Major character names are always important. Though they need not be meaningful, they should have some cultural connotation and their pronunciation should not distract the overall storyline. While some authors like Ernest Hemingway tend to employ simple names, some others like Charles Dickens take a lot of planning time to come up with names with intrinsic values, such as Philip Pirrip from “Great Expectations”. Before publication, writers often go through drafts in which their main characters may have been called something else entirely. With a little digging, we have rounded up a list of classical literary figures who had almost been given different names.
1. Hermione Granger
Ditch Granger and think Hermione Puckle. Our favorite heroine would have come from the Puckle family if J.K.Rowling didn’t come to her senses. Upon realizing that Puckle just doesn’t “suit her at all”, Rowling renamed her into something with seriousness and a surname that would not make kids laugh when they read the text out loud.
2. Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had named the eccentrically smart detective Sherringford but quickly gave up on the idea and gave the name to his brother instead. As the proposed elder brother of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, Sherringford had the duty to stay at home and manage the estate.
3. Dr. John H. Watson
As Detective Holmes’ close friend and assistant, Dr. Watson had been named Ormond Sacker in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s earlier drafts. Imagine “my dear Sacker” instead of “my dear Watson”, how does that sound to you?
4. Lucy Frost From Villette
The protagonist of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, Lucy had the surname of “Snowe” before Bronte decidedly provided her with a more frosty name in accordance with her nature.
5. Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind
Before Gone With the Wind have gone through print runs, Margaret Mitchell hastily changed her main female character’s name from Pansy to Scarlett. Whether it is because he felt Scarlett exhibited a more feminine tone or because Pansy could potentially clash with maid Prissy’s name, we are glad she made the alteration.
6. Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens had given a lot of thought into the name of his sickly child from “A Christmas Carol”. After Small Sam, Little Larry and Puny Pete, he finally settled on Tiny Tim.
7. Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
In an earlier version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Peter Pevensie’s siblings were initially called “Ann”, “Martin” and “Rose”.
8. Count Dracula from Dracula
Bram Stoker initially intended the central character of his vampire fantasy to be known as Count Waympr, until he came across a historical documentation of Vlad II of Wallachia or Vlad Dracul during intensive research.
9. Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Truman Capote had named the protagonist in “A Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to be Connie Gustafson instead of Holly Golightly, something much less elegant and lyrical in comparison.
10. Little Orphan Annie
Orphan Annie could have been called Orphan Otto, until cartoonist Harold Gray’s publisher at the newspaper syndicate suggested that the name should match with the character and sound more like a girl.
11. Nancy Drew
Before “Nancy Drew” became the official name for the iconic girl detective, Stella Strong, Diana Drew, Diana Dare, Nan Nelson, Helen Hale, and Nan Drew were all considered.
12. Philip Marlowe
Via The Paris Review
One of the most investigative minds, Philip Marlowe is an unique character under Raymond Chandler’s creation. He was originally named as Mallory because Chandler wanted to pay a tribute to the English author Sir Thomas Malory. However, this idea was left behind after his wife suggested Marlowe.
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