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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, a character's use of a Full-Name Ultimatum, or to make a point by revealing a Meaningful Name.

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


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • While he only appears in a couple of chapters in Attack on Titan, Eren Kruger's first name isn't given until just before his death, as it's the name of the main character. It's implied Eren Yeager was named after him, as Kruger's the man that saved Eren's father Grisha.
  • Death Note has L (Lawliet), BB (Beyond Birthday), Near (Nate River), and Mello (Mikael Keehl), and it's a major plot point that Kira doesn't know their names. Or L, in the case of BB. It's confusing.
  • In Dr. Stone, Senku's surname is revealed to be Ishigami. In the same chapter, it's also revealed that the name of the village he's been living by for the last six months is Ishigami Village.
  • In Fairy Tail, the Big Bad Zeref's most powerful Etherious and Tartaros' is known simply as "E.N.D.". At the end of the Tartaros arc, his full name is stated to be Etherious Natsu Dragneel—The Hero of the series.
  • Played for Laughs in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Kashiwagi's boyfriend Tsubasa went unnamed for 103 chapters. When Maki finally reveals it in chapter 109, Ishigami, Shirogane, and the narration treat this as such a major revelation that they lose track of what she was saying.
  • One Piece:
    • One of the reasons why Corazon (Donquixote Rocinante) tried to keep Trafalgar Law away from his older brother Donquixote Doflamingo was because of his full name, which, had Doflamingo learned of it, would have gotten Law killed. Law himself was instructed by his parents to keep it secret — as it's Trafalgar D. Water Law.
    • It comes to a surprise for Sanji and his crew when Capone Bege reveals his surname Vinsmoke, as it's the name of the ruling family of the Germa 66 aka the mythical Evil Army. Naturally Sanji despises his connection to Germa and refuses to be addressed as "Vinsmoke Sanji", unfortunately it ends up on his bounty poster.
  • Briefers Rock from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, "Kyubey" is revealed to be the shortened name of his species: the Incubators.
  • This happens twice during the KCGC arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!. Early on in the tournament, Seto Kaiba gets suspicious of a duelist named Zigfried Lloyd; upon investigating, Kaiba discovers that he's actually Zigfried von Schroeder, the son of Kaiba's father's rival. After Kaiba deals with him, a young duelist named Leon Wilson goes on to duel against Yugi. After the duel starts, one of Kaiba's mooks discovers that Leon Wilson is actually Leon von Schroeder, Zigfried's little brother.

    Comic Books 
  • After Dracula kills the would-be vampire slayer Hans in Dracula Lives, his pregnant lover Rachel swears that her son or his children will one day destroy him, and reveals her full name in the process.
    So I swear... Rachel van Helsing.
  • In Kid Eternity, the protagonist was only known as "the Kid" for decades, but when DC Comics decided to do some Canon Welding with Shazam he was revealed to be Christopher "Kit" Freeman, Freddy Freeman's long-lost brother.
  • The "Shadowplay" arc in The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye reveals the name of the senator who supported Orion Pax and modified him to carry the Matrix of Leadership, setting him on the path to becoming Optimus Prime: Shockwave.
  • The "All New, All Different" X-Men had been running for quite some time before we learned Wolverine was named Logan (when he visits his old friends Mac and Heather Hudson). Nightcrawler observes that he had never told him, and Logan says, "You Never Asked."
  • Y: The Last Man:
    • Alter has never revealed her real name due to an old Jewish superstition (her elder siblings died as babies, and keeping her name secret would protect her from the Angel of Death). Right before she thinks she's about to die, however, she reveals that it's Yedida.
    • Played With: Agent 355 reveals her name to Yorick, but the reader doesn't know what it is. Word of God says there are hints to it in the series. Fanon usually guesses that it's "Peace," since you see it written on her gravestone.

    Fan Works 
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    Films — Animation 
  • The LEGO Movie, Wyldstyle later reveals that she actually uses that as her nickname, as she doesn't like her real name, Lucy.
  • Subverted in The Sword in the Stone, based on The Once and Future King (see below). In this version Wart introduces himself to Merlin with that nickname, but adds that it's short for Arthur, rather than saving that fact for the end.
