J.K. Rowling may have finished the Harry Potter books a long time ago, but this doesn’t mean she’s let go of them. The author has taken to Twitter and various other outlets (such as writing a play, developing Pottermore, etc.) to expand on the canon of her series and provide more information for a fanbase who just don’t want this to die.
Well, most of them.
Her expansion of canon has actually been a source of controversy for many fans, since not everyone loves her covering every detail of the universe and leaving nothing to the imagination. But all fans can agree on one thing—some of the revelations have been downright shocking.
10. Dumbledore Was In Love With Grindelwald
Yep, that’s right - Dumbledore was never married in the series and never showed even hints at being in a relationship, but he was apparently in love with Grindelwald. J.K. Rowling came under some fire for never announcing this in the books (or the subsequent films) since it would have been GREAT representation, but she said the sexuality was never relevant to his story and didn’t matter any more than it would have if he was straight.
I see her point, but after many people pointing out that it would have been progressive to mention it, she probably should have made have a bigger deal out of this in the subsequent Fantastic Beasts movies. Alas. Maybe she still will.
9. And Also, May Have Been Death?
J.K. Rowling claimed on Twitter very recently that her favorite fan theory was that Dumbledore was death - and also called it very fitting. Hmmm.
Okay, so this one isn’t so much her announcing something as canon rather than accepting a fan theory, but it really would have been an interesting thought, considering Dumbledore always was very accepting and even supportive of death. He claimed it was the “next greatest adventure”, which is an acceptance of death most of us will probably never achieve. Or is that just me?
Regardless of this being a fan theory, J.K. Rowling seemed very cool with accepting it into the greater canon of her world. We’ll take it.
8. There Is An American Wizarding School… And Many Others
Probably her biggest expansion of canon after the books was the expansion of magical education all over the world (and then the governments, and the culture, etc.). The one that most of her fanbase was excited to hear about was Ilvermorny, the American wizarding school with its own houses. Of course, some aspects of this culture, people didn’t like - like the Muggle world over there being ‘No-Maj’, which seems very simplistic - but the expansion of canon was popular enough that people wanted to know their North American house, where they would have fit in, etc.
And since J.K. Rowling said it, it’s canon in the books, even if we didn’t see it then.
7. Hatstalls Are Possible - Minerva McGonagall Was One!
The Sorting Hat was one of the biggest mysteries in the books, and remains one to this day - how it could see inside someone’s head, read minds, etc. But what we never saw in the books (mainly because the books were only from Harry’s point of view), was that hatstalls were completely possible.
‘Hatstall’ is a word which means the Sorting Hat couldn’t decide what house to place someone in and took a probably agonizingly long time to decide because they could have fit perfectly in both. One great example J.K. Rowling provided was McGonagall—she was a hatstall between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.
Interestingly, she then went on to become head of Gryffindor house, so it looks like the hat eventually chose well. I wonder how it chooses eventually in those situations. I don’t think hats can flip coins...
6. The ‘T’ In Voldemort Is Silent
This is a weird one for me. I understand the logic, of course—the word comes from French origins and therefore the ‘t’ would be silent. What’s weird is that J.K. Rowling randomly said this on Twitter after never correcting fans, after letting the movies even pronounce it wrong, after pronouncing it wrong herself. I mean, she said she was the only one who pronounced it with the silent ‘t’, but I’ve definitely heard her say it in interviews and I don’t remember the ‘t’ being silent.
Seems like this was something she gave up on pretty quickly but then retroactively decided was still canon. So much she should have made clear long before now...
5. Voldemort And Harry Were Most Definitely Related
This is kind of one that could be surmised if you read the books closely enough but wasn’t confirmed until after. The pure-blood families of Harry Potter are all inter-related to the point of it being pretty weird. Harry and Voldemort are both half-bloods, but both had a pure-blood parent—Voldemort had Merope Gaunt, his mother, and Harry had James Potter, his father. Trace those lines back far enough and sure enough, they go back to the Peverells - so yes, J.K. Rowling has confirmed that Harry and Voldemort were indeed distant relatives.
Kind of weird to think about, regardless of the distance.
4. Albus Severus Was, Indeed, Sorted Into Slytherin
Among the revelations that came out thanks to Harry Potter And The Cursed Child was the information that Albus’ worst fears were fulfilled and he was indeed sorted into Slytherin. In the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, we saw him confess this fear to Harry and Harry reassure him that he knew some brave people in Slytherin and it wasn’t the end of the world.
This one… I’m kind of glad about. Rowling was really mean to the Slytherins in the books, often implying they were all evil in the early stages before she started to humanize some of them a little, so sorting the hero’s son there was pretty necessary to change people’s perceptions.
3. Bellatrix And Voldemort Were In A Relationship… Of Sorts
Bellatrix Lestrange was always pretty in love with Voldemort. That much was obvious. Despite being married to Rodolphus Lestrange, her dedication was to the Dark Lord. But since it was always said that Voldemort was incapable of love and didn’t need or want human affection, we always assumed this was unrequited. Or at least I did. This wasn’t just me, was it?
But no. Another revelation that came from Rowling’s play was that Bellatrix and Voldemort had definitely slept together, because they had a daughter named Delphi. This is one I just can’t get over and would rather pretend was not canon, actually.
2. Sybil Trelawney Drank Heavily
Trelawney had a pretty hard life. She was a seer, but rarely made accurate predictions, so she wasn’t taken seriously even when she did. She was eccentric, seemed borderline insane - and Rowling later confirmed that she was an alcoholic, saying that she always smelled of sherry because, well… because of that reason.
It’s a pretty adult thing to include an alcoholic teacher in the magical, whimsical wizarding world she created, but she did always hint at this in the books - she just completely confirmed it later. For those of us who read them as children and are now adults though, this makes a lot of sense.
1. Hogwarts Was A Safe Space For LGBT+ Students
Someone on Twitter once tweeted at Rowling saying they liked to imagine that Hogwarts was a safe space for LGBT+ witches and wizards, and she replied to say that it absolutely is, meaning the discrimination present in the Muggle world at that time (and, tragically, present to this day) wasn’t present in the wizarding world.
A really nice sentiment (and why Rowling definitely needs to include Dumbledore’s sexuality in the movies, c’mon, Rowling), especially for Potter fans who may have struggled with this in their real life. Witches and wizards may have discriminated based on blood, but at least this prejudice wasn’t a thing in that world.