How the Names in Game of Thrones Give Away More Than You Realized
Prepare to feel like Jon Snow, because up until this very moment, you've known nothing. But we're about to drop some serious knowledge, and trust us . . . this realization is a game changer. It turns out that the secrets to the entire Game of Thrones plot have been right in front of us this whole time, we simply didn't know it! The future of the whole series might be hidden in something as simple as character names.
That's right! From Tormund to Tyrion, the names in Game of Thrones have much more significance than anyone originally guessed. Sparked by the realization that "Bran" directly translates to "raven" in Irish Gaelic, we decided to dive into the etymology of other names in the series. Luckily for us, other diehard fans have also done a bit of digging, resulting in a comprehensive list of GOT names and their roots.
One Redditor went above and beyond doing their homework, researching the roots and linguistic backgrounds of over 80 names from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. While not all of the names are significant, there are quite a few standouts that allude to major plot secrets — or at least reveal aspects about a character's journey. Here are some of the names from the Redditor's research that surprised us the most:
- Aemon: Aemon's name is a variation of Ancient Egyptian, meaning "the hidden one." As both a blind man whose lack of sight hides the world from him and a Targaryen "hidden" at the Wall, this definition is doubly relevant to Maester Aemon.
- Aegon: This name has roots in both the Germanic word for a sword's edge and the Greek word for struggle. Given Aegon Targaryen's history as a conqueror, each of these definitions suits his character!
- Aerys: The Mad King Aerys created serious chaos in Westeros during his reign (and subsequent fall), which makes sense given the Ancient Greek definition of his name: "strife."
- Arya: In Sanskrit, Arya means "honorable" or "noble" — two terms that definitely describe the Stark family, especially the feisty youngest daughter.
- Asha: Theon Greyjoy's older sister, Asha, desperately wants to rule Pike. Her name branches from the Sanskrit term for "wish," "desire," and "hope," so her political aspirations make sense.
- Beric: There's no way that Beric Dondarrion's name is pure coincidence! Also known as "The Lightning Lord" because his family crest is lightning, the soldier is killed and resurrected time and again in the series. His first name translates to "lightning" in Hebrew.
- Bran: As we mentioned earlier, Bran means "raven" in Gaelic . . . but is this an allusion to his relationship with the Three-Eyed Raven and the fact that he "must become" him? Only time will tell.
- Brienne: Per Celtic naming tradition, Brienne means high and noble.
- Catelyn: The Greek word for "torture" is closely related to Catelyn Stark's name, and considering she is tortured (emotionally and eventually physically) in the show, it fits.
- Cersei: Cersei is likely derived from "Circe," who is a Greek goddess known for killing her husband and being forced to live in solitude, according to the Redditor's research.
- Jaqen: In Hebrew, Jaqen H'ghar's name means "established by god." While the Many-Faced God probably isn't the deity the Hebrews had in mind, it works all the same.
- Luwin: Dear old Maester Luwin's name derives from the Old English name meaning "dear friend," and he certainly is a friend to the Stark family until the bitter end.
- Lyanna: Ned Stark's sister has a name that's cursed from the get-go: its root word means "martyr" in French.
- Lysa: Remember crazy Aunt Lysa from the Vail? Well, her behavior wasn't a shock to anybody who knew its Greek root word, which means "madness."
- Orell: Orell, the wildling skinchanger from season three, shares a bond with an eagle . . . and his name is also Russian for "eagle." Coincidence? Not so much.
- Petyr: Littlefinger hails from the rocky island area known as The Fingers, and his name means "stone" in Old English.
- Robert: Both Robb Stark and Robert Baratheon share a common name meaning, which comes from the Germanic word for "famous." They both gain fame through their military prowess, so it suits them both.
- Sandor: Derived from the name Alexander, Sandor has Greek roots and means "defender of men." The Hound defends men and women in his storyline.
- Shireen: RIP . . . in Persian, Shireen means "sweet."
- Tormund: Shockingly, Tormund doesn't translate to ladykiller — instead, its Norse roots allude to thunder and protection.
- Tyrion: This might be the biggest hint at things to come; Tyrion's Greek root word means "king." Does that mean anything for the future of the Iron Throne? We'll find out!
Yep. This series is way more than meets the eye. Now we're left wondering . . . what else is hidden in plain sight?