Game of Thrones names used for thousands of babies in 2017

Maisie Williams plays Arya Stark in Game of Thrones. Both Arya and Maisie have experienced surges in baby name ...
Maisie Williams plays Arya Stark in Game of Thrones. Both Arya and Maisie have experienced surges in baby name popularity in the US. Photo: Alamy

It's no secret that HBO television series Game of Thrones has held the world captive since its debut in April 2011.

From the first gory and confronting series where we learned not to get too attached to central characters, to the last where the show continued to outrun the books written by George R.R. Martin, we've been along for the rollercoaster ride of adventure and tragedy, and loved every minute.

As ever, pop culture has the ability to affect the way people name their babies and both the characters and actors of Game of Thrones have inspired a generation of parents to pay homage to their favourites.

You do have to wonder if they hope like mad that the character or personality they have named their precious child for, doesn't meet some grisly end (Ned), suffer a humiliating downfall worse than death (Theon) or be part of a scandal in their personal lives (so far, so good).

Names.org reports a huge increase in the use of Game of Thrones names for babies in the US, with Arya being the top-ranking name and continuing to rise.

In fact 2017 was Arya's biggest year with 2156 baby girls recorded and a rise of 34 places in a year to rank 135. In 2010, Arya was barely inside the US top 1000 at 942.

Demonstrating the power of a great protagonist, we can track the popularity of Arya as a baby name through the stages of her character development -  from feisty Stark child (rank in 2012: 413) to the formidable headhunter who stops at nothing to achieve justice for her family (rank in 2017: 135).

Those not wanting to so obviously connect with the tv character have gone with Aria, which in 2010 ranked 353, and has cracked the top 20 in 2017, coming in at 20.

Next up is Emilia.

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Emilia Clarke is a charming media darling. Amiable, beautiful, clever and witty, she's simply one of those stars people adore. And it shows.

In 2010 Emilia languished at 349. She is probably never destined to enjoy the same popularity as Amelia, however her rise to 74 in the most recent stats is notable.

Khaleesi wasn't even a name in 2010. In 2017, however, 466 US baby girls received the made up moniker.

The actress aired her own thoughts on this in an interview with the BBC after learning that 69 children in England and Wales were named Khaleesi in 2017.

"It's mad! I mean what are you going to call her for short? I mean really think about it. It's quite a mouthful to be able to say that name!"

About Danerys, she's a bit more forgiving.

"I sort of, I get that maybe slightly more," she acknowledges. "But Khaleesi is such a... you know I'd better continue to be doing well on that, otherwise there's a whole lot of kids who are going to be like, you really messed us up with this one!"

The young actress who plays Arya Stark has had her own name thrust into the spotlight. Maisie did not appear in the top 1000 names until 2014 when she came in at 653 with 437 births.

In 2017 she sat at 524 with 594 births.

And it's hardly a landslide, but it's an interesting reflection on the starpower of the series - astonishingly, 11 babies were named Cersei in 2017. Out of context it really is a pretty name, but considering the character, it's pretty amazing parents would want to name a sweet innocent child after her.

The grand dame Olenna even got a look in with 9 babies bearing her name in 2017.

The following names have also experienced a rise in popularity according to Names.org, though the numbers are not as significant as for the top four and all still remain outside the US top 1000.

#5 Meera

​#6 Daenerys

​#7 Shae

#8 Tyrion

#9 Sansa

#10 Renly

​#11 Theon

#12 Roslyn

#13 Kit

Names.org created the below graphic to show how many thousands of babies have so far been named in the US, for Game of Thrones characters and actors. 

Baby Names Inspired by Game of Thrones