The "etymology" of Valyrian names

Valyrian names, and Targaryen names specifically, are probably the first contact any reader of the books or watcher of the show get to High Valyrian. Of course, they were coined by George R. R. Martin long before David J. Peterson actually created the language. Nevertheless, I found it interesting that some roots in the names by GRRM have meanings created by DJP, which may be intentional or not. None of the ones I have found have negative meanings, which is interesting. Since long vowels are a DJP invention I haven't taken them into account here.

  • āegion "iron" – Aegon

  • aemagon "to have (of things)" – Aemon

  • aeragon "to move" – Aerys

  • baelagon "to help" – Baelor

  • dāer- "free" – Daeron

  • dārys "king" – Daario

  • jaeh- "god" + aeragon "to move" – Jaehaerys

  • jaqiarzy "glorious" – Jaqen

  • maeg- "wise" (uncertain) – Maegor

  • rhaenagon "to meet" – Rhaenys

  • sȳr- "good" – Syrio

Bonus: do- "non-, un-" + haeragon "to move (of things)" – to not move, to be kept imprisoned – dohaeragon "to serve" (i.e. to be a slave)

Can you think of any others?

May 25, 2019


"Kirimvose" seems to share the root of "kirine", much like the common Chinese greeting 你好 (Nǐ hǎo = you good).

May 27, 2019

That one is pretty much confirmed, it essentially means "with happiness". But both words are also by DJP.

May 27, 2019

Additions to those suggested above:

  • *aer- "to move, go" - Aerea, Aerion, Aeryn, ?[Daen]aera, [Jac]aerys, [Jaeh]aerys, [Jaeh]aera, [Jaenara Bel]aerys

  • *bael- "to help" - Baela, Baelon

  • *maeg- "wise" - Maegelle, Maegon, [Volantene Triarch Malaquo] Maegyr (and probably also GOT-only Talisa Maegyr)

  • *rhaen- "to meet; to find" - Rhaena, Rhaenyra

Possible others:

  • *dor- whence dōron "stone" (or alternatively from the same source as the negative do(r)-) - Doro [Golathis] (a Norvosi historian)

  • *lor- whence lōragon "to drill, to bore" - Lorath, Lorassyon (could be a connection to the ancient Mazemakers)

  • *mel- whence mele "red(dish)" - Meleys (the Red Queen, Alyssa Targaryen's dragon), ?Melisandre (if not Asshai'i, as suggested as a possibility on In ADWD, we learn her name to be Melony, which could also be from the same root), ?Mellario of Norvos

  • *nev- whence nevegon "to carry" - Nevio Narratys (Prince of Pentos)

  • val- whence vala "man", valonqar "younger brother" and possibly Valyria - Valarr, Valerion, Valaena and maybe also the Volantene town Valysar. The first element vol- in Volantis and the town Volon Theris could theoretically be from a different ablaut grade of the same root, or alternatively just a phonetic development in the Low Volantene Valyrian (although Valysar probably makes this impossible).

These are extremely tenuous:

  • perhaps a root *kor- whence korze "longsword", korzion "steel", korzita "firm, taught" (with the -z(?V)- as a later suffix) - Corlys, Korra (the Cruel on Dagger Lake, if a Valyrian name at all, and not Rhoynish)

  • kel-, if a potential root for keligon 'to stop' (although a V-final i-stem verb) - Celtigar (Keltigar, cf. tig(-)ar- element(s) in Lysene magister Tigaro Moraqos)

June 19, 2019

Good job! Interesting about the posible etymologies.

May 27, 2019

Very interesting. I came to this forum to ask about this. Tolkien made his languages so that he can give names to characters and places. I wondered if Peterson also based his vocabulary not only in the few Valyrian phrases like valar, morghulis, dohaeris etc but also if he used character and place names as his roots, to give them a meaning retroactively. So perhaps someone who learns valyrian will be able to find character names meaningful?

June 11, 2019

He seems to have done that, yes, or at least partially.

June 13, 2019
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