The Meaning of Miles’ Name in The Society

Here it is. The last post on the names of characters in The Society. I know that for interviews I did Layton and Hunter, but since they come into the story late, I’m not including them in the names posts for now. I’m sticking to characters who are in the story from the beginning.

The meaning of the name “Miles” actually isn’t clear. Different sources say different things, and most of them list several different possible meanings. This is another one of those names I chose for the sound of it, but I like the uncertainty caused with no clear meaning. It fits Miles.

At the beginning, Miles’ character is uncertain because of his friendship with Huritt and Huritt’s ambiguity. But, as the story goes on, Miles begins to show an ambiguity of his own. The others begin to realize they might not know everything about Miles. I like that that’s somewhat reflected in the name.

Miles’ last name (as of right now) is Exner. It comes from herdsmen who worked with oxen. I chose it because it gave off a dignified feel to me, and that’s a quality that I wanted Miles’ last name to have.

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The Meaning of Emily’s Name in The Society

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.

The Meaning of Greta’s Name in The Society

We’re continuing the series on how I arrived at The Society’s character’s names with Greta, the best friend of Ledia.

I’m going to be honest right now. While I went ahead and modeled the title of this post after the past two posts, my use of the name Greta has little to do with its meaning. In fact, it has nothing to do with it. I used the name Greta purely because the character Greta is a vampire and Greta sounded like a vampire-ish name to me. I could be the only person who sees it that way, but for some reason, Greta stood out to me as something I could see a vampire going by. And that’s why I used it.

It had nothing to do with the meaning. But if you’re curious about the meaning, Greta means pearl. I wish I could come up with a clever way to connect that meaning to the character, but I’ve got nothing. It just sounded right.

And I’m going to have to say the same thing about Greta’s last name: Petri. It’s a form of Peter, which means rock (as I’m sure there are Christians out there who know), and I suppose I could go into a sentimental spiel about how Greta, as Ledia’s best friend, is Ledia’s rock. But that’s not why I chose the name. I chose the name because it reminded me of vampires, and I think I know why that is.

This is somewhat embarrassing, but bear with me here. You know the Land Before Time movies? You know the flying dinosaur named Petrie? Well, it took me a bit to work this out, but I’m pretty sure my mind did this association thing where it went from Petrie to bats to vampires. So you can do whatever you want with that association.

So, that may be kind of strange, but the point is my brain somehow associated the name Petri with vampires, and I just felt like it fit. Yep. I think Greta is the only main character where I can say that neither her first or last name was chosen with any basis on meaning. A lot of the other main characters don’t have super symbolic sort of names, but I did try to take the meaning into account when naming them. With Greta, they just sounded right.

The Meaning of Huritt’s Name in The Society

This is the second post exploring the meaning of the characters’ names in my story The Society. This one is focusing on Huritt, who is tricky to talk about. In Ledia’s post, I discussed how her last name is still up for discussion. Well, Huritt’s first name (and, to a less extent, his last) is still up for discussion. (EDIT: Large portions of this post are no longer accurate to the current version of the story I am working on.)

You see, Huritt is part Native American and part white. In the same way Ledia’s family wants to use Greek names, the idea is that Huritt’s family does the same with Native American names. However, this gets tricky, and I’m still trying to figure out how best to approach certain things in the story.

I know writing about Native Americans as “magical” can be problematic. The Society in the story works through lineage. The idea is that each “region” has had one family in charge for ages because they’re the oldest, most powerful line. Because of this, the people in charge in any particular region must have descended from people who were there a long time ago. This is true for everywhere in the world, but for America, of course, this would point towards Native Americans. It’s not Native Americans as a whole, only certain families, and some of those families are only part Native today. Still, I am aware that there are plenty of ways to screw up here and do something problematic. I’m still struggling to best work out certain parts of the story and make decisions about if it works okay, and so on.

The reason that’s relevant to this post is that I want to be careful what I name Huritt was well. “Huritt” is an Algonquin name, which is a tribe not from where Huritt’s family is. In my mind, his family would have wanted any Native American name. I’m still considering giving him one related to what his particular ancestry would be. A large part of me thinks that would be a better option. (EDIT: I am changing it. This entire post is out of date at this point.)

