By Abby Sandel
Are you ready to go back to Hogwarts?
On July 31st, the eighth installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will be released. A two-part stage play based on the story debuted in London’s West End earlier this summer.
Thanks to a successful #KeeptheSecrets campaign, there’s been little coverage of the new adventures for Harry, Hermione, and Ron, but we do know that all three characters return – along with many of our other favorites.
We’ll meet their children, too. The next generation was introduced briefly in Book Seven’s epilogue, so no spoilers here.
Luna Lovegood was introduced in Book Five, released in 2003. The name means moon in Latin and Spanish. It’s the breakout hit of the series, entering the US Top 1000 the same year the character debuted, and climbing to Number 110 as of last year. Chrissy Teigen and John Legend named their new daughter Luna. So did Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
The Next Generation: Albus and Scorpius
We learn in Book Seven’s epilogue that Harry married Ginny Weasley and they had three children. Harry’s former nemesis, Draco Malfoy, is a dad, too. Their sons, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, will be in the same year at Hogwarts.
Neither name has seen much use in the real world.
Scorpius and Draco are members of an aristocratic wizarding family with a tradition favoring celestial names, like Andromeda, Arcturus, and Cygnus. Draco, the name of the dragon constellation, saw some use as soon as we met young Malfoy in 1997.
Dozens and dozens of other rarities are mentioned throughout the soon-to-be eight-book series.
There’s also Ginevra, better known as Ginny. The Italian form of Guinevere was extinct in the US before Harry Potter. The future Mrs. Potter has a starring role beginning with Book Two, published in 1998, though her name remains rare.
As for Hermione, how can it be that the brave and brilliant witch hasn’t inspired more namesakes? Long before JK Rowling, Shakespeare used the name for a character. It has increased in use modestly since 1997, though it remains well outside the US Top 1000.
British Olympic gold medalist in sailing, Ben Ainslie, and his TV presenter wife, Georgie, recently welcomed daughter Bellatrix. It’s a night sky name, but it also belongs to one of the series’ most unrepentant villains. Despite the link, a few dozen girls have been given this gorgeous name in recent years.
Lucius Malfoy is another villain, dad to Draco. Similar to popular boy names Luke, Lucas, and Luca, Lucius has been gaining in use since the Harry Potter series’ early days. Now there’s another fictional character by the name: Empire’s patriarch, Lucious Lyon.
Hogwarts professor Sybill Trelawney was introduced in 1999. Since then, another British phenomenon emerged: Downton Abbey. The youngest Crawley sister and eldest Crawley grandchild were both named Sybil. The name remains outside of the US Top 1000, but has risen steadily – probably thanks to the latter; it’s Number 291 on Nameberry..
Then there’s George, one of Ron‘s mischievous brothers. While the name George has risen in recent years, magic is not the explanation. This time it is all about the 2013 birth of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, future King of England.
Many of the series’ names are bold, intended for members of another world. But not always.
Harry is an everyman name, accessible and informal. Already popular in the UK prior to the first book’s release, Harry became the country’s Number One name, and has charted in the Top Ten most years since the series began.
In the US, Harry has never recovered from its peak in the late nineteenth century, though Harrison and Henry are quite popular. Still, the release of Book Eight creates another opportunity for parents to reconsider the name.
The breakout star of the new book might be Rose. The brilliant Rose Granger-Weasley is a Hogwarts student in the new installment, classmate of Albus and Scorpius. An early twentieth century favorite, the flower power name has risen steadily in recent years. One more admirable Rose might be all it takes to push this name back into the Top 100.