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We're Starstruck By This Baby Name!

My husband and I are in love with the name Stark (yes, we are Game of Thrones and Marvel comic nerds) for our son, due next month. I can't imagine his name as anything else. The issue I am having is our last name: Stichler, pronounced "Stickler." Stark Stichler, or we could choose Stark Elijah Stickler. Can we get away with this? Or is it too much?

–Stuck on Stark

You're right: Stark Stichler is pretty hard to say, and the clump of consonants can merge together and make people hear the first name as Star or Starks. A few months ago, I advised against the name "Clark Markley" because of the rhymey, tongue-twisting nature of the combination.

But every name decision is unique. Stark and Stichler have slightly less overlap than Clark and Markley do. And there is really no substitute for Stark! It’s the reigning geek-culture power name. As Laura Wattenberg of Baby Name Wizard wrote back in 2015, "Iron Man wants you to know that Winter is Coming."

So if you're really set on Stark, I think you can get away with it—with two caveats. First, the middle name doesn't make the problem go away, unless you plan to use it consistently as a call name. (And if you want to make that stick, you might need a middle that's shorter than Elijah's three syllables.)

Second, remember that a distinctive, rare name like Stark, especially when paired with Stichler, might end up as what Wattenberg calls a "personality multiplier." It's super cool if the kid wearing it is confident and popular, but rough going if he's on the shy or insecure side. Still, having parents who think the name is as super cool as he is will get Stark off to a good start.


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January 22, 2018 11:04 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I don't think they work. It's just too much for me (though I realize this is pretty subjective).

Sticking Elijah in as the middle doesn't help because he'll still be Stark Stickler for every day use. Perhaps a double barrel first name would work. In that case, I would probably use Stark as the 2nd half of the name. Something like Elijah-Stark could work, and he'd have the option to drop one of them later if he wanted.

January 22, 2018 12:40 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Not as many people as you think have watched that show or follow it. If I was an average person, which I’m guessing I am, who was introduced to him as a baby, boy or man I would mistakenly think you’d said his name was “Star.” It’s too close simply considering the effect you’d like. Stark with your excitement and fandom would be a super fun middle you can relish in...Sometimes that’s what’s middles are precisely there for! :)

January 22, 2018 5:39 PM
By Meredith (not verified)

In a vacuum, I think Stark sounds good, but it immediately made me think of (not Game of Thrones, which I've neither read nor watched) "stark raving mad" and "stark naked".

January 22, 2018 10:01 PM
By anonymous (not verified)

Paired with 'stickler', Stark sounds like a descriptor. He's a stark stickler for details! I wouldn't go there. Use Eddard or one of the other Stark names, or use Stark as a middle name.

January 22, 2018 11:44 PM
By MJ (not verified)

I immediately hear "Dirk Diggler" (a porn actor in Boogie Nights) with Stark Stichler.

January 30, 2018 4:51 PM
By not telling (not verified)

Stark Stickler means plain and difficult. If your child ends up being plainly difficult the name will haunt you. And in the future people may look back on today's popular fiction as violent and morally wanting if things change. I'm just saying you are creating a ripe field for a potential name change, that's a risk you are taking.

February 8, 2018 6:38 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

MJ - It made me think of "Dirk Diggler," too. Plus, it's kind of a tongue-twister. I agree with the Name Lady that this is a name that would be hard for most kids to pull off. I'd advise against using it.

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