By now, a little over a decade after the publication of the seventh Harry Potter book, fans have picked apart all of the hints that J.K. Rowling dropped about the series’ biggest plot points.
Most people know that the trio accidentally find a Horcrux in the fifth book without realizing it, or that George losing an ear foreshadows Fred’s death. (Or if you didn’t, now you do.) Re-reading the books is way more fun when you’re trying to pick up on all of the hints you missed before.
Even the most seemingly insignificant details in the books have meaning, though, including the details that didn’t build up to the reveal of Harry as a Horcrux or Snape as the Half-Blood Prince.
There are some Easter eggs in the Potterverse that are just fun to find and don’t necessarily lead to any dramatic plot reveals. In true Rowling fashion, they’re sprinkled throughout all seven books, companion texts, and some interviews, just waiting for fans to find.
You can go on the hunt for them yourself, or just keep scrolling to see some of our favorites. Read on for the 15 Potterverse Easter Eggs That Didn’t Go Anywhere.
15. The Ministry Of Magic Entrance Is Magical
In Order of the Phoenix, we’re introduced to the Ministry of Magic for the first time. Mr. Weasley takes Harry to the Ministry for his underage use of magic hearing, and they go in the London street entrance just to be safe.
Although you don’t see it in the movie, in the books Mr. Weasley dials a specific code to get in — 62442.
Of course, this code is significant. On a phone keypad (or on a rotary phone, like the one he uses) 62442 spells out MAGIC. Fans who had to learn how to text using just the nine number keys have likely already figured that out.
14. Pink is hiding something
There are a few colors that everyone knows have some significance in the Potter world. Red is for Gryffindors, green is for Slytherins, pink is for… mysteries?
In fact, it’s a running bit throughout the books that the color pink is usually a hint that something is being hidden or concealed. In the first book, when Harry first meets Hagrid, he has with him a pink umbrella that he often brandishes at the Dursleys. We find out later that the umbrella is hiding the pieces of his broken wand. Also, Tonks, who is a Metamorphmagus, prefers pink hair.
Finally, the character most closely associated with pink is of course Umbridge, who is constantly concealing some kind of secret — like the fact that she sent dementors to attack Harry or her plans to use the Cruciatus Curse on students.
13. Listen to Ron’s jokes
There’s a lot of Ron’s character that got lost in the movie adaptations of the books. Movie Ron was usually reduced to just the comic relief. This would have been okay if they’d carried over the best thing about Ron’s jokes — he usually ends up accidentally predicting the future.
Rowling used Ron’s jokes to hide clues.
In Chamber of Secrets, he jokes that Riddle probably got a trophy for killing Myrtle. (About that.) In Prisoner of Azkaban, when he’s trying to read Harry’s tea leaves, he says he’s going to come into a lot of money — which he does, after winning the Triwizard Tournament. Those are just two out of many examples.
12. Rufus Scrimgeour looks like Godric Gryffindor
When the books were still coming out, very occasionally fans would be teased with passages that were released before the books themselves. Before Half-Blood Prince was released, fans got a physical description of Rufus Scrimgeour without any other context.
J.K. Rowling describes him as looking “rather like an old lion” with a mane of tawny hair, bushy eyebrows, and yellow eyes. Naturally, there’s a particular Hogwarts founder who comes to mind when reading that kind of description.
Before the book hit stores, many fans theorized that the passage was describing Godric Gryffindor for some reason. That wasn’t the case, but the the similarities are definitely purposeful. Details like that are never included in the books by accident.
11. The Blacks name their children after stars
Names hold a lot of meanings in the Potter world. Sometimes they hint at a character’s motivations, but other times, they just reveal interesting patterns. The Black family, for example, seems to have a tradition of naming their children after stars. Pureblood grandeur, maybe?
Sirius, of course, is the Dog Star, which also hints at his Animagus form.
Bellatrix (Black) Lestrange gets her name from the third brightest star in the Orion constellation.
Finally, Andromeda Black is named for an entire constellation. This is somewhat ironic, given that Andromeda Black became Andromeda Tonks and was disowned by her family for marrying a Muggle-born.
10. The Hogwarts motto is a joke
The official motto of Hogwarts is a good example of how whimsical the series can be. Although it’s not seen often other than on the crest itself, the Latin motto is “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus.” Translated into English, it’s “Never tickle a sleeping dragon.”
There’s probably no hidden meaning in this, and more than likely it’s just another wink from J.K. Rowling for whoever bothered to translate the Latin. Things like that make the books more fun.
On the other hand, though, remembering their school motto might have come in handy for Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Especially when it came time for them to escape from Gringotts on the back of a captive dragon that was tied up in the bank’s dungeons.
9. Privet Drive has a double meaning
Every fan is familiar with the Dursley’s address — 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Aside from the fact that the fictional town is a nod to how much complaining the Dursley family constantly indulges in, the name of their street is also a double meaning.
Privet means ornamental shrub in English, which is fitting for the “perfectly normal,” ultra-middle class suburb that the family lives in. If you use the word Privet in French, on the other hand, (which Rowling speaks fluently), it means confidential or private.
This is fitting for the Dursleys, who were always trying to hide the fact that they had a magical nephew.
8. Wand lengths correspond to characters’ heights
Wandlore in the Harry Potter world is complex. Different wandmakers use different cores and woods to make their wands, each core or wood carries with it a different meaning or magical property. Even the wand lengths vary widely.
Except if you look closely, there’s a pattern to the wand lengths of characters. How long their wand is corresponds to the character’s heights. Umbridge, for example, owns a wand that’s as short and stubby as she is.
Voldemort’s wand (before stealing the Elder Wand, of course,) was very long, similar to how tall the Dark Lord himself was. Before it was broken, Hagrid also had a wand to fit his size.
7. Dumbledore’s scar is a literary allusion
Rowling has a love of the classics, which shows up in many different ways throughout the series. One of the earliest examples is in the very first chapter of Sorcerer’s Stone, when Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hagrid are leaving Harry with the Dursleys.
When discussing Harry’s scar, Dumbledore remarks casually that it may come in handy for him one day. Then he mentions that he has a scar just above his knee conveniently shaped like the London Underground.
This comes off as just a funny joke, but in reality, it’s probably an allusion to The Odyssey.
In it, Homer tells us that Ulysses also had a scar above his knee and that the mark was used to identify him when he returned home. This doesn’t hold any significance for the Potter books, but it’s still a fun reference.
6. Dumbledore the Bumblebee
As one of the most important characters in the series, it makes sense that J.K. Rowling would have taken special care in naming Albus Dumbledore.
We’ll ignore his many middle names for a moment in favor of taking a look at his last name. You might not have seen the word “dumbledore” before the Harry Potter books came out, but the word has been around for centuries.
The headmaster’s last name comes from an Old English word for bumblebee, which has long since fallen out of use. “Dumble” was another form of “bumble,” and “dore” was an old English word for any insect that flew with a loud humming noise.
5. Harry’s wand core is foreshadowing
No, not the phoenix feather core– that has an entirely different encyclopedia of meanings attached to it.
When Harry first goes to Ollivander’s, he has to try several different wands before he finally finds The One, which happens to be the brother to Voldemort’s wand. The first one that Ollivander hands him has a core of dragon heartstring.
This doesn’t seem significant in the moment, except to tell us that this wand didn’t choose him. However, with what we’ve learned about wands since then, we can see that there may have been a reason that it didn’t choose Harry.
Wands with dragon heartstring at their cores are easiest to turn to the Dark Arts.
4. Umbridge’s last name is as dark as she is
The moment Dolores Umbridge opens her mouth, we know that she’s a character who we’re supposed to dislike and even hate. She’s so sickeningly fake sweet that she provokes rage with just one sentence. Some fans even hate her more than Voldemort himself.
Before she says a word, though, Rowling already hints that she’s not a character to be trusted. Her last name, Umbridge, uses the word “umbra” as its root. Umbra means shadow or darkness, an early hint that Umbridge was not to be trusted.
To really drive the point home, when we first meet Umbridge during Harry’s underage magic hearing, her face is partially obscured by shadow. Dolores also means “sorrows” and comes from the Spanish “dolor,” meaning pain.
3. Diagon Alley is wordplay
Did you think it was just characters who have hidden name meanings? Even places got the special J.K. Rowling treatment.
Diagon Alley doesn’t come from any specific language, and it’s not hiding any plot points in its name. It’s just another way to show that it’s a very crooked street.
Diagon Alley is a play on diagonally, which makes sense when you read the book’s description or see it on film. (It’s also what Harry says in the Chamber of Secrets movie when he’s trying to Floo for the first time.)
That’s not the only street that gets its name from wordplay, either.
2. Aunt Petunia has a bitter name
The last name Easter egg that we’ll share takes us back to the Dursley family. We wonder if there are any petunia flowers planted in their garden as an ode to Aunt Petunia. If she knew the meaning of her own name, though, she might have stayed away from them.
For those who want to make sure that their garden has meaning, petunia flowers represent anger and resentment.
This corresponds to Petunia’s lifelong grudge that she held against her sister for being magical when she wasn’t, and presumably taking up a lot of their parents’ love and affection.
1. Dumbledore is gay
Okay, this one has been common knowledge for a long time now. Ever since J.K. Rowling made an offhand comment in a 2007 interview that she’d always imagined Dumbledore as gay, fans have taken it as canon.
Many were hoping to see this explored more in the Fantastic Beasts movies, since we get to see a young Grindelwald and Dumbledore when they were presumably in love.
However, a recent interview with David Yates revealed that the movies weren’t going to touch on that at all, since fans “already knew.”
This sparked outrage in online fan communities that his orientation wouldn’t be explicitly referenced.
Although it might be a major plot point in future movies (there are apparently five planned, and we’re only on the second), this may be something that ends up going nowhere as well.
What do you think? What are your favorite Potterverse Easter eggs that didn’t end up going anywhere? Let us know yours in the comments!
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