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Jo(h)n? What is the appeal of the name?


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#1 Ygrain

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:28 PM

Is it just me, or do saviour figures have a tendency to be named John? 

 

Babylon 5: John Sheridan

Mass Effect: John Shepard

Halo games: John Little

...

- Damn, with the first two, it's even the same initials! Is the universe somehow inclined towards J.S.? :D Can we put together some more?



#2 Jon of the Dead

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:29 PM

John Connor

John Carter



#3 Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:31 PM

I thought ME you can choose you own name? Correct me if I am wrong cause I made my character female.



#4 The Sullen Sellsword

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:33 PM

John is just the blandest name most authors can come up with, which facilitates the reader substituting the character with their own persona.

 

This is especially apparent in two of your examples, Shepard and MC are left rather nondescript on purpose, these characters aren't characters, they are vessels for whoever is experiencing the narrative.

 

I think it's the same case for ASoIaF's favourite bastard. (And it's also part of the reason why I dislike the character so much)



#5 Ygrain

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:33 PM

I thought ME you can choose you own name? Correct me if I am wrong cause I made my character female.

Yeah, but the default is John (and Jane).



#6 Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:34 PM

Yeah, but the default is John (and Jane).

Ah ok I forgot :D



#7 Benjen of the Kingsguard

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:35 PM

I've noticed other J names have appeal, such as James Bond and Jack Bauer.



#8 Ygrain

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:36 PM

John is just the blandest name most authors can come up with, which facilitates the reader substituting the character with their own persona.

 

This is especially apparent in two of your examples, Shepard and MC are left rather nondescript on purpose, these characters aren't characters, they are vessels for whoever is experiencing the narrative.

 

I think it's the same case for ASoIaF's favourite bastard. (And it's also part of the reason why I dislike the character so much)

Not the case with Sheridan, though, his persona practically drips off the screen. His case is a bit specific, though, as for some reason, MJS kept the same initials with Jeffrey Sinclair.



#9 The Sullen Sellsword

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:44 PM

Not the case with Sheridan, though, his persona practically drips off the screen. His case is a bit specific, though, as for some reason, MJS kept the same initials with Jeffrey Sinclair.

 

I have yet to see Babylon 5 (I know, you can all crucify me later for that heinous crime), so I can't really comment on Sheridan.

 

I find the high number of heroes called John S. interesting though, I had never taken a minute to ponder about it. My first guess would be that it relates to John Smith, the blank character par excellence, but I'd guess there must be some cultural (read religious) reason behind the popularity of that name format.

 

J.S is somewhat reminiscent of JesuS, which could factor in the ludicrous amount of messiah figures being named John S, (Or simply J. S)



#10 Graeae

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:45 PM

John Doe



#11 Apple Martini

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:48 PM

It's a solid everyman name. I don't think it's the same thing as being "bland," so much as it's something relatable about the character (we all know a John/Jon), and takes the focus off the guy's name and puts it more onto what he does. 


Edited by Apple Martini, 29 September 2013 - 03:49 PM.


#12 Ygrain

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:53 PM

I've noticed other J names have appeal, such as James Bond and Jack Bauer.

 

 

 

I have yet to see Babylon 5 (I know, you can all crucify me later for that heinous crime), so I can't really comment on Sheridan.

 

I find the high number of heroes called John S. interesting though, I had never taken a minute to ponder about it. My first guess would be that it relates to John Smith, the blank character par excellence, but I'd guess there must be some cultural (read religious) reason behind the popularity of that name format.

 

J.S is somewhat reminiscent of JesuS, which could factor in the ludicrous amount of messiah figures being named John S, (Or simply J. S)

I think Benjen of the Kingsguard might be onto something - there might be some phonetic appeal to the J sound



#13 The Sullen Sellsword

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:57 PM

 

 

I think Benjen of the Kingsguard might be onto something - there might be some phonetic appeal to the J sound

 

 

Remark that both these examples are monosyllabic as well.

 

Doesn't really work with longer names starting J, like Jonathan, or Jeremy...


Edited by The Sullen Sellsword, 29 September 2013 - 03:57 PM.


#14 protar

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:59 PM

Not the case with Sheridan, though, his persona practically drips off the screen. His case is a bit specific, though, as for some reason, MJS kept the same initials with Jeffrey Sinclair.

 

Nor in the case of Master Chief actually. He's got plenty of personality, especially in the last game.

 

But yeah John (or Jon) is a nondescript name, good for the strong and silent types and/or audience surrogates.



#15 Ygrain

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 04:20 PM

 

 

Remark that both these examples are monosyllabic as well.

 

Doesn't really work with longer names starting J, like Jonathan, or Jeremy...

Touché. It has to be short, and start with a strong but pleasant sound. Also, I'd say that the following vowel shouldn't be too tense, I don't think Jim works, either.

 

 

Nor in the case of Master Chief actually. He's got plenty of personality, especially in the last game.

 

But yeah John (or Jon) is a nondescript name, good for the strong and silent types and/or audience surrogates.

And I could add that at least Renegade Shepard doesn't suffer frlom any lack of personality :P



#16 The Sullen Sellsword

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 04:29 PM

Touché. It has to be short, and start with a strong but pleasant sound. Also, I'd say that the following vowel shouldn't be too tense, I don't think Jim works, either.

 

And I could add that at least Renegade Shepard doesn't suffer frlom any lack of personality :P

 

 

I'd be of the opinion that Jim could work, though definitively not as much as John, James, or Jack... obviously. Jim is too diminutive.

 

And I disagree with MC having a "Strong personality", most of what he feels are easily expected reactions, and his definitive lack of flaws make him a rather weak character in my opinion. As for Renegade Shep, s/he reminds me too much of the cliche'd 90s Anti-hero for me to say that s/he has a tangible, unique personality.

 

But oh well, maybe that's just me being overly negative and harsh.



#17 Castellan

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 04:49 PM

Is it just me, or do saviour figures have a tendency to be named John? 

 

Babylon 5: John Sheridan

Mass Effect: John Shepard

Halo games: John Little

...

- Damn, with the first two, it's even the same initials! Is the universe somehow inclined towards J.S.? :D Can we put together some more?

On the other hand its a vastly common almost stock name for a man. Like Jeyne for a girl in Westeros!

 

Anyway, Jon is the short form of Jonathan and I believe GRRM has Biblical connotations in there. Jonathan fought the Philistines from Hill Top forts. Jonathan is a symbol of brotherhood suitable for nights watch. Jonathan was the official heir who renounced his throne for David, which is interesting and seems like the reverse of Jon's situation but who knows?



#18 The Weirwoods Eyes

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 04:54 PM

I kind of just thought that he found it funny to name the Hero such a generic common name as Jon, when fancy fantasy names are so prevalent throughout the books.


Edited by The Weirwoods Eyes, 30 September 2013 - 03:57 AM.


#19 Drogon'sWrath

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 05:11 PM

I kind of just thought that he found it funny to name the Hero such a generic common name as Jon, when fancy fantasy names are so peeve leant through the books.

Yea, right.  

Viserys Targaryen

Daenerys Targaryen

Rhaegar Targaryen

Aerys Targaryen

Jon (Targaryen) Snow

 

I swear, Martin just likes to fuck with us.



#20 Castellan

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 05:15 PM

Could he be named after Jon Connington? If Ned named him you'd think he'd pick a Stark name, even though he's a bastard.