Expanded Wizarding World Details

This is a collection of facts that Rowling has revealed outside of the books, in various interviews and on her website over the years. For a collection of the information revealed on the Pottermore website, visit our Wizarding World Digital page.

  • Hagrid, Lily, and James were in Gryffindor.
  • Arthur Weasley has two brothers.
  • Molly Weasley’s maiden name is Prewett. Gideon and Fabian Prewett were indeed Molly’s brothers. Molly even gives Fabian’s watch to Harry for his 17th birthday. Their deaths do provide some explanation and excuse for some of Mrs. Weasley’s fears and her overprotective stance toward Harry.
  • When Aunt Petunia said Lily turned teacups into rats, she was exaggerating a little, although “just like her son, Lily was not averse to testing the limits of the Statute of Secrecy, so you can safely assume she will have had a few warning letters – nothing too serious, though.”
  • James Potter was a Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team (although the movie claimed he was a Seeker).
  • James Potter inherited the Invisibility Cloak from his father.
  • James Potter inherited lots of money and didn’t need a well-paying profession.
  • Fred and George Weasley were born on April Fools’ day. Fred was born first.
  • Dean Thomas’ father was killed by Death Eaters when he refused to join them. Neither Dean nor his mother knows.
  • Ginny Weasley’s first name is Ginevra, and she is the first female Weasley born for “several generations.”
  • Sirius was “around twenty-two” years old when he was sent to Azkaban.
  • To remove the tail that Hagrid gave Dudley in the hut on the rock, the Dursleys went to a private hospital where the staff were very discreet and said that a wart had gone out of control.
  • The approximate value of a Galleon is about £5 ($7.30 or €8.00), though the exchange rate varies.
  • Dumbledore did not request the school song since Book 1 because he has not felt as “buoyant”; times were getting darker.
  • Mrs. Norris is not an unregistered Animagus, but an intelligent (and unpleasant) cat.
  • Dragons can’t be domesticated, no matter what Hagrid thinks.
  • For Hagrid, keeping dangerous creatures is all about overcoming something that could kill him.
  • The Gringotts goblins return the Muggle money they acquire back into circulation.
  • Colin Creevey’s Muggle camera worked because it was “running off the magical atmosphere,” and his photographs were developed “in the magical potion that causes the figures therein to move.”
  • None of the pure-blood families are actually “pure” – they merely cross Muggles and Squibs off the family tree. The number of families who can claim to be pure is diminishing since they are finding it increasingly difficult to perpetuate themselves.
  • Moaning Myrtle was in Ravenclaw, and her full name is Myrtle Elizabeth Warren.
  • Although many of Salazar Slytherin’s direct descendants knew about and even entered the Chamber of Secrets during their time at Hogwarts, Tom Riddle was the first and only person to use the Basilisk to attack Muggle-borns.
  • You can do unfocused and uncontrolled magic without a wand (like when Harry blows up Aunt Marge), but to perform really good spells, you need a wand.
  • Crookshanks is half Kneazle.
  • Azkaban is in a sea north of the North Sea, a very cold sea.
  • The animal an Animagus turns into is a reflection of his/her personality.
  • Fred and George never noticed Pettigrew on the Marauder’s Map because they didn’t know who he was. Even if they had recognized his name, they would have assumed he was just a student with the same last name. Pettigrew was one of many moving dots on the map, and Fred and George would have only been focused on the path their mischief took that day.
  • When the Marauder’s Map insulted Snape, Prongs was not writing the insult, but it was like he had left a magical recording of his voice in the map.
  • The Hufflepuff common room is in the same corridor as the Hogwarts kitchens and is accessed through a stack of barrels on the right-hand side of the corridor. The barrel in the middle of the second row conceals the entrance, and to enter one must tap the rhythm of “Helga Hufflepuff” on the barrel. The Hufflepuff common room is also the only one with a built-in defense system. Anyone who taps the wrong rhythm or the wrong barrel is immediately doused in vinegar.
  • The Hufflepuff common room has not been entered by outsiders for over a thousand years and is the only common room that Harry Potter does not visit in any of the seven books.
