Northern Ireland

Game of Thrones characters inspiring new baby names

Daenerys Targaryen Image copyright Sky Atlantic
Image caption Parents are naming their children after characters in the hit US TV series Game of Thrones

It is famous for its gory violence and sex scenes, but that has not stopped parents naming their children after characters from Game of Thrones.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just released data on baby names for England and Wales in 2014.

Their figures show that some children will grow up bearing the names of characters from the fantasy adventure.

Arya is the most popular girl's name, with 244 babies named after the character played by Maisie Williams.

There were also 53 babies named Khaleesi, nine Daenerys, six Sansas and four Briennes.

The blonde Daenerys Targaryen, played by actor Emilia Clarke, is one of the most recognisable figures in the drama, and her image is often used on publicity material for the show.

Daenerys is also known as Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, which has obviously caught the imagination of a number of parents across the UK.

The Starks, Lannisters and Greyjoys are battling it out for popularity among the male Game of Thrones names.

In 2014, 18 boys were called after the treacherous Theon, while 17 were named after the dwarf Tyrion.

Image copyright HBO
Image caption The Game of Thrones TV series is known for its gory violence

In addition, four boys each bear the names Bran and Sandor.

The hugely-popular series is mostly filmed in Northern Ireland and contributes millions to the local economy.

While the number of babies with cast names is relatively small, the ONS say there has been an increase since George R R Martin's original novels first appeared on TV screens in 2011.

The boy band One Direction also remains popular with many parents across England and Wales, but it appears that Irish member Niall Horan is the least notable.

Only 155 boys were given his first name in 2014, compared to 231 Zayns, 902 Liams, 999 boys called Louis, and 5,379 called Harry.

The most popular names in England and Wales in 2014 were Oliver for a boy and Amelia for a girl.

That is in contrast to Northern Ireland where statistics released earlier this year showed that the most popular baby names in 2014 were Jack and Emily.

Those figures also showed no evidence of a Game of Thrones impact locally, but among the baby names used here were Devin, Kaanye, Peanut, Princeton and

Rocco for boys, and Blessing, Piper, Coco, Texas, Suri and Mazie for girls.

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