The smith’s son
We were talking with some friends, the other night, while having a much welcome cup of ice cream, about how come that there’s always a guy called Kowalski that’s tough and military-trained in movies.
From Stargate to Gravity via Madagascar to end with Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, there’s always a guy called Kowalski.
And what about Kitty Kowalski in Superman Returns?
I don’t care about the movie, but Kitty Kowalski was played by Parker Posey, and that’s enough for me.
Now, Wikipedia tells me Kowalski is the second most popular family name in Poland (the first is Nowak), and it comes from the word kowal, meaning smith.
So Kowalski is basically “the smith’s son”.
The name was probably made popular with writers by A Streetcar Named Desire, even if this does not explain the military angle.
Now, it must be noted that writers are often pretty obsessive about names – if you can’t find the right name, you will not “get” the character, and the story will spin out of course and who knows what will happen.
Hence the whole thing about Kowalski – it’s a name that carries a lot of expectations.
But here comes the fun part – while I was doing research for Asteria in the Court of the Sun King I chanced upon a french actor that goes by the name of Rambo Kowalski.
And I thought, I need to write a character with that name.
Now that’s a name for a guy starring in an action-adventure series.
Nothing sophisticated or intellectual.
Just stories about a guy facing impossible odds while chomping on a cigar and brandishing a very big gun.
It might even be fun to write.
I’ll save it for the long nights of winter.