Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Character Names: G


By Linda

Gabrelle: Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah. Gabrelle is similar to the personal name Gabrielle. There are two possible historic parallels to Gabrelle; both famous for their relationships. Gabrielle d’Estrees, (1573-1599) was mistress of King Henry IV of France and, with him, founder of the Vendôme branch of the House of Bourbon. Here she is right, taking a bath with her sister the Duchesse de Villars (Toveine?)

A closer parallel would be Gabrielle Chatelet (1706-1749), French mathematician and physicist who was the mistress of Voltaire. When her husband, the Marquis du Châtelet, took up a military career in 1730, she went to Paris and its dazzling social life:

and had several lovers before entering into an affair and intellectual alliance with Voltaire in 1733. She was able to extricate the intemperate Voltaire from many personal and political difficulties, such as those that followed the publication of his Lettres philosophiques in 1734. To avoid an arrest warrant, Voltaire left Paris in June of that year, taking refuge in Mme du Châtelet's château at Cirey in Champagne. In this haven they pursued their writing and philosophical and scientific discussions…She wrote several other scientific treatises and many posthumously published works on philosophy and religion.

- Encyclopaedia Britannica

Gabrelle is a member of the knowledge-gathering Brown Ajah and the lover of Logain, an important Asha’man. Logain formed his own faction in opposition to Taim – something very dangerous. The parallel shows that as well as having deep feelings for Logain, Gabrelle gave him useful advice and Healed him.

Gaebril: Rahvin see Names of the Shadow article

Gaidal Cain: Hero of the Horn. The name Gaidal Cain is similar to Kohen Gadol, the position of High Priest in Temple of Jerusalem - a position of tremendous honour and tremendous responsibility. On Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol would enter the Holy of Holies to perform the service. Gaidal Cain is a Hero of the Horn, a soul that has fought heroically for the Light and been honoured for it. He urges Birgitte to follow the precepts for Heroes of the Horn.

Taking the two names separately, Gaidal/Gaedal Glas was a figure in Irish mythology descended from Noah who created the Gaelic languages. Cain is the name of the first-born son of Adam and Eve

who murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1–16). Cain, a farmer, became enraged when the Lord accepted the offering of his brother Abel, a shepherd, in preference to his own. He murdered Abel and was banished by the Lord from the settled country. Cain feared that in his exile he could be killed by anyone, so the Lord gave him a sign for his protection and a promise that if he was killed, he would be avenged sevenfold.

- Encyclopaedia Britannica

This is a reminder that the Heroes of the Horn are far from perfect. Birgitte, for example, is embarrassed at the reverence she inspires. It is interesting that there is protection and promise of vengeance for Cain. Is there the same for Gaidal Cain, and if so, is it only for him, or for all Heroes of the Horn?

The name could also refer to Cian, a mighty warrior of Irish mythology and father of Lugh, the Sun god.

Galadedrid Damodred: Cairhienin/Andoran. Galad is a parallel of Galahad, son of Lancelot and Elaine of Corbenic and the perfect knight of Arthurian legend. Galahad’s conception was arranged by Elaine’s father, Pelles, the Fisher King, and he was placed in a nunnery as a child, where the abbess was his great aunt. Tigraine’s marriage to Taringail was likewise arranged as a matter of state. When Taringail eventually remarried, Galad’s stepmother Morgase was linked to the White Tower, an organisation which was based on real world nunneries. The Fisher King is represented by Rand, Galad’s half-brother.

Launcelot introduces his son, Galahad, to the court, and Galahad takes the Sege Perilous, the seat at the Round Table that no knight has been worthy enough to fill. Galahad also draws the sword from the floating stone, establishing him as the best knight in the world, but also accepting the sword's curse — that it will later cause a grievous wound.

Galahad was brave and attractive, and most of all, virtuous and chaste - absolutely essential for attainment of the Grail. He was the only one pure enough to sit in the Siege Perilous. He was given a white shield, upon which Joseph of Arimathea had drawn a red cross in blood. After many adventures, he was allowed to see the Holy Grail and upon beholding it, Galahad requested of Joseph of Arimathea that he die, which request was granted unto him. Galahad was always known as the "Perfect Knight". He was "perfect" in courage, gentleness, courtesy, and chivalry.

