Harry Potter Fun Facts

Michele Meleen
The Making of Harry Potter sign

Fans of the Harry Potter book series love learning secret information about the books, its characters, and author J. K. Rowling's thoughts during the writing process. Everything from profound quotes to fun facts keep readers engaged in the fantasy world long after reading the series.

Book Facts

The Harry Potter series started out as a ground-breaking attempt to create a children's series where the characters actually grew up and became a one-in-a-million success story. Check out these interesting tidbits about the books.

  • Harry Potter shop items
    The first Harry Potter manuscript was written on a typewriter in several drafts as Rowling had to rewrite a whole page to change anything as small as one sentence. When it was finished, she also had to retype the whole book so it would be double-spaced she shares in an interview with Urbanette.
  • In the first printing, 300 of the 500 copies were sent to libraries reports Fox News.
  • There are dozens of fake Harry Potter books written in Chinese with titles like Harry Potter and the Chinese Porcelain Doll.
  • Order of the Phoenix is one of the longest books because it features the most time spent away from Hogwarts.
  • Magical children are tracked by a magic quill at Hogwarts that detects their birth and includes their name in a book.
  • The Big Issue reports The Goblet of Fire was the first novel ever to go on sale in the U.S. and the U.K. on the same day.
  • In January 2018 a rare copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was stolen from a bookstore along with The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit, and Winnie the Pooh.
  • Reading the books helps kids improve prejudices says Scientific American.
  • In the wizarding world, happy people do not become ghosts.
  • Illustrator Olly Moss created five distinct collections of book covers for the initial ebook release of the series though only one collection of illustrations was ultimately used.
  • Books printed in other languages also have their own unique cover art. so there are literally dozens and dozens of different book covers for the series.
  • The U.S. printed more hardcover copies of the books than the U.K.
  • In the first few printings of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on the publisher's page, credit is given to Joanne Rowling, rather than J.K.
  • In the first printing of the first book, the word "Philosopher's" is misspelled on the back cover.

Character Facts

Part of what makes the series so addictive and lovable are the incredibly detailed characters. Rowling gives even secondary and tertiary characters serious back stories, which makes them believable. Here's what you don't know about some of your favorite characters.

  • Nearly Headless Nick's last name is De Mimsy-Porpington Rowling shares in a Scholastic interview.
  • Hermione is a caricature of J. K. Rowling.
  • Ron Weasley was based on Rowling's real-life best friend from her teenage years, Sean Harris, says Collider.
  • In Rowling's mind Harry, Ron, and Hermione were meant to be a bit nerdy and unattractive she admits in an interview from Daniel Radcliffe.
  • Voldemort's biggest fear is death because he sees it as the ultimate human weakness says Rowling in an interview on mugglenet.
  • Harry Potter the character has a striking similarity to a Neil Gaiman character, Tim Hunter from The Books of Magic, from years earlier in literary history. Both characters are around the same age, have dark hair and glasses, and have pet owls.
  • Pottermore reports Hermione was supposed to have a younger sister, but J. K. Rowling never got around to including her in the books.
  • While working on the fist book Rowling created a list of 40 characters who entered Hogwarts the same year as Harry.
  • Ron's full name references words meaning a ruler's advisor and ill-tempered, which describe his character in the books.
  • Hermione's middle name, "Jean," is also Rowling's daughter's middle name.
  • The name Malfoy literally means "evil beliefs."
  • "Vol de mort" means "flight of death" in French.

Beyond the Wizarding World

Discover more about the wizarding world and characters big or small at Pottermore, the official website for Harry Potter fans. Through interviews with the author and new short stories she debuts on the website, readers keep this fantasy world alive from the comfort of their own home.

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Harry Potter Fun Facts