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inspiration » B - Series » 02 - A Song of Ice and Fire » Valar Morghulis
 
     
 
 
Author Topic: Valar Morghulis
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jDawg
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posted 05 December 2003 12:01 PM      $post_id   Email jDawg   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Ok, so Valar Morghulis means 'All Men Must Die', but there's a reply.. Valar Doeharis (sp). Do we know what that means? I can't recall, but I'm pretty sure we never told, or even heard of it until the end of aSoS.

Does anyone recall where else it was used, besides J'qen/Arya? I know I've heard it before.


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Jason Dagenhart


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Ishamael
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posted 05 December 2003 12:36 PM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Ishamael   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
'all men will live again' perhaps? I have no idea.

I know Syrio used the phrase, and he was also connected to Arya. Coincidence? I can't say I put much stock in him beind dead. Which Knights of the Kingsguard was he last seen fighting? Was it Boros Blount? Cause he's just incompetent!

Speaking of Jaqen, what's the deal with him? I've heard he might be Syrio, and Daario. I don't see him being Daario, cause he's been across the ocean leading a company for too long.

Ish


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Demandred
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posted 09 December 2003 02:11 AM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Demandred   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I don't believe that Valar Dohaeris was said more than just that once, so we presumably won't know for certain what it means until GRRM tells us. However, apart from being a password, I don't think it's going to be of great significance, do you?

As for my guess? Maybe it means 'all men must serve', as it's being given as a response by one who is essentially doing a free service for the assassins.


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jDawg
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posted 04 February 2003 06:16 PM      $post_id   Email jDawg   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I guess it's not necessary that "Valar" means "All Men", as there's no reason that different language would have the same sentence structure and order.

I read somewhere that "Valar Doeharis" could possibly mean "All Women Must Serve" which would make sense, as it was said to Arya.


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Jason Dagenhart


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Ariados
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posted 05 February 2003 02:17 AM      $post_id   Email Ariados   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I'd imagine that the dialect is based upon several languages, and probably wouldn't be too hard to decipher...but I'd say I'm much too lazy to try it.


"Emptiness is loneliness and loneliness is cleanliness and cleanliness is godliness and God is empty just like me."


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Demandred
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posted 05 February 2003 04:06 AM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Demandred   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Xerox' language guesser says they look like Slovakian. Do we have any Slovaks here to confirm or deny this rumour, and whether it might correspond to something useful or interesting? (:
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mashiara
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posted 05 February 2003 04:48 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I'm no Slovakian and I don't know what Valar Dohaeris means any more than you do. I have an objection to what jDewg said. I don't think it can mean "all Women must serve". First because it seems to be the standard reply to Valar Morghulis, not something specifically designed for Arya's sake. And second, if you have read the new chapter that Martin posted in his website, it shows two sailors using that phrase to address Arya. And it shows her responding with it to the monk's greeting inside the Order, as countless other candidates have done before her. It is not a phrase referring to women exclusively, far from it.


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one must learn to seduce.
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Ishamael
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posted 09 February 2003 08:55 PM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Ishamael   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Just by the way it sounds, one would 'Morghulis' has something to do with death, those 'Mor..' never seem to be anything good. Ie, Mordor, Mordeth, Mordred, and 'Mort' meaning death.

I would bet that Valar Doeharis still means 'All Men Must....'.

It could mean 'All Women Must Die', it's not necessary that a man says 'All Men Must Serve', it could just be a traditional response. I'm of the thought that it means 'All Men Must...'.

Live again? Jqhen died, but he was reborn and all. No idea though, not enough to go on.

Ish


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Demandred
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posted 24 February 2003 02:43 PM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Demandred   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Actually, thinking about it, if 'Valar Morghulis' means 'All men must die', there are pretty limited ways that that phrase could compress into a mere two words. Now, I'm no scholar of ancient Valyrian, nor of linguistics in general, but I don't think GRRM is really the type to go all-out in that regard either. As such, I'd assume the language he uses has a generally indo-european structure, which would seem to require that the two words be the verbs.

