7

But not like having the same full name but rather same last name like for example having a character named Kevin Snow which has the same last name as Game of Thrones character Jon Snow

Other examples would be having same first name such as having a character named Logen Evans which has the same name as Wolverine's actual first name which is Logen as well

  • 2
    Wolverine's name is Logan, not Logen. – Sara Costa May 12 '17 at 8:51
  • So that you are aware, in the ASOIAF universe, Snow (and similar names Sand, Storm, Rivers, Waters, etc.) is the last name given to children born out of wedlock. Ellaria Sand famously claims she has "ten thousand brothers and sisters across Dorne." – Lauren Ipsum May 12 '17 at 9:49
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    There are so many characters in all the fiction in the world that it's impossible to create a name that is not the same as another name. For instance, your own example "Kevin" is also the first name of Kevin McCallister in Home Alone. "Evans" is the maiden name of Harry Potter's mother. – Mr Lister May 12 '17 at 10:45
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    You mean like Larry Potter? – David Schwartz May 12 '17 at 15:56
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    I don't believe that the makers of Game of Thrones are the legal owners of the word "Snow". – Dawood ibn Kareem May 13 '17 at 0:54
21

The problem you're describing actually has an associated TV Trope: the One Mario Limit (obligatory warning, now that I've added a link). Some names become so strongly associated with one character/person, that any other characters/people with the same name will inevitably be compared with them. Mario is a well-known example: the only other famous Mario I can think of right now is Mario Balotelli, who is in fact nicknamed "Super Mario".

I only believe this trope is a problem if:

  • There really is only one well-known character/person with that name. Plenty of people are named 'Snow'. I actually have a character myself named 'Snow'. Nobody outside of Game of Thrones (that I know of) is named 'Lannister'.
  • The person that name is associated with is not a person you want your character to be associated with (@HvG made a similar point in their answer). You'll notice that nobody these days is named "Adolf", for example.
  • Your character isn't distinct enough. If your character 'Logan Evans' is a friendly, outgoing guy who solves his problems with his sharp wits, nobody will notice he shares his name with Wolverine. If he's a loner who solves his problems with his fists, everyone will notice.

Other than that, I would say this isn't worth worrying about, because there are so many famous people and famous works out there that it's almost impossible to come up with a name that hasn't been used by one of them (unless you're writing a fantasy work like GoT and can just make one up). When naming the protagonist of one of my stories, I plucked the name "Samantha Smith" out of thin air - when I found out that was the name of an actual famous person, rather than change it, I simply had another character make a remark about it.

  • 1
    Another famous Mario is Mario Lemieux, who is also Super Mario, proving the point even further. – Matthew Crumley May 12 '17 at 18:27
  • So then if I did have a character with the same first or last name as a famous one but obviously different personalities and characters then it would be fine – Anime Writer May 13 '17 at 11:38
  • If for example my character Logan Evans would be only similar to Wolverine's Logan in how they both can fight and are both loners but Logan Evans would be different for the reasons of being a loner and how much of a loner he is. Now would this be fine? – Anime Writer May 13 '17 at 13:21
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    I would have thought first about "Mario Andrettii" , famous race car driver. "Slow down Mario" would first mean him.. then Mario from the game. : ) – Tom22 May 21 '17 at 22:48
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    I don't know how I forgot about Mario Andretti, but he has the fortune of predating Super Mario by at least a decade. – F1Krazy May 22 '17 at 7:44
5

I don't see any issue. See any novels for that matter - Robert Langdon, the protagonist for Dan Brown's many works is inspired and loosely based on John Langdon, the famous typographer.

Such occurrences are very common and unless you copy everything about a character, I don't see any copyright issues. For that matter, lets hope your Snow has a happy family :)

3

A lot of names are relatively common and therefore should not be monopolized by a single person.

As for John Snow, the name is not only famous for Game of Thrones, but it is also the name of an important Doctor that made major contributions to the concepts of today’s hygiene. He was the one who successfully traced the cholera outbreak in London (1854).

Is this a coincidence? Maybe, maybe not…

Wiki-link, John Snow: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Snow

I would also add a further point to consider.

If you pick a name like Paris (as in Paris Hilton) for a character that is a very serious, hard working lab assistant…. Prior knowledge of the reader might interfere with the picture you’re trying to create about the character.

Hence, one should consider how well known the name is and what that could mean for your readers.

  • 2
    There's also a famous political journalist in the UK called Jon Snow, which proves your point even more. – F1Krazy May 12 '17 at 9:08
  • @F1Krazy I googled the name for the link and saw the same thing :-) – HvG May 12 '17 at 9:12
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    Paris was one of the competing love interests in Romeo and Juliet, who is this Paris Hilton you speak of? ;) – Separatrix May 12 '17 at 14:13
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    Paris was also the dude who 'kidnapped' Helen back in the day – DSKekaha May 12 '17 at 14:56
  • Paris is a pretty good helmsman. – Lightness Races in Orbit May 12 '17 at 17:30
1

Ordinarily, it would be ok, because first and last names are mostly interchangeable.

An exception would be if one name were highly unusual (basically unique), or strongly associated with something. I wouldn't use the surname "Gatsby," for instance. ("Jay" would be okay.) And as another poster pointed out, no one nowadays is eager to use the name "Adolf," or worse, the man's last name.

1

It depends how distinctive the name is.

If you have a character named "John", well, there are lots of other fictional characters, and real people, named "John" would not bother me at all.

There are plenty of real people named "Snow". I think few people would even notice the similarity, or would only notice it for an instant and promptly move on.

On the other hand if you named a character "Gandalf" or "Sherlock" or "Batman", yeah, lots of readers would notice.

Matching just a first name or just a last name is far more likely to pass unnoticed that matching both.

And no one expects you to study every novel ever written and every movie and TV show ever made to avoid such duplication.

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