  • In Tangled, when Flynn and Rapunzel are caught in a flooding cave and it seems they might not make it out alive, Flynn confesses that he took his name from a hero in a book and that his real name is Eugene Fitzherbert.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happens to most of the main characters in Baby Driver since they go by their heist codenames for most of the movie. It's also a Meaningful Name in the case of Baby who's real name is revealed to be Miles.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, the closing montage reveals that John Blake's first name is Robin. In this case the name is simply symbolic, since he's a Canon Foreigner and no one in the Batman mythos has that name anyway.note 
  • In Kill Bill, the Bride's name is censored out for the first movie and a half; other than that, she's usually addressed by her old code name, "Black Mamba", or "Kiddo" by Bill. Only halfway through the second movie do we learn that her real name is Beatrix Kiddo.
  • 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.
  • In Men in Black, a dying alien tells J that he has to find the galaxy "on Orion's belt." It turns out that in this context, "Orion" is the alien's pet cat, who has a very tiny galaxy in his collar's bauble.
  • Pitch Perfect: During a round of telling secrets, Fat Amy reveals that her real name is Fat Patricia.
  • A comic example comes from Robin Hood: Men in Tights, during the ceremony to marry the unwilling Marian to the Sheriff. "We are here to witness the marriage of Mervyn, Sheriff of... Mervyn? Your name is Mervyn?" Cue snickering onlookers and an embarrassed Sheriff whenever the Abbot says his name in the context of the ceremony.
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show:
    Frank: Dr. Scott-—or should I say, Dr. von Scott!
  • This has happened to Sherlock Holmes three times (-although twice in Films):
    • 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 nwame because "who would remember a detective named 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. Similarly, in Sherlock, Holmes reveals that to be his name. That is actually as piece of Fanon: Holmes once used the pseudonym William Escott. Sherlockian writers took that as a play on William S. Scott and surmised that he was named after the writer William Sherlock.
    • Another Holmes example from Young Sherlock Holmes. The villain, Rathe, is seen to have survived at the end of the movie and signs into a hotel under the name "Moriarty".
  • Played for drama in Star Trek Into Darkness:
    "John Harrison was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Admiral Marcus to help him advance his cause, a smokescreen to conceal my true identity. My name is...KHAN."
  • The bad guy in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a Darth Vader Clone named Kylo Ren. And then it turns out that he's not just a Vader fanboy — he's Vader's grandson, and his real name is Ben Solo.

    Literature 
  • The kid novel 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents features a Big Man on Campus called Ace, whose real name is unknown to any of his classmates. Eventually he and the protagonist are both waiting to talk to the principal and Ace gets called in by the name John Smith. The protagonist is rather stunned while Ace seems embarrassed.
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy birth names have power, which is why magicians stop using them and eventually take on pseudonyms. Mrs. Underwood, however, continues to call her husband's apprentice "Nathaniel" long after she's supposed to... which allows Bartimaeus, Nathaniel's unwilling Familiar, to overhear and get a bit of leverage on his master.
  • 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
  • Discworld's Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, or just plain Throat, with his real name being Claude Maximilian Overton Transpire Dibbler.
    • Vimes had previously only known Lord Vetinari by his last name; although it was given to readers beforehand (it's Havelock, which might be an Unfortunate Name elsewhere but this is Discworld and it could be much worse), a rather casual Given Name Reveal by Sybil becomes actually unsettling to Vimes. He had never thought of the Patrician having a first name, or of anyone knowing him well enough to call him by it.
    • Vimes' own first name, Samuel, only gets its first mention in the last couple pages of Guards! Guards!, when he introduces himself to a friend of Sybil's who remarks that it's a trustworthy name.
  • The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden is about young Julius Caesar and his best friend Marcus, who is revealed to be Marcus Brutus in the very last line.
  • 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 (Tom Marvolo Riddle) in midair, and then rearranges the letters to spell out the message "I am Lord Voldemort".
    • Played With in later books: Harry finds a note by left for Voldemort by "R.A.B.," but doesn't know who it is. In this case he already knew of the person, but lacked a middle initial: it's Sirius' brother, Regulus Arcturus Black.
