When I first got my tattoo, a few people were quite discontented about my ‘fandom’ of Game of Thrones. Getting a permanent tattoo over a series that might well be forgotten next year is definitely going too far. Which is why, fandom is not the reason for my tiny tattoo which reads Dracarys. For those who asked, here’s my actual reason. Bear with me if it sounds a little too much.
I’ve loved writing for years now and as is true for every writer, reading is my prominent hobby. Of all the material I have read so far, what manages to awe me every time is the concept of fictional universe. Fiction series such as Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia and even Marvel and DC are stuff I’d read a hundred times over, because the factor named fictional universe is basically my definition of genius. It is arguably easy to create stories based on the real world. But to create a world that does not exist, to give it its own geography, history, physics, linguistics and laws is something only a madly imaginative and intelligent mind can do. More so, to convince millions of readers that such a world is a possibility, and make them hope to be a part of it is something beyond what many writers can manage to do.
Of the many such successful fictional universes, the most elaborate and convincing ones I have admired are created by JK Rowling and George Martin. For over two decades now, the Harry Potter universe has dominated popular culture and the Game of Thrones universe came up to gather an unprecedented fan base all around the world.
I happened to read the Game of Thrones books before watching the series – the seven books that have been released – and it’s the best decision anyone can make. Of course, the insanely complicated story and the characters appeal to me just as they have appealed to the rest of the world. But there is a category of the fan base to which I belong, which is obsessed with the detailing of the GOT world.
The number of elements that require serious logical reasoning on the part of the author in the GOT universe is practically infinite. Martin has not only created the elaborate universe, but has added every minute detail to such an extent that when the books were converted into series, it took dimensions of expertise to visually portray them. A group of Harvard Linguists have taken years of research and work to actually create the language of Dothrakhi, which can now be studied and spoken as a real language. The levels of impact this series has had on real time literature is insane, to say the least.
And Martin has given his world an equally enthralling history. The Kingdom of Valyria which was the cradle of civilization in the GOT universe, which was so advanced in itself that no future civilization could even level it, and which was burnt down to ashes by a mad Targaryen King; is in fact an additional element in the books which has incredible value. Just like we recognize a few early civilizations as the cradles of humankind, GOT universe had the Valyrian civilization that was the destroyed foundation of the world in the books. High Valyrian was the language of Valyria, and ‘Dracarys’ is a word in High Valyrian.
The idea and elaboration of a cradling civilization of a surreally complex world of Game of Thrones is the peak of fiction writing for me. And I’ve picked a word from that very concept to etch on my arm, just as a reminder of the level of excellence one can aspire for when it comes to writing.
I was torn between Dracarys and Valhad – both words in High Valyrian; but I ended up choosing Dracarys because it means fire and I’m a fire sign. Valhad means air.
So it is a fan tattoo, but not on the level people might generally perceive it to be. It’s more of a small tribute to Martin and his unmatched level of genius. If I ever get another tattoo escaping my mother’s ‘flying chappal’, it’ll again be word/words of the same line of thought.