Posts Tagged ‘ j.k. rowling ’

Cool Name of the Week: Cormoran

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

I’ve written before about J.K. Rowling’s naming prowess. Her names from Harry Potter are legendary—Severus Snape, Remus Lupin and the like are perfect names that say something about the character before they even speak! And even in Casual Vacancy, her first “grownup” book, she had some good ones.

So I found it interesting that she picked a pretty bland name—Robert—for her pen name when she tried to publish her first mystery novel in secret. (It’s called The Cuckoo’s Calling, in case you want to take a look.) But now that the secret’s out, we can analyze her name selections, which once again befit the novel and the characters that populate it. There’s the alleged victim, Lula Landry, a supermodel with a bit of a bad-girl streak, and the trusty assistant Robin (perhaps a nod to Batman’s trusty sidekick?). I’m loving the name she saved for her detective hero best, though—that’s Cormoran Strike, a former military man who’s dealing with a struggling detective agency, a bad breakup with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, an amputated leg, and a high-profile case, all at the same time.

Cormoran is a very uncommon name—it’s popular in Cornish myth, though, as the name of the giant who created the rocky outpost, St. Michael’s Mount, just off of the coast of Cornwall. He was allegedly felled by the legendary Jack the Giant Killer, and the treasure the giant had stolen from the Cornish people was returned to them. It’s the perfect name for Rowling’s hero—a large, stocky man who has a bold and brusque way of dealing with the world.

Cormoran would be an excellent choice for someone looking for an alternative to some of the more popular Celtic/English names—like Connor, Liam, and Cameron. It lends itself to a short-and-sweet middle name pairing—Strike would be an offbeat (and striking) choice, but you could also consider True, Lee or Rex with it.

What do you think of the name Cormoran? Too offbeat, or a cool alternative to some pretty popular names?

Don’t forget: If you have a baby name dilemma and need some advice, feel free to message me on my Facebook page, or email me at

Add a Comment

Cool Name of the Week: Gaia

Monday, October 1st, 2012

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, J.K. Rowling has a new (grown-up and decidedly un-magical) book out this week—Casual Vacancy. And as a big fan of both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s elegant prose, I couldn’t help but take a look. Especially because I’d like to see how an author like J.K. Rowling names people in the non-magical realm, where a name like Nymphadora or Draco would be a little less likely to fly.

And lo and behold, there are some intriguing names thus far (eight chapters in), mixed in amongst the blander Barrys and Howards. And my favorite, so far, is Gaia—the teenage girl who’s become an obsession for one of the upper-crust teen boys, Andrew. As you see her through two different characters’ eyes—through Andrew’s adoring sideways glances, and the disdainful view of Gavin, the boyfriend of her mother—you get every glorious wave of her hair described, or you get the sense that she’s an angry banshee of a teen who is (literally) out for blood.

Gaia is a Greek name for the goddess of the earth—which explains why it’s become popular among the environmentally inclined. And surprisingly, only one actor has used it for her daughter—Emma Thompson. Gaia would make a great alternative if you love uberpopular names like Mia, Layla and Maya—and don’t want your daughter to be the third one in her class.

With a name like Gaia, I’d like to keep with the environmental tone with the middle name, and choose a name like Lark, Fleur or Spring. If you have a short surname, you could even go with a longer middle name, like Persephone or Daphne.

Would you pick Gaia for a girl? And if you’re reading Casual Vacancy, what do you think so far?

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/

Add a Comment