- The names of women on “Game of Thrones” are increasingly popular for baby girls.
- Arya was at the No. 135 spot for most popular girl names in the US in 2017. It was barely in the top 1,000 before the HBO adaptation premiered.
- Khaleesi – a title for Daenerys’s character – has also hit the top 1,000. Other pop culture names like Katniss and Hermione never had that kind of popularity.
- “Game of Thrones” hasn’t had the same effect on boys names. Jaime has become less popular, though the drop has slowed since his character’s redemption arc began.
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Since “Game of Thrones” premiered on HBO in 2011, more and more babies are being named after the show’s best-loved characters.
Take Arya, for example. The name predates the series – different versions of it have roots in Sanskrit, Farsi, Hebrew, and Arabic – but it’s become only more popular since “Game of Thrones” became a hit.
According to data collected by the Social Security Administration, Arya has swiftly climbed from being the 942nd-most popular name for girls in 2010 to the No. 135 spot in 2017. And given the character’s heroic role in last Sunday’s episode, we’ll likely be seeing even more Aryas soon.
Next year's most popular baby name is gonna be Arya, and that's a fact. But if all you lame-ass parents name ya kid Arya and then DON'T give it a Valyrian steel dagger to play with in the crib, then you ain't shit. Just leave that awesome name alone, Deborah
— The Alabamarado Podcast (@alabamarado) April 29, 2019
How many people gonna name their baby Arya now
— sam (@Xxxtra1300) April 29, 2019
Other “Game of Thrones” names have climbed the baby name charts – even ones that Martin invented. As the New York Times reported, Khaleesi, which means “queen” in the fantasy language of Dothraki and is a title for the character Daenerys Targaryen, is also becoming more popular. It cracked the top 1,000 names for girls in 2017, landing on the No. 757 spot. In 2017, it was ranked at No. 630.
Parents told the Times that pronunciation is a struggle they run into. Jamie Chang, who named her 15-month-old daughter Khaleesi, said people at the doctor’s office often just use her last name instead of trying to say her toddler’s name right.
“Someone on Twitter was like, ‘How stupid. You named her after a fictional language,'” Chang told the Times. “It might be fictional, but everybody knows what it stands for. It means queen. Anyway, who is to say what is a real name and what isn’t?”
The name Daenerys, though, hasn’t yet reached the top 1,000 ranking. Her easier-to-spell nickname, Dani, isn’t on the list either. The names for other female characters in “Game of Thrones” – like Sansa, Cercei, Brienne, Ygritte, and Melisandre –haven’t broken through either.
In pop culture, “Game of Thrones” seems to have a unique effect on inspiring baby names. According to the Times, Hermione and Katniss, two other names for popular female characters (the “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” series respectively), never reached the top 1,000 ranking for girl names.
For names normally given to boys, no “Game of Thrones” character has had quite the same effect. Jaime remains in the top 1,000, but it’s actually gotten less popular. The drop, though, has begun to taper off since 2014, which was after his character’s redemption arc began in 2013.
And while Jon and Robert are perennially popular, more “Game of Thrones”-specific names like Bran, Theon, and Joffrey don’t make the top 1,000 chart maintained by the Social Security Administration – all of which is pretty understandable given the characters’ fates.
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