In a previous episode we talked about the fun that fans have had searching for anagrams in the Harry Potter books, and how they fueled fan theories back when the series was still in progress. One popular pastime was hunting for anagrams in character names and wondering whether they could hold any clue to the character’s future plot line or back story. While these may not have proved to have predictive power in the end, in some cases they were curiously appropriate, and in all cases, were a lot of fun.
For example, discovering that Ollivander anagrams to ‘An Evil Lord’ led to much wild speculation about the part the wandmaker might play in the saga, although that certainly turned out to be mischaracterisation. However, rearranging the letters in Albus Dumbledore gives you ‘Blamed Old Rubeus’ which it could be argued is an accurate summation of some of the plot of Chamber of Secrets. Meanwhile, Arthur Weasley transforms into ‘We Salute Harry’ which certainly seems appropriate, although why Dean Thomas should be ‘Man So Hated’ remains a mystery.
In retrospect, we should all have made the Peter Pettigrew is Scabbers connection much earlier. The clue is right there in his name. A quick readjustment and we have ‘Tip: Pet We Regret.’ A sentiment I’m sure we can all agree with.
Seeing that Nymphadora Tonks is an anagram for ‘On Hand to Mark Spy’ led many readers to believe she would be putting her metamorphmagus skills to good use as some kind of undercover agent, a prediction which ultimately did not bear fruit. And contributing to the long-running debate about the loyalties and motivations of Snape was the fact that ‘Severus Snape’ can be transformed into ‘Save Pureness.’ Was Snape, or were his his motivations, pure? That’s an argument for another day.
One thing’s for sure, while J.K. Rowling certainly chose her character names with great care, even she couldn’t have deliberately planned all these weird and wonderful anagram associations. At least, I don’t think she could!
In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, just a couple of minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.
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Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License