The Ending Of Harry Potter Finally Explained
There was an interesting Easter egg contained in Harry's first shot of the last film. As he's mourning by Dobby's beachfront grave, he looked in a triangular fragment of a mirror the elf had possessed — thanks to the circular nature of his glasses, it created the symbol of the Deathly Hallows in the reflection. It was a wink to how all three elements would eventually be his to do with what he wished.
The Deathly Hallows — as Part 1 explained in animated format — consisted of the Elder Wand, the Cloak of Invisibility, and the Resurrection Stone. When combined, the three gave a wizard untold power, the ability to disappear from Death's purview, and a means to bring back lost souls. Voldemort got his hands on one — the Elder Wand — while Harry had been casually given the cloak in his earliest days at Hogwarts, not knowing its strength. He eventually recovers the Stone, too, after kissing his Snitch goodbye with the intention of sacrificing himself.
Unlike Voldemort, though, Harry didn't aim to use these items for world domination once he came into possession of all three. Instead, he snapped the Elder Wand in half, dropped the Resurrection Stone in the Forbidden Forest to be trampled into the dirt by a centaur, and he kept the cloak for himself because, well, that had always been a good source of fun. Plus, it was something that belonged to his late father. He'd later pass the Cloak down to his own son, James Sirius Potter — James' younger brother, Albus Severus, would later lift it in the events of The Cursed Child.
Speaking of which ...
10 Things About The Harry Potter Ending That Still Make No Sense
It was always going to be difficult to adapt the final volume of Harry Potter to the screen in a way that was both true to the books and satisfying on its own. However, all in all, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 does a fairly good job of tying up all of the loose ends and narrative arcs established in the rest of the films.
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However, now that it’s been quite a while since the film came to the big screen, it’s time to take a look back at some aspects of the ending that still don’t seem to make a lot of sense.
10 Why They Even Included The Flash Forward Ending
One of the more vexing aspects of the novel was its flash forward, which shows the various characters several years in the future.
While this works well enough for the book, it poses a lot of challenges for the film, and it’s rather questionable whether it was a good idea to digitally age the actors so that they looked older than they are in real life. It’s a rather jarring moment, and it’s not exactly a graceful end to this blockbuster franchise.
9 Why Hermione And Ron Were Just Going To Let Harry Give Himself To Voldemort
No one can fault Harry for being a brave young man, particularly during the ending, when he freely offers himself up to Voldemort in order to save the others. This makes sense in terms of his character.
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What makes less sense, however, is why Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, his most steadfast friends and companions during the entire course of the series, would simply stand by and let him do so without at least following him to see whether they might be able to help him.
8 Why No One Seems Too Upset When Hagrid Carries Harry’s Body Back
In what is, supposedly, one of the most wrenching scenes in the film, Hagrid carries Harry’s body back to Hogwarts.
What’s strange about this scene, however, is that most of those gathered there don’t seem particularly upset by the fact that Harry, the most important person in the entire series, is apparently dead. This would make sense if everyone knew he was still alive, but as it is it’s a rather jarring and strange feeling to have during this pivotal moment.
7 Why They Mostly Skipped Tonks And Lupin Dying
Arguably one of the most tragic aspects of the ending of this saga is the death of Tonks and Lupin, one of the sweetest couples.
While it’s understandable that the filmmakers had to economize in order to make sure the film was at least somewhat manageable, one would think that two characters who have already been so important to the series as a whole would have gotten a better send-off than they did, if only to give audiences a proper chance to say goodbye.
6 Why They Changed Voldemort’s Death To Be More Magical Creature And Less Human
Sometimes, it seems that makers of fantasy films lean a little too much into the CGI, presumably because they think that this will draw more people to the theater.
While this may be true, it also runs the risk of taking away some of the power of good storytelling. The final duel between Harry and Voldemort, as well as Voldemort’s death, is an excellent example of this phenomenon, and it is one of those moments in the film that’s a little too overdone.
5 Why Mrs. Weasley’s Killing Of Bellatrix Is So Overdone
Likewise, the killing of Bellatrix Lestrange is another of those moments that seems to be just a bit too much. In the book, it’s a truly great scene, as Molly leaps to the defense of her daughter and slays the witch who has been the cause of so much heartache.
In the film version, she inexplicably freezes Bellatrix in some kind of spell and then breaks her apart. It’s just...a strange way to show this scene, and no doubt left many fans scratching their heads in confusion.
4 Why The Sword Of Gryffindor Showed Up In The Sorting Hat A Second Time
One of the best moments in this film is when Neville is finally able to show his true mettle. As part of that, he pulls the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat. Of course, this has happened before in the course of the films, and it’s probably because there’s a fundamental link between the sword and the hat.
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However, there’s not a lot of explanation for why this should be the case, and so it probably left a few viewers wondering what on earth was going on.
3 Why Harry Destroyed The Elder Wand
Having finally defeated Voldemort and having established that he, in fact, is the master of the Elder Wand, Harry makes the choice to destroy it. In some ways, this seems logical, since its existence would always be an inducement to others to try to take it from him.
However, wouldn’t it have made just as much sense to simply keep it somewhere safe? After all, one never knows when a powerful threat is going to arise and necessitate the use of a powerful wand, and surely Voldemort isn’t the only evil genius wizard lurking out there.
2 Why The Elves And Centaurs Didn’t Join The Battle Like In The Book
While the films do many things very well, they seem to have taken a rather dim view of the elves and the centaurs, both of whom occupy substantially less space in the films than they do in the books.
Unfortunately, this means that they don’t end up joining the Battle of Hogwarts as they do in the novel. While again this seems understandable, a canny viewer would probably wonder why these magical creatures decided to sit out this particular conflict.
1 Why More Students Didn’t Just Leave
One of the more pressing questions about the ending of the film is why, given how repressive Voldemort’s regime was, more students didn’t just take it upon themselves to depart the school altogether.
Sure, he’d made attendance compulsory, but surely there were ways to get around this? One would think that the members of the Order of the Phoenix in particular would have been more determined to get their children out of such a toxic environment.
NEXT: Harry Potter: 10 Rules Of The World J.K. Rowling Later Broke
Next10 Biggest Tropes In The Alien MoviesAbout The Author
Thomas J. West III earned a PhD in film and screen studies from Syracuse University in 2018. His writing on film, TV, and popular culture has appeared in Screenology, FanFare, Primetimer, Cinemania, and in a number of scholarly journals and edited collections. He co-hosts the Queens of the B's podcast with Mark Muster and writes a regular newsletter, Omnivorous, on Substack.
17 details you might have missed in the 'Harry Potter' books
- J.K. Rowling uses a lot of foreshadowing and callbacks into the "Harry Potter" book series.
- If you haven't reread the books in a while, you may not have noticed many of these moments.
- From Snape's early reference to Lily Potter to a hint about Malfoy's vanishing cabinet and more, we've taken a closer look at all the details fans might have missed.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories
J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series — which has recently been reexamined in new cultural context after the author's so-called 'TERF' statements about the trans community — still remains one of the most popular book series of all time.
Throughout all seven books, there are threads of foreshadowing and smaller details about character backstories that might go unnoticed the first time through. If you haven't reread the books, there are details you may have missed.
Keep scrolling for a look at the smaller moments and references in the "Harry Potter" books.
The first words Snape speaks to Harry have a hidden reference to Lily Potter's death.
When Harry attends his first potions lesson with Snape in "Sorcerer's Stone," the professor asks him a series of difficult questions. One of the questions is, "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
A Pottermore article detailing Rowling's use of the Victorian language of flowers reveals how Snape's question was really an expression of regret over Lily Potter's death.
"Asphodel is a type of lily and means 'remembered beyond the tomb' or 'my regrets follow you to the grave,' while wormwood is often associated with regret or bitterness," the Pottermore article explains.
When Fred and George Weasley bewitched snowballs to hit Professor Quirrell, they were really hitting Voldemort's face.
In "Sorcerer's Stone," Rowling says the Weasley twins were "punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban."
As several fans have pointed out in the "Harry Potter" Reddit community, Quirrell was sharing his body with Lord Voldemort at the time. Later in the book, Harry sees that Voldemort's face is sticking out of the back of Quirrell's head — which means Fred and George were actually hitting Voldemort in the face with snowballs.
Also in the first book, Harry thinks to himself that Snape might be able to read minds. Four books later, we learned that Snape was a Legilimens.
While fretting over whether or not Snape knew he, Ron, and Hermione had discovered who Nicolas Flamel was, Harry thinks to himself that Snape "could read minds."
Later, in "Order of the Phoenix," Rowling reveals that Snape is an accomplished Legilimens, meaning he sort of can read minds. Here's how Snape describes Legilimency to Harry:
"Only Muggles talk of 'mind reading.' The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader [...] Those who have mastered Legilimency are able, under certain conditions, to delve into the minds of their victims and to interpret their findings correctly."
Peeves was the one who broke the Vanishing Cabinet that Malfoy later repaired.
In "Chamber of Secrets," Harry is about to be punished by Filch when Nearly Headless Nick persuades Peeves the Poltergeist to drop a cabinet right above the office.
Harry hears Filch talking to Mrs. Norris the cat saying that it was an extremely valuable Vanishing Cabinet. That cabinet later becomes a crucial part of the "Half-Blood Prince" plot. Malfoy has to repair the cabinet in order to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts.
When Harry wonders why Tom Riddle got an award from the school, Ron correctly (but jokingly) guesses the truth about him murdering Moaning Myrtle.
After discovering Tom Riddle's diary, Ron tells Harry that Riddle received an award for special services to the school (Ron knows this because he had to clean the award in the trophy room during detention).
Ron jokingly says Riddle got the award for killing Moaning Myrtle.
"Maybe he got thirty O.W.L.s or saved a teacher from the giant squid," Ron guesses. "Maybe he murdered Myrtle; that would've done everyone a favor."
Little do they know at the time, but Riddle really was the one who opened the Chamber of Secrets 50 years ago and killed Myrtle. He received the award after framing Hagrid for the crime, though.
In "Prisoner of Azkaban," Harry overhears a wizard saying Ireland are favorites for the Quidditch World Cup. In the next book, they win the Cup.
Towards the start of the third book, Harry spends time alone in Diagon Alley. While wondering the shops, he sees the Firebolt broomstick for the first time in a shop.
"Irish International Side's just put in an order for seven of these beauties!" the proprietor of the shop told the crowd. "And they're favorites for the World Cup!"
The beginning of the next book, "Goblet of Fire," is all about Harry journeying to the Quidditch World Cup and watching the Irish team beat Bulgaria.
Dumbledore's death was inadvertently predicted by Professor Trelawney during Christmas dinner in "Prisoner of Azkaban."
When Trelawney enters the Great Hall and goes to join the table for dinner, she counts 12 people already sitting down.
"If I join the table, we shall be 13!" she says. "Nothing could be more unlucky! Never forget that when 13 dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die!"
But Trelawney (and the rest of the table) didn't realize that 13 people were already dining. Peter Pettigrew, disguised as Scabbers the rat, was at the table. Dumbledore had stood up to greet Trelawney when she first entered the room, making him the real "first to rise" after 13 were dining.
He later becomes the first to die of all the people who were at that table.
At the end of "Prisoner of Azkaban," Dumbledore hints at Professor Trelawney's prophecy regarding Harry and Voldemort.
Harry experiences Trelawney making a prediction during his final Divination exam in his third year. When Harry asks Dumbledore if he thinks it was a real prediction, the headmaster says yes.
"Do you know, Harry, I think she might have been," he said thoughtfully. "Who'd have thought it? That brings her total of real predictions up to two."
The first real prediction Dumbledore is implicitly referring to is the one she made about Harry and Voldemort all those years ago (but we won't learn about it until the fifth book).
At the beginning of "Goblet of Fire," Voldemort tells Wormtail he'll perform a task "many of [Voldemort's] followers would give their right hand to perform" — and he meant it literally.
