In give-or-take the next nine months, the world may receive living, breathing, pooping proof that strong female characters have an influence that resonates outside their respective mediums. According to Nameberry, many parents are considering names from Young Adult literature and movies.
After compiling data from searches thus far in 2014, the baby-naming site reports that Katniss was the 14th most-searched potential name for newborns, placing just one spot behind the comparatively normal Hazel (the latter might be inspired by the female protagonist from The Fault In Our Stars—ease of pronunciation>bad-assness, I guess). Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams may be responsible for the resurgence of popularity in her first name, which placed twenty-first on the list, far ahead of Elsa at 88. You know Elsa, right? She was in that Disney movie you never hear about anymore?
With the exception of Khaleesi (which, yes, is a technically just a title, but parents calling their kids after the g.d. mother of dragons probably don’t give no fuck about technicalities, right?) some of those names obviously didn’t originate with the media that popularized them–but mainstreaming a previously rare name is one of the many testimonies to the power of fandoms. For instance, statistics from the Social Security Administration reveal that since George R.R. Martin began writing A Song of Ice and Fire in 1996, the traditionally male “Arya” has been given to an unprecedented number of baby girls.
Of course, there’s also historical precedent for fans popularizing a “new” name, as well. The SSA only releases stats on names used more than five times in a given year, and since the first Khaleesi was born in 2010, the number of babies claiming what is their’s with blood and fire multiplied by almost 30 in just two years—146 were welcomed in 2012. The Guardian reports that the name Lorna didn’t exist at all until the RD Blackmore’s 1869 novel Lorna Doone.
Although I’m sure traditionalists will balk at parents demonstrating fan loyalty via the names of their babies, I for one can’t wait to feel comparatively old next to a teenage Katniss. Or, let’s be honest, it’s only a matter of time before a Mockingjay is explaining my pension benefits to me. Better her than a Cersei, I guess.