In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13: The Muggle-Born Registration Commission enter image description here

"....I quite understand what you are saying Wakanda, but I'm afraid I cannot be party to - "

Now that Marvel's Black Panther and the country name Wakanda has entered more broadly into pop-culture, has anyone from J.K. Rowling's side or Disney/Marvel commented on the use of the word "Wakanda" in Harry Potter?

  • 12
    Why would they? – Ben Jun 6 '18 at 1:57
  • 1
    it's not a terribly common word @Ben - given the pop-cultural awareness that the word currently has thanks to Black Panther, it's just interesting to see it pop up in an entirely different context in another insanely popular franchise – NKCampbell Jun 6 '18 at 2:09
  • 1
    It is still a real word/name in some language, why would either comment? – Bernard the Bear Jun 11 '18 at 13:56

No, they haven't. And they likely won't.

While yes, you are correct about the primary association between the word "Wakanda" and Marvel comics, even a preliminary google search defaults entirely to the Black Panther reference - this is not the origin of the word, and therefore, does not belong to Marvel or Rowling as any form of Individual Property.

This phrase isn't exactly common, but that is because it is actually derived from Native American language - an uncommon language - specifically the Sioux dialect. (emphasis mine)

In the Lakota way of life, Wakan Tanka (Standard Lakota Orthography: Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka) is the term for "the sacred" or "the divine". This is usually translated as "The Great Spirit".


Wakan Tanka or Wakan is also known as Wakanda in the Omaha-Ponca, Ioway-Otoe-Missouri, Kansa and Osage languages; and Wakatakeh in Quapaw. In addition, there is Ho-Chunk Mahanah, Mandan Omahank, and Tutelo Mahomny.


This would explain why the word is used for both the location in the Marvel Comics, as it is the pinnacle of power in Africa. Additionally, it would likely explain why Rowling also chose the name (though perhaps to use it in a less specific manner):

The name Wakanda means "inner magical power" in Sioux. In Sioux tradition, Wakanda or Wakan Tanka is also a term for that which is sacred or divine.


There are also other places where this word is used to name other things, such as software, for example.

I would dare say (though I have no evidence of this) that the Wakandans in the Marvel Universe were derived from the people of the same name in the novel "The Man-Eater", by Edgar Rice Burroughs similar to how Thor is taken from Viking myth, and how Jekyll and Hyde were the inspiration for the Hulk.

  • 1
    good effort, but the question specifically asks, not about the origin of either use, but if either franchise owner / agents have commented on the shared use of the, as you say, not common word – NKCampbell Jun 6 '18 at 3:44
  • 2
    @NKCampbell It's only uncommon because the language from which it's derived is not a commonly spoken language. Your question implies the possibility of a common name for Individual Property, but this isn't the case. Even if Rowling did have a conversation with Marvel about it, it'd likely just be along the lines of "Huh. Cool. Great minds think alike!" – Ben Jun 6 '18 at 3:52
  • 2
    Not only that but they aren't even really used in the same way. One is a nation and the other an individual... – Jason_c_o Jun 6 '18 at 5:29
  • 13
    @NKCampbell I believe you're technically right that this is answering a somewhat different question from what you asked, but supposing that neither J.K. Rowling nor Disney/Marvel has made such a comment, what kind of an answer do you hope to get? A post that just says "no" is not the kind of answer that this site wants. I'm thinking a better answer would say "no" and give some reason why it's plausible that neither entity has commented on this shared usage, and that's where Ben's post comes in. So, even though this doesn't answer your question, I think it comes pretty close. – David Z Jun 6 '18 at 5:47
  • That's a fair point @DavidZ :) – NKCampbell Jun 6 '18 at 15:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.