  • Veritaserum is not used in criminal trials because it works best on “the unsuspecting, the vulnerable, and those insufficiently skilled (in one way or another) to protect themselves against it.” Veritaserum is not infallible.
  • Nymphadora Tonks was in Hufflepuff.
  • Theodore Nott was raised by an elderly widower and a Death Eater father. He is a clever loner who does not need to join gangs, including Malfoy’s.
  • Prefects can take points; Ron got it wrong in Order of the Phoenix, which makes him a pretty poor prefect, eh?
  • The happiest people do not become ghosts.
  • JKR sees Neville and Luna as very different people. She says that, although they share a certain isolation within the walls of Hogwarts, this wasn’t enough to foster true love. They may be friends, but “Neville would always find Luna’s wilder flights of fancy alarming.”
  • Muggle education is not required for wizard children prior to attending Hogwarts.
  • A magical quill detects the birth of every magical child and records it in a book, and Professor McGonagall sends an owl to each child when he or she turns 11.
  • Most wizard children are home educated before Hogwarts because they cannot be trusted to keep their magical abilities hidden from Muggle schoolmates.
  • Before the Hogwarts Express, students used Portkeys to get to school (with limited success). It was Ottaline Gambol (Minister of Magic 1827–1835) who decided to use a magically modified Muggle train to transport students to Hogwarts. Obtaining the Hogwarts Express involved 167 Memory Charms and the largest ever mass Concealment Charm performed in Britain. Evangeline Orpington (Minister of Magic 1849–1855) came up with the idea of adding a concealed platform, which would only be accessible to witches and wizards, to the (then) new King’s Cross station.
  • Platform nine and three-quarters isn’t the only fractional platform at King’s Cross station. Platform seven-and-a-half will take you to wizard-only villages throughout Europe, for example, while other platforms may be opened temporarily for transportation to large events.
  • Hogwarts has about a thousand students.
  • If a teacher is head of a Hogwarts House, they were in that House; that goes for ghosts as well.
  • The Hogwarts teachers do not stay at Hogwarts during the Christmas holidays. However, Filch, Hagrid, and Dumbledore do.
  • A few of the Hogwarts professors have spouses.
  • Over the course of the series, Dumbledore is 110–115 years old, McGonagall is 55–62 years old, and Snape is 31–39 years old.
  • Witches and wizards have longer lifespans than Muggles.
  • Wizards can make themselves untraceable, which is why they can’t be found simply by sending and following owls.
  • House-elves are different from wizards; they have their own brand of magic, and the ability to appear and disappear within the castle is necessary to them if they are to go about their work unseen, as house-elves traditionally do.
  • The gems in the Hufflepuff hourglass are diamonds.
  • Anthony Goldstein is Jewish and distantly related to Porpentina and Queenie Goldstein.
  • There is a hand-drawn image of the Weasley family tree:
  • In additional their first child, Victoire, Bill and Fleur had two more children: Dominique, and Louis.
  • Charlie Weasley never married or had children.
  • Percy Weasley married a woman named Audrey and had two children: Molly and Lucy.
  • George Weasley married Angelina Johnson and had two children: Fred and Roxanne.
  • Draco Malfoy married Astoria Greengrass.
  • Luna Lovegood married Rolf Scamander (grandson of Newt Scamander), and they had two children: Lorcan and Lysander.
  • There is no tuition fee at Hogwarts; the Ministry of Magic covers the cost of all magical education.
  • Shortly after Hagrid released Fluffy into the Forbidden Forest, Dumbledore arranged for the three-headed dog to be sent back to his native Greece.
  • The collective noun for a group of Puffskeins or Pygmy Puffs is a poffle.
  • Luna Lovegood was born on the 13th of February.
  • A witch or wizard’s Patronus will only change as a result of eternal love.
  • Hagrid could not produce a Patronus due to it being a difficult spell.
  • Kreacher the house-elf died at the age of 666.
  • Quidditch was invented in Manchester, England.
  • Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia that Harry and Ron take to Hogwarts in Chamber of Secrets remained in the Forbidden Forest.
  • The skeleton of the five-legged creature that Harry finds in the Room of Requirement in the Half-Blood Prince is that of a Quintaped.
  • Fred and George’s Patronuses were magpies.
  • JKR suspects that Voldemort reached a point of “inhumanity” where he did not need food.
Wizard of the Month

