High Valyrian 101: Your Guide To Speaking Like A Targaryen

21 July 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Daenerys Targaryen


Seven blessings to you.

In order to speak like a Targaryen or be able to summon magic like a Red Priest or a Red Priestess, you must learn the ancient language of High Valyrian.

Learning a new language like High Valyrian may sound intimidating, but it really isn’t. It’s like how you would feel as you embark on your first dragon ride. It sounds unreal and overwhelming. At the same time, surreal and extraordinary. The dilemma of not knowing how to ride one creeps in and it lingers. But the thing is: no one knows how to ride a dragon until you actually ride one.

So, if you’re thinking about learning High Valyrian, go for it. Take this dragon by its horns or really anything you can hold on to. Enjoy the ride and appreciate the beauty of learning a new tongue.

Introduction to High Valyrian

High Valyrian is a fictional language created by David J. Peterson, who is an American linguist and language creator; he is also referred to as “Hollywood’s go-to language guy,” according to the Los Angeles Times. High Valyrian may not be your typically spoken language in the Valyrian Freehold, but it is used in poetry, literature, and by the nobles living in Essos and Westeros.

The origin of the ancient language comes from the epic novels that inspired the fantasy drama called Game of Thrones. Interestingly, there were only 56 Valyrian phrases introduced throughout the books written by George R. R. Martin. However, that didn’t stop Peterson from using these terms as the basis for turning High Valyrian into an established language.

In 2013, High Valyrian only had 667 words, but now it has evolved to have about 2,000 words. And just like any other language, it has its own set of rules. In fact, High Valyrian is known to be a "head-final" language, which means that in its sentence structure the adjective comes before the noun. The language features four gender classes (lunar class, solar class, terrestrial class, and aquatic class), four grammatical numbers (singular, plural, collective, and paucal), eight noun cases (nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, vocative, locative, instrumental, and comitative), and verb conjugations.

If you are a fan of the show, you must remember that iconic scene in which Jaqen H’ghar gives Arya Stark this special coin. In this scene, he says to her these two important words: Valar Morghulis. Feel free to say it: Valar Morghulis. Valar Morghulis is a High Valyrian phrase that means “All men must die” and it must be replied with Valar Dohaeris which means “All men must serve.” This powerful phrase is not just any phrase, because this became the starting point of how Peterson developed the language.

High Valyrian Speakers

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains.

Game of Thrones

Giphy / Game of Thrones


Missandei, a slave from Naath, worked as the gifted interpreter for Kraznys mo Nakloz of Astapor. But after Daenerys Targaryen set her free, she served as her most loyal handmaiden and most trusted advisor.

Game of Thrones

Giphy / Game of Thrones

Tyrion Lannister

Lord Tyrion Lannister is the wise and intelligent son of Lord Tywin Lannister and the brother of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. He is the Hand of the King to Brandon Stark.

Game of Thrones

Giphy / Game of Thrones


Varys, also known as the Spider, served as the House of Baratheons Master of Whisperers. He is a very mysterious man but a master of deception and manipulation. He left King’s Landing with Tyrion Lannister, and later on joined Daenerys’ small council, serving as her Master of Whisperers.

Game of Thrones

Giphy / Game of Thrones


Melisandre was a Red Priestess from Asshai and she served as King Stannis Baratheons trusted advisor. Melisandre was also known as the Red Woman or the Red Witch. She believes that she possesses strong magical powers, specifically the ability to predict the future by gazing into a fire.

Game of Thrones

Giphy / Game of Thrones

Thoros of Myr

Thoros of Myr was a Red Priest and a great warrior who fought for King Robert Baratheon in the Greyjoy Rebellion. He has the power to ignite his blade in flames by simply running his hand over it.

Game of Thrones

Giphy / University of Alaska Fairbanks

High Valyrian Phrases

  • Rytsas – Hello
  • Kessa – Yes
  • Daor – No
  • Kirimvose – Thank you.
  • Geros ilas – Goodbye.
  • Sōnar mastan - Winter is here.
  • Valar dohaeris – All men must serve.
  • Nerni ōrēs - Hold the door.
  • Udrizi Valyrio ȳdrā? - Do you speak Valyrian?
  • Ñuho glaeso hūrus - Moon of my life
  • Merbun - I’m hungry.
  • Dovaogēdy – An Unsullied.
  • Avy jorrāelan. - I love you.
  • Ñuhor līr gūrēnna. - I will take what is mine.
  • Bantis zōbrie issa se ossȳngnoti lēdys. - The night is dark and full of terrors.
  • Daoruni gīmī, Ionos Sōnaro. - You know nothing Jon Snow.
  • Skorverdon dekuroti Dōros hen kesīr ilza? - How much farther is the wall?
  • Riña dōre brōzi ēza- A girl has no name.
  • Tubī daor. – Not today.
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