36 votes

Isn't Gríma Wormtongue a very revealing name?

No, except yes TL;DR: ‘Wormtongue’ is a deliberately negative name given by his enemies, so it can’t be faulted for being pejorative, even if it’s not as unflattering as it might seem to modern ears. ...
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32 votes
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What is the significance of Alec Bings's name in The Phantom Tollbooth?

It’s noted in The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth (which I highly recommend to any fan- it's a really lovely book) published by Knopf/Random House in 2011; on page 106, annotation 10 reads: “I’m ...
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  • 336
29 votes

Why is the UK called Airstrip One?

I'm pretty sure it's a satirical jab at the perceived takeover of Britain by the United States. Just as in real life the US has filled Britain with its airbases, in the world of 1984 the entire ...
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  • 63.7k
23 votes
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Was there a reason Room 101 was called Room 101?

Room 101 is named after a conference room at Broadcasting House. Orwell used to sit through boring meetings there. When it was to be demolished at the BBC, Rachel Whiteread made a plaster cast and it ...
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20 votes

Isn't Gríma Wormtongue a very revealing name?

Grima calls Gandalf "Lathspell" -- Ill News -- because he hated him and wanted Theoden to mistrust him. Likewise, "Wormtongue" is what people who already hate him call him. It is ...
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  • 4,194
20 votes
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Why is the snake named "Asmodeus"?

You might be overthinking it. According to Brian Jacques himself, it seems he didn't go into the depths of exactly what traits the mythological/biblical character Asmodeus represents; he just found it ...
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  • 63.7k
17 votes

Symbolism of Albus Dumbledore's name in Harry Potter

Albus As you state, Albus translates to "white", which was a nod to alchemy: Colours also played their part in the naming of Hagrid and Dumbledore, whose first names are Rubeus (red) and ...
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  • 3,696
16 votes
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Is this hypothesis about the significance of the name "Denna" in the Kingkiller Chronicle supported by the text?

Denner resin comes from the sap of denner trees, and addicts ('sweet-eaters') will go to great lengths to eat it. It usually turns their teeth white, as it does for a girl whom Kvothe sees dance naked ...
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15 votes
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What is a Pooh?

1) According to When We Were Very Young By A. A. Milne, Pooh was a swan that Christopher Robin named Pooh, so that if he didn't come Christopher could pretend he was just saying that he hadn't wanted ...
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14 votes

Why is the superstate Winston lives in named Oceania in 1984?

Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia are all named for their geographical features. The best description we have of the three superpowers and their geography comes from Chapter III (War is Peace) of ...
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  • 63.7k
13 votes
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Why did Bill Watterson choose the character names he did?

With regards to Calvin and Hobbes: Later, when Watterson was creating names for the characters in his comic strip, he decided upon Calvin (after the Protestant reformer John Calvin) and Hobbes (...
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  • 4,506
13 votes
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Why do peasants in 19th century Russian literature often have Greek names?

Firstly, why there are Greek names in Russia. Russia, being a Christian Orthodox country, had strong historical and cultural connections with Greece. So, many Russian names are of Greek origin. Most ...
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  • 1,125
12 votes
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Symbolism of Albus Dumbledore's name in Harry Potter

The last name is actually not that fancy. As this old interview with Rowling states: How did you decide what to name your characters and places? I collect unusual names. I have notebooks full of them....
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  • 991
12 votes

Meaning of President "Coin" in the Hunger Games books?

Warning: major spoilers follow. Coin ~ money There are a few ways in which the District 13 leader could be symbolised by the idea of money. Power. Money can be used to buy power, or as a ...
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  • 63.7k
12 votes
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Is the name Crowley in Good Omens a reference to the famous occultist?

I have not been able to source a quote from the author, but there is an interview which offers some circumstantial evidence that Crowley is indeed named after the famous occultist. Actor Mark Sheppard ...
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  • 14.7k
11 votes

Why is Nausicaa named 'burner of ships'?

I'm going to attempt an answer with the caveats that the materialists often find my etymological ideas on names to be poetic as opposed to scientific, and that I'd want to know what Graves thought but ...
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  • 4,010
11 votes
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Was Atticus's name meant to mean anything?

This analysis website claims that: In Latin, Atticus is an adjective meaning “belonging to Attica”, the region in which Athens is located, or more simply, “Athenian”. As a name, it had connotations ...
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  • 4,217
9 votes
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Where did the names Siegfried and Tristan Farnon come from?

Thanks to @rand-althor for finding the citation! This article, an interview with the author includes a brief explanation of the choices: Siegfried was taken from the heroic character of German ...
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8 votes

Why is the superstate Winston lives in named Oceania in 1984?

I always assumed it was because it touched every single ocean in the world: Pacific (US), Atlantic (US), Indian (Australia), Southern/Antarctic (Australia), and Arctic Oceans (Canada). You can also ...
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  • 1,660
8 votes

What does Narcissa Malfoy's name say about her character?

Spoilers involved! TL;DR at the bottom. In an interview (1,2,3), the author says the following about the name Narcissa (emphasis mine): queenmarion: I noticed in the Black Family tree that everyone ...
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8 votes
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Is there significance behind the name "Scout" from To Kill A Mockingbird?

Scout is her nickname, it is less symbolic than descriptive First of all, I could not find any actual words from the author/book. There is no "official" word of why, so I sought out the definition of ...
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8 votes
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Why is Josef K.'s last name never revealed?

This answer is primarily based on Ignace Feuerlicht, "Omissions and Contradictions in Kafka's Trial", The German Quarterly 1967, 40(3), pp. 339-350 - available here if you have Jstor access. All ...
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  • 63.7k
8 votes
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Why do the names of the first two characters introduced in "The Neverending Story" start with B and C?

In the original, it's B and K, not B and C. You can see this in the German Wikipedia page (emphasis mine): Bastian Balthasar Bux ist ein zehn oder elf Jahre alter, in sich gekehrter Junge. Sein Vater ...
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  • 63.7k
7 votes
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Why Catch-22 if there was only one catch?

"There is only one catch" refers to that particular situation. The previous lines describe a character Orr, who should be grounded (prevented from flying). Which he's entitled to be, on the grounds ...
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  • 4,898
7 votes
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What are the many names of J.E.D.D. Mason, and their meanings?

This is a community-wiki answer where we can compile a list of names and their meanings. Tai-kun, Japanese. This name has a double meaning: "Tai-kun," as written, is applying the "-kun" suffix for "...
7 votes

Why "Moon Child"?

The simplest explanation, in-universe so to speak, would be that you need a new unique name to see the Childlike Empress, and "Mondenkind" isn't really a word that existed before in the ...
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7 votes
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What is the joke in the name "Robert Jordon"?

I don't have much evidence to support this, but I think this might be a reference to Robert Jordan, the main character of Ernest Hemingway's celebrated For Whom the Bell Tolls. Both are soldiers, to ...
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  • 6,644
7 votes

What is the significance of Blackberry's name in Watership Down?

Blackberry had black tips to his ears. It is possible that, especially when he was a kit those tips reminded people of two blackberries. There may also be an aspect of being tenacious and difficult to ...
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  • 15.7k
6 votes

What's the significance of the witches' name change in Sandman?

The Three Witches appear multiple times in the Sandman series, often showing a penchant for trickery and subtle jokes. Here, they are giving Dream a hard time about their names, comparing several ...
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  • 161
6 votes

What kind of name is Vardaman?

There is a town named Vardaman in Mississippi, about 40 miles southeast of Oxford. Faulkner could have borrowed the name because he liked the sound of it. What's more likely, however, is that he used ...
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  • 1,139

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