What’s in a name?

26 Sep

Names are one thing that work very well in the Harry Potter series. Some characters, they convey where they’re from; others, they hint at important details about a character. “Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore” is obviously someone competent and important, a “great leader of men” (and probably a bit of a loony).

You just know that “Severus Snape” is an insidious, petty, spiteful individual (regardless of his ultimate affiliation); “Minerva McGonagall” is clearly someone who is wise, strict but fair, wears tartan, and writes truly awful poetry in her spare time; “Draco Malfoy” is bound to be pretentious and unpleasant; “Neville Longbottom” (apologies* to the Nevilles out there) is a bit of a bumbler; and “Gilderoy Lockhart” (or “Fauntleroy Poptart” as I mentally name him when I’m feeling particularly silly**) is a showy, vacant celebrity without any redeeming virtues (except comic relief). Of course, there’s a downside to this expressive nomenclature, but more on that later in the series.

The other thing I find interesting is that, despite how obnoxious and aggravating certain characters are in the films (Dobby the homicidal house-elf, and that man Poptart again), they’re even worse in the book. Which suggests the actors/director toned them down a bit. The mind boggles. Well, mine does at any rate. Yours should try it sometime, it’s an interesting game.

* [SPOILER] But we all know no apology is necessary, don’t we. Even if the film did water him down a bit. [/SPOILER]

** Rose Red would probably point out this means “nearly always”.

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Harry Potter


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