March 31, 2005

Harry Potter Name Meanings/References

I've been doing a little research into the meanings of some of the names in the Harry Potter books. This started after I stumbled across Romulus and Remus in the old encyclopedia, anyway I flicked through it a bit more, looked in the dictionary and browsed some websites. It's not exactly earth-shattering brand new information, but here's what I've found:

Remus Lupin: As menitoned above Remus is commonly associated with Romulus. Romulus, Remus' brother, was the mythical founder of Rome. According to the myth they were raised by... yup you got it... wolves. Also lupine means "of or like a wolf".

Sirius Black: Sirius is the name of the brightest star in the sky, also known as The Dog Star. You'd have thought Hermione would've known that and saved a whole load of bother, she's obviously not as clever as we're lead to believe!

Sibyl Trelawney: In Greek mythology the Sibyls were ten prophet women who worshipped the god Apollo. Which seems pretty reasonable, however I prefer my own interpretation: Divination class takes place in a tower, Trelawney is a bit fawlty cos she's not very good, Sybil was Basil's wife in Fawlty Towers, hmmm… I think I'm onto something.

Fluffy: three-headed guard dog of the Philosopher's Stone Not so much a meaning as a character reference. Cerburus was three-headed dog in Greek mythology (stop me if you know this already), he guarded hell, but let some bloke through after he played some music (follow the links below for details). All very familiar.

Albus Dumbledore: According to one of the websites Albus comes from the latin word for white, which fits nicely. I found out that Dumbledore is some kind of bee and JK Rowlng herself actually says this is where she got it from. Which to be honest is kinda dull. More interestingly one of Dumbledore's middle names is Percival, which supposedly means "pierce the veil" the website suggests this may have something to do with the veils at the Ministry of Magic.

Lily Potter: A quicky, the Lily flower is a symbol of purity.

Draco Malfoy: Draco is derived from the Greek word drakon, meaning dragon or serpent.

Godric Gryffindor: Godric means "power of god"

That's just the few I had time to write up. There's plenty of websites out there which go into sooo much more detail anyway. Here's some of the ones I used which may be of interest:



link (a rather good name-meaning site)

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. There are only about 5 stories in the world anyway. Well, I can't remember the actual suggested number, but I'm certain it's smaller than 10.

    31 Mar 2005, 23:51

  2. Good classics research, for a maths student. :P

    02 Apr 2005, 20:10

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