From his first year just getting started in the wizarding world to his final year and finally bringing down the dark lord Voldemort, Harry and his friends grow into adults bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders. There are plenty of fun facts and trivia from this series, so let’s dive into the pages.
A Fact for the History Buffs
If you’re a fan of British history, you might be a little interested to learn that one of King Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn, has a picture in Hogwarts. Anne Boleyn was one of the wives that King Henry had sent to her grave, and his reasoning was that she was practicing witchcraft while in the castle.
Obviously, we don’t think she was really doing that, but in the universe of Harry Potter, it turns out that she’s a famous alumnus of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She gets a painting that, just like all the other magical paintings, can move around and communicate with the students.
A Hint for the Final Movie
Seeing as how most of the Harry Potter books were out by the time they were halfway through the movie series, the filmmakers could include lots of fun nods to future events and details. The Deathly Hallows are three magical artifacts that Voldemort wanted in the final year, but Harry was ready to stop him.
They are the wand, the cloak, and the stone, symbolized by a triangle with a line down the middle, intersecting an orb. A device with this particular shape can be seen in a glass cabinet in Dumbledore’s office in the fourth movie, “The Goblet of Fire.”
Igor Karkaroff Is Correct
After Harry is picked to be the surprising fourth entry into the Triwizard Tournament, a big discussion occurs. During that discussion, the three headmasters and mistress of the competing schools wonder how it could have happened. Mad-Eye Moody, actually Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise, points out that only a strong Confundus charm could have made it happen.
Igor Karkaroff points out that Moody had every opportunity to do it. Suspicion is cast on Karkaroff from the very beginning – being a former member of Voldemort’s squad – but it turns out he is innocent, and Moody is, indeed, the one responsible.
Even the Scarves Have Their Details
If you have your own scarf from the Harry Potter universe, you probably have a way you like to tie it. Well, just like you, the kids from the movies all have their preferred ways as well. As seen in the first movie, Hermione is uptight and proper, even prim, tying it with a neat, comfortable knot.
Ron, at the other end of the spectrum, is too lazy even to tie it – he just lets it sit around his shoulders. Harry, just like in so many other things, is a little bit of both, giving his scarf a laid-back look with a few layers.
Proud of His House
As befitting such a heroic character, Albus Dumbledore was sorted into the house of Gryffindor while he was a student at Hogwarts. He tries to hide that fact most of the time, seeing as how he’s supposed to be acting for the school as a whole and not one house within, but he’s still proud of the old red and gold.
This is best seen when you realize what you have to do to enter his office: step onto the moving platform of a large stone griffin. Maybe that statue changes based on who is the headmaster or headmistress at the time.
A Hard Time Dancing
The scene at the Yule Ball during Harry’s fourth year was a fun one. There were plenty of costumes and magical sights to see, but one thing we didn’t see was anything below Harry’s waist. While you might think it was because Daniel Radcliffe was hopeless at dancing, that’s not exactly it.
Pretty much every shot had to have Radcliffe there, so he had far less time to practice his moves. Everyone else got about three weeks, and he got a mere four days. He couldn’t keep up with the other actors, so the director did what was necessary to move the scene along.
We Thought Those Don’t Work Around Hogwarts
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” brought a much darker, more adult tone to the series, when it comes to both the books and the movies. Things are shifting, teetering on the edge, and about to plunge into much darker stuff in the next entry. On the other hand, this one has a pretty big mistake thanks to the costuming department.
Or the sound department. One of the departments, we’re sure. The characters have mics on them so we can pick up their voices, but in a couple of shots while outside, it’s easy to see that he has a big microphone pack underneath Harry's sweater. If you aren’t looking for it, you’ll most likely miss it, but it’s there.
We’re Not Risking Anything
We all know that Voldemort (or “He Who Must Not Be Named”) is played by famous actor Ralph Fiennes in the movies, but what about the face that appears on the back of Professor Quirrel’s head in the first movie? They hadn’t landed on Fiennes at that point yet, so they went with a man by the name of Richard Bremmer.
They digitally added his face to the back of Quirrel’s head in the first movie’s most shocking scene. However, in the credits, they just called him “He Who Must Not Be Named.” It sort of makes sense – it’s not really Voldy there, just his spirit.
Gilderoy Lockhart Has Gilded Locks
Gilderoy Lockhart, the second defense against the dark arts teacher that Harry has to deal with, is a flamboyant and energetic teacher that doesn’t actually know how to teach much of anything. He stole all his stories from others and regales his students with the stories. It turns out there’s lots of fakery when it comes to this character.
His luscious flow of golden hair is a great attention-getter, but it looks like he might be cheating at that, too. As he’s trying to frantically pack up his things near the end of the movie, a wig is spotted on his desk, letting us know that he might not be as follically endowed as we’re led to believe.
A Wizard That Loves Candy
Dumbledore’s love of Muggle Sweets is a well-known part of his character from his very first scene in the books. He’s enjoying some lemon drops as he talks with Professor McGonagall, and the same candy is later used as a password for his office in Hogwarts.
