Belfast Telegraph

Isn't little Sandor beautiful... Thrones characters on list of UK's most popular baby names

By Michelle Smyth

It's the most high profile and successful show to come out of Northern Ireland and now people are naming their children after Game of Thrones characters.

They may not be names overheard in the playground just yet, but Bran, Sandor and Arya were all chosen as baby names last year.

It seems new parents are increasingly taking inspiration from television and film – particularly the fantasy genre.

New figures released by the Office of National Statistics reveal that last year 187 girls were named Arya and 50 were named Khaleesi. There were also seven baby boys named Bran and three named Sandor.

It seems Game of Thrones' army of viewers are so fanatical they wish to name their children after their favourite characters.

The HBO series, based on George RR Martin's bestselling books set in the mythical land of Westeros, has been largely filmed here since 2010 and the first four seasons have brought a direct economic benefit of £82m.

But what would make a parent call their child after a character in a fantasy show? The founder of parenting website, Netmums, Siobhan Freegard, said the unusual names were usually chosen by parents wanting to make their child stand out.

"But on the other hand, fantasy names inspired by shows like Game of Thrones and the Twilight series are beginning to go mainstream, with babies being named after Bellatrix from Harry Potter, Renesmee from Twilight along with Tyrion and Theon from Game of Thrones," she said.

"For parents who want something different but find fantasy names too extreme, the top option is digging deeper into the past with old names including Ronnie, Seth, Elsie and Eliza all gaining ground, following the trend set over the last few years with names including Alfie and Eleanor," she added.

There were 147 babies named Kate last year, perhaps inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Derry woman Emma Hasson's little girl is named after a major Game of Thrones character, Arya. "We loved the character of Arya Stark in Game of Thrones. She is a very strong character – fiesty, independent and a survivor – and we thought these would be great traits for our daughter to aspire to." They even arranged for Arya to appear in the show as Gilly's baby in series three, aged just 10 months old.

North Down mum Laura Johnston said: "The way I see it is that these things are passing fads... but to give a child a way-out there name just isn't fair to them. Call the cat after them instead."

The top name for girls was Amelia, and Oliver was top for boys.

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