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Godric’s tattoos

  • Author: Ellen | Category: True Blood News

  • godricGodric‘s first appearance  on True Blood in the episode Never Let Me Go was very impressive. While he has the appearance of of boy he is clearly referred to by other vampires as one of the most powerful vampires.

    Eric‘s comments on Godric leave no doubt that he is way more stronger than him. The more he is concerned that Godric has disappeared. As I believe not many were surprised, when Eric revealed that Godric is his maker.
    He is said to be about 2000 years old.I did some fist research on ancient tattoos but I couldn’t place them.

    The tattoos on his right arm were interpretated by others as two rows of runes, some of them are thought to translate into the following:


    TYR = T
    MANNAZ = M
    DAEG = D
    EOLH = Z
    IS = I
    OTHEL = O
    LAGUZ = L
    HAGALL = H

    Some symbolic meanings:

    TYR (also TIR, TIW, TIWAZ): represents the god of the same name, who is associated with combat, particularly single combat, as well as victory and glory. This god’s name is also where we get the day of the week “Tuesday” from (Tyr’s day). It’s a very masculine rune, and usually represents some kind of competitive success or victory.

    MANNAZ: means “man,” generally in the sense of humankind, rather than gender, and often represents some kind of cooperation or interdependence.

    DAEG: means “day,” and usually indicates some kind of growth or increase.

    EOLH: meaning obscure, thought to represent “elk,” can represent good fortune or protection.

    IS : pronounced “ice,” and means the same, often represents something ‘frozen,’ or put on hold.

    OTHEL: means “estate,” “possession,” or “heritage,” and represents acquisition of possessions, inheritance, or wealth.

    LAGUZ: means “water,” often a lake, and can represent imagination or intuition. It’s a very feminine rune.

    HAGALL: means “hail,” often represents forces outside of human control, a disruption.

    Is t just me or does Godrics tattoo at the back look a little bit like the claw wound Sookie got from that creature?
    I was thinking that maybe Godric’s tattoo meant something like ‘touched by power’ or god even.


    46 Responses to “Godric’s tattoos”

    1. Brenna says:

      ooooooo u did some research!!
      when i saw the ones on his back i also thought that they looked like the claw wound.

    2. Wow, awesome write-up. LOVE IT!

      • Ellen says:

        Thank you. :-D
        I think his tattos could mean he was a powerful Pict in his human life. The Picts were a confederation of tribes living in what was later to become eastern and northern Scotland from before the Roman conquest of Britain until the 10th century.

        • John says:

          Others have speculated that he was Pict, but they are much too recent. The earliest surviving mention of the Picts dates from 297AD. If Godric was 2000 yrs old, he would have to have been made during the late Bronze Age to early Geometric Age (in Great Britain, the Bronze Age is considered to have been the period from around 2100 to 750 BCE), or he could possibly have been Egyptian. The Picts artifacts and language differ substantially from the Celts and Gaels, so it is thought they were aboriginal – hence Godric could have come from tribes from which the Picts originated, at best.

          • Ellen says:

            Not sure I agree. The term Pict derives from the name the Romans gave Scottish tribes because the were tattooed. The Romans did arrive there at about 120 AD. That doesn’t mean that their existence started then. Nevertheless the term Pict might be not precise…

          • Adam says:

            As some who has studied Beowulf and Old-English, the language Godric and Eric speak during Eric’s making, sounds remarkably like Old-English.

            • AlucarD says:

              Actually, Alexander Skarsgard (ERIC) was speaking his native Swedish tongue. He also provided all of the translation from English for his lines and Godric’s. Alex also did the translation on the episode “I Will Rise Up!”.

              • Lloyd says:

                I’d like to add, regarding the language spoken between Godric and Eric, that it is indeed Swedish, as AlucarD said – but curiously it seems to be two quite different dialects. The one Godric speaks is quite easy for me to understand, since I speak Danish as my native tounge: however, I never quite understood ANYTHING Eric said in Swedish. Godric, or the actor portraying him, probably spoke a simplified Danish/Swedish hybrid, considering the actor (Allan Hyde) is danish.

