The Anne of Green Gables book series sparked my love of literature and influenced my decision to major in English in college. And even though I’m that picky, snobby person when it comes to book-to-film adaptations, especially of my favorite books, I was blown away by the awesomeness of the 80s miniseries adaptation (starring Megan Follows as Anne). So, when I started looking at possible baby names for my own child, the Anne books and miniseries were obvious go-to inspiration sources. Here are a few of my favorite names from the AoGG universe.
“Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place.”
When I was pregnant, I was convinced I was having a girl, and Avonlea was in my top 10 list. But, just as Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert received Anne from the orphanage instead of a little boy, I ended up having a boy instead of a girl, so Avonlea was off the table for me. Avonlea is the fictional town in which the story AoGG is set, so this name would make a lovely first or middle name for any AoGGs lover.
“Here sat Marilla Cuthbert, when she sat at all, always slightly distrustful of sunshine, which seemed to her too dancing and irresponsible a thing for a world which was meant to be taken seriously; and here she sat now, knitting, and the table behind her was laid for supper.”
Just as the character Marilla took a while to grow on me when I first read AoGG, the name Marilla also did not immediately strike my fancy. But now I adore this name, especially with the nickname Rilla (though the more common Mari / Mary would also be a nickname option). As a result of being a parent to Anne—a girl with an imagination and a romantic spirit the size of Texas—Marilla grows as a person and opens herself up to many of the joys of life she previously ignored. As such, naming your little girl Marilla could help encourage her to always be willing to change and grow, even when doing so is hard or scary—a great life lesson to instill in any child.
“Anne, you certainly have a genius for getting into trouble. You went and gave Diana currant wine instead of raspberry cordial. Didn’t you know the difference yourself?”
Who could forget the time that Anne confused Marilla’s currant wine for raspberry cordial and accidentally got her best friend drunk during their two-person tea party? In addition to referencing this hilarious mishap, Cordial is also a neat choice for true AoGG fans because it could be considered a unique alternative version of the name that Anne—a lover of unusual names herself—wishes was her own: Cordelia. Also, the word cordial means “warm and friendly,” a decidedly positive connotation.
“Anne’s cup of happiness was full, and Matthew caused it to overflow. He had just got home from a trip to the store at Carmody, and he sheepishly produced a small parcel from his pocket and handed it to Anne, with a deprecatory look at Marilla. ‘I heard you say you liked chocolate sweeties, so I got you some,’ he said.”
Carmody is the “big” town near Avonlea where everyone goes to send mail, go to the store, attend concerts, etc. This name has a lovely, flowing sound; it’s like a combination of Carmen and Melody, two names I really like on their own. But the possible nickname Carma / Karma is probably what makes me most love this name.
“A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul.”
I love the term “kindred spirit.” It’s just such a beautiful concept. So, the idea of naming a child Kindred definitely appeals to me. There are also so many great nickname possibilities with this name: Kin, Kind, Indre / Indri, or (if you want to double the AoGG influence) Red.
“I think your Gilbert Blythe is handsome,” confided Anne to Diana, “but I think he’s very bold. It isn’t good manners to wink at a strange girl.”
Oh, Gilbert Blythe! While I’m not usually a fan of the love-hate relationship paradigm common in love stories, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the tumultuous romance between Anne and Gilbert. As I mentioned in TBNB: Super Bowl LIII Edition, Blythe is a name that’s been gaining in popularity for a while now, so don’t be surprised if this name busts into the top 1,000 in the next few years. Possible nicknames include Bly, Ly, and Lythe.
“Marilla wore her amethyst brooch to church that day as usual. Marilla always wore her amethyst brooch to church.”
The amethyst brooch fiasco is another classic Anne scrape. When Marilla can’t find her brooch, she assumes Anne lost it, even though Anne insists she did not. Believing that Anne is telling her a “falsehood,” Marilla bars Anne from going to an upcoming community picnic until Anne confesses. So, even though she didn’t actually lose the brooch, Anne of course concocts an elaborate story about how she lost it and performs an extremely dramatic confession to appease Marilla. The brooch is eventually found, and the whole mess gets sorted out, but that ridiculous confession sticks out as a moment of true “Anne-ness.” Amethyst has a fantastical yet regal sound and joins the ranks of many other popular gem names like Ruby (another AoGG-associated name), Jade, Opal, and Diamond. Possible nicknames include Ame / Ama, Ethy, or Hyst. (Or, if you are really into drugs, I guess Meth would be a possible nickname, but drugs don’t really fit in with the wholesome aesthetic of the Anne universe, unless maybe if you are thinking of that hideous Anne with an E remake that Netlix did—yuck!)
