Update in light of recent news that Khaleesi was number 2 of Nameberry’s top 100 baby names of 2014! I’m reposting this piece we shared in April 2014. ENJOY!
With 6.6 million viewers tuning into the first episode of Game of Thrones last Sunday, is there any wonder that 146 babies in 2012 were named after Thrones character Khaleesi?
That’s what Social Security Administration data recently analyzed by the website Vox.com showed. Another character Daenerys made the list of baby names that year too. But only 21 baby girls will have to live their lives with that name made up by Thrones author George R.R. Martin. A few other hundred baby girls are named after Thrones character Arya, an Entertainment Weekly piece pointed out
It’s not uncommon for parents to name their children after characters in popular TV shows and movies. Hunger Games protagonist “Katniss” influenced of dozens of baby girls to be given them that name. The name “Bella” jumped from 2,780 uses to 5,104 uses within two years of release of the Twilight series, Yahoo Shine noted.
The names “Phoebe” and “Piper” rose to popularity during the years the show Charmed was on TV as did names “Willow” and “Zander” during the Buffy the Vampire slayer years, the Shine piece noted. Laura Wattenberg, author of “The Baby Name Wizard,” told Shine that as far back as the 80s, women who enjoyed Daryl Hannah‘s character in the movie Splash name herself Madison after seeing it on a NYC sign grew up to name their kids that. SSA data showed that 42 baby girls had that name in 1984, the year the movie came out. But the following year 298 babies were named Madison, eventually growing in popularity to 20,612 in 2004. That’s a lot of influence and no one would imagine that the name originated from a New York City street.
And the phenomenon goes back even further than that. Wattenberg told Shine “Samantha”on the show Bewitched helped that name grow in popularity following its run from 1964 to 1972 on TV.
It’s interesting how pop culture cinema and TV shows have that effect on lives for years after they are no longer in regular circulation. It would be interesting to see if the future Game of Throne-named children will get any negative reaction to the names over years especially from people who are not aware of the book or series years after it has its course too or if the names will continue on.
Time will tell.