In Partnership With
Times are tough for travellers. But with the world preparing to reopen in 2021, we’re here to keep you dreaming and planning for your next trip – whether that’s a staycation or flying off to parts unknown. Until then, we’ve got the latest COVID-19 travel advice and an interactive ‘Where you can go’ map to keep you up to date.
Now that travel is starting to open up, it’s the perfect time for planning a truly memorable adventure. Buck it up, learn a cool language from the most epic TV show of all times and uncover a new destination where a fantasy world comes to life!
High Valyrian (Valyrio Udrir) is a literary language once spoken in Valyria. It has eight grammatical cases, four grammatical numbers, including a paucal and a collective, four noun classes, an Iroquois kinship system, applicatives and voiceless sonorants.
“The gods could not devise a more perfect tongue. It is the only proper language for poetry”.Missandei
In the novels by George R. R. Martin, the Valyrian language family is widely mentioned but not developed beyond a few words. For the TV series, the American conlanger David J. Peterson created the High Valyrian language, as well as the derivative languages Astapori and Meereenese Valyrian, based on fragments from the books.
The Economist has described Valyrian and Dothraki as “the most convincing fictional tongues since Elvish”.
Top 7 epic destinations where learning High Valyrian can take you
1. The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland — Kingsroad
Doubling up as the Kingsroad, north of King’s Landing, it’s here that Arya escapes from the city disguised as a boy. Head north on the Bregagh Road in Ballymoney to see the iconic avenue of beech trees for yourself. Feel free to visit the Dark Hedges as part of a Coastal Causeway road trip or just as a day trip from Belfast or Dublin.
2. Bardenas Reales, Navarre — Dothraki Sea
The Bardenas Reales Natural Park is located close to Tudela, the second-largest city in the autonomous community of Navarre. For the first time, its impressive desert-like landscape dotted with odd rock formations appears in the sixth season of your favourite TV series. This is where Daenerys Targaryen met with an unfriendly khalassar.
3. Minčeta Tower, Dubrovnik — House of the Undying
Locally known as Tvrđava Minčeta, this tower is the highest point in the Dubrovnik defence system. It is also the place where Daenerys Targaryen wanders around in season two, trying to find the entrance into the House of Undying in search of her stolen dragons.
4. Mdina Gate, Malta — King’s Landing Gate
Mdina is an ancient walled hill town in the very heart of Malta, commonly known as the Silent City. You could spot Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel travelling to King’s Landing through the beautiful Mdina Gate to investigate the attack on Bran.
5. Grjótagjá, Iceland — Jon and Ygritte’s love nest
Grjótagjá is a small lava cave located near lake Mývatn in northern Iceland, famous for featuring a beautiful geothermal hot spring in its depths. As the spring water’s temperature can get up to 50°C, it might explain why HBO chose to shoot one of the hottest on-screen love scenes here.
6. Aït-Benhaddou, Morocco — Yunkai and Pentos
Aït Benhaddou is a historic ighrem or ksar (fortified village) along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in Morocco. In the realm of Essos, it becomes Yunkai, the smallest of the three great Ghiscari city-states of Slaver’s Bay, and Pentos, the biggest of the Free Cities.
7. Doune Castle, Stirling district, Scotland — Winterfell
Doune is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Scotland. Its thick-walled courtyard was featured on TV as Winterfell, home to House Stark.
Popular High Valyrian words and phrases to get you going
Rytsas — “hello”. Rytsas! Azantys iksan (“Hello, I’m a knight”).
Daor — “no” or “not”. Generally used at the end of a sentence e.g., Tubi daor (“Not today”) or Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor (“A dragon is not a slave”).
Issa — “yes”, “just so”, “it is so”. Issa se daor (“Yes and no”). Issa, kirine iksan (“Yes, I’m happy”).
Kirimvose — “thank you”. Pronounced as four syllables: [Key-RIM-voh-say], with a rolled “r”. Kirimvos, for short. Stress on the second “i” for both.
Zaldrīzes — “dragon”. Daor, ñuho raqiro zaldrīzes issa (“No, it is my friend’s dragon.”)
Кēli — “cat”. “Keli” is the name of David J. Peterson’s cat so the language creator made it the noun for “cat” in High Valyrian.
Dracarys — “dragonfire”. Daenerys says Dracarys [drah-KAH-ris] to Drogon, the young dragon, to encourage him to breathe fire and cook his own meat. She also uses this term for the last time at Battle of King’s Landing, to burn the city to the ground. Other words for this are Zaldrīzo perzys (“fire of the dragon”).
Zīrtys perzys — ”frozen fire”, the words for dragonglass.
Sesīr kipi! — ”And now, we ride!”. The Tattered Prince instructs his men with this command in “A Dance with Dragons”.
High Valyrian Travel FAQ
High Valyrian is the tongue of the ruined Valyrian Freehold empire, and it’s one of four fictional languages created by linguist David J. Peterson spoken in the famous fantasy drama TV series.
The famous speakers of High Valyrian include Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Missandei, Melisandre, Thoros and Varys.
Yes, you can! Duolingo, the free language app, offers fun bite-sized lessons in High Valyrian. All interactive exercises are crafted to adapt to your learning style and give you instant actionable feedback. You can also opt for Duolingo Plus to remove ads, get full access to lessons (offline ones included!), and track your progress.
The language is well constructed and functions much like any other natural language. This means you can learn High Valyrian with Duolingo a few minutes at a time.
Yes, it is scientifically proven to work. A study has shown that 34 hours of Duolingo are equal to 1 university semester of language courses.
A little lingo goes a long way… Sesīr kipi!
- French can take you much further than France
- Make your travel legendary by learning Greek
- Unlock more by learning Portuguese with Duolingo
- Travel outside the box with your Spanish