Wizard of the Month

J.K. Rowling stopped releasing new Wizards of the Month on her site in 2007. Never fear, though! We have a complete archive of wizard and witches below:

Contents

2007
  • January
    • Harvey Ridgebit (1881–1973): Dragonologist, caught first Peruvian Vipertooth, established world's largest dragon sanctuary in Romania.
  • February
    • Mnemone Radford (1562–1649): Developed Memory Modifying Charms. First Ministry of Magic Obliviator.
  • March
    • Tilden Toots (1959–present): 'The wizard with three green thumbs'. Celebrity herbologist and radio personality.
  • April
    • Magenta Comstock (1895–1991): Experimental artist whose portraits' eyes not only follow the viewer around the room but also follow them home.
  • May
    • Helga Hufflepuff (Medieval, precise dates unknown): One of the four celebrated founders of Hogwarts, Hufflepuff was particularly famous for her dexterity at food-related charms. Many recipes traditionally served at Hogwarts feasts originated with Hufflepuff.
  • June
    • Salazar Slytherin (Medieval, precise dates unknown): One of the four celebrated founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Salazar Slytherin was one of the first recorded Parselmouths, an accomplished Legilimens, and a notorious champion of pureblood supremacy.
  • July
      Godric Gryffindor (Medieval, precise dates unknown): One of the four famous founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Godric Gryffindor was the most accomplished dueller of his time, an enlightened fighter against Muggle discrimination and the first owner of the celebrated Sorting Hat.
  • August
    • Rowena Ravenclaw (Medieval, precise dates unknown): One of the four famous founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Rowena Ravenclaw was the most brilliant witch of her time, though legend has it that a broken heart - cause unknown - contributed to her early demise.
  • September
    • Albus Dumbledore (1881–1996): Brilliant and often controversial Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Dumbledore is most famous for his 1945 defeat of Grindelwald and his steadfast championing of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. Dumbledore's self-proclaimed proudest achievement, however, was featuring on a Famous Wizards Chocolate Frog Card.
  • October
    • Harry Potter (1980–present): The Boy Who Lived, only known survivor of the Avada Kedavra curse and conqueror of Lord Voldemort, also known as Tom Riddle. Harry Potter joined the reshuffled Auror Department under Kingsley Shacklebolt at age 17, rising to become Head of said department in 2007.

    ⬆ Back to Wizard of the Month

    2006
  • January
    • Jocunda Sykes (1915–present): Famous for flying across the Atlantic on a broomstick - the first person to do so.
  • February
    • Yardley Platt (1446–1557): Serial goblin-killer.
  • March
    • Daisy Dodderidge (1467–1555): First landlady of the Leaky Cauldron.
  • April
    • Grogan Stump (1770–1884): Popular Minister for Magic, appointed 1811.
  • May
    • Fabius Watkins (1940–1975): Legendary Captain and Chaser of Montrose Magpies. Died in freak collision with helicopter.
  • June
      Daisy Hookum (1962–present): Wrote bestseller 'My Life as a Muggle' after giving up magic for a year. Married to celebrity gardener Tilden Toots.
  • July
    • Tarquin McTavish (1955–present): Imprisoned for crimes against Muggle neighbour, who was discovered trapped inside McTavish's kettle.
  • August
    • Erica Stainwright (1932–2001): Disgraced 1950s housekeeping guru who made a fortune selling 'cleaning' potions that created more mould and grime.
  • September
    • Hambledon Quince (1936–present): Developed a theory that wizards originate from Mars, Muggles from mushrooms.
  • October
    • Idris Oakby (1872–1985): Founder of the S.S.S. (Society for the Support of Squibs).
  • November
    • Lorcan d'Eath (1964–present): Heartthrob singer, part vampire, nineteen weeks at number 1 with hit song 'Necks to You'.
  • December
    • Laurentia Fletwock (1947–present): Celebrated breeder and racer of winged horses. Has campaigned for tighter restrictions on broomstick use.

    ⬆ Back to Wizard of the Month

    2005
  • January
    • Derwent Shimpling (1912–present): Ate an entire Venomous Tentacula for a bet and survived, though is still purple.
  • February
    • Artemisia Lufkin (1754–1825): First witch to become Minister for Magic.
  • March
    • Mungo Bonham (1560–1659): Famous wizard healer. Founded St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
  • April
    • Gondoline Oliphant (1720–1799): Famous for studies of life and habits of trolls. Clubbed to death in the Cotswolds while sketching.
  • May
    • Felix Summerbee (1447–1508): Inventor of Cheering Charms.
  • June
    • Elfrida Clagg (1612–1687): Chieftainess of Warlock's Council.
  • July
    • Chauncey Oldridge (1342–1379): First known victim of Dragon Pox.
  • August
    • Bridget Wenlock (1212–1285): Famous Arithmancer. First to establish the magical properties of the number seven.
  • September
    • Gaspard Shingleton (1959–present): Celebrated inventor of the Self-Stirring Cauldron.
  • October
    • Fifi LaFolle (1888–1971): Author of the 'Enchanted Encounters' series.
  • November
    • Carlotta Pinkstone (1922–present): Famous campaigner for lifting the International Confederation of Wizard's Statute of Secrecy and telling Muggles that wizards still exist. Ms. Pinkstone has been imprisoned several times for her blatant and deliberate use of magic in public places.
  • December
    • Bowman Wright (1492–1560): Famous for developing the Golden Snitch.

