Many people have asked what the meaning behind the name “Drakengard” and/or “Drag-on Dragoon” could possibly mean. First of all, I think it is important to point out the significance of the original title as it is displayed graphically:
As you can see in the image above, the way the text is displayed with a line through the empty space between the words “drag” and “on” seems like a clever way to both match and differentiate between the words “dragon” and “dragoon”. (See below)
Just lining up the two words, one above the other as the romanized title is usually displayed in Japan, you can see how nicely the words mirror each other, simply minus one O in the word “dragon”. This is an extremely important allusion to the human & dragon counterparts in the game, showing how making a contract/pact with each other fuses their souls together; how their two, separate lives become one.
Taking a closer look at the Japanese text, the katakana doragguon (ドラッグオン) could also be a variant of doragon (ドラゴン) aka the typical spelling for “dragon” in katakana, and could more closely relate to the actual English pronunciation of the word.
And also, it may be important to note here that Yoko Taro himself refers to the DOD/Drakengard series as merely “dragon” (ドラゴン), so it would be safe to assume that the first word in this title is NOT meant to be read as two separate words (drag and on).
As for why the original title “Drag-on Dragoon” was not adopted for the international release could simply be due to the “uncool” sound of it in English. To the native Japanese ear, however, it doesn’t particularly sound cool or uncool. Thusly, the the localization team decided on the title “Drakengard”.
For the longest time, I really disliked this name, mostly because of my purist mindset when it comes to translations. I, more often than not, would rather keep the original title no matter how silly it may sound in my own language. I would rather leave the name as it is than try to translate it and lose some of its aesthetic feel or meaning.
But over the years, the name has grown on me, considerably. So much now that I feel more comfortable using this title than awkwardly pronouncing it in Japanese. So much for the steadfast ways of the purist!
So let’s take a closer look at the meaning behind this name DRAKENGARD, some of its variants, and possible meaning.
“Draken” is a male name meaning “dragon” in Greek or “male duck” in English. People with this name have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family or community, and a need to work with others and to be appreciated. It is also a delta-winged fighter jet.
According to Wikipedia, the English word “dragon” comes from the Latin “draconem” meaning “huge serpent, dragon,” and the Greek word “drakon” meaning “serpent, giant selfish”.
Draconis, or “Draco”, is a Latin variant which means “dragon”. It is a constellation in the far northern sky.
Interesting account of “draconis” associated with the number of the beast, 666. The angel Michael also makes an appearance in this story.
According to his blog, rologeass suggested that this is a reversed reading of “drag” from the original title. This is a clever realization; however, I believe it goes far beyond the backward rearrangement of letters.
“Gard” is a MALE name, variant of Gardner (Middle English, which means “keeper of the garden”. Gard is also a FEMALE name of Norse origin, which means “enclosure, stronghold”.
(The somewhat related female name, Hildagard, which means “battle stronghold” and Ermengard, which means “complete, universal”, both in Old German.)
Here is some more information about “gard” as stated by Ultem:
It sounds like ‘garden’, doesn’t it? And the translation given by you supports this. So, let’s have a look at Bosworth and Toller. They don’t have it. But that’s only Anglo-Saxon.
Perhaps you think of a different Saxon dialect. So let us search ‘ad fontes’: We find it in a dictionary for the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) as a Old Saxon word linked to PIE ‘garda’ – garden.
Now that we proved it is closely linked to ‘garden’, we can look up this word etymologically:
‘Old Northern French gardin, diminutive (cf. Vulgar Latin hortus gardinus) or oblique form of *gard (cf. Old French jart), from Old Low Franconian *gardo ‘fenced in yard, garden’ (compare Dutch gaarde, gaard), from Proto-Germanic *ǥarđōn (compare West Frisian gard, Low German Gaarn, German Garten), from *ǥarđaz ‘yeard’. More at yard.’
Although we can’t prove that those words have a direct etymological connection following this article, I doubt anyone will question its close common features.
As stated by an article on Wikipedia, a dragoon is the name given to those who were trained in horse riding and fighting skills. The name could have been derived by the firearm, called a dragoon, carried by the dragoons of the French Army. There is also no distinction between the words “dragon” and “dragoon” in French, as they are both referred to as “dragon”.
So what do you think? Were you originally happy with the international title “Drakengard” or were you a little upset? Or do you really not care either way? xD Voice your thoughts and ideas here! 😀
I like to think the Greek male name “draken” and the Norse female name of “gard” come together to form the title of DRAKENGARD. This is *perfect* given the fact that the dragons within this series have been said to be neither male nor female. Plus, this meaning would put the dragons in the center stage spotlight as opposed to the other main characters like Caim, Nowe, or even Zero.
Also, the French word for both “dragon” and “dragoon” as being one and the same is extremely interesting when you think about the contract between both parties. In DOD1, the contract somehow joins the souls of the dragon rider or “dragoon” with the dragon, in a way forging a new soul with two separate bodies. The Dragon and the Dragoon are one and the same. Ooooh!
In review, I’d like to think the complete meaning behind the title Drakengard means “Stronghold of Dragons”. Other variants could mean “Garden of the Serpant”, which alludes to the story of the Garden of Eden and the temptation of Adam & Even (humans) by the Serpant (dragon or devil). Hmmm!