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Ei Mahrazhi’th Drivoe

And so Game of Thrones is ready for another 8 month or so break. I’m sad to see it go, but looking forward to getting to work on season 3 (no further details yet). Today’s season finale had quite a bit of meat on its bones, though, so let’s get right to it!

Incidentally, before going into it any more, I realize that these posts have been “spoilery” in that they’re reviews of episodes that have aired, and are written under the assumption that an episode that has aired has been watched by whoever might be reading it. I know that this is not always the case. As such, is there anyone reading who’s a WordPress user who could recommend some sort of spoiler-friendly plugin that functions, essentially, like the LiveJournal cut tag? All it would do is require the reader to click a link to get to content that contains spoilers (and I’d prefer that to a blackout tag like you see commonly on fora). It won’t work for this post (though if it’s pretty good, I may go back and edit previous posts), but I’d like to use it for when we eventually get to season 3, and thereafter.

Anyway, now that that’s dispensed with, we’ve gotten our first look at some actual High Valyrian in the show! It’s nothing that wasn’t in the books, but I think many were curious how the phrase would end up being pronounced. In IPA (transcribing broadly), what we had was /ˈva.lar mor.ˈgu.lis/ for the phrase written Valar morghulis. I know there are those who would’ve preferred that the gh be pronounced as a voiced velar fricative, but for me, that doesn’t matter much at all (after all, this is High Valyrian as pronounced by someone from Braavos. A change like *ɣ > g isn’t impossible): what mattered to me was the intonation. And, as it happens, the stress pattern is exactly what I was hoping for—and no English long “a” to boot! (Which, by the way, is how it’s pronounced in the audio book—something like “veil-are”, done in English fauxnetics.) All in all, I was quite pleased.

As for the episode itself, how adorable was it that Dany’s dragons had itty-bitty little chains holding them down?! I mean, sad, but adorable!

Dany's dragons in chains.

And though they’re still little bitty things, they’re already breathing fire! Bitey has served our khaleesi well! (Though Pyat Pree’s kind of stupid. Really, brah? You can produce mirror images of yourself but can’t anticipate—let alone put out—a fire? Fail.)

Before getting to the Dothraki, a couple quick comments about Tyrion’s scenes. Something I’ve been wondering about since the beginning is what they would do about Tyrion’s scar. In the books, the scar is supposed to be right across the nose and make Tyrion look pretty ugly. But Peter Dinklage, of course, has been blowing up ever since the show’s premiere. How could they give him a scar that was faithful to the books without making Peter Dinklage (the actor) look so hideously ugly that the audience wouldn’t be repulsed by him? Would they short change it and give him a tiny scar on the cheek that no one would even notice in real life? Would they actually cut off part of his nose? Neither, it turns out. The scar is there—and right across the face and nose—but, at the same time, I thought he still looked pretty cool! Obviously the wound’s still fresh in the finale, but come season 3, it’ll heal up and make him kind of look like a badass! Well done, sirs.

Also well done to Conleth Hill on Varys. I was reflecting on this after the finale ended. I was, honestly, kind of cool to his interpretation in season 1. Admittedly, I was largely biased by Roy Dotrice’s portrayal in the audiobooks. His Varys just drips slime—like you’d be afraid to touch him, lest his grease would just rub off on you. Hill’s Varys is quite different: less self-assured—almost meek. And yet, especially in his last scene with Tyrion and Shae, I bethought myself. Varys in the show is so…credible. You almost do feel sorry for him at times, and even like him. And after all, just how could he obtain the influence he has—and stay alive—if he wasn’t such a believable liar? He has to be likable, or someone somewhere would just put a knife in him, consequences be damned. So kudos, Mr. Hill (and writers)! I’ve come around.

Now for the Dothraki. There was quite a bit of Dothraki dialogue in this episode, but none of the missing dialogue from episode 8: looks like those scenes were cut entirely. (Not a big loss, storywise: just setting up other scenes.) As for what was kept in, I was quite pleased with the first line, given below:

  • Vaes leisi, zhey khaleesi. Me nem nesa.
  • “A house of ghosts, khaleesi. It is known.”

Why pleased, you might ask? Not only is Leigh Bardugo’s word in there, but, believe it or not, this is the first time “It is known” is used in the show in Dothraki (all other instances were in English). Huzzah! Glad it made it in before there were no Dothraki left to speak it! Next is another line from Kovarro:

  • Finne loshaki?
  • “Where are the guards?”

