Sunday, December 2, 2012


By panyangitz at deviant art
As you may have been able to tell from some of my previous posts, I'm a bit of a fan of fantasy novels. One of my favourites is Sara Douglass. By a happy coincidence I found out that she was actually born in the same small country town as I was, which I thought was pretty special considering the town had a population of just 1,317 people at the time of the 2006 census. Sara sadly passed away last year of ovarian cancer at the age of 54, but hopefully her books will remain fantasy favourites for generations to come.

I love some of the names she has used in the novels of hers that I have read. I'll no doubt feature more of these in future posts, but today's name is one from The Wayfarer Redemption trilogy. This trilogy contains three books - 'Sinner', 'Pilgrim' and 'Crusader' - and follows on from the The Axis Trilogy. The character of Zared appears in this as an uncle of the hero of our story, although they are roughly the same age. One of the things I found appealing about this character is that the reader is often left questioning whether he is a "good" or "bad" man. Like several of the characters in this book, when a chapter is told from their perspective we see that he honestly believes that his actions are for the best, whereas when shown from another characters perspective we come to question his motives and personality. This adds an extra layer of dimension to a character, and makes them feel more like real people with real weaknesses to the reader.

Zared's name immediately caught my attention as a very cool name. To be honest I was convinced that this was a case of a fantasy writer taking a somewhat common name - in this case Jared - and jazzing it up with a Z to make it sound more fantasy like. Kind of the way I'm semi-convinced some futuristic/fantasy writers add an unnecessary Y, V or X to make names more "interesting".

So I was surprised to find that Zared is actually an old Hebrew name. There is a little contention as to what the name means. Most sources state that it means 'trap' or 'ambush', but I've also seen 'verdant, of strange descent', or that it means 'brook', as there is a brook called Zared (or sometimes Zered) in the Torah. As my name is Brooke, I can't help but be inspired to think that this would be an interesting way to honour any Brook's (or it's variants) in your family. Just a thought.

If you want to name your son Zared (or daughter, if you're feeling super adventurous) I have a feeling that you'd probably get similar reactions to my first ones. Although in my case the end result was "I love it", and if more people thought that there would be more Zared's in the world that there currently are. In the U.S. it first appeared on the charts - i.e. was given to five or more boys - in 1991. It has never been given to more than 9 boys in any one year. Jared meanwhile has been in the top 1000 every year since 1950, and was a top 100 name from 1975 to 2002. Another similar name is Zarek, which has also been a quiet presence since 1991, but each year has been given to about four times as many babies as Zared has been.

Zared has a lot of cool qualities which could potentially make it a very appealing name. It starts with a Z, which is often seen as a trendy "alternative" letter (think Zander rather than Alexander, Zeke rather than Ezekiel). It sounds like the long popular Jared, which is now falling as people look for a fresher alternative. But belying it's modern look and sound, Zared is a name with history and biblical connections. It may take a while, but I like to think we may see more of this name in years to come as more people "discover" it.


  1. I immediately liked the name as soon as I saw it in the title! I have never heard of it, which is something that attracts me!

  2. This is a great name - I'm convinced the only reason it's not in more use is because people don't know about it.