Mulling Over Miller

So, we learned from a tweet by Olen Steinhauer that Berlin Station has finally settled on the name Daniel Miller, and not Daniel Meyer, for the character played by Richard Armitage.

These name changes baffle me. I know there must be some reason for changing a character’s name, and in this case, keeping the initials the same, but I just don’t know why. ( Does Daniel Meyer/Miller have monogramed shirts I wouldn’t think so.)

Richard Armitage fans have been through this before, when, after spending years referring to Gary Morris, the Armitage role in Into the Storm, all of a sudden, and for no reason we could discern, he became Gary Fuller I ruminated over this at the time. bateman-and-switch-wb-too-finicky-fuller-more-accurate/

It’s happened again, and for reasons, once again, that  I can’t fathom, Daniel Meyer has become Daniel Miller in Berlin Station. When I first learned of Richard Armitage’s character name in Berlin Station, I wondered whether he might be playing a Jewish character daniel-meyer-richard-armitages-new-role-wonder-if-hes-jewish-like-the-other-one/ , since I thought Meyer was a fairly common Jewish name, but, as the comments proved, the name Meyer, in a variety of spellings, has a long etymology in many languages. In addition, I noted that there was at least one other well-known Daniel ( Danny) Meyer.

But why the name change now? It can’t be the Jewish connection ( assuming even that Daniel Meyer was supposed to be Jewish, for which there is no evidence). Why not the Jewish connection? Because when you’re a Richard Armitage blogger, you learn new things, and one of the new things I learned last night – much to my surprise, and really, almost disbelief is this: according to Wiki, Miller is the third most common Jewish name in the United States after Cohen and Levy.

Miller? Really? What about Schwartz, Friedman, Horowitz? I’ve been Jewish for a long time, and I could only think of one Miller I can think of.

That Miller – Arthur Miller, a personage in Richard Armitage’s greatest triumph. So there we have it. Another one of those odd Richard Armitage connections. But there’s more.  Arthur Miller had a son, and his name was Daniel. Daniel Miller. It’s rather a sad story and not one that places Miller in a flattering light. here . I wonder if Richard Armitage knew this when he learned of his new character name? I’m guessing, probably not. Arthur Miller never even mentioned his son, Daniel in his autobiography, Timebends.

Then there’s the connection with the word miller and Armitage’s role as John Thornton, (North and south)  owner of a cotton mill ( though the derivation of Miller in English is one of those occupational surnames, and relates to a miller of grain, rather than a miller of cotton.

Is it just easier to pronounce the name Miller  than it is the name Meyer ( which could be pronounced  may-er, or my-er).

Don’t know. Just don’t know, but we can add Miller to a series of other  simple and common last names our guy has played, Porter, Preston, Parker, Proctor, Fuller, Andrews, North, Track, White, Mulligan, and the ever popular Oakenshield.



12 thoughts on “Mulling Over Miller

  1. Interesting ponderings… In my mind it may have to do with whether Daniel possibly has German family ties or not – Meyer would suggest a personal German connection of the character (where he’d maybe already know some German, learned from his German father or something). Miller suggests he may just be a ‘regular’ American… or I may have this all wrong. 🙂 I do wonder whether he has to speak some German in this role or not…


      • It could, if it’s there, except the story takes place in current day, so I don’t know if his religion, would make a difference. Still, it would be fun to hear a few Yiddishisms coming from his character.


    • I agree that Miller seems ” regular.” The plot seems to revolve around American CIA personnel stationed in Germany, but I would imagine that to live there for any length of time, it would help to have some German, and maybe that’s a requirement for being assigned to Berlin in the first place. I think he said something about having a German dialect coach.


  2. I, too, wondered about the name changes. They seem arbitrary — but then so does generally naming characters in the first place. Sometimes there’s an obvious reference, but for the most part I think it’s a case of……whatever. At least it is to me as a reader/viewer.

    I’ve known quite a few Jewish Millers over the years, plus two that spelled it “Millar”. Would never have guessed it was the third most common name, though.


  3. I really like when these special links/ties crop up.
    Meyer vs Miller – I would say Miller is probably easier to say. Don’t know about the “Jewish connection” though. I never thought of Meyer as being Jewish in the first place. We’ve got a lot of Meyers in Denmark and not all are Jewish I’m sure of that. Besides, a spy character of Jewish decent in Berlin – Makes me wonder about the plot 🙂


  4. I like the multiple connections we can make to the Miller 🙂 But in practice it might be that Miller is essentially pronounced almost identical in English and German (the e varies slightly but otherwise same) which would make it a better character name for local integration. It could also be a fake name for the character, ie the one he is given for his Berlin job. Same with Daniel, also a pretty common German name, with only slight pronunciation differences on the a.
    Also does away with the constant question about how to pronounce Meyer?? No doubts about Miller 🙂


  5. At first I was ambivalent about the name change, but then it occurred to me that with the various pronunciations of Meyer, it might make limericks more tricky. So hurray for Miller: my rhymes will be killer…. =)


  6. Pingback: Just Wondering Again About Meyer vs. Miller | Armitage Agonistes

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