The word loshak derives from the verb loshat, which means “to carry” when the thing doing the carrying is a cart, sack or contraption. It’s also the version of “to carry” used to refer to carrying a child in the womb, and also means “to contain” in a figurative sense (e.g. to say that there’s gold inside a chest, you’d say the chest carries gold). Loshak, then, plays on the sense of containment. Valuables are put into a chest to protect them and ensure that they remain safe if they’re moved from one place to another. Similarly, the guards outside a tower are there to protect the contents of the tower—thus, loshaki.

Next, Jorah responds to Kovarro:

  • Vo loshaki. Moveki addrivi k’athmovezari, vo ki tawakofi.
  • “No guards. The warlocks kill with sorcery, not steel.”

Sounds like Jorah actually says addrivat, which is an error a non-native speaker would make from time to time. To this Dany responds:

  • Azhi morea kis tat.
  • “Let them try.”

Kis is a particle like ray or eth and it means “to try to”. Literally, this would be “Give to them to try to do (so).”

Afterwards, Dany heads into the tower, and the next Dothraki we here is from none other than Jason Momoa. Khal Drogo may be dead, but that doesn’t mean he can’t come back for a scene as a result of a warlock’s spell! He greets Dany with his familiar greeting (jalan atthirari anni), and then Dany says much of the following:

  • Jini athmovezar qoyi ven athmovezar fini fich yera anhoon—fini fich yera anhoon hatif…
  • “This is dark magic, like the magic that took you from me. Took you from before I could even…”

After this, things changed a bit from what I sent, so here’s everything I’ve got:

Daenerys

  • Ishish anha drivak vosma anha ray nesok mae vos. Ishish anha ma yeroon she Rhaeshi Ajjalani.
  • “Maybe I am dead and I just don’t know it yet. Maybe I am with you in the Night Lands.”

Drogo

  • Ma ishish anha zajje emralat Rhaeshis Ajjalani oma yeroon. Ishish anha ast Vezhofaan memé jifo hilee ma anha jad jinnaan haji ayolat yera.
  • “Or maybe I refused to enter the Night Lands without you. Maybe I told the Great Stallion to go fuck himself and came back here to wait for you.”

Daenerys

  • Jini vena tikh meyer jif ti.
  • “That sounds like something that you would do.”

Drogo

  • Ma ishish me atthirarido. Atthirarido che yeri che anni… Anha vo nesok. Jini qafe ha mahrazhea ville ma qorasoa reddi.
  • “Or maybe it is a dream. Your dream, my dream… I do not know. These are questions for wise men with skinny arms.”

Drogo

  • Yer jalan atthirari anni. Haz nesak anha disse, ma anha zigerok nesat vos alikh. Ma hash jini atthirarido, hash anha vaddrivak mahrazhes fin kis vallatha anna.
  • “You are the Moon of my Life. That is all I know, and all I need to know. And if this is a dream, I will kill the man who tries to wake me.”

Then in the last scene (which, by the way, I thought was pretty wicked. That’s what Doreah gets for tipping them off about the dragons!), Jorah has a line which would require its own blog post to explain, so I’m going to have to save it for another time. The line is:

  • Mas ovray movekkhi moskay.
  • “The remaining valuables are for loading.”

And that’s a season! Things are really starting to pick up steam. It’s been outstanding to get to work on a production as vast and fantastic as this one. Now that the season is over with, there’ll be more Dothraki-specific posts in the coming months, so stop by if you’d like to learn a little bit about the language of the dear departed Irri, Rakharo and Drogo (and Mago and Qotho, too). Here’s to 2013!

Evethkazga

One episode left. The season sure does speed on by, doesn’t it?

Sunday’s episode was, I think I’m safe in saying, the episode that everyone’s been waiting for since the series got the green light. I’d say it was worth the wait. There’ve been a ton of superlatives heaped on “Blackwater” so far, so I won’t bother adding to them. I would like to add a comment or two about one specific omission.

A couple of friends of mine who’ve read the books had been bugging me leading up to Sunday, “So are we going to see the chain?” The answer, as we all saw now, is no. No chain! So it goes. But this raises a non-trivial question: Does it matter? What exactly was lost with the loss of the chain? In my estimation, little. In A Clash of Kings, the chain has a three-fold function, as I see it (one literal; one figurative; one textual). Those functions are:

  1. Literally, the massive chain is there to prevent Stannis’s ships from retreating as they’re doused with wild fire.
  2. Figuratively, the construction of the chain is a massive effort on the part of the blacksmiths of King’s Landing. As it plays such an important part in the victory, this is a way to give the people a real stake in it—something to point to and be proud of.
  3. Textually, it serves to further showcase Tyrion’s mental acumen.

