Accidentally reusing a name

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beardeddragongirl

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In my current WIP, I used the name “The Eyrie” for a colony of dragons in the mountains. One of my readers said that the name was used in Game of Thrones, which I haven’t read. How important do you think it is for me to rename it? I'm not dead-set on this name, and I've been exploring other options, but I'm curious to hear how people feel about this.
 

Brightdreamer

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Names do get reused, and "eyrie" (a large nest of a bird of prey) is a real term that fantasy's co-opted before, numerous times. And the Eyrie in Martin's world is a castle on a high peak, not a dragon's nest, IIRC.

That said, with a juggernaut franchise like GoT also using it recently, you might consider renaming if too many betas point to it and think it's derivative, but that's the kind of thing that can happen in a later draft if it's even needed. (It's not like you're naming a royal house Targaryen, an invented name with much stronger ties to Martin's universe; you're using a real term with connotations reminiscent of a large predator's nesting grounds.)
 

starrystorm

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I've never read or seen GOT, but I think you should change it because

1) Your friend could recognize the name as something from GOT just by either hearing it or reading it.

2) You both write epic fantasy with dragons. That name, for a while, is "taken" associated with GOT. It's like you wouldn't use the names Jacob, Bella, and Edward, in any vampire novel/paranormal novel anytime soon. Of course, I don't know how important this name is in both your books, but I hope you see my point. (Also have never read Twilight, but I remembered the example from a blog I read long ago. Same as using Luke or Hans in a sci-fi novel.

3) I don't read epic fantasy, but from the looks of it, it seems like an unusual name that would always remind someone of a GOT tie-in. Unlike "The Palace" or "The Mountain"

4) This stuff happens all the time. Our brains see things and store them unconsciously. Then pops back up when you need a similar name. All writers experience this at one point or another. All it takes is a quick Google and a "Dang, I knew that name sounded familiar" follows after.


Oh, and welcome to AW.
 

ChaseJxyz

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In my totally-not-scientific-opinion, I think it would be okay if it makes sense with the world, like many places are named "The [noun of what it is]." The mountains, the canyons, the capital. But in real life that's usually not how names go, they're either named after someone (The Hoolian Sea) or have some sort of adjective that describes it (the misty mountains). An eyrie is what it is, but it would probably be named after a dragon who founded it, or something about the place that travelers should know. Are the dragons kind to travelers, or are they vicious animals? Are there other dragon colonies? What makes this one special?
 

Maggie Maxwell

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Yeah, if you're concerned, add an adjective, but "eyrie/aerie" is a real world term that has been used in movies, books, and video games for decades for naming places. Martin was not the first.
 

frimble3

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And crossword puzzles. It's not like it's a specific invented word - and, it has all the right connotations for a nest of dragons.
It's like saying you can't use, well, 'nest'.
Or, that after McCaffrey, no-one can use 'dragons'.
 

starrystorm

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Ah, see, I didn't know eyrie was a real word. I think that makes it better, knowing it's a real word noun.
 

frimble3

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You could use the alternate 'Aerie' spelling. Some lingerie company is using it, but, again, it's a fairly common noun. (British spelling, I think, but I like it reminds me of high, windswept places.)
 

beardeddragongirl

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Thanks for the welcome, starrystorm.

Yes, I should have clarified that it's a real word. And it's a great reminder that not everyone knows that, so if I were to use it, people would think I was ripping off GOT. I've neither read the books or seen the show, so I was just looking for a word that seemed appropriate. It's in the public imagination, so it's probably best to rename it. Putting an adjective in front of it is a good suggestion, as is the alternate spelling, frimble3. Naming it after the founding dragon is also a good idea, ChaseJxyz. I also have a naming convention (sort of) for the dragon names, so I could craft something that sounded like it came from their society.

Also, sorry about this character  appearing. Trying to figure out how to make it stop doing that.
 

Roxxsmom

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Yeah, if you're concerned, add an adjective, but "eyrie/aerie" is a real world term that has been used in movies, books, and video games for decades for naming places. Martin was not the first.

I agree. I've read Martin's books too, and I would not think of his work if I read another fantasy novel that called a Dragon's nest an Eyrie. It's simply the regular-English word used for an Eagle's nest, to it's not something that jumps out at me as a reader at all.

Now if someone had a world named Westernos, or there were people named Starks duking it out with Lannisters, well then...

Note a friend of mine who is from the UK once told me he was always knocked out a bit by the name "Jon Snow" in Martin's books, because there was a real-life newsman with that name on a station he watched. I doubt Martin was intentionally copying this, or anyone else's real name in his work, but it illustrates one of the drawbacks of using "real world" type names for fantasy characters (or even locations) in a fantastical world. Of course books set in the real world will have people with real-world names. I'm sure there is a man named "Harry Potter" living somewhere who was born before Rowling published her novels. Likely more than one. There's not much an author can do about that.

I even read a novel once, years ago, where there was a walk-on character who had my dad's name AND he was a molecular biologist at a UC campus. Not the same UC campus where my dad taught, but it was weird...

So naming coincidences will happen too. But Eyrie really isn't problematic, imo, because it's just a word for a thing, not a fanciful name.
 

Lakey

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Note a friend of mine who is from the UK once told me he was always knocked out a bit by the name "Jon Snow" in Martin's books, because there was a real-life newsman with that name on a station he watched. I doubt Martin was intentionally copying this, or anyone else's real name in his work, but it illustrates one of the drawbacks of using "real world" type names for fantasy characters (or even locations) in a fantastical world. Of course books set in the real world will have people with real-world names.

That is so interesting about Jon Snow, and it's a good reminder that it's worth Googling any name you want to use in a story before you let it out into the wild. You might decide to go ahead and use the name even if you find some matches, but it's valuable to know what you're getting into.

I have a story with a fictional (meaning, fictional even within the context of the story) murderer named after a town in Rhode Island; I named him such only because I like the sound of the name, not because of any actual connection to the place. Someone who workshopped the story said she Googled the name and learned that there was a mildly famous unsolved murder associated with the town; I kept the name anyway, as it wasn't such a high-profile case that people outside southern New England would make the connection, and even if they did, it wasn't an inappropriate association for the character.

:e2coffee:
 

Tanydwr

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For reference - the etymology behind eyrie/aerie: https://www.etymonline.com/word/aerie#etymonline_v_5176.

John Snow (admittedly a slightly different spelling) was also a doctor in the nineteenth century who is, IIRC, considered something of a father of epidemiology - he worked out that the source of a cholera outbreak was coming from a specific water pump in London.

I definitely would not have associated it with GoT, but then I've see eyrie used in its original context in other novels! I actually really like it as a name for a dragon's nest/home.
 

waylander

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For reference - the etymology behind eyrie/aerie: https://www.etymonline.com/word/aerie#etymonline_v_5176.

John Snow (admittedly a slightly different spelling) was also a doctor in the nineteenth century who is, IIRC, considered something of a father of epidemiology - he worked out that the source of a cholera outbreak was coming from a specific water pump in London.

I definitely would not have associated it with GoT, but then I've see eyrie used in its original context in other novels! I actually really like it as a name for a dragon's nest/home.

John Snow was also a fast bowler for Sussex and England in the 60s and 70s
 

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