Iznogoud, for those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure, is a comic by Asterix author René Goscinny.
It’s about a short and not altogher pleasant Grand Vizier to the Caliph of Bagdad. Yes, that Bagdad. When the characters in have to take a boat somewhere, they invariably go to Basra…
The Caliph is a saintly and innocent man who never notices that Iznogoud is constantly plotting against his life, using a variety of magical devices from the pages of the Arabian Nights, such as bottled genies, flying carpets and other weird and wonderful things. The end result of every plot is the same: the Vizier inevitably falls victim to his own devilishly clever plan, without the Caliph ever realizing anything is amiss.
Recently, in an attempt to improve my French, I’ve been reading through all the books in the series (the ones by Goscinny, not the ones Tabary wrote after his death).
The thing about the language in Iznogoud is that it’s chock full of word puns, what the French call calembours . Every character in the stories has a name that is a pun of some kind. For instance, Iznogoud’s own name (“he’s no good”) is a reference to how some French people pronounce English, dropping aitches and adding z:s.
Now to the question. Two of the principal characters of the series are the Caliph, Haroun el Poussah, and the Viziers right hand man, Dilath Larat. Both these names are clearly puns of some kind, but what do they mean? The dictionary hasn’t been much help.
Thanks a lot in advance!