Gather close my friends, for the time has come! The series we've all been anxiously pining for is making its longed awaited return. That's right, everyone's favourite fantasy TV show Game Of Thrones is back on our screens and winter has arrived! Which characters are still alive? Which characters are dead? And who will stand alongside who in their claim for the Iron Throne?
One thing we've learned with Game Of Thrones, is to expect the unexpected, and that it really isn't too wise to get too attached to anyone, because the likelihood of them ending up dead is extremely high.
But while G.R.R. Martin might not have given many of our favourite characters much time to live (thankfully he's left us with a few...looking at you, Jon Snow and you, Daenerys Targaryen) their names and influence can forever live on...through our children.
Parents have been looking to Game Of Thrones for inspiration for several years now. In 2015 there was 244 Aryas, 53, Khaleesis and a number of baby Daenerys, Sansas, Theons and Tyrions welcomed into the world. We hope that, even if you're not a GOT nerd we can help you find fantastical inspiration in this bumper list!
When I can put aside my major hair envy, I can admit I'm besotted with the kick-ass Mother of Dragons Prince Daenerys Targaryen, also know by her Dothraki name Khaleesi (pronounced ka-LEE-see).
If Jon Snow ends up dead (again), I'll be rooting for her to sit on the Iron Throne. While Daenerys is polite, and looks like butter wouldn't melt, she's the strongest female character in the show - mentally, emotionally and physically...physically because she's immune to fire and heat.
While the spelling might take some time to get your head around, the name itself isn't actually that difficult to pronounce, and rolls beautifully off the tongue. It's especially pleasing on the eye, too. I've read some opinions that the name Khaleesi will date quickly, and to a degree, I agree. Interestingly, Khaleesi has been the more popular choice. But I think Daenerys will stand the test of time.
The other day I found out that everyone's favourite Jon Snow might actually go by another name! It was something of a mind f**k, after speaking the name of the bastard son of Eddard Stark so fondly since forever.
To escape his bastard title, Jon joined the Night's Watch and worked his way up to be Lord Commander. Having grown up in Winterfell, it was only natural that Jon adopted good, strong morals and values as well as a true sense of honour.
While George R.R. Martin made up a good percentage of the names in Game Of Thrones, Jon is one of the few which he didn't. Jon is the older English way of spelling John. In the US in 2016 the name Jon was given to 354 boys.
I believed that Sansa was another made up name, but as it turns out, it's actually Indian in origin. Pronounces SAHN-sa, it's a Sanskirt word that means 'praise' or 'charm.' Lady Sansa Stark is the second child and elder daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark.
To begin, Sansa's character was a bit bad-tempered and not hugely likeable. She was also incredibly naive about the world around her. But as the series progressed, and her family suffered great cruelty, her character hardened and became difficult to crush. She had to learn to rely on her own abilities and instincts.
Personally I think Sansa is one of the nicest female names George R.R. Martin chose to use. It's timeless, beautiful and easy on the eyes and tongue. In 2014 there were 6 little girls born to the name Sansa.
I think that there will be a mixed reaction to me using the name Gregor in this list, but if you look past the fact he crushed a man's skull with his bare hands, and killed countless innocents, there are plenty of positive aspects to this name. Slovak in origin and pronounced GRE-gor, the name is a form of Gregory and is unashamedly manly.
While Ser Gregor Clegane is a minor character in the show, he's unforgettable. Also known as 'The Mountain That Rides,' or simply 'The Mountain,' he is a fearsome warrior of a freakishly huge size with an insatiable blood lust and an anger that is impossible to contain. At almost 8 feet tall, he is said to be the largest man in Westeros. His loyalty lies with House Lannister.
I was in two minds about using the name Melisandre in this list, as I spent so much time cursing the Red Woman and her acts of heartless cruelty. But despite the fact the religious fanatic scarified one of my favourite characters - Shireen Baratheon - to the fire, I can't help but like this name. Despite its length, it trips off the tongue, and is gorgeous to listen to.
Pronounced mel-i-SAHN-dra, Melisandre means 'strength' and 'determination,' two things we all want our children to possess. It is likely that George R.R. Martin based the name off the French name Melisandre.
