David J. Peterson (dedalvs) wrote,
David J. Peterson

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Game of Thrones: Episode 7 (Comments)

Things are really starting to pick up steam in Game of Thrones! I wonder what it'd be like to watch this without having read the books... My impression is that there's a lot more foreshadowing built into the show (or, should I say, easily discernible foreshadowing) than there is in the books, so the surprises should be somewhat less surprising. Can anyone confirm or deny? (Note: The ideal responder will have watched the show without first having read the books and read the books without having first seen the show.)

It's time to add another actor to our list of actors we'll never see in Westeros again. Mark Addy, your tremendous performance as the lovable Dionysian King Robert will surely be missed. Robert was never a favorite character of mine (not that I disliked him), but Mark filled the role with a robustness and vivacity that lit up the screen—good right up to the end ("Titles, titles...").

At this point in the books (as well as the series, I would imagine), I gather a lot of people spend some time wondering, "What if...?" That is, what might Ned have done differently, and how would it have turned out? I was about to launch into some of my wife's ideas, but I just realized it would require spoiling something to come from one of the last three episodes, so I'll leave off on that. Rather, I find myself wondering: What if he'd taken Renly up on his offer? As Ned mentions, a war with the as-yet-unseen Stannis would've come, but before that, I wonder: What about Tywin Lannister and all those troops of his? Surely that would've come first. And could they have won that skirmish? I doubt it! Sure, take over the castle, take Joffrey and Cersei hostage, but when push comes to shove, that Lannister army has more push than whatever shove Ned and Renly can muster in King's Landing, I say. The result might've cost Ned and Renly their lives, not to mention potentially hundreds of innocents.

Littlefinger's plan was surely the smarter one. As I see it, it was merely postponing the question of what to do about Joffrey, which, of all things, was probably the conservative solution (well, aside from Ned bowing to King Pipsqueak and shining his boots). Were I in Ned's shoes, though, that plan (which was, essentially, make peace with the Lannisters, with the understanding that they have something over them, and rebuff Stannis) would seem fraught with potential double-crossings. Although it's risky to hand over the kingship to someone who's miles away and no one has seen in who knows how long, willingly entering into a contract with connivers seems at least as bad—and potentially worse in the long run. So I can't fault him.

Oh, but, of course, the thing everyone is really talking about is the lesbian sex scene with Ros. Yeah, it was long, but too long? How does one determine? Seemed fine to me. (Of course, I might have felt differently had I been watching Episode 7 with my mother in the same room.)

Plenty of Dothraki in this one—and more coming! If I don't miss my guess, that speech of Jason's is the longest uninterrupted string of Dothraki in the entire first season. He delivered it well. (I wonder how many takes it took... And he does a lot of other stuff in that scene: The torch tossing, talking to Dany, talking to Jorah. Man! Must have been intense!) Jason developed a unique accent and rhythm with Dothraki, and the sound of it on screen is fantastic. All told, he's quite an imposing individual.

Last time I mentioned I'd have a story about someone else in my wife's family, but, to my surprise, the line was cut—or, more accurately, reassigned. Of course, in general, it's never a surprise if a line is cut, reworked or moved in a TV show, but this one was surprising because the line has actually appeared elsewhere already. The way it is worked fine, though; when Jorah and Dany are talking, he mentions, in English, that he's seen a man last 9 miles.

The original Dothraki line, quoted verbatim in the Making of blog post above, is:

Anha tih mahrazhes fin kash chakat karlin.

[Note: Slight error in the line on the blog. It should properly be kash not kasha.]

Which is, "I saw a man who lasted twenty miles." To me, 9 miles does seem a bit more plausible, but I've never run more than two miles in my life without having to stop and rest. (And while he did get to walk, I figure walking naked without shoes on on dirt and rocks is the rough equivalent of running that same distance clothed [how, I don't know, but I figure it makes sense somehow].) I bet a marathon runner could last twenty miles.

Anyway, the translation of this line prompted the creation of a word for "mile", which is no simple thing. After all, in English, a "mile" is 5,280 "feet". A "foot" is twelve "inches". An "inch" is...who knows? All of these measures have long, tangled histories, and to have a word which simply translates one-to-one across universes would be beyond incredible. Nevertheless, a mile was needed, so I had to do something.

I'd come up with several words for horse gaits, and thought they might serve as a basis for comparison. One of these, karlin, is used for a gallop. (And the story behind this word is that my aunt [my wife's mother's sister] is named Karlyn, and is a huge grrm fan. I simply had to work her into Dothraki somehow, so this was it!) The rough equivalent of a mile, then, is a karlina—or the distance a horse travels galloping in a fixed period of time.

Then, of course, I needed a period of time. Something that is more or less regular (while still under our control to an extent) is breathing, so I turned to the word for "to breathe", leshitat, to get a word for a period of time. I decided on leshitof, which is something like "a great big breath" or "a large instance of breathing", and that period is the Dothraki minute (which is actually about two minutes our time, but which is used like our word "minute" [and, of course, they don't have time pieces, so it won't always be exactly two minutes; just around that time]). Of course, I doubt anyone could take in one breath over the course of an entire minute and then let it out over the course of another entire minute (well, hmm... Perhaps possible, but probably not comfortable), but meanings like these kind of fluctuate over time.

So, then, a karlina is the distance a horse gallops in a leshitof, which comes out to about a mile. There are other terms like this (e.g. chetira is the distance a horse canters in a leshitof, which is like a half mile), and they comprise a kind of small scale system that works well for people who travel primarily on horseback.

Next week, look forward to more Dothraki action (running, fighting, and the gnashing of teeth). I'll be crossing my fingers that Miami will be up on Dallas 2-0 and will have beaten them soundly so Game of Thrones doesn't lose too many viewers to game 3 of the NBA Finals...
Tags: conlang, dothraki, reviews, tv

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