WHAT DOES “FUS RO DAH” MEAN?
To those well-versed in the world of internet memes and inside jokes, the call of “Fus Ro Dah” may provoke uncontrollable laughter, or at the very least some fond memories. But it’s very possible that you arrived at this page by searching the above question, so a brief primer on what these three magical syllables mean might just be in order (if not, scroll down a little to get to the good stuff). The phrase originates from the video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, otherwise known simply as Skyrim. I won’t pretend to be an expert on the game, but the phrase translates in the in-game fictional language as ““force balance push,” one of the most powerful “unrelenting force shouts” in the game (I really hope I got that right). After the phrase appeared in a trailer for the game before the release, it was well on its way to becoming an internet sensation, starting with the following video:
Once you watch that one, you get the general idea. Take some “Fus Ro Dah” footage from the game (or the game’s trailer), and humorously juxtapose it with some other internet video, usually but not always someone falling down. As with all other forms of comedy, a good “Fus Ro Dah” video is dependent entirely on good timing, like in exhibit B below:
That video’s title claims it as the “Original Fus Ro Dah,” which is not a debate that I’m prepared to wade into, except to say that originality probably doesn’t have the highest premium placed on it in a field that’s based on taking two preexisting things and smashing them together. And whether it’s the original or not, it’s pretty funny, isn’t it?
Next, there’s a video that combines the “Fus Ro Dah” sound effect with another perennially popular internet meme, the Cinnamon Challenge. Those who are familiar with the latter can probably already see the possibilities in combining the two, since lots of Cinnamon Challenge videos include a large, abrupt cinnamon cloud explosion, perfect for Fus Ro Dah (I’m going to stop putting it in quotation marks now, I hope you can handle it). Here’s an example:
I dare you to watch that video just once!
DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE CINNAMON CHALLENGE FUS RO DAH VIDEOS?
As a matter of fact, there is another example of these two great tastes tasting great together in the extensive Break archives. Will it be as good as the first one? Let’s find out together:
Call me non-confrontational if you must, but I think I’m going to call it a draw. And anyway, who cares which one is better? There’s something so inexplicably satisfying about a well-timed Fus Ro Dah, it’s really no wonder it’s managed to survive on the internet landscape for so long.
Almost as satisfying is this next Fus Ro Dah video, showing not a cloud of cinnamon but a herd of goats being blown over by some mysterious shockwave. I don’t know what actually happened to the goats in real life to get this footage, but I do know what it looks like in the video, which is that they got knocked over by a dragon man shout or whatever. Check it out:
CAN I SEE SOME MORE FUS RO DAH VIDEOS THAT ORIGINATE FROM THE REAL WORLD?
Absolutely. If I had to guess, I’d say this is probably the most popular of all the Fus Ro Dah subgenres, owing to the obvious comedy value of combining mundane, real-world actions with something out of a fantasy video game. Here’s another example:
Although it would be a misnomer to call the next video “mundane,” it’s still (unfortunately) very much from the world we live in, with a phalanx of cops struggling to neutralize a possibly unstable suspect. Nothing funny about that, but when you add some soaring video game music and the shout that launched a thousand internet memes? Well, that’s entertainment:
After that one, it would probably be best to transition into some good old-fashioned harmless slapstick violence. This next video is entitled FUS ROH DAH SLAP!!!, and just in case you don’t get the idea even at this point, I’ll break it down for you – there’s a slap, accompanied by a perfectly timed Fus Ro Dah. Shocking, right?
I guess this is as good a place as any to insert a note about the spelling of “Fus Ro Dah.” Sometimes it seems to include a silent “H” in “Roh,” but the spelling favored by me appears to be the more common one. If you don’t like it, you can contact me by yelling “Fus Ro Dah” at strangers until someone acknowledges you, I’m sure you’ll get to me eventually.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FUS RO DAH VIDEOS THAT ARE A LITTLE MORE WILD, A LITTLE MORE “OUT THERE?”
You can only watch so many videos of people falling down or being otherwise knocked over by the mysterious Fus Ro Dah dragon shout before you start to wonder if there might be something more imaginative out there for you to enjoy. If this describes your present state of mind, you’ll probably be pleased to know that there are a few Fus Ro Dah videos that, in the words of Frank Reynolds, “get real weird with it.” Here’s the first one:
Ok, so they went with the easy, if soundless, laugh that time. But an easy laugh is a laugh all the same, and it’s no good saying it ain’t. But you want something even weirder than that, something that will have you scratching your head in puzzlement before it provokes so much as a chuckle. I think I can provide that:
In case you now require some explanation for that video, it takes The Mighty Hetfield’s inexplicable shouts of “I am the table” from Metallica and Lou Reed’s collaborative album Lulu and combines it with the old Fus Ro Dah. By the way, that album is great. Just because everyone makes fun of it all the time doesn’t make it less great. Here’s Yoda:
With the exception of that dumb sticker at the end, that’s actually pretty cool. Maybe a Skyrim x Star Wars could happen at some point in the future, especially if Disney acquires the Skyrim rights in one of their giant property grabs. Actually, for all I know, they could already own the rights!
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A REAL-LIFE FUS RO DAH?
I don’t have to tell you that Fus Ro Dah, dragon shouts, dragonborn men, and the like are not real, and only exist in the fictional world of video games and fantasy. But, we have come very close to something resembling a real-life Fus Ro Dah, and it’s probably as close as we’re ever going to get. The one caveat is that it takes place underwater – but that actually might make it cooler. Take a look, if you’ve got five minutes to spare (this one’s a little longer than a typical Fus Ro Dah video):
HOW ABOUT A VIDEO OF THE FUS RO DAH IN ITS NATURAL HABITAT?
Speaking of long videos, I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one video showing the Fus Ro Dah as it’s actually performed, without any re-contextualization of any kind. The problem is that it’s kind of boring unless you’re into video game walkthroughs, but nevertheless you might be interested to see the shout of the moment as it was originally shouted – so here it is:
DO YOU HAVE A NICE FUS RO DAH COMPILATION TO TAKE US HOME WITH?
After all this time spent watching Fus Ro Dah videos, the damage to your brain might have already reached the “irreparable” stage. It will be very difficult for you to witness or perform any kind of decisive action without mentally performing the dragon shout to yourself, or if the condition deteriorates further, actually shouting it out loud at the top of your lungs. But, since we’ve probably already reached that point, we might as well go out with a concentrated dose of all the Fus Ro Dah mayhem your poor addled mind can handle. Here it is, and as soon as it’s over I wish you a quick and total recovery: