In the A Song of Ice and Fire, there is a character named Orell, who is a skinchanger in control of an eagle. Орёл (oryol) happens to be the Russian word for "eagle".

Is there any other evidence that the name Orell derives from Russian or some other Slavic language?

  • 2
    I couldn't find any quotes from the author to that effect, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was indeed an inspiration. Sep 12, 2013 at 17:20

5 Answers 5


The word for Eagle in Czech is Orel, in Slovak it is Orol. I think it can be assumed that this did inspire the naming of Orell, even though there are no quotes from GRRM to confirm this (as System Down wrote).


The name also sounds like oriole, as in the birds. The connection of Orell to birds has a variety of connection points. But, as mentioned, there is no confirmation from GRRM.

Without a confirmation from GRRM, it's possible that the name comes from the Orrell surname and the eagle part is a coincidence.

This unusual name is of early Medieval English origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either of the places called "Orrell" in Lancashire, one of which is situated in the parish of Wigan, and the other in the parish of Sefton. Both places share the same meaning and derivation, which is from the Old English pre 7th Century word "ora", ore, and "hyll", hill;


I think it's best to avoid assumption and admire the synchronicity.

  • I donno... This is too big of a coincidence. Besides, we know that some other names, like Sam and Marillion are not random, so maybe neither is this one.
    – Dima
    Sep 12, 2013 at 21:23

GRRM definently gets inspiration from real life words and names. Some wildlings have nordic/norse names, like Tormund or Magnar. I also know that Bran is welsh, meaning raven. I'm sure there are plenty other cases of this that speakers of other languages notice.


My family name is 'Orrell' originally spelt 'Orell'. The early medieval sheild that they used displayed a double headed eagle. Maybe this is all just a coincidence? They derived their name from Orrell-in-Makerfield in Lancashire of which manor, they were the Lords.

  • Do you have an image of the family shield? I googled but could only find reference to a shield with 3 dots. If so this seems like more likely a reasoning than the others. You can edit your answer to add this in.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Apr 30, 2019 at 15:42

The shield comes from a stained glass window (now lost) from Wigan parish church which is thought to commemorate the marriage of Margaret, daughter and heir of William de Orell of Newton-in-Makerfield, with Sir Robert Langton of Hindley circa 1340. An earlier seal of a different William de Orell of Haydock (a distant cousin of the first William) circa 1315 showed an image of a double headed eagle.

green double-headed eagle on a white shield

  • Hi there. Is there evidence that was the inspiration for the ASOIAF charcater?
    – Jenayah
    Aug 3, 2019 at 12:51

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