The Most Interesting Facts About Harry Potter

According to J.K. Rowling, brooms are not actually magical items that allow wizards to fly. Like wands, they are simply tools for wizards to channel their own magic through and talented wizards can fly without them.

The first 'Harry Potter' book was initially rejected by twelve different publishers, as it was considered too long for children to read.

Author J.K. Rowling revealed on her website that for the first Harry Potter movie, she was offered by Director Chris Columbus the role of Lily Potter during the Mirror of Erised scene, but she turned down the role, which instead went to Geraldine Somerville.

Child actors were allowed do their actual schoolwork during the filming of the movie to make the school setting more real.

Fourteen Ford Anglias were destroyed to create the scene where Harry and Ron crash into the Whomping Willow.

The floating candles in the Great Hall for the first movie were created using candle-shaped holders containing oil and burning wicks and suspended from wires that moved up and down on a special effects rig to create the impression that they were floating. Eventually one of the wires snapped due to the heat of the flame causing the candle to fall to the floor. Fortunately no one was injured, but the decision was made to re-create the candles using CGI for the following films as using real candles was determined to be a safety hazard.

J.K. Rowling revealed that after the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione tracked down her parents and restored their unaltered memories.

Throughout the whole of the Harry Potter series, Daniel Radcliffe went through 160 pairs of glasses.

When holding auditions for the role of Hermione, the casting team traveled around to local British elementary schools to hold auditions in hope to find their actress. When they arrived at Emma Watson's school, she had no desire to audition despite nearly every single girl in her school wanting to. It was encouragement from her teacher to at least attempt the audition that made her be the last girl to audition of her whole school.

Voldemort cannot love because he was conceived under the effects of a love potion.

The trouble-making poltergeist Peeves (played by Rik Mayall) does not, in the end, appear in the first movie nor in deleted scenes on any home editions of the film. Mayall claimed he didn't find out that he was cut from the final cut until he saw the movie himself. Ultimately Peeves was never used in any of the Harry Potter films.

Rupert Grint has a very real case of severe arachnophobia, to such a degree that he has still not watched the entire scene where Aragog and the spiders appear. In that scene, the look of fright on Ron’s face and his uncomfortable squirming throughout was not from acting but was due to Rupert being legitimately terrified.

Voldemort's wand is made of yew. The plant is seen by some as having immense supernatural power and being a symbol of death and rebirth, representing the same immortality that Voldemort seeks.

The floor in the great hall is made of actual York stone. Production designer Stuart Craig had the foresight to invest a significant amount of his design budget on the stone. While this decision was questioned at the time, it proved to be a wise one, as the stone was durable enough to withstand the footsteps of hundreds of actors and several camera crews over the near decade it took to film the entire series.

Though he was ultimately cast as Draco Malfoy in the 'Harry Potter' film series, Tom Felton initially auditioned for the roles of both Ron Weasley and the title character.

Hagrid is 8 feet 6 inches tall.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione became memorialized in Chocolate Frog cards after the Battle of Hogwarts, of which 'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling said, "Ron will describe this as his finest hour."

There is a first-edition copy of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' amongst Earth's most important artifacts preserved aboard Platform One in the Doctor Who episode "The End of the World."

When we see the Marauder’s Map for the first time, the name ‘Newt Scamander’ can be seen. In the Harry Potter universe, he wrote the book “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them”, but isn’t a teacher at Hogwarts.

In the first movie, Neville receives a remembrall from his grandmother but he doesn't remember what he has forgotten. In that scene, Neville is the only student without his robe on. He must have not remembered to put his robe on.

When designing the Marauder's Map, graphic designers decided to stray from the traditional rolled-up treasure map with burned edges, and designed it instead as a folding map with many layers, each representing a different level of Hogwarts Castle. The shapes of the various areas and objects depicted on the map are defined with written words as opposed to draftsman’s lines. The map was printed on white paper and subsequently “aged” using a rich blend of coffee in order to give the appearance of old parchment.

