by Joe Satran
SPOILER ALERT: This post contains some spoilers for Game of Thrones through the end of season 7. Read at your own risk!
HBO’s Game of Thrones is so popular that it verges on national myth. Everyone, it seems, knows the bare outlines of the series. And for millions of viewers, it’s a more familiar story than the Bible. Few other fictional worlds this side of Harry Potter have had its cultural impact.
A lot of the show’s appeal derives from its fully thought-out, immersive world. Every facet of the universe was designed with care by George R.R. Martin, the writer of the book series on which HBO based its show. And baby names are no exception. Martin devised a whole new world of baby names for his books — one loosely based on, but by no means contiguous with, our own. The character names in the A Song of Ice and Fire series are as distinctive as those of any fictional world since Lord of the Rings.
Most of Martin‘s characters’ names are based on specific names in the real world, but they usually have a slight tweak — anything from one letter changed or added to a new suffix. The final season of the show won’t air until mid-2019, but to help you through the lull, we’ve decided to do a full analysis of 51 prominent names from the world of Game of Thrones. Click through below to find out which Game of Thrones names are usable in the real world — and which ones definitely aren’t.
The Character: Alliser Thorne, the ill-tempered Master-at-Arms of the Night's Watch, who opposes Jon Snow at every turn, even after the Stark scion becomes Lord Commander.
The Name: A typically Martinian twist on a classic -- in this case, the Scottish Alistair. Thorne is one of the few Night's Watchmen who insist on being called by the honorific "Ser," which is emphasized by the unusual "-ser" ending of this name.
Is it usable? Nah. The close proximity to Alison and Alice make it sound distinctly feminine, but the terrible in-world namesake is pretty much the embodiment of toxic masculinity and aristocratic privilege.