Are you learning Spanish? Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? If the answer is yes to both questions, you are going to enjoy this article since we will discuss some Game of Thrones quotes in Spanish so you can see how Spanish grammar works.
Spanish grammar may be a little bit tricky sometimes, as you have probably noticed already. Lots of different tenses, including the wicked subjunctive and reflexive verbs, endless pronouns and the always confusing ser and estar. It is not surprising, therefore, that Spanish learners may have great difficulty in producing the correct grammar.
Here, I am glad to provide you with this list where I give 5 different grammar points that will be discussed through quotes and examples from Game of Thrones. It does not matter if you support Daenerys’ claim, want the Starks to succeed or you profoundly hate the Lannisters. All of them will help you to understand Spanish better in this article! Let’s start! Enjoy!
Ser and Estar
Porque la noche es oscura y alberga horrores.
Because the night is dark and full of terrors (said by Melisandre of Asshai).
Catelyn está en Invernalia, a cientos de leguas de aquí.
Catelyn is at Winterfell, hundreds of leagues from here (said by Eddard Stark).
As you can see in the second quote, you need to use estar if you intend to express physical or geographic location (está en Invernalia; is at Winterfell). On the contrary, adjectives with ser denote inherent properties of nouns. For Melisandre of Asshai, “la noche es oscura” (the night is dark), because dark is the natural, inherent state of the night, and because the night is not conceived to be light, but dark according to Melisandre.
The Use of Impersonal se versus Reflexive se
Cuando se juega al juego de tronos sólo se puede ganar o morir.
When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die (said by Cersei Lannister).
Ni en el norte ni en el sur se componen canciones en honor de las arañas
North or south, they sing no songs for spiders (said by Lord Varys).
Se acerca el invierno.
Winter is coming (said by Eddard Stark).
Los dioses se burlan de las plegarias de reyes y pastores por igual.
The gods mock the prayers of kings and cowherds alike (said by Robert Baratheon).
Ya era bastante duro enfrentarse a sí mismo cada mañana en el espejo.
Bad enough to face himself in a looking glass every day (said by Tyrion Lannister).
Spanish learners usually find the Spanish pronoun se difficult to understand. Let’s talk about the difference between the impersonal se and reflexive se on the examples above.
When it comes to general statements, se is frequently used. The subject is unspecified or unknown in these impersonal sentences, though we know it’s definitely human. If we take a look to the first example, when Cersei Lannister said “when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die”, she stated an obvious and well-known rule in the kingdom. Thus, this sentence becomes cuando se juega al juego de tronos, sólo se puede ganar o morir in Spanish and se is used as an impersonal pronoun.
Similarly, in the second example, Lord Varys declared that either north or south, people don’t sing songs for spiders. He is definitely making a general statement. Therefore, we should use se again as impersonal pronoun (no se componen canciones).
Let’s go through the third quote now (Example C), the House Stark family motto that everybody knows, Winter is coming (Se acerca el invierno). It may seem that this se is again impersonal but in reality, we are looking at a reflexive verb here (acercarse – getting close or approach). When we conjugate acercarse, the particle se is located before the verb (se acerca). Changing word order may be clarifying too (el invierno se acerca instead of se acerca el invierno), because the subject, el invierno, is now located at the beginning.
The quotes from Robert Baratheon (Example D) and Tyrion Lannister (Example E) use reflexive verbs in Spanish too. The infinitive burlarse (to mock) and enfrentarse (to face yourself) are examples of reflexive verbs.
Consequently, when burlarse is conjugated, the verb is presented as se burlan, while enfrentarse remains as an infinitive in the last quote.
Double Negatives in Spanish
Double negatives are not encouraged in English because they are frequently considered to be poor grammar and they may be confusing too. However, double negatives are perfectly fine and acceptable in Spanish. Ygritte, the red-headed wilding and Jon Snow’s lover showed us that double negatives are right, especially when she stressed that Jon Snow did not know anything at all:
No sabes nada, Jon Nieve.
You know nothing, Jon Snow (said by Ygritte).
Indeed, Ygritte is right. He does not. He may know though that double negatives are correct in Spanish! That will probably not work against the wildings and the Others, but, well ... knowledge is power, Jon!
Take a look at more examples where double negatives are acceptable in Spanish:
¿No habla dothraki nadie aquí? – Nobody speaks dothraki here?
Joffrey no bebe vino nunca. – Joffrey never drinks wine.
No hay nadie en Invernalia. – There is nobody in Winterfell.
The Use of the Subjunctive in Spanish
The understanding of the subjunctive in Spanish is definitely one of the most difficult barriers to overcome by students. The fact that the subjunctive is hardly used in English is one of the reasons why this grammatical mood may give you a headache. The answer is yes, the Spanish subjunctive is also used in Game of Thrones. Let’s see a couple of examples:
No te pido que seas valiente, solo te pido que ocultes tus miedos.
I can’t command you to be brave, but I can command you to hide your fears (said by Jon Snow).
Mi querido hermano, espero que no estés pensando vestir el negro.
My dear brother, tell me you’re not thinking of taking the Black (said by Tyrion Lannister).
When we insist or demand that another person must do something, the present subjunctive will be needed. Some verbs that we usually use are demandar (to demand) or pedir (to ask, to command), as we can see in Jon Snow’s quote (Example A) to Samwell Tarly, “No te pido que seas valiente … que ocultes tus miedos”.
In the second quote, Tyrion Lannister hopes his brother will not take the Black. We use present subjunctive when discussing wishes and hopes. When using verbs like querer (to want) or esperar (to hope), if the subject of the sentences changes after que, then the verb that follows que must be in the subjunctive mood (espero que no estés pensando).
Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns
In Spanish, as in English, there are two kinds of object pronouns, direct and indirect. The direct object pronouns in Spanish correspond to the six forms of the verb when conjugated, and are as follows: me, te, lo, la, nos, os, los, las. These pronouns are used to replace a noun, as we can see in Tyrion’s quote (Example A below) “recógelo y transfórmalo” (take it, make it your own).
As for indirect pronouns, they also correspond to the six forms of the verb: me, te, le, nos, os, les. Notice that le and les are used instead of lo, la, los and las (direct object pronouns). If we look at the second quote (Example B below), someone is asking Arya who she is. A man asked her a question. Le refers to her in this sentence.
Si te ponen un mote, recógelo y transfórmalo en tu nombre.
If they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own (said by Tyrion Lannister).
“¿Quién eres?” Le preguntaba cada día.
“Nadie”, le respondía ella.
“Who are you?” he would ask her every day.
“No one”, she would answer (said by a man and Arya Stark).
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