6

So, in the first book, J. K. Rowling calls the "Deluminator" a "Put-Outer".

Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him.

Then, in the last book, it's Deluminator.

’To Ronald Bilius Weasley, I leave my Deluminator, in the hope that he will remember me when he uses it.”’

Why?

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    In the first book it is the narrator who calls it a Put-Outer. In the last book it is Dumbledor who calls it a Deluminator. – TGnat Apr 8 '16 at 20:21
  • But that is most positively a name, not a adjective/ noun – bleh Apr 8 '16 at 20:26
  • By the way, shouldn't we ask @Slytherincess ? After all, she is JKR, isn't she? – A. Darwin Apr 9 '16 at 8:06
  • @A.Darwin ...No? – bleh Apr 9 '16 at 11:55
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    I was just kidding. If necessary, I can delete my previous comment. – A. Darwin Apr 9 '16 at 11:59
13

The Put-Outer is how Rowling describes it

He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He clicked it again -- the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him.

The Deluminator is how Dumbledore describes it.

“‘The Last Will and Testament of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore’ . . . Yes, here we are. . . . ’To Ronald Bilius Weasley, I leave my Deluminator, in the hope that he will remember me when he uses it.”

Note that we don't know what the formal name of the device is!

As Scrimgeour says:

“That is a valuable object,” said Scrimgeour, watching Ron. “It may even be unique. Certainly it is of Dumbledore’s own design. Why would he have left you an item so rare?”

What this means is that Dumbledore is probably the only one who has a name for it. It could be that Dumbledore called it the Deluminator, and J.K. Rowling simply described it in practical (and funny) terms as a Put-Outer.

It could also be that Dumbledore called the device a Put-Outer in his mind (remember, he is quirky), but called it a Deluminator in his will. He could have meant it as a joke (making the device sound more impressive than it was), or to affirmatively identify it. After all, he may have many devices that put things out. He may have wanted it to have a distinguished-sounding name if and when the rest of the magical community became aware of it — he was not above pride.

Could Rowling have intended for the device to be called a Put-Outer? Possibly. But this introduces no inconsistency.

5

It is never mentioned by a character in the series until Dumbledore names it in his will. The only other times the Deluminator appears, it is not mentioned by characters, just by the narrator. Rowling also does this in chapter 1 of Goblet of Fire, when she refers to Voldemort and Wormtail as the "first man" and "second man", even though their physical descriptions are obvious to the reader.

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    For now on, I will exclusively refer to the Dark Lord as "The Second Voice". – ibid Apr 8 '16 at 20:59
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    @ibid ... until they put a Taboo on the words "second voice". – Rand al'Thor Apr 9 '16 at 2:00
  • @ibid I imagine Professor Tolkien might be a bit annoyed with you for that. – Matt Gutting Apr 9 '16 at 19:29
4

IMO there is a definite progression of writing style in the 7 books: The writing in the first book is definitely for children (which fits, as the protagonists are all 11 years old) and as the books progress the writing style ages (as well as the mood getting darker) until they're much more appropriate for the older audience.

Thus, "Put-Outer" is a name aimed at the 9-12 year olds who were reading the first book, along with the conversation with the zoo's snake, and the simple enjoyment of Knickerbocker Glorys, and so on. "Deluminator" is suitable for young teens, along with the extended description of the exhibition and then murder of a captured schoolteacher, and the quite adult conversation between Dumbledore and Harry in the "train station" while something indescribable and unmentionable cowers, crying, before them.

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    It might well have been an intentional difference of writing style. The first three chapters of PS/SS are all about slowly introducing magic . "Put-Outer" seems a reasonable name a person (who doesn't know about magic, just like the reader at that point) would give to an object which, well, can put out lights. Basically, the narration style evolves with respect to the degree of magical knowledge which is expected from the reader. But that's just my personal opinion, and I'm by no means a literary critic. – A. Darwin Apr 9 '16 at 7:57

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