February 15, 2009

The FIVE: Best Character Names

Posted by at 6:29 am in Reads | Permalink

Let’s face it, making up names and characters is one of the best parts of creative writing. A writer can create a brand new, never-before-heard name (Renesme, anyone?), or can simply pair two already-existing words to make an unexpected combination (say, Spongebob Squarepants!). In many books, the names of characters even offer clues as to what sort of person that character becomes.

So I’ve pulled together a list of my top 5 favorite names from books. What are some of yours?

5. Turtle Wexler
Okay, so “Turtle” is just a nickname for this main character from Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game, but it suits the 13-year-old perfectly. Whip-smart and courageous, Turtle will kick you in the shins if you mess with her long braids, but it’s all just part of that tough exterior shell she has, like a turtle. Inside, she’s warm and kind and adorable.

4. Katniss Everdeen
I’m not sure what kinds of names humans will have in the future, but Suzanne Collins does a pretty good job of convincing me that they’ll be familiar-sounding, but strange. And so it is with Katniss, the main character of The Hunger Games (for ages 12 and up). It’s a pretty name in a can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it kind of way, but above all else, it’s certainly unforgettable.

3. Cornelius Fudge
This was a simple pick. Fudge is awesome! If my last name were Fudge, I’d skip the Minister of Magic position and just open up a candy store. Anyway, Cornelius Fudge is of course from the Harry Potter series, and his moral compass is just as supple and bendy as his last name implies. And, like fudge, his fall from grace was messy but satisfying.

2. Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
This is one of those names that makes you go, “Huh?” But once you read it a few times, maybe roll it around on your tongue to get used to it, it makes perfect sense. It almost becomes beautiful, even. From E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, this character herself is sharp-witted but warm-hearted, and is definitely one-of-a-kind. With a name like that, how could she not be?

1. Huckleberry Finn
Here we are with another food-based name! A huckleberry is like a blueberry, which in my mind conjures up hot, still summers and dirty hands. Huck Finn himself conjures up those ideas for me too, and like him, his name is charming and musical when it’s fully spelled out, but blunt and fast when it’s just the nickname.
Mark Twain created a perfectly-fitting name for this iconic character.

Leave a comment about your favorite character names!

— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer

  1. gymnast430

    i like Prudence gumm, Cat lemonjello, Franny Muggs, and Ivy diamond from ‘ the secret order of the gumm street girls ‘

  2. Rachel

    I love the names Sahara Jones (from Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell),Tally Youngblood,and Elodie(no last name)

  3. Zoyanna

    Stanley Yelnats all the way. Redwall Series villans have good names…Killconey, Chickenhound, Scrag,Scumnose, Asmodeussssssss…..

  4. Morgan

    Great names, commenters! Rori: Obeduah Candlebra is indeed an awesome name. And Nirvanaa, Inkeart does have some amazing names – they were next on my list!

  5. imbozimo

    Calder from Chasing Vermeer was named after the sculptor Alexander Calder. I always thought that Calder was a nice name.

  6. Allie

    I love all of J.K. Rowling’s character’s! It is cool how the meanings of the names match their character, like Albus, which means white, or Luna, which means moon.

  7. Nirvanaa

    inkheart: Rosenquartz, Basta, and worst of all Doria ( I hate Doria) a weird person like Doria in inkheart deserves a weird name.GO FARID!!!!!!! WOOOOT!!

  8. S

    In “Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians” most of the main characters are named for prisons. The main character is named Alcatraz Smedry, along with Leavenworth Smedry, and Bastille!

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