SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Group Reads Discussions 2009 > Wizard's First Rule -- Names... are they affecting you? Richard vs Kahlan *now contains some SPOILERS*

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message 1: by Zen (new)

Zen (zentea) | 135 comments Richard Cypher.

Kahlan Amnell.

These are two of the major characters you meet at the beginning of Wizard's First Rule. Additionally, there is Zeddicus "Zedd" Zu'l Zorander, the mentor figure.

Why, do you think, is there such an incongruity between the "high fantasy" sounding names versus the "normal" name of Richard Cypher.

Is this a case of Everyman? Or something totally different?


MATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT (theawesomecatperson) | 5 comments I never noticed that, but I think that Rickard's name is so "Normal", is because ***SPOILER*** Of his real name being Richard Rahl.


Also, in the beginning, richard is just a normal person. A nobody, where ***SPOILER*** Zedd is a wizard, and Kahlan is the Mother Confessor.

Another point I would like to make, is that ***SPOILER!!!*** Zedd, and Kahlan, come from the Midlands, while Richard (Or rather his adoptive-like father) comes from Westland.

Those are the main reasons I can think of.


message 3: by Kevinalbee (new)

Kevinalbee | 188 comments I have found when reading a novel that realy weird unpronouncable names are not good. It simply translate them into my own nick name

Katzwasitcz it Kat etc.

On the other hand with novels with lots of main characters please make the names very different. The meeting at cornvalis has so many i started taking notes to keep track of the story line.


message 4: by Lorenzo (last edited Jan 05, 2009 08:04AM) (new)

Lorenzo (Digitaloz) | 12 comments When I read the book I thought the same thing. It felt weird to me that Richard was hanging out with names like Kahlan and Zeddicus. I'm sure Goodkind wanted it to feel like a normal name in order to make the character seem like an everyman.


message 5: by bsc (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 251 comments I didn't like the names. Maybe there are reasons, but I didn't think "Richard" fit. It felt weird. Also, to a greater extent, names like Darken Rahl and Demmin Nass are just lame. That's the kind of bad guy names I would have made up in middle school.


message 6: by Lorenzo (last edited Jan 05, 2009 08:15AM) (new)

Lorenzo (Digitaloz) | 12 comments Yeah. Darken seems kind of hokey to me.


message 7: by bsc (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 251 comments Lorenzo wrote: "Yeah. Darken seems kind of hokey to me. "

I think Demmin (demon) is worse.


message 8: by Zen (last edited Jan 17, 2009 02:54PM) (new)

Zen (zentea) | 135 comments Correction: This post contains a mistake which may turn out to be a *****SPOILER****


Also striking, I think: how does Richard's brother have a name like Darken?

Someone named these two as newborns and knew they were brothers (unless I missed something). Richard's and Darken's names are both hokey-ish but they don't "match". Why not Richard and John? or Dritan and Darken?

(edit: yup, I read that part too fast - someone pointed that out and I responded later)


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) I often wonder where & how authors decide on names in their books. Some seem to take common words & change a letter or two. Others must use a 'name your baby' book while it seems like others use a character randomizer just to make them really weird.

I too hate it when they come up with long, unpronounceable ones, especially when several characters have the first part of the name similar. I wind up getting confused. I'm not usually motivated enough to keep notes like Kevinalbee. If it gets too confusing, I'll probably dump the book since it generally has other issues, but that can be the final straw.

I've never understood naming in the real world, either. Anyone who has named a kid knows what a pain it can be. We named one Jamie, knowing only one other guy with that name. The poor kid wound up in kindergarten with 4 other Jamies - all girls! We never knew a Brandon & he wound up with numerous Brandons, Brendons & such in his classes. Seems cyclical. Other parents have told us the same thing. There must be something in society that triggers us? An alien force? ;-)


message 10: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey | 202 comments I think its clear that authors sometimes come up with a structure for names -- take Anne McCaffrey where a dragonrider got a shorter name and honorific thus Fanor became F'nor, whereas other authors have so many characters that names are just words that they use -- take robert jordan who has 1000's of characters. Other authors are obviously trying to send a message -- look at Alan Dean Foster who has a character called Ethan Fortune --who is a salesman but who turns into an adventurer. In these books the name of Richard is not the clue -- its Cypher -- a Cypher is either a secret code for breaking secrets -- or is a non entity -- I think this author is sending a message in one way that Richard is a secret agent and also is hiding Richard's real name which as is noted should be Richard Rahl.


MATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT (theawesomecatperson) | 5 comments Zen wrote: Also striking, I think: how does Richard's brother have a name like Darken?

Someone named these two as newborns and knew they were brothers (unless I missed something). Richard's and Darken's names are both hokey-ish but they don't "match". Why not Richard and John? or Dritan and Darken?

Darken Rahl isn't Richard's brother. Darken is his father.


message 12: by Zen (last edited Jan 05, 2009 09:16PM) (new)

Zen (zentea) | 135 comments Right. Michael is the brother - that's what I get for tearing through the book too fast. My apologies - it's my first time leading any sort of book club discussion and I wanted to finish the book before the holidays. Thus, I read it in three days and then mis-remembered the facts three weeks later. I will make sure to double-check henceforth! :)

OK - Richard and Michael. ****Possible Spoiler****And John, Bill and Chase. All normal names which mostly disappear later in the book.




message 13: by Rae (new)

Rae Storey (storeyonastory) As can be seen by my "name", I love the name Kahlen. I don't think it's all the different from a "normal" name.

Zed (Zediccus) was very old. And even in our society the "old" names aren't used much in our generation, so when we hear that name it seems a little odd. Ezekial for example.


message 14: by Keith (new)

Keith I am not having a problem with names like Richard, and John mixed in with fantasy names. I do agree with those who think that some of the names of the villians are lame.


message 15: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 2 comments When I read the author's acknowledgments at the beginning of the book, I noticed that he mentioned a friend named Rachel Kahlandt. I assumed the name Kahlan was a tribute to her.

Incidentally, Goodkind also thanks his main characters, "two very special people, Richard and Kahlan, for choosing me to tell their story. Their tears and triumphs have touched my heart. I will never be the same again." Kind of neat, kind of weird.


message 16: by Marc (new)

Marc (AuthorGuy) | 314 comments Rachel wrote: "Incidentally, Goodkind also thanks his main characters, "two very special people, Richard and Kahlan, for choosing me to tell their story. Their tears and triumphs have touched my heart. I will never be the same again." Kind of neat, kind of weird."

Not really. I feel much the same about my own novels, that they are stories trying to be written and I just happened to be standing in the way. And the writing of the story does change the writer, if it's done well. I don't imagine that I'd find very interesting a book written by an author who wasn't changed by the writing of it.


message 17: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 2 comments I agree that writing is a transforming, growing/learning experience for the author. A great story can also inspire change in its audience, or at least cause readers to ask questions and consider things from a new perspective. What I found "weird" about Goodkind's acknowledgments was that he included fictional characters.


message 18: by Brian (last edited Jan 16, 2009 03:15PM) (new)

Brian (Fantasyaddict) | 9 comments ***SPOILER***

Darken Rahl is Richards brother. Panis Rahl, Darken Rahl's father, raped Zed's daughter.


message 19: by Brian (new)

Brian (Fantasyaddict) | 9 comments The probable reason that Richard was given a normal name was because they were hiding him and planning for him to grow up in the westlands and they didn't want his name to all attention to him. Most of the unusual names were given to people with magic, who happened to come from the midlands.


message 20: by Jessie (new)

Jessie | 24 comments ***Continued Spoiler****
I am pretty sure that Darken Rahl is actually Richard's father. He was the one who raped Zed's daughter...


message 21: by Brian (new)

Brian (Fantasyaddict) | 9 comments I stand corrected I had to go back and read the book again, been a few years.


message 22: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 101 comments Brian wrote: "***SPOILER***

Darken Rahl is Richards brother. Panis Rahl, Darken Rahl's father, raped Zed's daughter."


NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!

Darken Rahl was Richard's father, and Panis Rahl was the grandfather. This will become much more clear as you progress through the books. Also, if you read the SHORT "Debt of Bones" you will see that Panis Rahl was old when Zedd's daughter was just a wee thing.


message 23: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 101 comments Although this is an interesting discussion. I love the name Kahlan. My husband would kill me if I ever wanted to name a child after a book character, though. I don't think it's that strange.

Not that this pertains to "Wizard", but did you know that Brandon Sanderson auctions off a name of a character or 2 in each of his books for charity? A lucky fan gets to name a character or have one named for him/her... (thought it was a cool sidebar)


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