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Monthly Discussion: Fantasy Abilities

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The idea of a true name has always fascinated and not just because of Earthsea.  Some of the early 19th century linguistic theories on the origin of language set out (misguidedly) to prove that all objects in the world had names that resonate within them naturally.  Other people have asked the question of how things were named by first speakers  What is the sound and rhythm of the language Adam and Eve spoke as they wandered through the Garden of Eve, learning the nature of things and giving gifts of names?  I will probably never know but, to that end, I am fascinated by the reconstruction efforts in Proto Indo-European.  They had words for horses, dogs and sheep but they didn't have words for donkeys and domesticated fowl (most likely because they didn't have these things.)  But why did the PIE's call a dog "ḱwṓn" while the medieval English called the same creature a "hound?"  The second part of that answer is fairly simple, I suppose.  "Hound" is the word we inherited after centuries of change and mutation among words but the question is still answered.  Why ḱwṓn and not something else?  A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.


So, on another tangent - when asked "who are you", we often respond with a given name ("my name is...".)  But does a given name answer the question of who one is?  I'm beginning to think not.  It is a signifier, a unique title to a catalog of ideas, passions, fears and desires but the name itself isn't the answer.  So, how do we answer that question?


Taliesin gave us an answer in "Cad Goddeu"

I have been a continuing bridge,
Over three score river-mouths.
I have been a course, I have been an eagle.
I have been a coracle in the sea.
I have been complaint in the banquet.
I have been a drop in a shower;
I have been a sword in the grasp of a hand.
I have been a shield in battle.
I have been a string in a harp,
Disguised for nine years.



The form may be different and the eyes which look out from behind the mask may not remember the song but the soul finds the words to return in time to sing "I am."  Practically speaking, though, if we all responded in song, we'd never get anything done.  Har har, laughed the whale.

And that is the riddle of the true name.  Speech is a song stolen from birds.



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That was very interesting...blather on.


I have always wondered about not only names, but words in general.  Such as, work.  Who came up with that? Languages, and how they came about is fascinating to me, but then a lot of commonplace things fascinate me.

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I give a more biblical/Ogier answer to who are you.  I am Senexx son of Ulath son of Mosvani son of Jordan son of Rigney son of Eddings, who are you?


Not those actual names of course but still...

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When soemone asks who I am, I jus giev the naem my parents gaev me, becuse they need soemthing to call me by aparently and I usualy know they want my atention if they say taht name - if it wasnt for taht fact, that I don't imediately recognise people want my atention if they call me some othre name, I wuold use any name I plesed, becuse in my religion yuor true name no oen else knows but the gods and the priests, and tahts realy the only one taht matters - anything els is a convenint word people can ues to draw yuor atention, and I nevre had much duobt of that - my parents gaev me my name befoer they even knw how I wuold turn out so it only vaguely, if at all, has any significance in describin who I am behvioristically. I myself usuly dont call people by naems eithre, if I can get awayy with you or man or whatever, not only because Im terrible with naems but I dont see the importance of it if all it does is draw the other's attention and I can do taht by using an often shortre word. 

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I think true names are something with a tremendous amount of power if they worked in RL anything like they do in fantasy. Itend to be often curious about where sayings come from. Some common expressions can be pretty strange on the surface, but when you learn the reason behind them, they make perfect sense.

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Exactly A middle name is an extra three or four syllables you can wrap your displeasure into as you berate someone. It's the last thin line between scolding and swearing and, for that reason, I don't let anyone know it.

I loathe the fact that my full name is shared by two gun smugglers. It doesn't feel like its mine, two other people are using and abusing it at their own disgression. Middles names mean something to some, especially if you have a common names. I know a few people who hate their first name, and go by their middle name. BB and I discussed names a couple of nights ago, its quite interesting. I'd shove her in this thread, but she's busy.

Fantasy ability.... that's a tough one. I don't know if I'd want one. I'd be the guy stubbornly doing things despite a lack of said power.

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