What’s In A Name

In a recent Facebook thread, we had considerable speculation–and some insistence–regarding Roarke’s full name. Several posters stated Roarke was named Patrick Michael Roarke, Jr after his father.

Absolutely not.

Let me repeat, be perfectly clear. Roarke was not named after his father. This man is, and never was anyone’s junior.

He’s Roarke. Just Roarke. That’s more than enough.

Some readers feel I hinted in Portrait that Roarke was named after his father. Actually I hinted at another name entirely. But while he carries the name Roarke from his father, that’s it. Just it. No other name. I simply didn’t give him one, for the very specific reason I saw Roarke. And we agreed that’s all he wanted or needed.

If readers find it fun or interesting to add a name on for themselves, that’s fine. It’s the magic of reading. You, in a very real way, create your own image.

I’ve had questions regarding Stella–what’s her REAL name. My reaction runs to: What does it matter? Whatever the name on her birth certificate, she was a horrible person. The name doesn’t change what she was. Her name means nothing.

In Concealed In Death, I revealed Mavis’s birth name. It mattered–what really mattered was why she changed it, and how and why she picked the name she did. Who she became. That’s, for me, what a name can say about a character.

What Roarke’s name says, for me, is strong, individual, confident and just a little mysterious. That’s who he is–and that’s who he’ll always be.

Names matter. Richard Troy and Stella didn’t give Eve a name. She wasn’t a person to them. Officials named her. She became Eve Dallas–and the name fits. Strong again, focused, a woman determined to stand for victims, and never to be one again.

Roarke’s single name is all he needs. It’s who he is–who he made himself. He took that single name, the last name of the father who abused him–and made it matter, made it his and his alone. Giving him more, in my opinion, detracts from his evolution.

So feel free to speculate, it’s your story while you’re reading. But he’ll always be Roarke.

Nora

95 thoughts on “What’s In A Name”

    1. Not having anything but a last name would send up flags – which Roarke back in his thief/smuggler days would want to avoid at all costs. An aura of mystery is not something a man engaged in nefariousness would want – because while his future wife Eve Dallas is an extraordinarily good cop, she’s not the only one on Earth, and just one name

      I could accept that his father never gave him a first name (never cared enough to), or gave him a name like “Gobshite” or “Little Punk” that Roarke never wanted to use. I also choose to believe in his bad old days, he used “Roarke” like it’s his title (“It’s – Roarke!” ::CUE SEVENTIES UK COP SHOW MUSIC!::), and sent around using average names like “John Smith” or “Bob Walker” so he could walk around unobserved.

    2. Laura (and Nora) I absolutely agree. I sort of picked up the IN DEATH series several books in, and had to backtrack. And while it did cross my mind about Roarke’s full name, I felt then and still maintain, having caught up and read them all to date, that it’s all him. It’s all he needs. Nuff said. Please, Nora, while I’m amazed how you keep coming up with new story after new story, please, don’t stop.

  1. I agree with you, Nora! He is Roarke. He needs no other name to be just who he is! I now have to re-read Concealed and Portrait to remember what Mavis’s real name is and to see what name you hinted at for Roarke. LOL! I love another reason to re-read these stories!

    1. I really need to read the 1st book! I started with the 2nd & kept on going, but now I’m curious. For me, Roarke is Roarke, & that’s enough! At this point would it matter what his 1st name is? Not to me.

  2. Names have always seemed so symbolic in this series, and I may have read deeper than I should’ve but I loved the choice of Eve and Roarke. With Eve, it was her “given” name. When there is a nameless person they are typically branded with Jane/John. I loved the reference to Eve, the first woman, which has been referenced in the series.
    For Roarke, I’ve seen it mean champion or king, which is quite fitting for his professional life. But more importantly I saw that it could mean Rock, and his role in Eves life he has been her rock. And she to him Of course.

  3. I love these books . At this time I have only read 11 of them and have on hand 4 more to read .
    Also waiting o get the final in the cousins trilogy.
    Thank you Nora for a great read.

