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Game of Thrones Season 3 Premiere Event

The past two Game of Thrones premiere events have been pretty incredible, but this was something different. Going all the way back to the 1920s, if anyone mentioned a big Hollywood premiere, the first place that would come to mind was Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. And lo and behold, that’s where we were.

Of course, I was late, though. I guessed the traffic correctly, for the most part, but I guess when they do a premiere like this, the traffic around the theater is a bit crazy (as I learned when I got there and saw they had lanes blocked off to accommodate the premiere). So we kind of rushed in (it was already dark), and the first thing we saw was this:

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Big old line. That was the first indication that things would be different this year. And, indeed, it appears that the “cast and crew” premiere event has outgrown its former venue by leaps and bounds. The theater was packed.

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Originally we were escorted to the wrong seats and I ran into Bryan Cogman, who got to sit next to Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (lucky chiftik). But it’s all good. My wife Erin and I had a lot of fun taking a look at the renovated Chinese Theater (I’d been there once before pre-renovation/restoration. Looks great now.)

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After some speeches, we got to see the first episode of season 3…about which I’ll have much more to say come April 1st.

Afterwards we got to get our picture taken out front (thank you Sharon!).

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Then we walked over to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for the after party (the Dothraki vitteya [props to the HBO folks who got the word right!]). This was my first ever encounter with actual paparazzi. Not that they were looking for me, but we were all walking from the theater in a big group, and there was actually a barricade with police and a whole bunch of guys with cameras shouting at the crowd (the names I heard as I was going by: “George!”, “Nathalie!” [and, in fact, George R. R. Martin did go over to the barricade to sign a few autographs, which I thought was charitable]). It was really bizarre. I really should’ve taken a picture of them (kicking myself now. If there’s a next time, anha astak asqoy: I will get a picture of a wall of paparazzi!).

The party at the Roosevelt was, in a word, opulent. There were a string of performers (a juggler, a belly dancer, two guys doing a sword fighting display, musicians) in the main hall, a place where you could get your fortune read with tarot cards—oh, in fact, I took a picture of the little program they had printed up:

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I did, indeed, shoot some arrows (unfortunately the picture was too dark; not worth posting), and my wife got her nails done (and of the choice, she notes: “The dragon has three heads!”):

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And to keep an old tradition going, here’s a picture of my dinner:

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A quick aside: Are there such things as freshwater shrimp? Is that a modern phenomenon (with shrimp farms)?

Anyway, one thing I was extremely glad of is I got to meet both Nathalie Emmanuel (who plays Missandei) and Dan Hildebrand (who plays Kraznys) at the after party. I saw their work for the first time tonight, and, as I told that, I was extraordinarily impressed. They’re both new to the show and new to working with a constructed language, and the language itself is brand new, so, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. Their performances far exceeded my expectations. I could barely sit still in my seat, thinking to myself, “My god! They’re nailing it!” I’ll have some more specific details after the official premiere, but suffice it say they both put a lot of effort into getting the Astapori Valyrian down (for which I’m grateful), and their hard work more than paid off. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.

Oh, and they were both gracious enough to take a picture with me. Here’s me and Nathalie:

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And here’s me and Dan:

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Oh, and before I forget, this was the main banquet hall. I couldn’t get a picture to do it justice, but there was a gigantic map of Westeros and some of Essos draping the far wall (more than a story tall). You can see it in the background here:

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Probably the number one moment that many are going to wish I was videotaping but which I didn’t occurred when they started playing “Billie Jean”. George R. R. Martin was sitting at a table with most of the child actors (Arya, Sansa, Bran, Hot Pie), when Maisie Williams decided to start singing along, using Sophie Turner’s hand as a microphone. As it moved into the chorus, they all joined in. It was priceless.

My strangest moment was when Dan Weiss’s father and mother came up to introduce themselves to me. They recognized me, and said they were big fans of the show. The show they meant, though, wasn’t Game of Thrones: It was CNN’s The Next List. I guess they watch it all the time, and they’d seen the episode with me on it and they recognized me from it. (Tracey Dorsey, if you’re reading this, you’ve got fans in high places! They love the show!)

But I think the highlight of the night for me was when I achieved something I failed to last year. Jason Momoa was at the premiere again this year, and, like last year, he brought his wife, Lisa Bonet. And though it didn’t happen last year, this time I got a picture with her:

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If I could tell you what The Cosby Show meant to me as a kid growing up, it’d take months to read this post. In short, let’s just say I can die happy.

