With so many Harry Potter-themed fan-sites, websites, YouTube videos, memes, magazines, fanfictions and who-knows-what-else, it’s really hard to find actual, truthful facts that surround the most popular fandom in history. Some stories have been stretched, strangled, masked, bound and gagged till the point of no return, however we’ve gone to the base of each story to bring you 10 Incredible Facts You Didn’t Know About Harry Potter.
10. Evanna Lynch beat anorexia, but wasn’t guaranteed the role of Luna Lovegood because of it
The story that originally made the rounds was that Evanna Lynch was dying of anorexia and wrote to J.K Rowling, begging her for a part in the Harry Potter movies. Rowling then apparently agreed on the condition that Lynch got better. Not so. Evanna Lynch was just an average 11 year old girl from Ireland who was doing inpatient therapy for anorexia, she also happened to be a massive Harry Potter fan. She wrote to Rowling, expressing her fondness for the author and to her surprise, Rowling responded every time. She told Rowling about her disease and the author encouraged her to beat it, but the role of Luna Lovegood was never mentioned in the letters. Lynch recovered and at the age of 14, she found out that auditions were being held in London from a fan website and begged her father to take her. “It happened in such a short space of time that I didn’t get to tell her,” Lynch said. “The producers told her (Rowling) because they just mentioned the names of people. She was really shocked.”
9. Alan Rickman didn’t really know all about Snape’s secret from the beginning
It’s been rumoured that before the producers, directors, cast or any of the crew knew, there was only J.K Rowling and Alan Rickman. You know what we’re talking about – the secret that unravelled Severus Snape. The fact that he was a good guy, pretending to be a bad guy, pretending to be a good guy – or something like that. Truth is though, that the only one who truly knew from the beginning was J.K Rowling. “Not true. I don’t know who thinks that is true, but it’s not true,” Rickman said. “She gave me one tiny, little, left of field piece of information that helped me think that he was more complicated and that the story was not going to be as straight down the line as everybody thought.” Rowling thought that it was important that Rickman knew that Snape was going to be a very important character later on, but she never mentioned him being a double agent.Strangely enough, Rowling has never mentioned anything on the matter in any interviews, leaving it to Rickman to answer any questions on Severus Snape. So was Snape’s secret planned from the beginning or was it just a fluke? I suppose we’ll have to wait for Rowling to let us know through Pottermore…
8. Dame Maggie Smith underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer during the last movies
Can you imagine the Harry Potter series without the great Professor McGonagall? Dame Maggie Smith embodied the strict, but sensible professor through 10 years of filming and honestly we couldn’t imagine anyone better suited for the role, but it almost happened when Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer. When “Half Blood Prince” and “Deathly Hallows” Part 1 and 2 were being filmed, she underwent treatment and “staggered through” the final scenes. “You feel horribly sick. I was holding on to railings, thinking ‘I can’t do this’,” she said in an interview back in 2009 and thankfully, she has made a full recovery since then. “My energy is coming back. Shit happens. I ought to pull myself together a bit.” Attagirl Maggie!
7. Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double was left paralyzed after a flying scene went horribly wrong in “Deathly Hallows”
From 2001 David Holmes had been Daniel Radcliffe’s (the actor that plays Harry Potter) stunt double. He took on fake dragons, ill-tempered trees and massive spiders, only to meet his match whilst rehearsing a flying scene for “Deathly Hallows,” when an explosion sent him hurling straight into a wall. Holmes broke his neck, which left him paralyzed for life. The horrific accident happened on January 2009 at the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden. “I hit the wall and then landed on the crash mat underneath,” said Holmes in an interview with The Daily Mirror in March 2014. “My stunt co-ordinator grabbed my hand and said, ‘Squeeze my fingers.’ I could move my arm to grab his hand but I couldn’t squeeze his fingers. I looked into his eyes and that’s when I realised what happened was major. I remember slipping in and out of consciousness because of the pain levels. I’d broken a bone before, so recognising that weird feeling across my whole body from my fingertips right down to my toes, I knew I had really done some damage.”
6. Harry Potter and Voldemort turned out to be blood relatives
There’s been a lot of debate surrounding the Peverell brothers and their “family heirlooms” among Potter fans. Harry received the invisibility cloak from Albus Dumbledore, only because he kept it for him after James Potter (Harry’s father) died. The cloak was passed down from generation to generation since Ignotus Peverell – one of the brothers from The Tale of the Three Brothers – was said to have gotten it from “Death” himself. On the contrary, Voldemort used the resurrection stone to make his ring horcrux and the books say that it had been passed down in his family as well. Does this mean that Harry and Tom Riddle have been blood-related all this time? Some fans say it’s obvious and that all pure-bloods in the Wizarding universe are related in some way. Sort of like the royals. Others strongly refuse to believe it. Whatever the case may be, we really doubt that Harry felt bad for killing his cousin 50 times removed.
