J.K. Rowling is nothing if not creative, and the names of her Harry Potter characters offer solid proof. However, while many of the books’ witches and wizards have names worthy of giving to your child, others may make your offspring want to Avada Kedavra you in the future. At the very least, they’ll wish for a Time-Turner to go back and change their birth certificate.
As you’ve likely heard before, Rowling named her characters very intentionally; there are numerous examples of etymology and symbolism coming into play in very cool ways. The result is a hodgepodge of names unlike any you have heard elsewhere, ranging from good to bad to ugly.
For the most part, however, there is karmic justice: Heroes get nice names (e.g. Harry), while villains have to live with some horribly unfortunate ones (think: Dudley). It is not a perfect rule, but for the most part the villains of Harry Potter are stuck with ridiculous monikers, which works out well for book-loving parents looking for Rowling-inspired baby names. By avoiding nefarious namesakes, you increase your odds of passing on awful appellations.
In case you need more help, here are 20 names from the Harry Potter books that you should absolutely not use for your child, under any circumstance:
The name just sounds frustrated. That suits a man battling a tricky poltergeist on a daily basis, but that’s probably not what you want for your kid.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the animosity between Barty Crouch, Jr. and his father stemmed from his name. Just saying.
Hermione’s Ancient Runes teacher had a nomenclature that sounds as old as her subject matter. Vintage names are coming back, but Bathsheba is a little much.
Can a child named Dudley turn out to do anything but strut around, poking people with his Smeltings stick?
Like the man himself, the name is just a little too self-important.
While there may be no better namesake in terms of character, the name itself is a tough one to condone. I’m convinced that the scene in which Hermione teaches Viktor Krum how to pronounce her name was actually for the benefit of readers, if that gives you an idea of what your kid would be up against in terms of getting people to pronounce and spell the moniker correctly.
Marvolo is very reminiscent of “Malvolio,” which means “ill will” in Italian.
Based on her name, was there ever any question that Millicent Bulstrode would be a villainess? She was basically predestined to join Umbridge’s evil Inquisitorial Squad.
Not only does Mundungus have the word “dung” in it, the meaning of the nomenclature is actually bad-smelling tobacco. Pass.
There have been multiple popes called Lucius, but for Harry Potter fans, the name seems much darker.
Much as we all love Professor McGonagall, her name just doesn’t roll off the tongue well.
Poor Myrtle had a lot of things to bemoan. Her unfortunate name is right up there — after death by snake in the bathroom, of course.
While the name Narcissa may be Greek for “daffodil,” doesn’t it make you think of narcissism instead?
Let’s face it: There’s no chance that a kid called Nymphadora will make it out of school without bullies calling her “Nympho Nymphadora.” She might be able to own it, or she might blame you for it.
While Peeves is perfect for a mischief-making poltergeist, it is not so great for a human child.
If you want a floral Harry Potter name, try Lily, Lavender, or Fleur. There is no need to honor any of the Dursleys.
Never mind the stress of being possessed by the Dark Lord; with a mouthful of a moniker like Quirinus Quirrell, no wonder the ill-fated professor stumbled over his words.
Fantastic as Lupin the character was, his name sounds like a brand. Who can blame him for having his friends call him Moony instead?
Fictional or not, a bigoted psychopath is just not who you should name your little one after.
I have no issue with the meaning of the name — one who loves what is different or foreign. What gets me, however, is knowing that any kid saddled with this name is looking forward to decades of having to spell it out and correct the pronunciation. It gets old.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; Giphy (14)