Why Draco tried to befriend Harry when they first met
Draco Malfoy didn’t set out to be Harry’s nemesis; in fact, he had been raised to believe that Harry Potter – the Boy Who Lived – could go on to become the next great Dark Wizard, and that he should try to befriend him. After Voldemort was defeated, many people feared Harry and believed that he must be a very powerful Dark Wizard. Lucius Malfoy was a particular fan of this theory, as Rowling explains: “He, Lucius, might be in for a second chance of world domination, should this Potter boy prove to be another, and greater, pure-blood champion.” However, when Harry befriends Ron and Hermione on the Hogwarts Express – two of the last people Draco would have spent time with, one being a muggle-born and the other part of a family the Malfoys loathe – Draco realises his father’s mistake, and their mutual animosity is settled.
Dumbledore was homosexual
When asked during an interview whether Dumbledore ever fell in love, Rowling answered: “My truthful answer to you… I always thought of Dumbledore as gay.” Oh and he was possibly in love with Grindelwald, which is why he became ‘blinded’ to his evil, power-hungry motives behind obtaining the Deathly Hallows when they were younger. She also revealed that during a script read-through for the sixth film, the writers wanted to include Dumbledore saying something to Harry about a girl he knew once; setting the matter straight, Rowling added a note to the script margin with the words, “Dumbledore’s gay!” and slipped it to the scriptwriter.
After the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione went back to complete her N.E.W.Ts…
After the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione went back to complete her seventh-year studies: “She would definitely, definitely go back. And she would want to graduate,” said Rowling.
She also added that Hermione went off with Ron and Harry because “she has a really good heart. That’s not about brain. Ultimately, she had a bigger heart than she had a brain and that’s saying something for Hermione.” But she wasn’t naturally drawn to battle – “She would be glad to go back to school, be glad to get back to study.” As you might expect, Harry and Ron did not return to Hogwarts and therefore never graduated.
…then went on to have a successful career
In a 2007 Bloomsbury Live Chat forum, J.K Rowling revealed that Hermione started her post-Hogwarts career at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, where she played in important role in improving the lives of house elves and similar magical creatures. Afterwards, she moved to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, “where she was a progressive voice who ensured the eradication of oppressive, pro-pureblood laws.” So as well as having two children with Ron (Hugo and Rose, in case you were wondering), one of the most brilliant witches of a generation had a successful career, too!
Harry, Ron and Hermione revolutionised the Ministry
Despite not graduating from Hogwarts, Harry and Ron also go on to have successful jobs at the Ministry, both working in the Auror Department – which Harry becomes head of. Rowling has said: “Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department. They are now the experts. It doesn’t matter how old they are or what else they’ve done.” She also noted that after facing the Battle of Hogwarts, it would have been important for them to finish the job and get rid of “the corrupt people who were doing a Lucius Malfoy and trying to pretend that they weren’t involved.” In fact, the trio help to eradicate corruption throughout the Ministry itself and it becomes “a really good place to be.”
The name of each person who was killed to make a horcrux
We knew that Voldemort – or Tom Riddle – had to kill somebody each time he made a horcrux; but it wasn’t until after the books that we learnt exactly who was killed to make each one. In an interview with Bloomsbury in 2007, Rowling revealed that Moaning Myrtle was killed in order to turn the diary into a horcrux; Hepzibah Smith was killed for the Hufflepuff Cup, and had been its previous owner; a homeless Muggle was killed for Slytherin’s Locket; Bertha Jorkins was killed for Nagini; an Albanian peasant was killed for Ravenclaw’s Diadem; and Tom Riddle Senior was killed for Marvolo Gaunt’s ring.
The real reason why Rowling killed Lupin and Tonks
In an interview on the Today Show, Rowling explains that the reason she decided to kill off Lupin and Tonks was to echo the traumatic events of Harry’s life when his parents James and Lily were murdered. This was aimed to show just how evil Voldemort’s actions were, and the devastating effects of war, where children are left behind “who then have to make their way in the world uncared for and unprotected.” She has also said that she loved them as characters so didn’t kill them lightly, and that their death was one of the main reasons why she wrote an epilogue, to write a happy ending for Teddy and show his ongoing relationship with Harry, his godfather.
Harry and Voldemort were related
“Harry and Voldemort are distantly related through the Peverells. Of course, nearly all wizarding families are related if you trace them back through the centuries. As was made clear in ‘Deathly Hallows’, Peverell blood would run through many wizarding families.”
Hagrid never had a family of his own…
In the years following the books, most of the characters seemed to marry off and start families of their own – but not Hagrid. “Hagrid never did marry and have children,” Rowling told a disappointed group of fans. “Realistically, Hagrid’s pool of potential girlfriends is extremely limited. Because with the giants killing each other off, the number of giantesses around is infinitesimal and he met one of the only, and I’m afraid, she thought he was kind of cute, but she was a little more, how should I put it, sophisticated than Hagrid. So no, bless him.” Oh, Hagrid! We like to think he consoled himself by spending time with Harry, Ron and Hermione’s kids while they were at Hogwarts.
…but he was the only character who was invincible
Or at least, invincible against Rowling’s power to kill off whichever character she liked. In an interview with Daniel Radcliffe, Rowling revealed that from the very start she had always had three images in her mind that were going to appear in the final chapters of the last novel: the image of Harry accepting his fate and walking to his death; the image of his parents’ and loved ones’ spirits joining him as he walked; and of Hagrid carrying Harry’s (apparently) dead body out of the Forbidden Forest, towards the castle. Not only did this beautifully mirror the image of him carrying baby Harry to 4 Privet Drive at the start of the Philosopher’s Stone, it also meant that Hagrid was pretty much the only character that was safe throughout the series – even though she thinks he would have been a “natural” target otherwise.
Harry and Dudley kept in touch as adults
Despite never becoming the best of friends, the two cousins made a point of seeing each other as adults and getting their families together. “Harry and Dudley would still see each other enough to be on Christmas-card terms,” said Rowling, “but they would visit more out of a sense of duty and sit in silence so that their children could see their cousins.” That’s pretty big of Harry, considering Dudley taunted and bullied him for nearly all of his childhood!
Professor McGonagall had a difficult childhood and love life
The formidable and much-loved Professor McGonagall was born to a Muggle father and Witch mother, who had kept her magical ability a secret from her husband. But when their daughter Minerva started displaying magical powers, followed by their two sons Malcolm and Robert Junior, tensions quickly grew and Minerva’s mother struggled to hide their powers and fit into Muggle life. Fearful of the same thing happening to her, Minerva later broke off her engagement to a handsome and funny Muggle called Dougal McGregor, who was the love of her life; and because of the International Statute of Secrecy, she couldn’t even tell him why. While teaching at Hogwarts, McGonagall married her old boss from the Ministry, Elphinstone Urquart, following numerous rejected proposals; but they didn’t have children and their marriage was cut short three years later when Elphinstone was killed by a Venomous Tentacula bite. After that, McGonagall threw all her energy into her work.
Neville’s parents never recovered
Neville’s parents, Alice and Frank Longbottom, were tortured into madness by Bellatrix Lestrange. Unfortunately, theirs is not a happy ending and the pair live out their days in St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. “I know people really wanted some hope for that, and I can quite see why because, in a way, what happens to Neville’s parents is even worse than what happened to Harry’s parents. The damage that is done, in some cases with very dark magic, is done permanently.”
Apart from that, things work out well for Neville: he becomes Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts and marries Hannah Abbott, one of his contemporaries at Hogwarts and a fellow member of Dumbledore’s Army. And if that wasn’t enough to make him cool, Hannah Abbott goes on to become landlady of The Leaky Cauldron pub.
Harry and Ginny’s children got hold of the Marauder’s Map
Although she says that Harry did not give the Marauder’s Map to any of their children – probably to protect them from harm – J.K Rowling has said she has a feeling “that James sneaked it out of his father’s desk one day.” We love the idea of the next Hogwarts generation solemnly swearing they are up to no good!
There’s only one licensed Floo Powder producer in Britain
Floo-Pow, a company with headquarters in Diagon Alley but “who never answer their front door,” are the only licensed producers of Floo Powder in Britain. Invented by Ignatia Wildsmith in the 13th century, the exact recipe and composition for the substance is “a close guarded secret”, says Rowling, although “it can be said that Floo Powder’s main ingredient is Floo.” Apparently, St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries reports a ‘Faux Floo’ injury at least once a year – whereby a witch or wizard injures themselves by throwing their own homemade version into their fire. But with the powder costing just two Sickles a scoop – a price that hasn’t changed for 100 years – most sensible wizarding families keep a supply of the real stuff next to their fireplace.
Why the epilogue was set 19 years later
When asked why she chose to set the epilogue 19 years later – and not say, 10 or 12 – Rowling gave an honest but pretty amusing answer. She said that she didn’t want some characters to have children too young, letting them enjoy a few peaceful years before starting a family. “So 19 years was just enough time for the next generation to have reached the point I wanted them to reach when the Hogwarts Express is departing,” she explained, adding there is “no significance to the number, no magical explanation.” She also added that she didn’t want to encourage teen pregnancies (!)
We’ve all been saying Voldemort’s name wrong
We’re not sure why she chose to reveal it after all the films had been released, but Rowling confessed on her Twitter account in September 2015 that she had always intended the ‘t’ at the end of ‘Voldemort’ to be silent. However, she did seem amused that nobody else had caught on to this, adding: “but I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who pronounces it that way.”
Luna Lovegood becomes a wizarding naturalist
Rowling told the Today show that Luna Lovegood continues to do her own thing and goes on to become the wizarding equivalent of a naturalist, “travelling the world looking for various mad creatures.” She eventually accepts that her father may have had a few screws loose and that some magical creatures he told her about simply don’t exist; however, Rowling said that her open and brilliant mind would mean “she probably would be uncovering things that no one’s ever seen before.” And while some may think the usually solitary Luna would end up alone, she marries fellow naturalist Rolf Scamander, grandson of Newt Scamander, author of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – although she does settle down much later in life than her old school chums.
