Harry Potter: Final Thoughts

“All these people saying they never got their Hogwarts letter: you got the letter. You went to Hogwarts. We were all there together.
Of course it happened inside your head, but why on earth should that mean it wasn’t real?”- JK Rowling

As the month draws to an end it also marks the conclusion of my Harry Potter month. This is the fourth month long focus type things I’ve done and I have to say, each one of them as been very different. I was wondering how I was going to feel going into this, and now, at the end, I realise it’s totally different than any of them.

I’ve realised I think it is because of what Harry Potter is. The others – His Dark Materials, Shakespeare, and Winnie the Pooh – as popular as they are, and as established and huge as they are in their own right, Harry Potter is an entirely separate class. The series is nothing short of a phenomenon. It took the world by storm; it gave its readers and viewers a complicated world and a lifestyle that has infiltrated the everyday in and obvious way any more than certainly HDM and Winnie the Pooh, but even Shakespeare in a way. We know that he influenced culture in an unimaginably large way, but we don’t consciously notice it. But we notice Harry Potter. We notice all the time as people use their houses as a form of identity, as people immerse themselves in the world again and again, as it is has grown to such a grand size that it’s almost inescapable that even those who haven’t read the books have seen the movies, or vice versa. Or that they know something of the series even if they haven’t seen or watched it.

Being part of the generation that grew up with the Harry phenomena I feel incredible privilege. Never again will any new reader know of the excitement, the trepidation, or the frustration at having to wait for the next book. Of trying not to get spoilers beforehand or from anyone who read faster than you. For the decade that it took Rowling to go from Philosopher’s Stone to Deathly Hallows we became part of a club that will remember what it was like to wait. We really will be the only ones to know what it was like to have to have no idea what was going to come next, to theorise and to pine, to reread the books over and over while we waited for months and sometimes for years for the next book to come out.

I remember when I finished writing about HDM it was a completely different experience. I had returned to a world I visit so rarely that digging into the centre of the world and the characters was like revisiting an old friend, a friend who even though it’s been years it felt like no time had passed. I wasn’t sure what would happen this time around, but as I sit here, with a month of posts behind me that it is very different but also the same. I think it’s because Harry Potter never really went away. I’ve never had to step away from it, see nothing about it, read nothing about it. It was always part of my life. As I say, because we are saturated for content you never have to leave the wizarding world. And yet, as I reread the stories and renewed my love of these characters, it felt like returning to a familiar and wonderful place.

From the very first page of rereading Philosopher’s Stone it was like falling back into the world I knew so well. From that first moment at Privet Drive through each of the books I felt that warm and comforting feeling of familiarity and affection. Of course that wasn’t always expressed as I was, even now on my nth reread, still nervous and excited and worrying about what was happening, but on some level I was content and captivated by these words.

20 years has passed since JK Rowling published Philosopher’s Stone and looking at the celebrations this past month, the world certainly wasn’t going to let it go by unobserved. The wonderful thing about this whole series is the quote by McGonagall in Philosopher’s Stone as she tells Dumbledore “every child in our world will know his name”. In an art imitating life moment, no truer words have been spoken. And what makes them even greater is that it’s chapter one of the very first book. It isn’t in book two or book seven, it isn’t after it’s been published and consumed by the masses, it’s an innocent little phrase that the world decided to take literally. I love it.

While the series may be over, and the movies finished, we will forever have Harry Potter in our lives. It’s earned its place well and truly and I cannot wait to see it being celebrated for decades to come, ready to welcome new reader or to welcome the old ones with open arms. To quote the wonderful JK Rowling, “whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

The Fun Side of Harry Potter

Now that the business side has been taken care of, it’s time to share the fun stuff. For twenty years people have been reading Harry Potter, watching Harry Potter, and being inspired by Harry Potter. There are a myriad of content that is related to the boy wizard and the wizarding world. There are comics, music, and so many wonderful discussions about the series you are spoilt for choice to expand your wizarding experience.

