Wondrous Words Wednesday: George R.R. Martin (2)

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) and interesting (to us, again) words we encountered in our readings. See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog!

My words for this week come again from A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin.


There’s giants in the Frostfangs, and wargs, and worse things.

Warg: n. In Norse mythology, a vargr (often anglicised as warg or varg) is a wolf and in particular refers to the wolf Fenrir and his sons Sköll and Hati. Based on this, J. R. R. Tolkien in his fiction used the Old English form warg (other O.E. forms being wearg and wearh) to refer to a wolf-like creature of a particularly evil kind. In the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novel series by George R. R. Martin, wargs are people who can form a telepathic-empathic bond with animals and sometimes humans. While this bond is active, the warg experiences what the other experiences and may gain control over the body. If the warg is killed while in another body, it remains there permanently.
*This definition comes from Wikipedia

Mr. Martin got sidetracked by all the wolves, I guess. That’s the only reason for him to use this word while imagining a completely new meaning. It has nothing to do with the original sense.

Photo credits: Tambako the Jaguar on Flickr


“There is a saying in Qarth. A warlock’s house is built of bones and lies.”
“Then why do men lower their voices when they speak of the warlocks of Qarth? All across the east, their power and wisdom are revered.”

Warlock: n. a man who practises witchcraft.

And here I was, thinking it was something akin to a war commander 😀

Photo credits: PIX-JOCKEY on Flickr


As they waded in to breast their way across, men stepped in hidden pools and went down splashing, while others stumbled over stones or gashed their feet on the hidden caltrops.

Caltrop: n. 1 a spiked metal device thrown on the ground to impede wheeled vehicles or (formerly) cavalry horses. 2 a creeping plant with woody carpels that typically have hard spines. [Genus Tribulus.] 3 (also water caltrop) another term for water chestnut.

Used in sense 1 here, but you can see how sense 1 and even the device itself were developed from sense 2.

Photo credits: NelC on Flickr


(All definitions are taken from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 via WordReference.com unless otherwise stated.)


13 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: George R.R. Martin (2)

  1. I found caltrope interesting. That must be what those structures in front of certain gates are called. You know, the ones where your tires get slashed if you try to go through the wrong gate.

  2. @ Nicole: actually, in the sense Mr Martin uses this word, they’re not as frightening as they could be — at least up to what I’ve read!
    @ Margot: that’s the idea, right.
    @ all: thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’m with those who learnt warlock from Bewitched! The other two are new to me. Caltrops certainly sound and look evil.

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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