If you grew up in the 1980’s you probably have fond memories of some of the fantasy adventure movies from that decade. For many, these movies were an early introduction to a different style of naming. Sometimes they were a slight twist on an old familiar name, other times they seemed completely magical and fantastical. But the great thing now is that those names are an instant reminder of those beloved films. Here are 20 of the top picks:
Atreyu (The Neverending Story) – Pronounced ah-TRAY-yoo, he was the warrior boy of the story. It is thought that the name has both Indian/Hindu origins – where it means ‘warrior’ – and German origins in the name Atreju, which means ‘son of all’. Both are quite apt for this character, who was raised by a village when his parents died. The name is still rare, but has seen some use since the early 1990’s.
Aquila (Ladyhawke) – Aquila is traditionally a male Latin name meaning ‘eagle,’ but is more often used as a girls name in America. Pronounced either ah-KEE-la or ah-KWIL-la, it was the name of the land in Ladyhawke.
Auryn (The Neverending Story) – The Auryn was the name of the amulet Atreyu wore to protect and guide him in his quest. It was also on the cover of the book Bastian was reading ‘The Neverending Story‘ from. This name could go to either gender, as it sounding similar to both girls’ name Lauren and boys’ name Oren, and has only recently started appearing on the US charts for both.
Bastian (The Neverending Story) – One of the most recognizable names on this list, Bastian comes from the Latin boys’ name Sebastian. Actor Jeremy Sisto named his son Bastian Kick in 2012, and while the name is starting to be used in America, it’s much more popular in Chile, where it is a Top 20 name, and Germany and Norway.
Buttercup (The Princess Bride) – A name that would sound at home on one of Jools and Jamie Oliver‘s offspring, Buttercup is a super-cutesy floral name that has never charted in America, despite being the name of the well loved bride of this tale. Probably better left as a term of endearment.
Cherlindrea (Willow) – Pronounced SHER-lyn-dree-ah, she is the fairy queen of the forest who tells Willow that he has been chosen to save the child who will bring about the downfall of the evil queen. It’s like a mixed bag with elements of Cher, Cheryl, Lyn, Linnea and Andrea all rolled into one. A little too fantastical to use, this name, not surprisingly, has never charted in the US.
Elora and Danan (Willow) – Elora Danan was the child Willow was charged with saving. Either of these names are winners. Elora is thought to be a variation of the Hebrew name Eliora, meaning ‘the Lord is my light’, or the Greek Eleanor meaning ‘bright, shining one’. It’s likely though that the writer – himself a Canadian – got it from the Canadian town Elora. Elora has a long history in the US charts, however the movie has certainly helped to boost its popularity: since ‘Willow‘ was released in 1988 it has appeared regularly.
The character’s surname is spelled Danan, but is quite often thought to be Dannan or Dannon. Interestingly, Danan has only ever charted for boys, Dannan only for girls, while Dannon can be seen on both genders. The original form is most likely Danann, as in the Irish legend of the Tuatha De Danann, because Willow uses the word tuatha when he is trying to cast a spell’.
Falkor (The Neverending Story) – Falkor was that fluffy flying white luck dragon in the movie. A very cool name, like Falcon but less “birdy.” Falkor (or Fuchur in the original German text) has no accepted origin or meaning.
Isabeau (Ladyhawke) – Isabeau is a truly romantic name. Pronounced IS-ah-bo, it’s a variant of Isabel and means ‘God is my oath’. It’s likely that it’s less popular than Isabelle or Isabella variants because although Belle/Bella and Beau all mean ‘beautiful’, the first two are feminine version while Beau is masculine. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful (no pun intended) name and would stand out from the Isabels and Isabellas, and avoid the nickname Bella. Isabeau entered the US charts in 1987 and has maintained a constant but quiet presence.
Jareth (Labyrinth) – This is one name that would be instantly associated with the movie it comes from; Jareth the Goblin King was played brilliantly by David Bowie, and is iconic within 80’s movies. Though it might be confused with Jared, it carries a massive cool factor that would probably go a long way towards making up for that. Jareth hit the US charts the same year the movie was released – 1986 – but has never been super popular.
Kael (Willow) – Like the sound of Kale, but not the less than flattering association with cabbage? Then you may want to spell it Kael. This variation first cracked the US top 1000 in 2006, and was still there in 2012. Kael is a variant of the Gaelic name Kaelen, meaning ‘uncertain’. It’s also used in ‘World of Warcraft‘ and is generally seen as a name for a dark, strong and forbidding type.
Kira (The Dark Crystal) – Kira is a name with multiple spellings. This is one of the sleeker versions, and also the one worn by Olivia Newton John in Xanadu and female officer Major Kira on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Each of the variations has a different origin and meaning, varying from ‘dark’ in Gaelic to ‘throne’ in Persian to ‘glitter’ in Japanese. Kira has been in the US girls Top 1000 since 1979 – and in the top 500 for most of those years – but has been declining slightly in the past few years.
Ludo (Labyrinth) – Also the name of a board game, Ludo was the lovable friendly monster in Labyrinth and appeared as a minor character name in Harry Potter. Ludo is assumed to be a nickname for boys’ names starting with Lud, such as the German Ludwig or the French Ludovic. But on its own Ludo could fit in quite well with current hot names Milo and Arlo.
Rylan (The Last Starfighter) – It sounds kind of like Riley and kind of like Ryan, and in this movie it was the name of the people on the planet Rylos, which the star fighter is recruited to protect. Rylan is a top 1000 name in the US for both boys and girls. Makes a good different-but-not-too-different name.
Sorsha (Willow) – Also a hero name in the video game Heroes of Might and Magic, Sorsha has a strong yet feminine sound. It’s an alternative spelling of the Irish Sorcha, meaning ‘bright, shining’. Sorsha has rarely charted in the US, possibly because of the nastiness of the character.
Tyrian (Dragonslayer) – Similar to Tyrion from Game of Thrones or Tirian, the final king of Narnia in C.S. Lewis‘s The Last Battle, this spelling brings it just that little closer to tyranny. Tyrian is the name of a dark reddish purple color once prized for its rarity and ability to become richer with exposure to sunlight. All spellings are rare but have charted at least once in America.
Westley (The Princess Bride) – Looks like Wesley but with more of a cowboy feel. Westley has a long history in the US charts, but is more often outside the top 1000. Boys names ending in “ley” such as Bentley are quite popular right now- Westley would be a great choice if you’re looking for a current sounding but not overused boys name.
Valerian (Dragonslayer) – Yes, Valerian may be a most often recognized as an herbal remedy for sleeplessness, but it is also a regal sounding nature name. It has been the name of a Roman emperor and several saints, and is a Latin name meaning ‘healthy, strong’. Valerian is a rare name, and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
Did you see your favourite fantasy name on this list? Would you use a name inspired by your favourite movie? Or maybe you already have……