Vol. 60 No. 3 (2012)
Research Article

Mythic and Occultist Naming Strategies in Harry Potter

Published 2012-09-01



This article looks at the names used in the seven bestselling Harry Potter novels by J. K. Rowling. The names reverberate with mythic and occultist meanings that complement the characterizations and that, arguably, even guide the narratives themselves: that is, the events in the stories are determinable in part by the names of the characters, which constitute metaphorical cues to the storylines. The naming patterns in the books, in effect, revive the mythic past for the contemporary world in ingenious ways.


  1. Barthes Roland. 1957. Mythologies. Paris: Seuil.
  2. Brønsted Katrine, Dollerup Cay. 2004. The Names in Harry Potter. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 12(1): 56–72.
  3. Colbert David. 2001. The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths. Tamarac, Florida: Lumina Press.
  4. Danesi Marcel. 2002. The Puzzle Instinct: The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  5. Danesi Marcel, 2009. X-Rated! The Power of Mythic Symbolism in Popular Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  6. Jung CarlG. 1956. Analytical Psychology. New York: Meridian.
  7. Knowles Elizabeth. 2006. A Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  8. Lévi-Strauss Claude. 1978. Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  9. Lydon Christopher. 1999. J. K. Rowling Interview (transcript). The Connection (WBUR Radio), October 12 1999.
  10. Room Adrian. 1995. Dictionary of First Names. London: Cassell.
  11. Rowling JK. 1997. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Raincoast Books.
  12. Rowling JK. 1998. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Vancouver: Raincoast Books.
  13. Rowling JK. 1999. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Vancouver: Raincoast Books.
  14. Rowling JK. 2000. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Vancouver: Raincoast Books.
  15. Rowling JK. 2003. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Vancouver: Raincoast Books.
  16. Rowling JK. 2005. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Vancouver: Raincoast Books.
  17. Rowling JK. 2007. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine Books.
  18. Vico Giambattista. 1984. The New Science of Giambattista Vico. Trans. and ed. Thomas G. Bergin and Max Fisch. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  19. Withycombe Elizabeth Gidley. 1977. The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press.