Have you ever wondered what the names of the Game of Thrones characters mean? Given that George R.R. Martin’s books are so complex, it is no wonder that he put a lot of thought into his characters.
Many of their meanings are subtle and lesser-known, adding to the fun of discovering how each character’s name lines up with certain personality traits. Below are some of the most interesting names from the series. If you have not watched the latest episodes yet, take warning—there are spoilers ahead!
The Stark Family Name
The surname Stark mirrors many of the personality traits of the family. The name is of Scottish and English origin and means firm or unyielding. As a result, it is often associated with stern, determined, strong and bold personality traits. These traits fit well with the Stark family, which fights to defend its honor and name throughout the series.
When you hear the name Arya, you may think of the word aria, which is an operatic song. Because of GoT, the name is now more commonly associated with independent and powerful personality traits.
Arya originally comes from Sanskrit and means both noble and musical. Though Arya is not a musical character, her training teaches her to be light and nimble on her feet, thereby evoking the melodic metaphor of her name.
If you were surprised to find out that Bran would become the new third-eye raven in the series, you probably did not know the origin of his name. In fact, it comes from the old Welsh name Brȃn, which means crow or raven. It is associated with traits of holiness and blessedness, as Bran was the god of ravens and prophecy in Celtic mythology. Perhaps Bran’s survival after being pushed from the tower in season 1 was an early sign of his other-worldly abilities.
Sansa is a name that comes from Sanskrit and means praise or charm. It also draws similarities to the Latin name “Sancia,” meaning sacred. With these meanings in mind, it is no wonder that Sansa is so different in personality from her sister Arya. Before GoT, the name was most popular in Indian culture, though it has now grown in popularity around the world.
Daenerys is a fictional name. Some fans have pointed out that “daen” comes from Hebrew and means “God is my judge,” and that “erys” is a derivation of the Greek name Eris.
In Greek mythology, Eris was the goddess of discord, strife and rivalry. Some of these characteristics apply to Daenerys, as she is the self-proclaimed mother of three dragons and vies for the throne.
Unlike the Greek goddess Eris, however, Daenerys does not enjoy human bloodshed. Her nickname, Dany, may explain her more humane personality traits.
The name Dany is associated with balance, a sense of mental and emotional stability, a receptive approach to new ideas and the successful union of two or more things. This might have been an early hint at Daenerys’ union with Jon Snow.
It is important to remember that Jon Snow’s name is not his birth name. In the world created by George R.R. Martin, Snow is a common last name given to illegitimate children born in the North. The season 7 finale reveals that Snow is actually a Targaryen and related to Daenerys.
There are several theories about the meaning of his birth name, Aegon. One of the most interesting theories is that it is connected to the Ancient Greek word “agon,” which means struggle or contest. Does this allude to Jon Snow’s struggle with his identity, fight for the iron throne or both? We must wait and see.
The Lannister Family Name
Lannister is a derivation of Lancaster, alluding to the House of Lancaster, which was a powerful English family in the 15th century. Kings Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI were all Lancasters, and the house was eventually defeated by the House of York. These families are mirrored in the rivalry between the Lancasters and the Starks.
Interestingly, the queen of King Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, became the leader of the Lancastrians in the War of the Roses. She was also known for her ambitious and strong personality, not unlike Cersei Lannister.
Many fans believe that the name Cersei is a creative spelling of Circe, who was a sorceress in Greek mythology. Circe was known for keeping Odysseus and his men captive on her island for an entire year before they continue on their journey home to Ithaca. She originally seduced Odysseus’s men and transformed them into pigs when they set foot on her island. The personality traits of manipulation, seduction and vengefulness are all seen in Cersei throughout the GoT series.
Learn more about GOT’s popular characters by using our Game of Thrones name generator!