The world of Harry Potter sprung from the mind of J.K. Rowling. All of the ideas came from her, which extended to the movie franchise, thanks to her creative control that allowed her to squash any ideas that she didn't approve of, or felt would conflict with events that would happen later in the story.
This led to edicts for the films that made sure all of the main roles were played by British actors, which meant that only a handful of American-born actors ever appeared in the films.
Now that the Harry Potter series has finished, J.K. Rowling has revealed a lot of the ideas that she had for the books and the movies that were scrapped in favor of others. These ideas would have totally changed how the series played out, as well as greatly altering some of the most beloved characters in fiction.
We are here today to look at the ideas that were considered for the Harry Potter franchise that would have changed everything. From Dumbledore's long-haired lover from Liverpool, to Harry Potter almost being owned by the biggest video game company in the world.
Here are the 15 Ways Harry Potter Was Almost Completely Different!
15 The Spider In Harry's Mind
One of the most popular Harry Potter fan theories is that the whole thing was made up in Harry's head. Harry is still as neglected and abused as he was at the start of the series, but the magical world wasn't real and Hagrid never came to bring him to Hogwarts. The magical adventures were made up as Harry's way of coping with his abuse.
It seems that the first Harry Potter movie was going to reflect this fan theory. According to the writer of the film, Harry was going to have a pet spider named Alastair.
Harry would talk to Alastair as if he was his only friend. The intention was to make the audience think that Harry might be crazy and that the magical stuff was all in his head. It wasn't until Hagrid arrived that we would learn that the magic was real.
14 The Traitor To The Potter Family Was Almost Someone Else
The Potter family were originally protected from the Death Eaters by the Fidelius Charm. This spell makes it impossible for a certain location to be found, so long as another person acts as the "Secret Keeper" who knows where the place is. James and Lily chose Peter Pettigrew to be their Secret Keeper, as they were unaware that he had already defected to the Death Eaters.
It seems as if the Potter family were originally going to be way less careful, as J.K. Rowling had originally planned for them to be betrayed by a Muggle neighbor.
Voldemort was originally going to learn the Potter's location from a nasty Muggle who didn't like them. This means that all Voldemort had to do to find the Potters was to look in the phone book to find their area code or charm their postman into revealing their address.
13 The Iron Horcrux
Each of the four founders of Hogwarts left behind at least one treasure that still existed until modern times. Godric Gryffindor had his sword and the Sorting Hat, Helga Hufflepuff had her cup, Rowena Ravenclaw had her diadem, and Salazar Slytherin had his locket and the Gaunt family ring.
All of the items (save for the ones owned by Gryffindor) were destroyed in the last two books, as they had been transformed into Horcruxes.
J.K. Rowling revealed on Pottermore that she had originally planned for Helga Hufflepuff's treasure to be an iron cauldron. This was later changed into a cup, as Rowling felt that it was unrealistic for Harry and his friends to be carrying around a huge metal object with them during their adventures in the final book. As such, the cauldron was replaced with a much smaller item.
12 The Movies Almost Accidentally Gave Dumbledore A Girlfriend
After the Harry Potter series had concluded, J.K. Rowling revealed that Albus Dumbledore was gay during a reading at Carnegie Hall. This came as a surprise to many fans, as there was no indication that Dumbledore had any romance in his life at any point, regardless of the gender of the individual.
The producers of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were the first people to learn about Dumbledore's sexuality. This is because there was originally going to be a scene in the movie where Dumbledore talked about a girl he was in love with in his youth. He would wax poetic about "a Muggle girl from Liverpool" with beautiful hair.
J.K. Rowling caught this line while reading the script and sent a message to the writers explaining that Dumbledore was gay. If she hadn't caught this line, then we would have had two different continuities for Dumbledore's sexuality.
11 The Vampire In Hogwarts
One of the most popular fan theories concerning Severus Snape was that he was secretly a vampire. This was despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, such as the fact that he was seen out in the daylight on numerous occasions.
There was also no evidence of anyone having their blood drained at Hogwarts: unless Snape had managed to acquire some sort of wizarding equivalent to True Blood.
J.K. Rowling had originally planned for their to be a vampire teacher at Hogwarts. His name was going to be Trocar (which is an antiquated term for a device used to draw blood from arteries) and he was never given a specific subject to teach. Rowling abandoned Trocar early on, as she wasn't fond of the character.
A vampire named Sanguini would later show up as a guest during one of Slughorn's parties in Half-Blood Prince.
10 The True Prophet Of Hogwarts
Prophecy plays an important part in the story of Harry Potter. Indeed, Voldemort's desire to kill Harry and his parents stems from a prophecy that he had heard.
The reader is given cause to doubt the validity of prophecies, as the Divination teacher at Hogwarts was obviously a charlatan... or at least she was on the surface. It seems that many of Professor Trelawney's predictions did actually come true, depending on how you looked at them.
There was originally going to be a different Divination teacher at Hogwarts. J.K. Rowling had originally created a character named Mopsus, who was a blind seer with the ability to accurately predict the future.
Mopsus' power was taking away from the drama of the story, so Rowling removed him from Philosopher's Stone and created a new Divination teacher who no one took seriously.
9 Hermione Almost Had A Younger Sister (That Just She Never Mentioned For Years)
Harry and Ron had a shared bond when it came to their upbringing, in the sense that they were both overshadowed by the other people in their family. In Harry's case, it was Dudley who was fawned over while he was ignored, while Ron had to contend with numerous siblings who were always vying for their parent's attention.
Hermione, by comparison, was an only child from a well-off family. This wasn't always meant to be the case, as J.K. Rowling had always intended for Hermione to have a younger sister.
J.K. Rowling kept putting off introducing the character until she decided to abandon the idea in Order of the Phoenix, as she felt that it had been too long. It wouldn't have made sense for Hermione to have never mentioned a younger sibling in all of that time.
