Having long subscribed to the view that it’s preposterous to plot out first names for one’s entirely hypothetical children without having any idea what surname would be appended thereto, I have not, to be frank, spent a lot of time choosing any.
But I will confess a particular weakness where names are concerned, dear reader, and that is finding out what names mean. Because my name is a common noun, capitalized, I took to translating it into other languages; any given Solo cup would read “Alegría” on one side and “Freude” on the other and “Alassë” for thoroughness on a third. On finding that any other name could also be translated once one discovered its meaning, I figured out that my brothers’ names meant “little,” “martial,” and “gift of God,” respectively (and, more importantly, that in Quenya I could call them Pityon, Carnildo, and Eruntalon).
Not only so, but my friends evidently embody such traits as: song; earth-digger; grace; pure; pure; pure; Christian; Christian; honey/dark/we were never quite sure; reborn; powerful leader; little king; princess; reaper; commander of armies. …there are, you may deduce, a number of Katherines.
However, the Meme does not care how my friends call themselves; the Meme demands to know how my children will be named despite there being, as yet, no sire for them. So here’s my best assay:
The Princess Bride – Wesley – Old English, “dweller of a western meadow” – which might be especially false if the family ends up on the Eastern seaboard. Where he shall become a Dread Pirate. Muahaha.
The Ballad of the White Horse – Colan – Gaelic, “people’s victory” (or, depending whom you ask, “dove”) – Man shall not taste of victory / Till he throws his sword away. And I’d have people remember that. My only concern is the potential for misfortune should people render my poor son’s name as “Colon;” at best, it’s a punctuation mark.
The Chronicles of Narnia – Edmund – Old English, “wealthy protector” – Thalia and I might have to duke it out for this one. Everyone wishes there were a wealthy protector in their family, right?
In the Hall of the Dragon King – Quentin – Latin, “fifth” – Totally picked this before reading Thalia’s post the other day; Quentin went from weedy acolyte to SWORD-FORGER, which is my favorite part of Lawhead’s work. Possibly dubious name-wise if I don’t have 5 children…but perhaps more reasonable than Septimus, which also appeals to me despite it being the name of a blood-spilling, power-hungry uncle in Stardust.
Ender’s Shadow – Nikolai – Greek, “people’s victory” – Should we not ask the people who think Colan means dove, this might put me in the peculiar position of having sons named with the same meaning (whatever, man, I bet there’s a family somewhere with sons named John, Matthew, Nathaniel, and Theodore). But Colan is a sword-flinger whereas Nikolai is a brother among brothers. We just won’t shorten their names lest the “col” root confuse anyone.
And for the ladies:
Howl’s Moving Castle – Sophie – Greek, “wisdom” – More desirable than rubies.
That Hideous Strength – Camilla – Latin/Italian, “young servant” – Is it bizarre to name a daughter for a character who likes weather? Very well, then, I shall be bizarre.
The Winter’s Tale (and nothing else ever, no nothing, nothing at all) – Hermione – Greek, “messenger” or “earthly” or “travel” or “something else related to Hermes” – I can’t actually name a child this. No one can pronounce Hermione on the first go-around, and Hermione of myth and plays does not, in my estimation, have the happiest of lots. But it’s an awfully pretty name when said correctly.
The Odyssey – Penelope – Greek, “weaver” – Hopefully people will address her without rhyming her name with “antelope.” Plus the name’s practically synonymous with fidelity. Yay!
Gaudy Night et al. – Harriet – Old German, “home-ruler” – Obviously this cannot be the only Germanic name I come up with, but for right now, it sounds reassuringly solid.
Heaven only knows what surname they’ll work with.