Sunday, October 14, 2012


Paul Blackthorne as Harry Dresden in 'The Dresden Files' TV show
Most fans of the sci-fi/fantasy genre will immediately know why Dresden has made the list. One of my favourite book series is 'The Dresden Files', written by Jim Butcher (the new book 'Cold Days' is due out November 27!). 'The Dresden Files' also had a short run as a TV series adaptation on the SciFi channel in 2007. As a fan of the books, I can understand why it only lasted one season - there were too many differentiations from the books to win over the established readers, and those concessions meant the show lost a lot of the charm the books had that the show needed to win new fans.

'The Dresden Files' are about the adventures of Harry Dresden, a wizard living in modern day Chicago who makes a living as a private investigator, specialising in the paranormal. Because he does a lot of work with the police department, he is often referred to as Dresden rather than Harry. I also love the back story behind his full name. Dresden was born on Halloween (another Halloween link for this name!), and his father was a magician. Not so much a bonafide wizard, but a Las Vegas style stage magician, and he chose his sons names for other magicians that he admired. His full name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden - Harry for Harry Houdini, Blackstone for Harry Blackstone Sr. and Copperfield for David Copperfield.

The character of Dresden is a bit smart mouthed, very brave and daring, and often makes rash decisions due to his need to protect others, especially those he loves or those who cannot protect themselves. One of the most appealing things about him is that he is not an infallible character who runs around saving people easily. He sometimes gets it wrong - he makes mistakes and often gets beat up physically and mentally, but he keeps trying. He's an admirable and relatable character, and because of the associations with the books and the character Dresden is starting to get a lot more attention as a name.

Obviously I fall into the camp of people who think this is a cool name because of the Harry Dresden association, however not everyone feels this way because of the history of the most famous Dresden. The German city of Dresden was once an extremely beautiful city, sometimes called the Jewel box. However towards the end of World War 2 the city was bombed by Allied forces, which resulted in the destruction of the beautiful baroque and rococo city centre.

While it may be hard for some to get past this tragic connection, the city has been recovering, so it could be said that there is no reason why the name Dresden can't be reclaimed for more positive meanings now - such as for naming beautiful babies.

Dresden is a German name and means 'people of the riverside forest', a meaning that conjures images of serenity. While I think of it as a boys name because of Harry Dresden, it is a name that people are discussing as a possible boys or girls name. Most place names are fairly unisex, so I don't see why Dresden wouldn't be either. It's also a refreshing option for people wanting to honor a German heritage or connection.

What do you think? Maybe you are secretly considering the name and just aren't sure it's actually usable. I think it is, and could be a real winner.


  1. I have seen a Dresden or two this year, and a Drezden as well. They were all male, and to me this does have a masculine sound to it - although "Dresden doll" gives it a feminine association.

    I didn't know about the books, but now that you've told me about Harry Dresden, the name seems much more appealing, and very cool. It has a lovely meaning too.

  2. I've been to Dresden, Germany and it is one of my favorite places on earth. Beautiful city! They have done a great job rebuilding and its Christmas market is one of the best. I've honestly never thought about it as a name for a child, but now I could definitely see it as one and would have positive thoughts to go along with it. Great post!

  3. My jaw is hanging open.

    I'm due 12/26/12 with our first, and Dresden is my super secret #1 baby name for a boy. If people can name their kids Memphis and Paris, why not Dresden? I like the way it sounds, and the fact that Dresden, Germany bounced back after WWII... shows resilience, I guess.

  4. Our mutual love of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series led my husband and I to choose Dresden. I have been anxious it's too out-there, so I was googling, which led me to your article. I also found many naysayers who brought up the WWII bombing connotation. Still nervous. We just love it so much.

  5. My daughter is Drezden Marie! I have loved the name since I was 16! Even though I went back and forth on giving her that name at first, I love it! I thought adding the "z" would make it more feminine. Everyone that hears her name loves it, even though they think I am talking about my son.