Trivia I learned from books, Vol. 6

Today’s book-learned trivia is brought to you by the letter R and the letter W. I found them in my recent reads The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos.


     1.  Remora: as in, “He’s always been the child who stuck close. My remora, Elizabeth had called him, my fat little barnacle.”

remora1When I read that in Belong to Me I thought maybe it was another suction-cup type of sea creature. I’ll take my award now because I was right! Remoras are also called “sucker fish,” are brownish 1-3 foot long fish that have a “modified sucker like organ” on their fin.

I watch Animal Planet a lot and recognize the remora from all the shark/ocean shows I’ve seen.

Check out the full Wikipedia article here. 

     2. Wight:as in, “Your duty is to the graveyard…to those who form this population of discarnate spirits, revenants, and suchlike wights…”

Context clues in this sentence from The Graveyard Book told me “wight” was probably some sort of synonym for ghost, but it sounded like such an interesting word I wanted to know more!

I’m so glad I looked it up, I heart etymology! Wight is Middle English word (can be found in lots of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and John Milton) meaning living being, or creature. It seems Germanic in origin.

The Wikipedia article goes on to mention, “More recently, the word has been used within the fantasy genre to describe undead or wraith-like creatures: corpses with a part of their decayed soul still in residence. Notable examples of this include the undead Barrow-Wights from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and the wights of Dungeons & Dragons.”

Now I’m afraid of all the D&D google hits I’m going to get. Sigh. But anyways I don’t know jack about D&D nor do I remember the “Barrow-Wights” from Tolkien since I haven’t read anything by him since I was in middle school.

Wight also made me think of Isle of Wight, and wondering where it got it’s name so now Wikipedia/Google has sucked me into it’s never ending vortex of information. I will be gone for quite sometime…



4 Responses

  1. I, too, don’t remember the Barrow-Wights, but that’s probably because I would routinely glaze over when reading Tolkien. Christ, the man wanted to describe everything and anything in Middle Earth!

  2. neat! Did you read Maria de los Santos’ book “Love walked in?” I think “belong to me” is the sequel – i imagine you have but if not, it’s def worthy of a read.

  3. Olga: he certainly was detail oriented! I actually only really liked The Hobbit, the others didn’t do it for me at all and I have never re-read them. Loved the movies though!

    Heidi: I actually haven’t read Love Walked In! I only heard about it AFTER I read Belong To Me, but I adored Cornelia and Teo so I definitely want to read more about them.

  4. arrgh i’m the same way about tolkein.. love his stories, but can’t enjoy them due to all the WRITING!! :-)

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