Think you’re the biggest Potterhead? Think again. To celebrate Harry Potter’s 33rd birthday (31st July – which happens to be J. K. Rowling’s birthday as well), here are 10 facts about the world of Harry Potter that you probably didn’t know about.
1. Snape was the first to know of his own fate.
Played by Alan Rickman, one of my favourite characters, Severus Snape ends up dead in the last installment of the Harry Potter series. However, Rickman had already known the destiny of his character, even before the final novel was published. How, you ask? No, the actor is not psychic. It’s because author J. K. Rowling had told him early on about Snape’s demise!
2. The ‘t’ in Voldemort is silent.
Despite what you hear in movies and everywhere else, Voldemort is in fact a French word. And as a French pronunciation rule, the ‘t’ is pretty much non-existant. Translated, it means “flight of death” but “Voldemor” just does not sound as menacing.
3. Hagrid’s beard can hold quite a number of things.
Popularly known as the gentle giant that rescued Harry Potter from his cruel relatives, Hagrid is also trademarked by his unruly facial hair. In fact, Robbie Coltrane, who took the role of this character, has once gotten a mini-fan and a fruit bat stuck in that beard! (That’s why his beard’s so big. It’s full of secrets!)
4. Rupert Grint couldn’t watch Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe kiss.
For all you hardcore fans, remember the scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One where Ron Weasley had to destroy a horcrux? While Watson and Radcliffe were filming a passionate kissing scene for that, Grint had to leave the set… because he was laughing too much.
5. A plant inspired the name, Hogwarts.
Whilst in New York City, Rowling came across the ordinary-looking plant, Hogwort, in the Kew Gardens. Though it looked like an average piece of nature, its name managed to secure a good place in the author’s mind.
6. Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus.
Don’t recognise that phrase? Well, you will when you know what it means. It’s Hogwarts’ official school motto and it translates to “Never tickle a sleeping dragon.” Perhaps it makes sense that it’s more important than excellence and achievement. Afterall, dragons can kill.
7. Professor Slughorn calls Ron Weasley, “Rupert”.
On page 485 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (U.S. edition), the forgetful Potions professor mistakenly refers to Weasley as “Rupert”. As you know, that’s the name of the actor playing that role. Could it be a coincidence or a purposeful deed by Rowling?
8. Rowling wrote five pages of words for the perfect sports name.
She wanted the name to start with the letter ‘Q’. So, she took a notebook and scribbled words that came to mind, both existent and nonexistent. It took her five full pages before inventing the perfect name for the most popular wizarding sport – Quidditch.
9. Fred and George Weasley were born on April Fools’ Day!
And aptly so, might I add. Having orchestrated the largest stunt on Professor Umbridge in an act of defiance, the pranksters have proven to be worthy of the name. What’s more, right after their escapade with Umbridge, the duo quits school and opens a joke shop with much success.
10. Harry Potter’s least profitable film earned more than Twilight’s high-grossing movie.
First of all, I can’t believe Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the least successful of the series. But it doesn’t matter because the most successful Twilight installment – The Twilight Saga: New Moon – still lacks in comparison to it. I’m talking about an income difference of more than $90 million!
So how did you fare in this trivia list? If you scored 10 out of 10, well done, Potterhead, well done! If you scored 1/1o, you now have enough knowledge to brag about your (newly acquired) Potter-intelligence.