I am a little bit obsessed with names. (Blame my writing brain.) I’m always on the scrounge for epic names to add to my list (of course I have a list) to inflict on my characters.
Being a name-collector, I take notes while I read. And I’ve come across some rather…horrendous…names. BUT! I’ve also found some that are so insane they’re gorgeous. Sometimes they’re just too delicious not to hug.
This Week’s Prompt: Top Ten Freebie (I picked 10 Most Unfortunate Literary Names)
1. America Singer from The Selection by Keira Cass
I actually like this book! I like the plot and the characters and, let’s not lie, the entire series has gorgeous covers. But the main character’s name…just no. First of all: IT’S CONFUSING. It’s a dystopian book set in America-that’s-not-quite-America-because-no-freedom…and her name is America. She also can sing. So her name is basically Country + Ability.
My name should be Australia Queen, to be honest.
2. Eustace Clarence Scrubb from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
I won’t lie. He did deserve it. BUT! This is the best name in the universe because it is so horrible. I love Eustace. I would name my child Eustace because of this.
3. Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Despite her being one of my favourite characters in the history of ever…I cannot spell her name. (I’m an abominable speller.) I can never remember if i’s CELAENA or CELEANA.
4. Beezus Quimby from Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
Beatrice Quimby was unfortunately nick-named “Beezus” when her little sister, Ramona, couldn’t say her name right. It stuck. Like, forever. Despite the name sounding like a Beelzebub the devil sneezing, I quite like it.
5. Huckleberry Finn from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
We can all agree that Mark Twain liked to be slightly malicious to his characters with their names.
What about Muffren Potter and Moses Pendergrass and Butterworth Stavely?
But then Mark Twain HIMSELF is a pseudonym for Sam Langhorne Clemens. And if you had a name like that I think you’d have a complex too.
6. Hermoine Granger from Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
I have so much respect for the Harry Potter names because they’re absolutely LUDICROUS. And half the times the names alone tell you whether the character is good or not.
- Luna Lovegood = good person
- Bellatrix Lestrange = bad person
- Narcissca Malfoy = bad person (narcism? Narcissca?)
- Dudley Dursley = dumb person (dud? he’s a DUD)
Although they’re marginally ridiculously, I absolutely love the name Hermione. I usually can’t spell it. But let’s not let that dampen the spirits!
7. Perseus Jackson from Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
I love Percy. He’s hilarious and heroic and clueless and totally and very unfortunately named.
8. Estella Havisham from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Can we just a take a moment? This name is equally awful as it is glorious. Although I think Darles Chickens spent a good deal of his writing time thinking up the worst names in the world. (He had that kind of sense of humour.)
What about Mr and Mrs Sowerberry or Dick Datchery or Ebenezer Scrooge or Jeremiah Flintwinch or Newman Noggs?
9. Ponyboy Curtis from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Their names are explained in the book and I can’t quite remember why Ponyboy is called, um, Ponyboy. (His brother is Sodapop if that makes it any better.) I think they’re mother was just a wild free spirit who wanted wierd names.
Their oldest brother is Darren.
How is that for completely unfair?
10. Duncan, Isadora and Quigley Quagmire from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Quigley obviously got settled with the worst name in this situation. Poor lad. I think he’s the youngest of the triplets so….perhaps the parents weren’t expecting three?
And while nothing could possibly be worse than Quigley Quagmire (except maybe Squiggly? Or Figgly?) I still like the way it rolls off the tongue. Alliteration for the win!
(Let’s not talk about Lemony Snicket’s name. I was actually heartbroken when I learnt the author’s name was Daniel Handler. It RUINED me. My 12-year-old pseudonym was Orange Peel.)
okay, let it rip, my boggling blogglings! what are the weirdest names you’ve ever come across in literature? do you like these weird names or loathe them? what’s the best/worst on my list?!! (i’m partial to liking eustace, personally)
Cait never really went through an weird-naming-of-characters phase. Not even when she was knee high to a grasshopper. Although 5 years ago she was so into Gaelic names that ALL her characters were completely unpronounceable. Now she sticks to book characters called Thomas and Moxie.