“Valar Morghulis” means “All people must die” in english.
“Valar Dohaeris” means “All people must serve” in english.
If “Valar Morghulis” is said, it is answered with “Valar Dohaeris”.
“Valar Morghulis” and “Valar Dohaeris” come from the Valyrian language, an (artificial) language from Game of Thrones. “Valar Morghulis” and “Valar Dohaeris” are spoken in Essos.
In the original Books, Valar Morghulis means “All men must die” and Valar Dohaeris means “All men must serve.”
When was “Valar Morghulis” first said on the TV Show Game of Thrones?
For the first time “Valar Morghulis” is said in the tenth episode of the second season (S02E10). The episode is titled “Valar Morghulis”.
While escaping from Harrenhal, Arya meets the man without a face, Jaqen H’ghar. Talking to him, Arya wants to find out how he killed the guards in Harrenhal. Jaqen answers indirectly and makes it clear that it was not difficult. Arya then expresses her wish that she would like to have those skills as well. Jaqen suggests that she come to Braavos to be trained by the men without faces. Jaqen teaches her the words “Valar Morghulis” and gives her an iron coin. She is to give this coin to a resident of Braavos and say the words “Valar Morghulis” to it. Then she will be helped.
The background is that with “Valar Morghulis” in Bravos the Many-Faced God, also called God of Death, is connected and with him the cult around this god. The Faceless Men worship the Many-Faced God. They are a cult and a kind of guild of assassins.
If Arya now says “Valar Morghulis” to a resident of Bravos, she will be shown where the building of the Cult of the Many-Faced God is. This is where Arya receives her training as an assassin.
When was “Valar Dohaeris” first said on Game of Thrones?
The first episode of the third season (S03E01) is called “Valar Dohaeris”. In this episode, “Valar Dohaeris” is said for the first time. While Melisandre is traveling through the Riverlands, she meets Thoros of Myr and a R’hllor priest. She greets the priest with “Valar Morghulis” and he responds with “Valar Dohaeris”.
Meaning and Function of Valer Morghulis and Valar Dohaeris (Psychology)
Valar Morghulis” reminds us of the finiteness of human life and thus gives life a value. Those who become aware of the transience and finiteness of life realize that time is a limited resource and should not be wasted. Also, “Valar Morghulis” stands for the fact that life can end in the next moment and one should not be too sure that one will live to see the next day. (This can have a strong influence on people’s lives. Some draw strength from it, others take it as an occasion for debauchery).
Basically, with Valar Morghulis, death in itself is nothing bad or evil, but helps to realize the value of life and living time. With Valar Morghulis, death is associated with something relieving and hopeful. It can take away the fear of death.
“Valar Morghulis” is strongly reminiscent of “Memento mori.” “Memento mori” is a Latin saying that means “Be aware of mortality” in German. In the late Middle Ages and during the Baroque period, “Memento mori” was a common saying. This in the context of illnesses and wars such as the Thirty Years War.
What does “Valar Dohaeris” mean? (Psychology, Explanation)
“Valar Dohaeris” reminds us that every man, whether he wants to or not, serves someone or something. This is true even for the men without face, because they give life to death.
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In general, “Valar Dohaeris” can mean that there is nothing without reciprocation.
“Valar Dohaeris” can be understood as a reminder that a person must pursue an activity despite all freedoms. Whether he wants to or not this benefits someone.
In the context of slaveholding societies on Essos, “Valar Dohaeris” could be a reminder that all people – free or slave – will serve someone. In the worst case, “Valar Dohaeris” means that a free person will lose his freedom and become an unfree slave.
Also, “Valar Dohaeris” can be used as a justification for slave labor or taking advantage of people. Here, since all people have to serve anyway, it probably doesn’t seem to matter who, what or for what they serve.
Ambiguity of Valar Morghulis and Valar Dohaeris
Valar Morghulis and Valar Dohaeris begin with “All men must”. There is a double meaning here. The English word “men” means both “men” and “people”.
In the third episode of the third season (S0303) “The Way of Chastisement” this double meaning is alluded to. In this episode, Daenerys frees Missandei from her role as a slave to Krazyns. She demands Missandei from Krazyns as a gift and succeeds. In the conversation between Daenerys and Missandei, Daenerys explains that their common path is becoming dangerous and may even end in death. Missandei replies only “Valar Morghulis.” Daenerys replies encouragingly, “Every man must die, but we are not men”.