The Snape formula.

I’m still enchanted by the Harry Potter saga even though it’s been weeks since I finished the last book. I’ve been left wondering how J.K. Rowling came up with the names of her famed characters such as Voldemort, Dumbledore Hagrid, and especially Snape.

I think I know how Rowling came up with “Snape”. It rhymes with “snake”, which makes sense considering the professor’s association with the House of Slytherin, whose symbol happens to be a snake. Rowling probably took the sharpest sounding consonant in “snake”, which is “k”, and shifted it 5 letters to the right to form “Snape”. I doubt she actually took this approach though, but it’s possible.

I decided to see what fantasy names I could conjure using this method, so I listed the names of some dangerous animals and shifted their consonants 5 letters to right to come up with completely different words, some of which could very well be characters in future Harry Potter novels while others are just plain weird.

Here’s what I came up with.

tiger = yiger
wasp = wasu
scorpion = shoruion
leopard = leouard
viper = aiuer
spider = suiier
octopus = ocyouus
hyena = hydea
hippopotamus = hiuuouoyamus
alligator = allilayor
mosquito = mosvuiyo

I also experimented with some other sinister words.

fart = fary
belch = gelch
barf = garf
stink = syinp
diarrhea = iiarrhea

I couldn’t resist experimenting with the seven words you can’t say on TV. No prizes for guessing the original words.


“Good morning class,” said the professor. “I am your new instructor, Professor Motherfuhper.”
Immediately there was a chorus of shrill screaming as the students panicked in unison. The screaming rang out of the classroom and echoed throughout the halls of Hogwarts, where even Peeves the Poltergeist could hear it.
“All that screaming,” Peeves said sadly, “and it’s not even me.”


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