Busy day, yesterday! In the morning (or at least morning on the West Coast), CNN’s The Next List did a show on Dothraki in Game of Thrones. It was a half hour and featured interviews with Dave and Dan, Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), and Amrita Acharia (Irri).
Oh, and a couple of other things: Two videos from our very own Daenerys and Hrakkar speaking Dothraki! They were awesome! You guys are the best! Now that the episode has aired, maybe we can see about posting their videos here, so you can see them in full. Since we don’t have any thank yous in Dothraki: Zhey Hrakkar; zhey Khaleesi: Fichi sen vezhi drogikhoon anni. Anha, zhey Deviddo, azhak mora shafkea. Haji!
On to last night’s episode “The Night Lands”. I know the show is based on the books and sticks to them, but Peter Dinklage is taking over. That dude’s bringing it every night! I should say, though, that I also have a new favorite that I’m going to be watching for: Salladhor Saan. He’s pretty cool in the books, but I never paid him that much attention. Lucian Msamati’s portrayal of Saan, though, really breathes some life into the character. I look forward to seeing him more as the season progresses!
As for our fearless band of Dothraki, things are looking pretty bleak. Poor Dany gets some grisly news in the form of a painted horse riding with a decapitated head. Funny story about this scene. Periodically on Twitter I search “Dothraki” to see what people are tweeting, and last week I saw several people tweeting that there were no subtitles on episode 2. “What a terrible defect to have on a shipped DVD!” I thought, thinking that everyone was talking about episode 2 of season 1 on the DVD release.
That’s when I realized they were talking about yesterday’s episode. Before it aired. Geez, internet, piracy is one thing, but before the episode even airs?! Serves you right! I hope that was a feature, and not a bug, and that if any episodes get leaked before the air date in the future, none of the Dothraki is subtitled. (In fact, maybe we should translate all the dialogue into Dothraki and dub it. Hmm…)
That got me to thinking, though: What Dothraki? As I recalled, there wasn’t any in episode 2 of season 2. But, of course, scenes get moved around a bit during shooting, so I went back to my dialogue sheet and saw that one scene from episode 3 was moved to episode 2, and that was the scene we all saw. So, without further ado:
We open on Dany et al. sitting around miserable and dehydrated. Off in the distance we see a horse arriving. As the horse gets closer, we see it has no rider, and it’s been painted with red Dothraki paint (an invention of the show, I think, but recall that the paint for Drogo’s khalasar was blue). Jorah goes up to the horse and sees a bag hanging off the side. It contains a head and a severed braid. On seeing it, Irri bursts into tears, saying:
- Mori atthasish oakah moon!
- “They killed his soul!”
Quick sidebar. Remember the mysterious ad lib by Drogo in the very first episode of Game of Thrones last season? It’s not subtitled, but I did a bit of retconning and decided that what he said was:
- Itte oakah!
- “Test your might!”
Or something close to that (that translation just comes to mind from my old arcade days). The noun oakah I decided would be a word that refers to one’s own worth or ability—perhaps something like “mettle”, but treated almost like a physical body part (as if one’s spirit was corporeal). So saying something like this would seem appropriate as Drogo as watching to Dothraki fight.
Fast forward to today, and commenter RavenB over at one of the blog posts I did for The Next List has discovered the secret behind the ad libbed line by Jason Momoa! What he says is the following:
I’m Maori (indigenous New Zealander) and I noticed that the very first line Drogo speaks is “I te waka” which is the refrain from a very well-known Maori haka.
So, what does it mean? By itself, it could mean several things, but in context, it means “on the canoe”. The equivalent word in Hawaiian is wa‘a, which has the secondary meaning of a chant one does in praise of a chief’s canoe, and the whole thing would be i ke wa‘a (though I could’ve sworn that would be a ka word…). Anyway, it looks like they wanted Jason to say something, and they didn’t have anything else, so I’m guessing he used a line from the haka he did for his audition. Ha! Well, now Māori has worked its way into Dothraki—though, of course, the words were Dothrakified.
Back to our episode, I had a hard time writing down exactly what I meant by oakah, but I really liked the word, and wanted to use it. When I got this line, I was like, “Yes!” The word translated as “kill” is atthasat, which I used here in a kind of metaphysical sense. If Dothraki ride on into the Night Lands (Rhaeshi Ajjalani) when their body is burned, then not doing so is the equivalent of causing their oakah to fall from their horse—which, in Dothraki terms, is about as bad as bad gets. One can understand why Irri is broken up.