  • In Holes, members of the Yelnats family have been Born Unlucky since one of their ancestors stole a pig from an old Gypsy woman named Madame Zeroni. Eventually, the curse sends Stanley Yelnats IV to a juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit. All the boys there use nicknames, though he eventually learns their real names as well. Of particular note is his friend Zero, aka Hector Zeroni, which means nothing to Stanley but a lot to the reader.
  • Johnny Tremain's real name is Jonathan Lyte Tremain. His mother was the Black Sheep of the upper-class Lyte family, and he has a valuable Orphan's Plot Trinket inherited from them. However, when he tries to cash in on this connection, it doesn't go well.
  • Strider in The Lord of the Rings is revealed early on to be Aragorn the rightful king of Gondor.
  • In Many Waters, the protagonists are sent back to Bible Times, though they spend a good portion of the book thinking that they've been transported to some primitive planet with Human Aliens. Readers who are more familiar with the Bible could probably figure out the truth, but the most famous Biblical character, Noah, is only named about 100 pages in; prior to that he was "Lemech's son," "Japheth's father" and so on.
  • In The Once and Future King, the main character is only known as "Wart" throughout most of the first book, though we're told that this approximately rhymes with his real name. Given that he's tutored by Merlyn and pulls a sword from the stone, it's not much of a twist when the last line names him as King Arthur. (See The Sword in the Stone above.)
  • 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").
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: In Queen's Shadow, it's revealed that the reason why most of Padmé's handmaidens have similar names is because they changed them to be more like hers as a symbol of loyalty. Sabé's real name is revealed to be Tsabin, and Cordé, Dormé and Versé's are Cordyn, Dorra and Versaat.
  • Star Wars Legends: In Galaxy of Fear, Uncle Hoole never reveals if he has more than one name until Army of Terror. He accidentally wiped out all life on a planet under his first name, Mammon. When they all went to that planet, the vengeful wraiths chanted "Mammon! Murderer!", to the confusion of the Arrandas.
  • In The Traitor Son Cycle:
    • The Red Knight has faked his death and has been going by this nickname for five years until his brother identifies him by name and surname. Red Knight's slow return to his given name marks his character development.
    • The Wyrm of Erch being named as Lot marks the point where the characters finally start to learn something more about the underpinnings of the conflict they're embroiled in.
  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie goes to a charity Christmas concert where a rich girl named Mary is supposed to give away a doll to any "poor little girl" in the audience who is also named Mary. The announcer asks any Marys to come up onto the stage, but even though there are "at least a hundred Marys in that audience," they're all too proud to accept the title of "poor little girl." Francie can't stand to see the doll go to waste and so she raises her hand and lies that her real first name is Mary, enduring another speech about the rich girl's unselfishness and the contempt of all the other girls, and after getting the doll she feels so guilty she decides that when she makes her confirmation, she'll take the name Mary so she won't be a liar anymore. But when she suggests this to her mother, her mother tells her that although she's called Francie after a friend of the family, she was also named after her grandmother and was actually christened Mary Frances.
  • In The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler by Gene Kemp, Tyke's narration frequently refers to "my real name, the one I hated". At the very end it turns out to be Theodora; the first indication that Tyke is a girl.
  • The Reanimated Woman in Vic and Frank: Necromancers reveals her name to be Shelly Evans.
  • In the prologue of the bodice-ripper Whisper To Me Of Love, a dying countess' infant daughter, who she names Morgana, is stolen from her. (Her evil brother-in-law wants to inherit the title and has thus done away with his brother, her, and now the child). The action picks up 20 years later with a young girl named Pip as the mistress to a wealthy man. When he asks her what her real name is, she replies, "Morgana". (Not that the reader hasn't figured it out already).

    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 con artists who moved around a lot, and that Temperence Brennan isn't her birth name. It was originally Joy Keenan. Interestingly, both of those names seem to describe her well. As a girl, she was, presumably, happy and cheerful. Losing her parents and her brother has resulted in her keeping a lid on her emotions, hence the "temperance".
  • 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).
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oz's real name (Daniel Osborn) is only revealed in passing after he's Put on a Bus.
