There are some names that have been completely tarnished by people I know in real life.
There was a girl I knew called Jade who was pretty horrible, so now I’m not a fan of that name. (Sorry to all other Jade’s, I’m sure you’re lovely). Also, George. I’ve known too many George’s and too many of them have annoyed me.
As a result of this, it can sometimes be a little harder to connect with characters who have names with bad connotations for me. Writing this out, it sounds silly really. I shouldn’t be judging a character simply because a girl I knew when I was ten was mean. It’s one of those things that sticks with you but I try not to be so judgemental of a character because it reminds me of someone I know; that would just be petty.
But what about when you just don’t like the name? Or the name doesn’t seem to suit the character?
For example, what about Four in Divergent? I think the nickname really fits. But what about his given name? (If you haven’t read the books and don’t want to know his given name, even though it doesn’t spoil any plot points, then skip to below the book covers).
His given name is Tobias and as soon as I read that all the mysteriousness of Four disappeared. For some reason, the name just killed the mood. It just doesn’t sound very tough when the whole point of Four is he’s meant to be tough and strong and confident. He’s meant to instill bravery in Tris and represent the endurance and heroism of the Dauntless faction. Four does that, Tobias doesn’t.
On the other hand, I recently reviewed an ARC of Girl Detached by Manuela Salvi. I adored it and you can check out my review for it here. I won’t give anything away, but the antagonist of the novel is called Ruben. I’ve always loved that name but after reading this book my opinion has changed slightly. I still like the name, yet it now reminds me of a manipulative man. I guess I won’t be naming any future sons ‘Ruben’ anymore!
Of course, that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get my drift. There will always be a slight association with that name. Just like the name ‘Angelina’ will always make Angelina Jolie spring to mind. Or how names like Chandler and Rachel will make many people think of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to take someone named ‘Chandler’ seriously.
However, what about the idea that characters with names you like will make your opinion of them increase? One name I’ve always liked is Sam. In Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series (which I’m always talking about on this blog), there’s a character called Sameth, Sam for short. He’s one of my favourite characters and after reading the novels I liked the name ‘Sam’ even more. If Sam had been a horrible character, my opinion of the name might have gone the other way, yet instead the name will forever make me think of this character and have good connotations for me.
I know this post was brief, but it was only a thought and I wanted to hear some other opinions on it. So, what do you guys think? Are there names you’ll always dislike because of someone in real life or someone in a book? Are there names you like more because of some of your favourite characters?
Let me know in the comments below!