Posts Tagged With: Freya



I’ve been a fan of the How To Train Your Dragon books since I was gifted the first book many, many Christmases ago. So, naturally, I was excited for the DreamWorks film franchise, and whilst a little bit horrified that my favourite character from the books (a girl named Camicazi) was replaced, I am mostly satisfied with the films because I see them as being inspired by the books, rather than an adaptation of them. Although it remains a shame that they’ve totally cast aside the King’s Lost Things storyline, which I think of as a better executed Horcrux plotpoint.

Where I’m going with this is that whilst in the books the characters have pretty ludicrous names such as Big-Boobied Bertha, Madguts the Murderous and Norbert the Nutjob, the film has brought in some fantastic Nordic-inspired names such as Astrid, Valka, Drago and Eret. And as a name nerd, I appreciate the touch.

Today’s name that we have kicking off Week B doesn’t feature in the films, but I think she’d fit right in as she’s another Nordic-inspired pick. She’s also a sound-alike to the ever popular name Freya.

But they’re not just sound-alikes, as Brynja shares Scandinavian roots with Freya; she comes from Old Norse and means armour. The name Freya also comes from Norse mythology, where she is the name of the goddess of love, beauty, war and death. As for meaning, Freya is decidedly more feminine: she means lady.

The name Freya is another one of those names that have been inside the Top 100 since what seems like forever (also known as 1998), so that means there are a lot of teenaged-to-little Freya’s running around England&Wales. Right now, the name Freya ranks at #20. On top of the many Freyas, there are a few little girls with the name Freyja and Freja, as the names rank at #699 and #1220, respectively.

This is all whilst the name Brynja fails to rank at all in England&Wales. However, it is worth noting that she ranks highly in Iceland: #48 in 2012, which makes a certain amount of sense given that Icelandic parents have a deep love of Scandinavian names.

The name Brynja is said how most would hopefully presume: BRIN-yah. Some may wonder whether the ‘-ja’ would cause problems, but names like Sonja and Freja seem to have little issue when compared to Sonya and Freya. Of course, there is the potential to simply respell as Brynya, if you so wish, although I think she looses some of her Scandinavian charm.

In the end, what you have with Brynja is a quirky Scandinavian pick that works as an alternative to Freya.

Categories: The Offbeat Alphabet Series | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Alternatives to Freya

I seemed to be inadvertently working my way through the most popular names in England&Wales list with these posts, but that matters not.

The name Freya hit the Top 100 in 1998, and has resided there ever since. In 2011 she ranked at #19, exactly the same as she did in 2010. Freya is an interesting name; she comes from Norse mythology where she is the Goddess of love, beauty and fertility.

When it comes to selecting names for these posts, I like to look at the aspects of the name that makes it so fantastic and match up those qualities with those of other names; hence, the names I’ve collected together are either similar in sound or have similar qualities to Freya.

1. Elska

Like Freya, Elska also has Norse origins: she means love in Old Norse. With no non-English characters, such as å, to deal with, this makes the name more accessible and indeed she has potential to cross into English-speaking use as Freya has done so before her.

2. Feya

Not a Norse name, rather, a Russian name meaning fairy. I added this name in for it’s similarity to Freya in sound.

3. Chaya

This name is from Hindu mythology, where Chaya was the name of the hand maid of Surya. In Sanskrit, the name means shade, shadow, play of light. Also, Chaya exists a a feminine form of Chaim, a Hebrew name meaning light. Like Feya, this name makes an appearance on the list as she shares the ay-ah sound.

4. Embla

Another Norse Mythology name, Embla comes from Old Norse and means elm tree. In Norse Mythology, Embla is the name of the first human female. Like Elska before her, Embla also has potential to cross into English-speaking use (she also happens to be an anagram of Mabel).

5. Iona

Long popular in Scotland and the name of an isle there, this name means yew. Finding the right name for the #5 spot was hard, but for some reason Iona felt like the right name to throw into the mix. Like Freya, she isn’t popular the world over, moreover, only appears in Scotland’s Top 100, so is familiar in the English-speaking world, but only really used widely in one part of the world.

The near-misses: Fauna; Fuschia; Anya; Enya; Astrid; Feray and Elsa.

Categories: Alternative Names | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sibset of the Week: The Edmondsons

Jennifer Saunders, from

I’m a huge fan of comedy. Can’t get enough of it. The world of comedy is mostly dominated by males, especially in the stand-up arena. with females few and far between. There are some great female comics out there, though: Victoria Wood; Shappi Khorsandi; Sue Perkins; Dawn French; Lucy Porter; Sandi Toksvig. If you’ve time to spare, we have covered Shappi’s name before in our previous bumper post on names from comedy (a follow-up is on my to-do list). This week’s mother is another comedy queen, she’s Jennifer Saunders, best known as one half of the French&Saunders comedy duo, and for our international readers she voiced the Fairy Godmother in the Shrek films. Specifically the second one. Both she and Dawn French also had voice roles in Coraline.

In 2005, there was a poll to find the funniest women in Britain, for which Saunders was awarded fourth place. The Top Ten reads as such:

  1. Victoria Wood
  2. Dawn French
  3. Jo Brand
  4. Jennifer Saunders
  5. Julie Walters
  6. Joyce Grenfell
  7. Hattie Jacques
  8. Joanna Lumley
  9. Maureen Lipman
  10. Kathy Burke

Personally, I feel the list would have rather changed by now, especially given the success of Miranda Hart in recent years. Hattie Jacques was a stage name for Josephine Edwina Jaques, whilst Kathy is indeed short for Katherine Lucy Bridget, and Jo short for Josephine. It seems almost chance that two of the top ten would be named Josephine, which perhaps makes her a good option if you want a name related to British comedy. Miranda being another good example as there’s also Miranda Richardson, who famously played Queenie in Blackadder. Half of the list is also taken up by five different J- names, too (not including Hattie). If I ever were to use a name inspired by my love of comedy, I’d likely use Polly or Connie, as in Connie Booth who starred as the maid Polly in Fawlty Towers.

But back to Jennifer Saunders, who with husband Adrian Edmondson, welcomed three daughters towards the end of the 80s decade:

Eleanor Rose ‘Ella’

Beatrice Louise ‘Beattie’

Freya Domenica

Tellingly, both Freya and Eleanor are in the 2010 Top 100, with Beatrice well poised at #116 to join them in the coming years. They also seemed to use pretty standard middle names until they came to their last child, when they used Domenica. I keep wanting to say the name, as in, the Dominican Republic, being the worldly person that I am. I’m fascinating by their choice of the name.

Categories: Sibset of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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