  • 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."
  • Vey few characters on CSI know D.B.'s because he doesn't like it-it's 'Diebenkorn'. The audience found out when Julie Finn left him a note about something and deliberately used it to rib him-partly for calling her Jules, which she also hates.
    • On CSI NY, it was something of a surprise to the rest of the team when Mac's girlfriend, Christine, revealed his middle name was 'Llewlyn', which even they didn't know despite how long everyone except Jo had known him. Although, she and her brother WERE friends with Mac and Claire before both died, so it may be justified. The other characters were still surprised, though.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor has never revealed his true name. This was toyed with for an entire season once, and in 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 his final story, when it is revealed his first name is Vislor.
    • "Timelash": The Doctor accidentally involves a Victorian man called Herbert in an adventure, in which the Doctor takes him for a ride on his Time Machine to meet an invisible man and to prevent an interplanetary war involving Morlocks. At the end, it is revealed that his full name is Herbert Wells.
    • "Utopia": The Doctor, Martha and Jack meet Professor Yana, a kindly scientist who's helping a group of humans at the end of the universe get to the titular location. It's later revealed that the name is an acronym of "You Are Not Alone", the last words of the Face of Boe from earlier in the season, and that Yana is actually the Master pulling a Memory Gambit.
    • In her first appearance, Amy is introduced as seven-year-old Amelia Pond, so she can go by Amy when she's older for a short while without the Doctor knowing.
    • River Song's original name is revealed in "A Good Man Goes to War" to be Melody Pond, 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, and, later, the Impossible Astronaut. This makes her both the Doctor's murderer and saviour. She was (in between these revelations) also discovered to be Rory and Amy's rebellious childhood friend, Mels (who Amy named her daughter after), who regenerates into the portrayal by Alex Kingston when she gets shot by Adolf Hitler.
    • In "The Zygon Inversion", we finally find out why Osgood is on a Last-Name Basis… her given name is Petronella. Ouch.
  • 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.
  • In the Firefly episode "Shindig," Kaylee's full name is revealed to be Kaywinnit Lee Frye. In The Movie, Wash's full name is revealed to be Hoban Washburne.
  • In Bran's visions of the past during Seasons 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones, he finds out that Hodor was known as Wylis when he was a child.
    • In Season 7, he uses this ability to learn the given name of another character, one that the character themselves was unaware of: Jon Snow, whose real name is Aegon Targaryen.
  • 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.
    • Arguably not a reveal so much as the final stage in the humanization of the character, who started the show as a seemingly absolutely cold-blooded man in black but was gradually shown to be more sympathetic, complex and heroic over the course of the first season.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Ted's kids (to whom he's telling the story of how he met their mother) are never named until the episode "Unpause" in the middle of the ninth and final season, which reveals their names to be Penny and Luke.
  • Inspector Morse (novels and TV show) waited until the penultimate story to reveal his first name was Endeavour.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mac's full name was kept secret for several seasons. Then in the high school reunion episode, his name was revealed to be Ronald McDonald.
  • JAG: Up until the season 4 episode "War Stories", none of the other main characters knew that the full name of their admiral, other than the initials AJ. Which stands for is Albert Jethro.
  • In an episode of Key West we learn restaurateur Gumbo's real name: Paul Beausoleil. When Seamus reacts with amusement, Gumbo replies, "What, you think my momma named me after soup?"
  • In MacGyver, Mac's first name isn't revealed until the last season, in an episode that was probably a dream sequence anyway. It's Angus. He doesn't like it.
  • In Mash season 4 episode "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?", the episode ends with Corporal "Radar" O'Reilly, who was known only as that for the first three seasons, telling the titular Captain Chandler his first name is Walter.
  • 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.
  • Quantum Leap:
    • In an early episode Sam doesn't know the name of the kid with the guitar who hangs out at his veterinarian's office, in mid-1950s Lubbock, Texas. Then Sam hears him sing "Piggy Suey", and realizes both the boy's name and what he's there to do. "Uh, Buddy, why don't you try 'Peggy Sue' instead?"
    • In another, horror themed episode (which may not have actually happened - it's complicated) a supporting character named Steve turns out to have been a young Stephen King.
