When You Give the Name of Thrones…

The most popular baby names of 2013 are out and Arya made the list. Awesome. Not only is Arya a kickass character in Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, a generically competent character in Eragon, and reminiscent of Arwen, it’s also an actual, historical name meaning “Noble”. That’s where the Aryan Nomads got their name.

Of course, a name need not have historical precedence. The names Jessica and Olivia were made up by Shakespeare and both have graced the top five lists. Belladonna was first used as a woman’s name by J. R. R. Tolkien in The Hobbit. Still, in an age of Jaymzes, Irelynds, and Apples, a little validity never hurt anyone.

Arya is also mistaken for a variant of “Aria”, which, while inaccurate, isn’t all that bad. Noble Song. That’s like a bard’s perfect name. Or a Whovian’s. Arya is hardly the only Westerosi to go from screen to birth certificate, though. It seems fictional character names, particularly from Game of Thrones, were all the rage last year.

There were 1135 Aryas, 241 Khaleesis and 67 Daeneryses born in 2013. And 15 Theons and five Robbs. But some new names also came on the scene.

For one thing, there were eight girls named Brienne last year — apparently thanks to the Game of Thrones character. There were 10 girls named Bellatrix as well (“Popular New Baby Names Of 2013: Vanellope, Kaptain, Tuf, And Kyndle“).

Prim also made the list, though there were less Katnisses than previously seen. Meanwhile, Logan, typically a boys’ name, seemed to be popular for both genders, perhaps due to the renewed popularity of X-Men’s Wolverine. However, not all babies born in 2013 were lucky enough to be named Arya or Brienne. In addition to the aforementioned Theons (who will forever be tormented by the “Dick in a Box” song), there were some truly horrendous new names last year, fictional or otherwise. Kyndle? Really? Because Kindle wasn’t bad enough? The name Rebelle also popped up among the new names. I can only hope this wasn’t after the line of Nerf guns/bows, in part because that just rubs salt in the wound and in part because Nerf weaponry doesn’t seem like the noblest of namesakes to drag around through adult life.

Thus, I thought this might be a good time to reshare my handy guide to naming your fan baby responsibly, “From Leia to Lolita: Questions to Ask Before Naming Your Baby After a Fictional Character“. Although, in light of the names Khaleesi and Theon, I feel the need to add two questions to the list:

21. Do you actually know this character’s name? Khaleesi is a title, not a given name. Please do the barest minimum of research on your child’s namesake.

22. Did this character suffer genital mutilation at any point during this book/show/movie? Is that what this character is best known for? See question 3 for more.

A friend of mine who works at the SPCA tells me they have a cat adopted and renamed Khaleesi on a weekly basis. Who knew so many people in this area watched Game of Thrones, for starters. This name always unsettles her, both due to the fact that the character’s name is not Khaleesi (it’s Daenerys “Stormborn” Targaryen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Lady of Meereen, Princess of Dragonstone, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Unburnt Mother of Dragons, and Breaker of Chains), but also because Calici (pronounced the same) is a virus that effects cats. Who knew? Of course, your cat probably won’t grow to hate you because the other cats don’t take them seriously, but with great fandom comes great responsibility. Name responsibly.

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About boundandgaggedbooks

Shannon is a freelance writer and folklore buff. She has a degree from Hampshire College in Creative Writing/Mythology & Religion, with an emphasis on epic/oral traditions, their anthropological implications, and their modern counterparts. Her work can be found in Fabulously Feminist, Wolf Wariors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology, The Concord Monitor, Redhead Magazine, and The Climax.

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