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Will Vikings Ransack My Daughters' Names?

My husband and I fell in love with the name Thora. We like that it's feminine, unique, traditional, and from his family tree. My only hesitation is that our first daughter is named Freya, which is the name of the Norse goddess of love and beauty—and Thora is the derived from the masculine Norse god Thor. I don't want people to think my husband and I are Norse mythology fanatics! Or think my daughter has a masculine name. Are those too many strikes? We had reservations about Freya too, but we're so happy we decided to choose it for our first daughter after all.

–Freya's Mom

It makes perfect sense that parents who love Freya would also be drawn to Thora—and not, as you point out, just because they face the twilight of the gods together. Both names are short and impactful, clearly feminine but full of brisk, strong sounds, and contain a mix of soft and harsh elements. They fit together beautifully without rhyming or obvious repetition. Their shared Scandinavian heritage is a point of obvious union, but no more remarkable than a pair of sisters named Francesca and Gabriella or Bernadette and Jacqueline.

(All of the above, by the way, are feminizations of masculine names—as are many traditional female names. And none of them, I’m sure, sound the slightest bit masculine.)

Avid Norse mythology fans will probably comment on the shared Viking legacy of the pair. But honestly, how many people like that do you bump into on a regular basis? How many Americans have heard of the name Freya, let alone recognize her as the goddess of beauty? Or immediately associate the feminine Thora with the male Thor? And if someone has read enough Norse myths to immediately connect your daughters' names with Yggdrasil, aren't they likely to enjoy and appreciate them even more? A simple conversation will correct their impression that you chose the name because of the mythology. But I doubt you'll often need to have one.

Further, while coordinating siblings' names can feel like a momentous and important task to parents, situations in which your children appear as a pair are few and grow fewer as your children age. Holiday cards and mommy message boards bring sib-sets into prominence. But most often throughout their lives, your children—especially those of different ages—will be encountered as individuals. No one will wonder at Thora's first job whether she has a sibling with a goddess’s name.

You've found a name that you love, that feels significant to you and your husband, and that pairs nicely with your older child's name. Don’t let your fear of a few Vikings keep Freya and Thora apart.

Comments

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January 23, 2017 1:30 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree completely. Thora & Freya are fine to use together. I doubt most people even make the Viking connection.

January 24, 2017 5:13 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

OK really? I wish there was a poll. Surely most people have heard of Freya and Thor? We do have Thursday and Friday after all. I am Australian and I read norse myths in primary school. Are Americans really that insular?

BTW I love the name and I would use it. If you have too many reservations what about Thea?

January 24, 2017 12:45 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I would not immediately assume a love of Norse mythology, but I would assume Scandinavian heritage.

anonymous 5:13 - We also have July and August, but I doubt many people are thinking of Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus during those months. American school children tend to spend months on Greek and Roman mythology. In California Norse mythology is minor (if at all). It's possible that it is studied more in places with large groups of Scandinavian decent (like the midwest), but it is not universal.

January 24, 2017 5:04 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know many Americans who would definitely see the connection between Freya and Thora and Norse mythology, even if they are not completely familiar with them. But I don't see that as a bad thing.

I don't know if Thora Birch is still acting, but I bet a fair number of people will recognize the name because of her as well.

January 24, 2017 11:17 PM
By Heather A. (not verified)

I'm an American who knows next to nothing about Norse mythology, but I do know Thor, and Freya. At least I know they are the names of Norse gods. To me a Freya - Thora combo would obviously be some sort of tribute.

AND, the new Rick Riordan (of Percy Jackson fame) series is based on Norse myths. Only 2 books have been published so far, but both Thor and Freya are characters. As the mother of a middle=schooler, I can guarantee you most American kids will see the connection. Rick Riordian is hugely popular. It's quite possible his "Nose myth" books will eventually become movies, with an even bigger audience.

If the Norse mythology connection doesn't bother you, then use Thora, but don't expect the Norse myth vibe to fly under the radar. I think the Name Lady was way off-base on this one.

January 25, 2017 1:21 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Neil Gaiman also references Norse gods/myths in his writings. I think a lot of people at minimum would recognize Thor, Odin, Loki and Freya from various pop culture references.

January 27, 2017 12:57 PM
By Elizabeth (not verified)

I admit, I immediately see Thora as a feminine form of Thor (...possibly due more to Marvel than actual mythology), and with a sister named Freya, I would definitely assume you were big fans of Norse mythology. That said, I don't know that it's really a big problem.

January 27, 2017 1:26 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The pairing is lovely!! I'm from the Southern U.S. We studied zero Norse mythology in school. As a namenerd, I'd think you were into Scandinavian name's and that's all. Please use Thora...it's so nice, underused, and goes so well w/Freya!

January 31, 2017 11:28 PM
By CC (not verified)

No, the Avengers is very popular right now, and will raise a ton of questions. Thora will feel like she is designated to be a tomboy and Freya gets to be the girly-girl, and if Thora doesn't want that it will cause tension.

March 8, 2017 4:02 PM
By Sabby (not verified)

Immediately I thought of Thora Birch until you added Freya. I use to watch Vikings and they always talked about Freya. I would definitely think you were into Norse mythology. Wether or not that is ok depends on a lot of other factors. If you want the name stop come across as cool and not geeky maybe that pairing won't work out. However, if you haven't had any issues with having a Freya I doubt adding Thora will change things. Plus, they aren't twins. They will have their own lives. I wouldn't worry too much.

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