I’m currently planning a trip t Europe this summer that takes me through Barcelona. While reading the Catalunya sections in Spain guide books, I came across a place called the Val d’Aran. It’s a valley in the Pyrenees on the border of Spain and France – a lush green land set between snow-capped mountains. Seem similar to anything in Westeros? Does the name sound familiar?
For anyone unfamiliar with the romance languages, the d’ is a preposition meaning “of.” Val is the Occitan form of the Spanish valle, or the English valley (or vale). Aran is from a Basque word meaning valley. So the Val d’Aran is literally the Valley of the Valley. But say the name out loud and see how it sounds. Val might not be exactly Vale, and Aran might not be exactly Arryn, but the two are close enough for me. Just take a look below! 🙂
Is it bad that I sort of wish HBO had filmed the Vale scenes in the Val d’Aran? We haven’t even seen the Vale yet, so I know I’m being hasty, but just imagine a digital Eyrie up on one of those mountains. Whether or not GRRM knew about the Val d’Aran before the Vale of Arryn, I’ll probably never know. But I do know this: ASOIAF has permeated my mind so deeply that I’m seeing it everywhere! I’m not sure I’d be able to visit the Val when I’m in Catalunya this summer, but if I can, I am definitely crafting a moon-and falcon banner to accompany me.
Photo of the Val d’Aran from Road Trooper.