Naming people in Ragaris
I apologise for the lack of a post last Friday – it was a busy weekend.
The party to celebrate “The Tenth Province of Jaryar” was a very happy occasion, for me anyway, and I took the opportunity to announce a competition, which you are all invited to enter. I am seeking a name for a character in “The Servant’s Voice.”
This character is a high-ranking person in the land of Ricossa. He is middle-aged, not particularly tall or significant-looking, dignified but not at all noble in character, and he has a speaking part and plays a crucial role.
But do not call him Charles or Gilbert – or Xeno’philosha. There are some rules for names on my invented continent.
Those of you who’ve read the books – how many have you worked out?
I’m a fan of (most of) the Appendices to “The Lord of the Rings”, and so here to help you is the Ragaris Appendix: Rules of Names.
(Remember, you don’t have to read what follows! You can just tune out, and come back next week…)
Rule 1: the actual name. a) All boy’s names end in c, d, e, f, g, j, n, o, r, s, ai, ch (pronounced as in “loch”) or th. All girl’s names end in a, b, i, l, m or t.
b) The sound “ss” in a name is always spelt “s”, never “c”. The sound “ck” is spelt “c” at the end only (as in Dorac). Anywhere else in a name of person or place it is “k” or “q”, as in Kai and City Qayn. [Author’s note: this was a late development. Kremdar spent a long time in the drafting as Cremdar. It has left an anomaly in the land of Ricossa, which was already on public maps before the change. I hypothesise that this name was originally an amalgam of two words in the Old Tongue, “rich” and “ossa”. I admit that my place-names, confusingly, are often indistinguishable from personal names.]
c) A surprisingly large number of names insert “r” after an opening consonant – as in Mritta, Brinnon, and (in “The Servant’s Voice”) Hridnaya.
Rule 2: the family background. Almost all names in all countries on Ragaris come in the form X son of Y [X’s father], or A daughter of B [A’s mother]. So in a different story one might have “Harry, son of James”, and “Ron, son of Arthur”, but “Ginny, daughter of Molly.”
Exception to Rule 2: the Ten Great Families in Ricossa have developed a clan system. The Ricossan envoy in “Tenth Province” is Lady Jeriet Ban Li b’Shen. She is a member of the b’Shen, her personal name is Jeriet, and her parents were called Banari and Listrin. (I suspect the “Lady” is a Haymonese courtesy, not used at home, although she does later become head of the Family, and thus Lady b’Shen.)
Lower classes in Ricossa follow Rule 2.
Variations to Rule 2: a) Lowly-born people in Jaryar are normally only referred to by one name, as Dorac finds out when he goes there incognito. He meets a woman called Melina, and only discovers that she is “Melina, daughter of Freldi”, weeks later, when introducing her formally in Marod. The full version would have been used in official situations, such as court appearances or weddings;
b) On the other hand, very high people, such as kings, are normally referred to as King Arrion, not “Arrion, son of Orthon.” As one might expect. This extends to lords and ladies (Lady Sada, Lord Gahran) and even to substantial landowners (Ramahdis of Dendarry, Talinti of Lithermayg), especially when they are away from home, where their landholdings would help people to place them more reliably than their parent’s name. In “Tenth Province”, Talinti is addressed both as “Talinti of Lithermayg” and (less formally) as “Talinti, daughter of Malda.”
c) Those born out of wedlock are “sons of Adam” or “daughters of Eve”, even when everyone knows the actual people involved. This rather harsh rule is mitigated if the parents later marry or if they arrange a formal adoption. In “The Servant’s Voice”, the bastard son of a member of the b’Shen Family is called Rorash Adam b’Shen.
Rule 3: changes to the name. Names do not change on marriage. However, if someone takes vows as a monk, nun or priest, they acquire a new name, using a Biblical character or a saint’s name, and some of these saints are Ragari. The original name again would be used on marriage or in very formal circumstances, as when Queen Nerranya names “Abbot Paul Tommid of Lintoll” to her delegation.
The other (legitimate) way to change your name (Marod only) is to be appointed to the Thirty. Dorac was born Dorac, son of Araf; he was appointed by Queen Darisha to the Thirty, and became Dorac Queensbrother; Darisha was succeeded by her son, so he became Dorac Kingsbrother.
Rule 4: Jaryari names. In addition to following the above rules,the Jaryari also have their own. All boys’ names in Jaryar have an S in the middle or at the end, following a vowel, and this vowel carries forward from father to son. Thus Hassdan, son of Yrass; and Errios, son of Broxos. Girls’ names follow a similar rule with the letter L. Thus Melina, daughter of Freldi.
So you will never find a Jaryari called Dorac, except in the unlikely event that some Dorac becomes a saint, and then someone else becomes a priest and chooses that name.
Development of Rule 4: You may object that the books have many examples of non-Jaryari characters whose names follow this rule, as with Meril, daughter of Nilena, and (again) Talinti, daughter of Malda. It seems to be the case that the Jaryari pattern is spreading over time up the western side of the continent. Lord Gahran (Marodi name) married Geril (Jaryari name) and they apparently followed the Jaryari pattern as best they could with their children Ilda, Gaskor and Filana.
This has no political connotations except in Haymon, where following the war of 601 it became highly unfashionable to use Jaryari names. Hence Talinti’s children are Araf, Mritta and Yerdin.
Finally, an odd point. My convoluted rules cover, I think, most aspects of naming except the actual meaning of the names. Almost all names in almost all cultures have originally had a meaning. But not – so far – on Ragaris.
Tolkien, I suspect, would be horrified.
Love from the PPI Blogger
PS Competition open till the end of June. Entries in Comments section below, or by email, or via Facebook.