woman in period costume standing in front of dragon

House Of The Dragon

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Talk like a Targaryen – House of the Dragon

28 July 2022
Learn to speak High Valyrian.
man and woman with white blonde hair in period costume standing on the beach

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you know the meaning of valar morghulis. But do you know the meaning of ābra, riña, and ñuha? Like valar morghulis (all men must die, for the uninformed), these are High Valyrian words, a language that originates from Valyria and the Valyrian Freehold.  

Daenerys Targaryen, Missandei, Melisandre, and Tyrion could speak it in Game of Thrones, and now you can too. By learning just a few words from the language spoken by Daenerys and her forebears you may not be able to string a sentence together, but you can throw in a word or two in casual conversation in an effort to seek fellow Westerosi fans.

ābra (woman)
You make me feel like a natural ābra.

azantys (knight)
Ser Barristan Selmy was an azantys who served Daenerys Targaryen.

hontes (bird)
There is a really loud hontes in South Africa called a hadeda. It loves waking people up in the morning and interrupting Zoom meetings.

iksan (I am), iksa (you are), iksi (we are), issi (they are)
This is quite useful in helping you string short sentences together. For example:
Riña iksan. (I am a girl)
Riña iksa. (You are a girl)
Riñi iksi. (We are girls)
Riñi issi. (They are girls)

issa (is)
You should be familiar with issa from everyday slang. Originally a rap term (shortening “it’s a” to “issa” to make words flow), it also happens to be the Valyrian word for “is”.

liris (smiling)
I am always liris on payday.

muña (mother)
Danerys is the muña of dragons.

ñuha (my)
Game of Thrones is ñuha favourite series.

vaedas (singing)
I love vaedas in the shower.

syz (good)
Chocolate is syz.

Syz issa, isn’t it? If you want to do more than merely pepper your sentences with the occasional Valyrian word or two (which admittedly might get you a few funny looks), download the Duolingo app. It’s a language learning app that offers languages from all over the world and fictional ones too, including High Valyrian.

So, if you really want to talk like a Targaryen, you can download the app (which is what we did, because we are not as fluent as we like to pretend), study the language, and follow the characters who speak High Valyrian in House of the Dragon when it starts in August.

House of the Dragon season 1 starts express from the US on Monday 22 August at 03:00 on M-Net channel 101. You can also watch later that day at 21:30 on M-Net or catch up on the episode with DStv using your connected device.

Watch Game of Thrones season 1 – 8 on Showmax.

Feature image: HBO.