[Heralds] Yet another name question

C. L. Ward gunnora at vikinganswerlady.org
Fri May 4 17:31:11 PDT 2001

Ælfwyn said of "Odin Silverwolf":
>Hmm. If that's so, wouldn't Odin Silverwolf run afoul
>of the Presumptuous Names rule, VI.2 or VI.3

*I'd* tend to think so.  And since what the gentleman really wants is to
show affinity with the god, it should be simple enough to show him several
easily documentable names that will include elements that he's interested
in, thus guiding him to a good name without sacrificing his basic desire to
have his name say something.  Which reminds me, to the herald in question,
write me off-list and I will send you my work-in-progress on ON men's names
to help you guide Silverwolf in his name selection -- it's
<gunnora at vikinganswerlady.org>

There is a wide range of etymological data on Old Norse names, and I'd think
other cultures names as well.  My personal belief is that it is best for a
herald to gently explain to their clients that the name form as they've
conceived it in cases such as this one are probably going to run afoul of
the "Presumptuous Names" rule, and then show them how they can select
perfectly valid names with good name construction practices for that culture
that will still satisfy their desires.  It not only makes the client happy,
it's an opportunity to gently educate.

I think that in the case of Old Norse names you should be able to select
probably no less than two or three names that would be representative of the
individual's affinity for a given god so that the name is still documentable
and doesn't cause excessive uncontrolled facial tics for others hearing it.
The same goes for devices -- a lot of Viking persona folks want an elaborate
knotwork-thingie, but you can get a very Viking-looking device using
standard heraldic symbols, so long as you look at the kinds of symbols that
were used in association with the Norse gods and in Norse art, and you can
arrange them on the shield in such a way that they conform nicely to good
heraldic practice.  I have aspirations of putting together an informative
"heraldic devices for Vikings in the SCA" web article, with artwork and
examples, right after I finish my current names project.


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