1. Kessie says:

    In the first Guardiansof Ga’Hoole book, the bad guys make the young owls repeat their names over and over until its nothing but meaningless sounds. Then they’re assigned a number, which becomes their real name. During this process, the owls lose their sense of self and become automatons. It’s chilling and thrilling to watch our heroes outwit the bad guys and retain their names.

  2. Hannah says:

    That’s cool to know that true names are such a staple in fiction. I’m aware of the idea, but I didn’t know they were so prevalent in stories, although I have heard of their inclusion in some books such as the Inheritance Cycle. I was super impressed with their importance in the Tales of Goldstone Wood, namely in Starflower!

  3. bainespal says:

    This is a great piece of folklore for fantasy. Lewis used it to great effect in The Magician’s Nephew. Also, the philosophical implications of Revelation 2:17 are profound.

    I think the sci-fi version of this is perception, like in the TV show Fringe. To be able to see something completely objectively and truthfully would be to have a divine vantage point.

  4. dmdutcher says:

    Madeline L’Engle also used it:

    “I think your mythology would call them fallen angels. War and hate are their business, and one of their chief weapons is un-Naming – making people not know who they are. If someone knows who he is, really knows, then he doesn’t need to hate. That’s why we still need Namers, because there are places throughout the universe like your planet Earth. When everyone is really and truly Named, then the Echthroi will be vanquished.” 

    From A Wind in the Door

What do you think?