|'Game of Thrones' Dothraki Inventor Talks Language|
|By DAVID WRIGHT (@WrightUps)||Mar 29, 2013, 6:43 PM|
As "Game of Thrones" starts Season 3, there will be dragons headed to Westeros, promising to fire up the action in HBO's already sizzling saga.
It's a fantasy realm where furs are in fashion, where the idea that "heads will roll" is not just a metaphor, where all the women seem to get naked sooner or later, and where a dwarf is a sex symbol.
"Game of Thrones," based on George R.R. Martin's books, is kind of like "Lord of the Rings" with an NC-17 rating.
The producers of "Game of Thrones" pay careful attention to detail, even commissioning an entire fictional language for the series.
On YouTube, you can find practically an entire syllabus of Dothraki 101, including pronunciation guides, practice videos and chat groups. There's even an unofficial Dothraki-English dictionary.
Entire scenes in the show are done with subtitles in a language that was created by an amateur linguist who answered an online casting call.
"The Language Creation Society put out a call to the various language creation communities online and I was one of those who responded," said David Peterson, 32, who went on to create the Dothraki language, which at this point is every bit as real as Klingon from "Star Trek" or Navi from "Avatar."
Basically, his hobby became his profession, and "I think that's one of the first times that's happened," he said.
"Right now Dothraki is at about 3,700 words," Peterson said. "I would love to get it up to about 10,000 words, which will take a while but I think is pretty reasonable."
Peterson's Dothraki was inspired by the language of George R.R. Martin's books, but it's an entirely new creation.
"I kind of interpreted how I thought George R.R. Martin wanted these things pronounced, and then did something to reflect that," Peterson said. "But I apparently got it wrong. He actually pronounces it Doth-ROCK-EYE. It was really befuddling to me when I saw this the first time."
Peterson's language has a bit more of an Arabic feel to it. For English speakers, it doesn't exactly trip off the tongue. Peterson records every line for the actors and says individual actors have surprised him by adding accents and styles of speaking that he says suit the backstories of their characters.
Why bother with this level of detail?
"I think the bar is just being raised," he said. "Audiences are coming to expect this type of thing. They expect this level of authenticity."
Dothraki has been so successful that Peterson has been hired to create alien languages for several sci fi shows in development on other cable networks, plus a second "Game of Thrones" language that will debut Sunday in the third season's premiere.
One of several things to look forward to.
"There's more shocks, more deaths, there's tender moments too," said actor Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow in "Game of Thrones." "It's my favorite season so far."
"This is kind of the game-changer," said Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on the show. "People's fortunes switch on their heads this season. You can expect a lot of shocking stuff."
As a Dothraki might say: Gango awazat!