It’s the middle of the week, and, similarly, the middle of Nano. By now everyone should be feeling the pressure, perhaps discovering deep plot holes or trying out new ways of traumatizing main characters—or, if you’re like me, you’re at a standstill. So far most of my Nano this year has been essays, which blows. It’s hard finding time amidst the classes and the reading and the extra-curriculars to take a break, and once you find a break, it’s hard convincing yourself to pound out a few hundred words of fiction in addition to the homework. When you’re writing a little over 1,000 words a day just on homework, the motivation is severely lacking.
But that’s a blog post for another time. Since things are so hectic, today’s post will be something a little lighter, a little more fun. Names!
I don’t know about you—maybe you absolutely hate naming characters—but finding a name that perfectly suits the little person in your head is one of the greatest adventures of this life. Like everything else, a name has to be perfect: assign the wrong name, get the wrong connotation. Name someone perfectly, experience magic.
Speaking of magic, the discovery that actually led to this post came from a little something called Harry Potter. In taking a class on the books, I’ve gone way more in-depth than I ever could have imagined. Within our discussions and readings, we recently covered some of the origins of the names of spells and characters, which are extremely fascinating. Rowling put so much work into her world, and that’s even clearer when you examine some of the name meanings. For example, did you know that avada kedavra comes from the old abracadabra, which means “let the thing be destroyed”? What about Severus Snape, whose name goes back to an old emperor who is famous for both his brutality and his revolutionary act of granting citizenship to all free residents of his empire? Or Sirius, whose name literally references a canine form?
However, my favorite name revelation, and arguably the most hilarious oversight of any literary character to date, is in none other than Professor Remus Lupin. You know, third year Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Member of the Order. Werewolf (spoilers).
As our textbook puts it, Lupin’s parents “were obviously clairvoyant.” Remus, as you probably know, was one of the legendary founders of Rome—raised by a wolf and ultimately killed by his brother, Romulus. His last name, Lupin, is also derived from the latin word for—you guessed it—wolf.
So, literally, Professor Remus “Wolf Wolf” Lupin.
None of the students made the connection? None of them?
I guess Hermione isn’t so bright after all.
In general, I love names that relate to the characters’ personalities, even if this does potentially allude to the idea of clairvoyance or self-fulfilling prophecy. I just think it adds so much more depth to the characters themselves, and it helps us learn more about them. For writers out there, I strongly recommend the baby names app, in which you can search names based on meaning, or vice versa. It’s how I name all my characters!
To wrap up, here are just a few other character names that you may have heard of that have wonderful meanings:
Frodo Baggins – Wise by experience
Amy Pond – Loved
Beatrice (Tris) Prior – Voyager through life
Lucy Pevensie – Light
Tom Riddle – Twin
James Potter – Supplanter
And, my personal favorite:
Donna Temple-Noble, which can be roughly translated into “Lady Time Lord”
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Current wordcount: 14,984 / 50,000