    ⬆ Back to Wizard of the Month

    2004
  • May
    • Felix Summerbee (1447–1508): Inventor of Cheering Charms.
  • June
    • Gwenog Jones (1968–present): Captain and Beater of the only all-female national Quidditch Team, the Holyhead Harpies.
  • July
    • Donaghan Tremlett (1972–present): Bass player with the popular wizarding band The Weird Sisters.
  • August
    • Honoria Nutcombe (1665–1743): Founded the Society for the Reformation of Hags.
  • September
    • Uric the Oddball (Medieval, dates unknown): Highly eccentric wizard who is famed, among other things, for wearing a jellyfish for a hat.
  • October
    • Glenda Chittock (1964–present): Popular presenter of the W.W.N. (Wizarding Wireless Network) programme 'Witching Hour'.
  • November
    • Devlin Whitehorn (1945–present): Founder of the Nimbus racing broom company.
  • December
    • Ignatia Wildsmith (1227–1312): The witch who invented Floo powder.

    ⬆ Back to Wizard of the Month

    FAQ Polls
    Results of poll questions taken from the Harry Potter Lexicon.
    “What is the significance, if any, of Mark Evans?”
    I couldn’t answer the poll question before now, because I’ve been making arrangements to take my family into hiding. It takes time to arrange fake passports, one-way air tickets to Bolivia and twenty-four hour armed security. Why should I resort to such desperate measures? Because after you’ve heard this answer, I’ll have to disappear for my own safety.

    Now before I get down to it (you can guess what’s coming, can’t you?) I am going to put up a feeble pre-emptive defence. Firstly, you were all spinning highly ingenious theories about Mark Evans, so I thought that you would welcome the chance to hear the truth about him. Secondly, I tried hard not to raise hopes or expectations by adding the crucial words ‘if any’ to the question. Thirdly… there is no thirdly. I’m just killing time.

    (Takes deep breath)

    Mark Evans is… nobody. He’s nobody in the sense that Mr. Prentice, Madam Marsh and Gordon-Dudley’s-gang-member are nobodies, just background people who need names, but who have no role other than the walk-on parts assigned to them. (Checks that Neil has immunized the dog and that Jessica has packed her Gameboy, and continues) I’ve got nobody to blame but myself. Sirius Black, Mrs. Figg and Mundungus Fletcher were all mentioned in passing well before they burst onto the stage as fully-fledged characters, so now you’ve all become too clever, not for your own good, but for mine. The fact is that once you drew my attention to it, I realised that Mark Evans did indeed look like one of those ‘here he is, just a casual passer-by, nothing to worry about, bet you barely noticed him’ characters who would suddenly become, half way through book seven, ‘Ha ha! Yes, Mark Evans is back, suckers, and he’s the key to everything! He’s the Half Blood Prince, he’s Harry’s Great-Aunt, he’s the Heir of Gryffindor, he lives up the Pillar of Storgé and he owns the Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk!’ (Possible title of book seven there, must make a note of it).

    Then why – WHY – (I hear you cry) – did I give him the surname “Evans”? Well, believe me, you can’t regret it more than I do right now. “Evans” is a common name; I didn’t give it much thought; I wasn’t even trying to set up another red herring. I could just as easily have called him ‘Smith’ or ‘Jones’ (or ‘Black’ or ‘Thomas’ or ‘Brown’, all of which would have got me into trouble too). What else can I say? Many of the theories you presented were highly plausible. If you knew how often I’ve checked the FAQ poll hoping that one of the other questions might edge into the lead… Well, that’s that. The car with false license plates is at the door and I’ve got to glue on my goatee. Goodbye.

    What is the significance of Neville being the other boy to whom the prophecy might have referred?
    Finally, I am answering the poll question! I am sorry it has taken so long, but let me start by saying how glad I am that this was the question that received the most votes, because this was the one that I most wanted to answer. Some of you might not like what I am going to say – but I’ll address that issue at the end of my response!

