The Name of Thrones: What's Your Targaryen Name?

It had 13 letters, began with a ‘G,’ and ended with a whimper. But it’s back – and now with added dragons.

Eleven years after Game of Thrones started and just three years since the finale, the spin-off House of the Dragon will plunge fans back into George R. R. Martin’s fantasy universe. Premiering on August 21, the prequel describes the ‘beginning of the end’ of House Targaryen and takes place 200 years before the original series. It has a more diverse cast and a throne made of 2,500 actual swords. And a lot more dragon stuff.

At Crossword-Solver, of course, we’re keen to see what House of the Dragon does with words. The original series delivered a smattering of ‘English’ neologisms and an entire Valyrian language (or at least its Duolingo spin-off did). But most fascinating of all were the character names. Martin developed an eclectic but consistent naming system for his tribes and Houses. In fact, GoT names are so inspiring that the parents of over 20,000 U.S. babies have given them to their offspring since the show’s 2011 debut.

What We Did

Crossword-Solver’s word boffins analyzed Martin’s naming conventions to figure out what he might do to make your name sound more Thronesy. And to back up our belief that People Want GoT Names, we analyzed census bureau data to find how many Westerosi-inspired babies have been born in every U.S. state over the past decade.

We found that:

  • Arya is the most common GoT name, with 18,179 born in the U.S. since 2011.
  • Tyrion is the most popular male name, with a total of 464.
  • California has 3,719 ‘GoT babies,’ which is more than any other state.
  • Nobody calls their kid Joffrey.

Here’s the generator. Just type in your name to be re-birthed into Ice and Fire lore. Then scroll on to see our baby name data mapped.

Journey on below for our guide to the most common Game of Thrones in every U.S. state. Plus, the stats on how different GoT names have trended over the years.

Which States Have the Most Game of Thrones Babies?

It is often said that Californians live in a fantasy world - and now we know which one. Californians have named an astonishing 3,719 children after Game of Thrones characters in just ten years. In fact, if you meet a California-born kid aged around 2 to 11 when House of the Dragon premieres, there’s a one-in-1,292 chance that they have a GoT name.

Wyoming and Vermont are much more sensible when it comes to baby-naming – or so it might appear. The states have produced just six GoT babies each, all of them called Arya. But look a little closer, and Wyoming counts names such as Logan and Wyatt among its most popular. Are Wyoming’s parents giving their kids Westworld names?

States of Arya, States of Khaleesi

Two strong female characters stand head and shoulders above the pack when it comes to name popularity. Arya Stark has generated 18,179 mini-Aryas since 2011, while Queen Daenerys I Targaryen accounts for both the second and third most popular GoT baby names: Khaleesi (3,425), her Dothraki title, and Daenerys (866).

Arya is the most commonly borrowed GoT name, but it does have a head start, pre-existing as a real name. Deriving from a Sanskrit/Persian word meaning ‘honorable,’ Arya is a popular girl’s name in Cambodia and is common among boys in Iran and parts of Indonesia. But while Arya was already in regular use in the States pre-GoT, it was only the 942nd most popular girl’s name the year before Winter Is Coming dropped. A year on, it had climbed over 200 places higher, later peaking as the 92nd most common in 2019.

Khaleesi is just one of Daenerys’ many titles, but it has caught America’s imagination. There are seven states with over 100 Khaleesies and just 11 states with none at all. As well as its exotic and regal tone, Khaleesi connotes strength and resilience. “She’s definitely a woman who knows her power, knows what she wants,” as one Khaleesi mama told the New York Times.

The 13 Most Common Game of Thrones Names for U.S. Babies

Arya and Daenerys/Khaleesi account for 94.5% of GoT children’s names in the U.S. But Tyrion, Brienne, Sansa, and Jorah each have a respectable three-figure showing, too. Sansa, like Arya, is a name of Sanskrit origin, in this case meaning ‘praise.’

There are 13 Game of Thrones names commonly in use by U.S. parents, according to the Social Security Administration. However, the SSA only publishes figures for names used more than five times in a year – so there could be a young Joffrey or two roaming the land. We also excluded common ‘real’ names such as Catelyn and Jon from our results. However, government statistics show that while Jon sank in popularity the year that GoT debuted, Jon usage spiked in 2016 (the year we saw the character declared King of the North) and in 2019, the year of the finale.

The Rise of the Game of Thrones Babies

The number of children named after Game of Thrones characters rose six-fold between the show’s 2011 launch and the trend’s peak, which coincided with the show’s finale in 2019. One year on – and with many fans still nursing their wounds – the production of GoT babies fell by 24.8%.

But the biggest year-on-year leap was from 2013 (1,061 babies) to 2014 (2,202). That’s a rise of 107.5% as Season Four played. The show overtook The Sopranos to become HBO’s biggest ever hit in 2014, with S4 boasting a 37.6% rise in U.S. ratings over the previous year’s S3. This was also the year that GoT achieved full cultural saturation. Everyone in the world was talking about it, to the extent that HBO was forced to release subsequent series simultaneously to the international market.

The Name Game

Not everybody wants to spend their spare time making and naming babies. Not when there are crosswords to be done, old Game of Thrones episodes to re-watch, and House of the Dragon to cue up. Thankfully, with our new Game of Thrones name generator, you can convert your given name to a Targaryen name in just a few clicks, which is a lot less than Jon Snow needs to do to get his Targaryen name back.

METHODOLOGY AND SOURCES

Names of Game of Thrones characters were selected, excluding relatively common names such as Jon [Snow], Robert [Baratheon], and Catelyn [Stark]. Using the Social Security Administration's data on the top 1000 names given to boys and girls in the United States between 2011 and 2020, we determined how many children were named after Game of Thrones characters. Years were selected to coincide with the release of the Game of Thrones TV show on HBO. In counting the number of children named after Game of Thrones characters, we only included those of the same sex as the character on the TV show.

For certain combinations of states and names, the count appears to be 0, which could either be due to 0 children being given the name of a Game of Thrones character or the fact that the U.S. Social Security Administration doesn't publish the number of children with a certain name if there are fewer than five (5) occurrences of that name in a given area in a given year.

The data was gathered in May 2022.