I just read about it and the first thing I see when I get on dA is this o.o
And it's a really, really nice phrase to get as a tattoo... It's nice to know we won't have to live forever.
In fact I just remembered: Pretty early in the Silmarillion [I haven't finished that book either >.>] it says Il˙vatar [God in the LOTRverse, not sure if you're familiar so I thought I'd specify] "gave Men strange gifts" in comparison to the Elves and other creatures... That they "should seek beyond the world and find no rest therein", and "have a virtue to shape their life, amid the powers and chances of the world", and it also says that "It is one with this gift of freedom that the children of Men dwell only a short space in the world alive, and are not bound to it".
"Death is their fate, the gift of Il˙vatar".
I don't mean to soud like a LOTR freak [Even if I might be], I just wanted to say it even if I may be the only one who thinks it's relevant or worth mentioning right now.
Personally I think valar morghulus relates to the inevitability of death, and I suppose this is why it has sort of become a 'catchphrase' for the Faceless Men. However it can, of course, have very personal connotations, which is why I think it would make such a neat tattoo!
my personal opinion is, as you stated, that the prayer is related to the inevitability of death. At that point, I would say that it might be an "optimistic" message as well: since you┤re gonna die like anybody else, wether you┤re nobody or a king or a priest, just enjoy the time you┤re living and do as much as your energy allows you to do. By sacrificing people to the faceless god, the faceless men are actually offering gifts to life
Ok, I see - Valar Morghulis is the actual prayer. I thought it was only the name of something longer.
I'm not into the universe, so I wouldn't know, but it sounds like a saying that could be used in several ways; as a curse or a reference to the fact that we will eventually die anyway, so we might as well do it with honor. In norse mythology (penned down in the sagas), that's a reoccurring theme. In danish, there's a saying that (roughly translated) goes: Death must have a reason. It's used half in jest before undertaking some risky task, or if people blame you for smoking etc. It could have that meaning as well.