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

Books to Read if you Loved Harry Potter

While Harry Potter is such a wonderful series to read, the problem is there are only 7 books to read. Of course rereading them is always an option, but there are numerous books and series out there that can satisfy your need for stories as wonderful and magical as the wizarding world. But of course, if you can’t escape that wizarding world, there’s a few extras that allow you to keep reading about everything Harry Potter.

I’ve listed a selection of books below but there are many lists out there that offer suggestions to satisfy your cravings for magic and wonder. I’ve included these below as well.

Fiction

His Dark Materials

Readers of this blog know of my love of this series and I can personally guarantee that the feels, the drama, and the action you experience in Harry Potter are replicated in their own magical way in this series.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

If you liked the strong ties and references to mythology in Rowling’s series, then Rick Riordan’s series will be right up your alley as he brings mythology to life and offers a wonderful cast of characters.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This is a wonderful book and series, Howl is a wizard with a floating castle and Sophie is a girl who is cursed and begins to work for him. It’s funny, a wonderful mix of magic and reality, and Howl is brilliantly dramatic which is all sorts of fun.

Artemis Fowl

This is a series that is absolutely wonderful! Artemis is a 12 year old genius who is determined to prove the existence of fairies. What he discovers though is an entire secret world with all sorts of creatures who aren’t too pleased to have been discovered. It’s a great mix of technology

and magic with great characters, fantastic storylines and as much emotion and adventure as the Harry Potter books.

 The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman

This story is about Quentin Coldwater, a high school genius who gets admitted into a magical school and discovers the magical world. But things aren’t as wonderful as they appear (sound familiar)

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

I adore this book. It is a story of a young boy who loves book and is trying to cope with the death of his mother. He discovers a strange world where fairytales are real life, but these fairytales are not the same as the stories you know.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic by Emily Croy Baker

A woman who is unhappy with her life passes through a portal into another world, a world full of magic. She initially thinks this is a much better place, but the fairytale world is much darker than it first appears. The question is, will she return to her old life if given the chance?

The Alchemyst: The Secrets Of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

A fun Harry Potter fact: the infamous Nicholas Flamel who created the Philosopher’s Stone is based on a suspected real figure who is rumoured to have created a Philosopher’s Stone to achieve immortality. This could be an interesting read if you want to know some more about him.

Non-Fiction Books

Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli

Anelli takes us on a personal journey through every aspect of the original and developing Harry Potter phenomenon and the decade in which it took over the world. Anelli was lucky enough to experience it all first hand, from stopping leaks, to interviewing the queen JK Rowling herself, and running the website The Leaky Cauldron. Fair warning, this one seems like a hit and miss for people. Super fans seem to love it, but have a sticky beak at the reviews to see if it would be your kind of thing. I think it would interested in reading it just to see her experience of it, but I don’t expect it to be a detailed account of everything Harry Potter.

The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasurey of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts

A companion book of sorts filled with all the references and history behind the names of characters and all the wealth of knowledge Rowling has drawn on in creating her wizarding world.

There are a lot of obvious other books I could list but I will leave that up to the links or I’ll be here forever. If there are any books or series you’d recommend feel free to let me know in the comments below. Goodreads also has a list of books aptly titled If You Liked Harry Potter You Might Like… if you are looking for a much longer list. They also have a list called Best Books About Harry Potter which interestingly includes some books that seem like fanfiction that have been published, I’m certainly intrigued looking at some of these summaries. But among them are gems of non-fiction books if you have a scroll through.

Extra Bits and Pieces

19 Books to Read if You Loved Harry Potter

11 Books All Harry Potter Fans Must Read

10 Books for Adults That Are Just As Magical as the Harry Potter Series

17 Books to Read If You Like Harry Potter & Miss the Wizarding World

9 Books to Read If You Loved Harry Potter

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.

