The Akashic Record: Notes


Characters can be looked up by both first and last names (when both are known). Etymology for each part of a name is given in its respective entry; other notes will be found in the surname entries.

Book abbreviations and chapter numbers are given for the first appearances of minor characters.

Bracketed names denote my best guess at the full form of a first name, or the nearest thing I could find for a last name. In either case, the information given is for the bracketed name. For example, "Ron Weasley [Ronald]" means that I'm assuming Ron is short for Ronald. Parenthesized names are confirmed full forms of names.

All entries have name anchors, so you can link to any specific entry at any specific spoiler level. The format is<start-letter>[-book].html#<entry>
. The entry mentioned above, for instance, would be
for the full-spoiler version,
for the book 1 version, and so forth. Anchors for multiple entries on the same name-- for instance, the 8 different Weasley entries-- are distinguished by adding numbers; you'll need to check the HTML source for the exact anchor.

Reporting Biases

Much is not reproduced here. Multiple interpretations are possible in many cases, and when dealing with minor characters there is sometimes no one clear choice based on what we've seen of them so far. And Rowling has stated on many occasions that she collects unusual names she's seen, so it's always possible that a name has no deeper meaning than it just sounds interesting.

She's also said that she uses saints' names, so saints have been given preference over other possible first-name sources; and that she uses British place-names, though a lot of British surnames derive from place-names anyway, so it's frequently impossible to tell from out here whether she was thinking of the place or not.

So, if you can come up with a convincing reason why the source of a name is different from what I've listed here, I'm more than willing to listen!

Abbreviations & Sources

Non-Web sources appear mainly courtesy of the reference section of the Beaverton City Library, with a couple supporting contributions from the Multnomah County Central Library. Sources aren't specifically cited for every bit of information I got from them; instead, I've tried to clearly note all the places where I'm going with a wild guess...

CoS: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
A Dictionary of Muslim Names, Salahuddin Ahmed, NYU Press, 1999
Encyclopedia Americana, 2nd edition (Used for the earlier etymology-only version of this reference, when the library was missing a volume of EB)
EB: Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, 1998 (Main source)
An Encyclopedia of Fairies by Katharine Briggs, Pantheon Books, 1976 (Good source for British folklore)
ECN: The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names by E. G. Withycombe, Oxford University Press, 1977 (Note for American readers: "christian" in this context means not a name specific to Christianity, but just a given name-- i.e., name christened with.)
GoF: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
A Dictionary of First Names by Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, Oxford University Press, 1988 (New primary given name source)
HH: A Dictionary of Surnames by Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, Oxford University Press, 1988 (Primary surname source)
The Lore of Flowers, Neil Ewart, Blandford Press, 1982
OED: Oxford English Dictionary 2nd edition (Main linguistic source)
OEW: The Origins of English Words, Joseph T. Shipley, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984 (A minor source, actually, but it deserves mention here because it's a fun book and is partially to blame for the style of this reference.)
OotP: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Oxford Latin Dictionary, Clarendon Press, 1968
PN: The Penguin Dictionary of Proper Names, John Paxton, Viking Penguin, 1991
PoA: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
PS: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (The title of the first book everywhere but in the US.)

Also assorted trivia I've accumulated over the years, some Rowling interviews that you'll find links to where they're cited, and too many foreign-language dictionaries to name.

Corrections, Contributions, etc.

You'll find, as you browse, that I haven't been able to explain absolutely every name... so if you happen to know something useful or interesting that ought to be in here, let me know! Also let me know if you'd like your name mentioned or not.


Links have been booted out to their own page.
Petréa Mitchell