Interviews

Harry Potter and Me

A Year in the Life

Oprah and JK Rowling

A Conversation Between JK Rowling and Steve Cloves

Music

James War
James has written Harry Potter parodies including Hey Harry Potter (from Plain White Tees’ Hey There, Delilah) and Harry Potter (Before We Say Goodbye) (a rewrite of Train’s Soul Sister)

Hank Green
Half of the YouTubers Vlogbrothers, Hank started singing on the vlog regularly back in 2007 as part of song Wednesdays. One song he wrote was about his impatience at waiting for Deathly Hallows to be published. Titled Accio Deathly Hallows it quickly went viral and every year Hank would sing another Harry Potter song to celebrate. In a freakish turn of events he predicted a lot that was in Deathly Hallows which was mind blowing to discover. I highly recommend not only his Harry Potter songs, but all of Hank’s songs, they’re awesome. You can learn all about the song on the Nerdfighteria Wiki

Harry and the Potters
Since 2002 they’ve been performing nearly 800 shows in all sorts of places and all over the world. The band consists of brothers, Joe and Paul DeGeorge and they are a wizard rock band with many awesome Harry Potter songs. They are also co-founders of the charity organisation The Harry Potter Alliance.

Comics

My Life as a Background Slytherin

Emily creates hilarious comics about being a background student of Slytherin house. She also occasionally does comics for the other houses as well. I promise you will fall in love with them, even if you aren’t a Slytherin.

floccinaucinihilipilification

This artist posts comics on Tumblr about various Harry Potter events and behind the scenes moments. It’s not the only theme they do, but the Potter comics are wonderful. Buzzfeed has collated a few as an example, but there’s also a Facebook page where the comics are posted, but Tumblr lets you sift out the Potter specific ones.

Mike Hinson

Hinson is an illustrator who works as a Social Web Artist for Buzzfeed, and has a series of comics that looks at what Harry Potter would be like if they had modern technology (even though, as we know, technology doesn’t work at Hogwarts)

Buzzfeed has selected a few other comics as well. They’ve attributed the artist so you can use that as a starting point to find more funny comics. If you have a particular favourite Harry Potter comic I haven’t listed please let me know because I can never have enough.

Fun Stuff

A Very Potter Musical

This is an incredible show. It’s a fan made production and is a parody musical based on several of the Harry Potter novels. It was first performed in 2009 and is currently available to watch online. It produced two sequels: the first entitled A Very Potter Sequel in 2010, available online, and A Very Potter Senior Year in 2014 which you can watch here.

Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise

This simple video took the internet by storm when it was released ten years ago. It is still the best video ever and it will get stuck in your head for days afterwards. Potter Puppet Pals did a number of videos which you can find here. There’s also a dedicated YouTube Channel to the delightful puppet pals.

Tumblr

The Harry Potter tags on Tumblr are all kinds of wonderful. You get fan theories, headcanons and revelations as people highlight lesser known moments and relive the best bits. There are posts that make you laugh and posts that ruin your life. There’s also the awesome fan art that’s delightful as well.

Harry Potter Wiki

I just have to say, this thing is incredible. There are pages about anything and everything. There are references to minor characters and one off lines that have sparked whole pages about them. It’s a brilliant source of all kinds of Harry Potter information, backed up by book references and real world references. It’s fantastic.

Buzzfeed Posts

Behind the Scene Photos

Incredible Things About Going to Hogwarts

Things That Should Have Been Included in the Films

Buzzfeed’s Collation of Tumblr Posts

Harry Potter Tumblr Posts…”

That Will Make You Feel Feelings

To Make You Feel Better

That Made You Rethink Everything

Guaranteed To Make You Laugh

That Are Just Magical

That Prove They Have the Funniest Fans

100 Jokes to Get You Through the Day

That Will Make You Weep

That Are the Funniest

That Fans Showed Their True Colour

Then What Happened?

Such is the greatness of Rowling’s imagined world she has even provided us with information about what happened to everyone after the series ended, even more than the epilogue. There is absolutely no room to post everything that has been revealed but the links at the end are a great starting point. I also suggest perusing Pottermore where more information can be found. I did find a great starting point; a delightful person on Tumblr compiled a list of things that happened in the wizarding world after the end of the books which I’ve included here. What’s important to note is that these were mostly written before Cursed Child which according to Rowling is to be considered canon. I myself am still undecided on that.

