7

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
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    @Marriott81, war? – Mac Cooper Mar 4 '14 at 11:32
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    @Marriott81 Warden, warrior, straw, draw, saw, paw, etc all have that same phonetic sound: ɔː – TLP Mar 4 '14 at 12:53
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    @TLP it would depend on whether you speak a rhotic dialect or not. – curiousdannii Oct 6 '14 at 12:11
16

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.

  • I got that but, im just curious where in GOT the O comes from in the word – Marriott81 Mar 4 '14 at 11:06
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    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
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    @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. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warg – Moogle Mar 4 '14 at 13:06
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    @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
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    I don't believe I said he changed the spelling. He did not invent the word "elf" either, but he did change how people view elves. – TLP Mar 4 '14 at 21:00
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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).

  • Why do you think LOTR is relevant to pronunciation in ASOIAF?? – curiousdannii Oct 6 '14 at 12:12
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    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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    This pronunciation guide is only for Elvish languages, not words taken directly from Old English. – Nolimon Dec 12 '17 at 18:47
0

A Song of Ice and Fire

We Don't Know

George R. R. Martin has said various times that you can pronounce the names however you want.

Favorite character?
GRRM : Tyrion in Ice and Fire. Abner Marsh in Fevre Dream.
Glad to hear you pronounce the names
GRRM: In my youth I had a strong NJ accent, only reader in family, knew a lot of words that I had never heard spoken aloud. When I went away to college I found I was pronouncing a lot of these words wrong. I came to not care much about pronunciation. Pronounce the names of my characters however you like.
There are dangers in being a gardener, the story can run away from you - Shakespeare had to kill Mercutio because he was taking over play.
So Spake Martin, ODYSSEY CON 2008 (MADISON, WI; APRIL 4-6 2008)

He's even gone on to say he doesn't even know how to pronounce a lot of the names himself and so wouldn't be creating a pronunciation guide. Although he has gone on record as correcting some pronunciations in the audio books but again his version may not be correct.

My favorite question was when someone asked if he would consider writing a pronunciation guide to the series. He laughed and said no because he doesn't really know how to pronounce them himself. He did say that the Audio Books do have errors in pronunciation. (Petyr is just Peter, for example.)
Some he did say during the course of the evening:
Cersei = Sir-say
Jaime = Jamie (I think that was obvious but just in case)
Sansa = Sahn-sa
Tyrion = Tear-ion
Brienne = BriennE (pronounced long e at the end there)
Arya = Ar-Ya (Ex, Are ya?)
Daenerys = Dane-err-is
So Spake Martin, US SIGNING TOUR (NEW YORK CITY, NY)


Game of Thrones

In the show however, we hear multiple people say the word and it is pronounced like "war" with a "g" on the end. Where "war" is pronounced as:

wɔː(r)

You can hear Jojen Reed say the word in the following clip.

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