“Mrs. Rachel Lynde was one of those capable creatures who can manage their own concerns and those of other folks into the bargain.”
Speaking of over-the-top theatrical Anne monologues, Anne’s apology to Rachel Lynde toward the start of the story is another crowning achievement of impassioned teen angst. Rachel is the poster child for a character that you love to hate to love, which may not make her an AoGG fan’s first choice for a baby name model. But, when times get tough, Rachel proves herself to be a true friend to Marilla, which almost redeems Rachel’s obnoxious personality and her obsessive meddling ways. Lynde (pronounced Lynn-d) is a cute alternative to the very overdone middle name Lynn. Or, you could instead pronounce this name with the “e” at the end (Lynn-dee). I knew a girl who lived down the road whose name was Lindi (or maybe Lindy?), and I always thought that was a unique and lovely name, so Lynde could work as an alternative spelling for that name.
“Green Gables was built at the furthest edge of his cleared land and there it was to this day, barely visible from the main road along which all the other Avonlea houses were so sociably situated.”
Green Gables is the idyllic secluded homestead of the Cuthbert siblings, Anne’s adoptive parents. Gable is a great baby name choice for those who want a unique baby name but a more mainstream nickname possibility (Gabe). And, for those who like AoGG and also enjoy the movies of Clark Gable, this name is a perfect match.
“It was Anne’s idea that they dramatize Elaine. They had studied Tennyson’s poem in school the preceding winter, the Superintendent of Education having prescribed it in the English course for the Prince Edward Island schools. They had analyzed and parsed it and torn it to pieces in general until it was a wonder there was any meaning at all left in it for them, but at least the fair lily maid and Lancelot and Guinevere and King Arthur had become very real people to them…”
What kind of teenagers would enact scenes from Tennyson poems for recreation in their spare time? Anne and her crew, that’s who! (Now that I think of it, I feel like me and my high school friends probably would have done something like this as well—at least I wish we had!) As a fan of both AoGG and this poet’s work in general, Tennyson is one of my all-time favorite baby boys’ names!
“…and Anne was devoured by secret regret that she had not been born in Camelot. Those days, she said, were so much more romantic than the present.”
I know many people might think this name sounds like a horse name rather than a baby name, but I humbly submit that Camelot works well as a baby name on several levels. First, Camelot is a fresh addition to the existing abundance of excellent, unique names that start with “Cam,” such as Camden, Cameron, Camry, Cambry, Camella, and Cambridge. Second, Camelot could be a good name fit for parents from many different fan bases, including AoGGs buffs, musical theater nerds, and those who love going to Renaissance fairs in full period garb. Third and finally, Camelot has several fun nickname possibilities, including Cam, Camy / Camee, Mel, Melo / Melot, or Lottie. (I would steer clear of Lot as a nickname, though, since most parents don’t want to think about the possibility of their kid’s future partner getting turned into a pillar of salt.)
“‘What can I do for you this evening, Mr. Cuthbert?’ Miss Lucilla Harris inquired, briskly and ingratiatingly, tapping the counter with both hands.”
While store clerk Lucilla Harris is a very minor character in AoGG, the scene in which she sells Matthew a dress for Anne is a hilarious and sweet situation (if you can set aside the gender stereotyping underlying the whole situation, of course). Matthew is embarrassed to buy a dress (because, you know, men can’t buy dresses—gasp!!!). So, in addition to buying Anne’s dress, he also buys, like, 20 pounds of brown sugar, since apparently brown sugar is somehow super manly. Anyway, the name Lucilla is a more melodious version of Lucille, and I really like the idea of the nickname Luci spelled with an “i” instead of a “y,” though Lucy could of course work as well. (I have a puppy cousin named Lucy, and I’ve always found this name adorable, for sure.)
Which of these AoGG names strikes your fancy? Or what other AoGG names do you love? Let me know in the comments!
Photo Credit: Robert Linsdell