People have long named their children after well-known fictional characters, whether from works by renowned writers such as William Shakespeare or Charles Dickens or from recent cult TV shows. Drawing on information compiled by the U.K.-based floral greeting card company Flowercard, 24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of the most popular such names in America between 2000 and 2019.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the list is headed by a name from the “Harry Potter” series, Luna. A whole generation of children has grown up with J.K. Rowling’s fantastically successful fantasy novels and their film adaptations, which feature the character Luna Lovegood. What might be a surprise, however, is that another name from the series, Lucius, is also on our list, and Lucius Malfoy isn’t exactly one of the good guys. (If you think that’s an unusual name, take a look at the most uncommon baby names of the last 100 years.)
There are also two names from George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” — Arya and Khaleesi — although the fantasy series is better known to the world through its television adaptation as “Game of Thrones.” It’s also interesting that Khaleesi isn’t even a name in the books or the show — it’s a royal title, meaning queen. (Some of the literary works behind popular names reached a much wider audience when they were adapted for film or television than when they were merely books or plays.)
A few names do double duty and are given to girls and boys. For example, there are girls called Rhett, who is one of the main male characters in “Gone with the Wind.” Interestingly, Darcy is much more popular as a girl’s name, although the Darcy character in “Pride and Prejudice” is a man. What’s more, Darcy is his surname — his first name is Fitzwilliam. (These are the most popular names in America since 1880.)
The UK-based floral greeting card company Flowercard compiled lists of the most popular baby names in both the U.S. and the U.K. between 2000 and 2019. They surveyed numerous popular literary works for character names, and took additional ones from such sources as Britannica, The Guardian, Behind the Name, and Book Riot. They omitted names that are common in their own right (for instance Harry from the “Harry Potter” series), then consulted records from official sources to determine the number of children given those names at birth. In the U.S., the data came from Data.gov.
Some of the names on our list may owe their popularity to more than one work of literature, or the connection may be coincidental. For example, Winnie-the-Pooh is one of the most famous bears in history, but Winnie is also the central character in Samuel Beckett’s play “Happy Days.” Winnie was also a nickname for Winston Churchill and the name of Nelson Mandela’s wife.