2005-08-05

Mwahahahahahah!

I just found out from a Time Magazine interview that J. K. Rowling pronounces her villain's name with a silent final t. My middle name is pronounced German fashion, with the initial letter like an English v.

Sincerely yours,

John Woldemar Cowan

5 comments:

Wolf550e said...

Is Woldemar related in any way to Russian (Slavic?) "Vladimir"? If so, we could have something in common...

John Cowan said...

It seems very likely, though I don't know for sure. I'm named after my grandfather, Woldemar Schultz, whose family lived in the Russian Empire for centuries.

My grandfather eventually moved to Germany just in time for World War I to break out, when he was promptly drafted into the German army as a translator. He spent the war, according to family tradition, telling Ukrainian POWs they would be shot the next day. (I don't know if they were or not.)

After that, he married my grandmother, moved to the U.S., and eventually sent for my mother, who arrived here in 1931.

Uche said...

Funny. Lori pointed the same article out to me as a matter of passing interest. I told her I'm not surprised because I'm betting Rowling was trying to be cure with the name, stitching a bit of Old English (drunken Germanic, really) in "wolde", "wanted" (3rd person sing IIRC) and mort, "death" from Norman. Of course, it's a crazy combination, but what d'ya want from a fount of bookish teen witch tales?

John Cowan said...

We discussed this in #swhack, but for the record, the usual assumption is that Voldemort is simply French vol de mort 'flight from death'.

John Cowan said...

It seems that Woldemar is a German variant of Waldemar (the name of several Danish kings), and that the name indeed has the same origin as Vladimir: wald- 'ruler' (volod- in Russian) + meri 'famous'.