This won't be your average animated series.
The post Jon Stewart Is Making A ‘Real-Time’ Animated Series for HBO appeared first on Cartoon Brew.Add a Comment
This won't be your average animated series.
The post Jon Stewart Is Making A ‘Real-Time’ Animated Series for HBO appeared first on Cartoon Brew.Add a Comment
Winter is coming… and it’s bringing souvenirs. With this month’s return of HBO’s Game of Thrones, it’s time to plan all the viewing parties or whatever your celebration ritual might be. Revels! Comics Beat was invited to get hands on with the sheer tidal wave of merchandise, both current and upcoming, for one of cable’s most rabid […]Display Comments Add a Comment
10 Days of Thrones: in anticipation of the new Game of Thrones season I’ll be posting a new illustration everyday… today is Arya Stark!
10 Days of Thrones: in anticipation of the new Game of Thrones season I’ll be posting a new illustration everyday… today is White Walker!Add a Comment
10 Days of Thrones: in anticipation of the new Game of Thrones season I’ll be posting a new illustration everyday… today is Ygritte!Add a Comment
"The gods won't mind. They spill more blood than the rest of us combined."Add a Comment
Anyone who’s been keeping up with their reading of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire opus, knows Bowen Marsh, the First Steward of the Night’s Watch, is one of those side characters who becomes a player. It’s now confirmed by actor Michael Condron’s agency to Watchers On the Wall.com he will be playing the part in HBO’s Game of Thrones . The actor has also confirmed that he will appear in three episodes, directed by Mark Mylod, Michael Slovis and Jeremy Podeswa. He has previously appeared in The Tudors and the British mini-series Fairy Tales.
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Game of Thrones fans – your official season five trailer is here! Can we talk about that choice of music? The use of a “Heroes” cover here is basically perfect.
HBO published the official version of the trailer, previously only seen in the nation-wide IMAX showing, after a bootleg version made its way around the internet. The show’s fifth season premieres on April 12, on the heels of the current IMAX event, which put the show in the history books as the first TV series to be broadcast in IMAX format.
As a fan of the book series, I have concerns about the show’s fifth season based on the source material – the fourth book was the most difficult for me to digest – but between the depictions of Littlefinger, Tryion, Daenerys, and Cersei, there’s enough here to draw my attention.Add a Comment
I missed this Pulitzer Prize winning novel the first time around and after watching the first 15 minutes of the new HBO mini-series I know I had to read the book. Reading a book whilst simultaneously watching the television show has its own challenges but for the most part I managed to read behind watching […]Add a Comment
Kurt Cobain's life and art is brought to life by animation directors Hisko Hulsing and Stefan Nadelman.Add a Comment
– My favorite discovery from the 2014 television season has to be Cartoon Network’s Rick and Morty, which takes the character relationship of Doc and Marty (more or less) from Back to the Future and transplants them into Doctor Who style adventures with some the sharpest humor I’ve seen in an animated program since Archer first hit the air. The series, created by Dan Harmon (Community) and Justin Roiland, has had its first season available on Blu-ray for awhile now. If you can handle some cruder, gross-out moments, I highly recommend it.
This week, Cartoon Network announced that Rick and Morty will return on Sunday, July 26th. Additionally, Roiland and Harmon guest-wrote the couch gag for the upcoming season finale of The Simpsons, which you can watch below:
– Speaking of The Simpsons, yesterday saw the news that Harry Shearer, the longtime voice of characters like Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, and many other members of the show’s rich world, would be parting ways with the series. According to some reports, there’s still a chance that Shearer may come to terms with the show’s producers, but the roles are expected to be recast at this point.
I haven’t watched The Simpsons in years, but I’m hoping this paves the way for a Spinal Tap reunion.
– From the set of Captain America: Civil War, via JustJared, here’s the first image of Crossbones’ costume:
– Seth Rogen tweeted out the first on-set image from AMC’s Preacher last night, which sees Dominic Cooper’s Jesse Custer talking with Ian Colletti’s Arseface:
– According to Collider, the sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes now has a title: War of the Planet of the Apes. It’s a bit of a mouth-full, but I guess no one would go see a movie called “Monkey Fight”, which I was lobbying pretty hard for.
