Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Name of Names

Just this morning I finished reading "Inheritance", the last in Christopher Paolini's "Inheritance Cycle" which started, for me, in the summer of 2008 with "Eragon". A beautiful and powerful story it has filled my mind with incredible images and powerful ideas. Inherent to the plot is the concept of one's true name, the name that sums up one's entire being, flaws and brilliance, accomplishments and weakness. If another person knows your true name, they can assume complete power over you, subjugating you to a mere slave, unable to exercise free will and bound to follow their command. To volunteer your name to someone else is the highest sign of trust, of regard, even of love.
The hero of the tale, Eragon, can only achieve his aim if he understands his name: it is the key to the power, wisdom and guidance which he needs to fulfill the destiny, towards which he has been travelling throughout the saga. And in the moment of climax, it is one true name that brings victory and another that brings freedom. For one's true name is not static, not fixed, not dead. If you change and grow, if you increase in experience and knowledge and, as in the case of the tragic anti-hero, you experience love, your name changes too. Once enslaved by who he was, he becomes other and is freed from his bonds.
I have changed. I have lost and I have gained, I have experienced and I have grown. Who I am has changed over the years and over the months. I am wondering if my name has changed too?

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