Loraan, Orlaan, Rolaan...

Mark A Mandel mam at theworld.com
Tue May 27 12:42:08 PDT 2003

This one's too much fun to sit on till I post my next list of updates to
Cracks and Shards.


			Loraan / Orlaan

[2003-05-20] The male Athyra wizard from whom Vlad steals the staff
containing Aliera's soul in Taltos, and whom he battles in Athyra, is
named Loraan. The sorceress who opposes our young heroes in Paths of the
Dead and who, when we first meet her, seems to be picking flowers in a
meadow but is actually searching for a disembodied soul, is named
Orlaan. It is easy and obvious to suppose a connection between them, and
in fact...

	("Boss! BOSS! You're beginning to sound like Paarfi again!"
	 "Wha'?... Oh! Yes, I was. Thanks, pal."
	 "Just doing my job.")

Where was I? Oh, yes. When POTD came out, several members of the
Dragaera mailing list noted this similarity and inferred that Loraan and
Orlaan were the same person, with a change of sex. (Ben Newman points
out the similarity to Virginia Woolf's character Orlando, who also
changed sex.) Brust replied to the effect of (not anything like an exact

	"Oh, damn! No, they're not the same person. That was a dumb
	mistake on my part. I never even noticed that similarity."

For that matter, there also is, or was, a Jhereg boss named Rolaan
[Yen13]. There are three other permutations of R-O-L followed by "aan":
Lroaan, Rloaan, and Olraan, of which only the third is reasonably
pronounceable by the norms of the fairly large number of Dragaeran names
we've seen. The first one, though, brings to mind Röaanac and his
daughter Röaana in _The Paths of the Dead_. (I don't think the dieresis
["umlaut"] on the 'o' is meant to indicate a front rounded vowel as in
German or Hungarian, but a syllable boundary between the "o" and the
"aa":  "roe-ah-na" instead of "roan-a".)

Steve, I urge you to shake off your obsession with these particular
letters. In case you can't, or to help you catch yourself, I offer you a
table of the 360 anagrams of "Loraan"
<http://world.std.com/~mam/Cracks-and-Shards/Loraanagrams.html>. Use it
in good health.

-- Mark A. Mandel
   a Steven Brust Dragaera fan website