In the movies, this password is switched to “Sherbert Lemon,” and in The Half-Blood Prince, viewers can spy a bowl of candies on Dumbledore’s desk, ready for snacking, no matter who needs it. It’s a nice detail to add to a character that is often serious. It’s humanizing, and it gives the proceedings a little bit of levity.
The Scales Appear
Snakes play a large part in the Harry Potter books and movies. Harry knows Parseltongue due to his connection to the dark lord Voldemort; Voldemort himself has a beloved snake named Nagini that he keeps at his side (who also just so happens to be a Horcrux), there’s the whole Chamber of Secrets thing and much more.
Nagini the snake makes her first appearance in the movies in the fourth film, “The Goblet of Fire,” and we get a little hint that she’s coming thanks to the detail on the Warner Brothers logo, which looks quite a bit like the scales of a big, deadly snake.
Just Like Old Times
Losing a good friend is one of the hardest things someone can go through during their life. There is plenty of loss in the Harry Potter universe, and some of it happened before the series even started, like Harry’s parents Lily and James. James’s old friend Sirius joins the cast for a few books, and at one point, they fight side-by-side.
Harry gets a good shot off, and Sirius shouts, “Nice one, James!” He was missing his friend, but there was more to it than that. Later on, while Harry is viewing some of Snape’s memories, Sirius says the same line – this time, it’s actually to James.
Moaning Myrtle Foreshadows a Big Reveal
One of the surprises of the fourth book and movie in the series was that Mad-Eye Moody was actually a totally different character, Barty Crouch Jr. He was played by David Tennant before his “Doctor Who” days, by the way. Junior uses a Polyjuice potion to change his appearance to that of Moody.
It’s something Potter fans are familiar with. Another character, Moaning Myrtle, makes an appearance during one scene and lets slip that she saw Polyjuice potion circling a drain at one point. At the time, it’s just another mystery on the pile, but it foreshadows one of the book’s big reveals at the end.
All Three Curses
By the end of the fourth film, Voldemort has used all three unforgivable curses on Harry. The students learn about them from their Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Barty Crouch Jr., disguised as Mad-Eye Moody. They are the Imperius curse, which makes people do things against their will, the Cruciatus curse, which causes intense pain to the point of madness; and Avadra Kedavra – the killing curse.
Voldemort used the last on Harry at the start of the series, which kickstarted everything, and at the climax of the year, when Voldemort returns, he uses the other two. He makes Harry bow using the Imperius curse and then hits him with Cruciatus for some good old-fashioned pain.
Cameo Appearances in Pictures
The living, moving pictures of the Harry Potter universe are a fun detail that sometimes works into the plot, but most of the time, they just serve as fun background details. However, there are a few that are more than that, even if they don’t play into the plots.
Dumbledore’s office might include a portrait of Gandalf from “Lord of the Rings,” though it’s dark and hidden. One of the portraits, Henry Bumblepuft, is of production designer Stuart Craig. Finally, a painting visible in the third film seems to be of Voldemort, despite not making a proper appearance until the next film.
Going Dobby Spotting
Dobby, the house elf to the Malfoys, makes a couple of appearances in the series, but most of his screen time comes from the second movie, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” However, did you know that he can be seen in a split-second moment during the fun at the Quidditch World Cup?
There are just a few frames where he’s visible, but it’s possible to see him if you’re quick enough with the pause button. Why is Dobby there? Well, it’s most likely because Lucius Malfoy was there, and not just because he was a sports fan. He was there to cause a riot, and he succeeded.
Sometimes Even Brooms Are Lazy
The Harry Potter universe is full of brooms that can do some amazing stunts in the air, but are they of any use for keeping the house clean? You bet, and we get to see it a couple of times. However, not all of them are as useful as you might think.
As an innkeeper for the Leaky Cauldron opens a bedroom door only to have some monster bellow at her, we can see behind her magical broom is sweeping a bunch of dirt and dust under the rug. Like, literally. We bet that the place being dingy is part of its allure, but they could be trying a little harder, right?
Where She Got Her Start
The Harry Potter movies get a bunch of Hollywood careers going, but it’s not just Radcliffe, Watson, Grint, and Felton who were able to make the most of it. There’s a young blonde girl visible in the first Harry Potter movie who appears in a few scenes, such as cheering Harry on while he’s playing quidditch.
That girl’s name is Julianne Hough, an actor and dancer that has joined the cast of "Dancing with the Stars" both as a professional dancer and as a judge. Her first major role was in the 2010 film “Burlesque.” She’s done plenty of other work, too.
The Books Themselves Appear in the Movies
In an odd bit of self-referential prop placement, it turns out that the Harry Potter books can be found in the movies! Well, one of them, anyway. In “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” he has to make his way from the dark and dangerous Knockturn Alley back to where he’s supposed to go, and he passes a cart of old books.
In the bookstore window right above them are the Harry Potter books themselves. No doubt a lot of problems could have been solved by a little bit of reading. Just give them to Hermione, and she’ll have them done in a day.
Adding an E
The third part of the “Harry Potter” series, “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” introduces us to a few new wrinkles. Dementors, werewolves, the Whomping Willow, and Patronuses are just some of the cool pieces, but we also get the marauder's map. It’s presented by Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs: Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black, and James Potter, respectively.
