The Most Popular TV-Inspired Baby Names From The Past Year

You hear names all day, every day — at work or school, at home, on the street, at a coffee shop, while out to dinner — but when you're pregnant, those names that otherwise don't mean all that much to you start to matter more. You're looking for inspiration everywhere you turn. Naming an infant is serious business. It's the name they'll likely carry with them for the rest of their life. 


TV shows can be a really good source of inspiration, partially because with TV shows, unlike with movies, you often get the chance to feel like you're really getting to know a particular character, which can contribute to your desire to give that name to your newborn baby, hoping that it'll somehow pass those qualities on to him or her, or steer clear of a name because you don't like the character.

Sometimes you hear a name and file it away for years, other times you hear it and know immediately that you're going to use it right now. From Game of Thrones to Scandal and just about everything in between, here are the most popular TV show characters that parents chose to name their babies after last year.



Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter Dinklage, is a dwarf on HBO's smash hit, Game of Thrones. According to Nameberry, author George R. R. Martin (who wrote the books on which the show is based) envisioned Tyrion as both the most intelligent and least attractive being in the world, which may or may not be what you hope for your child. This extremely unique name, invented by Martin, has undoubtedly experienced a boost since Game of Thrones premiered on televisions worldwide. 


According to Huffington Post, there were just 11 baby boys named Tyrion born in the U.S. in 2010, but the name has grown in popularity alongside Martin's fictional world of Westeros, with 43 babies named Tyrion born in the U.S. in 2013. And, according to data gathered from the Social Security Administration's website, there were 57 little Tyrions born in the U.S. in 2016. You can likely expect the name to become even more popular when the next season debuts.


Arya Stark is another of the main characters on HBO's Game of Thrones. According to Babble, this beautifully lyrical name is Hindi for "noble goddess." Arya has increased in popularity every year since Game of Thrones premiered in 2011, making it all the way up to number 169 on the SSA's 2016 list of most popular names for baby girls. 


According to Huffington Post, there were only 387 little girls named Arya when the show premiered. In 2016, however, 1,890 baby girls named Arya were born in the U.S., according to data gathered from the SSA's website. The name is beautiful, but more mainstream-sounding than some of the others on the show, which could help account for some of its soaring popularity.


According to Nameberry, Khaleesi is another name made up by author George R. R. Martin for the books-turned-TV show Game of Thrones. It's one of the titles given to Emilia Clark's character, Daenerys Targaryen, and also means "queen." 


The name rose from 821 on the SSA's list of most popular baby names for girls in 2015 to number 765 a year later. Khaleesi is arguably one of the most recognizable names from the exceedingly popular franchise. Her strong, poised image is often used in publicity and promotional materials associated with the show, perhaps inspiring the parents of the 370 little Khaleesis born in the U.S. in 2016. 

The character's true name, Daenerys, has also enjoyed some increased popularity, with 101 American baby girls named after her in 2016, up from 21 in 2012 after the show first premiered in 2011.


Sansa Stark is the name of Sophie Turner's character on Game of Thrones. While the name isn't as popular as the character's counterparts, Arya and Khaleesi, it's similarly inspiring parents when it comes to names for their brand-new bundles. 


According to Mashable, in 2014, six babies were named after the poised, elegant, and beautiful young noblewoman. In the U.S., however, 26 little Sansas were born in 2016, according to data gathered from the Social Security Administration's website. It may never enjoy the popularity of Arya (interestingly enough her sister on the show), for example, but this unique and beautiful name will likely continue to climb as the series progresses. 

According to Nameberry, Sansa is an originally Sanskrit name meaning "praise" and "charm." It didn't truly become popular in the U.S., however, until George R. R. Martin's books — and the show based on them — became popular as well.


According to NME, the popularity of Atlanta-based, zombie apocalypse show The Walking Dead is to thank for the increased popularity of the baby boy name Hershel. Throughout everything that happens, all of the ups and downs in the post-apocalyptic world, farmer and veterinarian Hershel Greene stays caring and empathetic — and sticks to his guns, which the parents of the 40 little Hershels born in the U.S. in 2016, according to data gathered from the Social Security Administration's website, likely took notice of. Hershel is a Hebrew name meaning "deer," as noted by Nameberry



The Walking Dead character Tyreese Williams is the original Tyreese, according to Nameberry. Like Hershel, NME credited the increase in popularity of the name, which went up 48 percent in 2016, to the show. According to data gathered from the Social Security Administration's website, there were 17 little boys named Tyreese born in the U.S. in 2016, but with the show coming back on the air for season seven in the fall, look to see more little Tyreeses running around soon.



According to Babble, this slightly-old-fashioned name is an English name meaning "joyous" and "merry," "is derived from Latin word jocosa, meaning joyous," and is "a possible variant of Jocelyn." This classic name, however, may be coming back into favor, because according to data gathered from the Social Security Administration's website, there were 385 American baby girls named Joyce born in 2016, up from 332 the year prior. 


NME credited the debut of Netflix's hit show, Stranger Things, in which Winona Ryder stars as Joyce Byers, with the rise in popularity. With season two coming soon, the name is likely to become even more popular.


Castiel, an angel of Heaven on the CW's Supernatural, is played by Misha Collins. This unique name is Hebrew and means "my cover is God," according to Nameberry. It's become increasingly popular recently, moving up on the SSA's list of most popular baby names for boys from number 816 in 2015 to number 763 the following year. 


According to Entertainment Weekly, the rise in popularity in this unusual name is no coincidence — it's directly due to the loyal, voracious fanbase that the show has cultivated since its debut in 2005. While there were only five little boys born in the U.S. given the name Castiel each year in 2014 and 2015, in 2016, seven newborns were named Castiel, according to data gathered from the Social Security Administration's website, meaning it's gotten a bit more popular as the show has, as well.


Ezra Fitz, played by Ian Harding, is an English teacher at Rosewood High School on Pretty Little Liars. Ezra is a Hebrew name meaning "helper," according to the Baby Center website and has also become steadily more popular since the show premiered in 2010. 


According to the SSA's list of most popular baby names for boys, Ezra came in at number 85 in 2016, up from 92 the year prior. When Pretty Little Liars debuted on Freeform (formerly ABC Family) in 2010, there were 1,446 baby boys named Ezra born in the U.S., according to data gathered from the Social Security Administration website. 

The show ended in Spring of 2017, but by the end of its run in 2016, there were 4,830 little Ezras born. Time will tell if its addition to Netflix's lineup of streaming offerings can sustain its popularity — or boost it even more in years to come.


Though the original Gilmore Girls ended in 2007, it's had a devoted and loyal following for years, prompting Netflix to develop a revival, which was released in November 2016. Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life similarly centers on Emily Gilmore, her daughter Lorelai, and Lorelai's daughter, Rory. Lauren Graham's character Lorelai is one of the most central characters on the show. This spelling is a variation of the German Lorelei, which means "alluring" or "temptress," according to Nameberry


After the show premiered in 2000, there were 20 American baby girls named after this independent heroine in 2001, according to data gathered from the Social Security Administration's website. The same year the original series ended in 2007, 321 baby girls were named Lorelai. Then, in 2016, when the revival premiered on Netflix, 474 baby girls were named Lorelai.


Likewise, the name of Gilmore Girls main character Lorelai's daughter, Rory, enjoyed a popularity boost over the course of the series. While Rory may be short for Lorelai on the show (her mother named her after herself), parents everywhere are digging the nickname. From 142 Rorys in 2001, according to data gathered from the Social Security Administration's website, to 465 in 2016, as the show became ever-more popular, so did the name of one of the main characters. 


I spoke to one Minneapolis dad, Brian Bellmont, who told me all about naming is daughter Rory. "In 2006, my wife and I named our firstborn daughter Rory, inspired in no small part by Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. At first, a lot of people assumed she was a boy," he said. "But especially after Gilmore Girls won over a whole new audience with its Netflix reboot, a lot more people are commenting what a cool name she has, and recognizing it from the show. In fact, several people have asked if her full name is Lorelai. (It's not.) And I'm happy to report our daughter has grown into a smart, funny, thoughtful, and creative kid, just like her TV counterpart."


Cyrus Beene, played by Jeff Perry, is the former chief of staff with a definitive dark side to President Fitzgerald Grant III on Scandal. It's a Persian name meaning "lord," according to The Bump, and the name has become more popular recently. 


When Scandal debuted in 2012, there were 581 baby boys born in the U.S. named Cyrus. The following year, however, 659 baby boys born in the U.S. were named Cyrus, according to data gathered from the Social Security Administration's website. Though the character's storyline has gotten increasingly dark over the course of the show, that likely wasn't enough to deter the parents of the 722 American baby boys named Cyrus in 2016.

TV characters can provide lots of baby name inspiration

Unlike other sources of baby name inspiration, TV shows allow you to spend time with the character and really feel as though as you can get to know them. With some, you may simply like the name and wouldn't have thought of it on your own, but with other TV-inspired baby names, the character gives you a glimpse of who you hope your child will grow up to be, the values they'll have, and all that they'll achieve. 


While you probably never expected that your favorite TV shows would ultimately influence your life that significantly, you just might find yourself inspired the next time you settle into the sofa and flip through the channels.