– Lastly, there’s a pretty great True Detective Season 2 teaser out now via HBO. I may be more excited about this premiere than any other show this year, even the Mad Men finale!Add a Comment
Martin revealed the news on his blog, though he didn’t go into too much detail. Check it out:
Life is impossibly busy right now. I am wrestling with the Son of Kong (that is, working on THE WINDS OF WINTER), trying to wrap up a final round of edits and revisions on the twenty-third Wild Cards book (HIGH STAKES), developing three new series concepts for HBO and Cinemax, hiring writers and directors for three short low-budget films I am hoping to produce based on some classic SF short stories (more on that in the months to come), making my way through the Hugo Packet to prepare to vote, looking forward to opening JURASSIC WORLD at the Cocteay and to hosting a ten-author special event for the release of Steve Stirling’s new “Emberverse” anthology, THE CHANGE. In a week’s time, we’ll be flying off to Europe for long-planned appearances in Germany (Hamburg) and Sweden (Stockholm), en route to Archipelacon on the island of Aland, where I am to be the Guest of Honor…Add a Comment
"At their best, the storytelling of fairy tales constitute the most profound articulation of the human struggle to form and maintain a civilizing process. They depict metaphorically the opportunities for human adaptation to our environment and reflect the conflicts that arise when we fail to establish civilizing codes commensurate with the self-interests of large groups within the human population. The more we give into base instincts – base in the sense of basic and depraved – the more criminal and destructive we become. The more we learn to relate to other groups of people and realize that their survival and the fulfillment of their interests is related to ours, the more we might construct social codes that guarantee humane relationships. Fairy tales are uncanny because they tell us what we need and they unsettle us by showing what we lack and how we might compensate for lack."
…Fairy tales map out possible ways to attain happiness, to expose and resolve moral conflicts that have deep roots in our species. The effectiveness of fairy tales and other forms of fantastic literature depends on the innovative manner in which we make the information of the tales relevant for the listeners and receivers of the tales."
"War was the weather system of my youth"...
The twentieth century was filled with upheaval and wars and millions of children today continue to face the chaos and pain of war.Alexandra Fuller, author of the very well received Leaving Before the Rains Come , published in January 2015, grew up in war-torn Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
In a fascinating interview with Simon Worrall (Book Talk) in the National Geographic, she speaks of the effects of growing up amidst "the traumas of war and the non-stop incidents and accidents where I was raised"...Here is an excerpt from the interview:
"But the biggest effect was that war was the weather system of my youth. The war was everywhere. And what came with that was death and the insanity of war, which leaks on even after a cease-fire has been declared. I think the hardest thing it did was to make childhood innocence, those precious years until you're about 11 or 12, not exist for us. War makes you cunning and a survivor. It can make you very damaged or very resilient. But it never leaves you.
You spend the rest of your life trying to redress what happened to you in those first years, even though it's not your fault. But your body doesn't know that, your limbic system doesn't know that. You're always waiting for the next trauma to happen—or drama. You're constantly on watch."
In her first book, the very well received bestseller, Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight, Fuller wrote of her childhood in Rhodesia... a world where violent death was an everyday reality; where her family compound was surrounded by razor-wire, and where young Alexandra's father trained her in shooting a rifle. Alexandra Fuller now lives in Wyoming.
The photograph is of Alexandra (on the right) with her sister, Vanessa. It was taken in 1972, just before the family moved to the then Rhodesia. I don't know who the little girl is on the book cover.
The top photo is of PAL therapy dogs and their dedicated owners. The bottom photo below of two friends was taken in one of the facilities on the PAL list.
This was the lead-off sentence in Wayne Walker's review of Castle In The Mist. I was delighted to read it, for not only was it provocative, it went to the core of the story...
Castle in the Mist is an anti-war story. The Planet Of the Dogs series is anti-war. In each book, the dogs help humans to find non-violent solutions to ruthless rulers, invaders, and the abuse of power.
Here is more of what Wayne Walker wrote:
“Author Robert J. McCarty has created a charming fantasy-allegory that can be read and understood on at least two different levels. Children will enjoy the story about dogs who come from another planet to help people on earth. But under the surface are the important messages of friendship, love, loyalty, and how to overcome evil with good.” The same things are true as the story continues in Castle in the Mist. The book is well written and easy to read. It will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next, and, as with Volume I, leads to a satisfying conclusion. You can learn more about the series and read sample chapters at www.planetofthedogs.net."
