Harry Potter Had This Surprising Effect on Baby Names
There’s no doubt that the world is still swooning over the Harry Potter series story line — we’re looking to snag a reservation at the Harry Potter restaurant opening April 7 at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As fans also gear up for the frenzy that is sure to ensue with this summer’s release of the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, we thought this would be a great time to investigate just what influence, if any, J.K. Rowling’s fabulously inventive character names have had on the baby naming world. Scroll through for the results and prepare to be enchanted all over again by these 25 characters that just might serve as the inspiration for your new baby’s name.
1. Andromeda: The year before the Harry Potter books were published here in 1998, the name Andromeda was given to just 15 girls in the US. Harry Potter appears to have had some impact on the name, doubling its current usage to around 30 babies a year.
2. Arabella: In 1997, the name Arabella was given to just 68 girls. By the time the eight films had been screened, Arabella was well into the Top 1,000 and was at an all-time high in 2014 at number 174.
3. Bellatrix: Bellatrix was given to fewer than five girls the year before Harry Potter hit the scene, but once Helena Bonham Carter brought the character to life on the screen in 2001, the name Bellatrix began to appear in the records. In 2012, the name was given to 12 girls in the US.
4. Cedric: Even the dashing good looks and appealing temperament of the martyred Cedric Diggory character have done nothing to stop the slide in popularity of this name. Since 1998, Cedric has fallen from number 419 to 785.
5. Charity: Given that Charity is such a peripheral character in the novels, it is unsurprising that the series has had such little effect on this name, which has continued to decline in popularity since its heyday in the 1980s.
6. Cornelius: The name of the bureaucratic and bumbling Minister of Magic has unsurprisingly not found many fans. From its position in the mid-700s in 1998, it has slipped completely out of the Top 1,000.
7. Demelza: This lovely Cornish name remains as underused as ever, despite appearing in Harry Potter as a minor character. In fact, it has never featured on the US name records, even outside the Top 1,000. Even in its native England, Demelza is rare; it was given to just five little girls in 2014.
8. Draco: Despite being such an unlovable character, Draco Malfoy appears to have had at least some impact on US names. Not seen before 1998, the year the books were first published in the US, Draco is now given to around 50 boys a year, one of whom is the son of actress Danica McKellar.
9. Godric: The name of the founder of Gryffindor house, Godric has gone from being an unused name (no record of it in the mid 1990s) to being a rare one by the time the movie series had ended, with 23 reported uses in 2012.
10. Harry: Here’s an evergreen favorite that has had a surprising decline in popularity in the US over the Harry Potter period. Not so in Harry Potter’s homeland, where Harry has climbed to third place in recent years.
11. Helena: Helena has always been on the popularity charts. Although Helena has climbed in popularity over the past two decades, it is unlikely that this is connected to it being the name of two Harry Potter characters, as her ratings were rising fast before the books were published.
12. Hermione: This name with Shakespearean roots was virtually unheard of in the US before the intelligent and courageous Hermione Granger bossed her way into our lives. In the last decade, between 40 and 70 little girls were being called Hermione each year.
13. Kingsley: This surnamey boys’ name was not seen in the US until 2009, when it entered the Top 1,000 — one year after the suave and cool Kingsley Shacklebolt made his very funky appearance in the Harry Potter movies. Kingsley is currently at its most popular level ever, reaching number 760 in 2014, still far behind Kingston, which is at 161.
14. Lavender: This fragrant botanical name appears to have remained impervious to Harry Potter influences. Its usage remains unchanged from the mid-1990s.
15. Lucius: Lucius is five times more popular now than it was the year before Harry Potter arrived in America. Now given to around 130 boys per year, this climb in popularity seems to be in spite of the malevolence of the Harry Potter character.
16. Luna: Luna is probably the greatest of the Harry Potter success stories. In the years before Luna Lovegood made her charming yet befuddled way into our lives, around 150 girls were named Luna each year. Last year, Luna was ranked at 147 on the US charts and was given to well over 2,000 baby girls. It seems to have followed a similar trajectory in England.
17. Marjorie: Marjorie had suffered from years of decline before falling off the US Top 1,000 in 1994. Its recent re-entry into the Top 1000 is probably not linked to its use as the unpleasant character of Marjorie Dursley — just more likely to be one of the latest vintage names to be dusted off.
18. Minerva: Minerva‘s usage remains unchanged from pre-Harry Potter days and would be likely used by US parents more as an homage to the Roman goddess of wisdom than the stern but lovable Professor McGonagall.
19. Myrtle: The character of Moaning Myrtle did not do this slightly dowdy name any favors. Unsurprisingly, Myrtle continues to be unheard of in the US name records, even outside of the Top 1,000.
20. Penelope: Given the relative obscurity of the Penelope Clearwater character, we can’t attribute Penelope‘s meteoric rise in popularity to the HP phenomenon, but more to its recent celebrity use. Penelope went from being well outside the Top 1,000 in the mid-1990s to being in the Top 50 by 2014.
21. Remus: It’s probably no accident that the first year that Remus appears in the US records is the same year that the character of Remus Lupin appeared on the scene. Only a handful of boys are named Remus each year.
22. Ronald: Even the charms of the incorrigible and lovable Ron Weasley have not managed to save Ronald from its slip from a Top 100 position in the mid 1980s to the position of number 397 in 2014. But this positive association might make this old-fashioned name easier for a little boy to wear.
23. Rufus: Rufus fell out of the Top 1,000 in the 1980s and has never regained its popularity, even though J.K. Rowling chose the name for the gruff and leonine second Minister of Magic.
24. Sirius: Until 2002, Sirius had never been recorded in the US name records. Since the rakish and careworn Sirius Black was introduced as the Prisoner of Azkaban (and Harry’s loving godfather), Sirius has been given to around 20 boys each year.
25. Zacharius: Unsurprisingly, the peripheral character of Zacharias Smith has had no impact on the popularity of this biblical name in the US, which continues to be given to around 50 boys a year.
Would you name your new baby after your favorite Harry Potter character name? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
This post was originally published on Nameberry by Linda Rosenkrantz and Esmeralda Rocha.
(Photo via Getty)