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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

Name of the Week: Keaton

Ah, Keaton. The man, ofttimes thoughtful and serious, seldom smiling or jovial, that we all have begun to wonder about. In the wake of his out-of-character performance in Prisoner at Heart, a great deal of us (I mean, y'all) have probably been thinking, not unlike Xavier, "What is going on with this character? I saw such great things for him in the future, and now I'm not so sure."

Well...I can't spoil anything yet, but rest assured that Keaton isn't always a, and I paraphrase, "filthy, slimy, dashed knave."

In fact, he started out as a secondary character, even though he was going to have a story all about him in his perspective. That would make a main character, I know, but I still only saw him as just another guy who needed a name.

So, when given the task of finding one for him, I just typed "medieval boy names" into the Google search bar on my mom's phone on day and clicked on a page. (Probably the first page that came up, but I still haven't been able to find it since. 😕) Scrolling through, I gathered the names Christabel (for the heroine of his story, at the time) and Keaton. Christabel was going to be Xavier's sister (long story I expounded upon in my Journey of Held Captive posts several weeks ago), so her surname was automatically Bennet, and Keaton, well, it reminded me so much of Kent that I just slapped Clarke on there (of course, I added the e) and it stuck!

Later on, I was scrolling through this site here (, which I've used several times and do like quite a bit, and found the meaning of Keaton. Now, we all know it as a surname (i.e., Michael Keaton, Buster Keaton), which it is indeed, but eventually it was used as a forename. (I don't know when, but it probably wasn't at any point in time when my Keaton was around, so maybe it's a little unrealistic, but I don't care.) It's Old English/English (and, yes, there's a difference), but the meanings conflict. Multiple sources, including the one above, say it means "where the hawks fly," while another (Behind the Name) says that it comes from a place name meaning "shed town." I prefer to go with the former, since a keat is a type of bird (although one unrelated to hawks) and Keats (as in John Keats, the poet) is a surname meaning "kite bird."

Had Keaton lived a couple hundred years in the future, I suspect that he would have been great friends with James Audubon, or, if he'd lived now, he would probably be that weird neighbor guy of yours who prefers to bird watch out of your window since it "has a vastly better vantage point" than his. 😉 In other words, ironically, Keaton is a bird guy. He likes birds. For one, they're symbol of land, and if you can remember, Keaton loves land. (He's scared to death of water, a fact that makes a pretty big appearance in Bound and Determined.) For two, they make for great analogies. As in, a pregnant Rina waddles like a duck. Scarlette has the high pitch of a wren. Someone squawks like a parrot. Et cetera, et cetera.

His surname, Clarke, is English, ultimately from Latin, meaning "clerk, cleric, scribe, priest." Which, again, works, since Keaton is my more wordy (but not talkative; there's a difference), smarty, writey kind of guy. (Man, wordy, smarty, writey sounds really weird. And a lot like me. 😉)

His middle names, Edward and James, were just two old, random names that I threw in there. It works, though. Keaton Edward James Clarke. Not half bad, don't you think?

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