As a young child, I once asked my parents to buy me one of those name plaques at a tourist attraction—you know the ones, that have not only your name on them, but the meaning as well. I came to find out that my name had a Gaelic origin (which pleased me well, as I was über proud of my Irish heritage); it meant small waterfall or a pool of water in a glen. Even before I found this out, I always loved the peace I felt in little glens of this sort.
I read a lot as a child, and in those days, I was overly fond of Irish myths and legends. I found it interesting that, according to myths, a person could have power over a supernatural creature if they knew the creature’s true name. Irish, Welsh, and Scottish myths abounded with tales of this sort.
And so, when I began writing my own stories at the tender age of ten, I was very careful of what names I chose for my characters. Before I could even consider having babies, I had tons of baby name books. My own childrens’ names were chosen very carefully—both have strong middle names and my first-born’s name means, “powerful king”; the youngest’s name means, “gift from God” (although I didn’t think God was the sort to give prank gifts before my Little Bear came along--J).
To this day, I cannot start a story unless I have chosen the names of my hero and heroine. Thank goodness for the internet!
One of my heroes is named Hart—his parents are traditionalists, of German descent. He is well aware of, and has heard, all the jokes and double entendre of his name. His name means “strong” or “brave”, but I also named him this because of the ties to British myth that are in my story. In fact, a white hart represented the otherworld in English myths and since he travels to a parallel universe—or “other world”—I thought the name apropos.
The heroes of my Nephalim book are named Gadri-el and Azazel. According to Wikipedia (I know, great source material, Lynne), Gadreel was the fallen angel who taught men about warfare. My Gadri-el is a general in his army. There is some controversy over this “fact”, with Azazel being the other militant candidate. My Gadri-el and Azazel are half brothers; Azazel serves as a captain in the Nephalim army.
So tell me about you—do you know the meaning of your name? Is it something that even interests you? What care do you take in naming the things in your life—your pets, your children, your characters?