Monday, October 10, 2016

Names of Disney Villains

Hello, readers!

Halloween is coming up, and that means costumes! If you're thinking about being one of these scary Disney villains for the holiday, check out their names! And tell me your costume plans in the comments :)

Our first villain has arguably the best name-oriented song in Disney history: he uses antlers in all of his decorating! He eats five dozen eggs a morning! Ev'ryone's favorite guy! From the French for "foreigner", Gaston has been recorded in US name logs since 1881. While the film didn't show Gaston in such a positive light, the name stats weren't changed much by the release of Beauty and the Beast in 1991. Twenty-seven boys were named Gaston last year - my, what a guy!

This all-powerful sea witch was in part inspired by the singer and drag queen, Divine. And the name Ursula is truly religious - one of the first recorded wearers was Saint Ursula, a fourth-century patron saint of female students and archers, among other things. While Ursula also has a cute meaning - "little bear" - the name had been declining for a few years already when Disney used it. While many still associate Ursula with the villainess, it could make a comeback with it's many positive traits!

The conniving butler who competed with the Aristocats for Madame's wealth, his character also created a sleeping potion named after himself: "crème de la crème à la Edgar." The name Edgar is fairly popular - #317 in the top 1000 - but it's at its lowest rank in history. Will the name continue to decline, or will literary fans bring it back up the list? Creative Edgar's Degas, Burroughs, and Poe would have something to say about it.

This nefarious name was recorded in the US for the first time last year - five baby girls were named after the villainess in Sleeping Beauty. Of course, this could have something to do with the recent Angelina Jolie film - the actress has also said that the character was her favorite as a child. I know of one person whose parents considered Maleficent for her name, looking for a namesake that was a strong, intelligent woman. While the name seems to have quite a lot against it, we may see it rise in future generations of women.

A scheming hunter in Tarzan, Clayton's first name is never revealed - he's only called by his last name in the film. Though its origins are more traditional, Clayton fits into the modern trends - two syllables, ends in "ton" - and isn't completely attached to any one individual. The film had little to no effect on the name's statistics, either. Perhaps Clayton is the most usable name on the list!

When a main character is introduced as Madame Medusa, you know she's going to be up to no good. In The Rescuers, she's a greedy, diamond-obsessed pawn shop owner; the Greek goddess Medusa was known for having snakes for hair and turning mortals to stone with a look. Though the name has never been recorded in US name logs, it's certainly not impossible - as namers look for more and more unique options, names like Medusa are bound to appear! 

As the smooth-talking god of the Underworld, Hades' role in Hercules is hardly admirable. Still, the name was used for more than five boys a year in both 2014 and 2015. With a sound like Hayden and a cool s-ending - Silas, Nicholas, Jonas - it's no wonder that the name was picked. But I can't help but think a quick look at the history of Hades might turn off potential fans...

The creepy, obsessive control-freak-in-the-guise-of-a-religious-zealot had a rather common first name - Claude ranked on the top 1000 for over a century. It's the quintessential French male name, often with Jean in hyphenate. Though the film didn't have much of an effect on name stats - 108 boys in 1996 and 89 boys in 1997 - the character was often referred to by his last name, Frollo. The name Claude means "crippled," and is Roman in origin.

The scheming Royal Vizier of Agrabah certainly has a bad reputation, but his name is actually a lovely Arabic choice. Jafar means "stream", and one famous Jafar was a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. It's been used since 1975 in the United States, and actually started rising in popularity when the film Aladdin debuted - up from 7 boys to 13 to 33 in a two-year span. Perhaps the character isn't a great namesake, but the spreading the awareness of this classic name has pushed some fans to pick Jafar.

Well, if Gaston doesn't win for the best name song, Cruella De Vil certainly takes the cake! All of the 101 Dalmatians (and some human and animal friends) had to band together to get this baddie defeated. Though Cruella is a bit too cruel and devilish to catch on, it must be said that trendy Ella features in her first name. And check out this past post on Devilish Names (also featured on Nameberry) for more sizzling suggestions!

Which names did I leave out? Tell me in the comments!

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