Kathryn Lamoreux is a college composition instructor. She loves to read and has always been fascinated by the fabulous diversity of names.
The Game of Thrones series is packed with strong, and beautifully-named, female characters. From mold-breaking women warriors like Brienne of Tarth and Yara Greyjoy to fiercely protective matriarchs like Catelyn Stark and Cersei Lannister, the books and show are full of powerful women that could help you choose a uniquely gorgeous name for your future daughter.
SPOILER WARNING: The discussion of characters below may include some spoilers for books through five of A Song of Ice and Fire and seasons one through six of Game of Thrones. If you are not up to date on the books or show, you may want to turn back now.
The Meaning and Information About the Female Names in "The Game of Thrones"
Arya (Stark) - Sanskrit, meaning "noble"
Hitting the top 1000 baby names for the first time in 2010, Arya is a strong and beautiful choice for a baby girl. Pretty and feminine, but distinctly no-frills with its two-syllable pronunciation (Are-Yuh, not Are-Ee-Uh), Arya is an apt name for the spunky young heroine who bears it in the show. Alternatively, if you prefer a more conventional spelling, you could go with the more common (and musical!) Aria.
Arianne (Martell) - A French variation on the Greek Ariadne, meaning "very holy one"
Although not present in the TV series, Arianne Martell is a popular character in the Song of Ice and Fire books. The daughter of Prince Doran Martell, Arianne is the heiress of Sunspear by Dornish custom, which allows women equal inheritance rights with men. She also happens to bear one of the prettiest and most "wearable" names in the series. While uncommon in English speaking countries, Arianne is pretty, pronounceable, and conventional enough that its fantasy origins would not be obvious.
Asha (Greyjoy) - Hindi, meaning "hope" or Swahili, meaning "life"
The name of Theon Greyjoy's seafaring sister in the Song of Ice and Fire books, Asha is a fitting moniker for a strong woman. In the books, she defies the gender roles of Ironborn society by commanding her own ship, called the Black Wind and conquering the northern stronghold Deepwood Motte.
Brienne (of Tarth) - similar to "Brianne," a feminine variation on Brian, meaning "strong, virtuous, and honorable"
Pretty without being frilly and sharing similarities with popular names like Brianne, Brianna, Bryn, and Bree, Brienne is a lovely and unique choice for a baby girl. In fact, there isn't even an entry for it on most popular baby name websites. Even better, Brienne just happens to be the name borne by Game of Thrones' ideal chivalric knight, Brienne of Tarth. In a world where other knights think nothing of breaking their vows or harming the innocent, Brienne of Tarth makes it her business to serve only worthy nobles, keeping her word and protecting the weak in the process. Although as a woman, Brienne cannot officially become a sworn knight, she's as strong as any man and a wonderful representation of knightly ideals. A girl could hardly have a better role model.
Catelyn (Stark) - Irish variation of Catherine, meaning "pure"
One of many variations on the classic Catherine, Catelyn (pronounced Cat-Lyn) is the name of Eddard Stark's noble wife. A courageous woman determined to protect her family at all costs, Catelyn Stark would be an admirable inspiration for a baby girl's name. The one drawback? Everyone will pronounce it "Cate-Lyn."
Elia (Martell) - Diminutive form of the Hebrew Elijah, meaning "Yaweh is God"
The simple, beautiful name of Prince Oberyn Martell's murdered sister Elia, Princess of Dorne and wife of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. While Elia Martell is a tragic figure who met a grisly end, her name would be quite pretty for a baby girl. As a bonus, it opens up a variety of nickname possibilities, from the perky Ellie to the posh Elle and the lovely Lia.
Jeyne (Poole and Westerling) - Variant spelling of the English Jane, meaning "God's gracious gift"
The name of two minor characters from A Song of Ice and Fire who get little to no screen time in the Game of Thrones TV show, Jeyne is a variation on the simple and lovely, but proverbially plain Jane. It may be a good bet if you like the strong classic name, but want to spice it up a bit.
Lyanna (Stark) - Variant spelling of the French Liana, meaning "to climb like a vine"
The name of Ned Stark's long deceased sister, this is another name for the lovely-yet-tragic category. The name is feminine and romantic, yet we also hear that its bearer was wild and spirited, like her tomboyish niece, Arya. As with the name Catelyn, you can expect some mispronunciations, such as "Lie-Anna" rather than "Lee-Ahnna," but that could be circumvented by choosing the alternate spelling Liana. As a bonus, Liana has a bit of flexibility and could be extended into a name like Juliana, Eliana, or Liliana.
