Everyone loves Harry Potter, don’t they? Personally, I’d be willing to put my Potter-trivia credentials up against anyone, anywhere, anytime; such is my knowledge of the wizarding world and all of its quirks and nuances.
However, one of the wonderful things about the iconic series of books and films is that there is always more to learn, new idiosyncrasies, peculiarities and knowledge to be gained from a near-forensic 24th re-read. So with that in mind, we have compiled a list of exceptional details from the Harry Potter series that you probably never noticed the first time round.
1. There were hints of Snape’s mind reading ability (legilimens) right from the start
Harry had the “horrible feeling that Snape could read minds” in the Philosopher’s Stone – how right he was.
2. Fred and George pelted Lord Voldemort with snowballs when they were 13, and they didn’t even know it
Again in the Philosopher’s Stone, Fred and George are reported to have got into trouble for “bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban”. How were they to know that Lord Voldemort was inhabiting the back of Quirrell’s head at that time?
3. Why Dumbledore really gave Neville Longbottom 10 points for standing up to his friends.
Dumbledore gave Neville the points for having the courage to stand up to Harry, Ron and Hermione. What Neville didn’t know, was that Dumbledore himself had had to do the same thing years ago, with Gellert Grindelwald.
4. Why Ron and Neville struggled with magic for their first few years at school
As we learn later in the series, when one is using another’s wand rather than their own, their powers are somewhat diminished; early in the series, Ron is using and old wand of his brother Percy’s and Neville is using his father’s (which is absurdly emotional).
5. Ron’s ridiculously accurate prediction: #seer
Having found the name Tom Riddle in the trophy room while serving a detention, Ron remarks that Riddle might have got his ‘services to the school’ award for killing Moaning Mytrle, remarking that “that would’ve done everyone a favour” – as it happens, Riddle did kill Moaning Mytrle, although, clearly did not receive an award for the gruesome murder.
6. The not-so-broken Sneakoscope
A birthday present from Ron to Harry, the sneakoscope is thought to be broken due to its constant whirring, however it turns out their had been a less-than-benign presence in their midst all along; Scabbers the rat, who of course turned out to be Peter Pettigrew in his animagous form.
7. Professor Trelawney’s third prophecy
During Christmas break, only a handful of students and teachers remain at the castle rather than returning home from the holidays. Ostensibly, there are twelve of them – when Professor Trelawney is invitied to join the table she says “If I join the table we shall be thirteen! Nothing could be more unlucky! Never forget that when thirteen dine together the first to rise will be the first to die!”. Although she does eventually sit down, there had been 13 of them all along – Scabbers had been in Ron’s pocket. Dumbledore rose from the table to invite Trelawney to join them and, sadly, was the first among them to die later in the series.
8. A subtle hint of what is to come
In the Goblet of Fire, Frank Bryce hears Voldermort telling Pettigrew that if he remains loyal and true he will get to “perform an essential task… one that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform”. That is exactly what Wormtail ends up doing, cutting his right hand off in sacrifice to help bring Voldemort back.
9. Harry and Ron predict the future
In a divination class in their fourth year, Harry and Ron decide to make up predictions about Harry’s future for homework rather than actually go through the motions of trying to do it properly. What they come up with is eerily accurate.
Harry comes up with “in danger of burns” – which comes true with the dragons in the first Triwizard Tournament task. Then, Ron ad-libs that Harry will “lose a treasured possession” – Harry has a close friend taken from him in the second task of the tournament, to be rescued. Lastly, the pair imagine that Harry will “come off worse in a fight”, which of course, he does when Voldemort returns at the end of the book.
10. Dumbledore’s seemingly strange reaction to Voldemort’s return
Upon discovering that Voldemort had taken blood from Harry to aide in his return to human form, Harry thought he saw “a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore’s eyes”, which seemed bizarre at the time, before we learned that Harry’s blood running through Voldemort’s veins would eventually help him survive a killing curse and eventually defeat Voldemort in the Deathly Hallows.
11. Petunia gave us a clue about Snape and Lily’s friendship, we just missed it
Having indicated that she has knowledge of Dementors, Petunia explains that she heard “that awful boy – telling her about them – years ago”. Naturally, we all assumed she was talking about James Potter, but no, she was actually alluding to none other than Severus Snape.
12. The cheeky code for the Ministry of Magic’s visitor entrance
The code that one needs to type in to gain entrance to the ministry of magic is 62442 – on a vintage phone keyboard that series of numbers would spell out the word “magic.” Perfect.
I think I need a bit of a lie down after all that introspection and examination of the finer details of Potter. So why not put your fine-tooth comb down for a minute and read this utterly brilliant sorting hat fan theory.