Top Ten Tuesday: Unusual Character Names

October 22, 2013 Top Ten Tuesday 14 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday: Unusual Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme created by The Broke and the Bookish for list addicts. This week’s list is…

Unusual Character Names

There were so many options for this week’s topic, it was hard to narrow them down. I’m a fan of the weird and the wonderful when it comes to literary names but less enthusiastic when they are used in real life. I vaguely remember going to school with a set of hippie twins named Storm (boy) and Dawn (girl).  I also remember someone named Harley Davidson.

My general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t name your kid something that the average teacher can’t pronounce or they would be embarrassed telling a cop. If I ever have a kid, I’m tempted just to give them initials for their formative years and let them pick their own names when they get older.

Here’s my top ten character names in no particular order. I’ve tended towards the literary (sorry).


1. Draco Malfoy (created by J.K. Rowling)
Rowling does unusual names well and Draco is one of my favourites. If you are a Potter fan, take the time to check out A Very Potter Musical on Youtube which is hilarious. The actress playing Draco does a fantastic job.

2. Nero Wolfe (created by Rex Stout)
Nero was one of the most misunderstood Roman emperors, addicted to excess. When you combine that with a wolf which is a predatory character, you get a sense of what Nero Wolfe is like.

3. Hercule Poirot (created by Agatha Christie)
His name is an amalgam of two other fictional detectives – Hercule Popeau and Monsieur Poirot (coincidentally also a Belgian detective living in London). His name automatically conjures up an image of David Suchet on the Orient Express.

4. Thursday Next (created by Jasper Fforde)
Naming people after days of the week or months isn’t that unusual and it even happens in reverse – we got the month August from the Emperor Augustus and July from Julius Caesar’s family the Julii.  Thursday Next however trips off the tongue and is suitable for a fearless SpecOps 27 agent. Her mother is Wednesday Next and her daughter Friday Next.

5. Professor James Moriaty (created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Years ago I watched an old Holmes movie called Without a Clue where Holmes was an idiot and Watson was the true brains. When Watson goes missing, Holmes spends hours looking for symbolism in Moriarty’s name and finally concludes that Moriarty’s real name is…Arty Morty. This still makes me chuckle.

6. Scheherazade (from One Thousand and One Nights)
Of course this is the clever storyteller who was able to beat the odds and survive being married to her husband Sultan Shahriyar who had a predilection for marrying a virgin one day and having them beheaded the next. Lots of iconic Arabic stories such as ‘Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp’ were added in by later translators.

7. Ophelia (Hamlet by William Shakespeare)
Shakespeare nicked this name like so much of his material from another source. The name comes from the Greek ophelos meaning ‘help’ which is ironic because no one was able to help poor Ophelia.

8. Frodo Baggins (created by J.R. Tolkein)
You expected me to say Bilbo Baggins? It was a difficult decision as both are pretty epic names for epic little hobbits. Apparently it means comes from fród meaning ‘wise by experience’ in Old English (thank you Wikipedia) which if true, is appropriate.

9. Renesmee (created by Stephenie Meyer)
Not a fan of this one. Some names just shouldn’t be blended as they are not greater than the sum of their parts.

10. Reepicheep (created by C.S. Lewis)
Very cool name for a talking mouse with a larger than life personality. You reep [sic] what you sow and the loyalty displayed by Reepicheep’s  men when he loses his tail is what makes Aslan decide to give him a new one.


14 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Unusual Character Names

    • I guess the name reflects the character – a little difficult to get used to but it has hidden depths. I always wished someone would call her Hermy or Nee just so I could see her reaction.

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