Where did the baby name Narnia come from in 2006?

Poster for the movie "Narnia" (2005)
Poster for “Narnia

When I say “Narnia,” what do you think of? For many people, I think the answer is the Chronicles of Narnia series of fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis.

But you know what else Narnia is? It’s a baby name! It’s was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data in 2006:

  • 2008: unlisted
  • 2007: unlisted
  • 2006: 6 baby girls named Narnia [debut]
  • 2005: unlisted
  • 2004: unlisted

Why did it pop up that particular year? Because the first book in the Narnia series — The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — was adapted into a film in 2005. (The next two books were also adapted into films, in 2008 and 2010, but neither was able to boost Narnia back into the data.)

Lewis borrowed the name from the Italian town of Narni — called Narnia in ancient times — which is located 50 miles north of Rome. Narnia’s name was derived from the name of the nearby River Nar (today called Nera).

And that’s not the only way in which the movie affected names. One of the main characters was Aslan (the talking lion), and, correspondingly, the name Aslan saw a spike in usage in 2006:

  • 2008: 37 baby boys named Aslan
  • 2007: 36 baby boys named Aslan
  • 2006: 51 baby boys named Aslan
  • 2005: 18 baby boys named Aslan
  • 2004: 10 baby boys named Aslan

Do you like these names? Would you use either one?

Sources: The Chronicles of Narnia (film series) – Wikipedia, Real-Life ‘Narnia’ inspired author

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