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Playing the Harry Potter Name Game

posted by: emilygc3 View all posts by this author
Harry Potter names

By Emily Cardoza

As a bookworm, I find that some of the most fun in reading comes after I finish the book – imagining the characters’ worlds, thinking up possible new storylines – and even new names! I’ve been giving the name treatment to a few works of fiction in my Literary Names series on Nothing Like a Name. My last post for Nameberry, New Names for The Secret Garden, prompted a couple of requests to give the same treatment to Harry Potter characters. But since the cast is so enormous, I’ve decided to try it out with just a select subset – the Defense Against the Dark Arts professors.

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YA Author Names: Rainbow & Ransom

YA author names

By Meagan, TulipByAnyName

The genre of Young Adult fiction is booming. These writers have brought characters to life with wonderful, vibrant names and many of them have equally delightful names. Let’s take a look at the names of some popular Young Adult authors.

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Shakespeare baby names

by Christina June

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” — William Shakespeare

True story: I have never once wanted to get revenge on someone. I don’t have any enemies and I strive to be kind to everyone; I remind myself there’s always another side to the story and try my best to keep that in mind when something doesn’t go my way. Because of this, or perhaps in spite of it, I’ve always been fascinated with stories about revenge and why someone would choose to go down that slippery slope.

Several months ago, when I answered a call for short stories to be part of a new charity anthology of Shakespeare retellings, the only play I even considered working with was Othello—the ultimate tale of revenge. A perpetual favorite of mine, I turned Othello into The Scarf, which brings the familiar characters to a modern high school during a student government election. Golden boy Omar is poised to win the presidency, the ultimate power position in the school, but just hours before the results are to be announced, he confronts his girlfriend Darcy about the mounting evidence that she’s cheating on him with his running mate. With a missing scarf as the seemingly final nail in the coffin of their relationship, stage manager Emerson begins to put together their pieces of the story that isn’t as it appears on the surface.

Othello is not only one of the most interesting of the bard’s plays, but it contains some of the most interesting names, in my opinion. I, of course, started my story by choosing new names for all the players. I was set on keeping the first letter of the original names so it would be clear to readers less familiar with the story who they were reading about.

The play’s title character Othello became Omar. I have adored the name Omar for years and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to use it. The character Omar is charismatic and charming, everyone’s best friend, and needed a name that projected those traits. In The Scarf, Omar is also the quintessential leader, unflappable and sure of himself, but is distracted by assumptions that his girlfriend, Darcy, is cheating on him.

Desdemona turned into Darcy. I am less cruel than good ol’ Will and did not send Darcy to the same fate as her predecessor. I went for something lighter and sweeter. Darcy is loyal to the bone, especially when it comes to her long-term boyfriend, Omar. She’s always seen wearing the wine-red scarf he gave her, but on election night, it goes missing.

Iago is now Ivan. Our villain needed something that felt cold and cruel, but also interesting. Iago is such a recognizable name in pop culture and I wanted Ivan to have the same distinction in my story. Ivan is the perfect campaign manager, cool and collected, supporting his candidates from the wings. Ivan and Omar have always been best friends but Emerson, Ivan’s girlfriend, begins to wonder if all is as it seems between the two of them.

Emilia changed into Emerson. Emerson is another name I’d been saving and as Emilia is fairly current, I went with a fresh alternative to her more popular sisters. Emerson is also my narrator and mystery-solver, so I wanted a name that projected intelligence. She’s not only the voice of the story, but the eyes and ears. Emerson overhears suspicious conversations while backstage and begins to put the pieces together of what happened to Darcy’s scarf.

Cassio became Caleb. Caleb is the unfortunate social casualty in my story and I felt he needed a name that made him seem not only kind but perhaps a little naïve and vulnerable. He’s Omar’s running mate, and a social climber, which makes him an easy suspect when Omar’s placing blame.

Roderigo is now Ruby. A small player in this story, I gender-flipped the character and went with something spunky and sassy that fit her spitfire personality. Emerson wonders if Ruby might be harboring feelings for Darcy and trying to throw Omar off his election game.

Changing William Shakespeare’s choices into my own and making them fit the reimagined characters in my version of Othello was so much fun and I’m really proud to be a part of this project.

Christina June is a writer whose spin on Othello is included in the new book, Never Be Younger, a YA Anthology, available now for purchase for the Kindle, The Nook, and the Kobo. All proceeds from sales go to United Through Reading, an organization dedicated to keeping military families connected through books and technology.

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Literary Baby Names in the News

names from books

By Abby Sandel

Let’s talk literary baby names.

Jennifer Love Hewitt’s new son has a name borrowed from one of the hottest sources of baby name inspiration today: the 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Noah Wyle’s new daughter has a Mockingbird middle. Her first is associated with a beloved children’s author, too, whose most famous works date to the early twentieth century, as well as with the heroine of J.D. Salinger’s famous story Franny and Zooey.

The current Number 1 name for girls comes from Jane Austen’s Emma, first published in 1815.

Even in our age of modern inventions like Jaxson and Skylar, plenty of parents stick to the classics – in baby names and literature, too.

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30 Baby Names from Books

posted by: Brit + Co View all posts by this author
names from books

By Anne Momber, Brit+Co

Choosing baby names can be tough. You have to decide if you want something traditional or original, family-inspired or out of the box – and then you probably have to get at least one other human on board with your decision. Yes, there are apps for this whole process (and we definitely recommend you check them out if you’re in a bind), but sometimes it’s best to start with something you know and love — like a favorite book. Here are 30 baby names inspired by our favorite fiction (and book-based movies) to help you get those baby name creative juices flowing.

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