JK Rowling’s Wizarding World, home to the bespectacled boy wizard Harry Potter, is a worldwide phenomenon. The author wrote seven books on Potter’s adventures, with an ever-expanding world and universe having extended online, and into the world of cinema.
The Harry Potter books and movies are some of the most beloved of all time – enjoyed by children and adults alike. Here are some fun facts about the world of Harry Potter you might not be aware of!
1. What does ‘Dumbledore’ actually mean?
Professor Dumbledore, the Hogwarts headmaster, has a curious name. Rowling chose the word ‘Dumbledore’ as something simple the wizard would likely hum to himself. It’s actually an ancient word that roughly translates to ‘bumblebee’.
2. What could have been…
JK Rowling was once approached by Michael Jackson to produce a Harry Potter musical. However, she decided not to pursue his request.
3. Harry is in his 40s (now).
The Harry Potter books actually take place from around 1991 onwards, meaning Potter himself would be around 42 years old in 2022. Time flies!
4. Third time lucky?
Tom Felton – who would go on to play Draco Malfoy in all seven movies – auditioned for the roles of both Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. However, it was determined he was a better fit for the scurrilous Slytherin student instead.
5. Always picking up new readers!
It’s thought that someone new starts reading Harry Potter every 30 seconds.
6. Fewer magical folk than you’d think…
Rowling’s books suggest that there are around 3,000 witches and wizards in the UK alone, all living in secret away from ‘muggles’, or non-magical folk.
7. Rickman knew the endgame.
Rowling revealed, following the death of Alan Rickman – who played Severus Snape in the movies – that she had told him the character’s secret, driving motivation from the very start. Just in case you haven’t read the books yet, we won’t spoil it for you!
In fact, Rickman had a key hand in shaping the look of Snape for the big screen. Known to enjoy Rowling’s books, he helped to craft the infamously dark and tight-sleeved design the professor was known for throughout the movies.
8. The stories kept growing!
Up to the fifth book in the series – The Order of The Phoenix – Rowling’s novels grew progressively longer. In fact, she states that the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire, is so long because she needed to go back and fill plot holes.
9. Write who you know!
Rowling has based several of her characters on people she has met throughout her life, though they are often amalgamations of several people.
10. Even super-powerful, super-evil wizards have fears…
Rowling has stated that even Lord Voldemort – the most powerful dark wizard and arch-nemesis of Harry Potter – has a genuine fear – of death.
11. Bookends – literally!
Rowling closes the final battle of the final book – The Deathly Hallows – around the time that she published the first book, The Philosopher’s Stone, in 1998.
12. Getting Potter in print took a lot of effort.
Rowling took painstaking efforts to get her novels published. In fact, twelve different publishers turned down Harry Potter. We bet they’re kicking themselves now!
13. Potter lore has crept into real life!
King’s Cross Station staff have set up a placard for ‘Platform 9 ¾’, where young wizards apparate through a wall between platforms 9 and 10 to find the Hogwarts Express. It’s a huge tourist attraction, as it even has a trolley sticking halfway out the wall!
14. Named for a reason!
The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in the Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin, seemed always destined to become a werewolf. His father’s name was Lyall Lupin – Lyall meaning wolf, and Lupin is Latin for “pertaining to the wolf”.
15. Time to magic away a myth…
The actress for Luna Lovegood, Evanna Lynch, struggled with anorexia during her childhood. It’s rumored online that JK Rowling offered her the role of Luna should she be able to beat the disorder, but this isn’t true. While Lynch did write letters to Rowling, she auditioned and got the role of Luna entirely on her own!
FAQs about Harry Potter
Where is Hogwarts actually based?
Hogwarts is technically based in the deeper regions of outer Scotland - though the Hogwarts Express runs all the way from London!
Are there 7 or 8 Harry Potter books in total?
There are seven - the confusion arises from the fact that the seventh book, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, was adapted into two movies.
Which book inspired JK Rowling to write Harry Potter?
Rowling attributes her inspiration for writing to stem from having been read The Wind In The Willows, the classic Kenneth Grahame story, which she was a child.
Do you know any fun facts about Harry Potter? Share them in the comments below!