Notas Shekhaan…

A back tattoo with Dothraki
Click to enlarge.

majin zanissho varthasi irge yeri. That was the phrase I was asked to translate for a tattoo by Youyou. The French she gave me was Tourne toi vers le soleil et l’ombre sera derrière toi, which I translated as, “Turn yourself towards the sun and the shadows will be behind you” (I suppose it technically ought to be “and your shadow will be behind you”, but I interpreted it loosely). The translation into Dothraki was Notas shekhaan majin zanissho varthasi irge yeri, and Youyou recently sent me a picture of the completed tattoo, which you can see below:

A back tattoo with Dothraki
Click to enlarge.

Athdavrazar! Tremendous work!

I also wanted to share my Norwescon schedule. I first attended Norwescon two years ago, and I’m happy to be returning this year, where the guest of honor will be none other than George R. R. Martin. Consequently, this will likely be the biggest Norwescon in recent memory. Norwescon is in Seattle, and will be held April 2-5, which means that I won’t be at WonderCon this year (which is too bad, because it’s awfully convenient. I could almost walk there!). If you happen to be in the Seattle area and you’re interested in seeing me at Norwescon, you’ll have more than a dozen opportunities—literally. Check out this schedule (note: my re-printing of this schedule should not be taken as a personal endorsement of 24 hour clocks, of which I disapprove):

  1. Thu 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Cascade 3 & 4
    Creative Insults
    David J. Peterson (M), Marta Murvosh, S. A. Bolich, Pat MacEwen
  2. Thu 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Cascade 3 & 4
    Why Can’t They Get It Right?
    Matt Hammond (M), Bart Kemper, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Loretta McKibben, David J. Peterson
  3. Thu 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Cascade 2
    Speaking Amongst the Stars
    David J. Peterson (M), G. David Nordley, B. D. Kellmer, Dr. Ricky
  4. Fri 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Cascade 9
    How Are Games & Gamers Changing the World?
    Donna Prior (M), Elizabeth Sampat, David J. Peterson, Jonny Nero Action Hero, C0splay
  5. Fri 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Cascade 3 & 4
    Ask the Experts: Biology
    Dr. Misty Marshall (M), Alan Andrist, David J. Peterson, Stephanie Herman
  6. Fri 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Cascade 13
    The Languages of Game of Thrones
    David J. Peterson (M)
  7. Fri 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Cascade 12
    The Languages of Speculative Fiction
    Gregory Gadow (M), David J. Peterson, Kurt Cagle, Eva Phoenix, Nina Post
  8. Sat 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Cascade 1
    Reading: David J. Peterson (I’ll be doing a reading from Nina Post’s The Zaanics Deceit, for which I created the Væyne Zaanics language!)
    David J. Peterson (M)
  9. Sat 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Cascade 10
    SF & Fantasy Themes In Metal Music
    Lilith von Fraumench (M), David J. Peterson, Christian Lipski
  10. Sat 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Grand 2
    Autograph Session 2
    Jeff Sturgeon, Django Wexler, Randy Henderson, G. Willow Wilson, Kristi Charish, Frog Jones, Richard Hescox, Darragh Metzger, David J. Peterson, Esther Jones, Jeremy Zimmerman, John (J.A.) Pitts, Kevin Radthorne, Laura Anne Gilman, Michael G. Munz, Rhiannon Held, Leannan Sidhe, Steven Barnes, Tim McDaniel
  11. Sun 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Cascade 10
    Collaborative Writing
    Frog Jones (M), David J. Peterson, Nina Post, Steven Barnes, Esther Jones
  12. Sun 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Cascade 9
    Be Your Own Agent
    Kristi Charish (M), J. E. Ellis, Amy Raby, David J. Peterson
  13. Sun 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Cascade 3 & 4
    Alien Communication
    Eva Phoenix (M), G. David Nordley, David J. Peterson, Luna Lindsey, Sar Surmick

So…yeah. I’ll be busy. But that’s what I asked for. Load me up! I want my voice to be throaty and unrecognizable by Sunday! I want to be singing Johnny Cash!

In the interim, I’m going to be giving a talk at APOGEE in Pilani, India, in case you’ll be in the neighborhood, and I’ll also be heading to Nacogdoches, Texas to give a talk at Stephen F. Austin State University (that’ll be March 3rd). If you’re nearby, I hope to see you! Otherwise, I’m on Twitter, etc. World’s a small place.

Hey, guess what! Coming tomorrow, Game of Thrones season 4’s on DVD! And that means it’s just a couple of months until season 5! Eyelke jada!

Update: My schedule for Norwescon has been updated. No panels have been deleted or added and no times have changed, but I did them with a 12 hour (a.k.a. normal) clock, added room numbers, and changed some of the panelists.


  1. So who among this community is planning to attend LCC6? It would be sad if there were no-one to discuss High Valyrian with…

  2. On the topic of conventions, Amazing Comic Conventions is going to be in Honolulu (my hometown) from September 18-20 with their Amazing Hawaii Comic Con. At the moment, there is no information about the panels that they will have. Would it be good to have a panel related to well-known sci-fi conlangs (e.g. Dothraki, Klingon, etc.) at the convention if there isn’t one already?

    1. lol Are you serious?! So she had a quote from a French translation of the English poem “Leaves of Grass” which she attempted to re-translate into English without the aid of the original, leading me to ask her for the “original” French—and instead I could’ve just gone upstairs and gotten my copy of “Leaves of Grass”?! That’s hilarious! Here’s the original quote:

      “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”

      Definitely more specific. Here’s the English translation that was attempted from the French translation of the English:

      “Turns you into the sun and the shadows will be behind you.”

      You can see why I thought I had a better shot at the French.

      Despite all that, I think we got the most important part right: the meaning. Knowing the original, I’m not sure how much I would’ve changed. “Face” would’ve been in there, but this translation may be a little more elegant. This is why language is fun!

      Thanks for the info, and good eye!

  3. Season 5 is on, “Mittyro geron” is coming, my costume is about to ready as the valyrian speech I want to tell my classmates. :D But what about the Season 5 valyrian dialogues? I can’t find them, is anyone writing it down or share it?

    1. I have not had time to blog season 5 yet, but may in the coming weeks. Of course I’m just speculating; if you want to be sure you must ask Mr. Peterson himself! It would be lovely if he would return to blogging individual episodes, but I kind of doubt he has time… asking him for individual lines on Tumblr seems to work though.

            1. The sign is seen from the back. Flipped around, it says something like QRINGAOMIO[?]. There seem to be very few conjugated forms of qringaomagon that would fit; the best thing I can guess is a form of qringaomior “failing” (present, terrestrial/aquatic).

              That seems like a stupid thing to write on a shop sign, except maybe if you’re selling broken stuff cheaply for people to repair themselves…?

              The G could also be read as S, but we don’t have an attested verb saomagon.

            2. On second thought, it might not be a shop sign but just a warning, “out of order”.

  4. Could you translate these? : sword-bearer; Bring me food! ; I always forget that you don’t speak Valyrian language. ; Get away from my way! ; You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. ; Fight! What do you fear from? Enough, let it end. We should end. Don’t cry! I’m thirsty.

    1. Here are my attempts. As always, remember that I am just an enthusiastic learner and can’t promise to always be right.


      Probably the easiest way to say this is just azantys “knight, soldier,” but etymologically something like “sworder.” If we want to hew more closely to the English here, there are several problems:

      1. Have to pick which word for “sword” we want to use: azandy “short sword,” korze “long sword,” egros “edge.”

      2. We don’t know how to say “bear” in this sense (as sikagon means “bear” as in “give birth.”) We could use maghagon “bring” or emagon “have,” but its difficult to say whether or which of these would be the mot juste.

      3. We have always had some problems with the “X-er of Y” construction, as this can be accomplished either with a -tys noun (firmly attested in belmo pryjatys “breaker of the chain,” but we don’t always know how to form such nouns… maybe *mādys, *ēdys?) or with a present participle (but then we don’t know what case the object should be in.)

      So… maybe azando magharos? I don’t know, I would be very interested in hearing DJP’s official opinion on this.

      Bring me food!

      I guess Havori aōt maghās, or possibly something like havori avy imaghās. If the command is plural, change the form to (i)maghātās. Either way, the accent foes on the last syllable.

      I always forget that you don’t speak Valyrian language

      We don’t know how to say “forget.” I suppose we could coin *qringīmigon “disknow,” but that seems like a stretch. I guess for want of anything better, we can try: Valyrio udrirzi ȳdrassus daor qringīmissin?

