Created By: HeadrockSeptember 19, 2013 Last Edited By: HeadrockMarch 19, 2014
Troped

Child Naming Request

When a character asks another to name their newborn (or soon to be born) child for them.

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Trope
This trope is Exactly What It Says On The Tin: One character, the parent (or expecting parent) of a newborn baby asks another character to name said baby, under the implicit agreement that whatever choice is made - it will be final.

For this trope to be in effect, the parent must make either an implied or outright stated pact with the other character, handing over the choice of name to that character for whatever reason. Whether they back out of that pact after the name has been chosen is irrelevant, so long as the parent had (at any point) relinquished the right to choose their own child's name, which is something parents would not normally do in most Real Life cultures.

The trope does not apply if the parent is asking a friend to come up with suggestions for names. It also does not apply if one parent is asking the other parent (or their own significant other) to name the child.

A variant of this trope occurs when the child-naming "pact" is made with fate, rather than with another character. This includes leaving it to random chance (such as casting lots), or more commonly when the parent promises to name a child after someone else whose name they don't yet know.

When this trope is played straight, it is usually done to show how awesome a character is, because the parent respects them so much (or owes them so much gratitude) that they will trust them to select a good name. In this case, the name will usually be selected on the spot, and will be a proper and inspiring name - possibly leading to a Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming. It may even be a Tear Jerker moment if (for example) the child is named after another, beloved character who had recently died.

When the trope is subverted, of course, the selected name could be completely idiotic. At this point, the parent may or may not renege on the unwritten agreement and decide to withdraw the request retroactively.

You've Seen It A Million Times, so coming up with examples can be a little difficult.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, Lord Yupa is asked by a village woman to choose a name for her baby. He promises to select a good name for her, but in the film we never find out any more.
  • In Nana, Nana K asks Ren to name her child. (you know, is it me or is this trope a bad omen? Name my kid..and you die).
  • Played for laughs in Ranma One Half when resident Dirty Old Man Happosai was asked to name a newborn boy. He picked what he claimed was a perfectly fine and wonderful name, Pantyhose. And thus was created yet another vengeful rival for Ranma to deal with.
  • Jiraishin: Tsuyoshi's wife, Yukari, agrees to name her only son after his father when she asked Kyoya for a good name. He tells Yukari to name the baby after his partner to pay tribute to his memory after being killed in the line of duty.

Comic Books
  • Susan Storm Richards, the Invisible Woman of Fantastic Four had a difficult birth with Franklin, and miscarried her second child. As the due date of Sue's third pregnancy neared, she sought an attendant versed in both medicine and metaphysics. Enter Doctor Doom, who agreed to deliver Sue's child, provided that Doom have the honor of naming the baby. Though the male Fours objected vehemently, Sue played the uterus card and sealed the deal. The healthy newborn daughter was named Valeria.

Jokes
  • For whatever reason, a new father has to let his brother name his newborn twins (boy and girl). The brother has a reputation as a joker, so the father's a little worried. At the first opportunity, the father calls city hall and asks "What did he name the girl?". The clerk replies "Denise". Relieved that it's a nice name, the father asks "And the boy?". The clerk replies: Denephew.

Literature
  • In Anne Of Green Gables, Diana Barry is said to have been named by a visiting preacher.
  • In Clan of the Cave Bear Mog-urs (medicine men) are responsible for naming all babies, during the ritual where they are formally accepted into the Clan.

Live-Action TV
  • Barney Miller: Wojo helps a Hispanic woman deliver her baby. Through a translator she asks him his name, promising to name the baby after him. His answer "Wojciehowicz" shocks her into a Madness Mantra. After she is taken away by paramedics he tells the translator "tell her 'Stanley' is fine."
  • Inverted on Bones, when Hodgins must ask Angela's father for permission to name their own child themselves, rather than accept the grandfather's choice as per family tradition.
  • On Farscape, when Living Ship Moya gives birth to her son, she requests that Aeryn give him a proper name. She ends up naming him Talyn, after her (Aeryn's) late father.
  • Friends: When Phoebe is carrying triplets on behalf of her half-brother and his wife they let her name one of them. It comes down to her naming it after Chandler or Joey and they compete over which one she'll name the baby.
  • On Mad About You, Paul's uncle Phil guilt-trips him into naming Paul and Jamie's new baby after him (while Phil is lying on his death bed in a hospital). After they agree, it turns out that Phil's real first name is Deuteronomy.
  • Taxi: Alex is forced to become a Delivery Guy, helping a woman deliver a baby in the back of the cab when her husband panics and can't do it. Afterwards she asks him his name, in order to name the baby after him - but when she learns it's "Alex" she has second thoughts.

