Character Naming, After the Fact
Fictional characters are the best-named group on the planet. Their secret, of course, is that they're not named at birth. Their creators have the luxury of knowing who they become before choosing custom-tailored names.
In some cases, the names are chosen even later. Take The Little Mermaid. In Hans Christian Andersen's original tale, the Mermaid had no name at all. But 152 years after her literary birth, Disney bestowed on her the name Ariel.
The recent Tim Burton film that sent Alice back into Wonderland was an extravaganza of after-the-fact-naming. Everyone from the Dormouse to the Red Queen was given new, more or less human names. The choices are occasionally too precious, but mostly spot on. Absolem the Caterpillar and March Hare Thackery Earwicket are standouts. (One naming complaint: the whiffling, burbling beast is a Jabberwock, not a Jabberwocky. Jabberwocky is the poem. As my daughter explains, "it's like Odysseus and the Odyssey.")
Gregory Maguire's Wicked series gave similar name treatment to L. Frank Baum's Oz universe. To my mind choices like Wicked Witch Elphaba Thropp and Cowardly Lion Brrr don't quite hit the mark, but the books' many fans may disagree.
The beauty of all of these post-hoc namings is that they're not exclusive. The source material is in the public domain, and we all have every bit as much right to name the characters as Tim Burton and Gregory Maguire do. Can you improve on their choices -- or think of other classic characters still in search of names?