While I was being a little pedantic just because (and making the Archer reference was too good an opportunity to pass up), I really meant it honestly when you’re talking about “actual words” when it comes to names for fantastic creatures specifically. I’m really trying to see why some versions gain your ire whereas other don’t.
Because some words, if tied to real world languages and cultures, and you're informed about the etymology of the word, is a "fun-fact" that scratches the curiosity about the creative process surrounding the lore - whilst a pure fantasy name on the other hand, is just that, pure fantasy.
There really is nothing in terms of symbolism etc. to ponder about in those instances.
If “Nosferatu” / “ノスフェラトゥ” changing to “Nerosuferoth” / “ネロスフェロス” is something that you consider to be a reasonable connection, I don’t see what makes it outstanding, or any more “clever” in this case than the others, since it is just as garbled as Midgar Zolom.
Not at all. If the connection is true (which it probably isn't), that would mean that I caught the connection the moment I saw the name. I would, based on the name alone, guess a connection to the Nosferatu, and then when seeing the creatures appearance being similar to that of the vampire in the old black and white movie, could laugh at that and enjoy the reference.
This is equally true for Midgar Zolom though. I was not trying to make the argument that Midgar Zolom is entirely dysfunctional in this regards or that Nerosuferoth is superior.
You could make the case that, if it really were the case that Nerosuferoth is based off of Nosferatu, that the naming difference makes sense because the creature only resembles Nosferatu in appearance to a minute degree.
The Midgar Zolom on the other hand, is obviously when you come across it, meant as a very clear reference to "Midgardsormen" from Norse mythology, so it would make more sense to retain accuracy in the name.
That's one possible metric. I wouldn't argue it's necessarily a good one or one that I would use, but it's certainly one way of thinking about it.
Again though, I wasn't making an argument about Nerosuferoth being better than Midgar Zolom. I simply stated that most creatures within FFVII to one degree or another are references to other creatures from our world.
Personally, I prefer that this is done with accuracy (which would be true for Nerosuferoth as well, if it is a derivative name) since it makes it clearer to the player what the reference actually is.
I’m especially curious about this especially when you get into your own pedantic bits about something being recognizable in light of the creature it’s used for. “Beware the Nerosuferoth” tells them absolutely nothing.
Well, again, if the Nerosuferoth derivation was true, I'd be on the lookout for a creature that looks in one way or another to Nosferatu - big beaky nose (or as is the case here, beak =P ), pointy ears and small beady eyes would be among those features, and so I would have been told something by the name (except that Nerosuferoth might be another reference that is simply flying over my head).
Zolom on the other hand, is not at all recognizable to me as being a word for something snake-like, and while the term "Midgar" might clue me in - the problem is that in FFVII, Midgar is a place quite distinct from the one in Norse Mythology.
Without actually seeing the snake on the world-map, I doubt most people would make the leap to the snake from Norse mythology just by looking at the term "Midgar Zolom" in the context of a game were Midgar is entirely its own entity within the universe.
Final Fantasy VII-specific humor aside – What’s even more aropos to this is that (the term Nosferatu itself is a fantasy creature name of completely questionable origin only brought to use through inclusion in an item of relative popularity
). It really only exists as it does now because Bram Stoker took a word, that now seems to be by all indications a mangled translation of dubious origin, and popularized it through exposure by attaching it to an iconic entity of Dracula in the novel Dracula
. It is ultimately a fantasy creature name that doesn’t properly connect to any original etymological translation, but rather a “meaningless combination of letters” as you’d phrased it before.
Irrelevant. I wasn't praising the original term "Nosferatu" for its creativity or derivative meaning. Nosferatu is however, at this moment in time, a cultural artifact in our world, which means that references to it in other media and art can be creative, clever and a source of entertainment.
I think that it’s really just exposure and knowledge of the origination etymology that grinds at your gears if you let that supersede whether or not it’s an effective name within the fantasy itself.
I'd argue that the effectiveness of a name cannot be meaningfully discussed at all outside the context of... well, meaning
, and since meaning of terms is determined by our language and our culture, there is no such thing as an "effective name" which is just a random selection of letters.
Of course then exposure and knowledge of culture and language will effect our ability to appreciate terms. However, once a term has just been invented from nothing, there is no amount of knowledge or exposure that will help you appreciate that term more, because the term has no culture or linguistic history to it.
The thing about the Midgar Zolom that I think makes the name work better is because you already IMMEDIATELY know that it’s some sort of snake.
It’s a massive serpentine silhouette roaming the swamp that makes you go get a chocobo.
Except that you don't. As you say in this very same sentence, you don't actually know this until the people at the farm tell you, or you see the actual silhouette of the beast in the sand.
Again, imagine someone had just told you, coming out of Midgar, that you needed to watch out for the Midgar Zolom - that would not tell anything to you what so ever, despite the fact that the beast is clearly derivative of Norse mythology and its entire nature as a giant snake could be made blatantly obvious to you by the name alone, by simply correctly translating it, or using a term like "wyrm" etc.
“Terrato” from FFVI stuff
I fail to see the relevance to my position with your point here. Yes, there are many games that don't make their derivations clear. Pointing to games that did a worse job than FFVII though, does not in any way address my position unless you presuppose I'm somehow okay with those names, where's I am not with "Zolom".
That would be wrong though. If "Terrato" was another name for Midgardsorm, then to my mind, that would be "bad" as well.
What I really think is that the massive swamp-snake’s identity as “a Final Fantasy Midgardsormr” isn’t as appealing as “a/the Midgar Zolom” because it’s exchanging a generic Final Fantasy identity in exchange for losing a Final Fantasy VII-specific identity. It’s not a summon, so its player-knowledge of it as a preexisting mythological entity doesn’t make it gain the same meaningful context that it would if it were. The name’s mistranslation gave it a Final Fantasy VII-unique identity by connecting it to Midgar, and thus rather than relying solely on the player’s real world etymology responsible for its name, it gives it an unexplained, but hints at a logical in-world source of its name.
It’s because of that connection, that the Midgar Zolom made me think about how the people of FFVII would’ve come to call it that, rather than why someone programming a game would name something after an iconic mythological entity. While I can’t deny that there is nostalgia at play with it, I am always going to prefer a name that is world-specific to FFVII is much more than a label that’s a mythological callback, because only one of them adds depth FROM the world of FFVII back to into it.
I could accept this except for the fact that
1.) you have tons of things in FFVII that are not summons with names that are not only derivations (like Nibelheim), and
2.) I don't buy the argument that having an appropriated name in an FF game somehow makes it feel less world-specific either, especially in the context of the Zolom.
Midgardsorm (or in the case of FFVII, something like Midgar's wyrm) would be both world-specific and a perfectly clear tribute to Norse mythology at the same time, because it would make sense within the narrative of the game (It's a giant snake on the outskirts of Midgar), and it's actually name is the same as the one from Norse mythology.
I does not lose it's FFVII specificity when FFVII already uses the term Midgar regularly up until that point. It does however lose the clarity of its derivation as a term (although, as we agree, it retains it in context - in light of the fact that you get to see and fight it).
Aaaand here's a snazzy digitally sketched/photoshopped Midgar Zolom... in the style of 'Don't Tread On Me', just for you, X-Soldier.
If you want them, anyways.
And if you're curious, yes I just used a template for the 'Don't tread on me' flag, and drew over the snake on my art program.
So by the design I'm guessing the Zolom is a republican candidate then?
Well, I've never voted for the right in my life, but if the Zolom is running I just might.
I'm a bit worried for the rights of small furry animals though.