  • In Rush Hour Detective Lee does not want to tell Detective Carter his first name, but at the end of an episode Carter finds out that it is Jonathan, after making several wrong guesses, such as Jackie. In the movies, Lee's first names are Yan Naing, so he could have just picked the closest anglicised name.
  • 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.
  • Quite a big deal was made in Seinfeld when George discovered Cosmo Kramer's first name.
  • In Sex and the City, Mr. Big's name was actually just a nickname given to him because of how well-endowed he is. It wasn't until the finale that his real name was revealed to be John.
  • Near the end of season 3 of Sherlock: William Sherlock Scott Holmes, who reveals his full name in a attempt to get his best friend's baby named after him. (This is actually based on a bit of Fanon, deduced from a pseudonym that the literary Holmes once used, William Escott.) There's also a bit of a flashback that shows Sherlock repeatedly trying to guess John's middle name before giving up and getting his birth certificate from somewhere (it's Hamish). However, the audience already knew, since John stated it in a season 2 episode as a possible baby name for Sherlock and Irene (chronologically, the flashback happened before this, though).
  • Sister, Sister had a Bizarro Episode/Very Special Episode where Tamera, uninterested in studying about black history, time traveled to meet various important African-Americans throughout history. Eventually she meets a boy she can relate to, as he doesn't seem to have any ambition about school or college either, only for her to change her mind when she finds out his name is "Martin King".
  • Stargate: "Rodney" is assumed to be McKay's first name throughout his guest appearances in Stargate SG-1 and through the first two and a half seasons of Stargate Atlantis. Then, McKay's sister shows up for an episode, calls him "Meredith", and the rest is (hilarious) history. To be fair, though, Meredith started out as a man's name before transitioning into gender-neutral territory and, eventually, being thought of as mostly feminine.
  • Star Trek
    Leila: You never told me if you had another name, Mister Spock.
    Spock: You couldn't pronounce it.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A plot point with Garak, the only name anyone on the station knows him by. When dying from a mystery condition, he tells Doctor Bashir a number of contradictory tales about why he was exiled from Cardassia. All of them seemed to have one thing in common: a man called Elim who was either betrayed by Garak or who betrayed Garak, depending on the version of the tale. When Doctor Bashir finally tracks down the one Cardassian who can help cure Garak's condition, Bashir asks him whatever happened to Elim after Garak was exiled. The answer is not what Bashir had expected.
      Bashir: Garak mentioned an old friend of his the other day. A member of the Obsidian Order. I was wondering what happened to him.
      Tain: Did he give you the name of this friend?
      Bashir: He said it was 'Elim'.
      Tain: (chuckling) Elim....
      Bashir: Mind letting me in on the joke?
      Tain: I can see that Garak hasn't changed a bit. Never tell the truth when a lie will do. That man has a rare gift for obfuscation. Doctor, 'Elim' is Garak's first name.
      • Also, it's later revealed that Garak is Tain's son, although, as head of the Obsidian Order, Tain couldn't afford to have such a weakness that his enemies would use against him, so he had Garak's mother Mila (Tain's maid) claim that someone else was the father. In a proper world, Garak's real name would have been Elim Tain.
  • On Wings, Fay was going to be a marry a maitre d' named Lyle Bartlett however during the ceremony she finds out that his given name is George. This turns out to be a game changer since Fay already married and buried three husbands named George.
  • 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 doesn't know that Sims is Sims' real name, he thinks that Venus Flytrap is his real name.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Bible, God tells Moses that his real name is YHWH, which roughly means "I am that I am" (or "I will be that I will be"). He notes that he did not reveal that name to any of Moses' ancestors (though The Book Of Genesis does use it, it's only in narration. Interpretations may vary).
  • In Celtic Mythology, Connla is sent to meet his father, Cu Chulainn, but under a Geas not to tell anyone his name. Cu Chulainn asks, Connla politely refuses to answer, Cu Chulainn challenges him to a fight and kills him, with Connla revealing the truth as he lies dying.
  • 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.
