April 24th, 2002

A Pocket Full of Murder

The Naming of Masters

OK, a couple of people have commented on and/or complained about this now, so I'm going to add something that I suppose should have gone in the Author's Notes for Lessons but which I didn't realize was going to become such an issue...

Master Polovtsy's name. No, it isn't a modern Russian name. It isn't even a remotely-near-modern Russian name. The Polovtsy were a nomadic tribe who invaded south-east Russia in the 11th century (more details here) and were given that name by the Rus living in the area at the time. But I never said Polovtsy was of Russian descent, only that he was speaking Russian, which I decided was most likely to be the lingua franca of a school based in eastern Europe.

Remember, too, that although Karkaroff may have had a Russian name, Viktor Krum was Bulgarian; and Draco Malfoy spoke of almost having gone to Durmstrang himself, so they obviously accept students from all over the place. Plus, the name "Durmstrang" itself is not Russian either, but comes from the German sturm und drang, which suggests to me that the staff and students at the school are a pretty mixed lot.

So Master Polovtsy's name is odd, of uncertain origin, and has a buried historical connection. Gee, JKR has never done anything like that with her character names, now, has she? :) I just know so many British folks named "Albus" and "Severus", for instance...
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