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  1. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Harsh or evil sounding names

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Marcelo, Jul 23, 2009.

    I need a name for the antagonist of my story... He is the son of a vampire and a demoness. Since he heard voices, and had a terrible childhood. When he discovered that he was half-demon, and that the voices he heard were those of his mother, he became obssessed with bringing her forth into the "Livingworld".

    So, with that little background information... Please help me! :D
     
  2. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    What's his nationality? That's usually a good start.
     
  3. A2theDre
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    A2theDre Active Member

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    Go for a name with the sharp sounding consonants. One's with Gs, Ks, etc.

    Gashak
    Kayash
    Yarak

    Y'know, stuff like that. I'm not really creative this early in the morning :D
     
  4. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    This list might help. It has a reasonable number of names with "evil" meanings. Or depending on how blunt you wanted to be, you could always name him Joevil. (Pronounced, Joe-vill, he swears!) :p
     
  5. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Well, I don't know about "Astrid"; makes me think of Astrid Lindgren, which is about as far from an evil name you can come.

    Actually, most of the girl names didn't sound very evil to me.

    Though, now that I stop to listen to it, Astrid is a pretty cool-sounding name.
     
  6. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    No, but... I'm looking for a name like Voldemort, or Sauron. Now, those are evil names!
     
  7. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Haha, I agree! The first story I ever made had a character named Astrid. Like the name, may use it again in another story... :D
     
  8. SA Mitchell
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    SA Mitchell Member

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    They're not intrinsically evil though. The authors made them evil through the story; made you think horrible thoughts every time you heard them.
     
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  9. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Evil-sounding fantasy names, then? That makes it trickier.

    There are syllable combinations that sound more evil then others, but it's kinda subjective and it can be hard to get a good name out of it without it sounding generic or silly.

    I'd suggest you do a bit of stream-of-consciousness writing and jot down a bunch of evil sounding names or made-up words, and then play around with the individual syllables and letters until you get something you like.

    Keep in mind, you want something that not only sounds evil but is also easy to remember and pronounce. A common problem with fantasy names is that they don't actually sound like names.

    Well, I'd argue "Voldemort" at least does kinda sound like a name deliberately put together to invoke associations to terror and death just by the sound.

    On the other hand, I think "Sauron" has a very nice, almost beautiful ring to it, and it could probably have fitted just as well on a hero. Likewise, I could totally see "Aragorn" be a bad guy name. So, yeah, you do have a point there.
     
  10. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Yeah, the name Voldemort evokes thoughts of death and terror. The "mort" syllable especially, as the Spanish word for death is "muerte" (and Spanish's my main language, so...).

    I'll follow both your advice and SA Mitchell's. I'll play around with some syllables and make up some names, and I'll be sure to make those names evil throughout the story.
     
  11. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    You find that association in all Latin languages, actually, since it's derived from the Latin "mors."

    Even in English you get stuff like mortician, mortality and Morticia Addams. :p

    Also, by an interesting coincidence, "vold" in pronounced almost identically to the Swedish word "våld", meaning "violence."

    Good luck!
     
  12. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    My advice is to not make anything too corny. For example, naming a place the "Cave of Darkness" or the "Sea of Death" probably makes the story sound more like either a parody or just really plain stupid.

    Of course, you'd probably never do something that corny, but I just thought I'd like to throw it out there.

    Actually, the whole naming thing is pretty subjective and subject to perception. If, for example, Tolkien named the white wizard Sauron instead of Gandalf, we'd associate the world "Sauron" with goodness and wisdom instead of evil. The point here is that like others suggested, look around for existing words and syllables that give the perception of darkness or evil, and play around with them until you have something you'd like.
     
  13. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    I'm a big fan of understatement. My major villain goes by the name "Christopher Coppen." It's gentle and when you say it out loud it almost makes you smile. A big evil name just doesn't have the sense of menace that a happy name can.

    The fact is, Voldemort's name was actually Thomas Marvolo Riddle. Tom Riddle. God, now that's a scary name. Much scarier than "Voldemort." Voldemort sounds like he's compensating for something; Tom Riddle just sounds eerie. Remember that the unexpected will trump the expected nine times out of ten.