At least, those are the names in the book. In the film, the first name is adjusted to Mooney. It’s not a typo – it was changed because someone who worked on the film in the visual effects department thought it would be funny. It makes more sense when you realize that his name was literally “Mooney.”
An Accidental Slight
In “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” Ron and Harry watch Cedric Diggory put his name into the titular goblet. They, of course, have no idea that Harry is going to be a fourth contestant, as only seventh-years are allowed to compete.
Ron and Harry both wave to Cedric, and then Ron tries to go say something to the older student. Cedric either ignores or doesn’t see him, resulting in Ron looking disappointed. It’s possible this small scene was added in order to give Ron a greater reason to be upset at Harry for being picked as a fourth champion.
A Very Different Kind of Role
Just before the cast began filming “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” Daniel Radcliffe had the chance to star in a play called “Equus.” It’s not the kind of thing you take a young Potter-loving kid to see. It’s a lot more adult than anything that happens in the Harry Potter stories.
This is why we’re a little surprised to see the play get a shout-out during the seventh of eight movies from the series. During the battle against the Death Eaters in the cafe, a poster for the play can be spotted on the wall behind Hermione. A small background detail but a fun one.
A Tricky Deflection
Since the very first book, the debate has raged about how much Snape still followed the whims of his old master Voldemort and how much he was on Dumbledore’s side. The final book mostly put the debate to rest, but there is still plenty of chatter. However, one slick moment in the final movie gives us a hint that he was always on the side of good.
While Snape is dueling McGonagall during the Battle of Hogwarts, he just so happens to deflect one of her spells at his fellow death eaters, dealing damage to them while keeping himself safe. Slick, Severus.
What Love Smells Like
In “Half-Blood Prince,” the characters get to experience a love potion, which smells differently to different people. Hermione describes how it smells to her. In the book, she talks about a few things, but we get a little more in the movie version of the scene.
She’s describing what she smells, and the fumes from the potion are changing color. Green for freshly-mown grass, blue for toothpaste, etc. She pauses when the fumes turn orange – which is, coincidentally, the color of Ron’s hair. The book version has her talking about things related to Ron, but it’s a lot harder to tell what she’s thinking.
Technically, He Didn’t Try
Every fan of this long-running series can tell you there are tons of details that you can trace back to the very beginning like Harry had to put his mouth on the first Golden Snitch he caught to get the final Deathly Hallow. How about when Dobby tries to save Harry’s life in the second film, and Harry responds with a tired “Never try to save my life again”?
Dobby is clearly a house elf that has his own way of doing things, though. Also, from then on, he never “tries” to save Harry – he just does. Successfully. Yoda, we think, would appreciate the distinction.
An Impossible Question
Snape makes it clear from the very start that he isn’t a fan of Harry as soon as the first class starts. He immediately hit Harry with a tough potion question: what do you get if you add the powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood? Harry, of course, doesn’t know, but this question is more than just a mean gotcha.
The Victorian flower code says that the asphodel is actually a lily, and wormwood has themes of lingering mourning. All this to say that Snape still mourned for his lost Lily, who just so happens to be Harry’s mother. No wonder he wanted to take it out on Harry.
Ron Always Notices
The romance between Ron and Hermione took a lot of people by surprise since many expected Hermione to end up with Harry. Their relationship grows and matures as time goes on. One of the first hints we get that there’s something between the characters is in the third movie, which has Hermione using a time-turner to take extra classes.
She’s constantly appearing and disappearing, but the only character who seems to notice or care is Ron. Maybe he was paying a little more attention to where she was. It’s subtle, and without the romantic relationship, it would still make sense, but it means more knowing they get together.
A Born Seeker
From his very first year at Hogwarts, Harry proves that he has what it takes to become a big part of Quidditch. This magical sport gives us some of the best moments in the books, and Harry’s job is the most important: the seeker, who ends the game and provides his team with a lot of points.
While team captain Oliver Wood is telling Harry about the game, he releases the Golden Snitch, the item to catch, and immediately loses sight of it. Not Harry, however. He’s following the path of the Snitch perfectly, showing that he has what it takes to be a seeker.
Similar Fighting Styles
Throughout the entirety of the Harry Potter series, Harry regularly uses the Expelliarmus charm to get his opponents to drop their wands, making the fight that much easier. In fact, he uses it so much that he gets called out on it by friends, urging him to switch up the spells he uses to stop being so predictable.
However, it turns out that even cool, competent seventh-year Cedric Diggory uses the simple spell as his go-to. Victor Krum, who has been bewitched, attacks Cedric and Harry, and then Cedric hits him with Expelliarmus. It’s too bad Cedric couldn’t help in the battle at Hogwarts.
Yeah, But What About the Students?
If you watch the credits of movies that include animals, you’ll see a small notice that says no animals were harmed during the making of the film. This is absolutely needed, as the film industry was...quite cruel to animals back before some rules were set in place.
Well, you’ll be happy to know that this is the same in the “Harry Potter” movies – even if the animals are mythological. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” has battles involving dragons, and the credits let you know that none of them were harmed while making the movie. No word on the people that had to go up against them.
