Week Five – Literary Baby Names


Babies have been on my mind a lot these past few months. My niece will be born this autumn, so the topic of names has been discussed of late. Having already written a post on the literary names I would consider for my hypothetical children, I decided I wanted to do something a little different for this week.

The following (fictional) parents should be ashamed of themselves for the cruel names that they have bestowed upon their children.

10. Gone With the Wind
Margaret Mitchell

    Offenders: Mr. & Mrs. Wilkes
    Victim: Ashley Wilkes

    I don’t care if the name “Ashley” is unisex, giving your son a girl’s name is very much not good. It doesn’t help that Ashley is a total pansy. What on earth does Scarlet see in him?

09. Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Thomas Hardy

    Offenders: Mr. & Mrs. Clare
    Victim: Angel Clare

    Here’s the thing, in spite of all his faults, I actually like Angel Clare. But his name is Angel Clare.

08. The Chronicles of Narnia
C.S. Lewis

    Offenders: Harold & Alberta Scrubb
    Victim: Eustace Clarence Scrubb

    He did deserve it, I guess. Poor kid.

07. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain

    Offender: Pap Finn
    Victim: Huckleberry

    The kid’s name was Huckleberry, but everybody called him Huck Finn. I just have one thing to say: spoonerism.

06. The novels and short stories of Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Offenders: Mr. & Mrs. Holmes
    Victims: Mycroft & Sherlock.

    Imagine their childhood.

05. Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte

    Offender: Mr. Earnshaw
    Victims: Hindley Earnshaw & Heathcliff

    Mr. Earnshaw should not be naming children. First of all, what kind of a name is “Hindley?” Second, he just names the gypsy urchin he’s forced upon his family after the fauna that grows on the moors and a harsh rock exposure. Third, the kid uses this name as both his Christian name and his surname.

    Heathcliff. Just one word – like Madonna.

    Offenders: Hindley & Francis Earnshaw
    Victim: Hareton Earnshaw

    Oh dear. This cruelty is genetic.

    Offenders: Edgar Linton & Catherine Earnshaw
    Victim: Catherine Linton

    Edgar Linton was too lazy after Catherine’s death to come up with anything better than naming their daughter after her.

    Offender: Isabella Linton
    Victim: Linton Heathcliff

    When Heathcliff hears what Isabella has named his son, all he can say is,

    They wish me to hate it too, do they?

    – Chapter 17

    Poor Heathcliff.

04. The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

    Offenders: Mr. & Mrs. Mellark
    Victims: Two unnamed sons & Peeta.

    The baker names his youngest after bread. I still can’t get over this name.

    He has two unnamed older brothers. Apparently in Panem you don’t have to name all of your kids if you don’t want to.

    Offenders: Mr. & Mrs. Everdeen
    Victim: Katniss

    The Everdeens got lucky naming their youngest daughter “Primrose.” That’s okay, but Katniss? No wonder she doesn’t make friends easily.

    Plus, she’s not very girly. She spends all her free time hunting and skinning animals. I bet she doesn’t take a lot of baths. I bet the other kids call her cruel names.

    Like Cat Piss Never Clean

    She’s also not good at bestowing names herself. She doesn’t ever bother learning the name of the female tribute from District 5, so she just ends up calling her Foxface.

    Like I said, though, in Panem you don’t have to give your kids names. If Katniss ever did have children, she probably wouldn’t bother.

03. The Harry Potter Series
Jk Rowling

    Offenders: Percival & Kendra Dumbledore
    Victims: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian, Aberforth, & Ariana

    With that many middle names for the firstborn, I’m guessing the Dumbledores were well posh.

    Offenders: Harry Potter & Ginny Weasley
    Victims: James Sirius, Albus Severus, & Lily Luna

    Harry, don’t name your kids after dead people. Especially people with names like Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape. And no, the nickname “Al” does not make up for it.

    Also, alliterative names should only be given to superheroes.

    Offenders: Luna Lovegood & Rolf Scamander
    Victims: Lorcan & Lysander

    In Luna’s defense, she had to go through life with the nickname “Loony,” and her father’s name was “Xenophilius.”

    Rolf was also cursed with a father named “Newt.”

    They just didn’t know any better.

02. Graceling
Kristin Cashore

    Offenders: King Ror of Leinid & his unnamed queen
    Victims: Four unnamed sons (Laziness, people); Son #5 – Prince Silvern (I bet his wife’s name is Goldie, and they have a son named Bronze); Son #6 – Prince Skye (What, is he a hippie?); & our hero, Son #7 – Prince Greening Grandemalion.

    It gets worse. No one bothers to call Son #7 by his real name – it’s that ridiculous – so they settle on a nickname:

    Po.

    Moving on…

    Offenders: King Leck & Queen Ashen of Monsea
    Victim: Princess Bitterblue

    Granted, Leck is a psychotic sadist and child abuser, but still – Bitterblue?

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the number one couple who should be severely punished for giving their bizarre abomination of a daughter the worst name ever created:

01. Breaking Dawn
Stephenie Meyer

    Offenders: Bella Swan & Edward Cullen
    Victim: Reneesme Carlie

    “Reneesme” is an amalgamation of Bella’s mother’s name “Renee” and Edward’s adoptive vampire mother’s name “Esme”. Carlie is a portmanteau of Bella’s father’s name “Charlie” and Edward’s adoptive vampire father’s name “Carlisle.”

    I have no words. I just laughed and laughed and laughed when I read this. (Yes, I’ve read the Twilight books. Shut up.)

    Thankfully, Jacob Black, Reneesme’s true love (don’t get me started), comes up with a much better name. Since “Reneesme” is such a mouthful, he aptly names her “Nessie.”

    For a human-vampire hybrid baby freak, being named after the Loch Ness monster works.

Having said all that, I have to admit that this post is very pot-calling-the-kettle-black. When I decided it was time to write a fantasy novel, character names became a difficult issue as I was confronted with my own hypocrisy. I might have named a character “Lysander.” In fact, should this novel find it’s way onto the bookshelves of Barnes & Noble, it will probably warrant a place on lists such as this.

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11 thoughts on “Week Five – Literary Baby Names

  1. Ahahahahahahaha! Well done.

    One quibble, only because I am obsessed with such things: Heathcliff isn’t really named for fauna, or flora. He’s named for two place-words, as if he were named “Swamprock.” Even so, you are spot-on with your objections to the name.

    I do wonder about my own name-choices when I write. Sometimes, I fear, they are terribly cruel. It’s a wonder my characters don’t rebel.

    • You’re right. I just really hate that name.

      I’ve decided that all names I give characters will be real names in some language. That way, I can defend them if people find them ridiculous.

      • I do that with most of my characters. Of course, in that case we run up against the hitch of people’s pre-concieved notions of certain names. In some ways, we just can’t win.

      • Very true. I am convinced, however, that the most ridiculous fantasy names occur when authors try to get too creative for their own good and just run sounds together. Like “Elphaba.” I can’t believe I didn’t think to include Wicked (or The Wizard of Oz) on this list.

      • hehehehe, oh yes. I wrote a post called “Pitfall of T’naké’lorilin’arpé’liél” talking about that very problem, only regarding place-names instead of character names. Trying too hard is obvious on page.

  2. I LIKE you take on this meme! Brilliant! Although, I feel like I should add Wodehouse to the list. “Montegrew” and “Alister” really ought not be names for humans. But at the same time . . the names say something about the character!

    And I admit that I each baby name books for names that mean something when I name my characters. Thus I have a “Guenivere” in a story, despite not liking the name, solely because of the allegorical weight it added.

    And speaking of name meanings, have you read much Waugh? Particularly “The Loved One” or the “Sword of Honor”? He uses names in a fascinating manner, both revealing the ultimate character of each person, but also to give them a sense of identity and vocation. ‘Tis most wondrous!

    • Thank you very much!

      I haven’t read any of Waugh, which is sad, I know. I’ve heard interesting things about his writing, but I always find someone else I want to read first.

      At some point, I will read his works, and I will remember what you said about character names. 🙂

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