Wayne Walker's complete review appeared on the Home School Book Review; the Home School Buzz; and Stories fof Children Magazine.
We have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogs series for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the books.
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more.
Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
The illustration by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty is from Castle In The Mist. The little girl reading Castle In The Mist is Jordan; the photograph is by Jennifer Wickham.
Mami Sunada has created a fascinating documentary about the world of Hayao Miyazaki and Ghibli studios. I highly recommend it for readers of this blog who want an in-depth picture of the complex nature of creating animation; and an intimate visit with Miyazake and the world of Ghibli.
Miyazaki storyboards every film from start to finish; he times every shot on the storyboard; yet he often doesn’t know where or how will end. He is very hard working, a perfectionist who pays attention to every detail; he is also a caring idealist.
Here are two of my favorite Miyazaki quotes from the film:
“The world isn’t simple enough to explain in words”….
“Children are what keeps me going”
"Having a child is not, however, anything like ordering a pizza. Even less so if you’re
a malformed, dwarfish man whose occupation, were you forced to name one, would be . . . What would you call yourself? A goblin? An imp? Adoption agencies are reluctant about doctors and lawyers if they’re single and over forty. So go ahead. Apply to adopt an infant as a two-hundred-year-old gnome.
You are driven slightly insane—you try to talk yourself down; it works some nights better than others—by the fact that, for so much of the population, children simply . . . appear. Bing bang boom. A single act of love and, nine months later, this flowering, as mindless and senseless as a crocus bursting out of a bulb.
It’s one thing to envy wealth and beauty and other gifts that seem to have been granted to others, but not to you, by obscure but undeniable givers. It’s another thing entirely to yearn for what’s so readily available to any drunk and barmaid who link up for three minutes in a dark corner of any dank and scrofulous pub.
You listen carefully, then, when you hear the rumor. Some impoverished miller—a man whose business is going under (the small-mill owners, the ones who grind by hand, are vanishing; their flour and meal cost twice as much as the big-brand products, which are free of the gritty bits that can find their way into a sack of flour no matter how careful you are), a man who has no health insurance or investments or pension plan (he’s needed every cent just to keep the mill open)—that man has told the King that his daughter can spin straw into gold..."
Read it all: The New Yorker
The illustration is by Anne Anderson
"The letters of the day on “Sesame Street” are H, B and O.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group behind the children’s television program, has struck a five-year deal with HBO, the premium cable network, that will bring first-run episodes of “Sesame Street” exclusively to HBO and its streaming outlets starting in the fall.
The partnership, announced Thursday, will allow the financially challenged Sesame Workshop to significantly increase its production of “Sesame Street” episodes and other new programming. The group will produce 35 new “Sesame Street” episodes a year, up from the 18 it now produces..."
Here is a link to read it all: Sesame Street.
Turning Point for Young American Readers
"The rise of American children's literature is, to a large degree, inseparable from the rise of the public lending library, and by the 1870's librarians had become the guardians of children's reading. The fact that it is the American Library Association that gives the major children's book awards makes clear that in this country, there is a unique relationship between the worlds of children's reading, and the structures of the library...The first children's room in any public library opened in Brookline , Massachusettes, in 1890... (and librarians) made the library a place of imagination..."
Seth Lerer, Children's Literature, A Readers History from Aesop to Harry Potter
The photo is of the Brookline Public Library built in 1899 with a new children's room.
I nominate The Guardian, always vigilant, to be welcomed as an honorary member of BARCA, Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors. Here is an excerpt from an article written by Tom Lamont and Robert Muchamore when Russel Brand announced that he was writing children's books...
"A celebrity – Kylie, Sting – announces his or her intention to write for children, and I instinctively feel for the career-pledged writers who have been huffing away with their thesaurus and watercolour brushes for years. Beneath them, the hopefuls with worthwhile manuscripts hustle for interest... And, uh oh, here's another celebrity, lolloping into the game. They've noodled out an idea on a Groucho Club napkin. Their agent has swivelled at the bar to arrange a six-figure deal. The published result, you can bet, will absorb more than its share of publicity budgets, review space, shelf space.
