Why Did Harry Name His Kid Albus Severus Anyway?

Ever since the first fans read the epilogue, there has been debate over Harry’s name choices, particularly for his youngest son – why Albus Severus? Why name his daughter after Luna and neglect to name her after Hermione, who is arguably a much closer friend to Ginny and Harry? And why on earth would Harry name his eldest after two of the Marauders? He was asking for trouble with that one. So what did he choose those names for? What makes Severus such a good name for a kid anyway?

Let’s start with Albus: While Dumbledore was not always clear or direct with Harry, and while Rita Skeeter’s biography made Harry doubt his hero, there’s no doubt that Dumbledore impacted Harry more than any other adult in his life. Dumbledore took Harry under his wing when he had no obligation to do so. Even after Dumbledore died, he helped Harry defeat Voldemort. Harry treasures kindness and bravery above all else, and Dumbledore exemplified those traits better than anyone. Harry knew he was a flawed man and admired him anyway – I think Harry feels the same way about his children.

More troubling to many is Albus Potter’s middle name. After all, Snape was horrible not only to Harry but also to his friends, for seven years – Harry finds out Snape loved his mother, and Harry forgives him? I doubt this is what Harry thought. Again, Harry is a true Gryffindor for his love of courage above all else: Snape was brave to double cross the most dangerous wizard in the world, and Harry knew that. Even if he didn’t raise his children to be petty and vindictive, he certainly raised them to treasure bravery and love, which Snape exemplified, if imperfectly. But Harry, in choosing the names of such deeply flawed men for his son, proved that imperfection is okay: the Potter books are full of deeply flawed heroes (Sirius, Remus, Harry himself) who teach Harry a lot about courage and love despite their mistakes.

Harry named each of his children after individuals who exemplified bravery, in different ways: Snape, willing to die for love; Dumbledore, who chose to die for the greater good; Lily, James, and Sirius, all devoted to protecting Harry, even when it was dangerous; and Luna, whose bravery is in her courage to be herself in the face of a world that said she was crazy. Courage comes in all shapes and sizes, and Harry imparted this lesson on his children with every name he chose.