    1. Beki

      There’s no need to apologize! Nora saw your follow up comment about the name on FB. She wrote this post more to address comments that followed yours.

      Laura

    2. Absolutely no need to apologize! And this whole deal gave me a springboard to talk a little about the names and the whys. So that’s all good.

      1. Roarke to me is like any other icon that goes by one name all that had tho be said is that one word and everyone knows who your talking about. I kind of think it’s funny because in the trucking world my husband is known by only his last name amd here is known from Canada thru all of the lower 48 and btw all the hero’s in my books that I read look allot like him in my head. Lol I love every one of these books please keep them coming! 🙂

        1. I have been known in the trucking world as “Piano Player” for several decades. It has been my CB handle for over 40 years.

  4. Roarke! Enough said! Nora I just celebrate your amazing talent and amazing work ethic! These characters belong to you and I would never second guess your vision for these characters.

  5. Roarke with any other name would not appear as strong. I love him the way he is. In fact, I just saw an actor in the new show “Forever” that would be a real candidate for Roarke if the In Death series ever makes it to movies. His name is Ioan Gruffudd (from Wales I believe), has curly black hair (which would have to be longer) and a darling accent. He could do it!

    1. Oh, I agree, he, at least in looks, would be perfect, except the eye color and hair length. And, of course, he would have to get that Irish accent.

  6. I fell in love with Roark right away. His name is appropriate for his character. Very strong, mysterious, tender and loyal. I don’t really think of him as anything but Roark. Love all your books but this series is my favorite. You are a wonderful writer.

  7. I totally agree. Roarke is enough, perfect. It fits him and coveys power. I love this discussion. Thank you for the hundreds, no thousands, of hours of pleasure you have given me and for participating with your fans. That’s one of the things that makes you so special.

  8. Nora is perfectly right in that the only name he needed was Roarke! Early on, I too thought he might have been named after his father, but then I thought “who cares”? Eve’s name fits her; direct and to the point!
    I know these characters have become so important to me, I almost forget they’re fictional!. I know others feel the same. The whole made up names for Roarke probably came from someone talking/thinking about the characters, and just gave him names she thought she had read somewhere.
    Be patient with us Nora. We love your characters so much, they’ve become our friends & family!

  9. I have always thought of Roarke as Roarke. Okay, maybe wondering what name his real mother gave him. But Roarke is brave, strong, and caring. (Roarke might be surprised about the caring part.) Ah, if there were only a man out there like Roarke.

  10. I cannot imagine Roarke with a full name. He is just Roarke. Thanks for the name info. Please keep up the great work and do it your way!

  11. The father made Roarke a name to be feared; the son made it a name to be respected. I agree that Ioan Gruffudd would be a good representation of Roarke, but it’s a younger Pierce Brosnan I see as I read. It’s a shame he has aged out of the part.

    1. I totally agree with you, Roarke has always reminded me of Remington Steele, If anyone remembers the series from the 80’s, starring Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist. I also agree that Roarke does not need any other name, the name invokes strength and respect.

      1. I saw a picture of Pierce with his newborn baby son in People magazine years ago and it’s one picture I really would love to have kept. Nothing more amazing than a gorgeous man holding a baby. I think of that picture every time Roarke interacts with Bella or any other young child.

  12. I accepted Roarke’s name – a very strong name – from the beginning, and didn’t find myself needing more.

    Re Eve’s name, which I love: We adopted a rescued two-year-old Scottie that the abuser had never named because s/he obviously didn’t place any value on him. We named him Barney, after my husband’s commanding officer who was killed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, and he’s one of the best dogs we’ve ever had.

    Your names for your characters work. That’s all that matters.

  13. I wondered when I read those comments yesterday. But the more I thought about it the more I realized, No, I hadn’t read that a first name for Roarke had ever been mentioned! Glad I was right! Thanks, Nora!

  14. We had a great time on Facebook speculating on what Roarke’s full name might have been. It made for a great conversational gambit. Thank you for clearing it up for us. He is only Roarke, which is all he needs to be.

  15. Roarke is enough. I have and am enjoying the development of your characters in In Death series. I discovered Roarke and Eve after my marriage of many years fell apart. They have given me many hours of entertainment and carried me through some troubled times. Thank you.

  16. I think Roarke is perfect for the man we know. I had wondered what his mother might have named him, though. Eve’s name is perfect for her, too. I’m going to have to reread the two books to see the hints on Roarke’s name and about Mavis’ name.
    I think the young Pierce Brosnan or Sean Connery would have been perfect for Roarke. Maybe Johnny Depp might make it off now? He seems to be one of the most talented actors these days and has the looks. Also, he seems to be very versatile with accents.

  17. Speaking of names, and thinking of “Festive”, I just had a moment where I imagined McNab had been watching “classic vids”. He comes into work ala Eric Matthews from “Boy Meets World”, hollering “FEENY!…FEE-HEE-HEE-HEENAY!…FEENY”. It’s a running joke the entire book, and Feeney secretly likes it.

    1. OMG I just spit coffee all over my keyboard. I’m dying over here! I can totally picture it! LMAO!

  18. Yes! I’m so glad you explained this. I have no problem with him having the one name. It explains it all. You are who you make yourself to be.

  19. The power of naming comes through in Concealed in Death in an especially powerful way as the name reclaims the person.

  20. I picked up Naked In Death because I like police procedurals. I’ve been a fan ever since because of the characters, needing to know what’s happening in their lives. The names, all of them, fit. Thanks, Nora!

  21. Of course, he’s just Roarke. He’s always going to be just Roarke.

    In fact, that was probably more obvious when that woman told him about his family and when he met his family, no one brought up any other name. Because he is just Roarke.

    But I think for most of us, we wonder about before. Because Roarke wasn’t always this badass, mysterious, angelic looking man. He had to be born and grow up first. I find it hard to believe when his sweet mother was still alive and she gave birth to him, she just chose Roarke on the birth certificate.

    Maybe his original was not Patrick anything. But he had to have one. Right? Before he got it changed?

    1. It’s not required to put a given name on a birth certificate.

      If, and that’s if, his mother put any name on it, remember, he was an infant when she was killed. He never knew her. If there was a name on the Birth certificate, it simply wasn’t his, not one he ever knew, ever went by, was ever called.

      And consider this, all who question what name ,if any, was on a legal document never used, what purpose would the name serve as opposed to the purpose being simply Roarke serves?

      Being Roarke, only Roarke, is an essential part of what makes him the character you all love. Tossing a first name on there detracts from his individuality and mystique. Honestly, I don’t think any of you really want that.

      Trust me on this one.

      1. On my part, it was just an idle thought, “What would his mother have called him?” No more than that.

        I do agree that Roarke is enough… It’s HIM, and YES, I do love the guy as is!

  22. I agree – Roarke needs no other name than Roarke. And I don’t think he would have been named after his father, myself. I’m sure his father was abusive to his mother well before she delivered him, she just didn’t leave yet, at least from the information contained since we learned about her. And I got the feeling that he didn’t much want a child (except, for when he was older, and could make money for the father), but he went after Roarke and his mother because she dared walk out on him, and take what he saw as his property with him – control again. After all, he killed her shortly afterward. To me, I get the feeling that he dropped his first and middle name, either to create the “new” Roarke – to separate himself from the Dublin street rat – or to distance himself from his father, getting rid of the name that his father, and the woman he THOUGHT to be his mother at the time gave him, but keeping the last name. But the name Roarke, to me, describes him perfectly: power, sexy, and a bad boy. Eve’s name is absolutely perfect for her, and the fact that she was given that name when she was eight (how do they know she was eight, BTW? Is medicine in the future so advanced they can pinpoint a child’s age in years exactly instead an age range based on bone structure and dental/molar eruptions?), and she MADE herself into Eve Dallas is perfect. As the fact that Mavis chose her own name. I’m re-reading all of the In Death books, but I can see after I finish the one I just started, I’m going to have to jump quite a bit ahead and read Concealed again, even though I read it not too long ago. I just don’t remember about Mavis’ name, and I can’t wait to get to Portrait in Death, as it’s been several years since I read it. As far as Stella’s name, I wonder if by the time she was killed, she even remembered it herself – she had so many aliases for at least all of Eve’s 30 years, although she seemed to always stick with the same initials. But it doesn’t matter. She didn’t bother to give Eve a name, she was never a “mother” except in the biological sense of the word.

