Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 02-21-2005, 12:27 AM
I Am the One Who Bans
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 78,234
Voldemort - what does the name mean?

I read somewhere that in French, it would mean "flight of death." (Vol de mort)
#2
Old 02-21-2005, 12:27 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 7,155
It's fictional. "I . A-M . L-O-R-D . V-O-L-D-E-M-O-R-T" is the anagram for "Tom Marvolo Riddle," his Hogwarts identity. Cite.

The "T'' is silent, incidentally.
#3
Old 02-21-2005, 03:34 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,657
Quote:
Originally Posted by Askia
It's fictional. "I . A-M . L-O-R-D . V-O-L-D-E-M-O-R-T" is the anagram for "Tom Marvolo Riddle," his Hogwarts identity. Cite.
OK, but Riddle was not even mentioned until Chamber of Secrets, whereas Voldemort is in the stories from the get-go. Can we be sure that Rowling didn't just invent the name Tom Marvolo Riddle as a convenient anagram of 'I Am Lord Voldemort' after deciding the villain would be called Voldemort (i.e. not until writing CoS)?

(Basing my entire post on the movies, BTW, as I haven't read the books, so there may be a modicum of egg upon my fizzog)
#4
Old 02-21-2005, 05:25 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Marina, CA
Posts: 2,646
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marley23
I read somewhere that in French, it would mean "flight of death." (Vol de mort)

Well, babelfish backs you up on that one.
#5
Old 02-21-2005, 05:59 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 7,155
Mangetout. How do you like your eggs? In the series' continuity young Tom Marvolo Riddle chooses "I Am Lord Voldemort" as an anagram of his true identity. The fact that it has also has an applicable French meaning might be happy coincidence -- there's no proof Rowling intended that, that I'm aware. Sorta like the unhappy irony of "Lorena Bobbit."
#6
Old 02-21-2005, 06:15 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 22,353
Quote:
Originally Posted by Askia
Mangetout. How do you like your eggs? In the series' continuity young Tom Marvolo Riddle chooses "I Am Lord Voldemort" as an anagram of his true identity. The fact that it has also has an applicable French meaning might be happy coincidence -- there's no proof Rowling intended that, that I'm aware. Sorta like the unhappy irony of "Lorena Bobbit."
But what evidence do you have that she invented the Riddle name before she invented "Voldemort"? Since she wrote the latter first, wouldn't Occam's Razor indicate that the former was derived from it, and not the other way around.

Similarly, I propose that the name "Superman" was invented before the name "Clark Kent", and "Batman" before "Bruce Wayne". I mean, it's not as if they said one day: "Look, I have an idea for a comic about a guy who dresses as a bat and fights cime. His name is Bruce Wayne - what should his secret identity be?"
#7
Old 02-21-2005, 06:15 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,657
So you're saying that Rowling definitely concieved Riddle before the name Voldemort? (I'm not about to argue, just wanting to be absolutely clear)
#8
Old 02-21-2005, 06:20 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 22,353
Of course not. I mean, "Marvolo?"
#9
Old 02-21-2005, 06:38 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 7,155
Alessan, Mangetout. It's irrelevent whether it was planned that way from the very beginning. The OP asked what does Voldemort mean. According to the backstory, revealed in Chamber of Secrets, the child born Tom Marvolo Riddle created the alias "Lord Voldemort" as an anagram of his name.

I certainly don't think Rowling intended for 'vol de mort' to mean, "flight of death." Rowling insists the correct pronounciation of 'Voldemort' is VOL-duh-more but that no one says it that way except her. French for death is morte, with a 't'.

Marvolo isn't too bad... consider "Hogwarts."
#10
Old 02-21-2005, 06:47 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,657
It may be irrelevant to the OP, but it isn't irrelevant to your first post, which could be taken to imply that Voldemort is a derivative of Riddle (i.e. in the mind of the author, rather than inside the fictional world), rather than the other way around.
#11
Old 02-21-2005, 07:06 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Marina, CA
Posts: 2,646
Quote:
Originally Posted by Askia
French for death is morte, with a 't'.

However, I've found many google hits on French pages, which seem to use "mort" for "death".
#12
Old 02-21-2005, 07:08 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: South of Toronto, Canada
Posts: 3,525
In French, "mort" would be pronounced "mor". Pronouncing the name VOL-duh-more makes it MORE likely to be derived from the french Voldemort, not less.
#13
Old 02-21-2005, 07:15 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 19,649
Askia: French for death is morte, with a 't'.

