As I’m sure every fantasy fan already knows, Dumbledore (full name Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore) is the mysterious but kindly Headmaster of Hogwarts, the magical boarding school Harry Potter attends. In the movie series, he’s depicted in full-on Gandalf mode, with hippy-style long gray hair and a like beard he keeps tied in a frontal ponytil over his chest. He wears long pale gray robes with Celtic imagery and instead of a pointy hat, a round crushed-velvet pillbox hat.
What I never knew about Dumbledore, however, is that his name — actually his last name — is an Old English word for bumblebee, Rowling stating she chose it because she imagined the character humming to himself as he “bumbled” around the Hogwarts campus. While this may be a sort of retcon (as Dumbledore’s homosexuality was) it’s true that the name itself invokes a cozy, homey feel. Dumbledore is approachable, and someone you’d want to have a cuppa tea with. Say what you will about Rowling herself, or her creations, it’s undeniable she had a knack for names.
Want to name a character like Dumbledore, but who’s not Dumbledore?
Variations on Dumbledore