The Sword and Laser discussion

Great Character Names

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message 1: by Trike (last edited Jul 31, 2016 08:31PM) (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Watching the season finale of Preacher and I'm struck once again by the notion that "Jesse Custer" is a brilliant name for a character based in the American West, a mash-up of Jesse James and General George Custer.

Which got me thinking about other great character names.

The plucky girl reporter from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is named "Polly Perkins." I love that. I wish I'd thought of it.

Snake Plissken of Escape From New York, so great.

Hiro Protagonist of Neal Stephenson's Snowcrash is funny because it's meta and on-the-nose.

Uriah Heep from David Copperfield is, as our British friends like to say, a name to conjure by. It's just fun to say.

Robert L. Howard's Solomon Kane is also fun to say, but it's such a great name because it embodies the essential conflict of the Pilgrim warrior. King Solomon + Cain.

Come to think on it, names that have that combination of 3-syllable first name plus single-syllable last name are quite euphonious. I wonder if that's an added reason why these stories resonate?

Atticus Finch
Ichabod Crane
Mustapha Mond (Brave New World)
Phileas Fogg (Around the World in 80 Days)
Artemis Fowl
Oliver Twist
Veruca Salt
Dorian Gray

Honorable mention: Indiana Jones, Huckleberry Finn and Ebenezer Scrooge. (4 + 1)

Alliterative 2 + 2 names (see Polly Perkins) also seem really sticky for some reason:

Bilbo Baggins
Donnie Darko
Gordon Gekko
Molly Millions
Peter Parker
Willy Wonka

Okay, you go.

message 2: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3654 comments Mod
Holly Golightly
Zaphod Beeblebrox
Max Rockatansky
Drizzt Daermon N'a'shezbaernon (AKA Drizzt Do'Urden)
Pippi Longstocking

message 3: by Serendi (new)

Serendi | 848 comments The version of Pippi's name I remember from my childhood is "Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraimsdotter Longstocking". (I got the right spelling from Wikipedia but I know the name well. I liked saying it.)

Not a character name, but Hieronymus Bosch.

message 4: by Phil (new)

Phil | 1171 comments Lazarus Long
Minty Fresh ( A Dirty Job)
Arthur Dent
Valentine Michael Smith

message 5: by nickytwothumbs (new)

nickytwothumbs | 18 comments Locke Lamora
Basil Exposition
Ford Prefect

And just because I like the word - tintinnabulation

message 6: by Joel (new)

Joel Severus Snape
Sirius Black
Reamus Lupin
Salazar Slytherin
Luna Lovegood

message 7: by Aaron (new)

Aaron | 268 comments Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fanna Bo Besca the Third (Dot Warner)

Thursday Next

message 8: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1624 comments Hudson Hawk (Sky captain is one of my other underrated favorite movies.)

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt (since that's my name too)


Robin Hood

message 9: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments Not a fictional name but my favorite name of all time is Hercules Mulligan.

Fictional names, Steven Erikson has great character names.
Quick Ben
Kalam Mekhar

message 10: by Trike (last edited Aug 03, 2016 04:03PM) (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Those remind me of Donaldson's characters from the Thomas Cvenant series. I read the first one when it came out, 40 years ago (!) and to this day I still mention the giant Saltheart Foamfollower. I can't believe I left him out of my original list.

message 11: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Lightspeed Magazine July issue had a short story with the titular character "Magnifica Angelica Superable". The story ended up being a little too obvious with its intentions on me but it's a name that makes me sit up and take notice.

message 12: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2533 comments My all time favorite - Thulsa Doom

message 13: by Dave (new)

Dave Wallace | 8 comments From an old movie Luggage Of The Gods (which seemed to me to be a spoof of The Gods Must Be Crazy) about a tribe still living a stone age lifestyle. The main male & female characters were Yuk and Hubba.

message 14: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1624 comments Just saw this on my twitter feed.

Follows both of the original criteria, and is remember-able.

message 15: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4211 comments I have a soft spot for Hiro Protagonist.

message 16: by nickytwothumbs (new)

nickytwothumbs | 18 comments Wednesday Addams
And also some of the characters from the excellent TV show, Firefly:
River Tam
Hoban 'Wash' Washburn
Shepherd Book
Atherton Wing
and I know 'Captain Tightpants' is a nickname for Captain Mal Reynolds but still...

message 17: by nickytwothumbs (new)

nickytwothumbs | 18 comments Oh, and I forgot to add Middenface McNulty from the 2000AD Strontium Dog comic series!

message 18: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Strontium Dog has that 3+1 syllabic thing I like so much.

Then there's Van Halen's Atomic Punk.

And Superman IV's Nuclear Man.

...two out of three ain't bad.

message 19: by Joe Informatico (new)

Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments I like a lot of the names from Steven Brust's Draegaeran books, especially Vlad Taltos, the Count Szurke; Sethra Lavode, Enchantress of Dzur Mountain; and Norathar e'Lanya, Dragon-Heir to the Empire, Duchess of Ninerocks and Countess of Haewind, Sword of the Jhereg.

Also Vermithrax Pejorative (from the Disney film Dragonslayer) is the best dragon name ever.

message 20: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Joe Informatico wrote: "Also Vermithrax Pejorative (from the Disney film Dragonslayer) is the best dragon name ever"

Oh, absolutely. In one of the dragon threads a few years ago I was all about VP.

There are so many great monster names. In the Warcraft games Illidan and Malgannis manage to do unique spins on the "ill" and "mal" prefix.

Jurassic World only had one good scene (where BD Wong defends his creations), but the superpredator he created has an epic name: Indominus Rex.

But the Rugrats' dinosaur is clever, too: Reptar. Reptile + dinosaur. Genius.

Skeletor. Perfect name for a kidshow baddie.

Optimus Prime, another 3+1. Balanced by Megatron.

Immortan Joe!

I'm pretty much free-associating at this point, so I'll stop.

message 21: by Minsta (new)

Minsta | 106 comments I like all the Critical Role character names, especially:

Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III (aka Percy aka noMercyPercy)

message 22: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments nickytwothumbs wrote: "Wednesday Addams
And also some of the characters from the excellent TV show, Firefly:
River Tam
Hoban 'Wash' Washburn
Shepherd Book
Atherton Wing
and I know 'Captain Tightpants' is a nickname for C..."

How can you list that list and then leave out
Kaywinnit Lee Frye "Kaylee" ? Kaywinnit!

message 23: by Joel (new)

Joel Anomander Rake

message 24: by nickytwothumbs (new)

nickytwothumbs | 18 comments Consider me suitably chastised :D

message 25: by Matthew (new)

Matthew | 23 comments Moist von Lipwig (Discworld)

Also from Discworld: Nuggan. As in, "It's an abomination unto Nuggan."

message 26: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments Minsta wrote: "I like all the Critical Role character names, especially:

Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III (aka Percy aka noMercyPercy)"

Yes! I'm also a fan of Seeker Asum.

message 27: by Thane (new)

Thane | 476 comments Some of my favs.

Han Solo
Dirk Pitt (uber manly!)
Corwin (Chronicles of Amber)
Sherlock Holmes
Thomas Magnum
Kull (Conan is more fun to read, but Kull has the tougher name.)
James T. Kirk vs. Khan Noonian Singh
Londo Mollari and his pronunciation of Mr. Garabaldi
Laird James McCullen Destro XXIV

message 28: by Linn (new)

Linn | 8 comments Salladhor Saan
Mortimer Snerd

Penelope Pitstop

Caractacus Potts
Harley Quinn
Skull Duggery

message 29: by Kev (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 651 comments Not characters, but real life - I come across different names pretty frequently in my job, never thought to make a list of cool ones until this thread.
Recently came across the last names "Bulletset" and "Manyguns."

I thought they were both pretty cool names.

message 30: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (whatlovelybooks) | 179 comments Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander aka Zedd from The Sword of Truth series.

