Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Dr. Doom Vs. Ra's Al Ghul



Reading the comics as a kid, I never quite knew how to pronounce Ra's Al Ghul.  I have to say, that I am still confused - I have seen the character appear on TV and an the movies and heard him discussed in creator interviews, and there still does not seem to be a clear consensus.  I've hard "RAHZ-al-Ghoul" as often as I have heard "RAYSHE-al-ghoul".  Maybe I need to go back and see how his creator Dennis O'Neil says it, that should be considered the official pronunciation.

22 comments:

Cary Comic said...

Personally? I think Luthor would use their feud to pull off something that would wipe them both off the map, permanently and simultaneously!
At least, according to Wizard Magazine (who once rated him Number One in a list of Top Ten Super-villains).

Harry Tzvi Keusch said...

Since his name means "Head of the Demon", and head ib Arabic is pronounced ras (with a shot a) the it should be pronounces Ras-al Gul.

Harry Tzvi Keusch

Mickey said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Great pairing here, Ross. I had never thought of this one before. I also like Cary Comic's suggestion to see Luthor behind it somehow.

Anonymous said...

Regarding ABC's planned live-action version of the Jetsons, will it have a "Phil of the Future"-like story format (with the Jetsons "setting up shop" in the present) and would Jane and Judy be more #MeToo-friendly, with the women being less feminine, as opposed to the 1960's originals where Jane is a G-rated "trophy wife" "raised in a Laura Petrie dish" and Judy being less Barbie-like?

Kevin Doolittle said...

What does this have to do with the post?

Mark said...

I was at a convention a few years back in which both Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams were in attendance. I asked them both. Dennis pronounced it Rayshe, and Neal pronounced it Rahz. So... it's good either way.

Rob Cline said...

It still irks me that they don’t pronounce Thanos correctly in the Avengers movies. I read an answer to the question in a letters column years ago that it’s pronounced with a long A and a long O.

Anonymous said...

Anon #1: I thought with the series being planned GOD KNOWS WHEN that New Years Day seemed a good enough (if ARBITRARY) time to mention...; I also wonder if "Phil of the Future" was originally planned to be a "Sabrina"-like sitcom starring cartoon character Judy Jetson (the future is often depicted as "magical").Judy even had her own cartoon movie in the 1980's!

Ed said...

It's pronounced RAS AL GULE, with the E being silent. Arabic for "Head of the Demon".

Bob Greenwade said...

All the TV series (that I've seen) have said "Raish." This includes Gotham, where the role is played by Alexander Siddig; I think that's probably correct.

Harry's analysis would carry more weight, though, if not for a couple of typos making my ability interpret it a little uncertain.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to read this comic, though I would like it to be a mini-series.
Ordinaryguy2

Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention pronunciation of Ras Al Ghul. Just last week i came across an interview with Denny O'Neil, https://13thdimension.com/denny-oneil-talks-the-origin-of-ras-al-ghul, which includes the following:

"this was the first Ra’s al Ghul (story). How do you pronounce it?

My daughter asked somebody in the UCLA language department and “Raysh al GOOL” I think is what she ended up with, but it’s pronounced all over the lot. “Rahs” al Ghul I think is a common one."

Matthew Baugh said...

The Arabic spelling is رأس الغول‎ . Plug that into Google translate and you can get a sound file of the pronunciation.

The "a" in Ra's is pronounced "ai" rather than "aw." The "s" in Ra's sounds like a straight "s" and not an "sh." It could be an "sh" but the effect of the "h" is very muted. The "u" in Ghul sounds like "uh" or "oa" to me. The "al" sounds like "ol" and there's a soft vowel sound after "Ghul," making it sound almost like "goalie."

Matthew Baugh said...

One thing that irks me is the trend in the last 15 or 20 years to refer to Ra's's daughter as Talia al Ghul. "Al Ghul" isn't a last name, it's part of his title. It's like referring to Alexander the Great's wife as "Mrs. the Great."

Brother Kellymatthew Barnes said...

Rahz for the Animations and Rasche for the lawsuit er I mean The Live Action Motion Pictures. So far at any fee.

Anonymous said...

@Rob Cline: as in, they didn't pronounce like a streamlined version of the words: "the anus?"

Anonymous said...

Matthew, why shouldn't Talia choose (or be told to) use "the demon" as a title? It would be quite in character to do this in honour of her father.

In relation to the pronunciation of R'as, while I don't speak Arabic myself, given the number of dialects spoken I wouldn't be surprised if most of those listed in this thread were right somewhere. Any scholars reading the thread?

Anonymous said...

Also, there are other instances of titles now being used as surnames (King, Prince, Khan) and surnames turning into titles (Caesar, and its variations like Czar and Kaiser)

Bob Buethe said...

In the late '70s, DC had the "DC Hotline," an 800 number that you could call to hear a recording of the latest news from a different DC staffer each week. I remember being surprised to hear Denny O'Neil pronounce it "Raysh al Gool" when I had always thought it was "Rosh al Gull."

Bob Buethe said...

On a similar note, I had always pronounced the Metal Men villain's name as "KEM-o," until I met other fans who pronounced it "KEE-mo" (like in "chemotherapy"). The DC Who's Who eventually settled it. (I was right.)

But it's still up in the air whether "responsometer" is "respons-AH-meter" (like barometer or thermometer) or "re-SPONS-oh-meter."

Anonymous said...

Regarding the increasingly imminent remake of "King Kong vs. Godzilla," how about "Godzilla vs. Gorgo" (with special guest-star Harry Potter)?

Cary Comic said...

I'm for it. :-)

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