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Harry Potter: hidden meanings revealed!

Have you heard people talk about "hidden meanings" in the Harry Potter books? Have you guessed some of them yourself? Here kidsworld reveals some of the hidden meanings from the first four stories. Once you start to look, you'll notice a lot more.

What's in a Name?

Albus Dumbledore Albus means white and bright in Latin, and the headmaster has silvery white hair and is very smart or "bright." Dumbledore is the Old English word for bumblebee. And bumblebees only sting when they need to --just like Dumbledore!

Draco Malfoy Draco means dragon in Latin. In French, mal means bad and foi means faith, so Malfoy translates into "bad faith." A nasty name for a nasty guy.

Hermione Granger Hermione is the name of a mythical character who was loved by two men. (Could the same thing happen between Ron and Krum?) There is also a character called Miss Granger in a book titled Frindle. Miss Granger is prim and proper, and forces people to obey the rules -- much like Hermione.

Lord Voldemort The words "I am Lord Voldemort" are an anagram (a phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another phrase) of his real name: Tom Marvolo Riddle. Vol de mort is French for "wish of death." Scary stuff.

Lucius Malfoy "Lucius" sounds a lot like "Lucifer," also known as the Devil. What does this tell you about Mr. Malfoy's character?

Peeves Another word for "peeve" is "annoy," and this pesky poltergeist definitely likes to annoy (or bug) people.

Professor Sprout A sprout is a young plant and Professor Sprout is the herbology teacher. Get it?

Ruebus Hagrid Hagrid Ruebus was a Greek god whose name meant "The Giant of Jewels." He was the kindest of the gods, but when the god Hades framed him, the god Zeus took pity on the poor giant and gave him a job as the keeper of godly beasts on Olympus. Doesn't this sound like what happens in the second book? (Voldemort frames Hagrid for opening the Chamber of Secrets, and Dumbledore makes him gamekeeper at Hogwarts.)

Animal Antics

Crookshanks Author J.K. Rowling described Crookshanks as "bowlegged." Perhaps she gave him the name because "crooked shanks" means "crooked legs."

Hermes Hermes is the name of Percy's owl. In Greek mythology, Hermes was the messenger of the gods and Percy does think highly of himself.

Rita Skeeter A "rita" is a type of beetle or bug. Another bug, a mosquito, is sometimes called a "skeeter." This is the perfect name for someone who bugs the heck out of people!

Ron Weasley A weasel is a small mammal with reddish brown fur and a long body. Ron is tall with red hair. Hmmm.

Word Foolery

Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley If you say either of these as one word, you get diagonally and nocturnally. Nocturnal means "of the night" and Knockturn Alley is a dark, scary place. A diagonal angle is also known as an oblique angle. Oblique can also mean obscure, which describes the hidden alley where young wizards shop for school supplies.

Crabbe and Goyle If you switch the first letters, you get what a snake does to its prey -- grab (grabbe) and coil (coyle). Great names for Draco Malfoy's slithery sidekicks.

The Mirror of Erised "Erised" spelled backwards is "desire." If you read the whole inscription backwards, it says: "I show not your face but your heart's desire."
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Author:Green, Judy
Publication:Kidsworld Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 2001
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