Author J.K. Rowling has many talents, one of which is the ability to give the characters in her Wizarding World unforgettable names. The Harry Potter books and movies, the Fantastic Beasts films — Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — and her short stories are all fit to burst with some of the most eccentric and outrageous names you've ever heard or read.
A prime example can be found in a short piece that Rowling wrote for Pottermore, which expands on the life of Minvera McGonagall. The strict (and awesome) professor married later in life, to a man named Elphinstone Urquart. I don't know about you, but I haven't met many real people named Elphinstone, though I very much wish that I had. The guy already had an unfortunate last name, so his parents decided to really double-down on it, I guess. I'm fairly sure that McGonagall never called him something like "Elphy" either; she's the kind of person who would call him Elphinstone, full out, every time.
In anticipation of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald's November 15th release (which no doubt adds more names to the ever-growing list), it's time to rank the top ten most eccentric and old-timey names in the Wizarding World. If these people weren't wizards and witches, they would have had interesting times in high school.
We are due to meet the older brother of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in the new film, but we already imagine he's a little big for his britches thanks to his name alone. "Newt" is a downright common name when compared to Theseus; it's one of those names that you briefly consider for a dog or other such pet. For a child? Perhaps not.
The most famous "Theseus" can be found in Greek Mythology, where he fought the Minotaur and caused a ton of problems with the Amazons. This mythical figure was not a great role model, and we already know that this new Theseus will be engaged to Leta Lestrange. Will she refer to him by a nickname? I really hope so.
Here's a great example of "what were her parents thinking?" It's not the first time such a name will appear on this list, either. Narcissa was born Narcissa Black, but then ended up a Malfoy when she married into that family. Either way, what message are you sending when you give your daughter the first name "Narcissa"? Were they expecting her to be kind? Probably not, as the Black family wasn't exactly a warm bunch.
Though Narcissa redeems herself a very tiny bit by the end of the series, she's mostly always out for herself and her son. Belatrix calling her "Cissy" doesn't make the name any better.
The Dumbledore family saved the weirdest name for their most overlooked child. Albus isn't a regular name by a long shot, and the tragically short-lived Ariana's name is almost ordinary. Not ordinary at all is "Aberforth," and perhaps it is because of this name that the man always had such a grumpy disposition. Growing up in your older brother's shadow (who was the greatest wizard in the world, no less) could not have been easy, but doing so with the name Aberforth couldn't have made it any better.
The silly-named man was not without hope in the end, however, as he proved during the Battle of Hogwarts — in both the book and the film, he casts an incredibly powerful Patronus charm.
If you're a young witch or wizard and you're seeing this name in a letter, you've probably done something wrong. Harry hears from this official from the Improper Use of Magic's office a few times, most notably when she informs him he's been momentarily expelled towards the beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Hermione Granger would later knock the woman out and impersonate her in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Perhaps you know you've committed a foul if you run afoul of Ma-foul-da? I'm definitely reaching here, but the whimsical glee of "Hopkirk" only makes this rule-enforcing witch so much more annoying. She's a chippy-voiced drag.
I don't like having to put this name here. For the record, Remus Lupin is my second favorite character in the entire Potter series — I loved him in the books, and I love David Thewlis' portrayal of him in the films. He's kind, brilliant, and one of the best teachers we meet. Harry and his friends learned a great deal from him — Harry himself probably leaned on remembrances of his lessons a great deal when he himself begins to train the members of Dumbledore's Army.
Still, the name. The name, the name, the name. Much like Narcissa (Black) Malfoy, did his parents want him to turn into a werewolf? Fenrir Greyback turned him later on, it's not as if he was born that way. The surname Lupin already carries some baggage, but why did they have to tempt fate and give him "Remus" as a first name? Why not just call the poor kid "Wolfy Werewolf Bite-Him-Please Fullwolven" and be done with it?
Aside from that, what are the odds that someone with such a name would actually get bitten and become a werewolf? When it happened, did Remus think of his parents and say, "Well, I guess this was always in the cards?" Did Greyback hear about the kid with this name and seek him out just to prove a point? It's almost like naming your child "Dracula Angel-Spike-Drusilla LeVampire" and hoping that they'll live a normal non-fanged life. I love you, Remus... but your parents? They had issues.
