Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam. You basically get a new topic every Wednesday, and you list your Top 5 books related to that topic. Head over to the Goodreads group, and add your name to the list of Wednesday-ers if you’re interested in participating!
Today’s topic is “Best Character Names,” and that’s pretty self-explanatory. To be honest, I could make an entire Top 5 Character Names’ list just from the Harry Potter series alone, but I tried to not do that. Even so, I couldn’t leave two names out of the list, just because they’re so freaking legendary. A character name can be so important. If I don’t like the name much, or I don’t think it suits the character, chances are that I won’t be invested much in said character. A good name can do wonders for characterization. So, without further ado, I present to you my Top 5 character names!
I don’t fully understand what draws me to this name. Perhaps it’s that the character is named after a bird, and it doesn’t bother me because it fits her so perfectly. A kestrel is a type of falcon that often hovers over ground, then swoops down to hunt its prey. Kestrel, the character, is a lot like that. She surveys the situation with cold cunning and objective genius, and she acts swiftly and intelligently, much to the dismay of her enemies. Not to mention that the name sounds so lovely and powerful when you say it.
Here’s the thing: I cannot imagine the character’s name to be anything but Bellatrix. The use of the two l’s with an x- a word play on “tricks.” Her last name literally has “estrange” in it. If I hadn’t read the books and had heard of a person named Bellatrix Lestrange, I’d probably make it a point to stay away from them. Such an apt, perfect choice on Rowling’s part.
Fun fact. I actually don’t like Daenerys Targaryen as a character, and I know, I know, a lot of people think she’s the best character in the series, but I just don’t see it. However, I do think her name is one of the best, if not the best, in the series. It sounds like a name worthy of a powerful ruler (which I don’t think she is, but hey, at least the illusion was there when she first came into the picture.) It also sounds like a play on “dinosaur,” which makes sense, given she has dragons… not dinosaurs… ignore me.
I’m pretty sure George Orwell coined this legendary term, but I don’t know that for fact. I recently did a research essay for a class on government mass surveillance, and this term often showed up in academic theses and newspaper articles, and I was just astounded by the impact one book has had on how we view totalitarian governments with regards to surveillance and power. I chose this name not only because of the legacy it has left since the ‘character’ was written, but also because of how spot-on it is. Big Brother – someone who’s job is to protect us, someone who loves us like family, someone who has our best interests at heart. But not really. Because Orwell’s Big Brother will get you to live according to his rules. He does not want you to think freely or do things freely, and he will mind-control you by just four words: Big Brother is watching.
When I first started thinking about this topic, I knew that this name would be at the top of my list. I remember reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and marveling, even as a child, at how strange and awesome this name was. I remember telling my mother, who later marveled at a seven year old’s ability to remember so vividly names like Albus Dumbledore, or Minerva Mcgonagall, or Gilderoy Lockhart. But while those names are all striking and brilliant, this name has stuck with me like no other. It’s such a strange, quirky little name, which is exactly what you can say about the character. He’s strange, and he’s quirky, and not in a manic-pixie-dream-girl kind of way. No, I mean he’s just weird. The things he says, the way he talks, everything about him is so strange, but also so warming (at least until Book 5), that the name just fits.