Given Name Reveal YKTTW Discussion

Given Name Reveal
A character's name is revealed to not be their entire given name
(permanent link) added: 2012-08-12 22:30:58 sponsor: KevinKlawitter (last reply: 2012-09-08 19:23:56)

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Some people just don't like their names. That's fairly reasonable--you don't exactly get a choice in that matter--but some find a way around that by going by a different name, usually their middle name or by rearranging their names.

In fiction, this can often be used to disguise the true identity of a character, and when their full name is revealed it is generally considered a major plot or character point. Also often used as a Shout-Out, a Historical In-Joke, to reveal that Everyone Is Related once again or as a Full Name Ultimatum.

Compare Only Known by Their Nickname and Only Known by Initials.

Anime and Manga
  • Death Note has L (Lawliet), BB (Beyond Birthday), N (Nate River), and M (Mikael Mihel), and it's a major plot point that Kira doesn't know their names. Or L, in the case of BB. Its confusing.
  • Kyubey is revealed to be the shortened name of his species: the Incubators.
  • Briefers Rock from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.

  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Detective John Blake's first name is revealed during the closing montage to be Robin.
  • In Meet the Parents, it's an important plot point that Greg's real name is not Gregory, but Gaylord.
  • At the end of Memento, it's revealed that Teddy's real name is John Edward Gammell, meaning that he too is a John G, and therefore a candidate for Leonard's hit list.
  • This has happened to Sherlock Holmes twice:
    • During the climax to The Asylum's Mockbuster Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Holmes's villainous brother repeatedly refers to him as "Robert". Holmes later reveals that his full name is "Robert Sherlock Holmes" and that he goes by his middle name because "who would remember a detective named Robert Holmes?" (this is a reference to Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes)
    • In the made-for-TV-movie Sherlock Holmes in New York (starring Roger Moore) Holmes, upon learning that Irene Adler has a young son named Scott, tells Watson that his full name is William Sherlock Scott Holmes.

  • In the Chronicles of the Kencyrath stories, the main heroine goes by the name Jamie, with the few among her people who know that her full name is Jamethiel appalled that she was given the name of the most infamous woman in the Kencryaths' history. They'd be even more appalled to learn that she's named after her mother
  • Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, or just plain Throat, though I can't recall what the actual name was. Something ridiculously pompous, though.
  • In the Goosebumps book "A Night In Terror Tower", Sue and Eddie learn that their full names are Princess Susannah and Prince Edward of York.
  • This is a big plot point in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry comes upon a mysterious book that turns out to be the diary of Tom Riddle, who received an award for services to the school fifty years ago around the same time that students were getting attacked in a series of events similar to those of the present, which Tom tells Harry was for helping to stop the attacks. At the end, Ginny lying unconscious in the Chamber in question and Tom Riddle is right there. What does Tom do? He picks up Harry's wand, uses it to write out his full name in midair, and then rearranges the letters to spell out the message "I am Lord Voldemort".
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the name of the person who stole Voldemort's locket horcrux, with the initials R.A.B, is revealed to be Regulus Black.
  • Strider in Lord of the Rings.
  • In the first installment of The Queen's Thief series, Gen presents himself to other characters and the reader as a lowly street thief. Part of the reveal of his actual identity as a Guile Hero prince involves the fact that his full name is the aristocratic sounding Eugenides (which in Greek basically means "well born"/"nobly born").

