Game of Thrones may be over until next spring, but that doesn't mean you have to go into withdrawal. David Peterson, creator of the series' Dothraki language, is publishing a guide and online course so you can speak like the merciless horsemen. And he recently sat down with Salon to explain how he created the now 3,800-word language.
Of course, Game of Thrones is not the first series to include its own language. The Star Trek franchise famously developed the Klingon language for its shows and movies, and Peterson himself has also created languages for Syfy's Defiance and Dominion, as well as the CW's Star-Crossed.
But the Dothraki language was the first Peterson has created from existing material. George R.R. Martin wrote about 50 words of Dothraki—mostly names—in the collective works of A Song of Ice and Fire. Peterson catalogued those words and came up with pronunciations he felt would be true to Martin's original vision. He then determined a word order for the language: subject, verb, object, followed by adjectives.
Though the Dothraki are generally portrayed as a brutal cast of characters, Peterson made clear that the language is not meant to only represent an evil people. To him, the harsh, often sexist dialogue used by the Dothraki is just one small part of the language. But to create a language, he says, "you have to create the language of the misogynist" as well.
Living Language Dothraki: A Conversational Language Course will go on sale for $19.99 on October 7th. Along with the included CD, it'll help you learn 200 Dothraki words and phrases. For an additional $30 you can get the complementary online course, which bumps the vocabulary up to 500 different words.
Peterson tells Salon that the course should allow hardcore GoT fans to understand Dothraki dialogue as spoken on the show. Living Language will also release a companion app for $3.99, sometime in the near future.
But while the book is written, Peterson is far from done with his work. He still plans to expand the Dothraki language to over 10,000 words.
If you can't wait until October to start learning Dothraki, check out The New York Times' 2011 report on the Dothraki language, where you can learn some common phrases that'll help you fit in with the khalasar.