Character Name Origins in Wachenroder

2015-07-23T22:42:04.217+0900
This post is part of a collection on Wachenroder.

One interesting feature of Wachenroder is that almost none of the character names are original - a variety of fictional works and real people were mined for names, some quite obviously, some less so. Here's an overview of the characters in the game and where their names come from.

Spellings for names come from the cover of the Sega Official Guide Book where available; the rest of the time I just guessed or paired them with their likely origins.

While there's no single theme to the names, common sources are 19th century novels in English, bands and musicians (mostly from the UK), or German culture.

Lucian Taylor: The protagonist, a boy from the slums who becomes a mercenary to pay for his sister's medical treatment. This name is taken from the protagonist of Arthur Machen's novel The Hill of Dreams.

Carolyn ("Carroll") Mew: An early ally who's not entirely honest about her background. Given the origins of the names of the other main characters, the particularlity of the spelling of "Carroll", and the resemblance of her headgear to bunny ears, she seems to be named for Lewis Carroll. Fitting in with the theme, "Mew" is the surname of another English author of the period, Charlotte Mew.

Titus Groan: A bounty hunter on the run, he's the muscle for the party. His name comes from the central character of the Gormenghast series of novels.

The next several characters form a troupe called the "Travelling Performers, the Chemical Brothers", named after the band. The troupe leader is simply called "Chemical".

Bellebete from World of Wachenroder.

Bellebete: A blind singer who fights with a bow, she narrates the game to the player. While a minor character in the story she's an important part of the game's visual identity. Her name presumably comes from the band Velvet Revolver.

Idle Lace: A girl in a cat outfit with steam-powered brass knuckles. Her name comes from the English rock group The Idle Race.

Fatboy Slim: A knife-throwing member of the Chemical Troupe, in-world his name comes from the inflatable suit he uses for defense. The source of his name is obviously Fatboy Slim.

The next several characters are members of the "Blow Monkeys", a sort of informal police force. The group name comes from a UK rock band.

Franky Zappa: The rotund, armored leader of the Blow Monkeys, unrefined but principled. He is of course named after the musician.

Small Faces: A scout and sneaky member of the Blow Monkeys, and for much of the game the only playable character with a gun. Named for an English rock band.

Orange DX: The technical expert in the group, he wears a knit hat and glasses and fights with a mortar. Named for the band Orange Deluxe.

The next several characters are Imperial Swords, something like governors who report directly to the King. There are five swords at any time, though as the game opens one has been displaced as a wanted criminal. Unlike the characters above, several of the Swords are never playable characters.

Durrenmatt: The Sword on the run, while Lucian has sworn revenge on him and he's initially mysterious and incredibly suspicious, he ends up proving an invaluable ally to the main party. His name comes from Swiss author Friedrich Durrenmatt.

Madame Leonore: Sword of Sight, the city of pleasure and entertainment. Her name is probably a reference to Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio (originally titled Leonore), whose main character is also a skilled swordswoman.

George Koan: Sword of Boat, the city of heavy industry, focusing on steel and weapons production. The best match I can find for his name is George Khan, a longtime British musician; while it fits the theme the relative obscurity and lack of connection to other bands has me somewhat doubtful. Unfortunately searching the katakana for his name directly overwhelmingly turns up a popular fan pairing for Suikoden II, so more investigation is needed.

Miss Leorme: Sword of Cloud, the city of research and engineering. Her name is a reference to Italian band Le Orme.

Benoit: Sword of Cobalt, the agricultural city; an old man who rigidly follows protocol. He is probably named for St. Benedict, called Benoit in French.

Holder Lin: Sword of Mist, the city that supplies clean water to the continent, he displaced Durren. His name comes from Friedrich Holderlin.

The remaining characters are a grab bag with no particular organization. None of them are playable characters.

Blue Oyster: A leader of the Forest People and holder of a surprising and important secret. Named for the Blue Oyster Cult.

King Weezer: The king of the Island of Eduardo that comprises the whole known world, he goes missing near the start of the game. Named for the band Weezer. His capitol city is King Crimson, named for the band. Note that Ian McDonald, former King Crimson Member, composed the game's theme and cooperated on the soundtrack.

Gilberto Gil: Leader of a gang of bandits outside town, named for a musician.

Vlad Rains: The main antagonist and final boss. His pale and vaguely vampiric look explain the "Vlad", and "Rains" is probably an allusion to his research causing bad weather and harmful rain on the continent.

G-Eazy: A generic enemy soldier unit in the early game, named for a rapper.

Kikazaru, Mizaru, and Iwazaru: These three bosses in the early game are named for the three monkeys.

Slapp Happy: Early boss named for the musical group.

Style Council: Boss in the early middle game named for the English band.

Anita Dekobra: A mid-game boss fought on a train platform. "Dekobra" is the invented surname of Maurice Dekobra, a very popular French pulp author who was widely translated while alive. Unusual in that she's the only female boss and appears to have no lines at all in the game.

Cesare: Guard of the Tower of Judgement, boss in the middle of the game. Since the tower is known as a place of torture and he wears a distinctive mask he's probably named for Cesare Borgia.

Caliph Vathek: Vathek is a very interesting character considering he only appears twice in the game. His first appearance is as Lucian's opponent in a (non-interactive) pre-qualifying match for gladiatorial battles at the very start of the story, and he doesn't appear again until much later, where the enemy has hired him and he's a level boss. The continent the game is set on is surrounded by thick mist, and Vathek is the only character to have come from outside it - he lost his memories and is supposedly fighting to get them back (it's not clear why that makes any sense). Note that "Caliph" is used just as part of his name and not as a title. The name comes from a novel about a decadent Caliph who meets a bad end.

Walter Wanderley: Vlad's most loyal and least sane servant, a late-game boss. Named for a musician.

That's all of them! If anything looks off please let me know. Ψ