Names were important to Mrem culture. Each Mrem had a personal name. Free Mrem were granted surnames, which were imbued with supernatural powers. Surnames were not inherited by family, but were granted to each individual according to his or her own abilities and needs.[1]

Mrem enslaved by the Liskash did not have surnames. Free Mrem who were captured by Liskash had their surnames magically removed by Liskash wizards, who would ingest the Mrem's surname to bind the individual psychically to their servitude.

Grumm, an enslaved Mrem from Lord Sassin's estate, was allowed by Sassin to "escape" to the Clan of the Claw, in the hopes that Sassin could use him as an inside male via the psychic link, to sabotage the free Mrem from within. With the help of clan priestesses, Grumm was able to break this mental bond. After the Claws defeated and killed Sassin in battle, it was hoped that Grumm's surname, now free, would ride the winds and eventually reunite with its proper owner.

Literary comment[]

The significance of Mrem naming customs appears to be an allusion to "The Naming of Cats," a musical number from Cats: The Musical.


  1. Harry Turtledove never addresses this last element in "The Mrem Go West," but it is strongly implied elsewhere in the volume Exiled: Clan of the Claw. In Michael Z. Williamson's "Battle Tide," the principal Mrem characters include Nrao Aveldt and his son Nef Esnrao.