But no final "e", though: la mort = "death".

In French, vol de la mort could mean "theft of death", as well as "flight of death". Considering that Voldemort's obsession seems always to have been evading mortality, I think it's reasonable to infer that Rowling devised that name for him and then came up with his "real name", Tom Marvolo Riddle, to go along with it.
#14
Old 02-21-2005, 07:18 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Paris
Posts: 16,837
Quote:
Originally Posted by Askia
French for death is morte, with a 't'.

MortE is the feminine adjective (dead) : une femme morte : a dead woman

Mort is the masculine adjective (un homme mort : a dead man) and the noun (death)

In old french, the noun, being feminine, could be written "morte" : La morte d'Arthur = Arthur's death

Vol de mort would be correctly translated as "flight of death".
#15
Old 02-21-2005, 07:29 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 7,155
Still. The anagram isn't wrong. it's validated by the revelation in the plot.

Until Rowling validates it, the French translation is just a theory. Rowling's character names usually have a lot more wordplay.

My French needs work. But I was thinking of Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.
#16
Old 02-21-2005, 09:10 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: In flight
Posts: 4,074
Quote:
Originally Posted by Askia
Still. The anagram isn't wrong. it's validated by the revelation in the plot.

Until Rowling validates it, the French translation is just a theory. Rowling's character names usually have a lot more wordplay.
Oh, come on. Voldemort escapes almost certain death from a wand backfire or whatever, and his name means "flight of death" in French, and Rowling insists on pronouncing it as if it were that French phrase! What more do you want?

No one is saying that the anagram is wrong, just that it was probably thought up after the name Voldemort. Just think about how stupid the anagram is: "I am Lord Voldemort"? Come on. Obviously she had to stick the "I am" in there because she couldn't come up with a halfway reasonable anagram of Voldemort without it.
#17
Old 02-21-2005, 09:36 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Central Nebraska
Posts: 949
I think it all depends on whether we're discussing what Voldemort means in the author's world (and ours), or the character's world. Askia has offered the origin of Voldemort's name within the world of Hogwart's. Absolute is offering an interpretation of the name beyond the books (which, incidentally may offer additional insight to the books themselves). It's like arguing whether a penny has a picture of Lincoln's head or the Lincoln Memorial; it's two sides of the same coin.
#18
Old 02-21-2005, 11:23 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 19,649
Note that French vol de la mort could also mean "flight from death" (that's right, isn't it clair?), which is an even better summary of what Voldemort's all about. I'd be very surprised if the French meaning(s) of Voldemort's name turned out to be just a coincidence.
#19
Old 02-21-2005, 02:12 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Obamagon
Posts: 5,165
Voldemort is pronounced: 'he-who-must-not-be-named'

duh.

#20
Old 02-21-2005, 03:09 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 32
...

Considering that Rowling likes wordplay in her character names, would have learnt French at school, and speaks fluent Spanish, it would be incredible for her not to know what 'vol de mort' means. If you want to know what it would mean 'to the characters,' then at least some of them would be aware of the meaning too, as we know (or can easily find out) the meanings of such RL names as Potter, Granger, Smith, Beauchamp, Weingarten and so on.
#21
Old 02-21-2005, 04:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 240
I Believe JKR used to teach French for a living, and I've seen her speak pretty good French on TV. Probably not a coincidence !
#22
Old 02-21-2005, 05:01 PM
Charter Member
Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 72,719
First, no matter how much French Rowling does or does not know, it'd be difficult for any educated, well-read person not to associate "mort" with death. If you want a name to sound menacing, sticking "mort" into it isn't a bad choice. And whatever its meaning, "vol-" at the beginning of a name also has a somewhat menacing sound to it.

Second, in the world of the books, the name should still sound menacing and carry meaning. If all that Riddle wanted was an anagram, he could have come up with countless pronounceable possibilities, including some without the awkward "I am" or the inclusion of his middle name. But he not only wanted an anagram, he also wanted something which would inspire fear, so from among the myriad possibilities, he chose "I am Lord Voldemort".