5. There’s a hotel in London with Hogwarts-Themed Wizard Chambers
The Georgian House Hotel in Central London is a beautiful and luxurious retreat that was built back in 1851, and although all of its rooms and apartments are remarkable, none of them hold a candle to The Wizard Chambers. It comes with potion bottles, cauldrons, 4 poster beds and various wizard décor that make the room feel as if you’ve just come from dinner in The Great Hall! The site offers various tours a muggle can take to educate themselves on the Wizarding World, but for the room being £209 for two people a night – it sure doesn’t come cheap.
4. J.K Rowling hid a LOT of plot details that were later revealed
If there’s one thing that was safe to assume, it would be that J.K Rowling loves her riddles… hmm is that why her antagonist’s real name is Tom Riddle? Well, it sure seems like she’s quite the Riddler if you look at all the puzzles hidden in the pages of the Harry Potter series. Remember how “Tom Marvelo Riddle” became an anagram for “Voldemort”? Well that was just a small taste. In “The Order of the Phoenix” after Harry and Dudley were attacked by dementors, they return home to an angry Uncle Dursley. When Harry mentions that they were attacked by dementors, Uncle Dursley demands to know what they are, only to have Aunt Petunia tell him (absentmindedly, of course) that “They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban”. An astonished Harry then asked her how she knew about them and she responded with, “I heard – that awful boy – telling her about them – years ago”. Obviously Harry assumed she had meant his father, James, but we learn “Deathly Hallows” that “the awful boy” that Aunt Petunia was referring to was Severus Snape – and that’s just one conundrum out of numerous others.
3. The First Wizarding War was at the same time as Word War II and Voldemort was influenced by Hitler
Many writers are influenced by history, culture and literature and Rowling was no exception to this rule. She based the story of the First Wizarding War greatly on that of Nazi Germany in the Second World War and also centred it on that time. “I wanted Harry to leave our world and find exactly the same problems in the wizarding world,” she’s said in an interview. “So you have the intent to impose a hierarchy, you have bigotry, and this notion of purity, which is this great fallacy, but it crops up all over the world. People like to think themselves superior and that if they can pride themselves in nothing else they can pride themselves on perceived purity. So yeah that follows a parallel [to Nazism].” Voldemort’s life and likeness was also greatly influenced by Hitler and his dictatorship. Although the two are different in their own ways, their hunger for power and distaste for anyone “different” from them still remain the same.
2. Seventeen actors who worked on the Harry Potter movies have died
A staggering amount of actors and actresses have died since appearing in Harry Potter. From David Ryall who played Elphias Doge in “Deathly Hallows” to Sir Richard St. John Harris, who played the first Albus Dumbledore before his unexpected death in 2002. It’s true that the films are filled with people of an older generation, but even a few younger cast members have had an untimely death. Take Dave Legendo who played Fenrir Greyback, for example, who died at the age of 51 because of heart-related issues. An even younger actor, Robert Knox, who portrayed Marcus Belby, died at the tender age of 18, when he was stabbed to death outside a bar when he was defending his little brother. Others include Timothy Bateson, who voiced Kreacher, the house elf, Richard Griffiths, who played Vernon Dudley, and Rik Mayall who played Peeves the Poltergeist, but whose scenes were cut from the finished film.
1. J.K Rowling regrets Hermione ending up with Ron instead of Harry and nearly killed Ron off
It seems that J.K Rowling had no love lost for poor Ron Weasley at times. She’s admitted that she “may have got it wrong” to pair him and the beautiful Hermione Granger up in the end, when it was obvious that Hermione should have ended up with Harry Potter instead. “I wrote the Hermione-Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfilment,” she said. “That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.” She believed that Ron would never really be able to make Hermione happy and Emma Watson, who played Hermione, agrees. Not only that, Rowling once considered offing poor Ron altogether! “Funnily enough, I planned from the start that none of them would die. Then midway through, which I think is a reflection of the fact that I wasn’t in a very happy place, I started thinking I might polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite.” Luckily though, Ron didn’t end up at the wrong end of Rowling’s pen, unlike Dumbledore, Dobby or Hedwig.