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I became a Game of Thrones fan a couple of months ago, and I'm passionately reading the first book, after watching the whole of season 1.

But there's one question that I didn't find an answer to, neither in the series nor in the book; why is Lord Eddard's nickname Ned? Shouldn't it be Ed?

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    “I'm passionately reading the first book” — did you turn each page with an intense flourish, and kiss the front cover whenever you finished a chapter? Either way, in England, “Edward” is sometimes shortened to “Ted”, like with our former Prime Minister Ted Heath. So “Ned” for “Eddard” isn’t a stretch. – Paul D. Waite Jul 17 '14 at 19:15
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    If we can get the nickname "Dick" from the name "Richard", then anything is possible. – Omegacron Apr 16 '15 at 15:15
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    His original name was Neddard. – maguirenumber6 Jan 26 '17 at 10:51
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George R. R. Martin likes to take names and titles from the real world and subtly change them, to give but a few as an example, Sir becomes Ser, Jeffrey becomes Joffrey, Melisandre is probably Melissa and Sandra (or Andre) combined, and so, presumably, Edward was used as the basis of the name Eddard. The books are full of such examples.

As Ned is an abbreviation of the name Edward, it is also, in Westeros, an abbreviation of Eddard.

As for why Ned is short for Edward, a quick google reveals little (except for a lot of Yahoo Answers noise), but here is, at least, a confirmation of the fact.

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    Melisandre sounds more like a variant of Melisande (an archaic Frankish name). – user56 Jul 12 '11 at 6:50
  • @Gilles I did not know that, I stand corrected – johnc Jul 12 '11 at 10:40
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    Irritatingly, I can't find a reference for this, but I'd always understood the etymology of Ned to be mine + Ed being blended. Similarly Nan (as a name) is mine + Anne. I'm pretty sure I read that this was the case when I was a kid, but I can't find anything to cite. – Owen Blacker Feb 4 '12 at 2:55
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    For the sake of factuality, "Ser" was not coined by GRRM. It has seen somewhat frequent use across various mediums in fiction over the years; including literature, video games, etc. For example, L. E. Modesitt Jr. (author of 56 sci-fi and fantasy novels) has used that term as a gender-neutral form of "Sir". – b1nary.atr0phy Apr 6 '15 at 3:00
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And why the short form of Richard is Dick and of William is Bill, etc.? It's not a conspiracy, it's just language :)

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    “It's not a conspiracy, it's just language :)” That’s exactly what someone who’s part of the conspiracy would say! – Paul D. Waite Jul 17 '14 at 19:16
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I can posit two origins for 'Ned':

  1. An example of an English rhyming nickname: Edward (or Eddard) → Ed → Ned. Other examples are Margaret → Meg → Peg, Richard → Rick → Dick, or the now rarely-used (but still in evidence in last names such as Hobson) Robert → Rob → Hob.
  2. An independent pattern of forming nicknames in N- for names that begin in vowels. Other examples are Ann → Nan and HelenEllieNellie. Some people say that this pattern comes from the endearment "Mine [insert name here]" eventually contracting down to just the 'N', but I'm not sure I believe that.

(As far as why Martin spelled it Eddard instead of Edward, there is a long history of science fiction and fantasy authors slightly altering words and names, or even making them up out of whole cloth, to give their stories an otherwordly feel.)

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    Still in use today is Robert -> Rob -> Bob – Max Jun 11 '14 at 4:58
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This is the origin of the name Ned, according to Behind the Name:

Diminutive of EDWARD or EDMUND. It has been used since the 14th century, and may have had root in the medieval affectionate phrase mine Ed, which was later reinterpreted as my Ned.

Eddard is based on one of these "root" names - Edward - hence the nickname.

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