Ten Easter Eggs in the “Harry Potter” Books That You May Have Missed
The Harry Potter series is filled with many moments of foreshadowing, from Slytherin’s locket appearing in Chapter 6 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to Voldemort saying “May your loyalty never waver again, Wormtail” (GoF, ch. 33) to the centaurs predicting Harry dying in the Forbidden Forest by the end of the series in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. J.K. Rowling’s use of ring composition naturally lends itself to the books paralleling each other.
We all love rereading the Harry Potter books to find the Easter eggs that we missed on previous reads and on many occasions, are blown away by the ingenuity of Rowling’s writing. However, some Easter eggs, like the one Molly gave Hermione when she seemed to believe Rita Skeeter’s Witch Weekly article about her, are smaller than others.
Here are ten Easter eggs from the Harry Potter books that you may have missed.
1. James Potter and Transfiguration
When Harry first meets Mr. Ollivander in Chapter 5 of Sorcerer’s Stone, the wandmaker informs him that he remembers every wand he’s ever sold and says that he sold his father a wand that was excellent for Transfiguration.
Your father, on the other hand, favored a mahogany wand. Eleven inches. Pliable. A little more power and excellent for transfiguration. Well, I say your father favored it – it’s really the wand that chooses the wizard, of course.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we learn, indirectly, from McGonagall that James was exceptionally talented at Transfiguration.
‘Precisely,’ said Professor McGonagall. ‘Black and Potter. Ringleaders of their little gang. Both very bright, of course – exceptionally bright, in fact – but I don’t think we’ve ever had such a pair of troublemakers.'” (PoA, ch. 10)
Near the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, we learn just how skilled James was at Transfiguration: He became an Animagus in his fifth year at Hogwarts.
Your father and Sirius here were the cleverest students in the school, and lucky they were, because the Animagus transformation can go horribly wrong – one reason the Ministry keeps a close watch on those attempting to do it. Peter needed all the help he could get from James and Sirius. Finally, in our fifth year, they managed it. They could each turn into a different animal at will.” (PoA, ch. 18)
2. Barty Crouch, Jr. and the Eagle Owl
In Chapter 28 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there’s a line about an eagle owl flying toward the owlery.
An eagle owl flew through the coil of smoke rising from Hagrid’s chimney; it soared toward the castle, around the owlery, and out of sight. Looking down, Harry saw Hagrid digging energetically in front of his cabin.
Later, in Chapter 29, Harry has a dream in which he’s flying on the back of an eagle owl delivering the news to Voldemort that Barty Crouch, Jr. had killed his father.
He was riding on the back of an eagle owl, soaring through the clear blue sky toward an old, ivy-covered house set high on a hillside.
Barty Crouch, Jr. had been ready to act on the night he killed his father, transformed him into a bone, and buried him in front of Hagrid’s cabin since he had already known that his father had escaped. The eagle owl in Chapter 28 delivered Voldemort’s message to Barty Crouch, Jr., telling him what had happened.
My master sent me word of my father’s escape. He told me to stop him at all costs. So I waited and watched. I used the map I had taken from Harry Potter. The map that had almost ruined everything.” (GoF, ch. 35)
3. The Locket and the Basilisk
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we are introduced to basilisks and learn about how they’re born.
This snake, which may reach gigantic size and live many hundreds of years, is born from a chicken’s egg, hatched beneath a toad.” (CoS, ch. 16)
From the moment we meet her in Order of the Phoenix, Rowling constantly reminds us of Dolores Umbridge’s toad-like appearance. In Chapter 14 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Slytherin’s locket is described as being “as large as a chicken’s egg.” In the previous chapter, “The Muggle-Born Registration Commission,” the trio had stolen the locket, which Umbridge had been wearing around her neck. Eventually, the locket would be destroyed by the sword of Godric Gryffindor – the very same sword that destroyed the Basilisk in Chamber of Secrets.
4. Snape the Double Agent
At the beginning of Goblet of Fire, before Frank Bryce meets his demise, Voldemort implies that he is skilled at Legilimency, a concept not introduced until Order of the Phoenix.
‘You have no wife,’ said the cold voice, very quietly. ‘Nobody knows you are here. You told nobody that you were coming. Do not lie to Lord Voldemort, Muggle, for he knows… he always knows…'” (GoF, ch. 1)
When we learn about Legilimency and Occlumency from Snape in Chapter 24 of Order of the Phoenix, he informs Harry that Voldemort “almost always knows when somebody is lying to him.” Rowling’s use of “almost” is a neat hint toward Snape’s loyalties. Of course, Snape, as a double agent, had lied to Voldemort countless times undetected.
5. Hermione and the Scarab Beetles
In Chapter 27 of Goblet of Fire, while the trio is pondering how Rita Skeeter is getting her scoops in Potions class, they are grinding scarab beetles for their Wit-Sharpening Potions.
