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1 Names in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Books by Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Names in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Books by Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Names in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Books by Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen

2 Quidditch at A.S.U. 2

3 Dumbledore’s Army at A.S.U. 3

4 Barrett Honors College Refectory: “Harry Potter Hall” 4

5 Rowling’s Parallel World At Kings Cross Station in London, so many tourists went looking for Platform 9 ¾ where students board the train for Hogwarts that the managers put up a sign and cut off a luggage cart so that it appears to be halfway into the wall. On busy days, tourists have to wait in line for this photo-op. 5

6 Rowling’s Name Play to Create a Parallel World The street where Harry buys school supplies is DIAGON ALLEY, c.f. “Diagonally” It is near the “dark” and dangerous KNOCKTURN ALLEY, c.f. “Nocturnal” Instead of a stationery store, school supplies come from FLOURISH AND BLOTTS. OTHER UNUSUAL SPELLINGS Night Bus  Knight Bus Cellotape  Spellotape Creature  Kreature To mug  Muggles 6

7 MORE PARALLEL- WORD NAME PLAY COMBINATION WORDS Mer as in “Mermaid” Merpeople Merperson Mersong Something Mermish A Mermish townsquare From the image of a snake’s flicking tongue and the grammar-related verb “to parse,” Rowling created parselmouth for a person who can speak parseltongue with snakes. 7

8 GOTHIC NAMES IN ROWLING’S PARALLEL WORLD Gryffindor, Huffelpuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin What denotations and connotations do you see in each of the House Names? How about THE LEAKY CAULDRON? THE THREE BROOMSTICKS ? HOGSMEADE ? BUTTERBEER ? VERITASERUM ? 8

9 NAMES WITH MULTIPLE MEANINGS FLOO POWDER lets witches and wizards travel through flues and chimneys. It reminds us of FLEA POWDER, which in a circular fashion reminds us of the word FLEE. Professor Dumbledore stores his memories in a PENSIEVE BOWL, which reminds readers of PENSIVE, meaning “to ponder” and also of a SIEVE which is used for sorting. 9

10 NAMES TO PROVIDE EFFICIENT CHARACTERIZATION Except for HERMIONE, The main characters have ordinary names (HARRY, RON, GINNY, GEORGE, CEDRIC and NEVILLE). But with less important characters, Rowling uses descriptive names tailor- made to their actions. These names help readers remember who’s who, not just in a single book but also between books. 10

11 Names of the Malfoy Family Draco Malfoy becomes more and more DRACONIAN. Lucius reminds readers of LUCIFER. In Old French, malfoy means “bad faith.” Narcissus Malfoy is narcissistic. Draco’s two henchmen are named CRABBE and GOYLE. HOW DO THE CONNOTATIONS OF THESE NAMES FIT THE CHARACTERS? 11

12 NAMES OF THE POTTER FAMILY Harry’s mother is named LILY, a symbol of purity and love. Her sister is named PETUNIA, which in the language of flowers symbolizes resentment. The last name of the Dursleys was probably chosen to alliterate with Dudley. Poor Dudley--his parents think he’s perfect, but readers know he is a Dud. He joins a gang and becomes BIG D. In a fit of pique, Harry teases Dudley about his mother still calling him baby names, e.g. Ickle Diddykins and Dinky Diddydums. 12

13 FACULTY NAMES: Professor Minerva McGonagall was named after the Greek Goddess of Wisdom Professor Binn (the past tense of the verb to be) is a ghost teacher of history with “deadly dull lectures.” Severus Snape gets more and more severe as the books progress. One of MAD-EYE MOODY’s eyes is loose in its socket. Professor UMBRIDGE’S name is close to “umbrage.” 13

14 Why Don’t Rowling’s Classical Names Need to be Translated? Why are these Greek and Roman names understood worldwide? ARGUS FILCH is a caretaker and guard, but he also steals things. MADAME MAXIME OLYMPE is double-sized as shown by her “double” name. Percy’s owl is named HERMES after the Greek messenger god. SIRIUS is the “Dog Star” in Canis Major and also the name of Harry’s godfather. Japanese version of …The Philosopher’s Stone 14

15 What Else Does Rowling Do to Help Readers Remember Who’s Who? Jim Dale, the actor who taped the books, told a New York Times reporter that he had to create 125 different voices to distinguish the characters just in Book 4. SHE USES HUMOR Ludo Bagman is the dishonest adult who bets with Fred and George and then bags all the money for himself. Mundungus Fletcher is a tricky embezzler and so his colleagues refer to him as Dung. 15

16 Rowling Plays with Anagrams The Chamber of Secrets, centers around the identification of a mysterious student from the past named Tom Riddle. Ginny was given his diary, and throughout the year has been communicating with him, although she did not know who he was. When she is drawn into his evil plans, Harry gets the diary and finds himself communicating with its original owner. It belonged to TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE, which is an anagram for I AM LORD VOLDEMORT. 16

17 ANAGRAMS: TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE I AM LORD VOLDEMORT (NEW FRONTIERS CLASS) 17

18 Palindromes Are Words Spelled Backwards The simplest example is the Mirror of Erised, which is really the Mirror of Desire. When someone looks in it, they see what they most desire as when Harry looks in the mirror and sees himself with his young parents In a way, Hogwarts is a kind of palindrome because it is a “backwards” spelling of Warthogs, an animal some people describe as the ugliest in the world. 18

19 PALINDROME: “DESIRE” “ERISED” (NEW FRONTIERS CLASS) 19

20 The Mirror of Erised 20

21 Rowling Uses Old Words in New Combinations WHEN READERS HAVE TO WORK TO FIGURE OUT THE MEANINGS, THE IDEAS TEND TO STICK IN THEIR MINDS. Professor Dumbledore’s Phoenix Bird is named FAWKES, which sounds like HAWKS, but starts with the sound of Phoenix. In Book Five, Harry goes on trial before the Wizengamot, or “Wise Counsel.” Harry’s father and his friends first figured out how to turn themselves into animals so that as Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs they could look after Lupin (aka Moony) and keep him from harming either himself or others during the full moon. Death Eaters is a fairly obvious term, but readers have to figure out that they eat people’s souls, not their flesh. 21

22 Old Words in New Combinations (CONTINUED) Sirius Black’s old family home is named Grimmauld. It is “grim,” but it is also “auld,” as in “Auld Lang Syne.” The charm Avadra Kedavra is Aramaic for “May the thing be destroyed.” But since it is similar to the more familiar (and linguistically related) magic charm Abracadabra, readers can probably figure it out. Albus Dumbledore’s first name is cognate with “white tablet (c.f. album), while his last name is an archaic word for bumblebee, an appropriate allusion to someone who keeps the records of the school and is “busy as a bee.” 22

23 Rowling Systematically Connects Nicknames to the Original Names For example: Peter Pettigrew  Scabbers  Wormtail Pettigrew is an Animage (someone who can magically change into an animal). His human name connects in readers’ minds to his ability to grow from something petite to something big, while his other two names appropriately describe characteristics of a rat, which he is—both literally and figuratively. Griffin Horse  Buckbeak  Witherwings Hagrid’s hippogriff is named Buckbeak (from horse in Latin and from griffin), but when he gets in trouble for swooping in to help in a rescue, Hagrid renames him Witherwings, thinking the new name will allow him to live in disguise. 23

24 Why during summer vacation are Ron, Harry, and Hermione left waiting for the Owls to bring the O.W.L.s? Owls are the creatures which carry the mail, but O.W.L.’s are the Ordinary Wizarding Levels, the tests which Hogwarts students take at age 15. Ron has a baby owl he calls Pig, short for Pigwidgeon. 24

25 Rowling Uses Sets of Names that Relate Linguistically to Particular Languages Fleur Delacour is the champion representing Madame Maxime and the Beauxbaton students from France. A good joke is that when Hermione and Ginny are jealous of Fleur, they begin calling her Phlegm. Champion Quidditch player Viktor Krum has a Germanic sounding name and name of the Durmstrang school is also Germanic. This school name relates to a German term for “storm and stress” related to teenage angst. Professor Karkaroff has a Slavic sounding name. 25

26 More Linguistically “Marked” Names Rowling uses names with a far Eastern sound to lend a foreign, or even foreboding, air to Azkaban, the prison guarded by the dementors. Nagini, probably named after a snake in one of Rudyard Kipling’s stories from India, is a snake whose milk feeds the unrestored Lord Voldemort, while Hassan Mostafa is the Chairwizard and head referee of the International Association of Quidditch. 26

27 NAMES THAT MOVE THE PLOTS FORWARD, Latin-Based Spells and Charms LUMOS! brings light IMPEDIMENTA! stops someone PRIORI INCANTATEM! revokes a previous charm. OBLIVIATE! Erases someone’s memory 27