Colliding With the Invisible
Thestrals make an “appearance” for the first time in the fifth movie – invisible skeletal horses that you can only see if you’ve witnessed a death. Harry is able to see them due to witnessing Cedric Diggory die at the end of the prior year.
Hagrid introduces his class to these creatures, which have been pulling the carriages for Hogwarts since the beginning. If you watch the scene of the main three leaving carefully, you’ll notice a girl dressed in white recoiling from an unknown force – indicating she bumped into one of the Thestrals since she couldn’t see it.
Saying Hi to Their Favorite Animal
Long before we get to know the ins and outs of the wizarding world, Harry and his muggle family go to the reptile house for Dudley’s birthday. There, Harry has a strange brush with a snake that he accidentally lets free (while also locking his cousin in the glass case), but there’s an interesting sight.
A group of school-age children, all wearing green, are seen departing from the reptile house as an establishing shot. It’s likely this was just a bit of set dressing, but could these have been Hogwarts students from Slytherin going to see the animals that their house founder adored so much?
An Allergy to Critical Details
One of the more famous elements of Harry Potter’s appearance is his green eyes. Sure, they take a backseat to his floppy black hair and lightning bolt scar, but they’re brought up a number of times. However, in the movies, Potter’s eyes are a more common blue, and the green eye element is dropped entirely.
The plan was to have Daniel Radcliffe wear colored contacts to make his blue peepers green, but he started suffering an allergic reaction to them. A decision was made to drop the element from the movie series so that Radcliffe wouldn’t have to go through agony or ruin his look. We’re sure he’s grateful.
Spotted on the Map
The follow-up trilogy to the Harry Potter movies, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” introduced us to a few fun characters such as Newt Scamander... but did you know you can see that name in one of the Harry Potter movies? It’s all the way back in the third film, which introduces the Marauder’s Map – a magical device able to show you everything in the entire school.
Newt Scamander is spotted during one of the uses. It’s unknown what he was doing in the school at that time, but it didn’t seem to have any effect on Harry’s story.
Nothing Like a Bit of Chess
Wizard’s chess is way cooler than normal chess, but it’s really just normal chess in terms of essence and rules. Ron is quite good at it, too. Harry loves learning all that he can about the new world that he finds himself in, and he loves watching the chessmen wrestle, even as he’s losing.
Of course, this foreshadows (or, more accurately, sets up the stakes) the giant wizard’s chess game during the final section of the movie. Ron has to take the reins and help Harry get across. It proves dangerous for him, but he’s all right in the end.
Just Like the Flag
A few different directors have applied their trade to the Harry Potter movies, starting with Chris Columbus. There’s also David Yates, but what about Alfonso Cuarón? He directed “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and he was able to slip in a small detail from his home country of Mexico.
At one point, the three main kids head to a snowy village to help figure out some mysteries that had been plaguing them. While there, we get to see a statue of an eagle with a snake in its mouth. Such a design just so happens to be on the Mexican flag
Like Father, Unlike Son
Draco Malfoy is against Harry from the very moment the two lay eyes on each other, and he ends up being one of the more dangerous foes Harry faces, even if he eventually does turn his heel on Voldemort at the last minute.
His father was a death eater until the last minute, but Draco turns out to be on the side of good in the long run – we see him saying goodbye to his son with his wife in the final scene of the movie. Like his father, he’s nattily dressed, but everything else is a lot different. The woman that played Draco’s wife was Tom Felton’s girlfriend at the time, stunt assistant Jade Olivia Gordon.
Not Always Wearing the Robes
While you might think that the students of Hogwarts were always wearing dashing, flowing robes, that’s not always the case. There are plenty of scenes that have the main characters dressed down in sweaters while they’re off hours. One scene from “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” places Harry in the role of teaching his fellow students some tricks to fend off the bad guys.
While running some of these lessons, he wears something a little different. It’s an unbuttoned cardigan, just like Professor Lupin wore. This was Daniel Radcliffe’s idea – there’s nothing like a smart cardigan to catch Cho Chang’s eye.
The Two Bills
Bill Weasley, the eldest of the Weasley children, makes a couple of appearances in the movies, but he’s played by two different actors. The first time he’s visible is in a picture of the entire Weasley family during their trip to Egypt. In the picture, Bill is played by actor Richard Fish.
Bonus fact: that picture is the only time in the entire series when Charlie Weasley is visible. The final films give more time to Bill, but he’s played by a different actor: Domhnall Gleeson, who has made something of a name for himself when it comes to the roles he’s played.
Clothes Showing Their Age
Getting a new set of clothes for school is a tradition as old as school. Harry Potter, newly inducted into the wizarding world and ready to learn about spells and potions and stuff, has some fresh duds for his first year. So does Hermione, the only child of well-to-do parents. Ron, however, has to make do with the robes that his older siblings wore.
He has six older brothers, ranging from stuck-up Percy to the goofy twins Fred and George, and the clothes he wears certainly look like they’ve been worn by six others. But of course, Ginny gets new clothes since she’s a girl. Ron got all the bad luck.
