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(Spoilers Extended) Funny theory on the real meaning of "Valar Morghulis"

(Spoilers Extended) Funny theory on the real meaning of "Valar Morghulis"

ohkendruid

I believe that for the Valar part. It means person in the Valyrian language. Likewise, Valrya is the part of the world where the full human beings live. People from outside are something lesser. And for that matter, the name of the language means, the langauge of the people. It's all very elitist. Fertile ground for a good smiting by a god who had enough of it.


jssgrhrd

It is literally GRRM’s version of Memento Mori. It is the philosophical reminder of death’s inevitability and directly translates to “remember that you (have to) die”


ygorchagas

I only remember of Persona 3


fiona_codia

Thanks for reminding me how upset I still am over Makoto's death at the end.


LustigerVampir

I don't know this, but it sounds spoilery?


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sebastianwillows

It makes perfect sense once you consider that Aegon was an absolute beast on the court.


benjamin4463

Under appreciated joke right here


binermoots

Its upvotes would indicate that it is appreciated.


benjamin4463

When I made that comment it had no upvotes


[deleted]

Hmm that does raise another question I don't have an answer to.


Ar-Curunir

They serve Iluvatar


omagik1

Could work as the bravosi wanting to make them serve because they put them in bondage


catgirl_apocalypse

The Valyrians probably saw themselves as the only real/true people, so in Valyrian “valar” just means people.


ellipsis444

The reason I think it makes sense is because the root word in *Valar* could clearly be signaling “Valyrian,” so that would change the phrase to still mean the same thing, but only really applying to Valyrian people and their descendants.


Malgas

Also, there are plenty of real-world cultures whose name for themselves ultimately means something like "the people". The same could be true of Valyrian.


modsarefascists42

Yep I think you're right. Valar would mean "a person" in valyrian with valyria being the people. Makes sense and is easy from a linguistic perspective.


whichonespinkterran

Could be more profound, like a true god serves the people, kinda like that.


Bennings463

Also see Castamir/Castamere.


[deleted]

Haha, thanks for the tip. I haven't read LOTR but I think I might have to now, just to better understand ASOIAF.


bladerunnerhansolo

Morgul blades are a thing in Tolkien. That's what frodo was stabbed with on weathertop. So maybe Valar = gods/ life/light and morgulis is derived from morgul blades= mortality death and darkness


ColePT

High Valyrian is still spoken, so if it meant that people would know. Although it can be argued that the Valyrians referred to themselves simply as "men", which is a possibility.


TheZigerionScammer

I kind of see a similarity to the naming etymology of Native American tribes to Europeans. Most Native tribe names mean things like "people of the valley" or "people of the great river" or something like that, because that's what those tribes called themselves in their own languages. But when Europeans came and categorized the Native Americans and gave them names based on what they called themselves, that meaning is lost to them. So their names like Huron, Cherokee, Iroquois, etc. just sound like proper nouns to us but for them they actually describe themselves. "Valar" and "Valyrian" could be similar. They called themselves "Valar" so the rest of the world called them "Valyrians" based on that word.


SokarRostau

I read once, long ago, that when the Spanish met a certain group for the first time they asked through their translator "Can you tell us the name of your people?". The answer they got meant "No", "I don't know", or "Go away" (I can't remember which) but the translator didn't know this and left the word untranslated, so the Spanish assumed this was their name. They continued asking questions like "are there any other tribes around here?", "can you tell us what is beyond those hills?", and "do you know of any villages down the river"? Each question got the same response, so the Spanish assumed that they were in the middle of a large territory owned by a single group. The 'name' stuck, eventually became the English name, and either remained that group's name until the 20th century or remains to this day.


Chimie45

Generally this is a folk story that isn't really supported by a lot of evidence. It's been said about plenty of names, locations, and animals/foods. You can read more here: https://www.reddit.com/r/etymology/comments/o3xick/wordsnames_that_literally_mean_i_dont_know?sort=top


KingAlfredOfEngland

I've heard the version of the story that "kangaroo" is a translation of an aboriginal phrase meaning "I can't understand you".


onthefence928

I think this story was made up for arrival


KingAlfredOfEngland

I had to google "arrival kangaroo" to figure out what you meant, but no, I distinctly remember hearing this story as a kid in the early 2000s, a decade before that movie came out. I had never even heard of that movie before. My mother was Australian so I spent a lot of time there, and that story was just considered by many to be the proper etymology of the word "kangaroo".


okaycomputes

"I prefer Noh theater"


[deleted]

There's other words in High Valyrian whose meanings are debated in the main series, I think in a Tyrion chapter talking about TPTWP, so the meanings aren't 100% agreed upon and understood.