Pottermore

Pottermore is the official Harry Potter site launched by Rowling in 2012. It began as an interactive site that allowed users to follow each chapter of the books from beginning to end. You also could be placed into a house and were given a wand. Originally it had games and a chance to cast spells and make potions which earned points for your house and contributed to getting the House Cup. It also had a wealth of knowledge that was revealed about Hogwarts, characters, and other aspects of the wizarding world outside of the novels and films. This all changed, however, when the site was relaunched in 2016. Now it’s more like a blog that focuses on Rowling’s writings with feature articles and related news about upcoming movies etc. It’s not like I don’t like getting new information about the wizarding world, but I loved what it was before, though I can see how it would have been hard to maintain.

The new site still allows you to find your Hogwarts house (I’m still in Ravenclaw), get a wand (Spruce wood, phoenix feather core, 10 ¾” in length, slightly Yielding flexibility), and now, find your Patronus (mine’s a St Bernard, thank you for asking). Also, with the addition of the American magic school being revealed you can find out what your Ilvermorny House would be (I would be in Pukwudgie, though I’m not growing to that idea as of yet). If you love learning about the history of characters, more about creatures or locations it’s a good resource. The illustrations are beautiful as well and there are feature articles which may interest you as well as a few quizzes about chapters, books, and characters.

The history of Pottermore is really interesting though, you can read all about how it launched and developed in the links below, it’s quite detailed. There are also entries on the Harry Potter Wiki which is an innumerable source in its own right. As a whole, Pottermore is worth checking out if you’re interested in Harry Potter; even just to get yourself sorted into a house because it is a much better system than using Buzzfeed quizzes. Also, the information on there is as near canon as it’s going to get, it’s straight from Rowling’s quill so it’s a great resource to learn more about the wizarding world and those that reside in it. I didn’t use Pottermore as much after that first couple of years because I didn’t have much time, which I regret because of course, I thought it’d stay the same and would have time to return, but I will keep an eye on this new site, see what else develops on it.

Wikipedia

Pottermore Wiki

Harry Potter Wiki

Movies 6-8: Fun Facts and Differences

This post may contain spoilers if you haven’t seen the films or read the books.

What I love about these final three films is that OotP is the longest book by about 60 000 words, and yet it’s the final book that was made into two films. I’ve chosen to group the final two films together because it is only one book, and Part One was a lot of camping so I think that saves a lot of time in terms of plot.

The Half-Blood Prince

Fun Facts

  • The film was released in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, India, Brazil, Spain and Mexico on 15 July 2008
  • Originally set to be released on 21 November 2008, but was pushed back by eight months
  • The movie is 2 hours 33 minutes long, making it the 3rd longest film in the series.
  • Broke the then-record for biggest midnight showings, making $22.8 million in 3,000 cinemas
  • It was translated into 67 different languages, with a Scots Gaelic version planned for this month.
  • Dame Maggie Smith completed filming this film whilst undergoing radio-therapy as treatment for breast cancer.
  •  Emma Watson considered not returning for the film, but eventually decided that, “the pluses outweighed the minuses,” and could not bear to see anyone else play Hermione.
  •  Timothy Spall plays Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew) for the fourth time, but in both Order of the Phoenix and this film, he does not have a single line of dialogue.
  •  Ron thinks Dumbledore is 150 years old. Dumbledore was actually 115 years old when he died. He was roughly in his fifties when he first met Tom Riddle.
  •  The strange “fluid” in Dumbledore’s Pensive is entirely done with CGI.
  • That highly torturous fluid in the cave that Dumbledore drinks, was really just some milk thinned down with water and then visually “tweaked” by the CGI department.
  •  A giant swing was used to send actors flying across the room for scenes in which Quidditch players fells off their brooms.
  •  A total of 27 owls appear in Half-Blood Prince and all of them came from animal sanctuaries.
  •  The cauldrons  in the Potions classroom are remote control operated. And the knitting needles that knit on their own are also operated by a custom built machine.
  • Over 80 sets were used for this film.
  • Daniel Radcliffe’s least favourite own performance in the series, stating in an interview that he was “just not very good in it”, and calling it “hard to watch”.

