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What’s in a Name? – The Rebel Edition

One of my favorite parts of any new writing project is the process of character creation! Backstories, motivations, goals, and stakes all come together to make characters feel life-like and unique. Many of those core components can be symbolized by a character’s name, and I’m often asked about the meaning behind these names. In fact, character name meanings are one of the most common questions I get asked! So here, dear readers, is my gift to you: the stories and meanings behind the names in The Rebel. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did creating!

Neval Brennan

Origin: Turkish / Irish

Neval: “gift” or “present”  (Turkish)

For Neval, this name is deeply ironic. He has been seen as anything but a gift in the eyes of many villagers in Ceffí. However, the true meaning of his name becomes evident as his story unfolds. Neval’s sharp mind and quick reflexes are indeed gifts, ones that will play a crucial role in his journey and the lives of those around him.

Brennan: “sorrow” or “teardrop” (Irish)

 An Irish surname meaning “descendant of Braonán,” which is derived from “braon” meaning “sorrow” or “teardrop.” Neval’s surname reflects the hardships and emotional struggles he endures throughout the story. It’s a poignant reminder of his past and the losses he has faced, particularly the impact of his father’s downfall and the societal prejudices he battles daily.

Tegan Rourke

Origin: Welsh / Irish

Tegan: “fair” or “beautiful”  (Welsh)

This Welsh name means “fair” or “beautiful,” which perfectly suits Tegan’s character. She is not only physically beautiful but also possesses a fair and just spirit. Her compassionate nature and strong sense of justice drive her actions, whether she’s supporting Neval or standing up against the oppression of the Marian Empire.

Rourke: “champion” or “hero” (Irish)

An Irish surname that means “champion” or “hero.” Tegan embodies this meaning through her courageous acts and unwavering determination. As the daughter of a merchant, she leverages her status and resources to fight for what she believes in, making her a true hero in her own right.

Rowan Dunne

Origin: Irish / Scottish

Rowan: “redhead” or “tree with red berries”  (Irish/Scottish)

This name of Irish and Scottish origin means “little redhead” or “tree with red berries.” While Rowan’s physical description might not include red hair, the name symbolizes his fiery spirit and passionate nature. Like the sturdy rowan tree, he is a pillar of strength and resilience, often using his blacksmith skills to aid his friends and stand up for his village.

Dunne: “brown” or “dark” (Irish)

An Irish surname derived from “donn,” meaning “brown” or “dark.” Rowan’s surname complements his rugged and grounded personality. It reflects his deep connection to the earth and his role as a blacksmith, someone who works tirelessly with his hands to shape and forge, much like he strives to shape his own destiny.

Erik Brennan

Origin: Norse / Irish

Erik: “eternal ruler” or “ever powerful”  (Norse)

A name of Norse origin meaning “eternal ruler” or “ever powerful.” Despite the lofty implications of his name, Erik’s life has taken a turn for the worse. His struggles with alcoholism and the loss of his wife have stripped him of the power and control he might have once had. Yet, there remains a flicker of the strength and leadership that his name suggests, seen in his fleeting moments of clarity and his past as a provider for his family.

Brennan: “sorrow” or “teardrop” (Irish)

 An Irish surname meaning “descendant of Braonán,” which is derived from “braon” meaning “sorrow” or “teardrop.” Sharing the same surname as Neval, Erik’s story is intertwined with that of his son. The sorrow and tears associated with the name Brennan are all too apparent in Erik’s life, marked by regret and a longing for redemption. His journey is one of grappling with his inner demons and the hope for a better future for Neval.

I hope this gives you some insight into the thought process behind naming the characters in The Rebel. Each name was chosen with care, aiming to reflect the character’s essence and journey. Let me know who your favorite character is and if there are any other names you’re curious about!


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