Harry Potter Names: Beyond Harry & Hermione
The magical Harry Potter universe changed the trajectory of children's books, millennial culture, and even baby naming with the introduction of Harry Potter names.
While the last book of the Harry Potter series was published over 15 years ago, and the final movie was now released 12 years ago, the impact of Harry Potter on the world is still as strong as ever. From one of the largest and most loyal fandoms to an entire theme park dedicated to the wizarding world, it is safe to say that the influences of Harry Potter are here to stay a while longer.
As the Millenials that once made up Harry Potter's young fan base in the early 2000s are now having children of their own, we are seeing the impact of J.K. Rowling's famous character naming style in both the US and UK name data. Along with George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones and Suzanne Collins of Hunger Games, Rowling revived ancient Roman and mythological names that had been unused and unloved for centuries.
With a few exceptions, though, Rowling's influence is on the style of names finding new favor, rather than on the popularity of individual names themselves. Of the three authors, Rowling sticks the closest to actual historical names and doesn't have a Katniss or a Khaleesi to her credit.
Three Kinds of Harry Potter Names
Harry Potter names can for the most part be divided into three groups. The first is ordinary names like Ron, Ginny, and Harry itself that were already widely used and can't be identified specifically with the books. Harry also has the Prince Harry influence, so it's impossible to tell what of its popularity is Potter and what's the Prince.
Then there are the Harry Potter names that were quietly used in the Muggle world and whose popularity has exploded partly because of Harry Potter and partly because of other influences. The most notable of these are Luna and Arabella. Chrissy Teigen and John Legend's use of Luna and Ivanka Trump's daughter Arabella are probably bigger pop culture influences on those names than Harry Potter.
Orion, Lucius, Blaise, Minerva, and Lavender are also in this group. They are all used a lot more now than in the time Before Potter, but for reasons that transcend Potter. Yes, Harry Potter influenced the popularity of mythological and botanical names. But those names are popular for other reasons too.
And then there are the true Harry Potter names, which may have been used in ancient times but have not for the most part transitioned from the books to real life. In this group are names such as Bellatrix, Severus, and Albus.
Top Harry Potter Names
Hermione and, surprisingly, Draco are the two Harry Potter-centric group that have seen the most use in the Muggle world. There were NO baby girls named Hermione in the US in 1997, the year before the first book was published here, and still none in 2000, but by 2011 there were 51 and in 2021, 70.
In the UK where Hermione was occasionally used -- Hermione Gingold was a well-known British actress -- there were 21 Hermiones born in 1996, the year before the first Harry Potter publication, and 57 in 2021. It peaked in 2004 when there were 162 baby girls named Hermione in the UK.
In the US, certainly, Hermione is still so closely identified with the Hermione of Harry Potter that it's difficult to see it escaping that association. But a generation ago we might have said the same thing about Scarlett, which has become a very popular baby name. Perhaps if one of the little girls named Hermione today grows up to be a major movie star, the name will have a second important association and so become fair game for Muggles.
Draco has had the opposite trajectory in the UK and the US. There were zero baby boys named Draco in the UK in 1996 and only 6 in 2021, with only a handful in between.
But in the US, where Lucifer is a trendy baby name thanks to the eponymous show and where Danger is one of Nameberry's most popular boys' names of the year, there were 8 boys named Draco in 1997 and 160 boys named Draco in 2021.
Harry Potter's Astronomical Names
Draco is an astronomical name, drawn from the constellation known as Draco the Dragon -- appropriate symbolism for that character. Like Dickens, Rowling takes delight in matching name to nature and uses many names from astronomy. Other examples:
Andromeda — a constellation in the Northern sky
Bellatrix — a star in the constellation Orion
Cassiopeia — another constellation in the Northern sky
Luna — the moon
Pollux — one of the twin stars of Gemini
Scorpius — a constellation representing a scorpion
Sirius — the brightest star in the night sky
Beyond these distinctive Harry Potter names –and certainly less extreme than such fanciful inventions as Mundungus, Nymphadora and Gwenog – the books and films include many perfectly usable, interesting and attractive names from the standard lexicon.
Harry Potter Girl Names
Harry Potter Boy Names
For more on Harry Potter names, check out the following lists: