In Game of Thrones there's an episode called Valar Morghulis. What is the story behind it?

Why are they using these two Braavos phrases?

I found the meaning.

"Valar Morghulis" - All men must die.
"Valar Dohaeris" - All Men must serve.

What about story behind it ?


3 Answers 3


As explained in an answer from Quora,

Valar Morghulis means "All men must die", is a customary saying in Essos traditionally answered with Valar Dohaeris meaning, "All men must serve".

What most people think it means is that "Death is inevitable". However, people fail to see a deeper underlying message.

When someone says Valar Morghulis, they are acknowledging the finality of death. And then the other person replies with Valar Dohaeris, implying that though death will come for all, every man/woman must serve their purpose in life before dying.

  • 4
    Can you elaborate on how "All men must die" relates to finality and not just inevitability? I'm not getting the connection.
    – Robert
    Dec 22, 2015 at 2:54
  • Still m not able digest the answer.. If possible than can you please elaborate ? If possible thn.. +1 gve only for your efforts.. :) Dec 23, 2015 at 5:15
  • 3
    This answer is plagiarized from Quora. I have edited to make this clear. Apr 26, 2016 at 8:11

Although I can get behind the other answer, I saw it in a different light.

Jaqen gives Arya three names to name, because she saved three men who were going to be taken by the Red God. Those three names she names are to settle this debt.
Jaqen's god primarily deals with death, and the claiming of lives.

If it were the other way around ("All men must serve" / "All men must die"), I would take it to be a statement about life itself.
But because it is inverted (dying before serving), I take this to mean that those men still serve (the many faced god) after death.


In many languages and countries, greetings (as well as other sayings) involve some reference to the divine (see e.g. here and here). One of the function of this is for people to remember something which is important for them.

Ironborn, who praise the Drown God, have something similar, with the saying What is dead may never die.

So these greetings used in Braavos remind people of their two basic divine truths they live up to - all men must die, all men must serve.

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