It’s no surprise that “Game of Thrones” fans are making Arya a fast-rising name. Last year more than 700 Throne’s fans gave that name to their own daughters in 2012, according to WTOP.com. What is surprising is that Thrones fans would also name their daughters Daenerys and Khaleesi even though both names will be difficult to spell and pronounce for anyone who is not a “Game of Thrones” fan. A moment’s thought about the practical problems with both Daenerys and Khaleesi is all it would take to realize that daughters given those names are likely to grow up hating them.
Arya sounds like Aria (a solo vocal piece with instrumental music from an opera) and won’t be completely mystifying to the uninitiated. But Daenerys and Khaleesi (a name I’ve already misspelled 3 times in the process of writing this article) are likely to confuse and mystify anyone who’s not a big fan of the show. The increasing popularity of those impractical and burdensome names demonstrates just how far parents can be influenced by the effect of a popular TV show, movie or book.
Another suddenly popular name, Katniss (the protagonist of the Hunger Games) is also likely to confuse anyone not familiar with the book or movie. Unfortunately, Katniss sounds like catnip. Parents who get swept along by their strong feelings for fictional characters can be helped by spouses, partners, friends and relatives willing to call their attention to the practical realities of living with names that are likely to be misunderstood and mangled by most people who read or hear them.