Sunday, March 2, 2014

Top Ten Most Unfortunate Character Names

This topic came from Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I'm going through and doing all of the old themes whenever I get a chance here and on my Youtube channel.

I'm not sure how this list will go since I'm not typically bothered by character names. I'm pretty good at just going with it, so some of these may be me stretching a bit.

1. The District 1 tributes from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I know a lot of people hate on the names from The Hunger Games series a lot, and it's particularly bad with Katniss and Peeta. I've never had a problem with their names, but I do find the District 1 tributes hilarious a lot of the time. That's not to say I don't think the names work. I like how they portray those districts' place in Panem. It's just that it means they are such shallow names that make them kind of hilarious. Gloss, Cashmere, Glimmer are all pretty cringe-worthy names if you ask me.

2. Any name in fiction that is alliterate. The first ones that come to mind are Severus Snape and Peter Pettigrew. J.K. Rowling really likes her alliteration. I hate it. I don't know what it is, but I cannot stand alliterate names. So much so that I remember very passionately declaring at the age of fourteen or so that if I ever married someone with a last name that began with "H" I would not be changing my last name. This is obviously a long-standing dislike. No offence to anyone whose own name is alliterate, but it's not something I would choose. I don't even know why I dislike it so much. It's just a weird thing that bothers me a bit.

3. Magnus from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. (I know he's in The Infernal Devices and, of course, The Bane Chronicles too, but I haven't read those yet.) I love Magnus a lot. He's my favorite character in the series, and his name doesn't really bother me because of his backstory. He's a warlock that's lived for hundreds of years. He's not expected to have a "normal" name. That's what's normal for those types of characters. When you think about the name on its own though, you realize how unfortunate it is, even if I think it works in the series.

4. Any character named Junior. I've just always hated that. The first example that comes to mind is Junior from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Typically this happens when boys are named after their dads, and again not to hate on anyone with the name, it really frustrates me. In the real world I think naming kids after people who are still alive makes things too confusing, but it's even worse in a book. I guess that's why you'd revert to Junior, but I cringe every time I read about someone with that nickname.

5. Any name I don't know how to pronounce. It just makes it a bit hard when I'm trying to pronounce the name every time I come across it (because I will say it outloud if I can't figure it out to try to make sense of it).

6. Characters that have similar names and make things confusing. I think this speaks for itself, but I read a book recently where two characters had names that began with the same first three letters, and I spent a good deal of time trying to keep them straight in my head. Please, never do that. Character names should be as different from each other as possible. I remember seeing something about trying to not have primary characters whose names even start with the same letter because it's less confusing that way.

Yeah, that's all I've got. Like I said, the vast majority of the time I go along with character names just fine. Even one and three on this list didn't really bother me while I was reading, and I like unique names as long as they fit the characters.

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