Galad is also ‘perfect’: he is almost too beautiful to be a man, is one of the best swordsmen around and a good tactician too. He always does what is right and is popular with officers and underlings alike. Galad has a White Cloak rather than a white shield, but he is using it as a shield against the wrongness he saw in the White Tower. He took the perilous position of Lord Captain Commander, which Niall remarked was prone to assassination, and was perhaps the only incumbent truly worthy of it.
Galad’s determination to always do right led him to sacrifice himself to the Questioners for the good of the Whitecloaks, and then to avenge his brother’s death and bring justice to the Forsaken. Galad didn’t achieve his quest to kill Demandred, holder of a great sa’angreal, instead it was Lan who did so, whereas in Arthurian myth Lancelot was unworthy and Galad achieved the quest of the Holy Grail.

In medieval eyes, Galahad was seen as Christ-like. His name is derived from Gilead or "Galaad" in the Vulgate Bible (Genesis 31:48) and his character in part is an attempt to meld Christian and chivalric beliefs. Galad is actually closer in spelling to Gilead or Galaad than Galahad is. Galad has traits in common with Rand, his messiah figure half-brother.

Damodred is probably a combination of Damocles and dread. Damocles flourished 4th century BC:

a courtier of Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse, in Sicily, tyrant from 405 to 367 BC. The courtier is known to history through the legend of the “Sword of Damocles.”

According to the legend, when Damocles spoke in extravagant terms of his sovereign's happiness, Dionysius invited him to a sumptuous banquet and seated him beneath a naked sword that was suspended from the ceiling by a single thread. Thus did the tyrant demonstrate that the fortunes of men who hold power are as precarious as the predicament in which he had placed his guest.

- Encyclopaedia Britannica

This is basically the history of House Damodred in a nutshell – great power wielded with little appreciation of the consequences of arrogant actions. The dread in the name merely emphasises the deservedly bad reputation of most of the members of this House. Galad has the typical Damodred disregard of the cost of his actions, a sort of arrogant virtue. His sigil is very like the sword of Damocles, being a winged silver sword point down (The Eye of the World Glossary), and is also a reference to the sword that Sir Galahad drew from the floating stone.
In Galad’s case, the surname Damodred, Da-Modred also refers to his blood relationship with Rand: he is the half brother of Rand, who is a parallel of King Arthur, just as Modred was King Arthur’s half brother. Galad is the positive version of Modred, and he fought not Arthur, but the evil version of Modred, Demandred (Demon-Modred) on behalf of his brothers. See Arthurian Who's Who for more on Galad’s Arthurian parallels.


Galina Casban: Black Ajah see Names of the Shadow article

Gamel Loune: Seanchan Banner-General. Gamel is a surname and also a personal name. The name may commemorate Gamel Woolsey (1895-1968), a writer and poet from South Carolina, but probably refers to Gamel Abdul Nasser, the second President of Egypt, an influential Arab politician well-known for his Arab nationalist and anti-colonial foreign policy.

Loune is a town in Chad.

Garenia Rosoinde: The Kin/Novice. Garenia is similar to gardenia, a flower. Rosoinde is similar to Rosalinde, the name of a character in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. Rosalind is banished from court, like her father. She disguises her self to be close to her beloved. All ends happily with reconciliation and marriages. The play centres around exile, love and disguises. The Kin are composed of former members of the White Tower who were put out or ran away. Their rules forbid marriage. They have adopted many disguises over the years and are now on the verge of being reconciled with the Tower.

Gareth Bryne: Andoran. Gareth is a personal name meaning ‘gentle’ or ‘watchful’ and this is how he has been to Siuan. Gareth is a figure in Arthurian myth, the youngest brother of Sir Gawain and the son of Lot and Morgause of Orkney. He was perhaps the best knight of the five brothers because he was not overcome by hatred. In the Wheel of Time, Bryne is Morgase's lover, not son.

