What's In A Name? Top Ten Tuesday Talks Literary Names!

October 22, 2013 Top Ten Tuesday 53

How Goes It, Bookworms?

Things are lovely here in my neck of the woods. Fall is in the air, Halloween is around the corner, and all is well. The only way it could be any better? A LIST! That’s right y’all. It’s TOP TEN TUESDAY and I’m joining up with the ladies of the Broke and the Bookish to play along. This week’s topic is Literary Names We Love or Unusual Character names. Now. When it comes to naming children, I’m super old school and wouldn’t consider anything that hadn’t been regularly used as a first name for at least 200 years. Literary characters, however, are not subject to such silly rules. I’ve got reasons I like the names, I swear. They just might not be good reasons. Ready?!?!

toptentuesday1. Cath and Wren from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Cath and Wren are twins… By surprise. That’s right. Despite modern technology, occasionally things slip by sonogram techs… Like spare fetuses. Anyway, their mom didn’t have two names chosen for her girls, so she split the one she had, “Catherine” in half.

2. Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell– Fun fact! Scarlett’s first name is NOT Scarlett. It’s KATIE. That’s my name too! Whenever we go out, the people always shout, there goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt KATIE! Da da da da da da da!

3. Olivia Joules from Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding- Back when we thought Bridget Jones was done adventuring, Helen Fielding introduced us to another quirky heroine by the name of Olivia Joules. Now, Olivia was born with a different name, but she wanted to start fresh. How can you go wrong with naming yourself after the unit of measurement for kinetic energy? I know my own personal Joules (from Pocketful of Joules, of course) is the bee’s knees.

That's Joules on the left. And Lauren on the right. And Chrissy photobombing.

That’s Joules on the left, me, Lauren, and Chrissy sticking her tongue out. Plus obligatory photo bombers.

4. Fergus from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  Sometimes you need to escape your past as a child prostitute, and the only way to make a clean break is by taking on the name of a Scottish warrior-type, okay?! Gosh!

5. Peeta from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I really like puns, right? And Peeta’s family runs a bakery. Pita is a bread. I just tell myself that his parents were lousy spellers. District 12 isn’t exactly known for its educational system.

6. George from Feed by Mira Grant. I simply adore the idea that George Romero zombie movies proved vital in the war on Kellis-Amberlee. Naming children after various zombie movies (because Shaun is OBVIOUSLY named for Simon Pegg’s masterpiece)? Hilariousness. Mira Grant is crazy clever.


7. Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I really like alliteration, and it would seem Rowling does, too. Why does the coolest professor at Hogwarts get the honor of being on this list instead of, say, Severus Snape, if the only qualifier is alliteration? Because she’s awesome, and I said so. Soooo. Yeah.

8. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Wuthering Heights and I have a complicated relationship, BUT. Heathcliff is a cool name, and it totally reminds me of that kickin’ 80s cartoon with the orange cat.


9. Coraline from Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I’m still working on writing up my review for this one, but I really like the name Coraline. Gaiman said he came up with the name by butter-fingering the name “Caroline” while writing a draft. I tend to think faster than my fingers can type, so I’m prone to typos too. For a while I found myself typing “Kaite” instead of “Katie” pretty regularly, at which point I started pretending to myself that “Kaite” was simply a Gaelic spelling of “Katie.” I’m deluded.

10. Wendy Moira Angela Darling from Peter and Wendy by JM Barrie. I’ve got to give it up to the girl. If you can successfully rock two middle names and introduce yourself as such without a hint of irony? Girl’s got swagger.

What do you think, Bookworms? Have you got a favorite literary name? Let’s name us some houseplants! (Because that is a completely normal activity for college aged girls. What ELSE would you name a spider plant if not Charlotte?!)

53 Responses to “What's In A Name? Top Ten Tuesday Talks Literary Names!”

  1. Jeannine G.

    My oldest daughter is actually named after a character, no one would know though. In high school I went through a Nora Roberts phase and one trilogy had a character named Brianna, but they always called her Bri. Believe it or not, I had never heard this name before. So I thought if I ever have a daughter, I’m naming her Brianna so I can call her Bri. So I had a daughter and named her Brianna…but when I brought her home my family had brought a little cake and shortened her name to “Bria” on it and it stuck.

  2. Sarah Says Read

    Oh man, I forgot Cather and Wren! And George is a great pick not by itself because the name George sucks, but because of the reasons behind it. YOU ARE SUCH A THINKER, KATIE!

