NANP: Naming Swords, Defining Themselves

Really excited to welcome today’s guest Evie Manieri for Names: A New Perspective, author of Blood’s Pride, released last year in August through Jo Fletcher Books and in February this year by Tor. I read the book earlier this year, and I thought it was a pretty good start to what promises to be an excellent series (my review). It certainly is a different and innovate approach to epic fantasy, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Fortune’s Blight. The naming conventions used by Evie in Blood’s Pride are really interesting, and in this guest post she goes into some detail about them.

Blood's PrideNaming Swords, Defining Themselves

by Evie Manieri

Like most people, my name was decided for me when I was too young to have any say in the matter. I tried playing around with it a bit over the years. I thought E.V. was kind of cool; too cool for me, apparently. I tried using my full name of Evamarie when I went to college, but my mother killed that the first time she phoned my freshman hall, and the fact that I get mail for Eric Manieri is only a testament to my terrible penmanship.

Most of us make the best of the names we’ve been given, but then we compensate by naming the things that are most dear to us. We name our pets and our children. We name our boats and cars and musical instruments, and the loftier among us have plaques inscribed with the names of our homes. We name things in order to identify them, but in doing so we often reveal quite a bit about ourselves.

In BLOOD’S PRIDE, the most important name any Norlander will ever choose is the name of his or her sword. Norlanders earn the right to name their weapons on their seventeenth birthdays, provided they prevail in a ritualized duel with their eldest sibling or youngest parent. Swords are passed down through the generations and are reborn through this ritual: they carry the glories of the past, but their new names look to the future. Since a sword and its owner are inseparable until death, naming your sword is a lot like having the chance to rename yourself.

“Blood’s Pride” is the name chosen by Frea, the eldest daughter of a displaced Norlander family sent to govern the Shadari mining colony. Significantly, Frea rejects the opportunity to carry her dead mother’s sword, and instead has a new one made for her. So, on the one hand we see her make a deliberate and provocative decision to break with family tradition – but then what does she name her sword? Blood’s Pride. It almost seems contradictory, but in that one act of naming, she is sending the message that she is not complicit in what she believes to be the corruption of her family’s honor, and that she – Frea – intends to revive it, alone and in spite of them.

The remaining two books in the Shattered Kingdoms series are also named for swords. Fortune’s Blight belongs to Rho, a soldier so disillusioned with the world – and himself – that he believes any good he tries to do will only cause more harm. Strife’s Bane echoes the disconnect that Frea’s brother Eofar feels between his responsibilities as a Norlander, a nobleman and a warrior, and his hatred of violence and pointless conflict.

But the Shattered Kingdoms isn’t only about the Norlanders, and BLOOD’S PRIDE certainly isn’t only about Frea. Everybody in BLOOD’S PRIDE could be said to be struggling against the pull of family, as well as the presumed loyalties and unbending pride that go with it. It’s a force of such power that, even when wielded with the most benevolent intentions, it can twist and contort a person until they lose any genuine sense of their own identity. Naming the book BLOOD’S PRIDE is a way of saying that no matter how far apart we may appear – politically, racially, or even spiritually – we can still be engaged in the same essential struggle to name ourselves.

*****

Evie Manieri on Twitter, Facebook, and Web.

The next guest on the blog is Nathan Long, and his post will be going up on the 29th. The next schedule is almost ready, I’m just waiting on a few more acceptances. It will be ready by next Thursday.

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Posted on April 25, 2013, in Debut Authors Guest Series, Guest Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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