As for the meaning though, Huritt means handsome. It’s funny now because Huritt has changed more than any other character has since I started writing. There have been times were he was a straight up villain, times when he was a straight up good guy, and times when he was a mixture of the two. I won’t say what he currently is now. Why ruin the surprise?

In the beginning though, he was going to be Ledia’s main romantic interest. That idea has come back and changed a ton of times, but it’s why I gave him a name that meant handsome. He also, at one point, was going to be a villain but was going to trick Ledia into falling in love with him anyway. (I’ll go ahead and verify right now that that’s not the route things currently go. It was an early idea that never even got written down.) So, using “handsome” felt like a good fit then too.

These days, I still like the meaning but for different reasons. These have nothing to do with Huritt’s relationship with Ledia but with his relationship with his father and the world. That’s all I’m going to say on that since I don’t want to give a massive amount of stuff away.

Huritt’s last name is Brown. I don’t think I need to go into what that means literally. For the story, it was chosen because the Brown family is in an ambiguous group, and you’re not sure how good of people they are. They’re not the Blacks or the Whites. The name’s a reference to that without using a color such as Grey for their last name. I thought Brown kept things a bit more ambiguous, but the meaning is still there. It also relates to “muddy” and things like that, which I think explain the Brown family pretty well.

The Meaning Behind Ledia’s Name in The Society

I love naming characters. It’s fun to look at different baby names and decide which one fits the character best.

I decided I wanted to talk about it here as well. At first, I was going to do one post on the meaning of all the characters in The Society. Then I decided to do a series of shorter posts on one character since that would allow me to go more in depth without it being crazy long.

We’re going to start off with Ledia as she’s the main character.

Starting with the obvious: Ledia is a form of Lydia. I honestly don’t remember if I had a clear reason for choosing the alternate spelling. I think it might have just been the spelling that caught my eye first, but either way, it’s the spelling I went with. It would feel strange if I changed it now after years of her having that name.

The only requirement I had for myself when I first set out looking for Ledia’s name was that I wanted a name of Greek origin. The idea was for her name to be a reminder of Ledia’s ancestry. Ledia’s family is obsessed with the fact they descended from Circe. In their minds, it’s an crucial part of their identity, and it legitimizes their place in the Society. For that reason, her family have almost exclusively used first names that have some sort of connection to Greek.

I fluctuated at first over choosing a name that came from Georgian, but I did decide on a Greek name in the end. It was a tough call for me. In the end, I chose Greek because it helped symbolize the obsessive nature of striving towards certain ideals. I didn’t think that would be there with a Georgian name. Ledia’s family identifies with their Georgian heritage as well, but they don’t place as much stock in it.

As for the actual meaning, Ledia means “woman of God.” I had decided early on that religion would play a significant role in Ledia’s life. Religion doesn’t play an important role in the plot. Instead, Ledia being a devout Christian was something I found humorous.

Growing up as a Harry Potter fan, I was always so frustrated by people who saw Harry Potter as being evil or anti-Christian. (This is especially irksome considering the “Christian imagery” in the books.) Making my own fantasy character both a witch and a Christian was more or less a way of poking fun at that.

At this point in the story’s progress, religion is mentioned less as things progress, as it’s pushed aside for the plot. However, I have fun playing with a character who is both a witch and a Christian, and I liked the idea of paying homage to that with her name.

When it comes to a last name, that bit is still fluctuating in the story. I have a working name that’s Georgian, and my plan is to stick to a Georgian name. I just haven’t decided on one yet.

The one I’m currently using has been a placeholder for several years. I’ve come up with several alternatives that I’m also considering. A part of me wonders if the current placeholder going to stick because I’ve reached the point where it will be difficult for me to change. It’s not set in stone though, and I want to make sure I make the best decision I can.

At this point, I don’t have any particular meaning in mind for the name. I want it to show an aspect Ledia’s heritage that is more immediate than being Circe’s descendant.

I’m conscious of the fact that picking names within a culture that isn’t your own can be tricky, and I want to go about it as best as I can. I’m not going to pretend like I’m one hundred percent sure if I’m going about it the right way.