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In which several characters from the same work share a set of initials. Disproportionately likely to be the author's own initials; otherwise, usually signals common ground of some kind. The characters themselves may or may not notice.

A subtrope of Theme Naming and supertrope to Alliterative Family. Sister Trope to Letter Motif. See also Alphabetical Theme Naming and Added Alliterative Appeal.

Examples of Theme Initials include:


Anime

Comic Books

  • On the opposite end of Does This Remind You of Anything? from the Angel example, Hellblazer's John Constantine has many relatives and ancestors who share the initials J.C.
  • Superman has a bunch of characters with the initials L.L., most of whom are love interests. A list may be found here. Even his mother is named Lara Lor-Van. This was apparently entirely unintended at first, until someone pointed out the theme in Lois Lane, Lana Lang, and Lex Luthor, and they just ran with it.
    • Superman Captain Ersatz Supreme has the love interest Diana Dane and the archenemy Darius Dax, though it ends there; his other love interest is Judy Jordan.
    • Another ersatz Superman, the Sentry, knew a lot of people with the initials E.E. in his fake Silver Age backstory

Film

Literature

  • In The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson, characters who are reincarnations of each other have the same initial (most have Only One Name).
  • The protagonists of Bad Girls by Cynthia Voigt are Mickey Elsinger and Margalo Epps. They discuss the fact that both their initials are "ME".
  • Phillip Jose Farmer's books are topheavy with protagonists who have the initials "P.J.F."
  • A number of Stephen King books have villains with the initials R.F.; they may all be Randall Flagg from The Stand (who, in the expanded version, explicitly takes on another alias with these initials in the epilogue).
  • Organizations rather than people: in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Baudelaire orphans encounter a number of organizations with the initials V.F.D. Also, several people have the initials J.S., such as Jerome Squalor, Justice Strauss, and Jacques Snicket.
  • Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm is about a society of clones, who are created in batches of six or ten. The clones all have Only One Name, and clones from each batch all have the same initial (e.g., one major character is Molly; her clone-sisters include Miriam and Martha).
  • A half real life, half literature example: in John D. Fitzgerald's books about a fictionalized version of his family, all the male relatives have the middle name "Dennis". When Tom, Sr tries to track down his estranged brother, an important clue is a Utah newspaper edited by Will D. Fitzgerald.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love has Lazarus Long and his clone sister-daughters Lorelei Lee and Lapis Lazuli.
  • East of Eden is a Cain and Abel story where the brothers are named Caleb and Aaron, with their father and uncle respectively named Adam and Charles. Also, Adam's wife is named Cathy.
  • A major clue in Peter Straub's novel Ghost Story.
  • In Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews, the Dollanganger children are named: Christopher, Cathy, Cory and Carrie. Their parents are Chris Sr. and Corrine.
  • Harry Potter: The future children of Ron and Hermione are named Rose and Hugo.
    • Fred and George had uncles named Fabian and Gideon.
    • The two main Squibs are named Argus Filch and Arabella Figg, meaning they do not just share the first letters of their first and last names, but the second letters as well.

Live Action TV

  • On Angel, Wolfram and Hart employs lawyers Lindsey MacDonald, Lilah Morgan, Lee Mercer, and Linwood Murrow. Given a certain other L.M., this also counts as Does This Remind You of Anything?.
  • Captain John Sheridan and Commander Jeffrey Sinclair of Babylon 5, written by Joe Straczynski.
  • On Charmed, the Halliwell family tradition is to give every girl a name starting with a P: grandmother Penny, mother Patty, sisters Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige. Even though Paige is a long-lost sister, her mother still asked her foster parents to give her a name beginning with a P. The pattern is eventually broken by Wyatt and Chris, who are also the only boys born into the family for quite a while.
  • After considerable pestering by Hawkeye, B.J. Hunnicutt of MASH eventually revealed why his military file lists only his initials, not his first or middle name: his parents, Bea and Jay, literally named him "B.J.".

Music

  • The REM song "It's the End of the World As We Know It" has this line:

 "Leonard Bernstein! Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce, and Lester Bangs..."

Allegedly it comes from a dream Michael Stipe had: he was at a party where everyone else had the initials L.B.

Video Games

Web Comics

  • In Schlock Mercenary, someone goes to a lot of effort to name every ship in his fleet with the initials "P.D." It's Petey.
  • In Everyday Heroes, the three brothers in the Mighty family are Marion, Michael, and Morrison (a Shout-Out to John Wayne).
  • In Homestuck, all the characters' Pesterchum handles (save John's (ectoBiologist), although it fit (ghostyTrickster) before he encountered the trolls) contain the letters G C T A, the letters that make up DNA. Additionally, the Exiles all have several names, but are referred to by the same initials each time for convenience' sake (for example, the Warweary Villein later becomes the Wayward Vagabond and later the Wasteland Vindicator. Also, the comic makes heavy use of a chess metaphor, so when a royal-looking exile shows up with the initials W.Q. there's very little doubt what her original name was.)

Western Animation

  • In Pepper Ann, it's stated in one episode that the title character's mother's family was supposed to have names all starting with Ls (her mother is Lydia and her grandmother Lilly), but a mistake when filing the birth certificate rendered Pepper Ann's aunt as "Janie" instead of the intended "Lanie," and it stuck.
  • The Powerpuff Girls names all begin with B, even those of one shot "guest" powerpuffs (Bullet, Bunny).
    • Lampshaded in The Movie: Professor Utonium names them Blossom because she opened right up to him, Bubbles because of her bubbly personality, and Buttercup because it also starts with a B.
  • Ariel's sisters in The Little Mermaid are Alana, Adella, Aquata, Attina, Arista, and Andrina.
  • On Daria, Quinn's three most constant admirers are named Joey, Jeffy and Jamie; one episode's title even refers to them as the "J's." Less obvious are Daria's three main Love Interests over the course of the series: Trent, Ted and Tom.

Real Life

  • The famous author and satirist Ambrose Bierce was the tenth of 13 children, all of whom were given names starting with the letter A. In order of birth, the Bierce siblings were Abigail, Amelia, Ann, Addison, Aurelius, Augustus, Almeda, Andrew, Albert, Ambrose, Arthur, Adelia, and Aurelia.
  • The Duggar family to something similar, but with J. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have: Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, and now Josie. Their dog is called Jasmine, and Michelle and Joshua's wife Anna are also known as Jichelle and Janna. Jim Bob's niece, Amy, has also been referred to as Jamy.
  • Robert Rodriguez' children Rocket, Racer, Rebel, Rogue, and Rhiannon.
  • Former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson apparently extended the LBJ initials to his wife (nicknamed "Lady Bird"), daughters (Luci Baines and Lynda Bird), and even some of his dogs (Leader Blair Jame of Edlen and Little Beagle Johnson).
  • The Royal Navy have been doing this for decades- most of their vessel classes all have the same first letter in the names of their member vessels. For example, all the Vanguard-class SSBNs begin with "V"- Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance.
  • NATO designation of Soviet materiel. Fighter plane codenames all start with an F (Flanker, Foxbat, Fulcrum, Fishbed...), helicopters with an H (Hind, Hip, Havoc, Halo...) while strategic bombers all start with a B (Blinder, Bear, Backfire...). Air-to-air missiles all start with an A (Archer, Apex, Acrid...), air-to-ground all start with a K (Kingfish, Kelt, Kickback...), and SA Ms all start with a G (Gainful, Gecko, Gaskin). Oddly enough, submarine codenames break the theme - most are called after letters in the radio alphabet (Tango, Charlie, Foxtrot etc...).
  • Jake (Jacob) and Josh(ua) Harris, in addition to all the other Jakes (or were they Joshes?).
  • The Roman emperor Constantine I named his sons Crispus, Constantine, Constantius, and Constans, and his daughters Constantina and Helena.
  • Field biologists like Jane Goodall frequently assign names to members of wild animal populations they study, and often the same first letter will be used when naming animals from the same maternal lineage.
  • Sylvester Stallone named his daughter Sistine Rose; his mother laughed at that since he'd never seen the Sistine Chapel and clearly just liked it for the initial.
  • The Kardasian/Jenner family: Kris Kardashian and her daughters Kim, Khloe, Kourtney... their brother's name is Robert, after his dad. Their stepfather is Olympian Bruce Jenner (seriously) and his sons are named Burt, Brandon, and Brody. Their sister is Casey, and everyone's half-sisters are Kylie and Kendall (phew!).

Notes

  1. Get it? Because he's Lewis Lovhaug! ... OK, I'm done.
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