The names in this novel, particularly in Hallandren and Idris, follow the concept of repeated consonant sounds.
I wanted to try something a little more distinctive in this book than the names were in Mistborn. In that book, I intentionally backed away from the insane craziness of the names in Elantris. I’ve written entire essays on how I devised the languages in that book. The names were appropriate for the novel, since the language was so important to the story. However, I know that the number and oddity of many of the names in Elantris was off-putting.
So, instead, in Mistborn I chose names that were much easier to say, and gave everyone a simple nickname. When it came time for Warbreaker, I wanted to try something else, to take a step back toward distinctiveness in the language, but not go as far as I had in Elantris.
I’ve long toyed with using double consonants as a naming structure. I played with a lot of different ways of writing these. I could either use the letters doubled up, with no break (Ttelir). I could slip a vowel in the middle and hope people pronounced it as a schwa sound (Tetelir). Or I could use the fantasy standard of an apostrophe (T’telir).
In the end, I decided to go with all three. I felt that writing all the names after one of the ways would look repetitive and annoying. By using all three, I could have variety, yet also have a theme. So, you have doubles in names like Llarimar. You have inserted vowels like in Vivenna. And you have apostrophes like in T’Telir.
I think it turned out well. Some members of my writing group complained about fantasy novels and their overuse of apostrophes in names. My answer: Tough. Just because English doesn’t like to do it doesn’t mean we have to eschew it in other languages. I like the way T’Telir looks with an apostrophe, and the way people will say it. So it stays. 😉
Siri Approaches T’Telir
And we finally get to see T’Telir. I’m still a tad bothered that it’s chapter four before we get to see the city. I worry that people will read the book and have trouble getting grounded in it, since we’ve now had five viewpoints across five chapters and have been in a lot of different locations.
However, I think that the groundwork in the first four chapters is needed to make the book work. I just couldn’t figure out a way to cut it all out and still have things work. Perhaps (just perhaps) I could have moved the Vasher prologue into the middle and made it a regular chapter, then moved the original Siri/Dedelin chapter to a prologue. Then, with the decision to send Siri into the city made, I could have jumped straight to this one. However, we’d have lost too much in that. Doing it this way isn’t perfect either, but I think it’s still the best way the book could have been done.