Melisandra is extremely intelligent, and has a knack for understanding people. She possess powerful magical abilities, including the power of prophecy. The only honorable thing she has done so far in the series is bring Jon Snow back from the dead.
Eddard Stark (though we know him better as Ned) held many titles before he was cruelly beheaded. He was the head of House Stark, the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, among others. The name Eddard means 'blessed guard.'
He was a man of principal and was renowned for his patience, intelligence and nobility. He was also in possession of a great sense of duty. Following his untimely death, Eddard was remembered for being an honorable, calm and reasonable character.
It was only natural that George R.R. Martin would kill off one of the best and most likeable characters early on! The more I say the name Eddard out loud, the more I like it and the more I can imagine that I could quite easily give a little boy this title.
There is no chance that you will ever forget the line 'You know nothing Jon Snow,' or the woman from whose lips those words came. Ygritte is the name of one of the Wildlings or, as they're otherwise known, Free Folk, who lives north of the wall. With her fiery red hair and equally fiery attitude, Ygritte was one of those characters you couldn't get enough of. This is another female name I wouldn't hesitate to give to my own offspring.
Pronounced EE-grit, Ygritte she was a quick-witted and extremely courageous spearwife. She valued her status as a free woman above all things - except Jon Snow. Her people, the Wildlings, considered red hair to be lucky and those with her were described as having been 'kissed by fire.' Her name, from what I've been able to gather means 'wild heron,' or 'wild bird.'
It was a sad day when Khal Drago died in Game of Thrones. The character we had first hated with a passion, proved himself to be a loving and honourable man.
Drogo was a 'khal' or chieftain of the Dothraki people - the famed nomadic horse lords. He was never defeated in battle - the braid that reached down below his waist symbolized this. Despite the fact he left the series too early, we're left with the memory of his name, which, I'm sure you will agree, is as masculine as you could possibly hope for. I've read that it has Norman origins and means 'to bear' or 'carry.'
Before he met his wife, Daenerys, he had no problems with committing rape or murder or taking slaves. But around Daenerys, he shows a compassionate, gentle side. He came to respect and cherish her due to her spirit and determination.
Princess Arya Stark is the third child and second daughter of Lord Eddard Stark and Lady Catelyn Stark. The strong willed, fiercely independent youngster rejected the notion that she 'must become a lady,' and believes that she can carve her own destiny.
Arya has to be one of the most popular. It's a strong, beautiful name which hit the top 1000 baby names for the first time in 2010. In 2013, 187 little girls called Arya were born in England and Wales.
Pronounced AR-yuh, it's an especially popular choice in Scotland where it is ranked as the 98th most popular name for girls. I am not sure if George R.R. Martin adopted the name from Sanskrit - where it means noble - or if he 'invented' it for his books.
I have loved and loathed Jamie Lannister in equal measure throughout the past 6 seasons of Game of Thrones. One of the more 'normal' names in the list, Jamie is an English name which means 'he grasps the heel.' Pronounced JAY-mee, it has been pronounced that way for centuries.
Ser Jaime Lannister is the eldest son of Tywin, the older brother of Tyrion and the twin brother of Cersei, with whom he has three children. The first impression of Jamie is that he's arrogant, disdainful and sarcastic, but even his enemies must admit that he is the greatest living swordsman in Westeros.
Though when he lost his fighting hand, it did much to humble him. Though he is a complicated man, Jamie does have a more gentle side and knows the value of kindness.
I did not take to kindly to Margaery Tyrell. Her insatiable desire to become queen - which eventually led to her downfall by wildfire - made her do infuriating, manipulative things. Her beauty was very much equalled by her intelligence. Remember this quote, which perfectly exemplifies her attitude:
Petyr Baelish: "Do you want to be a Queen?"
Margaery Tyrell: "No. I want to be the Queen."
The name Margaery means 'peal' which does, I think, sit extremely well with this particular character. Despite being, at times, an excellent manipulator, she did actually possess a good heart, compassion and empathy. And, unlike her nemesis Cersei, she was capable of being tactful and polite. She also had loving relationships with all of the members of her family. For example, she deeply cared for her brother Loras, and was tolerant of his homosexuality.
