It was more akin to the old Roman Republic, I suppose. In theory, the franchise included all “free holders,” that is freeborn landowners. Of course in practice wealthy, highborn, and sorcerously powerful families came to dominate.”

            He doesn’t seem to imply there were the equivalents of “consuls” but an executive head is to be expected (or two or three or whatever the number).

            • Yep: Empire. I don’t think you need an emperor to count something as an empire. To me the defining characteristic is a land that goes out and conquers—and then assumes—other lands in mass quantities. This is why it was referred to as the British Empire, even though no British monarch ever claimed the title emperor. Whether the Valyrians had a single guy commanding them to go out and conquer other lands or it was a collective decision of the majority of the wealthiest landowners, it was still an empire in my book.

            • I agree with you here. Clearly at a later point in time Valyria operated as an Empire in all but name. When did the Roman Empire begin? When Cesar declared himself “Consul for life”, when Augustus declared himself “first citizen of the Republic”? The only difference I can point out with the British crown is that the crown of the UK was declared by Parliament to be an imperial crown, even if the monarchs didn’t use the title, the documents did use “empire” and “imperial”.

              Maybe the Freehold closer resembled Athens in government, which did not lack its tyrants (one head that took over, although here this head wasn’t elected). Maybe a Roman Senate that worked like Athens but without the tyrants?

            • Well, at least from Victoria to George VI they used the title “Emperor/Empress of India.”

              “Empire” is sometimes defined in terms of an Emperor, sometimes in terms of expansionism, and heck sometimes even in terms of influence. You could even argue that all three uses apply already in Classical Latin: the Romans spoke of having an imperium even before they had an imperātor.

              So the Valyrian Freehold was at the very least an empire in the sense that the Roman Rēs Pūblica was one.

        • If that description is accurate, it certainly sounds like it’s modeled on the Roman Republic, with the Triarchs representing the Consuls. Even the name “Freehold” might be vaguely inspired by Res Publica, which is sometimes translated “The Common Possession” or the like.

  8. Whenever we get around to Valyrian Memrise lessons we should start a petition to get Jacob Anderson (and Nathalie Emmanuel) to record the audio pronunciations.

  9. Zaldrizes Dare

    Wow. I didn’t think anything could (further) shock me after the RW, but seeing GreyRobb/RobbWind paraded around by Frey’s bannermen felt like someone pressing down on a bruise. Or peeling back a scab and making a wound bleed again.

    So did reading Talisa’s letter :(. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that you posted it, and was looking forward to your translation. But it just sounded so hopeful, romantic, and dreamy that it made cry.

    It also highlights the unfairness of Talisa’s death. Not siding with Walder Frey here, and I’m definitely in the “violation of guest right = abomination” camp, but it can be said that Robb is directly responsible for his (and his mother’s) undoing. He chose to break a promise, he knew that Frey was a murderous bastard, and to quote the late David Carradine, “there are consequences to breaking the heart of a murderous bastard.”

    Talisa, on the other hand, is a completely innocent party. She wasn’t privy to the promise, so it cannot be said that she broke it. She owed Walder Frey nothing.

  10. Dear David,

    Can you, please, provide translation for Ramin Jawadi’s soundtrack, ‘Mhysa’? I assume you had something to do with the lyrics :)

    Thank you very much!

  11. Ondřej Michlovský

    David, do you use pure Esperanto as the High Valyrian? It’s fitting, the most widely spoken man-made language in the world, with Slav vocabulary and Germanic syntax, or something like that. And the dialects… I have no clue, Kurdi, Turkish? Thanks for your reply.

  12. Ondřej Michlovský

    I think that the Doom of Valyria was caused by old dragons, who the Freeholders left of their chains to soar up to the sky, and without the magic shackles and the Freeholders’ taming, they went mad and rained napalm from on high.

  13. Hi! I was curious, what is the word for freedom in HV?

  14. Hello, David! To start off, excellent job this season! I have been very influenced by your creation of dothraki and HV. So just out of curiosity, how would you say dire wolf? Assuming you’ve created the word, as it is slightly relevant. Thank you!

    • I don’t know how to say “dire wolf” in either language, actually. I never created a word for it because I couldn’t be sure if they had dire wolves in Essos, or if they were native to Westeros. :( My apologies.

