This is the first time I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday. There have been some great topics in the past, but I’ve never been proactive enough to jump in. Until today!
Today’s topic is the top 10 most unfortunate character names. Since I’ve been writing for NaNoWriMo, character names have been something that I’ve been thinking about a lot. For my novel, I purposely picked out names for three of my characters that have some meaning to them. The others, are just ones that sound right and fit the time period(s). Except I kept picking out names that started with vowels, and I realized that would be *really* confusing, so I had to do some rearranging.
So what names have stood out to me as unfortunate in others’ works? Here are 10 in the order I thought of them:
1. Uriah Heep (David Copperfield by Charles Dickens). Actually, I think this name really fits him, though it’s ugly. I love how Dickens picks names that you can help but remember.
2. Katniss (Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins). When you’re writing a futuristic book, you can kind of pick any names you want. I get that (my novel is set in 2100), and that’s fun. Katniss’s name has some meaning…but at the same time, it could have been something pretty and still have been given the same meaning. I love the rest of the names Collins picks out (especially Prim!), but this one is a fail for me.
3. Blue van Meer (Special Topics of Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl). Love the book, but don’t like the protagonist’s name. It’s just too uppity sounding for a character that’s not uppity.
4. Raskolnikov (Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky). I like Russian literature. Russian names, not so much. Though I dislike even more when the translator anglicizes the names…tried to listen to a recording one time of Anna Karenina that had done that, and I had to translate them back into Russian names to remember who was who. Still, Raskolnikov has always been particularly hard for me to remember.
5. Elfride (A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy). My apologizes to any of my readers named Elfride, but that’s one ugly name. And she’s the one character in all of literature that I’ve most related to. Sigh.
6. Papa (The Shack by William Young). There is all sorts of things wrong with this book, but one of the problems just has to be the name of this character.
7. Major Major Major Major (Catch-22 by Joseph Heller). Who am I kidding–the chapter bearing his name is probably the funniest thing I’ve ever read. But as a person, of course, Major was definitely unforunately named.
8. Reynard Muldoon, aka Reynie (Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart). Most of the names in this series are spot on (Ledroptha Curtain as the antagonist, Constance Contraire as the contrary, yet dependable toddler). Not so sure about the main boy, Reynie, though.
9. Bella (Twilight by Stephenie Meyer). This is only unfortunate in that Bella is a beautiful name (obviously)…but it’s now ruined. Now when I think of the name “Bella” I think whiny and weak. Thanks.
10. Fanny Price (Mansfield Park by Jane Austen). No, you know what, she may deserve the name “Fanny.”