Accents in the Land of Make Believe

Posted: July 30, 2013 in Movies
Tags: , ,

When fantasy novelists begin to develop new lands, characters and cultures is there a voice that is associated? As an avid reader, part of the enjoyment of escaping to a different land is forming the people that live there…and this typically includes an accent or dialect for a particular group. A good author can set a foundation for the unusual and interesting, but I also pick up on certain clues about a race or region that help to influence the way they speak.

However, it seems accepted for newly imagined lands to adopt accents commonly associated with the British Isles in the mundane world when pen and ink are given life on the screen.  I thought I would toss out a few of my silly imaginings.

Game of Thrones character Ygritte is from Beyond the Wall and  frequently says “You know nothing, Jon Snow” in the actress’s Scotish dialect. But what if Ygritte’s people sounded more like my family in Canada: “Jon Snow, towel off ya hoser.”


Prim and proper android C3PO was built by an 8 year old slave on a desert planet; pieced together by scraps of trash. I really just don’t think he would have received his voice box coding from Prince Henry. I would expect something a little more vulgar and course…more Klingon! Wouldn’t that be funny? A Star Wars droid with a Klingon speech pattern. “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.” Would be more like “Nerf-herder! You’re going to kill us all!”


What about a village full of loud and proud Boston Hobbits like Frodo at Bilbo’s party exclaiming “This pahty’s a wicked pissa!”


How likely is it that you walk through a magic closet and all the weird and new creatures you meet talk the same way you do? Probably not very…i mean what can those odds really be…in real life…. Anyway, what if these British kids in Chronicle of Narnis walk through a magic closet to maybe some Rastafari shouting at them.


OK, this isn’t even a fantasy.…this is a REAL place and STILL with the accent! Why? Just…why?


Well, these are just a few of my thoughts. Do you have any?

  1. okiewashere says:

    Accents and dialects are a great way to underline who is perhaps a local – and who is not. Especially if you cannot distinguish by people’s appearance alone. As a writer you can describe the different dialects and/or accents. In a movie or a series this is more difficult. Ideally you have to show different ‘languages’ by the help of different accents. Otherwise you would need far too many subtitles.
    C3PO’s British accent underlines his pompousness. Were he a more down-to-earth character, a different accent/dialect would have been suitable.
    The characters’ respective language is always a vital part of the creator’s imagination. Beam some Hobbits to Aldebaran, they would have a hard time to adapt, yet they would. They would certainly sooner than later lose their own dialect.
    It is always a thrill to hear the voices for the first time, don’t you think?

    • RStorey says:

      I do love to hear voices of characters that I have developed in my own mind play out on the screen. I just feel that there accents can be created just as a language can. Take Klingon from Star Trek and Dothraki from Game of Thrones. A lot of time and effort went into developing those races. And then even when they speak English it is a very unique accent.

      So all I am saying is that maybe a little more effort across the board; I think this would help maintain continuity of your own point of identifying who is “local”. In these new worlds, what defines local?

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