By Kathleen McIntosh
With two new Harry Potter extensions, A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic, set for release on October 20, this is a good time to revisit some of J.K. Rowling’s most cleverly-named characters.
Many names are references or wordplay that, had we been aware as children, reveal that character’s role or personality. Take note, writers: you can really pack a punch with your characters’ names. It’s the kind of clever detail that makes you say “aha!” as a teenager or adult, that engages you, and surprises you years after the fact.
By Kathleen McIntosh
Just as parents exhaust name books and websites searching for the name for their wee ones, so do we writers comb them too for not one or even just a handful of appellations. The prospect of naming an entire cast of characters can be overwhelming, and if perusing the SSA Top 1000 and countless other name lists isn’t your thing, here are a few methods to find the perfect character name. and hopefully minimizing the madness!
My favorite book is Jane Eyre, and I don’t think it’s an accident that its title is a name. Names are so central to my enjoyment of books: the names of the characters and of the authors, even the titles themselves. If a character has a wonderful name, I’m already halfway in love. And if the names in the book feel discordant — out of time or place or literally out of character — I lose confidence in the author. If he named the grandmother Jennifer and the little girl Edna with no explanation, I think, what other, harder stuff is he going to get wrong?
Names can affect our literary responses, but how about when a literary character affects how we feel about a name? When the little girl at the Plaza lends her charm to Eloise or when an enterprising urchin makes Sawyer sound smart?
That’s a whole different way of thinking about names and books, and one that’s perfectly valid in considering your answer to our question this week: What names do you love from books? You can take that to mean: What names have books made you fall in love with or What names do you love that have a literary connection? Or even, Which books have the best names or Do books influence how you feel about names at all?
By Kara Blakley
For so many people, bringing a pet home is one of the most joyous and exciting days of their lives. There are a lot of decisions to make, but for name nerds, the name is of the utmost importance.
This is what I went through recently. I have loved dogs my entire life, and we have been fortunate enough to have some pretty awesome pooches in my family. But since I live in Australia and my parents are in the US, I don’t get to see my beloved canine “siblings” Luke and Hannah–Claire as much as I’d like. (They’re very good at using Skype, though.) It was finally the right time for me to bring home two puppies of my own. As fate would have it, there were two Maltese girls that were meant to join my family. But what to name them?