“When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.”

LVXORD

Civis Illustris
This is a quote from [A] Game of Thrones (both book and TV show). I was attempting to translate it, but my skills only go so far. And I'm fairly confused about things like the subjunctive (if it needs to be in the subjunctive...), etc

It is actually said by a woman I believe, but I'd like it in masculine.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Hello,

Quite literally it would be:

Cum ludo thronorum ludis, aut vincis aut moreris.

But as "you" is rather impersonal here, like "one", maybe this is better:

Cum quis ludo thronorum ludit, aut vincit aut moritur.
 

LVXORD

Civis Illustris
Thanks, that was quite similiar to the one I came up with Ubi ludum thronorum ludis, vincis aut moreris (which is wrong I believe).

Anyway, do you think it would be alright to use the future tense instead so it is more like you will win or you will die rather than the indicative which I feel is more you are winning etc
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I think that ubi is rather used to say "when", "at that point", when you're talking about the past.

In the future, you should rather use future perfect in the first part:

Cum ludo thronorum luseris, aut vinces aut morieris.
Cum quis ludo thronorum luserit, aut vincet aut morietur.

But I feel that with cum it's rather as if we were talking of something that (necessarily) was to happen. Maybe I'm wrong... But I've got a feeling it would work better with si/if in Latin...

Si ludo thronorum luseris, aut vinces aut morieris.
Si quis ludo thronorum luserit, aut vincet aut morietur.
 

Godmy

A Monkey
I would (or my language would) prefer the most "cum + present, future"
But since I haven't tested this in Latin, I can't say it would be the best...

Btw.: In the classical Latin the graecism "thronus/thronum" wasn't so frequent for a "royal chair". There was a latinism "solium" (which is etymologically related to sedeo, sedere... sella, ae / sedes, is ... etc).

Pacis puella: The cum should be right there, in my opinion. There are several indicatival "cums" like that. There is even that iterative cum: "Cum cecidisti, surgis" <- everytime you will fall (you have fallen), you will rise again" - where the perfect has a general sense looking even into the future.
"Si" emphasizes too much the condition of being a player, but the "the time spent in the game" should be rather emphasized, as I see it (similar here as in English).
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Godmy, are you talking about the cum historical ? It takes the indicative, afaik.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I had the feeling that temporal cum used with a future tense denoted something that was (bound) to happen, something else than the sligthly hypothetical English "when you play, either you win or die". Your example: Cum cecidisti, surgis is in perfect/present tense, not future. I felt no problem with using cum in my first version in present, I just felt it with the one in future*. Now maybe I should copy your example perfect + present. I even thought about it myself actually, but hesitated.

So: Cum ludo thronorum/soliorum lusisti, aut vincis aut moreris.
Cum quis ludo thronorum/soliorum lusit, aut vincit aut moritur.

*Now, as I said, my impression may be wrong.

Godmy, are you talking about the cum historical ? It takes the indicative, afaik.
No, here we are talking about cum temporal, which takes the indicative. Cum historical takes the subjunctive.
 

Godmy

A Monkey
Cum cecidisti, surgis is in present tense, not future.
Yes, grammatically. But semantically it is used instead of the future II and the present instead of the future I when you want to use "cum" as "every time/whenever". And in the past it is "cum cecideras, surgebas". It's called "cum iterativum"
But I wasn't proposing that we should use "cum iterativum" :) I was just pointing that "cum" can be used for something which resembles a condition.
Anyway, it seems that two future tenses should be used. One of my grammars suggests two future I disregarding the fact that one of them has to be finished (I'll check probably A&G)

Anyway: When you use there "si", it has a different sentiment. That's like if you were just informing the person what happens if somebody takes a part in that game and the process of playing is not that important, you are just stating "what happens".
When you use "cum", you are rather referring to some personal experience or to something you have seen = you emphasize the process of playing.

I wouldn't use "si" in this sentence.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I actually think the iterative is a good idea. I think that's quite the idea in the English phrase. The future version sounds like "when you have played (in the future) once..." Whereas the English is rather intended to say that evertime anyone (the "you" is impersonal here) would play, he would either win or die. I think the best one is:

Cum quis ludo thronorum/soliorum lusit, aut vincit aut moritur.
 

Godmy

A Monkey
;)

(I'm just checking now which indicatival tenses should be the best...)

I actually think the iterative is a good idea. I think that's quite the idea in the English phrase. The future version sounds like "when you will have played once..." Whereas the English is rather intended to say that evertime anyone (the "you" is impersonal here) would play, he would either win or die. I think the best one is:

Cum quis ludo thronorum/soliorum lusit, aut vincit aut moritur.
Hmm.. i was trying to avoid that iterativum, because you can't really iterate the action after your death, but hard to say if that is a condition or not... But maybe the sentiment changes a bit when you use there the third person. My opinion was that the actions implied should be iteratable for the main "actors".

[Edit]
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
You're right, if it were personal, but here it's quis... "anyone"... So when one "anyone" dies, it is reiterated with other "anyones". ;)

When (each time) one plays that game, they either win or die. (It isn't supposed to be the same person each time.)
 

Godmy

A Monkey
<<- Yes, it looks much better with the third person :))
But still I wouldn't abuse now "cum iterativum" anytime it seems to be usable... but it's definitely one option ;) I'm trying to see if I can find some fitting example through A&G.

----------
So here http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~silver/AG/ag-cum.html there is:
cum id malum negas esse, capior (Cic. Tusc. 2.29), whenever you (the individual disputant) deny it to be an evil, I am misled. [Present general condition.]
And they classify it as a type of conditional clause.
So that seems as an alternative to cum iterativum. Cum iterativum mainly differs in emphasizing the end of the action but still staying in present (so it is still "general") <- so in the end, it doesn't matter so much how we call it.

But if we decided for the "cum ludis" to imply some duration of the game and maybe it's "unusualness", we should still use in the second clause the future, because "moreris" really looks a bit as if he was dying during the game...

So either "cum lusisti, moreris" or "cum ludis, morieris" as I see it now.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Rather the first one, perfect/present (cum ludis, morieris seems really weird to me.).
Cum Temporal
Cum, "whenever", takes the construction of a relative clause in a general condition (see § 542).
For present time, either the Present or the Perfect Indicative is used; for past time, regularly the Pluperfect Indicative.
For est cum etc., see § 535. a. N.3.
And with quis rather than tu, for the "you" is impersonal in English, and for the reasons you yourself previously stated (the same person can't die several times).

So I still think that the best one is*: Cum quis ludo thronorum/soliorum lusit, aut vincit aut moritur OR*this is the good one ---> with present in the first part as well, which brings us back to one of my first versions: cum quis ludo thronorum/soliorum ludit, aut vincit aut moritur. On second thought I wonder whether it isn't even better than the version with perfect in the first part. Because you can die during the game, before the game is completed. I don't know where you get the idea from that you can't die while playing... :)

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I tell myself that this is definitely the good one: cum quis ludo thronorum/soliorum ludit, aut vincit aut moritur.

Simply... What people say about the first impression (that it' the good one) is sometimes right!

The version with perfect in the first part would only be right if we wanted to say that you will either win or die when the game is completed, when you have played it from beginning to end, and are no longer playing. Which doesn't quite make sense, because, logically, you can die anytime during the game (unless there is some kind of magic that makes so that you can only die when it is over.)
 
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Godmy

A Monkey
My idea was, that he would be dying int he same time as playing... but probably it would be understood correctly (with this verb) if you used two present tenses.

The version with the perfect just cuts the duration (makes it even more general, casual), but as you point out there are several reasons why not to do that...

Ok, I was just a bit afraid for "moreris" when the first one is also in the present tense, but it seems to work the desired way...
I've been dealing now with some other problems so I haven't paid to it much attention.
 
Confirming Pacis, though for an imperſonal rendering I would likely have begun with either 'cum aliquis' or 'quicumque'.
(Well, unless Pacis outſmarted me again, and is about to tell us that 'ali-' drops away after 'cum'.:D
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
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