Nomen est Omen

So, here we are at the prerequisite shrine name page. Squaresoft, being a Japanese company, has a habit of giving their characters a kind of symbolic depth by way of naming their characters things like Strife. They're also pretty gung-ho for the mythological and literary references. We've had Shiva, Nibelheim, Alexander (the Great), Beowulf, Leviathan, Masamune, and the list goes on. But the thing about fictional characters is they can be named for a purpose. Sometimes, when you name your ice princess Shiva it won't have anything to do with a Hindu destroyer god, but Leviathan is actually a giant sea monster, and Cloud Strife is mighty angsty. So what can we say about Locke?

Locke.  John Locke.

Well, there is a 17th century political philosopher and sometime supporting character on Lost named John Locke. Locke's system of philosophy was that of empiricsm- he believed that all knowledge is based on experience. At birth, the human mind is a tabula rasa, or a blank state. His political views were expounded in his Two Treatises of Government. In the first treatise, Locke rejected Divine Right monarchy, from a biblical and ethical standpoint. He then went on to define his principle values as life, liberty and property.

The purpose of government, according to Locke, is to protect fundamental human rights. Revolution is not only a right, but an obligation. If this stuff sounds familiar, it's because the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution draw heavily from Locke. Locke also favored religious freedom (except for Catholics o.O) and separation of Church and State.

The best part about the Two Treatises is that at first there were three of them. In his introduction, he writes "Thou hast here the beginning and end of a discourse concerning government; what fate has otherwise disposed of the papers tha should have filed up the middle, and were more than all the rest, 'tis not worthwhile to tell thee." Now, considering that the Two Treatises are classics of political philosophy, it begs the question, what could be in the third treatise that is better? Either he wrote something better than his fairly genius chef d'oeuvre, or he didn't and has made centuries of historians and philosophers think he did. Either way, he's one sly fox.

Though I find it an interesting possibility, I highly doubt that Square was thinking of the Enlightenment philosopher when they chose the name for the treasure hunter. For one thing, the "e" isn't even there in the Japanese. However, when Ted Woosley added the "e" for the US release, he was thinking of dear old John somewhere in the back of his head. He was a college student, and if there's one thing I know about college students, they're pretentious, so it doesn't seem like that remote a possibility.

And with regards to that translation choice: I'm perfectly aware of the more Japanese variants of their names. Lock became Locke, Tina became Terra, and Edgar stayed Edgar, sly pimp king that he is. I actually prefer the Americanized versions nine times out of ten, accuracy be damned, so I use those here. The times when I would be inclined to use the original Japanese names, such as substituting Jun for Arvis, I'm afraid my readers wouldn't be able to follow me. As for Locke specifically, the decision to add an extra "e" is to me, a valid one, as it doesn't do anything to change the pronunciation of the name, and it renders the whole thing more acceptable to the English-speaking eye.

So it's true that Locke isn't the most obvious name to grace the Final Fantasy stage but it's a far from subtle name choice on the part of Square. Locke is an English surname that means "lock." Tifa Lockhart, of FFVII fame, also had a name alluding to the idea of a lock. Metaphorically, a lock both protects a treasure from malicious influence, while keeping those with better intentions on the outside as well. If you say someone's feelings are "locked up inside" it's generally meant negatively. Locke tends to keep his real self hidden from others while hiding under a heroic facade. Of course, as the party's resident treasure hunter, Locke posesses no small finesse with his namesake. It's ironic that the person who unlocks both the doors of Narshe and, more importantly, the chains of Celes, would be so locked-up himself.

Locke's last name is Cole, which is also an English surname, meaning "black" in old English. I've also heard that it's a common Dutch shortening of Nicholas, but whatever. It is my opinion that Cole is just a random last name chosen because it's English, like the name Locke, and it goes along with his more important first name very well. And, well, to be fair, the English thing is only important to my perverted sense of the character. Also, I recently found out about a manufacturer of keys and locks named "Cole".