• 05 May 2010
    I often get letters or e-mails, asking how a certain character's name is pronounced. Since some of the performers in the Cirque Du Freak and many of the vampires have weird, invented names, I decided it's time to add a glossary to Shanville, detailing the various pronunciations. I've broken down the stranger names into syllables and shorter words, so that you can work out what they're meant to sound like. Hope it all makes sense!


    DARREN SHAN -- yes, I know it's probably the simplest name in the series, but people occasionally mispronounce the surname to rhyme with "dawn", when it should, of course, rhyme with "man"!

    LARTEN CREPSLEY -- old stony face takes a very dim view of anybody getting his name wrong, so for the record it's: LAR(rhymes with "car")-TEN CREPS(rhymes with "reps")-LEE. That's one mystery solved! Now if he'd only tell us how he got that scar ...

    VUR HORSTON -- VUR(rhymes with "fur") HOR(rhymes with "door")-STON(rhymes with "on"). By the way, some readers think (as Steve Leopard did in CDF) that Mr Crepsley's real name is Vur Horston. It isn't. Vur Horston was just a name he used in the past. His real name really is Larten Crepsley. This is mentioned in passing in one of the books -- look out for it the next time you're re-reading them!!!

    HIBERNIUS TALL -- the mysterious, towering owner of the Cirque Du Freak. If you break his first name down, it goes something like this: HIGH-BUR(rhymes with "fur")-KNEE-US.

    TRUSKA -- the "U" in this is pronounced as a double "O", like in "smooth" -- so it's TROOSKA.

    SIVE -- one half of the fabulous, beautiful Twisting Twins. Her name rhymes with "dive".

    SEERSA -- the other half (she'd say the better half!): SEER(rhymes with "here")-SA.

    RHAMUS TWOBELLIES -- the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL Mr Twobellies' first name is pronounced RALMus, to rhyme with "palm"us.

    GERTHA TEETH -- the toothy one's first name is: GER(rhymes with "fur")-TA. Get it right, or she'll snap a couple of your fingers off!!!


    EVRA VON -- the snake-boy's proving very popular with the ladies, so if you're one of the many female Shansters who'd like to chat the scaly chap up, just say his name like you see it: EV(like the first syllable of "every")-RAH VON(rhymes with "on"). And no, I don't have a phone number for him!!!

    SAM GREST -- another simple one: his surname rhymes with "crest".

    CORMAC LIMBS -- possibly the most astounding of all the performers at the Cirque Du Freak, but his name's a lot less complex than his nervous systen. COR-MACK LIMBS ("limbs" as in your arms, legs, etc.)


    MURLOUGH -- this is one of the most mispronounced names, especially among readers in England. I know a lot of you think it's MUR(rhymes with "fur")-LOW, but it isn't! The correct way of saying it (and Murlough will come and wreak a terrible vengeance on anyone who says it any other way!) is in fact MUR(still rhymes with "fur")-LOCK!!

    GAVNER PURL -- Mr sniffle-nose himself!! His name's pronounced: GAV(rhymes with "have")-NUR(rhymes with "fur") PEARL. Now does anyone have a hankie he could borrow ...?

    VAMPANEZE -- just in case some of you are wondering how exactly the purple-skinned killers of the night refer to themselves, it's: VAM-PAN-EEZ (rhymes with "please").


    here's where things really get complicated! but fear not, shansters, there shall be no more twisted tongues in the halls of vampire mountain! so, for a beginner's crash course in vampire pronunciations, strap on tight and here we go, starting of course with the Princes ...

    PARIS SKYLE -- the oldest and noblest of vampires. His first name's just like the city; his second name rhymes with "mile".

    MIKA VER LETH -- like Evra, the black-clothed, gloomy Prince has attracted the attention of quite a few female Shansters! He's not much of a one for romance, but if you say his name the right way, he might (MIGHT!!!) treat you to a smile! MICK-AH VUR(rhymes with "fur") LEFF(like "left", only take away the "t" at the end!).

    VANCHA MARCH -- we won't be meeting the fourth Vampire Prince for quite a while yet (which may be a good thing -- he's a bit on the rough side!), but for those who like to prepare well in advance, his name's pronounced VAN-CHA(as in "CHArlie") MARCH. But he also answers to "Oi! You!" or "Hey! Ugly!"

    KURDA SMAHLT -- not a Prince yet, but his night is coming -- as we'll see in Book 6. For those having trouble (especially with the surname) it's: KUR(rhymes with "fur")-DA SMALT("malt" with an "s" in front of it!).