SlugTheToad

>Although it can be argued that the Valyrians referred to themselves simply as "men", which is a possibility and they may have considered themselves the only people worthy of the title of "valar", that is, the valyrian term for "human", because they treated non-valyrians as slaves, animals, meat. So maybe how the Bravosi tell this line, they are ironical, in that they refer to the self-exceptionalist way the Valyrians saw themselves, the only people worthy of being called Valar, and that's the group of people that must die, maybe also remembering their fall, and that's what they're referring to, the Doom of Valyria (e.g. All Valyrians must be doomed) I wonder what word they used for slaves, or more precisely, nations and their populations that they enslaved


metatron5369

They probably called themselves something different altogether. Germany is Deutschland in German for example.


setibeings

I figure Rome is a more similar analog to Valyria. This isn't a case where some foreign country came up with an alternative word for another land, it's more likely to be an instance where words change because time has passed. Think of the origins of the word Romantic, and the fact that the latin word for foreigner is literally where we get the word barbarian.


FlightOfTheEarl

The term barbarian actually comes from Greek. They believed foreign languages sounded stupid as though it was just 'bar bar bar'. Interestingly it's also the root of the word 'Berber' who are the natives of north africa prior to Arab colonization and the term is not considered derogatory. The term carried over into Latin but it wasn't the main term used for foreigners at all.


bfangPF1234

“Valar” is likely the Valyrian word for “men” with a positive connotation.


[deleted]

Yes! They make the modern understanding of the word very clear, but meanings change over time.


swagdragonwolf

One good thing we get because the books aren't finished. Funny and interesting "theories" like these.


starwars_and_guns

"funny" and "interesting" ;)


Slipguard

An alternative question this Valar / Valyrian link poses is are the Valyrians descended from angels/aliens?


DawgFighterz

They’re descended from cats


Low_Ant3691

From Khajiit.


xekik

The warm sand of Elsweyr is far away from here


[deleted]

GRRM is a scifi nerd, and ASOIAF is part of his multiworlds univserse!


KikoMatamoros

No, George himself said that ASOIAF doesn't take place in the thousand worlds


PeterSeagard

Obviously not, Plsnetos is old Hranga 🤪


Just_A_Mad_Scientist

That would add more credence to the theory of the faceless men causing the doom


Vogonvor

Something which makes this more likely is that we hear the term most in Bravos which is the most anti-valyrian place in planetos.


LUCARiO

Tinfoil theory time: I recently finished reading The LoTR and found so many pertinent similarities to asoiaf. Not least of which when Frodo sails off to the West at the end of the books. Westeros is in the West. If Middle Earth is in the east where Sauron's shadow covers it as his power grows, is Asshai being "by the shadow" a reference to Asshai being next to Sauron's next place of power? Did Frodo and Bilbo sail off into the West with Gandalf to the undying lands of Valyria before their immortality got the better of them and The Doom came? Ok, now I'm losing it.


[deleted]

Omni-spoilers just to be safe. Just thought this fits too well with the Faceless Men's origin story.


arihndas

Lol I was just coming to the comments to say given the origin of the free cities it makes total sense 🤣


ellipsis444

Yeah this is absolutely possible. The root word in *Valar* could clearly be signaling “Valyrian,” so that would change the phrase to still mean the same thing, but only really applying to Valyrian people and their descendants. Great find!!


DawgFighterz

Probably a ref sure, but valyrians aren’t special. That’s targ propaganda


[deleted]

Which is why it's probably built into their language, though the useage may have changed over time. There's other words in High Valyrian whose meanings are debated in the main series, I think in a Tyrion chapter, so the meanings aren't 100% agreed upon and understood.


DawgFighterz

Nah probably not


[deleted]

Any reason you think that?


