Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cassandra Clare talks about the stele

You say potato, I say... well, you get the point. We all have words in books we pronounce in books. For example, with the word Idris, I say Id-ris while some people say Eye-dris. It all depends, and according to Cassandra Clare the same goes with one very important Shadowhunter tool.

"Okay, the thing is stele is an actual word," Cassie said. "In general it’s used to describe a stone monument with an inscribed surface. When I was trying to come up with the name for the Shadowhunters’ drawing implements, I had a whole list of possible words. I picked stele because of the connection to antiquity, the connection to inscriptions and writing, and because it sounded in my head a bit like “stencil.”"

She also seems to have the same debates with her own friends. "The other thing is that fantasy words and readers have a long history —I had an argument with my friend Christopher Rowe last week about how to pronounce Dunedain. Upshot: neither of us knew. We agreed that the best way to pronounce it is however we always pronounced it in our heads. I am fine with people pronouncing stele any which way. Steely, steel, stellay (what I say.) I think in the film they say stellay. But you should not feel like you need to be restricted by films or audiobooks. You can look it up,or pronounce it how you like, since a stele in the books is not the same thing as a stele in real life."

So, there you have it. "Stellay" is the pronunciation used for stele in the movie and books, but it's really up to the reader to determine how they want to say it.

1 comment:

  1. Okay maybe as a writer myself who likes to fudge things in my own way I shouldnt throw stones but the anthopologist in me just cant quite get past this. I see the word stele and I see big monuments...I cant help it...that by definition is just what a stele is in the archeological world...and the reason for making the choice to use it any way as a writer just feels....mmm...not quite good enough. When im in the same situation I change the spelling just to avoid people picturing the wrong connotation. Example: when I write of "demons" I do not mean infernal beings but harken back to a much older definition and as such I spell it always daemons. What most people imagine as demons I call fiends or other names. I am very much enjoing the book but the word stele just feels like a poor choice. It in fact jarrs me a bit each time I see it so I cant quite get fully emerced and thus is something its wise to consider when writing. At the sam time though you get 1000 brownie points for doing your homework.

    (Please forgive all spelling and punctuation errors....typing on a tablet is cumbersome.:) )


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