Early Drafts and Other Ideas

Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s/Sorcerer‘s Stone
  • Draco’s last name was originally Spungen.
  • Hermione’s original surname was Puckle, but it didn’t suit her.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • In the original draft of Chamber of Secrets, the Ford Anglia crashed into the Black Lake instead of the Whomping Willow, and Harry and Ron met the merpeople who live there.
  • Gilderoy Lockhart is the only character that J.K. Rowling has consciously modeled after someone she has met. Gilderoy Lockhart is not based upon Rowling’s first husband.
  • This ballad originally appeared in the Chamber of Secrets manuscript. It was cut in the editing process but appeared on J.K. Rowling’s official website. In 1992, in around his five-hundredth Deathday, the ghost of Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington authored a ballad titled “The Ballad of Nearly Headless Nick” explaining why he was sentenced to beheading and how his head had (nearly) come off in a botched execution:

    It was a mistake any wizard could make,
    Who was tired and caught on the hop,
    One piffling error, and then, to my terror,
    I found myself facing the chop.
    Alas for the eve when I met Lady Grieve,
    A-strolling the park in the dusk!
    She was of the belief I could straighten her teeth,
    Next moment she’d sprouted a tusk.
    I cried through the night that I’d soon put her right,
    But the process of justice was lax;
    They’d brought out the block, though they’d mislaid the rock,
    Where they usually sharpened the axe.
    Next morning at dawn, with a face most forlorn,
    The priest said to try not to cry,
    “You can come just like that; no, you won’t need a hat,”
    And I knew that my end must be nigh.
    The man in the mask who would have the sad task,
    Of cleaving my head from my neck,
    Said “Nick, if you please, will you get to your knees,”
    And I turned to a gibbering wreck.
    “This may sting a bit,” said the cack-handed twit,
    As he swung the axe up in the air,
    But oh the blunt blade! No difference it made,
    My head was still definitely there.
    The axeman he hacked and he whacked and he thwacked,
    “Won’t be too long,” he assured me,
    But quick it was not, and the bone-headed clot,
    Took forty-five goes ’til he floored me.
    And so I was dead, but my faithful old head,
    It never saw fit to desert me,
    It still lingers on, that’s the end of my song,
    And now, please applaud, or you’ll hurt me.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • When Rowling was planning Prisoner of Azkaban, Arithmancy Professor Vector’s first name was given as Septima, but Rowling also considered Pi and Digit.
  • There was originally a professor named Mopsus who taught Divination.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • The Irish Quidditch players are named after people Rowling has known.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • The Order of the Phoenix was originally the name of the student group Hermione and Harry started, not Dumbledore’s Army. Dumbledore’s Army was originally the name of the adults-only Death Eater resistance group, not The Order of the Phoenix.
  • Two names were also considered for the DADA professor in Book 5: Mylor Silvanus and Oakden Hobday (not Umbridge).
  • Umbridge’s first name was originally Elvira, not Dolores.
  • Grawp was originally Hagrid’s cousin.
  • In an early draft of Order of the Phoenix, the person visiting Bode at St. Mungo’s on Christmas Eve was the Death Eater Macnair.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Other
  • West Ham is the only soccer club ever mentioned in the books; this is in honor of one her oldest friends, who supports them.
  • In this image of Rowling’s plans for characters, it shows that Professor Sinistra’s name was Aurelia (later referred to as Aurora) and Professor Binns was given the name Cuthbert. This was also the first time we saw Pomona Sprout’s first name. Peter Pettigrew was planned to be DADA professor in Book 4, and his name was originally Erid Pettigrew. Erid Pettigrew was also listed as possibly teaching Divination. Sinistra was listed as a possible DADA professor, and Oakden Hernshaw was listed at the DADA professor for Book 5.