Baby Name Inspiration: Game of Thrones Edition

If you follow this blog, you know that I’m just a wee bit of a pop culture junkie. And my current addiction is Game of Thrones—my husband I plowed through the first two seasons of the show in a week and a half, and now we’re settling in and psyched for season 3.

If you haven’t watched it, it’s a bit Tolkein-esque, with generous portions of political intrigue and nudity thrown into the mix. Game of Thrones offers some pretty cool name inspiration—author George R.R. Martin chose names that are tweaks on classic names. They’re just right for people who don’t want to stray too far from the classics, but still want something unique for their kiddos. Here are the names I love from the show:

Tyrion Actor Peter Dinklage has won numerous awards for his portrayal of the “imp” brother of the devilish siblings Cersei and Jaime—and even watching a few minutes of him at work as the Machiavellian-level scehemer, it’s clear why he’s won the accolades. His name is a variant of Tyrone, which is a place name from an Irish county, and currently falling out of favor in the U.S. Perhaps this variation can take its place?

Sansa The eldest Stark daughter bears this name, a Sanskrit word which means charm. It’s a perfect choice for a young lady known for her beauty and elegance.

Arya Arya is one of my favorite character on the show, a spritely girl who is determined to grow up to be strong and fight, rather than sit with her embroidery. Her name is Sanskrit like her sister’s and means noble. It’s currently #711 in popularity for girls, with the operatic alternative Aria ranking even higher, at 157.

Theon This Greek name is borne by the Starks’ longtime hostage, who went back to his seafaring clan and took on the Starks in the wars last season. It’s a name that means godly.

Eddard The noble Ned Stark, the late lord of Winterfell, bore this name, an alternate spelling of Edward, a top 200 name that means wealthy guardian.

Joffrey The enfant terrible ruler of the land sports a variant spelling of Geoffrey, which means pledge of peace, hardly an appropriate name for him (but maybe one for your child).

Bran This nickname for Brandon is the name of the Starks’ young son. It means broom-covered hill, and is #47 on the most popular names list.

Stannis This shorthand version of Stanislav is a Slavic name that means glorious government. It’s the name for one of the aspirants to the throne–Stannis Baratheon, older brother of the former king.

Renly The youngest brother of the late King Robert also made a bid for the throne. This utilizes a popular Japanese name, Ren, which means raven.

Shae This unique spelling of the Irish name Shea means gift. On the show, it’s the name of the prostitute who becomes the lover of Tyrion—and is probably one of the kindest characters in the land.

Brienne This bold warrior girl has a name that’s a variant on Brian, an Irish name that means valiant—a perfect choice, don’t you think? Since Brianna is now #45 on the U.S. charts, perhaps this alternative is one to consider.

Myrcella The eldest daughter of the late King Robert was given is unique spelling of Marcella, a Latin word that means warlike.

Ygritte The gorgeous and fierce Wilding who falls in love with Jon Snow sports a Norse-inspired name, a variant spelling of Ingrid that means hero’s daughter.

What do you think of these names? Would you consider any of these, or perhaps one of the more out-there names, like Daenerys, the current leader of the Dothraki tribe?

Image: Game of Thrones Poster by Helga Esteb /

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  1. by Michelle

    On April 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    We named our third child, a girl, Aria, in 2011 because we loved Arya from Game of Thrones!

  2. [...] Re: You know you're obsessed when….. I have called my wife "my moon and stars," and she is none the wiser, having not read any of Martin's work. One thing that is interesting to me is the cultural impact of his work. One subtle marker of popularity is the name of wireless networks. Five years ago, when I'd travel I would find secure private networks with names like Legolas_43 and Gandalf3. I was on the bus last week and ran across a "Braavos" and "Kingslayer". I'm interested in trends in baby names, so I searched and found this:…rones-edition/ [...]

  3. by Chrissy

    On May 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Love the name Kalesee… I know it means queen but I love it!

  4. by Tywin

    On May 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    At first I was a little skeptical of Shae. I mean it’s just so simple sounding and common when you first hear it. Then the name kind of grew on me. Shae is very alluring when I come to look at it a bit longer. Yes, I think I might try Shae.

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