Quirky World... Game of Thrones inspires baby names

ENGLAND AND WALES: Bran, Sandor and Khaleesi may not be commonly heard in the classroom yet, but they are all names of characters from hit TV series Game Of Thrones given to babies last year.

Quirky World... Game of Thrones inspires baby names

Figures released show that while Oliver and Amelia were the most common names given to babies born in England and Wales in 2013, parents are increasingly taking inspiration from fantasy films such as Twilight and Thor.

According to the UK Office for National Statistics, there were 187 baby girls named Arya last year — the same number as called Josephine, while there were 50 Khaleesis — the same that were named Peggy. There were also seven boys called Bran — equal to the numbers of Brads, while there were three Sandors — the same amount of boys given the name Malcolm last year.

While the British royal family appears to have influenced parents with sons — with William, Harry and George all in the top 10 most popular names — it does not seem to have made such an impact on those with daughters, with 147 girls named Kate and just four named Eugenie — fewer than some of the Game of Thrones characters.

The office also said the full impact of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge naming Britain’s future king George might not be seen yet, as he was only born midway through 2013.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of parenting site Netmums, said unusual fictional characters’ names were often chosen by parents in the hope they would make their child stand out.

She added: “But on the other hand, fantasy names inspired by shows series are beginning to go mainstream, with babies being named Renesmee from Twilight along with Tyrion and Theon from Game of Thrones. And Harry Potter also seems to continue to inspire choices, with three girls named Bellatrix in 2013.

USA: A cat named Gizmo has only minor injuries after a nine-storey fall at a Manhattan apartment building.

Gizmo fell off a 12th-floor terrace, crashed onto a third-floor landing and became wedged between a skylight and a wall.

Owner Samuel Jacobs says the grey and black cat was “freaked out.” He rushed his pet to a vet, fearing massive internal injuries but Gizmo only had scratches and a broken tooth.

USA: The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced the winners of a contest to come up with humorous yet valuable safety messages for electronic highway message boards.

The contest was inspired by a message posted on highways in May that encouraged drivers to “Use Yah Blinkah” — or indicator — when changing lanes.

The winners were “Make yah Ma proud, wear yah seatbelt” to encourage belt use; “Keep Calm and Drive On” to prevent road rage; and “Put down the phone! Your LOLs and OMGs can wait” to fight distracted driving. The winners get gift cards for petrol stations and restaurants.

USA: Santa Claus has paid an early visit to New York.

Father Christmas, along with 15 Rockettes dressed as rag dolls, stood on a Radio City Music Hall porch as 12 Rockettes dressed as toy soldiers performed the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.

It was a six-minute promotional event for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which starts on November 7.

USA: A truck spilled its load of what was described as “cranberry sludge” on a Boston-area highway, painting the road red and slowing traffic during the morning commute.

Clean-up crews used shovels and hoses to remove the slippery mess, and then sanded the area, but the highway retained a distinct reddish hue.

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