Home » Book Stuff » A (Completely Arbitrary) List of the Coolest Character Names in Fiction

A (Completely Arbitrary) List of the Coolest Character Names in Fiction

Basically what I do for every first draft, though I prefer lkjsl

Character names are important. *Really* important. They’re who your readers are going to be remembering when the story is done, who they’re going to be telling their fellow book lovers and book nerds about. More importantly, characters are like writers’ children, and everyone wants their children to have good names (though this is debatable with certain celebrity couples. North West, Kim and Kanye? Why). Names are how we remember characters, attached to their personalities and stories much like real-life peoples names are, which’s why writers slave over coming up with the very best names for their characters that they can. So what are some of the names that I think are the coolest? Well, I’ll tell you!

Before I get started, let me first tell you the criteria I used to put together this list:

  • The names were memorable for me
  • I thought they sounded cool

Really profound criteria, right? In all seriousness, dear readers, I want to firmly establish that this is a completely arbitrary personal list that in all likelihood will be very different from your own. Which is why, after you read the list, I want you, dear readers, to write me and let me know what your favorite character names are! Which ones on here made your list, which ones didn’t, and which ones did you include that I didn’t? Then at the end, if there are enough comments, I will compile a reader’s list of the coolest names. It’ll be like a baby book of character names! How fun would that be? I think it’d be a ball, personally.

Alright, without further ado, here is my list of my 25 personal favorite character names, in no particular order. Enjoy!

  • Lolita (Lolita~Vladimir Nabokov)
  • Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men~Cormac McCarthy)
  • Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride~William Goldman)
  • Kurtz (Heart of Darkness~Joseph Conrad)
  • Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games~Suzanne Collins)
  • Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s~Truman Capote)
  • Stevens (The Remains of the Day~Kazuo Ishiguro)
  • Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo~Stieg Larsson) 
  • Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind~Margaret Mitchell)
  • Nikhil/Gogol Ganguli (The Namesake~Jhumpa Lahiri)
  • Stephen Dedalus (Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man~James Joyce)
  • Humbert Humbert (Lolita~Vladimir Nabokov)
  • Patrick Bateman (American Psycho~Bret Easton Ellis)
  • Gregor Samsa (The Metamorphosis~Franz Kafka)
  • Bigger Thomas (Native Son~Richard Wright) 
  • Winnie the Pooh (Winnie the Pooh~A. A. Milne)
  • Hester Pryne (The Scarlet Letter~Nathaniel Hawthorne)
  • Big Brother (1984~George Orwell)
  • The Misfit (A Good Man is Hard to Find~Flannery O’Connor)
  • Rodion Raskolnikov (Crime and Punishment~Fyodor Dostoyevksy)
  • Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone~J. K. Rowling)
  • Toto (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz~L. Frank Baum)
  • Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs~Thomas Harris)
  • Midori Kobayashi (Norwegian Wood~Haruki Murakami)
  • Major Major Major Major (Catch-22~Joseph Heller)

5 thoughts on “A (Completely Arbitrary) List of the Coolest Character Names in Fiction

  1. Agree. In draft time I often write “[NAME]” in order to get the scene out. But I always end up researching the hell out of names to get what’s appropriate. (Geekish, but necessary.)

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