The Odd Connection Between The Witcher & Game Of Thrones

There’s a connection between Netflix’s Witcher series and HBO’s Game of Thrones, and it all has to do with language.

Game of Thrones ended in May of 2019, with Netflix’s The Witcher picking up that grim fantasy mantle just last month. Those looking for a new TV series to binge will probably find a lot to love in The Witcher’s story, but few will know there’s an even bigger connection between Game of Thrones and The Witcher than just the shows’ dark and brooding atmosphere.

The two shows share a common thread that all has to do with their made-up languages.

In The Witcher, magic is all cast by speaking Elvish, also known as The Elder Speech. The books on which the show is based have snippets of that language, but author Andrezej Sapkowski never quite fleshed out a full language. Instead, he used bits and pieces of Celtic languages such as Irish, Welsh, and Scottish, and then filled in the rest where it was needed with English, German, Italian, and Latin words.

Fans have compiled a partial dictionary online, but the show needed a more complete language in order to write each episode’s scripts. For that, Netflix brought on David J. Peterson, the linguist who also created the Dothraki language in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Starting with the books, Peterson created the entire Elder Speech language. While fan dictionaries certainly helped, Peterson needed to go straight to the source in order to determine the root words of the language and then fill in the rest from there.

“If it’s supposed to be a naturalistic, realistic language, you want to be able to dig into it and see that there’s something there,” Peterson said in an interview with IGN. “That you can actually evaluate everything that you’re hearing and say ‘that works the way that a natural language works.'”

Another tidbit: while the show is mostly based on the books, there are a few connections with The Witcher games as well. Notably, costume designs between the games and the show are very similar, but also, the show’s executive producer is Tomek Baginski, the same guy who directed the cinematic sequences in the games.

Source: Looper.com, IGN

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