Eastern names are taken from languages of our world:
Ferenk's is a tavern in South Adrilankha with a huge array of Fenarian wines and brandies. "Ferenc" is a Hungarian name, in which the "nc" sounds like the "nts" in "cents". But an English-speaker looking at it would pronounce the final "c" as a "k" (as in "franc", the French unit of money), and another English-speaker hearing that pronunciation would write it down as "Ferenk". This seems to be a third way of anglicizing a Hungarian name, in addition to the two Brust mentions.
On vacation after his first time "working", Vlad uses the alias "Lord Mawdyear" -- or, rather, that's how a waiter mispronounces it, "close enough to the name I was using" [Tlt 133-134]. Brust has confirmed that that name is "Magyar" (Hungarian for 'Hungarian'), whose pronunciation would be written in English as something like "mawdyar".
Easterners typically have surnames, which Brust refers to as patronymics, i.e., "names derived from the father". In our world the term is usually used for names with the (original) literal meaning "son/daughter of So-and-so [the father]", such as Ibn Saud, Ben-Gurion, Ivanova, Finnbogadóttir, MacArthur, and Johnson. At least for Fenarians, it is evidently a surname handed down from father to offspring: Noish-pa, Vlad Taltos's paternal grandfather [Tlt 7-8,Phx 36], is also "Taltos" [Tek 208]. We don't know his birth name; "Noish-pa" is a nickname roughly equivalent to "Grampa", somewhat modified from Hungarian "nagy-pa".[*]
When Vlad first meets Kelly and some of his comrades, Cawti "didn't supply patronymics for the humans and I didn't push it" [Tek 19], although we later learn that "Kelly" is Kelly's patronymic [Tek 48,121]. The only other names that we know to be patronymics are Taltos, (Maria) Parachezk (an author whom we don't meet as a character [Phx 183-4]), and presumably Valabar (see next section).[*]
When Noish-pa meets Cawti, she says she doesn't have a patronymic any more [Yen 208].
Valabar [Tlt 141] is evidently a surname: the chef at Valabar and Sons is "always called 'Mr. Valabar' no matter how many Valabars are working there at the moment", and the restaurant has been there for "hundreds of years, run by the same family [...] of humans [= Easterners]". But that reference raises a question: is the title "Mr." used anywhere else? Nowhere that I can think of; it's always "Lord This" or "Lady That" except to Teckla, who are not noble and rate no title of respect. In fact, Paarfi tells us that he is "unfamiliar with the title 'Mister'" [TPG 489].
But the Valabars are in an anomalous position: They are Easterners whom the Dragaerans treat respectfully because they value the service the Valabars provide. Now, maybe it's only the Easterners at Valabar's who speak of "Mr. Valabar", but whatever (the symbol translated by) "Mr." means to them, the Dragaerans presumably understand it.
In fact, I can think of one other time a Dragaeran addresses a non-noble Easterner with a title of respect. In Castle Black, Sethra Lavode greets Noish-pa as "Master Taltos", which may be generic or may be in respect for his standing as a witch. "Mr. Valabar" may be the same sort of thing.
For what it's worth, the English word "mister" is derived from "master". If Sethra is using a formal Dragaeran title of respect and the Valabars are using a more modern or less stately form of the same word, "Master" and "Mr." would reflect that situation perfectly.
And then there's Vlad Norathar, Cawti and (presumably) Vlad's son, named after
Or has Cawti given the boy "Norathar" in lieu of the patronymic "Taltos"? It is possible, but Noish-pa would be hurt, and Cawti is fond of him.
"Taltos" (properly, "Táltos") is special. Not only is it pronounced and spelled as in Hungarian/Fenarian, it's a term from Hungarian folklore. A táltos is a kind of supernatural creature; W.Z. Brust translates the word as "priest-magician" [The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars 206].
There are táltos characters in Brokedown Palace and at least two non-Dragaera books by Brust: The Gypsy (with Megan Lindholm) and The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars. In the legendary Interludes in Brokedown Palace, Fenarr's horse Bölcseség (called "Wisdom"[*] in The Phoenix Guards [TPG 374]) is a táltos; a thousand years later, in the main narrative, he is Prince Miklós's horse as well.
The title character of The Gypsy, Csucskári, is a táltos. [p. 268]. Csucskári and his brothers also appear in the Hungarian folk-tale[*] that runs through section 5 of each chapter of The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars, and there too he is a táltos.