I want to be best friends with Brienne of Tarth! One of my favourite female characters, I'm also entirely taken with her name. Called Tarth after her island home, Brienne is the only living child and heir of Lord Selwyn.
She's sometimes called the Maid of Tarth and cruelly mocked as Brienne the Beauty. (Personally I think she's one of the most beautiful characters in the series.) Brienne is uniquely tall for a woman and especially muscular.
My affection for her grew when the Red Wedding massacre had Brienne swearing an oath of protection over the surviving Stark children. The year 2014 saw 4 little girls named Brienne. This feminine variation on Brian, means 'strong,' 'virtuous,' and 'honorable.' To be perfectly honest, I can hardly think of a better role model for a young girl.
It is impossible not to love Tyrion Lannister and I was not surprised in the slightest when I learned that his name means 'nobility.' He is also known as 'Hand of the Kind,' 'The Little Lion,' 'The Imp' and 'Master of Coin.'
While Tyrion is a Lannister by birth and the brother to Cersei and Jamie, his attitude and good heart would make you think otherwise. He uses his sharp wit and equally sharp intellect to overcome the prejudice he faces on a daily basis.
Tyrion's greatest weapon is his mind, and he has proved himself to have a great mind for strategy. He also excels at reading people and has, on countless occasions, managed to get the better of some of the slyest characters in the show. In 2014 there was 17 little boys called Tyrion. I can only imagine that this number will rise.
I was not a fan of the name Catelyn until I started to watch Game of Thrones. Then, when I was introduced to the good, kind Lady Catelyn Stark of Winterfell, that all changed. Catelyn means 'pure,' and that is exactly what her character portrays. While Eddard and Catelyn hardly knew each other when they were wed, they went on to have a strong and loving marriage.
Mother to Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon, she proved herself to be a devoted mother who was fiercely protective over her children. As a matter of fact, she often reminded me of my own mom. It was one of the biggest tragedies when she was murdered at the Red Wedding, on a day which was supposed to have been nothing but joyful.
To begin with, when I first heard the name Bran all those years ago when Game of Thrones first aired, I couldn't get 'bran flakes' out of my head and it's pronounced exactly the same - BRAN. But now, several years later, I have warmed to the name and it is a strong contender for when I have my own children.
Meaning 'raven,' Bran is a masculine and strong yet simple name with ancient Irish origins. While Bran's name is actually Brandon, he always goes by Bran. Its link to nature and the mysterious makes it all the more enticing a choice.
I've always liked Bran's character, and have relished his development through the series. The fourth child of Catelyn and Eddard, he has many mystical abilities, including 'the sight' which enables him to have prophetic visions.
I am pretty certain that you will agree that the name Missandei is gorgeous, and definitely one of the most worthy choices on the list. The pronunciation - mid-AN-dey is simply stunning and I'm surprised that it hasn't been making its mark in baby name statistics.
Originally a slave, Missandei was freed by the Dragon Queen. She now serves Daenerys as her handmaiden as well as her trusted advisor. She's a strong, (newly) independent and somewhat rebellious woman. From the looks of things, the name Missandei was created by George R.R. Martin as there's no alleged etymology known about it.
Missandei is known for her intelligence, and can speak 19 languages and even has some knowledge of the dead language of the Ghiscari Empire - one of the oldest known civilizations in the Game of Thrones universe.
Tormund Giantsbane is one of those characters you just cannot help but adore. At first, he came across as an angry, somewhat stupid savage, but he very quickly revealed himself to be smart, funny, hugely loyal and even capable of...dare I say it...love.
A renowned leader and raider among the Free Folk, Tormund is a trusted leader. He is fierce and utterly terrifying in combat. Tormund is a masculine name which I believe is timeless, captivating and hugely memorable.
While he might be fierce, there is something about him which makes you just want to smile, especially when thinking about the scene where he sees Brianne of Tarth for the first time. From what I've been able to gather, the name is derived from the name of the Norse god Thor.
