Posted tagged ‘naming characters’

Shared Topic : What’s In a Name

October 9, 2010

As a Shared Topic this week, Llani from Pocket Heals suggested a classic: Your name, where did it come from? Quite a few people got involved and you can read all their of their responses by checking out the thread over at Blog Azeroth.

As for mine, Ophelie (pronounced Oh-FAY-lee) doesn’t have much of a cool story, so I’ll tell of how I came up with my paladin’s name.

So I went to this really artsy high school. It wasn’t an arts school by any means, just the neighbourhood public high school for those who can’t afford private or specialty schools. Yet for whatever reason, our school culture was very artsy. (I blame the resilient cloud of marijuana smoke that had hung over the desolate building for over 30 years. It made us think funny.) It was considered completely normal to make your own clothes. There was a list of all the cool, outgoing kids: it was the advanced theatre club roaster. The even more cool and outgoing kids were also allowed in the improv team. (I was a shy, nerdy kid so I was condemned to normal theatre and film class. Granted, I would have been condemned to them anyway since I needed to take physics and chemistry for the college program I wanted to get into, which didn’t leave enough room in my schedule for any type of advanced arts.)

But what kept my attention the most were the impressive large wall paintings made by past students. For a school catering to working and lower middle class teenagers, it has nurtured an unbelievable amount talent over the years. One of these painting in particular, hiding on the wall of a lesser starway, I was especially fascinated with: a slender elf, with short, bright red hair, was face to face with an ogre, her arms crossed, a curved dagger at her side and a look of defiance on her face.

It was a gorgeous piece of work and, several times a day, I’d make detours to use that staircase, just to admire the painting. I never found out what it was inspired by or who painted it or when it was painted. I did, however, give that beautiful elf a life of her own. I fit her into the stories in my head, the ones I tell myself when I’m bored, or anxious or just feeling creative. I made up a past for her, a family, a personality. Over the years, she grew up and became an adult, so I invented a future for her too.

Most importantly, I named her Rykga (pronounced RYE-kah). I like to toss together letters that fit a character. And the harsh sounding yet feminine and graceful Rykga was perfect for that tiny, badass, red headed elf.

When I made my paladin, I was sick of the screen name I’d been using over the past couple of years. So I cycled through my cast of stories-in-my-head characters. I picked Rykga. I wanted to use Rykga.

Nevermind that Rykga-the-paladin is not an elf, that she’s a bit pudgier than Rykga-of-the-painting, that she uses a sword, not a dagger and that her hair is a darker and browner shade of red, the name stuck and I’ve played my paladin Rykga ever since.


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