Hello everyone, I have been quite intrigued by the introduction of Hales for the SY faction and their general thematical flavour. Taking into account that they are characters made purely for Gwent, I started thinking about what the origins of their designs were and I came to a conclusion that the names themselves, all Latin in origin, actually speak for the characters more than anything else and possibly unveil their personalities, or even define them, and I decided to share my theories on the origins of the Hales' names with you here. As the famous Latin phrase would describe it: “Nomen est omen.” The name is a sign…
*I refer multiple times to the Unce Upon a Pyre launch trailer throughout the post, check it out
1) Fabian Hale
Fabian’s name and it’s connection I found to be most interesting. The name Fabian comes from the word „faba” which stands for a bean and could be translated as „a bean grower.“ Fabian (or Fabius) would be, interestingly enough, one of the many Roman nomina and cognomina connected to legumes (Cicero for instance stands for chickpea.).
What does it mean? Well, a nice explanation that I see can be found in the fairy tale of the Jack and the Beanstalk. The tale has a strong message of not trusting strangers and avoiding being being cheated by them in its first part. Of course, the beans in that story turn out to actually be the real deal, but would that happen in real life? This fits perfectly to describe the character of a man that cheats a whole settlement into thinking that a witch poisoned their well, just as a bean grower would cheat a gullible boy into buying his “magic” beans.
Another possible connection could be the Fabia family, in particular Quintus Fabius Maximus, the 3rd century Roman general and statesman that bested Hannibal by avoiding direct encounters with his army during Hannibal’s campaign in today’s Italy. Fabius is often regarded as one of the pioneers of guerilla warfare and the scorched earth policy and this cunningness and pragmatism could perhaps correlate with Fabian Hale’s unorthodox way of starting a witch hunt.
2) Octavia Hale
Octavia I was the least sure about, at least I couldn’t make as many connections, nonetheless I believe some could be found after all. The name “Octavia” stands for “the eight.” As far as I’m aware, while this name, as well as other names connected to numbers (Quinta, Sexta etc.) would be given to a child born in that order, theories exist speculating a specific month that the child was born in and it’s respective order could have also been the reason for naming your child as such. For instance a man born in January could be possibly named Primus, “the first.”
My idea for why this name was chosen is that Octavia’s design or her position withing the Hale Gang is comparable to the one of Octavian, also known as Caesar Augustus, the fist Roman Emperor. Octavia seems to be the most respectable, almost feared, of the Hales as even her two brothers stand at guard while she sits by the table in the Once Upon a Pyre trailer. As soon as she makes a noise, everyone turns silent and listens carefully, possibly fearing for their lives, as she has power over life and death, being able to accuse anyone of witchcraft with a single word. Respect, authority, intimidation and a degree of grace all make her stand out as a Roman Emperor would among common folk and she seems to be the mastermind and the leader of the Hales.
Furthermore, Octavian, became synonymous with the "Pax Romana" or "Pax Augusta" era, standing for "Roman (or Augustian) Peace." An era of Roman history characterized by prosperity, territorial gain and growing prestige of Rome. Could perhaps the help that Octavia promises to the common folk in the reveal trailer, the end of suffering from the evil witches, could this all be comparable to the image of the golden era of Roman History? No more wars, no more suffering? It all depends on how wild your imagination is.
3) Ignatius Hale
Ignatius’s name seems to be the most intelligible to any English speaker that can easily make associations with words such as ignition, and indeed it stands for “the fiery one.” Nonetheless, I believe the beauty of this name having been chosen for this character goes deeper than it would seem.
First of all, there is the direct connection. Ignatius can be seen in the trailer for Once Upon the Pyre igniting a pyre with an unfortunate believed-to-be witch and we can presume that the
On the other hand, the name Ignatius could be understood more metaphorically, simply indicating passion, enthusiasm or even zeal for something. Religious zeal for instance would fit perfectly to the character. Furthermore, this would beg the question, is Ignatius the only Hale that actually believes that they, the Hales, are hunting witches? We know that Fabian is the culprit of poisoning the well, and Octavia seems to be the mastermind behind their operations. Nonetheless, all we know about Ignatius is that he gives of a rather primitive impression, eating with the dogs, almost as if he was not on the same intellectual level as his other two siblings and they were misusing and manipulating him for his strength and blind passion to keep their witch-hunting business going. Maybe we will know the whole truth one day.
Lastly, an additional point once again speaking out for a more metaphorical perception of the name is the namesake of the dog-loving Hale: Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the religious order of the Society of Jesus, also know as Jesuits, in 1534. The origins of the foundation of the order were tied to the reformation era and sought to counter the growing protestant influence. Thus, the perception of the order, especially in Central Europe, tends to be connected with recatholization and censure and while historically speaking, such a view is a bit biased and excludes other positive aspects of the Jesuits, the view of the order still remains as one of the almost caricature-like religious, heretic-fighting villains, kinda like the Hales. For more information about this topic, feel free to look up “Antonín Koniáš” an 18th century Jezuit priest, whose name became, to some extend unfairly, synonymous with book burning and enforced conversing.
So that would be all of them. I hope you've enjoyed reading this, especially if you're interested in history, or Latin, or witch hunting, or fairy tales. If you had your own opinions or ideas about the names given to the members of the infamous family business make sure to share them below and I wish you a nice patch day.