Naming the Fishes

A Blog For Name Lovers Everywhere

The Longest Journey Series: April, Zoe and Kian

Game-wallpaper-dreamfall_2_7Today I’ve decided to look at not one, but three names from one of my favorite game series of all time. The third installment (Dreamfall Chapters) has just successively completed a kickstarter, raising 1.5 mill to fund the project. If you would like some more info, here is the link:

Dreamfall Chapters

April April has been praised as one of the most memorable female characters in the history of adventure games. She is the protagonist of the first game in the series, and one of the primary characters in the second.

You would think that month names, nature names etc would be fairly androgynous. But think again…April is the most popular month name to date and it is completely and utterly feminine (in usage). Although it is on the decline since its peak in the 1980s, April is still a relatively common, recognizable name; #395 in the US and #308 in the UK (2010).

But where did April (Aprilis) come from?

The name’s origins are not particularly clear, though the most likely candidate is that it is derived form the Latin apenrire meaning “to open.” This meaning connects to the opening of flowers and the start of spring.

April could also be derived from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Or the Etruscan name Apru which means “fortune.” So anyway you look at it there is something positive to be found in April’s origins.

Other interesting facts:

1) April’s birthstone is the diamond which symbolizes fearlessness and virtue
2) and its birth flower, typically listed as the Daisy “innocence and gentleness,” or the sweet pea “blissful pleasure.”
3) The “Days of April” is a name appropriated in French history to a series of insurrections at Lyons, Paris and elsewhere, against the government of Louis Philippe in 1834.

Zoe | Zoë is a strong-minded and strong-willed young woman, who regrets some of the actions she is forced to take on her journey but fights for the greater good, both of humanity and to save Reza Temiz. She is the protagonist of Dreamfall.

Zoe is quite popular now: #31 in the US, #84 in the UK and #16 in Australia. Its also in the top 100 for numerous other European countries making it quite an international name. Yet its origins are quite Greek and it has the very positive meaning “life.” Zoe was also used by Hellenized Jews as a translation of Eve.

The name was borne by two martyred Saints, two Byzantine Empresses of the 10th and 11th centuries and wife of Tsar Ivan III of Russia during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Other interesting facts:

1) There are five official name days associated with the name Zoe
2) “Zoe” is the name of a tribe of the Brazilian Amazon.
3) “Zoé’s Ark” was founded in 2005 and was formed to assist the victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami, particularly the children.
4) Cyclone Zoe was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the history of the Southern Hemisphere.

It is also the name of several fictional characters such as Zoe Washburne (Firefly), Zoe Carter (Eureka), Zoe Culloden (appeared in several Marvel comics) and of course Zoe Castillo (Dreamfall: The Longest Journey).

As well as many famous people such as Zoe Wanamaker, Zooey Deschanel, Zoe Karelli and Zoe Lofgren.

Kian | Kian Alvane is a 35 year old Azadi Apostle: a soldier and assassin and an important character in both Dreamfall and Dreamfall Chapters. 

Irish name. Persian name. Kian has the best of both worlds. First off lets look at Kian’s Persian (Iranian/Farsi) origins:

Kian comes from (Kiyan) the surname of the 2nd dynasty of  Persian kings, because of this it means “King.” The Kayanian dynasty (2nd dynasty) is actually a part of the Greater Iranian folklore. Therefore mythological at this point. The Kayanian kings are the heroes of the Avesta, the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, and of the Shahnameh, Iran’s national epic.

It is a somewhat common name in Iran and the name of a city there. Kianoush, another name, is derived from Kian.

Now let’s look at Kian’s Irish origins:

Kian is the modern version of Cian, a name which means “ancient” in Gaelic. In Irish mythology Cian was best known as the father of Lugh, an High King of the distant past. The story goes that Cían was killed by the sons of Tuireann, Brian, Iuchar and Iucharba, after trying unsuccessfully to escape from them in the form of a pig. He was subsequently avenged by his son who set them quests that ended up destroying them.

Other interesting facts:

1) There was a sixth century saint called Cian
2) There is a musician called Kian Egan, he was a member of the boyband Westlife
3) Geena Davis, an American actress has a son called Kian


2 comments on “The Longest Journey Series: April, Zoe and Kian

  1. Pingback: The Longest Journey Series: April, Zoe and Kian...

  2. Nyasha
    March 24, 2014

    They really need to continue the story for The Longest Journey. It is one of the three most wanted franchises I want to see in the 8th gen in my post below. Can you imagine a new game for this generation?
    I hope you will check out my post and comment!

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