If you’re a magic whizz – even if you’re still waiting for your letter from Hogwarts like me *sob* – then you may think you know everything there is to know about Harry Potter. And you might be right when it comes to the story, the spells, the drama and the gut-wrenching feels.
But here are some facts you didn’t know about the Harry Potter franchise as a whole.
Prepare to be spellbound.
1. Helena Bonham Carter Burst Matthew Lewis’s Ear Drum With Her Wand
Unintentionally, of course – unless she was channelling the cold-bloodedness of her character, Bellatrix Lestrange. During the infamous Ministry of Magic fight scene in Order of the Phoenix, Bellatrix is seen getting dangerously close to Neville’s face with her wand…
Well, it turns out she succeeded in accidentally ramming the wand into Matthew’s ear. Ouch.
2. J.K. Rowling Has The Same Birthday As Harry
Yep, Rowling used her own birthday as the inspiration for the day every year Harry Potter fans have become familiar with for the day Harry complains about being at the Dursleys, an experience made a little better by cake and presents.
It was also the same day every year J.K. Rowling was celebrating her own birthday, too. Though hopefully not stuck at the Dursleys.
3. Arthur Weasley Was Supposed To Die
Originally, the red-Head of the Weasley Household wasn’t supposed to survive the attack from Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, in The Order of the Phoenix. I think I speak for everybody when I say we are glad he survived.
I wonder who he would leave all his Muggle artefacts to? Rubber duck, anyone?
4. Daniel Radcliffe Was Having A Bath When He Found Out He’d Got The Part
And no, he wasn’t opening a giant golden egg to work out a clue… He was enjoying a little relaxation when his parents yelled that he’d landed the part of the Boy Wizard.
Probably the best bath Daniel’s ever had in his life.
5. Haley Joel Osment Was Set To Play Harry
Back when Steven Spielberg was supposed to direct the Harry Potter movies, he wanted Sixth Sense star Haley to play the lead. When Chris Columbus took over, he began a new search for the perfect Harry.
I see Death Eaters doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it?
6. Daniel Radcliffe Had A Very Bad Reaction To His Green Contact Lenses
If you’re anything like me, you probably did a lot of grumbling when Harry’s eyes were revealed as blue instead of canon green. However, there’s actually a fair reason that was the case.
Apparently they tried to fit Daniel with green contact lenses, but he had such a bad reaction to them that they couldn’t use them. Unfortunately for him, he also had continual skin reactions to Harry’s glasses.
7. Tom Felton Auditioned For Both Harry And Ron Before Landing The Part of Draco
It’s hard to imagine Felton playing anyone other than the smarmy and smug Draco Malfoy, but he was very interested in playing the role of leading man Harry before he landed the part of one of our favourite Slytherin anti-heroes.
Perhaps it was this rejection that turned him to the dark side.
8. Rupert Grint’s Audition Tape Included A Rap
In true Ron Weasley comedic style, Rupert decided to show how much he wanted the part of Harry Potter’s best friend through the musical medium of rap.
His rap must’ve been very impressive, because – needless to say – he landed the part.
9. Peeves Was Actually Supposed To Be In The Film – But His Scenes Were Cut
Legendary comedian Rik Mayall was actually cast as the pesky poltergeist, and even got as far as filming his scenes. Eventually, the director decided that he didn’t like the finished look of the ghost in the movies, and cut the scenes altogether.
Die hard fans were severely disappointed to find that Peeves was missing from the movies – and now it’s even more disappointing to learn that he was so close to being there before being axed.
10. The Actress Who Played Moaning Myrtle Was 36 Years Old At The Time
Shirley Henderson, whose voice we can all agree was made for the part of miserable, moping, moaning Myrtle, was actually 20+ years older than the character she was portraying.
Proof that wearing pigtails will take years off you.
11. Rowling Didn’t Even Tell Her Husband How The Story Would End
J.K.Rowling kept Harry’s fate a secret until the very end – even from her husband.
Even when speaking to Daniel Radcliffe she was very secretive about his fate, saying only that he got ‘a death scene’ rather than directly dying.
12. Harry’s Scar Was Applied 5800 Times During The Course Of The Movies
Proving that Daniel’s makeup team had quite the job applying it 2000 times to his own face; the rest of applications were for Daniel’s film and stunt doubles.
At least it was only a simple lightning bolt and not a more complex shape…
13. J.K. Rowling Has Admitted That Harry And Hermione Might Have Worked
Harry-Hermione shippers rejoice, because the author herself has acknowledged that a relationship between the two is definitely plausible. Many fans think that there is a lot more chemistry between Harry and Hermione compared to Ron (scene from Deathly Hallows in the tent, anyone?).
So maybe Cho Chang had a reason to be jealous, after all…
14. Horror Master Stephen King Gave Dolores Umbridge His Seal Of Approval As A Villain
Stephen King, upon his review of The Order of the Phoenix, stated that Umbridge was the best villain to come along since Hannibal Lector.
But we don’t need King to tell us that Umbridge was just evil. Pure, frilly, pink evil.
15. Michael Gambon Never Read The Books
Upon taking over the role of the beloved Headmaster, actor Michael Gambon went purely off script alone and never read the books to find out more about his character, Albus Dumbledore.
Which explains why he obviously missed the note regarding Dumbledore asking calmly whether Harry put his name into the Goblet of Fire…
16. J.K. Rowling Came Up With The Hogwarts House Names On The Back Of An Aeroplane Sick Bag
I suppose when you’re a famous author writing one of the biggest fantasy stories of all time, you’ve gotta write notes down whenever inspiration strikes. Might as well kill some time on a flight.
That explains HufflePUFF a little better, anyway…
17. Hagrid Was Always Safe
J.K.Rowling knew from the very beginning that she wanted our favourite half-giant to carry Harry out of the forest in the final book during the Battle of Hogwarts. Which meant that he was never, ever in danger of being killed off.
Despite his constant relationships with dangerous creatures, that’s saying something.
18. J.K. Rowling Invented Quidditch After A Fight With Her Boyfriend
Following an argument, she left the house, sat down in a pub and thus – Quidditch was created. It seems maybe we have a lot to thank him for…
Now ex-boyfriend, to say the least.
19. The American Version Was Almost Called Harry Potter and The School of Magic
You’ll already have noticed the difference between the British and American versions – Philosopher’s Stone and Sorcerer’s Stone – but originally, The School of Magic was on the table. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
Luckily, J.K. Rowling lobbied for the better name which we know today. Phew.
20. Deathly Hallows Was Given Code Names To Protect It From Leaking Early
Bloomsbury understood that the sanctity of Harry Potter must be protected at all costs – and therefore used code names including Edinburgh Potmakers.
To be fair, I’d probably still read a book called Edinburgh Potmakers.