      • That’s ok! It means perfect sense for there not to be a word, now that you mention it. Thank you!

      • I don’t know how to say “dire wolf” in either language, actually.

        Do you have a word for wolf? If the “Mārjys” corpus is any indication, you could plausibly say dracaro (wolf) in HV. As for Dothraki, (wolf) vezhven should cover it.

        • I was looking for wolf or dire wolf. What exactly do you mean by dracaro? Isn’t that dragon fire?

          • Zhalio is alluding to the on-the-fly translations David did for The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show. When one of the requests was “I’m the goddamn Batman,” they quickly settled on Azantys Zōbrie “The Dark Knight” for Batman, but David was forced to come up with something on the spot for “goddamn,” and he went with drakaro “of dragonfire.” (Drakaro Azantys Zōbrie iksan!)

            Of course, even if that coining is meant to be canonical, I’m not sure we can use “Goddamn Wolf!” as a synonym for “direwolf” ;)

      • You know what, given the recent revelation of kēlio, it seems like *zoklio would make a hell of a lot of sense.

  15. Hi everyone.
    I need your help.
    It’s my boyfriend’s birthday and I want to congratulate him in High Valyrian. I’ve already learnt some sentences, but I don’t know how to say the most important one: “Happy Birthday”. Do you?
    Thanks a lot.

    • Incidentally, do we already have a way of saying “I love you” in HV? I guess {jorrāeliarzos nykēlot iksā} doesn’t quite cut it?

    • Birthday, eh? Bleh. I don’t feel like even touching that one, so instead, how about this: Tubī hae kesīr sittāks, sesīr kirine iksan. That is, “You were born on a day like this one, and so I am happy.”

      Me nem nesa.

      • Thank you both!
        You made my day :)
        Now I have to prepare my costume and practise my pronunciation ^^
        Thanks again, XO

      • Iiinteresting. Kesīr is locative? Sittāks is 2nd person sing.?

        Question for book readers: in Westeros they use the expression “name day” of course… are Essosi birthday traditions ever discussed?

  16. Do you think “kirine” and “kirimvose” could be related? Could “kirimvose” be some sort of subjunctive construction as in “may you be happy”?

  17. Very possible. Here’s a preview of my next post (since I couldn’t do it this week):

    On IRC, David gave me some transcriptions of AV sentences from the season premier. In particular, the word I had heard as ˣnagostovare “weakness” was in fact nagostovave. To this, compare derve “freedom,” from HV dāerves. We can assume that AV -ve, HV -ves are suffixes generally used to form abstract nouns from an adjective.

    Kirimvose looks very much like the instrumental of *kirimves.

    And you are right, this in turn also looks like it could plausibly be from *kirin-ves.

    So perhaps kirimvose literally means “by happiness.”

  18. É uma pena que este blog é em inglês, se a tradução do Google fosse boa eu já teria estudado muito o Alto Valriano. Gosto da língua e ainda aprenderei…Parabéns pelo trabalho.

    • ¡Lo siento, pero no hablo portugués! :( Si hay alguien que pueda traducir este blog en portugués, poneré estas traducciones aquí. Hasta entonces…otra vez, lo siento. :( Ojala que mi español es más facil para tí que mi inglés.

      • É verdade, grato por sua resposta! Uma dúvida: como ficaria a frase “Pelos novos e antigos deuses.” ?

        • meaning: “By the old gods and the new”.

        • Uēpos arlios jaehossi.

          At least, that’s one way of doing it. Personally, though, I think this way might be better:

          Jaehossi uēpossi arlȳssī.

          That’s using the postpositive adjectives and the simple juxtaposition method of coordination. A literal translation might be something like, “By the gods, the old and the new ones”. Somehow that seems more fitting. Either will work, though.

          • Unfortunately, the ins.pl. is one of those forms that tell you very little. Let’s see what we can figure out:

            • “new” is arlie -ior
            • “old” could be either *uēpe -ior or *uēpa -ys -on -or (we’ve also had hen Valyrio Uēpo, but the genitive is, if anything, even less helpful.)
            • “gods” is either lunar or solar. Unfortunately it could be just about any declension whatsoever. The stem ending in h makes me want to guess *jaes, pl. *jaehossa.

            So is this anywhere near right?

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