Gareth arrived at King Arthur’s court modestly dressed and refused to name himself. He was immediately assumed to be lowly. When the Lady Lynet came to Camelot in search of a knight to rescue her sister Lyones from the besieging tyrant Sir Ironside the Red Knight, Gareth volunteered for the job. Lynet was unimpressed with him and criticised him constantly, even when he performed great deeds. He acted chivalrously towards Lynet despite her treatment of him and she finally respected him and asked his pardon. Gareth Bryne followed the sharp-tongued Siuan to Salidar. He was immediately recognised even though he was modestly dressed. Gareth ‘volunteered’ for the job of besieging Tar Valon and ousting the usurper Elaida, of the Red Ajah (a parallel of the tyrannical Red Knight). Siuan is not the only Aes Sedai to upbraid Gareth, many Aes Sedai have done so, including Romanda and Myrelle. Gareth has treated Siuan less chivalrously than Sir Gareth did Lynet, but has earned Siuan’s respect.

When Gareth and Lynet came to the Castle Perilous where Lyones was besieged, Gareth fought the Red Knight immediately even though Lynet counselled him to wait. The fight was long and terrible, but the Red Knight finally yielded. Gareth fell in love with the Lady Lyones, and she claimed to return his love, but she insisted that he wander another year. After many adventures, where Gareth sustained injuries and required a miraculous healing ointment, Gareth married Lyones and his brother Gaheris married Lynet. The notable difference in this parallel is that Bryne loves Siuan (Lynet) and that Gawyn (who was Gareth’s brother in Arthurian myth) loves Egwene (Lyones).The Castle Perilous is an apt metaphor for the White Tower, wherein the Red Amyrlin held Egwene. Egwene ordered Gareth not to attack the Tower without her order and he gave his word that he would not. After she was captured it was Siuan and Gawyn who pressed for a rescue attempt until Gareth reluctantly agreed. Gareth and Siuan have acknowledged their love for each other, but Gareth said he would wait until after the Last Battle before he married Siuan. As this parallel indicated, Bryne did require Healing by Siuan.

While his brothers Agravaine, Mordred, Gaheris and Gawain killed Morgase and her lover Sir Lamorak for committing adultery, Gareth remained neutral. In the Wheel of Time, Morgase’s ‘adultery’ is with Rahvin. Bryne accepted exile and turned his back on Andor and his ex-lover, although he thought that considering the way Morgase let Gaebril ruin Andor, it was a good thing she was removed from the throne (The Gathering Storm, A New Commitment), a judgement which only enraged Gawyn into blaming Rand further.

In Arthurian myth, Gareth was an innocent bystander who was killed in Lancelot’s efforts to free Guinevere. Gawain was enraged at the death of his brother and the resulting feud broke the fellowship of the Round Table and allowed Mordred to usurp the kingdom. Gawain caused the death of Egwene (Guinevere) by fighting Demandred (a Modred figure) and being killed. Gareth Bryne was nearly killed during the rescue of Egwene from the Seanchan and died when Siuan was killed in the Sharan’s attack on the Seanchan headquarters. See Arthurian Who's Who for more on Gareth’s Arthurian parallels.

Bryne is a town in Norway, but a parallel of the name may be William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925):

Democratic and Populist leader and a magnetic orator who ran unsuccessfully three times for the U.S. presidency (1896, 1900, 1908). His enemies regarded him as an ambitious demagogue, but his supporters viewed him as a champion of liberal causes.

Despite his diplomatic inexperience, he made a distinctive contribution to world law by espousing arbitration to prevent war…In the meantime World War I broke out. An avowed pacifist, Bryan finally resigned over Wilson's second note to Germany (June 8, 1915) protesting the sinking of the “Lusitania.” Nonetheless, he urged loyal support of the war when it was finally declared.

- Encyclopaedia Britannica

Bryne’s support of the rebel Aes Sedai likewise polarised people. Once the rebel army surrounded Tar Valon, both groups of Aes Sedai realised the merits of arbitration.

