'Of course they were,' said Fudge. 'Potter trusted Black beyond all his other friends. Nothing changed when they left school. Black was best man when James married Lily. Then they named him godfather to Harry. Harry has no idea, of course. You can imagine how the idea would torment him.'

'Because Black turned out to be in league with You-Know-Who?' whispered Madam Rosmerta.

'Worse even than that, m'dear ...' Fudge dropped his voice and proceeded in a sort of low rumble.

I don't understand the sentence "they named him godfather to Harry". What does it convey in this context?

Edit: I know the word 'name' means, but I don't understand why they call him "godfather to Harry". What does that imply? Maybe, my difficulty lies in what godfather would do?

  • Compare: He was named director of the program. Think of "godfather" like a title. Also compare: He was a father to me. – Eddie Kal Nov 21 '18 at 4:30
  • I am not sure I understand where you are stuck. I assume you know what a godfather (godparent) is? – Eddie Kal Nov 21 '18 at 4:38
  • Or are you having trouble with the action "they named him godfather"? – Eddie Kal Nov 21 '18 at 4:39
  • @EddieKal, Hmmm, I'm not sure what godfather really does, although I can get some explanations from a dictionary: In the Christian religion, if you are the godparent of a younger person, you promise to help bring them up in the Christian faith. Is it what it's supposed to mean in this context? – dan Nov 21 '18 at 4:47
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    He was a father to me. doesn't necessarily mean He was my father. It is likely heard in the context of saying someone treated you as his own child when in fact he is not your father. He was a father of mine. sounds strange but could make sense depending on the context. – Eddie Kal Nov 21 '18 at 13:54

A godparent in Christianity, including godmother and godfather, is a person who is present at the child's baptism, who takes care of the child during their upbringing, and who guides the child's spiritual maturation. In the past, godparents used to have more religion-oriented responsibilities such as being part of the child's spiritual education (catechesis). Now, they are more like caretakers/semi-guardians by a religious name.

Think of them in terms of 義父/義母.

  • I got it now. I think originally I mixed up Harry Potter and James Potter. And ‘godfather’ add more difficulty. Thank you very much! – dan Nov 21 '18 at 5:04

"Named", in this context, means to give someone a title. In this case they gave him the title of "Godfather to Harry", meaning that he is Harry's godfather.

  • What would a godfather do? – dan Nov 21 '18 at 4:48
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    "Harry's godfather" is fine. That's his relationship to Harry. "Godfather to Harry" is a specific title, and can't just be used in a sentence wherever you would use "Harry's godfather". For instance, you can say "He's Harry's godfather" but not "He's godfather to harry". It would have to be "He's the godfather to Harry" to be grammatical IMO. – Omegastick Nov 21 '18 at 9:00
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    For the same reason you can say "They named him king" instead of "They named him the king". "They named him Harry's godfather" sounds fine to me. – Omegastick Nov 21 '18 at 9:09
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    @dan Compare: "She was elected president." "The president" would imply the uniqueness of the office. There is only one president, and that is one person. "He is the president" means he is that person, whereas "he was elected president" means he acquired that title through election. – Eddie Kal Nov 21 '18 at 14:27

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