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Names to Trust Immediately
"In wrestling, as in life, things are not always what they appear to be. Take for example, this latest Grudge Match. One would logically expect a lass bearing the moniker of Hailey Hatred to be a vile, rule-breaking heel while her opponent, one Mary Elizabeth Monroe would be a force for all that is sweetness and light."
— Lady Sports, PGWA
The opposite of Names to Run Away From Really Fast
, this is for clearly heroic sounding names. Likely examples include religious references, light, and positive adjectives. Truth in Television
as virtues are popular baby names.
See also: Meaningful Name
, Steven Ulysses Perhero
, Ironic Name
, Fluffy the Terrible
, Non-Indicative Name
By contrast, such tropes as Honest John's Dealership
, Peace & Love, Incorporated
, and Fluffy the Terrible
show that this concept can be invoked by less than trustworthy characters.
open/close all folders
- Inverted on LOST. One of the bad guys is named Tom Friendly.
- Inverted in On the Waterfront with the corrupt union boss Johnny Friendly.
- Tales of Symphonia has Regal Bryant, both of whose names mean 'noble'. He's a double subversion, since he's an enemy the first couple times you meet him, but it wasn't really by his own choice, and he soon joins the party and becomes one of the nicest people around.
- Very common in Renaissance and Restoration drama which often gave meaningful names to characters. For instance, the hero of The Plain Dealer is named Manly, and The Recruiting Officer has a Worthy as protagonist.
- Peter Perfect from Wacky Races is the opposite number of Dick Dastardly.
- When there's a Malvolio running around it's usually a safe bet that the local Benvolio is a nicer person.
- Tod Friendly in Times Arrow. Played straight as he is a great guy in his old age, then subverted as he is revealed to have been a concentration camp doctor. Also, his real last name is Unverdorben: "unspoilt" in German. (While we're at it, "Tod" — pronounced with a long o — just happens to be the German word for "death". Make of that what you will.)
- Edgar Friendly in Demolition Man. Zig-Zagged: on the one hand, he is a resistance leader who represents chaos to a carefully ordered society. On the other, he doesn't go out of his way to kill anyone and mostly just wants to procure food and supply so that his people don't have to choose between living in a repressive nanny state and starvation.
- Real Life example: Fred Friendly, President of CBS News during the 60s(during which time he and Edward R. Murrow produced a series of reports that are credited for helping bring down Joe McCarthy), later one of the founders of what would become Public Television. Generally regarded as a symbol of journalistic integrity.
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Buster Friendly and His Friendly Friends, the apparently artificial hosts of a 24-hour propaganda television show.
- In general, this trope has been inverted on the name "Friendly" so many times that Friendly is now much closer to a Name to Run Away From Really Fast.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang doubles down on this with the name Truly Scrumptious.
Animals (Shepherd, Shepard, Shephard, &c.)
- Any character named 'Shepherd'. Plenty of them in the military, for some reason. A likely reason is nods to the Good Shepherd and Messianic Archetypes.
- Military Shepherds:
- Silent Hill: Homecoming: Alex Shepherd is a nice guy, just cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and only thinks he's in the military. His father's an aversion, though.
- Command & Conquer: General Sheppard.
- Half-Life: Opposing Force: Corporal Shepherd
- Mass Effect: Commander Shepard (played straight with Paragon Shepard, who tries to solve disputes with diplomacy and uses violence as a last resort; averted with Renegade Shepard, who prefers to solve disputes with violence and uses diplomacy as a last resort. Both are more or less Magnetic Heroes to go along with the name regardless.)
- Modern Warfare: General Shepherd. He betrays you.
- Stargate Atlantis: Colonel Sheppard
- In part of his back-story in the pages of X-Men, Professor Xavier served as a soldier during The Korean War. In one story, it was revealed that he was known among his fellow soldiers as "The Good Shepherd", because he went to great lengths to bring the men under his command safely home.
- Kings: Honorable, upright soldier and the public's golden boy, David Shepherd. Bonus points for being the King David.
