Did JK Rowlings name your cat?
Did she name your dog?
Did she name your grouper fish? Your chameleon? Your pot-bellied pig? Even maybe your pet rock?
Hermione. Harry. Ron. These are the easy ones. Easy enough to speak, easy enough to spell (excepting maybe Hermione for some) and easy enough to recognize. Because damn near everyone in the Western hemisphere knows from where those three names are derived. The magical universe of Harry Potter and his friends.
But Rowlings was a genius in so many ways, wasn’t she? One of my favourite elements of the HP series is the creative use of names that Rowlings deploys. And the funny thing is that, over the past fifteen years or so I have heard many of these names given to peoples’ pets. That’s right. If Rowlings needs yet another claim to fame (and isn’t being the richest woman in the world enough of a claim to indicate her mastery of the creative ebb and flow that surrounds us?), and I am not sure if she does, but IF she does, we could always cite her brilliant naming conventions as having an unforeseen enounter with western culture.
Because who, at the time of writing those books, could possibly have foreseen that so many HP fans would begin to look to her books for pet naming inspiration? I certainly wouldn’t have given it much thought. And I am quite convinced that JK herself did not sit there, pausing between thoughts and sentences, to daydream about how many dogs were soon going to be named Ginny or Severus or Albus? Or about how many cats would be called Draco or Kreature or Peeves? Or how many geccos, sitting still as a cat hunting a mouse inside their glass terrariums, would be offended by the names Lupin or Flitwick or Sprout?
And the best part about naming your pet after a JKRowlings HP character? The fact that there are so damned many of them in the complete seven books that you will never run out of naming ideas. Because there still Nagini, Ollivander, Dumbledore (just think of it — you will be the first on your block to have named your chinchilla after a gay professor!), Potter, Bellatrix, Dobby, Molly, Flitwick, Yaxley, Fenrir, Aberforth, and the list goes on. And on. And on.
So what are you going to do when your Black Lab has a litter of 12 puppies — besides pull your hair out and scream? Name them after Harry Potter characters to increase their perceived value and then price them accordingly and laugh all the way to the casino where you intend to increase your earnings five-fold, but instead lose it all at Blackjack.
Poker has never been your thing, now has it? But don’t worry. Your Lab will have another huge litter in about six months or so and you can start all over again. And guess what? There’s enough unique names in those books to find completely new ones for the fifteen new pups that your Lab just popped!
Disclaimer: I own two large dogs myself. A Black Lab — German Shepard mix named Dobbie, and a Border Collie — English Setter mix named Molly (Weasley).