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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5622 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2004 :  18:51:36  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage Send Alaundo a Private Message  Delete Topic
Well met

This being a collective scroll of any questions the Scribes and visitors of Candlekeep wish to put to a renowned author of the Realms, namely - Elaine Cunningham, whos works include: Elfshadow, Elfsong, Daughter of the Drow, Tangled Webs, Windwalker and of course Evermeet: Island of Elves, to name but a few.

Present your questions herein and check back to see what news may also come forth from the quill of this author.

Alaundo
Candlekeep Forums Head Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct


An Introduction to Candlekeep - by Ed Greenwood
The Candlekeep Compendium - Tomes of Realmslore penned by Scribes of Candlekeep

Edited by - Alaundo on 12 Feb 2004 18:56:10

Demonwise
Seeker

29 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2004 :  20:16:13  Show Profile  Visit Demonwise's Homepage Send Demonwise a Private Message
I'll give the first question! Heh..

I have just bought Daughter of the Drow, and Tangled Webs in my local bookstore a week ago. I finished the first, and am now hundred pages inside Tangled Webs. I have got a few questions...:

SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT!!








On page 31, line seven and six from the bottom in Tangled webs, I am met with the sentence -"but the common folk went hungry more often than not". Should there have been a "to bed" there? I am only asking because I think you would not use went that way, but if you can, I would like to know it, since I am an aspiring writer. I only speak english as my second language, so I, of course, am not an expert.

On page 66, fourteenth line from the bottom in Tangled webs, it says Ffolk, instead of Folk. Spelling errors slip through editing, I know, but I am asking to this one because I saw it on a previous page too. I got the feeling it might be intended, and just would like to know if it was coincidence or if I have missed a pharagraph of explanation (it happens, trust me ;)).

Other than that, I would just like to say thank you for a splendid read! I am eager to read the windwalker; when it comes out in paperback, that is (yes, I am poor).

-Demonwise
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2366 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2004 :  20:51:37  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Demonwise
On page 31, line seven and six from the bottom in Tangled webs, I am met with the sentence -"but the common folk went hungry more often than not". Should there have been a "to bed" there? I am only asking because I think you would not use went that way, but if you can, I would like to know it, since I am an aspiring writer. I only speak english as my second language, so I, of course, am not an expert.


"Went hungry" is an acceptable usage, even though it seems to defy English grammar as it's taught in classrooms. It's one of those quirky idioms in which this language abounds.

quote:
On page 66, fourteenth line from the bottom in Tangled webs, it says Ffolk, instead of Folk. Spelling errors slip through editing, I know, but I am asking to this one because I saw it on a previous page too. I got the feeling it might be intended, and just would like to know if it was coincidence or if I have missed a pharagraph of explanation (it happens, trust me ;)).


Yes, spelling errors can and, all too frequently, do slip through. In this particular case, however, "Ffolk" is correct. It refers to people who live on the Moonshae Islands.

quote:
Other tthan that, I would just like to say thank you for a splendid read! I am eager to read the windwalker; when it comes out in paperback, that is (yes, I am poor).


Thanks for your kind words, and for the intelligent questions. The paperback reprint of Windwalker will be released in April. In the meanwhile, here's a link to a sample chapter:

www.elainecunningham.com/windwalker_prelude.htm

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Demonwise
Seeker

29 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2004 :  20:59:04  Show Profile  Visit Demonwise's Homepage Send Demonwise a Private Message
Thank you so very much, Mrs. Cunningham
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Demonwise
Seeker

29 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2004 :  21:28:50  Show Profile  Visit Demonwise's Homepage Send Demonwise a Private Message
oh yeah forgot one question.. I had the feeling that towards the end of Daughter of the Drow you sped things up a notch. Maybe I only got this feeling because I was drawn into the story (excellent work), but I wonder if there might be a reason for you speeding (if that is the case). Did you draw too near a deadline, or did you have a limit of pages you could use? Or was it just my imagination?
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Arion Elenim
Senior Scribe

933 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2004 :  23:40:56  Show Profile  Visit Arion Elenim's Homepage Send Arion Elenim a Private Message
I have a question the divine Ms. Cunningham...my FAVORITE FR author....

As a huge fan of the Danilo Thann/Arilyn Moonblade series, it is no wonder where you get such rich ideas from..... but when you tackled Evermeet: Island of Elves (which I like to call the "Elven Bible" as it is a work so expansive and detailed, spanning so much time and major events) how did you ever keep your thoughts organized? As an amateur author, I often have trouble keeping my boring, 300 page standard works together, with what few twists and turns such few pages provide...I couldn't imagine penning something more than twice that and staying as clear and organized as Evermeet!

Oh, side note - thanks for giving us such incredible work! Your tales have been a major influence on me for years!

My latest Realms-based short story, about a bard, a paladin of Lathander and the letter of the law, Debts Repaid. It takes place before the "shattering" and gives the bard Arion a last gasp before he plunges into the present.http://candlekeep.com/campaign/logs/log-debts.htm

Edited by - Arion Elenim on 12 Feb 2004 23:46:04
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Arion Elenim
Senior Scribe

933 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2004 :  23:58:09  Show Profile  Visit Arion Elenim's Homepage Send Arion Elenim a Private Message
Sorry, a few last things, if I may be so bold...

What are you working on now? Can we expect a solo Elaith Craulnober novel any time soon? And while the same-initial/same number of letters connection between your name and "the Serpent's" (one of my favorite all-time "villains")was a real joy to discover (I had my dork-glasses on that day ), what, if any connection does it signify between you and the character? Do you identify with him in some way?

Okay, I'll shut up for now.

Thanks so much!!!

My latest Realms-based short story, about a bard, a paladin of Lathander and the letter of the law, Debts Repaid. It takes place before the "shattering" and gives the bard Arion a last gasp before he plunges into the present.http://candlekeep.com/campaign/logs/log-debts.htm

Edited by - Arion Elenim on 13 Feb 2004 00:02:44
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2366 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2004 :  04:05:56  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Demonwise

oh yeah forgot one question.. I had the feeling that towards the end of Daughter of the Drow you sped things up a notch. Maybe I only got this feeling because I was drawn into the story (excellent work), but I wonder if there might be a reason for you speeding (if that is the case). Did you draw too near a deadline, or did you have a limit of pages you could use? Or was it just my imagination?



Pacing helps to set the tone. Toward the end of the story, I usually go to shorter scenes, quicker switches between characters, and narrative that leans more to action than description. The pacing in Daughter of the Drow was a deliberate choice. As for timing, the manuscript was turned in on deadline and within the required word count. (Ah, those were the days...)
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2366 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2004 :  04:15:45  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Arion Elenim
... how did you ever keep your thoughts organized? As an amateur author, I often have trouble keeping my boring, 300 page standard works together, with what few twists and turns such few pages provide...I couldn't imagine penning something more than twice that and staying as clear and organized as Evermeet!



First, thanks for the kind words. Organizing material for Evermeet was quite a project. My goal was to review every significant reference to elven lore in the Realms, and to synthesize as much of it as possible into story form. There are many ways this could be done, but I decided to organize the material around three concepts: 1) the book as a collection of short stories gathered by a human bard who wished to pay tribute to his half-elven love; 2) the narrator's view that the current-day events -- the invasion of Evermeet -- was a result of elven attitudes and decisions; and 3) a history of the Moonflower family, with Amlaruil as the focal character. These somewhat disparate parts were unified by the underlying, and often unseen, perspective of the fictional "author." Danilo had an axe to grind. He selected the stories and shaped the narrative accordingly.

It was an interesting experiment, but in the process I learned something rather distressing: Danilo is a better writer than I am.

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2366 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2004 :  04:26:31  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Arion Elenim

What are you working on now?


I will admit to the following:

1) A FR novel set in Waterdeep, cowritten with Ed Greenwood.
2) Shadows in the Darkness, a contemporary mystery with dark fantasy elements.
3) A short story for Realms of the Dragons

quote:
Can we expect a solo Elaith Craulnober novel any time soon?


Alas, no.

quote:
And while the same-initial/same number of letters connection between your name and "the Serpent's" (one of my favorite all-time "villains")was a real joy to discover (I had my dork-glasses on that day ), what, if any connection does it signify between you and the character? Do you identify with him in some way?


Sheer coincidence, or, at the most, serendipity. I borrowed the character from Ed Greenwood, who created and named Elaith long before he knew my name. Do I relate to Elaith? None of my characters are autobiographical, but let's put it this way: I understand Elaith better than I'd like to.
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2004 :  05:01:44  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham
None of my characters are autobiographical, but let's put it this way: I understand Elaith better than I'd like to.



I think as a soul gets older,understanding characters like Elaith is much easier. Thank you Mrs. Cunningham for taking the time to provide this forum with answers.
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Another Gnome
Acolyte

Finland
2 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2004 :  08:56:22  Show Profile  Visit Another Gnome's Homepage Send Another Gnome a Private Message
EC, concerning something else... are you still working on the stats for various characters of yours? I know the Gorlist thread sort of died at WotC boards back then even before getting properly started, but I haven't seen any mention of the stuff since. Did the lack of feedback on Gorlist bring the entire project to a halt, or was it taken elsewhere, perhaps?

Edited by - Another Gnome on 13 Feb 2004 08:57:52
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2366 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2004 :  11:54:56  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Another Gnome

EC, concerning something else... are you still working on the stats for various characters of yours? I know the Gorlist thread sort of died at WotC boards back then even before getting properly started, but I haven't seen any mention of the stuff since. Did the lack of feedback on Gorlist bring the entire project to a halt, or was it taken elsewhere, perhaps?



I have, alas, abandoned this project entirely.

There are a number of reasons for this in addition to an apparent lack of interest among reader/gamers: the loss of a "trusted reader" who would review and (on occasion) playtest these stats, employee turnovers at WotC and the resulting need to start the approval process from scratch, no plans in sight for future books with established characters. And then there's the writing schedule.

When you weigh the amount of demonstrated interest in character stats against the amount of work it would take to create them and the process of obtaining official approval from overworked WotC editors and designers, it seems likely that there are better uses for everyone's time. For example, there seems to be considerable interest in the idea of a drow art gallery. I plan to have that online in April, to coincide with the paperback release of Windwalker.

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Another Gnome
Acolyte

Finland
2 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2004 :  13:25:40  Show Profile  Visit Another Gnome's Homepage Send Another Gnome a Private Message
Righty. Better luck with the art gallery!
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Maecenus of Westgate
Learned Scribe

USA
111 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2004 :  22:06:13  Show Profile  Visit Maecenus of Westgate's Homepage Send Maecenus of Westgate a Private Message
I just finished reading your Silver Shadows novel and wanted to mention that I think it was a great work! Probably my favorite Cunningham novel so far though I will soon be moving on to the Evermeet novel, which I hear is a bible to some. I found the lythari to be a fascinating group who I plan to implement into some of my own D&D campaigns.

Anyway, I have a question for you.

When creating names or phrases used by the elves in your stories, save perhaps the green elves in Silver Shadows, do you consult any of the existing elven language resources, such as those initiated by J.R.R. Tolkien?

Thank you for your responses so far and for finding the time to grace us with your presence here!
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2366 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2004 :  15:23:10  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Maecenus of Westgate
I found the lythari to be a fascinating group who I plan to implement into some of my own D&D campaigns.


I'm rather fond of them, myself, so there's a lythari character in Windwalker, as well.

quote:
When creating names or phrases used by the elves in your stories, save perhaps the green elves in Silver Shadows, do you consult any of the existing elven language resources, such as those initiated by J.R.R. Tolkien?


I'm no expert on copyright law, but I suspect that incorporating Tolkien's invented Elvish languages into the Realms would constitute an infringement. (Any lawyers or Tolkien language experts here?)

The bald truth is that FR writers usually make up "Elvish" words on the spot. ("Hmmm.... Yeah, this sounds like something an elf might say...") You can try to make the invented word look and sound consistent with previous invented words, but there is no real Elvish language resource for FR writers. Sure, there are "dictioneries" here and there, but these are mostly compiliations of randomly invented words from previous books and game products, plus some newly made-up stuff. Language requires grammar, syntax, vocabulary, logic and cultural context. Collections of cool-sounding words don't even come close.

Middle Earth was created by a linguist, and one of its most notable characteristics is the elaborate invented languages. Forgotten Realms was created by an extremely well-read librarian with a non-stop imagination and a puckish sense of humor. Considering all that the Realms has to offer, I've seldom felt the lack of formal linguistic systems.

For elven names, I do one of three things: 1) use nicknames such as Foxfire, Ferret, or Thorn; 2) adapt or borrow Celtic references, such as Tintagel; or 3) try to follow the patterns of nomenclature established by Ed Greenwood.

Speaking of which, here's an observation about FR names, elven and N'Tel'Quessir alike. In the future, I'll be leaning more toward the EG style. Over the past year or so, I've observed or participated in several online discussions about real-world names in the Realms, and I've come to agree with those folks who feel that these references damage the reader's ability to suspend disbelief and detract from the distinctive feel of the setting. So any new characters I might create will not be given real-world names such as Ebenezer or Bronwyn.


Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 14 Feb 2004 15:34:11
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Hoondatha
Great Reader

USA
2446 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2004 :  07:18:30  Show Profile  Visit Hoondatha's Homepage Send Hoondatha a Private Message
Interesting. I remember some of those debates...

And I have to admit that I had never met (or heard of) a Bronwyn until *after* I read Thornhold. It took me a few days to get used to the fact that the name actually existed... :)

Doggedly converting 3e back to what D&D should be...
Sigh... And now 4e as well.
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2004 :  14:48:16  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Hoondatha
And I have to admit that I had never met (or heard of) a Bronwyn until *after* I read Thornhold. It took me a few days to get used to the fact that the name actually existed... :)



At least you met someone with the name. The only other Bronwyn I've encountered was an NPC from the N5 Under Illefarn Adventure for the Realms.
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2366 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2004 :  16:55:31  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage
Bronwyn (or its varients, Bronwen, Branwen, Branwyn) is a popular Welsh name, but since it's not frequently used in the US, it sounds Realmsian enough for most readers. That said, there's no telling when a name will become trendy. Not long ago, names such as Caitlin, Heather, and Ashley (which until recently was considered a man's name) were uncommon in this country. Who knows? In a few years, we could have a bumper crop of little Bronwyns, and people who read moldy, yellowed copies of Thornhold will think, "Sheesh! She might as well have named the character Kate or Susan."

I'm very fond of Celtic mythology, and I liked the various aspects of the name Bronwyn. (See below) Her brother's birth name was Bran, which was also a nod to the Celtic mythos. It made sense to me that a paladin would name his children after aspects of a war deity.

The names also incorporated some supliminal references to plot. Bran means "raven," while one possible meaning of Branwyn is "white raven." The contrast of black and white with the common element of the raven suggests siblings in opposition.

Yes, I spend far too much time thinking about this stuff.

*************************************************

Branwen — (BRAN-wen or BRAN-oo-wen) "white bosomed," or "a girl with black hair and white skin"; from Welsh bran "crow" + gwen "shining, holy". In Mabinogi, Branwen is Bran's sister. They are male and female aspects of the Celtic war deity. Popular name in Wales.

Bronwen — (BRON-wen) from Welsh bron "breast" + gwen "shining, holy"; also a variant of Branwen. Bronwyn.

BRANWEN f Welsh, Welsh Mythology
Pronounced: BRAN-wen Means "beautiful raven" from Welsh bran "raven" and gwen "fair, white, blessed". In the Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh myth, she is the sister of the British king Bran and the wife of the Irish king Matholwch.


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Bookwyrm
Great Reader

USA
4740 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2004 :  17:14:35  Show Profile  Visit Bookwyrm's Homepage Send Bookwyrm a Private Message
No, I think that it's just right. Names are important. Personally, I'd like to keep the Celtic-ish names, but I understand where others are coming from.

Hell hath no fury like all of Candlekeep rising in defense of one of its own.

Download the brickfilm masterpiece by Leftfield Studios! See this page for more.
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Faraer
Great Reader

3308 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2004 :  17:31:54  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
Elaine, I wonder if your new non-franchise Tor books have something to do with your changing attitude to naming. Having such an outlet would subtly change my attitude to writing in a shared world and make me less inclined to keep in not-quite-right elements. A similar dynamic applies in roleplaying, if you have the chance to run/play in multiple campaigns or not.

Do you have a favourite Mabinogion translation?
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Simon Says
Seeker

36 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2004 :  21:03:06  Show Profile  Visit Simon Says's Homepage Send Simon Says a Private Message

Mrs. Cunningham, Faraer, Bookwyrm, et/al,

Great topic, linguistics. Should have its own thread, really, but since we're *here*...

Here are my views, for what they're worth:

The Forgotten Realms are obviously derived from our own world's mythology---even our own history. Much moreso than Greyhawk, the Dark Sun setting, Ravenloft, etc. The names are right there for people to see. Tyr. Mielikki. Loviatar. The list goes on.

One could go so far as to make direct locale attributions. The Moonshaes are Celtic Britain. Unther is Mesopotamia. The Desert if Desolation is Egypt, etc. It's quite plain. Therefore I don't see a problem with a "Bronwyn" or even a "Kelly" or even a dwarf named "Sue". Douglas Niles quite plainly threw a Caitlin (though I may have spelled it wrong) at us. Now, if "Caitlin" were in Mulhorand, I might quirk a brow---and then assume her parents moved around a lot when she was young.

The problems I usually have are in the linguistic "flavors" (or lack thereof) added to varying accents and phrases.

"Bronwyn" doesn't grind my teeth to dust like "Yeah" and "Okay" do.

Verily, certain writers need pay more attention to the flute-like stylings of one Mr. Greenwood to base their common tongue slangfests on. Verily!

Simon Says

And the trees were all kept equal - by hatchet, axe, and saw. --Peart
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2366 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2004 :  01:02:25  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Faraer

Elaine, I wonder if your new non-franchise Tor books have something to do with your changing attitude to naming. Having such an outlet would subtly change my attitude to writing in a shared world and make me less inclined to keep in not-quite-right elements.


Interesting question, but I'd have to say no, the Tor book hasn't been the influencing factor here. Other creative outlets are important, but I have been writing outside of the Realms for years --mostly short stories, published and unpublished, plus articles, reviews, essays, poetry, music, and first drafts for two book-length manuscripts. (Don't ask.)

Quite simply, I came to agree with the reasoning put forth by Ed Greenwood's fans. Your arguments, Faraer, were particularly compelling, but I've been coming to this conclusion for a while. While working on the Halruaa trilogy, I did a rough pronunciation guide for established common nouns. It became obvious that the names worked best if each letter was given time and weight -- which is precisely what Ed intended for ALL Realms names. That moved me toward EG-style nomenclature. Finally, I'm writing a book with Ed, and the Realms is so obviously and emphatically his world. How can anyone NOT honor that, in every way possible? I've always tried to be true to the lore and the tone of the Realms, but for some reason, I didn't consider nomenclature to be part of that tone. Now I do.

quote:
Do you have a favourite Mabinogion translation?



I have only one translation -- the Penguin Classics by Jeffrey Gantz. If you know of a better one, I'd be happy for the information.

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 17 Feb 2004 01:32:47
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2366 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2004 :  01:26:16  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Simon Says
The Forgotten Realms are obviously derived from our own world's mythology---even our own history. The names are right there for people to see. Tyr. Mielikki. Loviatar. The list goes on.


True enough.

quote:
One could go so far as to make direct locale attributions. The Moonshaes are Celtic Britain... Douglas Niles quite plainly threw a Caitlin (though I may have spelled it wrong) at us.


The Moonshaes definitely have a Celtic influence, and the names reflect this: Deirdre, Robin, Tristan. But the Moonshaes are not Ed Greenwood's creation: they were added to the Realms, and have a feel quite distinct from the rest of the world. That said, it seems reasonable to use Nordic-sounding names (Wulfgar, Hrolf, Hronulf, Byorn, Dagmar) for northern barbarians, and names with Greek or Italian roots (Matteo, Andris, Tzigone) for Halruaa and other southern lands.

quote:
The problems I usually have are in the linguistic "flavors" (or lack thereof) added to varying accents and phrases.


Yes, this is a much more difficult issue than names.

quote:
"Bronwyn" doesn't grind my teeth to dust like "Yeah" and "Okay" do.


Everyone has a different tolerance level. I threw an early FR novel across the room when one character congratulated another with, "Way to go!" But someone else might find a dwarf named Ebenezer equally jarring.

quote:
Verily, certain writers need pay more attention to the flute-like stylings of one Mr. Greenwood to base their common tongue slangfests on. Verily!


One of my personal goals with the Waterdeep novel is come up with innovative curses that don't sound silly or stilted. Ah, the dizzying heights to which we aspire...
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4607 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2004 :  03:15:48  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
*chuckle*

I can just see EC putting "Foul Language linguist for the Forgotten Realms Campaign setting on her CV"

While its an odd thing Id have to say real world swear words and real world names are mostly likely to drag me out a fantasy novel when I read it. I know Ed created at least one swear word for the Drow in "Drow of the Underdark"

“I am the King of Rome, and above grammar”

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks

Edited by - Dargoth on 17 Feb 2004 05:36:18
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2004 :  05:29:41  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham
The names also incorporated some supliminal references to plot. Bran means "raven," while one possible meaning of Branwyn is "white raven." The contrast of black and white with the common element of the raven suggests siblings in opposition.


Plus, doesn't Fyodor call Liriel "little raven?" What's with you and references to ravens Mrs. Cunningham? A fan of the Poe poem?
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