‘Don’t be stupid,’ Hermione snapped, starting to pound up her beetles again. ‘No, it’s just… how did she know Viktor asked me to visit him over the summer?'” (GoF, ch. 27)
Hermione, earlier in Chapter 24, had said, “I’ll get her back for this.” According to Harry, the last time he “had seen Hermione in a rage like this, she had hit Draco Malfoy around the face.” It’s interesting that we see Hermione channeling her frustration with Rita Skeeter by crushing beetles when she’s the one who later discovers that Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus.
6. Dumbledore’s Death
At the start-of-term feast in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, before Dumbledore confirms in Chapter 20 that Voldemort had cursed the Defense Against the Dark Arts position, Harry tries to see the positives in Snape becoming the new professor of the class.
‘Well, there’s one good thing,’ he said savagely. ‘Snape’ll be gone by the end of the year.’[…] That job’s jinxed. No one’s lasted more than a year… Quirrell actually died doing it. Personally, I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for another death…'” (HBP, ch. 8).
Both of these events end up happening: Snape was indeed gone by the end of the year, and his departure was death related. However, it was Dumbledore who died.
7. Sirius’s Death
In Order of the Phoenix, Harry has a bad feeling about leaving Grimmauld Place. This turned out to be the last time Harry would see Sirius alive before his appearance and subsequent death in the Department of Mysteries.
He had a bad feeling about this parting; he didn’t know when they would next see each other and he felt it was incumbent upon him to say something to Sirius to stop him doing anything stupid – Harry was worried that Snape’s accusation of cowardice had stung Sirius so badly he might even now be planning some foolhardy trip beyond Grimmauld Place.” (OotP, ch. 24)
Ironically, it was Harry’s own “foolhardy trip” that led to Sirius’s death.
8. Draco’s Stroke of Inspiration
In Chapter 15 of Half-Blood Prince, when Hermione warns Harry that Romilda Vane is “trying to decide how to slip [him] a love potion,” the discussion turns to the fallibility of Hogwarts’ security measures.
‘Yeah, well, never mind that,’ said Harry quickly. ‘The point is, Filch is being fooled, isn’t he? These girls are getting stuff into the school disguised as something else! So why couldn’t Malfoy have brought the necklace into the school – ?’
‘Oh, Harry… not that again…’
‘Come on, why not?’ demanded Harry.
‘Look,’ sighed Hermione, ‘Secrecy Sensors detect jinxes, curses, and concealment charms, don’t they? They’re used to find Dark Magic and Dark objects. They’d have picked up a powerful curse, like the one on that necklace, within seconds. But something that’s just been put in the wrong bottle wouldn’t register – and anyway, love potions aren’t Dark or dangerous -‘
Harry and Hermione stop talking abruptly after hearing “somebody [who] had moved close behind them among the dark bookshelves.” At that moment, Madam Pince appears, informing them that the library is closed and admonishing Harry for his “desecrated” copy of Advanced Potion-Making.
Three chapters later, in “Birthday Surprises,” Ron almost dies after drinking poisoned oak-matured mead intended for Dumbledore. It seems that Malfoy had been eavesdropping on Harry and Hermione’s earlier conversation, which inspired this half-hearted attempt to poison Dumbledore.
9. Hermione’s Time-Turner
Throughout Prisoner of Azkaban, Ron keeps questioning how Hermione could possibly be in multiple classes at the same time. Before the book revealed that Hermione had been time traveling, it provided us with this hint:
‘But – ‘ Ron was turning over the books she had handed him, looking at the covers. ‘You haven’t got any of these subjects today. It’s only Defense Against the Dark Arts this afternoon.’
‘Oh yes,’ said Hermione vaguely, but she packed all the books back into her bag just the same. ‘I hope there’s something good for lunch, I’m starving,’ she added, and she marched off toward the Great Hall.” (PoA, ch. 7)
It’s strange that Hermione would be hungry, especially when they’ve only had one class. The chapter opens by informing us that it’s “late on Thursday morning,” and that they “were halfway through double Potions.” Since this was most likely their first class of the day, they had presumably already eaten breakfast. In retrospect, we know that Hermione was starving because she had been attending multiple classes and it had been hours since breakfast.
There’s a line in Chapter 29, “Career Advice,” of Order of the Phoenix that alludes to Ron and Hermione’s future marriage.
‘What do you think about this?’ Hermione demanded of Ron, and Harry was reminded irresistibly of Mrs. Weasley appealing to her husband during Harry’s first dinner in Grimmauld Place.
What are your favorite Easter eggs or moments of foreshadowing in Harry Potter? Please leave your comments below, and in the meantime, check out more things you may have missed in the books.