    3. Ellen says:

      A comment on runes:
      The concept of runes very much varies from the way we use written language nowadays. They are not about forming complete sentences.
      “The first step in understanding rune lore is the understanding of the concept rune. A rune is not merely a letter in an old Germanic alphabet, but rather bears the primary definition of ‘secret’ or ‘mysterium’.”( Futhark, a Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson )
      From the symbols tattooed on Godric I would deduct that he was a powerful wealthy and influential man when he was alive.

    4. Oscar says:

      Well do anyone know what part of the world the runes origin from?

      • Lloyd says:

        They originate from Europe: the futhark runes (which is what they are called) originate from northern Germany/Scandinavia and the surrounding area.

    5. victor says:

      i am getting his chest tattoo tomorrow at 5. so excited. oh and its not that fake henna crap

      • Ankhorite says:

        Hope the tattoo is all you wanted it to be.

        The kind of jewelry the tattoo is based on is called a “pectoral.” They could go shoulder-to-shoulder in the front, or they could go all the way around, as Godric’s tattoo did.

        Google “Egypt pectoral” or “Saxon pectoral” or “Roman pectoral” (without the quotes) to see examples.

    6. Faeriewing says:

      Assuming from Jessica and Eric’s experiences that any ink or branding (See Godric’s right shoulder blade) would have healed after his turning, I think it’s safe to say he recieved all his markings while human.

      We know from Godric’s own words that he predates Christ which actually makes him 2000+. Also, he mentions in a rather odd tone that he *missed* Christ which suggests to me he was either not in Roman territory at the time, or he was not free to travel.

      His final talk with Sookie would suggest that either he became monothiastic or perhaps was from a tribe who was monothiastic.

      I have heard others say that he could not have aquired the name Goderic until after the birth of Christianity. When I looked it up on-line it is Old English in origin.

      A band of Trojan’s after the war are thought to be the first tribe to migrate as far north as Scandinavia, predating even the Romans.

      I’ve been looking up ancient language to match to Godric’s brand and it appears to be Roman f=short g sound, E=E and finally 3=Z. However, I cannot find a meaning.

      I also checked ancient Greek, Persian, Mesopatamian, Turkish, Egyptian and Hebrew. While many of the languages I looked at had some of the symbols only Roman appeared to have all three. I am no scholar, I’m just quick on the net so please feel free to correct/dispute my findings.

      So, seemingly in his 20 odd years as a human he may have traveled from Troy, Rome and what would become Scotland and Norway. If others of his tattoos are Pictish and Norwegian.

      Interesting note: The Swedish Viking era lasted from the 8th through the 10th century, During the 11th century they became sedentary and began forming Sweden as a country which would also make Eric 1100+. The Svear as they were known conquered inland toward Russia.

      • micaeliel says:

        I always thought the reason why Godric *missed* Christ was because Jesus only made public apperances durig daylight and remained hidden at night with his diciples (like it says in the Gospels) many people wanted to kill him, that is why the high priest hired Judas to reveal to him where Jesus was hiding so he could arrest him.

        I don’t think it had anything to do with Godric being outside Roman territory or not able to travel, is because he couldn’t simply come out during the day to see or meet Jesus.

        • Shirley says:

          Brilliant decuction. I always say no matter how the show differs from the books I trust the producers and writers and use Godric as a prime example. How much we would have missed had they stuck with the Godfrey/Godric of the book. Not al that compelling a character that you don’t really miss. The True Blood Godric, however is fascinating and very Christ-like himself. I ony hope that by making Godric Eric’s maker and not Appius Livius they can still find a way to bring in Alexei Romanov.

    7. MuteDove says:

      I hope no one is too disappointed when i say that you guys are having a pointless discussion on Godric’s tattoos. Although they are beautiful on his body, you really shouldn’t try to find out from when Godric came from. Let’s not forget that True Blood is show, based on Charlaine Harris’ books. If she does not mention from when in history Godric/Godfrey came from, then really, his tattoos on the show are quite possibly only there to look pretty.
      And boy does he look amazing with those tattoos!!!

      • Samjune says:

        Than k you so much for sharing. *rolls eyes*
        Th makers of the show did switch from Roman tattoos to runes. For a smart ass that may be of no consequnce, to me, it is. ;-)

      • Addicted says:

        i agree with MuteDove.
        CH never gets into it so the show was just doing what she wrote about the best they could.
        all this stuff you are looking up might not be worth your while.
        it is pretty cool though. and they did make him look amazing!
        Too bad he prefers men…

    8. KH W. says:

      What about the dangling spike necklace thing that drapes from each shoulder bone/collarbone? It looks ornate, does it have a name or is it described differently in the books?

