Bookish Musings: Character Names I’ve Mispronounced


This is just a quick, fun post because I haven’t done any fun posts or discussions in a while. I had really wanted to get something else posted today, to be honest, because I have a couple posts that really ought to be posted at the beginning of the year, but oh well. My headaches have been too much of a problem lately, and those posts require too much staring at the computer screen, so hopefully no one will mind if those are a bit late. You’ll still be getting book recs, and that’s all that matters!

(Hopefully no one will mind if this post is a bit less perfected and edited than usual either.)

But anyway, back to this post. It’s literally just some names I’ve mispronounced. But it can be kinda funny to realize you’ve accidentally pronounced a name wrong throughout an entire book or series, so you can tell me what names you’ve mispronounced and if you would’ve pronounced any of these the same way I did 😛

(Watch me still get some of these wrong lol.)

Hermione (Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling)

How it’s actually pronounced: Her-MY-oh-nee

I’m starting with a classic. I first read these books as a kid. Started when I was in 3rd grade. That’s my excuse here. And somehow my brain just kinda switched the “I” and “O” and pronounced it like Her-moyne. I think I learned the proper pronunciation when the movie came out, but, at that point, I was multiple books deep, and I decided to just stick with my way. I finally switched to the proper pronunciation when I reread the books for the first time.

Geralt (The Witcher Series by Andrzej Sapkowski)

How it’s actually pronounced: Gair-ult

I’ve just listened to the audiobook for the first prequel in this series, so I didn’t have to worry about pronunciation. But I had read the book’s description before ever hearing his name spoken, and I definitely thought it was Jair-ALT.

Lyre (Steel & Stone Series by Annette Marie)

How it’s actually pronounced: Liar

I (still) pronounce this one like leer, and I’ll explain why. I’m not familiar with the instrument lyre, so I didn’t know it was pronounced that way. I am, however, familiar with a circus apparatus called the lyra, and that one is pronounced like leer-uh, so that’s how I thought the name was pronounced (just minus the second syllable). Now I’m nine books deep (if you include both connected series and the extra book), and I’m just gonna keep saying it my way.

Jehenne (The French Vampire Legend Series by Emma V. Leech)

How it’s actually pronounced: Jen, but with a soft J (the way the G sounds in beige)

The character explains how her name is pronounced at some point in the first book, but somehow I only absorbed half of that explanation the first time I read it. So I had the soft J, but I was still pronouncing two syllables.

Matheus (Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle Series by Amy Fecteau)

How it’s actually pronounced: Math-us

This is another one that gives an explanation in the book, but apparently I suck at paying attention to those. I pronounced it how it looks, Math-ee-us. *Not to be confused with the name Matthias, which is pronounced in a completely different way in some places/languages!*

Jakub (Bang! Bang! BOOM! Series by Melanie Schoen & Del Borovic)

How it’s actually pronounced: Ya-koop

This one is kind of a bonus because I was pronouncing it correctly, in that the character does use the Americanized version. But it wasn’t until I started listening with TTS (text-to-speech) that I found out the true pronunciation is, well, I think it can vary slightly depending on the country, but the Polish pronunciation is Ya-koop. And it was funny because, when I first heard this, I immediately wondered if I had been pronouncing his name wrong all along, but, soon after, there was a part in the prequel where this pronunciation comes up, and the character insists he wants it pronounced the American way.

Henri (Thieves Series by Lexi Blake)

How it’s actually pronounced: Awn-ree

To be fair, I don’t know for sure how this particular character pronounces it, but this is another one I discovered because of TTS, since I thought it was just pronounced like Henry. I assume this must be a non-American pronunciation, possibly French?


I’m sure there have been more that I just can’t think of right now or that I still am not even aware I mispronounced. I mean, have you ever come across Irish names in books? Because I’ve learned to just look those up immediately and not even try on my own. (I’m reading one series where a character’s name is spelled… I think Saoirse, and it’s pronounced, according to YouTube, like Sur-shuh.) Anyway, leave a comment and let me know some more mispronounced names!


Talk to me!

What character names have you mispronounced?
Would you have pronounced any of these the way I did?


Your Thoughts


37 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: Character Names I’ve Mispronounced

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  1. Greg

    I’ve been saying Ger-alt (not Gair-ult) so ding! I’m guilty of that one lolol. And I’m pretty sure I said Her-me-one at least once back in the day when HP first came out. I wouldn’t have gotten Awn-ree from Henri either.

    And yes some Irish (and Gaelic) names are a trip if you don’t know how to pronounce them!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I mean, the ult/alt is kinda similar if you don’t enunciate it too much? But anyway, Gair-ult is how it sounds to me. Definitely nota J sound though, like I originally thought lol. I think Hermione tripped everyone up.

      I once started listening to a video about how to pronounce Irish names, but I got lost so quickly and gave up lol.

  2. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    I’m sure I pronounce character names wrong all the time. I guess unless you listen to audio or TTS or hear the author read in person, you wouldn’t know. And what I don’t like is authors who make up long fancy names for their characters, and I spend the entire book stumbling over them?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m sure there are more I’ve mispronounced too and don’t even know it. When I read with my eyes, I know there have been times when a name was so confusing I just… didn’t pronounce it? I’d just see it and be like, “Ok, that person,” and move on lol.

  3. Sam@wlabb

    This was one of the reasons I hated reading fantasy. I never knew how to say the characters names, and even struggled with some of the lands/cities/places they lived. I remember Susan Dennard posting a video on YouTube, where she taught you how to pronounce the names of her characters in Truthwitch.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Place names can be just as bad, I agree. That’s why I struggle with high fantasy audiobooks sometimes. It’s hard to explain, but my brain needs to understand the word an how it looks or it just keeps confusing me, but I can’t even understand what they’re saying with those strange, complicated names!

  4. Anstice

    I used to pronounce Hermione like Her-moyne as well! I had never heard of the name before reading the books. I teach a few Polish kids called Jakub so knew about that one and the normal nickname that goes with it is “Kuba” instead of the American “Jake”. I believe you’re correct that Henri is French. The footballer Thierry Henry is pronounced the same way.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay, someone who pronounced Hermione like me! That’s cool that you already knew about Jakub. It’s interesting how names are pronounced differently in different languages/cultures sometimes!

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  6. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Same, pronounced Hermione wrong for ages. I think I vaguely understood how to pronounce it after that Yule Ball scene but I think it was watching the films which really made me get it. Luckily, I’d watched The Witcher series so Geralt’s name I knew, I still need to start reading the books, though. Sadly, the rest, I don’t know on your list. I think it’s probably fantasy books I mostly pronounce names wrong. But I don’t normally find out I’m pronouncing something wrong unless it gets adapted so that’s a shame really.

    1. Kristen Burns

      As I established in my post, I am notoriously bad at paying attention when characters explain how their name is pronounced lol. So I probably just skipped over that yule ball scene. That’s the thing, we can’t know we’re pronouncing something wrong unless we hear it, so I wonder just how many character names we all pronounce wrong!

  7. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I didn’t read HP until I was an adult, so I somehow knew the pronunciation of Hermione (I guess I’d heard it before). But I pronounce names wrong ALL the time, and I’m sometimes shocked when I hear them via audio. Those Irish names are a fantastic example. I’ve looked up Saoirse and Siobhan multiple times, but I still always forget the first one (I still pronounce it Say-orse in my head, even though I know that’s wrong. I do manage to remember Shu-vahn, but that’s because I watched a TV show with a character with that name).

    1. Kristen Burns

      Maybe you heard her name, or maybe you’re just a name pronouncing genius 😉 Irish names are wild. So different from how they look! Turns out my screen reader can’t pronounce them either lol.

  8. Roberta R.

    “(Hopefully no one will mind if this post is a bit less perfected and edited than usual either.)”
    Is it? I honestly wouldn’t notice ?.

    Those are funny…especially Lyre being pronounced Liar LOL. Way to make a statement ?.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m a perfectionist, so yes, but it’s prob only less perfect in ways that I would notice lol. Lyre is such a great character though! But now that you’ve said that, I wonder if she did choose that name for that reason since he is a good liar and had this whole mysterious past.

  9. Laura

    When I was a kid Hermione was definitely one that confused me! I think I only really found out the proper pronunciation when I started watching the films. And it was kind of helpful in book four when she explains the pronunciation to Viktor Krum, but I really could have done with that in the first book!
    One that I remember I was pronouncing wrong was Chaol from the Throne of Glass series. I always thought of him as ‘Chol’, but then I heard that apparently the ‘Chao’ bit is pronounced like in ‘chaos’ (which actually does make sense!), so I think it’s said more like ‘cay-all’. To be honest, I still just mentally skip his name instead of actually trying to remember the pronunciation! 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah that explanation might’ve been more helpful in Book 1 lol. I haven’t read that series, but when I saw Chaol, I would’ve pronounced it like Kay-ull, so close but maybe not exactly right!

  10. Sam @ Spines in a Line

    What a funny post! I’m sure there are so many I’ve mispronounced in my head but I can’t remember them. I haven’t read or seen The Witcher but I keep seeing it talked about and I totally thought it was pronounce Jair-alt

  11. Lola

    I mispronounce plenty of character names. Most of the time I probably don’t even realize, unless I actually discover how to pronounce it. Most of these names I would’ve mispronounced based on how I thought they would sound when I first read them.

    Funny thing is when I listen to an audiobook and then try and figure out how to type the name I often get it wrong too and have to look it up, to make sure I type it right when writing my review.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh yeah, the reverse is true too! There have been times when a character’s name wasn’t in the description, so I just had to guess how it was spelled, but it was some made-up fantasy name that I’m sure I got wrong. I just put in parentheses that idk how it’s spelled because I listened to the audio.

  12. Nicci @ Sunny Buzzy Books

    I pronounce Lyre wrong as well and even knowing it’s like the musical instrument, I still say it wrong because that’s not what it is in my head, lol. I’m not reading aloud so I don’t really care. 🙂

  13. Angela

    This is when audiobooks come in so handy! Especially for fantasy books, sometimes I just skip over people and place names completely because I know I’m not going to pronounce them right!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah I’ve done that skip over the name thing lol. I just see the word each time and go, “ok, that person.” Audiobooks can definitely help with this!

  14. Olivia Roach

    I had fun trying to pronounce these myself first, and then seeing how they were supposed to be pronounced. And I got a lot of them wrong, but a few of them right. I was totally getting Geralt wrong too 😛 I mispronounce a lot. I got Tobias wrong in the Divergent trilogy wrong, and Feyre wrong from ACOTAR. And probably a thousand more characters as well 😛

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol glad it’s not just me mispronouncing some of these. I do know how to pronounce Tobias (unless there are multiple pronunciations), but I have no idea if I’m saying Feyre right in my head!

  15. Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)

    I’m sure I mispronounce lots of character names too, but because I rarely get audiobooks or go to see the film versions I never find out. There’s something to be said for blissful ignorance!
    I did mispronounce author Celeste Ng’s surname for ages until I discovered her twitter where her ID is actually an explanation of how to say it (ing)