Celebrity Names Blog

Most Popular Baby Names 2011: Game of Thrones Gives Boost to Arya and Aria

Of the many bizarre and interesting names on the popular HBO series Game of Thrones that premiered in 2011, Arya, and the alternate spelling Aria, is the fastest rising name. The character Arya Stark, played by the young actress Maisie Williams, may be one of the smallest characters in a extremely long list of cast members, but she is also one of the most captivating. 

Aria jumped almost 200 points from #356 last year to #157 on this years list of top baby names and just barely making the top 1000 in 2010, Arya also made a big leap from #937 to #711 in 2011. Aria means "lioness" in Hebrew and "air" in Italian and can also be considered a musical name as it is the term commonly used to describe single voice pieces in operas. According to Namipedia, Arya is a Sanskrit word meaning "noble" and used to express reverence. 

Game of Thrones is one of HBO's many smash hits, based on the fantasy book series by George R. R. Martin. There are dozens of interesting names in the books and the show, such as Sansa, Cersei, Tyrion,  Melisandre, Theon and Daenerys just to name a few. 

Unlike many of these exotic names, Arya and Aria were already very similar to another popular name -- Arianna. Arianna and its variations Ariana, Aryana and Aryanna have all been increasing steadily. Aria had also been slowly coming up the charts over the past few years, but 2011 gave it a large boost. 

Arya's character also makes her name a great choice. The youngest daughter in the noble Stark family, Arya is a bit of a tomboy who is more interested in fighting and adventures than dresses or marriage like her older sister, Sansa. She uses her cunning and resourcefulness to escape capture again and again throughout the series. 

Although Cersei and Daenerys haven't hit the charts yet, what other Game of Thrones Names can you see becoming more popular? What do you think of Aria and Arya?



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May 15, 2012 8:35 AM
By Manda (not verified)

Great question. And I love the name Aria/Arya. I watched the latest episode last night, and I guess I had the recent release of the baby name list on the mind. I think there are several good names in the books. With the popularity of "Bree" names, perhaps Brienne with an alternate spelling. I'm not sure the character helps or hurts the name.

I think Amory would be a good name in today's baby name world of surnames for first names. I considered it for my middle daughter, after a DR who had helped me during the life and death of her older sister.

You've made me wonder how Catelyn did this year.

I also love the name Lorren as a man's name. I think it would be a great sib name for a Logan or Landen. I realize, however, that the feminine version of this name would be difficult to overcome.

May 15, 2012 12:06 PM
By Maya (not verified)

I think Bran is a fantastic name for a boy and he is also a great character through the whole series of novels. Unusual in the USA and perhaps with the wane of the popularity of the bran muffin - not too much teasing would ensue;-)

May 15, 2012 1:04 PM
By hurricanecek (not verified)

Aria is also a character on the cheesy yet compelling Pretty Little Liars.

May 15, 2012 1:26 PM
By Emily (not verified)

Isn't Arya also the female protagonist in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (ie Eragon books)? I've never seen/read Game of Thrones, but when I saw Arya being widely discussed, I was surprised to not see that connection mentioned.

May 15, 2012 4:13 PM
By Cabo (not verified)

Uh oh, you've stumbled on one of my obsessions. Actually, most of the names from the A Song of Ice and Fire series of books are similar to familiar names. Eddard is a twist on Edward, Theon ... Theo, Tyrion...Tyrone, Tywin....Edwin, Melisandre.... Melissa et cetera.

Other names I can imagine using from the books would be Myrcella, Margaery, Brienne, Asha, Ygritte, Petyr, Melisandre.
Quentyn, Arianne, Lyanna, Petyr, Lysa, Maege, Dacey, Ramsey, Wyman, Rickard, Shae, Tysha, Gendry.

I don't know if the name Joffrey is on the popularity lists but I'd guess it's about to plummet to somewhere right below Draco.

I'll stop now, although I could go on and on!

May 15, 2012 6:05 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

He was a relatively minor character in the first book, but I love the name Jory. In addition to those already mentioned, other great names (a lot come from Dorne for those who follow the books or tv series) Ellaria, Sarella, Loreza.. Also Dalla, Thoren, Alyse.. The list goes on and on.

May 17, 2012 4:15 PM
By Emmy (not verified)

I know two Aria's and an Arya... all three boys, all three Middle Eastern, and all three born in the mid-90s. Is this a popular boys name in that area or something?

May 22, 2012 1:08 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm surprised Melisandre hasn't become more popular, especially as a way to honor the slightly outdated Melissa.

June 18, 2012 2:27 AM
By Nilda Laughlin (not verified)

Maisie Williams, may be one of the smallest characters in a extremely long list of cast members, but she is also one of the most captivating.

June 28, 2012 5:55 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Lorren is quite popular . Though most spell it Laurent ;)

August 16, 2012 1:41 AM
By Kids’ party plan (not verified)

Loreal is the nice name you should like it,

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