Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Perils of Osmosis

I'm reading the Lord of the Rings again at the moment. I used to read it almost every year for a while there, but it's been close to ten years now so I thought it was well time for another foray into Middle Earth. Last night I was reading the Two Towers and I came to the bit where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli meet Eomer on the plains of Rohan, and I noticed that Eomer refers to himself as "Third Marshal". And it really struck me, because in my own books (and I hesitate to mention them in the same breath as LoR) Heito has the rank of "Third Marshal". I couldn't remember where that title came from, and I had assumed it was just something that I put together that I thought sounded good. But it looks more likely I read it in LoR and my brain filed it away, only to come out years later in my own writing. At least I assume that's what happened; it could just be coincidence.

I'm always a bit nervous about that kind of thing happening, particularly with fantasy names. Usually if I come up with a hum-dinger of a name I google it, to make sure it isn't from something else that I've read or seen.  I didn't google "Third Marshal", but I just did it then and it comes up with lots of references to Rohan.

Not that it matters. It's just a reminder to me that while reading widely is vital to anyone who wants to write, it does come with its own particular little gotchas.

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