Harry Potter Characters – Remus Lupin

J.K. Rowling uses lots of charactonyms throughout the Harry Potter series. Merriam Webster defines charactonym as “a name  for a fictional character  that suggests a distinctive trait of the character.”  In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is hired and his name is Remus Lupin. Lupin is very similar to the word lupine,  an adjective which means of or relating to a wolf.  Lupine comes from the Latin word lupus meaning wolf.  Lupin’s name betrays what he actually is, a werewolf! I like trying to decipher the charactonyms that J.K. Rowling uses in her books, because it makes the books more interesting and exciting.









Harry Potter Characters – Argus Filch

Let’s look at another example of how J.K. Rowling incorporates references to Greek mythology in the Harry Potter series.

Argus Filch is the despised caretaker of Hogwarts.  He is named after the Greek mythological character Argus Panoptes, the obedient watchman of Hera. Panoptes comes from the Greek roots pan- meaning all and -opt meaning eye or vision. Argus (the mythological character) had 100 eyes all over his body that enabled him to see everything around him at all times while Argus Filch seems to see everything that is out of place at Hogwarts at all times.  “Filch knew the secret passageways of the school better than anyone … and could pop up…suddenly” just in time to catch students breaking rules (Page 133). The students disliked him very much; Harry stated that something “even worse than Peeves, if that was possible, was the caretaker, Argus Filch” (Page 132).

Filch’s loyal companion was a cat named Mrs. Norris, who acted as another pair of eyes for him.  The students absolutely detested her because if they broke “a rule in front of her, put just one toe out of line, … she’d whisk off for Filch”(Page 132) and “…it was the dearest ambition of many to give Mrs. Norris a good kick” (Page 133) for she was so annoying.

Quotes cited from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Harry Potter Characters – Minerva McGonagall

J.K. Rowling uses references to mythological characters throughout the Harry Potter series. For example, the character Minerva McGonagall is named after the Roman goddess Minerva. Minerva is the goddess of wisdom and war; the Greeks called her Athena. Minerva (or Athena) is usually depicted holding the Aegis, her shield which bears the head of the terrible Medusa.

Minerva McGonagall is the wise and powerful Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As an expert in the difficult art of Transfiguration, Professor McGonagall can easily turn a table into a hog and a rat into a goblet. She can even transfigure herself into an orange tabby cat.

If I were fighting in a battle, I would want Minerva McGonagall on my side. In the Deathly Hallows, Minerva McGonagall fights bravely against Voldemort’s Death Eaters, never backing down. My favorite part is when Professor McGonagall wisely calls forth the statues and suits of armor to help defend Hogwarts. She shouts, “Hogwarts is threatened!” “Man the boundaries, protect us, do your duty to our school.”(pg. 602). Hundreds of statues, many brandishing swords and weapons, come alive and obey her.

Minerva McGonagall is both wise and fierce in battle, just like the Roman goddess.