What are the chances of there ever having been two Cornelius Fudges? Slim indeed, but we should be perfectly happy to believe that JK Rowling invented the name of her character in the Harry Potter novels (the Minister of Magic, for those few who may not know) – and that it had nothing to do with another; a 19th-century sailor named Cornelius Fudge whose name has been rediscovered engraved on a 130-year-old narwhal tusk.
To be clear, we do not think JK Rowling found the inspiration for Cornelius Fudge from anywhere other than her wondrous imagination, one that has yielded far greater fantasies than this particular moniker. However, what if she had picked up Cornelius in a junk shop, so to speak? Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places, including the mouthparts of a marine mammal, especially the fabulous narwhal, and there is nothing wrong with that. Serendipity is a no less wondrous thing than the mind of JK Rowling. We just wonder whether the narwhal “tusk” is in fact the horn of the fabled unicorn, itself another star of the Potter universe. That would be a story.