It’s been decades since the world was introduced to Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, the author who created his magical world. Since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling has had time to ponder that world and offer some new insights about her Harry Potter characters and storylines. What tidbits and cold hard truths has J.K. Rowling revealed since the final book was released? What’s going on over at Pottermore? What should you know about Potter and all his pals that wasn’t in the books?
Rowling has revealed a range of Potter details for fans to devour. On her website, Pottermore, Rowling continues to share Potter trivia, post-series information, and character backstories with a tidal wave of dissection at every single reveal. If you haven’t checked it out, Pottermore is an amazing resource.
Most of the time, the information is delightful, but sometimes Rowling lets it be known that she is not pleased with certain trends, like how many girls crush on Draco. (She’s not having it. He’s just a jerk, okay?) Or that maybe she goofed up that whole Hermoine married Ron thing. Twitter be like WHAAAAAAT?! When she revealed that a beloved character was gay, fans responded in overwhelming numbers of support. While others scratched their heads, Rowling let it be known that she is not tolerant of intolerance.
And while ending the Harry Potter series was sad, it was also a bit of a relief for Rowling. “It was this amazing cathartic moment… the end of 17 years’ work,” Rowling said. But with Pottermore, a 2016 Harry Potter play, and constant, rabid response to the world she created, Rowling will never abandon Harry. “He will always be a presence in my life, really.”
Rowling has said she may eventually reveal more details in a Harry Potter encyclopedia, but even then, it will never be enough to satisfy the most hardcore fans. “I’m dealing with a level of obsession in some of my fans that will not rest until they know the middle names of Harry’s great-great-grandparents,” she said. But the author is just fine with the outpouring of devotion for all things Harry Potter. “I love it,” she said. “I’m all for that.”
Fans can certainly get their Potter-adjacent fix with Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts series. The series takes us back 90 years before Harry and follows the adventures of Newt Scamander, magizoologist and proud Hufflepuff.
So fulfill your Harry Potter obsession with this list of all the facts Rowling has revealed on Pottermore, in interviews, an on social media about your favorite fictional world. Be sure to upvote the most interesting and revelatory facts about Potter and head to the comments section to let your own opinion on Ron and Hermione’s relationship be known!
Alan Rickman Took This Acting Tip from J.K. Rowling to His Grave
In a 2011 interview with RTÉ, Alan Rickman revealed that J.K. Rowling had given him a little tidbit of advice for how to play Professor Snape onscreen. He said, “She gave me one little piece of information, which I always said I would never share with anybody and neve have, and never will. It wasn’t a plot point, or crucial in any tangible way, but it was crucial to me as a piece of information that made me travel down that road rather than that one or that one or that one.”
After Rickman’s death in January 2016, fans were dying to know what that piece of information was that Rickman took to his grave. Rowling decided to alleviate the pain of mourning fans by letting them know Rickman’s greatest secret.
“I told Alan what lies behind the word always,” Rowling responded to a Twitter fan. This means that, while the other characters in Harry Potter had no idea what the ending of the book – or film – series would be, Alan Rickman knew what was in store for his character all the while.
For those who aren’t familiar with what the word “always” symbolizes in Harry Potter, it’s a quote from Professor Snape’s character that really shapes the good guy side of Snape that readers rarely see. We spend the entire series thinking that Snape is a huge jerk, especially when he outright murders Dumbledore in front of Harry. But it turns out that Snape’s best-kept secret was that he was actually a real softie all along.
Snape has been in love with Harry Potter’s mom, Lily Potter (neé Evans), ever since they were children. When Dumbledore finds out that Snape is still in love with Lily Potter – even after her untimely death at the hands of Lord Voldemort – he asks him, “Really Severus? After all this time?” and Snape replies, “Always.”
Rowling explained this to Rickman early on, so that he could always act the way that his character was intended to – with tons of loving care for Harry Potter layered underneath a sheen of sarcasm and feigned hatred of his arrogance.
Wait, What? Harry and Voldemort Are Related?
Crazy, right?! But Rowling’s family tree links James Potter with Ignotus Peverell. James left Harry the Invisibility Cloak, one of the necessary hallows to achieve immortality, which was passed down by Ignotus, who is James’s direct ancestor.
Tom Riddle, aka Voldemort, was also related to the Peverells. This is why he had the Resurrection Stone. There are hints in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but it’s not super obvious.
Blood is not thicker than Death Eaters, apparently.
She Didn't Enjoy Killing Off Remus Lupin
Beginning in 2015, Rowling promised to apologize for a death in the Harry Potter series every year on the anniversary of the end of the Second Wizarding War (May 2). In 2016, she focused her contrition on Remus Lupin, a werewolf and former Defense Against the Dark Arts professor who knew Harry’s parents and became a fan favorite.
In a series of tweets, Rowling said: “Once again, it’s the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts so, as promised, I shall [apologize] for a death. This year: Remus Lupin… In the interests of total honesty I’d also like to confess that I didn’t decide to kill Lupin until I wrote Order of the Phoenix.”
She continued, “Arthur lived, so Lupin had to die. I’m sorry. I didn’t enjoy doing it. The only time my editor ever saw me cry was over the fate of Teddy.”
Harry, Hermione, and Ron Appear on Frog Cards
On Rowling’s 2007 American book tour, Rowling had a surprise for fans. One of the perks of destroying one of the most powerful Dark wizards that ever existed is to have your face and accomplishments appear on one of the collectible Chocolate Frog Cards.
Harry’s card says: “The first and only known wizard to survive the Killing Curse, most famous for the defeat of the most dangerous dark wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort.”
Hermione’s card says: “The brightest witch of her age, who eradicated pro-pureblood laws and campaigned for the rights of non-human beings such as house-elves.”
Ron’s card says: “Destroying the Horcruxes and subsequent defeat of Voldemort and revolutionising the Ministry of Magic.”
Ron, an ardent card collector, considered this to be one of the greatest achievements of all time. This is also why Ron is beloved. The revelation had fans saying, “awww.”
Luna Lovegood Marries the Grandson of Newt Scamander
Harry’s lovely, fearless, ethereal, and odd friend had a love for imaginary and real animals. So, it’s no surprise that she ended up becoming a famous wizarding naturalist married to the grandson of Newt Scamander, Rolf. Scamander, you’ll recall, authored Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Who better to find them than Luna Lovegood?
Source: Beyond Hogwarts
Dumbledore Could See Harry in the Invisibility Cloak
Rowling confirmed something that fans had speculated about when she said that Dumbledore could silently use the incantation “homenum revelio” and see him any time. So Dumbledore probably attended a good many secret meetings.
Ron and Arthur Weasley Were Both Almost Killed Off
Do not make J.K. Rowling mad when she is writing, she may go all George R.R. Martin on your favorite characters. When she was in a bad place personally, Rowling nearly killed off Ron and Arthur Weasley. Despite making a promise to herself to keep the “Golden Trio” in tact through all seven Harry Potter books, her fingers got all twitchy over the keyboard at one point.
In the final film’s extra features, Rowling told Daniel Radcliffe about her dark thoughts. “I started thinking I might polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite. ‘There, now you definitely can’t have him any more.’ But I think in my absolute heart of heart of hearts, although I did seriously consider killing Ron, [I wouldn’t have done it].”
Arthur very nearly died from an attack by Voldemort the snake but he made it through because “there were very few good fathers in the book. In fact, you could make a very good case for Arthur Weasley being the only good father in the whole series,” Rowling said.
Rowling, however, found it necessary to kill at least one of the Weasleys. Sorry, Fred.
Draco Married Up in the Best Possible Way
Despite their great coming down in the world, the Malfoys had the unmitigated gall to look down on Draco’s wife, Astoria Greengrass. She wasn’t of pure blood nor one of the sacred 28 wizarding families.
