Top 10 Amazing J.K. ROWLING and HARRY POTTER Facts
Were you the type of kid that rushed to the mailbox on your 11th birthday in hopes of receiving that life-changing acceptance letter into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Have you spent hours practicing Imperio on your siblings? Come join us on platform 9 ¾ and, while we await the Hogwarts Express, enjoy these top 10 facts about Harry Potter that even you may not know!
The Death of Ron Weasley
No, no, you didn’t miss anything! Spoiler alert, but Ron makes it out of the Battle of Hogwarts pretty much unscathed, but that wasn’t always Rowling’s plan. In fact, there was a point where Ron wasn’t even slated to make it to the end game. Going into Harry Potter, the author knew that the heroic trio would make it to the end alive and well, but when she hit a dark patch midway through the series, the pendulum started swinging over the red-haired wizard’s head. As you probably guessed already, Rowling was able to quench that desire for death another way as the chipper character found himself surviving to the story’s end.
What Their Names Could Have Been
It’s weird to think of Harry Potter without hearing the names Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley, but according to Rowling’s original list of Hogwart’s students known as the Original Forty, a few classic Potter names could have been completely different. While Harry Potter was always going to be Harry Potter – at least, unless Rowling is keeping another big secret – there were some name changes throughout production of the books. Granger is a nice, strong last name for a character like Hermione, but what about her original name of Puckle? Before Neville Longbottom was bestowed his incredible last name, he was Neville Puff and as for Draco Malfoy? We think the moody Slytherin would have been unrecognizable as Draco Spungen or Draco Spinks.
The Number Seven
In Harry Potter’s universe, eons of mythology, mathematics, and science have determined that the number 7 is the most powerful numeral in magic. The number is so important to the wizarding world that Rowling decided to speckle it all over the place. For instance, it's believed that magic reveals itself at age 7, the Philosopher’s Stone was protected by 7 chambers, Quidditch is played with 7-player teams, and there are 7 different types of spells. Oh, no, that’s far from it. There are 7 Weasley children, 7 hidden passages on the Marauder’s Map, 7 keyholes in Professor Moody’s trunk, Dobby owned 7 socks, both Harry and Ron passed 7 Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations, 7 different teachers that teach Defense Against the Dark Arts throughout the series, and it was during their 7th year at Hogwarts that James and Lily Potter fell for one another.
The Goblet of Plot Holes
No author is perfect and creating elaborate worlds and stories with numerous twists and turns can stump even the mind behind the typewriter. Take a gander at your Harry Potter book collection and you may find that The Goblet of Fire is almost double the size of the earlier entries. While Rowling knew the fourth entry would be longer than its predecessors, the extensive page count, over 730 pages in the US edition, was a bit beyond what she had planned. Halfway through writing Goblet, the author had to backtrack after stumbling across a glaring plot hole and rewrite portions of the book. The hole revolved around a female Weasley cousin who would have allegedly predated Ginny Weasley, the first female born into the bloodline for many generations.
Michael Jackson Expands the Universe
Harry Potter is an expansive universe that’s earned its place as a sliver of an amusement park, the inspiration for a real school in Poland, and the revenue from countless pieces of merchandise, but the King of Pop felt something was missing. The movies were good, the books were great, but Michael Jackson felt that Harry Potter was destined for something else – the main stage as a musical. The star unabashedly approached Potter’s creator and suggested Harry Potter: The Musical. Though she was not closed to expanding her successful conception’s reach, Rowling ultimately felt a musical wasn’t right for the universe she had built. Should he still be alive today, however, the pop star may scowl at her willingness to turn Harry Potter and the Cursed Child into a stage play.
The Missing Peeves
Throughout the Harry Potter book series and even some of the video game iterations, you’ll see mention of a mischievous poltergeist known as Peeves. In fact, the corporal being even played a role in the Battle of Hogwarts. The thing is, fans that have only seen the movies have no idea who Peeves is, as any scenes that were shot in The Philosopher’s Stone were left out of the film. Originally played by comedic actor Rik Mayall, filming the grinning ghost proved impossible as every time Mayall was on set, the school kids were unable to quell their laughter. Any footage that was successfully filmed wound up being cut by the film’s director, Chris Columbus, allegedly because of issues with the ultimate look of the poltergeist.
Rowling’s Personal Inspirations
While we’re on the topic of inspirations and influences, we have some rather strange things to thank for the creation of Moaning Myrtle Elizabeth Warren and the iconic competitive sport, Quidditch. The miserable Myrtle came from Rowling’s experience in communal bathrooms and the frequency of girls crying in the stalls. As for Quidditch, it all started with a massive fight with Rowling’s then-boyfriend. After the heated squabble, the writer retired to a pub, where the idea for Quidditch was born. How the two are connected, Rowling can only assume had something to do with her deeply rooted desire for something very violent to happen to her boyfriend.
The Embodiment of Depression
In the Harry Potter universe, Dementors are a dark entity and guards of Azkaban that suck happiness from their human victims. Hmm, sounds like something some of us deal with on the regular in the real world. During a 2000 interview with The Times, the writer, who has led a complicated life, confirmed that the Dementors were an embodiment of depression and the absence of hope that she started to feel after her mother’s death. Prior to bringing Harry Potter to life, Rowling suffered from depression so bad that she often found herself suicidal.
The Road to Getting Published
As much of an instant classic the Harry Potter Series seemed to be and considering the buckets of money that have rained down upon creator J. K. Rowling, you would assume that she would have had no issues getting The Philosopher’s Stone published. Odd as it may seem, that’s not the case at all. Rowling is said to have gone through between 9 and 12 publishers before landing on one that was interested. While publishers are often quick to send formulaic letters that don’t give much reason besides blatant indifference, Rowling recalls a portion of the publishers citing the books as too long for children. Before giving up entirely, the struggling author found an agent that could get the gears moving. Christopher Little presented the manuscript to several additional disinterested publishers before landing on Bloomsbury Publishing.
The Influences That Lead to Harry Potter
It’s no secret that many authors turn to outside influences while creating their works, but where could J. K. Rowling have turned to for her whimsical world of Harry Potter? The list is actually fairly long! Rowling looked as far back as possible, pulling from the Greek epic poem The Iliad, specifically referring to the parallels between when Harry Potter saves Cedric Diggory’s body from Voldemort (oops sorry, I mean he who shall not be named) and when Achilles rescues Patroclus’ corpse from Hector. Pay close enough attention and you’ll also find similarities between the Harry Potter series and The Pardoner’s Tale, which fully inspired The Deathly Hallows, The Chronicles of Narnia, Manxmouse, The Sword in the Stone, The Wind in the Willows, The Little White Horse, and, believe it or not, Shakespeare’s Macbeth.