I know there are a lot of fans out there that can’t wait for March 31st—and, believe me, it’ll be worth the wait; they did a terrific job. But now having seen it, I have to say: I can’t wait for April 7th.

Fonas chek!

Dothraki Ice Cream

I was just up in Chico for a day, and I managed to hit my favorite ice cream store Shubert’s twice. As I was eating my mocha chip, I came to a decision: Dothraki needs a word for ice cream. Not an “in-universe” word, of course, but a modern one that I we can use when I we need it. Consider this a mini installment of our modern terminology series. (Ooh, that gives me an idea: this needs a tag!)

Anyway, if you feel up to the challenge, why not take a crack at coming up with a word for “ice cream” in Dothraki! It may prove instructive to review how compounds work, and you might also need some vocabulary. Here’s everything I can think of that might be relevant:

  • ahesh (n.i.A) snow
  • fish (adj.) cold
  • flas (n.i.A) a layer that forms on the top of soup or a layer of cream that separates and rises to the top
  • gizikhven (adj.) sweet
  • hadaen (n.i.A) food
  • jesh (n.i.A) ice
  • jesho (adj.) frozen
  • jeshoy (adj.) freezing
  • jeshven (adj.) icy
  • lamekh (n.i.A) milk (from a mare)
  • thagwa (n.i.B) yogurt made from mare’s milk
  • thagwash (n.i.A) a dessert made from thagwa and eaten with dried fruit
  • thash (adj.) soft

There might be more that would be useful. If you need something in particular, let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I’ve got it. Otherwise, have fun! I’ll probably be eating ice cream in the interim.

Update: It also might be useful to note that adjectives follow the nouns they modify. So actually jeshlamekh should be lamekhjesh. Doesn’t sound nearly as catchy, I’m afraid…

A Dothraki Alphabet…?

It is known that the Dothraki are illiterate, in that the language has no written form. That need not stop us from imagining what a Dothraki script might look like, though—after all, fun is fun!

I received an e-mail recently from Carlos Carrion Torres from Brazil who, along with his daughter Patricia, created a Dothraki alphabet. We’ve already seen Qvaak’s stylized rendition of the Dothraki romanization system, but that was intended for our use outside the fictional universe the Dothraki inhabit. Carlos and Patricia did something a little different. They imagined how the Dothraki might get a writing system within the Universe of Ice and Fire. Here’s the backstory.

Jorah Mormont, who comes from Westeros, obviously spends a lot of time with the Dothraki, and so he attempts to create a script to encode the language. Coming from a place where an alphabet is used (true, Common is just English, but even if Common were a separate language, I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that they’d use an alphabetic writing system), Jorah would naturally think to create an alphabet, as opposed to some other type of writing system. One option when doing so is simply to take one’s own writing system and adapt it to fit the new language. As Carlos and Patricia have imagined it, though, Jorah decided to take the concept of an alphabet and create something new—something more suited to the Dothraki lifestyle. The result is pretty wild.

While it’d be tough to reproduce everything detailed in the document I received here on the page, you can download a detailed description of the entire system here, and you can read a full write-up of the system over at Omniglot. Though alphabetic, the script is better suited to Dothraki than the romanization, for example, because there are single characters assigned to each of the sounds I spell with digraphs (i.e. th, sh, zh, ch and kh). Plus, doubled vowels are spelled with a single character. The glyphs themselves are stylized to look (to my mind, at least) rather like sword slashes, and they’re based on the shapes of culturally-relevant objects. Here’s one example from the .pdf:

I’ve also got a sample phrase to show you. Below is the transliteration of Asshekhqoyi vezhvena! (punctuation included) into Carlos and Patricia’s script, which they call simply “Dothraki”:

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And while we’re on the subject of birthdays, check out this picture I got from a fan via e-mail. Apparently Carolyn is a big Game of Thrones fan, so they decide to wish her a Dothraki-style happy birthday on the cake:

A cake with "Asshekhqoyi vezhvena, zhey Carolyn!" written on it.

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Athdavrazar! That is tight! So, wherever you are, zhey Carolyn, asshekhqoyi vezhvena! Hope your birthday was not a dull affair. Hajas!

[Note: Just as a reminder, this writing system is not official. Officially, the Dothraki have no writing system, and won't unless George R. R. Martin decides they should have one at some point in time and it's created. I'm sharing this here as, essentially, fan art. And, of course, the existence of one unofficial system oughtn't preclude anyone from creating more unofficial systems—after all, creating writing systems is a lot of fun!]