In the opening chapter of "Goblet of Fire," the Muggle Frank Bryce overhears Voldemort discussing his plans with Wormtail.
"You will have your reward Wormtail," Voldemort says. "I will allow you to perform an essential task for me, one that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform ..."
Pettigrew doesn't understand what Voldemort means by this until the end of the book. In order to bring Voldemort's body back, Pettigrew needs to literally give his right hand to Voldemort, cutting it off and placing it in a potion ("flesh of the servant, willingly given").
Every Single ‘Harry Potter’ Movie Explained Using Only a Haiku
The Harry Potter movie franchise is beloved for a reason: It's magical, transportive and captivating. That being said, should you not have the time or attention span to sit through all eight movies, we've got your back. Without further ado—for whatever reason—all eight Harry Potter films explained using haikus. (Oh, and there are definitely spoilers below.)
RELATED: You Can Now Tour the ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ Exhibit from Home (and for Free)
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1. ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’
Harry meets Hagrid
Sorted into Gryffindor
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2. ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’
Dobby tries to help
Gang gets whomped by a willow
Tom Riddle—uh oh!
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3. ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’
Things get much darker
Sirius Black—what's his deal?
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4. ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’
Lots of new faces
The Triwizard tournament
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5. ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’
Death Eaters are everywhere
Umbridge is the worst.
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6. ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’
Slughorn at Hogwarts
Rickman deserved an Oscar
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7. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’
Bellatrix kills poor Dobby
Elder Wand is gone.
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Explained harry potter
'Harry Potter' History and the Events of the Wizarding World Explained in a Comprehensive Timeline
By Lauren ThomanUpdated
From ancient Hogwarts history, to 'Fantastic Beasts', 'Harry Potter', and beyond, we've got you covered.
When the first book in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" (or "Philosopher’s Stone" if you’re in the U.K.), released back in 1997, it was easy enough to be a Potterhead. All one had to do in the first few years of Potter-mania was keep up with the books, and you were as well-versed on the Wizarding World as anyone. However, it’s been a long time since Potter lore was contained merely to the pages of J.K. Rowling’s seven Harry Potter novels, and her tales have since spawned theme parks, supplemental literature, a play, countless websites, and of course, the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts film franchises.
If you’ve kept up with the films, you know that while the Harry Potter movies stick pretty closely to the books, they do take some liberties here and there. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Beasts films are creating their narrative almost from whole cloth, with characters and storylines that never existed in the Potterverse prior to the films. Because it can keep track of ten films worth of story spanning over a century’s worth of events, we’ve put together a detailed timeline of every event that takes place (or is implied to take place, or would’ve had to take place in order for other things to take place) within the Harry Potter movie-verse.
Of course, films don’t tend to hand out a lot of precise dates, so we’ve had to do some investigative work in order to pin down when a lot of these took place. Most of the time, we could use the dates from Wizarding World or the Harry Potter Wiki (many thanks to the folks who help keep both of those sites updated and well sourced) to help fill in the blanks, although sometimes when their dates seemed to conflict with what was presented in the films, we had to take an educated guess. As such, it’s always possible there’s a line or visual clue we missed here and there that would alter one of our listed dates, or a minor event we forgot to include, and of course there are more Fantastic Beasts movies still to come which could -- and almost certainly will - alter and add to this timeline. So take this more as a general guide than an irrefutable, all-inclusive roadmap to the Harry Potter series.
That said, we think we’re pretty close.
Obviously, spoilers abound:
Ancient History and Hogwarts Founders
- An ancestor of Garrick Ollivander set up the first wand stall in the U.K., which would eventually become Ollivanders wand shop.
Sometime during the Middle Ages (476-1492):
- Durmstrang Institute is established in Scandinavia
- First recorded use of flying broomsticks in Europe.
Sometime before 976:
- Salazar Slytherin is born.
- Godric Gryffindor is born.
- Rowena Ravencalw is born.
- Helga Hufflepuff is born.
- Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is established in Scotland
- Castelobruxo is established in Brazil (it is a matter of some contention which school came first)
- Salazar Slytherin creates the Chamber of Secrets beneath Hogwarts
Late 10th Century
- Helga Hufflepuff creates her magical cup.
- Rowena Ravenclaw creates her magical diadem, enchanting it to increase the wearer’s intelligence.
- Salazar Slytherin creates his magical locket, enchanting it so that only a Parseltongue can open it.
- Helena Ravenclaw is born. She will later attend Hogwarts, and be sorted into Ravenclaw House.
- While discussing how students will continue to be sorted at Hogwarts once the founders have died, Godric Gryffindor removes the hat from his head and the four founders enchant it with their combined intelligence. From then on, Hogwarts first-years were sorted into their Houses by the Sorting Hat.
- Helena Ravenclaw steals her mother’s diadem and runs away from Hogwarts. When the Baron of Slytherin House, who is in love with her, is sent to find her, she hides the diadem. Upon being rejected by Helena, the Baron stabs her to death, then kills himself. The two then become the ghosts of Ravenclaw House (the Grey Lady) and Slytherin House (the Bloody Baron).
- Rowena Ravenclaw dies.
- Helga Hufflepuff dies.
- Salazar Slytherin dies.
- Godric Gryffindor dies.
- Prior to 1214
- Antioch Peverell is born
- Cadmus Peverell is born
- July 12, 1214
- The three Peverell brothers each receive or create a powerful magical object. Antioch receives the Elder wand, the most powerful wand in existence. Cadmus receives the Resurrection Stone, which has the power to bring back the dead. And Ignotus receives the Cloak of Invisibility, which has the power to hide the wearer from detection. Legends say that these objects, which came to be known as the Deathly Hallows, were gifts from Death himself, but Albus Dumbledore believes they were created by the brothers, who were themselves powerful wizards.
- Sometime prior to 1290
- Beauxbatons Academy of Magic is founded in France
- Prior to 1292
- Antioch Peverell is killed in his sleep the night after winning his first duel with the Elder Wand.
- Cadmus Peverell dies by hanging himself after discovering that the Resurrection Stone is only able to bring back a spirit version of the girl he loved.
- May 19
- c. 1294
- The first Triwizard Tournament is held between Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons
- Between 1300-1326
- After slowly evolving over the course of several hundred years, the first games of modern Quidditch are played with the introduction of the Golden Snitch.
- Nicolas Flamel creates the Sorcerer’s Stone.
- The fortress of Azkaban is constructed in the North Sea.
- Gringott’s Bank is established by a goblin named Gringott.
- October 31
- Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington is executed via a botched decapitation. Fearing death, Nicholas decides to remain a ghost rather than moving on, and becomes the Gryffindor House ghost, Nearly-Headless Nick.
- October 31
Early Modern Period
- The Leaky Cauldron is established, along with the rest of Diagon Alley
- Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is founded in the United States
- Flourish and Blotts bookshop is established on Diagon Alley.
- Scourers, rogue wizarding mercenaries, begin operating in North America, tracking down anyone for whom a significant bounty was offered.
- The Magical Congress of the United States of America is founded.
- The MACUSA begins rounding up Scourers and bringing them to justice.
- At least one of the Scourers escaped, an ancestor of Mary Lou Barebone.
- Azkaban is put into use as a magical detention facility.
- The Daily Prophet begins producing newspapers.
- The Triwizard Tournament is suspended indefinitely when the Heads of all three schools were injured by a rampaging cockatrice.
- Mykew Gregorovitch is born.
- Gregorovitch acquires the Elder Wand and attempts to duplicate its powers.
- The first Hogwarts Express railway station is constructed in Hogsmeade.
- Steen National Bank is established at 1790 6th Avenue in New York.
- King’s Cross Station first opens in London. Unbeknownst to its Muggle creators, the Ministry of Magic adds the concealed magical Platform 9 ¾ to allow the Hogwarts Express to transport students to and from Hogwarts.
- Prior to 1854
- The antique shop Borgin and Burkes is established on Knockturn Alley.
- The Knight Bus is first commissioned.
- Prior to 1867
- Henry Shaw, Sr. founds Shaw News, whose papers include the New-York Clarion.
- Late 1879s to early 1880s
- Gellert Grindelwald is born.
- Prior to 1879
- Corvus Lestrange IV is born.
- Prior to 1880
- Clarisse Tremblay is born.
- Late 1880s or early 1890s
- Gellert Grindelwald is accepted to Durmstrang Institute
- Summer, 1881
- Sometime between 1882 - 1913
- The format of modern Quidditch pitches are finalized.
- Sometime between September 1, 1883 and August 31, 1884
- Aberforth Dumbledore is born.
- Prior to 1884
- Laurena Kama marries Mustafa Kama.
- Ariana Dumbledore is born.
- c. 1888
- Theseus Scamander is born.
- c. 1889
- Minerva McGonagall is born.
- Prior to 1890
- Between 1890 and 1908
- The Mirror of Erised is moved into the Room of Requirement.
- Aberforth Dumbledore enrolls at Hogwarts.
- Prior to 1896
- Corvus Lestrange IV uses the Imperius Curse to force the already married Laurena Kama to marry him against her will. Laurena becomes pregnant with Leta Lestrange.
- Leta Lestrange is born.
- Laurena Kama dies.
- Three months after Laurena Kama’s death, Corvus Lestrange IV marries Clarisse Tremblay.
- February 24
- Prior to 1899
- Gellert Grindelwald is expelled from Durmstrang Institute.
- Albus Dumbledore graduates from Hogwarts.
- Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald meet and have an intense two-month relationship.
- Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald swear a Blood Pact to never fight one another.
- Aberforth Dumbledore get into a duel with Gellert Grindelwald. Albus intervenes, and Ariana Dumbledore is killed.
Early 20th Century: The Rise of Grindelwald
- Between 1899 and 1926
- Gellert Grindelwald steals the Elder Wand from Gregorovitch’s wand shop.
- Gellert Grindelwald builds Nurmengard Castle.
- Jacob Kowalski is born.
- Clarisse Tremblay becomes pregnant.
- Aurelius Dumbledore is born.
- Corvus Lestrange V is born.
- Clarisse Lestrange dies.
- Yusuf Kama swears an Unbreakable Vow to kill the infant Corvus Lestrange V as retribution for the kidnapping, rape, and death of his mother.
- Aurelius Dumbledore is taken by his aunt on a ship to America.
- Leta Lestrange and her younger brother Corvus are sent to America on a ship.
- When Corvus won’t stop crying, Leta switches him with the baby Aurelius Dumbledore.
- The ship carrying Leta and Corvus sinks, and the real Corvus presumably drowns, while Leta and baby Aurelius make it safely to New York.
- Aurelius is put up for adoption in New York.
- August 19
- Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein is born.
- Minerva McGonagall enrolls at Hogwarts
- Albus Dumbledore begins teaching Transfiguration
- Sometime between 1901 and 1905
- Chastity Barebone is born, and subsequently adopted by Mary Lou Barebone.
- Aberforth Dumbledore graduates from Hogwarts.
- January 6
- Queenie Goldstein is born.
- January 6
- October 21
- Aurelius Dumbledore is adopted by the abusive Mary Lou Barebone and given the name Credence Barebone. The abuse he suffers under her care leads him to become an Obscurial.
- Minerva McGonagall is appointed Head Girl
- Merope Gaunt, a direct descendent of Salazar Slytherin, is born
- September 25, sometime prior to 1908
- Garrick Ollivander is born.
- Minerva McGonagall graduates from Hogwarts
- Newt Scamander enrolls at Hogwarts and is sorted into Hufflepuff House.
- Leta Lestrange enrolls at Hogwarts and is sorted into Slytherin House.
- Prior to 1909
- Professor McGonagall begins teaching Transfiguration at Hogwarts
- Professor Dumbledore begins teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts
- Newt Scamander and Leta Lestrange become friends when Leta hides from bullies in the same cupboard where Newt is caring for a raven chick.
