Mind Your Lan­guage

David J Peter­son, the man who puts words in Dothraki mouths

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David J Peter­son is Wes­teros’s very own Tower of Ba­bel. As Game Of Thrones’ lan­guage con­sul­tant, he’s re­spon­si­ble for cre­at­ing the any­thing- but- common tongues of­ten heard in the show.

One of Peter­son’s more prom­i­nent GOT cre­ations, Dothraki, is com­plete enough to be a work­able lan­guage, and now we’ll all get the chance to talk like horse- mounted war­riors thanks to new book Liv­ing Lan­guage Dothraki.

Peter­son says he was given plenty of free­dom to work out how Khal Drogo and his brethren would talk. “They wanted it to sound harsh, and they wanted it to in­cor­po­rate ev­ery­thing that George RR Martin had cre­ated, but after that it was up to me.”

Luck­ily for the show’s cast, Peter­son doesn’t ex­pect any of them to be­come flu­ent in High Va­lyr­ian. “The ac­tors who do best mem­o­rise the phrases almost as song lyrics. They get the rhythm of them. They mem­o­rise it with­out nec­es­sar­ily know­ing what it means.”

Liv­ing Lan­guage Dothraki is out now.

Drogo: “Anha vazhak yer­aan thi­rat.” You: “Phew.”

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