The Next Generation Will Have a Lot of Aryas

When Katherine Acosta, who lives in Houston, was prescribed bed rest after a miscarriage in 2017, she started watching “Game of Thrones” for the first time. Within a week, she had seen all seven seasons. Then, she watched all of the episodes twice more.

So when she became pregnant again that year, Ms. Acosta knew exactly the name her daughter would have: Khaleesi, which essentially means “queen” in the made-up language Dothraki. It is also one of the many titles held by Daenerys Targaryen, a main character on the show and one of the contenders for the Iron Throne.

“Her character loses the baby and then she gets stronger again,” Ms. Acosta said. “She defeats all the odds. She knows what she wants.”

Ms. Acosta’s own Khaleesi defeated some odds, too. Her daughter was born two months early and spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (where a nurse said she was planning to name her own daughter Arya, after another of the show’s female leads). “I saw her as my little miracle,” Ms. Acosta said.

“My husband and I met when season one started,” said Ms. Jettie, an environmental engineer based in South Carolina. “He invited me over to watch it with his roommates. They were the only ones who had HBO. We got hooked immediately. Our first dates were getting together on Sundays and watching it.” For their honeymoon, the couple went to Iceland, where a number of the show’s scenes were shot, and joined a “Game of Thrones” tour.

A name like Winter skirts an issue some parents have run up against: confusion around spelling and pronunciation. Kaylee Finney, mother to a four-month-old named Arya, watches “Game of Thrones” with her family, who are equally compelled by it. “We watched all seven seasons within four days,” Ms. Finney said. “I have seen the first seven seasons at least 100 times. I know it word for word.” But other people she meets in Oklahoma, where she lives, do not know the show that well. “Nobody knows where I got the name,” Ms. Finney said. “They have trouble pronouncing it. They call her Ay-ria.”

Mispronunciation is a problem Jamie Chang also knows well when it comes to her 15-monh-old daughter Khaleesi. “At the doctor’s office they call Kuh-less-ee, or by her last name,” Ms. Chang said. The spelling is tough, as well. “The H throws everybody off,” Ms. Chang said. “Some people think it’s two Ss, some people think it ends with a Y.” But Ms. Chang thinks that in a decade or so, when Khaleesi is a teenager, her cohort will recognize the name, where it originated and what it stands for: “Strength,” Ms. Chang said. “She’s definitely a woman who knows her power, knows what she wants.”

Overall, Ms. Chang said she is happy with the name, despite the spelling errors and some of the backlash she has received. “Someone on Twitter was like, ‘How stupid. You named her after a fictional language,’” Ms. Chang said. “It might be fictional, but everybody knows what it stands for. It means queen. Anyway, who is to say what is a real name and what isn’t?”

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