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    Podcasts 
  • A common theme in The Adventure Zone:
    • The Adventure Zone: Balance: in the first episode of Crystal Kingdom, Lucas Miller inadvertently reveals Madame Director's real name: Lucretia. It means nothing to the Tres Horny Boys and the listeners, but Lucretia is nonetheless annoyed because she fears it might bring back their memories of her.
    • The Advneture Zone Amnesty: in Episode 20, Ned's old partner Boyd begins describing One Last Job for Ned: to steal a statue from a local artist named Madeleine Cobb. When Boyd mentions that Cobb runs a nearby hotel, Ned realizes with horror that he means his boss and leader of the Pine Guard, Mama.

    Pro 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.

    Theatre 
  • 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 
  • In Cave Story, the Player Character's name is revealed at the end of a long side quest filled with Guide Dang It! moments that is required to achieve the game's Golden Ending. It's Quote, which fits in with the typographical Theme Naming of another major character, Curly Brace. Of course, you're likely to have found this out already if you used an online walkthrough.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's and Five Nights at Freddy's 2 reveal the names of the Featureless security guards that you play as via when you see their paycheck after completing the game. The first game's guard is named Mike Schmidt and the second game's guard is named Jeremy Fitzgerald. In FNAF2's Custom Night, you play as a different guard named Fritz Smith. Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator implies that these are both aliases of Michael Afton, the son of the child Serial Killer William Afton, a.k.a. Purple Guy.
  • In Overwatch, Sombra is the only character whose name isn't given in her biography or in-game. Considering that she deliberately deleted all record of her existence when she became Sombra, it fits. However, she didn't account for people in her hometown still knowing who she is, which leads to Zarya discovering that her name is Olivia Colomar.
  • In Pokémon Black and White, inspecting N's room reveals his last name to be Harmonia, which is shared by Ghetsis, who later claims he is "not worthy of sharing the name Harmonia", Among other things. Word of God has stated that his full name is Natural Harmonia Gropius, but his full name is never mentioned in-game.
  • Doc from Star Wars: The Old Republic. His name is only revealed at the very end. Then you can see why he never uses it.
  • Tales of the Abyss: Guy's full name is Gailardia Galan, a Malkuth noble. Van (Vandesdelca) and Tear (Mystearica) also have longer names revealed, but they aren't quite as revealing.
  • In The World Ends with You, Beat's true name is Daisukenojo Bito. He doesn't like being called it very much. In the Another Day, he just simply finds it too long to say.
  • System U-D, the Unbreakable Darkness of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny, turns out to have once been called Yuri Eberwein after it's revealed that she was once a human.
  • BioShock Infinite: Elizabeth Comstock's actual name is Anna DeWitt.
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation: Dark Prison, Yong's real name is Gaytoba Sucheka. Apparently her house hold is not that high in the hierarchy, and that explains why she addresses Mekibos so formally, whenever he insists that they talk casually, she is completely bewildered and reject the notion.
  • Whereas all the plot you get in Team Fortress 2 proper is "mercenaries killing each other over vague objectives," with the characters only being known their job title, the comics have shown the actual names of some of the characters: Soldier's name is Sergeant-Barrister Jane Doe (although that almost certainly isn't his real name), Demoman's is Tavish Finnegan DeGroot, Engineer's is Dell Conagher, Heavy's first name is Misha (Short for Mikhail), Sniper's last name is Mundy/Mun-Dee, Medic's last name is Ludwig, and Scout's first name is Jeremy. Fittingly, the names of the Spy and the Pyro are unknown.
    • When the Team Fortress Classic characters appear in the "Mann Co. No More!" storyline, we find out the Classic Demoman and Classic Pyro's first names: Greg for Demo, and Beatrice/Bea for Pyro.
  • Solid Snake is known only by his code name until the end of Metal Gear Solid, when he reveals that his real name is Dave.
  • In Undertale, it's eventually revealed that the character you named at the beginning isn't the player character, whose actual name is Frisk. This also happens right after Flowey returns to his true form. His name is revealed to be Asriel Dreemurr, which makes it clear that he's the lost son of Asgore mentioned in the story at the end of the Neutral Route.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Celestia Ludenberg's given name of Taeko Yasuhiro is critical to the third case, especially in regards to one of the last Truth Bullets Makoto collects.