    HARKAT MULDS -- you once knew him as "Lefty", which was nice and simple, but that all changed on the path to Vampire Mountain! Although the Little Person has trouble pronouncing his name himself sometimes, when he can draw a good lungful of breath, he says it like this: HAR(rhymes with "car")-CAT MULLDS(as in to "mull" it over).

    VANEZ BLANE -- Darren's one-eyed Trials tutor in Book 5 is tough as they come, but his name's quite easy. VAN-EZ BLANE(rhymes with "plain"). Now give him fifty press-ups, quick, worm!!!

    SEBA NILE -- Mr Crepsley's mentor, the second oldest living vampire, and the quartermaster of Vampire Mountain. His first name is SEE-BAH and his surname is the same as the river.

    ARRA SAILS -- the formidable female vampire, Mr Crepsley's ex-mate. You don't want to get on the wrong side of Arra, so get her name right for your own sake! It's: ARR(rhymes with the first syllable of "carry")-AH SAILS(rhymes with "whales").

    many of the halls of vampire mountain are named after famous vampires, whose names are often even stranger than modern-day vampires! for your added conveniences, those halls mentioned in books 4 and 5 now follow:

    PERTA VIN-GRAHL -- who forgot to wash behind their ears?!? The ice-cold showers of Vampire Mountain are no place for those who enjoy the little comforts of life. But if you're stinking, in desperate need of a wash, and you have to ask the way, you pronounce it like this: PER(rhymes with "fur")-TA VIN (rhymes with "win")-GRAL(rhymes with "pal").

    OSCA VELM -- OSS-KA VELM(rhymes with "helm").

    KHLEDON LURT -- you'll probably spend a lot of time here, eating, drinking and socialising, so it's best to get its name straight before you set off for Vampire Mountain! It looks odd, but it's quite easy to say: KLED(rhymes with "sled")-ON LURT(rhymes with "hurt").

    BASKER WRENT -- BASH(rhymes with "cash")-CUR(rhymes with "fur") RENT(rhymes with "tent").

    RUSH FLON'X -- His first name rhymes with "flush". You pronounce his second name: FLON(rhymes with "on")-EX.

    OCEEN PIRD -- OCK(as in "rock")-EEN PIRD(rhymes with "bird").

    as well as using vampire names for the halls, vampires also sometimes invoke names of their forefathers when they curse. a couple of the more popular curses, for those who want to impress their parents and teachers, are:

    CHARNA'S GUTS! -- this is hugely popular and widely used. It's basically a vampire's way of saying "Bloody hell!" or "Stone the crows!" or "I'll be damned!" Charna was a vampire who had most of his guts clawed out in a fight with a vampaneze, but who carried on fighting and won!!! You pronounce his name (when you're suitably riled!) thusly: CHAR(rhymes with "car")-NAH.

    BLACK BLOOD OF HARNON OAN! -- this was once a key vampire curse; less fashionable these nights, though it still gets used on occasion. Harnon Oan was one of the very rare vampire traitors, who used to sell the whereabouts of other vampires to vampire hunters. His name's pronounced HAR(rhymes with "car")-NON(rhymes with "on") OAN(rhymes with "bone").


    everybody still with me? good! there aren't many new, bewildering names to deal with in book 5, but here are a few which you might like some help with:

    BA-HALEN'S SPIDERS -- I know they made their entrance in book 4, but it's in book 5 that we see more of them, including where they live inside the mountain (if you suffer from arachnophobia, you might want to skip that chapter!!). The eight-legged beauties are named after the vampire who, according to legend, introduced them to the mountain: BAH-HAAL-EN. Nobody remembers if he had a first name!

    PATRICK GOULDER -- gets a brief mention. His surname's pronounced GOLDER.

    YEBBA -- this General knows how to howl!! It's easy to say his name: YEB-AH.

    GLALDA -- I won't say much about this particular "gentleman", except to tell you that his name is pronounced GLAL(rhymes with "pal")-DAH.

    and finally, another of those pesky Halls: STAHRVOS GLEN -- this one's pronounced STAR-VOSS(rhymes with "floss") GLENN.

    * * *

    And that's it, folks! I'll be decoding more perplexing names for you in later site updates, but for now, enjoy your Trials Of Death, try not to get killed during them -- and keep practising your pronunciations until you're word-perfect!!!!!!
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