Damien R. Sullivan ("Phoenix") points out:
It might be worth noting that while it's Vlad's name, it's arguably his nature as well. To Dragaerans he's a witch, to Easterners a sorcerer. He's also a fairly powerful witch, who's teleported something that way, and who has a quasi-familiar to go with his regular one. And I think there's some other instance of his casting a spell by willing it really hard, and skipping the ritual.[*] Humans would also note that he was raised and lives in fairyland (this is connected to the sorcery), and everyone would note that he's been to the land of the dead and returned.
One notable difference between Vlad and the folkloric táltos is his appetite. Vlad loves good food -- he tells us in detail about many meals he eats or prepares (as does Paarfi of his characters, but we needn't dwell on that) -- but a táltos does not need to eat or drink [The Gypsy 268], or indeed must not do so [The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars 12]. Bölcseség tells Miklós he is fed by the use his masters make of him [BP 16].
[2003-05-27] Vlad knows "a bit of" Fenarian/Hungarian [*] [Iss 103], but we've seen no indication that he's aware of the significance of his patronymic.
Most Dragaeran names seem to be made up, which may mean only that I don't recognize them (see "my qualifications"). It's not obvious, just from looking at a name and without recourse to knowledge from our world, which side of the mountains it comes from. The one exception I have noticed is that "aa" is common in Dragaeran names, and only there. [2003-05-18]: Oddly, although "jh" -- pronounced like the "s" in "pleasure" [*] -- occurs in "jhereg" and "jhegaala" and maybe a couple of other Dragaeran words, we don't see it in any Dragaeran names.
Some Dragaerans have Kanefthali names, which most Dragaerans find extraordinarily difficult to pronounce, although there's no evidence that this is a language of another race. Such a name is "Hwdf'rjaanci" (Northwest; K. Mountains) [Orc 286]. "Tagichatn" (a.k.a. Takishat, Tagijatin, Tadishat, Tagichatin: "I've never been able to get his name exactly right" [Tlt 177,179]) might be another. (See Dragaeran Languages for discussion of this and the following.)
The name "Fornia" means 'patience' in the old language of the House of the Dragon [Drg 48]. It is the name of Count Fornia, but also the name of his County, rather as Khaavren's name is that of a district within his father's (former) County. In the English hereditary peerage a person may be known by the name of his fief (if that's the right word), which may be entirely different from his given name or surname: e.g., George Gordon, Lord Byron, the sixth baron to bear the title, commonly known as Byron. In the Dragaeran Empire, it seems, a noble's given name may be derived from the fief -- although this is by no means universal, as in the case of Daro, Countess of Whitecrest [Phx 75].
Some Dragaerans have Eastern names, like "Mario" and "Ishtvan" (Hung. "István"). "Gyorg" (name of a Dzur [TPG 89], captain of the Lavodes after Sethra's banishment from Court) is certainly from the Hungarian name "György".
And some Dragaerans have Serioli names.
[2003-05-17,28] "Morrolan" means "Dark Star" in Silite [POTD 82]. His father, Rollondar, "also took his name from the same tongue, and it means, 'Star that never fails.'" The way Morrolan got his name is certainly unusual [POTD 35] and probably shows Verra's involvement [POTD 82] (not to mention the Grateful Dead): In becoming a witch, he went on a quest to find his name, and was given it by Miska, the immortal coachman [POTD 35]. Which being the case, what was his name before that?
[2006-04-07] Steve adds the authorial history:
The name "Morrolan," its translation ("Dark Star") and much of the character of Morrolan were created by my good friend, John Robey. The really cool part is that I'm pretty sure that at the time he came up with the name and translation, John had barely heard of the Grateful Dead, and had no idea they had a song by that title.
Dragaerans don't generally seem to have surnames. These are the classes of exception that I've noticed:
In Athyra, among the Teckla villagers of Smallcliff, we see different kinds of names. The young people generally have names not noticeably different from those of other Dragaerans:
"And a Dwarf in The Hobbit."
Most of the adults are known by nicknames referring to their work or some characteristic. As Savn tells Vlad, "[Reins] wasn't his birth name; he was just called that because he drove." [Ath 36]
In Phoenix we see three names on Greenaere:
Jggo!f'tha the bone-dancer, in Paarfi's time. [TPG 256]
Quaysh (Dragaeran assassin hunting Vlad in Teckla), translated as "He Who Designs Interesting Clasps For Ladies' Jewelry" [Tek 147]. As Ben-san Arizona has pointed out, shades of Terry Pratchett! (Cf. Tazendra's buttons, with "inlay work that looked to be Serioli in style" [TPG 11].)
