The fetishisation of nobility in names

Daniel R. Smith

When setting up this blog, I posted the famous words of Max Weber from ‘Science as a Vocation’, ‘ideas come when they please, not when they please us’. I did this as a sort of encouragement to write when even the strangest ideas please themselves. This post is a case in point.

Walking home yesterday evening, I was listening to the Harry Potter audiobook of The Deathly Hallows. As ever Hermione was explaining something to Ron and Harry. She told them that the Perverell brother’s – those who became the legend for origin of the deathly hallows (elder wand, resurrection stone, cloak of invisibility) – lineage had been ‘dead in the male line for centuries’. “What does that mean?” asked Ron, to which she said obligingly if a little coldly, “It means the name died out years ago.”

Hermione knows something about names being different to lineages and descent groups. Continue reading