    To recap: Neville was born on the 30th of July, the day before Harry, so he too was born ‘as the seventh month dies’. His parents, who were both famous Aurors, had ‘thrice defied’ Voldemort, just as Lily and James had. Voldemort was therefore presented with the choice of two baby boys to whom the prophecy might apply. However, he did not entirely realise what the implications of attacking them might be, because he had not heard the entire prophecy. As Dumbledore says: ‘He [the eavesdropper] only heard the beginning, the part foretelling the birth of a boy in July to parents who had thrice defied Voldemort. Consequently, he could not warn his master that to attack you would be to risk transferring power to you.’ In effect, the prophecy gave Voldemort the choice of two candidates for his possible nemesis.

    In choosing which boy to murder, he was also (without realising it) choosing which boy to anoint as the Chosen One – to give him tools no other wizard possessed – the scar and the ability it conferred, a magical window into Voldemort’s mind. So what would have happened if Voldemort had decided that the pure-blood, not the half-blood, was the bigger threat? What would have happened if he had attacked Neville instead? Harry wonders this during the course of ‘Half-Blood Prince’ and concludes, rightly, that the answer hinges on whether or not one of Neville’s parents would have been able, or prepared, to die for their son in the way that Lily died for Harry. If they hadn’t, Neville would have been killed outright. Had Frank or Alice thrown themselves in front of Neville, however, the killing curse would have rebounded just as it did in Harry’s case, and Neville would have been the one who survived with the lightning scar.

    What would this have meant? Would a Neville bearing the lightning scar have been as successful at evading Voldemort as Harry has been? Would Neville have had the qualities that have enabled Harry to remain strong and sane throughout all of his many ordeals? Although Dumbledore does not say as much, he does not believe so: he believes Voldemort did indeed choose the boy most likely to be able to topple him, for Harry’s survival has not depended wholly or even mainly upon his scar.

    So where does this leave Neville, the boy who was so nearly King? Well, it does not give him either hidden powers or a mysterious destiny. He remains a ‘normal’ wizarding boy, albeit one with a past, in its way, as tragic as Harry’s. As you saw in ‘Order of the Phoenix,’ however, Neville is not without his own latent strengths. It remains to be seen how he will feel if he ever finds out how close he came to being the Chosen One.

    Some of you, who have been convinced that the prophecy marked Neville, in some mystical fashion, for a fate intertwined with Harry’s, may find this answer rather dull. Yet I was making what I felt was a significant point about Harry and Voldemort, and about prophecies themselves, in showing Neville as the also-ran. If neither boy was ‘pre-ordained’ before Voldemort’s attack to become his possible vanquisher, then the prophecy (like the one the witches make to Macbeth, if anyone has read the play of the same name) becomes the catalyst for a situation that would never have occurred if it had not been made. Harry is propelled into a terrifying position he might never have sought, while Neville remains the tantalising ‘might-have-been’. Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.

    Of course, none of this should be taken to mean that Neville does not have a significant part to play in the last two novels, or the fight against Voldemort. As for the prophecy itself, it remains ambiguous, not only to readers, but to my characters. Prophecies (think of Nostradamus!) are usually open to many different interpretations. That is both their strength and their weakness.

    What happens to a secret when the Secret-Keeper dies?
    I was surprised that this question won, because it is not the one that I’d have voted for… but hey, if this is what you want to know, this is what you want to know!
    When a Secret-Keeper dies, their secret dies with them, or, to put it another way, the status of their secret will remain as it was at the moment of their death. Everybody in whom they confided will continue to know the hidden information, but nobody else.

    Just in case you have forgotten exactly how the Fidelius Charm works, it is “an immensely complex spell involving the magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul. The information is hidden inside the chosen person, or Secret-Keeper, and is henceforth impossible to find — unless, of course, the Secret-Keeper chooses to divulge it” (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).

    In other words, a secret (eg, the location of a family in hiding, like the Potters) is enchanted so that it is protected by a single Keeper (in our example, Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail). Thenceforth nobody else – not even the subjects of the secret themselves – can divulge the secret. Even if one of the Potters had been captured, force fed Veritaserum or placed under the Imperius Curse, they would not have been able to give away the whereabouts of the other two. The only people who ever knew their precise location were those whom Wormtail had told directly, but none of them would have been able to pass on the information.