What’s in a name? – Part the Second

18 Nov

Remember me?


Wait… what? But, you’re reading my blog, and… You know what, forget it. I’m not doing this for the publicity.

So a while back (*mumbleseptembermumble*) I talked about the quality of names in the Potter series, with the tantalising hint that there was a downside. Having reached the clearest (to me, at least) example of this, I shall expostulate forthwith.

No, you won’t need an umbrella. For those of you who haven’t either read the book or seen the film, you might need your anti-spoiler goggles, however.

Early in book 3, The Prisoner of Azkaban, we are introduced to a shabby, rather unwell-looking character who is probably the new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher, and even more probably named “R. J. Lupin”. Now, let it be said that I’m a fan of Prof. Lupin. I think he’s a great character, and it’s a shame how he’s treated (by both other characters and by the author). But the man seems to be terminally incapable of hiding his “furry little problem” (no, it’s not lupus), to whit:

  • “Lupin” derives from the latin word for wolf.
  • The “R” stands for “Remus“.
  • He introduces the students to a creature that mimics your worst fear. When facing him, it turns into “a silvery white orb”, causing one of the students (who clearly has divination on the brain and isn’t as observant as Hermione) to wonder why he’s afraid of crystals balls.*
  • He falls ill fairly regularly, though with the traditional random forward jumps in the year, the pattern would take some working out (which I can’t be bothered doing so I don’t know if it’s possible or not).
  • Snape, who seems to dislike him almost as much as he dislikes** Harry (which is saying something), makes a special effort to introduce the class to werewolves.

I’m afraid it rather ruined the surprise (“Oh noes, a werewolf!”) at the end for me. Other people may not have noticed, but I don’t feel it’s beyond the ken of the average 12/13-year-old. When does foreshadowing become “One of the characters is going to bump their elbow in the next scene…”?.

People with different knowledge/backgrounds may not have noticed Prof. Lupin’s tendencies, but may have noticed details about other characters that I didn’t; please share your experiences.

* This scene is made even more obvious in the film version.

** EDIT: Argh! The apostrophes got me!

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Harry Potter


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s