The meaning of the engmatic Game of Thrones greeting: Valar Morghulis
It was already hard to wrap our heads around the insane Battle of Winterfell, but the fourth episode of this season was even more brutal despite the absence of the White Walkers. However, that is the way with ‘Game of Thrones’: no one is safe from getting killed. After all, “Valar Morghulis” is a key aspect of the show. Let’s find out the details about this expression and the answer to it.
THE ‘GOT’ CATCHPHRASE
Before the battle began in Episode Three, Melisandre arrived at Winterfell, much to everyone’s surprise. No one knew where she went or why she returned so unexpectedly. However, after lighting the Dothraki arakhs with her powers from the Lord of Light, she walked toward the Unsullied formation and met Grey Worm’s eyes.
She told him, “Valar morghulis.” Grey Worm replied with, “Valar dohaeris”. While it is hard to get over the deaths of such beloved characters, it is important to notice the small details because ‘Game of Thrones’ is very meticulous about their entire dialogue. These two phrases have appeared several times over the course of the show.
“Valar morghulis” comes from High Valyrian, and it was first heard in Season Two, Episode Ten when Jaqen H’ghar said it to Arya. He helped her get out of Harrenhal and killed two guards in the process. Once safely outside, Jaqen revealed that she could learn to be just like him in Braavos.
At the time, Arya was still pretty much a kid, who had a list of enemies she needed to kill like Cersei and the Hound, but she refused the offer. Jaqen gave her a coin with the motto inscribed on the top. He also told her that she only needed to say the word to any citizen in Braavos, and they would help her find Jaqen at any point.
At the time, only fans of the novels would have been able to understand the phrase at all. The show described its mean later on Season Three, Episode Three. Once Daenerys made it to Astapor to purchase the Unsullied, she reached a deal with Krhaznys mo Nakloz. She would give him a dragon in exchange for all the soldiers, including those still in training.
Moreover, Dany also asked Krhaznys for his translator, Missandei. As they walked away, the mother of dragons told the former slave that standing at her side was going to be dangerous, and Missandei simply said, “Valar morghulis.” However, Dany answered, "Yes. All men must die," and then, she uttered the best line in the world, "But we are not men."
WHAT IT MEANS
The correct response to “Valar morghulis” is actually “Valar dohaeris”, which was not said on the show until Season Three, Episode Six, when Melisandre talked to Thoros of Myr in the Riverlands. However, its meaning was also not expressed until much later in Season Five, Episode Three when Arya was in the House of Black and White in Braavos.
She was upset that Jaqen was making her clean things instead of teaching her how to be an assassin, and he said, “Valar Dohaeris — all men must serve." This part of the motto is an intricate saying of the Faceless Men, who serve the Many-Faced God. “Valar morghulis” is all about death, which is where humans end up always, while “valar dohaeris” is about serving the true God.
However, it is not just the Faceless Men who use these phrases, and it seems to be part of the common tongue in ‘Game of Thrones’. Most people in Westeros use it to say that they are all going to die at some point. Obviously, this is true because everything that lives eventually dies. It became a common saying instead of just the motto of the Faceless Men at this point.
However, that moment with Melisandre and Grey Worm was incredibly important because they knew that this would be the greatest war they would fight in their lifetimes – at least, at the moment. “Valar dohaeris” can be attributed to serving the people, protecting them, and giving your life for someone you believe in like Grey Worm looks up to Daenerys.
Now that the Night King was defeated by Arya Stark with some major and many minor character deaths all over the place, things are getting more difficult for Daenerys, who has lost a lot ever since she arrived in Westeros. Episode Four was worse than Episode Three because even more characters lost their lives. It truly seems like Cersei will end up winning the Iron Throne for good.
Melisandre took off her necklace after the Battle of Winterfell and finally died, which means that the Lord of Light or any other prophecies will not be shown. Additionally, Episode Four proved that is not only men that must die. Last season, viewers saw Viserion die at the hands of the Night King, but last Sunday, Rhaegal was killed by Euron Greyjoy in a heartbreaking manner.
As if that was not enough, during that confrontation, Missandei was captured and later killed right in front of Daenerys and Grey Worm. However, Cersei asked her if she had any last words to say, and fans most likely thought that she would say “Valar morghulis”. Instead, Missandei looked at the love of her life and then, at her queen, uttering, “Dracarys.”
This is another interesting High Valyrian phrase used by Daenerys for some time now. Since her dragons were babies, she has been teaching them the command which means “Dragonfire”, and Dany has roasted her enemies on top of Drogon. Unfortunately, he is the only dragon left, and with Qyburn’s scorpions, he is vulnerable.
Episode Five is shaping up to be more insane than the latest one because Cersei has truly inspired the wrath of Dany, and she won’t deal with diplomacy anymore. Tyrion won’t be able to save his sister one more time, and he shouldn’t even try or he might be called a traitor – although, it seems like he is already one.
The motto has really set up for the show to be a bloodbath, but not even the most stone-hearted fans are prepared to lose everyone they have loved for ten years. Let us know who you think will end up on the Iron Throne. If you liked this article, share it with your friends who were shocked by Rhaegal’s death. See you next time!
Source: Pop Sugar