Translation Guy Blog
“What did he just say?” some Game of Thrones fans were asking themselves recently. The answer lies in a hamster reference from Monty Python.
Before a duel between the rough Daario Naharis and the unlucky Champion of Meereen in Season 4’s Episode 3, called “Breaker of Chains,” the Champion shouts a rude but silly taunt in Low Valyrian, one of the fictional languages used in the HBO show. Some fans recognized the Low Valyrian word for mother “mhysa” and thought the Champion was making some kind of “your momma” joke.
Not so, it turns out. Game of Thrones’ staff linguist, David Peterson, has clarified that the insult begins with “Your mother is a hamster…” Dan Weiss, Game of Thrones’ creator, had asked Peterson to incorporate the famous phrase once yelled by a French solider in the classic comedic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The revelation delighted Game of Thrones and Monty Python fans alike. No doubt many fans will be listening closely for the next Easter egg.
HBO’s Game of Thrones is an adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. The languages used in the show are based on the few words that appear in Martin’s novels but were more fully fleshed out by HBO. In fact, David Peterson, Game of Thrones’ staff linguist, has created over 5,000 words in the show’s three languages: Low Valyrian, High Valyrian and Dothraki. His work and Game of Thrones’ popularity have made Low Valyrian, like Klingon from Star Trek in the past, a fun fake language and fan code that people really respond to.
The recent Monty Python-based insult isn’t the only time David Peterson has put hidden meanings into his creations, however. He admits including references intended for his wife, with her name the inspiration for the Dothraki word for “kind.”
So what will Peterson say next? Game of Thrones fans can’t wait to find out.