  • This is a major focus of the Holy Grail Wars in Fate/stay night. Various Heroic Spirits are summoned under classes (etc. Saber, Archer, Lancer) to hide their identity. Thus, learning a Servant's name informs their opponent what their strengths and weaknesses are, especially their Noble Phantasm, a specific weapon or ability tied to their legend (for example, King Arthur as a Saber-class can use the sword Excalibur).
    • A more specific form of this in the reveal of Rin's Archer-class Servant, a version of Shirou from the future determined to kill his past self for a lot of reasons.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Gretel's real name (Ange Ushiromiya) is extremely important to the plot. The readers know it from the get-go, but the main character (who's her brother) doesn't. And considering she will die if she reveals her real name to him, she has reason to hide it.

    Webcomics 
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, the titular doctor's first name remains a secret for most of the series. In a flashback episode, it's shown that Dr. McNinja's grandfather used his name as part of a powerful spell to entrap a ghost who'd accidentally been unleashed during a simple assassination mission. Doing so deleted the doctor's name from everyone's minds except his own, and it could never be used again without undoing the spell. During the first part of the final story, Dr. McNinja gave his name to Sparklelord in exchange for help defeating King Radical; the consequences of this are in the midst of being explored. His name, incidentally, is Patrick.
  • Inverted Trope in Dumbing of Age, where some time after the introduction of Joyce's apparent brother Joshua, we get a Chosen Name Reveal as a major character point: Jocelyn.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan's reveal that her first name is Tiffany leads to the first details of her Back Story.
  • Played for Laughs in Homestuck; when the post-scratch kids are first introduced, post-Scratch Bro and post-Scratch Mom's names are deliberately obscured as much as possible, with the other two kids using their last names or nicknames such as "Ro-Lal" and "Di-Stri". When it comes time to properly reveal their names, their name plaques are hidden a cat's tail and a tiny live pony. The next few pages later, they are revealed as Roxy Lalonde and Dirk Strider.
  • PThe Order of the Stick:
    • Played for Laughs when two Mauve Shirt Azurite soldiers go to hold off the enemy while the heroes escape. Elan laments that they're sure to die, since they don't even have names. As they fight, the female soldier notes that she does have a name, Kazumi Kato. The male soldier is struck, apparently dying, and whispers to her that his name is Daigo...then suddenly gets better.
      Kazumi: Do you have a last name?
      Daigo: Yeah, but I think I should save it for an emergency.
      Kazumi: Good idea.
    • They follow up on it at their wedding, as they've still yet to come to such an emergency and avoid saying his full name. Still later, he tries to reveal his full name when a squad of ninja are trying to assassinate them, but only gets out "Daigo Da—" before being knocked unconscious.

    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.

    Web Videos 
  • A big Wham Line in If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, when the Adorable Centurion speaks for the first time.
    Centurion: Father... your sweetheart was I, Rogal Dorn.
  • Noob has such a thing happen in two different ways to reveal a father-son connection between two of the characaters, depending whether the novels are read in parallel or not. The son's first name is mentioned at some point in the webseries, while the novel mentions his full name. Someone reveals the father's full name in Season 5, revealing the connection for novel readers. However, to keep webseries-only viewers up to speed, the father immediately shows up and brings up the son in conversation, while the following episode has a flash-back that mentions the son's first name and sheds any possible doubt on his identity.

    Western Animation 
  • It isn't until the third season of The Amazing World of Gumball that Gumball's name is revealed to the audience — and himself — to be Zach. Although by the end of the episode we find this out, "Gumball" becomes his actual name.
  • Although Blackstar is called "John Blackstar" in the opening credits narration, he just goes by "Blackstar" in the show itself, until the last episode when his old girlfriend from Earth arrives on Sagar. His Sagarian friends are startled when she calls him "John".
  • The Fairly Oddparents: In one episode, Sherlock Holmes nearly reveals Timmy's parents' names. Then a book closes on them before their names are spoken.