Video Games
  • In Castles, one of the dialogue trees involves a peasant coming to your court to ask you to name their child.
  • In The Legend Of Zelda Oracle Games, there is a sidequest where a couple ask you to name their newborn, and for some financial aid. How much you give affects how he turns out, from a courageous hero-in-training to a lazy drifter.
  • Parodied in the Star Trek Online Foundry mission "Bait and Switch". During the mission you rescue a pregnant Romulan and her husband from slavers. In one dialog option you can tell her to please not name their daughter after you, and she tells you, of course not: her husband's grandmother already called dibs.

Real Life
  • A new father asked a random user on Four Chan to name his newly born son. Being the internet, the child was named after the Courage Wolf internet meme, being called Courage Wolf Harper.
  • During Acclaim's slide into oblivion the company offered $10,000 to anyone who would name their kid "Turok" as a marketing gimmick. Nobody took them up on it. Many years later, Bethesda pulled a similar stunt with The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim's "Dovahkiin", offering free Bethesda games for life, and succeeded.
Community Feedback Replies: 54
  • September 19, 2013
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    • In Finding Nemo, Coral, Marlin's wife asks if he can name at least one of their children "Nemo". Since Coral and most of the children end up killed by a barracuda, Marlin finds the only surviving egg and decides to name the child inside it "Nemo".
    • In The Simpsons episode, "I Married Marge", Marge thinks of possible names for her and Homer's first son. Homever, many names get rejected by Homer out of concern of what the kids will call him. They eventually settle on "Bart", because Homer can't think of any insults that rhyme with it.
    • In the ALF Christmas special, after helping a young Mother deliver her baby, ALF convinces the Mother to name her new baby "Tiffany", after a terminally ill girl he previously befriended. The episode itself was dedicated to a real-life girl named Tiffany, who died of cancer.
  • September 19, 2013
    Melkior
    • In Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, Lord Yupa is asked by a village woman to choose a name for her baby. He promises to select a good name for her, but in the film we never find out any more.
  • September 19, 2013
    Alvin
    What immediately came to MY mind was: Jokes: For whatever reason, a new father has to have his brother name the newborn twins (boy and girl). The brother has a reputation as a joker, so the father's a little worried. At the fist opportunity, he calls city hall and asks "What did he name the girl?". The reply "Deneice.". Relieved that it's a nice name, he asks "And the boy?". The reply: Denephew. Would this trope also include occasions where someone delivers a baby in an emergency situation and the mother decides to name it after the hero before finding out what the hero's name actually is?
  • September 20, 2013
    Arivne
    The whole description is an Example As A Thesis. Please delete all references to Alice and Bob (and Charlie) and just describe the trope.
  • September 20, 2013
    animeg3282
    In Nana, Nana K asks Ren to name her child. (you know, is it me or is this trope a bad omen? Name my kid..and you die)
  • September 22, 2013
    Chabal2
    In The Legend Of Zelda Oracle Games, there is a sidequest where a couple ask you to name their newborn, and for some financial aid. How much you give affects how he turns out, from a courageous hero-in-training to a lazy drifter.
  • September 22, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    Played for laughs in Ranma One Half when resident Dirty Old Man Happosai was asked to name a newborn boy. He picked what he claimed was a perfectly fine and wonderful name, Pantyhose. And thus was created yet another vengeful rival for Ranma to deal with.
  • September 22, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    Needs a name which doesn't sound like dialog.

    In Clan Of The Cave Bear Mog-urs (medicine men) are responsible for naming all babies, during the ritual where they are formally accepted into the Clan.
  • September 23, 2013
    DAN004
  • September 23, 2013
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    ^ I second the "Naming Child Request" name.
  • September 24, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    • On Farscape, when Living Ship Moya gives birth to her son, she requests that Aeryn give him a proper name. She ends up naming him Talyn, after her (Aeryn's) late father.
  • September 24, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Thirding Name Child Request as the name.
  • October 2, 2013
    Headrock
    What about "Name The Child Request"? I think it sounds better. Is that still dialog-oriented?
  • October 2, 2013
    Headrock
    @ Arivne: The presence of names like Alice and Bob does not automatically turn a description into Example As A Thesis. In fact, just read the first paragraph - it describes the trope to the letter without any use of example. The names Alice and Bob are simply required, in order to identify the participants in the trope (since there are always at least two) without using too many words each time. Moreover, after several attempts to word this, I just couldn't do it without naming the two characters. If you can find a way to reword it, please give it your best shot.

