“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”. – Albus Dumbledore
Quick, name a book series more popular than Harry Potter. ... Maybe Game of Thrones? Truth is, the popularity of the Potter-verse is pretty much unmatched. But who's surprised? The story has it all: lovable heroes, terrifying villains, frickin' magic... And to top it all off, enough twists, turns and itty-bitty details to rival Hogwarts itself. No wonder, then, that the series is as popular today as it was back when The Philosopher's Stone (that's Sorcerer's Stone for the Americans) first introduced us to mugwumps and muggles more than 20 years ago. We've been obsessed with the wizarding world of Harry P for two decades now, and counting. But how much do you know about Harry & Co? Do you know what inspired J.K. Rowling to make Quidditch? Or which hex Snape invented himself? Or how about the lifespan of a Basilisk? The answers to these questions and more are collected together here, in one handy, exhaustive guide. Look no further, Potter Pal. Here's everything you ever need to know about the Harry Potter Universe.
Why is it that all the greats are rejected at first? Between Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, even freaking Elvis... are we trying to not be entertained? Case in point: J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by 12 publishing houses, before being picked up by Bloomsbury. It got so bad for a while, she even tried submitting her magical magnum opus under a pen name: Robert Galbraith.
After that tactic failed, she almost gave up. She even complained to a friend, saying, "They don’t even want me in a beard"! But look at her now! Those publishers must be feeling more regret than the wizard who tried kissing a Blast-Ended Skrewt.
Rowling didn't just write a fantastic story.
.. she crafted a whole magical world as well! Many of the characters in the series have family histories that go back decades, or even centuries. The wizarding version of Ancestry.com is just absolutely packed. For example: in the distant past, Harry and Voldemort share a common bloodline. Following their 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. Sing it with me:
It's a small (magical) world after all.
As Rowling’s fans grew up, so did the tone of her books. What was once light-hearted children's entertainment (if a little dark at times) became something all the more brooding. No moment reinforced this transition more thoroughly than Hedwig's death.
Fans were stunned when Harry’s beloved owl died early in The Deathly Hollows. It was a sudden, unexpected jolt, after so many close calls over the course of preceding books. But Rowling says the moment was about more than shock value.: “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". She's got a point. Nothing says, "Yer an adult, Harry" like the brutal murder of a lifelong pet.
Rowling certainly liked to include bits of our muggle-world mythologies in her marvellous magical realm.
But she didn't draw exclusively on fantasy. Rowling picked up inspiration from just about everywhere... including our plain-old boring reality. 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.
Or perhaps not. "No he's named after us"! they shout defiantly, to anyone who will listen. Their friends just smile politely, and role their eyes...
From their brief introduction in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, you might think mandrakes aren’t so bad (save for being a little annoying). They're even a little cute.
.. in a baby-potato hybrid sort-of way. Think again! What you may be forgetting is that the Mandrakes in the second book were young and immature. A mandrake’s cry becomes more powerful as it grows older. So while a baby Mandrake’s screeching may simply knock a person unconscious, a full-grown specimen can straight-up kill you. One famous example from Rowling's history is Venusia Crickerly.
In 1912, the former Minister for Magic was gardening when she accidentally uprooted a Mandrake. She died on the spot.
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.
While the name “Bowtruckle” may not seem too significant, when looking back into the etymology of these covert plant-like animals, we discovered that the name is very apt, indeed. In an old Scottish dialect, the word “bow” means “dwelling”. Meanwhile, in old English, “truckle” translates to “limb of tree”. Makes a lot more sense now, huh?
Another fun fact about bowtruckles? A group of them is referred to as a branch. The more you know...
But who doesn't love a bowtruckle??? Even Eddie Redmayne, who played Newt Scamandar in the newest Potter movie, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, has admitted bowtruckles were his favorite.
He's said he loves them for their clinginess, and for the emotions they reveal with every movement. At the movie's premiere, he actually wore a bowtruckle in his breast pocket—the small prop had been made by a fan.
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Coming tantalizingly close to the fulfillment of fan-fiction fantasies the world over, Rowling has confirmed that she had toyed with the idea of putting Harry and Hermione together. She also pointed-out 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.
Harry’s green eyes were compared to his mother Lily’s throughout the series. It was a piece of detail Rowling made sure to comment on in seemingly almost every chapter.
It’s not surprising then that fans noticed the movie’s Harry sported a pair of non-canon baby blues. But apparently the inaccuracy was not for lack of trying: Actor Daniel Radcliffe tried to don a pair of green contact lenses, but suffered an allergic reaction. So much for faithful adaption, AM I RIGHT FOLKS?
I say they ought to remake every single movie. Green-eyed actors only this time around.
Radcliffe was also allergic to his glasses, which gave him whiteheads all around his eyes. Given all his allergies, if Voldemort wanted to take down Potter, he should have tried chunky peanut butter.
When Snape approaches our boy Harry P for the first time, the first thing he asks him is "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood"? It's a pretty innocuous line--- something that would be easy to dismiss as just a throw-away piece of magical word-salad.
But that couldn't be farther from the truth! One fan translated the etymology and symbolism of the words, particularly using the language of flowers. Asphodel is a type of lily meaning "my regrets follow you to the grave" in Victorian flower language, while wormwood symbolizes bitterness and sorrow. The fan interpreted it as, “On Lily's grave, I promise to protect you”. Deep, man.
While it's known that Hogwarts School is somewhere in Scotland, the exact location is hidden with various charms and spells that make it impossible to discover. If anyone does come across it, all they will see is the ruins of a castle with a warning to keep out.
