Fandom Faceoff: Which Franchise Wins on Baby Names?
One of the truest demonstrations of fandom is to commit your child's name to your favorite fantasy world. Not just any name, mind you. Even the most casual viewer might pick up a fashionable name like Bella or Jasper from Twilight. It's the unlikelier names that show off a fanbase's true colors -- names like Daenerys or Ollivander that make a fellow fan glow in recognition.
That's how we're going to put the most beloved science fiction and fantasy franchises to the test. The challenge: how many previously unused names has each franchise launched into current use, and how popular are they? After an initial baby-name screening that eliminated contenders like Star Trek, Twilight and the Marvel Universe, we identified five powerhouse finalists:
Game of Thrones
The Hunger Games
The Lord of the Rings
The ground rules: We count any names that came out of nowhere in the stats, along with names that were previously outside the top 1000 and rose by at least 500% within five years of their first screen appearance. (We're comparing entire fictional worlds, so names from spinoffs like "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" do count.) We found 38 qualifying names from our franchise finalists:
Scoring: Award a base of 100 points per name. Extra 150 point bonus for a name given to at least 200 babies last year (Khaleesi through Anakin above); 100 point bonus for 100+ babies (Thorin-Arwen); 50 points for 50+ babies (Daenerys-Hermione) and 20 points for 20+ babies (Primrose-Stark).
And the #1 Fandom Is…
Harry Potter, by a whisker over Game of Thrones.
The Game of Thrones names totalled more babies, but Potter inched ahead with more different names launched. GoT fans, if you feel robbed, keep in mind that we gave you the name Stark for House Stark of Winterfell, even though Marvel's Tony Stark (Iron Man) also holds a claim to it. Hardcore fans may also argue for the hit GoT name Arya, which didn't qualify for this list, but the non-qualifying Potter hit Luna balances it out.
Looking ahead, the arrow could move in many directions. Game of Thrones is still on the air, and the new Star Wars movie due out in December could give that franchise new name momentum. The biggest wild card, though, may be Harry Potter. Potter fans start young enough that not all of the diehards who were up at midnight waiting for their copy of "Deathly Hallows" in 2007 are even old enough to vote today. That could point to a whole generation of Hermiones and Dracos yet to come.