So we've got two verbs, I'll call them val* and morg* since we don't necessarily know how they've been conjugated, one of which means 'must' and the other 'die'.

With that assumed, we're left to consider the conjugations. I've implicitly assumed above that the conjugation of the verbs is related to their ending, by naming them the way I did. I inferred this from noting the similarity of ending between Morghulis and Dohaeris, both of which are used in a similar relationship to Valar, which doesn't change. So either the conjugation of val* into valar or that of morg* into morghulis indicates that it applies to all men. Or quite possibly to all people, which would be shortened to 'all men' when translated into the vernacular. In any event, as the conjugation seems identical in the two phrases, 'Valar Dohaeris' should apply to all men, or all people, equally as does 'Valar Morghulis'.

In the absence of other samples of the valyrian language to consider, I am left to speculate as to the possible meaning. Personally I think I agree with Ishy here about how of the two, morg* definitely sounds like the 'die' verb. As well I'll note the similarity between val* and the country's name, Valyria, and that it is much more likely that one would name their empire after duty or inevitability than after death (at least before the Doom).

So if we've got it applying to all men, or all people, and we're keeping valar, which I say means 'must', then it's a matter of how to fill in the blank for the final verb, in the response to 'All men must die'.
My current favourite idea is that it's analogous to the old gladiator's code - 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,' they said. This is, of course, more concise, but to convey the right meaning I will say that doha* means 'party'. So, to again shorten things up as we translate to the vernacular, the response to 'Valar Morghulis' is:
'Everybody Party!'


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juggalosoldier
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posted 09 March 2003 03:07 AM      $post_id   Email juggalosoldier   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I always thought of it as saying almost the reverse...not necesarily word for word but something along the line of "life is short...live it to the fullest."

At this point I can't honestly make that fit with the whole "All men Must..." thing but I always thought of it as a response...almost like a Religious thing.


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Ishamael
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posted 10 March 2003 07:58 PM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Ishamael   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Excellent investigation Dem, I never knew you were such an intrepid linguist. I always took you for an amateur, dipping your feet in the murky pond of English language. Shows me what I know...

Anyways, I'm not sure why they should both be verbs, doesn't it seem likely that 'Valar' is a noun?

Anyways, I'm tempted to agree with myself (wow), Juggalo, and Dem, necessarily - 'Everybody Party' cause it's not a frat language, but all men must live life to the fullest, (ie, before they die) something like that. Makes sense, and has some sort of linguistic evidence behind it.

Of course, Martin just might not care, and for all we know Valar Doeharis means 'all horses have four legs'.


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Demandred
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posted 11 March 2003 02:14 AM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Demandred   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Hmm, so what you're saying, Ish, is that Valar is the subject? The problem I had with that is that you can't really create an imperative sentence just based on the conjugation of a single verb -- at least not in any language I'm familiar with. 'Everyone dies', sure, but not 'Everyone must die'.
How do you propose to get around that, huh? Do you know something I don't, mister talented polyglot?

And besides, not all horses have four legs. What about seahorses?

juggalosoldier: It sounds to me, from what you said, that we actually agree more than we disagree, don't you think?

[ March 11, 2004: Message edited by: Demandred ]


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Patchface
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posted 11 March 2003 09:51 AM      $post_id   Email Patchface   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Not wanting to seem too arrogant in this linguistic debate, but being an avid polyglot myself, I'd like to offer my two cents' worth...

I DO think that 'valar' might be a general subject, as I can easily see 'morghulis' as being translated with 'WILL die'...So simply as a future tense...

And of course, 'WILL die' having basically the same meaning as 'MUST die', people maybe use the stronger and more dramatic version of MUST in day-to-day translation of the sentence...

So I guess 'valar' could mean 'all men' after all, dontcha' agree...?