Trivia
More Trivia
Extra Trivia
Additional Trivia
Extra Additional Trivia

Changes

  • Opening scene with the British Prime Minister is omitted.
  • The Dursleys do not appear.
  • Horace Slughorn’s appearance in the film differs dramatically from his description in the book. In the book he is extremely fat and bald, with a “walrus-like” moustache. In the film, he is depicted as being only slightly overweight, hair only slightly thinning, with no facial hair.
  • Three new scenes were added into the film that don’t appear in the book: The collapsing Millennium Bridge, Harry flirting with the waitress, and the attack at The Burrow.
  • Harry is only warned not to move by Dumbledore in the tower; in the book he is magically frozen.
  • Dumbledore’s funeral was removed as it was believed it did not fit with the rest of the film.
  •  The climactic battle was removed to avoid repetition with the Deathly Hallows films.

More Changes

 

Deathly Hallows – Part One and Two

Fun Facts

It was originally meant to be one film. But after reading the book, screenwriter Steve Kloves said that he couldn’t make it much shorter than 4–5 hours. So it became two.

Both parts were filmed back-to-back, as if it were one long film.

The world premiere for Deathly Hallows Part One1 was held in Leicester Square in London on 11 November 2010

Deathly Hallows Part One grossed $24 million in North America during its midnight showing, beating the record for the highest midnight gross of the series, previously held by Half Blood Prince, at $22.2 million. This record was again broken with Deathly Hallows Part 2

Filming the “Seven Harrys” scene was so complex, that Daniel Radcliffe counted over ninety takes for just a single shot.

 Part One is the only film not to feature Dame Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall) or David Bradley (Argus Filch).

 Linguist expert Dr. Francis Nolan devised the Parseltongue language for the Harry Potter films which feature the serpent speak.

Deathly Hallows Part 2 had its world premiere on 7 July 2011 in Trafalgar Square in London.

At 2 hours and 10 minutes, Part Two is the shortest film in the series.

Part Two is the eighth highest grossing film of all time worldwide.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione enter Gringotts near the beginning, Hermione has taken Polyjuice Potion to disguise herself as Bellatrix. Before the scene was shot, Emma Watson acted out the scene for Helena Bonham Carter so she would know how to act as if she were Hermione in this situation. So, essentially, this scene is Carter acting like Watson who is acting like Hermione acting like Bellatrix.

Most of the events in Part Two – from the raid on Gringotts to the Battle of Hogwarts – take place over the course of a single day

210,000 coins were made for the scene inside the vault at Gringotts.

The only film in the franchise, where Hermione actually controls a broom.

Director David Yates wanted to get as many actors who have appeared in the franchise back for the final battle scene.

If you watch all 8 Harry Potter films it would be 18 hours and 20 minutes long all together.

Trivia
More Trivia
Even More Trivia
Extra Trivia
Additional Trivia

 

Changes

  • The escape from the Dursley’s is different
  • Harry and Hermione don’t use Polyjuice Potion at Godric’s Hollow
  • Snape never actually witnessed Lily’s death first hand.
  • Peter Pettigrew doesn’t die.
  • Harry doesn’t hide under the cloak after Hagrid brings him back from the forest
  • The invisibility cloak isn’t used nearly as much
  • Harry and Dumbledore use a pensieve in order to look into Voldemort’s past. This is how Harry knows to look for Helga Hufflepuff’s cup in Bellatrix LeStrange’s Gringotts vault, it’s not just a feeling that he has.
  • Voldemort doesn’t disintegrate in the book, he dies like the mortal man he is.
  • Harry destroys the Elder Wand however, in the book he uses it to mend his own wand and returns the Elder Wand back to Dumbledore’s grave. 
  • Harry does not go to the Headmaster’s Office after the battle

 Part One Changes

Part Two Changes

More Changes in Part Two
Further Changes in Part Two
More Changes

Further Changes

To cap things off here’s a general list of differences between the books and the films

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