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Just a quick question about the pronunciation of the word Warg.

In Game of Thrones it’s called a “Warg” (in the books that’s how it’s written), but in the series they pronounce it “Worg”.

However in Norse Mythology where the word originates from, it’s Anglicized from “Vargr” to “Warg” or “Varg” (a fact backed up by research online). This is also backed up in Lord of the Rings among other things about the Warg Riders.

Anyone got any ideas why this might be?

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Seems to me it's just an accent thing. The GOT-cast has a very distinct accent, with many words pronounced differently than what one (or I, at least) is used to from 'normal' english. Although I don't remember the actual pronunciation from GOT, so I could be grossly mistaken. – LarissaGodzilla Mar 4 '14 at 10:16
“it’s Anglicized from “Vargr” to “Warg” or “Varg”” — fair enough, but what does that tell you about how the word “should” be pronounced? “A fact backed up by research online” — this would carry more weight if you linked to something. – Paul D. Waite Mar 4 '14 at 11:04
@PaulD.Waite can you find any examples of the letter A in the English Language being spoken as an O? I sure as hell cant.. – Marriott81 Mar 4 '14 at 11:11
@Marriott81, war? – Mac Cooper Mar 4 '14 at 11:32
@Marriott81 Warden, warrior, straw, draw, saw, paw, etc all have that same phonetic sound: ɔː – TLP Mar 4 '14 at 12:53
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Like many words in English, there's no "correct" pronunciation.

The vowel in "warg" can be the same as that in "war" or "jar", either are acceptable.

As it has been anglicised, it will be pronounced with a "w", not a "v", however it's not uncommon to hear it pronounced "varg" by people who prefer to relate more to the original roots of the word (consider the different way that native English-speaking people pronounce Volkswagen).

if you want to look more into the etymology of the word, then you could try the English Language & Usage Stack Exchange.

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I got that but, im just curious where in GOT the O comes from in the word – Marriott81 Mar 4 '14 at 11:06
In GoT they pronounce the vowel to rhyme with "war". This is common in English, consider the words: warm, warp, wart, wharf, warn, ward etc. – Moogle Mar 4 '14 at 11:28
The word "varg" means "wolf" in Swedish, and is pronounced like this: Its not a fantasy or mythical word, its the actual word for wolf. We have no such word as "warg" in Swedish, the closes thing that comes to mind is "varulv", which is "werewolf". I seem to recall (from a previous discussion of the word) "warg" being an invention of Tolkien, who was a linguist who favoured the Scandinavian languages. – TLP Mar 4 '14 at 13:01
@TLP "warg" is the anglicised version as popularised by Tolkein. But it wasn't invented by him, it's an Old English word, you can find it in Beowulf. – Moogle Mar 4 '14 at 13:06
@TLP I don't believe he change the spelling though, just altered the definition to have mythical qualities. Perhaps a better linguist than I can clarify. – Moogle Mar 4 '14 at 14:45

In The Lord of the Rings, there's a section (in Appendix E) that specifically discusses pronunciation rules. Here are the applicable parts (emphasis mine):

W has the sound of English w


For vowels the letters i, e, a, o, u are used ... the sounds were approximately those represented by i, e, a, o, u in English machine, were, father, for, brute, irrespective of quantity.


R represents a trilled r in all positions.


G has only the sound of g in give, get.

So, in IPA, Tolkien's wargs would be pronounced /ˈwɑrg/, which rhymes with "jar" (and has a trilled R).

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Why do you think LOTR is relevant to pronunciation in ASOIAF?? – curiousdannii Oct 6 '14 at 12:12
The question specifically mentions LotR "backs up" a certain pronunciation, so I figured the fact that it's actually canonical was a valid point. – Plutor Oct 6 '14 at 13:33

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