Thief, thief, thief! Baggins!

I'm slowly reading "The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion" by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. It's a dense exegesis of LOTR and clearly for pretty obsessive Tolkien fans only.

It's a lot of fun, though. My favorite so far is finding out that baggins is, among other things, English country speak for afternoon tea.There's also layers of bag related language play: Bag-end is Anglicized cul-de-sac (which is in turn faux French), Baggins vs. Sackville Baggins, etc.

I like dense naming. See also Warren Ellis's explanation of how he names characters, in part:

For instance: I’m working on something right now where I think I’ve nailed the character name finally. Birch. Birch = wood = connotes a degree of strength and basic groundedness. But also birching = flagellation. Also, “John Birch Society,” skeevy and untrustworthy. And it’s a hard, sharp word. There’s a lot about the character that unpacks out of the name.

I'm working with some folks on a product name right now. It's hard. And I think the good ones have dense (and sometimes non-obvious) layers of meaning, just like in fiction.

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