We barely hear this name in the Potter films, and we never see the character. Because of that, I put one of my favorite deleted scenes from the series (featuring Emma Thompson's Trelawney) up above.
Professor Grubbly-Plank takes over for Hagrid whenever he's not around, which is often. They feel bad admitting it, but Harry and friends remark on more than one occasion that Professor G-P is a better teacher than Hagrid. It doesn't take much — she probably wouldn't trot out a highly dangerous bird-horse on the first day of school.
It's not so much the first name here, it's the last one... the dash in it very much included. Is Grubbly her birth name? Did she then marry a guy named Plank? Did she refuse to change her name, and go for the ol' hyphen instead? How did Mr. Plank feel about this? Did she not care that when put together, the poor woman's name makes her sound like a needy and rotting piece of wood?
I don't know the answers here. For all I know, it could just be her regular family name. If that's the case, then I want some official canon about the history of the Grubbly-Planks yesterday. Give it to me immediately.
Quidditch is a violent sport, and everyone in the Wizarding World (for the most part) is obsessed with it. There's even a little book written on the subject (a companion book to Rowling's original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) called Quidditch Through The Ages. You might imagine someone with a name like "Macho Von Hardabs" or "Deltoid Liftsalot" wrote the book, but no — the author of the book is named Kenilworthy Whisp.
What? It sounds like the name of a man who could be blown away by a mild breeze, not a Quidditch scholar. Making it all the more hilarious, the audiobook version of this little story is read by Andrew Lincoln. That's right — the ultimate Ricktator from The Walking Dead trades in his guns and his "CORAAAALLLLLLS" and goes back to his regular British accent. If Keniworthy (a man who is truly worthy of Kenils, it should be noted) ever appears in a film, I really hope that Lincoln plays him. I want to see someone call Rick Grimes "Whisp" to his face.
The entire Barebone family has a bit of a name curse going on — Credence's relatives include Modesty and Chastity. Credence (arguably) got the worst of the lot, however, and he's one of the most important characters in the new canon... that gave him the edge. "Barebone" is already a tough place to start, because just reading the name makes the mind conjure all kinds of weird (and unwanted) images. Add in the "Credence" of it all, and you've got a name that is capable or causing a full on crisis of faith.
The best part about Credence's name is that the other characters (in the first film, at least) say it over and over again. Watching Colin Farrell repeatedly say "Credence" with a straight face makes me tingle. We're bound to learn more about the mysterious Mr. Barebone in the new film, including the notion that he may not be a Barebone at all. That's fine— as long as he's still Credence.
This jovial proprietor of an Ice Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley doesn't appear in the films, but he plays a minor role in the books. It's a name full of joy, and one that you certainly don't hear very often in real life. Personally, I don't know many Floreans. I don't know many Fortescues either. I wish that I did.
This kindhearted man helped Harry with some preparatory homework (of the historical nature) in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and he even gave him free Ice Cream. We get the sense that he's a really nice gentleman, which makes his fate rather sad — he is the victim of a mass-kidnapping in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (taken at the same time as Mr. Ollivander) and we never read about him again. Rowling has said since that he was taken because his historical knowledge included lore about the Deathly Hallows, and Voldemort wanted this information. For one reason or another, Rowling left this small detail out of the final book. It is highly doubtful that Voldemort let this nice ice cream man live for long. Rest in peace, Mr. Fortescue... it would seem that knowledge is not power after all.
I'm not going to judge Mr. Lovegood for his actions in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Calling the Death Eaters on Harry and company was an awful thing to do, but with Luna Lovegood (his daughter) on the line, well, I would have done the same thing. No harm must ever come to Luna Lovegood, ever, and her father seems to agree.
This name really has to take the treacle tart, as it were. Not only does the "Lovegood" surname fit perfectly (as it does with Luna), but that first name before it... just... come on. Xenophilia can be defined as "an affection for unknown/foreign objects or people," and we know that the Lovegoods certainly love everything and anything odd or unusual. Put it all together, and the man's name pretty much says "affection for foreign objects and people is a good kind of love." It's appropriate, and it's as weird as Mr. Lovegood himself.