Tuesday with Thalia: Characters to name a child for.

Rather than restfully snoozing last night, I spent the night rolling problems around in my head with the loving zeal of a wine lover tasting a properly lovely wine. Oh, there are plenty of things to ponder. But the real stumper, my friends, was this. Book character names fall into two categories for me.

1) Totally generic names appropriated for use in wonderful literature, but impossible to trace the reference.

2) Entirely bizarre names that crunch in my teeth and delight my mind, but are wholly unusable in The Real World.

There is, I suppose, the subcategory of really great names that I couldn’t use, but anyway, they’re from books I’ve never actually read!

Just to give you an idea of what I mean, I will give some examples of generic names of beloved characters.

Mark, Katharine, Jane, Arthur, Ned, Nat, Thomas.  Which books did I mean?

The Pale Horse, Miss Marple, That Hideous Strength,  By England’s Aid, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and An Old-fashioned Girl.

Say it with me. Sure……

On the other end of the wild spectrum, we can inflict a case of the giggles on ourselves by imagining the infliction of one of these names on a perfectly ordinary child. For the purposes of this exercise, we will appropriate the surname Kidd. It’s funny.

Atticus Kidd

Fitzwilliam Kidd

Posthumous Kidd

Sherlock Kidd

Nicodemus Kidd

Ivanhoe Kidd. That deserved punctuation.

Hamlet Kidd

Scarlett Kidd


That brings me to a hilarious aside, that I will share briefly.

Thalia: Can I name a child Azure?
Terpsichore: Well, it’s better than Scarlett, but worse than Alizarin.

But I don’t want to nip aside quickly and avoid the question. That’s not fair to you, my friends. I am assigned the task of saying which book character I would name a child after. So I will answer, but you must forgive me. I haven’t read the book this character lives in. I do not know his character, his moral fiber or his circumstances. But it’s a cool name, and I always meant to read the book. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Durward. Quentin is a cool name. Just ignore the famous film maker. He hardly matters.



9 thoughts on “Tuesday with Thalia: Characters to name a child for.

  1. So true! Though I must say, you had me at “Nat.” “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” was AND STILL IS one of my top favorite books.

    This is why you reserve the most complex and pretentious literary names for your pets. I’m not kidding, I once met a cat named “Atticus.” Printed on his collar tag and everything.

  2. I need to re-read the Witch of Blackbird Pond. It has been so long that I hardly remember anything other than liking it.

    Thalia, I am totally with you on the difficulty of choosing an actual person’s name from literature. So many difficulties! I second Emspeaks, though, in that literature offers an endless supply of wonderful pet names.

    • Aye, same here. I read most of it in fifth grade and remember feeling guilty for rather liking it (us guys thought it was a “girly” book, but I think we were all pretty interested when the teacher read from it aloud). But I never finished it, and have always wondered whether it’d be worth my time to return to it. Nat seemed like a cool guy.

  3. I once planned to name a child after a character in Little Women but when she was born, it was as if her name came with her and it was not what I had thought. Only later did I find out what a long enduring family name it was.

  4. First time commenter… I just discovered your blog the other day, and must say this: you Muses have the single most awesome concept for a literary blog I have ever come across. Wish I’d have come up with it myself. 😛

    Hilarious post, and I feel your pain. But I’m not sure I could name my pet–as suggested in comments–all those romantically beautiful or intriguing girls’ names I’ve come across: Hermione, Nynaeve, Moiraine, Egwene, Loveday, Adelheid, Melian, Nienna; nor will that solve boys’ name problems like Lavrans or Alexey or Jean (as in, Jean Valjean.) I do have a cat named Maia, though, for the eldest of the Seven Sisters, with a little hat-tip and smile for Tolkien. 🙂

    Wasn’t Ivanhoe’s first name Wilfred? You know what? Never mind. Ivanhoe’s better.


    • I was really hoping that Ivanhoe had a different first name, but I could NOT recall. Wilfred isn’t a very good name, though. Sounds lollopy.
      So glad you came across us and enjoy our stuff. I admit we think we are very clever, but that’s a bunch of egotists for you! Welcome!

  5. Quentin’s a tricky name: on the right person, it could be cool and dashing and noble, even, but it could also turn a geeky kid into the butt of jokes. And Durward…blech! But I think you were only contemplating Quentin for your son, right? No Durward Kidd.

    I actually considered Ivanhoe, briefly, because it’s so darn cool-sounding, but there’s no way it would work for a boy in this modern age. Maybe you could name a boy Ivan, and use Ivanhoe for the nickname…(it’s true I might become the kind of parent whose preferred nickname for his kid is longer than their actual name, so long as it sounds cooler…)

  6. Pingback: Conclusion « Egotist's Club

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