Time for the penultimate (for now) post on the characters’ names in The Society. This one focuses on Emily.
“Emily” was chosen more for the connotation I associate it with than its actual meaning. It means hard-working or industrious. I might consider Emily both of those things, but neither of them are defining characteristics for her. They’re not something I would base the choice of her name on.
Instead, I chose “Emily” because I view it as a common name. I wanted Emily’s name to stand out among the other characters’ names as the most “normal” of them. Not all the other characters have outlandish names, but they don’t have ones you hear every single day either. Ledia is the closest, but even then I chose a less common spelling of it. “Emily” is a common enough name that hearing it would be unremarkable.
Emily is the only non-magical character in the main cast, so I wanted her name to reflect that. When I go ahead and tell you that her last name is “Smith,” I think you can already tell why. “Smith” is one of about three of the most stereotypical common English last names, I think. Hearing it used for a character almost makes me want to roll my eyes sometimes, but that was what I was going for here. Emily herself fits into the “normal” (i.e. non-magical world) more than the magical one her friends occupy. It keeps her a bit outside of their experiences. She sees the world in a different way, and when she is thrust into the magical world, she struggles to keep up and know what’s going on.
Sometimes if I wonder if I chose too common of a last name for her, but I think it helps that I chose “Emily.” That name serves my purpose without being an in-your-face stereotypical girl’s name. Out of all my characters, I think Emily and Huritt are the two whose last names are most likely to stick. Greta is the only other one whose last name has much of a chance of sticking.