      Get away from my way!

      I think the English expression you have in mind is “get out of my way.” This is also difficult. If we want to be literal, we need somethign like “go out from my path.” The geros in geros ilas “good bye” seems to originally mean “path,” but DJP has never answered when I’ve asked if the word exists outside of that expression. If not, there’s geron “walkway” and geralbar “road.”

      So… ñuho gero henujās I guess? (We also don’t know the imperative of the irregular word (henu)jagon.)

      You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.

      We don’t know how to say “ever,” but we can pretty much drop that word and get the same meaning: undetan lua riña līje iksā. Or perhaps that phrasing is too English? Undetan luo riñoti lījos iksā “Of the girls I have seen you are the most beautiful one.” It may be more Valyrian to express that with hen “out of,” but I’m not sure what the word order would be… hen undetan luo riñoti I guess?


      I assume this is a plural command? Vīlībātās with the accent on the last syllable.

      What do you fear from?

      English expression “What are you afraid of?” The translation will depend on whether that’s a singular or plural “you,” and whether you mean “what is scaring you (right now)” or “what scares you (in general).”

      Right now: Skorot zūgā, plural zūgāt
      In general: Skorot zūgia, plural zūgiat

      Enough, let it end.

      Unless I’ve missed something, we don’t know how to say “enough” in any sense, let alone this particularly idiomatic one. But “Let it end” is doable:

      ūōt keligon, or ūjus keligon — the former is more like “permit it to end” and the latter more like “may it end,” but I suspect either would work here.

      We should end.

      Keligon īlo bēvilza

      Don’t cry!

      Limagon daor

      I’m thirsty.

      We don’t know this. Perhaps you could use mōzugon jaelan “I wish to drink,” mōzugon yno bēvilza “I must drink,” mōzvon “I would drink,” ynot mōzugon “let me drink.”

  5. Hi david!

    I´m chilean and i need a big favor from you.

    I need translate from english to dothraki, this phrase “I am a daughter of the rigor (or rigour), more than of the talent” or equivalent word or meaning sense in dothraki language. A friend translate the phrase like this “”anha ohara she haj, alikh devolat (¿hash?)” that is correct?
    Is for a tattoo very special for me. Please, help me with this, is very important to me. Excuse my poor english.

    Thank you so much.


    P.s. I´m waiting for response, please.

  6. Good evening everybody! What about the season 5 Valyrian dialogues? Still nothing? Nobody wants to do it on :(

      1. It would be a great pleasure for me if I could do something for the sake of the cause. :)

  7. Hello! I have written some lines as a kind of lyrics for the first few verses of Mhysa /by Ramin Djawadi. At the first time I don’t want to show you my translation – as same as usual – because in this way I can see what my text actually means, so I can see my mistakes. I hope I won’t tire you, I don’t want You to see me as a prig or a smart-aleck, I’m just writing a kind of fanfic in context to the Song of Ice and Fire and I need this song-like-thing there.

    Vēzos jehikis,
    Qelbar iāris,
    Guēsin vāedis.

    Jelmāzma jēlēbis,
    Perzys ilis,
    Prūmia pyghis.
    Rÿbin, ūndessin.

    Ēbrio bē sōvessire,
    Pyrys hen qēlot māzissisi,
    Iosrī jehikis pōnto toliot,
    Bānī zālis va pōntā.

    Zijo ondoso glaeson emis,
    Sīmonis, ropassis, ērinis.
    Vīlībis, glaesis, morghūlis,
    Ūndessis, rÿbis, pendassis.

    1. This is really quite good. I’ll have to figure out how it fits with the melody. It will probably help to actually listen to the track, rather than play it in my head ;)

      I suggested you contribute to the wiki before… do you actually have an account there already?

      1. Yes, I’ve made one, but I’m sure I won’t use it soon, in the next 20 days, because I’m preparing for my verbal final exam, so I haven’t got plenty of time. And after it, I think I should practice my English if I want to write anything on the Wiki, I’m from Hungary. I’m happy if you like the lyrics. :)

        1. I was thinking more along the lines of how to contact you. (BUt so far your English seems fine to me)

          And rereading your original post, I gues you were hoping we would translate the lyrics, so you could confirm you got it right?

          The sun shines
          The river flows
          The trees are singing

          A storm blows
          A flame lies
          A heart beats.
          I hear, I see.

