I’m reading The Indian in the Cupboard to my three oldest boys, a book I haven’t read since I was little, and I remember very little about it. We’ve only gotten through the first chapter and of course, what I mostly stayed with me are the names of the three brothers:
Omri — the main character
Adiel and Gillon — his brothers
They’re unfamiliar to me — if I had to hazard a guess, I’d guess a Hebrew origin for Adiel, with the -el ending being so like Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Nathaniel, Samuel. Gillon strikes me as French maybe. Omri I had no clue about, nor how to pronounce it — I was saying AHM-ree in the my head, short O, the O like in hot. I asked my son how he would say it, since he’s read it before, and he said he thought it was OHM-ree, long O, the O like in home.
So of course I had to look the names up. Behindthename.com is my #1 go-to source for name meanings and origins, and it had no official entry for the brothers’ names! Only user-submitted entries, which may or may not be accurate:
Adiel is said to be “A Hebrew name meaning ‘ornament of God’ or ‘God is my ornament’. In the Old Testament, Adiel was the father of Azmaveth, who was treasurer under David and Solomon. Another bearer of this name in the Old Testament was a family head of the tribe of Simeon. In Ma’asseh Merkabah, Adiel is an angelic guard of the seventh heavenly hall.”
Gillon is only listed, with no info given.
Omri, however, had its own official entry: “Possibly means “life” or “servant” in Hebrew (or a related Semitic language). This was the name of a 9th-century BC military commander who became king of Israel. He appears in the Old Testament, where he is denounced as being wicked.”
In the comments, which again aren’t officially approved as accurate, the pronunciations OHM-ree and UM-ree are both given.
I’m interested in character-naming, and how authors choose the names they do — because they like them? Because they’re on their list of favorite names for children that they never got to use? Or because of the name’s meaning and connection with the character’s personality/role in the story? I’m kind of baffled by the choices here — they’re too unfamiliar to me to mean anything.
(Also, I admit that the name I really loved the most was Gillon, because of my recent post about Gil/Gilbert Blythe. I say it “GILL-en in my head — does that seem right? I kind of love it.)
Do any of you know any more about Omri, Gillon, and Adiel?
ETA: Given that the biblical Omri was “denounced as being wicked,” isn’t that a strange choice for a boy character? I don’t care as much about name meanings in real life, but for a literary character?
ETA2: My previous comment wasn’t entirely accurate — the biblical Omri “denounced as being wicked” is associated baggage, separate from the meaning. The meaning of “life” or “servant” is nice, and likely does have a tie-in with the book’s story.