Great Job Everyone: We've Been Pronouncing 'Khaleesi' Wrong The Entire Time

By Brad Nash
25 March 2019
Game of Thrones
Credit: HBO
The revelation was dropped by David Peterson, the linguist responsible for creating all of the languages on Game of Thrones

As if we haven't already been through enough.

As Game of Thrones approaches its eighth and final season, both the show's fans and stars have been through the emotional ringer trying to get to the end.

We've seen children burned at the stake, heroes slain, villains prevail, and dragons shot from the air. By this point, we're all just emotionless husks, resigned to one more season of abject heartbreak before we finally find out who claims the Iron Throne.

Now though, as a collective, we all have to step back and deal with the fact that we've been saying the name of one of the show's most popular characters, Khaleesi (real name Daenerys, of course), completely wrong the entire time. And so has Emilia Clarke, who plays the character on the show.

This literary nuke of a revelation was first dropped by David Peterson, the linguist responsible for creating all of the languages in the show. When talking about how he brought the languages to life on The Allusionist podcast, he proceeded to dismantle perhaps the one we thought was a pure and true constant throughout the entire Game of Thrones series. 

He explained: "I wanted to make sure if something was spelled differently, it was pronounced differently. That worked pretty well for everything except the word 'Khaleesi'. Which is just a real thorn in my side.

"There's no way it should be pronounced 'ka-LEE-see' based on the spelling. So I had to decide am I going to re-spell this thing because I know how people are going to pronounce this, or am I going to honour that spelling and pronounce it differently? I made the latter decision and I think it was the wrong decision."

He continued: "Changing the spelling to 'Khalisi' would have fixed all my problems. 'EE' and 'I' can't be pronounced the same because they're spelled differently. If I want to honour George RR Martin's spellings, [that] gives us the pronunciation CHA-LAY-eh-see."

TOO LATE NOW. Quite frankly, we think he made the right decision, anyway. Unless you're one of the unfortunate parents of a child that you just named 'Khalessi', in which case you already needed to take a long, hard look at yourselves anyway.

Anyway, should you recover from this latest blow in time to catch the first episode, Season 8 of Game of Thrones will premiere on April 15.


Via GQ Australia

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