Kvirinun 'time of melting shows' and Shuloon!re 'to arrive prematurely'. [TPG 126] Between the capitalization and the context I cannot tell whether these are actual Serioli names, or Serioli words that were borrowed for a Dragaeran name.
A "Chreotha with a Serioli name that was all but unpronounceable" [FHYA 354] -- perhaps something like "Jggo!f'tha".
See also the sections on the Serioli and their language.
And it appears that I have found Kathana e'Marish'Chala - the artist's name is Katherine J. Grantham, and as she says:And Ms. Grantham replied the next day:"I was somewhat active in SF fandom and art for many years under my maiden name Marschall before burning out and getting married. You'll see some of my older art signed 'Marschall.'"(Also, last night I noticed that it was Kathy Marschall who did the map of Fenario in "Brokedown Palace").
She doesn't have a picture of a wounded dragon protecting her young (or at least, not on this website), but she does have this.
Steven honored our friendship by basing Kathana's name on mine. I not only did the map in Brokedown Palace (really? I had forgotten about that...), I illustrated (poorly) the SteelDragon Press limited edition of "To Reign in Hell." A lesson in why friends shouldn't use friends on projects...
I can only say I wish I had the skills attributed to Kathana e'Marish'Chala, and anyone who is interested is most welcome to visit my Elfwood Gallery at http://elfwood.lysator.liu.se/loth/k/a/kathyg/kathyg.html. There's no dragon guarding her young, but there IS a dragon pondering her young hatchlings... And some Draegaran inspired art, namely "Dzur Mountain" and "Dancing Phoenix," based on concept drawings of House animals. I should really get some of the other House sketches cleaned up, colored, and posted. In my copious free time. *sigh*
While it doesn't follow the naming conventions it seems a clear reference to Pamela Dean Dyer-Bennet, Scribblie pal of SKZB.
Brust confirms this [1998-06-28]:
I thought I was being obvious, but, just so there's no question, the foreword to FIVE HUNDRED BEERS AFTER was written by Pamela Dean.
(And who has a better right to misquote the title? Especially after five hundred beers. ;-) )
"I, Captain, believe, along with Daridd of Diar-by-the-Bennaat that these Athyra are overreacting." (TPG 136)
As far as I know this is the only mention of Daridd of Diar-by-the-Bennaat. The name is evidently a nod to yet another Scribblie pal (should I abbreviate that YASP, or would that only add to the confusion?), David Dyer-Bennet, whom Brust thanks in the Acknowledgments "for keeping the machine running".
I was just surfing on the Amazon site under "Brust" and came across a listing for a soon to be published book called 'YAVN'.
Good lord! That is weird. That was the working title of the book that eventually became ORCA, I think. YAVN, of course, stands for Yet Another Vlad Novel. Which now reveals how Savn* got his name.
But I'm very curious about how they came across that bit of arcana, and how it turned into a new book at this point.
* That is: Still Another Vlad Novel.
Aibynn, the drummer from Greenaere Island in Phoenix, is based on Brust's drum teacher, Robin Anders. (I forget where I read that -- Brust's page, maybe -- but in the Acknowledgments Brust thanks "Robin 'Adnan' Anders for percussive help".) The name "Aibynn" is evidently based on his: "(Ro)bin A." > "A-bin".
On 2003-12-05, David Silberstein wrote to the Dragaera list:
[...] while reading the scene where Vlad is attending the musical entertainment for the Empress [Phoenix, Chapter 11; pp. 154ff], I noticed that the names looked a bit familiar there as well. I realized that since Aibynn is Robin "Adnan" Anders, and Robin is a member of Boiled in Lead, the other members of Aibynn's band might well be Tuckerisms* for that band as well. So I pulled down my copy of From the Ladle to the Grave, and read the artist names, and the correspondence appears to be as follows:
* Tuckerism is the practice among professional authors of using their friends' names for characters in stories they are writing, Bob [Tucker] being a leading exponent of this sort of thing. (Dick Eney, Fancyclopedia II)
Mention of "the Eastern poet-seer," Yain Cho Lin.
Heh--make that Jane Yolen, fellow fantasy author, frequent Brustian good-read recommendation, mother of pal (and also author) Adam Stemple.
