Pronunciation guide

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The pronunciation of names in the Known World is variable. Unlike the academic J.R.R. Tolkien, who claimed to have written The Lord of the Rings series primarily for the joy of fleshing out the invented languages of Middle Earth,[1] George R.R. Martin has stated that "I don't have [Tolkien's] gift for languages";[2] that he "came to not care much about pronunciation" during college;[3] and that "you can pronounce [the names of the characters] however you like."[3][4]

Sources

Author

George Raymond Richard Martin is an American who was born to a family of mixed Italian and Irish ancestry and grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey. He attended college and university at Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois, and now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but his accent has been described as remaining a "gravelly New Jersey" one.[5] While Westeros has regional accents, he only includes elements of them since "that way lies madness";[6] therefore, his own pronunciations are probably "wrong".[7] He agrees with those who feel English accents work better for fantasy works: "It is full of castles and lords and swords and knights and all the other trappings we associate with England in this country. It seems natural. It would be hard to do with a group of actors who had thick Southern accents".[8]

Game of Thrones

Within the television show Game of Thrones, accents generally reflect the region and class of the characters. (A specific class-based difference noted within the show is that the lords themselves carefully enunciate "my lord" as two words whereas commoners slur them into a monosyllabic "m'lud".[9]) Westerosi accents generally reflect those of Britain, from Northern among the First Men of the North and beyond the Wall to Welsh influence in the Vale to posh RP accents among the Andal nobility and clergy of the westerlands and crownlands. Essosi comprises the rest of Eurasia and characters from its regions have spoken with Mediterranean (Braavos), Germanic (Lorath), and loosely Arabic accents (Dothraki).[10] The more peculiar accents of the Essosi characters reflect that the Common Tongue of the Andals (i.e., English) is not their native language.[11] These general differences have several notable exceptions among the actors: Eddard Stark's children speak with southern British accents while Samwell Tarly (from Horn Hill, south of Highgarden) speaks with John Bradley-West's Mancunian dialect. Asshai is nowhere near Lorath but Melisandre speaks with Carice van Houten's native Dutch accent.[10]

The show hired the linguist David J. Peterson to flesh out Essos's Dothraki language.[12] He then went on to create Valyrian from only three phrases appearing in the books: dracarys, valar morghulis, and valar dohaeris. He runs a blog detailing the grammar of the two languages[13] and provides translations of (and audio files for) Martin's books and the actors' lines[14] but his pronunciations are not necessarily canonical: showrunners opted against his pronunciation of khaleesi, actors change phrasings and vocalizations, and editors clip sentences during post-production.[12]

Audio Books

All of the audiobooks of the series have now been read by Roy Dotrice, OBE, the British actor who played Hallyne the Pyromancer in season 2 of the television show. Owing to scheduling issues, A Feast for Crows was also initially read by John Lee, who speaks an Irish-tinged British English.[15] Martin credited the audiobooks with having consulted him on most of the 'hard' names and getting them right, but noted that they "then went and got all the easy ones wrong".[7]

Guide

For help understanding the pronunciations, see IPA for English[16] and the pronunciation respelling key at Wikipedia.[17] For further information on dialectical differences, see IPA for English dialects.

The following abbreviations are employed:

