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Character names matter. Don’t they? Don’t they say something about a person, tell the reader something even if they themselves are unaware of the significance?

I mean, they matter, I guess. In the sense that they mean something and authors can choose them to symbolize something. But, do they really matter? Does naming a character Henry or Richard mean that a core trait for Henry means he’s the “ruler of a great estate”? Does that mean he has to be Germanic in origin? Also, what is this “estate”? Is it literal or metaphorical? Or Richard, from the Old High German for “powerful ruler”? Does Richard need to be a powerful ruler?

I ask this in all seriousness and not idle thought because as I sit here, working on the details of a new manuscript, and I have several character names I’d like to use but I realized, as I was creating these characters, that the names don’t actually mean anything. They don’t correspond with characteristics of the characters or relate back to the core premise.

I wonder if that’s okay?

The reasonable reference I have for it not mattering in the least is something like the Akhor, Silver King of the Kantri from the Song in the Silence by Elizabeth Kerner. Not sure his name is actually rooted in any particular origin. I’d love, by the way, to be proven wrong. If anyone knows what language Kantri is based on, let me know. also by the way, Akhor real name is impossibly more complex and quite possibly impossible to actually pronounce.

 

 

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