Meera (Reed) - Sanskrit, meaning "prosperous"
The simple, lovely name of Meera Reed, the capable young crannogwoman who-- along with her brother Jojen-- helps escort Bran Stark to the cave of the three-eyed raven. Meera is a skilled hunter and fighter who is extremely protective of her brother and Bran, both of whom are gifted seers, but physically much weaker than she is. Meera makes for both a strong character and a pretty, elegant name.
Myranda - Variant spelling of the Latin Miranda, meaning "marvelous"
If you can get past the image of the sadistic Ramsay Bolton's equally sadistic lover, Myranda is a beautiful name in spite of the kennelmaster's daughter who bears it in the show. Originally invented by Shakespeare as the name for Prospero's daughter Miranda in The Tempest, this name would have no trouble standing on its own as a lovely feminine moniker with a long history independent of the minor, yet majorly evil Game of Thrones villain.
Roslin (Frey) - Variation on the Latin Rosalind, meaning "pretty rose"
The name of the reluctant bride at the notorious Red Wedding, Roslin is another pretty name that you just might want to separate from its grisly Game of Thrones associations. Although to her credit, Roslin Frey takes no part in the carnage of her wedding day, she is also completely powerless to stop it. However, as her name suggests, Roslin at least makes a surprisingly lovely impression on her bridegroom Edmure at the altar, before the blood starts to flow. For a beautiful, flower-inspired name that shares Shakespearean roots with Myranda (this time from As You Like It's heroine, Rosalind), look no further than Roslin.
Sansa (Stark) - Sanskrit, meaning "praise or charm"
Although you might guess that Martin invented this lovely name, it is actually an old choice, of Sanskrit origin. Feminine, but strong, like the young woman who bears it in the books and show, Sansa is a unique yet lovely and easily pronounceable name for a baby girl.
Shae - Variant spelling of the Irish Shea, meaning "the stately, dauntless one"
The rather plain name of Tyrion Lannister's lowborn paramour, Shae is the most tomboyishly simple name to make this list. Unlike Elia or Lyanna, this is a practical, straightforward name, stripped of all its feminine frills. In that way, it's rather perfect for the no-nonsense woman who bears it in the books and show.
Shireen (Baratheon) - Original name, apparently invented by George R.R. Martin
This is a lovely and unique name that is almost guaranteed not to be shared by your daughter's classmates. And who wouldn't want to have a child as kind, spirited, and cheerful as the sweet Princess Shireen Baratheon? The main problem with this name is probably keeping the heartrending images of Shireen's last moments from coming to mind when you call your own child by her name.
Summer - Obvious origins
While this is indeed the name of a male direwolf rather than a noble lady or fierce female warrior, it is traditionally a feminine name in the real world. Additionally, it has deeper meaning in the Song of Ice and Fire universe as the characters begin their story in "the long summer," all the while anticipating an even longer-- and extremely harsh-- winter, which will bring with it the horrors of not only war, but white walkers. In the Game of Thrones world, Summer is the name of warmth, mildness, and safety, as much as of Bran's loyal canine companion.
Talisa (Maegyr) - A modern invention of unknown origins
The name of Robb Stark's wife in the HBO series, Talisa is beautiful, feminine, and unique. And while Talisa Maegyr does not wield a sword like Brienne of Tarth or Arya Stark, she shows her own kind of strength and courage providing medical care to the wounded on the front lines of the war between the Starks and Lannisters. We see her both amputating limbs and arguing with the King in the North about the morality of his war. She also absolutely refuses to give preferential treatment to one side over the other. With her unwavering integrity and compassion, Talisa Maegyr may be one of the most admirable characters on the show.
Yara (Greyjoy) - Arabic, meaning "small butterfly"
The meaning of this name belies the strength and fierceness of the character who bears it on the show, Theon's seafaring warrior sister, named Asha in the books. Yara is a unique and pretty, yet strong choice for a girl's name. In addition to calling to mind Theon's powerful sister, this name gives you a chance to put a unique spin on fellow -ara names like Sara and Mara.
Names on June 22, 2018: