I was wondering if you could help us with our baby naming dilemma. I am due at the end of April with our first baby. We do not know if it is a boy or a girl.
My husband and I both LOVE the name Henry. But our last name is Potter. Will I be subjecting the baby to a lifetime of being called Harry Potter? I am really nervous of this. My husband thinks the child will be called Harry Potter no matter how opposite of Harry we choose and really wants to use it. The middle name has been picked. Richard. After my husbands father. So Henry Richard Potter? Can we do it?
Other boy names we like are:
Ryan - we also both like but I have a cousin who just named her boy Ryan last year.
Jack - but it is quite popular and how does Jack Potter sound?
I loved Andrew but it had to be tossed out because my sister chose it for my 3mo nephew. As you can tell I am having a hard time with coming up with something unique to pair with such a common last name.
Swistle, please help. Should we give up on Henry Potter? Will everyone forget the hype of J.K. Rowling and her very popular series of books in the next 5 years and we can use the name? With your experience are there any other boy names that you suggest?
We are not having as much as a dilemma with girl names. We both really like most of our choices. Katherine/Kate), Mallory, Camille, Anna (Annie), Marie.
Thank you and I really appreciate your help.
I vote no: I wouldn't use Henry Potter. I don't think the Harry Potter thing is going to blow over soon: it's been 15 years and it's still going strong. Perhaps the fervor will die down a bit now that there will not be new books/movies coming out? But I wouldn't count on it, and in any case the name Harry Potter has been fully established as a cultural reference.
Certainly your surname will provoke comment no matter what first name you use, but the level of comments provoked by the name Henry Potter would be in a completely different league. I don't think you'd be subjecting him to a lifetime of being called Harry Potter; I think you'd be subjecting him to a lifetime of startled reactions and incredulous double-takes. I'm picturing myself having to introduce myself as Hillary Clinton or Julia Roberts, and I would not want that for myself.
I'm afraid that for you Henry falls onto that sad list most of us have: Names We Really Really Love And Want To Use, But Can't Use. Sometimes we can't use a name because of a bad association, or because our spouse hates the name, or because the name clashes/rhymes with our surname or with a sibling name, or because someone close to us used the name, or because we're not having any more children. In your case, you also have a highly recognizable surname with a very strong cultural association. (In fact, more than one: Beatrix would also be on your Sad Can't Use list, if you loved it.)
All three names on your back-up list are great, and a cousin's son seems far enough removed even if your family is close. Jack is common, but no more common than either Ryan or Benjamin. [Edit: Maria in the comments mentions Jack Potter brings "jackpot" to mind. That would probably make me rule it out.] Other possibilities:
(I avoided the initials I.P.; if those initials don't bother you, I'd add Ian and Isaac.)
Let's have a poll over to the right, to see what everyone else thinks about the usability of the name Henry Potter. [Poll closed; see results below.]
Name update! Carole writes:
Sorry it has taken me awhile to get our naming update in. Turns out we had a girl. Mallory Katherine Potter weighing in at 5lb 10oz. My husband felt her petite but strong/spunky personality felt more like a Mallory than a Katherine.
Thank you for the help on deciding if Henry Potter was usable. I really enjoyed reading everyone comments and if we ever have a boy we know it is out of the question! I guess we can save it for our first animal?
Thanks again for all your help.