2.08.2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Fictional Characters I'd Name My Children After

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Feel free to join the fun. 

Disclaimer: Dear potential grandparents, should we be given the great honor of having any children, we will stick to good old-fashioned names from the Bible, saints, and the honor of family members. I won't subject your grandchildren's Christian names to my whimsy. I promise.

...but this list was unreasonably fun to create, anyway. As a kid, I used to plan out names for my future children. I never had fewer than eight at any one time. It was hard to limit this to ten—I had to rule out using more than one name per book, otherwise it would have been the Top Ten Names I'd Pick from Harry Potter and the Jane Austen Canon. For simplicity's sake, I also chose not to include names that are already in my immediate family (the sort of thing that in real life, I might actually use. Go figure.) Apologies to Anne Shirley, Anne Elliot, Annie Anderson, Elizabeth Bennet, and Andrew "Ender" Wiggin.

Without further ado:

1. Maria Merryweather [Little White Horse]. Smart and lovely and adventurous and true, Maria is one of the best female characters in all of fiction. I could even give my aforementioned whimsy full rein and call my daughter Maria Loveday. Isn't that beautiful? I'm probably not hippie enough to do that in real life, but still. Oh, and I also like the name and character of Robin.

2. Harry Potter. Yes, I would. If I dared. The name and the hero have neither of them any cause for shame. Other great Potter characters with names I really like: Hermione, Lily, Luna, Ginevra, Arthur, Fred, George, Fleur, and Neville. And while I'm not keen on Albus, there's nothing wrong with Brian. I have a feeling there are more that I'm not thinking of off the top of my head.
[Edit: After getting a couple of hilarious comments, I thought it best to clarify that I'm referring to Harry's first name, not his full name. I'm not that crazy about the books!]

3. Elinor Dashwood [Sense and Sensibility]. I love her, and I love her name. While I wouldn't say sense is my strongest characteristic, I have some natural sympathy with her personality. Other Austen names I love, besides the family ones: Emma, Jane, Charles, Frederick, Edward, Edmund.

4. Lucy Pevensie [The Chronicles of Narnia]. The name means light (as in, the opposite of darkness), and she's wonderful—so sensitive to Aslan and to everything good and right. But I love Peter and Edmund nearly as much. I do actually have a character of my own currently named Lucy.

5. Adelheid [Heidi]. If I could figure out how to pronounce it. Heidi, at least, is easy enough to say. I sometimes think I have more in common with Heidi than with any other character in fiction. This would work well for a child very much like me.

6. Alexey [The Brothers Karamazov]. I love Russian names—well, some of them. And I was very fond of Alyosha. Too bad Katarina is awfully conflicted, and Lise is a little crazy, and there aren't any Svetlanas that I recall.

7. Gilbert Blythe [the Anne of Green Gables series]. I can't go wrong with this name. Gilbert shares his name with G.K. Chesterton, and Blythe almost seems like it could make a cute little girl's name. "Blythe by name, and blithe by nature," as one of Anne and Gilbert's daughters is described.

8. Rebecca, daughter of Isaac of York [Ivanhoe]. She's brave, beautiful, pure of heart and kind to the suffering. What more could a woman ever want to be? She totally made that novel for me.

9. Jean Valjean [Les Miserables]. I didn't wholly enjoy that droll, rambling monster of a book—though it had a lot of great moments—but I loved the protagonist. There went a man who had it truly hard, but made the best of what he had and knew grace. Of course, naming an American boy Jean is a bit unkind; I'd have to anglicize to John (my father's name) or feminize to Jeanne, which connects to Jeanne d'Arc. I win either way.

10. Lavrans [Kristin Lavransdatter]. Another book that was hard for me to read, primarily because I despised the main character's love interest and spent half the book angry with Kristin for making such terrible choices. But it was very moving, and there's not a better man in fiction than Lavrans. He reminds me of my own dad.

Yes, I know it's not the most serious bookish question I've ever asked or been asked. But do you have a name or names that you've ever thought of giving to a child?