28 MORE NAMES THAT MOVE THE PLOTS FORWARD ENNERVATE! Restores someone’s energy. RIDDIKULUS! Changes a Boggart into something silly or laughable. EXPECTO PATRONUM! Calls forth a protector (a “father”) PORTKEYS are items that have been changed into something that will magically transport people to where they want to go. 28

29 Rowling Uses Name-Play for Foreshadowing In a fairly light example of foreshadowing, the harsh sounds in Rita Skeeter’s name are appropriate to the unscrupulous ways in which she collects her information and writes her stories for Witch Weekly. Her name also reminds us of mosquitoes, which are often called “skeeters.” This is appropriate because of the way she “bugs” people to get information. When she animages into a beetle, readers see a memorable example of assonance, when vowel sounds are repeated. 29

30 Rowling’s Humorous Alliteration Dr. Filibuster’s Fabulous Wet-Start No-Heat Fireworks Shop St. Brutus’s Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys Two Ghosts: Moaning Myrtle and Nearly Headless Nick School textbooks: Saucy Tricks for Tricky Sorts, Break with a Banshee, Gadding with Ghouls, Magical Me, Voyages with Vampires, and Madcap Magic for Wacky Warlocks. 30

31 Some of the Foreshadowing Reveals Conflicts and Hostilities The word mudblood is a term for a witch or wizard with one muggle parent, cf. our offensive term halfblood. Lord Voldemort’s name literally means “fleeing from death,” a meaning that becomes clear in the later books when Harry hunts for the Horcruxes that Voldemort had hidden in hopes of gaining immortality. When the stone statue representing the founder of the Slytherin school opens its mouth to let an enormous serpent slither out readers, who have always had suspicions about the Slytherin School, feel vindicated for the suspicions. 31

32 TONKS—AN EDGY NAME TO MAKE READERS SMILE A flippant young witch is named NYMPHADORA, but she prefers to be called TONKS, which is British for testicles. In American slang TONK is a male homosexual, a dude, or a fop. Her name reminds readers of NYMPHO, NYMPHETTE, and NYMPHOMANIA. 32

33 MORE NAMES TO MAKE READERS SMILE In Book Two, Harry gets a Nimbus Two Thousand broomstick to use when he plays quidditch, but by Book Three, it is out-of- date, and he has to buy a Firebolt. Amusing Product Names Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. Ton Tongue Toffee Screaming Yo-Yo’s Fanged Frisbees Ever-Bashing Boomerangs 33

34 A SAMPLING OF ROWLING’S PUNS Peeves is a poltergeist, who always seems peeved at something or someone. The house elf, Dobby, is always daubing up messes. Professor Gilderoy Lockhart is revealed to be a fraud whose royalty is simply gilded on. Mrs. Figg, one of the Dursley’s neighbors, is a Squib, who reports on Harry’s activities. Since the 1500s, squib has referred to news items or utterances. The Durmstrang school gets its names from the German expression sturm und drang (storm and stress) a theory of adolescent psychology. 34

35 Only Harry Is Unafraid to Say Lord Voldemort’s Name Is the situation similar to the teachings of some religions, which out of respect, teach that people should avoid saying the name of God? The Harry Potter books were seriously censored when they first came out. Some religious conservatives claimed that the books were immoral and should be kept away from children. Do you think this might have related to the religious idea against “using the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain”? 35

36 IN CONCLUSION In conclusion, Rowling uses new spellings and different names to establish the fact that she is taking readers to a world that runs parallel to their own, but is quite different. She uses creative naming to provide instant characterization and to help her readers remember who is who. When she names her charms and potions, she is like modern manufacturers who name their products so as to create built-in advertising claims as with Allerest allergy medicine, Diehard batteries, and Holsum bread. 36

37 37 In relation to plot development, Rowling uses her newly created names, especially the names of her charms, to keep her plot moving at a fast pace. She also uses newly created names for foreshadowing and for revealing the depth of her characters’ emotions. But most of all, she uses creative naming for comic relief. Just as Shakespeare provided comic relief In the darkest of his tragedies, Rowling does the same thing in her Harry Potter series.

38 38 HARRY POTTER WEB SITES Accio Deathly Hallows: Harry Potter Games & Decorations: Harry Potter Recipes: Harry Potter Treats:

39 How Harry Potter Should Have Ended: INFORMATION FOR MUGGLES: J. K. ROWLING: TERMINUS: 39


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