    It's like this. If I show you a dragon, a huge, scaly, fangy, horned dragon that breathes fire and has loads of claws, and then that dragon kills someone, it's expected. You know that dragon's gonna kill someone. If I show you a kid, a young, sweet-faced, innocent kid that smiles all the time and doesn't have a mean bone in his body, and he kills someone, that makes you intrigued and a little scared.
     
  14. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Yeah, you may be right. I settled on Jacob Harker (as his human name), and I'm thinking of his "Vampire name".
     
  15. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Ooh, a risk taker. You're going into dangerous waters with that idea. :p

    Three problems that I see already-

    1. Nameless is worse than a badly-chosen name. Why? Because you can't care about someone who doesn't have a name to them. It's a fundamental part of human nature. Plus, a guy without a name is just the same as every other He Who Must Not Be Named and He Who We Do Not Speak Of that's out there. In the reader's mind, he'll end up as "The Villain," which is a bad place for him to end up. Jacob Harker is a good name; why would he give it up? And if he did give it up, why not call him self something vampiric, like Dracula or Nosferatu?

    If he gives up his old name and gives up names in general, he needs to have something people call him. One of the best pseudonyms I've ever seen is Old Scratch, for Satan- it sounds really awesome and powerful. Think about giving this guy at least a bit of a name.

    2. Insanity is a weak justification for villainousness, unless you can really get into that guy's head and feel that insanity and understand why it drove him to the place he is now. Even then, he'd better really feel like he's doing the right thing. All villains should be heroes from the wrong point of view. No-one thinks that they're evil and dark and villainous; they think they're strong, or stalwart, or willing to go where others will not.

    And so far I don't believe he's a character. What does he want? What does he do on his days off? Does he like himself? Does he look in the mirror- assuming he has a reflection- and think, "Gorsh, I'm definitely doing the right thing?" Because I don't. I look in the mirror and wonder what I'm doing with my life.

    What would this guy never, ever do? What would make him do it? What would push him beyond his limits?

    3. How did he recruit vampires and other beings? This is a problem I have with dark lords in general but especially ones where there are a bunch of fantastic beings walking around. Did he go up to them and ask? Did he seek them out? Given that he appears to be something of a loner, did they come to him and beg to work for him?

    In the story I'm writing, my main villain recruited his first batch of followers from a mental institution, their minds broken and ready for the taking; he gave them strength and direction and focus in ways they never had. The second wave was a bandit group that his first wave decimated; seeking power, the bandits agreed to let him work his magic on them. The third group, he recruited from the people of the city he now inhabits, promising them freedom from his first two groups at the cost of signing up and seeing the wonders he can work.

    How did this guy- this insane guy who burned down the villiage he inhabited- get anyone to follow him, to believe in him?

    Anyway, keep up the good work!
     
  16. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Problem No. 1 - Yeah, you may be right. I'll search for another name for him.

    Problem No. 2 -What if he is not insane, but his mind is really twisted? He does what he does because he plans to bring forth her mother, who is the voice inside his head. He is more of a puppet, but he thinks he is in control.

    Problem No. 3 - I forgot to put that detail. In five days, he challenged the five Vampire Lords and defeated them. Instead of assuming the position of Lord, he gave the Vampires of each clan one choice: Those who felt worthy or bringing forth their mother, join him, and together they'd cleanse the world of the "unworthy" and the "unbelievers". Many Vampires thought he spoke heresies or simply didn't believe him, but many joined him.
     
  17. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    I had thought of the evil order's name as Daiesthai, but it is more fitting for a given name. This is a list of names for my bad guy:

    Algol
    Liderc
    Daiesthai
    Daostair
    Daestair
    Daiesthair

    Which do you like?
     
  18. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    My bad guy is from Italy, and I wanted an actual, real-life Italian name. But at the same time, I wanted a name that had a dramatic ring to it. A respectable villain name, so to speak. So, he ended up being named Dr Raphael Azzara. (Usually just refered to as 'Dr Azzara.')

    In Tom's case, he probably was. He did pretty much hate his real name due to the whole muggle heritage thing, after all, and he must have been in his mid teens or something when he came up with "Voldemort." So, yeah, it kinda makes sense.

    I agree Tom Riddle is an awesome name, though.

    Thing is, in the first case you are writing fantasy and in the second you are writing horror. I'm generalizing here, but the point is that which effect is preferable depends on what you are trying to achieve. At least, that's what I think.

    Algol is actually the name of a star. Did you know that?

    Something worth keeping in mind when making names up is that the sound of the name is often more important then the spelling. Once you have somethin that sounds good, you can pretty much pick the spelling that looks best. Anyway, it's a grave misconception that fantasy names have to have complicated spelling.

    Case in point, if you look at your examples you'll notice that "Daestair" and "Daiesthair" is actually the same name, one just has more letters crammed into it. So why would you want to go with the one that is harder to read?

    One of my favourite examples using odd spelling on a fantasy name is the character Xehanort from the game Kingdom Hearts 2. Whenever I see that name, I get this urge to change it into something simpler, like for example:

    Xehanort > Xehanor > Xeanor > Zeanor.

    There! Practically the same name, but it doesn't make people stop and go: "Which random name generator did they pull that one out of?"

    Note that I removed the last t. This does change the name, so it's not just different spelling, but sometimes it's for the best; especially if it ends with two consonants for no reason. I had this one character who needed a surname, and after a lot of combinations I came up with "Dawind." A while later I looked at it and decided it didn't look tidy and changed it to "Dawin." And for some reason that just sounds more like a name to me.
     
  19. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    They are only evil because of their context.

    Voldermort only sounds evil to me now because I know what kind of person he is. Hitler doesn't sound evil, but it sure has an evil feeling because I know about him.

    Mao doesn't sound evil.

    Sauron sounds elegant if anything.

    Nevin sort of sounds evil, though.

    Maybe try to find a name that has a word in it usually associated with evil or negativity.

    Nevin sort of sounds like negative

    Read through a list of names until you find something that sounds evil.
     
  20. murphcas
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    The thing with evil names is that you want them to sound evil but not be too hard to read. If a person cannot pronounce the evil name when they read it then it loses the evil effect.

    I usually look toward mythology when I'm trying to find an evil character name, especially if the character is going to be a very powerful being. For example, in a story I'm currently working on I chose Gamab. He was a god of the fates, shooting arrows to determine who was going to die. In my story Gamab is destroying the world because he feels that that's the way to save it. Another evil character name I chose was Malachai. His name was originally Michael but I saw "Children of the Corn" and thought Malachai just suited him better.
     
  21. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    If I may, I have a few suggestions (that I made up randomly). I tried to make them sound evil, but some of them might have "softer" sounding evil undertone to them. Use whatever one you like or none of them. I don't care, I'm just trying to help.
    ----------------

    Zefel (ZUH-fell)

    Vagil (VAH-jill)

    Erundek (EH-roon-deck)

    Zestek (ZEHS-tehk)

    Vagira (vah-JEE-ruh)

    Vadik (VAH-dihk)

    All of those are male. If you need a female name, I can come up with those a lot easier, lol.
     
  22. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Thank you very much Kirvee, but I forgot to post that I had already come up with one! I found the name of a demon called Salamel, and combined the name with Samhain Day (the day of the dead). The result was Samhael, and I kinda liked it! :D

    I particularly liked Zefel from those in your list. If the need arises, maybe I'll use it. :rolleyes:
     
  23. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the truly successful villain names are not those that make the villain sound more evil, but the more regular names that become tainted by the amazingly awesome writing of the villain character. In other words, not a name that makes the villain evil, but a villain who makes the name evil.

    For example, who would have considered Adolph a villainous name a century ago?

    Hannibal Lecter would also be a very innocent name if it wasn't for Anthony Hopkins.

    Power of association.
     
  24. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Er.... Voldemort? xD Just kidding, I like the ones others have come up with.
     
  25. Anders Backlund
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    You do realize that everyone is going to pronounce this as "Va-jaira" anyway, right? :p

    I'd just spell it as "Vajéru" or something. There's no reason to be more confusing then necessary.

    That's another thing about making up names: often when you invent a name that sounds really good, it's because it really is a real name.

    In a curious coincidence, the name Samhael is nearly identical to that of Samael, the Angel of Death of Jewish lore. If you would like more information on the angel Samael, and also many other uses of this name, I would direct you to Wikipedia's article on "Samael". (However, if you would rather not read it, that is also okay.)

    I do love how you put that one together, anyway. That's all kinds of appropriate, don't you think? ;)
     
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