1. Pyraeus
    Offline

    Pyraeus Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland

    Character nickname too "cheesy" or "cliche"?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Pyraeus, May 17, 2012.

    I have a character who's nickname is "the Raven" His birth name was Alistair Varselle, but he later changed it to Alistair Corvis (Corvis means Raven) and is usually adressed simply as "Corvis" by other characters (except friends/family, who call him Alistair, or Al)
    One of the reasons behind the nickname is his habit of hanging back from fights, joining only when he feels it is needed, sometimes arriving a tad bit late, so that battle is drawing to a close. (The idea being that ravens can be seen feeding on corpses after large battles.)

    He only got the nickname after an attempted assassination attempt (in which he is given a few wounds, which I've yet to fully decide. One involves being given a vertical cut down the left side of his face, leaving him blind in that eye and the second is being stabbed in the gut with a sword or something similar) One thing for certain is that his throat was slashed open by the last assassin (after cutting down the first, and running the second through) he was nearly finished off but managed to cast a spell in time which killed the assassin.
    He survived only by burning shut the wound to his throat with a burning piece of wood from the fire.
    His throat was badly damaged from the incident, and his voice is cracked and hoarse, his breathing comes out in pained rasps, and he finds it difficult to raise his voice. Taking into account his previous habits, as well as his hoarse voice (which I'm thinking of describing as being like the harsh caw of a Raven) he starts to be called "the Raven" as means of an insult. He takes it on as his new name after forming his own faction, called the Black Watch (or something like that) and his personal guards are referred to as the "Raven's Guard".
    Later on his brother heals the wound to his throat, but the damage is not entirely reversable, and his voice is left with a faint rasp/croak/growl to it.

    So anyway, now I've said all that, back to my question. Do you think it's too "cheesy"? Is there anything in there that seems stupid etc.?
     
  2. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I'd say you're probably overthinking this issue. It shouldn't be a problem if you don't put too much emphasis on this name. But I didn't understand who calls him that, if his friends and family call him Al and 'the others' Corvis. Is it his nickname for himself? Or the narrators nickname for him?
     
  3. Pyraeus
    Offline

    Pyraeus Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    "I'd say you're probably overthinking this issue. It shouldn't be a problem if you don't put too much emphasis on this name."

    The way they call him "Raven" is through the name "Corvis", which has the same meaning but doesn't sound so bad.

    "But I didn't understand who calls him that, if his friends and family call him Al and 'the others' Corvis. Is it his nickname for himself? Or the narrators nickname for him?"

    Corvis is a nickname given to him by others (similar to how Petr Baelish from A Song of Ice and Fire is nicknamed "Littlefinger" becuase his family comes from the smallest "finger" of the the area known as "The Fingers") He's seperated himself from his brother and made himself nuetral. Taking Corvis as his last name in place of his birthname of Varselle is his way of declaring nuetrality for himself and his men (and woman too, of course) Think of it as being the name of a new family or house or whatever. You have Robbert Varselle and Alistair Varselle. By taking the name Corvis, and a Raven as his symbol, he is seperating himself from his brother, and so therefore (in essence) making a new house (another reference to A Song of Ice and Fire; one of the characters-whose name eludes me-was once called the "black sheep of the Tully family" and he joked he is the "black fish", on account of the Tully symbol being a trout. Since then he has taken it up as his personal symbol, but he still has the name of Tully-"blackfish" is a nickname/title he recieves. Alistair is called "The Raven" by some, originally as a sort of jeer (Tyrion Lannister is called "The Imp" becuase he is a dwarf and also becuase he is extremely intelligent)

    Sooo many ASoIaF references there =/
     
  4. Akyra
    Offline

    Akyra New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's true that, as a reader, I'd feel a little wary if I stumbled across a character called "Raven", although based on what you say about him it sounds like he's more than a little damaged and not that much of a stereotype.
    Normally I'd suggest using a synonym, like "Crow" for instance, that sounds a little less stereotypical, but it might not be a good idea because it might be too easily associated with the eponymous movie.
    The thing is, based on what you said it's a nickname meant to be insulting, like "the Imp". Except "Raven" sounds pretty cool so I don't know if his enemies would be so eager to call him that. People who're neutral or friendly towards him might call him Raven, but enemies would be more likely to call him "Black Bird", or "Carrion-eater", or "Carrion-crow" or something like that...

    But in the end, if the story's good, it's not such a big deal.

    EDIT : a possible explanation could be that his enemies started calling him "carrion-crow" as an insult, and he decided to turn it into his own brand of nobility and thus became the Raven ? I don't know, but the "Raven's guard" sounds like an awesome concept. Maybe not wholly original but as a reader I'd definitely go for it.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,970
    Likes Received:
    5,494
    I don't see it as an insult. "Raven" has been used so often for a dark, brooding, powerful character that it's more likely to be taken (by the readers, if niot the characters) as a nickname of praise.

    "The Vulture", now, might qualify.
     
  6. Pyraeus
    Offline

    Pyraeus Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    "Except "Raven" sounds pretty cool so I don't know if his enemies would be so eager to call him that. People who're neutral or friendly towards him might call him Raven, but enemies would be more likely to call him "Black Bird", or "Carrion-eater", or "Carrion-crow" or something like that..."

    Sounds like a great idea =)

    "A possible explanation could be that his enemies started calling him "carrion-crow" as an insult, and he decided to turn it into his own brand of nobility and thus became the Raven ? I don't know, but the "Raven's guard" sounds like an awesome concept. Maybe not wholly original but as a reader I'd definitely go for it."

    "carrion-crow" (or "carrion-eater" as you said earlier in your post) would be good insults.

    The concept of the Raven's Guard is kind of like a cross between the gold cloaks and kingguard from A Song of Ice and Fire. They swear service to only Alistair, and they are armed to the teeth (Each carries at least a sword or mace at all times. When fully armed and outfitted, each has a sword/mace, spear and crossbow.) I have them wearing woolen cloaks that are dyed blood red, so I thought a sort of informal name for them would be the Red Cloaks, something used more loosely than The Raven's Guard, which would be something they refferred to themselves as (Raven's Guard is what they call themselves) and some members of the Watch (I suppose most of the Watch would call them "Red Cloaks" becuase of their blood-red cloaks-"There goes Alistair and his Red Cloaks"

    "based on what you said it's a nickname meant to be insulting"

    To quote Tyrion Lannister (vaguely) "Let them see they have hurt you and you will never be free of their taunts. Take the name they give you, make it your own, and that way it cannot be used to hurt you"

    "I don't see it as an insult. "Raven" has been used so often for a dark, brooding, powerful character that it's more likely to be taken (by the readers, if niot the characters) as a nickname of praise."

    This is true. Like Akyra said, it will make more sense for people who don't like him to call him "carrion-eater" or something similar.

    "The Vulture", now, might qualify."

    "The Vulture" would be an excellent insult. I can't think of anything pleasant about them.
     
  7. SeverinR
    Offline

    SeverinR Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    New Madison Ohio
    I would think they call him Raven, not "the raven."
    It is related to his name, not tied to the bird.

    "The Walrus", "The Rooster" seems to compare them to the animal, not some part of their name.

    Nick names tend to be cliche, things people think of easily. "Red" a person with red hair.
    For realism, I think nick names should be somewhat cliche, given names should not.
     
  8. The Crazy Kakoos
    Offline

    The Crazy Kakoos Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2012
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Bakersfield
    I once knew a guy who's nickname was "Cheese" but you're probably not interested in that.

    I like the idea of him being called "Crow"

    The nickname Raven is only cheesy if it's not backed up properly in my opinion. If you were to just name be called Raven without the background you told us then I'd probably think it's cliche.
     
  9. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Nope, Corvis sounds fine to me. Although, I don't think I'd care for a detailed explanation of it in the book. I think it is important for you to figure these connections out, but don't tell it all to the reader, because it isn't really important.
     
  10. Pyraeus
    Offline

    Pyraeus Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    "Although, I don't think I'd care for a detailed explanation of it in the book. I think it is important for you to figure these connections out, but don't tell it all to the reader, because it isn't really important."

    I'll probably drop a comment or two about it, but it probably won't have a big explanation from somebody, probably just a quick comment when they are sitting somewhere, and then breaking off to listen to what's being said. Stuff like that.
     
  11. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Yes, that's the best way of doing it. Good luck with your story :)
     
  12. Pyraeus
    Offline

    Pyraeus Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    "Yes, that's the best way of doing it. Good luck with your story"

    Thanks, you too :)
     
  13. Fivvle
    Offline

    Fivvle Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Washington
    That nickname sounds fine to me. Sounds cool, even.

    As long as he's not always "THE Raven". I can imagine the dialogue - "Hey, the Raven, come here for a second." That would be like The Cheat in those Strongbad animations, and that's just silly ;) .
     
  14. Pyraeus
    Offline

    Pyraeus Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dundee, Scotland
    It's usually used to refer to him. So "The Raven has called his men together" or "The Raven has no taste for battle. He won't bother us." Stuff like that. It's largely used by other people to refer to him, and not really used in general conversation.
     

Share This Page