I have a great head for ridiculous facts, but names are a whole different ballgame. I try to place them with faces, but half the time that doesn’t work. When I’m reading, I don’t have the visual element to help out. Even if I’m IN LOVE with a story, if I don’t reread it often, the names seem to go in and right back out. So. These are names I remember, from stories I love.
Top Ten Favorite (or Unusual) Character Names
1. Angharad Crewe, or Harry, in The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – Harry is one of my most favorite characters ever, and she also has one of the most unique names… ever. I still am not sure how to pronounce the mouthful that is her proper moniker. If anyone has an idea, let me know in the comments.
2. Suzy Turquoise-Blue in The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix – Suzy is an energy-filled ball of loyalty, mischief, and good (sometimes misguided!) fun. And she has a pretty sweet surname.
3. Virginia, or Ginny, in The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle – I love this book, and I love the bravery and bullheadedness that Ginny displays. Also, I love her name... it is my only sister’s as well. And yes, she loves this book too. I forced it on her many years ago.
4. Door in Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – What a lovely, brief, literal name! Actually, one of the reasons I love Gaiman so much is his genius in naming his characters. It always is JUST RIGHT for whatever purpose or world he fashions.
5. Akanesi Afa, or Canny, or Agnes Mochrie from Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox – The power of names and in knowing your heritage is one of the themes of this beautiful, layered fantasy, and main character Canny’s multiple identities are its best mystery.
6. Puddleglum in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis – Well, I think I’ve waxed nostalgic about Puddleglum before, but it’s such an obvious, literal fit that it just works.
7. September in the Fairyland books by Catherynne M. Valente – Ah, September’s adventures in Fairyland wouldn’t be half the fun if she had an ordinary name, would they? I do love the idea of naming a child something out of the ordinary – something that doesn’t have gender associations but is at the same time classic and easy-to-spell.
8. Marigold in Magic for Marigold by L.M. Montgomery – This peach of a book opens with an entire clan in uproar over the naming of a baby girl. What shall she be called?! In the end, she’s named after the doctor (a lady doctor, no less!), and she grows into the loveliness that is Marigold.
9. Elnora Comstock in A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter – This is one of my favorite books. I have spent so much time with Elnora over the years, and shed many tears and smiled many smiles with her. I can’t forget her in this roll call, especially when one of the pivotal scenes makes a play on her name! Oh, she is magnificent.
10. Victoria Wright in The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand – Another name that seems to fit its character to a T. Especially the last name. Actually it might count as obvious. But we’ve already established that I love obvious. So: Victoria Wright doesn’t like messes or anything out of place, but she loves her friend, and NOTHING, not even dirt, will keep her from finding him.
What is one of your favorite character names from a book?