- Sometime between 1910 and 1913
- Newt Scamander is given a month-long detention by Professor Prendergast for telling him that “there are no strange creatures, only blinkered people.” Leta Lestrange then sets off a dungbomb underneath Prendergast’s desk so she could join Newt in detention.
- Tina Goldstein enrolls at Ilvermorny and is sorted into Thunderbird House.
- Leta Lestrange conducts an experiment using a Jarvey, a large, ferret-like magical creature which is illegal for a student to possess. The experiment gets out of control, endangering the life of another student. Rather than see Leta expelled, Newt takes responsibility for the Jarvey, and is sentenced to expulsion. Albus Dumbledore argues against the expulsion, but whether or not the sentence is carried out is unknown.
- Queenie Goldstein enrolls at Ilvermorny and is sorted into Pukwudgie House.
- 1914 or 1915
- Newt Scamander joins the Ministry of Magic's Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures in the Office for House-Elf Relocation.
- Sometime between 1914 and 1918
- Newt Scamander serves on the Eastern Front during the First World War in a confidential Ministry of Magic program working with Ukranian Ironbellys. The program is canceled when it becomes clear that the dragons only respond positively to Newt and try to eat everyone else.
- 1916 or 1917
- Newt Scamander transfers to the Beast Division of the Ministry of Magic’s Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures as a Magizoologist.
- Modesty Barebone is born, and subsequently adopted by Mary Lou Barebone.
- Newt Scamander is commissioned by Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books to write “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
- c. 1919
- Tina Goldstein begins working for the MACUSA as an Auror.
- Early 1920s
- The New Salem Philanthropic Society is founded by Mary Lou Barebone.
- c. 1925
- Merope Gaunt begins to have feelings for a muggle named Tom Riddle, and administers a love potion to get him to marry her.
- Newt Scamander begins a trip to document magical creatures and their habitats, which includes travel to Sudan, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, and the United States. During his time in Egypt, he saves a large Thunderbird named Frank, due to a tip from Albus Dumbledore. He places Frank in his magical suitcase, where he joins a host of other magical creatures.
- Sometime prior to the end of 1926
- Tina Goldstein is demoted to the role of Federal Wand Permit Officer after using magic to intervene in Mary Lou Barebone’s physically abusive behavior toward her adopted son, Credence.
- Abernathy joins the Magical Congress of the United States of America, and becomes a supervisor in the Wand Permit Office.
- Tom Riddle Sr. abandons his pregnant wife after she stops giving him the love potion, in the hopes that he’d choose to stay with her of his own free will.
- Daily Prophet reports that security at Hogwarts needs to be increased, due to the threat posed by Gellert Grindelwald
- The Daily Prophet reports that the first ever Magical Waterplants Festival will be held in Hogsmeade.
- Prior to December 6
- Gellert Grindelwald assumes the identity of MACUSA Auror Percival Graves.
- Grindelwald-as-Graves makes contact with Credence Barebone. He promises Credence that if he helps him find the Obscurial, he will set him free and teach him how to be a wizard.
- December 6
- Newt Scamander arrives in New York, intending to continue on to release Frank in Arizona.
- Mary Lou Barebone holds a rally for the New Salem Philanthropic Society outside of Steen National Bank.
- Jacob Kowalski goes to Steen National Bank to request a loan to open a bakery.
- A Niffler escapes from Newt Scamander’s suitcase, which Newt follows into the bank, not noticing that he left behind an Occamy egg, which is found by Jacob Kowalski.
- Jacob returns the egg to Newt Scamander, and then is brought inside the bank vault with Newt in his attempts to catch the Niffler. The alarm is activated by a bank employee, who assumes Newt and Jacob are robbing the bank, but Newt disapparates them to the street before the police can arrive.
- Newt attempts to erase Jacob’s memories of what he just witnessed, but before he can, Jacob runs away. Unbeknownst to either of them, Jacob accidentally takes Newt’s suitcase, leaving Newt with Jacob’s.
- Having witnessed Newt’s actions at the bank, Tina Goldstein brings him to the MACUSA headquarters, allowing him to assume she’s still an Auror. In an attempt to prove to officials at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement that Newt has broken magical laws, Tina opens his suitcase and finds Jacob Kowalski’s cakes.
- Jacob opens Newt’s case at his house, and several magical creatures escape.
- The magical creatures from Newt’s case begin causing a great deal of destruction and commotion throughout New York City.
- Tina brings Newt and Jacob to her apartment, where they meet her sister, Queenie.
- Mary Lou Barebone meets with Henry Shaw, Sr., a newspaper magnate in New York City, showing him evidence that members of a magical society are living amongst them, but Shaw dismisses her.
- Jacob and Newt leave the Goldstein sisters’ apartment and attempt to recapture the Niffler in a jewelry store, where they create quite a bit of damage. The police arrive, but the two disapparate before they can be arrested.
- Jacob and Newt begin recapturing Newt’s magical creatures.
- Henry Shaw, Jr. is killed by Credence Barebone, an Obscurial.
- Newt’s creatures are blamed for Shaw’s death, and Newt, Tina, and Jacob are arrested by the MACASA. The three are sentenced to death by Grindelwald-as-Graves, but are rescued with the help of Queenie and Newt’s creatures.
- December 7
- Provoked by the threat of another beating, Credence releases his Obscurus, which kills Mary Lou and Chastity Barebone.
- Assuming Modesty Barebone is the Obscurial, Grindelwald-as-Graves revokes his promises to Credence, prompting Credence to change into his Obscurus form and set out on a wave of destruction throughout New York City.
- Newt and Tina pursue Credence to the subway station, where they attempt to calm Credence down. It appears to be working, until Graves and the MACASA officials arrive and begin to fight. Credence reverts to his Obscurus form and it appears that the Aurors have killed him, although Newt notices some shreds of his Obscurus form leave the scene.
- Newt realizes that Graves is Gellert Grindelwald, and reveals the truth to the MACASA officials. Grindelwald is arrested by the Aurors.
- Jacob is Obliviated, along with the other No-Majs who witnessed the magical events.
- December 15
- Newt Scamander anonymously gives Jacob Kowalski a case full of silver Occamy eggshells to use as collateral to open his bakery.
- Prior to December 16
- Tina Goldstein is restored to her position as Auror.
- December 31
- Tom Marvolo Riddle is born.
- Merope Riddle dies.
- Prior to 1927
- Leta Lestrange and Theseus Scamander get engaged.
- Nagini, a Maledictus who is cursed to turn into a snake, becomes a performer for the Circus Arcanus.
- Corvus Lestrange IV dies.
- Between January 1 and March 19
- “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by Newt Scamander is first published.
- The shreds of Credence Barebone come together and he resumes his human form. He returns to his former home to find his adoption papers before setting sail for Europe.
- Thinking Credence is Corvus Lestrange, Yusuf Kama and begins tracking him through Europe.
- Credence Barebone joins the Circus Arcanus.
- Jacob Kowalski opens his bakery.
- Queenie Goldstein visits Jacob Kowalski in his bakery, and they realize that the Obliviation didn’t fully work, since it only erased his bad memories, not his good memories of Queenie.
- Queenie begins using a love potion on Jacob.
- March 19
- A book launch party for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is held at Flourish and Blotts booksellers in Diagon Alley.
- End of March
- An incorrect caption about the party in “Spellbound” magazine announces that Leta Lestrange is engaged to Newt Scamander, instead of Theseus Scamander.
- Professor McGonagall leaves Hogwarts
- Between January 1 and March 19
- May 30
- Gellert Grindelwald escapes MACASA custody with the help of Abernathy.
- Dumbledore takes over Transfiguration at Hogwarts.
- Leta Lestrange begins working as an assistant to the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Torquil Travers.
- Newt Scamander appeals to the British Ministry of Magic to restore his right to travel.
- Newt learns that Credence Barebone survived the events at the New York subway station in 1926 and has been recently spotted in Europe. Newt is offered his travel rights back in exchange for becoming an Auror and killing Credence, but Newt refuses.
- In light of Newt’s refusal, Gunnar Grimmson is given the job of killing Credence instead. Grimmson is secretly loyal to Grindelwald.
- Queenie, Jacob, and Tina travel to Europe. Queenie and Jacob head to Newt’s apartment to surprise him, while Tina heads to Paris to find Credence.
- Newt meets with Albus Dumbledore, who asks him to accompany him to Paris to find and help Credence. Newt is reluctant because it means violating his travel ban.
- Newt convinces Queenie to lift the love spell on Jacob.
- Queenie follows Tina to Paris, and Newt and Jacob follow the two of them.
- Newt decides to take Dumbledore up on his offer to find Credence.
- Credence begins caring for a baby bird, who is later revealed to be a phoenix.
- Credence and Nagini escape the Circus Arcanus, releasing many of the animals as they do.
- Credence seeks out the nurse who put him up for adoption, but Grimmson kills her before she can provide any answers, under Grindelwald’s orders.
- Yusuf Kama abducts Tina, Newt, and Jacob, saying he won’t release them until he finds Credence. However, they escape, and the four of them travel to Dumbledore’s safehouse, which is also the home of Nicolas Flamel.
- Grindelwald holds a rally for his followers, where he preaches wizard supremacy and promises a world of “freedom” where wizards don’t have to hide from non-magical society. Queenie attends, and seems enraptured by Grindelwald’s promises.
- Newt and Tina infiltrate the French Ministry of Magic searching for proof of Credence’s identity. While there, they encounter Leta and Theseus. Theseus is stunned, and the rest of them follow the evidence to the Lestrange Mausoleum, where they’re surprised to find Jacob, Yusuf, Credence, Nagini.
- Yusuf prepares to kill Credence, until Leta reveals that she switched her brother with another baby on the ship, and the real Corvus Lestrange died.
- Aurors surround Grindelwald’s rally, including Theseus, and Grindelwald creates a circle of blue flame that kill many of them. Queenie and Credence decide to join Grindelwald, while Leta acts as though she will do the same, but it is only a diversion to allow the others time to escape.
- Leta Lestrange attacks and is subsequently killed by Gellert Grindelwald.
- Nicolas Flamel arrives at the French Ministry and helps Newt and the others contain the blue flame, keeping it from destroying the city.
- Newt visits Dumbledore at Hogwarts and gives him the vial that binds him to his Blood Pact with Grindelwald. If the vial is destroyed, Dumbledore will be able to fight Grindelwald.
- Grindelwald reveals to Credence that he’s really Aurelius Dumbledore.
- Credence is given a wand, and demonstrates his power by blasting a mountain into dust.
- Beauxbatons Academy students whose parents work in the French Ministry of Magic are offered an exchange programme to attend Ilvermorny for six months.
- December 6, 1928
- 1928 or 1929
Global Wizarding War (1930s - 1945)
- Horace Slughorn becomes Potions Master at Hogwarts
- Some point prior to 1938
- Dumbledore first meets Fawkes the phoenix, who will live with him for the rest of his life.
- Two tail feathers from Fawkes are used by Garrick Ollivander to fashion two wands, one made of yew and the other made of holly.
- Dumbledore goes to find Tom Riddle at Wool’s Orphanage in London to inform him that he’s a wizard, and has been accepted to Hogwarts.
- Tom Riddle purchases the yew wand from Ollivanders wand shop.
- Tom Riddle enrolls at Hogwarts and is sorted into Slytherin House.
- Rubeus Hagrid enrolls at Hogwarts and is sorted into Gryffindor house.
- (approximation) Armando Dippet begins to serve as Headmaster at Hogwarts
- (approximation) Myrtle Warren enrolls at Hogwarts and is sorted into Ravenclaw House.
- Sometime between 1940 and 1954
- Marjorie Dursley is born.
- Vernon Dursley is born.
- The Acromantula Aragog is hatched in the care of Rubeus Hagrid.
- Tom Riddle questions his Potions Master, Horace Slughorn, about the possibility of creating multiple Horcruxes. Riddle suggests that seven Horcruxes would be ideal, since seven is the most powerful magical number.
- Tom Riddle opens the Chamber of Secrets.
- Moaning Myrtle Warren is murdered by Tom Riddle, who uses her death to create his first Horcrux, his childhood diary.
- After being confronted by Tom Riddle, who accuses him of opening the Chamber of Secrets and releasing the giant spider, Rubeus Hagrid helps Aragog escape into the Forbidden Forest.
- Hagrid is blamed for opening the Chamber of Secrets and is expelled.
- Tom Riddle murders Tom Riddle, Sr., along with his paternal grandparents, Thomas Riddle and Mary Riddle, using the Killing Curse. Riddle then modified the memory of his uncle, Morfin Gaunt, to make him believe he killed the Riddles. This marked the first mass murder Riddle committed.
- Morfin Gaunt is arrested by the Ministry of Magic for the murder of the Riddles, and is sent to Azkaban prison.
- Frank Bryce is arrested by the Muggle police for the murder of the Riddles, but is eventually released due to a lack of evidence, although his neighbors in Little Hangleton still suspected that he was guilty.
- Tom Riddle creates his second Horcrux, the Gaunt ring, using the murder of his father. The Gaunt ring has been passed down through the family line for hundreds of years, dating back to when it intersected with the Peverell family line, and contains the Resurrection Stone.
- Tom Riddle is made Head Boy of Hogwarts.
- Tom Riddle questions the Grey Lady about Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem. After he promises her that if he finds it, he will destroy it, the Grey Lady reveals that it’s hidden in Albania. She later tells Harry that she regrets telling Riddle where to find the diadem.
- Prior to 1945
- Fenrir Greyback is born. Early in his life, he is bitten by a werewolf.
- Tom Riddle graduates Hogwarts
- Tom Riddle travels to Albania to find Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, which he transforms into his third Horcrux. Riddle then returns the diadem to Hogwarts, where he hides it in the Room of Requirement.
- Tom Riddle begins working at Borgin and Burkes.
- Albus Dumbledore defeats Gellert Grindelwald in a duel, gaining mastery of the Elder Wand.
- End of Global Wizarding War.
- Grindelwald is imprisoned at Nurmengard Castle.
A Time of Peace
- Bathilda Bagshot publishes “A History of Magic.”
- October 30
- February 6
- Bellatrix Lestrange is born.
- c. 1953
- January 26
- Gilderoy Lockhart is born.
- January 26
- c. 1958
- Petunia Evans is born
- October 17
- Filius Flitwick is born (could have been an earlier year).
- November 3
- January 9
- January 30
- March 10
- March 27
- Sometime before the end of August
- Sometime between 1955 and 1961
- Tom Riddle acquires Helga Hufflepuff’s cup and Salazar Slytherin’s locket while working at Borgin and Burkes, and turns both into Horcruxes.
- Regulus Black is born.
- Arthur Weasley and Molly Prewett begin attending Hogwarts and are both sorted into Gryffindor House.
- 1962 or 1963
- Bellatrix Lestrange enrolls in Hogwarts and is sorted into Slytherin House.
- Sometime prior to 1965
- Igor Karkaroff is born.
- August 26
- Dolores Umbridge is born.
Fantasy literature series by J.K. Rowling
This article is about the series of novels. For other uses, including related topics and derivative works, see Harry Potter (disambiguation). For the character in the series, see Harry Potter (character). For the film adaptations, see Harry Potter (film series). For the franchise as a whole, see Wizarding World.
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry's struggle against Lord Voldemort, a dark wizard who intends to become immortal, overthrow the wizard governing body known as the Ministry of Magic and subjugate all wizards and Muggles (non-magical people).
Since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, on 26 June 1997, the books have found immense popularity, positive reviews, and commercial success worldwide. They have attracted a wide adult audience as well as younger readers and are often considered cornerstones of modern young adult literature. As of February 2018[update], the books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, making them the best-selling book series in history, and have been translated into eighty languages. The last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, with the final instalment selling roughly 2.7 million copies in the United Kingdom and 8.3 million copies in the United States within twenty-four hours of its release.
The series was originally published in English by two major publishers, Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom and Scholastic Press in the United States. All versions around the world are printed by Grafica Veneta in Italy.
A play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, based on a story co-written by Rowling, premiered in London on 30 July 2016 at the Palace Theatre, and its script was published by Little, Brown. The original seven books were adapted into an eight-part namesake film series by Warner Bros. Pictures, which is the third-highest-grossing film series of all time as of February 2020[update]. In 2016, the total value of the Harry Potter franchise was estimated at $25 billion, making Harry Potterone of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
A series of many genres, including fantasy, drama, coming of age, and the British school story (which includes elements of mystery, thriller, adventure, horror, and romance), the world of Harry Potter explores numerous themes and includes many cultural meanings and references. According to Rowling, the main theme is death. Other major themes in the series include prejudice, corruption, and madness.
The success of the books and films has allowed the Harry Potter franchise to expand with numerous derivative works, a travelling exhibition that premiered in Chicago in 2009, a studio tour in London that opened in 2012, a digital platform on which J. K. Rowling updates the series with new information and insight, and a pentalogy of spin-off films premiering in November 2016 with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, among many other developments. Most recently, themed attractions, collectively known as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, have been built at several Universal Parks & Resorts amusement parks around the world.
Further information: Fictional universe of Harry Potter
The central character in the series is Harry Potter, a boy who lives in the fictional town of Little Whinging, Surrey with his aunt, uncle, and cousin – the Dursleys – and discovers at the age of eleven that he is a wizard, though he lives in the ordinary world of non-magical people known as Muggles. The wizarding world exists parallel to the Muggle world, albeit hidden and in secrecy. His magical ability is inborn, and children with such abilities are invited to attend exclusive magic schools that teach the necessary skills to succeed in the wizarding world.
Harry becomes a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a wizarding academy in Scotland, and it is here where most of the events in the series take place. As Harry develops through his adolescence, he learns to overcome the problems that face him: magical, social, and emotional, including ordinary teenage challenges such as friendships, infatuation, romantic relationships, schoolwork and exams, anxiety, depression, stress, and the greater test of preparing himself for the confrontation that lies ahead in wizarding Britain's increasingly-violent second wizarding war.
Each novel chronicles one year in Harry's life during the period from 1991 to 1998. The books also contain many flashbacks, which are frequently experienced by Harry viewing the memories of other characters in a device called a Pensieve.
The environment Rowling created is intimately connected to reality. The British magical community of the Harry Potter books is inspired by 1990s British culture, European folklore, classical mythology and alchemy, incorporating objects and wildlife such as magic wands, magic plants, potions, spells, flying broomsticks, centaurs and other magical creatures, and the Philosopher's Stone, beside others invented by Rowling. While the fantasy land of Narnia is an alternate universe and the Lord of the Rings'Middle-earth a mythic past, the wizarding world of Harry Potter exists parallel to the real world and contains magical versions of the ordinary elements of everyday life, with the action mostly set in Scotland (Hogwarts), the West Country, Devon, London, and Surrey in southeast England. The world only accessible to wizards and magical beings comprises a fragmented collection of overlooked hidden streets, ancient pubs, lonely country manors, and secluded castles invisible to the Muggle population.
When the first novel of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, opens, it is apparent that some significant event has taken place in the wizarding world – an event so very remarkable that even Muggles (non-magical people) notice signs of it. The full background to this event and Harry Potter's past is revealed gradually throughout the series. After the introductory chapter, the book leaps forward to a time shortly before Harry Potter's eleventh birthday, and it is at this point that his magical background begins to be revealed.
Despite Harry's aunt and uncle's desperate prevention of Harry learning about his abilities, their efforts are in vain. Harry meets a half-giant, Rubeus Hagrid, who is also his first contact with the wizarding world. Hagrid reveals himself to be the Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts as well as some of Harry's history. Harry learns that, as a baby, he witnessed his parents' murder by the power-obsessed dark wizard Lord Voldemort (more commonly known by the magical community as You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and by Albus Dumbledore as Tom Marvolo Riddle) who subsequently attempted to kill him as well. Instead, the unexpected happened: Harry survived with only a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead as a memento of the attack, and Voldemort disappeared soon afterwards, gravely weakened by his own rebounding curse.
As its inadvertent saviour from Voldemort's reign of terror, Harry has become a living legend in the wizarding world. However, at the orders of the venerable and well-known wizard Albus Dumbledore, the orphaned Harry had been placed in the home of his unpleasant Muggle relatives, the Dursleys, who have kept him safe but treated him poorly, including confining him to a cupboard without meals and treating him as their servant. Hagrid then officially invites Harry to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a famous magic school in Scotland that educates young teenagers on their magical development for seven years, from age eleven to seventeen.
With Hagrid's help, Harry prepares for and undertakes his first year of study at Hogwarts. As Harry begins to explore the magical world, the reader is introduced to many of the primary locations used throughout the series. Harry meets most of the main characters and gains his two closest friends: Ron Weasley, a fun-loving member of an ancient, large, happy, but poor wizarding family, and Hermione Granger, a gifted, bright, and hardworking witch of non-magical parentage. Harry also encounters the school's potions master, Severus Snape, who displays a conspicuously deep and abiding dislike for him, the rich brat Draco Malfoy whom he quickly makes enemies with, and the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Quirinus Quirrell, who later turns out to be allied with Lord Voldemort. He also discovers a talent of flying on broomsticks and is recruited for his house's Quidditch team, a sport in the wizarding world where players fly on broomsticks. The first book concludes with Harry's second confrontation with Lord Voldemort, who, in his quest to regain a body, yearns to gain the power of the Philosopher's Stone, a substance that bestows everlasting life and turns any metal into pure gold.
The series continues with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, describing Harry's second year at Hogwarts. He and his friends investigate a 50-year-old mystery that appears uncannily related to recent sinister events at the school. Ron's younger sister, Ginny Weasley, enrols in her first year at Hogwarts, and finds an old notebook in her belongings which turns out to be the diary of a previous student, Tom Marvolo Riddle, written during World War II. He is later revealed to be Voldemort's younger self, who is bent on ridding the school of "mudbloods", a derogatory term describing wizards and witches of non-magical parentage. The memory of Tom Riddle resides inside of the diary and when Ginny begins to confide in the diary, Voldemort is able to possess her.
Through the diary, Ginny acts on Voldemort's orders and unconsciously opens the "Chamber of Secrets", unleashing an ancient monster, later revealed to be a basilisk, which begins attacking students at Hogwarts. It kills those who make direct eye contact with it and petrifies those who look at it indirectly. The book also introduces a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart, a highly cheerful, self-conceited wizard with a pretentious facade, later turning out to be a fraud. Harry discovers that prejudice exists in the Wizarding World through delving into the school's history, and learns that Voldemort's reign of terror was often directed at wizards and witches who were descended from Muggles.
Harry also learns that his ability to speak the snake language Parseltongue is rare and often associated with the Dark Arts. When Hermione is attacked and petrified, Harry and Ron finally piece together the puzzles and unlock the Chamber of Secrets, with Harry destroying the diary for good and saving Ginny, and, as they learn later, also destroying a part of Voldemort's soul. The end of the book reveals Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father and rival of Ron and Ginny's father, to be the culprit who slipped the book into Ginny's belongings.
The third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, follows Harry in his third year of magical education. It is the only book in the series which does not feature Lord Voldemort in any form, only being mentioned. Instead, Harry must deal with the knowledge that he has been targeted by Sirius Black, his father's best friend, and, according to the Wizarding World, an escaped mass murderer who assisted in the murder of Harry's parents. As Harry struggles with his reaction to the dementors – dark creatures with the power to devour a human soul and feed on despair – which are ostensibly protecting the school, he reaches out to Remus Lupin, a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher who is eventually revealed to be a werewolf. Lupin teaches Harry defensive measures which are well above the level of magic generally executed by people his age. Harry comes to know that both Lupin and Black were best friends of his father and that Black was framed by their fourth friend, Peter Pettigrew, who had been hiding as Ron's pet rat, Scabbers. In this book, a recurring theme throughout the series is emphasised – in every book there is a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, none of whom lasts more than one school year.
