Category: baby name Lyra
Now that winter is here, it’s a good time to look at names from the frozen north and beyond in the worlds created by Philip Pullman in his young-adult trilogy His Dark Materials.
If you’ve read or watched the first part, The Golden Compass (called Northern Lights in some countries), it’s hard to forget the heroine, a girl called Lyra, or the friends and foes she meets on her journey to the Arctic. She comes from a universe similar but different to ours: it’s a bit steampunk and contains colourful characters like witches and armoured polar bears.
In the following books, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, we follow Lyra beyond the north into other worlds, including our own, inhabited by all manner of people: humans, angels, harpies, and even stranger creatures. With this eclectic mix of characters and Pullman’s love of symbols and hidden meanings, you can bet they have some good names.
Here’s a look at some of the most interesting names from The Golden Compass and its sequels, from wintry northern names to modern-sounding surnames. Warning: if you haven’t read any of the books or seen the film, there may be a few giveaway details here.
The 2012 Popular Baby Names list was released in May to a lot of excited name enthusiasts. Of course we were all interested in the Top 10 and Top 100, but I also loved seeing what fell out of and what made its way into the Top 1000. What’s the new name on the block? Finding out was like Christmas in May.
On my blog back in January, I made my own predictions and suggested 6 girl names and 6 boy names that would crack into the Top 1000. It’s always hard to say what will make the jump into the published list and what will not. In 2011, for example, Hattie reentered the Top 1000 at #993 with 253 births, up from 157 births in 2010 (which would have put it at #1444). It could take a lot of births, or just a few depending on the activity of the other thousand names throughout the year. To help me make these predictions, I went through the 100 names below the Top 1000 to see what jumped out at me.
For those who find themselves enchanted by the magic of the night skies, here are names of stars and constellations which could be used as baby names. I’ve sorted them into male and female, but a few could be used on either gender.
In the constellation Serpens. Its name comes from the Arabic for “fat tail (of the sheep)”.
A constellation named after a beautiful princess from Greek mythology, who was chained to a rock as an offering to a sea monster. Her name is said to mean “to think as a man” in Greek, interpreted as meaning to be as intelligent or brave as a man.
In the constellation Canes Venatici (“The Hunting Dogs”), which represents the dogs belonging to the nearby constellation, Boötes (“The Ploughman”). Astronomers thought it would be nice to give him two dogs, and one is called Chara, meaning “joy” in Greek – it sounds like Cara. The other dog-star is Asterion (“starry”).
A constellation whose name is Greek for “lyre”. The lyre belonged to Orpheus, a legendary musician, poet and prophet from Greek mythology.