Given Names

Source IPA Pronunciation
Aegon hbo ['ɛɡɔn] eg-on
hbo ['eɪɡɔn] ay-gon
Aemon grrm[18] ['eɪmɒn] ay-mon
Aenys rd ['eɪnɪs] ay-nis
Aerion grrm[18] ['ɑɹiɒn] ar-ee-on
Aeron ['ɛəɹən] air-ən, like Aaron
Aerys hbo[19] ['eɪɹiz] err-eez
Alliser hbo[19] ['ælɪsəɹ] al-iss-er
Areo grrm[20] ['ɑɹiəʊ] ar-ee-oh
Arya grrm[18][21][22][23] & hbo[19] ['ɑɹjə] ar-yə, like are ya
Arys grrm[18] ['ɛəɹɪs] air-iss
Asha hbo ['jæɹə] ya-ra
Baelor hbo[19] ['beɪlɔɹ] bay-lor
Balerion grrm[18] [bɑ'lɛəriɒn] bah-lair-ee-on
Balon grrm[18] ['bælɒn] bal-on
Barristan hbo[19] ['bɛəɹɪstɪn] bair-iss-tin, like bear
Benjen grrm[24] ['bɛndʒɛn] ben-jen
hbo[19] ['bɛndʒɪn] ben-jin
Bran grrm[25][18] [bɹæːn] bran
Brienne grrm[26] [bɹi'ɛəni] bree-an-ee
grrm[4][23] [bɹi'əni] bree-ə-nee
grrm[27] [bɹi'ɑn] bree-an
hbo & rd [bɹi'ɛn] bree-en
rd [bɹaɪ'i:n] bry-een
Caleotte grrm[20] ['kæliɒt] kal-ee-aht
Catelyn grrm[18][28][29][30] ['kætəlɪn] kat-ə-lin
grrm[31] & hbo[19] ['kætlɪn] kat-lin
Cersei grrm[26][18][30][24][23] ['sɜɹseɪ] serr-say
hbo[19] ['sɜɹsi] serr-see
rd ['sɜ:si] suh-see
jl ['sɪəseɪ] sih-ə-say
Chataya grrm[32] shə-ty-yə
Ch'Vyalthan got[33] ʃ(ə)ˈviˌəlθən sh(ə)-vy-al-thən
Daenerys grrm[26][7] & hbo[19] [də'nɛəɹɪs] də-nair-iss
grrm[23] [deɪn'ɛəɹɪs] dayn-air-iss
Damphair grrm[34] & jl ['dæmphɛəɹ] damp-hair
rd ['dæmfɛəɹ] dam-fair
Dany grrm[26][18] ['dæni] dan-nee, like Danny
Davos grrm[26][31][27] ['dɑːvoʊs] dah-vohs
Dolorous grrm[35] ['dɒləɹəs] dol-ər-əs, like dollar
Doran grrm[20][36] [dəʊ'ɹæn] doh-ran
Drogo hbo[19] ['dɹoʊɡoʊ] droh-goh
Eddard hbo[19] ['ɛdɑɹd] ed-dard
Elia grrm[36] el-lee-ə
Euron grrm[18] ['jʌɹɒn] yur-on, like yer on
rd [jɔːɒn] yawr-on, like British you're on
Gendry hbo[19] ['ɡɪndɹi] ghin-dree
rd ['dʒɪndɹi] jin-dree
Gregor hbo[19] [ɡrə'gɔɹ] grə-gor
Hodor grrm[4] & hbo[19] ['hoʊdɔɹ] hoh-dor
Hoster hbo[19] ['hɒstəɹ] hoss-ter
Illyrio hbo[19] [ɪ'liɹioʊ] il-leer-ee-oh
Ilyn hbo[19] ['ɪlɪn] il-in
Irri hbo[19] ['aɪɹi] eye-ree
Jaime grrm[26][18][27][30][21][7][23] & hbo ['dʒeɪmi] jay‑mee, like Jamie
Janos hbo[19] ['dʒænoʊs] ja-nohs
Jeor hbo[19] ['dʒiɔɹ] jee-or
Jeyne grrm[37][18] [dʒeɪn] jayn, like Jane
Joffrey grrm[18] & hbo[19] ['dʒɒfɹi] joff-ree
Jojen ['dʒəʊdʒən] joh-jən
Jon grrm[26] & hbo [dʒɒn] jon, like John
Jonquil grrm[35] ['dʒɒnkɪl] jon-kil
Jorah hbo[19] ['dʒɔɹə] jor
Jory grrm[27] & hbo[19] ['dʒɔɹi] jor-ee
Loras grrm[27] ['lɔɹɑs] lor-as
hbo[19] ['lɔɹəs] lor-əs
Luwin hbo[19] ['luːwɪn] loo-win
Lyanna grrm[31] ly-an-ə
Lysa grrm[24] [laɪsɑː] ly-sah
hbo[19] ['laɪsə] ly-sə
Mance grrm[38] [mæns] mans, like manse
Margaery grrm[27] & rd [mɑɹdʒəɹi] mar-jə-ree, like Margery
Melisandre grrm[27] ['mɛlɪˌsændrə] mel-ih-san-drə
Meraxes grrm[18] [məɹ'ɑksiz] mər-ahk-seez
Missandei grrm[31] ['misɑndeɪ] meess-ahn-day
Moqorro grrm[18] ['moʊkʰɔroʊ] moh-kor-roh
Mordane hbo[19] ['mɔrdeɪn] mor-dayn
Myrcella grrm[39] & hbo[19] [məɹ'sɛlə] mər-sel
Ned grrm[27][30] & hbo [nɛd] ned
Nymeria hbo[19] [ni'miɹiə] ny-meer-ee-ə
Oberyn hbo ['oʊbəɹɪn] oh-bə-rin
Petyr grrm[40] & hbo[19] ['pi:təɹ] pee-tər, like Peter
rd [pɪ'taɪəɹ] pih-ty-ər, like tyre
jl [pə'tɪɹ] pə-tir
Pyat grrm[39] ['piæt] pee-at
Pycelle hbo[19] ['pisɛl] py-sel
Pyp hbo[19] [pɪp] pip
Qotho hbo[19] ['kwoʊθoʊ] kwoh-thoh
Qyburn hbo ['kaɪbʌɹn] ky-burn
Renly grrm[27] & hbo[19] ['ɹɪnli] rin-lee
Rhaegar grrm[41] & hbo[19] ['ɹeɪgɑɹ] ray-gar
Rickon grrm[26] & hbo[19] ['ɹɪkɒn] rik-on
R'hllor grrm[42][43] [ɹəlɔr] rə-lor
Robb grrm[30][18] & hbo[19] [ɹɑb] rob
Rodrik hbo[19] ['ɹɑːdɹɪk] rah-drik
Samwell hbo[19] ['sæmwɛl] sam-wel
Sandor hbo[19] [sændɔɹ] san-dor[45]
Sansa grrm[31] ['sɔːnsə] sawn-sə
grrm[21][23] & hbo ['sænsə] san-sə
hbo[19] ['sɑːnsə] sahn-sə
hbo ['sænzə] san-zə
Stannis grrm[38][27] ['stænɪs] stan-iss
Syrio hbo[19] ['siɹioʊ] seer-ee-oh
Theon hbo[19] ['θiɒn] thee-on
Tobho grrm[35] [toʊ:'boʊ] toh-boh
Tommen grrm[20][31] ['toʊmən] tohm‑ən, like omen[32]
hbo[19] ['tɑːmən] tah-mən, like ramen
rd & jl ['tɒmən] tom-ən, like common
Tyrion grrm[26][18][30][21][24][23] & hbo[19] ['tɪəɹiən] teer-ee-ən
Tysha grrm[44] ['tɪʃə] tish
hbo ['taɪʃə] ty-shə
Tywin grrm[21][28] & hbo[19] ['taɪwɪn] ty-win
Varamyr grrm[38] ['væɹəmiɹ] var-ə-meer
Varys grrm[31] ['væɹʌs] var-us
hbo[19] ['vɛəɹɪs] vair-iss
Vhagar grrm[18] ['veɪgɑr] vay-gar
Victarion grrm[18] [vɪk'tɛəɹiɑn] vik-tair-ee-ahn
Viserys hbo[19] [vɪ'sɛːɹɪs] vih-serr-iss
Walder hbo[19] ['wɔldəɹ] wal-dər
Waymar hbo[19] ['weɪmɑɹ] way-mar
Wulfe grrm[18] ['wʊlf] wuulf, like wolf
Xaro Xhoan hbo ['zaːɹəʊ 'zəʊ.æn] zah-roh zoh-an
Ygritte grrm[27] ['igɹɪt] ee-grit, like egret
Yoren hbo[19] ['jɔəɹɪn] yor-in, like you're in

