Game of Thrones Linguist on Constructing Dothraki, Valyrian

David J. Peterson, the linguistic mastermind behind Game of Thrones, detailed his painstaking process for assembling the Dothraki and Valyrian languages in an exclusive Rolling Stone video interview.

Peterson began his process by consulting George R.R. Martins A Song of Ice and Fire, the fantasy novels which spawned the acclaimed HBO series. There were a number of names, but there were also a bunch of short phrases some actual complete sentences that were in there, he said. The language I was going to be creating had to match both the aesthetic in the book and whatever grammar was in the book.

Developing High and Low Valyrian brought its own challenges. While he relied on some of Martins material to construct High Valyrian, the Low (or bastard) vernacular was purely Petersons invention.

The linguist works closely with Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to ensure consistency from script to script and overall, hes pretty pleased with all the actors and their performances, though he singled out Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) for his especially brilliant work. Hes my hero, Peterson said. Hes the best on any show or movie Ive ever worked on. I absolutely love him to death.

While Peterson admitted that Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) struggles with Dothraki, that lack of skill makes sense since its not her characters native tongue.

Its always funny to me to hear Emilia Clarke speak Dothraki, he said, laughing. Of course, her character is not supposed to be fluent, and it really soundsnot fluent. Its great. For her character, she understands and she can speak. She just doesnt sound quite right.

Most recently, Peterson has worked with the brandCanada Dry.On their latest marketing campaign, he created a new language to help better define the word busy.

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