Third, while Rowling has probably studied French, and could certainly look up a few choice words in it, I doubt that she's fluent. The school name "Beauxbatons", in Goblet of Fire, is apparently supposed to refer to wands, but a French officemate of mine tells me that "baton" in French is actually a staff. The word for "wand" should be "baguette" (yes, the same as the loaf of bread). This suggests to me that Rowling is basing her linguistics more on knowledge of English cognates than of knowledge of the other languages themselves.
__________________
Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
--As You Like It, III:ii:328
Check out my dice in the Marketplace
#23
Old 02-21-2005, 05:21 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: In flight
Posts: 4,074
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
Third, while Rowling has probably studied French, and could certainly look up a few choice words in it, I doubt that she's fluent. The school name "Beauxbatons", in Goblet of Fire, is apparently supposed to refer to wands, but a French officemate of mine tells me that "baton" in French is actually a staff. The word for "wand" should be "baguette" (yes, the same as the loaf of bread). This suggests to me that Rowling is basing her linguistics more on knowledge of English cognates than of knowledge of the other languages themselves.
It's not as if she's obligated to make all the names translate perfectly into French, or any other language for that matter. Beauxbaguettes sounds rather ridiculous, don't you think?

If "baton" translated into "goat-felcher" or something, then I might agree that she isn't deliberately picking names with meanings. But "staff" is pretty darn close in meaning to "wand", especially considering the problems involved with translating to begin with. And I can't believe that she accidentally chose the French words meaning "flight from" to pair with "mort" for the name of a character who cheats death.
#24
Old 02-21-2005, 05:23 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Edgewater/Chicago
Posts: 3,466
I remember leafing through a book called "The Unofficial Guide to Harry Potter" at the local bookstore one day. In it they point out that several characters names in these books have interesting meanings. For example, Draco Malfoy. Draco means dragon, I think in Latin. It seems to me that JKR loves wordplay and doesn't name characters lightly. Three more examples: Sirius Black. Sirius is another name for the "Dog Star". He also tranforms into a black dog. Remus Lupin. Lupin is French for wolf. Romulus and Remus were the mythical founders of Rome and were raised by wolves. Also, this character is a werewolf. Nicholas Flamel who is mentioned several times in Book 2 is a historical person.

It looks like she put a fair amount of thought into alot of the names she gives her characters. I would be almost certain Voldemort is derived from French.
#25
Old 02-21-2005, 06:20 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 240
There are references all over the web to JKR having taught French and having some knowledge of various other languages. ...I used to be a French teacher, sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolak of Twilo
Lupin is French for wolf.
Wolf in French is loup, a lupin is in fact a flower, although you could certainly derive the adjective "lupine" for "wolflike" (I haven't come across this in French, only in English). OTOH there is a famous French fictional thief called Arsène Lupin - name apparently chosen to imply his werewolf-like dual nature.
#26
Old 02-21-2005, 06:45 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 36,005
In reference to the baton/wand/staff sidetrack, in various versions of the Tarot deck, one of the suits is called, depending on the source you're reading, Staves or Wands. I don't think the distinction is too clear-cut...
#27
Old 02-21-2005, 06:46 PM
Graphite is a great
Moderator
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 25,545
Let's continue this literary discussion over in Cafe Society.

Moved from GQ.

samclem GQ moderator
#28
Old 02-21-2005, 07:47 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: SouthWest UK
Posts: 1,764
Re: "Which came first, the Riddle or the Voldemort?"

It may be worth noting when HP-CoS was translated into various languages, the "Tom Marvolo Riddle = I Am Lord Voldemort" anagram is changed such that the name "Voldemort" is constant in each language, whereas "Tom Marvolo Riddle" is modified to allow the anagram to work in the target language. It would thus seem to be clear that JKR doesn't hold too strongly to the latter name; it just works for the anagram in English.

So, Mangetout, there are no eggy-weggs on your fizzog from where I'm standing.
#29
Old 02-21-2005, 09:22 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Edgewater/Chicago
Posts: 3,466
Remus Lupin

I knew I was screwing it up some way or other.
#30
Old 02-21-2005, 10:20 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Western Colorado
Posts: 2,055
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmGeek
Voldemort is pronounced: 'he-who-must-not-be-named'

duh.