Houses and Surnames

Source IPA Pronunciation
Arryn hbo[19] ['ɛəɹɪn] air-in
Baelish hbo[19] ['beɪlɪʃ] bay-lish
Baratheon grrm[30][18] [bɑ'ɹæθiɒn] bah-ra-thee-on
hbo[19] [bə'ɹæθiən] bə-rath-ee-ən
Cassel hbo[19] [kəs'ɛl] kəs-el
Clegane hbo[19] [klɪ'ɡeɪn] clih-gayn
Daxos hbo ['dɒksoʊs] dok-sohs
Forel hbo[19] [fɔɹ'ɛl] for-el
Frey grrm[35] & hbo [fɹeɪ] fray
Greyjoy grrm[18] & hbo[19] ['ɡɹeɪdʒɔɪ] gray-joy
Hotah grrm[20] ['həʊtɑː] hoh-tah
Lannister grrm[26][18] & hbo[19] ['lænɪstəɹ] lan-iss-tər
Mormont hbo[19] ['mɔrmɒnt] mor-mont
Payne hbo[19] [peɪn] payn, like pain
Rayder grrm[38] [ɹeɪdəɹ] ray-dər, like raider
Royce hbo[19] ['ɹɔɪs] like Rolls Royce
Seaworth grrm[27] ['siwəɹθ] see-wərth
Selmy hbo[19] ['sɛlmi] sel-mee, like sell me
Slynt hbo[19] [slɪnt] slint
Snow grrm[30] & hbo [snoʊ] snoh, like snow
Stark grrm[26][18] & hbo[19] [stɑɹk] stark
Targaryen grrm[26][28][7][18] & hbo[19] [tɑɹ'gɛəɹiən] tar-gair-ee-ən
Tarly hbo[19] ['tæɹli] tar-lee
Thorne hbo[19] ['θɔɹn] thorn
Tully grrm[30] & hbo[19] ['tʌli] tul-ee
Tyrell grrm[27] & hbo ['tirɛl] ty-rel
hbo[19] ['tɪrʌl] tih-rul
Westerling grrm[18] ['wɛstəɹliŋ] wes-ter-leeng

Places and Peoples

Source IPA Pronunciation
Andals grrm[25] [æn'dəlz] an-dəlz
hbo[19] ['ændælz] an-dalz
Asshai hbo[19] [ə'ʃaɪ] ə-shy
rd [a'ʃaɪ] a-shy
jl ['aʃaɪ] ash-eye
Astapor grrm[18] [ɑː'stɑpɔɹ] ah-stah-por
Blackwater grrm[27] ['blækˌwɑtəɹ] brak-wah-tər
Braavos hbo[19] ['bɹɑːvoʊs] brah-vohs
Moat Cailin grrm[31] moht kah-lan
Casterly Rock grrm[27] ['kæstəɹli rɑk] ka-stər-lee rok
Dyre Den grrm[46] [daɪ̯əɹ dɛn] dy-ər den
Dothraki grrm[25] [dɒθ'rækaɪ] doth-ra-kai
grrm[39] [dɒθ'ræki] doth-ra-kee
hbo[19] [dɒθ'ræki] doth-rak-ee
Essos hbo[19] ['ɛsoʊs] ess-ohs
The Eyrie hbo[19] ['ɪəri] eer-ee, like eerie
Ghis grrm[39] geess, like geese
Harrenhal hbo[19] ['hɛəɹɪnhɑːl] hair-in-hahl
Highgarden grrm[27] ['haɪˌgɑɹdɪn] hy-gar-din
Isle of Cedars grrm[18] ['aɪəl əv sidəɹs] eye-əl əv see-dərs
Lys grrm[44] [lis] leess
Meereen grrm[18] [mə'ɹin] mə-reen, similar to marine
Myr grrm ['maɪəɹ] my-ər, like mire
Pentos hbo[19] ['pɛntoʊs] pen-tohs
Pyke grrm[18] ['paɪk] pyk
Qarth grrm[18] [kɔrθ] korth
hbo[19] [kwɑrθ] kwarth
hbo [xɑrθ] kharth
sept hbo[19] [sɛpt] sept
Tyrosh grrm[44] ty-rosh
Vaes Dothrak hbo[19] ['viɪs dɒθ'ræk] vy-iss doth-rak
Valyria grrm[18] [væ'lɛəɹiə] va-lair-ee-ə
hbo[19] ['vəliɹiə] və-leer-ee-ə
Westeros grrm[26][25] ['wɛstəɹoʊs] wes-tər-ohs
hbo[19] ['wɛstɛɹoʊs] wes-te-rohs
Old and Great Wyk grrm[18] ['wɪk] wik
Winterfell grrm[18] [ˈwɪnˌtəɹfɛl] win-tər-fel
Yunkai grrm[18] ['jʌnkaɪ] yun-kai