      • Ankhorite says:

        If that tattoo were jewelry, it would be called a “pectoral.”

        Some pectorals were front-side only, with clasps ending at the top of the shoulder (example: medieval England).

        Others, like those used in ancient Egypt, went all the way around the way Godric’s tattoo does.

    9. Adam says:

      Some of us are historians. We see and hear things differently. The language that is spoken during Eric’s “making” scene sounds to me like West Anglo-Saxon (Old English). Keep in mind that it’s a Germanic derived language. The chain-male armor, shields, and weaponry are also characteristic of the dark age warriors of Scandinavia and Gaulish France. One of the Warriors also mentions the word “Valhalla” placing Eric’s time. The name Godric does have it’s origins in a dark age England. 2000+ years ago, I’m not sure. Godric could have been transcribed from another ancient language. Runic tattoos also indicate Godric himself is from ancient Scandinavian origins and of significant social-status.

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    12. Ankhorite says:

      Hey, site owner, the two messages immediately above mine are spam for prescription drugs. Maybe you need to add a “report spam” button. :( (Also, in your original post, I trust you didn’t really mean “fist research” any more than the historian who commented really meant “chain male” – yikes! edit!) Thank you for hosting this interesting topic.

      On topic: I appreciate the earnestness of the other commenters who speculated on the “ancient” language. The language spoken in Godric’s death scene is Swedish, plain old modern Swedish. The actor who plays Eric is a Swede, and the actor who plays Godric is a 20-year-old Dane for whom Swedish is not much of a stretch.


      I will miss the Godric-Eric interaction a great deal.

    13. Jessica says:

      @Ankhorite – All of the Eric/Godric interaction has been in the past anyway, there’s over a millennium of interaction possible in flashbacks. I’m hopeful!

      @Mutedove – They just loosely based the show on the books anyway, and if there’s no real info in the books why can’t the show fill that in for us? Public in the show trumps the books at this stage of the game.

    14. Ethel says:

      I study Old Germanic languages and I’ve had some modern Swedish as well. The language used in the conversations between Pam and Eric as well as during the making scene of Eric are not Old Norse/Old Swedish but modern Swedish. As for Godric’s rune tattoo… primarily the runes are an alphabet. The symbolical meanings you cited above are the names of the runes. If a single rune is carved somewhere this is usually interpreted as this name, a frequent example is the l-rune, which is named after leek (yes, the vegetable) and interpreted as fertility, or the o-rune which means property. Runes were used in whole europe from about the 2nd century onwards, but most inscriptions we know are from Scandinavia, where runes survived quite long as well. In the early times, before Christianity, runes were believed to be a gift from the gods and also were assigned magical properties – we do not know however how exactly this magic looked like. What is written in modern books about rune magic is usually new age, neo paganistic or esoteric invention and has nothing to do with the historical runes, since we simply do not know exactly how they worked with runes back then. The two rows of runes on godric’s arm are definitely a sentence, and not magical symbols, if I could see the whole inscription I could try to translate it (success depending on whether it’s written in a modern language (that would be easy) or not, and if it’s an actual, historical runic inscription which the “borrowed” to make a nice tattoo on the language it is written in – in that case however google should also know the answer)

    15. kM says:

      based on the tattoos i’d say he was from the Scandinavian region of Europe, possibly slightly further east and may have been part of one of the nomadic Goth or Vandal tribes that traveled Eurasia from coast to coast. they spread out and became sedintary in the following centuries. in all likelyhood he stayed in North Europe while others moved on south to North Africa and west to Portugal, Scotland, and Ireland. but this is all postulation and fiction, so it doesn’t really matter.

    16. VampireLiz says:

      Hey guys,

      I was reading through the posts and postulations and I noticed that the best picture that you had of the back tattoos was a partially obscured and dark one, soooooo here’s a slightly better one. It’s still fuzzy, it gives you a MUCH better idea of what’s on his back:


      Hopefully that link works.

