21

In the books and literature following the Game of Thrones universe a knight's title is spelled with an 'e' not an 'i' for "Ser". Why is this?

  • 1
    Ser is used in other fantasy works as well. It's a gender neutral title. It's possible ser is an older version of sir (like many words that have changed over time) so ser would be the correct spelling for the period. – DustinDavis Jun 22 '14 at 22:47
  • 2
    See scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/85629 for a similar question. – JdeBP Apr 7 '15 at 20:23
  • 1
    For another fantasy reference, Stephen Donaldson's collection "Daughter of Regals" includes a short story called "Ser Visal's Tale". As with the other sources, "Ser" is an honorific. – Graham Jun 9 '15 at 18:05
  • 2
    Actually it would probably be Modern English still, which has been spoke since before Shakespeare. Perhaps Middle English, the language of Chaucer, but definitely not Old English, which is a very different language than the Modern English we speak today. – user37298 Jun 28 '16 at 16:32
30

George RR Martin has a penchant for introducing things in his universe which resemble those in ours, yet have a different texture to them. This lets the user relate to those "words" better and at the same time renders them an exotic and enigmatic aura.

That's the reason Sir becomes Ser, Master becomes Maester. The same can also be observed in the way he names people. Rob is Robb and Edward is Eddard.

All these are mere ploys to create an enchanting but understandable world!

  • 2
    @KeyBrdBasher Opinion or fact? If fact, are there any references to show that this is intentional on the part of the author? – CGCampbell Jun 23 '14 at 16:03
  • 2
    @CGCampbell: I seriously doubt that GRRM has made these changes unintentionally. However, I failed to find any material on the web where he explicitly mentions his reason behind this usage. – Sayan Jun 24 '14 at 6:13
  • 3
    Considering that Meister is the modern German, it's not such a stretch that old anglo-saxon was either Meister or Maester. Also, before dictionaries canonized language, spelling was kind of ah, fluid. – Ernie Feb 17 '15 at 21:36
19

Ser is used in other fantasy works as well. It's a gender neutral title. It's possible ser is an older version of sir (like many words that have changed over time) so ser would be the correct spelling for the period.

Noun ser (plural sers)

(used in some fantasy novels) An address or courtesy title to any person, especially if their gender and/or form of address are unknown. Example: Would ser care to dine this evening?

Source

You can also google search to find the many different works that use 'Ser'. Just think, "Old English".

  • 3
    Or just think, "Olde English". ;-) – BrettFromLA Jun 23 '14 at 17:35
  • 2
    As per the comment above, it's unlikely to be Old English. That is the language of Beowulf, and it is a Germanic language, but mutually unintelligible with Modern English (which is what Shakespeare wrote). "Ðunor cymð of hætan & of wætan. Seo lyft tyhð þone wætan to hire neoðan & ða hætan ufan.’ (Word for word translation = "Thunder comes from heat and from moisture. The air draws the moisture to it from below and the heat from above.") – Martin Bonner supports Monica Feb 26 at 15:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .