The name Khaleesi ranked as the 630th most popular girls’ name in 2017 — which may not sound that impressive, but to put it into context, more babies were named Khaleesi in 2017 than were named Britney. Khaleesi also more popular in 2017 than in 2016, indicating that we can expect to see babies named Khaleesi for at least a few more years (the most recent Social Security data available is from 2017).
Khaleesi is also a far more popular name than either Hermione (from Harry Potter) or Katniss (from The Hunger Games) ever were — at their franchise’s peak popularity, neither made it to the top 1,000. (Khaleesi — a title bestowed on the character Daenerys in Game of Thrones — is much more popular a name than Daenerys is, too.)
Arya is an even more popular baby name than Khaleesi, hitting #135 in 2017. That makes Arya more popular than the names Jessica, Danielle, or Amy. The New York Times notes that variations of the name Arya have been around for centuries, but the moniker didn’t crack the top 1,000 names until 2010, the year before Game of Thrones premiered on HBO (the first book in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series, on which the HBO series is based, was published in 1996).
According to Social Security data, other names with a Game of Thrones connection have jumped in popularity in recent years. Like Arya, Yara was an existing name before Game of Thrones premiered. But it has become more popular in recent years, ranking #987 in 2017 (and most likely has actress Yara Shahidi to thank as well). The name Lyanna has spiked in popularity, too, hitting #858 in 2017. Names with a looser connection, like Winter and Wynter, are also on the rise. And although the names haven’t cracked the top 1000, there were at least a dozen newborns named Daenerys, Sansa, Cersei, Tyrion, and Theon in 2017. Pets are also getting Game of Thrones-inspired names, with cats and dogs named Drogo, Lady, Asha, Tyrion, and even "Jorah Mormutt."
Parents who gave their children Game of Thrones-inspired names told the New York Times that they stand by their choices. “Some people think I took my obsession with the show too far,” said Marina Lippincott, who named her daughter Arya. “I don’t really care. Arya knows who she is and that’s who she wants to be. She goes and gets it. Nothing stops her — not even that she’s a small girl.” After last night’s episode, we bet Lippincott is even surer of her choice.