“All was well”. – J.K. Rowling
The Boy Who Lived is at once heroic and lazy, passionate and, well, kind of a middling student. Basically, he's like how we all would be if we were thrust, unwilling, into the fate of the wizarding world. But just because he's normal doesn't mean he doesn't have a few secrets up his robe sleeves. Take a look at this extraordinary facts about The Boy Who Lived, Harry Potter.
It turns out that in the far distant past, Harry and Voldemort share a common bloodline. Following the founding wizarding surnames back through the years, the name "Ignotus Peverell" (you might know him from his Invisibility Cloak) comes up in both character’s family trees. It’s a small (magic) world after all, making these enemies…distant cousins?
Remember when we all wanted to collect those moving chocolate frog cards after their introduction in the first book?
J.K. Rowling revealed that after Harry, Ron, and Hermione became household names following the Battle of Hogwarts, they were further immortalized on these iconic collectible cards.
As Rowling’s fans grew up, so did her characters. Fans were stunned when Harry’s beloved Hedwig was killed off early in The Deathly Hollows, but according to Rowling, the bird’s death served a purpose: “The loss of Hedwig represented a loss of innocence and security.
She has been almost like a cuddly toy to Harry at times. Voldemort killing her marked the end of childhood,” Rowling stated. Really? Pretty sure this was literally "overkill" after taking out Harry’s godfather, Sirius.
Rowling certainly liked to include bits of our muggle world mythologies within her magical realm, but mortal inspirations made their way into the series as well.
According to the author, “Potter” was the surname of a family who lived nearby when Rowling was seven. She liked the name so much that she later “borrowed” it. Of course, it's a safe bet that the original family are probably chuffed about the connection.
Rowling shares a birthday with her protagonist.
Both Harry and Jo were born on July 31 in England. It’s worth noting this date makes them each Leos, the astrological symbol marked by a lion, and therefore…destined for the leonine house of Gryffindor? Coincidence, or not?
Apparently, Harry was never a real Horcrux, at least not by magical textbook definition.
According to Rowling, a Horcrux must be intentionally created, and it’s clear in the books that Voldemort wasn’t exactly skipping around in joy over having a piece of his soul housed in the body of a kid. Especially a kid that ended up foiling his plans to take over the world again as a snotty teen.
Fulfilling fanfiction fantasies the world over, Rowling confirmed that she had toyed with the idea of putting Harry and Hermione together.
She argued that Ron and Hermione’s amusing, but admittedly hostile dynamic, may eventually lead to “fundamental incompatibility” in adulthood. Meanwhile, Rowling dropped hints that an intimate tent scene between Harry and Hermione in Deathly Hollows was written with a tinge of whimsy for the not-to-be couple.
Since Harry got his Parseltongue ability from the piece of Voldemort’s soul he held, it makes sense that his special linguistic ability died with the evil wizard. Considering Harry’s reluctant embrace of all-things-Dark-Lord throughout the series, he may not have missed the ability much.
Harry’s green eyes were compared to his mother Lily’s near ad nauseum in the series. It’s not surprising then that fans noticed the movie’s Harry sported a pair of non-canon baby blues. Apparently, this inaccuracy was not for lack of trying—actor Daniel Radcliffe tried a pair of green contact lenses but suffered an allergic reaction.
History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.
Rowling admitted to having another literary hero in mind when she created the scene where Harry must extract the sword of Gryffindor from a pool of water.
In Arthurian legend, King Arthur is granted the famous sword, Excalibur, by the Lady of the Lake. (Only in the case, Harry ultimately had a less romantically-cut figure, Snape, to thank for his dive into freezing waters).
Harry’s parents are killed on Halloween. 10 years later to the day, an 11-year-old Harry, Ron, and Hermione defeat a troll in the Hogwarts bathroom.
Although Hermione was previously not friends with Harry and Ron, this event forms a strong bond between the trio. The date is significant when considering that on the same day Harry’s family once fell apart, he later finds a makeshift family.
Over a seven-month period, around 300 young hopefuls auditioned for the role of Harry James Potter in the films.
Among the considerations for the part were Haley Joel Osment of The Sixth Sense and Jonathan Lipnicki of Jerry Maguire.
According to Rowling, Harry’s beloved Firebolt is a unique make of flying broomstick. Harry was one of the first wizards to own one, and considering their expense, very few were made.
Further, the high-end craftmanship involved in the ironwork is dependent on mercurial goblins who tend to quit or go on strike frequently.
Harry’s lightning scar was painted onto his face for the first two movies, and glued on for the rest. Radcliffe put up with the application of his scar approximately 2,000 times.
In addition to a endless amount of lightning scars, Harry’s character also went through a crazy number of glasses. Staying more than true to his literary character, who was prone getting his glasses broken, on-screen Harry had 160 pairs of glasses throughout the course of the films.
Harry’s days in the DA (Dumbledore’s Army) foreshadowed his future career as head Auror and, even bigger, his eventual role as head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Later on, Harry even gives lectures at Hogwarts for Defense Against the Dark Arts students.
Although Rowling’s text doesn’t give precise years from the outset, calculating events in the magical realm lands Harry’s birth at 1980. This means that he arrived at Hogwarts in 1991, placing the timeline of the books slightly behind the series’ real-world publication.
Beyond his skill at Defense Against the Dark Arts, Harry was a relatable, average student.
Some might even say a bit of a slacker. According to the film cast, Harry’s laissez-faire approach to assignments were reflected by Radcliffe as well. Given the task to write an essay about his character from director Alfonso Cuarón, Radcliffe wrote a single page. (Comparatively, Hermione’s Emma Watson delivered 16 pages, and Ron’s Rupert Grint skirted the assignment altogether).
Harry’s wand measures at 11 inches and is composed of phoenix feather and holly. It also has the same core as Voldemort’s wand, symbolically marking them as equals.
Rowling has stated that if she had a son, she would have named him Harry, as it’s her favorite boy name. Considering Rowling has a daughter, it’s unsurprising she took the opportunity to still use the name in her fictional world.
For fans keen on Harry’s parents’ backstory, their patronuses seem to symbolize a union that was meant to be. James' patronus was a stag, and Lily’s was a doe. In true orphan Bambi-like form, their surviving son grows throughout the books to form a stag patronus as well.
Rowling got attached early on in planning the series’ final scenes to one particular image: Hargid walking out of the Forbidden Forest with Harry appearing dead in his arms.
Rowling states, “That was so perfect for me, because it was Hagrid who and took him into the world, and Hagrid who would bring him back”. Besides eliciting a million fan tears, the scene idea may have also saved Hagrid from Rowling’s instinct to kill him off earlier in the series.
In good writing fashion, Rowling realized that her brave protagonist may be viewed by readers as a little overly perfect.
She decided to give Harry a vulnerable, "human" side, exemplified by his need for glasses. Poor Harry took one for the fans every time Dudley broke his glasses or they fell off is face.
Ever wonder what happened to Harry’s magical grandparents? According to Rowling, “Fleamont and Euphemia lived long enough to see James marry a Muggle-born girl called Lily Evans, but not to meet their grandson, Harry”. The elderly couple succumbed to a deadly case of dragon pox just a few days apart.
From there, James Potter inherited the invisibility cloak. So, while they weren’t present in the series, Harry’s grandparents were responsible for his possession of a lifesaving (and convenient) magical item. His maternal grandparents also died of natural causes before he was born.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to email@example.com. Thanks for your time!
Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your help!
The Factinate team
If you like humaverse you may also consider subscribing to these newsletters: