Tuesday, November 9, 2010

(Nearly) Ten Most Unfortunate Character Names

A few unfortunate character names come to mind.

(1)  I always felt sorry for poor Ashley Wilkes
 in Gone with the Wind. 
And stuck with a girl name to boot.

(2)  Okay, I know this is just me,
but it is really, really hard to keep people straight
when reading a book set in Japan.
I get the names confused.
Too many vowel sounds.

(3)  Men in romance novels. 
Bold, one-syllable names that sound
like those of an action hero or
a curse word. Blaze, for example.
And Rock. Ridiculous. 

(4)  Old-fashioned names in classic stories. 
Walter, for example, is Mr. Bridge's first name
in the classic book,
Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell.
Walter Bridge sounds silly now, doesn't it?

(5)  Bilbo Baggins.  Please. 

(6)  Every Debbie I've ever read about
is a bubble-headed dimwit.
Or worse.
Surely we could have a story about a beautiful and clever
college professor named Debbie?  For once.

Well, that's all I could come up with today. I'm off to see what you thought of....

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  1. Your Debbie comment made me laugh! But I love the alliterative fun of Bilbo Baggins.

  2. Very funny. I especially agree with #1.

  3. Haha love it! Great list. I wish I had thought of Ashley Wilkes -- one of my favorite books, and I've always wondered why he had to be called Ashley!

    check out my list http://thebluebookcase.blogspot.com/

  4. This is the second time I've seen Bilbo on a list. I actual like the name. It's cute like a hobbit.

    I think if there was a college professor named Debbie, it would just be her nickname and most people would call her Deborah. Just a thought...

  5. I like your list, even thought I don't agree about Bilbo.

    Your # 2 makes me wonder how you would feel about reading Icelandic books - how do you like 'Erlendur', 'Sigurdur Oli' and Elinborg'?

  6. If I find a Debbie who doesn't fit the literary stereotype, I'll certainly let you know! But your comment made me chuckle.

  7. HAHA. 3, 4 and 6 really made me laugh!

  8. Totally agree with you about the whole Japanese names thing. And to make it even more confusing they have those titles they go by too! I can never get it straight.

  9. Oh Ashley Wilkes is a good choice! Although I thought it suited his character because he is, as you say, wimpy. I'm not too sure what Scarlett saw in him.

  10. Oh yeah, I remember Ashley. I hated that movie with a passion and didn't like anyone at all.

  11. I like how you included categories instead of just individual characters! I have trouble keeping characters straight when I'm not familiar with the country from which the names come. And romance heroes--totally! What a great answer!!

  12. haha! I definitely laughed at the men in romance novels, TOTALLY true!

  13. Hahaha, nice list. I always felt awkward saying "Bilbo", even as a kid I felt there was something dirty about it, lol.

    I love japanese names, but yeah, it can be an issue reading novels. Especially with names starting with K or S. They always seem to be three syllables long and full of the same vowels, rearranged.

  14. I agree whole-heartedly about Bilbo.

    Oh and I have a hard time with Russian names . Way too many consonants and not enough vowels. (Obviously the Japanese and Russians should talk. *wink*).

  15. I've got a personal stake in Debbie since it's the name I was blessed (?) with at birth.

  16. Poor Bilbo...and Frodo :P
    Harry Potter had a lot of fun names too, my favorite being Ruebeus Hagrid

  17. I'll keep an eye out for a fantastic Debbie character and let you know when I find one.

  18. Awesome list! I got completely stuck when I was trying to think of these.

  19. I totally agree with the Gone With the Wind choice. I also think Poppy is a weird name. Sure, you add it to deserts and such, but it's mostly known and forbidden for being a drug similar to heroin. Who would want to name their kid heroin?oO

  20. In David Weber's Honor Harrington SF novels, there is a character loosely based on a figure in the French Revolution, named Rob S. Pierre. I once met Weber at a book signing, and asked him never to do that again. He said he wouldn't.

  21. I don't agree with Bilbo. :D But otherwise this is a pretty good list. I can understand what you mean about Japanese character names - I study the language so I guess that doesn't even strike me as difficult to keep track of.

  22. Criss-Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins has a main character called Debbie who isn't a bubble-head, but she's adolescent (literally). It won the Newbery Medal for Best Children’s Literature in 2006, but I’ve read stronger winners.

  23. Hahaha, I love that you included Bilbo Baggins on this list! Here's a related video, The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGF5ROpjRAU


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