Gilly Craster is one of the Free Folk - or Wildling - who had a horrendous start to life beyond the wall. She was raped by her rather and gave birth to his son...her half-brother Sam. Her father routinely married his own daughters. Thankfully she was whisked away by the sweet Samwell who promised her and baby Sam a better life.
Her name, which is so English it hurts, means 'my joy,' though I have read that she may also be named after the gillyflower. Gilly and is a modern form of the name Gili. One of the strongest things about her character, and which Samwell pointed out in the show, is that after all her father had done for her, she still carries hope that life might get better.
While we do not see much of Rickon Stark - the youngest Stark child - his name isn't one to be passed over. The meaning of the name is 'innocent,' something which Rickon always was, right up until his death at the hands of Ramsey Bolton.
Pronounced RICK-ON, he was only 3 years old when the series began. In childhood, he was aggressive and strong-willed, and he grows to have a great strength of heart, as well as a deep love for his family, especially his father.
It was suggested that Rickon might have developed some of the same mystical abilities that his older brother Bran possesses. Before he was taken down by arrows, Rickon had the makings of an incredible man with a powerful heart and loyalties that would run bone deep.
We did not see much of the beautiful princess Mrycella Baratheon, but in the brief moments we did see her on screen, she proved herself to be a polar opposite of her mother Cersei and her brother Joffrey.
Myrcella was, as described by her uncle Tyrion, 'sweet and innocent,' though sometimes sadly naive. Like her younger brother Tommen, she was kind and caring and expresses concern for others - something her mother and brother found practically impossible.
Myrcella's strongest attributes were her warm heart and the fact that, despite their consistently cruel intentions, she loved her family. It is thought that her pretty, feminine name is adapted from the Italian name Marcella. Despite Myrecella no longer being in the series, I envisage this beautiful and exotic name becoming ever more popular.
It is quite difficult to think about Theon Greyjoy without wincing, following his castration by the heartless Ramsey Bolton. Meaning 'of the gods,' Theon is apparently Greek in origin, though whether George R.R. Martin adopted it from Greek is unknown to me.
Theon Greyjoy is of the Iron Islands, and, while he started out as something of an arrogant, narcissistic and vein son of a bitch, it is important to note that deep down he's not a malicious young man. Beneath that former confident exterior, he was actually tremendously insecure. He grew up with the Stark family and was constantly reminded that he was not one of them.
Though in the later series, he has redeemed himself by pledging his alliance to the Starks and helping Sansa escape from Ramsey Bolton. Despite some of the negative aspects surrounding Theon's character, his name is a powerful, memorable one.
This is one of the softest, gentlest most delicate names that we have on the list, and it was owned by one of the sweetest characters to have existed in the Game of Thrones universe. A woman who decided to dedicate her life to the study of medicine after her brother nearly drowned and was saved by a slave.
Talisa was a healer who met Robb Stark on the battlefields of the Westerlands. They fell in love, got married and conceived a baby together. It was a relationship that we all preyed would end happily...but as is tradition in the Game of Thrones universe, it didn't.
The name Talisa means 'forest' though I have also read that it can mean 'consecrated to God.' I think, from what I've read, that George R.R. Martin 'invented' this name for Game of Thrones.
I really warmed to the character Ser Bronn, a skilled and exceptionally dangerous sellsword who started off as a common mercenary but continually rose in the ranks as the series progressed, to the point where he was rewarded with a knighthood and presented with the name Ser Bronn of the Blackwater.
While he was sarcastic with a brilliant, dark sense of humour, Bronn has never been proved to be heartless or sadistic. He's capable of expressing sympathy and kindness.
The name Bronn is masculine, but adaptable and can work just as well on a polite, shy little boy as well as it could on a boy that's boisterous. Pronounced BRON it's known for being invented for Game of Thrones, and as a result there is no associated etymology. Though there is a chance that it may refer to the name Bruno or the colour brown.
Our one and only animal entry on the list...and it's a special one! Summer is one of the six direwolf puppies that were found by the Stark children in the first series. Bran adopted Summer - called so because it was the season she was born in - and raised her.
She protected her young master and even killed in his defence when an assassin tried to kill him as he lay in bed crippled. Summer lost her life when Wights and White Walkers attacked the cave where Bran was finding refuge.
