We know that Daenerys can speak Valyrian. However when she is at Meereen as Queen, and also in the towns before it, she needs Missandei to translate for her what her people are saying in Valyrian. However we have seen her speak Valyrian, for example at the slave master of Astapor. So, why does she need a translator?

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    Not canon: sometimes foreign people struggle with accent, phrasing, or mannerisms. These cast negatives, and it can be hard to focus on the message if the presentation has detractors. So, a translator presents the message in the most "receivable" way on behalf of the speaker who carries the authority. It might be hard to accept a "peace treaty offer" if the speaker speaks like a "foreign devil warrior" or other stereotype.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 1:33
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    As noted in the answers, there isn't a single "Valyrian," there's High Valyrian, Low Valyrian, and some mixed dialects. I think it would be like learning formal, proper, European Spanish, and then traveling to Central or South American, where the dialects are a bit different from what is spoken in Spain. You could get by, they'd probably understand you, but you might need some help with some stuff. Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 14:50

3 Answers 3


First, let's not underestimate Messandei speaking 19 languages, despite not using them all and/or the work(s) (books, tv series) divulging and/or creating those missing languages. It is, in theory, an asset and no small feat.

Missandei speaks nineteen languages including High Valyrian (her favorite), the Low Valyrian dialect of Slaver's Bay, Dothraki, the Common Tongue of Westeros, and has some knowledge of the functionally dead language of the Ghiscari Empire.

However, I think when you go back and look at the incident with Kraznys and Dany freeing the Unsullied, we can see that the appearance of Dany needing a translator, can be used as a ruse to undermine her adversaries by making them think she is unworldly and inexperienced.

But additionally, as another answer provides, she does in fact at times need a translator. Her Dothraki has been corrected by Messandei on at least one occasion ("Athjahakar" 3x08 Second Sons), and by her maids on others, as Khal Drogo allowed Dany to believe her Dothraki is better than it actually is. And Messandei also helped to better interpret the genderless/gender neutral identity of "The Prince that was Promised" when Melisandre proposed it to Dany (7x02 Stormborn).

Dany: What Happened?

Messandei: Many Things.

And lastly, and most importantly, Dany saw something relatable and good in Messandei and has become a kind of "true friend" and confidant, as both understand first hand the atrocities of slavery and both being woman in a world that is often unjust to women. She chose her because she felt it was right and meaningful (to her), not simply because she was a translator.

Messandei & Discuss Greyworm

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    I understand its about show but Perhaps some insight from Books can help here. In the books, she in fact needed no translator. Jorah Mormont urged her to pretend that way as that would provide the slavers a false sense of security and they would say stuff which they never would have uttered in her presence otherwise. It was wise. Daenerys understood much of the rudeness Kraznys displayed, even though Missendei changed his words while translating to courteous ones. It also helped Daenerys when the Slavers were conferring among themselves and she heard every bit of their discussion.
    – Aegon
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 9:15
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    That was included in my answer, as I tried to show all the ways Messandai was used on the series, as I provided in THIS instance that she was used (and in theory could be used again) as a ruse, as Dany knew every word in this particular instance. However I failed to mention Messandei's "kindness" in leaving the degrading antagonistic words out, which would help support the part about her being "good" and another reason Dany took her along as well, and paving their path to a real [female] friendship. Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 15:18

They don't speak Valyrian in Meereen exactly. They speak a mix between Valyrian and their old language, known is Low Valyrian, while Daenerys speaks high Valyrian. They can understand her fine, but she has some trouble understanding them.

Starting in Season 3, Peterson began developing the High Valyrian and Low Valyrian languages. These languages became more prominent as the storyline moved away from the Dothraki: only one line in the Dothraki language appeared in Season 3, and none in Season 4.


languages Peterson has created in Game of Thrones

  • Dothraki

  • High Valyrian

  • Ghiscari Low Valyrian (including Astapori and Meereenese dialects) Source


High Valyrian is supposed to be roughly analogous to the role than Latin played in our world. http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/game-of-thrones-dothraki-language-inventor.html There are other dialects of Valyrian that are diverging into separate languages, similar to how Latin diverged into Italian, Spanish, French, etc. Just as an Italian might benefit from a translator when speaking with someone who speaks French, Missandei is useful when Daenerys is speaking to someone who speaks a Low Valyrian dialect/language.

  • Yeah that is correct. I just that Daenerys was able to understand all the dialects. Thank you
    – thenac
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 22:41

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