      I also wanted to throw in my hypothesis on where Godric is from: I think he could have been from the Northern/Middle England and Southern Scotland area, where the Brigante tribe ruled. It would make sense that if he was turned at a teen age that he would have been born in the 50′s BC, because the Legionaries arrived in 58, so Roman style tattooing would have been brought to the area. He would have been a warrior, and it makes senses that he was short, because the people of the area were short at the time. This would mean that he belonged to one of the over 45 tribes that ruled and lived in England/Scotland. I mentioned the Brigantes before because they had a lot of contact with the Roman’s, seeing as their King and Queen were divided over supporting the Romans.

      Just my thoughts.


    17. julita says:

      this is just what i think,
      the tattoo on Godric’s back it’s a root and probably it’s related to the norse mythology about the word tree called the YGGDRASIL. this tree had three roots one of them leading to MIMIR the fountain of wisdom, other lead to the URD where the NORNAS lived, they were in charge of the humans fate and third root lead to NIFLHEIM, the worl of everlasting ice.


    18. Robert says:

      Just my theory here but I don’t think Godric is a Cymru or Pict at all, not even Celtic – he doesn’t have the coloration or stature to be from the bronze age England. Likewise the Norse were almost uniformly, well, Eric-like even then so he doesn’t seem to be norse/nordic either.

      The tattoo on his back looks like a Scythian Serpent/Dragon, oddly enough the runes on his arm would support this – they’re Elder Futhark, that’s why some of them don’t seem to match up with the runic alphabet when you compare them, right idea, wrong alphabet. Elder Futhark stretches in use from the shores of the Black Sea to the fjords of Norway. With that in mind Godric’s unusual neckline tattoo of arrowheads, the armband of Elder Futhark runes, the Scythian serpent dragon on his back – he’s most likely Dacian or Getic in origin, probably a Getic archer or Dacian skirmisher. That would fit with the Roman timeline and it has the benefit of his being born in or around the Carpathian mountains (Dracula’s stomping grounds).

      The Getae were formidable warriors so I can see him favoring that in Eric, it really hangs together well if that’s the case.

    19. Jaimie says:

      Now, I’m not sure, but I’m thinking that the large tattoo down his spine is a Dacian Draco?

    20. Jaimie says:

      And, I also think the necklace looking thing around his neck is an Egyptian Usekh collar.

    21. tralala says:

      I think I agree with Robert on this. I think he was Scythian or from that region of the world(Scythians were living in Dacia as well if my memory serves me right). I had done a bit of a research on this and the Picts had blueish tattoos, but his are all black and the read one on the back.Morevover there is a mummified Scythian chieftain who has been found ( a lot older than the time of Godric’s birth) and he was sporting tattoos that kind of match imo. The Scythians were using runes that is for sure for magic purposes, but I am not sure about their writing system, I am not a historian or expert. Sure thing is they are extinct now and from what we know, Godric’s mother tongue is also a lost one. At least that is what I read at a wiki page. His colar bone tattoo does look Egyptian though even though what Robert says makes sense. I need to research this Dacian Dragon motiv further. Thanks Robert :)

    22. Wulfila says:

      Ethel’s post above is the most accurate here. I am an historical linguist specializing in the ancient Germanic languages (MA, Berkeley, working on a PhD in the field). The runes in this case, as Ethel says above, are likely words and phrases or sentences. I know the runic alphabet quite well (I’ve written books on topics including runes). If someone can get a clear image of the runes I could likely translate them, regardless of the language, even if it is Proto-Germanic (the precursor of all modern Germanic languages, including English, German, Swedish, etc.). Though I highly doubt it is Proto-Germanic, given that the series just uses simple Modern Swedish when these characters speak; Godric is simply speaking Swedish with a heavy Danish accent. As for Godric’s origins, he would most likely be from the Proto-Germanic/Proto-Norse speaking peoples who became the Scandinavians. Runes were only used beginning about midway through the 2nd century CE. So Godric would have been fairly old when he got the tattoo if he was born before Christ. (And there is no evidence I know of that people got rune tattoos, but that’s hard to know for sure.) I wish the producers had taken the time to consult with a linguist instead of having them speak Swedish. I could have come up with whatever sentences they needed in Proto-Germanic, Proto-Norse (the language Godric would have spoken) or Old Norse (the language Eric would have spoken). Also, it is strange that they use the name “Godric” as this does some to be an Anglicized version of his name (which has lead people here to incorrectly guess he was Old English…Old English only came about after the migrations of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes to England in the mid-5th century CE). So he couldn’t have been Anglo-Saxon/Old English. Also unlikely he was a Pict, since he is in Sweden with Eric later, and he’s got Germanic tattoos and speaks a Germanic language. The name Godric means something like “God the Ruler” or “God the Powerful”. The original in Proto-Germanic would have been something like: γuðán-rīkjaz (the first letter is a sound like Dutch “g”, a very gutteral g sound, the 3rd letter is the “th” sound in the word “that”, and the “j” sounds like a “y”. Using Modern English spelling it would sound something like “HHoothahn-reekyahz”. If anyone does have the full runic inscription, just email me at scottshay on and I’ll post a translation.