Draco, however, did not end up a bitter old Slytherin talking about the good ol’ days when he was almost somebody in the Dark Lord’s world. Possibly in a subconscious move to break the pattern of hate, he married Astoria Greengrass, who may have helped the warped boy become a better man. She does not share her in-laws’ obsession with pure blood and is dead set on raising her child differently than they raised her husband, according to Rowling.
This did not exactly go over well with Lucius and Narcissa. “As Astoria refused to raise their grandson Scorpius in the belief that Muggles were scum, family gatherings were fraught with tension,” Rowling wrote.
The Potterverse Has Two 'Harry Potters'
This is not a prank, nor a polyjuice potion mixhap. According to Rowling, Harry Potter’s great-grandfather, Henry Potter, went by the nickname ‘Harry.’ Father to Fleamont Potter, the Harry Potter’s paternal grandfather, Henry served on the Wizengamot during the early 1900s. He took a highly critical stance against the then-Minister of Magic’s decision to keep the wizarding world out of WWI, a decision Henry Potter saw as damaging for Muggles.
This lead to the Potter family’s exclusion from the Sacred Twenty-Eight, a group of pureblood families.
As a Film, Fantastic Beasts Was an Accident
Rowling never planned on becoming a screenwriter. “I never aspired to this. This is very much an added extra,” she explained to the BBC, looking very much surprised about the existence of the prequel franchise. “And the reason this exists, Fantastic Beasts, is because I couldn’t let the story go. Warner Brothers wanted to do something with Newt and I knew a lot about Newt so I thought I’d better give them what I’ve got. So I started writing notes. And I wrote a story. Then I banged out a screenplay which I thought they would give to someone more competent and they said, ’No, you can do that.’ So it was a bit of an accident.”
Hogwarts Is Located in Scotland
The textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a requirement of first year Hogwarts students. Ron Weasley doodles and annotates Harry’s copy, slyly teaching fans a few things about the magical world. Namely, Hogwarts is located in Scotland. We also learn that Ron agrees that the Hungarian Horntail is the most fearsome dragon of all since his pal Harry dealt with one first hand.
As for the doodles, Rowling thought it quite natural to put them in. “That’s Harry and Ron graffiti-ing the book, as you do to your schoolbooks. You do doodle on them, I always wrote all over mine. Teachers reading this will not be happy that I’m saying it but you do, don’t you? So they’ve just scribbled things on them and said rude things in them, the name of their favourite Quidditch team and stuff in the book,” she explained.
Dolores Umbridge Is Based on a Real Person and J.K. Rowling Totes Can’t Stand Her
Rowling based the kitten-obsessed, pink-wearing, sadistic bureaucrat on a real person that she “disliked intensely on sight.” The author also said that the real life Umbridge felt the same about her. “The woman in question returned my antipathy with interest.”
The reason that we all love to hate Dolores Umbridge so much is that Rowling truly conjured the essence of the real woman. “Why we took against each other so instantly, heartily and (on my side, at least) irrationally, I honestly cannot say.” Rowling said that real life Umbridge also had loads pictures of kittens on her office walls.
Umbridge is just as dark and nasty as Voldemort and it’s no accident. “Her desire to control, to punish, and to inflict pain, all in the name of law and order, are, I think, every bit as reprehensible as Lord Voldemort’s unvarnished espousal of evil,” Rowling said. “Umbridge is not only one of the most malicious Potter characters – she is the only person other than Lord Voldemort to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry.”
Umbridge proves that nose or not, evil is just as vile in a fuzzy, pink dress set.
Post-Hogwarts, Ron and Harry Did All Right
Once you put “killed Dark Lord” on your resume, you are probably set for life. Who needs a degree? Hogwarts dropouts Harry and Ron were perfect for the job of Auror at the Ministry of Magic. Basically, Harry and Ron get to be badass detectives. Spinoff please!
Rowling said, “He’s needed. Kingsley [Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic] would’ve wanted Ron, Neville, Harry and they would’ve all gone, and they would’ve all done the job. And I think that that would’ve been a good thing for them, too.”
Although Neville ends up teaching herbology, certainly Harry and Ron would need his expertise now and again. Especially if they ever needed someone to cast a mad spell in a cardigan.
Ron didn’t last long as an Auror. Ron left his job at the Ministry to “co-manage the highly successful wizarding joke emporium Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.”
We’re sure Hermione was totally cool with that.
Harry and Dudley Meet Again and Make Amends (Sort Of)
Despite coming from a very weak gene pool, perhaps something in Petunia’s makeup allowed her son to be less awful than his parents. Petunia and Lily were sisters after all. During her 2007 book tour, Rowling said, “Harry and Dudley would still see each other enough to be on Christmas card terms, but they would visit more out of a sense of duty and sit in silence so that their children could see their cousins.”
In a deleted scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Dudley has a comical, nearly moving moment of defying his crap parents. In his less than eloquent way, Dudley redeemed some of the terrible treatment of Harry by saying, “I don’t think you’re a waste of space.”
To which Harry says, “See ya, Big D.”
It’s a start.
Tonks and Lupin Were Part of Rowling’s "Kill Parents" Campaign
Because Rowling was on a “kill parents” spree to demonstrate Voldemort’s absolute evil, she just had to kill newly-wedded Tonks and Remus Lupin. Why?! “I think one of the most devastating things about war is the children left behind. As happened in the first war when Harry’s left behind, I wanted us to see another child left behind. And it made it very poignant that it was their newborn son.”
Rowling did feel real remorse. “Fred, Lupin, and Tonks really caused me a lot of pain. Lupin and Tonks were two who were killed who I had intended to keep alive. It’s like an exchange of hostages, isn’t it?”
So if you’re a new reader of the Harry Potter series, be prepared for some dark stuff. Rowling is a gangster.
Harry Made Sure That Snape Was Honored
One of the final things Harry says in the last book is: “Albus Severus, you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.” Besides that great honor, Harry went further.
Rowling revealed Harry made sure that a portrait of the misunderstood professor was placed in the Headmaster’s office at Hogwarts. She explained in a webchat, “I like to think that Harry would be instrumental in ensuring that Snape’s portrait would appear there in due course.”
Check out more Harry Potter tidbits that you probably never knew here.
JK Rowling Feels Bad About Killing Dobby
It’s that anniversary again. This year, I apologise for killing someone who didn’t die during the #BattleofHogwarts, but who laid down his life to save the people who’d win it. I refer, of course, to Dobby the house elf.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 2, 2018JK Rowling tweets each year on May 2 to remind fans it’s the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. Typically, she tweets about a beloved character who lost their life at some point in the book series. In 2018, she addressed the death of everyone’s favorite housewife, Dobby.
While she did not say she regretted killing the free elf who idolized Harry Potter, she did apologize to fans for his passing.
Fantastic Beasts Started Out as a Book Written for Charity
Over 80% of the cover price goes to Comic Relief, the charity. Nearly $30 million has been raised since the book’s initial publication in 2001.
Before the film version debuted, Rowling and star Eddie Redmayne also attended a special screeningto benefit Lumos Foundation USA (partnered with Warner Bros. and Scholastic) on Nov. 12, 2016 at Carnegie Hall. Lumos helps children in orphanages “regain their right to a family.”
Initially, it was Comic Relief that inspired her to put Fantastic Beasts (as well as Quidditch Through the Ages) together. “I always write more than I need for the books so bits of them were just written for my own fun,” Rowling told Raincoast, “I always write more than I need for the books so bits of them were just written for my own fun. So when Comic Relief asked me to write something I thought I would just love to write them, I just thought it would be so much fun and I was completely correct. It was more fun than I’ve had writing the others.”