This is the same for most wizarding schools, which are deliberately concealed to both protect the students and the school, and to keep their secrets from being revealed.
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. On the same day Harry’s family once fell apart, he later finds a makeshift family. That's a nice bit of poetic symmetry there, Rowling. Well played.
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, as we all know too well, tend to quit or go on strike frequently.
For anyone with a fear of snakes, Basilisks are quite possibly the most terrifying creature ever to step foot inside Hogwarts.
Even more terrifying, they lead extremely long lives (up to 900 years)!. Not to totally scare you, but the Basilisk of Salazar Slytherin lived to be roughly 1,000 years old.
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.
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?
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.
Hogwarts is connected by 142 staircases running throughout its many turrets, dungeons and towers. The Grand Staircase is a massive structure in the castle, and is mainly used to access each of the castle’s seven floors, including the dungeons. Portaits completely line the walls, some of which hide the entrances to the school’s secret passages.
The different staircases in the Grand Staircase reach up to the seventh floor and have a tendency to move within the chamber, often when someone is on them. Certain trick stairs cause the student to sink through them, at which point another person will need to rescue them.
First year students are the most common "victims" of the stairs, as the older students tend to know where the trick ones are and simply jump over them.
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).
Rupert Grint got the part of Ron Weasley by sending in an audition tape of himself dressed as a female drama teacher performing a short rap about how much he wanted to be in the film. Cool.
In their search for the perfect Hermione, the casting team traveled to local British primary schools. Unlike every other girl in her school, Emma Watson had no desire to try out. She was convinced to do so by her teacher and was actually the last girl in her school to audition.
Rowling spoke to Watson on the phone and fell in love. So when she finally met Watson in person and realized that she was far more beautiful than the Hermione Granger she had imagined, she was okay with it. “It was really lucky I spoke to Emma first on the phone before I met her.
Because I fell absolutely in love with her. She said to me, ‘I've only ever acted in school drama plays and oh my God I'm so nervous I can't believe I got the part,’ and then she spoke for, like, 60 seconds at least without drawing breath and I just said, ‘Emma, you're perfect’. And then when I met her and she was this very beautiful - which she still is, of course - beautiful girl, I just kind of had to go, ‘Oh, okay. It's film, you know, deal with it’. I'm going to still see my gawky, geeky, ugly duckling Hermione in my mind”.
In the adaption of Fantastic Beasts, Newt Scamander owns a magical suitcase, enchanted with an Undetectable Extension Charm, that allows him to house entire habitats and a shed for himself in the case while he traveled. Hermione Granger uses the same charm on her handbag, which allows it to hold dozens of large items at a time.
In the Harry Potter Universe, Fantastic Beasts was first published in 1927, and became a massive bestseller. By the time Harry Potter and his friends use it at Hogwarts, the book is in its 52nd printing, and has the honor of its own Chocolate Frog Card. Newt Scamander says that he collected most of the information on the book’s 85 magical species through observations made while travelling across five continents. In real life, the first edition of the book was released in 2001, with a new version released in March 2017 with six new creatures and a foreword by "Newt Scamander" himself.
In the Harry Potter books, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a required purchase by first year students.
Why it’s on the first year reading list is a bit of a mystery, though, as the students don’t actually care for magical creatures until third year. It can, however, be used as an encyclopedia of the dark creatures studied in Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, and in his foreword to the book, Dumbledore notes that it’s an excellent reference for wizarding households.
Before being offered the chance to write Fantastic Beasts, Newt Scamander worked at the Ministry of Magic. For two years he worked in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and then another two years at the Office of House-Elf Relocation before being transferred to the Beast Division.
The actual Fantastic Beasts book that was published in 2001 features handwritten notes from Ron, Harry and Hermione, as well as some doodles. Ron’s comments, which provide a little comic relief, seem to have been written around the time of Goblet of Fire, which would make sense because the two books came out around the same time. For an added degree of authenticity, the cover also looks like it has been clawed by an unidentified animal.
The origin of the Death Eaters goes back to a group called The Knights of Walpurgis, a group composed of Tom Riddle’s friends and followers from his time at Hogwarts. Apparently, the group contained members of all the Hogwarts houses except for Hufflepuff. Good call, Badgers.
Walpurgis is a play on the Saint Walpurga, a real missionary who was canonized in the year 870. April 30th is "Walpurgis Night" or "Witches Night," when witches are supposed to gather in high places. The night is still celebrated in some Scandinavian countries, but it is more associated with May Day and features folklore and dancing.
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.
In addition to the numerous ghosts that inhabit Hogwarts, there is also a famous and disruptive poltergeist.
In the Harry Potter universe, Peeves is the most infamous poltergeist in British history, and has "lived" at Hogwarts since 993. He is especially fond of mischief and chaos, and the only people who have any control over him are the Bloody Baron and Dumbledore. Unlike the other ghosts in the castle, Peeves actually has a physical form, though he's able to become invisible at will. Many students and teachers enjoy Peeves, but he is a "pet peeve" for the caretakers at the school who have to clean up his messes.
Hogwarts Castle has 12 major towers and around 12 smaller ones.
The tallest of the towers it the Astronomy tower, where students take their astronomy lessons. It’s also the place where Snape kills Dumbledore. The most mysterious tower is the Dark Tower, which is located at the seventh-floor landing and has a prison cell at its top.