- Non-military Shepherds:
- LOST: Jack Shepherd - he always tried to be a good shepherd, with varied success and pure intention.
- Ernest Shepard, illustrator of the Winnie-the-Pooh books.
- President Andrew Shephard in The American President.
- Tony Shepherd, Heath Ledger's character in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, runs a charity for third-world children. He secretly sells those children's organs to rich industrialists.
- Pokémon's Nurse Joy. Applicable only in English, though - since Joi simply means "female doctor" in Japanese, making the original a case of Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- On Dharma and Greg, Dharma once ran for public office against a woman named Karen Love.
- The Joy was the The Boss's old special forces name in Metal Gear Solid 3. She is a hero of the United States and Naked Snake's mentor of 10 years. Subverted because she defects to the enemy's side shortly after the game begins. Double subverted because she's a double agent and has to sacrifice herself when things don't go as planned for the U.S.
- The case which made inter-racial marriage legal across all of the United States? Loving v. Virginia
- "Mother Alice" of Avernum 5. Alice is a good name, "Mother" is a good association. However this is actually more Names to Run Away From Really Fast: her name is M.Alice, or Malice, which is never a good thing.
- Big Brother in 1984 uses this for manipulative purposes.
- A more modern example is Archie Goodwin from the Nero Wolfe novels - the archetypal good guy who always wins.
- Optimus Prime of Transformers. And not just good... "Optimus" means "best". (Prime means "first") A suitable name for the heroic leader who embodies both strength and virtue.
- In the children's book The Fire Cat, Pickles is looked after by a cat-loving woman named Mrs. Goodkind.
- The real name of Sky High in Tiger & Bunny is Keith Goodman.
- Miss Ima Goodlady from The Powerpuff Girls. Subverted in that she's actually Sedusa in disguise.
- General Arthur Goodman of the A-LAWS from Mobile Suit Gundam 00, better known to fans as General Fatbastard.
- One of the few non-Asshole Victim murder victims in the Ace Attorney series is named Bruce Goodman.
- From Negima: Takane D. Goodman who is indeed one of the good guys, and self proclaimed Apostle of Justice, if a bit over zealous.
- Somewhat zigzagged with the Whateley Universe's Goodkind family. If you're a mutant, they're one of the most prominent in-universe examples of the Baseline keeping you down; if you're not, they're just a dynasty of honest, hard-working, and even ethical businessmen and -women whose historical track record is actually one of supporting emancipation and equality movements. (Precisely what motivates their specifically anti-mutant stance has yet to be revealed; there seems to be a personal reason at work that not even all family members are clued in to.)
- Bravely Default gives us Daniel Goodman, leader of the Shieldbearer army. He's as good a guy as the name implies.
- The shepherd Derrial Book from Firefly could be seen as this because of his profession and spot on the hero team.
- Zigzagged in Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel, Faith and Harmony, are both villains and heroes. In Angel's case it was an ironic name because he was 'the demon with the angelic face;' then he did a Heel-Face Turn and the name ceased to be ironic (except of course for his still being a vampire.)
- Though before he got his soul, as he was Angelus (Latin for angel), the demon with the angelic face.
- There are two examples in Thomas Hardy's Tess Of The D Urbervilles, Angel Clare and Mercy Chant are both less forgiving than their names might suggest but Angel improves eventually.
- Athena and her Roman counterpart Minerva are two more examples of "tough" feminine names. Both are generally on the side of good.
- And another pair of "tough" feminine names: Artemis and Diana.
- From Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame: "The name's Phoebus. It means Sun God."
- Subverted with Ezekiel from the Spider-Man comics; he was named after a benign prophet from the Old Testament, and indeed, Spidey trusted him for a while. this turned out to be a mistake.
- Angel Martin of The Rockford Files is notably less than angelic. Instead he is a slimy, greedy, dishonest Dirty Coward.
- Subverted with Jenna Angel from Digital Devil Saga.
- Princess Celestia.
- And there's another character actually named Angel. Zigzagged, however, in that Angel Bunny is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with more screen-time devoted to the "Jerk" part.
