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I realize that this seems like a ridiculous question, because Brienne's father is Lord Selwyn Tarth, and as his daughter she will be known as Brienne Tarth.

But in every single reference I have found to her she is known as Brienne of Tarth. Even searching on the wiki for Brienne Tarth redirected me to Brienne of Tarth.

This makes no sense. I know that the island that she was born on is called Tarth, which I'm assuming is where her family name comes from, so this title makes sense (like Sansa of Winterfell for example). But why is the of always included?

She is the heir to Evenfall Hall, so she does by all accounts hold the name (she isn't a bastard), so why is she never referred to as Brienne Tarth? Is this even her name?

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    This sounds like a question for GRRM at a convention. I'd be interested to hear what he says but I imagine it'll be that he liked the sound it better. Brienne Tarth, the words kinda flow into each other. Selwyn Tarth, the emphasis on the n breaks it up better. – Mikey Mouse May 1 '15 at 14:07
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    Omegacron is correct that the two forms are identical, but it's a bit odd that she's never addressed as "Brienne Tarth". I can't think of another noble woman in the series that happens to... – KutuluMike May 1 '15 at 14:13
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    Looks like it's not a lady of a small island thing Maege Mormont is known as the "Lady of Bear Island", and she doesn't use an "of" in her name. – Mikey Mouse May 1 '15 at 14:18
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    @MikeyMouse "Mormont" is not an island, though. "Lady of Bear Island" does have an "of" in it. – TLP May 1 '15 at 15:25
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    If we pretend her middle name is "of" it all makes sense. – Bradley Uffner May 1 '15 at 17:25
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Brienne is a character of unique circumstances within the world of ASoIaF. She is the daughter of a noble house, true, but is also trying to distance herself from that nobility. In addition, she is AFAIK the only example of a female knight in Westeros. These two factors together make her identity and naming somewhat unusual.

On the one hand, you are correct - her surname, as member of a minor house, is "Brienne Tarth". However, she seems to prefer being known as simply a knight from the island of Tarth. Under those circumstances, the name "Brienne of Tarth" would be more appropriate.

Brienne's father, Lord Selwyn Tarth, has also been known to use "Lord Selwyn of Tarth", so Brienne may also have chosen her name with that in mind.

Note: Since Brienne has not been formally knighted, she is unable to use the formal title of Ser, assuming that Ser would even apply to a woman. Despite this, she identifies herself as a knight and lives her life accordingly.

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    I thought Renly knighted her and put her in his Kingsguard? Do people not consider that valid? – KutuluMike May 1 '15 at 14:54
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    This makes sense. It is just unfortunate circumstance that her surname of Tarth happens to also be the name of the place that she is from. It surprises me though that at formal functions, like Joffrey and Margaery's wedding, that no one referred to her by her actual full name of "Brienne Tarth". – Mike.C.Ford May 1 '15 at 14:55
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    @MichaelEdenfield : I don't think she was ever knighted, just added to Renly's Kingsguard (which, officially, was never a legitimate organization). In the books she wasn't, but don't remember what happened on the show. – Omegacron May 1 '15 at 15:17
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    @MichaelEdenfield, The Hound was made a member of Jeoffrey's Kingsbuard, despite not being a knight. – Dima May 1 '15 at 17:11
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    @VitorDeMario you are correct. I meant "knight" in the more generic sense, as that is how people perceive her. And although she would be the first to correct someone, she DOES live as though she were already knighted. It is her aspiration & goal to make it official. – Omegacron May 6 '15 at 14:13
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In the appendix to one of the books she's listed as such:

BRIENNE OF TARTH, the Blue, also called BRIENNE THE BEAUTY, daughter to Lord Selwyn the Evenstar

Her father is likewise listed as:

LORD SELWYN OF TARTH, called the EVENSTAR

Tarth isn't a last name as we would define such a thing today, it's a place, and it's where she's from, and where her family's seat is. So saying she's of that place is a normal styling in the medieval-ish definitions in use in the books.

(I'm not sure which book these entries are from, because I'm searching through the 5-book Google Books edition which mashes them together a little forcefully, but I suspect it's Storm of Swords).

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    Tarth is his House Name, so it is his surname. Other members of the family are identified as, e.g. "Quentyn Tarth". Also, note that Ned is formally Eddard of House Stark, so either is correct. – KutuluMike May 1 '15 at 14:12
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    I think the point is that other women are not called "Sansa of Stark", or "Cersei of Lannister", or "Ashara of Dayne", so why is Brienne "Brienne of Tarth"? – KutuluMike May 1 '15 at 14:15
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    I dunno what regularize means here. I'm trying to point out IMO, there in a factual mistake in your answer. You claim Tarth is a place, and not a surname, while in fact, it's both, and that this makes the in-universe forms of address for noble ladies inconsistent for reasons that this answer doesn't really address. – KutuluMike May 1 '15 at 14:20
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    And I'm pointing out that your expectation that naming systems are expected to be consistent and straightforward is based in a modern mindset and does not reflect either real-world history or the manufactured world of the books. – gowenfawr May 1 '15 at 14:45
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    "My lady of Stark" has been used to address Arya at one point in the books. I think it was Jaqen who said it. – Sigma Ori May 1 '15 at 15:33
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This is actually extremely common, to be named after the place where you're from. At the end of the medieval period when the middle class came into being, people started choosing last names, and that was also partly because the population was growing beyond the tiny villages that dotted the landscape. (Oh, and the Poll Tax) Many chose last names from their trade - Smith or Harper would be examples.

But my surname comes from a town in Scotland, for example. And the practice is more common in France, where you see more than a few names like DeBusey, DuPont, and De La Grange.

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