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.

Character Interviews: Ledia (The Society)

In order to kick off this blog, I’ve decided to make my first post part of a feature that I want to post here. The only feature, as of now, that I’ve fully decided I want to do on a regular basis. And that feature is interviewing characters that I’ve written/created. How often I do these will vary depending on what project I’m working on at the time (i.e. what characters I have to “interview”), but for now I want to start off with all of the main characters of a story I’ve been working on for quite a while (tentatively) called The Society.

Why am I doing this? Well, I love the idea of writers interviewing characters in order to flesh them out and really understand them. Plus, it’s just fun. Since Ledia is a character from an unpublished story that people may or may not ever get a chance to read, I’m not sure if this will be as fun for anyone else as it will be for me, but I’m excited about it.

In order to give you some background information, The Society is a young adult urban fantasy story centered around Ledia, who is set to lead the magical government in her world after her father’s death. Within that government, all of the highest positions of power are occupied by witches, with Ledia’s father being in the highest position of all, but these witches govern all magical beings. There’s about to be some serious political unrest within that government due to this, but since this interview occurs immediately before the events of the story, Ledia has only experienced the very beginnings of what is about to happen.

All of the questions I’ve “asked” Ledia here come from a character questionnaire that I got from Gotham Writers (second questionnaire on the page) although they note that it is a questionnaire created by Marcel Proust, a French author.

Now, on to the interview…

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Hopefully I haven’t had my greatest achievement yet, since I haven’t done anything particularly exciting. I mean, I’m heir to the National Head position, but that didn’t involve achieving anything. I’ve made honor roll. I guess I could say that.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
In a perfect world I’d be able to tell all the non-magicals about us. It’s really hard sometimes having to hide away like we do. Plus, being able to use magic in public would be so useful! I’d really like to be able to at least tell Emily since she’s one of my best friends, and it kills me that she doesn’t know. It’d also be nice if I could be with Caden and not worry about losing my powers. That’d be nice.

What is your current state of mind?
Busy. Between school work and helping out at Headquarters, I’m busy a lot. Especially now that I’m in an AP class. I guess frazzled is a good word to use for it, and whatever Mr. Brown seems to be getting up to is only making it worse.

What is your favorite occupation?
Hmm. I never have to think about that much since I’ve had my job laid out for me since birth. Whenever I have to lie to non-magicals about my future though, I usually say I’m interested in politics since it’s actually true. And I do actually like government. Maybe because I was raised with so much respect for it.

What is your most treasured possession?
My ancestor Circe left a book that’s been passed down in my family ever since. As the heir, it was given to me when I was still little, and I’d guard it with my life. It recounts Circe’s history from her point-of-view, and it also records various spells and things. It’s a really beautiful book, and it could be dangerous in the wrong hands. No one outside our family has ever been permitted to read it.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
That’s a bit of a tricky question for me. I like Caden. I like Caden a lot actually. I don’t think it can be called love when you’re not in a relationship though, and since we can’t get married, it all seems rather useless. I mean, he’s a non-magical, and if I marry a non-magical, then I lose my powers and The Society has no heir. Not that I’m thinking about marriage. I’m only a high school sophomore. I’m definitely not thinking about marriage. I’m just going to focus on the “what” because I think The Society could be considered a, if not “the,” great love of my life. It has to be if I’m going to do my job well.

What is your favorite journey?
Moving to America was definitely a journey. I was scared about seeming strange, and even though I’d been learning English for most of my life, I wasn’t sure how speaking it every day would be. A lot of important things have happened to me here in Indiana though, and I’m glad I’ve had these past several years.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Everyone calls me bossy. I’ll admit I like knowing how things are going, and maybe I prefer doing things myself, but I’m not sure “bossy” is warranted. Personally, I would like to think how hard I work is my best characteristic, but sadly, most of the people at school don’t even know about work.

When and where were you the happiest?
Things were definitely calmer back in Georgia (the country, not the state). I was also only twelve when we moved, so it’s not like I had to deal with “adult” problems. My family’s still back there other than my parents, so it’d be nice being with them too. Georgia will always be home first and foremost. Mainly I just miss not having to worry about Mr. Brown every day like we do now. That was nice.

