When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released in 1997, it introduced children to the magical world of J.K. Rowling. The adventures of Harry, Ron, and Hermione have changed the world. They’ve inspired an entire generation of young readers with the classic story of good versus evil set against the backdrop of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
While some details of the Harry Potter series are now in our everyday lexicon, other facts remain mysterious to even the most diehard Potterhead. In this article, we’ll look into 12 of the most interesting Harry Potter facts that will surely make a witch or wizard out of even the most cynical muggle.
1. Harry’s name has a deeper meaning
Harry is another name for Henry, one of the most popular names for British kings. In choosing the name Harry for her protagonist, Rowling hoped to show readers that he was the leader of their group.
2. Fred and George Weasley were born on April Fool’s Day
Anyone who has read the Harry Potter book series knows that Ron’s brothers Fred and George are big jokesters. It is quite fitting troublesome twins were born on April Fool’s Day, don’t you think?
3. Order of the Phoenix contains very subtle foreshadowing
In one scene in the book, the fortune teller Professor Trelawney avoids joining several characters at a table as she would be the thirteenth person to sit down.
Trelawney warns that in such a situation, the first person to get up would meet their death. In another chapter, Sirius Black is the first to leave a table where 13 members of the Order of the Phoenix sit. Just as Trelawney predicted, Sirius meets his doom while battling Death Eaters at the Department of Mysteries.
4. The dementors are based on Rowling’s own experience with depression
Prisoner of Azkaban introduced readers to dementors, the fearsome guards of the wizard’s prison. As Potterheads know, dementors suck the joy out of a person, leaving them a broken husk of their former selves.
In describing how the dementors feed off people, Rowling turned to her own experience with depression after her mother’s death in 1990. When speaking about her mother’s death, Rowling said that her grief made her feel “hollowed-out,” which is what dementors do to their victims.
5. The Malfoy family used to be friendly with the muggle world
A key part of Draco and Lucius Malfoy’s characterization was their general dislike for muggles and wizards from non-magic families. However, in essays on Pottermore, Rowling revealed that their ancestors relished the company of muggles before fraternization with non-magical people was forbidden by the 1692 Statute of Secrecy.
6. James and Lily Potter were pure soulmates
In another more subtle nod to the love between James and Lily Potter, Rowling made James’s Patronus a stag and Lily’s Patronus a doe.
7. Voldemort’s fear of death
The series’ chief antagonist, Lord Voldemort, is shown to have an obsession with avoiding death. He had created an elaborate series of Horcruxes to cheat death time and time again.
Rowling says that his only fear is death and that a boggart would appear to him as his own dead corpse.
8. King’s Cross Station has special meaning for Rowling
As Potter fans know, the gateway to the wizarding world is Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station in London.
Rowling chose this real-life location because it was the place where her parents first met as they were traveling to Scotland.
9. Hedwig’s death was a major mile marker in Harry’s life
The death of Harry’s beautiful snowy owl in the early chapters of Deathly Hallows left many fans reeling. But Rowling says that it was necessary for the larger development of Harry’s character.
Rowling describes the death of Hedwig as the loss of Harry’s innocence and the end of his childhood.
10. Rowling based Hagrid from a member of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club
In a conversation with Hagrid’s portrayer, Robbie Coltrane, Rowling said that she was inspired to create Hagrid by a fearsome-looking biker she met in West Country.
Despite the man’s intimidating presence, he remained a gentle soul, impressing friends with his gardening skills.
11. Rowling considered killing off Ron
In the middle of her work on the series, Rowling described going through a particularly dark time in her life.
In this brief time span, Rowling contemplated killing-off Harry’s best friend and Hermione’s future husband. Looking back at the idea, Rowling acknowledged that it was born out of “pure spite.”
12. Much of Hermione’s characterization is based-on Rowling herself
As a young girl, Rowling described herself as bookish, much like Hermione. Additionally, Hermione’s Patronus takes the form of an otter, Rowling’s favorite animal.
Whether you are new to the world of Harry Potter or are enjoying it all over again, there is still much to discover in Rowling’s sprawling universe.
The time and planning Rowling put into the series ensure fans that they will discover something new in each subsequent reading.