  • Azkaban no longer uses Dementors as guardians.
  • George Weasley married Angelina Johnson and had two children named Fred and Roxanne.
  • Harry made sure that the Wizarding world knew that Snape was a hero and on Dumbledore’s side.
  • Slytherin House became more diluted and was no longer solely pureblood; however its dark reputation lingers.
  • Harry lost the ability to speak Parseltongue.
  • Umbridge was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned for crimes against Muggleborns.
  • The Resurrection Stone is now buried in the Forbidden Forest after being pressed into the ground by a centaur’s hoof.
  • Voldemort’s curse on the DADA position at Hogwarts has been lifted.
  • Viktor Krum fell in love with a woman back home in Bulgaria.
  • The Death Eater’s Dark Marks eventually faded to look like a scar. It will no longer burn or hurt.
  • The Quibbler is back to publishing articles about the lunatic fringe and is appreciated for its unintentional humour.
  • Members of the DA still have their coins, as they are like badges of honour.
  • Neville Longbottom worked as an Auror before moving on as the Herbology professor at Hogwarts.
  • The remaining Death Eaters were killed or imprisoned in Azkaban for their crimes, with the exception of the Malfoys.
  • Luna Lovegood married the grandson of the Newt Scamander, author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • Firenze survived his wounds and was welcomed back into the Centaur herd.
  •  Harry will never become Headmaster of Hogwarts since an academic career just isn’t him.
  • Hagrid was still working at Hogwarts by 2017, at 88 years old.
  • Draco Malfoy really cares about his son, Scorpius Malfoy. He is growing him up to be a better person than he was.
  • Centaurs realised that pro-human leanings were not shameful.
  • Draco and Harry never became friends, but they did come to understand and appreciate each other better.
  • Hermione tells Scrimgeour that she is not planning to embark on a career in Magical Law but that’s actually where she ends up.
  • After his death, Voldemort is forced to exist in the stunted infant-like form that Harry sees in the King’s Cross-like Limbo.
  • Harry would take his family to visit Dudley’s when they were in the neighbourhood (occasions dreaded by James, Albus and Lily).
  • Aberforth is still at the Hog’s Head “playing with his goats”.
  • The number of Dementors have been greatly diminished because despair and degradation have been lessened in the world.
  • Arthur Weasley fixed Sirius’ motorbike and gave it to Harry.
  • Nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, the school for witchcraft and wizardry is led by an entirely new headmaster (“McGonagall was really getting on a bit”) as well as a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. That position is now as safe as the other teaching posts at Hogwarts, since Voldemort’s death broke the jinx that kept a Defence Against the Dark Arts professor from remaining for more than a year.
  • Hagrid never married, although he had a relationship with a giantess.
  • Kingsley Shacklebolt became the Minister of Magic after the Second Wizarding War.
  • Harry will not train to be an animagus; his “energies are going to be concentrated elsewhere and he’s not going to have time to do that.”
  • Audrey Weasley is wife of Percy Weasley, and they have two daughters, Molly and Lucy.
  • In the aftermath of the war, the Order was disbanded once and for all.
  • Luna has twin boys named Lorcan and Lysander with Rolf Scamander and apparently travels the world, looking for mad creatures.
  • Hermione advanced the rights of magical creatures and eradicated the old pro-pure-blood laws in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
  • The head of the Auror Office as of 2007 is Harry Potter.
  • Lavender Brown was attacked by Fenrir Greyback. Hermione saved her but she was already injured. What happened to her later on was never revealed.
  • Neville Longbottom’s students were impressed when he showed them his Dumbledore’s Army’s Coin.
  • Harry, Ron and Neville didn’t return to Hogwarts for their 7th year. They went straight to get training as aurors and Neville went to work as an auror before becoming a Professor.
  • Harry sometimes visits Hogwarts to give talks on DADA.
  • Hermione is James’ godmother.
  • Hermione Granger was the only member of the trio who returned to Hogwarts to complete their seventh year.
  • Ron worked with George in WWW for some time and then became an Auror.
  • Ginny became a professional Quidditch player for the Holyhead Harpies and become the senior Quidditch correspondent for the Daily Prophet.
  • After the war, Hermione found her parents in Australia and restored their memories.
  • Harry eldest son James Sirius started at Hogwarts on 1 September 2015 and is in Gryffindor
  • Harry is greying aged 35 and sports a nasty cut over his right cheekbone.
  • Fluffy was repatriated to Greece after he was released into the forest
  • Teddy Lupin became Head Boy

 

It’s quite an impressive list, and gives some great closure about what happened to everyone. The links below include a bunch of other facts that have been released post novels and films by Rowling in interviews and on Twitter. Some are a few years out of date, but interesting nonetheless. You can see this was also whilst Rowling was writing Fantastic Beasts.

