He had decided to call her Hedwig, a name he had found in A History of Magic. (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6)

Is there any canon info on who that Hedwig was in-universe? HP Lexicon mentions that it was a out-of-universe saint.

  • I thought the most likely books to find in-universe info on who Hedwig might be would be CoS and TTOBB, but I couldn't find a reference in either (the e-book British versions anyway). Here is a link to the St. Hedwig reference at JKR's old FAQ via the Wayback Machine. Too bad she didn't elaborate. :) Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 2:22
  • Doesn't have to be a "who", could be the name of a place
    – user13267
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 4:17
  • Hedwig was a famous bard who created the powerful spellsong the angry inch
    – severa
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 6:14
  • @severa - source? Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 14:17
  • @DVK, I think this might be to what Severa referred calgarysun.com/2013/11/10/… Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


Hedwig is named after Saint Hedwig

During an interview that she conducted in 2000, JK Rowling identified the root of many names used in the HP canon;

How do you come up with all the unique names, places, and things that help make Harry Potter so intriguing?

Many of the names are invented, for example "Quidditch" and "Muggle." I also collect unusual names, and I take them from all sorts of different places. "Hedwig" was a saint, "Dumbledore" is an old English word for "bumblebee," and "Snape" is the name of a place in England.

Saint Hedwig

Saint Hedwig (in addition to being the Patron Saint of Silesia) is famed for being the Patron Saint of orphans, having opened several orphanages in Poland during the 13th Century.

In-universe, there's no canon explanation why "Saint Hedwig" would be included the "History of Magic" (possibly a famous half-blood wizard or witch grew up in one of the literally hundreds of St Hedwig's monasteries and orphanages around the world) but it's hardly surprising that Harry would gravitate toward the name of someone famed for caring for people who'd lost their parents.

  • Sorry, I am not sure I'm buying your logic (you yourself wrote the contradiction). There is no possible in-universe reason why a Christian Saint would be in "History of Magic" book. Commented Feb 8, 2014 at 14:46
  • Unless a famous muggle wizard happened to live in one of the literally hundreds of orphanages named after St Hedwig, for example. You might just as well ask why Mr Wool is included; harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Wool's_Orphanage
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 8, 2014 at 14:48
  • now THAT's plausible (not as good as canon answer, but plausible). Put that into the answer, pls. Commented Feb 8, 2014 at 14:53
  • 2
    My guess is that there's no canon answer. The "history of magic" seems a bit of a dumping ground for plot points and names. Whenever Harry gets stumped, Hermione (or whoever) reads out a paragraph from the book that explains what a muggle is, or who Godric Gryffindow is or whatever...
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 8, 2014 at 15:03
  • I assumed like Nicolas Flamel, she was also known in the muggle world as well as wizarding world. Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 12:22

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