It’s the Most Muppety Time of the Year!

December is here. Advent is upon us. The shops are already selling out of  wrapping paper and pointless tat. So it’s time for your annual reminder of what’s really important at Christmas.

Muppet Christmas Carol.

Need I remind you that it’s the best Muppet film ever? Of course not. You’ve seen Gonzo’s Charles Dickens impression. You know.

Have you forgotten that it’s the best version of Dickens’s classic Christmas story? Of course not. You remember the heartbreak of losing a green felt Tiny Tim.

Must I point out again that it’s one of the greatest fantasy films of all time? Just in case, let me remind you that there are ghosts, visions, time travel, and talking animals. We’re not in our London any more with this movie. It’s a whole other world.

If you don’t own it already, do yourself a favour and get a copy. Then settle down with friends, family, pets, or just a nice hot cup of cocoa and enjoy a true Christmas classic.

Muppets bless us, one and all.

The perfect name

A great character name is evocative. It tells you something about the person you’re encountering in the book. It implies things about their character before another word has even hit the page.

I’m reading Gail Carriger’s charming Etiquette & Espionage, and it made me think of this. It’s littered with names like Sophronia, Petunia and Dimity, names that evoke it’s upper crust Victorian social setting as well as specific characters. There’s a Mrs Barnaclegoose in the first scene, a name both amusing and evocative.

But my favourite is Bumbersnoot, the name of Sophronia’s mechanimal pet. It’s a name that evokes a gentle, friendly character, that helps me picture the mechanimal’s behaviour even when it’s not described, and that’s just fun to say.

Go on, say it out loud. Don’t worry about the looks you get, it’ll be worth it.

Bumbersnoot.

Wasn’t that good?

The king of this sort of naming is Charles Dickens. I haven’t read a lot of his work, but it’s littered with evocative and curious names. Just think of his most famous character, Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s a hard, angular name for a hard, angular man. It sounds nasty. It’s so brilliant that his surname has become a by-word for meanness and spite.

George R R Martin’s good at this too. It’s difficult when you’ve got a cast is huge as his, and a world that’s darker and more grounded than Carriger’s Finishing School. But just think of Ned Stark.

Ned’s a good, reliable name. It’s a no nonsense name. It’s a name that’s straightforward, that gets stuff done without allowing complications to unfold. That name evoke’s all that’s noble about the character, and all that becomes his downfall.

And Stark, a name that literally describes the lands he comes from and the way that shapes his character. A cold, hard landscape that breeds hard men and women.

So, the usual question – what are your favourite? What great names from fiction have I missed? Who does this best?