There are many bold choices in Harry Potter, and I’m not just talking about questionable hair styles or that weird CGI used to make them look older at the end of the last film.
Choosing a name for a character must always be a difficult decision for an author. From Jack Reacher to Tracy Beaker, a name has got to be both easy to remember but not seem weird or out of place.
In the wizarding world, of course, names can be a bit more ‘out there’, and J.K. Rowling’s choices for character’s names has always been an intriguing one.
From Draco Malfoy – we get it, he’s evil – to Seamus Finnegan – we get it, he’s Irish, Rowling’s choice of names can be both magical and normal. A personal favourite is Mundungus Fletcher, for example. The imagery in his first name alone is enough to allow him a fairly normal second name.
But he’s from the wizarding world, where Mundungus might be less unusual than us muggles know. However, for a character from the muggle world who is crucial to the Potter-sphere, Rowling chose a name that many people, especially kids, weren’t familiar with – Hermione.
Of course, Rowling didn’t invent the name. But it definitely wasn’t very common at the time the first books came out. I think my first guess was ‘Hermi-own’ or ‘Hermi-one’ (as in, Hermi-one Kenobi, naturally).
As the popularity of the books rapidly increased, so too did the mispronunciations of this name. So, by the time the fourth book rolled around, Rowling decided to do something about it.
As one Twitter user pointed out:
Theory: @jk_rowling included that passage on how to pronounce Hermione’s name in Goblet of Fire just to school all of us who were saying HER-MY-OWN like Viktor Krum.
And as we all know, Rowling loves confirming fan theories on Twitter.
There you have it Potter fans, the author included a whole passage about a character’s namme just to school you on how to pronounce it.
I still quite like Hermi-one Kenobi, though.
Despite being 17 years since the first film was released, and 21 years since the first book, it seems fans just can’t get enough out of the epic saga.
And there are loads of fan theories to go around. Most recently, some people pontificated that Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, is also a character from ‘The Tale of Three Brothers’, which appears in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The tale consists of Death granting three brothers three different items – a resurrection stone, the elder wand, and an invisibility cloak.
To cut a long story short, Dumbledore invariably has these three items in his possession at one point or another throughout the books. Therefore, as some fans suggested, he is Death.
Rowling herself approved the idea:
Dumbledore as death. It's a beautiful theory and it fits. https://t.co/QqTQm2QnI0
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 21, 2015
That’s not the only recent theory to emerge, there’s also this one about Voldemort’s horcruxes.
Wonder if Hermione’s teachers ever mispronounced her name when they saw it on the class register. If so, I feel her pain.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.