From Software has a tradition of putting especial significance in their world building when it comes to structuring their role playing games, moreover, the latest instalment, Elden Ring only proves this.


I will in this very brief article delineate the most prominent traits in the nomenclature of the game and especially how it related to Tolkien's own naming schemes.

A Dynasty of Prefixes

J. R. R. Tolkien, when naming the kings of Gondor, would do so by virtue of alliteration, that is Aragorn and his lineage would have the prefix ara-, appearing throughout most of the names of his forefathers, the element itself literally meaning "king" or "royal." This was chiefest in importance, the meaning of the suffix was second. Thus, starting with Aragorn, Arathorn, Aranarth, Arahael, Aranuir, Aravir, Araglas, Arahad, Aragost Aravorn and so on, excluding any duplicates. Likewise the names of the kings and queens of Elden Ring's universe use recurring prefixes. Such as Radahn being the son of Radagon.

The tradition of carrying over a nominal element is ancient and we see this across the world. In Anglo Saxon royal families it was custom for sons or daughters to inherit a prefix from their parents or ancestors, thus the element æðel ("noble") appears in the names of Mercian monarchs such as Æðelstān ("noble stone"), Æðelred ("noble counsel"), Æðelbald ("noble bold") and so on, where the literal meaning of the name, as seen in the former, was not as important as the heritage of preserving this familial prefix.

Godfrey's lineage which features the son's Godwyn and Godrick, features the element god, literally corresponding to its modern English homophone, playing on the crucial role that the demi-gods have in the world of Elden Ring. Furthermore, the literal meanings of the suffixes suggest the personality differences between the brothers, and their relations:

Godfrey (OF Godefroy, cognate with OE, Godfriþ, "god peace") - Being the first Elden Lord, siring a line. His reign presumably being set before the chaos that was to follow gives his name weight.
Godwyn (OE, Godwine "god friend") - Implying his benevolent disposition as a ruler.
Godrick (OE, Godric, "god ruler") - His domineering personality contrasted to Godwyn.

Furthermore, Godfrey could be a reference to Geoffrey of Monmouth, a famous writer and mediaeval historian, whose pseudo-historical work History of the Kings of Britain, would lay the foundations for modern Arthurian myths, a source which has been drawn upon numerous times in From's other works, even featuring a character named Artorias, derived from the Latin Artorius, one of the proposed etymon for the modern name Arthur.

The other sons of Godfrey: the twins Morgot and Mohg, have names that sound less like they were derived from Old English or Old French, but the mythos of Tolkien, it being the name of a malevolent spirit, and said spirit would go on to rule over Sauron, one of the Lords of the Rings - whence much of Elden Ring's universe gives homage, even if the element got could be construed to be derived from god. Mohg could be an echo of Gothmog.

One of the other prominent dynasties of demi-gods in Elden Ring, is that of Radagon, whose son Radahn inherits the first two syllables, as well as his daugher, Ranni inheriting the first syllable. Likewise with Marika, Malaketh and Malenia.

Of Moons, Fauns and Elvish

Ranni in particular, along with her mother, Rennala, have especial relevance in terms of naming and relevance to the plot. Both carry lunar epithets, and Ranni's name could possibly be derived from the Sindarin word Rana ("moon"), derived from the element ran ("to wander"), relating also to her vagrant nature. Her mother is known as not just the Queen of the Full Moon, 満月の女王 (Mangetsu no Joou, "Queen of the Full Moon") in the Japanese script, where Renna- is presumably derived from Rana, but it also sounds akin to the Latin renatus ("to rebirth"), owing to her reputation and ability to resurrect the player - more practically giving the player the ability to re-roll their character's stats.
She herself even states in the very opening to the boss fight:

Aa, anata... kitto yoiko ni undeageru wa...
"Oh, surely, my dear, shall I birth you as a good child"

Corresponding to the English version's:
Hush, little culver. I'll soon birth thee anew, a sweeting fresh and pure...

Thus her theme as a lunar queen and goddess of rebirth is accentuated in the script and naming, too. Her design also takes a few hints from Onmyoji and the cone-hatted Sandman, dreams also being a strong recurring theme in their games such as Bloodborne. Though fitting the moon theme it may also take some cues from the fairy-tale character of Kaguya.

Marika's role as the divine mother and begetter of the houses of demi-gods can also be seen as fitting into the larger theme of rebirth. In Roman mythology Marica was a nymph and the mother of the god Faunus, he was revered as a god of fertility, nature, the countryside and above all else appearing as the god Inuus, when inducing fertility to cattle - in other words a god whose attributes were closely tied to birth, and also to nature, whereof the Erdtree, the pivotal Yggdrasil of the game, is not just a nexus of souls, but also a cosmic symbol of nature within the game.

From's video game director Hidetaka Miyazaki has also admitted that he is a huge admirer of the works of Tolkien, so the influence in terms of the Elven languages of Sindarin and Quenya as well as direct references to characters in the mythos are not random at all.

Having the help from one of the great fantasy writers of modern times, George R. R. Martin, also helped helped with creating the high fantasy, if also Gothic, framework for the game's setting, even if Miyazaki's role playing games to begin with heavily featured Gothic fantasy elements.

A friend of mine mentioned this article to me, wherein it is very much confirmed that all of the major characters have their names begin with the same initial letters as the initials of George R. R. Martin's name, hence Godrick, Radagon, Radahn, Miqeula and so on.