Given the subject under discussion, I'll express this in short sentences. Stop it, celebrities. Go away, celebrities"...Here is the link to read all of this article: Guardian
The photo is of the well known children's book celebrity author, Madonna.
I happen to be a Yelodoggie fan.
Have you seen the delightful yelodoggie artwork video celebrating dogs? Here is the YouTube link
There are birthday cards, cups, clocks, shirts, mouse pads, and a multitude of other delightful Yelodoggie designs at Cafe Press.
New paintings are appearing in the Yelodoggie etsy shop. These are original watercolors and a great bargain.
Yelodoggie is joyous.
Anna Nirva is the guiding light at Sunbear Squad, a leading source for information and guidance in dog rescue and care. Here is an excerpt from their site about the rescue of abandoned hunting hounds.
Anna has found that abandoned hunting dogs perish daily of exposure and starvation all across America. Here is an excerpt from a Sunbear Squad rescue story: "An ice storm was bearing down in the southern United States and a pack of 3 adult Beagles and 5 puppies were sighted in a rural Arkansas forest. Concerned animal lovers sent numerous emails to locate a rescuer who could take immediate action to save the dogs, and two compassionate women rose to the challenge.
It's not like they didn't have anything else to do that day. Desiree had successfully lobbied for felony animal cruelty laws and had just been informed of the law's passing, and Carol worked full-time. But later in the afternoon, after learning of the ice storm coming, they gathered their gear and drove 45 miles to the woods where the dogs had been sighted." Here is a link to read all of this story: Rescue
For the first time, the television adaptation will outpace its source material in fullDisplay Comments Add a Comment
Even though author Charlaine Harris will be ending the Southern Vampire novels, True Blood fans need not fret. Publisher IDW and HBO have announced that they will be adapting True Blood for an ongoing comic book series.
HBO show creator Alan Ball gave this statement in the release: “With this new ongoing series, Truebies will be able to find a new comic in stores every month. We’ll also have even more room to create in-depth drama and further explore the world of Bon Temps.”
The first issue of the new series is slated for release in spring 2012. So far, IDW has published three True Blood series: All Together Now, Tainted Love and The French Quarter.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.Add a Comment
The pilot is about a Jewish family living in Washington, D.C. It has been described as“politically, religiously, culturally, intellectually, and sexually irreverent.”
Alan Alda is in talks to play Ben Stiller’s father, making the first time he’ll be on a series regular since M*A*S*H*.
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Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary), Greta Gerwig (Greenberg) and Rhys Ifans (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) are in talks to star in TV adaptation of Jonathan Frazen’s The Corrections for HBO.
Gyllenhaal is up for the part of Denise Lambert, the talented bisexual young chef and family mediator. Gerwig would play Julia Vrais, middle child and Chip’s married girlfriend and Ifans would play Julia’s Lithuanian husband, Gitnas, in a cameo. Bruce Norris, playwright (Clybourne Park) and theatre actor is in talks to play Banker and amateur photographer, Gary Lambert.
The show, which will be written by Franzen, has already cast Diane Weist and Chris Cooper as Enid and Alfred Lambert. Ewan McGregor has also been casted to play the peter pan like Chip Lambert, the most outwardly screwed up member of the Lambert Family of St. Jude, Missouri.
It is rumored that the show will air in 2013 and will be produced by Scott Rudin (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.)
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If you haven’t heard about HBO’s new show, “Girls,” directed by and starring Lena Dunham, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past few weeks. It’s been years since we’ve seen so much virtual ink spilled over a television... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Lena Dunham, the creator and star of the hyped and critical darling HBO show Girls, spoke to the New York Times about what she likes to read and where she does it. Currently she is reading “Bad Behavior” by Mary Gaitskill (a collection of stories, one of which became the inspiration for the movie Secretary,) Diane Keaton’s memoir and “Having it All” by Helen Gurley Brown, among other things. It’s not surprising how well read Dunham is since it is evident in her writing.
What are your thoughts on Lena’s reading list? Have you watched GIRLS?Add a Comment
Daniel Clowes is in the news! So much going on.