Corbin Dallas

Zechs Merquise

message 31: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1500 comments Pratchett:

Lord Havelock Vetinari (in a Yorkshire accent)
Mustrum Ridcully
Magrat Garlick
Esmerelda Weatherwax, (aka "Granny")
Tiffany Aching
Brutha and Vorbis,

The books are a huge treat

message 32: by Kev (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 651 comments Can we spin this off in to a "Bad character names", or "Punny Character names", or maybe just "names that didn't do it for you" thread?

I ran across an alien character named Seul Jaah. In my head, I pronounced it "Soul Juh" because she was a soldier.

message 33: by Royce (new)

Royce Sears (royce_sears) | 2 comments Great Character Names: I have always been rather fond of Asimov's R. Daneel Olivaw and his companion Giskard. The Robots of Dawn

One of my favorite character names --(though even to this day I can't be sure I pronounce it correctly) Drizzt Do'Urden The Crystal Shard

Names I love in this series: (there are many) The Eye of the World Perrin, Moraine, Egwene, Nynaeve, Aviendha, Faile

Firefly: Jayne Cobb,

And finally, to hearken back to one of the great names that has always held a mysterious and powerful magic (even before we meet the just has that "Oooh.. he sounds cool" appeal) Obi-Wan Kenobi.

message 34: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments When I was a kid my friends and I thought Obi-Wan was OB-1. Reason being he fought in the Clone Wars and was a clone named after Old Ben Kenobi.

Our fan story was so much better than the real one.

message 35: by Mike (last edited Dec 09, 2016 08:08AM) (new)

Mike (mindolin) | 24 comments I like Stacker Petecost , the marshall from Pacific Rim. Played by Idris Elba ( which is an awesome name too )


message 36: by Kieron (new)

Kieron Was once in the doctors waiting room and they called a little boys name out and he was called .... Sebastian Swindles. I remember thinking what a cool name.

message 37: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments I had a sales rep once whose name was Vanessa Vendetta. Such a bad ass name.

message 38: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments One of my buddy's exes is named Molly Macbeth, which I always thought was a cool name. I later met a woman named Molly McGunn. Both of which slot neatly into the 2+2+alliteration = cool thing I mentioned earlier.

message 39: by Cherie M. (new)

Cherie M. | 1 comments Some of my faves:
Katie Scarlett O'Hara ... love the juxtaposition of the sweet first name with her seductive middle name
Luke Skywalker and Han Solo
Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious
Aurora Rose and Maleficent
Atticus Finch
Most of the Potter world names, especially Severus Snape and Luna Lovegood
Bilbo Baggins
Katniss and Primrose Everdeen
Sherlock Holmes
Huckleberry Finn
Ichabod Crane
Elphaba Thropp

message 40: by Anand (new)

Anand Bhardwaj (anandbhardwaj) | 6 comments I like names from George RR Martin's ASOIAF series.

Take Eddard Stark- the spelling of the first name is different enough from convention that you can imagine it was developed in a world that is similar to ours, and yet different in fundamental ways. And Stark speaks to the grim, brooding nature of the northerners in Westeros.

message 41: by Anand (new)

Anand Bhardwaj (anandbhardwaj) | 6 comments And lest I forget- the AMAZING names that Uderzo and Goscinny came up with for the Asterix series. (And whoever came up with some of the English variants)

A sampling:

Getafix the druid

Dogmatix the dog -or Idefix in French

Impedimenta the chieftain's wife. This has got to be one of my all time favourites. Bust out in giggles every time I read it.

Cacofonix the bard

Geriatrix the old guy

Unhygienix the fishmonger. A close second favourite to Impedimenta.

Fulliautomatix the blacksmith (son of Semiautomatix)

Other minor characters-
Odius Flavus
Surplus Dairiprodus
Gluteus Maximus
Crismus Bonus
Dubius Status

message 42: by Aaron (last edited Jan 13, 2017 08:53AM) (new)

Aaron | 268 comments Anthea Bell is the translator for Asterix, many of Cornelia Funke's books, and what sometimes feels like all english translations (I see her translator credit often).

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