"My name is Khaleesi, and I will win this game of thrones."
The real way to tell if a television show, movie or book has truly wormed its way into our culture is not to monitor online discussion or catalogue late night talk show guests. If you really want to know which pieces of art are making an impression on the public, pay attention to what people are naming their babies. And, apparently, we are in for an influx of little Westerosi children in the coming years:
What a bunch of weird names— er, I mean, great names for your child.
This is all based upon data from BabyCenter.com, measuring how often a particular name is used per one million babies born. There's not information for 2014 for all these names, so sometimes it comes from 2013 or 2012 (notated with an *). And the numbers seem to have already started shifting a bit since I compiled this data, but this is still a pretty decent snapshot. Also, names that are popular outside of the Song of Ice and Fire universe—like Jaime, Jon and The Mountain That Rides—were excluded from this list, since there's no way to tell which ones belong to nerd babies and which ones don't.
But, let's drill down and take a closer look at some of these names:
This is the only metric by which Arya dwarfs anybody.
It's no huge surpise that, of all the names from the book and TV series, the one that belongs to the diminutive, adorable, proto-feminist badass is the most popular. What is surprising is by just how much. With about 1,300 per million babies born, Arya is the only character name to crack the Baby Center's Top 100 list, coming in at a very impressive #89. That's two and a half times more popular than all the other names on this list combined. It probably doesn't hurt that it sounds more like a beautiful operatic solo than it does a weird D&D geek name. Speaking of which...
Daenerys & Khaleesi
Okay, sure. If you're going to name your daughter after a little girl who was traded to a barbarian horde like cattle before eventually commanding an army of freed slaves, at least use her proper name. Daenerys, while impossible to spell, is the character's proper name, but it's only being used about 75 times per million, while Khaleesi is a title, meaning "wife of the guy who's in charge," and not "queen" like a lot of people probably assume. (That's being generous actually—a lot of people probably just assume her name is Khaleesi.) Even so, Khaleesi is more than twice as popular.
That Catelyn accounts for 36 per million babies is really a testament to what a nice sounding name it is, when you consider what an annoying character it's attached to. Not only did the Lady of Winterfell start the War of the Five Kings by seizing Tyrion Lannister based upon zero evidence, but she freed the Kingslayer and effectively lost the whole war for her son, Robb. Plus, she's such a jagoff to Jon Snow. So annoying! I feel genuine sorrow for you, 36 babies per million.
I'm surprised that Sansa has such a low showing on this list, with only 11 per million. It's a very pretty and spellable name, and it belongs to one of the most tragic characters in the entire series. Did she act like a spoiled princess for the whole first season? Maybe. But she was a spoiled princes, and she has more than paid for those transgressions. I predict that before this series ends, there will be a stark uptick in Sansas. (Pun fully intended!)
How would the Queen Regent herself react to news that a paltry 3 out of every million babies is named for her character? Well, she'd probably pour another glass of wine and smile a cruel smile, happy in the knowledge that Margaery didn't even place. (Take that, you little Southron slut.)
"Come here, baby Drogo!"
That the most popular name on this list belongs to a whore-mongering, drunken dwarf speaks to both the brilliance of George R.R. Martin's writing and the unparalleled charisma of Peter Dinklage. Be prepared to stifle a laugh one day when your kid introduces you to his or her school friend Tyrion, who happens to be one of just 38 out of a million.
You might not believe it, based upon how much everybody fawns over him online, but Lord Tywin—the cold, conniving patriarch of House Lannister—is supposed to be one of the bad guys. But somehow or other, he's in a dead heat with his son as far as baby names are concerned, which would almost certainly annoy both men to no end. Oddly, Tywin was only at 5 per million in 2013, so people must have been very impressed when he got that promotion to Hand of the King.
Also tied with the two Lannister men is Ned Stark's little boy, the increasingly not-little-or-boyish Bran. Though, he probably learned that from the three-eyed crow a long time ago. It's also a pretty popular name in Winterfell, having belonged to Bran the Builder, Bran the Burner, Bran the Bad and a bunch of other people named Bran. (Sadly, but not surprisingly, his giant companion Hodor is not on the list at all.)
Alright, I know that Ned is not a specifically Westerosi name. But it is my sincerely held belief that any human being who is naming his or her son Ned in this day and age is a Game of Thrones fan. The bad-decision-making former Lord of Winterfell is by far the best thing that has happened to the name in decades, with 19 per million babies. Also, I wanted to point out this chart, because I thought it was funny.
You can practically pinpoint the moment in which
new parents saw episode nine of season one.
(Also, is that a Simpsons bump back in the '90s?)
(by Dennis DiClaudio)
Sources: Baby Center