It’s made of rough stone, has a stone bench, and shackles for the prisoners.
Electricity and electronic devices are not found at Hogwarts. This is due to the fact that the high levels of magic make muggle devices such as computers, radar, and other electronics go "haywire" around the school—though wizard "radios" do work, but only because they are a magical imitation of regular muggle radios.
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.
Hogwarts Castle is supported by numerous spells such as the Anti-Disapparition Jinx, halts all apparition into or out of the grounds.
The castle’s magic is reportedly strong enough to deter even the most talented dark wizards, and can’t be touched by the Taboo (the curse that allowed Voldemort to track anyone who said his name). There are also spells preventing the gates from being unlocked by anyone but teachers, to prevent anyone from climbing the walls, and to keep anyone from flying in on their broomsticks.
Early-on in her planning of the series’ final scenes, Rowling became attached to one particular image: Hagrid 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 idea may even have saved Hagrid from Rowling’s instinct to kill him off earlier in the series. Worth it.
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.
How could anyone forget the Blast-Ended Skrewt, the nightmare creatures that Hagrid inexplicably loves? Okay, it's explicable: the man has a heart the size of Texas. And he bred them into existence. Skrewts are hybrid creatures, and come about by breeding a Manitcore to a Fire Crab.
Believe it or not, Norwegian Ridgebacks (the same breed as Hagrid’s pet dragon, Norbert) start breathing fire as young as one-month-old. This makes them the youngest species of dragon to shoot flames.
Soft and furry, a Puffskein is quite possibly one of the most cuddle-worthy magical creatures.
Don’t recognize the name Puffskein? You may know them by their other name, "Pygmy Puffs". Puffskeins, a group of which is called a poffle (how adorable is that)?, were altered by Fred and George Weasley to produce a miniature version, which they called Pygmy Puffs and sold at their shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
Looks like Norwegian Ridgebacks aren’t the only magical creature to develop their skills young. Hippogriffs are able to fly no less than one week after being born. That being said, it can take a few months before they have the strength to undertake long journeys with their parents.
Evanna Lynch beat 15,000 girls for the role of Luna, she was 9th in line of 29 finalists, and when it came to viewing the audition videos, one of the producers, David Barron, stopped viewing after Evanna's audition and said, "She is Luna”. We couldn’t agree more, David.
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.
If you live in Wisconsin and have noticed a frog-headed beast in your backyard, it’s quite possible you weren’t just imagining things! The Hodag is a magical beast native to Wisconsin.
Its main source of food are mooncalves, creatures that burrow holes in the ground and only come out during full moons, which has lead Hodags to wander into the farms of muggles at night looking for food. Thus, the MACUSA Department of No-Maj Misinformation was forced to work tirelessly to convince the American public that all reported Hodag sightings were just hoaxes (luckily, we know the truth).
Looks like Hermione isn’t the only "halfbreed" at Hogwarts. Kneazles are commonly interbred with regular cats to create part-Kneazles. There are even some witches and wizards who have gone into the kneazle-breeding business; Arabella Figg is one such example. Hermione’s cat, Crookshanks, is also a half-Kneazle. Take that, wizard racists.
Kneazles, otherwise known as the magical felines of the wizarding world, are more than just cute and cuddly. Their whiskers can actually be used to make wands. Don’t get too excited though, because wands made from unicorn hair, phoenix feathers, and dragon heartstrings are said to be far superior.
The filmmakers originally wanted to use Canterbury Cathedral as a filming location, but the Dean refused, saying it was unfitting for a Christian church to be used to promote pagan imagery.
Gloucester Cathedral agreed to take its place as their Dean was a fan of the books. Nonetheless, there was a huge media outcry and protesters wrote hundreds of angry letters to the local newspapers, complaining that it was blasphemy and threatening to block the film-crew’s access. In the end, only one protester turned up.
Though Doxies might look like an adorable version of a bat to us mere muggles, in the wizarding world, they are considered to be pests. They tend to live in draping like curtains and are known to infest houses. Luckily, there are two ways to get rid of them.
1. Doxycide, a black-hued solution that paralyzes doxies when sprayed on them, allowing for safe removal. 2. casting a Knockback Jinx, a spell they are powerless to.
Nifflers stole our hearts onscreen as the funniest and most adorable beasts in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. What fans of the book and film may not have realized is that Nifflers are known for their ability to burrow.
In fact, they live in burrows that can be as much as 20 feet below the ground. They’re so good at burrowing, the goblins used Nifflers to burrow underground for treasure.
Rowling was fully involved in the making of the Harry Potter films as a consultant and later as a producer.
When it came time to casting Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling knew that Eddie Redmayne was her first and only choice to play Newt Scamander. According to producer David Heyman, “Not only does he look as if he lives in 1926, but he has all the elements required to be Newt: he’s smart, funny, utterly British, and immensely sympathetic—even as an outsider more comfortable with his beasts than with people”. Not only did he not have to audition for the film, but he took part in other casting decisions as well. Redmayne will also feature in the upcoming sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Rowling knew that Eddie Redmayne was her first and only choice to play Newt Scamander. According to producer David Heyman, “Not only does he look as if he lives in 1926, but he has all the elements required to be Newt: he’s smart, funny, utterly British, and immensely sympathetic—even as an outsider more comfortable with his beasts than with people”. Not only did he not have to audition for the film, but he took part in other casting decisions as well. Redmayne will also feature in the upcoming sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay for the first Fantastic Beasts movie, marking the prolific author's screenwriting debut.
