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Soul Name Quests: Real or not?

manga

I'm re-working an old fanfic of mine and it occurred to me that though soul name quests have played a large part in some of the "Blood of Ten Chiefs" stories, we've never seen them or heard of them in the series itself.

I tried to search the forum but I may have done something wrong because it searched all the internet but the responses were about certain character's soul names, not soul name quests. Can anyone clarify this for me?

Embala

If there was a thread I have no idea where to find it now. This is in a BoTCs comic - it's the closest I can offer, manga.

http://elfquest.com/comic_viewer.php?fd=/gallery/OnlineComics/TC/TC08/_Blood%20of%20Ten%20Chiefs%20-%208_page=1#_20#

I remember that it was said on the old Scroll:
When it does not contradict the comics it is canon (or real or possible or happened).
It is nowhere said that Goodtree's Spirit Quest (soul name quest) was NOT true.

Maybe your question will start a new discussion about soul name quest :)

Tam

It's interesting that there's so much in the BoTC comics and novels that is questioned (especially the novels), but I feel like there's much more acceptance about the idea of a soul name quest than anything else I've seen from those. And I can only think of two such quests...Goodtree's and Stormlight's. The idea of finding one's self will always resonate with readers, I think.

I'm wondering if the need for the soul name quests kind of died out. Elves were born with their names more and more, like we see with the births of Tyleet and Windkin...no one needed to search for their names anymore.

manga

Conversely, Cutter and Skywise knew their soul names already when they had that quasi-Recognition moment which we know is canon. And yet Cutter at least is too young, unless he'd somehow found his soulname while he was in the troll caverns. I find that doubtful as it's too big not to have been included in the story.

I'm somewhat sure I've that heard Wendy or Richard have nixed the idea that the soul name is a truncated version of their real name. Tyleet definitely has a soul name. When she was born, Nightfall said "Hers is a Wolfrider's soul name but the tribe can call her 'Tyleet.'" And we saw it when she and Scouter Recognized and again later when she, Scouter and Dewshine exchanged soul names in the events of "Wild Hunt."

Embala

Somewhen ago when I followed a discussion about soul names I made sense of it this way:

In the early days, when the mix of elfin and wolfin blood was fresh and competing many Wolfriders (maybe all of them) had to go on a "soul name quest" to find their soulname ... to discover their very self.
Many generations later the mix of blood was settled much better - and the kids simply knew or discoverered their soulname while growing up, as easy as they found out about other abilities. A "soul quest" became a comparably rare event when an elf was troubled and unsecure about their own way.
The Wolfriders of the last few generations are balanced so well that the cubs simply know their own soulname from the beginning or as soon as they can understand what it means.

Just my two cents. :)

Tam

I'm right there with you, @Embala.

travelbug

Rahnee and Zarhan's daughter Cat was the first wolfrider to go on a soulname quest.
Afterwards several members of that generation did.

MultiFacets

Tam said: Elves were born with their names more and more, like we see with the births of Tyleet and Windkin...no one needed to search for their names anymore.


Wolfriders are always born with their soulnames, but even the parents forget them. Just because the search for soulnames got less attention in the comics doesn't mean they didn't happen offscreen.

Tam

Eventually, perhaps. It seems like everyone in the immediate family knows each other's soul names for awhile, like when Leetah exclaims, "Oh Tam!" when she and the twins find Cutter in the Forbidden Grove. If the soul name quest dying out was due to evolution making Wolfriders more comfortable with balancing starsong and wolfsong, and not just relegating said soul name quest to offscreen, it seems odd that a cub would grow up, forget their own soul's name, then go on a quest for it.

I don't think Wolfriders are always born knowing their soul names, which was my point in the previous post...not necessarily that they don't HAVE them. With Stormlight, it seems like maybe she was born with it, but it was buried deep in her and she had to go find it. She Recognized Tanner without knowing it fully.

But with current Wolfriders, it seems more like a...almost a tradition, that the parents search for their child's soul name after birth. Like the soul name has evolved to be closer to the surface instead of buried deep within.

