A Man Named Fudge

fudgeNo, this isn’t a post about the strange cognitive feel brought into the Harry Potter books by having a character named “Cornelius Fudge”, which fit right into the sort of jolly, light-hearted feel of the first few books but which seemed increasingly strange as the books got darker and the character himself changed from benignly semi-competent to personifying the banality of evil.  But that has always bugged me, so maybe I’ll post about it later (see also: Dumbledore).

Anyway, this man called Fudge is a real person, who used to work at a Coldstone Creamery, and who was recently caught stealing delicious treats from his old workplace.  So clearly, what we’ve got here is a larger point about the destiny of names.  And of the difference between fantasy and reality.  It is all fine and well for JK Rowling to name a character “Cornelius Fudge” and make him a collaborator with a murderous, genocidal lunatic of great power.  But here in the real world, if someone with a name like that goes bad he’ll likely end up stealing desserts.

There’s a lesson here, both for parents thinking of names for their children (granted in this case “Fudge” was a last name, but they could have changed it before having kids.  And don’t get me started about the people, immortalized on a tombstone I used to walk by frequently with the last name “Burger” who named their unfortunate child “Hammond”), but also for authors.  The handy thing about being an author is that we can pick names willy-nilly, without being constrained by wanting to honor great-aunt Ethel or being saddled with boring family names.  So we can choose names appropriate to the setting and feel of the plot.  So take care to avoid the tragic mistake of JK Rowling, lest you be condemned to struggle along like her in the literary world.


~ by smwilliams on October 3, 2013.