Linguist David J. Peterson talks creating languages for Game of Thrones


The man behind the languages heard in Game of Thrones actually created two more for the show, but have never seen the light of day until now.

The characters on Game of Thrones have to pick their words carefully, because in certain places, like King’s Landing, the wrong word can mean life or death. English isn’t the only language we encounter in the series. Linguist David J. Peterson was tasked with creating the spoken word for other races in the Known World, notably Dothraki and Valyrian. But on the podcast Game of Owns, he revealed he created two more languages for the show that were never used.

Peterson, who also has created languages for films such as Doctor Strange and Thor: The Dark World, says way back in Season 1, he developed a voice for the White Walkers. The language they speak is actually called “Skroth,” but we only hear the sounds of crackling ice wherever they go in the series. There was also a language for the port city of Asshai, which he called Asshai’i.

We did hear a bit of it in Season 1’s “Baelor,” as the priestess Mirri Maz Duur performed blood magic to ‘save’ Khal Drogo. Peterson explained that sometimes things he pitches to the show get “buried” by other plotlines.

From the Game of Thrones season 6 finale. Photo: courtesy of HBO

Now that Daenerys has reached the shores of Westeros, we’re sure to hear some scenes full of Dothraki and Valyrian during season 7. Peterson says at least two of the seven episodes in the upcoming season will go heavy on the subtitles, so there’s sure to be new words any language lover can easily pick up.

Next: How long will Game of Thrones’ season 7 episodes be?

To read more about the podcast, check it out on our sister site Winter is Coming.

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on July 16.