Between the books and movies, there are probably very few things you didn’t know about Harry Potter and the wizarding world if you’re a true fan. For instance, you’d already know J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter share July 31st as their birthday or that Fred and George were appropriately born on April Fool’s Day. However, there are some more obscure facts that you may never have heard before now.
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1. Herpo the Foul Created the First Horcrux
Thanks to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we know that Herpo the Foul is already famous for breeding the first Basilisk. If Herpo doesn’t sound familiar, he’s only briefly mentioned, but he’s a ancient dark Greek wizard, spoke Parselmouth, and created the very first Horcrux. This also led to him being the first wizard to achieve immortality with a part of his soul living on even after his death.
Obviously, Herpo may have served as the inspiration for Voldemort’s plan to live forever through Horcruxes. For more background, check out Herpo’s backstory.
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Published the Same Year as the Final Battle at Hogwarts
If you pay careful attention to the dates throughout the Harry Potter series, you may have already caught this neat coincidence. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in the series, was first published in 1998. This is also the same date that the final battle at Hogwarts takes place in the final book.
When questioned about the dates, J.K. Rowling simply said “I open at the close.” As any true fan knows, this is the same line inscribed on the golden snitch Harry catches during his first Quidditch game, that Dumbledore leaves to him in his will.
3. The Romantic Pairings Were a Mistake
Among the many things you didn’t know about Harry Potter is he really should have ended up with Hermione. For all the Potterheads out there who were devastated when Hermione ended up with Ron and Harry with Ginny, Rowling agrees with you. Sadly, Rowling put Ron and Hermione together because many fans were pushing for it. But, after the sweet dance Harry and Hermione had in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, how could they not have ended up together?
In an 2014 interview, Rowling admitted the couple wouldn’t have worked out so well and Hermione should have likely ended up with Harry. Just like many writers, Rowling has stated that she has some regrets about various parts of her popular series, and has tried to make corrections throughout the years, such as making it obvious that Dumbledore was gay.
4. J.K. Rowling Planned Harry’s Death Long Before Writing the Book
The gut-wrenching scene of Hagrid carrying Harry Potter’s body from the forest to Hogwarts after Harry and Voldemort’s climatic battle is something no fan will ever forget. But, did you know that Rowling had that scene in mind within the first year of starting the Harry Potter series? The entire final battle, the ghosts of those Harry loved and had lost, Harry having to die to save everyone – all of that was the end goal all along. Relive the emotional scene again in the video above.
5. Professor Minerva McGonagall Played Quidditch
If you pay close attention in the film version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, you might notice the name “McGonagall” on the Gryffindor Quidditch plaque. While the date doesn’t correspond to when Minerva would have played, the official Wizarding World post about Minerva McGonagall does confirm that she did indeed play Quidditch. However, during a match between Gryffindor and Slytherin, she suffered a major fall, ending her time as player.
This is why she’s always on the lookout for great Quidditch talent, such as grabbing Harry to become the team’s new seeker during his first year.
6. Moaning Myrtle Represents a Crying Girl at Parties
In the books and movies, Moaning Myrtle was bullied to the point that when she died, she continued to haunt Hogwarts, crying and moaning. What you might not realize is she actually represents the crying girls you often find in bathrooms during parties. Rowling decided to add this character based on seeing girls like this during her youth. Plus, she thought it’d be hilarious to constantly put Harry and Ron face to face with Moaning Myrtle as a way to see how awkwardly guys handle that situation.
Also, despite Moaning Myrtle looking like a young student in the films, the actress who played her, Shirley Henderson, was 36 when Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets came out. A far cry from the 14-year-old she was playing.
7. Fred and George Weasley Hit Voldemort First
Fred and George Weasley don’t get enough credit for their comedic relief throughout the Harry Potter series. They also don’t get credit for being the first ones to hit Voldemort, even before Harry’s first run-in with him. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the twins bewitch snowballs to hit Professor Quirrell in the back of the head, where Voldemort’s face just happens to be.
It’s not something you think about until looking back on the scene, but the dynamic duo accidentally strikes the first blow upon Voldemort’s return to Hogwarts.
8. Merlin Was a Slytherin
Yes, that Merlin. The Arthurian wizard was actually a student at Hogwarts at one point. The books mention him from time to time. What you may not know is Merlin wasn’t a Gryffindor as you might expect, but a Slytherin. While many Slytherins seem to turn out bad, let’s not forget that Snape was an unsung hero after all. He was also incredibly intelligent and cunning to be able to help Dumbledore and pretend to support Voldemort at the same time.
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Image credit: Aditya Vyas via Unsplash