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There are currently five questions asking how to pronounce certain words in A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones (I thought there was more but I can't seem to find any others). However, George R. R. Martin has said various times that names can be pronounced "however you like" and so the answer to all these questions is the same (although this has only been answered onto two of them). The questions are:

As such I think it would be sensible to create a canonical question and close them all to it to save repeating the answer everywhere. For this we have the following options:

  1. Edit the best question to be broader and close all to that one. (I personally believe that the best answered one is the Warg one here)
  2. Create a new Q/A that's broader and close them all to that.
  3. Some other option.

What do you guys think should be done here?

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Too broad?

If a question is asking for the pronunciation of ALL character/place names in the Westeros universe, then the answers would be unlikely to all fit in a single answer post (30,000 character limit?) As such, that hypothetical question sounds like a textbook case of "too broad":

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once.

Asking for the pronunciation of (say) Aeron Damphair, Petyr Baelish, Jaime, Tyrion, and Cersei would certainly be "multiple distinct questions", and (as we've seen) each of these pronunciation requests can function perfectly well as a question on its own, even attracting multiple answers.

"However you like"

This quote from GRRM is certainly interesting background information on how a given name 'should' be pronounced, but it's by no means the bottom line and only possible answer.

  • First of all, it clearly doesn't apply to Game of Thrones questions. For A Song of Ice and Fire, GRRM is the author and creator, and a quote from him can count as "Word of God" (even though I'm pretty sure he's been known to lie or at least embroider the truth). But Game of Thrones is a television show, and as such - regardless of what GRRM says - it does usually have a canonical way to pronounce names, namely the way characters pronounce them on-screen. Admittedly a question asking for GoT pronunciation would probably be poorly researched (although maybe not - consider language/translation issues), but many GoT/aSoIaF questions have both tags, and many OPs will take show info even if they've only read the books. (See also the 3rd point below.)
  • In fact, the "however you like" doesn't even always apply to A Song of Ice and Fire questions. Sometimes it's possible to deduce pronunciation from context. For example, look at this answer to the Aeron Damphair question:

    Damphair is a nickname referring to dousing with water as part of the worship of the Drowned God. So it seems fairly obvious this should be pronounced "Damp hair" (ie. we are saying Aeron's hair is damp). In this case, the "ph" should not be rendered as an "f" sound (Aeron Damfair sounds silly and loses the meaning of wet hair).

    That's pretty convincing evidence that the "p" and "h" should be pronounced separately - it makes much more sense in the context of the story to pronounce it that way rather than like an "f". So even if the content creator says we can all pronounce the names however we like, sometimes one pronunciation is objectively better than another.

  • Anyway, regardless of what GRRM says, OPs may still find other answers useful. You'll note that neither of the "however you like" answers has been accepted, or even highest-voted. Apparently people find it more useful to learn how the name is pronounced in various adaptations, such as Game of Thrones and audiobooks, than to be given essentially no help at all with how to pronounce the name.
  • Finally, of course, "however you like" isn't really practical. Taking this at face value, it would be fine to read A Song of Ice and Fire in its entirety pronouncing Tyrion as "Tomato", Jon Snow as "Eddie Baby", and Winterfell as "the Spanish Inquisition". But nobody would expect you to talk about how Tomato met Eddie Baby at the Spanish Inquisition in book 1; and if you did, they wouldn't understand what you were on about. The postmodernist view that "truth is relative" can be very unhelpful for communication! Even if GRRM says there are no right and wrong pronunciations, that can only reasonably apply within certain parameters.

So yes, "however you like" is Word of God, but that doesn't mean it's the only possible canon answer. There is usually more to be said about pronunciation of names than just that quote - e.g. how the name was pronounced in the TV show, audiobooks, or by GRRM himself, in-story evidence or etymological background supporting one pronunciation over another, etc. etc. As we've seen, even a question about one single name's pronunciation can gather multiple paragraphs of answers. Imagine multiplying that amount of information by the number of different names in the series, and trying to fit all of that into one single 30,000 character answer. It would surely be an impossible task.

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  • Can something be too broad if there's one definite answer? There is no canonical pronunciation guides, he doesn't care for such thinks, he himself has no clue. – Edlothiad Mar 26 '18 at 13:32
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    @Edlothiad Did you read the second half of this answer? The GRRM quote may be interesting information, but it's by no means the only way to answer aSoIaF pronunciation questions (as evidenced by the many other answers on the questions linked in the OP). – Rand al'Thor Mar 26 '18 at 13:36
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    You'll note that neither of the "however you like" answers has been accepted, or even highest-voted. Well they're late answers and late answers rarely get any love here. – TheLethalCarrot Mar 26 '18 at 13:37
  • Yes, you discussed how various people might say it, etymological background etc. But there is no philological basis behind the languages he created, he has stated he isn't Tolkien, he's a writer, and any "etymological" background would require heavy speculation. – Edlothiad Mar 26 '18 at 13:38
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    @Edlothiad The etymological background for e.g. "warg" is pretty well-studied (GRRM isn't Tolkien, yes, but this word was used by Tolkien too, and in some real-life languages!) And etymological background was only one of the many examples I mentioned for how we could have more evidence than just "GRRM says dunno" for how to pronounce a name. – Rand al'Thor Mar 26 '18 at 13:41
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    In fact, the "however you like" doesn't even always apply to A Song of Ice and Fire questions. It's WoG it applies to all Q's. I could go ahead and apply that quote to the other 3 right now (in fact someone has just added it to one of them) and it'd be fine. I'm not sure we want that quote plastered everywhere. It IS the only correct answer for ASOIAF regardless of someone else.s interpretation of the material. – TheLethalCarrot Mar 26 '18 at 13:41
  • I agree with you saying how do you pronounce it in GoT but then there is literally zero point in asking that question. To know the name from GoT you must had heard it said in the show and if you've heard it said in the show you know how it's pronounced. – TheLethalCarrot Mar 26 '18 at 13:44
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    @TheLethalCarrot Now, see, this new answer has a lot more info than just the "however you like" quote. "Having said that, he obviously does have his own preferred pronunciation that he uses personally, and his pronunciation for [Petyr] does indeed seem to be as per the english name Peter." In fact, it even provides another GRRM quote saying the opposite: that Roy Dotrice pronounces it "wrong"! How can one pronounce a name "wrong" if there is no right or wrong pronunciation? – Rand al'Thor Mar 26 '18 at 13:45
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    @Randal'Thor I think you quoted the wrong bit of text there as you surely must know someone's opinion is not canon. As for GRRM saying Roy says it wrong that was 3 years prior to him saying say it how you like. It's reasonable to assume he changed his mind in that time. – TheLethalCarrot Mar 26 '18 at 13:47
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    I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition... – Valorum Mar 26 '18 at 15:54
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    +1 for shit-talking postmodernism :) – MissMonicaE Mar 26 '18 at 18:57
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We should edit one of the questions titles to make it a general title.

As discussed in a similar question (titled: Should we rewrite the lightsaber colour question?) where one answer covers all the bases but was not necessarily originally worded correctly, we should simply edit one of the questions to make the title cover the general case. As long as the main intention of the question remains the same it should be fine.

Reasoning for doing so would be because there is no need to be reposting a canon answer in multiple places, that is in face one of the reasons why we duplicate using answers as a test for questions. Although the specifics of "How GRRM/Actors/audiobooks say it" will change. The fact of the matter is the Word of God has dictated that there is no one pronunciation and that every and all are in fact as accurate as the last.

What about for questions asking specifically about GRRM pronunciations?

If this is covered in the canonical answer, than the questions can be closed of a dupe of that as well. As GRRM himself has said, he doesn't himself have proper pronunciations.

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.)
So Spake Martin - US SIGNING TOUR (NEW YORK CITY, NY)

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    Asking how GRRM pronounces a name is still a valid question, even if he claims that his pronunciation shouldn't be taken as WoG. – Rand al'Thor Mar 26 '18 at 13:39
  • Him not knowing how to pronounce them, would imply he isn't consistent. – Edlothiad Mar 26 '18 at 13:40

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