  • Futurama:
  • On Gravity Falls, we never learn protagonist Dipper Pines's real name throughout the entire run ("Dipper" is a nickname based on his usually-hidden birthmark). It is only until the release of Gravity Falls: Journal 3 that we learn that his real name is Mason, when he talks with his great-uncle Stanford (the Author of the Journals) between the events of "The Last Mabelcorn" and "Dipper and Mabel vs. The Future". Heck, it was so hidden that Jason Ritter, Dipper's voice actor, didn't know about it until after the series ended!
  • Hey Arnold! made Arnold's mysterious surname a Running Gag. Word of God and (years later) The Jungle Movie revealed Arnold's last name to be Shortman, the Affectionate Nickname his Grandpa had been calling him the entire series, meaning that his last name was actually Hidden in Plain Sight this whole time.
  • 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.
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace, set during the prequel trilogy, features an orphan boy who stowaways to Coruscant and hides out with some Jedi younglings on a field trip. Since everyone else is wearing a name tag, he finds some letter decals and puts them on his shirt so that they say "IAN". Nobody addresses him by that name until the end of the episode, when he looks down and realizes that he made a mistake: the "I" is actually an "H" turned sideways. His name is Han Solo.
  • Lilo & Stitch: In the The Series episode "Fibber", Pleakley's mother reveals that his first name is "Wendy", which apparently means "great warrior" on his planet. Lilo and Nani were amused by this.
  • 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. The creators would later reveal that his name was said at some point in the series, with a fan correctly guessing that his full name is simply Ferbs.
  • Recess: The resident tough girl is named Ashley Spinelli. The Ashleys are the school's resident Alpha Bitches, and when they learn Spinelli's first name in "First Name Ashley" they try to get her to join their clique.
  • 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.
  • The Secret Show:
    • Played straight in one episode, when Victor's full name is revealed to be Victor Thomas Jefferson Volt.
    • Defied with regards to Changed Daily, whose real name is NEVER revealed, and is changed daily for "reasons of security." Usually to something ridiculous, 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.
    • In one episode, Flanders talks to the Comic Book Guy, who reveals apropos of nothing that his name is Jeff Albertson, "but you can call me Comic Book Guy."
  • South Park:
    • The identity of Mysterion is deliberately left vague during his first few appearances. In "Mysterion Rises", however, Stan casually calls him "Kenny" for a deliberately anticlimactic reveal.
    • The Goth Kids are introduced in season 7, but only the one girl, Henrietta, is named until season 17's episode "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Poseurs". The tall, curly-haired one is named Michael; the one with Multicolored Hair is named Pete; and the kindergartener is named Firkle.
  • Steven Universe: In "Legs From Here to Homeworld", the Centipeetle (the Gem Monster from "Gem Glow", "Monster Buddies", and "Monster Reunion") reappears, and Steven, Yellow Diamond and Blue Diamond use their powers to temporarily restore her mind and original body, at which point the Centipeetle's real name is revealed to be Nephrite. In this case, the reason Nephrite's name hasn't been given for so long is not because of embarrassment, but rather because she was too feral-minded to properly communicate.
  • Tangled: The Series: "The Return of Strongbow" introduces Eugene's former partner in crime, Lance Strongbow. That turns out to be an alias, just like Flynn Rider, and Lance's real name is even more ridiculous than "Eugene Fitzherbert": it's Arnwaldo Schnitz.
  • On Total Drama Revenge of the Island, contestants can get points if they admit that an anonymous secret is actually about them. One of the secrets is that a contestant's real name is "Beverly". Everyone questions why that's supposed to be embarrassing... until B (a guy) reluctantly buzzes in.
  • We Bare Bears: In "Citizen Tabes", after Ranger Tabes gives up being a park ranger, she insists that the bears start calling her by her first name, which turns out to be "Dana".
  • On Young Justice Robin's real name (Dick Grayson) is never really hidden from the audience, but Batman prefers he keep it hidden from the rest of the Team for security reasons. The fact that Wally knows his real identity demonstrates how close they are. (In a tie-in comic Wally can snap out of a supervillain-induced Heroic BSoD by remembering that Robin trusted him with the information.)
    • In season two, Bart proves that he's from the future by casually giving away Dick and Tim's real names. Gar finds them kind of underwhelming.

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