There is a character in the Horus Heresy series called Kasper Hawser. He’s a key character in Prospero Burns but he also pops up in The Mark of Calth and The Crimson King.

We hear a scene from two sides though these books.

‘What?’ asked Hawser.

The other Astartes had spoken.

‘Is that supposed to be a joke?’

‘I don’t understand, ser.’

‘You told us your name. Was it supposed to be a joke? Is it some nickname?’

‘I don’t understand. That’s my name. Why would you think it’s a joke?’

‘Kasper Hawser? You don’t understand the reference?’

Hawser shook his head.

‘No one’s ever…’

The Astartes turned his beaked visor and glanced at his companions. Then he looked back down at Hawser.

I’m fairly sure I don’t understand either? Why is Hawser’s name a joke so funny it’s worth repeating across books?


1 Answer 1


Kaspar Hauser (30 April 1812 (?) – 17 December 1833) was a German youth who claimed to have grown up in the total isolation of a darkened cell. Hauser's claims, and his subsequent death by stabbing, sparked much debate and controversy. Theories propounded at the time linked him with the grand ducal House of Baden and proposed his birth had been hidden as part of royal intrigue. These opinions have long since been rejected by historians,1 and many argued during and after Hauser's life that he was most likely a fraud.


Hauser Name Meaning German (also Häuser) and Jewish (Ashkenazic): from Middle High German hus ‘house’, German Haus, + the suffix -er, denoting someone who gives shelter or protection. Compare Hausmann. variant of Hausen. Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Hawser is a nautical term for a thick cable or rope used in mooring or towing a ship.1 A hawser passes through a hawsehole, also known as a cat hole,3 located on the hawse.3


Kaspar Hauser is a very famous name among those interested in historical mysteries, and Kaspar Hawser would probably be pronounced very similarly. Naming a character Kaspar Hawser is like naming a character Virginia Dare, Sophia Matilda Briggs, Jenny Haniver, or Edward V. Plantagenet.

So the name Kaspar Hawser is an example of giving a character a sort of joke name, which might sometimes be intended as a clue about their personality or role in the plot. And some people might think that a surname meaning rope or cable is a little funny.

Though in fact there is a real surname Cable:

The Cable surname finds its earliest origins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name is derived from Cabel, a given name of Germanic origin. The surname Cable denoted the son of Cabel.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.