Harry Potter Characters Names Inspired by Mythology

Niina Pekantytär

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As all Harry Potter fans know J.K.Rowling has the magical talent to come up with great character names. Interestingly enough many of the Harry Potter characters are named after gods and goddesses of the ancient world and in many ways, these particular characters share the same traits as the deities they were named after.

Hermes God of Thieves and Alchemy

Hermione is the brightest student of all Hogwarts. According to J.K.Rowling Hermione was named after a character in Shakespeare´s play Winter´s tale. However, the name Hermione is derived from the Greek god Hermes. Hermes was the second youngest Olympian god. He was the son of Zeus and a nymph called Maia. He was the patron god of herdsmen, thieves, the marketplace, merchants, travellers, boundaries, public speakers, heralds and graves. Hermes could travel between worlds; both mortal and divine. He was a god who wore golden sandals and he had a staff called Caduceus that had two snakes entwined into it. His name Hermes means putting things together which also made him the god of logic and analytical thinking. During the classical era of ancient Greece Hermes became the patron god of magic, magicians and alchemy. This begins to sound more like our Hermione. She is no stranger to stealing either. Do you remember how in her second year at Hogwarts Hermione stole ingredients from Snape´s cabin to make the Polyjuice potion?

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Minerva Goddess of Wisdom

Minerva McGonagall is the professor of transfiguration and the Head of Gryffindor house, Deputy Headmistress and later on became the Headmistress of Hogwarts. She is also a registered animagus and can transform herself into a cat. According to Harry Potter, Wikia Minerva was named after her grandmother. A talented witch also named Minerva.

In Roman mythology, Minerva is the goddess of wisdom, poetry, medicine, arts, trades, handcrafts and strategic warfare. Origins of Minerva lie in Greek myths and stories about Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, warfare and shape sifting. Athena was the protector goddess of Athens, a city that was named after her. The birth myth of Minerva also follows the birth myth of Athena. According to the myth, her mother was Titaness Metis, goddess of thinking and knowledge and her father was Jupiter/ (Roman) Zeus (in his Greek form) the ruler god of the skies. Minerva burst from Jupiter´s head fully armoured. Minerva´s symbol was the owl, an animal that represented hidden knowledge, learning and wisdom. Like all deities in Greko-Roman myths, Minerva also had the ability to change her form and most often she took the shape of an owl. She was also known as Minerve Medica, goddess of medicine and physicians.

In the battle of Hogwarts Minerva McGonagall was one of our heroes fearlessly leading troupes into the battle to fight against Voldemort. She is also one of the most famous hat-stallers. Sorting hat spent a good five and a half minutes pondering whether Minerva ought to go to Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. She is both smart and brave.

Luna Goddess of the Moon and Imagination

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Luna is one of my favourite characters in Harry Potter books. Her name comes from the Roman goddess Luna who was the goddess of the moon and her Greek counterpart was Selene. Luna means moon in Latin and is derived from the Latin word “lucere” meaning shine. Luna was a minor goddess who was seen in three aspects as part of the triple goddess (diva triformis) consisting Luna, Hekate goddess of witchcraft and Proserpina goddess of fertility. Luna was seen as the goddess of the moon, dreams, sacred feminine and imagination. Other well-known goddesses connected to the moon in Roman myths were Juno, goddess of warfare and sacred unions and Diana, goddess of the hunt. In Roman mythology, Luna is the female complement of the sun (Sol). She was believed to be a beautiful young woman who would ride across the night sky in a chariot pulled by shining horses or ox´s which were sacred animals to her. In Harry Potter books Luna is an eccentric young woman who is not afraid to be herself. Sometimes other people made fun of her and called her Loony Lovegood. Words meaning mad like loony and lunatic are also derived from the word Luna. Back in the days, lunatic was a specific word to describe someone who was especially affected by the full moon making them a bit insane. Maybe Luna is a bit loony but she has a heart of gold. She is very loyal to her friends and there is a bright aura around her. One of the symbols of the moon goddess is the hare. I´m sure you can all remember that in the Harry Potter book´s Luna´s Patronus is also a hare.

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Pomona goddess of fruit trees, gardens and orchards

Professor Sprout who´s full name is Pomona Sprout is the motherly leader of the Hufflepuff House. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty and loves everything that grows. Professor Sprout was named after a goddess who was not too different from her. Pomona was a Roman goddess of fruit trees, gardens, orchards, fertility and abundance. In Greek myths, she is often associated with Demeter, goddess of grain and harvest. In the ancient port of Rome, there was a sanctuary dedicated to Pomona called Pomonal. Pomona was a wood nymph and her name originates from a Latin word for an orchard fruit. According to the legend she was courted by two woodland gods Silvanus and Picus but in the end, she married Vertumnus, Roman god of seasonal change. In ancient Rome, a festival was held to honour Pomona and Vertumnus on August 13th. Pomona was often depicted holding a bowl of fruits or the cornucopia, an eternal symbol of abundance in her hands.

Parvati Goddess of Universal Energy

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Parvati and Padma Patil are twin sisters and students at Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry. Parvati is in the Gryffindor house while her sister the Padma is in Ravenclaw. In Hindu mythology, Parvati was the feminine form of shakti, the universal life force, pure divine energy. She was married to Shiva god of war and lord of the dance. Parvati was the daughter of the mountain king Himavan (also known as Parvat) and queen Mena. King Himavan was the personification of mount Himalaya, therefore, the name Parvati implies she of the mountain. Parvati was also told to be the sister of the god Vishnu and the river goddess Ganga (who´s after the river Ganges is named). Parvati was the mother of Ganesha, the half-human, half-elephant god of luck and success. She represents creativity, love, devotion, determination, the fertility of the earth and spiritual connection. The Padma, on the other hand, means lotus which is the symbol of the goddess in Hindu legends.

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Folklorist and historian. Alcott essayist. A host of the Little Women Podcast.

Finland, MN
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