Category: television character names
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 Jane. Tywin and Tyrion are similar to Tyler, while Edmure and Eddard sound much like our Edmund and Edward. Marcella 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.
I’ll admit it. I’m name-obsessed. When I’m handed a business card, I have to stifle the impulse to ask about the middle initial. (Is that D for David or Dennison – or Danger?) My loved ones have long understood that they cannot call to report that so-and-so had the baby without also sharing the child’s given name. I eavesdrop. I ask. Rarely is there a waking hour in which the topic does not cross my mind.
And yet, we name nerds mostly travel through the world in anonymity. Sure, our closest friends know that we’ll have something to say about every choice, whether the newborn in question is Harper Seven Beckham or the little boy down the street.
But there’s never a good time to reveal that you’ve been quietly judging, and so being outed is always the tiniest bit awkward. It happened to me earlier this week, with someone I’ve known for only a few months. Her first question – well, what do you think of my kid’s name?
Never have I been so grateful that she had chosen the sparky, stylish Milo long before we’d met.
Here are my nine picks for the most newsworthy hot baby names this week:
Amy – The new Christina Applegate/Will Arnett/Maya Rudolph sitcom Up All Night, billed as a “modern take on parenting,” debuts in a few weeks. Since all the stars are the parents of nicely-named youngsters themselves, I expected that the fictional daughter of Applegate and Arnett would have a great name. Piper, maybe. Or Adelaide. I watched the previews, listening and listening, not believing what I was hearing. Amy? The name that was second only to Jennifer in the 1970s? The name of Will’s real-life wife? Others have pointed out that Amy isn’t so outlandish. She’s a logical nickname for the popular vintage choice Amelia, and feels at home with favorites like Zoe and Mia. She’s been falling since 1977. Could the show reverse her fortunes?
Some of those characters eventually have fictional children of their own. Mad Men couple Pete and Trudy just welcomed daughter Tammy. 90210’s Jen has a brand new son called Jacques. In honor of the two new arrivals, here’s a look back at some notable small screen births.
Everyone was watching I Love Lucy when Ricky and Lucy welcomed Enrique Jr. – Lil’ Ricky – in 1953. The show was a sensation, but Richard was already a Top Ten mainstay, and even Ricky was in the Top 100 before the baby’s arrival.
The first influential television baby probably came from 1964’s Bewitched, a sitcom with a supernatural twist. Bewitching wife Samantha’s name caught on, as did daughter Tabitha, who arrived in the show’s second season.
There’s more than one way to add a child. The Brady Bunch’s six kids became seven when Cousin Oliver came to stay during the show’s final season. While his name is the height of fashion today, it didn’t catch on until decades later. The character did lend his name to Cousin Oliver Syndrome – the phenomenon of adding a younger child to revive a fading show.
Every new TV season or so we like to check out the recently launched shows, as well as those still running, for any interesting names that have emerged since the last time we looked. Most scripters continue to come up with the obvious and the formulaic, giving their characters names like Jessica and Jeff and Rick and Robin, Amy and Andy.
But there are some who do think out of the box—though usually for not more than one character per show. The list below steers clear of reality shows, so no Khloes or Kourtneys, and no cartoon characters or kiddie shows.
- Astrid – Fringe
- Calleigh – CSI Miami
- Chastity – Ten Things I Hate About You
- Chima – The Philanthropist
- Cricket – The Starter Wife
- Divya – Royal Pains
- Effy – Skins
- Elka — Hot in Cleveland
- Felix — Waking the Dead
- Fiona – Burn Notice
- Jinx – In Plain Sight
- Lavender – The Starter Wife
- Lyla – Friday Night Lights
Max can stand on its own or may be a short form of the ancient Roman name Maximus, which means “greatest,” or of Maximilian or Maxwell. It’s one of the down-to-earth cigar-chomping grandpa names last popular a hundred years ago and enjoying a huge revival now. Like brothers Sam and Jake, Max is unpretentious and friendly but also sounds cool.
Celebrities led the way in launching the revival of the name, starting in the late 70s and early 80s. Stars who are the parents of now-grown kids named Max include Dustin Hoffman, Henry Winkler, Steven Spielberg, and Nora Ephron & Carl Bernstein.