Are You Watching Westworld?
I’ve watched the first three episodes of HBO’s new show Westworld and I’m hooked. As soon as I saw that the main character’s name was Dolores, I knew that the character names might reveal some hidden clues about the show. Dolores means “lady of sorrows,” so this was a huge glittery sign flashing across the screen for me.
I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the names of the other main characters to see if there were any other interesting definitions. My quest didn’t disappoint.
*SPOILERS through episode 3 below*
Character Names and Meanings from Westworld
Here’s what I found:
DOLORES: (Spanish) “lady of sorrows”
Well, this definition describes this character perfectly. Am I right? And it’s what started me down this name-detective path to begin with. At the beginning of her loop, Dolores tells us that she likes to see the beauty in the world, but her day always seems to end in heartbreak. I’m rooting for Dolores, but she seems doomed to live a life of sorrow. At least for now.
MAEVE: (Irish) “intoxicating”
The manager of a brothel is probably intended to be intoxicating by definition. Maeve fits that to a tee, except when they’re interfering with her personality. Be nice to the robots!
*Maeve would make a lovely baby name.
CLEMENTINE: (Latin) “merciful”
The idea of mercy and this character is interesting. Do people come to her for solace? Will she be offering forgiveness? Will she need forgiveness?
*Clementine is another great baby name choice!
ELSIE: (Hebrew) “God is my oath”
Elsie could be a nickname for a few names. The most common is Elizabeth, so that’s what I went with for the definition. Another option could be Elsa, which has a couple meanings including (English) “swan” and (German) “noble maiden.” Elsie is an interesting character, but I don’t know enough about her yet to get any ideas about what this definition might mean. The idea of “God” popped up in the last episode and is found in a couple of the names. Does God represent a traditional notion of God? Does God represent the game creator(s)? Is it different for the hosts and the humans?
ROBERT: (German) “renowned”
Dr. Robert Ford is definitely “renowned” or famous. He certainly seems to be the “star,” as the only living (as far as we know…) creator of Westworld. His character is obviously deep and has an agenda that isn’t immediately apparent. Is there more to this than fame?
PETER: (Greek) “rock”
Peter Abernathy seems to be at the foundation of some of the core mystery in the show. He also seemed to be the rock for Dolores, as her father. He tried to protect her and it got him pulled from Westworld. Could he be the building block of a robot rebellion? I hope it’s not the last we see of him.
WILLIAM: (German) “determined protector”
William is one of the most interesting characters right now, I’d say. He starts off as a nice guy with seemingly good and “protective” motives. He saves a cowboy and then he protects Clementine. Obviously all is not as it seems in this show, but this name fits the character very well so far. Perhaps there’s more protecting in his future.
BERNARD: (German) “brave as a bear”
Bernard’s motives are up in the air right now. Is he helping Dolores and the other hosts? Is he hurting them? Who is he really working for? We don’t know what his agenda is. He definitely appears to be going against his orders though, which makes him brave. Whether it’s brave with good motives or brave with bad motives remains to be seen.
THERESA: (Greek) “to harvest, reap”
Theresa is the head of quality assurance according to the HBO website. She seems quite interested in making sure the hosts and theme park bring in a lot of money for the owners. What else could she be harvesting?
TEDDY: (Greek) “God’s gift”
Teddy plays the role of the handsome cowboy hero, who always loses in the end. The Man in Black (sad he doesn’t have a name to analyze!) tells Teddy that his purpose is to lose so that the park visitors can feel like they won. Depending on who’s playing the role of God in this show (the park creators?), this definition could give interesting insight into Teddy’s role in Westworld.
*Theodore is a favorite name of mine. Great meaning and several great nickname options, like Teddy and Theo.
ARNOLD: (German) “eagle ruler”
Anyone notice any eagles in Westworld? We hardly know anything about Arnold other than he was the co-creator of Westworld along with Dr. Ford. That makes him a ruler of sorts, at least at one point in the past. We definitely haven’t heard the last of him, so maybe this will make more sense going forward.
LOGAN: (Gaelic) “valley”
He apparently visits Westworld a lot and seems to sink to new lows in each episode… is it deeper than that?
ASHLEY: (English) “ash tree meadow”
Ashley Stubbs is the head of Westworld security. I don’t know what this one means. Any ideas?
LEE: (English) “meadow”
Lee is the head writer who creates all the game stories. Meadows are open fields, fertile and waiting for his stories and characters to grow? That’s a stretch, but I don’t have anything else. Ideas?
HECTOR: (Greek) “to anchor, restrain”
He’s a criminal in Westworld and there’s a bounty on his head. The idea of him being an anchor for someone or something is interesting. Or maybe he’s holding someone back?
LAWRENCE: (Latin) “man from Laurentum; laurel”
Laurels are a symbol of peace and victory. Lawrence plays a criminal in Westworld who the Man in Black uses to get information about his secret mission. Could this be a mission for peace? Doesn’t seem like it right now, but I actually like this theory a lot. As we know, nothing is at it seems in Westworld.
I’m not sure these name definitions tell us anything about what might happen to the characters in the future, but I do think it gives some insight into the writer’s intentions when developing the characters. If you have any good theories though about what these names might mean, let me know!
I tend to like deeper shows like these with some conversation and analysis, so I’ve been listening to a couple podcasts that analyze the show. I’ve gotten the most from Decoding Westworld by Joanna Robinson and David Chen and Westworld by Roger Roper, Dick Ebert, and Gene Lions. These guys dig deep and have some very interesting insight. I’m going to play along and make my predictions for human/host:
- Bernard: host
- Theresa: human
- Elsie: human
- Ashley: host
- Lee: human
- Ford: human (this was the hardest choice for me)
Any recs for me?
Happy naming ♥ Amanda
5 thoughts on “Westworld: The Hidden Meaning Behind the Character Names”
Love this! Great article! We are going to bring this up and give you a shout out on our next podcast this week. If you want to hear it you can check it out on the Coffee Klatch Crew Podcast.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Excellent! I’ll check out your podcast – the more Westworld, the better!
LikeLiked by 1 person
No doubt you’re right in thinking there’s hidden meaning in this names. Except I think one name is not so hidden.
Very interesting …