- Subverted to Hell and back with Asura's Wrath's Chakravartin, who's name in Hindu Mythology means Ideal Universal Ruler.
Heroes (as in, named after other famous heroes)
- Hiro in Heroes
- Snow Crash has Hiro Protagonist. It's his hacker handle.
- The video game Mini Ninjas also features a Hiro.
- Lunar: Eternal Blue also has a Hiro.
- In the Whateley Universe, Elizabeth Carson's first superhero name was Miss Champion, when she was one of two teen sidekicks to Champion. Her second superhero name was Lady Champion. On the other hand, it also gets subverted: Captain Courage is mainly known for the huge number of paternity suits and failures to pay child support.
- Heero Yuy might be a Double Subversion - at first, he's a stoic and ruthless hitman, but he later develops into a stoic Hitman with a Heart who fights in the name of a future of pacifism.
- Inverted in Real Life by Guy Fawkes, who was said to have been named after Sir Guy Fairfax (a judge and local historical figure) but went on to become one of Britain's most infamous terrorists.
- Roland was a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne who became one of the principal figures in the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. His name is used several times in fiction for heroic characters, including:
- The fairy tale Childe Rowland, the most popular version being by Joseph Jacobs in his English Folk and Fairy Tales, published in 1892.
- English poet Robert Browning's epic poem, Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came; the title of which comes from a line in William Shakespeare's play King Lear.
- The protagonist of Stephen King's The Dark Tower.
- King Roland II from Sofia the First.
- Death Note's Light Yagami. Although Light Is Not Good applies in a almost literal sense, this is ambiguous. His personal name is Light (written with the character for 'moon'), but Yagami means 'God of Night'. Certainly a name to run away from.
- It's also a possible allusion to Christian belief of the angel Lucifer (whose name means "bearer of light") and whose pride made him try and take the place of God. Describes Light rather well, really. It also doesn't help that his given name is written with four strokes.
- Note that this also makes "Yagami" a subversion of the reverse: it is Light's family name, and therefore, the name of his family, namely his father, the Chief of Police, who is noble, incorruptible, A Father to His Men, and all that. Possibly his sister, too, though she was mostly young.
- Averted in Saints Row 2, where the badass Voodoo Priest Lieutenant of the Sons of Samedi is "Mr. Sunshine".
- The main character's daughter Glory Goldie Sunnycastle in The Emperor Of Portugallia. First played straight as the young Glory Goldie is a Friend to All Living Things, then subverted as she leaves for the city and becomes a prostitute.
- Dr. Thomas Light from the Mega Man (Classic) series, and creator of its eponymous hero. Of course, this is only in the North American versions. In the original Japanese games, his name is Dr. Right...which is still a much nicer name than, say, "Dr. Wrong". Of course, the L/R thing makes it hard to know what they truly mean his name to be. Either way, he's a nice guy.
- Dr. Light is also a DC character. A villain to be exact.
- Hikari Yagami of Digimon Adventure. ''Oh'' so very much a Meaningful Name, almost to ridiculous extremes. Even her dub name counts.
- Thud!: The coming leader of the trolls, "Mr. Shine, him diamond!"
- Subverted in Young Justice by "The Light."
- One of the first NPC's you meet in Fallout: New Vegas is named Sunny Smiles. She gives you your first weapon, shows you where to find clean water (important if playing hardcore mode), and does a brief tutorial on the game's crafting system. All in all, a pretty nice lady. She's also one of the only characters in the game assigned the "Very Good" karma.
- In the X-Wing Series, the two Alderaanian war frigates that survived when Alderaan adopted pacifism, and were still hanging around the system after the planet was destroyed, were named Another Chance and Valiant. Another Chance was found some time before the books, and Valiant came up out of the Graveyard to dramatically save the Rogues because one of them had taken Another Chance's IFF tag.