§ HBO is developing a half-hour comedy created by Clowes called “The Landlord”, which he’s co-exec producing with John Lesher. The logline: “After inheriting a shabby apartment building in a remote California town, a volatile college professor with Utopian delusions drags his family into the unforgiving netherworld of small-town America.”
Yeah, we can see Ice Haven as an HBO show. The Little Miss Sunshine duo of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris is interested in directing. “We just looked over the script and it’s still very early, but we’re excited by trying to do something in TV, particularly at a place like HBO, where you can have nine hours instead of two,” Dayton told Variety.
Despite being the king of the literary comics world, Clowes has had a fruitful time in Hollywood. In addition to the GHOST WORLD and ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL films, Clowes has been hired to write several screenplays. And of course Alexander Payne, poet laureate of alienated losers, is developing a film based on Clowes’ graphic novel WILSON, the ultimate portrait of an alienated loser. Talk about a perfect match of material. Will they promote it at Comic-Con?
§ For a chance to see Clowes and fellow genius Chris Ware together, the two are in conversation TOMORROW at the Oakland Museum of California in conjunction with the soon-to-close Art of Daniel Clowes exhibit.
In a talk moderated by guest curator Susan Miller and Senior Curator of Art René de Guzman, Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware will be speaking at OMCA’s James Moore Theater on Friday, July 27, 2012 from 7-8:30pm. Seating will be limited and is expected to fill up quickly.
§ Finally, this Proust questionnaire-like “interview” with Clowesat The Guardian was subject to more than the usual editing:
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I’d like to think I’d go kill Hitler or verify the divinity of Christ, but really I’d like to see what my neighbourhood was like when my house was built in 1912. Or perhaps to hang out in Bodega Bay while Hitchcock was shooting The Birds.
I like to think I’d go kill Hitler.
Chronicle Books will publish the official companion to the Game of Thrones television series, Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones. Unlike most book trailers, this video visited the set of a popular TV show.
As of this writing, the trailer has received more than 36,000 views. The $40 book will be released on October 1st, containing 300 color images and photographs.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.Add a Comment
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) November 28, 2012
On Twitter, Neil Gaiman shared the fact that he is currently writing an American Gods pilot for HBO. We’ve embedded the tweet above.
If you want to listen to the American Gods playlist on Spotify, follow this link. We’ve embedded the songlist below, a great collection of writing music.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.Add a Comment
I have been completely and utterly addicted to (and obsessed by) True Detective so when I found out the show’s creator and writer had written a crime novel I had to read it. And what a cracking book it is. Using some of the same elements as his television show Pizzolatto has constructed a highly atmospheric, slow burning thriller.
Roy Cady is a bagman who has just been diagnosed with cancer and sent on a job where he thinks his boss has tried to have him whacked. Now on the run he must navigate his way from New Orleans to East Texas with a young woman and her sister in tow. Roy is conflicted between his own short-term survival and that of the two girls now under his protection.
Just like True Detective Pizzolatto shifts time perception to perfection, drip feeding you bits of information, past and future, that leave you craving to know more.The raw emotion of Roy Cady is brutally and poignantly displayed and the way Pizzolatto describes the gulf coast landscape is an amazing blend of desolation and beauty.
We already know from True Detective that Nic Pizzolatto knows how to tell a story. Galveston proves that this talent was evident well before his HBO series.
Via Buzz Feed A list of dark, weird, and southern gothic books that every fan of HBO’s True Detective should read.Add a Comment
On 25 May 2014 and nearly 30 years after first appearing on the stage, Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart will be aired as a film on HBO. This project, which has evolved over the course of the last three decades, documents those first few harrowing years of the AIDS epidemic in New York City. The Normal Heart debuts at a time when much attention is being cast upon the early days of AIDS and the lives of gay men, who survived the physical and emotional onslaught of this disease in a society that often shunned us because we were gay and because we were afflicted with this disease.
Now a generation of gay men, my generation—the AIDS Generation—stands proudly as testament to our individual and collective resilience which has brought us all into middle age. Certainly there have been huge hurdles along the way—too many deaths to enumerate, the havoc that the complications of this disease wreaked on our bodies, the lack of support. Even today, darkness and disrespect lurks in every corner, and no one is immune. For some in our society, identifying what is wrong with us as gay men comes to easily. We are reminded of it daily as right wing zealots fight against marriage equality, as young boys take their lives. Despite these conditions, despite the inaction of our national and local politicians, and despite a large yet ever-shrinking segment of our society that continues to view us as weak and sick, we stand together as a testament to the fortitude of our bodies, minds, and spirits.