Harry Potter Secrets

Harry Potter Revelations

Post-Potter Revelations

What Rowling Has Revealed

Further Things Rowling Has Revealed

14 Post Series Revelations

12 Harry Potter Reveals

23 Rowling Revelations about Harry Potter

A Closer Look At Harry Potter

After all this time you wouldn’t have thought that there was any closer we could look at the series, but the vast amount of information out there says otherwise. There’s plenty of information about each about the books and films on their own, but what about the series as a whole? What are the facts and figures that give Harry Potter the marvellouss depth and detail? What are the key pieces of information that make you realise just how much work Rowling invested in creating her world? What are random bits of information about the actors that you never thought you needed to know? All that and more are answered below.

The Stats

  • The total word count across the entire series is 1 084 170.
                Philosopher’s Stone: 76,944 words
                Chamber of Secrets: 85,141 words
                Prisoner of Azkaban: 107,253 words
                Goblet of Fire: 190,637 words
                Order of the Phoenix: 257,045 words
                Half-Blood Prince: 168,923 words
                Deathly Hallows: 198,227 words
  • The series is made up of 4095 pages
  • Translated into 73 languages
  • Sold more than 500 million copies (as of May 2013)
  • In 2012 all 7 books were in the top 10 best selling books of all time
  • As of 2015, the Harry Potter series is the second-highest grossing film franchise of all time having grossed more than $7.7 billion worldwide.


Series Fun Facts

  • Hagrid is 8 feet, 6 inches tall.
  • Ron Weasley originally swore a lot, but Rowling’s publisher wouldn’t let her use that sort of language because it would’ve been inappropriate for young readers.
  • Throughout the eight-movies five actresses played Pansy Parkinson
  • Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) got a mini-fan and a fruit bat stuck in his shaggy beard.
  • To keep Deathly Hallows from leaking early, Bloomsbury gave it codenames such as Edinburgh Potmakers or The Life and Times of Clara Rose Lovett: An Epic Novel Covering Many Generations. 
  • The brooms used in the series aren’t regular brooms, they were made by modeller Pierre Bohanna using aircraft-grade titanium to support the weight of the actors.
  • Animatronics were made for the actors to interact with on set, including baby mandrakes, Hedwig, the Monster Book of Monsters, and Buckbeak.
  • Harry’s scar was applied 5800 times in the making of the films. 2000 times on Radcliffe and the rest on film and stunt doubles.
  • Harry went through 160 glasses.
  • Some original names of the characters were Hermione Puckle, Neville Puff, Draco Spinks, Lily Moon, Madhari Patil, and Mati Patil.
  • While filming Prisoner of Azkaban, Tom Felton’s robes had their pockets sewn shut because he kept trying to sneak food onto the set.
  • Forty versions of Salazar Slytherin’s locket had to be created to accommodate Harry and Ron’s failed attempts to destroy.
  • Voldemort awkwardly hugging Draco was not scripted, but improvised by Fiennes. Felton’s shocked response was authentic.
  • Voldemort’s wand is made of yew.
  • Rowling said she would have fought the decision to make it Sorcerer’s Stone if she had been in a better position.

 