The Fantastic Beasts series was originally reported to be a trilogy, but Warner Brothers has since confirmed that the series will contain five films, and that J. K. Rowling will write the screenplays for all of them. The second film has a release date of November 2018, and the third 2020. All of the titles will begin with Fantastic Beasts.
K. Rowling will write the screenplays for all of them. The second film has a release date of November 2018, and the third 2020. All of the titles will begin with Fantastic Beasts.
Speaking of Fantastic Beasts, one of the most interesting creatures in the Potter universe is the Pickled Murtlap. Though the Murtlap looks like an underwater hamster on steroids, it happens to be super useful when it comes to resisting jinxes.
The tentacles that grow on a Murtlap’s back can actually be pickled and eaten to help build up resistance to jinxes. Murtlap tentacles can also heal scrapes and were a key ingredient in the essence that Hermione covered Harry’s cuts in after his torturous detention with Umbridge.
Many members of the magical community lose their fashion sense when trying to pass in the Muggle world.
In Goblet of Fire, the campsite manager Mr. Roberts complains about “a bloke walking ‘round in a kilt and a poncho”. One character without these sartorial issues is Bill Weasley, who is basically the epitome of cool. He has long hair tied back in a ponytail, boots made of dragon skin (not sure his brother Charlie would approve), and jewellery made from fangs.
The scars given to him by Fenrir Greyback in Half-Blood Prince surely add to his bad-boy aesthetic.
The underwater scenes were shot in a huge tank with a blue-screen background. Divers were on hand with air tanks to allow the actors to stay submerged for long periods of time.
Daniel Radcliffe alone logged nearly 42 minutes underwater.
At one point, Radcliffe accidentally signaled he was drowning and sent the entire crew into a massive panic to save him.
At 500,000L, the tank was one of the largest underwater sets ever constructed. The largest underwater set ever was over 26 million liters and was constructed for The Abyss because James Cameron always needs to be the biggest.
Set of 'The Abyss', water drained
In the Fantastic Beasts scene where Newt shows Jacob his collection of fantastic beasts, there is a Grindylow in a bubble of water. That’s a nod to Goblet of Fire, where the creatures were featured in the Triwizard tournament's underwater challenge.
The word “muggle” actually existed in the early to mid-1900s as a “jazz-word” that was used for pot smokers.
All of the Harry Potter stories were firmly centered on the magical world, and the central characters were all witches and wizards. Fantastic Beasts is the first movie in the franchise to feature a main character with no magical abilities or potential. Jacob Kowalski is regular, working class New Yorker who comes into contact with Newt during his American adventures.
A portrait of Henry VIII’s wife Anne Boleyn is hung on the wall of the grand staircase near the second-floor landing. She was the Queen consort of England, and mother to Elizabeth I, but Muggles believed that she was a witch.
There were also rumors in the Wizarding community that she was a squib—a non-magical child born to magical parents.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has a connection to real American history. Many of the American laws surrounding magic are derived from the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s. In the Magical Congress of the United States, the names of those who lost their lives during the witch trials are noted on four golden phoenix statues in the entrance.
In the Magical Congress of the United States, the names of those who lost their lives during the witch trials are noted on four golden phoenix statues in the entrance.
Part of the tension in Fantastic Beasts comes from a magical law in the United States that prohibits fraternizing between magical and non-magical persons. J. K. Rowling actually developed an extensive backstory for the law, called Rappaport’s Law after Emily Rappaport, the 15th
K. Rowling actually developed an extensive backstory for the law, called Rappaport’s Law after Emily Rappaport, the 15thpresident of the Magical Congress of the United States.
The first print of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was just 1,000 copies! Isn’t that difficult to even imagine?
If you’d add up the numbers now, you’d find that the seven Harry Potter books have collectively sold about 500 millions copies around the world. Just think!
It all started with just 1,000 units.
The name of the first book was changed to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” for American audiences because the marketing people in the US assumed that American children would find sorcerers more exciting than philosophers. Please. What nine-year old wouldn’t be enthralled by Aristotles’ “Nicomachean Ethics”?
As a result, they had to film every scene mentioning the Stone twice to ensure that the American version of the movie has the actors saying “Sorcerer”.
Rowling regretted giving Scholastic permission to change the title of her book, but at the time, she felt she didn’t have the clout to stand up to the publishers. Of course, now that she’s the most powerful author in the world, she could probably get away with calling the next book “Harry Potter and the Endless Diarrhea”.
In addition to being one of the cleverest creatures in the wizarding world, Goblins are also accomplished metalsmiths.
There are many references to “goblin-wrought” metals throughout the Harry Potter series, including when Sirius Black mentions family dishes made from the “finest fifteenth-century goblin-wrought silver,” and when Hagrid gave an “indestructible” helmet made by Goblins as a gift to the giants.
The Plimpy, a round fish with long, thin legs, is considered by Merpeople to be a pest.
Unlike Doxies, there isn’t a magical solution to get rid of them. Rather, the easiest way to get rid of a Plimpy is to tie its leg into a knot, at which point it will gently drift away.
J.K. Rowling specifically invented the word choranaptyxic for the film. A choranaptyxic creature is one that can shrink or grow to fit the available space. The Occamy, a winged, serpentine-bodied creature from the Far East and India, is one such creature, and it makes an appearance on screen.
The village of Hogsmede is the closest populated location to Hogwarts, and is located near to Dufftown in Banffshire and Achintee in Lochaber.