During Harry's fourth year of school (detailed in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Harry is unwillingly entered as a participant in the Triwizard Tournament, a dangerous yet exciting contest where three "champions", one from each participating school, must compete with each other in three tasks in order to win the Triwizard Cup. This year, Harry must compete against a witch and a wizard "champion" from overseas schools Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, as well as another Hogwarts student, causing Harry's friends to distance themselves from him.
Harry is guided through the tournament by their new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, who turns out to be an impostor – one of Voldemort's supporters named Barty Crouch, Jr. in disguise, who secretly entered Harry's name into the tournament. The point at which the mystery is unravelled marks the series' shift from foreboding and uncertainty into open conflict. Voldemort's plan to have Crouch use the tournament to bring Harry to Voldemort succeeds. Although Harry manages to escape, Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts champion in the tournament, is killed by Peter Pettigrew and Voldemort re-enters the Wizarding World with a physical body.
In the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry must confront the newly resurfaced Voldemort. In response to Voldemort's reappearance, Dumbledore re-activates the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society which works from Sirius Black's dark family home to defeat Voldemort's minions and protect Voldemort's targets, especially Harry. Despite Harry's description of Voldemort's recent activities, the Ministry of Magic and many others in the magical world refuse to believe that Voldemort has returned. In an attempt to counter and eventually discredit Dumbledore, who along with Harry is the most prominent voice in the Wizarding World attempting to warn of Voldemort's return, the Ministry appoints Dolores Umbridge as the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts and the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. She transforms the school into a dictatorial regime and refuses to allow the students to learn ways to defend themselves against dark magic.
Hermione and Ron form "Dumbledore's Army", a secret study group in which Harry agrees to teach his classmates the higher-level skills of Defence Against the Dark Arts that he has learned from his previous encounters with Dark wizards. Through those lessons, Harry begins to develop a crush on the popular and attractive Cho Chang. Juggling schoolwork, Umbridge's incessant and persistent efforts to land him in trouble and the defensive lessons, Harry begins to lose sleep as he constantly receives disturbing dreams about a dark corridor in the Ministry of Magic, followed by a burning desire to learn more. An important prophecy concerning Harry and Lord Voldemort is then revealed, and Harry discovers that he and Voldemort have a painful connection, allowing Harry to view some of Voldemort's actions telepathically. In the novel's climax, Harry is tricked into seeing Sirius tortured and races to the Ministry of Magic. He and his friends face off against Voldemort's followers (nicknamed Death Eaters) at the Ministry of Magic. Although the timely arrival of members of the Order of the Phoenix saves the teenagers' lives, Sirius Black is killed in the conflict.
In the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort begins waging open warfare. Harry and his friends are relatively protected from that danger at Hogwarts. They are subject to all the difficulties of adolescence – Harry eventually begins dating Ginny, Ron establishes a strong infatuation with fellow Hogwarts student Lavender Brown, and Hermione starts to develop romantic feelings towards Ron. Near the beginning of the novel, lacking his own book, Harry is given an old potions textbook filled with many annotations and recommendations signed by a mysterious writer titled; "the Half-Blood Prince". This book is a source of scholastic success and great recognition from their new potions master, Horace Slughorn, but because of the potency of the spells that are written in it, becomes a source of concern.
With war drawing near, Harry takes private lessons with Dumbledore, who shows him various memories concerning the early life of Voldemort in a device called a Pensieve. These reveal that in order to preserve his life, Voldemort has split his soul into pieces, used to create a series of Horcruxes – evil enchanted items hidden in various locations, one of which was the diary destroyed in the second book. Draco, who has joined with the Death Eaters, attempts to attack Dumbledore upon his return from collecting a Horcrux, and the book culminates in the killing of Dumbledore by Professor Snape, the titular Half-Blood Prince.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last original novel in the series, begins directly after the events of the sixth book. Lord Voldemort has completed his ascension to power and gained control of the Ministry of Magic. Harry, Ron and Hermione drop out of school so that they can find and destroy Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes. To ensure their own safety as well as that of their family and friends, they are forced to isolate themselves. A ghoul pretends to be Ron ill with a contagious disease, Harry and the Dursleys separate, and Hermione wipes her parents' memories and sends them abroad.
As the trio searches for the Horcruxes, they learn details about an ancient prophecy of the Deathly Hallows, three legendary items that when united under one Keeper, would supposedly allow that person to be the Master of Death. Harry discovers his handy Invisibility Cloak to be one of those items, and Voldemort to be searching for another: the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in history. At the end of the book, Harry and his friends learn about Dumbledore's past, as well as Snape's true motives – he had worked on Dumbledore's behalf since the murder of Harry's mother. Eventually, Snape is killed by Voldemort out of paranoia.
The book culminates in the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry, Ron and Hermione, in conjunction with members of the Order of the Phoenix and many of the teachers and students, defend Hogwarts from Voldemort, his Death Eaters, and various dangerous magical creatures. Several major characters are killed in the first wave of the battle, including Remus Lupin and Fred Weasley, Ron's older brother. After learning that he himself is a Horcrux, Harry surrenders himself to Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, who casts a killing curse (Avada Kedavra) at him. The defenders of Hogwarts do not surrender after learning of Harry's presumed death and continue to fight on. Harry awakens and faces Voldemort, whose Horcruxes have all been destroyed. In the final battle, Voldemort's killing curse rebounds off Harry's defensive spell (Expelliarmus), killing Voldemort.
An epilogue "Nineteen Years Later" describes the lives of the surviving characters and the effects of Voldemort's death on the Wizarding World. In the epilogue, Harry and Ginny are married with three children, and Ron and Hermione are married with two children.
See also: J. K. Rowling § Philanthropy
Rowling expanded the Harry Potter universe with several short books produced for various charities. In 2001, she released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (a purported Hogwarts textbook) and Quidditch Through the Ages (a book Harry reads for fun). Proceeds from the sale of these two books benefited the charity Comic Relief. In 2007, Rowling composed seven handwritten copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of fairy tales that is featured in the final novel, one of which was auctioned to raise money for the Children's High Level Group, a fund for mentally disabled children in poor countries. The book was published internationally on 4 December 2008. Rowling also wrote an 800-word prequel in 2008 as part of a fundraiser organised by the bookseller Waterstones. All three of these books contain extra information about the wizarding world not included in the original novels.
In 2016, she released three new e-books: Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists and Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies.
In 2011, Rowling launched a new website announcing an upcoming project called Pottermore. Pottermore opened to the general public on 14 April 2012. Pottermore allows users to be sorted, be chosen by their wand and play various minigames. The main purpose of the website was to allow the user to journey through the story with access to content not revealed by JK Rowling previously, with over 18,000 words of additional content.
In September 2015, the website was completely overhauled and most of the features were removed. The site has been redesigned and it mainly focuses on the information already available, rather than exploration.[verification needed]
Structure and genre
The novels fall into the genre of fantasy literature, and qualify as a type of fantasy called "urban fantasy", "contemporary fantasy", or "low fantasy". They are mainly dramas, and maintain a fairly serious and dark tone throughout, though they do contain some notable instances of tragicomedy and black humour. In many respects, they are also examples of the bildungsroman, or coming of age novel, and contain elements of mystery, adventure, horror, thriller, and romance. The books are also, in the words of Stephen King, "shrewd mystery tales", and each book is constructed in the manner of a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery adventure. The stories are told from a third person limited point of view with very few exceptions (such as the opening chapters of Philosopher's Stone, Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows and the first two chapters of Half-Blood Prince).
The series can be considered part of the British children's boarding school genre, which includes Rudyard Kipling's Stalky & Co., Enid Blyton's Malory Towers, St. Clare's and the Naughtiest Girl series, and Frank Richards'sBilly Bunter novels: the Harry Potter books are predominantly set in Hogwarts, a fictional British boarding school for wizards, where the curriculum includes the use of magic. In this sense they are "in a direct line of descent from Thomas Hughes's Tom Brown's School Days and other Victorian and Edwardian novels of British public school life", though they are, as many note, more contemporary, grittier, darker, and more mature than the typical boarding school novel, addressing serious themes of death, love, loss, prejudice, coming-of-age, and the loss of innocence in a 1990s British setting.
The Harry Potter stories feature medieval imagery and motifs drawn from the King Arthur stories. Hogwarts resembles a medieval university-cum-castle with several professors who belong to an Order of Merlin; Old Professor Binns still lectures about the International Warlock Convention of 1289; and a real historical person, a 14th-century scribe, Sir Nicolas Flamel, is described as a holder of the Philosopher's Stone. Other medieval elements in Hogwarts include coats-of-arms and medieval weapons on the walls, letters written on parchment and sealed with wax, the Great Hall of Hogwarts which is similar to the Great Hall of Camelot, the use of Latin phrases, the tents put up for Quidditch tournaments are similar to the "marvellous tents" put up for knightly tournaments, imaginary animals like dragons and unicorns which exist around Hogwarts, and the banners with heraldic animals for the four Houses of Hogwarts.
Many of the motifs of the Potter stories such as the hero's quest invoking objects that confer invisibility, magical animals and trees, a forest full of danger and the recognition of a character based upon scars are drawn from medieval French Arthurian romances. Other aspects borrowed from French Arthurian romances include the use of owls as messengers, werewolves as characters, and white deer. The American scholars Heather Arden and Kathrn Lorenz in particular argue that many aspects of the Potter stories are inspired by a 14th-century French Arthurian romance, Claris et Laris, writing of the "startling" similarities between the adventures of Potter and the knight Claris. Arden and Lorenz noted that Rowling graduated from the University of Exeter in 1986 with a degree in French literature and spent a year living in France afterwards.
Arnden and Lorenz wrote about the similarity between the Arthurian romances, where Camelot is a place of wonder and safety, and from where the heroic knights must venture forth facing various perils, usually in an enchanted forest; and Hogwarts, likewise a wondrous safe place, where Harry Potter and friends must periodically venture forth from to the magical forest that surrounds Hogwarts. In the same way that knights in the Arthurian romances usually have a female helper, who is very intelligent and has a connection with nature, Harry has Hermione who plays a similar role.
Like an Arthurian knight, Harry receives advice and encouragement from his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, who resembles both Merlin and King Arthur, but must vanquish his foes alone. Arnden and Lorenz wrote that with Rowling's books, the characters are "...not a simple reworking of the well-known heroes of romance, but a protean melding of different characters to form new ones...". However, Lorenz and Arnden argue the main inspiration for Harry Potter was Sir Percival, one of the Knights of the Round Table who searches for the Holy Grail. Both Potter and Sir Percival had an "orphaned or semi-orphaned youth, with inherent nobility and powers", being raised by relatives who tried to keep them away from the places where they really belong, Hogwarts and Camelot respectively.
Both Percival and Potter are however outsiders in the places that they belong, unfamiliar with the rules of knighthood and magic, but both show extraordinary natural abilities with Percival proving himself an exceptional fighter while Potter is an excellent player of Quidditch. And finally, both Percival and Potter found love and acceptance from surrogate families, in the form of the Knights of the Round Table and the Weasley family respectively.
Each of the seven books is set over the course of one school year. Harry struggles with the problems he encounters, and dealing with them often involves the need to violate some school rules. If students are caught breaking rules, they are often disciplined by Hogwarts professors. The stories reach their climax in the summer term, near or just after final exams, when events escalate far beyond in-school squabbles and struggles, and Harry must confront either Voldemort or one of his followers, the Death Eaters, with the stakes a matter of life and death – a point underlined, as the series progresses, by characters being killed in each of the final four books. In the aftermath, he learns important lessons through exposition and discussions with head teacher and mentorAlbus Dumbledore. The only exception to this school-centred setting is the final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in which Harry and his friends spend most of their time away from Hogwarts, and only return there to face Voldemort at the dénouement.
