Names are important. They aren’t simply monikers that represent characters; good authors imbue names with information to enrich their story, adding character depth—perhaps even foreshadowing events to come. Maybe there’s a layer of personal weight added to the name—an imaginary childhood friend, for instance—or some meaning rooted in antiquity and age-old languages. The options are nearly limitless. Click on the video below to check it out.
Harry Potter, one of the most read and dissected stories of all-time, has just had many of its names subjected to a casual linguistic evaluation. The good folks over at Mental Floss—for when dental floss just won’t reach those shadowy brain cobwebs—have dived into the story, creating a short video of their work and inciting many an ‘A-ha!’ moment. J.K. Rowling is good.
Seven names get the treatment, in total: Gringotts, Aragog, Argus Filch, Grimmauld Place, Dolores Umbridge, and both Lucius and Draco Malfoy. Some of the origins are genius in their simplicity. What do you do in the wizard bank, Gringotts? Store your ingots, of course. Grimmauld place? More like grim, old place.
Others have been more painstakingly constructed. Dolor, in Dolores—as Mental Floss points out—means ‘pain’ in Spanish (it also means pretty much the same thing in English). And to take umbrage with something is to take offense. Maybe some of that sank into my childhood psyche, adding to my deep-rooted disdain for “Professor” Umbridge. On colorful post-its, Mental Floss explains each of their findings. Check out the video here.
Any other Harry Potter names you’ve got figured out? Let us know in the comments.
HT: Design Taxi
IMAGE: Warner Brothers/Mental Floss
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