Harry's Family Tree Stretches Back to the Middle Ages
In September 2015, to go along with a Pottermore site redesign, Rowling revealed that the Potter name goes all the way back to a 12th century wizard named Linfred of Stinchcombe. She went on to describe him as ““a locally well-beloved and eccentric man, whose nickname, ‘the Potterer,’ became corrupted in time to ‘Potter.’”
Source: The Guardian
Harry Got Sirius Black’s Bike Thanks to Arthur Weasley
Sure, it was damaged during the war with the Death Eaters, but pro tinkerer and mechanic, Arthur Weasley recovered all of the parts and restored the bike, giving it to Harry. Sweet!
Source: Mental Floss
Neville Turns Out Finer Than Fine and Becomes a Verb
Neville’s life turns out much better. Besides helping to defeat the Dark wizard behind torturing his parents, he ends up with Hannah Abbott and they live above the The Leaky Cauldron. And he becomes the new Herbology Professor at Hogwarts. We’re certain there are benefits and that Neville had access to dental health and the gym. Because he turned out super hot.
And “Longbottomed” is now a verb for when someone goes from awkward to stone cold fox. Actor Matthew Lewis posed for a spread in a magazine in nothing but his drawers. The child with the overbite had grown into such hotness, Lewis’s shoot nearly broke the internet. Rowling was a bit freaked out when she saw someone she had known as a child in such a revealing way.
Rowling may have told Matthew Lewis to put some pants on but we’re okay with it. Not sorry, Jo.
Source: E! Online
Why Are the Dursleys So Rotten to Harry?
To mark what would be Dudley Dursley’s 35th birthday, Rowling revealed some Dursley backstory via Pottermore, in a section called “The Cupboard Under the Stairs.”
Since the very first time they met James Potter, Petunia and Vernon’s jealousy compounded from their established envy of Lily. Upon meeting his future brother-in-law, Vernon makes a crack about how James and Lily are probably on the dole. Not true. James explains Gringotts and the magical world’s banking system. Vernon is instantly intimidated.
Plus, because Harry reminds Vernon very much of his father, Vernon transfer his insecurities and resentment to the boy. Also, Petunia was always envious of her sister’s powerful skills and magical ability to find a hot husband. Rowling has said that she thought about redeeming Petunia but decided to keep her unchanged and unbowed to the very end.
Rowling Was Unnerved by Love of Draco
The author has been less than pleased with the appeal of Draco Malfoy. She wrote on Pottermore, “I have often had cause to remark on how unnerved I have been by the number of girls who fell for this particular fictional character. Although I do not discount the appeal of Tom Felton, who plays Draco brilliantly in the films and, ironically, is about the nicest person you could meet.”
She goes on to express caution against romanticizing the “dark glamour of the anti-hero.” When fans swoon and try to disagree, Rowling stands her ground. “Draco was not concealing a heart of gold under all that sneering and prejudice.” Rowling also says that “he and Harry were not destined to end up best friends.”
Just look at those parents of his. Ooof.
Hogwarts 19 Years Later
On Beyond Hogwarts, J.K. Rowling describes Hogwarts in the future. Since “McGonagall was really getting on a bit,” there is a new Headmaster. There’s also a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who will last longer than one year now that Voldemort is vanquished.
Source: Beyond Hogwarts
But Why Was Dolores Umbridge So Evil, Though?
Bummer Alert: Neville’s Parents Never Recover
Rowling has said that what happened to Alice and Frank Longbottom is “even worse” than what happened to Harry’s parents. After being tortured by Bellatrix and Rudolphus Lestrange, they will never be the same and will spend the rest of their lives at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
“I know people really wanted some hope for that, and I can quite see why because, in a way, what happens to Neville’s parents is even worse than what happened to Harry’s parents. The damage that is done, in some cases with very dark magic, is done permanently,” Rowling said.