While filming a scene between Bellatrix Lestrange and Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Helena Bonham Carter accidentally stabbed Matthew Lewis in the ear with her wand, busting the actor’s eardrum.

The Restricted Section scene in Philosopher’s Stone was filmed in the Duke Humfrey's building at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The library has very strict rules about not bringing flames into the library. The makers of Harry Potter were the first ever to be allowed to break this rule in hundreds of years.

Originally the script called for Hermione to slap Malfoy as opposed to punching him in 'Prisoner of Azkaban'. During rehearsal for the scene Tom Felton told Emma Watson to slap him, however he had intended for her to not actually hit him, and thus was taken by surprise when Emma smacked him across the face as hard as she could. Emma said she felt terrible about it afterwards and didn't know what she was thinking.

In the Lego Harry Potter series, Voldemort is the only character that has a nose.

Despite his initial reluctance to accept the role of Albus Dumbledore, Richard Harris, who portrayed Dumbledore in the first two films, was determined to portray the character through the entire series. However, following the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) Harris was diagnosed with Hodgekin’s lymphoma. During post-production on that film, producer David Heyman went to visit Richard Harris in the hospital. Though he was very weak from his illness, Harris insisted that the role of Dumbledore not be recast. Sadly, Harris passed away shortly before production was to begin on Prisoner of Azkaban, necessitating a recast.

During the filming of the sleeping bag scene in Prisoner of Azkaban, director Alfonso Cuarón, Michael Gambon, and Alan Rickman played a practical joke on Daniel Radcliffe (who had requested to have his sleeping bag next to a girl whom he liked at the time) by hiding a remote-control-operated Whoopee Cushion in his sleeping bag. According to Cuarón, Daniel tried really hard to stay in character while everyone else was laughing.

Hermione Granger’s all-encompassing purse in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the result of an illegally performed extension charm, though she suffered no punishment from the Ministry of Magic as the bag, “played no insignificant part in the defeat of the greatest Dark wizard of all time.”

Ian McKellen turned down the role of Dumbledore. Having appeared as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, he said, “I had enough trouble living up to one legend. Two would be too much to hope for.” He also stated it would have been inappropriate to take Richard Harris' role, as the late actor had called McKellen a “dreadful” actor.

During the shooting of Harry and Hermione's kissing scene in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1', Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, was asked to leave the set for laughing too much.

Rupert Grint and Emma Watson stated in an interview that they both had casts made of their buttocks ("bum casts") which were used to make the bicycle-like seats mounted on the broomsticks in order to make them more comfortable to ride.

Warner Bros. originally considered making the entire “Harry Potter” series as a set of CGI animated films, or attempting to combine several of the novels into a single movie. The studio’s reasoning mainly had to do with concern over the rapid aging of child actors-if production ran too long on any of the films, or if production was delayed between sequels, the leading actors might have to be recast. Author J.K. Rowling vetoed both the ideas of combining books and an animated film, so the studio decided instead to produce all seven (later eight) films back to back so that the same child actors could play their roles in every film.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book of the series, is set in 1998, the same year the first book was published in America.

The inscription around the Mirror of Erised says: "Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi". Reading the inscription backwards it says, "I show not your face but your heart's desire."

In the Prisoner of Azkaban, to make the Knight Bus appear as if it was zipping through traffic at an extremely high speed, the scenes were filmed with the bus driving at normal speed and the rest of the traffic driving at snail’s pace. The film was advanced though the camera at a slower rate than it would eventually advance on screen. When the scene was played back at normal speed, the bus appears to be driving super-fast.

Bruce Springsteen wrote the song “I’ll Stand By You Always,” for a Harry Potter film, but said the producers of the movie didn’t want to use it.

Harry Melling had lost so much weight that the role of Dudley Dursley was almost recast for the third installment of Harry Potter movies. Eventually it was decided that Melling would continue to play Dudley and would wear a fat suit to make him look heavier.