    @ Alvin: Yeah, I think that does fit the trope, as a very special case. As long as there's an unwritten pact that the choice of name is final, I suppose it fits, in a way?

    BTW if nobody knows whether we have a trope for "asking friends to suggest names", I'll remove that line. So please chime in if you know which trope that is, if it even is a trope at all.
  • October 3, 2013
    DAN004
    ^^ Name The Child Request doesn't sound grammatically sound. :P
  • October 3, 2013
    Headrock
    Neither does "Name Child Request"... How about Child Naming Request?
  • October 3, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ That's great. :D
  • October 3, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Judgment call on this one, as the de facto obstetrician insists on naming the newborn:

    Comic Books
    • Susan Storm Richards, the Invisible Woman of Fantastic Four had a difficult birth with Franklin, and miscarried her second child. As the due date of Sue's third pregnancy neared, she sought an attendant versed in both medicine and metaphysics. Enter Doctor Doom, who agreed to deliver Sue's child, provided that Doom have the honor of naming the baby. Though the male Fours objected vehemently, Sue played the uterus card and sealed the deal. The healthy newborn daughter was named Valeria.
  • October 5, 2013
    Headrock
    Updated: Name changed to Child Naming Request, article edited to remove Alice/Bob/Charlie references (though it's a little harder to read now, please comment on this).

    Also, another example:

    • On Mad About You, Paul's uncle Phil guilt-trips him into naming Paul and Jamie's new baby after him (while Phil is lying on his death bed in a hospital). After they agree, it turns out that Phil's real first name is Deuteronomy.
  • October 5, 2013
    Headrock
    Ooo I just thought of another one.

    • In Castles, one of the dialogue trees involves a peasant coming to your court to ask you to name their child.
  • October 5, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ If you're the YKTTW owner, it's you who add examples to the draft. :/
  • October 5, 2013
    bwayrose7
    • On Sherlock, John makes a sarcastic reference to this trope when he reveals his middle name is "Hamish", should Sherlock and Irene be looking for baby names (he's really just being his Deadpan Snarker self in reaction to the duo's apparent sexual tension).
  • October 17, 2013
    Headrock
    @ DAN 004: I know, but I'm not doing rolling updates just yet ;) I'll do them when there are a few more in the comments.

    @ oneuglybunny: That example is quite suitable - it's only different from the trope in that the pact is not implied, but rather it is outright stated. Still fits the trope!
  • October 17, 2013
    StarSword
    I swear, I did not write this into "Bait and Switch" just to give you a trope example. It was already there, honest.

    Video Games:
    • Parodied in the Star Trek Online Foundry mission "Bait and Switch". During the mission you rescue a pregnant Romulan and her husband from slavers. In one dialog option you can tell her to please not name their daughter after you, and she tells you, of course not: her husband's grandmother already called dibs.
  • October 17, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Would this cover Delivery Guy plots where the mother asks the deliverer his name, in order to name the baby after him?
  • October 20, 2013
    Headrock
    I suppose so, assuming we get the idea that she intends (at least initially) to name the baby after him. It's the pact (unspoken or otherwise) that matters, more than anything.
  • October 22, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    Alrighty then.
    • Taxi: Alex is forced to become a Delivery Guy, helping a woman deliver a baby in the back of the cab when her husband panics and can't do it. Afterwards she asks him his name, in order to name the baby after him - but when she learns it's "Alex" she has second thoughts.
    • Barney Miller: Wojo helps a Hispanic woman deliver her baby. Through a translator she asks him his name, promising to name the baby after him. His answer "Wojciehowicz" shocks her into a Madness Mantra. After she is taken away by paramedics he tells the translator "tell her 'Stanley' is fine."
  • November 28, 2013
    StarSword
    Headrock, you planning on updating this?
  • November 28, 2013
    Ominae
    Anime/Manga:

    • Jiraishin: Tsuyoshi's wife, Yukari, agrees to name her only son after his father when she asked Kyoya for a good name. He tells Yukari to name the baby after his partner to pay tribute to his memory after being killed in the line of duty.
  • November 29, 2013
    CrypticMirror
  • November 29, 2013
    StarSword
    ^That takes two months with no OP activity.
  • November 29, 2013
    SharleeD
    • Inverted on Bones, when Hodgins must ask Angela's father for permission to name their own child themselves, rather than accept the grandfather's choice as per family tradition.
  • March 12, 2014
    Headrock
    Sorry, totally forgot this one. I'll update the OP, and will try to launch in a week or so, barring any objections, under the name Child Naming Request.

