Harry Potter

Jul 24, 2008

Posted by John Admin

Now, I have to begin with Harry Potter. It’s his story. When I think of Harry the first thing that comes to mind is a boy that never wanted to be a hero. A boy that didn’t want fame. He just wanted to be Harry. Even though he felt that way he never shied away from what he had to do. Does the name “Harry” actually go with this character? What’s in a name? What’s in this name?

The name “Harry” is the English version of “Henry”, which comes from the German name “Heimiric”. When you break down “Heimiric” you get heim, meaning “home” and ric meaning “power, ruler”. Quite interesting already, right?

What’s the Prophecy say? “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…”

Harry’s the one with the power. He had the power to destroy Voldemort, he also had the power to turn his back on the whole Wizarding World as well. For me that’s where the “home” comes in. Deep down he knew that where he was with the Dursley’s wasn’t his true home. He even said it at the end of PS/SS. His real home is with the Wizarding world where he was destined to have power over Voldemort.

Another name that “Harry” comes from is “Harold”. This comes from the Old English name “Hereweald”, which means “leader of the army”. Dumbledore’s Army, anyone? We all know he was the leader of that, and of the trio as well.

So, pretty obvious stuff to start off with, right?

How about Potter? Does that have anything to do with Harry’s overall character like the name “Harry” does? A lot of surnames, in the past, actually told what you did for a living. Like if you have the last name of “Smith” your ancestors were either blacksmiths, coppersmiths, etc. So, when I think of “Potter”, I think of pottery. The actual meaning of “Potter” is “one who makes earthen vessels”. Maybe J.K. just liked the name Potter.

“Earthen vessels” just sticks out to me, though. Maybe I’m reading to much into it but it makes me think of Horcruxes. It’s the whole vessel thing. We know Harry never made a Horcrux, but he was a vessel for a piece of Voldemort’s soul.

But, wait, let’s put all the meanings together in a sentence. “The ruler with the power over the one who makes earthen vessels.” or “The leader of the army that rules with the power over the one that makes earthen vessels.” That’s Harry and his story in a nutshell…roughly. I’m kind of stretching a bit. Not all the Horcruxes were earthen vessels. There were of course two. Harry and Nagini. Maybe we should rework the sentence.

“The earthen vessel with the power to rule.” The power to rule over the Dark Lord. Which ever way you put it it describes Harry and his story. I prefer this last sentence more so than the other two, I guess.

What do you guys think? let me know. I’m really interesting in seeing your comments. :)

Thanks to Behind the Name: the Etymology and History of First Names and Behind the Name: the Etymology and History of Surnames for all the great information!

5 Responses to Harry Potter

Avatar Image says:

That’s really interesting! I’ve pored over etymology before, but had somehow overlooked Harry’s name…don’t know how that happened. Thanks!

Avatar Image says:

Awesome post! I love the idea of Harry being an earthen vessel for the horcrux. Great blog!


Avatar Image says:

Wow that is really interesting. Also in Christianity God is often referred to as the Potter – in that he forms and molds His creation. I’m not saying that Harry is God, but Jo has said that the story has ties to the Christian faith. Just another little insight into Harry’s name.


Avatar Image says:

Great blog! Are you going to keep going into depth of each character’s name? Because I’d love that… I’m very fascinated by name etymology.

Avatar Image says:

Yes, I will, Alpha Tauri. That’s what my blog’s about. I’ll have to come back to “Harry Potter” at a later time, though. Thanks for the tip, Molly. Everyone, thanks for the kind words! I think I’m going to post every Wednesday. So, stay tuned!

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