The One With A Whole Lot Of Pain And Not A Whole Lot Of Coincidences
Is it a co-incidence that one of Voldemort’s most loyal Death Eaters, a dangerous witch and skilled duelist was named, Bellatrix, when bell is a Latin root meaning war which combined with the suffix -atrix literally translates into, “female warrior”? Is it also purely accidental that Malfoy, a name widely associated, in the wizarding world, with being (pardon me for the lack of usage of a more eloquent word) shady, is derived from the French phrase mal foi meaning, “bad faith”? How about the fact that Remus Lupin- a member of the Order of the Phoenix, Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts and a werewolf- was so named, considering lup is a Latin root referring to a wolf. Bonus: did you know that there exists an autoimmune inflammatory disease called lupus erythematosus? It is so called as the thirteenth century physician Rogerius, described the erosive scaly red patches characteristic of this disease to be reminiscent of a wolf’s bite.
Perhaps my favourite of these “coincidences” is how the woman described as “judgmental, prejudiced and sadistic” by pottermore.com, who was responsible for Harry’s agony, as “I must not tell lies,” gets engraved into his skin is apty named Dolores Umbridge, dolor meaning, “pain”, something she certainly inflicted on all those around her.
Made by Shimul Goel
As for the obligatory nerd pun of the month I pose the question, wouldn’t it be nice if life was less dolor and a lot more dollar?
Taking forward the ongoing theme of pain, Sectumsempra, a spell that features in that moment in all of cinematic history, that Drarry shippers reminisce with the most sadness- when Harry successfully uses the spell on Draco in Half-Blood Prince– is derived from Latin sectum, “having been cut” (notice how words like section, sector, insect sound awfully similar), and semper meaning, “ever.”
“Voldemort raised his wand, and before Harry could do anything to defend himself, before he could even move, he had been hit again by the Cruciatus curse. The pain was so intense, so all-consuming, that he no longer knew where he was… white-hot knives were piercing every inch of his skin, his head was surely going to burst with pain; he was screaming more loudly than he’d ever screamed in his life — ”
Crucio, also known as the torture curse, derives it’s name from Latin, crux, cruc- meaning, “cross” which possibly became synonymous with torture after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as is evident with the the usage of the English word “excruciating” to describe pain. Next in the line of the Unforgivable Curses, Avada Kedavra, the killing curse, comes from an Aramaic phrase that means, “I destroy as I speak.” Interestingly, the word abracadabra, also Armaic in orign, means the exact opposite, “I create as I speak.”
To conclude, I vaguely paraphrase the famous quote by Detective James Gordon in The Dark Night Rises, “As etymology enthusiasts, we’re not allowed to believe in coincidences.” Remember kids, it’s not wingardium leviosa-ar.
It’s wingardium levi- oh my god the amount of thought JK Rowling, an etymological genius, put into the nomenclature of Harry Potter spells and characters needs to be appreciated more– sa.
Aditi Wakhlu, The First Of Her Name, Breaker of Societal Norms, Queen of Sarcasm, Master of Puns, etymology freak, debater, videographer, violinist. This spoken-word-fanatic, who is an unusual combination of a lazy perfectionist, has a wonderfully appeasing sense of aesthetics. Her sense of political correctness and taste in music is in its most literal sense of the term, award-worthy.
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