Wax on, Wax off This “Harry Potter” Misconception

Close your eyes and imagine a scenario with me (actually, don’t close your eyes; you’re reading an article). Close your inner eye. You’re 11 years old and you’ve received a long-awaited Hogwarts letter! Incredibly excited, hands shaking, you turn the heavy envelope over.



The wax seal is red, right?


In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the wax seal is purple, not the iconic red from the film. The visual impact of the films has invaded the minds of the purest Potter fans. I have read the series so many times I’ve lost count, and yet my mind chose to ignore the word “purple” in Sorcerer’s Stone. It took me reading the passage in a different language to finally see the word “purple” (possibly because it was one of the few words I was excited to recognize). As a true Hermione fan, I ran to the English version for confirmation.

Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake surrounding a large letter H” (SS 25).



After this discovery, I asked 25 people (most of whom are huge Harry Potter fans) what color the wax seal was. All but one said that the seal was red, and no one said purple. How did we all forget? I suspect Nargles are behind it. The powerful imagery in the films has influenced dedicated fans, whether we like it or not.

Purple wax is much more magical to me than red. Purple is the most prominent color worn by wizards in Sorcerer’s Stone. Albus Dumbledore, Dedalus Diggle, Quirinus Quirrell, and the wizards that Vernon Dursley complains about are all adorned in purple. Throughout the series, purple is a dominant color, from the Knight Bus to wand sparks. Purple is also the color, along with green, that wizards use in the Muggle community to reveal themselves to each other.  It’s a neutral color that represents the wizarding community at large. The original seal color eliminates the implication that Gryffindor is the “best” or most prominent House. Let’s bring back the purple!

We all complain about the differences between the books and the films, but we also forget some details from the books due to the visual impact of the movies. We all seem to have accepted the Hogwarts robes worn in the films. House ties were certainly not an accessory in the books. Hats were worn fleetingly in the first film and forgotten in the rest. Even Ravenclaw’s mascot was changed from an eagle to a raven (okay, maybe that change made a little more sense). Of course, changes must be made in film adaptations, but it’s up to the fans to decide what they want in their fandom life. I like the idea that Potter can still surprise me after all this time. But seriously, let’s bring back the purple.



What color did you think the Hogwarts seal was? Were you surprised? Let us know in the comments!


Mikaela Martin

In the muggle world, I’m a high school English teacher and a passionate advocate of the positive force that is the Harry Potter series. I aspire to expose the next generation to the wizarding world and the wonders of literature; I truly believe the magic of Potter is a form of transfiguration–changing hearts, minds, and perspectives. But that information is old hat, of course, for us old DA lags.