Patchy


People overgeneralize too often


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Demandred
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posted 11 March 2003 10:15 PM      $post_id   Author's Homepage   Email Demandred   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Patchface! Good to see you around once in a while. (:

Yes, well I'm gonna claim that I purposefully overlooked that possibility to see if any of you would point it out. Happily, I've not been disappointed. And don't think I fail to properly appreciate that you leave the task of sounding arrogant all to me, either.

Then we really assume quite a change in the possible meaning, though, with an original that may mean "All people will die" becoming "All men must die" in the vernacular. For that matter, the verb might merely be present tense, not future, a glib valyrian observation that "Everybody dies."

Either way, of course, we end up with nearly the same basis for assumption as to what 'valar dohaeris' might mean, except that it's a bit broader this way because it allows for interpretations unrelated to duty or necessity, with no 'must' term involved.

Valar morghulis. Everybody dies
Valar dohaeris. Everybody knows that


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Patchface
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posted 12 March 2003 04:23 AM      $post_id   Email Patchface   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Quite so, Demandred !

I think there's been a little bit too much focus on literal translation (with all these discussions about syntax) without appreciating the *meaning* of what is said (the semantics).

So I fully agree that 'Everbody dies' is as good a translation as any other...as long as meaning is not lost...

Oh, and I would obviously never insinuate a Forsaken to be arrogant...

Patch


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Iamevos
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posted 15 March 2003 10:32 PM      $post_id   Email Iamevos   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Again i say look to the chapter that Martin put out it uses it a lot. It sounds more like a common kinda of thing to say like a greeting or I dont know realy.
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undercrown
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posted 26 May 2005 11:42 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
One of Dany's people said valar morghulis, and she replied in the Common Tongue. I don't remember which book, or what she said, but it struck me because I had until then figured it was a saying of Braavos.
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Kestrel
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posted 22 June 2005 01:44 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Don't hold me to it, but I'm about 99% sure it means, "But first we must live." Like I said, don't hold me to it. But I'm pretty sure Martin has announced this somewhere. A friend sent me a link to it one day. Neither of us can remember where it was, though.
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rintaun
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posted 25 July 2006 10:59 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
quote ::

[originally posted by Demandred]:
Hmm, so what you're saying, Ish, is that Valar is the subject? The problem I had with that is that you can't really create an imperative sentence just based on the conjugation of a single verb -- at least not in any language I'm familiar with. 'Everyone dies', sure, but not 'Everyone must die'.
How do you propose to get around that, huh? Do you know something I don't, mister talented polyglot?

And besides, not all horses have four legs. What about seahorses?

juggalosoldier: It sounds to me, from what you said, that we actually agree more than we disagree, don't you think?

[ March 11, 2004: Message edited by: Demandred ]




It is entirely possible that the imperative can be built into the conjugation of the verb. What follows is all speculation, of course.

Valar Morghulis: 'Morghulis' is almost definitely the conjugated (imperative) verb form of "to die". 'Valar' is, most likely, from the translation "all men must die", a plural/global form of the word "man". I assume that this is 'Val', which is the same root as that of 'Valyria'.

It's true that some have speculated that 'Valar Dohaeris' means, then, "but first we must live".. however, that's impossible. The sentence is structured in the exact same manner as 'Valar Morghulis'. In addition, the conjugation of the presumed verbs seems to be the same (-is?). Based on these conjectures, I presume that 'Valar Dohaeris', means 'All men must live'.

After all, both statements are true... all men must both die and live.

So, to summarize:

- Assuming that 'Valar' means "all men" and 'Morghulis' is the imperative present tense of the verb "to die"
- Assuming that 'Dohaeris' is actually, as has been conjectured in the past, the same conjugation of the verb "to live"
- As the sentence structure in both is the same, and thus cannot have words such as "but" and "first"
- 'Valar Dohaeris' may or may not mean 'All men must live'

Just my four and a half cents.

P.S. Apologies for dragging up such an old topic.

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Mordeth
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posted 26 July 2006 11:58 AM      $post_id   Email Mordeth   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
No apologies necessary, this place is a ghost town anyhow.


You only truly lose when winning becomes more important than playing.


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