Titles

Source IPA Pronunciation
Khal hbo[19] ['xɑl] khahl
rd ['kɑɹl] karl, like Carl
Khaleesi grrm[31] & hbo[19] ['kɑliːsiː] kal-ee-see
hbo [kɑː'liːsiː] ka-lee-see
djp[47] [ˈxaleesi] khah-lay-ay-see
Maester grrm[18][24][41][31][7] & hbo[19] ['meɪstəɹ] may-stər
hbo ['meɪstɝː] may-sterr
Septa hbo[19] ['sɛptə] sep-tə
Ser grrm[18][7] [sɛɹ] serr, like sir
hbo[19] [sɛəɹ] sair

External links

References and Notes

  1. Peterson, Britt. "Yes, Writing Languages for 'Game of Thrones' Is a Real Job". Boston Globe, 6 Apr 2014. Accessed 2 May 2014.
  2. So Spake Martin: Yet More Questions (July 22, 2001)
  3. 3.0 3.1 So Spake Martin: Odyssey Con 2008 (Madison, Wi) (April 06, 2008)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 So Spake Martin: US Signing Tour (New York City, NY) (November 15, 2005)
  5. Salter, Jessica. "Game of Thrones: Interview with George RR Martin". The Telegraph, 25 Mar 2013. Accessed 2 May 2014.
  6. So Spake Martin: Cyvasse, Accents, Historical Mysteries, and Dornish Nationalism (April 18, 2008)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 So Spake Martin: US Signing Tour (Albuquerque, NM) (November 29, 2005)
  8. Wheeler, Brian. "Why Are Fantasy World Accents British?" BBC News Magazine, 30 Mar 2012. Accessed 2 May 2014.
  9. Game of Thrones, Season 2, "A Man Without Honor", Tywin Lannister to Arya Stark.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Read, Max. "What Is Going on with the Accents in Game of Thrones?". Gawker, 6 May 2013. Accessed 1 May 2014.
  11. Game of Thrones, Season 4, "Oathkeeper", Daenerys requests that the leaders of her army begin learning Common Tongue.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Martin, Denise. "Learn to Speak Dothraki and Valyrian from the Man who Invented Them for Game of Thrones". Vulture, 24 Apr 2013. Accessed 1 May 2014.
  13. Peterson, David. Dothraki: A Language of Fire and Blood. Accessed 1 May 2014.
  14. Tharoor, Ishaan. "Tongues of Ice and Fire: Creating the Languages in Game of Thrones". Time, 3 May 2013. Accessed 2 May 2014.
  15. Narrator Profile: John Lee". AudioFile Magazine. Accessed 2 May 2014.
  16. For further information on IPA, see Wikipedia's article on the International Phonetic Alphabet. The IPA can be somewhat non-intuitive for native English-speakers, particularly since it uses continental values for its vowels.
  17. For further information on respelling, see pronunciation respelling for English.
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 18.12 18.13 18.14 18.15 18.16 18.17 18.18 18.19 18.20 18.21 18.22 18.23 18.24 18.25 18.26 18.27 18.28 18.29 18.30 18.31 18.32 18.33 18.34 18.35 18.36 18.37 So Spake Martin: TIFF: In Conversation With... George R.R. Martin, Parts 1–3. (March 15, 2012)
  19. 19.00 19.01 19.02 19.03 19.04 19.05 19.06 19.07 19.08 19.09 19.10 19.11 19.12 19.13 19.14 19.15 19.16 19.17 19.18 19.19 19.20 19.21 19.22 19.23 19.24 19.25 19.26 19.27 19.28 19.29 19.30 19.31 19.32 19.33 19.34 19.35 19.36 19.37 19.38 19.39 19.40 19.41 19.42 19.43 19.44 19.45 19.46 19.47 19.48 19.49 19.50 19.51 19.52 19.53 19.54 19.55 19.56 19.57 19.58 19.59 19.60 19.61 19.62 19.63 19.64 19.65 19.66 19.67 19.68 19.69 19.70 19.71 19.72 19.73 19.74 19.75 19.76 19.77 19.78 19.79 19.80 19.81 19.82 19.83 19.84 19.85 19.86 19.87 Making Game of Thrones. "Inside the Series: Official Pronunciation Guide for 'Game of Thrones'". HBO, 11 Feb 2011.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Interview with George R.R. Martin. Canadian Broadcast Channel.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 So Spake Martin: Days of Ice and Fire Official Report (November 12, 2010)
  22. So Spake Martin: Cersei and Homer (September 10, 1999)
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 So Spake Martin: US Signing Tour (New York, NY) (November 15, 2005)
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 So Spake Martin: Various Pronunciations (October 24, 1998)
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 The Bear Swarm! Podcast, Episode 136 – George R.R. Martin and a Song of Ice and Fire. 22 Nov 2010.
  26. 26.00 26.01 26.02 26.03 26.04 26.05 26.06 26.07 26.08 26.09 26.10 26.11 26.12 Interview with George R.R. Martin. Random House, Nov 2005.
  27. 27.00 27.01 27.02 27.03 27.04 27.05 27.06 27.07 27.08 27.09 27.10 27.11 27.12 27.13 27.14 27.15 TIFF. "Higher Learning: Master Class with George R.R. Martin". TIFF, 13 Dec 2012.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 So Spake Martin: Cody's Signing (Berkley, Ca) (November 11, 2000)
  29. So Spake Martin: Canadian Signing Tour (Toronto) (January 09, 2006)
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 30.6 30.7 30.8 Inside Game of Thrones (Dec 5, 2010)
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 31.6 31.7 31.8 31.9 So Spake Martin: Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1) (August 28, 2003)
  32. 32.0 32.1 So Spake Martin: Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1) (August 28, 2003)
  33. Game of Thrones, Season 2, "The Prince of Winterfell", [excerpt].
  34. Amazon Books. "George R.R. Martin Answers Facebook Fans' Questions". YouTube, 12 Jan 2012.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 So Spake Martin: Torcon (Toronto, Canada; August 28-September 1) (August 28, 2003)
  36. 36.0 36.1 So Spake Martin: ConQuest (Kansas City, MO; May 27-29) (May 27, 2005)
  37. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 So Spake Martin: Post-Reading Q&A Video (Worldcon) (September 03, 2010)
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 So Spake Martin: Interaction (Glasgow, Scotland, UK; August 4-8) (August 04, 2005)
  40. So Spake Martin: To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6-8) (May 06, 2005)
  41. 41.0 41.1 So Spake Martin: Pronunciations (May 08, 1999)
  42. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
  43. Not A Blog: Comment (Jan 20, 2014)
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 So Spake Martin: To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6-8) (May 06, 2005)
  45. The resemblance to a Hungarian name was unintentional.[44]
  46. Not A Blog: Comment (Nov 1, 2011)
  47. Peterson, David. Dothraki: "Developing Canon". 18 Mar 2012.

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