          Flying over the night sky
          A thousand come from the star (i.e. a thousand stars come?)
          Coldly it shines (or they are shining) above them,
          Hotly it burns (or they are burning) at them.

          They have life through her,
          They are rising, falling, winning.
          They are fighting, living, dying,
          they are seeing, hearing, wondering..

  8. What I wanted:

    Sun shines,
    River flows,
    Trees are singing.

    Storm blows,
    Flame dances (*lilagon – lilis,
    Heart beats.
    I hear, I see.

    Who is flying in the night sky,
    A thousand stars come with he/she,
    It shines coldly above them,
    It burns hotly at them (among them, near them).

    They have life through/by/with her/him,
    They rise, fall, win with him.
    They fight, live, die with him,
    They see, hear, wonder (by/with her/him).

    And here you are, this is a loan translation of the Hungarian poem:

    In Sun’s shine,
    In brook’s babble,
    In forest’s whisper.

    In lightning’s glow,
    In flame’s dance,
    In living’s beating,
    I see, I hear.

    Who is trembling in black skies,
    Whom a thousand stars come with,
    Coldly smoulders up yonder,
    Hotly flickers down yonder.

    (Everything) gets being with him, grows with him,
    Falls with him, wins with him,
    Fights with him, vanishes, lives with him,
    Hears, sees with him, hopes with him. *him/her/it


  9. Could someone please help me?
    I’m really wanting to get the words “no grave can hold my body down” (Hozier – Work Song) tattooed on me in Valyrian, does anyone know the translation?
    Thank you in advance! :)

    1. Hi Katie,

      we don’t have a word for “grave” or for “body” yet.

      The best I can do for “grave” is tegon “ground”. I’m tempted to put it in the collective here (“all grounds in the world”), but tegor already has the idiomatic meaning “lands”, which is not what you’re looking for.

      As for “body”, well, the word ñellyr “skin” has been used to mean “flesh” before, but presumably the flesh (especially the skin!) is the first thing you would lose when temporarily residing in a grave… so maybe rather “bones”? Bone is īby, and I’d guess what we’ll need here is either the paucal or the collective of bones to mean “skeleton, remains”. I’m going to go with the paucal for now, in analogy with tīkun “wing”, the paucal of tīkos “feather”.

      For “hold”, we have the opposite problem: There are three words for “hold” in the dictionary… pilogon seems to mean “to hold in hand”, so we’ll want one of the others. Rāelagon is used to mean “hold safe” whereas ōregon is used for “held by [his] arms” as well as the composite mazōregon “to receive”. I suppose ōregon is the safest choice here.

      Dōrior tegon ībyni ñuhi gō ōregon kostis.
      “No ground is ever able to hold my bones down.”

      Or using the naked aorist instead of the explicit “is able”:
      Dōrior tegon ībyni ñuhi gō ōressis.
      “No ground ever holds my bones down.”

      For the collective instead of the paucal of “bones”, say ībyri ñuhe instead of ībyni ñuhi.

      Better have it double-checked before you tattoo it, though! ;o)


    2. On second thought, that might not be a particularly Valyrian way to express the sentiment. “Ground” and “hold down” might sound a bit like your bones are lying on the ground and gravity is straining to keep them down.

      How about this, then:

      Dōrȳr tegot ībyn ñuhi uōressiksi.
      “No ground my bones ever-are-held-in.”

      1. You’re doing a good job generally… I was about to tell Katie I didn’t think we could manage this translation, but your circumlocutions are proving me wrong.

        However, note that the applied object is required to immediately precede the verb, so ībyn ñuhi dōrȳr tegot uōressiksi.

        Kate, by the way, if you are getting a tattoo, I strongly recommend you wait on an answer from David J. Peterson himself. As he is the language creator, he will be able to translate it more accurately than anyone else here.

        Usually if he is going to answer here (or on twitter) he will do so immediately. If you don’t hear from him soon, send the question in again at Since he loves it when people get tattoos in his languages, he is very likely to answer you there.

        1. Kate, by the way,

          Um, just in case it’s not obvious, that was a typo, and not an intentional, uninvited use of a nickname. That would be really rude on someone I don’t know!

          1. Thank you for the reply! I’ve sent him a message on Tumblr, just waiting for a reply! So excited to get the tattoo though!!

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