Did you know that when picking a name for your unborn child that everyone has an opinion? Think I am exaggerating? Well, I am not. Even the cashier at the grocery store had suggestions and opinions concerning my name choices, and our relationship spanned all of five minutes, when she noticed my belly and proceeded to ask the holy trinity of questions pregnant women are asked.
When is your due date?
Do you know if it’s a boy or girl?
Have you picked a name yet?
The first two questions are easily answered, the last question has to be answered carefully, and with the knowledge that anything you say; can and will be used against you to tell you why the name you spent months carefully selecting is in fact, the WORST name you can give a child.
If I listened to everyone who had an opinion on what I should or should not name my son, he would end up never being named and would forever be referred to as “He who shall not be named” which would bring up its own set of problems.
No one wants the most powerful dark wizard as a son. Well, maybe some parents do, but they are obviously Slytherins. I am a Ravenclaw (officially sorted by the sorting hat, numerous times in fact since I wanted to be in Gryffindoor, but the sorting hat knows all and this girl is a true Ravenclaw).
So as a Ravenclaw, I did what we do best: researched and studied various name origins, noted references to those names in popular culture, literature, and history, created a spreadsheet with name meanings, possible nicknames, as well as current popularity rankings, and lastly entered into long discussions with friends and family about names.
In the end, I actually did pick a name from the Harry Potter Books, although I did not know that when I selected the name. Yep, my son will be named Phineas. I will let you Potterheads figure out which character had that name in the book.
When people ask, “Why Phineas?” the story is a little complicated. I like the name Phineas and I thought it was the name of the main protagonist in the Jules Verne book, “Around the World in 80 Days.” However, after some research (classic Ravenclaw!) I discovered that some of the English translations of the books had gotten the name wrong and the character’s name was actually Phileas (which I did not like).
However, I DID know for a fact that Phineas was the name of a time traveler in the 1980’s sci-fi series I used to watch and loved: Voyagers!
This coupled with the name’s meaning of “Oracle” and I knew this was the perfect name for my son. Additional bonus to the name is I can call him Phin, which sounds like the name of a main hero in a science fiction story, maybe even a science fiction story I write!
And yes, I have had people criticize the name. Say it sounds like a nerd name (uh thank you! best compliment ever!) or that people will not know how to pronounce or spell it (I will dumb down my son’s name for others, read a book!) I have been told that he will be teased in school with a name like Phineas (every kid is teased in school for something, because elementary aged children can be horrible monsters).
Because my son will understand how awesome a name he has, and I will teach him the importance of ignoring the “haters” or those who try to make you fit into their definition of “cool”
He will truly know and understand the beauty and freedom of “embracing you weird” even if that weird is just his name.