17 comments:

  1. Very nice list...yes, indeed...very nice!!

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  2. Fun list!
    I've always had an aversion to naming kids after characters - it always made me feel like I'd be disrespecting my child's personhood..author's are fine, and I have a few writers I'd choose, but for some reason, characters - never. :) weird eh?

    As for writers though: I think Rainer is lovely and so is Rilke. Soren is fantastic, but I don't think it could handle the excessively slavic names I'd surround it with.

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  4. Nice. Except you just know that poor little Harry Potter St. Hilaire would get beaten up on the playground. By Maddison and Wingspan and Mykaleigh, to make matters worse.

    I once knew a girl named Leia, seriously, who seemed to do well enough with it. There's also a Lolita in my office. I wouldn't recommend either name, myself, but they seem to have turned out all right.

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  5. It is pronounced Ad-a-laid... and it is a beautiful name. I also love Elinor, though I can't imagine naming my child Harry Potter. That would scar him for life. :P Harry Potter L____. It would be like naming your child... Herkimer or something.

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  6. Guys! Haha. I meant just Harry, not Harry Potter. Giving a kid both names is too cruel even for fantasy. Scarred for life and beaten up by Mykaleigh... terrible fate. :P

    Beth, if I ever did use Adelheid, I think I would pronounce it as you say. The Dutch say something more like AH-del-heet, I think, but I am not Dutch. It really is a beautiful name.

    Masha, no, that's not weird. I actually agree to a point, especially if the character in question happens to be exceptionally well known (like Harry Potter), or has an unusual name (Lolita? Yipes, Eric), or isn't a clearly good person (naming a kid after Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov seems like a very bad idea to me). Which is why this is entirely a fantasy list. Author names, of course, are totally fair game. :)

    Kathy, thanks! I enjoyed reading yours, too.

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  7. ...and by Dutch, I meant German. Oops. :P

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  8. Fun list! Adelheid is pronounced AH-del-hide. I suppose Adelaide is ze French version and would be pronounced as given earlier.

    --Arabella

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  9. I have a friend whose son is named Dashell for Dashell Hammitt, the author. Up to that point I had never really considered naming kids for literary figures.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and letting me know Scout's given name: Jean!

    -Anne

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  10. Alyosha is just such a beautiful soul I would have been a fool to leave him out!

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  11. Thanks for the clarification, Arabella! I believe you're right about Adelaide. And while I've had to sing in German, pronouncing it has definitely never been one of my strengths.

    Anne Bennett, sade martha mary, and Andrea, thanks for stopping by! Anne, I've heard of a Dashell, too. Sade, Alyosha truly is a beautiful soul, and it was fun to find someone else who felt the same way about him! Andrea, me too. :)

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  12. Well, this gets a bit beyond hypothetical for me--fictional names for children? Right back atcha:

    Fern, for Fern Arable in Charlotte's Web, who 'was up early this morning fighting injustice.'

    Rose, for Rose of Noonvale, the beautiful, clear-voiced heroine whose love and courage transforms a battered, despairing prisoner into the great figure of legend and symbol of freedom and hope: Martin the Warrior.

    And that is, in fact, what we named our daughter: Fern Rose.

    If we'd had a boy instead, we would have named him Martin, for the above hero, and we may use the name yet. It has the advantage of being a family name, too, and the name of a real life hero--Rev. King, Jr.

    I'd also consider Robert Falconer, which also has a family name in it. But don't think I'd ever name any son of mine Dirk Gently.

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  13. Okay, Mr. Pond, that's approximately the twelfth reminder I've received lately that I need to read Charlotte's Web again. There's so much more to the book than the movie, and it's been so many years since I read it.

    Fern Rose is a lovely name. :)

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  14. Oh yes, by the way, you need to read Charlotte's Web again.

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  15. What a great list Jenna, I LOVE the idea of Gilbert Blythe. I am rereading Anne of Green Gables right now, such a great book. I would have to add Huck the list, I've always that that would be a great name to give a kid.

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