      • cps says:

        Your comment is very interesting and well informed. I like that there are responses taking into consideration that modern TV writers can make things only so authentic. I haven’t seen all of these episodes yet (watching on DVD), but googled Godric’s origins. The information I picked up was that Godric was from around 120 BC , that he spoke a Germanic Anglo Saxon dialect (not on the show), and that he may have been a slave during the time of the Roman Empire. Just based on this I guessed he was from somewhere on the Jutland Peninsula, could have been part of the Cimbri or Teutoni tribes. It was around this time that the Cimbri fought the Romans – the Cimbrian War. Just a guess.

    23. SARAH says:

      Hey, i am trying to get a good pic of godric’s spine tattoo, i want it on mine, in memory of him, or should i get something else to represent him?

    24. Amer says:

      Actually the language Godric speaks in his last scene on the roof is Old Norse.

    25. Amer says:

      Or probably Icelandic.

    26. Elizabeth says:

      From what I’ve gotten, Godric was born in 134 B.C. Now I’ve read that the Anglo-Saxons, who a lot of people think is what Godric is, didn’t invade the Britsh Isles until the 5th century A.D. Anglo-Saxon was just a name given to the Germanic tribes that had invaded the Isles, it wasn’t an actual area or people. Godric could be from one of the Germanic tribes, but I’m just guessing from what I’m seeing and hearing. My best bet is he’s ancient Scandinavian. The tattoos could be what he has gathered ov his human and vampire life (by the way for people who think the tattoos would magically go away like magic marker, they wouldn’t. would the broken skin heal, yes it would, but the ink is stained into the skin, but its not dangerous enough for your super vampire healing ability to make go away, plus where would the ink go? it would drip off you thats nuts. anyway back to my point). I’ve also read that he was enslaved by Romans, which is pretty good. Rome had already been expanding its butt off into the Northern parts of Europe well before Godric was born, so Godric’s family being captured and enslaved, and him being born into that is acurate. As for his name, Godric, it is old english which comes from a Germanic tribe funny enough called Angeln. Godric could have changed his name thousands of years ago. Maybe he hated his old name, maybe he wanted people to pronounce his name but his ancient Germanic one wasn’t going to work, I’m Eric gave himself the name Northman for I guess social purposes ( maybe Eric Erikson would have been redundant,by the way, real creative Eric, so your from the north huh?). Besides wouldn’t you get a new name? His original name could have been a slave name. Also Godric, being old english and old english originally being derived from a germanic language, it could be an old english translation of Godric’s orginal name. Anyway this all just what I’ve read, and conjectured.

    27. Kevin says:

      Godrics Tattoo on his back is actually a Sea Serpent. It was discovered on some forum a while back

    28. Kevin says:

      Godric was also born in Gaul which was a region in western europe at the time. He was captured by the romans when julius ceaser invaded which was 58-51 BC and he was sold to a Roman noble who turned out to be a vampire and later turned Godric after he was 16, later down the road Godric killed his maker and that was a high crime to the ancient vampire community so he fled and lived as a savage for nearly a thousand years.

    29. Brenda says:

      I’m confused at the speculation over the language they speak during Eric’s making. I lived with a Norwegian/Swedish family for two years, (Norwegian family, Swedish in-laws, totally smashed up conversations). When i watched the episode, my tv cut off the subtitles, but I still understood most of the conversation. Godric was a little hard to understand, not because the words were wrong, but because he had a funny way of speaking. But Eric was clear as day, and I’m hardly fluent, much less understand pro-swede or old norse or sub-germanic whatever it is you think they’re speaking. I just heard plain, common Swedish.

      Which, btw, made my freaking day. :-)

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