And I thought it was "You-know-who".
#31
Old 02-22-2005, 07:17 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 14,352
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
Second, in the world of the books, the name should still sound menacing and carry meaning. If all that Riddle wanted was an anagram, he could have come up with countless pronounceable possibilities, including some without the awkward "I am" or the inclusion of his middle name. But he not only wanted an anagram, he also wanted something which would inspire fear, so from among the myriad possibilities, he chose "I am Lord Voldemort".
Perhaps, but without tacking on "I am," she would not be able to make his last name "Riddle." The idea that she started with Tom Marvolo Riddle and worked her way to Lord Voldemort, rather than vice versa, and then the French meaning of Voldemort was a happy coincidence, is just not at all likely.
#32
Old 02-22-2005, 07:34 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 7,155
Fine! Okay! "Vol de mort" is flight of death. I was WRONG! Yeesh. Everybody happy now?

GrumblegrumbleIHATEBEINGWRONGgrumblegrumble.
#33
Old 02-22-2005, 10:10 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: U City, MO
Posts: 3,128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheez_Whia


And I thought it was "You-know-who".
And here I thought it was "Lord....Thingy"
#34
Old 02-22-2005, 04:46 PM
Charter Member
Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 72,719
Quote:
Perhaps, but without tacking on "I am," she would not be able to make his last name "Riddle." The idea that she started with Tom Marvolo Riddle and worked her way to Lord Voldemort, rather than vice versa, and then the French meaning of Voldemort was a happy coincidence, is just not at all likely.
No, no... That comment was made in the context of the books, not in the context of Rowling writing them. As in, Tom Riddle already had his name, and he chose a menacing name to construct out of it. He didn't have to choose "Voldemort"; he did so because it was the most menacing thing he could construct by anagramming his given name.
#35
Old 02-22-2005, 05:02 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Askia
Fine! Okay! "Vol de mort" is flight of death. I was WRONG! Yeesh. Everybody happy now?

GrumblegrumbleIHATEBEINGWRONGgrumblegrumble.
Well, in your defense or something, Vol de mort doesn't really mean anything.
Vol des morts would mean "flight of the dead",
Vol de la mort would mean flight of death. Take your pick.

To me it sounds more like a contraction of Vol des morts. Either that or Folderol.
#36
Old 02-22-2005, 05:07 PM
Uncharted
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Potomac
Posts: 31,777
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
No, no... That comment was made in the context of the books, not in the context of Rowling writing them. As in, Tom Riddle already had his name...
Or Tod Rodlel, or Tom Raddle, or Romeo G. Detlev, Jr., or Marten Viljin, or Tom Valdero, or Tom Jedusor, or Anton Hert, or Tom Denem, or Tom Venster, or Tom Ryddle, or Tom Dolder...
#37
Old 02-22-2005, 08:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 535
Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolute
Beauxbaguettes sounds rather ridiculous, don't you think?
And "Hogwarts" doesn't?
#38
Old 02-22-2005, 08:43 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: In flight
Posts: 4,074
Quote:
Originally Posted by c_carol
And "Hogwarts" doesn't?
Yes, well, see my other thread on that very topic.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:50 PM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: replace wall heater alex in russian 1911 double action jewish sidelocks girl age punks fireworks bullet shaped traci lords underage latin for throat turp recovery forum north cackalacka european mayonnaise buy human skeleton navy brat paypal extended warranty newspaper carrier jobs replacement bills salt dissolve booster pack steam magnum pi icepick coke with peanuts geology pun help me pee most demeaning jobs antimatter bomb calculator shoulder cartoon rosanne rosanna bite me meaning who's like us whipping coffee loserz comic pu?eta meaning card jack beechwood aging male communal showering guerito meaning what american strength did yamamoto hope to weaken in attacking midway how to burp an adult my nose smells like cheese how much does it cost to change oil pan gasket making peace with the establishment is an important aspect of maturity. what is 1000 years called remove crease from paper best way to defrost hamburger buns how to see through scratch cards do boobs float in water how long does food stay in a cat's stomach how do you pronounce cthulhu dentures for young adults how to take prednisone 20 mg detachol adhesive remover walgreens can police open your mail mexican 15th birthday traditional gifts counter sue for false claims garmin nuvi update cost why do tranquilizer darts have feathers anime man with beard malcolm x glasses name how to eat a jaw breaker what direction do muslim face when they pray said my peace or piece coca-cola syrup how deep do you need to bury a cat difference between registered and certified mail the big o ending will 60 cotton 40 polyester shirt shrink throwing spark plug at window requiem for a dream edited version