Why Fred and George Weasley’s names were super important in the ‘Harry Potter’ series
On a weekly basis, it feels as though we’re learning at least one new tidbit of Harry Potter trivia – and we’re definitely not complaining!
Since J.K. Rowling continues to surprise us to this day, it’s safe to say that there’s a method to her madness. Specifically, there’s a reason for everything — including her characters’ names. While she has made several comments alluding to why she chose certain monikers for her literary creations (more on that later), other names are left for fans to guess at.
Alright, now let’s do some fact-checking. King George III did suffer from several physical and mental issues and, while he was blind, his doctors never specifically wrote down anything about him being deaf. However, there are certain historians who believe the King dealt with progressive deafness.
As for Frederick, Prince of Wales, he died a few weeks after his 44th birthday. The exact cause of his death isn’t known, but the general story is that he died of pneumonia after an abscess burst within his body. Some surmise that this ulcer was caused by a tennis, or cricket, accident, one where the ball hit Frederick and caused the abscess to form. Because of his sudden death, Frederick’s eldest son George III took over the throne.
If you compare Prince Frederick and King George III’s lives to Fred and George’s, the similarities are quite fascinating. In both cases, George had ear problems, Fred met an untimely death, and George was left to carry on the family’s legacy. (Interesting. Very interesting.) But, in terms of personalities, these four people couldn’t be more different. For instance, Prince Frederick’s mom said that her son was “the greatest liar and the greatest canaille and the greatest beast in the whole world.” (Okay then…)
Another interesting name story is behind both Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy’s titles. It’s not easy to forget that these two characters did not get along – especially after Arthur became known as a “blood traitor” because he didn’t believe in pure blood supremacy. The tension between these characters can be compared to the conflict between King Arthur and Roman emperor Lucius Tiberius, who was defeated during one of his last battles by none other than King Arthur.
The whole King Arthur theory becomes even more plausible when you research other Weasley names. For example, there’s Percy (or Percival Ignatius Weasley), whose name can be connected to Percival: one of King Arthur’s legendary Knights of the Round Table. Then, there’s Ginny. Her name is short for Ginevra, which, in turn, is short for Guinevere – the Queen in King Arthur’s world.
Rowling herself also had a lot to say about names when she was interviewed on WBUR Radio in 1999. “I’m big on names — I like names, generally. You have to be really careful giving me your name if it’s an unusual one, because you will turn up in book six. Some of them are invented; Voldemort is an invented name, Malfoy is an invented name, Quidditch is invented,” the author explains. “But I also collect them, from all kinds of places: maps, street names, people I meet, old books, old saints. Mrs. Norris, people will have recognised, comes from Jane Austen. Dumbledore is an old English word meaning bumblebee. Because Albus Dumbledore is very fond of music, I always imagined him as sort of humming to himself a lot.”
Okay, now we want to be friends with Rowling even more than we did before. Because we bet that she comes up with some awesome nicknames for her loved ones.
[Image via Warner Bros.]