Given the meticulous nature of J.K. Rowling's notes, plot outlines and detailing, it's almost impossible for fans to learn all there is to know about the Harry Potter Universe, but that's not going to stop them from trying. Hardcore Potterheads have done their research on everything from wandlore to weird rules about magic, but there are some bits of trivia that some fans might still be completely unaware of. Although there are many false facts floating around, these ten obscure bits of Harry Potter trivia are fully-vetted and well worth the read.
10. Rowling Recreated Her Old Home By Accident
Some of you might not realize it, but when author J.K. Rowling wrote about the Dursleys' house (Number four, Privet Drive), she "accidentally" described her own childhood home. Rowling says on Pottermore that she unconsciously visualized the second house she lived in as a child, and didn't even realize it until she visited the film set and noticed all the many similarities, down to the "exact position of the cupboard under the stairs and the precise location of each room" Funny how old memories can surface in unexpected ways!
9. Alan Rickman Had The Inside Scoop
Many of you Potterheads might not realize that actor Alan Rickman received a lot of spoilers to from J.K. Rowling to help him better prepare for his role as Severus Snape. So what details did she divulge, exactly? Apparently, Rowling clued Alan into Snape's love affair with Lily (Harry's mother) early on so he'd have a little more insight into why his character hated Harry's father and projected his negative feelings onto Harry. Alan let his secret knowledge go to his head a little bit, often saying to Daniel Radcliffe, "I just don't think Snape would do that, given what I know."
8. Quidditch Was Inspired By Rowling's Fight With Her Boyfriend
Quidditch isn't exactly the safest game, but once you realize that Rowling came up with it after having a fight with her boyfriend, the violence kind of makes sense. In one interview, Rowling said that after she had a row with her then-boyfriend, she walked straight to the pub and invented Quidditch when she was still steaming mad. "Maybe in my deepest, darkest soul I would quite like to see him hit by a bludger," she admitted. Better to invent a brutal, fictional game than to take out your anger on our partner, I guess. I wonder if she'd had a pint or two before she added all the details?
7. The Hogwarts Houses Were Written On A Barf Bag
How in the world does someone come up with house names like Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin? One student asked Rowling that same question, but they probably weren't expecting her answer. Apparently, Rowling invented the names of the houses on the back of an airplane barf bag (here's to hoping it hadn't been used)! Rowling went onto say that she loves inventing names so much that she keeps a notebook filled with unusual monikers so she can choose one that suits a new character.
6. The Real Reason Snape Taught Chemistry
All fans know that Harry Potter's arch-enemy, Severus Snape, taught the potions class at Hogwarts, but did you know that there was a reason for that? Rowling wrote on Pottermore that she decided to give the subject to Snape because it was her least favorite subject at school, and said she "gave it up as soon as I could." Ironically, Snape has often been voted as the favorite character in the Harry Potter series, so I guess her plan kind of backfired. Turns out chemistry is cool, after all.
5. Arthur Weasley Was Supposed To Die
There's probably a lot you don't know about the Weasley family, but did you realize that Rowling almost gave Arthur Weasley the axe after he was attacked by Nagini in Order of the Phoenix? Thankfully she changed her mind, saying, “there were very few good fathers in the book. In fact, you could make a very good case for Arthur Weasley being the only good father in the whole series."
Rowling also considered killing off Arthur's son, Ron, but decided against it. Wise choice.
4. Hermione's Teeth
Did you know that actress Emma Watson had to rock some fake teeth during the filming of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? In an attempt to make her look more like Hermione Granger from the book, Emma was fitted with a set of uncomfortable, ill-fitting buck teeth on the first day of filming (during which they filmed the last scene of the film). They soon realized that she would not be able to wear them for the duration of the film, due to Emma's discomfort, but in the last scene of the film, she can be seen wearing them (albeit briefly).
3. The Brooms In The Movie Had Special Mods
You hear about cars having special modifications for movies, but brooms?! Only in Harry Potter! The thin and incredibly durable aircraft-grade titanium broomsticks were mounted onto motion-control bases for green-screen shots and special effects. At the beginning of the films, the actors all weighed somewhere between 80-90 lbs, but as they aged and became adults the brooms had to be modified to withstand heavier weights.
“People think of them as a prop the kids are carrying around, but in reality, they have to sit on them,” Eddie Newquist told Popular Mechanics.
2. Dumbledore Was Gay
When asked by a fan whether or not Dumbledore had ever been in love, Rowling responded, “I always thought of Dumbledore as gay."
So how did fans of the books take this news? Many Potterheads were shocked, especially with the lack of contextual clues, and (unfortunately) not every fan could get behind the idea. In Rowling's opinion, Dumbledore's gayness was not really relevant, although she admitted that she'd always seen him as a very lonely character. Apparently, there was a hint of Dumbledore's sexuality in his relationship with Grindelwald in Deathly Hallows, but Rowling's statement still seemed to shock even the biggest fans.
1. Hedwig Was Played By 12 Different Owls
All fans know that Hedwig is Harry's adorable pet Snowy Owl, but not many people realize how many "Hedwigs" there were on set. In total, seven owls were used to play Hedwig and it took up to two years for each owl to be trained to pick up or bring something back. Their names were Gizmo, Kasper, Oops, Swoops, Oh Oh, Elmo, and Bandit. Why so many? Apparently, owls tire easily and only had about "10 flies" in them before they needed a replacement. Divas!
Fun fact: Hedwig was named after Saint Hedwig of Silesia, who dedicated her life to serving orphans and widows.