In the show, the literal role the chain would have played is minimized. As we follow the battle, we see a decoy ship sent out in “defense”, where Stannis is expecting a fleet (a fleet smaller than his, of course, but a fleet nonetheless). The visual explosiveness of the wildfire when lit (via Bronn’s arrow) renders the potential for escape rather pointless. To me, the thing looks less like a fire than a nuclear bomb. The effect is instantaneous and devastating, so escape wasn’t really an issue—and furthermore, Stannis decided to keep pressing on, anyway, so the function of the chain in the show would have been theoretical, more than anything.

Without the build up we see in the book with the slow construction of the chain, the importance of Tyrion’s speech to the troops is rather elevated. What we see is a group of soldiers who have no real stake in the fight and no will to continue, and Tyrion rallies them. He does the same thing in the book, but here without the chain, I think his speech is slightly more impressive.

Finally, something that has happened in the show which didn’t really happen in the books is Tyrion as a character has been thrust to the forefront—largely in response to Peter Dinklage’s excellent portrayal of him in season 1. We see this happen in television shows all the time: One character becomes more popular or impressive than the others, and so the writers “write them up” (one clear example that comes to mind is The Simpsons. When the show started, everyone tuned in to see what shocking thing Bart would say. By season 4, it was clear that Homer was the star). As a result, well, Tyrion didn’t need to be any more brilliant. He’s had it in spades this season—and will likely continue to. His character doesn’t need the extra acclaim that the chain would bring him, so omitting it hasn’t really affected his character all that much, in my opinion.

I think it was a wise decision on the part of Dave and Dan to have George R. R. Martin write this episode (for a number of reasons), and I think he did an excellent job in writing the chain out. I think the proof of this comes from any fan of the show who’s never read the books. Their reaction: What chain? The logic of the battle, though scaled down, works well enough as shown, and it doesn’t feel like anything major is missing. Those who’ve read the books know, but show qua show, I think it stands up remarkably well.

Oh, but this is the Dothraki blog, isn’t it? As you may have noticed, there was no Dothraki in episode 9. Not that that should be a surprise, now that the episode has aired. Unlike any previous episode (and perhaps unlike any future episode…?), “Blackwater” focused on one single event. There were different points of view, yes (Sansa, Davos, Tyrion), but it was all the same narrative, and all the same timeline. So, of course, there was nothing from Qarth, and also nothing from beyond the Wall, nothing from Robb’s camp, etc. Given the scope of this episode, that was probably for the best, and one wonders if any other event might warrant a similar treatment. (Those who’ve read the books may be able to think of at least one, but even that one’s iffy.)

Today’s post came out a day late because I was up at BayCon for the weekend. It was a smaller event than WorldCon, but good fun! In addition to moderating a couple panels, I got to meet up with our very own khaleesi Daenerys and her boyfriend Crown of Gold. We had a wonderful dinner with my wife and Juliette Wade and her family, and then when we went for gelato, which was delicious. It was truly a red letter day. San athchomari, zhey okeosi!

And now for some disappointing news. Many will have noted that last week Dothraki.org went down. This is actually because the site is hosted on the same server that the Na’vi community is hosted on, and it went down. It came back up on Sunday, but, unfortunately, went down yet again, and the problem appears to be more serious now. Dothraki.org was the best resources on the net on Dothraki (I used it myself), and if it’s gone, that leaves this blog, which is a blog, and not as useful as, say, a wiki that can simply list tables, vocabulary, etc. There are a number of potential solutions, but it’s not clear what’s going to happen moving forward, so in the meantime, we just have to hang tight. On the bright side, sunquan has put up two more Dothraki tutorial videos on YouTube. Check them out!

And next week: The finale of season 2 of Game of Thrones. Lot of loose ends to be tied up. Can’t wait to see one of my favorite episodes from the books: The House of the Undying. Anha laz vos ayok!

Khalakka Haji Winterfell

Well, there was some Dothraki in Episode 8 originally, but given that we only got one scene from Dany’s storyline, I have a feeling the lines (and the accompanying scene) were pushed back to either next week or the week after. We shall see.

