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In the movie Divergent, after Beatrice is the "first jumper", we see Tobias "Four" Eaton ask her name. He says words to the effect, "You can only choose once."

Presumably Four was given the same choice when he first arrived in the Dauntless home. Yet, how did he know what name to give himself? His name was

based on the Four fears he encountered during his testing

Yet, it would be remarkable that he would have known exactly what those would be before he completed it. In fact, he wouldn't have known anything about the process. Too, while many people might know things about themselves, I think it would be odd for him to pick them so perfectly. Or, even if he knew what they were, for him to know what would be coming and that there would be a meaning to the term "Four".

I have only seen the movie. Does the book provide an in-universe answer for this? If not, is there a canon answer which might explain how this could have come about?

  • "based on the Four fears" What the huh? I thought it was based on the 4 moieties or factions because he, like Triss, was divergent! Or maybe he always just came 4th in competitions. ;) – Andrew Thompson Jul 4 '15 at 0:53
  • @AndrewThompson There are 5 factions – Izkata Jul 4 '15 at 1:35
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    @Izkata </face-palm> :P – Andrew Thompson Jul 4 '15 at 1:42
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In Free Four, a supplemental chapter released by the Divergent author told by Four's POV, it explains how the Dauntless initiation involved the fear landscape, and Tobias' mentor Amar gave him the nickname Four. It stuck. That is not his chosen name, as I believe he did not choose to change it from Tobias.

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    Thanks. I found this on the net and that makes sense. Appreciate the quick answer. – beichst Jul 4 '15 at 14:50
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Actually, he wasn't being serious, like, "Everyone has to choose a new name when they jump." Christina wasn't like that.
He saw that Tris hesitated when she started saying her name, so Tobias was just giving her the chance to choose a new one, like he got a new name, even though it was not exactly chosen by him.
Now, back to Tobias's name, Four. When he was initiated, the first thing they did was do the fear landscapes. So when Amar found out that Tobias only had four fears, he dubbed Tobias "Four."

Only Eric knew his real name during that time, and he blackmailed him with the info.

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