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, too.
  • 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 page.
  • 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 appropriate.
  • 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 a stick!
  • Weald -- wild, home of the wolvers. More in the "not subtle".
  • Kencyr, Kendar, Arrin-ken, Ken-thiar -- obvious re-using of her own word-root
  • 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 "god".
  • Whinno-hir -- whinny, standard horse sound

    Kencyr Names

    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 House.

  • Knorth, K-family
  • Knorth, J-family
  • Knorth, T-family
  • Knorth, misc
  • Caineron, C-family
  • Ardeth, A-family
  • Jaran, J-family
  • Randir, R-family
  • Brandan, Br-family
  • Coman, K-family
  • Edirr, E-family
  • Danior, D-family
  • Kendar
  • Whinno-hir: Brithany, Bel-Tairi, Storm
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