Category: Harry Potter

When Henry was chosen as the #1 favorite boy’s name on the collective 5-star lists of the nameberry community, I was somewhat surprised and yet somewhat not.  Because in many ways Henry is the perfect boy’s name—as classic and historic as James and John and William –yet with a quirkier edge that makes it seem modern, and even hip.

Henry has a lot going for it.  Let us count the ways:


At #78 on the Social Security list last year, Henry was given to fewer than 4,000 boys across the country.  It was much more commonly heard in the past, having been #10 in 1900, 12 in the 1910s, 18 in the twenties, 25 in the thirties, then dipping to a low of 146 in 1994, after which it started its edge back up.

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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

BELLATRIX — a star in the constellation Orion

CASSIOPEIA — another constellation in the Northern sky

DRACO  — a constellation known as Draco the Dragon

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

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