For the past few nights a group of friends and I have been working our way through the Star Wars films, ending tonight with Episode III (we started with the originals, rather than the prequels).
At the beginning of the prequels in Episode I, Padmé is introduced as the 16-year old Queen of Naboo. Later on in the films she falls in love with Anakin Skywalker, they elope and right at the end of Episode III she gives birth to twins: Leia and Luke.
Now, whilst we were working our way through the prequels the name Padmé kept on my mind as I wondered whether it had been made up by the scriptwriters or whether it was indeed a real name.
You see, there does exist a remarkably similar name – Padma.
The name Padma comes from Sanskrit origins and means lotus. Sitting alongside Padma we have Padmavati and Padmini, both of which have meanings relating to lotus.
And it would seem that the same can be said for Padmé, as there is a Tibetan chant which goes something like this:
Om mani padme hum
It means the jewel is in the lotus; thus Padmé also appears to mean lotus.
So, we know now that Padmé is a so-called real name, but the fact that the name was given to a prominent Star Wars character could possibly pose a problem – not everyone is likes unusual names, you see.
However, the flip side of the argument is that I can quite clearly remember going to the cinema to watch Episode III with my Dad; and I most certainly watched the other 5 films on his lap whilst still a babe.
That said, until last week, I couldn’t have told you the name of Luke’s mother.
Even though I should have been able to.
Maybe I just have a really bad memory, since it was only the basic details I could remember (although I did find myself rather wary of Palpatine whilst watching Episode I, without reason to be so).
The point is, in a couple of years time, I do wonder whether the fact that there’s a well known film character with the name will really be an issue. I do feel it’s a weak excuse to put aside what is essentially a lovely name, but that’s just my opinion.