Surrounding the castle are mountains, and to the south is the Great Lake. To the west of the doors to the entrance hall are broad, sloping lawns, as well as the Forbidden Forest. The grounds of the castle also contain vegetable patches and a number of greenhouses.
According to the 2008 Independent Schools Network Ranking, Hogwarts is the 36th best school in Scotland. It was added to the list just for fun, and outranked Edinburgh’s Loretto School, which is one of Scotland’s oldest boarding schools.
Fawkes kind of stole the spotlight when it came to Phoenixes in the Harry Potter series, so much so that you may not have even realized that Fawkes was not the only known domesticated Phoenix. The New Zealand Quidditch team, the Moutohora Macaws, actually have a domesticated Phoenix as their mascot.
Its name is Sparky.
Erumpents (aka magical rhinos) may be one of the fiercest-looking beasts in the wizarding world, but they also have rather peculiar habits. Erumpent populations were never very big, largely owing to the fact that male Erumpents are frequently known to blow themselves up during mating season.
The Billywig, for those who don’t remember, is a sapphire-blue insect native to Australia. They have a long stinger on their bodies, but unlike wasps’ relationship with muggles, young witches and wizards actively try to get stung by Billywigs. This is because getting stung by one of these Australian insects results in a period of giddiness, followed by levitation.
The only catch is that too many stings can cause uncontrollable hovering.
When a member of an Acromantula colony dies, the corpse is then eaten by the other spiders in the colony after death. Who’s hungry?
J.K. Rowling provided over 70 names for the Black family tree tapestry, complete with details of relations between each and every member, whose were to be scorched and so on.
It’s really fun to see a universe fleshed out in such detail.
Funnily enough, the mortal weakness of the Basilisk is the crow of a rooster (we’re not making this up, we promise). The next time you’re head to head with the King of Serpents, just be sure to have a chicken in your back pocket.
The author’s name is Joanne Rowling, with friends just calling her “Jo”. The “K” in her professional name stands for Kathleen – in honour of her grandmother – but is not actually her middle name (she doesn’t have one).
Pottermore is the home base of Potter fans everywhere, and it continues to reveal fantastic tidbits about characters even now that the series has ended.
One riddle contest revealed details of Snape and Lily Potter’s hometown, Cokeworth.
If you’re lucky enough to have a wand made from a Thunderbird’s tail feather, we recommend guarding it with your life. Wands containing the tail feather of a Thunderbird may be difficult to get a handle on, but they’re also extremely powerful (and known for their transfiguration skills in particular). Another added bonus (that could end up saving your life)?
Wands with this ingredient are able to sense danger and can cast spells independent of their owner.
Rowling wasn't a huge fan of chemistry while in school. She hated it so much, in fact, that when she decided what subject Snape should teach, she settled on potions because of its resemblance to its scientific equivalent, and its conjuring of all the bad memories she had while learning the subject. While writing Snape, however, she found she actually did have some interest in the topic.
J.K. Rowling had been a schoolteacher before writing the Potter books, and this film features some references to the British educational system. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, students at age 16 were given Ordinary Level (O-Level) exams in all their major subjects, for which they can receive their General Certificate of Education.
This corresponds to the Ordinary Wizarding Level (O.W.L). exams given at Hogwarts. Students who planned to go on to university stayed on two more years to take their Advanced (A-Level) Exams, which roughly correspond to N.E.W.T. (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test) Exams.
There are seven required subjects for all first-year students at Hogwarts.
They are: Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, History of Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, and Herbology. Learning how to fly on a broomstick is also required of all students.
While she was finishing up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Rowling and her daughter Jessica were staying at her sister’s in Edinburgh. The author did not have a proper income at the time and was receiving welfare benefits.
Salazar Slytherin wanted Hogwarts to admit pure-bloods only, but when the other founders refused to agree to this principle, he chose to leave the school.
Despite the Death Eaters' obsession with weeding muggleborns out of magical society, it’s extremely unlikely that each member is fully pure-blood—being so would imply incest, bearing in mind the small size of the wizarding community. It’s likely that most of the Death Eaters were posing as pure-blood in order to rise in favor. Even Voldemort is a half-blood wizard, with a Witch mother and a Muggle father.
The Book of Admittance is an ancient book bound by peeling-black dragon hide that sits locked in a small tower, and no human hands have touched it since its placement there by the founders. Beside the book is a small silver inkpot with a long quill called the Quill of Acceptance.
The quill writes down the birth of every magical child in the book, as well as non-magical children who display magical ability. Few wizards even know of the book's existence, and fewer still have ever witnessed it in action. This is the only system that has ever existed for admitting children into Hogwarts—if their name is in the book, they are accepted.
Rowling completed the first draft of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1996 on a manual typewriter.
The author and her iconic character share the same birthday, July 31.
Rowling initially penned the ideas for Harry Potter on a napkin, while on a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990.
According to the Marauder’s Map, there are a total of seven secret passages in Hogwarts that allow students to sneak in and out of the school. Among them are the One-Eyed Witch passage, which is found behind the one-eyed witch statue by the stairs to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. The passage is opened by tapping the wand on the statue and speaking the password, Dissendium. It leads to Honeydukes Sweet Shop in Hogsmeade by way of a tunnel under the school.
Newt Scamander is referenced multiple times throughout the Harry Potter movies. His name first appears in Philosopher’s Stone, when Harry and his friends have to purchase their textbooks for the year. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, his footsteps can be seen on the Maurader’s map, but the character’s presence at Hogwarts is never explained, nor is he seen.