Dany tries to calm her:
- Affa, affa. Mori laz vos atthi oakah vosecchi.
- “Shh… They cannot kill his soul.”
Again, recall that an inalienable possessor does not need to be expressed if it’s understood in context. The word affa isn’t actually a word, but it’s old. Back when I was coming up with dialogue for the pilot (in fact, when I was applying), I came up with a bunch of horse commands, thinking they might enjoy some use in the series. Mostly they didn’t, but affa—a contentless expression used to calm a horse—seemed appropriate here. I imagine it’s something warriors would use with their horses, and also mothers with their children.
Next Irri has her longest line in the series since season 1:
- Jin tish mori! Mori ogish ven mae ven rho. Mori avvirsosh khadoes moon. Me laz odothrae kimi mae she Rhaeshi Ajjalani avvos.
- “They did! They butchered him like an animal. They did not burn his body. He can never join his ancestors in the Night Lands.”
In the first clause, you can see a bit of the old VSO word order of Dothraki popping up. It seemed like the best way to translate the emphatic in English. We also see word ogat being used in its original sense: to slaughter an animal. And we also see one of the words I coined based on the names of those who asked questions back during WorldCon! For three of those who really made my first WorldCon a great one, I made sure to coin words that I knew were going to be used in the upcoming season. As a result, kim became the word for “ancestor” specifically for this scene. San athchomari yeraan, zhey Kim Raymoure!
After this, Dany has another longish reply:
- Affa. Kisha amariki vorsqoy ha maan. Majin anha astak yeraan asqoy, me-Rakharo adothrae kimi mae ajjalan.
- “Shh. We will build him a funeral pyre. And I promise you, Rakharo will ride with his ancestors tonight.”
Marilat hasn’t been introduced yet, I think (“construct”), same with vorsqoyi, though that one’s an old one. (By the way, I’m not using interlinears here because Carsten’s plugin isn’t quite working the way I expected it to with this theme. I’m still testing it; give me a couple weeks.) Other than that, it should be pretty self-explanatory. More next week!
Before going, though, a recent commenter asked about getting some dog commands in Dothraki. I did a few, but I thought this might be fun for the main blog. So, if you want to train your dog using Dothraki (Dograki? Dothbarki? Barkraki? Dogbarki?), here are some commands:
- Neva! “Sit!”
- Vikovareras! “Stay!”
- Asto! “Speak!”
- Fichi! “Fetch!”
- Chorki! “Roll!”
- Zohhe! “Down!”
- Yath! “Up!”
- Sek! “Yes!”
- Vos! “No!”
- Jinne! “Here!”
- Hazze! “There!”
- Ajjin! “Now!”
- Jadi! “Come!”
- Anni! “Mine!”
- Qora mae! “Seize him!”
- Ostos! “Bite!”
- Zoqwa! “Kiss!”
- Akkovaras! “Stand up!”
- Ayos! “Wait!”
- Ifi! “Walk!”
- Irvosi! “Trot!”
- Nakhi! “Stop!”
- Os! “Don’t move!”
- Oho! “Be still!”
- Navi! “Urinate!”
- Vroz! “Slow!”
- Dik! “Fast!”
- Emras! “In(side)!”
- Yomme! “Across!”
- Saji! “On!”
- Mel! “Bad!”
- Mithri! “Rest!”
- Nrisas! “Straight!”
- Noti! “Turn!”
- Sili! “Follow!
- Vitihiras! “Watch!”
Whew! That’s a lot! I may add more to this if you need them, zhey kelly; let me know in the comments. I’ll definitely look forward to a video! If you get one, we’ll post it here. I tried to vary the command forms, bearing in mind that the prominent syllable is going to be the one the dog gets the best shot at hearing. Hopefully it won’t be too confusing for the dogs. Just how many words can a dog remember, anyway?
Until next week, fonas chek!
Update: It’s been pointed out that some of these words are just too long for a dog to learn. Here are some options for those words:
- Vikovareras! → Reri! “Stay!”
- Akkovaras! → Akko! “Stand up!”
- Vitihiras! → Hiri! “Watch!”
This isn’t a standard way of abbreviating in Dothraki, but if you want that dog to stay put, well, sacrifices need to be made. Thanks, E&L!