Sometimes I like to pretend I’m naming someone but I have to abide by a bunch of constraints. Today, the game is that we’re naming a baby, but we have to choose a name that was made up for a fantasy novel. Here are the rules:

  • You must pretend you are naming an actual human being (in other words, do your best to take the game seriously and choose the best name possible given the restrictions)
  • You should pretend that the person being named is a baby who will be born in 2023 in your general geographic area
  • The name must come from a fantasy world (my list ended up dominated by English language fantasy novels, but any fantasy novel, video game, show, or movie would be ok)
  • You must be pretty confident that the name was invented by the creator of the world (a lot of fantasy stories mix invented names with real but obscure names, so do a quick search)

My choice: Tenar

Tenar is a character from Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea series. I like her as a person, which I think would be important for a name that can be traced back to a specific character – she grows and changes lot over the books she’s in, and I think all in all she would be a pretty good namesake. I also think Tenar avoids a lot of the “invented name” cues – no Ys anywhere.

Other names I considered

  • Keladry (Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books)
  • Ged (Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea books)
  • Cliopher (Victoria Goddard’s The Hands of the Emperor)
  • Asheth (Dianna Wynn Jones’ Chrestomanci Chronicles)

What name would you pick given these requirements?

One Comment

  1. Peregrin (Peregrin Took, from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien) was a name we actively considered for our kid!

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