In this episode, we see Robb and Talisa kind of coming full circle (I imagine it’ll probably fully play out over the next two episodes). I’ll have more to say when the season’s over, but I can return to a point I was trying to make in a previous post now that one of the events I was alluding to has played out. (Note: If you haven’t watched the most recent episode yet, now would be a good time to navigate away from the site. I did say early on that everything that’s aired is fair game, so fairly warned be ye says I!)

As I mentioned, George R. R. Martin does this thing in the Song of Ice and Fire books where something happens and the explanation isn’t revealed until later. In A Clash of Kings, for example, the reader is led to believe that Bran and Rickon are dead: killed by Theon. It’s a number of chapters later that we find out that the corpses are those of the miller’s sons, and that they were dipped in tar and disfigured so that they would be unrecognizable. The order of the revelation of these facts allows the reader to experience what the rest of the Northmen experience in the book. This was preserved in the show (because it could be: the episode break provided a convenient way to allow the audience to fret over the deaths of Bran and Rickon while not cruelly putting an entire season in between the ruse and the revelation), but similar events (such as the one I was referring to in the previous post) could not be.

This episode had possibly one of my favorite Arya moments: Her shrugging her shoulders when Jaqen H’ghar suggests she’s less than honorable. Priceless. Maisie Williams is just terrific.

Since there’s nothing else going on, I wanted to spotlight some excellent tutorials on Dothraki on YouTube. They’re all being done by YouTube user sunquan8094, and I have no idea who he is (in fact, I don’t think any of the Dothraki.org folk know who he is, either). Some of the early videos have a couple of minor errors, but in style and content, I think they serve as an excellent introduction to Dothraki. The most recent video was posted a week ago, so I believe sunquan8094 plans to keep on making them, which is fantastic!

Unfortunately, the videos haven’t gotten a lot of exposure and have very few views. In addition, it looks like some gregi is being totally uncool and hitting “dislike” on all of them, so I’m hoping we can fix that. All the videos that are up at the moment are linked below. If you have a YouTube account (or even if you don’t), go hit “like” on all of them so we can get the videos back in the green and give sunquan8094 a little encouragement!

[Note: The playlist that houses all the videos can be found here.]

For those in the Bay Area, I’m going to be doing a Song of Ice and Fire panel at BayCon this coming Sunday (11:30 a.m., Ballroom A). Stop by, and I’ll give you a free M’athchomaroon! Otherwise, I’ll see you all here next week to discuss “Blackwater” (the one we’ve all been waiting for).

Mahrazh Oma Chomokhoon

No Dothraki this week—in fact, everyone around our khaleesi seems to be dropping like flies. And no dragons! Things are looking grim.

Speaking of today’s episode, it was awful quiet around the internet today. Or was that just me watching the episode late on account of Mother’s Day? Anyway, I thought this episode was outstanding—perhaps the best of the series. There were some changes, but I liked all the changes that were made. A controversial highlight for me was Jaime killing Alton. What a scene! First we get all this backstory and rapport, and then he busts out on Alton like a trained serial killer. I liked this, because, quite frankly, Jaime was too likable. We’re supposed to dislike him up to this point (at least a bit). Even pushing Brann out the window the dude was likable! This was a good twist.

Oh, but a note on realism: How’s he going to surprise somebody in a cage that’s visible from the outside?! How are we supposed to believe he hid from that guard who came in in plain sight? Did he forget he was there? Those Northmen…

Since we’ve got nothing else going on today, I thought I’d go over how names work in Dothraki. There’s not much to it, as I wanted to remain maximally faithful to the books. We’ve got a handful of male Dothraki names and, unless I’m missing one, two female names (Irri and Jhiqui) that come directly from the books. Of those names, the male names end in -o and the female names end in -i. I took these as male and female name suffixes, respectively, with names becoming animate nouns. But what do they suffix to?

This is where I got to have some fun. The name suffixes are kind of like the agentive -k suffix, only with a bit of a broader interpretation. Using the male suffix as an example, -o will mean something like “He who is x“, “He who does x“, “He who is characterized by x” or “He who is similar in some way to x“, where x is a root.

One thing I picked up directly from the book, though, is the preference for names stressed on the second syllable. By naturally reading the names, most that are three syllables long are stressed on the second syllable, and one way this is achieved is by doubling the last consonant (part of what inspired the stress system of Dothraki), as in “Cohollo”. As a result, even though a doubled consonant ordinarily makes a difference in meaning, in names a doubled consonant is often used purely to get the stress on the second syllable of a name with more than two syllables. The practice is so common, though, that doubled consonants are used even in disyllabic names just because, at this point, it makes the name sound like a good name.

