UC Berkeley grad, who created 'Game of Thrones' languages, visits campus for Season 8 Premiere

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The final season for the cultural phenomenon "Game of Thrones" kicked off Sunday night, and the hit show has a big Bay Area connection.

A Cal grad helps give a voice to many of the characters.

The drama, which is known for its intricate plot and detail, also features languages, created especially for the show.

UC Berkeley grad, David Peterson, invented the Valyrian and Dothraki languages that are used throughout the series.

"I took Arabic here, I took Russian, I took Esperanto, I took French, I took Egyptian hieroglyph," said Peterson about his time at UC Berkeley.

Peterson majored in English and linguistics at UC Berkeley. He graduated in 2003 and in 2009, he invented Dothraki for a Game of Thrones language competition. He won.



The HBO series is based off of George R. R. Martin's best-selling book series, "A Song of Ice and Fire."

"I wanted to make it look like as if my language existed before he ever wrote the books, as if he had taken my language and used it to translate the stuff into the books afterwards. He was always the number one inspiration," said Peterson of the author.

"It's not just a few words, it's an entire lexicon. It's an entire language with its own syntax," said Cass Serrano, a senior at UC Berkeley.

Serrano and other linguistics students watched the season eight premier with Peterson Sunday night, who often comes to campus to meet with students. Many consider him an inspiration.

"He put some really high standards for the rest of us," said Serrano.

"He's the only person who can actually make a living from this. That's just really cool, just the idea that you can come up with your own way of existing in the world, and inventing a whole new career pretty much," said UC Berkeley student, Amelia Fineberg.

Peterson has been approached by dozens of film and TV creators for new languages. He hopes someday to help other linguists enter the creative world.
Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.