Names in the Kencyr Books
Created 13 March 2006
Modified 7 November 2006
Etymological and Onomatopoeic Names
One of the things I've liked about Hodgell's books has been the names, which
are often rather evocative.
Perimal Darkling -- 'mal' is bad or evil, 'perim-' recalls perimeter.
"All-surrounding Evil Darkling". Sterling name of the series. Good rhythm,
Penari -- penurious, which I thought meant poor but can also mean
miserly, which fits.
Canden -- candid
Theocandi -- 'theo' goes with mystical savantness, candi links him to his
grandson. Nice grand names, too.
Men-dalis -- mendacious, not that we ever see the half-Kencyr lie on
Dally -- sounds light-hearted, like 'dally', and links him with his
half-brother and adoptive father
Cleppety -- cleppety clippety clop. Sounds busy.
Tubain -- tubby
Abernia -- tabernia, tabern, tavern -- mistress of the tavern
Marplet -- I want to say magpie. Might be spurious. Dickensian?
Niggen -- snigger, niggling
Ozymardien -- Ozymandias. Not even subtle!
Dandello (Prince of the Cloud) -- dandelion. Fluffy and
flighty, like him.
Gorgo, Gorgyl -- gurgle, like someone sobbing.
Loogan -- lugubrious
Abarraden (the defunct fertility goddess) -- tantalizing, but I can't
come up with something. Beyond "barren" for a dead fertility goddess...
Melissande -- melis is honey, sweet, good for a courtesan.
Bane, Patches, Dally -- pretty up front. Yes, I have Dally twice.
Scramp -- Scamp
Hangrell -- hanger-on
Sumph, the sewer god -- sump is a word for cistern in English.
Ashe -- ashes for the dead, ash tree associated with life and death.
Hey, she becomes a haunt.
Keral -- feral
Burr -- Tori can't shake him. Like a... burr.
Odalian -- somehow makes me think of a pretty surface without much
beneath it; maybe some mental cross-talk between opal and Ozymardien?
"odalisque" means a female slave or concubine, which is closer to Lyra, though
he is eagerly submissive to Caldane and the Kencyrath.
Mount Alban -- mount white, for the Jaran ivory tower. Cute.
Omiroth, the Ardeth keep -- omen, ominous, and they're a high Shanir
house, with forebodings in the beginning of Seeker's Mask.
Restormir -- Reh-STORM-eer!
Gothregor -- "goth-king". And the Knorth are a very Gothic house by any
definition of Gothic (well, not Germanic barbarians.) (And Mother Raggen
or the local kingdoms might endorse "invading barbarians".) Though I tend to
pronounce it with a long /o/, "gohth-", evoking "ghost". That also seems
Brandan, Brant -- brand, and their standard is leaping flames.
Falkirr (Brandan keep) -- falcon, cf. "leaping". Yes, that feels weak.
Or maybe Castle Falkenstein?
Coman -- Conan; standard is a "double-edged sword".
Kraggen -- seems to fit with the Conan theme somehow. "cragged"
Edirr, Kestrie -- eyrie, kestrel
Nekrien -- necromancer; this is the home of the 1000 year old Witch-King.
Tishooo -- gesundheit
Wolver Grimly, Grimly Holt -- arrr, we're grim werew-- ooh, someone threw
Weald -- wild, home of the wolvers. More in the "not subtle".
Kencyr, Kendar, Arrin-ken, Ken-thiar -- obvious re-using of her own
Kencyrath -- -ath was Tolkien's suffix for "host", as in gil, star,
giliath, all the stars.
Jamethiel, Argentiel -- I thought -iel was Tolkien's "maiden", and
Argentiel might be silver-maiden, but Hodgell pointed at Hebrew, with -el
Whinno-hir -- whinny, standard horse sound
Names in the Kencyrath tend not to be blatantly mutated vocabulary, though
some were. Instead they follow schemes of alliteration, starting with the
same letter, sound, or related sounds (/k-/ and hard 'g' are related.) The
pattern seems to most reliably apply to the current Lord and Matriarch of a
- Greshan (Ganth's older brother)
- Keral (Randir blood, but follows Knorth)
- Gerridon (Pat says. Otherwise he'd be in the G-list.)
- Gerraint (Ganth's father)
- Torisen (note link with Torrigion)
- Cethron, unless that's a /k/ C, which it would be by Latin or Tolkien
rules. Periel, Lorien. These are all long-dead ancestors only seen in a
- Anar, Ishtier (presumed Knorth)
- Genjar -- that has *got* to be a hard /g/, because /jenjar/ is silly.
- Grondin (first established son)
- Corrudin (Caldane's uncle; TRAR)
- Gorbel (lordan in TRAR)
- should I count Gricki/Graykin?
- EXCEPTIONS: Lyra, Nusair, Higron (sixth son), Tiggeri (seventh son),
- EXCEPTIONS: Pereden, Timmon, Pentilla
- Jurien (Randon Council, TRAR)
- EXCEPTIONS: all other names; I won't count Kedan and Kirien as a pattern.
Though with Trishien... the Jaran cover the same initial consonants as the
Knorth, which is intriguing since they seem strongly allied now.
- Roane (Greshan's companion)
- Randiroc (the missing Heir)
- EXCEPTIONS: Kenan, Keral, Daron (ancestor)
- Yolindra -- maybe a stretch
- EXCEPTIONS: Hollens/Holly, Shadow Rock... I think Pat's imagination ran
Whinno-hir: Brithany, Bel-Tairi, Storm
- Aron (Ardeth), Awl (Randir), Bear (Caineron), Sheth (Caineron), Harn
(Knorth), Brier Iron-Thorn (Caineron/Knorth), Cherry (Edirr), Dar (Knorth),
Erim (Knorth), Vant (Knorth), Rue (Min-dread, Knorth), Gari (Coman), Hallick
Hard-Hand (Knorth, father of Harn), Harn Grip-Hard, Hawthorn (Brandir), Kest
(Knorth), Killy (Knorth), Marc, Marrow (Knorth), Mint (Knorth), Narsa
(Ardeth), Niall (Knorth), Quill (Knorth), Quirl (Randir), Shade (Randir),
Simmel (Randir), Stav (Knorth), Tarn (Danior), Tigon (Knorth), Willow, Winter
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