Live-Action TV
  • Big Wave Dave's: The character Jack Lord legally changed his name to honor the lead actor of Hawaii Five-O. It is eventually revealed that his original name is Earnest Hemingway, "but that's a whole other story."
  • Bones: Brennan learns that her parents were conpeople who moved around a lot, and that Temperence Brennan isn't her birth name. It was originally Joy Keenan.
  • In the 1981 TV series Bret Maverick, the editor, publisher, and main reporter of the newspaper in little Sweetwater, Arizona was known as M.L. Springer. It is revealed early on that the initials stand for Mary Lou, and the revelation is used repeatedly (when a young Teddy Roosevelt comes to town, for instance).
  • Cheers: Carla reveals that her husband Eddie LeBec's first name is actually Guy (pronounced Gee) when one Valentine's Day while he's on the road he doesn't send her any flowers, so the gang buys some and pretends they're from him, signing it "Love, Eddie." If they were really from him it'd be signed "Love, Guy."
  • An episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show discusses the history of their son Richie's Embarrassing Middle Name, ROSEBUD. It's actually an initialism of the various names their relatives wanted Rob & Laura to name him: Robert (Jr.) Oscar Sam Edward Benjamin Ulysseys David.
  • In Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Dr. Michaela Quinn shows up in the small town she's been hired to be the doctor of, and everyone is expecting a male doctor named Michael. Horace the Western Union Man admits he left the "a" off her signature sent over the wire, to save the town a couple cents of fees because no one would care what "Dr. Michael A. Quinn"'s middle initial was.
  • Defied in Doctor Who. The Doctor has never revealed his true name. This was toyed with for an entire season once, and at the last episode of the season he apparently whispered it into River Song's ear at her wedding. It is played straight quite a bit with secondary characters, however:
    • Turlough is only ever called Turlough until in his final story, when it is revealed his first name is Vislor.
    • River Song is revealed to be called Melody Pond ("A Good Man Goes To War"), taking the other name thanks to a translation from the language of the people of the Gamma Forest. This reveals her as the child of the Doctor's Companions ("A Good Man Goes To War")and, later, the Impossible Astronaut ("The Wedding of River Song"). This makes her both the Doctor's murderer ("The Impossible Astronaut"- though not really, as it's also revealed even later that the Doctor at Lake Silencio is the Tesselector, with the Doctor inside -"The Wedding of River Song")and saviour ("Forest of the Dead"). She was (in between these revelations) also discovered to be Rory and Amy's rebellious childhood friend, Mels, who regenerates into the portrayal by Alex Kingston when she gets shot by Adolf Hitler ("Let's Kill Hitler", weirdly enough).
    • In her first appearance, Amy is introduced as seven-year-old Amelia Pond, so can go by Amy when she's older for a short while without the Doctor knowing ("The Eleventh Hour").
    • In 'Utopia', we meet Professor Yana and then see the letters of his surname rearrange themselves vertically as he steps into a lift. They become an anagram of "You Are Not Alone", the last words spoken by the Face of Boe (they were delivered to the Doctor), and in the lift, the old Yana regenerates into a young reincarnation of the Master - another Time Lord (though decidedly more evil).
    • in the 6th doctor episode Timelash the doctor accidently involves a victorian called Herbert in an adventure, at the end it is revealed that his full name is Herbert Wells.
  • In the Firefly episode Shindig, Kaylee's full name is revealed to be Kaywinnit Lee Frye.
  • Glee: Lucy Quinn Fabray.
  • The first season of Heroes for some odd reason had a big reveal in the final episode that one character's name was really Noah.
  • Inspector Morse (novels and TV show) waited until after he was dead to reveal his first name was Endeavour.
  • In an episode of Key West we learn restaranteur Gumbo's real name: Paul Beausoleil. When Seamus reacts with amusement, Gumbo replies, "What, you think my momma named me after soup?"
  • In the Grand Finale of The Nanny C.C. Babcock's real name is revealed as Chastity Claire.
  • There was an episode of NewsRadio in which Catherine Duke finds out that Bill McNeal's first name is Evelyn, and torments him with it. (Pronounced "Eev-lyn," as he points out.)
  • Night Court: In separate episodes it's revealed that "Dan Fielding" isn't Dan Fielding's real, full name. First we learn that he changed his last name from Elmore to his middle name, Fielding. Then later we learn that "Dan" is completely made up: his original first name is Reinhold.
  • Northern Exposure: regular guy Holling Vincouer reveals that his family name is actually du Vincouer, and that he's descended from French royalty - but every male in his family is a Jerkass, so he changed it to try to get away from that, which is also why he's decided not to have any offspring.
  • In Only Fools and Horses, this is combined with Embarrassing Middle Name at the wedding of Rodney Charlton Trotter.
  • In a Halloween episode of Quantum Leap, Sam investigates a haunted house with a kid who is later revealed to be Stephen King.
  • Scrubs: In the Season 8 finale (which was originally intended as the series finale), the Janitor's name was revealed as Glenn Matthews.
  • Also defied in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode, "This Side of Paradise".
    Leila: You never told me if you had another name, Mister Spock.
    Spock: You couldn't pronounce it.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: In the first episode we meet Venus Flytrap. Later in the season we find out that that isn't his real name (surprise, surprise), it's Gordon Sims and he's an AWOL fugitive from the US Army. When Mr. Carlson goes with Venus to the Cincinnati army base to clear it up, he dosen't know that Sims is Sims' real name, he thinks that Venus Flytrap is his real name.

  • In Egyptian mythology, all gods had "True Names" that they guarded with their immortal lives. If someone were to find out these True Names, that person could Name the god, and have it do their bidding.

Professional Wrestling
  • In the WWF two Worked Shoot interviews Jim Ross had with wrestlers who, during the course of the interviews, revealed their real names, which led to angles: Goldust (Dustin Rhodes) and Mankind (Mick Foley). Foley's angle lasted much longer and better.

  • In the musical Guys and Dolls, Sky Masterson reveals his real name (Obadiah) to Sarah Brown, then she reveals it to everyone else just before the finale.

Video Games

Web Original
  • In the Chakona Space 'Verse, Neal Foster has a reputation. He has hidden his full name in more than onc of his stories.

Western Animation
  • Kick Buttowski's real first name is Clarence. It is revealed late in season one when Kick messes up and risks his friendship with Gunther. Gunther calls him by the real name as an indication of how much Kick has upset him, and it is pretty much used regularly after that -- mostly by Kendall, who does it to needle him.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Candace's middle name is Gertrude -- revealed when Linda makes her promise against the Pharaoh's curse.
    • Ferb's real name was about to be revealed to Vanessa when something happened that made her run off.
  • Recess: Ashley Spinelli.
  • Regular Show: In "Skips Strikes," Death and the Magical Elements go against the Skips and the park staff in a game of bowling. Skips is their best player, and Death, not wanting to lose, reveals that Skips' true name isn't Skips, threatening to tell everyone his real name if Skips participates in the bowling competition. Skips quits, not wanting his true name to be revealed, but later chooses to help his friends. Skips' real name is revealed to be Walks, having changed it because he got tired of people asking him why he skipped while his name was Walks.
  • In The Secret Show, Victor's full name is revealed in one of the episodes to be Victor Thomas Jefferson Volt.
    • Defied in The Secret Show as well, as Changed Daily's real name is NEVER revealed, and is changed daily for "reasons of security". Usually to something awful, like Nincy-Nancy Lala or Hunda Von Lampgurgle. To the point where he has a dream in one episode that his name gets changed to Rock Justice.
  • The Simpsons: Homer doesn't know what his middle initial, J., stand for. Then he finds out: it's short for Jay.

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