- Robin Hobb plays with this interestingly in her FitzChivalry series (the Farseer trilogy): all of the princes are given names like this as part of magic which is supposed to install a corresponding personality in them. It doesn't work perfectly though- the hero is the illegitimate son of Chivalry, demonstrating an ironic application of his name, and Regal is The Evil Prince. Chivalry was otherwise highly regarded, however, and Verity plays this trope absolutely straight.
- Codex Alera 's Fidelias, whose case is complicated. He knows the political climate of his country is nearing civil war and feels that the king isn't doing enough to prevent this. So he betrays the king out of loyalty to the kingdom.
- Older Than Steam: Something similar to Codex Alera happened with Jean-Baptiste Poquelin alias Molière's play Tartuffe (1664) and the disloyal bailiff Monsieur Loyal.
- Parodied in Anything Goes, where Reno's four angels are named Purity, Chastity, Charity, and Virtue. They are all sleeping with the crew of the ship.
- Temperance Brennan in Bones. Partially subverted in that she is not an easy person to get along with.
- Amitie Florian, the Idiot Hero of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny. Amitie is french for Friendship and/or Kindness.
- A player character in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn had his name changed to Amiti (Amity, friendship) in English-language releases. It's clearly meant in this case to be a Punny Name, especially since his late mother's name was Veriti (Verity, truth), but it's also completely appropriate to his personality.
- Amitie of the Puyo Puyo Fever series. As the name implies, she's a very friendly and upbeat girl.
- Hope in Chaos Bleeds. Ethan Rayne's ancestor. And the Big Good.
- Karen Sympathy in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
- Loial (pronounced "loyal") in The Wheel of Time. The pun is lampshaded often.
Compound names (exhibit two or more of the above)
- Played painfully straight in the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) curriculum comics, where the perfect main characters are named Ace Virtueson and Christi Lovejoy. The theme naming extends through the whole cast of character, for example, Pastor Alltruth. Alternate Character Interpretation was popular - Christi Lovejoy is certainly a multi-purpose name.
- Luna Lovegood of Harry Potter, who is indeed trustworthy, though rather unusual in her view of the world.
- Trevor Goodchild, the self-appointed ruler with a varying morality, from Æon Flux.
- Bayonetta features enemy angels, with a variety of nice-sounding names like "Beloved," "Joy," "Applaud," "Inspired," and so on and so forth; the major bosses of the game are even named after cardinal virtues.
- Though this gets subverted, once Bayonetta beats their marble exoskeleton off, they're fleshy, drippy, and just as eldritch as the demons they fight against.
- Many of the characters in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have a Meaningful Name that doubles as this.
- Who wouldn't happily leave their kids with a teacher named "Cheerilee"?
- Who wouldn't expect someone named "Fluttershy" to be a sweetheart?
- Who wouldn't imagine good things about a "Princess Celestia"?
- Shining Armor is the best big brother you could hope for (at least when he isn't being mind-controlled), a great husband, Captain of the Royal Guard, and a powerful Barrier Warrior who never backs down from an enemy if it means protecting the ones he loves.
- And Sweetie Belle is every bit as nice as her name implies.
- Ace Attorney:
- Who wouldn't trust a guy named Apollo Justice?
- Or Phoenix Wright? Because he's always right!
- The first victim of Ace Attorney Investigations is named Buddy Faith.
- A posthumous character in Justice For All is named Celeste Inpax.
- And another in Dual Destinies is Constance Courte. To have this kind of name in Ace Attorney is to be either a main character or doomed from the outset, it seems.
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 does play with this a little with the dialogue between Phoenix Wright and Jean Grey:
- New Gods: Subverted by Granny Goodness.
- Before he became leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime wasn't Optimus Prime. Instead, his name was Orion Pax; Orion the Hunter being a hero from Greek mythology, and "Pax" meaning "peace"... Which means his name could be (very) loosely translated as "hunter of peace", an apt description.
- Rainbow Katelyn Carly Shay Sunshine from a "teh bestest fan ficshun ever", even though she is an annoying Mary Sue.
- Fin Sheppard of ''Sharknado is a great name of a hero that fights sharks and tornadoes.