    1. He didn’t drop his first and middle name, because he didn’t have a first and middle name to drop!

      Really, you guys just have to accept what is in book world.

      He is, always has been, always will be Roarke.

      I don’t know how else to make this clear. Roarke. Period. Only Roarke. Never any more than that.

      Roarke.

      No other name. Ever.

      Roarke.

      Roarke.

      Roarke.

      That’s absolutely it.

      1. I do have to say, I’m re-reading Portrait now, and have gone over where he meets the social worker at Dochas, and the night of him locking Eve out, and her bullying it out of him and all that and am just finished reading his apology to Summerset (I forgot how much I LOVED the situation with the in-home caregiver, and of course, Summerset getting the “Trina treatment”!). I loved how Eve already had her plan of action in mind after talking to Mavis and Mira about how to handle Roarke, but after Roarke went sniping at Summerset, as soon as Roarke was gone, Summerset buzzed Eve and told her to deal with it. Frankly, I love how Summerset keeps an eye on both of them, and lets each of them know when something is terribly wrong with the other. But reading through all of this so far, I never got any impression of what that young girl from County Clare might have wanted to name him, but it made me cry what her nickname was for him.
        BTW, every time I read this one, I STILL love how Eve deals with the Summerset/home health care person situation that first day. Yeah, she was definitely too perky and I’d probably want to belt her one, too, and her trying to keep the cat out of his rooms was uncalled for. The cat is as much his as Eve’s and Roarke’s.

      2. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this question. The timing is ironic because I am currently rereading the entire series – again – and just finished Portrait in Death. I never really thought of Roark with any other name but Roarke and I love the recurrent theme of how both Eve and Roarke have made themselves into who they are. I imagine that both of them were likely called by various names in their childhood as their fathers used various aliases in their criminal activity, but that never defined them. Roarke finding his birth certificate was more amusing for the fact that he was a full year younger than what name he started life with.

        My curiosity about his name was more about what it said about his mother. Siobbhan was so traditional, it seemed likely she would name her son after the father she so desperately wanted him to have. But you have answered this question as well because she was also a victim and now we know that the poor woman was never even given the chance to give her child the name she wanted. Patrick Roarke had all the control and made all the decisions. Now I just wonder if Siobbhan ever wished she could have given her little boy a name that she chose.

  23. Why do so many people want to tell Nora how to do her job? Millions of readers love what she writes. Shouldn’t we be grateful for that instead of telling her what to do???

  24. In one of the books there’s a remembered conversation (either alone or recalled by both in conversation) with Summerset about his name. Rourke wanted to reject it entirely and Summerset said to keep it and/or make the name into one that’s good. This is from memory, so might not be exact.

  25. So perfect! A little bit like the attachment I have with my sons’ names, I would have a very difficult time seeing them with different names. Roarke, Eve, & Mavis all made something of their names — embracing them & shaping them. All is as it should be.

  26. Part of Nora’s magic in storytelling is in creating a world so rich and real, and populating it with characters so true and honest! Their names just fit. Also interesting that some characters’ last names almost become their first (was this way for me in military…maybe Cops are the same?) Eve and Roarke’s world is so real to me that when I visited NYC for the first time two years ago, it was magical, but felt just a bit wrong because it wasn’t 2058! I’ve read through the series several times while waiting for the next Nora or JD to be released. The best thing?? I’ve gotten “my Roarke” hooked by beginning with Naked in Death, and reading them aloud during our commute! He says it is one of his favorite things, and I try very hard not to give away any surprises as I read. We are on Portrait now…

    1. My ex-husband enjoyed them, too. We listened to the first several on Audiobook when we drove a truck together.

      Please, keep them coming, Nora! Thank you!

