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Classic Names with a Twist from Game of Thrones

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Guest blogger Aislinn Nicole is a fan of both baby names and George R. R. Martin‘s epic Game of Thrones series.  Here, she combines enthusiasms and helps us navigate the names of the new season.

The people of George R.R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire (adapted by HBO to become the TV series Game of Thrones) are very much like the people of our world.  Martin’s characters are vivid and real, and their names are an extension of that, including interesting similarities and alternatives to several classic names.

There’s the simple and lovely Jeyne, pronounced just like JaneTywin and Tyrion are similar to Tyler, while Edmure and Eddard sound much like our Edmund and EdwardMarcella was my grandmother’s name, so Myrcella holds a particular fondness for me.  There are a dozen other examples in the series… and some names you’ll never have heard before, that are equally lovely.

Game of Thrones is about a continent (Westeros) of feuding noble families, all vying to control the Iron Throne.   At the beginning of the series, the Iron Throne is held by King Robert Baratheon, who requests the aid of his childhood friend Eddard Stark to help him keep the Iron Throne which he won by defeating House Targaryen.  Below, the noble houses are listed with the main characters included as well as some characters with more interesting names. Note: some of the characters listed don’t appear (or become important) until later in the series, but they are simply too good to exclude.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Game of Thrones, the series’ first season came out on DVD March 6th, and the second season began on HBO on April 1st.  For the real experience though, I’d recommend the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, whose first book is called A Game of Thrones.

House Baratheon (unless noted otherwise, all characters in each list carry the noble house’s name as their surname)

King Robert – a milder version of Henry VIII

Queen Cersei Lannister – Robert’s beautiful, vain and scheming wife

Joffrey – the crown prince and spoiled heir to the throne

Myrcella – the only princess

StannisRobert’s hard, unyielding brother

RenlyRobert’s handsome, favored brother

House Stark

Eddard (Ned) – the series’ protagonist, a moral and just man to a fault

Catelyn TullyNed’s strong and loyal wife

Robb – the oldest son, a young but brave warrior

Sansa – the eldest daughter, pretty and whimsical

Arya – the youngest daughter, clever and determined to never be a lady

Bran – the second son, dealt a difficult hand by fate

Jon SnowNed’s illegitimate son

BenjenNed’s younger brother

LyannaNed’s long dead sister, once betrothed to Robert Baratheon

Jeyne Poole – Sansa’s girlhood friend

House Lannister

Jaime – Cersei’s twin brother

Tyrion – Cersei’s younger brother, a clever and devious dwarf

Tywin – Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion’s father

Kevan – Tywin’s younger brother

House Targaryen

Rhaegar – the deceased crown prince of deposed House Targaryen

Viserys – the last remaining male heir of House Targaryen

Daenerys (Dany) – the last princess of House Targaryen, she is the female protagonist

House Tully

EdmureCatelyn’s brother and heir to House Tully

LysaCatelyn’s younger sister

BryndenLysa and Catelyn’s uncle

House Greyjoy

Balon – the lord of House Greyjoy

Theon– a ward of House Stark, he is Balon’s only living son

Asha/YaraTheon’s sister (the name Yara is used in the TV show to prevent confusion with another character)

Victarion Theon and Asha’s uncle

House Tyrell

Mace – the lord of House Tyrell

Loras – the Knight of Flowers, and youngest son

MargaeryMace’s only daughter, lovely and smart

Olenna Redwyne Mace’s mother, called the Queen of Thorns

Brienne of Tarth – a brave female soldier who fights in armor like a knight

House Martell

DoranPrince of Dorne and Lord of House Martell

ArianneDoran’s oldest child and heir (in Dorne firstborns inherit regardless of gender!)

QuentynDoran’s oldest son

EliaDoran’s sister. Once married to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, she was killed in the war

Other Characters

Jorah Mormont – a disgraced knight who aids Daenerys Targaryen

Meera Reed – a daughter of Howland Reed, a bannerman of Eddard Stark

Melisandre of Asshai – a sorceress who aids Stannis Baratheon

Aislinn Nicole is a graduate of Washburn University and plans to return to school next fall.  As a student of history and anthropology, Aislinn hopes to one day pursue either a career as an archaeologist or a historical writer.  Her nom de plume,  Aislinn Nicole, was born out of a love of Celtic history (Aislinn) and jealousy over a cousin’s awesome name (Nicole).

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