Did J K Rowling’s inspiration for Cornelius Fudge in Harry Potter books come from a giant whale tusk?
The mystery behind where J. K. Rowling got the name for a major Harry Potter character may have been found – engraved on a 130-year-old whale TUSK.
The massive piece of ivory – which belonged to a narwhal, a horned whale that lives in the arctic – was presented to a person called Cornelius Fudge in 1881.
More than a century later J. K. Rowling gave the same name to the Minster for Magic in her Hogwarts novels.
A plaqued at the bottom of the 2.5m tusk states that the original Mr Fudge was a sailor in the Navy.
It says: “Presented to Cornelius Fudge. Master At Arms. By his mess mates as a mark of respect and esteem on his leaving H.M.S London at Zanzibar to retire from the service. September 1881.”
The tusk was brought by John Jeffries of Tregony, Cornwall, over 40 years ago and is being sold at an auction in London in October.
Mr Jeffries, 64, has written to JK Rowling to ask if there is any link between the two people but is still waiting for a reply.
It is such a strange name he believes she must have seen the tusk or the name in history books before.
He said: “It seems a bit of a coincidence. Nawhals used to be seen as mythical creatures, until they were discovered by Vikings.
“It ties in well with the Harry Potter magical theme, so there’s a chance the two names could be linked if JK Rowling knew about the tusk and who it was gifted to.”
Narhwals are mid-sized whales, roughly double the length of a human.
Their distinctive tusk is an elongated tooth which can be used to break through ice or to protect themselves.
Mr Jeffries picked up the giant tusk from a private seller in New Forest when he was 21 years old.
The father-of-two said he bought it for a “couple of thousand pounds” but its starting price at auction now is set at #20,000.
He said: ”I want to leave some inheritance behind for my children and two grand children.
“It’s not often you get the chance to pick up a tusk from an animal once believed to be the stuff of legend.”
Minister Cornelius Oswald Fudge had complete control of the Ministry of Magic, the main governing body of the wizarding world.
He succeeded Millicent Bagnold as Minister for Magic and had the responsibility of meeting with the Muggle Prime Minister when necessary.
Fudge was played by actor Robert Hardy in the Harry Potter films.