    • Words for Worms

      I actually like the names George and Georgia, but you know. I’m a fan of the old and stodgy. The reasons behind it in Feed really made it a super winner for me, though :).

  3. Megan M.

    I love Scout (I know, it’s a nickname, but it’s adorable.) I also like Elinor/Eleanor of Sense & Sensibility AND Eleanor & Park. I liked Primrose from the Hunger Games. I know there’s more but they’re not coming to me right now.

  4. Ashley Z

    It makes me all warm and fuzzy when I read and a character has a name of one of my kids. But then that warm fuzzy feeling goes away when Caleb from the Passage dies, and when Caleb from Divergent series turns into a big d-bag. *sigh*

  5. Liesel Hill

    I always liked Heathcliff and Minerva. Fun fact: Did you know that Heath Ledger’s first name was actually Heathcliff? He just shortened it for his career. Great list!

    My TTT

  6. JoulesDellinger

    AWWW YEAH, I got a shoutout! And I totally read that book JUST BECAUSE it had my nickname on the cover. =)

    As for my favorite literary names, if my son was a girl I would have fought my husband to name her Lily (after Harry Potter’s mom). My beloved dog was named Potter (duh) and my newest dog is Ollivander… I have a bit of a Harry Potter issue. I also love the name Morgan because of a teen book called “Just Morgan” I read when I was a kid.

  7. PinotNinja

    I went through a period in late elementary school where I named everything — stuffed animals, my fish, my bike — Matilda because I was so obsessed with the Roald Dahl book.

    Even to this day, I still think Matty is a pretty great name.

  8. Turn the Page Reviews

    Friend of ours have a dog named Minerva- came with the name from the breeder and they wouldn’t change it. I named my yellow Lab Katie after Ms. O’Hara-Hamilton-Kennedy-Butler.

  9. quinndien

    I cannot deny the power of James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser from Outlander. Also, Gus and Call from Lonesome Dove. And last but not least, Ramona Quimby!

  10. tinykitchenstories

    Love that George replaces Jennifer for popular girls’ name, as I’m one of the Jennifers born in (eek!) 1971 when Love Story hit the screens and EVERYBODY named their daughter Jennifer. Sigh. I guess it could be worse—I could have been born in the 60s and called Moonbeam or Cloudburst.

    +++But you must go to the Google home page today and click on the graphic! I promise one of your favorite things will surprise you!!!

  11. Mabel

    Another fun fact: Scarlett was originally going to be named Pansy. Mitchell didn’t understand the connotation that comes with the name in the North. (Scarlett was no sissy!) 🙂

    I also like Heathcliff. 🙂

  12. RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book

    Laughed out loud at #5! Pita bread. I love it.

    And your #2 song just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Whenever she goes out, the people always shout, there goes Katie at the fab blog Words for Worms da da da da da da da. What do you think of the rewrite? If you sing it, it works.

  13. caitlinstern

    A Harry Potter and Hunger Games character made my list, too–some great names there.

    The zombie-flick names are funny–and people would totally do that. 🙂

  14. Don Royster

    Here’s some I love: Henry Scobie from The Heart of the Matter, Pip from Great Expectations, Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Thursday Next from The Eyre Affair, Long John Silver from Treasure Island, Shylock from The Merchant of Venice and Falstaff from Shakespeare’s Henry plays. There’s just so many I could go on for hours. Shakespeare and Dickens have the best.

  15. bybeebooks

    I’ve always liked Betsy’s best friends’ names — Tacy and Tib. As for the guys, has there ever been but one Almanzo? (When I went to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house in Mansfield, Missouri, I found out that it’s pronounced Al-MAN-zo, rather than ALL-MON-zo as they said in the TV series.)

    • Words for Worms

      Ooooh it was always “Al-MON-zo” in my head! Al-man-zo? That’s like Illinois refusing to pronounce town names correctly. “Cairo” is “Kay-ro”, “San Jose” is “San Jo’s” and “Marsailles” is “Mar-sale-s.”

  16. Leah

    Hahaha Peete/Pita is why I love you. I *almost* put Minerva McGonagall on my list, but replaced her with Mundungus Fletcher at the last moment. I loved the alliteration, and also the tie between Minerva the professor and Minerva the Roman goddess of wisdom!

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