I have to say that when I was a little girl, to have been told that I've been named after a direwolf would have been the coolest thing ever. Summer is a timeless, beautiful, evocative name which ages ever so gracefully.
While I did not really warm to Tommen, I can appreciate his name. It's a much edgier version of Tom and, while masculine, it isn't overbearing in any way. From what I have been able to gather, Tommen means 'twin.'
King Tommen I Baratheon was the younger brother of the god awful King Joffrey and Princess Marcella. His most prominent quality is his innocence. For a long time he was victimised by Joffrey's cruelty and sadism. Amazingly he never adopted the traits of his brother, but was, instead, humble, polite, compassionate and sweet - much like his sister.
He would have made a considerably better ruler than Joffrey. The young man was surprisingly intelligent and it didn't take him long at all to find out what made a good king.
Ellaria Sand was one of those Game of Thrones characters which I couldn't really quite decide how to feel about. She is the mother of 4 of Prince Oberyn's 8 bastard daughters, and, like her lover, she was attracted to both men and women. In the series, she is exotic and eye catching.
Before the death of Oberyn, she was an adventurous, carefree and highly spirited woman who had a real zest for life. She was also oddly peaceful, and, it would seem, just wanted to have a good time.
I haven't been able to find out much about the name Ellaria, so I am assuming, that, like many of the other names in this list, George R.R. Martin made it up. It certainly has a regal feeling about it, and it will be interesting to see if it starts being picked up by parents.
I do not think that I will be the only one to say that Shireen is one of the greatest characters to have ever walked the Game of Thrones universe. Before being burnt alive by her family and the Red Woman Milisandre, Princess Shireen Baratheon was the daughter and only living child of Stanis and Selvse Baratheon.
The young girl had, as an infant, contracted greyscale. While healers were able to stop the progression of the sickness, one side of her face was left permanently scared. Despite her disfiguration, she was a deeply compassionate, intelligent, brave and giving character, even helping her close friend Ser Davos Seaworth to learn how to read.
The name Shireen - which is pronounced SHIREEN - is Persian in origin and means 'sweet.' Though it can also mean 'gentle' and 'delicate.'
Another of the more 'normal' choices on the list, for those of you who prefer to edge on the edge of safety. Robert Baratheon is one of those characters, which, while you might not have loved much, was unforgettable. While he might now have been a shining example in the show, the name Robert does mean 'bright' or 'shining.'
We know for a fact that this is one name which George R.R. Martin didn't make up. It has its origins attached to several different countries, though most predominantly France. It's a humble, down-to-earth name which ages well and works wherever you are in the world.
While he was often very much the brutish bastard, one of his redeeming features was his relationship with Eddard Stark. Ned brought out the better side of Robert, who trusted him deeply.
While I think that it is probably the most unusual name that we have on this list, I am obsessed with the name Osha! Osha was one of the Free Folk or Wildlings, though she quickly became a servant to House Stark, and became a trusted ally of Bran Stark. Though she died all too soon when Ramsey Bolton took a knife to her throat.
What I really loved with her character was her wildness. When we first met her, she was animalistic and acted very much like a wolf when humans were around. She would slink slow and not make eye contact. Osha could be provocative and terrifying, but on the other hand, she could be gentle and wise.
Pronounced OWSHAH her name means 'bear.' Like her fellow Wildlings, she worshiped the Old Gods of the Forest.
I know, I know, it might be a bit controversial of me to include Cersei Lannister on the list, but guys, but despite her reputation as the biggest bitch in the Game of Thrones universe, the name Cersei is, well, pretty bloody beautiful.
It probably won't come as a surprise for you to learn that it does, in fact, mean enchantress, and comes from Greek mythology and an enchantress called Circe. The only daughter of Tywin Lannister, Cersei is renowned for her great beauty. (It's a shame her beauty isn't reflected in her deeds.)
She is ruthless, cold and hugely ambitious and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her own. (Much like her brother Jamie when he pushed Bran out of the window in season 1). I think to see any good in her, we need to remember the love she feels for her children.
Sources: BehindTheNams.com, NameBerry.com, GameOfThronesWikia.com