According to Rowling, a major theme in the series is death: "My books are largely about death. They open with the death of Harry's parents. There is Voldemort's obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price, the goal of anyone with magic. I so understand why Voldemort wants to conquer death. We're all frightened of it."
Rowling stated that "Harry Potter books have always, in fact, dealt explicitly with religious themes and questions" and that she did not reveal its Christian parallels in the beginning because doing so would have "give[n] too much away to fans who might then see the parallels". In the final book of the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling makes the book's Christian imagery more explicit, quoting both Matthew 6:21 and 1 Corinthians 15:26 (King James Version) when Harry visits his parents' graves.
Hermione Granger teaches Harry Potter that the meaning of these verses from the Christian Bible are "living beyond death. Living after death", which Rowling states is "one of the central foundations of resurrection theology" and that these bible verses "epitomize the whole series". Rowling also exhibits Christian values in developing Albus Dumbledore as a God-like character, the divine, trusted leader of the series, guiding the long-suffering hero along his quest. In the seventh novel, Harry speaks with and questions the deceased Dumbledore much like a person of faith would talk to and question God.
Academics and journalists have developed many other interpretations of themes in the books, some more complex than others, and some including political subtexts. Themes such as normality, oppression, survival, and overcoming imposing odds have all been considered as prevalent throughout the series. Similarly, the theme of making one's way through adolescence and "going over one's most harrowing ordeals – and thus coming to terms with them" has also been considered. Rowling has stated that the books comprise "a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry" and that they also pass on a message to "question authority and... not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all of the truth".
While the books could be said to comprise many other themes, such as power/abuse of power, violence and hatred, love, loss, prejudice, and free choice, they are, as Rowling states, "deeply entrenched in the whole plot"; the writer prefers to let themes "grow organically", rather than sitting down and consciously attempting to impart such ideas to her readers. Along the same lines is the ever-present theme of adolescence, in whose depiction Rowling has been purposeful in acknowledging her characters' sexualities and not leaving Harry, as she put it, "stuck in a state of permanent pre-pubescence". Rowling has also been praised for her nuanced depiction of the ways in which death and violence affects youth, and humanity as a whole.
Rowling said that, to her, the moral significance of the tales seems "blindingly obvious". The key for her was the choice between what is right and what is easy, "because that ... is how tyranny is started, with people being apathetic and taking the easy route and suddenly finding themselves in deep trouble".
Main article: Harry Potter influences and analogues
In 1990, Rowling was on a crowded train from Manchester to London when the idea for Harry suddenly "fell into her head". Rowling gives an account of the experience on her website saying:
"I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, and all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who did not know he was a wizard became more and more real to me."
Rowling completed Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1995 and the manuscript was sent off to several prospective agents. The second agent she tried, Christopher Little, offered to represent her and sent the manuscript to Bloomsbury.
After eight other publishers had rejected Philosopher's Stone, Bloomsbury offered Rowling a £2,500 advance for its publication. Despite Rowling's statement that she did not have any particular age group in mind when beginning to write the Harry Potter books, the publishers initially targeted children aged nine to eleven. On the eve of publishing, Rowling was asked by her publishers to adopt a more gender-neutral pen name in order to appeal to the male members of this age group, fearing that they would not be interested in reading a novel they knew to be written by a woman. She elected to use J. K. Rowling (Joanne Kathleen Rowling), using her grandmother's name as her second name because she has no middle name.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published by Bloomsbury, the publisher of all Harry Potter books in the United Kingdom, on 26 June 1997. It was released in the United States on 1 September 1998 by Scholastic – the American publisher of the books – as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, after Rowling had received US$105,000 for the American rights – a record amount for a children's book by an unknown author. Fearing that American readers would not associate the word "philosopher" with magic (although the Philosopher's Stone is an ancient tradition in alchemy), Scholastic insisted that the book be given the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the American market.
The second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was originally published in the UK on 2 July 1998 and in the US on 2 June 1999. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was published a year later in the UK on 8 July 1999 and in the US on 8 September 1999.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published on 8 July 2000 at the same time by Bloomsbury and Scholastic.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest book in the series, at 766 pages in the UK version and 870 pages in the US version. It was published worldwide in English on 21 June 2003.Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was published on 16 July 2005; it sold 9 million copies in the first 24 hours of its worldwide release. The seventh and final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published on 21 July 2007. The book sold 11 million copies in the first 24 hours of release, breaking down to 2.7 million copies in the UK and 8.3 million in the US.
Main article: Harry Potter in translation
The series has been translated into 80 languages, placing Rowling among the most translated authors in history. The books have seen translations to diverse languages such as Korean, Armenian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Bulgarian, Welsh, Afrikaans, Albanian, Latvian, Vietnamese and Hawaiian. The first volume has been translated into Latin and even Ancient Greek, making it the longest published work in Ancient Greek since the novels of Heliodorus of Emesa in the 3rd century AD. The second volume has also been translated into Latin.
Some of the translators hired to work on the books were well-known authors before their work on Harry Potter, such as Viktor Golyshev, who oversaw the Russian translation of the series' fifth book. The Turkish translation of books two to seven was undertaken by Sevin Okyay, a popular literary critic and cultural commentator. For reasons of secrecy, translation on a given book could only start after it had been released in English, leading to a lag of several months before the translations were available. This led to more and more copies of the English editions being sold to impatient fans in non-English speaking countries; for example, such was the clamour to read the fifth book that its English language edition became the first English-language book ever to top the best-seller list in France.
The United States editions were adapted into American English to make them more understandable to a young American audience.
Completion of the series
In December 2005, Rowling stated on her web site, "2006 will be the year when I write the final book in the Harry Potter series." Updates then followed in her online diary chronicling the progress of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, with the release date of 21 July 2007. The book itself was finished on 11 January 2007 in the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, where she scrawled a message on the back of a bust of Hermes. It read: "J. K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (552) on 11 January 2007."
Rowling herself has stated that the last chapter of the final book (in fact, the epilogue) was completed "in something like 1990". In June 2006, Rowling, on an appearance on the British talk show Richard & Judy, announced that the chapter had been modified as one character "got a reprieve" and two others who previously survived the story had in fact been killed. On 28 March 2007, the cover art for the Bloomsbury Adult and Child versions and the Scholastic version were released.
In September 2012, Rowling mentioned in an interview that she might go back to make a "director's cut" of two of the existing Harry Potter books.
For cover art, Bloomsbury chose painted art in a classic style of design, with the first cover a watercolour and pencil drawing by illustrator Thomas Taylor showing Harry boarding the Hogwarts Express, and a title in the font Cochin Bold. The first releases of the successive books in the series followed in the same style but somewhat more realistic, illustrating scenes from the books. These covers were created by first Cliff Wright and then Jason Cockroft.
Due to the appeal of the books among an adult audience, Bloomsbury commissioned a second line of editions in an 'adult' style. These initially used black-and-white photographic art for the covers showing objects from the books (including a very American Hogwarts Express) without depicting people, but later shifted to partial colourisation with a picture of Slytherin's locket on the cover of the final book.
International and later editions have been created by a range of designers, including Mary GrandPré for U.S. audiences and Mika Launis in Finland. For a later American release, Kazu Kibuishi created covers in a somewhat anime-influenced style.
Further information: Harry Potter fandom
Fans of the series were so eager for the latest instalment that bookstores around the world began holding events to coincide with the midnight release of the books, beginning with the 2000 publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The events, commonly featuring mock sorting, games, face painting, and other live entertainment have achieved popularity with Potter fans and have been highly successful in attracting fans and selling books with nearly nine million of the 10.8 million initial print copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sold in the first 24 hours.
The final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows became the fastest selling book in history, moving 11 million units in the first twenty-four hours of release. The series has also gathered adult fans, leading to the release of two editions of each Harry Potter book, identical in text but with one edition's cover artwork aimed at children and the other aimed at adults. Besides meeting online through blogs, podcasts, and fansites, Harry Potter super-fans can also meet at Harry Pottersymposia.
The word Muggle has spread beyond its Harry Potter origins, becoming one of few pop culture words to land in the Oxford English Dictionary. The Harry Potter fandom has embraced podcasts as a regular, often weekly, insight to the latest discussion in the fandom. Both MuggleCast and PotterCast have reached the top spot of iTunes podcast rankings and have been polled one of the top 50 favourite podcasts.
Some lessons identified in the series include diversity, acceptance, political tolerance, and equality. Surveys of over 1,000 college students in the United States show that those who read the books were significantly different from those who had not. Readers of the series were found to be more tolerant, more opposed to violence and torture, less authoritarian, and less cynical. Although it is not known if this is a cause-and-effect relationship, there is a clear correlation. The study's authors says that the books "helped raise the children of our generation by instilling in them some of the basic moral conceptions of right and wrong."
Many fan fiction and fan art works about Harry Potter have been made. In March 2007, "Harry Potter" was the most commonly searched fan fiction subject on the internet. At the University of Michigan in 2009, StarKid Productions performed an original musical parodying the Harry Potter series called A Very Potter Musical. The musical was awarded Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best Viral Videos of 2009.
The sport Quidditch, played by characters in the Harry Potter series, was created in 2005 and is played worldwide including at universities such as Harvard University, Yale University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Characters and elements from the series have inspired scientific names of several organisms, including the dinosaur Dracorex hogwartsia, the spider Eriovixia gryffindori, the wasp Ampulex dementor, and the crab Harryplax severus.
See also: List of best-selling books
The popularity of the Harry Potter series has translated into substantial financial success for Rowling, her publishers, and other Harry Potter related license holders. This success has made Rowling the first and thus far only billionaire author. The books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide and have also given rise to the popular film adaptations produced by Warner Bros., all of which have been highly successful in their own right. The total revenue from the book sales is estimated to be around $7.7 billion. The first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, has sold in excess of 120 million copies, making it one of the bestselling books in history. The films have in turn spawned eight video games and have led to the licensing of more than 400 additional Harry Potter products. The Harry Potter brand has been estimated to be worth as much as $25 billion.
The great demand for Harry Potter books motivated The New York Times to create a separate best-seller list for children's literature in 2000, just before the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. By 24 June 2000, Rowling's novels had been on the list for 79 straight weeks; the first three novels were each on the hardcover best-seller list. On 12 April 2007, Barnes & Noble declared that Deathly Hallows had broken its pre-order record, with more than 500,000 copies pre-ordered through its site. For the release of Goblet of Fire, 9,000 FedEx trucks were used with no other purpose than to deliver the book. Together, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble pre-sold more than 700,000 copies of the book. In the United States, the book's initial printing run was 3.8 million copies. This record statistic was broken by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, with 8.5 million, which was then shattered by Half-Blood Prince with 10.8 million copies. 6.9 million copies of Prince were sold in the U.S. within the first 24 hours of its release; in the United Kingdom more than two million copies were sold on the first day. The initial U.S. print run for Deathly Hallows was 12 million copies, and more than a million were pre-ordered through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Awards, honours, and recognition
The Harry Potter series has been recognised by a host of awards since the initial publication of Philosopher's Stone including a platinum award from the Whitaker Gold and Platinum Book Awards ( 2001), three Nestlé Smarties Book Prizes (1997–1999), two Scottish Arts Council Book Awards (1999 and 2001), the inaugural Whitbread children's book of the year award (1999), the WHSmith book of the year (2006), among others. In 2000, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel, and in 2001, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won said award. Honours include a commendation for the Carnegie Medal (1997), a short listing for the Guardian Children's Award (1998), and numerous listings on the notable books, editors' Choices, and best books lists of the American Library Association, The New York Times, Chicago Public Library, and Publishers Weekly.