A Helpful Glow
In the second movie, Harry is transported into the world of Tom Marvolo Riddle – revealed at the end to be Voldemort – thanks to a magical journal. While it’s all too likely that it could have actually taken him into the scenes on the pages, that’s not exactly the case.
There’s a candle burning next to Harry as he reads in the Gryffindor common room, and while he’s watching Riddle walk about Hogwarts, the glow is still on him, despite the rest of the scene in muted, almost black-and-white coloring. This lets us know that Harry is just reading the events on the page, not using magical means to travel through history.
Seeing a Relation
At the end of the final book, Bill Weasley is attacked by the evil werewolf Fenrir Greyback (talk about a werewolf name), hurting him badly and marring his appearance. The book says that he gets a somewhat Mad-Eye Moody look, with scars and chunks missing.
This becomes a little more poignant in the movie series, as Bill is played during his on-screen appearances by Domhnall Gleeson, an Irish actor who has a father named Brendan Gleeson. If you are a fan of who plays who, you’ll know that the elder Gleeson plays Mad-Eye Moody. No wonder there was a similarity.
A Clock that Presumes the Worst
In “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” we get to see the entire Weasley family in all their red-haired glory. Their wonderful messy home becomes a place for Harry to escape from his hated blood family. Harry – and the audience – finally get to see what a real wizard family looks like while they’re at home.
One of the fun magical pieces is the clock that doesn’t show when: it shows where. Places like home, work, school, and the dentist. Even wizards have to deal with it. This has a couple of odd additions, such as “lost.” There’s also, most likely because of Fred and George, an option for “Prison.”
Details of the Crimes
The follow-up trilogy of movies set in the past of the Potterverse lets us finally learn about Grindelwald, the dark lord that was in control before Voldemort, and who this enigmatic figure really was. Everybody was excited to find out, but viewers of the movie might have missed details on the title screen of the movie.
Certain letters of the title have been replaced with shimmering symbols. The symbols correspond to the three parts of the Deathly Hallows – the wand, the stone, and the cloak. The only one that is hard to make out is the capital g, which doesn’t look much like a stone.
Back in Her Glory Days
Thanks to a series of strange events, Harry gets drafted into the Gryffindor quidditch team, playing the all-important role of seeker. It’s Professor McGonagall who catches him doing this, and at first, he thinks he’s in trouble, but then she introduces him to the team captain. How did she know that Harry would be so good in the role?
Well, a split-second detail in one of the films shows that Minerva McGonagall was also a player back during her student days. We’re not sure which position she played. The movie doesn’t tell us, anyway. We’re sure that someone has figured it out and put it on the Harry Potter fandom Wiki.
The Real Reason for the Pain
Harry’s scar, given to him when Voldemort tried to kill him, causes him no small amount of pain and suffering by the end of the series. It starts immediately in the first movie, which has it hurting while looking at Snape. Snape is talking to Professor Quirrel, but all signs point to Snape as being the bad guy (we’re sure that stops eventually).
Of course, the real reason for Harry’s scar hurting is Quirrell – or, more accurately, the evil Voldemort face that is writhing and squirming on the back of his head. Quirrell’s back is turned to Harry, which means Harry is looking directly at his arch-foe and doesn’t even know it.
Showing Us Some Real Magic
There’s plenty of movie magic throughout the Harry Potter films, but did you know there’s an instance of someone performing “real” magic? This would be something like sleight of hand or legerdemain – misdirection, slick hand skills, and the like. Penn and Teller stuff, not Dumbledore.
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” lets us see into the Leaky Cauldron, where a bartender makes a show of making a bottle disappear. He covers it with a towel and then slams his hand through it. While doing it with a bottle will take some practice, this is a fairly simple trick you can do with a salt shaker or a small glass.
Watch Out for Beaks!
We can’t think of a single movie that does not use something another movie came up with, and the first Harry Potter film is no exception. Before Harry knows his true destiny, he and his family are flooded with a bunch of letters telling him of his acceptance into Hogwarts.
They stuff the mailbox, fly through the windows, and more, but the last straw for Vernon Dursley is when they come firing out the fireplace. It’s eerily reminiscent of a scene from the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “The Birds,” in which birds come spilling down a fireplace in almost exactly the same way.
Stopped in the Nick of Time
Dobby the Elf was an unexpected addition to the story of Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, but it ended with Dobby’s freedom and a Malfoy getting mad – both good things. As Harry tricks Lucius into freeing his house elf, it seems as if Harry has won until Lucius whips out his wand and raises it over his head.
Dobby stops the wizard before he’s able to do anything, but it’s clear he’s about to cast the killing curse Avadra Kedavra. How Lucius could think to hit young Potter with such a spell is hard to imagine, but remember, this guy was part of Voldy’s gang.
Shifting the Title Sequence
The beginning of the Harry Potter movies starts out like the books. They’re fun, they’re whimsical, and they have the amount of danger that young kids would want to see in their books. As the movies progress, however, they get much more dire and scary. One of the ways the movies show that change is by using the Warner Brothers logo at the start.
The first movie is colorful and bright, but “Goblet of Fire” it’s shadowy and silver, representing the constantly-growing threat of Voldemort that would be realized in full at the end of the film. It only gets darker from there.
