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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

Name of the Week: Arleth

So, I went back to an idea of mine, that I'd had some time ago, which is a strange mix of fairy-tale retellings, allegorical fiction, and high fantasy. I have no clue if this idea (which is a rather broad idea, composed of several different stories that would create a long series) will ever amount to anything. It's certainly outside of my comfort zone, but I'm intrigued by it. Therefore, it might exist only in my mind as a plaything, but that does not mean I can't share a little bit of it with you.

The first character I came up with for this series was Arleth. Both she and her name were crafted to play off of Sleeping Beauty--and I've rather fallen in love with her strange, delicate, yet fierce name. (Apparently I love names that end with th, because I've always loved Lilith's name...which I think will be next week's NOTW.)

Arleth is definitely a unique, uncommon name. If you Google it, hardly anything comes up. Finding a true origin story is even more difficult. (Note: all the "sources" I mention below are just exactly what pulls up when you type "Arleth name meaning" into a search engine.)

Some say that it's related to the Hebrew Ariel, which means "Lion of God." Fun fact: Ariel is an alternate name for Jerusalem, found in Isaiah.

Others say that it's Spanish and means "free spirit." This was apparently one of the first results I received, since I used this meaning as a parallel to the obvious fact that someone who figurative or literally sleeps for a hundred years straight is not entirely free. Plus, it fits all too well with Arleth's actual story. This meaning also coincides with another source, who claims it is German and means "free man."

Another source says that Arleth is a pet name of Charlotte, the feminine form of the French name Charles, which means "manly." Fun fact: a lot of popular female names are variant of very masculine names--like Andrea, from Andrew, which also means "manly." Might want to think twice before naming your delicate daughter or princess character "manly."

My last source, which appears the most reliable (Behind the Name usually is), combines each of these theories. Arleth, borne by Mexican actress Arleth Terán, is a form of Arlette, which is the French form of the Germanic name Herleva. Herleva, therefore, is composed of several Ancient Germanic words--hari, meaning "army" and either era, meaning "honor," or erla, meaning "noble." Even this name no one is quite certain of.

Regardless of where Arleth comes from or what it means, it is a very beautiful name--and I'm pretty sure I'm the only author who's claimed it for a character so far!

Up next: Lilith. This lovely name has some very dark origins, and, hint, it has nothing to do with flowers.

Just a heads-up for my Pinterest folk! I've moved my Prisoner at Heart board into my new Daughters of the Seven Seas board, which also includes a ton of pictures for Held Captive and even Bound and Determined! Get a glimpse of what my next novel will look like with the array of character pics, aesthetics, and more that I've pinned! Check it out, along with my other boards, here!

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