Babies named from Game of Thrones

by Alexis Ulrich

What’s behind a name? A projection of wishes and personality traits, which sometimes comes from modern mythology nourished by novels and TV shows. Let’s see in this article the influence of Martin’s Game of Thrones on names given to babies since 2010 in the United States of America.

Arya Stark

Once a young girl more interested in swords and fight than in dancing, singing and sewing, Arya has become a young lady driven by her will of revenge against the enemies of her father, Eddard “Ned” Stark, or her own, endlessly reciting their names. Her character, played by Maisie Williams, will go as far as to embrace the Many-Faced God faith of the Faceless Men.

Even though her christname was already used about 200 times per year before Game of Thrones even aired, its usage increased dramatically. Already 758 babies were named after her in 2012, only 77 in 2013, then the numbers went only up: 1,544 in 2014 and 1,634 in 2015. If a girl has no name, its previous known identity is getting stronger and stronger for her fans.

Daenerys Targaryen, aka Khaleesi

Daenerys Targaryen, the Game of Thrones character played by Emilia Clarke, is the daughter of King Aerys II Targaryen. Forced to marry Khal Drogo, a Dothraki warlord, she took the Khaleesi title, which means wife of a khal or ruler in the Dothraki language.

While unused as a baby name in the US before 2011, the year the HBO TV show premiered, it rapidly gained popularity, from 28 girls named Khaleesi in 2011, up to 368 in 2014, and slightly going down in 2015 with only 341 new babies, including the variants Khalessi, Khalisi, Khaleesy, and Khaleesia. Her character firstname was also used from 2012 with 21 girls named Daenerys, up to 86 in 2014. It seems to have reached its peak already, as in 2015 only 82 new infants were named from her. We will see next year if the sixth season of the series will have an effect on newborn names.

Sansa Stark

Sansa Stark, another strong character from the show, is played by Sophie Turner. Born and raised in Winterfell with a wolf named Lady as pet, she is promised to Prince Joffrey Baratheon and then lives a fairy-tale turned gloomy royal family affairs full of abuse and betrayals.

Unheard of before 2012, her firstname started to be used for 11 baby girls born in 2013, and 12 in 2014. It nearly doubled in 2015 with 20 new babies named after her.

Data source: US Social Security Administration