Sunday, September 04, 2011

Fantasy names

I've read a lot more epic fantasy in the past half a year than I have in any similar span since in recent years. One thing I notice as I read secondary fantasies like that is that my mind seems to latch onto particular names--not for anything special in what that character or place means within the story, but just because I like the way it feels to say the word. Usually it's not a major character from the story, though I think "Otah-kvo" might have been on my tongue a lot this spring when I read the Long Price quartet. Just recently it was "Magnar of Thenn," a minor character in A Dance With Dragons. I seem to remember some of the place names of White Luck Warrior filling that role back a few months ago.

It's not only fantasy names that do this. Once a year or two ago I woke up with the word lepidoptera running through my mind for no reason I could tell--I even had to double-check that it really was a word relating to moths and butterflies and not just something my subconscious had created as I slept.

No grand wisdom to learn from this--I don't think there's even anything specific about the names that I end up latching onto, though I intend to pay some attention to which words end up striking me that way, see if there's anything to glean from it for coming up with my own names. But I'm definitely the type of reader who pronounces the words as I read, and I think this just reflects that fact.

2 comments:

Lindsey Duncan said...

I'm quite the opposite: I latch onto names for the way they look and sometimes, don't pronounce them at all. (I frequently miss pronounciation-based puns, like Shanghai Noon.) But I do notice the overall rhythm of the sounds.

I'm always worried I'll absorb names I'm very pleased with by accident and spit them back out in just-altered form.

Daniel Ausema said...

Yeah, I've had that, where I think a particular name will be a good one to tuck away, only to remember that I'd read it somewhere =)