Apparating and Dissaparating to or within Hogwarts is impossible for all students and teachers.
The only one with the ability to magically appear and disappear in the school is Dumbledore.
Educational Decrees were laws created by the Ministry of Magic designed to set or change the standards at Hogwarts. In the 1995-96 school year, the Ministry (headed by Dolores Umbridge), created new rules to quash or forbid behavior that they disapproved of.
Breaking some of these new decrees would result in outright expulsion, but mostly they were just an excuse to get rid of Dumbledore and have Umbridge take his place. Most of these new rules were suspended when Harry Potter proved that Voldemort had truly returned.
Rowling was an avid reader as a child and based the character of Hermione Granger on her 11-year-old self.
Albeit, with a more unusual name.
It may surprise you, or maybe not so much, but Rowling is a big fan of the block-building game Minecraft and often plays it with her son David.
In her late 20s, Rowling was struggling being an unemployed single mum coming out of a divorce.
She went through a rough period of clinical depression. The soul-sucking Dementors were created from that experience and later introduced in the third Harry Potter book.
The super awesome game of Quidditch was actually inspired by Rowling’s favourite sport – basketball.
Mandrakes age just like humans, and part of their growing process includes a period of adolescence.
It’s actually been proven that during this period, Mandrakes take on the traits of typical teens, such as being moody and secretive, and even getting acne.
Dumbledore’s family was from the town of Godric’s Hallow. The same place as the founder of Gryffindor, Godric Gryffindor, and Harry Potter.
There must be something in the water there…
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.
Before Harry was born, there was a prophecy made about the boy who would be able to bring down Lord Voldemort. Professor Trelawney gave Dumbeldore the prophecy at the end of her job interview for a position at Hogwarts. That certainly got her the job!
The script for Half- Blood Prince originally called for Harry to take Dumbledore’s wand after he died but the final book came up just before filming began and since who possess Dumbledore’s wand is a major issue the script had to be altered.
The work print of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows clocked in at five hours and the shooting script was over 500 pages long, justifying the decision to chop the movie into two parts.
We’re sure it was a purely artistic decision and had nothing to do with double dipping at the box office.
At one point, there was discussion of making Harry Potter as an animated film.
The reason the producers wanted to animate or combine films was that they were concerned that any delays in filming would result in the child actors aging too much to continue their roles and require recasting.
But because Rowling nixed the idea of doing either, the producers decided to film the entire series back-to-back so that the same actors could play the roles throughout.
Most of us only know the Chinese Fireball as the breed of dragon that fought Viktor Krum in the Triwizard Tournament.
What you may not know is that for this species of dragon, the females are usually larger than the males. Take that, boys!
J.K. Rowling received the British Red Cross Humanity Award in 2015 for her advocacy and charity work.
The advance payment for the first Harry Potter book was only £1,500. Fast-forward to today, Rowling’s net worth is estimated to be around $1 billion – making her the richest author in the world.
The wizarding currency used in the Harry Potter books is knuts, sickles and galleons, but apparently even wizards have to convert their money to American currency. In Fantastic Beasts, Americans don't use dollar and cents, but dragots and sprinks.
It’s easy to find real-life equivalents between Death Eaters and real-life hate groups such as the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, or those championing eugenics (manipulating DNA to get an "ideal" human). The costume designers certainly took these groups for inspiration, as the pointed hoods Death Eaters wore in Goblet of Fire closely resemble the pointed white hoods of the KKK uniform. However, the hoods were altered for the Order of the Phoenix.
Costume designers for the Harry Potter films tried their best to dress the Death Eaters in a way that would differentiate them from the Dementors, even though both groups wear long dark cloaks that conceal the face. The answer they came up with was to give each Death Eater a unique mask design that somehow reflected their personality.
The masks took inspiration from Islamic arabesque patterns, a style that celebrates a universe without limits.
All Harry Potter fans know that King’s Cross Station is the magical delivery entrance to the Wizarding World, but it also holds a personal significance for Rowling since her parents met on a train going from the station.
King’s Cross actually installed a Platform 9 ¾ for fans of the film and for parents to convince their children to run into at full speed to teach their children that magic isn’t real.
Rowling penned two sidekick books to complement the Harry Potter series – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages. The proceeds from both books were donated to Comic Relief (adding up to over £17 million).
Rowling took entrance exams at the University of Oxford, but was not accepted.
She ended up attending University of Exeter, studying French.
The Harry Potter author promised her editor she would never read Fifty Shades of Grey and she has stayed true to her word.
Food for meals at Hogwarts magically appears, but should any student get a craving for a late-night snack, entrance to the Hogwarts Kitchen can be gained by tickling a pear.
The entrance to the kitchen is concealed behind an innocuous painting of a fruit bowl, but if students tickle the pear in the bowl, the handle turns and lets them in.
The Room of Requirement is a secret room inside Hogwarts that can change itself to meet any specific need, and only opens when someone really needs it.
It’s located on the seventh floor in the left corridor of the castle, and has a hidden entrance opposite a tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy attempting to teach ballet to a group of trolls. The room can be opened by walking past it three times while thinking of what you need.
When it appears, it’s equipped for the seeker’s needs, with a few exceptions. It cannot create food and it’s seemingly unplottable, meaning it's hidden from sight and won't appear on any maps, including the Marauder's Map. It’s also suggested that the user be very specific about his/her needs, as once it has appeared other people can enter and see how it’s being used.
