Victoria A. Jeffrey's authorly doings. . .

Friday, October 5, 2012


I’ve had a number of pretty interesting names picked out for the main characters in the books but as I’ve been re-reading The Lord of the Rings and other Tolkien related blogs it struck me that the names I’ve chosen for the secondary characters and for cities and towns have not much rhyme or reason. When you read the names of dwarves in The Hobbit and LOTR, they are very much rooted in a clan/family name. This is also true of the names of real people. They aren’t as random as they seem and this was especially so in ancient societies that revere traditions and the institution of the family.
This has me rethinking how I choose to name characters in these books. There is also culture to consider when naming characters. Is it a patriarchy? A matriarchy? Are people named by the tribe or community? The family? Is it a name that is passed down from parent to child through the centuries and how many Williams, Richards or Saladins will be named in any one family? (I’m not using any of these names, they are simply examples.)
Some groups even have naming ceremonies so no little attention is paid to a person’s name. It is also said that in the world of Faerie one’s name is of utmost importance and can impart power to the person that knows the name of a faerie creature. Think Rumpelstiltskin as one example. Even in the Bible names are very important. Angels of God who came down to earth to give messages to humans often refused to give their names in order to prevent humans from giving them worship that belonged to God alone. We know of two, Michael and Gabriel, but there are other unnamed angels mentioned in the Bible and it makes them seem mysterious. One is curious about what their names are. Such is the importance and the mystique of a name.

Names often have a specific meaning. They take on importance beyond the internal. Not only can they influence how a person feels about himself but they may influence how he behaves or what he accomplishes. When my mother was expecting me my parents thought I was going to be a boy so my name was picked out – I was to have the same name as my father. basically a Jr. When I was born, well, I turned out to be a girl! So, they chose the feminine forms for those same names. Both names are strong and conjure up ideas of victory and strength. I must say, I haven’t exactly lived up to those names in any traditional sense. :(  But I have conquered and came out victorious in personal struggles and issues in my life that caused much internal strife. A name is an identity and a root that describes where you came from and from whom you descended and it is a symbol of who you are or what you can become. Much consideration should be given to names, even when you’re just making them up out of thin air! :)

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