In 2002, sociologist Andrew Blake named Harry Potter a British pop culture icon along with the likes of James Bond and Sherlock Holmes. In 2003, four of the books were named in the top 24 of the BBC's The Big Read survey of the best loved novels in the UK. A 2004 study found that books in the series were commonly read aloud in elementary schools in San Diego County, California. Based on a 2007 online poll, the U.S. National Education Association listed the series in its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Three of the books placed among the "Top 100 Chapter Books" of all time, or children's novels, in a 2012 survey published by School Library Journal: Sorcerer's Stone ranked number three, Prisoner of Azkaban 12th, and Goblet of Fire 98th. In 2012, the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London featured a 100-foot tall rendition of Lord Voldemort in a segment designed to show off the UK's cultural icons. In November 2019, the BBC listed the Harry Potter series on its list of the 100 most influential novels.
Early in its history, Harry Potter received positive reviews. On publication, the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, attracted attention from the Scottish newspapers, such as The Scotsman, which said it had "all the makings of a classic", and The Glasgow Herald, which called it "Magic stuff". Soon the English newspapers joined in, with The Sunday Times comparing it to Roald Dahl's work ("comparisons to Dahl are, this time, justified"), while The Guardian called it "a richly textured novel given lift-off by an inventive wit".
By the time of the release of the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the books began to receive strong criticism from a number of literary scholars. Yale professor, literary scholar, and critic Harold Bloom raised criticisms of the books' literary merits, saying, "Rowling's mind is so governed by clichés and dead metaphors that she has no other style of writing."A. S. Byatt authored an op-ed article in The New York Times calling Rowling's universe a "secondary secondary world, made up of intelligently patchworked derivative motifs from all sorts of children's literature ... written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip."
Michael Rosen, a novelist and poet, advocated the books were not suited for children, as they would be unable to grasp the complex themes. Rosen also stated that "J. K. Rowling is more of an adult writer." The critic Anthony Holden wrote in The Observer on his experience of judging Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the 1999 Whitbread Awards. His overall view of the series was negative – "the Potter saga was essentially patronising, conservative, highly derivative, dispiritingly nostalgic for a bygone Britain," and he speaks of "a pedestrian, ungrammatical prose style".Ursula K. Le Guin said, "I have no great opinion of it. When so many adult critics were carrying on about the 'incredible originality' of the first Harry Potter book, I read it to find out what the fuss was about, and remained somewhat puzzled; it seemed a lively kid's fantasy crossed with a 'school novel,' good fare for its age group, but stylistically ordinary, imaginatively derivative, and ethically rather mean-spirited."
By contrast, author Fay Weldon, while admitting that the series is "not what the poets hoped for", nevertheless goes on to say, "but this is not poetry, it is readable, saleable, everyday, useful prose." The literary critic A. N. Wilson praised the Harry Potter series in The Times, stating, "There are not many writers who have JK's Dickensian ability to make us turn the pages, to weep – openly, with tears splashing – and a few pages later to laugh, at invariably good jokes ... We have lived through a decade in which we have followed the publication of the liveliest, funniest, scariest and most moving children's stories ever written."
Charles Taylor of Salon.com, who is primarily a movie critic, took issue with Byatt's criticisms in particular. While he conceded that she may have "a valid cultural point – a teeny one – about the impulses that drive us to reassuring pop trash and away from the troubling complexities of art", he rejected her claims that the series is lacking in serious literary merit and that it owes its success merely to the childhood reassurances it offers. Taylor stressed the progressively darker tone of the books, shown by the murder of a classmate and close friend and the psychological wounds and social isolation each causes. Taylor also argued that Philosopher's Stone, said to be the most light-hearted of the seven published books, disrupts the childhood reassurances that Byatt claims spur the series' success: the book opens with news of a double murder, for example.
Stephen King called the series "a feat of which only a superior imagination is capable", and declared "Rowling's punning, one-eyebrow-cocked sense of humor" to be "remarkable". However, he wrote that despite the story being "a good one", he is "a little tired of discovering Harry at home with his horrible aunt and uncle", the formulaic beginning of all seven books. King has also joked that "Rowling's never met an adverb she did not like!" He does however predict that Harry Potter "will indeed stand time's test and wind up on a shelf where only the best are kept; I think Harry will take his place with Alice, Huck, Frodo, and Dorothy and this is one series not just for the decade, but for the ages."
Sameer Rahim of The Daily Telegraph disagreed, saying "It depresses me to see 16- and 17-year-olds reading the series when they could be reading the great novels of childhood such as Oliver Twist or A House for Mr Biswas. What that says about the adults who are fanatical fans I'm not sure – but I suspect in years to come people will make a link between our plump, comfortable, infantilising society and the popularity of Potter."
There is ongoing discussion regarding the extent to which the series was inspired by Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books.
Although Time magazine named Rowling as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year award, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fandom, cultural comments on the series have been mixed. The Washington Post book critic Ron Charles opined in July 2007 that the large numbers of adults reading the Potter series but few other books may represent a "bad case of cultural infantilism", and that the straightforward "good vs. evil" theme of the series is "childish". He also argued "through no fault of Rowling's", the cultural and marketing "hysteria" marked by the publication of the later books "trains children and adults to expect the roar of the coliseum, a mass-media experience that no other novel can possibly provide".
Librarian Nancy Knapp pointed out the books' potential to improve literacy by motivating children to read much more than they otherwise would. The seven-book series has a word count of 1,083,594 (US edition). Agreeing about the motivating effects, Diane Penrod also praised the books' blending of simple entertainment with "the qualities of highbrow literary fiction", but expressed concern about the distracting effect of the prolific merchandising that accompanies the book launches. However, the assumption that Harry Potter books have increased literacy among young people is "largely a folk legend".
Research by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has found no increase in reading among children coinciding with the Harry Potter publishing phenomenon, nor has the broader downward trend in reading among Americans been arrested during the rise in the popularity of the Harry Potter books. The research also found that children who read Harry Potter books were not more likely to go on to read outside the fantasy and mystery genres. NEA chairman Dana Gioia said the series, "got millions of kids to read a long and reasonably complex series of books. The trouble is that one Harry Potter novel every few years is not enough to reverse the decline in reading."
Jennifer Conn used Snape's and Quidditch coach Madam Hooch's teaching methods as examples of what to avoid and what to emulate in clinical teaching, and Joyce Fields wrote that the books illustrate four of the five main topics in a typical first-year sociology class: "sociological concepts including culture, society, and socialisation; stratification and social inequality; social institutions; and social theory".
From the early 2000s onwards several news reports appeared in the UK of the Harry Potter book and movie series driving demand for pet owls and even reports that after the end of the movie series these same pet owls were now being abandoned by their owners. This led J. K. Rowling to issue several statements urging Harry Potter fans to refrain from purchasing pet owls. Despite the media flurry, research into the popularity of Harry Potter and sales of owls in the UK failed to find any evidence that the Harry Potter franchise had influenced the buying of owls in the country or the number of owls reaching animal shelters and sanctuaries.
Jenny Sawyer wrote in The Christian Science Monitor on 25 July 2007 that the books represent a "disturbing trend in commercial storytelling and Western society" in that stories' "moral center has all but vanished from much of today's pop culture ... after 10 years, 4,195 pages, and over 375 million copies, J. K. Rowling's towering achievement lacks the cornerstone of almost all great children's literature: the hero's moral journey." Harry Potter, Sawyer argues, neither faces a "moral struggle" nor undergoes any ethical growth, and is thus "no guide in circumstances in which right and wrong are anything less than black and white". In contrast Emily Griesinger described Harry's first passage through to Platform 9+3⁄4 as an application of faith and hope, and his encounter with the Sorting Hat as the first of many in which Harry is shaped by the choices he makes. She also noted the "deeper magic" by which the self-sacrifice of Harry's mother protects the boy throughout the series, and which the power-hungry Voldemort fails to understand.
In an 8 November 2002 Slate article, Chris Suellentrop likened Potter to a "trust-fund kid whose success at school is largely attributable to the gifts his friends and relatives lavish upon him". Noting that in Rowling's fiction, magical ability potential is "something you are born to, not something you can achieve", Suellentrop wrote that Dumbledore's maxim that "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" is hypocritical, as "the school that Dumbledore runs values native gifts above all else." In a 12 August 2007, review of Deathly Hallows in The New York Times, however, Christopher Hitchens praised Rowling for "unmooring" her "English school story" from literary precedents "bound up with dreams of wealth and class and snobbery", arguing that she had instead created "a world of youthful democracy and diversity".
In 2010, coinciding with the release of the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, a series of articles were written about Private Harry Potter of the British army. This real-life Harry Potter was killed in the Arab Revolt near Hebron in 1939. His grave, located in the British cemetery in Ramla, Israel, began to receive curious visitors leading the Ramla Municipality to list it on their website.
In 2016, an article written by Diana C. Mutz compares the politics of Harry Potter to the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign. She states that 3 themes throughout the books are widely predominant '1) the value of tolerance and respect for difference; 2) opposition to violence and punitiveness; and 3) the dangers of authoritarianism.' She suggests that these themes are also present in the presidential election and it may play a significant role in how Americans have responded to the campaign.
Main articles: Legal disputes over the Harry Potter series, Religious debates over the Harry Potter series, Politics of Harry Potter, and Tanya Grotter
The books have been the subject of a number of legal proceedings, stemming from various conflicts over copyright and trademark infringements. The popularity and high market value of the series has led Rowling, her publishers, and film distributor Warner Bros. to take legal measures to protect their copyright, which have included banning the sale of Harry Potter imitations, targeting the owners of websites over the "Harry Potter" domain name, and suing author Nancy Stouffer to counter her accusations that Rowling had plagiarised her work. Various religious fundamentalists have claimed that the books promote witchcraft and religions such as Wicca and are therefore unsuitable for children, while a number of critics have criticised the books for promoting various political agendas. The Harry Potter series has landed the American Library Associations' Top 10 Banned Book List in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2019 because it was anti-family, discussed magic and witchcraft, contained actual spells and curses, referenced the occult/Satanism, violence, and had characters who used "nefarious means" to attain goals, as well as conflicts with religious viewpoints.
The books also aroused controversies in the literary and publishing worlds. From 1997 to 1998, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone won almost all the UK awards judged by children, but none of the children's book awards judged by adults, and Sandra Beckett suggested the reason was intellectual snobbery towards books that were popular among children. In 1999, the winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year award children's division was entered for the first time on the shortlist for the main award, and one judge threatened to resign if Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was declared the overall winner; it finished second, very close behind the winner of the poetry prize, Seamus Heaney's translation of the Anglo-SaxonepicBeowulf.
In 2000, shortly before the publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the previous three Harry Potter books topped The New York Times fiction best-seller list and a third of the entries were children's books. The newspaper created a new children's section covering children's books, including both fiction and non-fiction, and initially counting only hardback sales. The move was supported by publishers and booksellers. In 2004, The New York Times further split the children's list, which was still dominated by Harry Potter books, into sections for series and individual books, and removed the Harry Potter books from the section for individual books. The split in 2000 attracted condemnation, praise and some comments that presented both benefits and disadvantages of the move.Time suggested that, on the same principle, Billboard should have created a separate "mop-tops" list in 1964 when the Beatles held the top five places in its list, and Nielsen should have created a separate game-show list when Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? dominated the ratings.
Main article: Harry Potter (film series)
In 1998, Rowling sold the film rights of the first four Harry Potter books to Warner Bros. for a reported £1 million ($1,982,900). Rowling demanded the principal cast be kept strictly British, nonetheless allowing for the inclusion of Irish actors such as the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore, and for casting of French and Eastern European actors in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where characters from the book are specified as such. After many directors including Steven Spielberg, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme, and Alan Parker were considered, Chris Columbus was appointed on 28 March 2000 as the director for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (titled "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the United States), with Warner Bros. citing his work on other family films such as Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire and proven experience with directing children as influences for their decision.
After extensive casting, filming began in October 2000 at Leavesden Film Studios and in London itself, with production ending in July 2001.Philosopher's Stone was released on 14 November 2001. Just three days after the film's release, production for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, also directed by Columbus, began. Filming was completed in summer 2002, with the film being released on 15 November 2002.Daniel Radcliffe portrayed Harry Potter, doing so for all succeeding films in the franchise.
