Will (was Sophie etc)

Daphne Lee daphne at thestar.com.my
Thu Jan 31 22:07:22 EST 2002

Thanks to Marie for her comment and views on the choice of the name Will for fantasy heroes. Personally, the name sounds dependable, and humble as well as nobel. The W is a soft, whispered sound that turns somewhat stronger with the double L, but still remains gentle. A nice combination.

To me the name will always be associated with the aviator brother in the Flambards books.

>> And lastly, not to do with Magician's HOuse at all, but just a thougt: is 
>> Will or William a particularly popular name with fantasy writers? There's 
>> Will in Philip Pullman's Dark Materials Trilogy, Will in Susan Cooper's The 
>> Dark Is Rising series, William is Magician's House, isn't there a Will in 
>> Time Of he Ghost too? Just a common name perhaps, or does it exude the 
>> right aura for a hero of fantasy books?
>This thought has prompted speculation from me in Children's Fantasy 
>Literature lectures. As a medievalist by trade, observing writers who have 
>often come through the Eng. Lit. academic machine (or in the case of DWJ, 
>being married to a most humane representative of it), I conjecture that the 
>Wills may go back to the hero of the 14c English 'spiritual journey'  dream 
>vision poem, _Piers Plowman_ ,of which the fallible though persistent hero is 
>Will. _Piers Plowman_ wsa standard and often compulsory fare on Eng. Lit. 
>degree courses until very recently, and still is in a few outposts of the 
>We don't know for sure that the poet, Langland, was called William, but it's 
>generally accepted from the variably close self-identification of poet and 
>hero, and from his riddling self-naming  ("My name is Long (=tall) Will; I 
>have lived long in [the] land (perhaps='up-country' ").
>'Will' in Middle English can mean 'will' or 'wish' or 'determination' as now, 
>but it often means 'wilfulness', setting up one's will in opposition to the 
>divine moral scheme, letting wilfulness triumph over 'Wit' (rational moral 
>perception). So at the deeper level it may be too pejorative a derivation for 
>Pullman's or Cooper's hero, although they do show fallibility as well as 
>employing willpower in their struggles.  
>Marie Denley
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