Harry Potter Names: Beyond Harry & Hermione
The Harry Potter books are a name lover’s dream, author J. K. Rowling being probably the most prolific and creative character namer since Charles Dickens. Her seven Harry Potter books have an enormous cast of magical wizards and wizards-in-training, witches, ghosts, Hogwarts School professors and students–most of them named with great gusto, humor, and a genius for witty wordplay and cleverly engineered misspellings, interweaving Greek and Latin roots with skill and panache. Like Dickens, Rowling takes delight in matching name to nature and employs symbolism as well, as for instance calling Harry‘s good and pure mother Lily.
A favorite trick of hers is drawing characters’ names from the realm of astronomy, thus producing such celestial names as:
ANDROMEDA –a constellation in the Northern sky
CASSIOPEIA — another constellation in the Northern sky
LUNA — the moon
SCORPIUS — a constellation representing a scorpion
SIRIUS — the brightest star in the night sky
Beyond these–and certainly less extreme than such fanciful inventions as Mundungus, Nymphadora and Gwenog– are many perfectly usable, interesting and attractive name from the standard lexicon–several of them already nameberry faves. Be warned though that some of them might be attached to some pretty unsavory characters:
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on August 10th, 2009 at 3:12 am
What, you missed Regulus? Remus? ;p
Lots of them.
And if you just want to use it as inspiration for a star name, try here: http://www.obliquity.com/skyeye/misc/name.html
I personally like Adhara.
on August 10th, 2009 at 8:51 am
Even though she managed to come up with all those wonderful character names, she was much more ordinary and trendy when she named her daughter Mackenzie. (I remember someone on another board making a similar comment when she was born in 2005.)
on August 10th, 2009 at 8:52 am
Forgot to mention this in the last comment, but the reason that was brought up on that other forum I mentioned is that apparently she was so knowledgable on the elements that made up names but yet she named her daughter a name that has a “son of” meaning.
on August 10th, 2009 at 10:05 am
An excellent list, Linda! Even though I know you had many more names from the Potter universe in your collection, I think the ones you chose to list here are a good representation of the most likely names for parents’ consideration.
on August 10th, 2009 at 10:31 am
I am so excited this list came out! I have a little Lucy Ginevra due to arrive in just about 5 weeks!
on August 10th, 2009 at 1:50 pm
i think many of these names were a bit “old” or different than trendy names because many of them were, after all, wizards, who seemed to have slightly different naming styles. a very interesting list!
on August 10th, 2009 at 5:40 pm
All three of Rowling’s children have quite normal names.
Jessica, David and Mackenzie
on August 10th, 2009 at 5:40 pm
I’ve always adored the names in Harry Potter, and I was really excited to see this blog. When reading the books I was always looking forward to new characters to find out their names! I love the Astonomical theme, and many character’s names have a floral theme too. (:
on August 10th, 2009 at 6:31 pm
I LOVE the names in Harry Potter (although I’ve never been fond of “Ron” and “Harry” as names–both seemed pretty outdated but not enough so to be remotely in when she started the series, but maybe that was the point?). My daughter Arabella often gets called Bellatrix.
I know those deatheater twins were awful, but their names were pretty cool: Alecto and Amycus Carrow.
I also like Victoire.
on August 10th, 2009 at 7:06 pm
I love that you have this list! It combines two of my passions: names and Harry Potter 🙂
Here are a couple more Potter names that I like:
Charlotte Vera Said
on August 10th, 2009 at 8:03 pm
I love how much though Rowling put into naming her characters. Both my husband and I wanted to use Hermione for our daughter but were withheld from doing so due to the popularity of the novels. It’s really too bad, because they have some absolutely fantastic names.
on August 10th, 2009 at 8:06 pm
My son, Ronan, was born in Sept. 2003. I remember sitting in the recliner nursing and reading her latest book just after he was born, and coming across a centaur named Ronan. I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized he was only mentioned once. Whew!
on August 11th, 2009 at 12:57 pm
I adore these,
ISLA-already popular in Great Britain
LAVENDER-another cool colour name
MAGENTA-such a cool name!
DEXTER-this has, surprisingly, gotten trendy in Sweden. I can see it rising here in the States, thanks to the Showtime Series of the same name
FLAVIUS-adore the feminine versions of Flavia and Flaviana as well
MAGNUS-a Scandinavian classic that never goes out of style way up North
MARIUS-this is quite popular in Europe at the moment, especially in Scandinavia and Poland
ORSINO-I also love the feminine version of Orsina
on August 11th, 2009 at 7:14 pm
I’ve read and reread and reread the series, and I love them to death, and I’m a stickler for details, but I don’t remember half of these names!
on August 11th, 2009 at 9:15 pm
I love Bellatrix – it’s perfectly accessible with “Bella” but also reminiscent of Beatrix…
It’s just a shame that not only is she such an evil villain in the series, but since it’s not even a real name it will always and forever be associated with her.
Clare Spinney Said
on August 12th, 2009 at 3:51 pm
Love love Harry Potter names! We also considered Hermione for one of our daughters, but also discounted it be cause of perceived popularity and people saying ‘oh you named her after the character’
Also please stop mentioning Inigo in virtually every boys name list I come across as we have just named our son this and I really don’t want it to become popular(in the UK)!! All our children have unusual names – 3 DD’s Halcyon, Octavia and Ariadne – and I’m a bit put out that Ariane seems to be gaining popularity as its a bit close to Ariadne! So enough, keep Inigo secret.
on August 13th, 2009 at 9:44 pm
I’m pretty sure Gwennog’s a real Welsh name but it’s proper fug nevertheless. I saw a BA for a little Gwenno recently, which I kind of liked except that it makes me think of guano.
I love Falco but I think it’s more of a name for a horse than a boy.
on August 14th, 2009 at 7:46 pm
i would just like to put, though i love the harry potter series as well, J.K. Rowling did not “make up” these names. She did not make up the creatures, and many of the background stories were from actually mythological stories. She has merely researched the hell out of Mideval and Norse stories.
on September 1st, 2009 at 11:42 am
I love the Harry Potter names!
I am considering using the name Lavender and/or Luna as my daughter’s name
on September 24th, 2009 at 5:24 pm
I am learning latin and one of the interesting things I noticed was most of J.K. Rowling’s characters had latin based names. Lupus means wolf in latin, Servus means servant, bella means war (bellatrix).
on November 21st, 2009 at 10:25 pm
This is awesome, though they left out a lot of names. And, agreeing with LinaRose, she didn’t exactly make them up. A lot aren’t actually real names — but she didn’t just pick them out of the sky. Research, research, research!!!!
on December 15th, 2009 at 8:11 pm
To be quite fair – JK Rowling is clever at naming everything – just think of the “pensieve”. That one really impressed me. She really is quite brilliant at looking at things just a little bit differently.
on February 23rd, 2010 at 11:39 pm
The list is awesome and so are the comments. I’m learning alot, I especially love TABITHA , and the meanings behind the names. Its true, their are many astronomical and flower names
on April 4th, 2010 at 8:04 pm
Not that long ago, I decided when there are 6 kids (though I’m sure the eldest 2 would not apreciate the lable kid) in you’re home I thought I should really see what the fuss wa about so started reading them to my 8 year old Blaise ( I read it in French and he followed in English) and I’m not sure which book but in one of them his name cropped up once and now he introces himself ‘My names blaise, like in Harry Potter’
on October 25th, 2010 at 2:56 pm
I agree that a little latin background and classics, goes a long way in understanding that her choice of characters’ names was not random:
Dolores Umbridge (Dolores, tears or sadness. Umbrage: ill feelings)
Albus=white (with connotations of white magic=good not evil)
Minerva=goddess of knowledge
Severus=stern, harsh (severe)
Sirius= dog connotation (Sirius’ patronus was a dog)
and so on.
You can see the reason for each name chosen in most cases, with a little latin and or classical background knowledge.
on January 6th, 2011 at 7:18 pm
I absolutely love Harry Potter names…I would seriously consider naming my children Hermione, Severus, and Archibald, and I also adore Lysander, Sirius, Godric, and just about every other unusual name in the series (except for maybe Mundungus)!
I wanted to convey some information about the name Nymphadora: it’s not entirely made up. Nymphadora is J.K. Rowling’s English version of the old and extremely rare Quebecois French name Nymphadore. It means “golden nymph.” Whether she actually has ever seen Nymphadore is uncertain, but that’s too much of a coincidence to be otherwise.
on February 27th, 2011 at 12:41 pm
I’m having a bit of a dilemma in my head, because I love the name Bellatrix SO much, but the character is attached to is awful! Yikes! There really are some gems in Harry Potter though, like Emmeline.
on April 12th, 2011 at 2:05 pm
Nobody mentioned the one I named my dog after.. Dobie! Or they might spell it as Dobby. So cute. 🙂
on June 2nd, 2012 at 9:19 pm
Ever since I read Harry Potter the first time, I fell absolutely in love and decided that all of my children would be named after Harry Potter. I was thinking Dobby Patronus Draco and Nymphadora Bellatrix Alohomora. Then I realized that what I had planned would totally screw my future kids, so I rethought it. I decided that I’ll try to work in some HP names in the middle spot. So…
I’m very far from having kids, but high on my list are Cadence Hermione and Juliet Luna. When someone finds a good way to work in Ginny or Ginevra (Love the character, hate the name) please let me know!
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