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Fantastic Names & Where to Find Them: Lessons of Onomatology in Rowling’s Harry Potter Series

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Panel
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2:00 PM, Friday 15 Jul 2011 EDT (50 minutes)
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Formal Programming
Luna, Hermione, Merope, Alastor—if one were to ask where these names originated from, the response most commonly received today would undoubtedly be J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Few are likely to respond that these are several of many mythological figures, once household names to the ancient Greeks, and now fictional icons of popular culture. The characters do not merely carry the old names; they carry the very character of those who originally held those names. Just as Rowling utilized literary traditions for the development of the characters of her Wizarding society, we can employ the new literary world she created to pedagogically revive the traditions it was built on. Through exploring the onomatology of Harry Potter, today’s most popular wizards can lead us back to an education of the gods.

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