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Sorry this is late - I haven't been on this forum for months (I was having my sixth child!) and the title caught my eye:
I have a daughter with the middle name Eponine. I'm not a big Les Miserables fan but my mother-in-law was and we wanted to honor her in a way that would clearly be a tribute to her (her name was Nina, mine is Neena (pronounced exactly the same) and we wanted to avoid people thinking she was actually named for me). We liked the sound of the name and it worked with the first name we had already chosen (Annie) and our last name, so we went for it.
It rarely comes up because it is a middle name and she's only 5, but people either have never heard of it or assume we're big fans of the musical. I live in New York City, so people may be more aware of the musical than they are in your area (of course, the movie is coming out, but I can't imagine most people will retain the names of the characters a few months after they see it), but I imagine you'd get a similar dichotomy with Cosette. If explaining to people that you didn't pick the name for the character is really going to annoy you, it might not be worth it. I do think that it's a gorgeous name and if you can get past the potential annoyance, you should use it.
I remembered another one of mine on the subway this morning - I love the name Brooklyn. I live in Manhattan, so I would feel ridiculous naming a child that. But I really love the sound of it.
I don’t know about off-limits, but you do get eyebrows when you/your children have names that don’t see to fit with what you look like. My children have very Old Testament Jewish names (in their first and middle names we have Miriam, Rachel, Jacob, Rebecca, Abigail, and Abram). My husband’s family is Jewish, but of the Dutch variety - he’s blonde. I’m half-Cuban and half-Indian: no one ever has any idea what ethnicity I am, but Jewish is usually not a guess.
If we’re just with one of the kids, it’s not really a big deal. But if we have a few of them together, we definitely get some surprised looks. The best is people who know the names of our kids, but haven’t met us (such as teachers). We have five kids, very close in age, with Jewish names in New York City - people are expecting conservative Jews and are shocked when we walk in and neither of us is obviously Jewish.
It’s really more funny than anything - due to my genes, my kids all have dark hair, dark eyes and look more Jewish than either of us, so it hasn’t been a problem for them at all. I wouldn’t give up a name that I loved just because of that. There are some areas where one should tread carefully - I wouldn’t argue that something that Cohen is off-limits, just that it might be more respectful to pick something else.
Ariadne is my big one. It's gotten quite acceptable in my head due to thinking about it through the years (and Inception helped!), but I never managed to turn my husband around. I also have five kids with pretty traditional/popular names, so it would be a bit of an outlier at this point (and my sixth child who I'm currenty pregnant with is probably our last and male).
I also love Bellatrix, but couldn't work out how to explain to a child that her namesake was a bit of a sadistic villain. On a more mainstream note, my husband and I both adore the name Cora, but our last name has a very similar sound and it just doesn't work.
Eponine (pronounced Ep-oh-neen) is definetly a bit of an outlier - there's a bit of a story there. My mother-in-law's name was Nina and she passed away after our second (Rachel) was born. When we found out Annie was going to be a girl, my husband and I really wanted to incorporte her into the name somehow. My first name is Neena (pronounced the exact same way), so we wanted to get a bit creative - we wanted the name to be entirely about her. One of my friends brought up Les Miserables and the character Eponine in a completely unrelated context. My mother-in-law was a huge Broadway buff, Les Miserables was one of her favorites, my husband and I both liked it, and it incorporated the sound of her name, but still was clearly a tribute to her.
Thank you for the suggestions - I've never heard of Nymbler, but it definetly looks worth a try!