You might know everything there is to know about Harry Potter himself, but do you know everything about his family?
Not the Dursleys, Harry’s awful aunt, uncle, and cousin; while there is plenty to know about them (and plenty of fan theories about why exactly they were so terrible), they aren’t Harry’s real family. Not the Blacks, either. Although those pure-blood dark wizards could be considered family thanks to his relationship with his Godfather Sirius Black, these aren’t Harry’s real family either. No, we’re talking about the Potters.
In the book series (and the film adaptations), Harry learns quite a bit about his own parents, Lily and James Potter. He sees them as they were in school, and discovers that his father may have also been a Gryffindor Seeker but he was far from the perfect man Harry imagined. He also sees the house they shared in Godric’s Hollow, reads a letter about his early childhood (and sees a photo of himself on a toy broom), and imagines what his life could have been like if he’d grown up there.
However, the rest of his family isn’t explored in too much depth, leaving some fans to wonder why Harry didn’t have anyone else to live with, why he was stuck with the Dursleys, and why he was nearly the last of the Potter line.
Here are the 15 Things You Never Knew About The Potter Family.
15 Harry Is Not The Only Famous Auror In The Family
As well as the famous British Potters, there is also a possibility of a branch of the Potter family tree in America. When MACUSA (The Magical Congress of the United States of America) was formed in 1693, the first President, Josiah Jackson, recruited twelve witches and wizards to train as Aurors.
These witches and wizards were recorded as exceptionally brave, although many of them died on the job, due to the many dangers that they faced. One of these was Abraham Potter, a distant relative of Harry Potter.
Abraham was not one of the original twelve to survive into old age, however, so it’s possible that he died without a family to carry on the Potter name in the US. This also means that Harry is not the first famous Auror in the Potter family.
14 They Are Distantly Related To Voldemort
Harry Potter and Voldemort may be bitter enemies, but the two are connected by more than just the spell that killed Harry’s parents. Like many pure-blood wizards and old wizarding families, Harry Potter and Tom Riddle are actually distantly related.
This connection goes all the way back to the Peverells themselves, as Harry is descended from the granddaughter of Ignotus Peverell, and Voldemort is descended from Ignotus’s brother, Cadmus Peverell (through Corvinus Gaunt). This is also how both Voldemort and Harry came to inherit one of the Deathly Hallows.
This may even have played into Voldemort’s decision to assume that the prophecy referred to Harry, not Neville, although it’s not clear if Voldemort knew the details of Harry’s lineage, or just that he was of ‘purer’ blood than Neville.
13 They Are Descended From The Peverells
The Peverells were first written about in the Tales of Beedle the Bard, as the three brothers who cheated Death and were rewarded by him for it.
The gifts death gave them were the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak; all of which appear in the series. One thing that some people may have missed, though, is why Harry got the Invisibility Cloak.
He found the Stone and the Wand, but the Cloak was a Christmas Gift during his first year at Hogwarts. The reason is that the Peverells are actually related to the Potters, and the Cloak has been handed down through the family since the time of Antioch, Ignotus and Cadmus.
Ignotus’s granddaughter, Iolanthe, married the first recorded Potter, the son of Linfred of Stinchcombe.
12 They Are A Pureblood Family...
A lot is made of the difference between ‘pureblood’ wizards and those whose family lines are mixed with muggles -- and while many witches and wizards don’t care about that kind of thing, many (like Voldemort and his followers) do.
Though Harry is recognized as coming from a long line of witches and wizards, it’s never made clear whether the family are pureblood, and it is known that Harry’s mother Lily was muggle-born.
However, the Potters are actually pureblood (at least, until Lily joined them), and are descended from Linfred of Stinchcombe, who was an accomplished wizard.
All other known Potters are also pureblood, and generations of the family can be traced back through wizarding communities without so much a squib to their name.
11 But Didn’t Make The ‘Sacred Twenty-Eight’
The Sacred Twenty Eight is a list of the twenty-eight wizarding families confirmed to be pureblood in the 1930s, according to the author of the Pureblood Directory.
The Potters are not found on the list, but it’s not because they have any confirmed Muggle blood in the family tree. Instead, it is because of two things; their pro-muggle leanings, and their surname.
The surname Potter is a common Muggle name, which may have led him to believe that the family has Muggle ancestry.
In the Muggle world, "Potter" is an occupational surname, given to those who made pots. However, the name actually derives from the nickname given to Linfred of Stinchcombe, who was known as ‘the Potterer’, for his habit of pottering around the garden.
10 Linfred Potter Had Seven Children…
The first Potter, Linfred, has been confirmed to have had seven children, although only the name of one has been revealed. His eldest son, Hardwin Potter, was the wizard who married Iolanthe Peverell, and brought the Invisibility Cloak into the Potter family.
Not much is known of the other six Potters, although they were well-off and hard working as a whole, and presumably continued to marry and have children throughout the years. Despite this, it seems that no other Potters are currently known as members of the wizarding community.
It’s likely that the Potter name died out as further generations of the Potter family married into other wizarding families or died out, leaving Harry and his family as the last of their name.
However, this also means that Harry does have distant relatives in the wizarding community, and may even have some connections to the Blacks and Weasleys, who are also old wizarding families.
9 And Created Several Famous Potions
Linfred was able to support his seven children and leave them all plenty of gold to live on thanks to his many inventions, including several famous potions. Linfred was known for loving his ‘funny plants’ and helping out Muggle neighbors with cures when they were ill.
It was assumed that he was just a skillful healer, but his knowledge of plants and his work with his Muggle friends actually helped him come up with the potions that made his fortune.
Linfred is credited with inventing both Pepperup Potion (which warms the drinker and cures the common cold) and Skele-Gro (the potion used to grow new bones).
His story of making potions for local Muggles is echoed in that of Beedle The Bard’s ‘The Hopping Pot’, although they may have nothing to do with each other, as many kinder wizards have been known to use their magic to sneakily help the Muggles they know.
8 Two Potters Have Sat On The Wizengamot…
The Wizengamot is the High Court of Law in Wizarding Britain, and predates the Ministry of Magic. Court is judged by around fifty eminent witches and wizards, who are trusted to have sound judgement, and who wear plum colored robes when court is in session.
The greatest of these is the Chief Warlock, who presides over the entire Wizengamot. In the Harry Potter series, the Wizengamot is mentioned several times, and Dumbledore held the position of Chief Warlock (although he was deposed, and then reinstated, thanks to his support of Harry).
Two Potters are known to have sat on the Wizengamot; Ralston Potter (from 1612 to 1652) and Henry Potter, the great-grandfather of Harry Potter (from 1913 to 1921). Neither Potter achieved the rank of Chief Warlock, however.
7 Both Of Whom Were Pro-Muggle
The Potter’s pro-Muggle sentiments go back as far as the original Potter, Linfred of Stinchcombe, but he was not the only Potter who is recorded as a friend to the Muggles.
When Ralston Potter was on the Wizengamot, he was staunchly in favor of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, and went up against those other members who would rather have declared open war on the Muggles.
Henry Potter was also vocal about his desire to help the Muggles, and when he was a member of the Wizengamot, he was in favor of using magic to help the Muggles during the First World War.
This was likely part of the reason that the Potters were not included in the Sacred Twenty-Eight, as the Directory of PureBloods was written soon after Henry condemned the Ministry of Magic for refusing to get involved
6 Most Are Gryffindors
Not every Potter in history will have gone to Hogwarts - some early Potters may have been educated at home, and other Potters (like Abraham) may have attended other wizarding schools around the world.
The school house of every Potter has also not been recorded, but almost every Potter whose house we do know was sorted into Gryffindor.
Harry himself is obviously a Gryffindor, as were his father and mother. Harry’s Grandfather, Fleamont Potter, was also a Gryffindor and known for his duelling skills while he was at school.
Two of Harry’s three children are also Gryffindors; James and Lily Potter. In fact, the only known Potter who was not a member of Gryffindor house is Albus, Harry’s middle child (who was shockingly placed in Slytherin).
5 Most Have Poor Eyesight
Another common trait of the Potter family appears to be poor eyesight! Harry himself wears glasses, but he is far from the only family member to do so.
His father, James, can also be seen wearing glasses in photographs (like the photo of the Order of the Pheonix).
In a video revealing the history of MACUSA, we can see that Abraham Potter also wore glasses during his time as an auror. All three Potter men also appear to have the same taste in frames, as they all wear the same small, round glasses in these images.
However, poor eyesight isn’t a guarantee for the Potter family; none of Harry and Ginny’s children wear glasses, and Harry’s grandparents also had fine eyesight (until their old age, of course).
4 James And Lily Were Married As Teenagers
It’s easy for readers (and movie-watchers) to assume that James and Lily Potter were in their mid-twenties, at least, when they married and had Baby Harry.
They are always seen as wise and kind, and as very ‘adult’ compared to their young son. The actors chosen to play Harry’s parents are also both in their forties when Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows was filmed.
However, Lily and James married right out of school, at the tender age of nineteen. They died at only twenty-one, when Harry was a year old, which means that Lily also became pregnant at nineteen - almost the same age that Harry was when he used the Resurrection Stone to bring them back in the forest!
3 J.K. Rowling Named The Potters After Childhood Friends
Over the years since Harry Potter became a worldwide phenomenon, J K Rowling has revealed that many of the names that she used in the series are connected to real-world inspiration. Some are chosen because of the roots of the name or from gravestones in the churchyard near where she wrote the series.
However, "Potter" itself is a name that Rowling chose because of her childhood friends, Vikki and Ian Potter. Siblings Ian and Vikki grew up nearby Rowling in village of Winterbourne, near Bristol.
According to interviews, they often played dress up together as children, and sometimes even pretended to be witches and wizards! This childhood connection is a sweet reason for her name choices, and Ian Potter’s children are even huge fans of the series.
2 Harry’s Grandfather Invented Sleekeazy Potion
Harry’s paternal grandfather was the duelling Fleamont, who married Euphemia. As well as being known for his unfortunate name (which led to the duelling), Fleamont became somewhat famous for his potion-making skills… just like the original Potter, Linfred.
Fleamont was the creator of Sleekeazy Hair Potion, ("two drops tames even the most bothersome barnet!"). This was the potion that Hermione Granger used for the Yule Ball, to allow her bushy mane to be carefully and beautifully styled (although she didn’t use it on a regular basis, saying that it was too much effort).
The potion was so popular that it quadrupled the Potter family fortune when Fleamont retired and sold the company. He was even on the front page of the Daily Prophet because of its success.
1 Harry’s Grandparents Died Of Dragon Pox
Unfortunately, Harry never met his grandparents, as both Fleamont and Euphemia passed away before he was born, very shortly after James and Lily were married.
James was Fleamont and Euphemia’s only child, and one that came late in life, after the couple believed that they would never be parents (which explains why he was a little bit spoiled). Because of this, their deaths were sad, but not too tragic, as both were advanced in age at the time of their deaths.
They passed away after contracting Dragon Pox, a disease that is often fatal (especially to the elderly), although it is much rarer since a treatment was found by Gunhilda de Gorsemoor.
Although they never met their grandson, Fleamont and Euphemia were thrilled to have had a child of their own, and to have lived to see him marry Lily and settle down into a happy life (one that they could not have known would be cut short as soon as it was).
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Harry Potter's family? Sound off in the comments!