Now, I'm not saying it's impossible that the soul name quest was moved offscreen. But it didn't just get less attention...you don't see it at all with modern-day Wolfriders. With such an important part of a Wolfrider's identity, I would think it would have at LEAST been referenced after Goodtree, if the soul name quest is still something that's done.

manga

Exactly, Tam. We know their tribe-name can change and have seen several examples of it, two very recently. (I'd love to know what prompted Chitter to become Freetouch.) If elves were still going on soul name quests, I'm sure we'd have at least heard of it if not seen at least one. Suntop, for example, would probably have been a source of much speculation, since he's not exactly genetically a Wolfrider.

Regarding the idea that the parents find a pre-existing soul name, I don't think it holds water. Wolves have no need of names and none of the other elf tribes have soul names. The Pinis have said the Wolfriders have soul names because they're the most rugged, individualist of the tribes and only they feel a need to be able to lock their deepest self away. So I think the Wolfrider parents give their child a soul name the way they give it a tribe name and the child makes it their own as they grow.

Tam

I dunno. It seems like they have one already. The soul name is everything an elf is, wrapped up in a syllable...Skywise's soul name is Fahr because he's always looking somewhere far away. Ember's is Zheel because she pours everything she has into her efforts...and sometimes to her detriment. Strongbow's is Wyl because his willpower is ridic. I am by no means claiming that that's all true...that's just my head canon. It doesn't work for every soul name...I know there was an animator named Herbert Klynn, but he doesn't seem particularly Suntop-ish. Tam has too many meanings to pinpoint one. But they may very well mean something in the elvish language.

The point being, if a soul name is supposed to encompass everything a Wolfrider is...how would a parent know what to name their child's soul?

travelbug

In the Botc story when Rahnee and Zarhan recognize, it says that first the parents hear the soul name of each other, then they hear the childs soul name.
Zarhan heard the soul names of other children of recognitions yet to come with Rahnee, and he could sense that Anaya was not the only child he would father by Cheseri.

manga

Tam, that's exactly why I think the soul names are non-literal. I don't think anyone can be accurately summed up in one word. Summarized or described broadly, yes, but no one meaning is ever going to encompass everything a person is. If, however, a soul name is a just a random(ish) sound then the elf is free to define it how they want and, more importantly, for the definition to shift as their spirit has experiences and changes.

Tavie

Tam said: It doesn't work for every soul name...I know there was an animator named Herbert Klynn, but he doesn't seem particularly Suntop-ish.


This is how my "headcanon" reckons with "Klynn". Klynn sounds like "clean" which can indicate something that's clear and unfettered. This works for Sunstream if you think of him as a pure conduit through which all elves will one day communicate - I get an image of clear running water (a stream) with rays of light (sun) refracting out in all directions. That's what "Klynn" feels like to me.

Anyway, I like it. :) *-:) :-S

MultiFacets

Tam said:The point being, if a soul name is supposed to encompass everything a Wolfrider is...how would a parent know what to name their child's soul?


They don't need to. The name manifests at or before conception, it seems, and it's with the Wolfrider their entire life. Dewshine wanted to see if Windkin had a soulname, but not so she could give it to him later; it wasn't hers to give because Windkin was going to find it for himself later. She just wanted to know if he was purely Glider.

Tam

@MultiFacets, that was directed at @manga, who said that the Wolfrider parents give their child the soul name.

Dreamcat

I could imagine a mother 'feeling' her baby┬┤s soulname at some point when still connected with it.

Heather

Tam said: Ember's is Zheel because she pours everything she has into her efforts

It actually isn't pronounced like "zeal" and isn't related to that at all. That was on the Elfquest Show.

Tam

I DID say it was head canon... :p

lunakat

I had the impression that Wolfriders were born not really being in touch with themselves, sometimes- because they are part wolf. The soul name is the elf part of them- and it seemed from the stories that sometimes that was buried under the wolf side of their natures. In the stories about early wolfriders- sometimes they didn't even know they had names. For example- wasn't Timmorn's daughter called "She Wolf" for a long time?