Words, Names and Their Meanings

  • Each of Dumbledore’s names has a meaningAlbus Wulfric Percival Brian Dumbledore
                Albus is white in Latin
                Wulfric was a name of a saint who became a holy man after seeing a
                homeless man
                Percival was a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table
                Brian is Celtic for strong
                Dumbledore is Old English for bumblebee.
  • The Hogwarts motto,”Draco dormeins nunquam titillandus” means “Never tickle a sleeping dragon”
  • Muggle existed in the early to mid-1900s, as a jazz-word that was used for pot smokers.
  • Hogwarts is the name of a plant
  • Voldemort comes from the French words meaning “flight of death” (the T is silent)
  • The wizarding world’s plants come from a real book called Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. The book was penned in the 17th century by English botanist and herbalist Nicholas Culpeper. You can actually read it here.
  • AccioOriginally, the word meant “send (for)”, “summon (forth),” or “fetch”, among other things
  • Evanesco – literally means to vanish
  • Incendio – Latin for fire-raising
  • Expelliarmus – incantation loosely combines expellere (drive out or expel) and arma (weapon)
  • Nox – Latin word for night
  • Expecto Patronum – means ‘I await a patron’
  • Crucio – Cruciare means torment/torture
  • Avada Kedavra – derives from the Aramaic phrase Abhadda kedhabhra, which means to ‘disappear like this word’. (Also probable origin of abracadabra)
  • Severus – means severe or serious
  • Draco Malfoy – Draco translates to dragon, while Malfoy can be traced back to malus, which means bad, evil, or wicked
  • Remus Lupin – In mythology, Remus was raised by wolves, and Lupin is a form of Lupus which means wolf.
    Side note: Lupin’s father was called Lyall which also means wolf, his mother’s maiden name was Howell
  • Quidditch – also known as Ikarosfairke or “Ikarus ball,” which refers to the Greek myth of Icarus who flew too close to the sun.

Fun Facts

More Fun Facts

Even More Fun Facts

Movie Fun Facts

Harry Potter: Celebrating 20 Years

“This boy will be famous. There won’t be a child in our world that won’t know his name. There will be books about him, he will be a legend.”
– Minerva McGonagall

Even as I sit here writing this, even knowing I have constructed an entire month long celebration running on my blog, a small part of me cannot get my head around that it has been twenty years since Philosopher’s Stone was first published. Ten years I could comprehend, but twenty? It’s just, mind boggling. Harry Potter has been such a huge part of my life for the past twenty years. I can connect so many moments of my life around these novels and these movies it’s incredible that it has been so long since it first began; it honestly does not feel like it has been 20 years.

I was 9 years old when Philosopher’s Stone was published, and I was in my second year of uni when Deathly Hallows was published in 2007. From ages 9 to 19 Harry Potter was a key part of my life. I have so many memories associated with this series that it’s hard to picture my childhood basically without it.

Even the fact that in the tenth anniversary year (2007) the story was concluded, and now here we are ten years on again and it’s a duplicate celebration, ten years since the series finished, and twenty years since it all began. We can get even more meta when I remind you all that the epilogue of Deathly Hallows also takes place in 2017! (but we can get to that later).

Of course having the movies has added extra milestones and something to look forward to. The final movie came out in 2010 and even that does not feel like it was that long ago. Perhaps it’s because Harry Potter and his wizarding world is so much of our culture now. It is so incredibly popular and so ingrained in society that we’ve never really escaped it. It’s always there in some form, making it feel like it never really ended.

Key memories I have of this series include:

  • Having Philosopher’s Stone read to us in primary school and reading along quietly in my own copy at the same time before being told off for reading along when I should just be listening.
  • Staying up until about 3:30am reading Goblet of Fire under the blankets and trying not to gasp and squeal too loudly at everything that was happening. (I also learnt it is hard to read under covers because it gets quite stuffy, I don’t see the charm)
  • Having to read the latest book as quickly as possible so it could be passed around the family so they could all read it as well.
  • Foolishly thinking it was ok to wait until my birthday for that latest book (released a few weeks earlier) before realising it was torture and stressing over spoilers (this plan lasted only twice).
  • Having intense discussions between classes in high school about theories about Half-Blood Prince and what “Severus, Please ” actually meant. Like, intense discussions.
  • Being told (incorrectly) Professor McGonnegal died in Order of the Phoenix and panicking anytime she did anything.
  • Rereading every book before the next one was released so I was up to date with what had happened.

Over the past twenty years I have reread the series numerous times, I have obsessed over fun facts and theories, enjoyed the myriad of content that it has inspired, had passionate arguments/debates about characters and scenes, and I have fallen in loved every time I open the first page.

I have been lucky enough to go to the Harry Potter Experience in England, I’ve tried Butterbeer which I would drink all day long if I could, and I have gotten my picture taken “running” through platform 9 3/4.  The one thing I am still waiting on is my Hogwarts letter (I would make a very good mature aged student.)

I can only imagine what the next twenty years has in store for the Harry Potter series as new fans discover the books and old fans grow more attached (if that’s even possible). I look forward to the day when it’s hailed as a classic, though I am fairly certain that day has already arrived.

 

Happy 20th Anniversary, Harry Potter.

The world wouldn’t be the same without you.

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