Names, names, names redux

On a recent visit to Kings Hospital School in Dublin, a lovely young woman called Cassie asked me about the names used in Moorehawke. I had meant to link her to this post from  August 2010, but I had forgotten how ravaged the old blog was by those damned hackers. So, Cassie, rather than send you over there, I’ll just reproduce that old blog post here – free from hacker slime 🙂 I’m sorry it took so long, but hope it answers all your questions.


Below 1st posted August 2010

"Ask och Embla" (1948) by Stig Blomberg

This morning I got a lovely e-mail from a young Australian woman called Maia, saying how much she has enjoyed the Rebel Prince. As part of her mail she asked me where I had come up with the names in Moorehawke. I thought I’d share my reply. ( Thank you for the lovely mail Maia! It made my day. And thanks to all of you who have written to let me know that you’ve enjoyed the Rebel Prince – it’s such at thrill to know it was a satisfying end to the trilogy for you!)

Moorehawke Names

Wynter is an old medieval/renaissance nickname meaning ‘miserable’ or ‘misfortunate’ (literally the word ‘Winter’) I chose to use the old spelling of the word as it’s much prettier to read and less confusing than just plain Winter ( and can be shortened to ‘Wyn’)

Iseult is the name of a legendary Celtic princess.

Christopher is just Christopher :) (he would have been called Coinín by the Merron only. It is their nickname for him and means ‘Rabbit’), Garron is the place his adopted father was from. (When dealing with ‘foreigners’ Christopher and his Father would have shortened their names from Christopher mac Aiden an filid as tí­r na Garron, and Aiden an filid mac Oisín an filid as tí­r na Garron to just Christopher Garron and Aiden Garron.)

Razi is an Arabic name meaning ’supporter of the King’ or ‘Little Secret’. His full Arab name Al Sayyid Razi ibn Jon Malik al fadl means (roughly) The Lord Razi most fortunate/blessed son of King Jon. A man called al-Razi was a famous medieval pharmacist and professor of medicine.

Lorcan is an old Irish name, Moorehawke is the name his grandfather took when he was freed from slavery ( free as a bird, in other words)

Jonathon is just Jonathon ( a bibical name) but the name Kingsson was taken by Jon’s grandfather  to show that he was the true King’s Son when he took the Southlands Throne from the Combermen.

Alberon is the French version of the German Oberon meaning ‘noble one’ ( or Noble bear?)

All the Northern Merrons have old Norse names ( Viking in other words) Ashkr and Embla were a mythical couple, kind of like the bible’s Adam and Eve, who were made by the Norse Gods from trees found on a beach. (see photo!)


And that’s that!

This entry was posted in Allen and unwin, Moorehawke, O'Brien Press. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Names, names, names redux

  1. Celeste says:

    thanks so much for the link Kiernan, you’ve put so much thought into each and every one of these characters and its astounding to see the dedication you have for each.

  2. Maia says:

    i got such a shock when i just read this! i was scrolling through your blog looking for any details about a next book you might have coming out, because i just did a clean out of my bookshelf and remembered how much i loved christopher and wynter. its so strange that i’ve come across this again! anyway, this is making me smile. 17 year old me still loves the poison throne like 14year old me 🙂

    • Maia!! What an extraordinarily lovely note to come home from work to! I’m so delighted that you remember me after all this time, and that you still think of Wyn and Chris with fondness 😀 Thanks so much for getting in touch.

      I’ve nothing new out in your stretch of the woods this year, I’m afraid. But Resonance is due out next year (if you’re still looking for something to read by then, and fancy a bit of dark Irish-based gothic supernatural/sci-fi 😀 :D)

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