  27. I agree that only the name Roarke is needed. I love his name and am always fascinated at how authors seem to come up with THE perfect names for their characters. Roarke is so strong an individual he needs no other name. And I love how Eve Dallas got her name. It suits her and is so right.

  28. One of the things I love about you, Nora, is the way you recognize that once the word is printed it’s up to the reader to bring their interpretation to what you’ve written. Thanks!

    Could you give the name of the group where the FB discussion occurred? If there’s another group out there I need to join it because I just can’t seem to get enough In Death. 🙂

  29. I am in full agreement. Roarke doesn’t need anything else but his name. Where can I get me one of those? I LOVE LOVE LOVE the In Death series! Thanks Nora, you have given the characters the best personalities ever,

    Laura

  30. Thank you Nora. Totally agree. As we say here in Ireland “he is some man for one man”. Safe travelling.

  31. I seem to remember that in one of the books summerset had told him to make the name his. So he did that and he is just fine as Roarke!

  32. I understand and agree he needs nothing more than Roarke.. But I also understand people being curious because although to us and Nora he’s just Roarke to his mother he was someone she loved and named. Since he loves and grieves for her it’s only curiosity as to whom he was to her.

  33. I don’t think his Mother called him Roake. Perhaps we’ll never know what she called him- but it wasn’t Roake. Wouldn’t she have told her twin what she named her baby? Just wondering…

  34. Roarke name is, and has been for me from the first book, all he needs to be. It is an interesting name and I have always liked it. He needs no last name!

  35. Love the name Roarke! And it fits him so well, as Eve’s name suits her, too. I fell in love with Roarke when he kept the button from Eve’s grey suit. So much so, I even considered naming our new yellow lab pup, Roarke, but it just didn’t work or fit. I wanted an Irish name, since we’re of Irish descent, so did a search of the dog names Nora used in her Irish-setting books, and found Finn (from the Gallagher’s of Ardmore series) which fitted him perfectly. I know she used the name for some of her human characters, as well, Finn means “blond soldier/warrior”; from Irish mythology: Finn MacCumhail, a third century Irish hero. So thanks, Nora, for choosing such great names, human & pet, for your books.

  36. I have only a little bit to say. Roarke is Roarke. That’s it. Done. If his name were added to, he wouldn’t be who I fell for. I can only speak for myself in this jumble of middle name and last name. It’s just Roarke. He was my very first book boyfriend and will continue to lead before anyone else. I have just one question that I can think of for Ms. Robb/Roberts. Where did you find the inspiration for what Roarke looks like. I’ve looked and I cannot find one single person who carries all the beauty of Roarke. Inside and out. Do they really make people that wonderful? And if you ever run across a picture, I would love to see it. Thank you for your time, talent, and goodness in sharing your life and stories with those of us who have lost all hope. Sincerely, Daphne Caldwell.

  37. I love Roarke’s name just as it is, and I have in my mind what he looks like and I would not want to see him and Eve acted out on tv by actors, It always changes my perception. Nora is such an awesome writer I can just lose myself when I read one of her books, I am always happy when I’m waiting for her next release and I happen to find one of her books I haven’t read yet, it’s hard to do but I manage to once in a while. Thank you Nora for the many of hours of reading I have enjoyed over the years.

    1. A younger Mariska Hargitay or Ashley Judd would fit my imagination of Eve, but I don’t know if there’s any guy on this planet who can pull the role of Roarke off. 😀

  38. Though I’m quite satisfied with the single name, I think if he **HAD** to have one, and I imagine his mum would have given him one and if not 2 formal/legal names @ birth, then surely she would have given him a Baptismal name in the Church.

    She was of good family and stock and surely had to be of Irish Catholic decent even though I do not think it was ever clarified.

    I can picture him being baptized as Brody Roarke to honor both his mother’s family and his father, since maintaining the relationship with and providing a father for her son was so important to Shioban.

