Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Character Names: K

By Linda

Kadar: was one of foolish kings along with Orander and Madel in Mara and the Three Foolish Kings. While Kadar is a place in Chad, Iran and Russia, Kadar may refer to János Kádár (1912–1989):

the premier of Hungary (1956–58, 1961–65) and first secretary (1956–88) of Hungary's Communist Party who played a key role in Hungary's transition from the 1956 anti-Soviet government of Imre Nagy to the pro-Soviet regime that followed. Kader managed to convince the Soviet Union to withdraw its troops and allow Hungary a modicum of internal independence after quelling a popular revolt in his country.

- Encyclopaedia Britannica

Kairen Stang: Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. Kairen is a surname and sounds similar to the personal name Karen, which means pure. Stang is a place in Austria and a surname.

Kamarile Maradim Nindar: Graendal see Names of the Shadow article.

Karale Sanghir: Black Ajah see Names of the Shadow article.

Kari al'Thor: Andoran woman and foster mother of Rand al’Thor. Kari is a Scandinavian personal name meaning pure, and a common place name in Africa and Asia. In Norse mythology, Kari was the personification of the wind, appropriate in the mother of a man who was a tempest incarnate.

Kari is similar to Kali, the ‘dark mother’, the destructive as well as creative aspect of the Divine Mother in Hinduism and a major figure in the cycle of life and death, creation and destruction in the Hindu view of the Wheel of Time. This is interesting in the light of what Kari’s semblance (or even actual soul) stated in The Eye of the World:

"Mother?" he breathed, and she smiled, a hopeless smile. His mother's smile. "No! My mother is dead, and the other two are safe away from here. I deny you!" Egwene and Nynaeve blurred, became wafting mist, dissipated. Kari al'Thor still stood there, her eyes big with fear.
"She, at least," Ba'alzamon said, "is mine to do with as I will."
Rand shook his head. "I deny you." He had to force the words out. "She is dead, and safe from you in the Light."
His mother's lips trembled. Tears trickled down her cheeks; each one burned him like acid. "The Lord of the Grave is stronger than he once was, my son," she said. "His reach is longer. The Father of Lies has a honeyed tongue for unwary souls. My son. My only, darling son. I would spare you if I could, but he is my master, now, his whim, the law of my existence. I can but obey him, and grovel for his favor. Only you can free me. Please, my son. Please help me. Help me. Help me! PLEASE!"
The wail ripped out of her as barefaced Fades, pale and eyeless, closed round. Her clothes ripped away in their bloodless hands, hands that wielded pincers and clamps and things that stung and burned and whipped against her naked flesh. Her scream would not end.
Rand's scream echoed hers. The void boiled in his mind. His sword was in his hand. Not the heron-mark blade, but a blade of light, a blade of the Light. Even as he raised it, a fiery white bolt shot from the point, as if the blade itself had reached out. It touched the nearest Fade, and blinding candescence filled the chamber, shining through the Halfmen like a candle through paper, burning through them, blinding his eyes to the scene.
From the midst of the brilliance, he heard a whisper. "Thank you, my son. The Light. The blessed Light."

- The Eye of the World, Against the Shadow

Was this Kari real? Was she tempted by the Dark One to serve?

Al’Thor refers to both King Arthur (see Matter of Britain: Arthurian Myth Parallels essay) and the Norse thunder god Thor (see Rand essay):

I figured most of you are far enough along that you read, that you know Rand al'Thor, al'Thor, yes he is an Arthur analog. He is also a Thor analog.

- Robert Jordan, Real Life Influences article

During Ragnarök, Thor and the Midgard serpent will kill each other. While Rand’s family have a name influenced by Thor, and Rand often channels lightning, Perrin is the character with the most Thor-like attributes (see Perrin essay). Rand himself has more attributes of the Norse god of strife, Tiw, who lost a hand (see Rand essay).

Karind Anshar: Andoran noblewoman. Karin is a personal name. Anshar was god of the sky and horizon and king of the gods in Mesopotamian mythology. This reveals the extent of Karind’s ambitions and why she conspired, as well as aspired, to be Queen of Andor.

