Well, no doubt, the Harry Potter series has some of the coolest names in fiction. From Severus Snape to Filius Flitwick. From Dolores Umbridge to Dedalus Diggle. From Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington to Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
Rowling spent some time constructing names befitting to her characters, hence the many Latin-based names. For example, the name Malfoy translates as “mal foi” which means “bad faith.” See? That makes sense, kind of.
Sometimes, the names are a bit more straightforward. Madam Pompfrey’s first name is Poppy, which is incidentally a medicinal plant (and used to make opium). Gildroy Lockhart carries connotations of being “gilded” with fame and being able to steal hearts. Or rather, at least lock them.
See also: Professor Sprout, connotative of plants.
Rita Skeeter’s surname is a familiar word in the South as a nickname for mosquitoes, apparently, though having lived in the South for 17 years, I’ve never heard anyone refer to a “skeeter.”
“Voldemort” reportedly means “flight of death,” which is extremely befitting to a man who seeks immortality because he is deathly (Hallows) afraid of dying.
Cornelius Fudge: Well, his first name is super dorky and his second is delicious, so what’s to say about this fine Prime Minister? Cornelius, well, has the name corn in it, which is a good staple crop. I mean, corn made the Indians loads of money, right? No, not really, but white man capitalized on it after stealing the Native’s secrets, so… maybe that’s part of ole Corn’s personality and legacy. His last name seems sweet and rich at first, but you must consider that to “fudge” something- it’s a polite way of saying you’ve f-d up. And well, Fudge, he f-d up pretty badly, didn’t he?
Nagini: As in Naga, as in Sanskrit for “snake.” Well, I’m going out on a limb here, but maybe Rowling chose the name because Nagini is, well, a snake.
Fleur Delacour: Her first name means flower. She is an extremely foxy half-Veela, so what’s not like a flower? Even if she smells like a rose, though, Veela’s can get quite prickly at times.
Fawkes: This is a fun name, since it takes the surname of Guy Fawkes. You know, that guy who attempted to burn down the Parliament Building? Real creation means destruction, just as the Phoenix must engulf itself in flames to be again born out of the ashes. So, maybe that was Guy’s thought, too. Naturally, in good ole English tradition, he was hung for treason.
So, these are just a few of the killer names in the Harry Potter series. Don’t forget Vicent Crabbe (because he’s crabby, get it?) or Nearly Headless Nick (because he was nearly decapitated with a blunt ax, get it?).
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 opens July 15th. Keep reading this week for more about Harry Potter.