By Linda Rosenkrantz
Witches have haunted the big and small screens forever and are a perfect source for Halloween baby names. And while most of them are evil, scary, hideously ugly (Snow White!), even seductively witchy, there are some that are more kid-friendly. There are also some softer, gentler witches that are kind and funny and sometimes even Charlize–Theron-beautiful. Here we have a mix of both; what they have in common is their cool, all too human baby-worthy girl names. (Note: I could have filled the whole blog with those genius J. K. Rowling HP creations, but I managed to limit myself to just three.)
BELLATRIX Lestrange, as played by Helena Bonham Carter in the Harry Potter films, is scarily sadistic, wild and unpredictable—as much a villain of the piece as Voldemort. But despite the malevolence of the character, this name, also that of one of the stars of Orion, has enchanted enough Berries to bring it to #514 on NB.
CORDELIA Goode in American Horror Story: Coven is played by Sarah Paulson, for which she won an Emmy nomination. Cordelia is currently reigning as Supreme of the Coven of the Salem descendants. She bears the name of King Lear’s one sympathetic daughter, and there was also a Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This vintage treasure is now #132 on Nameberry.
FREYA Eilif Beauchamp is a main character in the 2013 show Witches of East End, who refers to herself, quite rightly, as “a smart stalker lady and a bad-ass witch.” Freya is the fast-rising name of the Norse goddess of love, beauty and fertility, currently ranked at #305.
GILLIAN Holyroyd—In the 1968 film Bell, Book and Candle, seductive Kim Novak is a Greenwich Village primitive art gallerist who uses her supernatural powers for seductive ends. Coincidentally or not, Nicole Kidman’s witch character in Practical Magic has the same name. The attractive Gillian has been common in England from medieval times on; in the US the Jillian spelling ranks much higher.
HERMIONE Granger is the brainy witch among witches in the Harry Potter franchise—powerful, savvy and witty, played in the films by Emma Watson. The strong Greek name Hermione hasn’t taken off yet, but still might when some of the younger Potterheads come of baby naming age.
MARNIE Stonebrook, one of the fiercest True Blood villains, an evil character played by Fiona Shaw who became possessed by a 16th century witch. Marnie, once seen as belonging to the period of the eponymous Hitchcock film, is having something of a comeback via one of the girls on Girls; and having been used by Lily Allen for her daughter. Now 147 in England, 458 on Nameberry.
MINERVA McGonagall is a fierce and powerful Harry Potter witch played by the fierce and powerful Dame Maggie Smith. Minerva is the quirkily cute name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention, leading to the stylish nickname Minnie, which was recently chosen on its own by Jack Osbourne.
PIPER Halliwell—Part of another wiccan sisterhood (along with siblings Prue and Phoebe), this time in the 1998 Charmed, who all just happen to be unscarily good, gorgeous and beautifully named. (In the new update, the Piper character is renamed Melanie.) Piper is on fire these days, at #78 and rising.
RAVENNA—Glamorous Queen Ravenna, in the form of Charlize Theron, is a modern (finally named) version of the traditional Snow White’s Evil Queen. In Snow White and the Huntsman, she’s a selfish and tyrannical ruler and her gustatory taste runs to eating human hearts whole. Ravenna is a lovely Italian place name that could be a successor to Sienna.
SUKIE Ridgemont, aka Michelle Pfeiffer, is one of the three gorgeous but unwitting Witches of Eastwick who leads a fairly prosaic life until she, Susan Sarandon and Cher fall under the spell of satanic Jack Nicholson. Sukie—not to be confused with True Blood’s Sookie—is an old nickname for Susan that now sounds more modern than Susie.
URSULA, the shape-shifting sea witch in The Little Mermaid, may be an animated character but that doesn’t keep her from being spookily evil. Also a saint’s and Shakespearean name, Ursula just might be too tied to this character at the moment.
WILLOW Rosenberg, a key character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, played by Alyson Hannigan, is sort of the sweet, cute, quirky modern witch next door, a founding member of the Scooby Gang. The sweet nature name Willow is now at #81 in the US, 32 in Scotland.
WINIFRED/WINNIE Sanderson is one of three sister witches in the goofy comedy Hocus Pocus—the tough, smart one of the trio, played with gusto by Bette Midler. Once a Top 200 name, Winifred could make a comeback, thanks to winsome nicknames Winnie and Freddie. Winnie Rose Fallon is the daughter of late night’s Jimmy.
ZELDA Spellman is one of the guiding witch aunts of Sabrina: The Teenage Witch—a show that also included characters named Vesta, Mercury and Jezebelda. An example of Exotic Lite names, Zelda has long been tied to the gaming world and is now rising fast, presently at #280 on Nameberry.
HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN!