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The most popular baby names are…

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Jamie Gumbrecht

CNN

(CNN) — So, maybe some of you new parents have seen this show, “Game of Thrones?”

When the Social Security Administration released its annual list of the most popular names on Thursday, all the usual winners were there: Jacob and Sophia are tops. Again.

But the fastest riser for girls in 2012 was Arya, shooting to 413 from 711 in 2011 and 942 in 2010.

Arya is the name of a beloved character in the “Game of Thrones” series on HBO. The youngest daughter of the Stark family, Arya (played by Maisie Williams) is a fan favorite — a defiant tomboy with a stubborn, independent streak — and the polar opposite of her proper sister, Sansa. Arya is happier firing arrows on the archery range or secretly attending “dance lessons” with Syrio, a trained killer who teaches her to wield her sword, Needle.

Based on “A Song of Ice and Fire,” the epic fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, “Game of Thrones” has been a breakout hit for HBO. Now in its third season, the show initially delighted genre fans, but quickly built a much larger audience with its blend of action, intrigue and ample doses of sex and violence.

(For the record, Sansa, Syrio and Needle are nowhere in the top 1,000.)

The fastest riser for boys in 2012 — Major, coming in at 483 — is harder to peg. The Social Security Administration helpfully points out that it could be “in tribute to the brave members of the U.S. military,” or perhaps because Major is the name of the youngest son of designers Cortney and Robert Novogratz on the HGTV show “Home by Novogratz.”

Parents submit children’s names when applying for Social Security numbers when they’re born. Popular names sometimes reflect characters in pop culture, style icons or plain old demographic changes.The names Gael and Perla also rose fast in 2012, the Social Security Administration said, noting that both are popular among Spanish speakers.

Rounding out the top 10 for boys in 2012 were Mason, Ethan, Noah, William, Liam, Jayden, Michael, Alexander and Aiden. Jacob has dominated the top spot since 1999. Liam made its debut in the top 10 in 2012, booting Daniel.

For girls, other top names were Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Mia, Madison and Elizabeth. It’s not Elizabeth’s first trip to the top, but it did replace Chloe on the list in 2012.

CNN’s Doug Gross contributed to this report.

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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