How the Potter family made their wealth
In September 2015, the Pottermore website got a makeover and with that came a new story about Harry’s genealogy, including how his family became wealthy. The story goes that Linfred of Stinchcombe, the first Potter, cured his Muggle neighbours with magical remedies that would later become famous potions such as Skele-gro. These sales earned him piles of gold, which he divided up between his seven children when he died; Harry’s grandfather, Fleamont Potter, then “took the family gold and quadrupled it, by creating magical Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion,” Rowling wrote. This was then sold for a large profit when Fleamont retired.
Rowling thinks Hermione should have ended up with Harry
The ongoing love story between Ron and Hermione was one of the most touching elements of the books, so many fans were heartbroken when Rowling divulged her opinion that perhaps Hermione and Harry would have been a better match. In a Wonderland interview with Emma Watson in 2014, the author said the Hermione/Ron relationship was written “as a form of wish fulfilment […] For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.” She also said that while writing the tent scene in the Deathly Hallows, she strongly felt that Hermione and Harry were a better fit and considered changing the course of their relationship.
As if to comfort disgruntled fans, Rowling later said that perhaps Hermione and Ron “will be alright with a bit of counselling […] They’ll probably be fine. He needs to work on his self-esteem issues and she needs to work on being a little less critical.”
Ron and Arthur Weasley nearly met the same fate as Fred
Readers were devastated when Fred Weasley was killed during the Battle of Hogwarts. But during an interview with Daniel Radcliffe, Rowling revealed that it was nearly Fred’s brother Ron – and even his father, Arthur – who got given the literary chop. She told Radcliffe that she “wasn’t in a very happy place” about halfway through the series, and started thinking that she might “polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite.” However, despite giving serious consideration to killing Ron, she says that in her heart of hearts she couldn’t have done it; meanwhile, she chose not to kill Arthur because there were “very few good fathers in the book [and] you could make a very good case for Arthur Weasley being the only good father in the whole series.” So, poor Fred was the Weasley who had to go…
Aunt Petunia felt guilty about Lily
In a Pottermore essay entitled ‘Vernon and Petunia,’ Rowling gave us an insight into Aunt Petunia’s backstory – at the same time, making us feel (almost) sorry for her. Not only did Petunia have “some latent feelings of guilt” about completely cutting Lily out of her life, she was also fiercely jealous of her sister’s magical ability and desperately wished that she too would receive a Hogwarts acceptance letter. Petunia has always kept these feelings buried from her husband Vernon, although Harry gets a glimpse of them in the final book, when they say goodbye and she gives him “an odd, tremulous look” that seems to “teeter on the edge of speech.” Rowling has said that she wanted to suggest “something decent” in Petunia, perhaps “a long-forgotten but dimly burning love of her sister, the realisation that she might never see Lily’s eyes again.” However, she couldn’t go any further than this or it wouldn’t have been consistent with Petunia’s character throughout the previous books.
Umbridge had a squib brother and Muggle mum!
Dolores Umbridge was one of the most Muggle-hating characters in the series; but far from being a ‘pure blood’ herself, she was actually the eldest daughter of wizard Orford Umbridge and Muggle Ellen Cracknell – making her a half-blood! In a Pottermore essay, Rowling writes that Dolores “secretly despised” both her parents – her father for his lack of ambition, and her mother “for her flightiness, untidiness, and Muggle lineage.” What’s more, when her younger brother was born a squib, the family were quite literally divided into two; blaming Ellen for the boy’s lack of magical ability, Dolores and her father went their own way while Ellen and her son disappeared into the Muggle world, never to be seen by Orford or Umbridge again. This allowed Umbridge to pretend to the Wizarding World that she was a pure blood.
Teddy Lupin became Head Boy
On 1 September 2015, much to her fans excitement and delight, Rowling tweeted: “I’m in Edinburgh, so could somebody at King’s Cross wish James S Potter good luck for me? He’s starting at Hogwarts today. #BackToHogwarts.” But she didn’t just stop there, following this mind-blowing piece of news with: “Have just heard that James S Potter has been Sorted (to nobody’s surprise) into Gryffindor. Teddy Lupin (Head Boy, Hufflepuff) disappointed.” So not only does Harry and Ginny’s eldest son James get sorted into Gryffindor, but Ted Lupin – one of the next generation most affected by the Battle of Hogwarts, losing both his parents – goes on to become Head Boy!
And finally, we all went to Hogwarts!
When a Twitter conversation struck up about whether you could get into Hogwarts without a letter – and whether the fact we hadn’t received our letters made us Muggles or Squibs – Rowling gave the most wonderful reply: “All these people saying they never got their Hogwarts letter: you got the letter. You went to Hogwarts. We were all there together.” *sobs*