Comic-Con Again, Off Again

M’ath to all those attending Comic-Con in San Diego! Enjoy. Some of us ’round here still have work to do! (In fact, I spoke with Dan Weiss and David Benioff yesterday, and they’re not making it this year, either [season 3, and whatnot].) A quick note for those visiting from out of state, though: This weather is NOT normal. It straight up rained here in Orange County—poured! That may be humdrum if you’re from New York or Florida, but in Southern California?! I can’t remember the last time.

Anyway, if you’re wandering around the Gaslamp and happen to bump into anyone dressed as Khal Drogo or Daenerys and want to say “boy, howdy!”, here’s a quick and dirty Dothraki primer:

Dothraki English Audio
M’athchomaroon! Hello!
M’ath! Hi!
Hash yer dothrae chek? How are you?
Chek! Good!
Anha garvok! I’m hungry!
Anha fevek! I’m thirsty!
Hash rekak che Oil Oiton che Jonathon Freykis? Is that Will Wheaton or Jonathan Frakes?
Vojosor heme vos ahhimo anna. I’m not into furries.
Finne zhavorsa anni?! Where are my dragons?!
Anha afichak rek h’anhaan ma vorsoon ma qoyoon! I will take what is mine with fire and blood!
Fonas chek! Goodbye!

Listen to the audio for the pronunciation—or just be sure the vowels are pure and you pronounce the Q’s like K’s (they’re not, but that’s close enough). If you’d like more of an introduction, you can check out the other posts on this blog, or head over to YouTube where sunquan8094 has an entire series of Dothraki tutorials. San athchomari to all those that made the trip down! I plan on being there next year. Until then, fonas chek!

[Featured Photo: Me, my wife and my little sister down in San Diego in younger days. The relationship to the topic at hand is...tenuous.]

Game of Thrones Season 2 Premiere Event

Tonight I went to the season 2 cast and crew premiere event for Game of Thrones in LA. It’s a great venue (the Ray Kurtzman Theater at CAA), of course, and a fun time out, but it’s also nice to see people I mainly communicate with via e-mail face to face—though, as usual, I forgot to get pictures. However, you can see Bryan Cogman in this shot:

Last time we saw the first two episodes of season 1; this time we just the first episode of season 2. But…man! These guys do good work. I won’t give anything away, but one thing viewers will notice at the very beginning: Peter Dinklage’s name has moved on up to the east side, as it were (when the first episode airs, compare it to the season 1 intro). Granted, some of the names that were ahead of his aren’t around any longer, but nonetheless, it’s well-deserved!

After the screening was over, there was an after party, and as I was waiting to get my car, I finally had a chance to chat face-to-face with the man himself, khali khali (or perhaps khal khaloa?), zhey Drogo: Jason Momoa.

So, I knew Jason Momoa was buff; we’ve seen that. I don’t think I fully appreciated just how tall he was. Check out this photo:

Me and Jason Momoa.

And hes’ not even standing up tall! Bet that dude could dunk if he put his mind to it. After that one, he said we should make angry, Drogo faces. The result:

Me and Jason Momoa doing angry faces.

It’s an iPhone camera, so we looked at the picture afterwards, and Jason’s exact words were, “Dude, you look constipated!” Yeah… Oops! Truth is, I just couldn’t do an angry face, because I was so floored to be meeting and talking to Lisa Bonet (i.e. Denise). I mean, I grew up with The Cosby Show: That family feels like they’re real to me! I didn’t say anything (after all, every one of the main cast members has heard every comment and question in the world about The Cosby Show ten billion times over), but I couldn’t keep my face from smiling.

At the after party at The Eveleigh, there was legitimate full-course dinner food there, as well as appetizers (which I was grateful for, since I hadn’t eaten much that day). Here’s what I had:

Food I had.

See how red that meat is?! Man, that was good! So that got me to thinking: How would you characterize rare vs. well-done meat in Dothraki? Not an easy question. In my experience, those who live in the Midwest (of America) on farms and actually have a hand in the whole food preparation process only eat well-done meat. Ask for something rare in their presence, and they’ll give you a look like you just stepped out of a chicken. (Think about that one for a minute.)

While the Dothraki are preparing their own meat, I can’t help but think they wouldn’t share this prohibition (I wanted to say superstition, but I’m sure farm people have good reasons for distrusting rare meat [and I'm sure I don't want to know what those reasons are]). After all, they have pregnant women eat a raw horse’s heart which has just been ripped from a live horse’s body—and they think this will help the fetus, as opposed to lead to salmonella, or something. So “raw” probably isn’t the word for it.

