Woof. That's what dogs named Daenerys or Khaleesi are probably definitely thinking after catching a glimpse of the final season of Game of Thrones.
While no one could've predicted her swift fall from grace, it's hard not to wonder what all the parents of kids and pets who named their offspring after their idol, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons, are thinking now. While "Dany" and "Khali" are common iterations, some people did choose to name their children "Daenerys" and "Khaleesi." Actually, more than you probably think.
According to the Washington Post, more than 3,500 girls have been given one of those two names since the show first aired. In 2018, “Khaleesi” ranked among the 1,000 most popular girl names, with 560 babies receiving the moniker upon birth. “Daenerys” didn’t make the top 1,000 most popular names, but 171 newborns got that name in 2018. (And, this author's brother named his collie-mix "Khallie" after Khaleesi. She's a very sweet-tempered dog, though. Don't worry.)
So what does Emilia Clarke, who portrayed the mother of dragons on the show, think about the naming trend?
Clarke, who recently sat down with The New Yorker, said it's "so strange" to know people named their kids after her character, who, at first, stood for liberation, empowerment and freedom, but who took, as the New Yorker interviewer noted, "a rather dark turn."
"I know! It doesn’t take away from her strength, though—it doesn’t take away from her being an empowered woman," Clarke said. "I think that, when you see the final episode, they’ll see there is a beginning and a middle and an end to her as a character. I think that there are people that will agree with her, because she’s a human being."
Plus, the 32-year-old actress, like many mothers and fathers across the U.S., just likes the name.
"Khaleesi is a beautiful name," Clarke added. "It’ll all be forgotten in a minute! You know, and people will just go, 'Oh, what an unusual name, how fabulous,' and the child will say, 'Yes, yes. My parents just really liked the name.'"
So, when asked if she could give any advice to girls bearing her pivotal character's namesake, Clarke answered in true (pre-final-season) Khaleesi fashion.
"I would say, 'Work it, girls!' I’ve enjoyed being called that, and I think they will, too."