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Game of Thrones’ Dothraki creator reveals he “rarely worked with actors”




The ability of a fantasy to set itself apart from reality is one of the most important characteristics of a good fantasy, and language plays an important role in this. Some of you may be aware that linguist David J. Peterson developed the Dothraki and High Valyrian languages specifically for the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones, based on the languages’ sparse use in the novels. However, Peterson himself rarely worked with the actors.

David J. Peterson almost never worked with actors from the show

The conlanger had a chat with Hivemind, where he revealed, “You’d be surprised, I rarely work with actors. I do sometimes, and it’s nice, but I rarely do it because I record everything on mp3 most of the time. They just listen to exactly how I do it, and they do their best to repeat it exactly the way I do it.


Many of them are really good at that, so there isn’t even a teaching process. Often most of them don’t know and don’t particularly care how the words that are translated mean what they mean. I give them a word-for-word glossary so they can know.”

The one actor who impressed David J. Peterson the most

There was one actor who impressed Peterson the most, and she wasn’t from Game of Thrones, “It was definitely Nicole Galicia, who came into Defiance in season three. She was one of the bad guys and was only going to be there for one season, even if we went beyond season three, which we did. But she went well above and beyond anybody on anything that I’ve ever worked on.

She wanted to learn how the language worked, to constantly go over lines with me on the phone, and would often ask me to translate things for her that she thought her character should be saying in the language that were tagged as English lines.”

Read Next: How Game of Thrones’ linguist developed Dothraki using idioms from George R.R. Martin’s books

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