Why 'Game of Thrones' Needs to Stop Changing Character Names

Yahoo Contributor Network

One thing that drives "Game of Thrones" fans nuts is when the TV adaptation of the "Song of Fire and Ice" books does something to differentiate itself from the original source material. One of the most vexing and controversial changes has to do with HBO's policy of renaming some of the characters in the "Thrones" universe.

As this article from 2011 explains, some "Game of Thrones" fans thought it was silly that Asha Greyjoy's name was changed to Yara Greyjoy. Presumably, this change was made in order to avoid confusion with the character Osha, who has a name that is somewhat similar to Asha. That also explains why Robert Arryn's first name was changed to Robin for the TV series -- although it's unlikely fans would confuse "Robin" with Robert Baratheon.

This habit of changing character names for the TV show irks fans of the books for two main reasons. First, it's a departure from the beloved books. Secondly, and more importantly, such name changes presume that the audience isn't smart enough to handle two similar-sounding names.

Need proof that the name changing on "Game of Thrones" is unnecessary? Here are some critically acclaimed TV shows that all feature multiple characters with the same name.

"Mad Men"

This swingin' series set in the 1960s features not one, but two sets of people with similar-sounding names. There's Don Draper and his assistant Dawn. The two don't look anything alike, but their names do sound the same when spoken out loud. While some characters on the show may have found it confusing, few viewers probably felt that way.

In addition, there is also the doubling of Bert Cooper and Burt Peterson: The former is a partner at Don's firm, while the latter is an account executive at the same firm.

"The Wire"

At one point, "The Wire" had five characters known as either Mike or Michael. There was Mike Fletcher at the Baltimore Sun, police officer Michael Santangelo, teenage boy Michael Lee, the Mayor's chief of staff Michael Steintorf, and Michael McNulty (Jimmy McNulty's son).

There were also multiple characters with the names Dennis, Roland, William, Thomas, Ray, and Johnny.

"The X-Files"

There are multiple characters named William between Scully and Mulder's family tree. Both Scully's brother and Mulder's dad were Williams (though they both went by Bill). Later on, when Scully and Mulder have a child together, the baby is named William.
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