Monday, November 28, 2016

Names from Narnia - Aslan, Caspian and more

Hello, readers!

The holiday season is truly upon us, and with food and celebration comes another of my favorite winter elements - the culture! The stories, songs and art associated with winter and the holidays are so unique: "Christmas Songs" are their own genre.

While it's not exactly a holiday series, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, are often brought up this time of year. Perhaps it's because of the long winter in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, or because of the Christian themes in the series. So today's post will look at some of the names in the series - all recorded in US name data between 1880 and 2015.

These names range from English classics to total inventions - let's explore!

In 2006, six little girls were given the name Narnia, following the late 2005 release of the film The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. While this is a level of bookish devotion I may never achieve, I do like the sound of the name - not unlike Nora or Nina. The fictional land was named after a small city in Italy, Narni - whose most famous resident, incidentally, was Blessed Lucy Brocadelli.

A female character in The Horse and His Boy, Aravis has been used a handful of times for little girls since 2005. There's a real-life mountain range in France with the name, but it's still an incredibly rare find. It's like Avery, Aria, or Alexis without feeling too trendy or hopelessly inaccessible.

If Leo isn't your style, why not try another leonine name - Aslan (Turkish for "lion")? It's been growing in popularity since the 1970's, and fits well with modern boys' name trends. While it may raise a few eyebrows, Aslan is bound to make a positive impression with such a magnificent fictional namesake.

Breezy and bright, Bree is a fresh, concise alternative to declining Briana and faddish Brielle. It's originally a short form of Bridget, but in The Horse and His Boy, it's short for Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah. While Bree has been on and off the top 1000, it's currently off, making it a perfect choice for those who want something recognizable but not trendy.

Both a beautiful inland sea and a dashing heroic prince, Caspian has a lot of positive connotations. With its handsome sound and amicable tone, it's also growing in popularity - 103 boys born last year were named Caspian. Other names with this feeling include Crispin and Casper.

One of the less-common "Ed" names, this English classic is sweet and boyish, but ages well with its wearer. It means "fortunate protector," and could make a great alternative to Edward or Eden. There are dozens of Edmund's throughout history who would make excellent namesakes, from the first man to climb Everest to a handful of saints.

"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he almost deserved it." This opening line from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader shows us that even in 1952, Eustace was a thing of the past. The name hasn't ranked on the top 1000 since 1885, though it has a lovely meaning - "fruitful."

The name of the infamous White Witch of the series, Jadis is incredibly sophisticated and cool. It can be thought of as an updated version of Jade or Jasmine, though the name may come from the Persian word jadu, meaning "magic." Jadis has been used for both boys and girls since 1999.

At #55 in the US, Lucy is the most popular name on this list. Lucy Pevensie, of Narnia fame, is only one of the many literary Lucy's that have inspired this trend, as well as it's retro sound and friendly vibe. Lucy means "light," and isn't it fitting that Lucy Pevensie was the first of the children to reach the lampost? Longer forms include Lucia, Lucille, and Lucinda.

Another vintage find, but this time with fewer fans - Polly hasn't been on the top 1000 since 1977. However, it's been growing very slowly since the early 2000's - could it make a comeback? It's pretty and peppy, in the same vein as Sadie or Molly. It's also been on the rise in the UK, along with similar-sounding Poppy.

A Native American people and place name, Shasta has been used for girls since 1926 - though the character in the Narnia series is male. It briefly ranked in the late 1970's and early 1980's, but has fallen in usage. It could be a lovely alternative to Dakota or Cheyenne, if your name tastes tend towards honoring Native American peoples.

The last king of Narnia, Tirian transcends what could be a tyrannical name. It shouldn't be confused with Tyrion, of Game of Thrones, or Tirion, of the Lord of the Rings series - I'm sensing a pattern here. Tirian was used for six boys in 2008, but it's doubtful that the name will gain many more mainstream fans - unless an inevitable reboot mixes things up!

Other excellent names from the series include the following: Corin, Digory, Emeth, Frank, Glozelle, Helen, Hwin, Jill, Miraz, Peter, Rabadash, Ramandu, Rilian, Susan, Tumnus

Tell me your favorites in the comments!

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