Let’s all be honest with each other, there have been plenty of character names in the past that had befuddled us in the past while reading. Whether they have consonants and vowels all jumbled up that somehow make pronunciation sense, or that they have a strange European etymology. Here’s the quick list of some names I sure have mispronounced or completely disregarded altogether for my own version via skim reading.
Chaol from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
This name has become quite famous in the YA book community I believe because it seems that nobody knew it was pronounced like KALE the vegetable until Sarah or the audiobook mentioned it or something. My pronunciation? I still think of COAL when I read it because the name literally reminded me of the old-fashioned name for jail: GAOL. Chaol became Coal with a funny spelling and it’s still a struggle to this day to think of his name as Kale 😛
Hermione from Harry Potter
This is one where the theory was confirmed that J.K. Rowling purposely had Viktor Krum incapable of saying her name in Goblet of Fire, just so readers could teach themselves how to say her name properly as she taught Krum! I cringe every time the French talk about Hermione because they pronounce her name like a lot of people did before Goblet of Fire: Her-Me-Own. Damn the Greeks and their funny talking ways.
Rhysand from ACOTAR by Sarah J Maas
Rice-And, Riz-end, Reece-Sand – this name still eludes me. So I’ve resorted to just reading it as Reece/Rhys every time the name comes up. Goddamn it Sarah, did you have to make a longer version of Rhys?? It was fine in its shortness.
Enne from Ace of Shades by Amanda Footy
I personally haven’t read this book yet but a friend mentioned how confusing the name looks, and I’ve got to agree! There are like 5 different ways you could pronounce and the first guess is obviously Anne. If there are 100 ways to spell Caitlin, I guess you can have 100 ways to spell over names too.
Sarai from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Sarai was such a beautiful character, yet I still don’t know how to say her name properly. Every time I watch a youtube video on Strange or Muse, the person in said video pronounces it differently. Can we get Laini on this?
Kvothe from the KingKiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
I’ve been meaning to pick up The Name of the Wind for some time, I sadly just haven’t been in the high fantasy mood lately. From what I do know of this series, is that I can’t even begin to understand how I should pronounce this name…is there a silent letter?
Duval from Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Another recommendation from a friend, which reminds me of a vampire series I was trash for called the Vampire Beach series by Alex Duval, and I could never say this guy’s last name!! Is it like Duh-Vul or Due-VAHL, or Duh-Vahl? If someone knows, please tell me!
Circe from The Odyssey and Circe by Madeline Miller
Imagine my total embarrassment when I was told that Circe was pronounced like Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones and not SURsss (me being a snake the entire book). I hate myself for it, but then again, would you have guessed it from the spelling?
Do you know any other character names in books that you’ve struggled or still struggle to pronounce? Are you guilty of skim-reading their names? I sure am but nearly all the ones on this list.
I bet authors do this on purpose, to make us ponder and go crazy over it.
Let me know your thoughts & thanks for reading!