The Hufflepuff Common Room’s entrance is located in the kitchens, concealed behind a pile of barrels in the back right corner. To enter you must tap the right barrel on the bottom row with the rhythm of Helga Hufflepuff—tap tap, tap-tap-tap. If you get it wrong, you get soaked with vinegar.
When J.K. Rowling turned 45-years-old – which was the age her mother died from multiple sclerosis – the author donated £10 million to the University of Edinburgh to open the Anne Rowling Degenerative Neurology Clinic in honour of her mum.
Rowling was awarded the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2000, which recognises contributions in the field of arts, sciences, charity and public service.
J.K. Rowling was the runner-up for Time’s title of Person of the Year in 2007 – losing to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Remus’ name is a clue to his identity: Roman mythology claims that the founders of Rome were two boys—Remus and Romulus—raised by a wolf. His surname is also hints at his true nature:
“Lupin” is a play on the Latin word for wolf, “Lupus”. His middle name, “John,” refers to a wolf’s…. kidding! There’s no hidden wolf symbolism in “John”.
Rowling has previously revealed that she bought the wedding dress for her second marriage in disguise, because she didn’t want to be recognized. We've all been there, right folks?
J.K. Rowling says she no longer minds if people mispronounce her name. But just to be clear, her name rhymes with “bowling” not “howling”.
Rowling has over 5 million followers on Twitter. She posts regularly and engages in discussions with her fans, sometimes she even argues with them over statements she disagrees with.
When he was cast in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Radcliffe was paid $110,000 for his role, but that changed quickly. Radcliffe earned seven figure salaries for the next seven Harry Potter films, nearly all of which was managed and invested by his parents until he came of age. As of 2013, Radcliffe was allegedly worth $87 million!
Daniel Radcliffe took time out of filming to take part in a stage production of Equus. Alan Rickman, who Radcliffe had previously found intimidating, cut his holiday short to go and see Radcliffe on stage. Aww, Snape!
JK Rowling also went to see the play. But on the night she came, someone in the audience threw an owl at Radcliffe.
That night, after the play Radcliffe asked Rowling whether Harry eventually dies. She replied "You get a death scene".
A long-running joke is that Radcliffe is often confused for Elijah Wood by Lord of the Rings fans. Radcliffe has been known to take it in stride, especially when he poked fun at the confusion when he appeared as himself on the show Bojack Horseman.
The Ministry of Magic took 22 weeks to build, but appears in the film for less than 10 minutes.
It was rigged to explode, so cast members weren't allowed to have their mobile phones on them when they filmed there, in case their phones triggered the explosion. Hazard pay, anyone?
Magical Government works a bit differently in the United States than it does in the UK. Instead of the Ministry of Magic there is the Magical Congress of the United States (MACUSA), led by a Wizarding President. The Congress' headquarters is hidden inside the Woolworth Building, a classic part of Manhattan's skyline.
Instead of the Ministry of Magic there is the Magical Congress of the United States (MACUSA), led by a Wizarding President. The Congress' headquarters is hidden inside the Woolworth Building, a classic part of Manhattan's skyline.
12 Grimmauld Place, the ancestral home of Sirius Black was built from scratch, because it was cheaper than hiring an actual house.
London real estate prices are so high, not even hollywood blockbusters can’t afford them!
The film's final scene was shot in a room filled with fireplaces and mirrors. Everyone who worked there complained about it being super hot. We hope it was worth it for the cast when they saw the final cut of the scene.
Radcliffe's face when Sirius Black dies was the first thing in any of the Harry Potter films that made Emma Watson cry. You’re not alone on that Emma.
In the scene in which Hermione casts a spell that sends Ron flying backwards, Rupert Grint wore a harness.
They made him fly backwards by attaching it to a heavy man who climbed a ladder. So glamorous!
When she was growing up, Rowling idolised Jo March from Little Women, who was also strong-minded and ambitious much like the author (not to mention, the two shared the same name)!.
Katie Leung (who played Cho Chang) was nervous about kissing Daniel Radcliffe on screen that she had sleepless nights over it.
On the planned day for the shooting of the scene, Daniel came down with an illness and filming had to be postponed while he recovered. What a tease! Reflecting on the kiss with Daniel, she said her one regret is her haircut! Radcliffe also commented on the kiss in an interview and said, “People imagine, when you watch these sex scenes or kissing scenes, they always look sexy and romantic and passionate, and it isn't. It's actually quite clinical.
You're standing there like that, and her head's right there, and they say, ‘Can you move to the right, no, the left, and tilt your head a bit,’ and it becomes like walking up the stairs or doing any other action”.
Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang, wasn’t originally going to audition. Her father had simply mentioned where the auditions were held and she decided at the last minute to attend, forgoing a shopping trip.
In 1926, the students of Hogwarts were sent home early due to a threat from the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Steps were taken to increase security at the school, but when the Daily Prophet reported the danger, the choice was made to send them home. The School’s permanent closure was considered during both openings of the Chamber of Secrets, but it didn’t end up being shut down either time. Then again, when Dumbledore was murdered, several of the teachers felt that the school should be closed, but the Ministry of Magic’s takeover by Death Eaters forced it to remain open that year under their rule.
Speaking of attending school... Every child working on the film still continued with their education, receiving three to five hours of schooling every day. They didn’t receive any homework though.
Rubeus Hagrid’s pet Hippogriff, Buckbeack, was just a beak on a stick during filming.
Buckbeak was originally made to act like a puppy, but was later made more mature at the director’s request.