So let’s look at some names we know and how they’re formed:

  • Drogo < drogat “to drive” (i.e. “he who drives”, or “driver of beasts”)
  • Irri < irra “trout” (i.e. “she who is like a trout”)
  • Kovarro < kovarat “to stand” (i.e. “he who stands”)
  • Qotho < qothat “to be loyal” (i.e. “he who is loyal”)
  • Jommo < joma “salmon” (i.e. “he who is like a salmon”)
  • Zollo < zolat “to be exceptionally small” (i.e. “he who is exceptionally small”)

That’s about the long and short of it. Dothraki don’t shy away from names that refer to one’s physical appearance or temperament, and also take names from animals or objects whose characteristics a parent desires their child to emulate. Here are some potential Dothraki names:

  • Hliziffo < hlizif “bear” (i.e. “he who is like a bear”)
  • Halahhi < halah “flower” (i.e. “she who is like a flower”)
  • Qanno < qana “black stork” (i.e. “he who is like a black stork”)
  • Tehinni < tehin “breed of horse” (i.e. “she who has reddish/brown hair like a tehin“)
  • Vrelo < vrelat “to leap” (i.e. “he who leaps well”)
  • Zali < zalat “to hope” (i.e. “she who hopes”)
  • Chako < chakat “to be silent” (i.e. “he who is silent”)
  • Emi < emat “to smile” (i.e. “she who smiles”)

Those with doubled consonants above can be made into singletons, and those that are singletons can be doubled. Anyway, that’s about the run of it. You can use the strategies above to create your own Dothraki name, if you wish, or (even better) Dothraki names for your cats, accompanied by pictures of them looking ferocious! To get some more roots, take a look at the vocabulary list over at Dothraki.org.

Next week, Episode 8! Boy, this season’s going to be over in the blink of an eye…

Vojjor Ershe ma Sashi

Another week, and another blow to the Dothraki speakers of Essos. This week we lost a big one: Dany’s handmaiden, and the one with probably the most Dothraki lines in the show, Irri. Her death probably came as a shock to those who’ve read the books, because Irri lasts a whole lot longer than that in the books. Upon reflection, I think the effect of unexpected deaths like this on fans of the books is amusing. After all, the book series itself is known for killing off main characters—even the good guys. Fans of the books got to sit back and snicker as new fans of the show were shocked by Ned Stark’s death back in season 1. But now what, book fans?! Not only are your favorite characters not safe from George R. R. Martin—they’re not safe from Dave and Dan!

Seriously, though, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the wonderful work of Amrita Acharia. Not only did she do a great job in the role of Irri, her Dothraki was my favorite. She spoke fluidly and had a convincing accent. If anyone saw the episode of CNN’s The Next List on Dothraki, you will have seen some interview footage with Amrita Acharia, which I was grateful for (she didn’t have to take the time, but she did). Not only that, but she delivered a line she had memorized from season 1. Think about that. Season 2 was already done filming, and she was able to reproduce from memory a full Dothraki line from season 1 (the episode “A Golden Crown”, to be specific). Just outstanding. So to Amrita, thank you so much! You did a terrific job. I can’t wait to see you in something else.

Apart from that shocking discovery, there was also a shocking lack of Dothraki dialogue. Odd, since you’d think Talisa would speak Dothraki (I mean, since we’re making stuff up for her anyway, why not?). But, of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Dany’s story does kind of take a back seat in A Clash of Kings. Those who’ve read the book, though, know that some good stuff’s coming (I can’t wait).

About the rest of the episode, I do have some thoughts on Talisa (and on similar types of events), but it crucially depends on scenes that are coming, so I’ll have to hold off. Suffice it to say, though, I know the pressure the writers are responding to, and I think they’re doing as good a job as can be expected. George R. R. Martin has this habit of introducing events that have happened in the books, with explanations coming chapters and chapters later—and for the books, that’s cool. I don’t think it can translate directly to a television show, though. It will help to be able to work with a specific example (and I have two in mind) to illustrate just what I’m talking about, but the scenes in question haven’t aired yet, so I’m going to have to hold off until they have. But trust me. I’ve got a good explanation right up my sleeve…

Since there’s no Dothraki dialogue to discuss, I figure I may as well tell the story behind the Dothraki word for “friend” (something Daenerys has been asking for for a while now). It does exist, and it almost made it into the show, in fact. When the call came to translate dialogue that ended up in last week’s episode, I saw one of Dany’s lines in there was, “Thank you, my friend”. You may, in fact, remember this line from last week and that it was in English. That was no accident.

