In the epilogue at the end of the seventh and last Harry Potter novel by J.K. Rowling, we see Harry and his wife, as well as his best friends, seeing some of their children off to Hogwarts at King’s Cross station. We also see that Harry has named all three of his children after people in his life that affected the two Wizarding Wars in some way.
His oldest, James Sirius Potter, is named after his father and godfather. This makes sense, as both of them gave their lives for Harry and the wars against Voldemort, the darkest wizard. His youngest, Lily Luna, is named after his mother and a good friend from Hogwarts, Luna Lovegood. Lily died alongside her husband James, and Luna fought bravely at the battle of Hogwarts and stayed by Harry’s side.
However, his middle child is named Albus Severus Potter, and Harry mentions to his son that they were the “bravest men he ever knew.” This may be true, but neither of them were exceptionally great people. Here, I’m going to list some of the names, worst to best, that Harry could have given to Albus, in order of how good they were as role models and wizards.
5. Severus Snape
Yes, Severus Snape was a double agent for the two sides of the war. A reformed Death Eater, the name given to Voldemort’s followers, he spied on the dark wizards and reported back to Dumbledore, actually being on the good wizard’s side after Voldemort killed Harry’s mother, whom Snape loved.
However, even as a secret fighter for good, this was not a good name for Harry to give to his son. Snape was a disgusting bully and a terrible excuse for an educator. He relentlessly picked on the children he taught for seven years - Hermione for being a know-it-all, Harry simply because he resembled his father, and Neville because he wasn’t particularly good at Potions, which was the subject Snape taught.
People will make the argument that he was treated cruelly by James Potter in school, which isn’t untrue, but James grew out of being a bully and Snape never did. People will also use his love for Lily as an excuse, but stepping over her husband’s corpse and ignoring her crying baby when he found her dead body doesn’t seem like love to me, and even if it was, that’s not an excuse.
4. Albus Dumbledore
This is another of the people that Harry named his second-born after, and another choice that confuses me. Throughout the seventh book, Harry is disillusioned of his idolization of Dumbledore. He discovers that Dumbledore was essentially raising him for slaughter, as the headmaster knew that Harry had to die in order for Voldemort to, and never told him. It’s also very much implied that he inadvertently killed his sister.
You could argue against both of these. Even if Dumbledore was manipulating a child into giving his life to fight evil, he was doing it for the “greater good.” And even if he did kill his developmentally disabled younger sister, it was an accident. But even if we ignore both of these atrocities, Albus Dumbledore knew that Harry was being abused by his aunt and uncle for ten years and did nothing. His excuse was that Harry would be safer from the Dark Lord if he lived in the non-wizarding world, but is that really a fair trade for years of abuse and neglect? Of course, once Harry was able to leave the Dursley’s home, it was only to be used as a pawn in a war by Dumbledore.
3. Colin Creevey
Here we have the first of the names that would be better for Harry to name his child after than a pair of abusers. An aspiring photographer, Colin Creevey met Harry in his first year, and idolized him. Harry was a year older, and had already bested Voldemort twice.
We only hear much about Colin in two books - the Chamber of Secrets, where he is introduced as a wide-eyed fanboy of our hero, and in the last book, the Deathly Hallows, where he is mentioned as one of the wizards who fell in the Battle for Hogwarts. At only sixteen years old, he stayed and fought even after he was told along with the other underage wizards to evacuate. He gave his life for his people as well as his hero, Harry Potter.
His death was given only a few sentences of description in the book, and Harry didn’t seem to give this child death a second thought, but the boy was a hero, and far more deserving to be a namesake than Dumbledore or Snape.
2. Remus Lupin
Remus Lupin was Harry’s Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher during his third year at Hogwarts, and he was also the first connection Harry had to his parents, as Remus was close friends with both of them.
As a werewolf, he was ostracized from wizarding society and treated as a second-class citizen due to his lycanthropic illness. Even though he took great care to keep everyone around him safe by taking a potion to fight off his animalistic bloodthirst and by hiding in an abandoned, fortified shack during the full moon, he was treated as a pariah. He also cared for Harry, and was a gifted, brave wizard. He was also killed during the Battle for Hogwarts.
One could make the argument that the reason Harry didn’t choose him as a namesake was that Lupin's own son, Teddy Remus Lupin, already bore his name, but that’s no excuse for the alternate choices Harry went with.
1. Rubeus Hagrid
After ten years of abuse at the hands of Vernon and Petunia Dursley, Harry Potter got his ticket out when a friendly half-giant told him that he was a wizard. He may have only been doing what he was told, but even after Harry got to Hogwarts, Hagrid had him over for tea constantly and made sure that he was adjusting well to the wizarding world.
Hagrid was the closest thing to a parent that Harry Potter ever knew, and he was one of the most instrumental people in Harry’s life. Rubeus Hagrid was absolutely the best choice Harry had for a namesake.