Jasmine Estrada thought nothing could make her second-guess naming her daughter after Daenerys Targaryen, aka “Khaleesi,” one of the main characters in the mega-hit HBO show Game of Thrones. Then she saw Sunday’s episode.
“Oh my god,” Estrada said. “She lost her marbles.”
The series’ penultimate episode featured Daenerys going from a justice-seeking yet flawed queen to a genocidal madwoman who burned down a city with innocent women and children trapped inside.
Estrada’s 6-year-old daughter is called “Khalessi”—an idea from Estrada’s mother, who mispronounced the name, leading to the misspelling. “I think it’s an amazing name,” she said.
She told The Daily Beast that other fans had warned her before she watched the latest Game of Thrones episode on Monday, but she doubted it would change her mind.
An hour later, everything had changed.
“I’m kind of in shock,” Estrada said when The Daily Beast called back. “It was kind of disappointing that her power trip took over. That was not cool.”
The Miami native said she still stood by the “cool and powerful” name, but added: “I definitely don’t like the outcome of what she represents. So it’s kind of bittersweet right now.”
More than 500 children in the United States were named Khaleesi last year, according to Social Security Administration data published last Friday. The character’s given name, Daenerys, was bestowed on 163 newborns. The SSA list only includes names given to more than five newborns in a year, so there are likely many more babies going by alternate spellings like Estrada’s.
After Sunday’s episode, the internet exploded with jokes about the unfortunate parents who’d made Khaleesi the 549th most popular name of the year.
“So, parents who named their daughter Khaleesi back in like 2014, y’all got a new named lined up?” tweeted artist Jayson Musson.
But some Daenerys die-hards weren’t backing down. Katherine Acosta, who named her daughter Khaleesi after a challenging pregnancy, said she sympathized with the complex character.
“I’m still standing beside her. I think she did what she had to do,” she said.
Acosta added she still “loved” the name but acknowledged that her daughter might be shocked when she watched her namesake burning down a city. Or, Acosta suggested, “She could say, ‘Wow, she was a bad b, she did what she had to do.”
“That’s how I see it, and hopefully she sees it the same way, ’cuz she’s just as bad,” she added.