Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei) was “freaking out” when she had to learn Valyrian


As Missandei on Game of Thrones, Nathalie Emmanuel routinely had to speak Valyrian, an entirely made-up language. It’s as intimidating as you’d think.

Nathalie Emmanuel played Daenerys Targaryen’s right-hand woman Missandei for six seasons on Game of Thrones. Quiet and unassuming, Missandei wasn’t the most explosive character on the show, but her placid exterior belied a keen mind and fierce spirit, and Emmanuel’s committed performance improved every scene she was in.

One of the trickier things she had to do was speak Valyrian, a language made up entirely for the series. Not only that, she had to speak it well; Missandei is a translator, after all.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Emmanuel remembered getting her first script full of Valyrian dialogue. “I was like….. Huh… okay!” she said. “And I remember freaking out for a minute. Because it was just written in the script and I had no kind of like other materials that taught me how to pronounce, how to say it, what it sounded like. I had nothing.”

Happily, David J. Peterson — the man responsible for fleshing out the snatches of Dothraki and Valyrian dialogue George R.R. Martin included in his Song of Ice and Fire books and turning them into full languages — was on hand to help. “I had so many great resources from David who wrote the language,” Emmanuel recalled. “So I used to get these pages of it, written down phonetically and in English. And I also had recordings of him saying it phonetically, saying it at speed and then saying it slightly slower, then slightly slower in English. We had a lot of support and we also had direct coaches that were really wonderful.”

"I remember the first time I listened to one of their recordings, and I just couldn’t speak for a minute. I was so dumbfounded, I was like how am I gonna do this. Basically, what I realized I kind of got stuck, it was that. It was repetition, that’s all. That’s the only way to learn this stuff. It’s like learning a song. You have to just learn the words and put them in the right order."

Emmanuel has a pretty big 2021 planned. She’ll be in Zack Snyder’s Netflix movie Army of the Dead as well as F9, the ninth Fast & Furious movie. Neither will likely require her to speak a fictional language, but you never know.

Next. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau gets lead in new action-thriller alongside Jamie Foxx. dark

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h/t Wiki of Thrones