ASTRONOMY IN THE POTTERVERSE
Written By Ankita Karanjai
Rejoice Potterheads and Astrophiles! Here we are to scroll through the Harry Potter characters named after celestial objects and their personality resonance. Shall we?
If you are someone who we can call a ‘Harry Potter nerd’ with all due respect; you must be well versed with the main characters, side characters, their role in the story, and probably their appearances as well.
J.K. Rowling has not just written an incredibly detailed story, with sensible connections of minute past and future events, but has also named the characters inspired by real-life people, places, and astronomy. Of course, her touch of fantasy flair does the magic!
Let’s start with some of the most popular ones:
1 – Sirius Black
Sirius is the brightest star situated in the constellation ‘Canis Major’ and is also known as the Dog Star. Thus, Sirius Black could convert into a dog – his personality Patronus. Just like a dog, his ability to escape challenging situations, including the alleged escape from Azkaban speaks for itself.
2 – Bellatrix Lestrange
Bellatrix is the third brightest star in the Orion constellation. The name ‘Bellatrix’ also means female warrior, which does fit her character of being a violent yet brave fighter who was nothing less than the right-hand woman of Voldemort. Interestingly, the star Sirius always shines brighter than Bellatrix, which is sometimes related to the goodness and evil of the two cousins. But we will keep that for individual overthinking.
3 – Remus Lupin
The much-loved professor of defense against the dark arts derives his name ‘Lupin’ from the constellation Lupus. Lupus is also Latin for ‘Wolf’, so we guess you get the reference already. Even his nickname ‘Moony’ is a reference to werewolves and their relationship with the Moon.
4 – Draco Malfoy
Draco is one of the largest constellations in the far northern sky, listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy. In Latin, Draco means ‘dragon’ which is derived from the word ‘Draconem’ meaning ‘huge serpent’ – do you see how this fits so well? Dragons are known for being fierce and fearsome, which resembles his nature of being the school bully. However, dragons are also known to be protective of their families, which can be associated with Draco Malfoy’s battles against his conscience to steer along the legacy and protect his parents from the mishaps of going against Voldemort.
5 – Luna Lovegood
Luna is Latin for Moon. Her character has traits of calm and fascination, just like the Moon. Someone who can cause tides with her courage and spread light through her kindness in the dark moments, are both befitting of Luna’s personality.
6 – Regulus Arcturus
Sirius’s brother was named after not one but two stars! Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation of ‘Leo’ and Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation of ‘Boötes’. Does this imply that Sirius’s brother was twice as bright? Well, his choices and his journey don’t suggest so.
These are some of the popular ones, but many other characters from this fantasy series are named after celestial bodies. Quite a lot of them belong to the Black family tapestry. Tell us which of these characters you recall:
- Merope Gaunt: Tom Riddle’s mother, named after a star, located in the constellation of ‘Taurus’
- Alphard Black: Sirius’s uncle, named after the brightest star from the ‘Hydra’ constellation
- Andromeda Tonks: Sirius’s cousin, named after the ‘Andromeda galaxy which is the closest neighbor to our Milky Way
- Orion Black: Sirius’s father is named after the constellation ‘Orion’ which is clearly visible in the night sky from November through February
Now we know that everything that’s fictional is not non-existent you see! As Dumbledore once said: “Of course, it is happening inside your head… but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
That’s all we could think of. If you know about other characters or references of fictional stories in relation to astronomy, do share them with us in the comments below.