Columbus declined to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, only acting as producer. Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón took over the job, and after shooting in 2003, the film was released on 4 June 2004. Due to the fourth film beginning its production before the third's release, Mike Newell was chosen as the director for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, released on 18 November 2005. Newell became the first British director of the series, with television director David Yates following suit after he was chosen to helm Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Production began in January 2006 and the film was released the following year in July 2007. After executives were "really delighted" with his work on the film, Yates was selected to direct Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which was released on 15 July 2009.
In March 2008, Warner Bros. President and COO Alan F. Horn announced that the final instalment in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, would be released in two cinematic parts: Part 1 on 19 November 2010 and Part 2 on 15 July 2011. Production of both parts started in February 2009, with the final day of principal photography taking place on 12 June 2010.
Rowling had creative control on the film series, observing the filmmaking process of Philosopher's Stone and serving as producer on the two-part Deathly Hallows, alongside David Heyman and David Barron. The Harry Potter films have been top-rank box office hits, with all eight releases on the list of highest-grossing films worldwide. Philosopher's Stone was the highest-grossing Harry Potter film up until the release of the final instalment of the series, Deathly Hallows Part 2, while Prisoner of Azkaban grossed the least. As well as being a financial success, the film series has also been a success among film critics.
Opinions of the films are generally divided among fans, with one group preferring the more faithful approach of the first two films, and another group preferring the more stylised character-driven approach of the later films. Rowling has been constantly supportive of all the films and evaluated Deathly Hallows as her "favourite one" in the series. She wrote on her website of the changes in the book-to-film transition, "It is simply impossible to incorporate every one of my storylines into a film that has to be kept under four hours long. Obviously films have restrictions novels do not have, constraints of time and budget; I can create dazzling effects relying on nothing but the interaction of my own and my readers' imaginations."
At the 64th British Academy Film Awards in February 2011, Rowling was joined by producers David Heyman and David Barron along with directors David Yates, Alfonso Cuarón and Mike Newell in collecting the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema on behalf of all the films in the series. Actors Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, who play main characters Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, were also in attendance.
Main article: Fantastic Beasts (film series)
A new prequel series consisting of five films will take place before the main series. The first film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released in November 2016, followed by the second Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in November 2018; the next three are due to be released in 2021, 2022 and 2024 respectively. Rowling wrote the screenplay for the first three instalments, marking her foray into screenwriting.
Main article: Harry Potter video games
A number of other non-interactive media games and board games have been released such as Cluedo Harry Potter Edition, Scene It? Harry Potter and Lego Harry Potter models, which are influenced by the themes of both the novels and films.
There are thirteen Harry Potter video games, eight corresponding with the films and books and five spin-offs. The film/book-based games are produced by Electronic Arts, as was Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup, with the game version of the first entry in the series, Philosopher's Stone, being released in November 2001. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone went on to become one of the best-selling PlayStation games ever. The video games were released to coincide with the films, containing scenery and details from the films as well as the tone and spirit of the books. Objectives usually occur in and around Hogwarts, along with various other magical areas. The story and design of the games follow the selected film's characterisation and plot; EA worked closely with Warner Bros. to include scenes from the films. The last game in the series, Deathly Hallows, was split, with Part 1 released in November 2010 and Part 2 debuting on consoles in July 2011. The two-part game forms the first entry to convey an intense theme of action and violence, with the gameplay revolving around a third-person shooter style format.
The spin-off games Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4 and Lego Harry Potter: Years 5–7 were developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The spin-off games Book of Spells and Book of Potions were developed by London Studio and use the Wonderbook, an augmented reality book designed to be used in conjunction with the PlayStation Move and PlayStation Eye. The Harry Potter universe is also featured in Lego Dimensions, with the settings and side characters featured in the Harry Potter Adventure World, and Harry, Voldemort, and Hermione as playable characters. In 2017, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment opened its own Harry Potter-themed game design studio, by the name of Portkey Games, before releasing Hogwarts Mystery in 2018, developed by Jam City.
All seven Harry Potter books have been released in unabridged audiobook versions, with Stephen Fry reading the UK editions and Jim Dale voicing the series for the American editions.
Main article: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts I and II is a play which serves as a sequel to the books, beginning nineteen years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was written by Jack Thorne based on an original new story by Thorne, Rowling and John Tiffany. It has run at the Palace Theatre in London's West End since previews began on 7 June 2016 with an official premiere on 30 June 2016. The first four months of tickets for the June–September performances were sold out within several hours upon release. Forthcoming productions are planned for Broadway and Melbourne.
The script was released as a book at the time of the premiere, with a revised version following the next year.
Main article: Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic
Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic is a play which is a spin-off from the Harry Potter franchise. It takes place at the same time of the book series but focuses on the "Puffs", who only wish to be in as much glory as Mr. Potter. It is written by Matt Cox and was originally directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker. It played off-off-Broadway at the Peoples' Improv Theatre from 3 December 2015 to fall 2016. It then transferred to the off-Broadway Elektra Theater where it was modified by Parker and Cox. However, Puffs soon transferred to a more prominent off-broadway space, New World Stages, where it played from 17 July 2017 – 18 August 2019. Soon after, a production was performed at The Entertainment Quarter in Sydney, Australia for a limited run. Another production ran at The Lower Ossington Theatre in Toronto, Canada from 7 June to 14 August 2019. Since then, the rights to the show has been released (including a junior version) through Samuel French, Inc. (now Concord Theatricals).
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has begun, Cox has written three additional plays to the Puffs universe. Nineteen-ish Years After or; There and Back Again was performed on 4 April 2020. A Patreon link was included in the bio of the livestream and all the proceeds from the event went to Queens Feeds Hospitals. A second play, Dude, Where's My Fantastic Friends?, was broadcast live on 17 April 2020. The proceeds from this event went to the New York Humane Society. Finally, on 24 April 2020, PUF3S: Eventfulness Maximus was broadcast as the finale to the Puffstetralogy. The proceeds went to the Ali Forney Center. All of these readings were performed over Zoom and broadcast live on YouTube. While all the readings were free, the donations from watchers combined came out to $10,200.
They have also hosted several Q+A's and watchings of Puffs on their YouTube and Instagram accounts.
Live action television series
On 25 January 2021, a live action television series was reported to have been in early development at HBO Max. Though it was noted that the series has "complicated rights issues", due to a seven-year rights deal with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution that included U.S. broadcast, cable and streaming rights to the franchise, which ends in April 2025.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Main article: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
After the success of the films and books, Universal and Warner Brothers announced they would create The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new Harry Potter-themed expansion to the Islands of Adventure theme park at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. The land officially opened to the public on 18 June 2010. It includes a re-creation of Hogsmeade and several rides. The flagship attraction is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which exists within a re-creation of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Other rides include Dragon Challenge, a pair of inverted roller coasters, and Flight of the Hippogriff, a family roller coaster.
Four years later, on 8 July 2014, Universal opened a Harry Potter-themed area at the Universal Studios Florida theme park. It includes a re-creation of Diagon Alley and connecting alleys and a small section of MuggleLondon. The flagship attraction is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts roller coaster ride. Universal also added a completely functioning recreation of the Hogwarts Express connecting Kings Cross Station at Universal Studios Florida to the Hogsmeade station at Islands of Adventure. Both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley contain many shops and restaurants from the book series, including Weasley's Wizard Wheezes and The Leaky Cauldron.
On 15 July 2014, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka, Japan. It includes the village of Hogsmeade, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, and Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster.
On 7 April 2016, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park near Los Angeles, California.
The Making of Harry Potter
Main article: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
In March 2011, Warner Bros. announced plans to build a tourist attraction in the United Kingdom to showcase the Harry Potter film series. The Making of Harry Potter is a behind-the-scenes walking tour featuring authentic sets, costumes and props from the film series. The attraction is located at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, where all eight of the Harry Potter films were made. Warner Bros. constructed two new sound stages to house and showcase the famous sets from each of the British-made productions, following a £100 million investment. It opened to the public in March 2012.
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5 of the Biggest Harry Potter Plot Holes Explained
There’s no denying that Harry Potter is one of the most magical series ever written, but even J.K. Rowling herself has admitted that the story has a few plot holes.
But while some of these mysteries — such as that of the entire Time-Turner storyline — will likely remain unsolved, a number of the more frustrating inconsistencies have been explained away in the years since the books were published.
From the presence of Peter Pettigrew to the conspicuously invisible Thestrals, here are five major Harry Potter plot holes with resolutions.
The truth comes out
When Rowling launched her new website in December 2016, she included a FAQ section to clear up some confusion about the first movie in her new wizarding world saga, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as a few lingering questions about the Potter series. One of these queries revolved around why Veritaserum — a.k.a. the most powerful truth serum in the wizarding world — isn’t used by the Ministry of Magic to interrogate suspects.
“It is, but skilled wizards can avoid its effects by using antidotes and charms. A gifted Occlumens could also resist Veritaserum,” Rowling wrote, referring to those, such as Severus Snape, who are skilled at shielding their minds from invasion.
Among other details, this explains why Veritaserum couldn’t be used to weed out the real Death Eaters from those who claimed they had only done Voldemort’s bidding under the influence of the Imperius Curse following the First Wizarding War.
What about Wormtail?
Considering Fred and George Weasley nicked the Marauder’s Map from Filch during their first year at Hogwarts, it seems strange that they never noticed Peter Pettigrew — who was still posing as Scabbers the rat — sleeping in Ron’s bed every night once their younger brother arrived at school. However, in a June interview with The Huffington Post, Oliver Phelps, who played George in the movies, provided a (somewhat jokey) answer to this conundrum.
“Maybe it’s a boo in the family that no one talks of. ‘Who’s this Peter bloke?,'” he said. “Maybe it was an unspoken word in the Weasley’s family.”
The case of the missing Thestrals
When Harry arrives at Hogwarts for his fifth year in The Order of the Phoenix, he realizes that the school’s carriages aren’t drawn by magic, but rather a flock of Thestrals. Luna Lovegood — who can also see them — then explains that the Thestrals are now visible to him because he witnessed Cedric Diggory die. “They can only be seen by people who’ve seen death,” she tells him.
However, some fans have pointed out that since Cedric died during the Triwizard Tournament, it seems like Harry should have been able to see the Thestrals when the carriages transported him to Hogsmeade station at the end of The Goblet of Fire.
But in a 2004 interview at the Edinburgh Book Festival, Rowling maintained that this wasn’t an error.
On destroying Horcruxes
Described by Rowling on her website as, “an oldie about Chamber of Secrets that I’ve been asked at least once a week for nine years,” the mystery in question concerned the Horcrux inside Harry surviving his encounter with the Basilisk in the second book of the series. Because Basilisk venom is one of the few substances that can destroy Horcruxes, some readers apparently wondered why the part of Voldemort’s soul residing in Harry wasn’t destroyed when he was bitten by the giant serpent.
Of course, the ever-wise Rowling was able to shed some light on the matter. “A Horcrux can only be destroyed if its container is damaged beyond repair, Harry was healed by Fawkes,” she wrote, referencing Dumbledore’s beloved phoenix. “Had he died, the Horcrux would indeed have been destroyed.”
And when a fan pointed out that the Resurrection Stone still worked for Harry after Dumbledore used Godric Gryffindor’s sword to destroy the Horcrux inside Marvolo Gaunt’s ring, the author provided some further explanation. “The crack in the stone was irreparable,” she tweeted. “Only Dumbledore [could] have extracted the soul fragment but left the original charm intact.”
The corruption of Quirrell
Since Voldemort was reduced to a shell of his former self after attempting to murder baby Harry, some fans were confused as to how he was able to get the young Professor Quirrell under his control in The Sorcerer’s Stone. But in the 2016 Pottermore eBook Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, Rowling explained that the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher was “turned into a temporary Horcrux,” — a possession that showed up in the appearance of the Dark Lord’s face on the back of Quirrell’s head — which made him unable to resist the will of the “far stronger, evil soul inside him.”
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