What is it that you most dislike?
The Brown family. Mr. Brown and his son Huritt mostly. They’re the cause of all of the madness in our lives right now. I’m basically convinced Mr. Brown is pure evil, even though Mama says I should stop treating him like he’s some movie villain. “He’s just a politician with terrible ideas,” according to Mama, and obviously that’s true, but those terrible ideas are pretty borderline evil to me. As for Huritt, he just goes along with his dad, but in addition to that, he has this annoying habit of trying to befriend me. Me, the girl who is completely politically opposed to everything he stands for. I wish he would just stop.

What is your greatest fear?
If we were talking to non-magicals here, I’d go with something like “failure,” which is true, but that doesn’t bring up everything that’s happening in The Society recently. Really I’m mostly scared about what Mr. Brown’s going to do in the future. He’s freaking me out more and more.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I don’t really think I have one? I don’t know. Greta would be a better person to ask this question too. She’s the definition to extravagant.

Which living person do you most despise?
Mr. Brown and Huritt. I can’t choose, but the hatred toward Huritt is more personal since he bothers me. Mr. Brown is just a terrible human being, and anyone should be able to see that.

What is your greatest regret?
I wish I’d kept up with my friends back in Georgia better. I hardly talk to them anymore. Actually, maybe I’ll send them a message or something once I’m finished here.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I’ve always been so jealous of people with photographic memories. It’d make school so much easier.

Where would you like to live?
I have to go back to Georgia once things with Mr. Brown are settled. That’s where my family has lived since before The Society was even founded. It would cause a huge uproar if we permanently moved Headquarters I think. People just allow it now because everyone knows Mr. Brown would be dangerous unchecked. It does kind of suck though since I’ve gotten so used to Indiana and America in general, and all my friends are here now.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Probably Huritt Brown’s life. That was mean I know, but it’s so true that I can’t even feel guilty. For me though, it would definitely be losing my magic like I would if I married a non-magical. I can’t even imagine how excruciating that would be.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Intelligence. I have to be able to have a conversation with someone.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
I’ll go with niceness just so I don’t say intelligence twice in a row, which I guess is funny when I have Greta as a best friend. She really is nice though once you get past the rough edges. I do really admire how tough she is too, so maybe I could say that. She never backs down.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Sometimes I wish I was a bit less of a perfectionist. I’d probably be a lot less stressed out.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Laziness. Maybe it’s because I work so hard, but I can’t stand when other people don’t do as much as they could.

What do you most value in your friends?
It meant a lot that my friends were so welcoming of the “new girl” when I moved here. Emily especially is great. As the only non-magical of the group, she has to think that some weird stuff is going on with her best friends, but she’s never actually questioned us about it. It’s kind of amazing how trusting she is of us.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
If I was talking to non-magicals, I’d say Circe, but since I know she existed, I have to pick someone else. There are so many to choose from too. I really admire strong women who are in positions of power, both in fiction and in history. My favorite book of all time is The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare though, and I love Kit in that book.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Definitely my dad. He runs an entire government. How could I not find that amazing?

Which living person do you most admire?
My dad again. And also Emily for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Humility or modesty. They’re good to an extent sure, but some people take them way too far. You should be proud of things you manage to accomplish and not sell yourself short.

On what occasions do you lie?
Almost every single time I interact with non-magicals.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Greta made me erase what I had, and instead wants me to tell you that I use variations of “did you know” too often, which leads to me talking about things that no one cares about. She finds it annoying, and now I have to listen to her grumble about it.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
It’d be nice to have less responsibility but just for a day or two. Also, the perfectionism thing. I should work on that.

What are your favorite names?
I love names that come from Greek mythology. That’s probably where all of my kids’ names will end up coming from. I really want a girl named Athena.

How would you like to die?
I would like to not die due to something Mr. Brown ends up doing… That’s about the only place my mind can take that question these days.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
It’d be cool if I could become a book. I’m not sure which one, but hopefully it would be a good one.

What is your motto?
“Hard work will pay off.”