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Random Potter annoyances - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Random Potter annoyances
I do still read and listen to these books, even if I'm not writing in the fandom anymore.

So...
1. Why in the name of God does Jim Dale give Bellatrix and Narcissa a French accent? From her first book, we knew Bellatrix was Hogwarts educated, even if the timeline was fuzzy. Later on, we find that she's a British witch named Black. So... why did no one say, "Uh, Jim? The Normans were long gone by the time Bellatrix came around..." Heck, even her husband was mentioned as a Hogwarts student, so he wasn't French either, despite the name.

2. Wouldn't Ollivander remember her as Bellatrix Black when identifying her wand, rather than as Lestrange?

3. How did the founders of Hogwarts have heritable surnames centuries before that fad caught on in Britain? How did this make any kind of historical sense? (This bugs me on the same level a the Rivera conundrum in Coco -- I can make it work because I have to, but why do I have to?)

4. Speaking of history, witch burnings coincided more with the Reformation era than the middle ages. So why were they focused on the middle ages in History of Magic?
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author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: June 8th, 2018 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

3. How did the founders of Hogwarts have heritable surnames centuries before that fad caught on in Britain? How did this make any kind of historical sense? (This bugs me on the same level a the Rivera conundrum in Coco -- I can make it work because I have to, but why do I have to?)


That bothers me too, and I can't even chalk it up to that being a genealogist thing, as it's pretty well known.

In my head, I've actually come up with the explanation that they were originally names of villages or associated family members, sort of an inversion of how surnames came to be. So Gryffindor could've been Godric, son of Gryffindor. (The way Thompson = son of Tom.) Over time, wizard historians simplified the names. But this is just all head canon. I guess it COULD be JKR's rationale, but my guess is that it's not. I mostly came up with it while posing a hypothetical Founders-era miniseries.

I think in reality, JKR tweaks with history, as there are a few things that just don't make sense in the context of UK history (and world history overall). It probably takes place in a bit of an alternate reality. (Sort of like Doctor Who.) After all, according to the HP timeline, in the year 1996 Britain would've had a mysterious, inexplicable cold, as well as a series of tragedies that were blamed on the PM. Clearly this never actually happened. So maybe we're to expect that even though Harry Potter takes place in "our" world, it's still very much a parallel.

Edited at 2018-06-08 06:53 pm (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 9th, 2018 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I can deal with the founders having surnames, or names that functioned as such -- they were important, and had probably gotten nicknames assigned. Maybe Helga's was a kind of quasi-insulting, quasi-affectionate one referring to her huffing and puffing around the garden, and maybe Godric had some kind of run in with a golden gryphon. Maybe Rowena had a raven's claw token of some kind, and Salazar got his slither-y nickname from snakes. (And look at me not being picky about the fact that "slither" doesn't really appear in the English language as such until a couple of centuries after the founding of Hogwarts! The Old English "Slid(e)rian" (Slide) would probably be pronounced fairly close to "Slytherin" anyway...and hey, maybe it was for the way he walked!)

It's the heritable part that makes me boggle. Rowena had a daughter named "Helena Ravenclaw." The Peverells, who were older than Hogwarts, had a shared name. That... doesn't work.

Edited at 2018-06-09 03:08 am (UTC)
mylla From: mylla Date: June 9th, 2018 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
As for 2, I think she's so infamous as Bellatrix Lestrange that it probably isn't weird that he would have shifted to thinking of her that way.
Even without the infamy, I know some people whose maiden names I've pretty much forgotten (even if I knew them very well long before they were married), while others I still call by their maiden names and struggle to think of in any other way.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 9th, 2018 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe. I guess I just figure he remembers people when they came in for their wands. Then again, he didn't tell Harry that "Tom Riddle" had once gotten a wand from him.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 10th, 2018 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe the Blacks were initially from the Channel Islands?
Not sure if there are folks from Jersey or Gurnsey who still have French-ish accents.
Grasping at straws here.

--- FFR
shiiki From: shiiki Date: June 13th, 2018 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, me too. I haven't written anything HP-related in ages, but it's always going to be my 'home' fandom, I think.

1. I don't think I've heard the Jim Dale version. It sounds normal enough on the Stephen Fry ones. I think it would definitely be weird to hear a French accent on her (or any of the characters aside from the actual French ones). It does make me wonder how much of a French heritage the families that seem to have French roots would retain, and if they would teach the language to their children in a sort of 'that's what makes us better than the rest' way. I remember there being something about Blacks speaking French because 'that's what they did' and I really liked that.

2. It may be a way of how surnames work over here? From what I've noticed, people don't tend to retain their maiden names quite as much as across the pond, though I imagine it is becoming more common now than it would have been when JKR was writing these.

With 3 and 4, I think the world-consistent explanation would be that norms in the magical community don't follow all that closely to those of the Muggle ones. We could come up with all sorts of theories about the surnames, like make they were titles that had power and thus were passed along to the next generation like an inheritance. Or that the Muggles picked up the surname trend from the magical community somehow.

As for history, I think I read something once about Muggle history getting way too much interference from memory wipes and the like that our version isn't the 'true' version of events. (I think that's fanon? It tends to blend together in the end.) I thought that a particularly clever way of making things fit.

(The real answer is probably JKR has plenty of bloopers in where the magical and Muggle world connect and probably wasn't expecting anyone to be delving so deeply into the world when she wrote!)
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