Gaul: Aiel. The Gauls were a Celtic race divided into several tribes, who settled in an area comprising modern-day France, western Germany, northern Italy and parts of Belgium. The Aiel are also a tribal society. In 390 BC the Gauls seized and plundered the city of Rome and the Romans in turn conquered them – first Gaius Marius and the Julius Caesar. Gaul was one of the Aiel who seized and took booty from the Stone of Tear. Julius Caesar is a real world parallel of Lews Therin Telamon and Rand, Lews Therin’s incarnation, is now Car’a’carn of the Aiel.

Gaul may refer to Gwawl of Welsh mythology, who wanted to marry Rhiannon but was tricked by Pwyll into climbing into a magic bag and made to renounce his claim to her in favour of Pwyll in exchange for his freedom. Gaul was captured and placed in a cage and felt obligation to Perrin who freed him. He has been unsuccessful in getting Chiad to marry him.

Gaul may also be a parallel of Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), the French soldier, writer, statesman, and architect of France's Fifth Republic. Gaul has been marked out by the Wise Ones (eg Bair) as a potential chief of the Shaarad. He earned much honour in the Last Battle protecting Rand in Tel’aran’rhiod.

Gawyn Trakand: Andoran Noble. Gawyn was derived from Gawain, son of King Arthur’s half-sister Morgause and Lot of Orkney and brother of Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth, and half-brother of Mordred.

Gawain performed many notable deeds. One of them, his fight with the Green Knight, is a parallel of Gawyn fighting the Blues’ and Greens’ Warders during the Tower coup. He also sparred with the Warders of two Green Aes Sedai simultaneously in The Gathering Storm, and beat them, resulting in one of the ‘knights’, Sleete, asking him to be his co-Warder. Gawyn was briefly tempted by the offer as a way out of his indecision. After Gawain’s battle with temptation and the Green Man (a parallel of Demandred), King Arthur decreed that all the Knights of the Round Table would wear a green sash in recognition of Gawain’s honour and courage. Gawain founded the Younglings during the White Tower coup and they wear a green coat and carry a green banner with a white boar.

Gawain also supported the true Queen Guinevere against an impostor, feuded with the House of Pellinore, and took part in the Grail Quest. Not understanding the spiritual significance of the Holy Grail, the San Greal, he refused to seek aid through the sacraments, instead relying on his own prowess. He did not attain the Grail. Gawyn supported Elaida as Amyrlin, not knowing that Egwene, a parallel of Guinevere, was rival Amyrlin. He led his soldiers on raids against the rebel Aes Sedai. Gawyn was not successful in his quest to kill the sa’angreal wielding Demandred. In The Gathering Storm, Gawyn was relying on his prowess with the sword to get his own way. He is as violent and impetuous as Gawain of Arthurian myth.

Many of the tales about Sir Gawain concern courtly love and chivalry whereby the knight’s code of honour requires him to do whatever a damsel asks and keep his word. He is tested to expose the conflict between honour and knightly duties. Gawyn was conflicted over whether to support the White Tower and the rebels, and did service for both sides, forgetting that he also had duties to Andor and his sister Elayne. Gawain chivalrously volunteered to marry the loathly lady and was surprised to find out that such an ugly old woman was really a beautiful maiden under a spell. She asked Gawain to choose whether she should be hideous by day and beautiful at night, or vice versa. After racking his brains, Gawain said the lady could choose. This broke the spell and she remained beautiful. Gawyn wanted to marry Egwene, but did not take her promotion to high office seriously:

Don't you see what a distrust you have shown me? How can I trust you if you will disobey me in order to feel more comfortable?"
Gawyn didn't look ashamed; he just looked perturbed. That was actually a good sign—as Amyrlin, she needed a man who would speak his mind. In private. But in public she'd need someone who supported her. Couldn't he see that?
"You love me, Egwene," he said stubbornly. "I can see it."
"Egwene the woman loves you," she said. "But Egwene the Amyrlin is furious with you. Gawyn, if you'd be with me, you have to be with both the woman and the Amyrlin. I would expect you—a man who was trained to be First Prince of the Sword—to understand that distinction."
Gawyn looked away.
"You don't believe it, do you?" she asked.
"What?"
"That I'm Amyrlin," she said. "You don't accept my title."