Even Bad Men Get Awards
At the same time we see that James Potter and Minerva McGonagall have awards for their quidditch abilities, we also see a plaque talking about a specific student and his service to the school. That student is Tom Marvolo Riddle, whom everyone now knows as You Know Who.
It’s a small detail that could easily go overlooked, but it’s a critical piece of the story in the second book, as that’s how Ron makes a connection between the journal and a couple of other events. Ron knew about it because he had to polish the plaque over and over since he was vomiting up slugs.
Changing the Final Words
There are tons of differences between the book series and the film series – characters are removed, scenes are added, and lines are changed. Even Snape’s final line was changed between the two. As he is dying in Harry’s arms in the book, he whispers, “Look at me.”
It’s understood that this is to get to see the green eyes of his beloved Lily one last time. In the movie, he’s a little more direct about it, telling Harry that he “has his mother’s eyes.” Snape’s relationship with Harry has always been complicated, and it’s a complicated end, to boot.
Wave Your Wand and Get Rid of Braces
So, the wonderful Weasley house has a very specific clock that shows where people are, not what time it is. Sounds right, handy, that. However, there’s something that doesn’t make a lot of sense starting in the sixth movie. A little cross-referencing and you'll see it.
The clock shows that one of the possible locations is the dentist’s office, but Professor Slughorn is confused as to what dentists even do. He at first thinks it’s a dangerous profession. So...why is that an option on the clock? Do only some wizards and witches go to the dentist? Are the spells complicated? We couldn’t tell you.
A Timeline Mishap
It’s not immediately apparent since the Harry Potter world has a certain timeless feel, but they take place in the past. Not the distant past, but back in the nineties. No cell phones, the internet wasn’t anywhere near as widespread, and older cars, styles of clothing, etc. Of course, most of that stuff can’t even get near Hogwarts, but still.
In the sixth movie, however, a little temporal wrinkle is hard to miss. Death eaters attack the Millennium Bridge in London in a frightening scene. However, at the time the scene takes place – likely the summer of 1996 – the bridge hadn’t been built yet. The famous landmark opened on June tenth, 2000.
A Young Dark Lord’s Favorite Cave
In Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts, he finally gets Professor Dumbledore to let him know some of the secrets that he’d been hiding for so long. This is mainly the idea of the Horcruxes and how Voldemort used them to stay alive, even when he shouldn’t have been able to exist.
He takes Harry on a journey to find one of them, a locket that...isn’t even a Horcrux. Unfortunately. THAT Horcrux was already destroyed. In addition, during one of their trips into the memory of Tom Riddle, Harry and Dumbledore, and the viewers, are able to see a picture of the cave where that fake Horcrux is found.
Numbers on His Neck
If you have an eagle eye, you can pick out a small tattoo on the side of Lucius Malfoy’s neck. While we know very little about this evil character, it’s clear that the tattoo is a prison tattoo from the prison of Azkaban, home to dementors and all sorts of unkind people.
The fact that Lucius was able to survive his stint in the prison is a bit incredible since it’s been known to make even the strongest-willed person go mad. One of the numbers we can see is seven, which is something that pops up in the series a lot.
The Meaning of the Runes
The Mirror of Erised is a critical part of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” but what does it actually mean? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out Erised spells Desire backward. How about all those symbols that ring the outside of the mirror?
Well, if you were to hold another mirror up to it, you would see the truth: “I show not your face but your heart’s desire.” You’d also get one of those cool mirror tunnels that go on forever. As another tidbit, the room the mirror is stored in, the room of requirement, is later used by the gang to host their DA classes.
The Wand of a Glory Hound
Professor Slughorn joins the cast in the sixth year, becoming the new professor of potions, while Snape becomes the teacher for defense against the dark arts. We all know that a wand chooses its user, meaning that people and their wands will have similar details.
This is true even for a character that is only in one movie – Slughorn’s wand is long and somewhat unnatural. It catches the eye. Professor Slughorn is a man that desires fame, popularity, and greatness all around him, so no wonder his wand would be so noticeable. It’s not a good detail for Slughorn, but it’s still something that builds his character.
A Number with Undeniable Power
The number seven shows up all over the place in the Harry Potter movies – the number of Horcruxes, the number of years, Harry’s number on the quidditch team, etc., etc. The most important of those occurrences are the seven Horcruxes that Voldemort splits his soul into in order to stay alive no matter what.
It’s possible that moldy old Voldy was planning this split long before he ever had the power to do so. There are some scenes that have Dumbledore visiting young Tom Riddle in the orphanage before the latter joins Hogwarts, and there are seven stones lying on the windowsill. Symbolism? Or a hint that Riddle was always planning?
Even the Wizarding World Loves It
The fourth year of Harry’s schooling introduced a few other schools from around the world, such as Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Durmstrang. The lovely ladies of Beauxbaton wowed the rest of their students with their grace and beauty, though they didn’t spend a lot of time fraternizing.
They seem to be set apart...but then we see them dancing the Macarena at the Triwizard Tournament. It seems a little out-of-place, but remember that the series takes place in the past – this scene would have taken place at some point in 1994 when the dance craze was sweeping the world.