  39. Love the books and have always loved Nora’s writing. What I cannot stand is folks who read the books, then get angry when the author will not write what THEY want them to. These folks sound like they think they can tell the story better. Newsflash. No one but Nora can tell this story. Sick of seeing people insist on babies and such. Thank you, Ms. Roberts for ignoring and standing up to those who do this. Never change what you do. I have been reading your books for over 30 years and have no plans to stop now. Thank you for your work.

    1. Heidi, I agree with you completely. If those people want a book written a certain way they should write one. Obviously, Nora knows what she’s doing, she’s the one with all the bestsellers all over the world!
      I, too, have been reading her for 20 – 30 years. No matter what I’m doing or reading, I drop everything to read an new Nora/J. D. book. She’s also one of the few authors I reread.

    2. I totally agree with you. Sometimes, I may not like exactly what was written, but it was the story as envisioned by Nora, and it will always play true to, in the In Death series, and her series books, the already established characters.

  40. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve read the ID books since Naked in death first came out in the nineties. I wondered then why and how Roarke could have only one name.

    Now,however, it doesn’t cross my mind anymore, because it fits. It’s strong and its who he is. He’s claimed it and made it so much more than it was. It’s as if Patrick Roarke never had it first at all.

    I think that’s the whole point of the one name. And now it is fitting and makes sense, even though it shouldn’t.

  41. in French, they had to change Roarke’s name to Connor, because it sounded too much like a belching sound… So when I first read Midnight in Death in english, I was a bit shocked. But as I kept reading in english, which is much better than the translation, I just couldn’t go back to calling him Connor, Roarke suits him much better!
    Did any translation also change the names?

    1. My son’s full name is Richard Morgan Young. The family calls him “Morgan”. But the translation into Spanish is so cumbersome, his Spanish teachers used Ricardo instead. He never did tell me what the translation was.

  42. I ran into Purity a few days ago and absolutely fell in love with it. And I was so thrilled to find out that this was just one book in a very long series because I LOVE binge-reading! I stayed up until 6 two days ago and finished Naked. 😀 And no it has never occurred to me even once that Roarke needs a full name. I mean I didn’t know my husband’s full name until I accidentally saw his passport, and that was like months after we started seeing one another and after I had moved in with him. And he didn’t know mine for a long time, either! LOL! We’d always called each other by our chosen nicknames, and still do. In a lot of cases names are just symbols. And in Roarke’s case this name (or lack of one?) is a symbol for his mysterious character. So please, never unveil his full name. He’s a guy who can and should only exist in mystery, in fantasy. A first name will make him “one of us” and that would be absolutely no fun! I supposed Eve would find out somehow, eventually, but that would be enough. I don’t wanna know.

  43. Nora, I love the name you gave Mavis’ baby, Bella Eve. Mavis comes up with the most fantastic love names for her! Her name is spot on!

  44. see all the links on roarkes name but earlier this afternoon I saw a post form nora about eve and roarke baby and trying to find that link

  45. I love the name Roarke…and that that is his only name. I love all the names of Nora’s characters…I suppose in all the books she has written there have been a few repeats but curious how the names are chosen. Doesn’t matter because I’m gonna keep on reading.

  46. I choose names in so many ways, it’s impossible to say. Mostly, it’s just who they are. I can tell you that Abra from Whiskey Beach had another name in the first draft–don’t remember what it was–and I was having a hard time finding her. I realized that just wasn’t her name or who she was. Once I changed it to Abra? There she was.

  47. I remember reading about “Eve Dallas”, she was working with Feeney and had also just met Mavis and almost arrested her. What book was that in . I have all of the J.B.Robb books and it isnt in any of those. My daughter and I are fans and have reread all her books in order.

    1. Shirley,

      I’m not sure what your question is since Eve Dallas is in all the In Death books. Do you mean New York to Dallas when we see her first meet Feeney?

      Laura

  48. The name I believe Nora hinted at is Aingeal its a galic name for angel what is the Moria bannon told Roarke his mother called him .

  49. I don’t understand why people are questioning NORA ROBERTS on her OWN character! She has said time and again, his name is JUST ROARKE.

    1. I so agree. I always say, if you want a say in plot, dialogue, names, whatever, write your own damn book!

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