- The Gathering Storm, Sealed to the Flame

In Towers of Midnight Gawyn had to understand that Egwene needed someone who, as Elayne said, not only did what she asked, but could be trusted to do what she would want without needing to be told. Despite his justifiable annoyance at Egwene for not allowing him to guard her, he did race back from Andor to save her from the Bloodknives. His dissatisfaction with his supporting role led to him strike out alone for Demandred; his death at Demandred’s sword hand causing Egwene’s incapacitation and death.

Gawain and his brothers killed their mother Morgause and her lover Lamorak for their adultery. He was neutral over Queen Guinevere's affair with Lancelot, until his brothers were killed during her rescue from the stake. Then Gawain became a bitter enemy of Lancelot and persuaded King Arthur to declare war on him. Mordred usurped the kingdom while Arthur and Gawain were concentrated on Lancelot. Gawain rushed on ahead to engage Modred and was killed by him. He warned Arthur in a dream against Modred, but Arthur fought Modred and each mortally wounded the other.

Jordan rearranged these events: Rahvin usurped Andor while Morgase’s children were in Tar Valon. Gawyn didn’t worry about events in Andor – even the great influence of ‘Lord Gaebril’, his mother’s lover - until he heard that Morgase had been killed. He bitterly hated Rand, a parallel of King Arthur, who he blamed for killing Morgase. He refused to believe what Gareth Bryne said about Andor and insisted that Rand was at fault. Gawyn was not neutral about the Wheel of Time Guinevere, Egwene; she was his main concern and he rescued her in The Gathering Storm, and again in Towers of Midnight. See Arthurian Who's Who for more on Gawyn’s Arthurian parallels.

Trakand is similar to real world place names.

Gendar: Mayener. Gendar may allude to Genda Minoru (1904-1989):

the Japanese naval officer who was chosen by Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku to draft the plan for the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor (in Oahu Island, Hawaii, U.S.), which crippled the American Pacific Fleet and precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II.

- Encyclopaedia Britannica

Gendar is Berelain’s thief catcher who was spying on Masema to obtain information on Masema’s intentions and thus escalated hostilities between Masema’s and Perrin’s groups.

Gerra Kishar: Aes Sedai of the Grey Ajah and Amyrlin Seat. Gerra is a place in Switzerland and is similar to the personal name Gerry, meaning ‘one who rules by the spear’. This is appropriate for one of the greatest Amyrlins who skilfully played one faction in the White Tower against another. Kishar was the earth mother goddess in Mesopotamian mythology. An Amyrlin is ‘mother’ to the Aes Sedai.

Ghoetam: Historic Figure. The tale of Ghoetam sitting under Avendesora for forty years to gain wisdom is a parallel of Gautama or Gotama, the Buddha, who sat under the bodhi or bo tree until he attained Enlightenment.

Gitara Moroso: Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. Gitara is very similar to gitana, Spanish for a female Gypsy, and gypsies are famous for their fortune-telling ability. Moroso is a surname.

Graendal: Forsaken see Names of the Shadow article

Gyldin: Moghedien see Names of the Shadow article


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Written by Linda, May 2005 and updated Novembe r2013

Contributor: Ancient Sage


4 comments:

SteelBlaidd said...

Guitara Morosa is Spanish for Sad, or Mournful, Guitar, and she has caused several people to live sad songs.

Reptile said...

The sound values of Damodred always evoked the dread of the name Mordred for me, though I have no idea if this was consciously intended by RJ.

Also, nice comment SteelBlaidd. Or might one say that Foretellings most likely have sad or morose aspects to them, though Rand's mother also found true love, a common mixture for the Spanish guitar.

RabidWombat said...

You didn't mention (or I didn't see) the archangel Gabriel. Two of the three archangels are currently in the tower. M'hael is pronounced as Michael. Michael is of course the archangel who drove out Satan (the dragon) from heaven. To me that represents the new M'Hael driving out the old false dragon Taim. I don't know if there is an equivalent to Raphael other then possible Rand.

Linda said...

RW: Gabriel, as Gaebril, was the alias of Rahvin and is in the Names of the Shadow article I'll publish after the Path of Daggers Read-through.