"Tomorrow my daughter is scheduled to be born," wrote a soon-to-be-dad named Adam last night. "Since day 1 her first name was always going to be Tali'Zorah. ... My wife fell in love with the name during our first playthrough of [Mass Effect] many years ago."
"Confused friends and relatives are told 'we wanted a nice Quarian name,'" Adam added, "just because it's funny to see the confusion become worse."
No, Adam and his wife did not name their daughter "Mass Effect," as some accounts have said as this story gathered viral traction in the past 24 hours. And it's Mom's idea, he insists, not his. Even among gamers, though, this naming choice—broached on The Escapist's forums, is controversial. There's a robust debate over whether the child should be named simply "Tali," rather than "Tali'Zorah." Because at that tender age when she's being Googlestalked for the first time, her suitors will discover she was named for a video game character.
"I was pretty embarrassed when I learned my middle name came from Dune," said one Escapist forum member, "and I even liked that book." Oh my God, I'm dying to know what the name is now. Don't tell me it's Duncan or Gurney, either. Please tell me it's Thufir.
That's sort of what this argument boils down to—a parent's prerogative to commemorate whomever or whatever has been important to their lives, and the ideal of a child growing up un-picked upon. This isn't a modern phenomenon, either, where a couple meets in Conversational Klingon 101 at the community college and then name their kid after a hairball. People used to name kids after presidents and we had some godawful Millards, Grovers and Ulysseses back in the day, after all.
By that standard, Tali is easily a wonderful name for a little girl. It's beautiful, mellifluous, and appealingly feminine. But in the forum thread, the "'Zorah" suffix (surname?) is what bothers some. "Luke" is an excellent name, for example. (Of course it is!) But when this girl is 17 and filling out "Tali'Zorah" on her SAT bubble sheet, "That's kind of like calling your kid 'Luke Skywalker Smith," reasoned one commenter.
I reached out, as best I could anyway, to Adam to completely butt in on his private family decision and moment for publication here. But if a baby is on the way, regardless of her name, he might have other priorities today.
I'm childless, so I have no moral authority on this. Still, there are sports fans who name their kids after ESPN. Hell, some Alabama fans just named their kid Krimson Tyde. So I fail to see how "Tali'Zorah," whatever the name's provenance, is undignified for either the child or her parents. If they choose the name, wonderful. Congratulations to mom, and dad, and little Tali today.
Update: Since this story published I've been notified by email and Twitter of babies named Liara, Garrus and, from other continuities, Cortana and Raiden. So Adam and his wife are definitely not alone here.
My daughter is named Tali'Zorah. Are we crazy? [The Escapist]