When it comes to pronouncing fictional names…you know what? I’m just going to never speak again thanks.
I am awful at pronunciations. AND SPELLING. And misreading things so badly that people often kindly ask me if I’m in the midst of creating a new language for one of my writing projects because SURELY I’M NOT MANGLING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE THIS BADLY ON PURPOSE???
Spoiler: I am mangling the English language this badly because I cannot word.
It’s a tragedy.
Some of my finer moments are things like:
- seeing my newborn niece’s name written as “Juniper” and thinking it was “Jupiter” and proceeding to call her that forever
- saying things like “I pacifically said I needed cake” instead of, ya know, specifically
- misspelling my own very simple name as “Cate” and wondering why it looked weird
- thinking it was “duck tape” instead of “duct tape” for about the first 19 years of my life
- not asking a librarian for help finding a book because how do you pronounce that title???
- referring to characters as “BLANK” in my head because…that’s all I got. That’s all I can do.
- arguing with audiobooks on name pronunciations
- crying because there are only 26 letters HOW DO I BRING RUIN TO THEM THIS BADLY
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is supposedly “Ten Characters I’d Name Something After” BUT HELLO, MY NAME IS ACTUALLY PRONOUNCED LOKI AND I DO WHAT I WANT. Instead I’m talking about 10 Fictional Names I Cannot Pronounce (Or Spell) To Save My Life.
I’m going to be upfront: FANTASY IS THE WORST. I love fantasy, I do. But I never ever ever want to discuss it out loud with you, or even TYPE it because all I end up doing is asking myself why fantasy authors hate their readers so and wish to torment them. #HelpMe
1. Daenerys Targaryen
You know what? I didn’t even know how ridiculous the Game of Thrones names were because I listened to the audiobooks. ONLY THE AUDIOBOOKS. It wasn’t until I finished listening to the first volume and decided to review that it hit me: HOW DO I SPELL THESE NAMES. I CANNOT.
So here I am, spelling everything phonetically and watching the commenters on Goodreads laugh uproariously at my pain. But hey, I get by. If I say “Danearyrysysus Targargygygygy” you understand, right?? OR ELSE I’LL STICK WITH DANI.
And it’s not all doom. I like Robb. I can say Robb. Bless Robb.
Confession, I didn’t finish reading Eragon. I WAS 14 AT THE TIME AND IT HAD TO GO BACK TO THE LIBRARY. I do plan to finish it. It’s okay to have a 8 year gap between chapters, sometimes.
But I have no idea. NO idea. I can’t…I mentally whisper “algae” and leave it there because that’s all I’ve got. I mean, I could google it. Or I could sit here and shout that NO ONE WAS THINKING OF ME AND MY LANGUAGE STRUGGLES when this series was written and this is unacceptable.
3. Sean Kendrick
Look, I know what you’re thinking. You’re sitting there with half an eyebrow raised whilst devouring a Tarte tropézienne which is a French pastry that you’re purely eating because you know I won’t be able to pronounce it and that amuses your evil soul — AND YOU’RE JUDGING ME.
Hey, I thought it was Sean as in = seen. I spent 4 years of my life thinking it was SEEN and shouting to everyone about how good The Scorpio Races is WITH A CHARACTER NAMED SEEN IN IT. I even had plans to name my firstborn goldfish Seen.
Then I listened to the audiobook for a re-read.
My life is a lie and I’m really not okay and please best keep me away from ALL Irish names because if I can’t even do the simple ones you can imagine what I’d do to something like “Saoirse” or “Caoimhe” or “Tadgh”. I am a disgrace.
Now this is a name of a hammer, specifically Thor’s. But it goes on this list because I just finished reading Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor (THANK GOODNESS THE COVER DIDN’T SAY MJÖLNIR) and it left me with the distinct impression that I would die if I accidentally fell into the Magnus Chase Norse mythology books. Not because, well, everyone is dead in those books because IT’S THE AFTERLIFE. But because of the names. I just…I’ll show myself out.
Jacin is from The Lunar Chronicles and maybe most people don’t struggle with the fact that it’s pronounced like “Jason” BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS “JACK-IN”. I’ve said JACKIN for four books and then I listened to the Winter audiobook and you want me to change how I think? No.
Why is it Jason???????? IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT.
6. Matthias Helvar
And you thought I couldn’t mess up something as simple as “Matthias” didn’t you? Ha. You have too much faith in me. I suggest you lower your expectations. No wait. Burn your expectations. Wait no. Just expect me to destroy words because that’s who I am.
AGAIN: the audiobook of Six of Crows is what impolitely informed me it is NOT said like “Matt-Eee-us”. Actually it’s “Matt-EYE-us”. Not a big deal, you say. Well. Try listening to a book and getting worried that Matthias hasn’t been introduced yet and instead thinking “Well who is this bloke?” BUT NO, HE HAS. HE JUST HAS A NAME I DIDN’T RECOGNISE.
This is from The Wrath and the Dawn…and well, the 1001 Nights stories in general. I can say this one! (I think…I’m doubting everything about myself now.) But I cannot spell it. I try and I try but I always mix up the middle. So it ends up being Sha–afdsjkald–zad. I mean, I could sit down and learn it, but…well no.
8. Chaol Westfall
Chaol is from Throne of Glass. Please, surely I’m not the only one who thought it was “CH” as in “CHEESECAKE”, right??
Surely not everyone automatically knew Chaol is actually “KALE” LIKE THE VEGETABLE OF DISGUST AND SUFFERING. Excuse me but why. He is too good and precious to be a vegetable when he could be a cheesecake.
Also: I will not change.
9. Seraphina Dombegh
This is from Seraphina (surprise! you didn’t see that coming!) and I can handle “Seraphina” just fine. It’s cool. I got this. But…the rest? #No And that goes from 99% of the other names in the series. If you read my 2012 review you’ll notice that I mention, like, two other names and leave it at that BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE A CLUE.
I’m so clueless Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t even know what to do with me.
10. As Tascen
This is from a Darker Shade of Magic and it’s actually part of a made-up language in the book. Because, of course, let’s just have some made up languages thrown into my life too IT’S NOT LIKE I WANTED TO BE HAPPY. Anyway. It means “transfer” and it’s like a magical language. It’s very cool. There are more magical words in this book that I 1000% have no idea what are. But either way, my mind pauses when it comes to them, momentarily has a breakdown, then shouts “AS TACO” and finishes off quickly and moves interstate to avoid feeling like a complete failure.
Spoiler: I am a complete failure.