    (Updated. I've only added examples that fit the trope, there were a few that have nothing to do with this).
  • March 12, 2014
    TheTitan99
    Well, a lot more needs to be done before this can launch. The examples need to be organized into folders, for one thing. And, this just has no hats at all.

    That said, I have a Real Life example.

    • A new father asked a random user on Four Chan to name his newly born son. Being the internet, the child was named after the Courage Wolf internet meme, being called Courage Wolf Harper.

  • March 12, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Sorted the examples by media.
  • March 12, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Friends: When Phoebe is carrying triplets on behalf of her half-brother and his wife they let her name one of them. It comes down to her naming it after Chandler or Joey and they compete over which one she'll name the baby.
  • March 12, 2014
    StarSword
    Vastly improved over the last time I looked at it. Have a hat.
  • March 12, 2014
    Headrock
    @ The Titan 99: I was planning to rearrange the entire thing when I launch, as I usually do, but as you can see things solve themselves around here more often than not ^^. As to hats, well, now we have 3. ;) Personally, I see no reason not to launch right now, but another week will help gather a few more examples here first.

    EDIT: Rolled the two new examples in.
  • March 12, 2014
    Headrock
    Also, if you know of any Real Life cultures where babies are named by anyone other than the parents by tradition, please add them here!
  • March 12, 2014
    TheTitan99
    Wow, amazing what ONE DAY can do. 0 hats to 5. I've never seen that happen. But, hey, it does seem ready to launch now that it's been organazized.
  • March 13, 2014
    needsanewhobby
    Lol, in that so-called joke example by misspelling "Denise" you are somewhat telegraphing the punchline. Most ineffectual spoiler tag ever.
  • March 14, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    It isn't even a spoiler. It is a throw away gag. Clear case of spoiler tag misuse there.
  • March 14, 2014
    Headrock
    Repaired.
  • March 14, 2014
    StarSword
    Real Life:
    • During Acclaim's slide into oblivion the company offered $10,000 to anyone who would name their kid "Turok" as a marketing gimmick. Nobody took them up on it. Many years later, Bethesda pulled a similar stunt with The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim's "Dovahkiin", offering free Bethesda games for life, and succeeded.
  • March 14, 2014
    DAN004
    Launch plz.
  • March 14, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    In Anne Of Green Gables, Diana Barry is said to have been named by a visiting preacher.
  • March 14, 2014
    Wildstar93
    Voldemort from Harry Potter gets his first name Tom from his father Tom Riddle Se. at the request of his dying mother.
  • March 15, 2014
    Headrock
    @ DAN: Don't jump the gun, we're getting good examples here! I'll launch tomorrow or Sunday, 'k? :)

    @ Wildstar93: Not an example. Please read the description.
  • March 15, 2014
    JujuP
    Real Life
    • Boris Johnson's parents gave him his name because a man named Boris paid for their ticket plane.

  • March 16, 2014
    Headrock
    As long as the parents decided on the name, that is NOT this trope, regardless of the circumstances that drove them to the chosen name. People usually have a wide variety of reasons why they choose any specific name for their child, and may name their child after a wide variety of other people they've known.

    The whole idea of the trope is that the parents voluntarily handed the choice over to another person. The only other concession is when the parent promises to name the child after another person without knowing that person's name (or real name) when that promise is made (effectively letting fate decide).

    I think the article above makes that clear, but maybe it's not yet clear enough. Any suggestions on how to change it?
  • March 18, 2014
    Headrock
    I've rewritten parts of the article. It now more clearly stresses what cases do not fit this trope. It also now explains the variant where a parent says to the other character "I'll name the baby after you" without knowing the other character's name (thus, essentially, allowing fate to name their child).

    If the article has become harder to read or understand, please let me know.
  • March 18, 2014
    DAN004
    Compare Dead Guy Junior.
  • March 19, 2014
    Headrock
    Nice, thank you, that can also be potholed in the article itself too.
  • March 19, 2014
    Headrock
    Two of the recent examples added, and I am now launching this article.

    Thanks everybody for the help! Please help to make links in other articles too.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable