Origin of the name Rhennthyl

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Origin of the name Rhennthyl

Postby ErichPryde » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:20 am

On August 31st of 2017, my wife gave birth to a son. We named him Rhennthyl Pierce. Both of us liked the name, and Rhenn is one of my wife's favorite characters in your works. Of course, questions of the name's origin arose quickly. It is, after all, fairly unique.

My original research only turned up a potential meaning for "Rhenn," which, in Tolkien's elvish languages can mean "round" or "circular." In one particular context, however, the word also meant "doorway." That made sense, as Rhennthyl was the "doorway" used to introduce the reader to a new world.

But what about that ending, "thyl?" More digging led me to a close fit- "ithyl," which is also Tolkien elvish, and means "moon."

Moon can have a number of connotations and meanings, but set in context of the world of Solidar and the importance of the twin moons, it gains special importance. We are told that Seliora means "daughter of [the greater] moon," Artiema. Multiple times comparisons are made between Rhenn/Seliora and Erion/Artiema.

Back to the name meaning, the most straightforward definition would be "round moon," but "doorway of the moon" makes a lot more sense, especially given how great imager powers are associated with the lesser moon of Erion. Additionally, Queryt, who is said to be a son of Erion, directly channels the lesser moon (whether or not this is what is happening seems academic, he's either channeling Erion or an exceptional amount of power associated WITH Erion).

Of course, that's assuming that the name Rhennthyl IS derived from Tolkien's elvish languages, but, if it isn't, the coincidence is spectacular.
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Re: Origin of the name Rhennthyl

Postby lmodesitt » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:10 pm

Your derivation of Rhennthyl is indeed a spectacular coincidence, and part of that may because my subconscious recalled Tolkien. I came up with the name Rhennthyl, as a tribute to a departed dear friend of Greek origin named Rennus, which was also the name of an ancient general. Because Rennus preferred to be called Renn, I made the character Rhenn, but I felt he needed a more formal name, which became Rhennthyl. For what it's worth, Rennus was also the Latin name for the Rhine River.

By the way, my friend Rennus was an incredibly successful physicist and businessman, as well as a philanthropist. So, either way, your son has a name of illustrious background.

L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
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