How To Pronounce 'Game Of Thrones' Most Complicated Words So You Can Sound Like A High Valyrian Expert
Sophie Turner, aka Sansa on Game of Thrones, recently doled out a much-needed reality check to the Twitterverse on an important topic: Apparently, tons of people have no idea how to correctly pronounce her character's name. Turner reportedly deleted the tweets a few hours later, but not before she'd let her true feelings be known. She allegedly explained over the course of two tweets on Friday that this has been "grating on [her] for 7 f*cking years. It's Sansa like Sarnsa. Not sanza. Goddamit."
This isn't a huge surprise: Turner tends to do her own thing. Which is fine — honestly, snaps to her for asserting herself. I'm particularly sympathetic to Turner's issue since my name is also Sophie, and I live in a place where my first name is almost always mispronounced as "Zophie." If I had Sophie Turner's sort of Twitter reach, you know I'd be heckling the perpetrators. So, in the interests of all bolshy Sophies, I resolved to put together a pronunciation guide to the trickiest words in Westeros to stop us all from annoying the hell out of our favorite thespians/writers/fictional language creators. So without further ado, let's get this pronunciation party started.
No, ignore Jorah! Unbelievably, Khaleesi's manservant is getting it wrong, just like the rest of us. According to David J. Peterson, the 30-something language enthusiast who created Dothraki, it should be pronounced “KHAH-lay-see,” not “ka-LEE-see.” Vulture reported that the show's producers opted for the second version on the series, assuming that this is the way most people would pronounce it anyway.
2. Daenerys Targaryen
So, now you know.
3. Catelyn Tully
These videos are especially dope because they use the pronunciation according to George R. R. Martin, rather than that favored by the show. What can I say? I'm a purist at heart.
4. Arya Stark
It's always reassuring to get pronunciation notes from Martin himself. He says in the video above: "I say it 'Are-ya,' two syllables, not three. Not 'are-ee-uh', not like an operatic thing, but 'Are-ya', very sharp. I wanted something that was like a knife, that was a sharp and hard sound, to be a contrast to the flowery 'Sansa'."
5. Cersei Lannister
Tech Insider notes another pronunciation error made by the show that Martin rectifies: If you listen to the above, you'll find he pronounces her name "Sir-say" instead of "Sir-see".
6. Lysa Arryn
Another Tech Insider spot from the same article: The above video shows that Martin pronounces her name "Lee-sah" despite the show favoring "Lie-sah".
7. Viserys Plum
What were you thinking! Of course it doesn't rhyme with misery.
8. Taco In Dothraki
See 1:25, when we learn from Dothraki creator Peterson that "taco" in Dothraki would be pronounced "bah-co." While this word isn't, you know, technically in Game of Thrones, it's going to be an absolute lifesaver for when Taco Bell finally expands to Westeros.
9. Tymptir Dēmalȳti
Check out high Valyrian for "game of thrones" at 1:24.
10. Avy Jorrāelan
How are you going to chat anyone up if you can't say "I love you" in high Valyrian? Luckily, language creator David Peterson is on hand here to help you.
Hit the same link as above to figure out how to say the two words you need most in every language in High Valyrian: "yes" and "no." Maybe Joffrey would have been less of a blinkered, power-hungry tyrant if he'd explored his ability to express the affirmative in a non-the Common language. Don't be like Joffrey.
If you've made it this far, congratulations. Your love for languages potentially surpasses even that of the series creator himself. And hey, keep this in mind, too: Maybe it's cruel that I've saved this information until last, but Martin has stated that he "came to not care much about pronunciation during college" and that "you can pronounce [the names of the characters] however you like." So if anyone disses your terrible pronunciation in the future, just quote the author back at them. Boom! You're way more Game of Thrones in not caring than they are in caring too much about pronunciation.
Images: HBO; Giphy (3)