Karldin Manfor: Asha'man. Karlin is a surname. Manfor is an acronym used by the US Department of Defence and stands for manpower force requirement. Karldin travelled to all the Steddings with Loial to try and persuade the Ogier to guard all the waygates.

Kash: Black Asha’man see Names of the Shadow article.

Katerine Alruddin: Black Ajah see Names of the Shadow article.

Katrine do Catalan a'Coralle: First Queen of Murandy. Katrina is a personal name meaning pure. There are several Queen Catherines in real-world history, some of them great women. However, since Catalan refers to a region (and language) in Spain, the closest would be Catherine of Aragon (1485‒1536), first wife of Henry VIII of England (see painting right). There is a region in Aragon which speaks Catalan rather than Aragonese. Coralle is a place in Somalia and may also be a tribute to the famous choreographer Coralli, since Jordan has written dance criticism.

Kazin: Saldaean. Kazin may be a tribute to Alfred Kazin (1915‒1998), an American critic and author noted for his studies of American literature and his autobiographical writings (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Keille Shaogi: Lanfear see Names of the Shadow article.

Kerene Nagashi: Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah. Keren is a personal name meaning ray of strength, power and Kerene a place in Ethiopia where the Allies battled the Italians in World War II. Nagashi means drifting or flowing in Japanese, and Nagashima is a place in Japan. Kerene was a strong channeller who was killed by Darkfriends (those against the Allies).

Kirin Melway: Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah and Amyrlin Seat. Kierin is a personal name. Kirin is a region in China. Kirin or Qilin is a Eurasian mythical animal similar to a unicorn that protects the just and grants them good luck and punishes the wicked. Its appearance coincides with the arrival of a sage.

Melway is a surname.

Kirukan: Historical character from the Borderlands. Kirkan is a personal name meaning watchful, appropriate in a Borderlander ruler/warrior.

Kiruna Nachiman: Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah. Kiruna is a very northerly town in Sweden that produces iron ore—this seems appropriate for a tough woman from a northerly country. Nachima is a place in Mozambique. Nachiman may refer to Hachiman, one of the most popular Shinto deities of Japan. Often regarded as the god of war, he is the patron deity of the Minamoto clan and of warriors in general. This is an appropriate name for a royal Borderlander House and for a member of the Battle Ajah.

Knotai: New name given to Mat Cauthon by Fortuona as a reward for saving her.

If pronounced as Notai, with a silent K, it means “I noticed” in Italian. Mat was named Knotai because he noticed the Grey Men about to attack Tuon and fought them off. He also noticed Demandred’s tactics, and the corruption of the Great Captains.

The Italian and Latin word for notary, notaio is also similar to notai. Notaries are responsible for witnessing signatures on documents, ensuring they are valid, and taking oaths and affirmations. Mat was not present to sign or witness Rand’s peace treaty, but he persuaded Fortuona to sign it in Altara. He also ensured she kept her word that the Seanchan would fight in the Last Battle.

If pronounced with the K as K(n)otai, the name refers to the sankin kotai, the alternate residence duty of feudal lords in ancient Japan. Each feudal lord (daimyo) had to reside several months of the year in the capital Edo underthe Shogun’s eye, and when they returned to their own domains they were required to leave their families, including their heir, at Edo as hostages. While the expense and inconvenience of maintaining two residences and travelling in appropriate style with their samurai retinues and the time spent away from their estates prevented the daimyos from waging war and gaining more power than the Shoguns, it also ultimately contributed to the overthrow of the shogunate.

For a fuller discussion of Knotai, including other possible references, see Mat essay.

Kumira: Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah. Kumira is a place in Bangladesh. Kumira or kumera is a sweet potato (see right).

Kwamesa: Aes Sedai of the Grey Ajah. Kwamesa is similar to real-world place names.

Written by Linda, January 2007 and updated November 2013

Contributor: Dominic


Anonymous said...

The name Kari was a surprise to me when I read EotW for the first time, I didn't know that Kari was woman's name. Here it's a man's name.

Linda said...

RJ reversed the gender of names sometimes.

If Kari were pronounced as Carrie, that's a real world woman's name.