The only character from the world of Harry Potter who seems to care about animals as much as Scamander is Hagrid himself. In fact, they were both expelled from Hogwarts for a very similar reason: a mysterious accident involving a magical creature. However, though we know Hagrid to have been framed by Tom Riddle, from what we know about Newt, his expulsion may have been justified.
a mysterious accident involving a magical creature. However, though we know Hagrid to have been framed by Tom Riddle, from what we know about Newt, his expulsion may have been justified.
Believe it or not, Quidditch has become an actual sport in the muggle world. There are teams at various universities and even a world cup tournament.
There’s no flying involved though. One day!
Interestingly, Radcliffe didn’t dream of being an actor as a kid. Instead, his big dream was to be a professional cricket player for England.
One sure sign that you’ve made it in this world is if you appear on The Simpsons. J.
K. Rowling had a cameo in an episode of the show in 2003, when the family visited the U.K.
K. Rowling revealed that the character of Dolores Umbridge was based on a real person whom she “disliked intensely on sight”, and whom “returned [her] antipathy with interest”, even though she honestly could not explain why they hated each other so much. Maybe it was all that pink?
Pottermore is the gift that keeps on giving. On the site, there's a feature article that includes a summary of the Harry Potter books from Snape’s perspective, offering a differing view of the story about The Boy Who Lived. Makes you think.
Rowling for the longest time wanted to end the Harry Potter series with the word “scar,” which has been so iconic throughout the books. In the end, she changed her mind and finished the final book with “All was well”.
Over 30,000 individually placed tiles were used to create the Ministry of Magic sets.
As real ceramic tiles would have been far too expensive to produce, they were instead made out of heavily-painted cardboard.
Many fans were critical of the scene where Harry sees Voldemort at the train station dressed in a Muggle suit, saying it was out of character for Voldemort to do such a thing.
Director David Yates and producer David Heyman both defended the scene, though each had different takes on it. Yates explained that it was Voldemort’s way of taunting Harry, that Voldemort could appear in plain sight in a crowd of Muggles who would not realize how dangerous he is. Heyman, on the other hand, said that it’s a figment of Harry’s imagination, symbolizing Voldemort taking control of Harry’s mind.
Matthew Lewis signed up to a load of Harry Potter fan sites before filming Order of the Phoenix started so that he could try to understand the mentality of being totally obsessed with something. He thought it would help him understand Neville's obsession with herbology.
We’re thinking this strategy definitely paid off.
When Death Eaters Barty Crouch Jr. and the Lestranges—Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan—tortured Neville Longbottom’s parents Alice and Frank, they didn’t know that their savage and non-stop use of the cruciatus curse actually could never have given them what they wanted. The torture took place after the fall of Voldemort, and the four Death Eaters responsible were trying to locate their master.
Frank and Alice Longbottom were completely unaware that Voldemort had fled to Albania, nor the nebulous state that he'd been reduced to, so even if they'd wanted to share information, they had nothing to give.
JK Rowling revealed that she’s deeply saddened that her mother, who died from complications related to multiple sclerosis at the age of 45, never knew about Harry Potter. Rowling, who was a teen when her mother was diagnosed, said, “She was very fit, she was a non-smoker, non-drinker, and I say all of this because of course then for her to be diagnosed at 35 with an illness that would kill her was just the most enormous shock to us and everyone who knew her”. Reflecting on her passing, Rowling said, “My mother was a passionate reader, and she would have been excited whatever I did, if I succeeded at anything, but particularly to be a writer, she would have considered to be a very valuable thing," she said. But "she never knew about Harry Potter – I started writing it six months before she died, so that is painful. I wish she'd known".
The school’s motto is Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus, which translated from Latin means “never tickle a sleeping dragon". When asked how she arrived at the motto, J.
K. Rowling explained that she’d always found traditional school slogans about perseverance and nobility boring, and it amused her to use a "practical" piece of advice as the school motto.
The film reveals that the twelfth use of dragon’s blood is as an oven cleaner.
During filming of Order of the Phoenix, Alan Rickman banned Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) from being within 5 meters of his new BMW, because during the making of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, they spilled a milkshake in his car. This just makes a lot of sense.
Due to large portions of the scenes being outdoors, the cast and crew lived in Scotland during the filming of Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s not easy moving bags by broomstick.
Puppets were used as stand-ins during the filming of scenes with the Dementors. CGI was added in later.
Imagine trying to act as if a puppet is sucking out your soul.
Author J.K. Rowling based the Dementors on her struggle with depression.
The portrait in Dumbledore's office is Phineas Nigellus Black, he is great-grandfather of Sirius Black, Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy. He's also great-great-grandfather to Draco Malfoy and Tonks.
Phineas was a busy man.
Daniel Radcliffe came up with a suggestion of respect to a teacher that Harry most certainly looked up to, he would wear certain types of clothes that resembled the outfit worn by Professor Lupin in his lessons from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, during his teachings. the director liked the suggestion that it became the basis for his look during those scenes in The Room of Requirement.
Helena Bonham Carter who played Bellatrix Lestrange, wore chicken fillets to make her breasts look bigger.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Ron, Fred and George are rescuing Harry from the Dursley's, Ron says, "Rescuing you, of course", in this film, Moody says the same thing to Harry. Here’s a thought, stop getting into trouble and you won’t need rescuing, guys!
Even though this is the longest book in the seven book series, this is the 2nd shortest movie in the Harry Potter film Series.
Something must have been lost in translation.
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.
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