8 The Horrific Fate Of Arthur Weasley
Arthur and Molly Weasley became surrogate parent figures to Harry, which came about during his many stays at The Burrow. Molly says as much in Order of the Phoenix. The entire Weasley family had a similar familial relationship with Harry... which is kind of weird when you think about how he ended up marrying Ginny.
The parental relationship that the Weasleys had with Harry had a lot of fans worried, as they felt that J.K. Rowling might kill them just to prove that Harry could never be truly safe. Thankfully, they survived the series.
J.K. Rowling had once planned to kill Arthur Weasley in Order of the Phoenix by having him succumb to Nagini's poison, just to hammer home how dangerous the world had become now that Voldemort had returned. She backed out at the last minute, as she couldn't bear to kill off Arthur.
7 The Mysterious Character Who Was Replaced By Umbridge
We learn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that the teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts position was cursed by Voldemort, which stopped anyone from holding the position for more than a year.
It has since been revealed that this was an idea that came late to J.K. Rowling. We know this as she released pages of her early notes on her website, which detail some of her plans for the series while she was still writing Prisoner of Azkaban.
According to Rowling's notes, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for Harry's fifth year would have been a person named Oaken Hernshaw. It's possible that this character was the prototype for what became Dolores Umbridge.
The notes also suggested that Remus Lupin would return as the teacher in Harry's seventh year, which makes little sense, as the DADA role didn't exist then.
6 Rita Skeeter Was Almost In The Story From The Beginning
Harry Potter knew nothing of the magical world until he first met Hagrid. By the same token, the wizarding world knew nothing of what happened to Harry after the fateful night in Godric Hollow. Dumbledore was able to ensure that Harry was protected from those who wanted to learn the truth about his encounter with Voldemort.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry first encounters a journalist for the Daily Prophet called Rita Skeeter. She was a conniving and dishonest woman, who was just looking for the next sensationalist headline that could be plastered on the front page.
Rita Skeeter was planned to appear in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. She was originally called Bridget and she would have encountered Harry in the Leaky Cauldron. Bridget would have tried to interview Harry but would have presumably been stopped by Hagrid.
5 The Lady Pettigrew
Peter Pettigrew was the last known living member of his family before he perished in Deathly Hallows. It was said that he had a mother, who was given the last of (what was believed to be) his remains. It's presumed that she had died before the events of Prisoner of Azkaban, as it is never revealed if she learned the truth of her son's survival.
It's possible that Peter Pettigrew's mother was planned to be a character in the later books. According to J.K. Rowling's notes, there was a character named Enid Pettigrew who was planned to be Harry's Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for either his fourth, sixth or seventh year at Hogwarts.
Her name was also listed as a possible candidate for the Divination teacher position.
4 Students Were Almost Sorted By A Panel Of Ghost Judges
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone established that the four Hogwarts Houses reflect the personalities of the people who join them. Gryffindor is for the brave, Hufflepuff is for the kind, Ravenclaw is for the wise, and Slytherin is for the cunning.
These traits are determined by the Sorting Hat, though even the Hat can struggle with the personalities of some people, as was the case with Harry Potter and Peter Pettigrew.
The Sorting Hat was actually a late invention. J.K. Rowling had originally planned for the students to be sorted by a court composed entirely of the ghosts that inhabit Hogwarts.
We aren't sure exactly how they would have determined the worth of each student. This was later replaced by the idea that the court would be made up of Prefects instead, though this was also abandoned.
3 The Sorting Hat Is A Lie
The original method that J.K. Rowling considered for the students to be sorted into their Hogwarts Houses was the court made up of ghosts, which was later replaced by a court made of Prefects.
This idea was scrapped as it was likely too complicated. How would the ghosts properly judge the character of young children? If they had human judges (who weren't much older than the ones being sorted) then would it be possible for them to rig the results? An older brother or sister might want to ensure that their younger sibling ends up in their house, so they could cheat the test.
The replacement for these methods would turn out to be a lot lazier. Rowling changed the ghost court into a magical portal that would somehow sort the students. This was later replaced with drawing names out of a hat, which led to the creation of the Sorting Hat.
2 The Ghost Of The Black Knight
The Ghosts that inhabit Hogwarts only had brief moments of relevance to the story as the series progressed. Harry had his important discussion about who can come back as a spirit with Nearly-Headless Nick in Order of the Phoenix and the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw played a vital role in Deathly Hallows.
The Hogwarts Ghosts seemed to play more of an important role in the early books, especially as they were once planned to adjudicate the sorting of the students.
There was going to be another Hogwarts Ghost at an early point during the development of Philosopher's Stone. He would have been known as the Black Knight. It's possible that he may have been the original Ghost of Slytherin. It's also possible that his role was given to the portrait of Sir Cadogan.
1 Nintendo's Harry Potter
The Harry Potter movies helped propel the book series to a level of mainstream success that they would likely have never achieved without the films. This was due to Warner Bros. purchasing the license to create adaptations of the series, which led to the creation of the movies.
When the adaptation rights for Harry Potter were first made available, every major media outlet vied to purchase them. These included the likes of Disney, Universal, and... Nintendo.
That's right. Nintendo was interested in purchasing the rights to the Harry Potter franchise as they wanted to make games out of them. These rights also extended to the movies, which meant that it would have been up to Nintendo whether the films would have been made or not.
If J.K. Rowling had been swayed by Nintendo's pitch, then the Harry Potter franchise would have gone on a totally different route. The movies would have been unrecognizable if they had been made at all.
At least one thing is for sure: Harry Potter would have definitely shown up in Super Smash Bros.
Do you know of any other ways in which Harry Potter was almost completely different? Sound off in the comments!