To be completely honest, character names are not something I pay much attention to. I’m actually more likely to notice when a character’s name is glaringly bad or annoying than when I like them. A prime example that comes to mind is America Singer from The Selection series, because I’m not a huge fan of America as a name in general and I don’t like the fact that her name is Singer and she is also a talented singer. The other major example are the characters in Hate List by Jennifer Brown, including a therapist named Dr. Heiler (pronounced “healer”), a school shooter named Nick Levil (as in evil), and the main character named Valerie Leftman because she was “left behind.” The author did acknowledge that she named her characters this way intentionally, as a kind of push back against all those times we are forced to read into characters names and their meanings, but it honestly reminded me of the kinds of names a child would pick when writing stories in elementary school.
Coming up with a list of my favourite names was much more difficult, which may be because the majority of the books I’ve read just don’t have particularly memorable names. I read a lot of contemporary, and those characters tend to have fairly generic names aside from the irritating cases where the author takes a normal name and tries to make it “different” by giving it a ridiculous spelling. I mean no offense to people who are really named with unusual spellings of otherwise common names, but I find that in books it tends to come across the wrong way. While compiling my list, I noticed that I tend to like names that were a little more unusual, but still within the realm of possibility (ie. Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games is probably not a name you’d find in real life, but you easily could). I guess it’s no surprise really that my entire list of names come from some of my favourite books of all time, since the characters were so memorable and there names stick in my head better.
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
1) Just about all of the character names in Harry Potter, because they are unique and have so much meaning behind them.
2) Katniss Everdeen, and really all of the names in The Hunger Games, because they are unique and memorable without being ridiculous
3) Ronan Lynch, from The Raven Boys, because I just love the way it sounds
4) Rhysand, from A Court of Thorns and Roses, because it is a memorable name for a memorable character (although I struggled in the beginning with whether it was Ree-sand, or Ry-sand)
5) Griffin, from History Is All You Left Me, because it is one of the few character names from a YA book that I really remember, and especially because of the adorable “Griffin on the Left”
6) Agnieszka, from Uprooted, because it was an unusual and interesting name that fit the world of this book so well
7) Ballister Blackheart, from Nimona, because I couldn’t imagine a better name for a villain!
8) Celia Bowen, from The Night Circus, because it seemed so old-fashioned and such a great fit for this atmospheric story
9) Vida Winter, from The Thirteenth Tale, because it is another one of those unsual names that fit so perfectly with the story
10) Elphaba, from Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, because it finally put a real name to a famous character (and because in the musical, it can be shortened to the absolutely adorable-sounding Elphie)