I finally read the Hunger Games! Never seen the movie, so besides what I’ve gleaned from the media and friends, I had a chance to look at the series with fresh eyes. I wasn’t really interested in it before (though Hunger Games Minecraft servers were always fun!), but happened upon a free copy and decided to read it for the names. All in all, the book was enjoyable, though I would have liked more background info about Panem…maybe that will happen in later books. I’m glad I didn’t read it when it was first popular because frankly, I absolutely hated The Giver as a teenager. Appreciation of the dystopian genre didn’t manifest until a couple years ago, when I finally read Orwell. Now I love the stuff! Hmm…maybe I should afford The Giver another chance.
Anyway, it’s not my intention to write a book review. Instead, how about a commentary on the names?
Katniss “Catnip” – According to the character Katniss, the katniss is a type of flower with an edible root. Indeed, it’s a real plant, also called Sagittaria or (fittingly) Arrowhead. Last year, 30 girls were named Katniss in the U.S.
Primrose “Prim”- A sweet floral name for a sweet disposition. 50 American girls were named Primrose last year, but it’s more distinctly British. According the newly-released English and Welsh data, she ranks #259 there.
Buttercup – OK, I know this was the cat’s name, but…”as you wish?”
Rue: “Small yellow flower” (p. 99).
Clove – You probably won’t find this as anyone’s name, though I wonder if anyone’s tried it as a nickname for Clover?
Effie – Another adorable, mostly British name. 53 girls were named Effie in the U.S. last year, and she ranks #343 in the U.K. In case you’re wondering, this is traditionally short for Euphemia.
Madge – Traditionally a nickname for Margaret, but could also work as a nickname for Talmadge. Adorable, but I’m unsure if this will ever catch on again. The last time this was in the top 1000 was in the 1950s.
Ancient Roman/Latin Names: (Wow, there are a lot of these!)
Venia – Possible nickname for Venetia?
Flavius – Would love to see Flavius gain traction!
Octavia – 173 girls. Rare and beautiful.
Cinna – I thought maybe this was a nickname for Cinnamon, but it looks like it may date to Rome (and Shakespeare).
Portia – 42 girls. Add stylist to the list of associations besides Porsche and Portia di Rossi!
Caesar – 91 boys. I bet we could turn Peeta into croutons for the salad.
Titus – The only men’s name on this list that’s popular in the U.S. Rank: #281.
Claudius – Surprisingly none of these in the data.
Cato – 23 boys. I wonder how many of these are named after the Cato Institute?
Gale (m) – Huh. I was seriously expecting to find this as a women’s name in the 2015 data, but the only known Gales are indeed male. Must be the series’ influence…anyway, 8 boys were named Gale last year.
Haymitch – Sounds like a lot like Hamish.
Peeta – Can I get some hummus with that?
Johanna – Current rank: #541
Delly – Sandwich shop! Or nickname for Cordelia.
Atala – Atari?
Thresh – Funny, he’s from the agriculture district and threshing is an agricultural practice.
Glimmer – “Ugh, the names people in District 1 give their children are so ridiculous.” (-Katniss, page 182). I’m not one to call names ridiculous, but you have to admit the quote is hilarious!
Rooba – Reminds me of Roombas.
Greasy Sae – I wouldn’t ever want to be called Greasy, though Sae can make a cute nickname for Sarah or Sadie! 8 girls were named Sae in the U.S. last year.
And, that’s a wrap of my Hunger Names commentary (at least, until I read the next two books!). Encountering all those Roman names is absolutely fantastic, and I always love flower names.