EddPW

i mean werent they special as in alot of ways? they could tame dragons and not get sick


PeterSeagard

We don’t really know how dragon taming and hatching works. Nettles tamed a dragon by feeding it. Maybe they had greater resistance to illness because they had better sanitation or the best Maesters. Or maybe they never did.


DawgFighterz

Mental illness is definitely an illness and multiple Targ ladies are described as sickly. That’s targ propaganda. And about the dragon taming, I can refer you to someone with Valyrian blood who thought the same. His famous last words >Oh.


Just_A_Mad_Scientist

And Nettles, don't forget Nettles


DawgFighterz

Well I actually think Nettles is Daemon’s bastard but I do agree that like everyone from a Mediterranean climate, Dragons are partial to lamb.


AxeIsAxeIsAxe

Definitely agree about the illness thing because it just doesn't hold up when looking at Targaryen history, but it is pretty universally accepted that Valyrian/Targ blood is necessary to tame a dragon. Note the distinction between "necessary" and "sufficient". It's not like all the Targ bastards during the Dance managed to tame dragons either.


EddPW

>Mental illness is definitely an illness and multiple Targ ladies are described as sickly. yeh but in fire and blood its tell us the earlier targs dint have any problems with it or any other disease if i remember correctly it was jaehaerys daughter daenerys that got sick and it shocked everyone > And about the dragon taming, I can refer you to someone with Valyrian blood who thought the same. i mean having targ blood doesnt mean you will be able to tame one but not having it certainly means you wont


DawgFighterz

Targ propaganda. Targs pushed the “you need Valyrian blood” line to maintain control of their WMDs.


EddPW

theres no textual evidence to say thats 100% true


DawgFighterz

There’s no textual evidence to say most of the things we talk about are true.


zone-zone

Valyria delenda est


nukemelbournewhen

I thought it'd hint at "All gods must die" and "All gods must serve". Since the Valar are lesser gods to eru.


SomeShiitakePoster

Idk seems like Valar would just be their own word for men and the fact that others call them valyrians is probably etymological linked to that


izzyobro

Isn't it basically the YOLO of ASoIaF


Narsil13

If I remember correctly the full translation is something like.. Gods of black magic/Gods of the tree


SokarRostau

Hold up... Gods of the *tree*?


Narsil13

Vala-r https://eldamo.org/content/words/word-3104279967.html >“Gods” Doha-eris https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Doha >From Arabic الدَّوْحَة‎ (ad-dawḥa, literally “the big tree”) https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Eris >Borrowed from Ancient Greek Ἔρις (Éris), from ἔρις (éris, “strife”). Mor-ghul-is(Plural?) https://eldamo.org/content/words/word-4048309247.html >“black, dark, darkness” https://eldamo.org/content/words/word-1108144049.html >“black arts, sorcery, (evil) knowledge”


SokarRostau

>from ἔρις (éris, “strife”). Epic strife. So, it's a greeting that roughly equates to Hello, Yin. Hello, Yang. On one side we have the idea of those that use blood and fire magic, and on the other we have wargs and greenseers of the weirwood. It doesn't matter whether the coin flips to Fire or Ice, the song is always about death. Come to think of it, without such balance between these two sides the result would be epic strife.


Narsil13

Possibly, it's difficult to say for sure. For instance Bloodraven seems to indicate that darkness is an ally of the trees. So it might be two lines referring to different aspects of one side.


Professional-Tax-936

Its rumored, or idk if it’s confirmed, that GRRM gave the showrunners the ending to the series. And Arya’s building up to killing someone. So if this would be true then it could be either fAegon, Dany, or Jon. But in the show Arya killed the Night King and if it is true that D&D had the ending to the series maybe she does do that. So Jon comes back to life but as an Other, or a twisted version of it and becomes the Night King of sorts and turns bad or something and she kills him. The series loves to mention their close bond and they keep talking about each other in their chapters and it honestly seems like something GRRM would do. And with Chekov’s gun, what if Arya kills Night King Jon with Needle. If not then she’ll probably kill Dany, I doubt she would kill fAegon.


starwars_and_guns

D&D confirmed that they pulled Arya killing the night king out of the air. Her story may be building to Arya killing someone but if so GRRM did not confirm that at all. AFAIK the only bit he confirmed was that Bran would be ruler of...something.


jageshgoyal

Probably Aegon


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