Looking over the vocabulary, I already have words that I think will cover one scale—both vegetation and meat:

  • chosh “fresh” ~ rikh “rotten”

This is one scale (the “how likely is this to be bad?” scale), and I think it works fine for meat. So chosh can cover “raw” or “rare”, depending on the circumstance. In addition to this, though, there’s also the heating scale. Given what we see of the Dothraki, it doesn’t seem to me like they’ve invested a lot in slow-cooking or baking: it’s probably burnt or not burnt. Given those two extremes, going by the color of the meat seems like a good way to characterize the meat:

  • virzeth “red” ~ kazga “black”

So if you ever get a Dothraki waiter, you’ve got two options: che gavat virzeth che gavat kazga. And to me it seems likely that, in the world of Dothraki cuisine (to the extent that that phrase even makes sense), it’s not the case that there’s a dish and you decide how “done” you like your meat—rather, there are dishes where the meat will be virzeth, and dishes where the meat will be kazga, and switching them doesn’t make sense (like if you ordered chicken parmigiana and you got steak parmigiana instead of chicken: it’s just a different dish). That’s my read. What do you think? (Actually, I wonder what they’d think over at The Inn at the Crossroads…)

Food, Glorious Food!

Those who are fans of A Song of Ice and Fire probably already know this, but for those who don’t, two fans of the series started a blog a while back where they cook and catalog each and every dish mentioned in one of the books of A Song of Ice and Fire (and there are many). The blog is called The Inn at the Crossroads (named after the, uh…Inn at the Crossroads from the books), and it’s chock full of recipes both tasty and terrifying.

But for those of us who have read as far as A Dance with Dragons, there’s one recipe that is bound to make one shudder: Honey Spiced Locusts. The locust is, of course, edible, but the very thought of eating an insect is…disquieting. I mean, with a snail, you can close your eyes and pretend it’s a clam or a shrimp, but a locust?! Ain’t no getting around that thorax. Blech!

Needless to say, I was quite impressed that The Inn at the Crossroads folks not only made the dish, but ate it (with their mouths!). Here’s their photo of it below:

A dish made by the Inn at the Crossroads. Photo by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel.

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My hat is off to them. And since this is a dish that comes from across the Narrow Sea, the Dothraki should certainly have a word for it—or, if not the dish, then the insect, at least. As it happens, Dothraki lacks a word for locust (and grasshopper), so I decided to coin a word based on the names of the chefs at The Inn at the Crossroads: Sariann and Chelsea. The new word for “locust” in Dothraki, then, is a portmanteau of the two names: chelsian. (Try them with gizikh; apparently they’re “crunchy” and “surprisingly good”. I shall remain forever curious.)

Rather than actual locusts, they apparently used crickets. While I’ve never eaten a cricket, I have had one in my mouth. You see, back when I was at Berkeley, I lived in a co-op called Casa Zimbabwe (a.k.a. Krakistan). One evening, some fellow CZers were feeling adventurous, and so they decided to make chocolate-covered crickets. (As background, our house would get Ghirardelli chocolate chips in bulk and keep a box of them in the pantry. And me, I’d often grab a handful of chocolate chips on my way to class as a little pick-me-up.)

You probably see where this is going.

One day I reached into the Ghirardelli box to grab a handful of chocolate chips like I always did, and when I put them in my mouth, the first thing I thought was, “Ewww… There was a ball of hair in the chocolate chips for some reason.” Then I went to the sink and spit out ten to fifteen melty chocolate chips and…a dead cricket.

The dude in the dining room thought this was funny—after all, what’s wrong with a cricket that isn’t wrong with beef or chicken or fish? And while I agree with the spirit of the rejoinder, I did not plan on putting a cricket into my mouth, and, if I’d been given the choice, would have chosen not to. Really and truly I would have.

Thus endeth the tale of David’s mouth and the cricket. And if I have my druthers, no cricket will come as close to my esophagus as that cricket did that fateful afternoon ever again.

But by all means, if you feel like trying out the ol’ honey spiced locusts/crickets, give it a go! If you take a picture of yourself doing so, I’ll put it up here and give it a proper Dothraki caption of one kind or another.

(Note: Please don’t interpret this as encouragement to do so. I’ll probably be horrified if I get pictures of people eating crickets. I’ll put them up here, for sure, but I probably won’t be able to eat for a few days afterward…)

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