The set for Dumbledore's office was, at the time of its construction, the most expensive set built for the films at that time. Both director Chris Columbus and production designer Stuart Craig agreed that, as headmaster, Dumbledore should have the most elaborate office possible. However, they were informed that the proposed design, with its massive stone columns, bookcases, curio cabinets, paintings on the walls, tables filled with various objects, antique desk and throne-like chair, and a giant telescope, would be far too expensive to produce. The producers ultimately were able to secure the funds needed to build the set.

Evanna Lynch, who eventually portrayed Luna Lovegood in the 'Harry Potter' film series, was such a fan of the books as a child that she was able to convince doctors to allow her to leave a hospital where she was recovering from an illness so she can stand in line to get a signed copy of 'The Order of the Phoenix.'

Early in the third Harry Potter movie (Prisoner of Azkaban), Harry sees a newspaper article with a photograph of the Weasley family in Egypt. Though it is never again mentioned, this is a very important plot point in the book. While on an inspection of Azkaban the Minister of Magic had a copy of that paper, and gave it to Sirius Black who recognized Peter Pettigrew disguised as Scabbers. This is what made him decide to break out of Azkaban, track down Scabbers at Hogwarts, and take his revenge by killing him.

Fred and George Weasley were born on the first of April, 1978, April Fools' Day.

The filmmakers originally wanted to use Canterbury Cathedral as a filming location for some of the Hogwarts scenes, but the Dean of Canterbury refused to allow it, saying that it was unfitting for a Christian church to be used to promote pagan imagery. Gloucester Cathedral agreed to take its place; the Dean of Gloucester, the Very Reverend Nicholas Bury, admitted to being a fan of the books. Nonetheless there was a huge media outcry in Gloucester when it was decided to use the local Cathedral as a filming location. Protesters wrote letters by the sack-load to local newspapers, claiming it was blasphemy and promising to block the film-crew's access. In the end, only one protester turned up.

Although the Marauders' Map, created by Messrs Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail plays a large part in the third Harry Potter film, the identities of the first three are not made clear. This is surprising as this was important to understanding this plot in the book. Moony was Lupin, who was supported by his three friends. These learned “Animagus” shape shifting techniques to sympathize with him. James Potter was Prongs the Stag (a trait passed on to the Patronus of his son Harry), Sirius Black was Padfoot the Dog, and Peter Pettigrew was, more obviously, Wormtail the Rat.

In the opening of the film, when Hermione is called down to tea, we can hear her parents talking about Australia along with an announcer, presumably on the TV, talking about a country-side. This is a reference to the book, in which Hermione says she not only wiped herself from her parent's memories but gave them new identities and made them think that they'd love nothing more than to move to Australia, which we presume that they do.

The filmmakers attempted to go the extra mile of matching the kid's appearances to how the novel describes them, by fitting Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) with green-colored contact lenses, and similarly make Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) wear fake buck teeth. But when Dan's eyes reacted strongly to the contacts, and Emma couldn't talk clearly with the fake teeth in her mouth, these ideas were dropped.

David Holmes, 25, Daniel Radcliffe's stunt-double, was seriously injured on the set of Deathly Hallows. He was performing an aerial sequence when he fell to the ground following an explosion, which was part of the stunt, and sustained a serious back injury. Although he initially hoped to return to work, it has since been reported that Holmes is paralyzed and now uses a wheelchair.

Hogwarts is only open to the residents of Ireland and Britain.

The scar on Harry's forehead is off-center. This was done at J.K. Rowling's request. Due to the artwork on the covers of her books, many people have assumed that his scar is supposed to be in the center of his forehead. The books, however, never specify exactly where on his forehead the scar is located.

Harry's lightning bolt scar was applied by make-up teams approximately 5,800 times by the end of the series. Daniel Radcliffe had the scar applied 2,000 times while the rest were applied to stunt doubles and stand-ins.

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