There are human characters in fictional works that have a given name not normally given to humans. A common explanation for the name is that it comes from a non-human source, such as an alien, animal, monster, Demi Human
(dwarf or elf), or ghost. This way, the human character has a reason for bizarre nomenclature.
Sometimes, instead of a human character named by nonhumans, the character in question is a nonhuman character named by a different species of nonhumans.
Can overlap with Aerith and Bob
. Often goes hand-in-hand with Raised by Wolves
. Compare to Multiethnic Name
, which is the more mundane version.
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Humans Named by Nonhumans Examples and Inversions:
Anime and Manga
- Mushishi: It's revealed that the protagonist got his name "Ginko" when he was swallowed by a mushi called Takoyami that stole his memories. To escape from the Takoyami he had to remember a name, but since he couldn't remember his own he named himself after a mushi called Ginko that lives within the Takoyami. After he escaped his new name was the only thing he could remember about himself.
- Dragon Ball Z: Inverted by Son Goku, who is an alien (Saiyan) who was adopted by humans and given a human name. His original name is Kakkarot.
- Superman: Inverted by Clark Kent, who is an alien (Kryptonian) adopted by humans and given a human name. His original name is Kal-El.
- Inversion: The Wrong Reflection has a brief mention of a Bajoran springball player named Nas Eli. He's said to be half-human, indicating that his given name Eli is the human one of Hebrew origin.
- Tarzan is this as a result of being named and raised by apes (fictional manganis in the original novel, gorillas in the Disney adaptation).
- Carrot Ironfoundersson of Discworld was raised by dwarves, hence his dwarven name of Kzad-bhat, which, roughly translated, means "Head Banger".
- Mowgli in The Jungle Book was given his name by the wolf pack. "Mowgli" is apparently Wolf for "frog", because he's hairless and won't sit still.
- The title character of Mitch Benn's novel Terra is so named when she's taken in by a Fnrr'n scientist visiting Earth. It's a plot point that her human parents never gave her a name.
- Aragorn (a human) from The Lord of the Rings sometimes goes by the name Elessar ("Elfstone"), given from his surrogate father Elrond (an elf).
- Subverted in Robert A. Heinlein's novel Between Planets. The human boy has a human name, Don Harvey, but also has a Venusian (Venerian) name, "Mist On The Waters" given by his human mother due to her being a second generation Venus colonial.
- Inverted in the Warcraft universe: Go'el, a young orc boy, was given the name "Thrall" by his human captors, to remind him of his captive status. Thrall kept the name even after attaining his freedom.
- John Carter of Mars was given the name Dotar Sojat after killing two Tharks (named Dotar and Sojat, respectively) in battle.
- Inverted and Justified with Captain Mackenzie Calhoun of the Star Trek: New Frontier series. He's a Xenexian whose name is more accurately transliterated as "M'k'n'zy of Calhoun" (Calhoun being his home city on Xenex). He goes by "Mackenzie" or "Mac" because they're close enough and were easier for his Starfleet Academy classmates to pronounce.
- Played with in the first episode of Mork and Mindy. Mork was watching Earth television and commented:
"I like that boy Opie
But what is an Earth child doing with a Martian name?"
- Star Trek
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Episode "Suddenly Human". In the Back Story, the Talarians wiped out a Federation colony and took one prisoner: a 3½-year-old boy. He was adopted by a Talarian ship captain and given the name Jono.
- After Captain Picard was captured by the Borg and altered into a Borg, he was given the name Locutus. Although it is debatable whether he was still human at that point.
- Inverted with Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko, who at least looks fully Klingon even though he's one-quarter human.
- Star Trek: Voyager. A 6-year-old human girl was captured by the Borg and assimilated. They gave her the name Seven of Nine.
- Doctor Who: River Song received her name from the Gamma Forest tribe via a mistranslation of her birth name, Melody Pond.
- In Puzzle Quest Challenge Of The Warlords: The player character is given the name "Deathstalker" by the Winter Wolves after helping them out several times.
- Played straight with Varian Wrynn of World of Warcraft, whose story mirrors that of Thrall: He was found as an amnesiac by an orc, who made him a gladiator under the name of Lo'gosh (Ghost Wolf).
Nonhumans Named by Nonhumans of Different Species:
- In the Codex Alera, Tavi the Aleran is given the nickname "Tavar" by the leader of their Canim allies in the fifth book, Princeps' Fury, after a local creature and in part because it sounds similar to Tavi's own name for Canim ears. When we see a tavar in action later in the book, it is a very clever hunter able to survive even after the Vord have made the environment much more hostile to other life, proving it a fitting nickname for Guile Hero Tavi.
- A plot point in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Indiscretion". Gul Dukat tells Major Kira that out of the several prisoners on a crashed Cardassian transport, he especially wants to find Tora Ziyal. Kira recognizes the combination of a Bajoran surname and a Cardassian given name and says as much to Dukat. Ziyal turns out to be Dukat's illegitimate daughter via his Bajoran mistress during the Occupation.
- Varus Saeihr in the Star Trek Online Foundry mission "Bait and Switch" is a Romulan who married a Bajoran and took her husband Varus Jolin's surname, even putting it before her given name according to Bajoran custom.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Dark Elf Brand-shei is named by the Argonians who raised him. Brand-Shei is an Argonian (the reptile race) name. You have the opportunity to comment on his unusual name, and he'll explain that he was orphaned at a young age and raised by Argonians. This starts a short quest in which you discover that his real name is Brandyl Telvanni, and that his father had believed him to be the last heir of House Telvanni.
- In Xenoblade, the High Entia Ma'crish, one of the few of her race that have a Punctuation Shaker name, has a reluctant companion in the form of a Nopon she named Nopo'rikh. This name makes a stark contrast with the names of other Nopon, which are usually simplistic, cutesy, and/or repetitive.