[2003-05-20] The male Athyra wizard from whom Vlad steals the staff containing Aliera's soul in Taltos, and whom he battles in Athyra, is named Loraan. The sorceress who opposes our young heroes in Paths of the Dead and who, when we first meet her, seems to be picking flowers in a meadow but is actually searching for a disembodied soul, is named Orlaan. It is easy and obvious to suppose a connection between them, and in fact...
("Boss! BOSS! You're beginning to sound like Paarfi again!"
"Wha'?... Oh! Yes, I was. Thanks, pal."
"Just doing my job.")
Where was I? Oh, yes. When POTD came out, several members of the Dragaera mailing list noted this similarity and inferred that Loraan and Orlaan were the same person, with a change of sex. (Ben Newman points out the similarity to Virginia Woolf's character Orlando, who also changed sex.) Brust replied:
Damn. Wish I'd caught that similarity in names so I could have
changed Orlaan's. Oh, well. Too late now.
(Thanks to Jot Powers's page for the exact quote.)
For that matter, there also is, or was, a Jhereg boss named Rolaan [Yen 13]. There are three other permutations of R-O-L followed by "aan": Lroaan, Rloaan, and Olraan, of which only the third is reasonably pronounceable by the norms of the fairly large number of Dragaeran names we've seen. The first one, though, brings to mind Röaanac and his daughter Röaana in The Paths of the Dead. (I don't think the dieresis ["umlaut"] is meant to indicate a front rounded vowel as in German or Hungarian, but a syllable boundary between the "o" and the "aa": "roe-ah-na" instead of "roan-a".)
Steve, I urge you to shake off your obsession with these particular letters. In case you can't, or to help you catch yourself, I offer you a table of the 360 anagrams of "Loraan". Use it in good health.
[2003-05-28] I posted the above two paragraphs and the link to the anagram list on the Dragaera list. Brust replied:
[Hungarian names] That doesn't make "Vlad" and "Cawti" any less Hungarian. All Biblical names come from or by way of Hebrew or Greek, but that doesn't make "John" and "Martha" any less English now. -- In Hungarian, as in Chinese and Japanese, the surname normally precedes the given name; so Vladimir Taltos would be "Táltos Vladimir" in Fenario.
[Noish-pa] Brust wrote to me:
It isn't a straight transcription--I figured the language has slid a bit, and that seemed like a reasonable way for it to slide, given that they have Slavic and Italian neighbors.(referring to the Fenarians in their homeland).
[...and presumably Valabar] I can't parse "Yain Cho Lin" with any certainty. If it were Chinese, "Yain" would be the family name and "Cho Lin" the birth name, but "Yain" doesn't read properly in any of the popular romanizations for Mandarin, nor does it look Cantonese to me. There are, however, about eight major groups of Chinese "dialects" -- actually languages as different as English and German -- and many subdivisions. See my qualifications.
means "wisdom". Miklós finds it hard to pronounce, and the
táltos offers "Bölk" as an alternative. If
Fenarian is Hungarian, why would a Fenarian find a Hungarian word hard
to pronounce? Because we're pretending that everyone is speaking
English, and the average American reader would stumble over
"Bölcseség" every time, or else skip over it. Also see Dragaeran vs. Eastern Names, under
* David Silberstein points out that this Hungarian word should be spelled with a double "s": "Bölcsesség".
[folk-tale] It's not clear whether this is a traditional tale or one written by Brust, or indeed how sharp the distinction is between telling and composing. See, in The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars, the Afterword by W.Z. Brust entitled "The Origin of Folk Beliefs", and especially the last paragraph [p.210].
[pronunciation of "jh"] In Brust's pronunciation guide in the front of Jhereg (first paperback edition) this sound was represented as "jh" in the pronunciations, which is not particularly helpful since "jh" has no conventional sound-value as either
("Aah, you're just playing with indented lists."
"Yup. Wanna make something of it?"
"Not particularly. -- Hey, let me out of this double... triple... quadruple?... indentation!"
"Sorry, pal, we're both stuck here till the end of this dialogue."
"So stop talking already! ... Oh.")
[skipping the ritual] He lights a candle this way in starting the ritual to summon a female jhereg with a clutch of eggs [Jrg 5]. He does it with the elder sorcery of chaos [Jrg 149], recalling that he's Aliera's genetic/reincarnated brother (which is more evidence in favor of Damien's point). And he tries something like it when throwing a knife at Loraan's back in Taltos.
last modified 2011-03-27