Tam

Yep. That's like...the whole big story in BotC, how the others only called her She-Wolf. But we still don't see any disconnect like that since Goodtree and co. Rahnee was 1/4ths wolf...the disconnect would be much stronger than in modern elves, with wolf blood that's much more diluted.

lunakat

In the interstitial stories- there is a character called "moth" who has to go find her soul name. She talks to either Longreach or Treestump about it.

lunakat

Maybe the dilution factor is why modern Wolfriders assume they could just go find their name by going on a short trip alone through the woods. Rather than having to struggle for years. I think it was said, at some point, that Cutter was born knowing his soul name- and that this was unusual. But... that does seem at odds with the whole "His/Hers is a Wolfrider's soul name!" announcement parents seem to make.

travelbug

How many parents have said: he/she have a wolfriders soul name?
I only remember Dewshine about Windkin, and Nightfall and Redlance about Tyleet.

Tam

I know that Joyleaf and Bearclaw knew Cutter's soul name before he was born.

lunakat

I'm not sure where- but I'm pretty sure I remember somewhere Cutter having it impressed upon him that knowing his soul name from birth was rare and special- and that he had to keep the name private and not share it with anyone. That might be in the prose BoTC short story collections... i don't remember exactly.

So maybe the same was true of Dewshine and Tyleet.

Maybe they were all atypical. Or maybe the younger generation of Wolfriders is simply changing.. yet again.

Leanan

I was thinking about this topic today, and remembered this from 'Soul Names and Troll Games':

twen

It says at the start of the story that Cutter is 14, so Nightfall would have been 12. Do you guys think this panel means she already knew her soulname, too?

lunakat

Maybe. Or maybe they do that quest thing young.

Here's what I'm thinking... The earliest Wolfriders, the Hunt, sometimes didn't have names at all. It seems the closer an elf is to being wolf- the less likely it is to know it's name. And the closer to being elf- the more likely. At least, that's how the early BoTC stories presented it. The wolfriders started off at least 1/4 wolf and have been gradually getting elfier ever since. Maybe this is just evolution. Maybe Cutter is a lot more elf and a lost less wolf than Bearclaw- maybe that's just true of the most recent generation- and subsequent generations are just likely to get closer and closer to true elf. Heck- it's not as if they are still interbreeding with wolves to reinforce that heritage. If they are't breeding with eachother- the Wolfriders are making babies with other elves that are full elf- so the wolf is being bred out of them gradually.

So maybe the younger generation is just more in touch with their elf side as a consequence. And maybe that's why Cutter and Tyleet and others didn't have to quest for their soul names.

Tam

Agreed mostly with @lunakat. And I do think Nightfall already knew her soul name by age 12...but I don't think it's because they do soul name quests early, I think the need for them had just evolved out by then.

Embala

lunakat said: If they are't breeding with eachother- the Wolfriders are making babies with other elves that are full elf- so the wolf is being bred out of them gradually.
Likely. Even most probably. But not necessarily.

It depends on the way genetic function and how wolfin heritage is passed over.


Though I think that my idea is an explanation for throwbacks much more than the rule. In general I'm with lunakat that the Wolfriders devolop towards ELF more and more during their history.

RedheadEmber

Embala said: Likely. Even most probably. But not necessarily.

It depends on the way genetic function and how wolfin heritage is passed over.


Also remember that any of those "part Wolfrider" elves could have children with other "part Wolfriders", or even "full Wolfriders", like Serrin did.

lunakat

any part wolfrider is wolfrider- because they would have wolf in them to some extent. But even back when, those elves were mating with full elves and each other- not with wolves... so the subsequent generations would have been less and less genetically wolf- except for the occasional throwback.

RedheadEmber

Here's a thought:
Could Suntop's actions in 'Full Circle' have been his Soul Name Quest?
Other than the whole Can't regrow the Father-Tree because of nastybad magic plot, a good part of that story seemed to be about Suntop needing to learn how to be himself before he could be "the Link".

lunakat

RedheadEmber said: a good part of that story seemed to be about Suntop needing to learn how to be himself before he could be "the Link".

I think so! He may not have found a soul name exactly- but he did need to know himself and prove himself to himself. Right?

Re: Nightfall. Elves probably would want to figure that sort of thing out before puberty!