The theme of resistance or resilience permeates the words, the thoughts, and the actions of the protagonists in The Normal Heart and many depictions of the AIDS epidemic.
Behavioral and psychological literature has attempted to delineate sources of resilience. Dr. Gail Wagnild posits that social supports in the form of families and communities foster resilience in individuals. I also adhere to this idea. Although the sources of resilience are still debated in the literature, there is general agreement that resilience is a means of maintaining or regaining mental health in response to adversity the ability to respond to and/or cope with stressful situations such as trauma, conditions that characterize the life of the men of the AIDS Generation.
For many of the men of the AIDs Generation, grappling with their sexuality was closely tied to the development of their resilience. In other words, resilience developed in their childhoods as young men grappling with their sexuality as stated by Christopher: “I also think that wrestling with my own sexuality and trying to navigate through that in my teenage years taught me how to just ‘keep pushing’ and to do what needed to be done.” Some, including myself, found support among our families. Even if parents were loving and supportive, this did not ameliorate the burdens experienced being raised in a heteronormative and often-discriminatory world in which men were portrayed as weak, effeminate, and sickly.
As we watch The Normal Heart, we will be reminded of those dark, confusing early days of the epidemic. And while we must celebrate the resilience of a generation of gay men to fight this disease, we must also be reminded of our obligation to create a better world for a new generation of gay men, who despite our social and medical advances, need the love and support of their community of elders as the navigate the course of their lives.
Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH is Professor of Applied Psychology and Public Health (Steinhardt School), and Population Health (Langone School of Medicine), Director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies, and Associate Dean (Global Institute of Public Health) at New York University. Dr. Halkitis’ program of research examines the intersection between the HIV epidemic, drug abuse, and mental health burden in LGBT populations, and he is well known as one of the nation’s leading experts on substance use and HIV behavioral research. He is the author of The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience. Follow him on Twitter @DrPNHalkitis.
The post The Normal Heart and the resilience of the AIDS generation appeared first on OUPblog.
My name is David Peterson, and I’m a conlanger. “What’s a conlanger,” you may ask? Thanks to the recent addition of the word “conlang” to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), I can now say, “Look it up!” But to save you the trouble, a conlanger is a constructed language (or conlang) maker — i.e. one who creates languages.
Language creation has been around since at least the 12th century, when the German abbess Hildegard von Bingen created her Lingua Ignota — Latin for “hidden language” — an invented vocabulary she used for writing hymns. In the centuries that followed, philosophers like Leibniz and John Wilkins would create languages that were intended to serve as grand classification systems, and idealists like L. L. Zamenhof would create languages intended to simplify international communication. All these systems focused on the basic utility of language — its ability to encode and convey meaning. That would change in the 20th century.
Before crafting the tales of Middle-Earth, J. R. R. Tolkien was a conlanger. Unlike the many known to history who came before him, though, Tolkien created languages for the pure joy of it. Professionally, he became a philologist, but he continued to work on his own languages, eventually creating his famous Lord of the Rings series as an extension of the linguistic legendarium he’d been crafting for many years. Though his written works would become more famous than his linguistic creations, his conlangs, in particular Sindarin and Quenya, would go on to inspire new generations of conlangers throughout the rest of the 20th century.
Due to the general obscurity of the practice, many conlangers remained unknown to each other until the early 1990s, when home internet use started to become more and more common. The first dedicated meeting place for conlangers, virtual or otherwise, was the Conlang Listserv (an online mailing list). Some list members came out of interest in Tolkien’s languages, as well as other large projects, like Esperanto or Lojban, but the majority came to discuss their own work, and to meet and learn from others who also created languages.
Since the founding of the original Conlang Listserv, many other meeting places have sprung up online, and through a couple of decades of regular conlanger interaction, the practice of conlanging has evolved.
Conlangs have been separated into different types since at least the 19th century. First came the philosophical languages, as discussed, then the auxiliary languages like Esperanto (also known as auxlangs), but with Tolkien emerged a new type of language: the artistic language, or artlang. At its most basic, an artlang is a conlang created for artistic purposes, but that broad definition includes many wildly divergent languages (compare Denis Moskowitz’s Rikchik to Sylvia Sotomayor’s Kēlen). Finer-grained distinctions became necessary as the community grew, and so emerged the naturalistic conlang.
This is where the languages of HBO’s Game of Thrones and Syfy’s Defiance come in. The languages I’ve created for the shows I work on come out of the naturalist tradition. The goal with a naturalistic conlang is to create a language that’s as realistic as possible. The realism of a language is grounded in the reality (fictional or otherwise) of its speakers. If the speakers are more or less human (or humanoid) and are intended to be portrayed in a realistic fashion, then their language should be as similar as possible to a natural language (i.e. a language that exists here on Earth, like Spanish, Tagalog, or Cham).
The natural languages we speak are large, but also redundant and imperfect in a uniquely human way. Conlangers have gotten pretty good at emulating them over the years, usually employing one of two different approaches. The first, which I call the façade method, is to create a language that looks like a modern natural language by replicating the various features of a modern natural language. Thus, if English has irregular plurals, such as mouse~mice, then the conlang will have irregular plurals, too, by targeting certain nouns and making their plurals irregular in some way.
A contrasting approach is the method that Tolkien pioneered called the historical method. With the historical method, an ancestor language called a proto-language is created, and the desired language is evolved from it, via simulated linguistic evolution. The process takes a lot longer, but in some ways it’s simpler, since irregularities will naturally emerge, rather than having to be created by hand. For example, in Game of Thrones, the High Valyrian language Daenerys speaks differs from the Low Valyrian the residents of Slaver’s Bay speak. In fact, the latter evolved from the former. As the language evolved, it produced some natural irregularities. Consider the following nouns and their plurals from the Valyrian spoken in Slaver’s Bay:
hubre “goat” hubres “goats”
dare “queen” dari “queens”
aeske “master” aeske “masters”
Given that the singular forms all end in ‘e’, one has to say at least two of the plurals presented are irregular. But why the arbitrary differences in the plural forms? It turns out it’s because the three nouns with identical singular terminations used to have very different forms in the older language, High Valyrian, as shown below:
hobres “goat” hobresse “goats”
dāria “queen” dārī “queens”
āeksio “master” āeksia “masters”
Each of these alternations is quite regular in High Valyrian. In the simulated history, a series of sound changes which simplified the ends of words produced identical terminations for each of the three words in the singular, leaving later speakers having to memorize which have irregular plurals and which regular.
Simulated evolution applies to both grammar and the lexicon, as well. For example, natural languages often derive terminology for abstract concepts metaphorically from terminology for concrete concepts. Time, for instance, is an abstract concept that is frequently discussed using spatial terminology. How it’s done differs from language to language. In English, events that occur later in time occur after the present (where “after” derives from “aft,” a word meaning “behind”), and events that occur earlier in time occur before the present. Thus, time is conceptualized as a being standing in the present, facing the past, with the future behind them.
In Irathient, a language I created for Syfy’s Defiance, time is conceptualized vertically, rather than horizontally. The word for “after”, in temporal terms, is shei, which derives from a word meaning “above”; “before”, on the other hand, is ur, which also means “below” or “underneath”. The general metaphor that the future is up and the past is down bears out throughout the rest of the language, where if one wanted to say “Go back to what you were saying before”, the literal Irathient translation would be “Go down to what you were saying underneath”.
Ultimately, what one hears on screen sounds and feels like a natural language, regardless of whether or not one knows the work that went on behind the scenes. Since the prop used on screen is a language, though, rather than a costume or a piece of the set, the words can be recorded and analyzed at any time. Consequently, a conlang needs to be real in a way that a throne or a 700 foot wall of ice does not.
It’s still extraordinary to me that in less than 25 years, we came from a time when many conlangers were not aware that there were other conlangers to a time where our work is able to add to the authenticity of some of the best productions the big and small screen have to offer. The addition of the word “conlang” to the OED is a fitting capper to an unbelievable quarter century.
Images: Game of Thrones Season 3 – Dragon Shadow Wallpaper and Game of Thrones Season 3 - Daenerys Wallpaper. ©2014 Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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