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Old July 22 2009, 04:53 AM   #1
Mal
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Names have Power (or B5, Angel & Doctor Who)

I recently saw the Doctor Who Easter Special Planet of the Dead, and was pleasantly amused that the bionic woman wasn't mollified when he answered, "they call me The Doctor," to the question of his name. (That's not a name, that's a psychological condition.)

And then it occurred to me, this was the same issue with Jasmine, that the Angel team (actually Wesley - naturally...) finally figured out in 4x20 Sacrifice.

Who are you is a strain that runs quite deeply through Babylon 5. Lorien says explicitly that names have power, and is reluctant to just give his out. Of course the demon in Angel says basically the same thing (that humans are weak because they go around giving out their names freely).

Where does this concept come from?

Science Fiction & Fantasy draws (like all art) on culture. Lots of common themes run through our favorite stories (such as the messiah).

Where does the concept that names have power come from? What parts of our culture are these creators tapping into when they insert the concept in B5 and Angel and Who (and I'm sure, countless other SF&F's)?
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