Names to Run Away From Really Fast
"Walpurgisnacht" is from German translating literally as "oh fuck me run!"
People make a big deal out of names, and writers are no exception. Even if they eschew Theme Naming
and other Naming Conventions
they'll still use names they think are cool and dignified, powerful and appropriate, or sinister and fearsome. This is why there are inevitably certain Names To Run Away From Really Fast. For much the same reason it's unlikely Bob
will turn out to be the outrageously stylish villain
bent on absorbing the planet's life stream to ascend to godhood note
, and someone with a name like oh, say, Hannibal Murder von Uberbastard, probably won't be selling cookies for charity. If he does, don't eat the cookies
These come in various flavors (not the cookies, the names), some of them used by Anti Heroes
of the Badass
variety from the Dark Age of Supernames
and villains of the fearsomely competent and world destroying kind, for whom the mere mention of their name
can bring down Dramatic Thunder
Note that this is different from all those characters who got their names because they are a badass.
It's one thing to be called Blade because you use one on vampires; it's another when a deadly fighter has the birth name "Blade" for no in-story reason.
So basically, when the villain's name hints towards some sort of disaster in history, mythological monster, or just means something bad, this trope applies.
Note that a villain having a name like this isn't necessarily a bad idea. Some names like this are downright cool.
A subtrope of Meaningful Name
, Obviously Evil
and sometimes Awesome McCool Name
See also Red Baron
, The Magnificent
, Speak of the Devil
, and What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?
Compare Fluffy the Terrible
, Tom the Dark Lord
, and Just the First Citizen
, where the name fails to describe the nastiness, and Deathbringer the Adorable
, where the nastiness fails to live up to the name.
Contrast Names to Trust Immediately
For location names, see I Don't Like the Sound of That Place
When adding examples, keep in mind: It's not enough when a character just has a name of any of the following types.
This trope applies only when the name is an indicator of the character's true nature, and if the character thus described is evil, deceptive, dangerous or (if not evil) in other ways commanding fear or respect. As always, aversions
are usually not worth listing, but subversions
are probably fair game. Total inversions
should go on Unfortunate Names
Also, please provide context
as to why the character lives up to their scary name. Just listing the character's name with no explanation is a Zero-Context Example
, something we don't want.
Sub-pages and subtropes:
Sounds and Letters:
The following types of Names To Run From have their own trope pages: