Make your own free website on Tripod.com

What's In A Name?

Such has been my quest: to find the meanings behind the monikers!

Name Meaning
Harry Potter Harry comes from Harold, which means "army ruler." Hmm...could it be an indication for the future?  Or just a nice solid name without double entendres? Other sources give Harry as a medieval form of Henry, whose etymology is "home ruler," which seems to make more sense. Harry is also cited as meaning "princely".
Hermione Granger Apparently Hermione can mean "earthy" which would make her, of course, "down to earth", which makes sense. The name also derives from the greek god Hermes, god of luck, travellers and thieves and characterized by wit and speed--well those make sense. In Greek myth, Hermione was the daughter of Menaleus and Helen of Troy.

Hermione can also mean "eloquence," and we all know that she certainly has that quality!

Ronald Weasley Despite having a rather unfortunate last name ("Weasly" sounds rather like "weasle", doesn't it?), I believe "Ronald" has Celtic roots meaning "king" which would fit with Book 5 and "Weasly is our king." Other places site Ronald as meaning "advisor to the king" in which case it would seem to underline Ron as sidekick to Harry, who is sort of a king, eh? Still other places site Ronald as meaning "judgement"...go figure...
Rubeus Hagrid Rubeus sounds like Reuben, which means "good son."
Argus Filch Argus was the name of a many-eyed dragon in Greek myth, who when slaughtered, Hera put his eyes on the feathers of a peacock. What's important to note here though, is that Mr. Filch watches, just like the many-eyed, sleepless dragon of Greek myth. 
Minerva McGonagall Minerva, in Roman mythology, is the goddess of wisdom-- the equivalent of the Greek Athena.

"McGonagall" is an entirely fictionalized Scottish last name

Albus Dumbledore "Dumbledore" means bumblebee...buzz, buzz....

"albus" means "white" in latin, an indication that despite tell-tale gleams in his eyes, Dumbledore really is the good guy...

Muggle "Muggle" is a word formerly used in association with foggy, misty weather-- perhaps an implication to the way Muggles can't understand the wizard world...
Lucius and Draco Malfoy Lucius has the same root as Lucifer--the Devil, which has rather overt connotation, as does "Draco," which shares spelling roots with Dracula and means dragon in latin. Draco is also a faint constellation in the northern polar region, also known as the Dragon.

"Malfoy" also has an innately evil sound due to the "mal" in front-- "mal" means "bad, not good" in several romantic languages and is also used in English words as "bad" prefix; think: malnutrition, malfunction, malignant, etc.

Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldemort Well we all know Voldemort is a riddle to us all....the root "volde" doesn't mean anything as far as I know, however "mort" comes from the latin for death--how appropriate...(think pleasant words in English with the same root like "mortuary" or "mortician"...
Sirius Black Hmmm...tough one...after all, we know that Black is good, whereas usually in literature the color black is evil...perhaps it was just to throw us off back in Book 3???

Sirius is a star in the constellation Canis Major (canis meaning dog) and it is also called the "Dog Star." It is the brightest star in the constellation.

Severus Snape Severus, of course, has root relations to "happy" words like severe and severed. Severus was also a roman despot who created a military monarchy 

"Snape" sounds an awful lot like "snap"-- like the snap of a serpent's jaws, or Prof. Snape snapping Harry's head off at the slightest provocation...

Remus Lupin Ahh, a Rowling classic! Lupin is a werewolf and he has the perfect first and last name for it: Remus was one of the founding brothers of Rome: Romulus and Remus. They were abandoned at birth and consequently brought up by a she-wolf. They later founded Rome (in the myth anyway). Then Romulus killed Remus when the battled for power, but we'll conveniently forget about that part of it....

Lupin is an throw-back to the ever-present Latin element in the books. Lupus is the latin word for wolf....

James and Lily Potter Hmm well these names seems pretty normal to me...but apparently there will be more on Lily Potter very soon (whose maiden name, supposedly, is Evans, though I don't know how that is relevant...yet) James is the name of Scottish (and English) kings--since he is thought of so well by so many people, it's reasonable to think that Rowling would want us to associate him with royalty. Besides, we don't know a lot about the past just yet and I'm sure we're in for more with coming books...
Back Home