chapter  10
16 Pages

A Game of Languages

The Use of Subtitles for Invented Languages in Game of Thrones
BySofia Iberg

Many audiovisual texts are no longer strictly monolingual, but use other languages (L3) as an artistic or narrative device. This chapter analyzes the L3 languages in the TV series Game of Thrones (David Benioff and Weiss 2011-in production), seasons 01–03. The show uses invented languages, which are partially subtitled in the original version produced by HBO. The goal is to discuss multilingualism in TV series and the use of part-subtitles as a narrative strategy. Kozloff’s (2000) work on film dialogue functions and Thompson’s (1999, 2003) notion of dialogue as a connector between scenes serve as the basis for the analysis. This chapter examines the presence of the L3 languages using a model of analysis for multilingual audiovisual texts (Corrius and Zabalbeascoa 2011). Subsequently, the overall dialogue functions that resulted from the deliberate use of part-subtitles are determined. The findings indicate that there are in fact apparent functions of the use of part-subtitles that encompass several episodes. The L3 languages intensify the characterization of a people and its culture, show character development, lead to suspense, and serve as a connection between seasons.