Lucky Number Seven
Fans of the movies that have watched and re-watched might have noticed that a specific number seems to crop up a lot. The number seven is seen all over the series: There are seven snake heads on the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, there are seven locks on the box that was holding the real Mad-Eye Moody, there are seven books and seven years, and there are seven Horcruxes.
Harry’s number on the quidditch team is seven, as well. The Weasleys have seven children, and on and on and on. Keep your eyes and ears open, and you’ll probably see it all over the place.
Expanding His Mind
Just like how so many of us love to read about the wizarding world, characters from the Harry Potter universe can sometimes find our world fascinating. That’s leaving aside Arthur Weasley, who finds muggles a little TOO fascinating. In “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” Harry and his friends head to the Leaky Cauldron, where we can see a wizard reading a little from the best the muggle world has created, Stephen Hawking.
The movie has to do with time travel, so it could be a little foreshadowing. Or, maybe this is a sly hint that Stephen Hawking accomplished great things not just because of his noodle – maybe he had some magical help, too. That would be a twist, especially since he’s so well-known in the muggle world.
A Dangerous Nostalgia Trip
Come to the end of the final “Harry Potter” movie; we watched as the main characters fought their way through one battle after another in a mad dash to destroy the Horcruxes and end Voldemort once and for all. Even if you were paying close attention, you might not have noticed that the party had to battle against six interesting challenges which closely mirror the things they went through in their other years at Hogwarts.
They encounter a troll in the courtyard, like the one they fought in the bathroom during their first year, followed by a collection of Aragog’s offspring from the second year. Each year gets a spotlight, and some more than one.
The Meaning Behind a Name
Severus Snape has such a severe name. It is perfect for a character that spends all his time on the screen berating one student or another. Like he just can’t wait to cut you down to size. Well, Rowling loves a name that means something, and Snape's name is no exception.
The word Severus translates to strict or stern in Latin, while his last name is likely based on the Old Norse word "sneypa," which means to outrage, disgrace, or dishonor. Perfect for a crafty double agent. In addition, his last name is tied to families in certain parts of England.
Why Snape Taught Potions
Fans who have read the books would know that Snape was always angling for the spot of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, but he could never get it. Instead, he resigned himself to teaching potions, the magical version of chemistry class. You know, kind of.
The reason Rowling had this mean character teach potions was that chemistry was her least-favorite subject in high school. She used her bad memories of working with chemicals to create a classic character that ends up being one of the biggest heroes in the story – even if he is still an unfriendly professor.
Hello, Yes, This Is Magic
At the start of the fifth book and movie, Harry is forced to stand trial for crimes he committed defending himself and his cousin Dudley from dementors. To do so, he has to enter the Ministry of Magic, and to get there, he and Arthur Weasley use an unusual phone booth.
Once they’re crammed into the phone booth, Weasley punches in a few numbers: 6, 2, 4, 4, 2. It isn’t immediately apparent in our current day and age, but if you used a standard dial phone, you’d know those numbers correspond to the letters m, a, g, i, and c.
We Remember What He’s Forgotten
Neville Longbottom is introduced as a young wizard of Harry’s age that would forget his head if it wasn’t attached to his neck. While he grows up to become a gifted, shockingly handsome wizard, he starts out as a bit of a bother. In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Neville gets a remembrance, which turns red when you’ve forgotten something.
The problem is, he doesn’t know what he’s forgotten. If you look closely, however, you can figure it out. All the other students at breakfast are wearing robes, while Neville is only in his jumper. You’re going to catch a cold going about like that, Neville!
Passage of Time Via Hair Growth
The final two movies in the “Harry Potter” series have the three main cast members running through the English countryside, trying to stay ahead of the Death Eaters and hunting down the Horcruxes. This takes a better part of a year to accomplish, but it can be hard to tell while watching a couple of movies.
The filmmakers had a clever trick up their sleeves to show the passage of time without being too bold about it. They had Emma Watson’s hair grow out as the scenes went on, showing that more and more time had passed from her wedding outfit at the start.
A Loving Mother’s Worst Nightmare
Boggarts are deadly creatures that will show up as your worst nightmare if you face them alone. They’ll crush you with sadness and drain your life until you’re unable to fight back, and they’re encountered a number of times in the series. One of them goes up against Molly Weasley, and it shows her images of her dead family.
Being such a loving mother, it makes sense. However, it also changes into a dead Harry, showing us that Molly has come to love Harry like one of her own children. For someone who had been hated and ignored by his own family for eleven years, it means a lot to Harry.
Looking for a Lost Brother
As the series progresses, it gets more and more dangerous for the characters. When Cedric Diggory dies at the end of the fourth book, it’s a noticeable switch to more dire circumstances and outcomes. The end of the seventh book has a number of characters who fall in the Battle of Hogwarts, including Fred Weasley.
His twin, George, survives and, at one point, forgets that his brother has fallen when he tries to crack a joke. He looks for Fred, doesn’t find him, and gets a crushing look on his face. It is exactly what would happen in real life.
You Can’t Keep a Writer Down
Gilderoy Lockhart becomes a victim of his own spell at the end of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” when he obliterates his own memory – something he had done to dozens of others in order to steal their stories for his books.
He’s sent to St. Mungo’s, a hospital for those recovering from magical maladies, and we’d love to know how Saint Mungo got canonized, but that’s not the point here. While he was in St. Mungo’s, Lockhart was actually able to get a book published, as shown in a post-credits scene from the same movie he appears in. Publisher contracts can be a bear sometimes.
Something Simple to Start the Day
Breakfast might not be the most important meal of the day (you don’t even have to eat it if you don’t want to), but a lot of people use it to start things right. Hogwarts provides plenty of eggs, bacon, pancakes, and other tasty foods, but what if you just want something simple to remind you of home?
There are a few scenes showing us breakfast at Hogwarts, and if you look closely, you can spot boxes of cereal sitting out. They’re called “Cheeri-Owls,” and we wonder if General Mills makes those, too. There are some other boxes visible, but they’re too small to make out.
Classic British Names
The lovable Weasleys, with seven kids and an amazing big home, and plenty of love for the sometimes-unloved Harry, are a huge part of the Harry Potter series. But where did their names come from? J.K. Rowling is clearly a fan of the classics, and a number of them derive from the myth of King Arthur’s round table.
Arthur Weasley is the head of the family, of course, but there’s also Ginny, the real name Ginevra, the Italian version of Guinevere, who was King Arthur’s wife. In addition, Percy is short for Percival, one of the knights of the round table. Many of the other names are everyday fare, however.
Lighter Shades as He Fades
There are a ton of Easter Eggs for eagle-eyed fans in the movies, but some of them take a different sort of mind to catch. If you watch the movies, you might start to notice that Voldemort’s robes are taking on lighter and lighter shades. Is he trying to expand his wardrobe?
We can’t be sure, but it seems a lot like the filmmakers were trying to show the dark lord as the character is starting to fade. He’s used Horcruxes to split his soul, and those Horcruxes are being destroyed, resulting in lighter and lighter shades as he is slowly being destroyed. This subtle wardrobe shift could indicate that.
Working in Two Houses
The Sorting Hat element of Hogwarts is one of the most fun, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense after thinking about it. It’s a big part of Hogwart's life, but even the hat isn’t perfect. Snape, one of the most memorable characters of the series, is a dyed-in-the-wool Slytherin...or is he?
He must be since he’s the head of Slytherin House, but what if he became a secret Gryffindor in the meantime? There are often Gryffindor scarves hanging around his class and office. This could also be a rewatch bonus for those that know he’s a true hero once everything is said and done.
It’s All in the Feet
Professor Slughorn is yet another new professor for the students of Hogwarts, but he takes a little bit of urging to join the team. He’s not so willing to go back to being a professor for a couple of reasons, and it takes a visit from Dumbledore himself to finally get him to say yes.
One of the ways he hides from Dumbledore before revealing himself is, of all things, disguising himself as an easy chair. It’s a bold move, and we respect it. However, it’s possible to tell before the reveal that Slughorn is masquerading as furniture due to his feet at the bottom, which he didn’t exactly get right.
We Can’t Really Blame Him
Professor Slughorn is a lot of things. A glory hound, someone who likes the best of everything, and a potions expert. He’s also rather cowardly. As he and the other professors from Hogwarts are getting ready to join the battle at the end of the final movie, he’s seen taking a swig from a bottle that contains an unknown substance.
A little bit of liquid courage? Perhaps. Seeing as how he’s a potion expert, perhaps he cooked up some Felix Felicis, also known as liquid luck. It’s not out of character, and it would give him a big boost for the battle.
Soon after Harry meets his new big friend Hagrid, he gets a pretty quick introduction into the world of magic. One of his first glimpses of how the world is far, far more different than what he imagined is when he and Hagrid are entering the Leaky Cauldron in order to get to Diagon Alley.
As they approach the storefront, it looks like a dirty, disgusting, tiny little place with a dim sign and greasy windows. As they draw near, the sign starts to glow brighter and brighter, as if detecting their magical power. From there, it just gets better and better, from wands and magical banks to Hogwarts itself.
Sprucing Up the Hand-Me-Downs
Everybody might know that the Weasleys, flush with children as they are, have to make do with hand-me-downs and scrimping and saving wherever they can, but Ron wasn’t the only character to use cast-off clothes during the movies. Harry lives with his aunt and uncle, and cousin, and they barely remember he was there except to attack him.
He wears his cousin Dudley's old duds, and you can even see Aunt Petunia dying them in one scene. For some reason. However, this was less because of money issues and more because they just didn’t care about Harry. They really, really didn’t care about Harry.
Taking It Easy
What happens when young witches or wizards go to Hogwarts? Well, they learn how to cast spells, for one! Every book or movie has plenty of spells being thrown around, but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that a certain someone never casts a single spell during the first movie. It’s Harry himself!
Ron and Hermione cast plenty – the former has been in magic all his life, and the latter is nearly a savant – but Harry never does. Lots of other characters do, as well. The closest Harry gets is waving his wand around while inside Olivander’s wand shop, but we hardly think that counts. He was saving his power for later films.