Not wanting to disappoint, I did, in fact, translate the line (in fact I gave a couple options for it), but I reminded Bryan et al. that we’d made kind of a big deal about Dothraki having no word for “thank you” in the premiere. I let them know that we could translate it as san athchomari (which, as those working with Dothraki know, isn’t really the same thing as “thank you”), but that if anything was subtitled as “thank you”, undoubtedly every fan in existence would point it out and be all like Ki fin yeni?! So I gave them options. I said they could go with that, or they could have her say “thank you” in English, and follow it up with “my friend” in Dothraki. I also suggested that the entire line could be in English, and they went with that, which I think makes sense. After all, if you don’t have a word for something in the language you’re speaking, it’s common to drop in the word you want from another language. And if Dany starts in English, she’s just as likely to finish in English rather than switch to Dothraki, if not more likely. And so the word for “friend” didn’t make it in.

There is a word for “friend”, though, and there’s a story behind it. I gave quite a bit to thought to just how the concept of friendship would translate to Dothraki culture. It seems like one wouldn’t have a friend the way one has one in our world. There’s one’s immediate family, of course, then there are the members of one’s khalasar, which is like an extended family. Whether related or not, another member of one’s khalasar is like a cousin or relative. The question, then, was whether there were relationships beyond this.

Then it occurred to me that there’s the perfect model for such a relationship: a khal’s bloodrider. Though the khal commands the entire khalasar, he has only three bloodriders, and they owe him a special debt above and beyond what’s expected of an ordinary rider. They’re also accorded more respect and are privy to the khal’s council. That model, then, can easily extend to every Dothraki. A dothraki has their khalasar and their immediate family, and they also have one or two of these others—ones who owe them a debt, who will have their back in battle, and who will take care of their family should they fall. I was satisfied with this definition for “friend”: I just needed a form for it.

At the time that I was coming up with vocabulary like this, it was early 2010 and I was translating material for the first season of Game of Thrones. It was kind of a tough time: My wife and I had just moved into our first condo; the press release about Game of Thrones and Dothraki hadn’t gone live yet, so I had to keep explaining to my family that I was busy, but I couldn’t say why; my car was stolen (I got it back [which is good, because we need that old thing])… About the only things that were good were my wife and my new cat.

See, I’d never had a cat before (I’d always been allergic). I had a dog growing up, but I’d always wanted a cat, and this cat (that we got in January of 2010 from Cats In Need) was our very own. My wife was working long hours, so every day I’d work on expanding Dothraki and translating dialogue with my cat by my side, and at night he’d curl up with me and we’d watch One Piece or Dark Shadows. He was my little friend and kept me company as Dothraki grew.

In retrospect, I should’ve spotted that something was wrong much earlier than I did. I wasn’t an experienced cat person, though, and both my wife and I were shutting out the warning signs. Little by little, though, our cat became less interested in eating. At first he just wasn’t eating as much as he had been. After a while, he wouldn’t eat by himself any longer. We were in and out of the vet’s office every other day, each time with something new to try, always thinking that the new solution would be the solution. But it never was. It was when he could barely walk that we finally skipped the vet and went to an emergency pet clinic. We turned him over to their care that night hopeful, but as it turned out, we would never see him again.

He was extremely young (about 7 months), and from what the emergency vet was able to figure out, he had a congenital liver problem. In the short time we’d had him, though, I’d grown to love him, and I was utterly devastated. When I was finally able to work out of my depression, I decided one way to honor him would be to work his name into Dothraki. Since I still hadn’t come up with a word for “friend”, though, I decided that Dothraki “friend” would get its root from my own dear little friend: My first cat Okeo.

And so the word for “friend” in Dothraki is okeo: an animate noun. As it happens, his name has its origins in a Kamakawi word which I coined just for him based on his old name when he was still at the shelter. His name was “Oreo”, but it was spelled in all caps, and my wife pointed out that on the tag it actually looked like “Okeo”. And so Okeo he became.

I still miss him all the time, but I am feeling better now. Dang. I just realized this might be kind of a downer to read (hopefully not as much of a downer as it was to write), so to make up for it, here’s a video of two adorable kittens meowing at each other. Enjoy!

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.

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