I will unabashedly admit I get attached to characters because I like their names. I read a lot of fantasy and the names get to be quite original and fun. For example, last week I finished Etiquette & Espionage. The main character had the delightful moniker “Sophronia” and her dog’s name was Bumbersnoot. For the record, when asked why he should be called Bumbersnoot, her response was a very adept, “Why not?”. Yes. Love it.
I don’t have ten, because I feel like names are very personal and I didn’t want to choose just funny or pretty names. The name we give something has power – it helps define the way we picture it. So here are three of my recent reads with powerful, interesting names.
Everything about We Were Liars.
While I wasn’t crazy about the book as a whole, the names in We Were Liars had such a melody to them. It wasn’t just the characters – even the house names were perfect. Names like Windemere and Cuddledown felt doubled-edged: romantic and somehow dark. Character names fit well, too. I particularly liked Johnny – it’s a common name, but fit the character perfectly in his role as Only Male Heir and True-Blue American Boy. There’s a lot in this book tied to names and memory, and the author did a splendid job with that.
All the Names in The Hate U Give Mean Something.
I was fortunate enough to read a copy of The Hate U Give that included an aside from Angie Thomas discussing why she chose the names she did. For those of you who haven’t read the book, I won’t spoil too much just in case you have this note in your copy. Retrospectively knowing her reasons for even the street names added a little more power to the story. My favorite example? Tupac has a lot of influence on this book. Angie noted that if Tupac ever had a daughter, he wanted to name her Starr. Thus, Starr Carter was born.
References Galore in Ready Player One.
While The Hate U Give offers respectful homage to a legend, the naming in Ready Player One is a little less subtle. Of course, you’d expect it to be, since the best names are player created avatars with any name they want. The best of these, of course, is the main character’s handle. Wade Watts was named by his father because it sounded like a superhero name, and he named his OASIS character Parzival because it was the available spelling of Percival – the knight who discovered the holy grail. And this works quite well, because as a Gunter, he is looking for the OASIS holy grail.
What is your favorite character name?
Do you look for meaning in character names as you read?
Have you read a character who shares your name, and what did you think of them?